What’s the deal with the wrath of God? I mean, the Bible tells us that God is love. And yet, numerous times in Scripture, God is angry, punishing those who fall out of line. So, how are we to understand the wrath of God? The New Testament uses this term to refer to three different things as determined by the context:

  1. The “coming wrath” describes the events leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D.
  2. God’s wrath refers to the Day of Judgement at the end of time.
  3. God’s wrath is the natural consequence of sin.

The “Coming Wrath”

The events leading up to and including the destruction of Jerusalem feature heavily in the prophetic parts of the New Testament. Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 are entirely dedicated to these events, as is Revelation. (Cf. Revelation 6:16-17; 14:10, 19, 15:1).

John the Baptist questioned the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptising people. He said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Luke has John saying this “to the crowds coming out to be baptised by him.” What a novel way to start a sermon!

Jesus said, How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. The land refers to first-century Israel.

Paul spoke of this in 1 Thessalonians: and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. More on that in a moment.

Jerusalem’s Destruction

Jesus warned of the events leading up to Jerusalem’s destruction in Matthew 24 and Luke 21, “And when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you will know that the time of its destruction has arrived. Then, those in Judea must flee to the hills. Those in Jerusalem must get out, and those out in the country should not return to the city. For those will be days of God’s vengeance, and the prophetic words of the Scriptures will be fulfilled (Luke 21:20-22). In other words, the so-called “end times” prophecies that some Christians still use to traumatise God’s people were fulfilled in the first century. Let that sink in.

History reveals that Jesus’ followers understood His prophecies. The believers obeyed the warnings and fled Jerusalem to a town called Pella in the southern hills (those in Judea must flee to the hills), thus saving themselves. Not a single Christian perished in the destruction of Jerusalem. Christians left Jerusalem, thus escaping what Jesus referred to as great tribulation. The destruction of Jerusalem occurred three and a half years later, at the end of the Great Tribulation.

And so, this is what Paul foretold in 1 Thessalonians in the early 50s: and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Judgement Day

God’s wrath can also refer to the Day of Judgement at the end of time. Judgement Day is God’s guarantee of ultimate justice. Think of all the times when there hasn’t been justice in this life. Maybe you’ve experienced this or seen the fate of others who have suffered unfairly, and you’ve asked yourself, where is the justice in life? Well, wait. The New Testament is replete with forewarnings about Judgement Day:

Jesus said, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” And, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” That’s because they’ve trusted someone who’s been there (death) and returned.

Paul wrote extensively about Judgement Day as an expression of God’s wrath. Consider Romans 2:5: But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. (Cf. Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:6). God’s Judgement is a punishment, not a beating.

Suffer the Consequences

The final meaning of God’s wrath in Scripture is allowing people to suffer the consequences of their choices. Paul’s letter to the Romans is handy here: The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people. The rest of chapter one shows how Paul defines this wrath of God: God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts. God gave them over to shameful lusts. God gave them over to a depraved mind. (Vs. 24, 26, 28)

God is like a parent who says, well, that’s not how I want you to behave, but if you persist with having your way, you’ll also need to be prepared to wear the consequences of your choices. People have free will, and God does not control us.

Controlled Anger

God is a loving father who is angry at injustice. Righteous anger is an ethical expression of authentic love as inferred by the Greek word translated “wrath. Orgē comes from the verb oragō meaning, ‘to teem, or swell.’ God’s wrath is not a sudden outburst but a controlled, passionate response to wickedness and unfairness: His anger lasts only a moment, but his favour lasts a lifetime. Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

God loves all people, but that love doesn’t mean that certain behaviours don’t anger God. God’s wrath will be satisfied by ultimate justice being done and appropriate punishment being given. But, as the Psalmist declares, “He will not always accuse, nor will he harbour his anger forever.” That is good news for everyone.

I regularly hear words of alarm and outrage from some of Jesus’ followers who embrace a gloomy view of the world. Confession: I used to hold that viewpoint, too. It’s all tied into a futurist understanding of Revelation and Bible prophecy, which teaches that things will worsen until Jesus returns. I used to look for evidence that everything was deteriorating, but I eventually woke up because history and the present world tell a different story. For the most part, the world is a better place to live now than ever in human history.

And so, when I hear people say, “Every year, it gets worse and worse,” I find myself reacting to this so-called “Christian” form of outrage. Some of Jesus’ followers feel compelled to be incensed about something as fuel to keep their faith alive. I don’t believe this is an appropriate way for God’s people to live.

Amazing Insight

Consider what it would be like to build a church in a corrupt and dreadful place next to a temple that was dedicated to an idolatrous god that was worshipped by people having sex with prostitutes and animals. That story is reflected in Jesus’ incredible discussion with his disciples in Caesarea Philippi, near a mountainous region containing Mount Hermon, Israel’s largest mountain.

Matthew tells us that Jesus asked his disciples what people were saying about him. They told Jesus that people’s opinions were mixed, with some believing Jesus was John the Baptist reincarnated. Others thought Jesus was Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets who had returned from the dead.

Jesus then asked his disciples for their thoughts on his identity. Peter answered first, of course, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Play on Words

Jesus told Peter that his insights had a heavenly origin, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

The Play on words in the original manuscript was between Peter (Petros), a rock that can be thrown, and Rock (Petra), a large mass rising from the earth. Matthew 16:18 could be translated as, “I tell you, Peter, that you are like a little stone, but on this massive mountain of the revelation of who I am, I will build my church.” The Church was and is established on the foundation of Jesus the Messiah.

The Worst Place

So, what are the gates of Hades that will not overcome Jesus’ Church? As mentioned, this conversation occurred at Caesarea Philippi, ancient Paneas, “The city of Pan.” In Jesus’ day, a temple to the goat god Pan was at the centre of town.

Pan received worship through intimate acts with goats. The court in public view outside the temple was called the Court of Pan and the Nymphs. Nymphs are creatures of fantasy, like elves or fairies and were thought to be a large group of inferior divinities. Today, the word can refer to a woman who suffers from hypersexuality, a mental illness.

Pan’s temple was set on the side of a gigantic rock face. Next to it was an enormous cave where the Jordan River originates and flows to the Dead Sea. The cave was called the “gates of Hell.” The priests of Pan would say that if you did not worship Pan to his satisfaction, he would open the cave and swallow you into Hell.

