June 5, 2006
The Master's Program
The Point of View - A Weekly Commentary by Bob Shank

Dear Marketplace Friend,

Bring a bunch of friends to your home for the evening. Feed them well; set out the dessert, put on the coffee, and then, circle-up in your family room. Unless you had an agenda announced in the invitation, chances are good that it won't be minutes before someone raises the "what do you want to do?" question. Unless you've got your recent delivery from NetFlix to fall back on, you'd better have an answer. How do you keep a bunch of "we're friends, but I don't know you all that well!" people engaged?

Charades? Twister? Average-Joe poker? What'll it be? Here's an idea you could try: break them into competitive groups, let 'em huddle while the clock's tickin'... and then have everyone come back in to do their presentation. Subject? "The Order of Events for the End of the World."

If you want to help, give them a stack of Significant Occurrence cards, and have them put them in a timeline. Armageddon? The Plagues of Revelation? The Antichrist? The Resurrection? The Rapture of the Church? The Rebuilding of the Temple? The Treaty with Israel? The Desecration of the Temple? Each group can have a presenter, who will provide the narrative that accompanies the group's conclusions regarding the Future Headlines. The storytellers will act as newscasters, bridging from event to event with the dramatic explanations that will grab the guests. At the end, the crowd "votes:" who had the most convincing version of the apocalyptic future? Call it Reality: Revelations!

Cute idea, but it won't fly! Why? Just two problems, really: most "contemporary Christians" don't have enough clarity about the biblical teachings regarding the end times to play the game... and, because of that, they don't have enough discretionary insight to be the judges for those who are speaking - convincingly! - about the subject!

Why the eschatological exercise on this day, of all days? The answer debuts tomorrow, in a theater near you. Thirty years after the "original," The Omen 666 will be in popular release. Cleverly set to screen first on 06.06.06, they're catching the wave of widespread interest in the End of the World.

It's almost funny, really. Over the years, Christian voices from Hal Lindsey (The Late Great Planet Earth, ©1970) to Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins (Left Behind series, ©1997-2006) have tried to get people interested in the fascinating prophesies of the Bible. Bookmakers can't predict the winners in next weekend's sporting events, but the writers of the books brought together in the Christian Scriptures made uncanny statements about things that were thousands of years over the horizon... with incredible insight.

Jesus' first coming was prophesied by the Old Testament... and dozens of those predictive clues were fully realized in his Incarnation. How realistic is it to imagine that his promised return/invasion of Earth would be marked by prophetic indicators? Listen to the thoughts of Sir Robert Anderson, Chief Inspector for Scotland Yard, writing about 110 years ago: There is not a single prophecy, of which the fulfillment is recorded in Scripture, that was not realized with absolute accuracy, and in every detail; and it is wholly unjustifiable to assume that a new system of fulfillment was inaugurated after the sacred canon closed... Literalness of fulfillment may therefore be accepted as an axiom to guide us in the study of prophecy.

The Omen 666 will give a screen writer's opinion on a facet of Jesus' Second Coming story. People with little or no sophistication in the subject - from a biblical perspective - stand to be influenced regarding their views of the future by what they pay $10 to "enjoy" at the Bijou. When they come to work on Monday with stories from their weekend... are you prepared to engage their interests with any informed opinions?

It might make sense to visit Amazon and order-up a good reference book on the subject! John Walvoord (now deceased; former president of Dallas Seminary) wrote Every Prophecy of the Bible: Clear Explanations for Uncertain Times... God went to great lengths to slip us a copy of tomorrow's headlines; doesn't it make sense to ponder the subject, since 30% of the Bible was history, written in advance? If you think today is exciting, you won't believe what God has planned for tomorrow!

Bob Shank

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