October 25, 2019
Friday Evening Youth Focus
The last Friday in October was the monthly youth focus session, which began with a filling dinner of pulled pork, baked beans, coleslaw, and pumpkin pie for dessert. Following the meal, the group was divided into two teams for a quick trivia game that involved identifying Bible characters from a few clues given by the moderator, Clark Wolfe. After the game, Erik Calhoun took prayer requests and led the group in prayer.
The speaker for the evening was Cheryl Downey, who gave a presentation she had recently presented at an adult Bible study on the topic of end times doctrines. She began by commenting that everyone is concerned about the future, and that is especially true of young people since their futures tend to be more unknown than that of someone older. She shared Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope,” explaining that the Bible teachings on the end times are meant to bring comfort and hope about the future. Sister Cheryl also commented that although believers have been waiting nearly two thousand years for His return, that event is sure to take place someday.
Sister Cheryl spoke in detail about what the Bible has to say regarding the end of this age. She explained that Jesus’ Second Coming is in two parts: first, the Rapture will take all believers out of the world before the Tribulation period; second, Jesus will be revelation at the end of the Tribulation. She described the signs that will precede the Tribulation, including wars, natural disasters, and widespread disease, and also spoke of the events that take place during the Tribulation: twenty-one judgements of God poured out on the earth and mankind. During that time, the Antichrist, with the aid of the false prophet, will become a cruel ruler, and about half of the world’s population will die. Sister Cheryl reminded everyone that it is vital to be saved and ready for the Rapture in order to miss the devastating suffering that will happen during the Tribulation.
The presentation also described how the Tribulation would end at the Battle of Armageddon, where Jesus would return and defeat the armies of the kings of the earth and throw Satan into the bottomless pit. Christ will then establish His one thousand year Millennial Reign, where the raptured saints in their glorified bodies will rule with Him over the people who survived the Tribulation (still in their earthly bodies). At that time, the curse will be lifted and life will be similar to what Adam and Eve first experienced in the Garden of Eden.
At the end of the Millennial Reign, Satan will be loosed and will convince the nations to fight Jesus again, and they will be quickly and soundly defeated by God. Then, Satan and those whose names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be judged by God and sent to eternal Hell in the Lake of Fire. Sister Cheryl reminded her listeners that a belief in Hell is becoming less palatable in United States culture, yet the doctrine is not dependent on popularity; it is true because it is in God’s Word. Only those who have had their sins forgiven through Jesus’ sacrifice will enjoy the New Heaven and New Earth that God has prepared. The Bible description of that eternal home make it clear that it will be a true paradise. Sister Cheryl closed with a reminder that the important thing is to be saved, and to stay focused on God until He calls us away. Brother Erik also gave a few closing remarks, reminding everyone that God does not want anyone to be scared of the end times, but it is His will for everyone to be spared His judgement and to be with Him eternally in Heaven. He encouraged anyone unsaved to pray and be saved that night, and the evening concluded with a time of prayer.