For the disciples, this was an evil place, and this is where Jesus says, on this rock, I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. In other words, think of the most formidable and least likely place to found a church; that is where the Church will thrive.

Worth Considering

I find it fascinating that of all the places where Jesus could initiate his Church, he chose that place. It’s a truth that resonates through the centuries right down to our time.

The Church has had the worst of things thrown at it. It’s been outlawed and oppressed, and its people persecuted and martyred. Sacred books and Bibles were burned or banned. Add to that the trouble we’ve brought on ourselves – immoral and abusive pastors and priests, Church splits, discrimination against minorities and selfishness, always wanting everything our way. It’s a miracle that the Church still exists, but here we are.

My encouragement to you is simple: while some awful things are happening in the world right now, the world is much better than it was. If you follow Jesus, Set your mind on things above, not earthly things. Jesus affirmed that His Church would be built on the rock where the darkest rituals occurred, and it would prevail. Live in faith, not fear and be encouraged.


The end of the world is near. Again!

This time the prediction came from a pastor of a Nigerian church but pastors, church and cult leaders have been forecasting the end, the rapture, the second coming for centuries, sometimes with tragic results.

Dozens of people were recently freed from an abandoned school where they were awaiting the Second Coming. The 77 people, including 26 children and eight teenagers, were rescued by police. The raid came after a mother complained her children were missing and thought they were in the church.

An assistant pastor in the church told the members that the rapture would take place in April but later said it had been changed to September 2022. I wonder if the delay is due to staff shortages in heaven resulting from the pandemic? God simply could not get enough angels to staff the rapture, so it’s been put off until September.

People have been predicting the rapture for decades. They really should give up. There’s just no future in it.


Claims like these should be rejected as just another scaremongering tactic that some Christians, sadly, are all too good at. In fact, whenever you hear a Christian leader using fear to motivate you (to obey, give money, or whatever), see it for the ruse it is.

Since becoming a Christian in the late 1970’s, I have witnessed frequent predictions of the end. It was going to be 1983 when the planets aligned. No, it’s 1988 when Israel has been a nation for a generation. Wrong again. And on and on it goes.

Untold Harm

The false predictions have caused untold harm to precious people. Individuals had maxed out their credit cards, believing the rapture would come before payment was due. Others sold houses, spent all their money, or resigned from jobs. Some failed to plan for education, convinced the end was near. I didn’t buy a house in my late teens and 20’s (against my dad’s advice) because Jesus was coming back. That is one of my few regrets even to this day.

Wrong predictions cause people to harden their hearts to the truth of God’s Word, just like those who heard the boy cry “Wolf!” I believe that Jesus is coming back but making endless predictions is pointless and counterproductive to the gospel.

So, What is the Rapture?

Paul’s two letters to the Thessalonian church present the most detailed description of what should be called the resurrection. The term “rapture” is not a Bible word.

Paul writes, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so, we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words” (4:16-18).

Notice the order of events:

  • Jesus comes down from heaven.
  • The departed “in Christ” rise first.
  • The living will rise to meet Jesus.

The word “meet” infers “to escort on a journey.” Followers of Jesus will be gathered from the grave and the four corners of the earth to one point ~ where Jesus is, “And so, we will be with the Lord forever.” Paul tells us to “encourage one another with these words,” not scare the living daylights out of each other.

Until we Meet Again!

Until Christ’s Second Coming, the world will continue as it is. Society will progress as it has for thousands of years. Life will be a mixture of good & bad. As Jesus taught, there’ll be wars and rumours of wars and natural disasters in various places, and the gospel of the kingdom will be preached everywhere.

It’s interesting to note that the vast majority of Bible prophecies concerning the end of the world deal with how we are to live in the here and now. The Bible teaches that the world will end one day, so we must live pure and productive lives in the present.

In the meantime, share the GOOD NEWS about Jesus with people open to hearing it; live authentic and consistent lives that make this world better; love your neighbour and your enemies. Resist getting sucked into these baseless and pointless predictions and look for the actual Christ, not the anti-one!

One of the good things about a crisis is it often provokes people to read the Bible and pray. The global pandemic certainly has achieved this. It’s been a motivator for people to read Revelation. But as one of the Bible’s more mysterious books, it is often misunderstood and mishandled.

My Early Christian Years

I’ve watched Revelation being mishandled for decades. I had my first encounter with Christianity in the late 70s. Hal Lindsey’s book, The Late Great Planet Earth, was all the rage. The planets would align in 1982, starting the Great Tribulation. Cataclysmic events would unfold upon the earth, and Jesus would return in 1988. Oh, and the Pope was the antichrist because he had 666 written under his cap. I kid you not, someone told me this in all seriousness, and I believed them!

None of it was true. None of it happened, just like all the other predictions over the centuries from mishandling Revelation.

I now know better.

A Little History

The book of Revelation was (reluctantly) admitted into the Canon of Scripture in 395 CE. It was the last book to be incorporated into the New Testament.

The Western Church wanted Revelation included but didn’t appreciate Hebrews. The Eastern church didn’t like Revelation (and still don’t use it in their services), but they wanted Hebrews included in the Canon. So, the compromise was to have both books in the Bible.

The Nicene Creed

By 395 CE, the church’s doctrine was well and truly completed and stated in the Nicene Creed (325). The Nicene Creed contains everything the early church believed about the future:

[Jesus] will come again with glory

to judge the living and the dead.

His kingdom will never end.

We look forward to the resurrection of the dead,

and to life in the world to come. Amen.

These statements form a summary of eschatology (doctrine of last things) and comprise everything Christians have ever believed about the end of this age:

Nothing to Fear

Notice the line “We look forward to the resurrection of the dead.” In other words, the future is not something to fear. The apostle John put it this way, “This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world, we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:17-18).

And so, according to the church’s greatest creed, the future is not something to fear. It’s something to look forward to. Contrast that to an interpretation of Revelation that does nothing but inject fear:

  • Fear of antichrist and one-world government
  • Fear of the Mark of the Beast
  • Fear of the great tribulation
  • Fear of the most dreadful afflictions rained upon the earth
  • Fear of beasts, dragons, harlots, & birds feasting on human flesh
  • Fear of Armageddon
  • Fear of a lake of burning sulphur
  • Fear of a sneaky rapture where you could be left behind

Left Behind

One of the most popular Christian songs of the 1970s was Larry Norman’s “I wish we’d all been ready.” The song included the line, “There’s no time to change your mind, the son has come, and you’ve been left behind.” It was a great song, but the theology was awful.

