On March 27th of 1980, there was a small eruption of Mt. St. Helens in Washington state. The volcano rumbled awake after a one hundred year sleep. In the weeks to follow, a series of small earthquakes warned of the danger building below the surface of the mountain. Federal and local government officials alerted the public to the growing threat and said a large-scale eruption was imminent.
Many tourists, backpackers, campers, and local residents heeded the warnings and complied with evacuation orders. There were dozens of others who decided to ignore and even scoff at the warnings about the growing danger and chose to stay in harm's way. On May 18th, 1980 at 8:32 am. Mt. St. Helens erupted ferociously, sending a pyroclastic blast and a wall of super-heated gas and ash racing down the sides of the mountain at over 300 mph.
In the wake of the volcano's fury, 57 people lost their lives because they either ignored or scoffed at the warnings of impending danger. The Bible tells us about a time when scoffers will mock people who warn others about coming of the Lord.
2 Peter 3:3-4 - "Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, 'Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.'"
The word scoffer denotes a person who is engaged in the act of jeering, scorning or mocking. In this case, the Bible warns us about people who will be scoffing at the possibility of the Lord's soon return. Please take note of the fact that the Bible zeroes in on a particular time in history. Peter warned that these people will be around in the last days. Another key aspect of these people is the fact that they are following their own sinful desires. The Bible tells us that these people will mockingly ask, "Where is the promise of his coming?"
I have been around for awhile and I've observed some non-Christians mock the notion of God's coming judgment and Jesus' soon return. They will call God a mean cosmic bully, a manmade illusion, or a sky fairy. I watched a guy throw my Bible across a room as he cursed at it and called it fake. While that level of animosity isn't the norm, there is still the widespread denial of the Bible's authority.
Television, radio, and social media are brimming with people who scoff at the idea that Jesus is coming again. My heart goes out to these people because they are not the enemy, Satan is and he wants to keep them blinded. Knowing the stakes are eternal, we must tell them about God's holiness, coming judgment, and redemption through Jesus.
We want to focus on the elephant in the middle of the evangelical living room. The elephant in the room is the continued ignoring of sound end time Bible prophecy teaching. Ask yourself the following questions: When was the last time you heard a sermon on Bible prophecy? When was the last time your small group discussed the end times? Can you remember the last time your church invited a guest speaker to teach on an end-time subject?
I'm guessing many of you feel the same as I do. I have noticed a strong departure from teaching end time Bible prophecy in most evangelical churches today. This is sad and unbelievable in light of the fact that the four gospels, the epistles, and the Old Testament are overflowing with chapters that are heavily eschatological.
I call end time Bible prophecy the elephant in the evangelical living room because so many of today's well-known leaders either choose to ignore it altogether or in some cases, they have become the very scoffers the apostle Peter warns us about. It is an absolute disgrace and dereliction of duty to ignore or scoff at Bible prophecy, yet many of today's big names do this regularly.
If a pastor or a Bible teacher you learn from ignores this subject, chances are high they are doctrinally flawed in other areas. Ignoring or scoffing at Bible prophecy should be a big red flag and I would advise you go elsewhere for biblical instruction and find a godly servant who teaches the whole truth.
When I became a Christian in the mid-1980s, there was a great deal of interest in all things relating to Bible prophecy. End-time books were everywhere, many churches taught on this subject with regularity, and it was a big topic among Christian friends. Here we are decades later, and it is my opinion that interest and teaching on end-time Bible prophecy are at an all time low and I think many of you would agree.
This is indicative of a church that is living their best life now instead of living for the one to come. Many who call themselves believers are too busy playing church instead of being the Church. Today's "Christian" bookstores are chock full of quasi-Christian self-help books that focus on self-esteem instead of God's glory.
We throw around words like authenticity, discipleship, and Christ-likeness, but they have become Christianese talk for masses of lukewarm people who are following a movement instead of the Savior. The Great Commission and personal holiness underscore the importance of end time Bible prophecy. Matthew 24 is full of Jesus' warnings and encouragement to His followers. He tells us to be alert, to endure to the end and tells us the gospel must be preached in all the world.
Matthew 24:14 - "And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."
As we think about Peter's warning of scoffers coming in the last days, we must understand that there is the element of personal holiness at the center of the issue. The people who were scoffing appear to have a form of godliness and are quasi-Christian because they reference his delay coming. When I take a 10,000 ft. view of the popular evangelical landscape today, it seems that where Bible prophecy is important, so is personal holiness.
Where Bible prophecy is ignored, personal holiness becomes religious speak and not a matter of personal conviction. This is important to understand because Peter ties the understanding of end time Bible prophecy closely together with godly living in the last days.
2 Peter 3:11-12 - "Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God."
Bible prophecy isn't a distraction or divisive as several popular evangelical teachers have said. End-time Bible prophecy is woven throughout the scriptures to call us to godliness, witnessing, and for understanding the times we live in. So many well-known leaders choosing to ignore or scoff at end time teaching is indicative of the last days spiritual deception and blindness Peter warned us about. We were told that scoffers would come in the last days.