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When I was a teenager, a friend, who was a Jehovah’s Witness, told me that in one week the world was coming to an end. I believed her and was terrified. I still remember the relief when that day passed and the world was still here! As Christian adults, we all should be aware what is happening in present times as well as what the Bible says will happen in the end times.
The end times refers to the time after the ascension of Christ to the rapture of Christians. “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17). Following the rapture will be a 7-year tribulation where the anti-Christ will rule, then the 1000 year reign of Christ in what we call the Millennial Kingdom. Following that comes the judgment and the New Heaven and Earth, where all believers will be in the presence of the triune God forever.
Yes, we are living in the end times. However, not a single person knows when Christ will return. Every generation since the time of Christ has believed and hoped that Christ would return in their lifetime.
Jesus says in Matthew 24: 36-42, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.”
What will those times look like?
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people” (2 Timothy 3:1–5). This is clearly a description of today’s culture.
How then should we as Christians respond?
2 Timothy 4: 1-5 “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
Now is the time to pray for those who do not yet know Jesus. Now is the time to go to those people that you have put-off sharing Jesus with in the past. Today is the day to begin to develop a relationship and engage with one another as to who God is and what his plans are for their life. Now is the time to live every day as if Christ were returning today.
I asked a friend of mine who is grounded in her faith and loves well and engages with all whom she meets, “What would you do differently if you knew that Christ would return today? Plain and simple, she answered, “Nothing.”
Mark 12:29-31, “Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”