Some particularly full-on (read, obnoxious) Christians at the time would ask other Christians, “are you rapture saved?” It was a weird question that basically asked if you, as a Jesus follower, were saved enough to be taken up in the air when Jesus returned. Again, awful theology!

One Saturday, I finished my shift on the radio and headed back home to the farmhouse I was living in at the time. I walked into the house. There were pots of food bubbling away on the stove, and two chairs were pulled out from the table and facing each other. It was as if two people had been removed (raptured) from the room. I was terrified. I’d been left behind.

Shortly afterwards, my housemate walked back into the room with another friend. I was so relieved.

Left Behind was the title of a series of novels in the 1990s and early 2000s. Some of these were made into movies starring Kirk Cameron and Nicholas Cage. They are terrible films, having attracted the lowest audience score of all time on Rotten Tomatoes (3%). Sadly, many Christians base their understanding of Revelation on the Left Behind series. These books are novels, not Bible commentaries!

A Solid Foundation

Fearmongering might be a good money-spinner, but we must not base our beliefs on these fads. Our faith must rest solid and secure on the truth as it is stated by the great creeds of the church:

[Jesus] will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead. His kingdom will never end. We look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and to life in the world to come. Amen.

And so, when the book of Revelation was finally included in the Bible, it could not add to the doctrine as stated by the Nicene Creed. The church’s essential beliefs had been fully expressed by 325 CE, seventy years before Revelation was accepted into the New Testament (395).

Revelation was not to be used to add anything to eschatology. In fact, it was expressly stated that Revelation was not to be used to foretell the future (how ironic!)

Handle with Care

Revelation’s two main uses were/are as:

(1) A call to Worship (the Lamb upon the throne) and,

(2) A call to faithfulness (in the face of persecution and hardship).

The book of Revelation is jam-packed full of marvellous truth that applies to today. When we remove our fixation with the so-called “end times” and cease to use Revelation to predict the future or read interpretations into it from the daily newspaper, we free Revelation up to be the inspiration it was designed to be.

Revelation was written initially to seven churches that existed in the first century. But as part of inspired scripture, this book is written to every church and every disciple of Jesus. I hope you will handle it with care and not give in to the wild speculation and conspiracies that I fell for in my early Christian years.

For further study, listen to two podcast discussions between Shane Willard and myself (Rob):

Understanding Revelation 1

Understanding Revelation 2

Over the past few weeks, I’ve addressed some of the conspiracy fallacies being spread around even by Christians. In response to these blogs, I’ve had people comment, question, agree and disagree. And that’s all fine. After all, that’s what blogs are written for ~ to encourage discussion and debate.

What fascinates me though, is some people’s propensity to send a link to a YouTube clip, news article, or Facebook post as the final word. Little is done to check its source or accuracy: “I saw this, and it contradicts what you’re saying, so you’re wrong.” That’s their message over and over. And so, this week, I thought I’d address some of the current COVID myths:

The Depopulation Agenda

After last week’s blog defending Bill Gates I had many people give me information as to why this man is evil. One reason is that Bill Gates believes in depopulation. Misconceptions and misinformation have been spread by conspiracy “news” sites such as Your News Wire (Now Newspunch).

Depopulation is NOT killing or sterilising people by injecting them with vaccines. Depopulation is about creating an environment that reduces infant mortality. Due to high infant mortality rates in some countries, couples choose to have a larger number of children so that at least some will survive. Bill Gates is not interested in using vaccines to reduce the population by using them as an agent of death or a tool to sterilise unsuspecting masses. Instead, Gates is interested in keeping more children alive to reduce the need for parents to have more children, limiting the overall population growth rate.

And, think of this from a Christian perspective. Imagine the trauma that parents face by losing many children. Reducing child mortality enhances life, prosperity, and wellbeing. It brings some heaven to earth as The Lord’s Prayer says. And so, depopulation is not about reducing the world’s population but instead slowing the rate at which it grows.

Covid-19 is Just Flu

“We the body of Christ can’t gather because of the flu,” someone wrote in a blog comment this week. But COVID-19 is not the flu.

2019 was the second-worst flu season on record. Over 300,000 people were infected with the flu, and sadly 902 died in Australia. The death rate was not higher because most people in Australia have some immunity to the flu, either through previous illness or immunisation. This means if they catch the flu, they are likely to experience a milder illness.

We have highly effective vaccines available for the flu. Studies have shown that people who have the vaccine tend to avoid contracting the virus or, if they do, experience milder illness and are less likely to require hospitalisation. They are also less likely to pass on the virus, which reduces community transmission. For those who do contract the flu, there are effective treatments available. Antiviral medications are widely used and have been shown to reduce the symptoms and the risk of developing severe illness from the flu virus.

Now consider COVID-19. It is at least 30 times deadlier than the seasonal flu and four times more infectious. There is no vaccine and no proven treatment for COVID-19. 15% of people infected with COVID-19 have a severe infection, requiring oxygen, and 5% are acute infections, requiring ventilation. The length of stay in the hospital is much longer for COVID-19 compared to the flu. 25% of survivors have severe organ damage. Many will develop ongoing chronic health problems due to the virus, including heart and lung complications and post-viral fatigue. With no vaccine and no effective treatments, COVID-19 is far deadlier than the flu. This is why we have lockdowns.

Vaccines are Harmful

Sadly, the “Gates’ vaccines used to sterilise Kenyan women” conspiracy is once again doing the rounds. This has been debunked numerous times, but it surfaces from time to time. People blindly share it without doing sufficient fact-checking. The sterilisation claim is more than 20 years old. It has been repeatedly debunked by the World Health Organisation and others ever since.

For those who may be concerned about the impact of vaccines, there are significant safety measures. Australia has an incredibly robust and rigorous vaccine approval process. Besides, EVERY adverse reaction to a vaccine is monitored. Some people DO have adverse reactions – the number of adverse reactions is hundreds out of millions vaccinated. Usually, it has to do with pain at the injection site. Tiredness and irritability are also adverse reactions. Hospitalisation is very, very, very rare.

