Will I be raptured?
Will there be an antichrist?
Skillfully tackles end-time questions
Analyses key biblical passages
Steeped in Scripture and overflowing with passion for God
Newsflash: Donald Trump has been outed as the antichrist online. But wait, wasn’t Obama meant to be the antichrist? Or is it perhaps Putin?
Many of us have heard such claims and considered them ludicrous. Or, while sitting in a Bible study group and the terms ‘rapture’, ‘antichrist’ or ‘Millennium’ are mentioned, there is an awkward silence. Left Behind (2014), a powerful film starring Nicholas Cage, found huge popularity in the United States, the Lebanon, the Philippines and even the United Arab Emirates, but wasn’t seen at all in British cinemas. It was adapted from American author Tim LaHaye’s bestselling series of novels about the end of history and Christ’s return. In America, their sales reached more than sixty million and The Simpsons dedicated an episode to parodying the series. Here in Britain, however, they were almost unknown. Perhaps we need to ask, are we open to this? It may be in the Bible but is it just too ‘American’ for us to believe it?
The fact that one day the world as we know it will end, that Christ our Lord, Friend and Master will visibly return, is one of the most important and joyous Christian doctrines. A huge amount of Jesus’ teaching, and of the New Testament as a whole, is dedicated to these teachings. ‘But,’ writes Pete Lowman, ‘in my experience they’re not taught much in British churches, and they’re understood even less. As a result, Revelation and large parts of other books come to seem difficult, potentially deceptive, even intimidating. And therefore they can get neglected. So there are whole chunks of the Bible we approach unhappily, knowing we don’t have much idea what they’re talking about; and by and large we give up on them; to our deep impoverishment.’
At the same time the media have been talking about history as we know it ending through, for example, global warming, just when Britain’s Bible Christians have stopped discussing the end times. Approaches to the end times which include the final crisis, the final dictator, and so on are almost unknown in Britain; it’s extremely hard to find a good book setting them out that isn’t culturally very much from across the Atlantic. This is what motivated Pete to set out concisely and in everyday language the more literal understanding of these crucial matters, so that readers will know what the relevant Bible passages are, and can reflect on them and decide for themselves. Drawing on Scripture and focusing on Christ, A Guide to the End of the World addresses key questions. What might a Millennium look like? Does ethnic Israel still have a role to play? How can we make sense of Jesus’ Matthew 24 discourse?
Pete says the proponents of the literal view find the Bible’s teaching on the end times ‘make straightforward sense and get excited and inspired by them and love delving into them, whereas the non-literal commentators can make them sound very daunting and confusing: the back covers of their works are often full of ominous comments about ‘abstruse symbolism’, ‘bizarre imagery’ and the like. In science, the best theory is one that makes uncomplicated sense of the maximum amount of data; apply that here and the ‘literalists’ win hands down.’
A Guide to the End of the World aims to help people grasp at least one coherent way of thinking about these incredibly important matters. It provides a guide to where to read about them in the Bible and helps readers grow familiar with the huge wealth of Scriptures on this topic, and draw strength and encouragement from them, irrespective of the conclusions they might reach.‘Because,’ writes Pete, ‘what matters above all is that we come to engage more with Jesus our coming King, to worship Him more, to long more for His return and for our life with Him in heaven, as the result of our venturing into these neglected passages. May it be so as we feed on His Word in the company of His Spirit!’
What reviewers say:
‘One of the weaknesses of evangelicalism today is that in our attempts to engage with the contemporary world we have perhaps played down, or de-emphasised, the biblical focus on the second coming as well as on the hope of heaven. That weakness needs to be addressed, and Pete Lowman has done us a great service in attempting to bring to the fore once again the biblical teaching on the certainty of Christ’s coming. Even if some readers may hold a different perspective on the detail, we should all heed the urgent call to watch and pray and to live in the light of the certainty of Christ’s return, His judgement on the unbelieving world and the hope of heaven – a great comfort to God’s people.’
Lindsay Brown, former international director of IFES
‘Pete Lowman has written this racy little book because he wants us to be joyously enthusiastic and confident about the second coming of Jesus, the end of history and the defeat of evil. Carefully exploring and laying out the premillennial view (a phrase he dislikes), Pete shows how our understanding of the last days should be a powerful motivation for radical holiness and evangelism. Not everyone will agree with Pete’s reading (I don’t!). But, nevertheless, this book will excite anyone about God’s plan for the future and encourage you to get to grips with what the Bible says about the greatest thing still to happen to Planet Earth!’
Marcus Honeysett, director of Living Leadership
A Guide to the End of the World by Pete Lowman (ISBN: 9781909728851) is published by Instant Apostle and available on 18th May 2018 from Christian bookshops, bookstores and online retailers. Non-fiction, 224pp, £8.99.