BY MELISSA BARNHART , CP REPORTER
DALLAS, Texas – Pastor Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of the 11,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, has released a new book that answers people's most pressing questions about heaven and what the end times will look like to Christians and those who do not believe in Jesus Christ.
In an interview with The Christian Post on Thursday, Pastor Jeffress spoke about what has become the most controversial part of his book, Perfect Ending: Why Your Eternal Future Matters Today, in which he highlights how President Barack Obama's policies are paving the way for a future world dictator, known as the Antichrist.
Jeffress emphasizes that he's not at all saying that Obama is the Antichrist, only that his Administration's policies are conditioning society to slowly accept the giving up of their rights. The megachurch pastor jokingly said he knows Obama is not the Antichrist, because as the Bible indicates, the Antichrist will have higher poll numbers.
The Antichrist, Jeffress said, will "usurp people's basic freedoms such as speech, worship and commerce," and will "launch an attack on God's people, and will seek to change God's moral law, according to Daniel 7:25. And, he will be able to accomplish all of these things, with little to no opposition, at least in the beginning."
Jeffress cites examples showing how the Obama administration is paving the way for this future world dictator in the government's takeover of healthcare and by launching "an attack against God's own people unlike any president in history." This, he said, can be seen by the Administration's actions against the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic charity that, under the HHS Obamacare mandate, is required to cover contraceptives for its employees or pay a penalty of $4.5 million a year; and his proposal for a change in "one of God's most basic moral laws that marriage should be between a man and a woman."
The Obama administration, however, is not alone in usurping people's rights, according to Jeffress, who notes that the George W. Bush administration did the same, as far as conditioning people for a future world dictator.
"For example, after 9/11 Americans willingly gave up certain freedoms and rights in order to protect our country," he added. … "We are being taught that we are to surrender our personal rights for a greater good. And, I think in the same way, it will be argued one day, during the days of the Antichrist, that everybody ought to receive a mark, for security purposes, that will allow them to engage in commerce …"
Jeffress strongly believes that Christians should not be fearful of the end times, because "Christians will not be here to experience the great tribulation under the Antichrist."
"I realize that's a controversial view even among Christians," he noted, while adding that in his book, he shares four reasons why he's convinced Christians are not going to be left behind to experience the great tribulation.
That being said, Jeffress also emphasizes that he's not saying Christians won't go through tribulation in their lives. "The Church in every age has always suffered persecution. But the distinguishing factor of the great tribulation is that this will be God pouring out His wrath on mankind," he affirmed. Citing Romans 8:1, Jeffress adds that "the Bible promises that there is no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Jesus."
"A TIME/CNN poll recently revealed that 59 percent of Americans believe the book of Revelation accurately predicts future events. And yet, to many people, the book of Revelation is a mystery. The great amount of space that the Bible devotes to future events means that it's an important topic and one that God does want us to understand," he said.
Jeffress told CP that he wrote the Perfect Ending to help clear up misconceptions about the future and help people understand what God has planned for believers and how it relates to everyday living.
He also said that Christians and non-Christians alike will be able to read the book and learn how to recognize prophetic events that might be taking place in the world and, more specifically, the United States government.
Among the questions people ask about heaven, Jeffress said the two that are most often asked is whether there's going to marriage in heaven – what married couples' relationships are going to be like – "and the other half are most concerned about their pets," and if their beloved companions will be with them in heaven.
In the book, Jeffress addresses both questions, along with the top 10 questions people typically ask. It also includes study questions that coincide with each chapter and can be answered by an individual reader or in a small group setting as people reflect on how, after reading the book, they might want to change their trajectory in life.
"I would like people to live in the present with eternity in mind. If there is, in fact, going to be rapture one day, in which we leave everything behind, shouldn't that loosen our grip on our material possessions right now?" he asked. "If there is a great white throne judgment in which all unbelievers are going to be judged and sentenced to an eternity in hell, shouldn't that motivate us right now to share Christ with as many people as possible? If we, as Christians, are going to stand before the judgment seat of Christ and be rewarded for our obedience to Christ in this life, shouldn't that be a powerful motivation to live a Christ-centered life right now?
"The Bible never divorces the truth of Christ's future return with our present-day responsibilities," Jeffress added.
Pastor Ted Cunningham talks about his personal experiences with anger and explains how he worked through his emotional struggles in order to protect his marriage. (Part 2 of 2)
Pastor Ted Cunningham talks about his personal experiences with anger and explains how he worked through his emotional struggles in order to protect his marriage. (Part 1 of 2)
Liz Curtis Higgs encourages listeners to laugh more and seek the joy of knowing Jesus Christ.
Renewing Your Mind
Celebrating 20 Years