Vaccines Made From Aborted Babies

Others are concerned that the COVID-19 vaccine will be “ethically tainted” by aborted foetal cells. It is true that some vaccines, and some of the COVID-19 vaccines, are developed using cell lines from legally aborted foetuses (two from the 1960s). No foetus has been aborted to create a vaccine.

Vaccines are researched, developed, and produced through the use of laboratory-grown human cells. The vaccines themselves contain none of the original cells. The Catholic Church, which opposes abortion, has stated: “vaccination should not be refused on moral grounds in cases where the public health benefits of vaccination may outweigh the use of aborted foetal tissue to develop some vaccines when an alternative vaccine created from cell lines that are not morally problematic are not available.”

I understand some people’s concerns about this issue. But, if we are genuinely pro-life, our concern must be the protection of the living. As noted already, COVID-19 is an incredibly infectious virus that is extremely dangerous to many people and deadly to some.

Covid-19 Vaccine Microchip

Some have suggested that the eventual COVID-19 vaccine is a ploy by the cabal to inject us with a microchip. This is all part of the one-world government plot. It’s also an incorrect interpretation of Revelation chapter 13.

While it is true that Microsoft has a patent application with the numbers 060606 in it, this is for a system that rewards physical activity with cryptocurrency. It has nothing to do with injectable microchips. In any case, the technology to insert a trackable microchip does not exist at this time. If and when it does, the hypodermic needles would be considerable. For this to be possible, every doctor, nurse, and medical professional worldwide would have to be in on the conspiracy. This is beyond impossible.

Covid-19’s Inflated Numbers

A comment on my Facebook thread said, “NYT posted. Corona numbers in the US inflated by 90%.” No, the NYT did not report this. The New York Times responded to a claim made by Donald Trump suggesting the death count was inflated. The opposite is probably true. NYT reported, “the death toll is probably far higher than what is publicly known. People are dying at their houses and nursing homes without ever being tested, and deaths early this year were likely misidentified as influenza or described only as pneumonia.”

If anything, the Covid-19 numbers that are reported are lower than the real numbers.

It’s 5G’s Fault

“The 5G network apparently weakens the human immune system, and COVID-19 is just a symptom of this weakened immunity” ~ that’s one of the conspiracy myths currently doing the rounds. While 5G uses higher radio frequencies than previous generations (in the 30-300 gigahertz range), there’s not enough energy to break chemical bonds or remove electrons when in contact with human tissue.

5G is approved by the federal government’s Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency as not having more intense radiation’s adverse health effects. Even when you put your 5G mobile to your ear to make a call, radiation exposure is well below the recommended safety level. 5G radiation can’t penetrate skin or allow a virus to penetrate the skin. There is no evidence 5G radio frequencies cause or exacerbate the spread of the coronavirus. Radiation and viruses exist in different forms that do not interact. One is a biological phenomenon and the other lives on the electromagnetic spectrum.

Event 201

The Johns Hopkins Centre for Health Security, in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, hosted Event 201 in October 2019. Event 201 was a simulation on how to respond to a global coronavirus pandemic. Obviously, this has been viewed as too coincidental ~ or something more insidious!

Johns Hopkins has received a lot of questions about this and made a statement on their website.

In recent years, the world has seen a growing number of epidemic events, amounting to approximately 200 events annually. These events are increasing, and they are disruptive to health, economies, and society. It is only right that medical & benevolent institutions and governments should prepare for these. I see it as preparation for the inevitable.

I hope my comments help you sift through all the information, myths, lies, and conspiracies that are doing the rounds. I encourage you to place your faith firmly in The One who holds this world in his hands. Let’s confess with the psalmist, “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken” (Ps 16:8).

In last week’s blog, “Should the church defy the Government?” I wrote the following: “It’s my opinion that the “evangelist” who wrote to me recently misses the point. It appears he’s bought into fear and conspiracies about a one-world government and an antichrist agenda. While these beliefs are widely held by many Christians today, they are based more on the Left Behind novels than on God’s Word. I’ll explore that in next week’s blog!” Well, here’s next week’s blog!

End-Time Predictions

When I became a Christian in the late 70s, end-time prophecy was all abuzz. Israel had become a nation in 1948, and according to a misinterpretation of Matthew 24:32-34, Jesus’ Second Coming would happen within one generation (40 years). That meant Jesus would be back by 1988. I thought I’d hit the jackpot becoming a Christian just in time. I devoured Revelation and Daniel, The Late Great Planet Earth, and all the prophecy books around. The planets would align on March 10, 1982, causing earthquakes, tidal waves, and violent storms that would lead to a natural disaster takeover by world governments. These events would see the rise of the antichrist and a one-world government, the Great Tribulation, and the return of Jesus. Nothing happened!

I have since learned that this is just one of many false prophecies of the end. Individuals and religious groups have been forecasting the end of the world for centuries. They really should give up. There’s no future in it!

In the forty years since my conversion, I’ve come to realise the interpretation of Scriptures relating to the antichrist, one-world government, and the rapture are often misunderstood or misinterpreted. The vast majority of evangelical and Pentecostal Christians hold beliefs about these things based more on the Left Behind books and movies than Scripture. That, my friends, is not a good way to study the Bible.

A Shaky Foundation

Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins wrote the 16 Left Behind books between 1995 and 2007 and sold 80 million copies. The books are based on a dispensationalist interpretation of Bible prophecy, a relatively modern invention developed in 1827 by John Nelson Darby of the Plymouth Brethren, and spread widely with the 1909 publication of the Scofield Reference Bible. Darby went on to be the founder of the Exclusive Brethren cult after George Mueller (and other Brethren) challenged him about some of his unbiblical doctrines. Charles Spurgeon also claimed these teachings were false. And so, much modern understanding of Bible prophecy originated from a heretical cult leader and popularised by books and movies. This is hardly a good foundation for understanding God’s Word!

Who is the Antichrist?

So, what about the antichrist and one-world government? Let’s explore antichrist first. There are four references to the antichrist in the Bible, and they are all found in John’s letters:

“Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18). John continues by explaining what he means by antichrist, “Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22). The antichrist(s) was already in the world of John’s day (1 John 4:3), and was not some figure who would appear two thousand years later. The antichrist was any person who did “not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh” (2 John 1:7).

