As we come to the end of a century and move toward the year 2000, we are hearing more and more of end-time prophecies. Add in the Y2K concerns and there is a ready-made opportunity for fanciful interpretation as well as for fear and hysteria.
There are, of course, those who do not believe that there will be an end. They deny reality as well as Scripture. Apart from the fact that there will indeed be an end of the world, such conveniently forget that they will die. When they die, that is the end! At death all mortals will have to face the eternal Judge of all.
Christians do not deny the end of personal life or of the world. But when will it be? Just as the individual lifespan of each person is determined by the Creator-God, so the lifespan of the earth is known but to Him.
We know the end will come. We do not know when. God told Noah that He would destroy the earth with a flood. No one listened to Noah. In God’s time He sent the flood that destroyed the earth. Scripture says: “But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Mt. 24:36-37).
We know from Scripture that the disciples of our Lord were already told that they lived in the last times. But they did not know the precise time of the end. They wrote by inspiration of the Spirit, encouraging the exhorting of one another, “and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:25).
Scripture clearly tells us that the whole New Testament era is the “last times.” Consequently the apostle wrote: “The end of all things is at hand” (1 Pet. 4:7).
When will the end be? Again we read: “God has appointed a day in which He will judge the world . . . ” (Acts 17:31). “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night . . . .” (2 Pet. 3:10). Furthermore, we read: “As the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Mt. 24:27).
There will be no specific sign of the end that says: “It is the hour,” or “This is it.” Man cannot predict it anymore than he can predict where or when a thief will strike or where lightning will strike.
Surely we have certain flags that should warn us of the near approach of the end. They are warnings calling us to be watchful. Scripture says that before the end there will be a falling away first (cf. 2 Thess. 2:2). It further says: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Tim. 3:1-5)
Shall we fear? No, but Scripture does tell us to turn away from that which is evil and hold fast in faith to Christ Jesus. Christians will want to live each day as though it were their last.
Christians live in the certain hope of everlasting life by reason of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection. As such they await the return of the Lord. As such they will pray for the strength to live as salt on the earth. They will want to glorify their Lord through Christian living. They will want to live in honesty and truth toward all, showing the love of Christ to all in words and actions.
Christians recognize that the world yet stands only because God is gracious and does not desire the death of the sinner, but that the sinner turn away from sin and find his life in Christ.
It is not as important to know WHEN the end will come as to believe that it WILL come. So the child of God prays on the one hand for forgiveness day by day, and on the other hand for a watchful spirit so that when the end does come he may be with the Lord where He is–in heaven before the throne of God’s glory, in peace and joy forever.
After the toil of this life, and all the sorrow and evil, they who have found their life in Christ will know the reality of these words: “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God” (Heb. 4:9).
“He who testifies to these things says, Surely, I am coming quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20f)
–Pastor Daniel Fleischer