By Nathan Jones
You can feel it in the air. Even those who couldn't possibly quote John 3:16 apprehensively feel that something big is coming around the next corner. Hollywood has been banking on the tension with movies like "Knowing" and "2012." An endless parade of books and commentaries by pundits all engaging in end time speculation have filled the Barnes & Noble shelves and dominated the mainstream media outlets. Like that ominous calm before the storm, people are scanning the horizon looking for that, that... whatever. What could it be?
For an answer to that question, we'll go to Eric Barger, the founder and director of Take a Stand! Ministries. Eric is an authority on the cults, the New Age, and rock music today. From his past as a former drug addict and rock n' roll musician who was deeply involved in the New Age movement, Eric has emerged since he gave his life to Jesus Christ to become one of today's greatest defenders of Christianity in America.
Do you believe we're in the season of the Lord's return, and if so, why?
I believe I could be living at the time that He'll return. I hope if I am 99 behind a pulpit on a Sunday night and the last thing I preach about is the Rapture and the Coming of the Lord. But, that's where I believe we're at now.
My expertise in dealing with cults and the occult leads me to believe that the occult and supernaturalism is on the rise. The craving for supernaturalism I think it is one of the most important sign that we may be living in the season of the Lord's Return, that and the great apostacia — the apostasy — that we see around us.
Another sign of the soon return of Jesus is Israel becoming a state again.
We have so many things that have happened that we see the signs of the times. Jesus told us we wouldn't know the day or the hour, but we'll know the times when we are in them.
Of extreme importance is Matthew 24, when Jesus gives us a long series of signs we are to be looking for. The very first one He mentions is false Christ's and false prophets, the only one He repeats two more times, even saying some of these will even do major signs to deceive people. We've just had a literal explosion of this in both America and on the world scene. America is hooked on the supernatural like the rest of the world is, but not on God's supernatural. I believe that has helped prepare the way for the Antichrist because people will be craving spiritual things that of course don't lead them to God.
A recent false prophet out of Puerto Rico who is now in south Florida is Jesús Miranda. He is claiming to be Jesus Christ in the flesh. And just like that, he's got 60 churches in the United States and people giving him everything they've got and kissing his hand and all, and he's claiming to be Jesus Christ.
It is amazing what's happening and it is happening right before our eyes. But, we should not despair. We see all these things and we have the tendency to want to run for the hills and hide for cover. Instead, tell your lost friends about Jesus. Tell people about the Lord. Don't despair in this hour. This is a great hour for the Church if we'll stand up and take advantage of it.
I want to live my life as if He is coming back in any moment, but yet plan my life as if I am going to live until I am 100. So, I want to plan my life out, but I believe Jesus could return at any time. I think as we see these signs take place the Scripture says in Luke 21:28, "When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."