1 John was written to encourage Christians who had been expelled from synagogues for their faith in Jesus; the Messiah. The synagogue was the heart of the community and so to be excluded was a terrible punishment. Because of this, some Christians had denied Jesus’ messiahship so they could be welcomed back by family and friends. John reminds Jesus’ followers that such people have left the church and “have gone out into the world.” By their actions and their words, they are antichristos (one who opposes Christ).

Anyone who opposes Christ is the antichrist. But these people have nothing to do with the Beast in Revelation 13 who is often, mistakenly, called the antichrist. The Beast is not a person – people rarely crawl out of the sea sporting seven heads with ten horns! The Beast is the Roman Empire, which, amongst other things, persecuted God’s people, especially during the reign of Nero. Nero Caesar’s name has a numeric value of 666. It could be said that any world system that stands opposed to, and persecutes, followers of Jesus is an antichrist system.

One-World Government

As for a one-world government and currency, the Bible is entirely silent. Sometimes Daniel’s prophecies, as well as some chapters in Revelation, are interpreted that way. These interpretations buy into Darby’s dispensationalism, which misinterprets Bible prophecy. In Daniel chapter 2, King Nebuchadnezzar has a dream. In this dream, God reveals the kingdoms that will follow Babylon – Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. These same four empires are also outlined in Daniel’s vision recorded in Daniel 7.

Dispensationalists insert a time gap (dispensation) between the fourth kingdom – Rome – and the end times before the Second Coming of Jesus. They say there will be a revived Roman Empire in the last days, and the antichrist will rise up to rule it. The European Common Market (now the European Economic Community or EEC) was said to be the Beast’s kingdom’s forerunner. As mentioned before, this is not sound Biblical interpretation.

Daniel 2 tells us, “in the time of those kings [of the fourth kingdom], the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed” (44). During the reign of the Roman Caesars, God would set up His eternal kingdom, the kingdom of God, or, of heaven. God did this through Jesus Christ who taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.” The kingdom of God is not a geographical location. It’s wherever God rules in the hearts of people. As this rule is extended, the world becomes a better place, and that’s precisely what we’ve been witnessing for two millennia. The world is better than it was, but not as good as it will be.

The Sign of the End

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Personally, I’m not looking for an antichrist, although there have been and will be many who oppose Jesus. I’m not waiting for a one-world government, a great tribulation, or a cashless society. There will continue to be wars and rumours of wars, famines, pandemics, and earthquakes. Christians, and people of other faiths, will face persecution. But the end won’t come until every ethnic group has an understandable presentation of the good news about Jesus. At that time, Jesus will return, and his people will gather to him.

“According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so, we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words (1 Thess. 4:15018).

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

Online posts about the current crisis being a forerunner to the Mark of the Beast are rampant. In fact, you could say they’re going viral! In general, they go something like this:

Lockdowns around the world will be lifted but only for those immune to the coronavirus. You will have to be tested to see if you’ve had the disease or be given a vaccine. Once that’s happened, you’ll be issued a certificate, identity card, or tattoo. To travel and work freely, you’ll have to show this proof that you’re not infectious. In this way, millions will be tricked into receiving some kind of Mark. Could this be the “Mark of the Beast”?

Pastor Ronnie Hampton of the New Vision Community Church in Shreveport, Louisiana put it this way: “They’re gonna come up with a vaccine and in that vaccine everybody is gonna have to take it … and inside of that vaccine there’s going to be some type of electronic computer device that’s gonna put some type of chip in you and maybe even have some mood, mind-altering circumstances. And they’re saying that the chip would be the Mark of the Beast.”  Pastor Hampton, who scorned COVID-19 as a conspiracy, passed away from the virus in late March.

Diving into Revelation

So, what is this mysterious ‘Mark’ and number that we read about in Revelation?

“It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666” (Revelation 13:16-18).

It’s important to remember that John wrote Revelation to seven churches in the First Century. When John told THEM to“calculate the number of the beast” to discover his identity, he wasn’t teasing them to try and recognise someone who wouldn’t exist for two thousand years. He was writing about a well-known code of the day (gematria) that his readers would understand.

Bible scholars are divided on the date Revelation was written. Some prefer earlier writing around the mid-60s, while others favour a later date in the 90s. Either of these dates work well for John’s wise and insightful readers to “solve the meaning of the number of the beast” (NLT).

Unpacking 666 & Mark

The 60s: Nero Caesar (a Greek form of Nero’s name, when rendered into Hebrew, gives a combined value of 666).

The 90s: Domitian Caesar (Greek title: A KAI ΔOMET ΣEB ΓE and the gematrical formula reads A. K A I. Δ O M E T. Σ E B. Γ E. 1+ 20+1+10+4+70+40+5+300+200+5+2+ 3+5 = 666). Domitian earned the nickname “the Beast” amongst Romans, Greeks, Christians, and Jews because of his cruelty and executions during his reign of terror.

What was the Mark without which no one could buy or sell? John tells us it was “the name of the beast or the number of its name.” The term “mark” (Greek, charagma) was most commonly used for imprints on documents or coins. Charagma was also an imperial seal of the Roman Empire used on official documents during the first and second centuries (see reference).

It is likely then that the Mark was Nero’s (or Domitian’s) inscription on Roman currency, without which one could not buy or sell. Loyal Romans would wear coins on the back of their right hand or on their forehead as a show of allegiance to the Emperor.

New Testament scholar Craig C. Hill notes, “the Mark symbolizes the all-embracing economic power of Rome, whose very coinage bore the Emperor’s image and conveyed his claims to divinity. It had become increasingly difficult for Christians to function in a world in which public life, including the economic life of the trade guilds, required participation in idolatry.” In 66AD, the Jews revolted against Rome and coined their own money. Before this, money changers at the Jerusalem temple would exchange coins with the Emperor’s Mark with Temple coins so that no graven image could enter the Temple and defile it.

An alternative interpretation of Revelation 13:18 refers to the number of the beast as “humanity’s number”. In Bible numerics, seven is the number of perfection and is attributed to God. Humanity’s number is six, one less than seven because everyone falls short of perfection (Romans 3:23).

Where Should Our Focus Be?

