As a Methodist, I don't hear a lot about end times prophecy in my church. This annoys me at times. But, after years of reading countless web pages and books on the subject, I can understand why. I've yet to read any one opinion that I completey agree with. Any pastor preaching on the subject would, no doubt, alienate at least half his congregation.
I've come to the conclusion that no one person has got it right, yet. Every author I've read (fiction and non-fiction) has come to the table with his or her opinion of how things will or have shaped up. They then stretch a few prophecies to fit that opinion.
While I believe that most of the book of Revelation is directed at the fall of Rome, I also believe that history, and prophecy, tends to repeat itself. I believe that Jesus will return to establish the final "Eden" here on earth. I believe that He will gather His elect from the four corners of the earth.
What I don't believe is the literal translatioin of the imagry used in Revelation (most clearly used in the Old Testament as well), nor do I believe that all has been accomplished and we're living in the new earth now.
When will Jesus return? Don't know. Will I still read all those websites and books? Yup. Nothing will bring me greater joy than the return of our Lord. How can I not watch for it? Like all believers, I'm like a kid on Christmas Eve who wants to open just one present. Just a little taste of what's to come. The problem is, though, if we really got a taste of what's to come, we wouldn't want to spend another second in this world. We'd be useless. Ever asked a kid to get his chores done on Christmas Eve?
Watch with me, brothers and sisters, but get to work on time, okay?