I hereby express my heartfelt gratitude to the Visioner and leader of this unique mentoring ministry, our dear Mother, Mama Jacintha Olusoga, a Woman of God, Mother in Israel, devoted Evangelist, a great investor in heavenly service, former Registrar of Lagos State University, member of the Board of Trustees of West Africa Theological Seminary, Ipaja, Lagos, for inviting me to deliver this lecture. Rarely have I seen a woman of God in our church that is so committed to the cause of the Gospel in the way our dear mother has been. In the Lagos environment, she is in the class of two of our elderly mothers, Evangelist Funke Familoni and Evangelist Odunaya who are in their eighties and are still in the field of evangelism.
- This conference is primarily for believers in the Lord Jesus Christ who desire to be mentored to go into the world to make the good and productive impact of establishing the kingdom of God in a world that is increasingly departing from God and His salvation.
- The subject of eschatology is timely because we are indeed in the biblical era of the ‘End Times. Prophecy is real. God has given prophets messages that foretell the future of the world and human affairs.
- In the ongoing battle between the forces of God’s kingdom and that of Satan, the battle line was drawn since satan was cast out of heaven because of his rebellion against God. He has agenda to rule the world and turn it against God until he brings it to hell. God also has His agenda to counter satan’s war. The kingdom of God indeed suffers violence but it is the violent in faith and authority who will take it by force.
- God knows the future and decided to warn mankind of what it will reveal. Many prophets predicted signs of events that will occur to signal the end of the world. The study of these signs of the end time is popularly described as eschatology.
- The entire human history is a play out of the activities of God with mankind beginning from Adam’s fall and God’s initiative to redeem man. The process has been long, involving the creation, the fall, consequences of sin which is death, Cain’s manifestation of the corrupt nature of fallen man, the corruption of Noah’s generation and the Flood, God’s covenant with Abraham contained in Genesis 12 ( comprising promises of Land, Seed, Greatness, and Mediation of blessings). God raised a nation of Israel as His special chosen people through whom he prepared to send the messiah to save mankind. After four centuries of enslavement of the Jews in Egypt, God delivered them from Pharaoh under the leadership of Moses.
- The wilderness wanderings of Israelites were very eventful. God delivered and sustained the people miraculously, gave them His Law, and entered into a corporate covenant with the people.
- The Tabernacle ( which later transited into the Temple), was set up as the center of the people’s worship of Yahweh. Joshua settled the people on the land of Canaan after forty years of wandering.
- Israel adopted a monarchy and had several kings who ruled during the period when the nation was first united and later became divided. A succession of good and bad kings ruled over both the kingdoms of Israel and Judah until they were taken into exile by Assyria (721 BC)and Judah (586 BC). After their return from exile, the people rebuilt their cities and developed messianic ideas.
- The expectations of an anointed savior were predicted by the prophets Isaiah. Jeremiah, etc. During the inter-testamental period, the expectation was high for the coming of the Messiah. It was John the Baptist who introduced Him as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. At His baptism, the endorsement of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit was made publicly. Jesus carried out his ministry of salvation and healing until he was crucified for the sins of the world. He resurrected and made several post-resurrection appearances to people until He ascended to heaven. The church is expecting His second coming, that is the Rapture.
- Following the rapture of the Christian saints will be the period of Tribulation under the reign of the Anti-Christ.
- The story of the redemption of man and God’s plan of salvation. The story began in the book of Genesis at creation and culminates in the Book of Revelation which foretells the coming age after the end of the world. Eschatology prepares us for the finality of events in the world.
- Prophecy played a significant role in the direction of Israelite societal and religious lives. Deborah the judge and prophetess guided even the military. Moses carried out the deliverance of Hebrews as God had prophesied to Abraham. Moses himself was a prophet. He prophesied for instance the messiah to come. “God shall send you a prophet like me” ( Deuteronomy 18:15 ). Samuel led Israel before he anointed both Saul and David as kings. Elijah and Elisha did miracles and courageously ensured that the people served God faithfully. Amos, Hosea, Jeremiah, and other prophets predicted the exile and the return of the Israelites. Isaiah focussed more on messianic prophecies.
- All the above prophecies were part of the process of eschatology. For example, Prophet Joel wrote that in the latter days, God will pour His spirit upon all flesh and that the old would dream, the young people would prophesy and that upon the servants shall the spirit be endowed (Joel 3). This was not only partly fulfilled at the Pentecost event in Acts 2 but it more appropriately describes Pentecostalism which has become a prominent feature of modern Christianity globally.
- Daniel and Ezekiel were most eschatological in their prophecies. Daniel saw the revelation of the succession of kingdoms in the world till the very end of the world. Ezekiel predicted the alignment of nations who will actively be at war at the future battle of Armageddon. From the foregoing, therefore, Biblical eschatology derives from both the Old and the New testaments.
Eschatological prophecies of The Lord Jesus Christ.
The major prophecies by the Lord Jesus Christ about the signs of the End Time can be found in Mathew chapter 24 and Mark chapter 13. The following are described as signs of the coming Christ. They are preparatory to and warning of the nearness of the end.
- The gospel will be universally proclaimed as a testimony (evidence); then the end will come. With the internet and satellite, this is almost accomplished. (Matt. 24:14).
- The destruction of the Temple of Solomon (vs 2)
- False Christs (vs 5)
- Wars and rumors of wars. Nations shall against nations (vs 6)
- Famines (vs7)
- Pestilences and plagues (vs 7)
- Earthquakes in diverse places (vs 7)
- Persecution of Christians and betrayals (vs 8)
- False prophets
- Iniquity shall abound and “the love of many God shall wax cold”.