Christians today should be careful not to be caught up in “foolish controversies … because these are unprofitable and useless” (Titus 3:9). We are called to be discerning of the times in which we live, but that is so our lives will be productive and pure, not wasting time on wild speculation.

Let us do good, make the world a better place, and share the good news of the Christian gospel. Let’s be looking for the real Christ, not the anti-one!


For other related blogs, have a read:

Every time there’s a crisis you’ll find well-meaning Christians attempting to link it to a Bible verse (carefully plucked out of context, of course), and the end of the world. The current crisis with Covid-19 is no exception.

Someone contacted me on Messenger last week suggesting that, because Corona means “crown” (which it does in Latin), it refers to the first of the horsemen of the Apocalypse. The horseman was given a crown and sent out to conquer. The four horsemen “were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth” (Rev 6:8).

God’s Judgement

Isaiah 26:20 is doing the rounds at present, “Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by.” The inference by those who quote this verse is that Covid-19 is an outpouring of God’s anger on sinners. But hang on, I thought Jesus settled that on the cross. Never mind that. The verse seems to fit, so let’s use it, right?

Then there’s Luke 21:11, “There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.” You might like to check out Jeremiah 29:17 and Ezekiel 5:12 as two more examples of verses being linked to Coronavirus. And then there’s my favourite, James 4:8, “Wash your hands, you sinners.”

Needless to say, there are some Christians who delight in every catastrophe, crisis, and calamity that befalls humankind. And they are ready with their proof text taken out of context.

End Time Predictions Nothing New

Doomsday prognostications are nothing new. Cyprian, a bishop of Carthage (a city in Tunisia), described the epidemic of 250-271 as signalling the end of the world. The Plague of Cyprian, as it came to be called, is estimated to have killed 5,000 people a day in Rome alone.

Humanity has been fascinated with the end of the world since its beginning. The oldest surviving prediction of the world’s imminent demise was found inscribed upon an Assyrian clay tablet, which stated: “Our earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end. Bribery and corruption are common.” (Ref:  Book of Facts by Isaac Asimov).  This could have been written yesterday, but it comes from 2,800 BC.

In the year 1666, a date containing the figures commonly accepted as the biblical Number of the Beast and following a protracted period of plague in England, it was little surprise that many should believe the Great Fire of London to be a herald of the last days. In 1794, Charles Wesley, the founder of Methodism, maintained that the world would come to an end that year. Notwithstanding his brother’s erroneous estimate, the Methodist leader John Wesley expected the End Times to commence in 1836, with the appearance of the Great Beast of Revelation. The 17th and 18th centuries were a time of protracted pandemics, which no doubt led these great men to arrive at their erroneous conclusion.

When I became a Christian in the late 70s, all Christians were abuzz with the world ending in 1982, when the planets lined up and created magnetic forces that would bring Armageddon to the earth. I was swept up in this, too, spending time reading Revelation, Bible prophecy, and books like “The Late Great Planet Earth.” We were wrong!

There were other books like “88 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1988” by Edgar Whisenant, who was quoted as saying, “Only if the Bible is in error am I wrong!” Whoops! He blamed the calendar and God for his false predictions! Whisenant also predicted the end of the world for 1993, 1994, and 1997. Then he gave up predicting – there was no future in it!

But still, some Christians persist with making predictions of doom for the planet’s end, and the current crisis is no exception. The danger here is that we’ve cried wolf too many times. People have become hardened to a message they actually need to take seriously. The Gospel of Jesus gets drowned out by all this pseudo-prophetic mumbo jumbo. People need to hear the good news, but it gets obscured by a pop-theology based more on books and movies than on God’s Word.

Effects of The Fall

The world has experienced pandemics, epidemics, and plagues for thousands of years. They are, sadly, part of the human experience. Christians refer to this as “The Fall”, the belief that God’s creation is in a flawed state because of human sin. Throughout history, nothing has killed more people than infectious diseases (many times more than war or natural disasters). Even though significant medical advances have been made, especially in the past century, the current Covid-19 crisis shows how vulnerable, fragile, and mortal we really are.  (See article)

A Sign of the End?

The question remains is Covid-19 a sign of the end of the world? Ed Jarrett from Christianity.com says there is very little evidence to support the claim COVID-19 is biblical. He said: “History is replete with plagues, wars, and natural disasters that kill large numbers of people. But none of these has been a sign of the end.” I agree.

It’s interesting to note that the Bible doesn’t once mention the “end of the world”. It declares “the end of the age” (Gk. aion; English: eon). At the end of this age, Christians believe Jesus will return to establish his kingdom, which will usher in the next era. The vast majority of Bible prophecies concerning the end of this age deal with how we are to live in the present time.

And so, share the GOOD NEWS about Jesus with people who are open to hearing it; live a genuine, consistent, and productive life that makes this world a better place, love your neighbour as yourself, and wash your hands! Resist getting sucked into baseless and pointless predictions, and look for the real Christ, not the anti-one!

While Covid-19 is probably not the end of the world, it will take the world to end it!

Lately in the news there has been an increasing number of reports on microchips placed in humans.  The technology used on our pets since the Seventies is now available to us, and hundreds of Australians, as well as those in other countries, are embracing it.

The microchips are the size of a grain of rice and inserted into the hand between the thumb and forefinger.  Ultimately they will allow the recipient to do away with their car keys & credit cards; they will contain medical data and enable you to control all the technology in your home and workplace and everywhere in between.

In future, “other uses might include children tapping to let parents know they are at school safely, refugees checking in at camps or women at shelters.  It can share diet, exercise and sleep information with you and your doctor, and the next generation could even release medicine as and when you need it.” [1]

One of the people who has already had a microchip implanted has had some messages from certain Christians on Facebook telling her she’s going to hell (gotta love it when God’s people preach the good news right?). And here’s the problem, because some Christians have an understanding of Bible prophecy that is based more on novels and movies than on sound Biblical interpretation.  Consider these verses from the book of Revelation:

“He required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead.  And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name.  Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666” (Revelation 13:16-18).

When I converted from atheism to Christianity in the late 70s, everyone was reading Hal Lindsay books, such as “The Late Great Planet Earth,” which interpreted Revelation in the light of current events.  Movies like “A Thief in the Night” and “Image of the Beast” reinforced our view of the End Times, and there were regular predictions about the end of the world (as there have been since time began).

