Thoughts on the End Times

This entry is part 127 of 332 in the series Inquiring Minds

What do you think about end times, the signs that are happening all around us?

The Bible talks about the end times in Matthew 24-25, the Old Testament prophets, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and Revelation. These are not the only places but they discuss the end times heavily.

Take, for example, the beginning of Matthew 24. Jesus introduces several things that will happen in the end times like wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6), but the end is not yet. Then he mentions more signs like nation rising against nation, famines and earthquakes and says these are only the beginning of birth pangs (Matthew 24:7-8).

Jesus continues with persecution and hatred for the saints, a great falling away, false prophets, and lawlessness (Matthew 24:9-13). The most interesting statement comes next when he declares that this gospel must be preached to the ends of the earth, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14).

Some people state that until the gospel reaches the ends of the earth, the end cannot come. But Jesus does not make this a stipulation that must happen before the end comes. He is stating the fact. The gospel will be preached at the ends of the earth. After that happens at some point, the end will come.

I had a minor argument with one of my theology professors in Bible College. Having learned Greek, when he presented this as a stipulation for the end to happen and told the class this is why we must witness and send missionaries anywhere, I addressed it after class.

The word for the whole world is the word in Greek for the whole “known” world. This doesn’t mean that we have to go to places we didn’t even know people would be. Paul himself may have reached Europe in Spain with the gospel before he died. That’s one apostle out of many.

The fact that he made it to Rome and most likely presented the gospel to the reigning Caesar means that he accomplished this at least once in his time. For the gospel to reach the Emperor, it reached Rome as far as history is concerned.

My point is that Jesus gives these descriptions of the end times. This isn’t everything that is going to happen but it is much of it. Jesus mentions these things because he is trying to teach the disciples to observe the times and seasons so that they know when he will return.

Since no one knows the time or day that the Lord will return, we must be aware of the times and seasons so that we are ready for his return. But readiness for the end times and return of Christ must be the standing order in our lives. Like five out of the ten virgins in one of Jesus’ parables, we must be at a constant state of readiness for his return (Matthew 25:1-13).

In my case personally, I believe in a pre-millennial, pre-tribulation rapture of the church. Christ will come in the clouds and believers will be “caught up” with Christ in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). The church and the Holy Spirit that dwells in us, the Restrainer (2 Thessalonians 2:7), will leave so that the Antichrist can rise to power for seven years.

Christ will return after the seven years and reign on the earth for 1000 years, the millennial reign of Christ. He will physically be on earth as king and enforce his rule of righteousness and peace. After his reign, people will rebel once again and be judged at the Great White Throne judgment.

These are some of the events that the Bible has mentioned so we know it will happen. Will it happen in this order? The order, I cannot tell you for sure. Scholars have been studying these things for millennia and will continue to study them until these things happen. We may or may not be right about every view we have.

While we can’t be sure of the timing of these events, when they will begin and in the order they will happen we can be sure of our eternal destiny in heaven with Jesus. This is one of the core principles.

We know that there are signs to the seasons that show us what the end times will be like. The coronavirus that is happening right now is a sign of these end times. Look around and see that governments are seizing power, economies are in an uproar, people are turning to religions of all kinds but also seeking to have a world peace with others. These are all the set up to the rule of the Antichrist and the one world order.

In the end times, governments will take advantage of the fear of the people. We’re certainly seeing that in our day right now. But it will be much worse so that people will not even question political power moves and religious coagulation. This is why the virus is only a sign. Things will get much worse. Once governments and leaders seize power, they rarely give it back to the people.

We know that we are living in the last days. Peter declares this when he quotes from Joel 2:28 in the beginning of his sermon (Acts 2:17-21). But the end times will cap the last days off. It’s like a boiling pot that begins with cool water and warms up until it is boiling over. That is the time that we live in today.

My biggest caution for you is that you don’t get caught up in all of the talk of the end times and the apocalypse and eschatology. We can become so distracted by these discussions that are in many ways hypothetical that we do not carry out the mission Jesus gave us (Matthew 28:19-20). Seek to do what Jesus commanded and the rest will fall into place. We serve him until he calls us home.

Principles about the End Times

  • We may know the sequence of events but not the times they will take place.
  • We must be prepared for the Lord’s return because it can happen at any time.
  • We can be sure of our eternal destiny in heaven with Christ.
  • We must not get caught up in end times debates were distracted by them. We must fulfill the mission Christ gave us.
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