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Pastor warns against obsessing over or avoiding the End Times

A Texas pastor says in studying the End Times, many Christians fall into one of two camps: either obsess over Revelation and try to predict when the rapture might happen or avoid looking at the topic altogether.

Pastor Daniel Lumpee of the Loft Church ministry at The Woodlands Methodist Church in The Woodlands, Texas, preached a sermon earlier this month in which he said it’s OK for Christians to have questions about the End Times. However, he added, Christians shouldn’t waste their time trying to identify when the rapture will occur because this can lead Christians to neglect the call to action that Jesus placed on their lives, like giving to the poor and helping those in need.

“What Jesus is saying is: in your pursuit of orthodoxy and theological purism, make sure that you don’t neglect the poor. Make sure that you don’t get so obsessed with the End Times or any theology that someone leads you astray from the straight and narrow of loving people,” Lumpee said.

Lumbee referenced Matthew 24, highlighting how the rapture’s day and hour have been purposely” concealed.

Lumbee said Jesus instructed His followers not to get caught up in understanding when the rapture would happen because this can serve as a distraction.

“I like to think that when Jesus said this, He had the words you’ve probably heard from the prophet Micah in the back of His mind. Micah 6:8: … ‘He has told you, O man, what is good? And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God,’” Lumpee said, quoting scripture.

He explained that Christians choose one of two options with how they approach eschatology, or the study of topics like the End Times, death, and the final fate of all human souls. Christians tend to either obsess over the rapture by trying to investigate more about the End Times and when it will occur, or they avoid the topic.

“Many people on the internet… do this. The End Times have become an obsession for them because there’s a mystery surrounding it. That’s option A,” Lumpee said. “Option B is this:… And I would guess many of us are in this camp. [We say] ‘Revelation, the End Times, that stuff is weird. It’s going to happen. I believe it in Revelation. It’s sci-fi, but it’s also a Scripture, so I know I’m supposed to believe in it. But it sounds so weird that I’m just going to avoid it at all costs.’”

The best option, Lumpee said, is to be somewhere between heavy fixation and avoiding it altogether. He believes that when Christians aren’t obsessing and don’t avoid the topic, they can have a “healthy” approach to studying eschatology.

“We don’t have to study and become obsessed over revelation completely, and we shouldn’t neglect our knowledge of the End Times. But having a healthy understanding of what might happen will show us how to live our lives today,” Lumpee said.

It’s normal to have questions about the End Times, he continued. Still, Christians need to make sure they never assume that their minds can pinpoint precisely when the rapture will happen because, as stated in Matthew 24, “about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

“There are so many questions surrounding the End Times: ‘What’s it going to look like?’ ‘What’s going to happen first?’ And especially, ‘When is it going to happen?’ And you may have those questions. And guess what? Every Christian for 2,000 years has had the same questions. Jesus’ disciples had the same questions,” Lumpee said.

“Here’s the deal. Jesus says, ‘I don’t even know.’ So, what gives us the hubris to think that we have the ability in our finite human minds to guess when the end might be?”

Lumbee said he had taken every false prediction made by people about when the rapture will happen as an opportunity to reevaluate his walk with God.

“Here’s the deal. Every time I see one of those reports, I chuckle. … The second thing I do is this: I realized they could be right. We are living in the End Times now. And Jesus could return tomorrow. Jesus could return tonight. Jesus could return a million years from now. Jesus could come at any moment,” Lumpee said.

“So, when I see these reports, I use it as a time to look in the mirror to evaluate my own life and say, ‘Am I living a life worthy of the Gospel? Do I love God’s people well to where He would see me as worthy if He were to come down from glory?’ And if you hear nothing else about the End Times, hear that it could be tomorrow. And so, each of us needs to live in such a way that we are ready.”

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