This same interpretation of Revelation was again highlighted in the 1990s and 2000s when Tim LaHaye co-authored 16 best-selling religious novels known as the Left Behind series.  LaHaye’s book “The Rapture” was released on the 6/6/06 to capitalise on the 6-6-6 connection.  Tim LaHaye died last year aged 90 and Left Behind a loving family and a lot of money!

I don’t doubt that these books (and movies) have brought many people into the Christian faith. They were hugely influential in my early Christian years in good ways and bad. For example, because Jesus was coming back soon and the world was going to end, it wasn’t worth buying a house, so I didn’t. I still regret listening to Hal Lindsey instead of my dad.

The greater problem with this kind of pop-theology is that it is simply wrong.  In fact, a lot of things taught as valid interpretations of Bible prophesy these days show little historical understanding of the Book of Revelation and other prophetic Scriptures.  As a result, much of the church is watching – and sometimes taking a rather gleeful longing – for an increase in war, natural disasters and marks on the right hand and forehead – like the microchips.

This fairly new approach to the interpretation of Bible prophecy is called dispensationalism. It was developed in 1827 by John Nelson Darby of the Plymouth Brethren and spread widely with the 1909 publication of the Scofield Reference Bible.  Darby went on to be the founder of the Exclusive Brethren cult after George Mueller (and other Brethren) challenged him about some of his unbiblical doctrines.  Charles Spurgeon also claimed these teachings were false.

We need to remember that the apostle John wrote his Revelation to seven churches in the First Century. When John told THEM to “solve the meaning of the number of the beast” to identify this man, he wasn’t teasing them to try and recognise someone who would exist two thousand years later. He was writing in a well-known code of the day (gematria) that his readers would understand.  They would know that John was referring to Nero Caesar (a Greek form of Nero’s name, when rendered into Hebrew, gives a combined value of 666). [2]

Understanding history helps us comprehend the book of Revelation and the great tribulation, a period that is spoken of as 1260 days or 42 months or “a time, times and half a time.”  All of these refer to three and a half years in the lunar calendar used at that time.  These three and a half years began when the people of Judea rebelled against the Roman Empire in mid-66 AD.  Nero sent Vespasian to bring the province under control.  He was ruthless – destroying villages and crops, massacring people or selling them into slavery.  In AD 68 he captured and destroyed the town of Jericho and then advanced onto Jerusalem, which his son Prince Titus defeated in AD 70.  The Jewish historian Josephus reported the slaughter of some 250,000 Jews, with much more dying of disease and starvation, and 97,000 Jews sold into slavery.

These are the events that Jesus warned of in Matthew 24 and Luke 21, “And when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you will know that the time of its destruction has arrived.  Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. Those in Jerusalem must get out, and those out in the country should not return to the city. For those will be days of God’s vengeance, and the prophetic words of the Scriptures will be fulfilled” (Luke 21:20-22).

History reveals that Jesus’ followers understood His prophecies:  the believers obeyed the warnings and fled Jerusalem to a town called Pella, and thus saved themselves.  In fact, not a single Christian perished in the destruction of Jerusalem. Christians left Jerusalem thus escaping what Jesus referred to as the “great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).  The destruction of Jerusalem occurred three and a half years later, at the end of the Great Tribulation.

Christians today should not be looking for antichrist or the great tribulation, and we certainly shouldn’t worry ourselves about microchips or the Mark of the Beast.  We should occupy our time doing good works, living productive lives, making the world a better place and sharing the good news of the Christian gospel. Let’s be looking for the real Christ, not the anti-one!


[1] http://www.news.com.au/technology/gadgets/wearables/australians-embracing-superhuman-microchip-technology/news-story/536a08003cb07cba23336f83278a5003

[2] http://www.patheos.com/blogs/atheology/2016/09/first-century-coin-of-nero-found-in-jerusalem-the-mark-of-the-beast/#kSyToUFzpo6Q2hKj.99

Social media is abuzz with yet another prediction of the end of the world.  There seems to be no end to prognostications of the end!  This time it’s because of a mysterious planet called Nibiru (or Planet X) that apparently will crash into the earth this Saturday. Nancy Lieder, the founder of the website ZetaTalk, first mentioned Nibiru in 1995 after she received messages from extra-terrestrials through an implant in her brain [1].  Nibiru was supposed to destroy the earth in May 2003 and then December 21st, 2012, and here we go again!  According to Nasa, Nibiru does not exist.[2]

The forerunner event is said to have been the Great American Eclipse on August 21st, with September 23rd being 33 days after the eclipse. 33 is significant because it was Jesus’ age when he was crucified, the eclipse featured a black moon which occurs every 33 months, and the eclipse was the first of its kind in 33 years – 33 times three – three being the number of completion in the Bible.[3]  The only problem here is that the three things this prophecy is based on are not true. Jesus could have been much older than 33 when he died[4], black moons occur every 32nd month, and total eclipses happen every 18 months somewhere in the world.[5]

Those who are making this forecast of doom are quoting Revelation chapter 12 along with Luke 21:25-26, “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.”  The video has had over 2 million hits and is intentionally disturbing.[6]

Why is it that some people are preoccupied with the end of the world?  Of course, it’s not a new phenomenon.  For centuries people have been prophesying the end of the world.  Many of them have given exact dates; all of them have been wrong!  More recently, people have been deceived by American radio evangelist Harold Camping who said that judgment day would be on May 21st, 2011 when God would raise up all the dead that have ever died from their graves. Earthquakes would ravage the whole world, as the earth would no longer conceal its dead.  Once again the prophecy was based on numerological “proofs” that proved incorrect.[7]

And then there was John Hagee’s now-defunct Blood Moon prophecy of the end of the world. Hagee, another American preacher with a huge following despite his numerous false prophecies and false teaching, taught of massive upheaval in the world between April 2014 and October 2015 when the sun and moon eclipsed creating a red (blood) moon (an unscientific term by the way).  The fourth blood moon was on September 28th, 2015 a time when Hagee suggested America and the world would face another economic crisis, perhaps as a result of a war in the Middle East or an economic crash. Hagee even wrote a book on the subject, Four Blood Moons: Something is About to Change and made a movie of the same name.  Nothing happened except the author made a bucket load of money from gullible church people – and he still is.

