This post is about something that has crossed my mind several times this week. But I haven’t posted about it before because I thought it was a subject I really don’t know a lot about, and I didn’t want to give anyone incorrect information on this subject. Then this morning God helped me to realize that my lack of complete knowledge is the point I want to make.
The subject is the end times. When asked what would be the signs of His return and of the end of the age, Jesus told His disciples:
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Matthew 24:6-8.
If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you will have noticed that there are wars and rumors of wars raging everywhere. According to Wikipedia (I know, not the most accurate source of info, but not completely wrong) there are at least 32 countries experiencing some sort of armed conflict or civil war. At the recent news about the Nuclear Summit, I read an estimate that Iran would have nuclear weapons in 3 to 5 years. Some countries already have nuclear weapons. There is the war against terror, the war on drugs, and gang wars in many cities.
In addition, the news has reported many natural disasters. There have been a number of large earthquakes since the first of the year – first in Haiti, then Chile, Mexico, Indonesia, Spain, China, and 2 days ago in Utah. Then there is the volcano in Iceland that is disrupting airline traffic all over Europe.
Around the world people are starving even though in other parts of the world there is an abundance of food. In third world countries, people don’t even have fresh drinking water and some are lucky if the eat once per day. Crops fail and there is famine in many nations.
These are all the things Jesus warned would happen before the end of the age; they are the beginning of birth pains for the birth of the new heaven and new earth written of in Revelation. But are these things really happening more now, or do we just hear about them more because in this technology age news travels much faster and farther than it once did?
Assuming these are signs that the end is near, what should be my response? Should I try to figure out the time and date? Many have done just that. Should I stand on a street corner with a sandwich board warning people of what is to come? Many have done that, too. I am thankful that I am not called to do either of these things and that Jesus told us all what to do.
No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. . . . Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. Matthew 24:36, 42-44.
What I understand from this is that the exact date and hour of Jesus return are not my concern. If even Jesus did not know, then surely it is not necessary for me to know. I am not to worry about such things, but I am to be ready. It could happen today or in 100 years. What is important is that my heart and my soul are ready.