As all of you are well aware, world affairs seem to be at a very pivotal point in history. Floods, famine, tsunamis, earthquakes, war, tornadoes, and drought seem to be making the headlines daily. Topping the list of unnerving developments is the political unrest in the Middle East. Turmoil and chaos seem to be becoming the new normal. In the face of all this commotion the question arises, “IS THIS THE SIGNAL THAT JESUS IS COMING BACK SOON?”
It seems that every time a major world event takes place people pose the question, “Is the rapture about to happen?” Dogmatic, unsympathetic, religious extremists jump on their bandwagon every time something cataclysmic happens, shouting “judgment” to the world. Their lack of compassion in times of trouble strikes fear in the hearts and minds of those who are eye-witnesses to unimaginable harm and devastation and it leaves them perplexed as to what their current conditions mean in light of Bible prophecy.
Because of questions that have come to me concerning end time events, I thought it beneficial to give my opinion on a larger scale through our online blog. Although an expert of Bible prophecy I am not, I do hope that my words can bring comfort to you and help settle your mind at ease, “….. comfort one another with these words.” – I Thessalonians 4:18.
All of you who are born again believers – in a relationship with Jesus Christ – have, at least to a small degree, heard stories of what will happen in the “last days” of this world. If any of you are like me, those stories have evoked fear in your heart at one point or another. I can remember as a child being terrified that the “rapture” was fixing to happen and I would not make it. It scared me so badly that I would get up in the middle of the night just to make sure my parents were still here and that I had not been left behind. Then came the gloom and doom of false prophets who tried to convince the world that Jesus would be coming back in the year 1988. Anyone else remember the book, 88 Reasons Why The Rapture Will Be in 1988? I can remember that, even though I knew “no man knows the hour”, that whole fiasco struck terror in my heart. There have been many other times over the years when my peace was robbed by fear as news of world events prompted God’s people to go into “assumption mode”, telling everyone the end was here. Now that I am older and more mature in the Lord, it saddens me – even angers me – when I hear the same ole messages coming forth every time a new world event takes place. I see the confusion and the anxiety such messages bring and it grieves my spirit. That is why I have chosen to write this blog. It is an effort to bring God’s peace to unsettled and fearful hearts and to bring enlightenment to those who are clueless as to what all the hoopla is about.
Now, obviously I am not saying that we should not prepare the world for Jesus’ return, but I do think we must be very careful about preaching prophecy in the middle of calamity unless we know beyond a shadow of a doubt God has instructed us to do so. Many ministers (and lay people) have done just that for many years and the result has been that people have lost confidence in the message and have begun believing the end time stories are not even true. There is danger in prematurely suggesting the end. It is my opinion that we quit looking at every major catastrophe as a possible sign of Jesus’ return and instead focus on helping those who are affected by such things. Compassion and aide is what is needed in the midst of disaster – not judgmental words of condemnation and fear.
So then, is it wrong to be watchful of world events in a spiritual sense, looking for signs of His return? Absolutely not! But, as we watch we must always keep in mind that, “of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” – Matthew 13:32. Although the Bible gives us clues as to the “season”, no where does it tell us explicitly when His return will be. What it does tell us is to be watchful and ready to go without notice, “….the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.” – I Peter 4:7. We are to be sober-minded, diligently propelling the Good News of Jesus Christ, preparing the world through salvation for His return, but we do not need to be overly speculative about when that day will be. We just need to live ready.
God has laid out for us what the end will be. We already have all the details we need, “Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.” – Amos 3:7. There is no reason for us to fear or to wonder what will become of us who belong to God. The secrets and mysteries of the end times have been revealed. All we must do is live our lives ready – ready to meet Him at any moment – knowing He will spare us from the horrific judgment that is to come, “For God did not appoint us to wrath.” – I Thessalonians 5:9
For those of you curious about the timeline of the End Time Events, I will give you a quick overview, but again, I commend you to be hopeful in spirit, eagerly awaiting His return, gospelizing the World so they too can escape judgment and enter into God’s rest.
First will be the rapture of the church (I Cor 15:51-52, Mark 13:32-37, I Thessalonians 4:17-18, 5:9), next will come the Great Tribulation (read the book of Daniel and the book of the Revelation), then will come the second coming of Jesus to the earth (Zechariah 14:5, Matthew 24:27, 30, Revelation 1:7, 19:11-14, 20:1-6) at which time happens the Battle of Armageddon. After the Battle of Armageddon, Jesus sets up His millennial reign on earth while Satan is bound for a thousand years. After the millennium, Satan is released for a brief time only to then be cast into the Lake of Fire for all eternity. This is when the wicked stand before the Great White Throne Judgment to receive their sentence of eternal torment.
Friends, I want to encourage you today that if you are in a love relationship with Jesus Christ there is no need to fear when you see world events escalating toward “the end”. None of us know the day or the hour. People have been living in expectation of the end since Jesus ascended to Heaven. Instead of worrying about when the end will be, we need to live ready for when it does happen. It may not be in our lifetime, but it may be. We just do not know. Do not allow fear to overtake you. Just live ready. Live in submission to the Lord Jesus Christ, do His will, evangelize your world, and be ready. Live a life of compassion, helping those who are devastated by tragedies. Offer them hope – not judgment. Tell them of the goodness of a God who longs to save them from all the bad that is to come. Live ready. Live ready. Live ready.