Last year was going to be the beginning of the end, with World War III starting in June 2016, according to Pastor Ricardo Salazar, a Peruvian lawyer who now resides in Japan.[8]  He has put together his very own timeline of events from 2015 until the second coming of Christ by 2023.  He prophesied that China would attack Japan in February last year; an asteroid would strike Earth on May 16, and shortly after the Yellowstone volcano in U.S. would erupt, obliterating a large part of California.  As a result, the profoundly weakened America would suffer an attack from Russia and China who would win the war on October 25th, 2016 resulting in the Chinese Yen becoming the new global currency by March of 2017. In late 2018, Russia will attack Israel. The Anti-Christ will arrive on Earth by 2020 and the Second Coming of Christ will rescue people in 2023. I think Pastor Ricardo had too much cheese on his pizza before going to bed!

All of these predictions should sadden us greatly because they cause people to harden their hearts to the truth of God’s Word just like the people who heard the boy cry “Wolf!” Jesus IS coming back but making endless predictions based on dates, numbers, times and seasons is pointless and counterproductive to the Gospel.[9]

It’s interesting to note that the vast majority of Bible prophecies concerning the end of the world deal with how we are to live in the here and now.  The Bible teaches that the world will end one day, so it’s important that we live pure and productive lives in the present.[10]

In the meantime, share the GOOD NEWS about Jesus with people who are open to hearing it; live a genuine and consistent life that makes this world a better place and love your neighbour as yourself. Resist getting sucked into these baseless and pointless predictions and look for the real Christ, not the anti one!


[1] http://www.paranormality.com/maya_prophecy.shtml

[2] https://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012.html

[3] http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/no-world-not-september-23-article-1.3504874

[4] The Church Father Irenaeus claimed that Christ was about fifty when he died (Against Heresies II 22:5). His primary argument was that this information has been passed down to him by way of John and the other apostles (Courtesy of internetmonk.com)

[5] https://www.space.com/25644-total-solar-eclipses-frequency-explained.html

[6] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoNp8dkyYWU

[7] https://baysidechurch.com.au/the-end-of-the-world-not/


[9] Acts 1:7-8

[10] Matthew 24:36-44; Luke 19:13; 2 Peter 3:11 & 14; 1 John 2:28; 3:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; Philippians 1:9-11; Titus 2:11-14


Last year I wrote a blog entitled, “What kind of Christian are you?” In this blog, I outlined a number of things that tend to derail or highjack Christian people from our core purpose and focus; things like consumerism, crises and condemnation. These things pop up on a regular basis but one that seems to get the most attention is “conspiracy.”

Over the past twelve months the Christian world has become preoccupied with things like Blood Moons that would signal the end of the world – again! Nothing happened, except the authors of these books made a bucket load of money from gullible church people. Apparently this year REALLY IS going to be the beginning of the end, with a World War starting in June 2016 culminating in Armageddon in 2019. The Antichrist will also be revealed although this particular conspiracy Christian has already named him – Barrack Obama of course! We all knew that right? By the way, the latest right wing conspiracy is that Obama is planning to subvert the Constitution and run for a third term – at least that would spare us from The Donald!

Earlier this year I was inspired by Hilary Clinton’s response to a question regarding her Christian faith. I wrote a blog about it – Inspired by Hilary Clinton – only to be told that I’d got it wrong and that out of all the candidates in the US Primaries, when it came to being a Christian, Hilary Clinton is “not on the list.” Others were quick to inform me that Hilary is part of the illuminati and a whole bunch of other stuff. How naïve could I be? And how old is Mrs. Clinton? The Illuminati hasn’t been in existence for more than two centuries!

Last year a Facebook “friend” tagged me in a post about the US government having a stockpile of Guillotines and recently purchasing more – all authorised by Congress. The article said the Government purchased 30,000 guillotines, 15,000 of which are in Georgia and the other 15,000 in Montana. This claim first originated on a blog that specialises in anti-Muslim articles and familiar conspiracy rumors such as the alleged existence of “FEMA concentration camps“. It’s been in circulation since 2008 and has no proof or back up whatsoever.

These crazy conspiracies came very close to home for me last year when listening to a dear friend of mine speak about these things in public Christian meetings. Gone were the days of focusing on Jesus and the wonderful salvation He brings. In Jesus’ place was endless ranting about American politicians drinking blood, the Mark of the Beast, the revelation of the antichrist – you name it. At the end of the meeting you could feel the fear within the congregation.

In private conversation, my friend chatted for hours (completely oblivious to the fact that I was bored to tears) about the imminent collapse of the U.S. dollar and food supply to be followed by martial law. Apparently the Muslim Brotherhood already controls dozens of American ports and ISIS is infiltrating the U.S. He also told me the U.S. government is building concentration camps and gas chambers throughout the country (even though none show up on Google Earth – I know, they’re in on the conspiracy too). This is as a result of a United Nations Agenda 21 plot to pave the way for a one-world government and the rise of the Antichrist. By the way, Agenda 21 is a non-binding, voluntarily implemented action plan of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development. It was adopted unanimously by 178 countries – including the U.S. represented by George H.W. Bush – at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. It has nothing to do with Bible prophecy!

In fact, a lot of things that are taught as valid interpretations of Bible prophecy these days show little historical understanding of the Book of Revelation and other prophetic Scriptures. As a result of this, much of the church is watching – and sometimes taking a rather gleeful longing – for an increase in war, natural disasters, Blood Moons and other conspiracies.

This fairly new approach to the interpretation of Bible prophecy is called dispensationalism. It was developed in 1827 by John Nelson Darby of the Plymouth Brethren and spread widely with the 1909 publication of the Scofield Reference Bible. Darby went on to be the founder of the Exclusive Brethren cult after George Mueller (and other Brethren) challenged him about some of his unbiblical doctrines. Charles Spurgeon also claimed these teachings were false.

These days much of the church has gained its understanding of Bible prophecy from novels and movies such as the Left Behind series. While these books make their authors a lot of money they do nothing to educate God’s people in a correct understanding of events before Jesus’ return. In the mean time it would be healthier and much more productive for Christians to stop fixating on the Illuminati and start focusing on Jesus and the Kingdom of God. Don’t let your faith be hijacked by conspiracies!