- Tribulation will come (vs 29)
- After it, the sun will be darkened (vs 29)
- As it wS in the days of Noah (vs38)
St. Paul also warned about the end time generation and their tendencies: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6For of this sort are they which creep into houses and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. 9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. (2 Timothy 3:1-9).
The events of the present age show that the eschatological prophesies are being fulfilled. Almost all the signs have witnessed accurate fulfillment in all respects.
- Our present world is full of rebellion against God. Many enemies of the Cross of Jesus Christ have risen against Christianity and the church. These include Islam, communism, secularism, scientific evolution theory, paganism, occult, and epicureanism ( worship of pleasure such as entertainment, sports, music, etc).
- Wars, terrorism, general insecurity, failure of governments, crises,
- Famine, plagues, and diseases ( corvid 19 claimed more than six million lives globally), homosexuality, immorality, nudity, false churches, and ministers abound.
- The world government tends towards globalization as prophecized of the anti-Christ. Christians are facing one of the most severe forms of persecution in modern history. Christianity is being adulterated as mushroom churches proliferate in African communities, without showing a commensurate impact on the lifestyles of people in the society.
- Environments crisis of all sorts now affect parts of the world. Indeed, the signs of the end times are being fulfilled in our generation.
Our scope of discourse at this conference is eschatology, not the apocalypse. The latter deals with events that will occur in the new age to come, the rapture, tribulation, and judgment of all men before the white throne, eternity in heaven or Hell, and general life in the hereafter. We limit ourselves to eschatology.
Is End Time a Mirage?
- Many are skeptical about the reality of end-time prophecies. The reasons are because of the general rebellion against God, rejection of the authority of the Holy Bible, and the Lordship of Jesus Christ over the personal or societal lifestyles of people in the communities, especially in western societies.
- Philosophy generally leads people to question realities such as prophecies and The supernatural. Skepticism and rationalism have replaced simple faith and belief in spiritual realities. Some advance arguments about the problem of evil and thereby question how a good God is compatible with the existence and prevalence of evil in society. They choose the path of atheism and jettison the idea that God is in control of the affairs and destiny of men. It is such type of people who argue that the End Time prophecies are a mirage.
- The churches today tend to compromise on preaching and enforcing the word of God. Prosperity gospel theology has beclouded the genuine gospel of the cross of Jesus and the need for people to live holy lives in obedience to the Bible. Many Christians are in Church because of the benefits they will enjoy in material terms; not because they love the lord and are willing to suffer hardship and persecution on account of living for God and evangelizing. This informs skepticism toward the reality of the eschaton.
- Satanism is on the increase in our days. It is an era when Satan moves about seeking whom to devour because he knows that his time is short and his eternal Punishment is soon.
Why Eschatology is not a Mirage
- The Bible prophecies down the ages for centuries have always come to fulfillment, hence the End Time prophecies are real.
- The events in the world have proved that eschatological prophecies are true and real.
- Non- Christian divinations are widely accepted. The predictions of Nostradamus are believed to have been fulfilled in some respects. Christians do not subscribe to predictions derived from divinations because their spiritual sources are unacceptable to our faith. In the same way, so-called thesis and opponents of christen spirituality believe in and indulge in alternative spiritualities including witchcraft, demonism, satan worship, hedonism, etc.
- Our generation is likened to that of Noah, by the Lord Jesus Christ. The corrupt living, immoralities, wickedness, and carelessness about godly virtues so pervaded the world that God said that He regretted creating man because the imagination of his heart was continually evil. In frustration, therefore, God destroyed the entire mankind, sparing only the family of Noah, from whose children the three races in the world,( Caucasians, Asians, and Nagroes are believed to have originated. Our world today is like that of Noah’s time.
- Archaeology is a scientific means to prove the reality of past events reported in the Bible. Archaeologists have found relics of Noah’s flood, the chariots’ wheels of the pharaoh’s army which drowned in the Red Sea; they have found also evidence that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by God, using sulfur, fire, and hailstones. They found relics of the boat used by Jesus as he preached on the sea of Galilee. The historical records and accounts of ancient civilizations such as Egyptians, Babylonians, Romans, and even the Israelites’ Chronicles support the authenticity of biblical stories relating to end-time prophecies.
Challenge for Christians Today
- Ensure that we are genuinely converted and ‘Born Again’ in our salvation.
- Live holy lives that will qualify us to inherit heaven.
- Intensify our commitment to evangelism and soul winning because the ‘harvest’ is very near.
- Be prepared for persecution because it will intensify during these last days.
- Observe events happening all over the world and study carefully the signs of the end time as predicted in the Bible. Use these to prepare people for the second coming of theLord Jesus.
- We must be vigilant and avoid being caught in the increasing wave of insecurity and terrorism perpetrated by agents of satan using religion, ethnicity, and political ideologies.
- Repent of sins that can make people ineligible for rapture or heaven. Unbelievers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, murderers, and liars are ineligible. (Rev. 22:15, 21-27).
Questions for discussions
- What lessons can the present generation learn from the destruction of mankind during Noah’s generation?
- Who are prophets?
- Is the prophetic ministry today as effective and genuine as in the Bible times?
- List out and discuss specific events in parts of the world, especially Nigeria, which can be regarded as the fulfillment of the End time signs
- How can we convince the unbelievers in today’s secular world that the eschatological prophecies are true and relevant?
- Are most church pulpits today preaching about the second coming of christ and the judgment to come? How will you compare church teachings in the past with modern times?
- In spite of the proliferation of churches in Africa today, are the Christians in general preparing for the second coming of Christ?
- Recommend what Christians in Nigeria can do to address the insecurity and wave of corruption and crimes in society.