Holy Moly! I have been watching the news and I was amazed to see how much our world is falling apart! Just yesterday there was a riot downtown on the University of Michigan Campus. Not only that, the past month all of us were glued to our TVs to witness outrageous acts of civil unrest and violence all over the world! There have been natural disasters such as violent and torrential storms, and fires in the U.S.’s Northwest! Oh, don’t miss the fact that the world is facing the threat of wars in every corner of the Earth! Oh, man! What is happening?
Not only that, despite being told that we cannot know when our Lord will return, many are continually giving us precise dates! As I am sure you can surmise, over and over, they have been wrong! And each time they embarrass themselves and more importantly, other Christians!
Back in 2011, one “believer,” Harold Camping, had made several statements as to when the world would end. Obviously, he was wrong. However, some of those who followed his teachings became so convinced that he was right, they sold their homes and spent their savings helping spread the message that judgment was upon us!
My friends, don’t look at all of these things as merely isolated incidents and see no connection. Every day these, often tragic, events are increasing in their frequency and certainly, their intensity! I am not exaggerating. It is almost like the labor pains women experience during childbirth! There is far more here than nature just doing its thing.!
But don’t be surprised. Peter warned us of things like this occurring. He wrote:
Be Ready for the Day of the Lord
This is the second letter I have written to you, dear friends of mine, and in both of them I have tried to stimulate you, as men with minds uncontaminated by error, by simply reminding you of what you really know already. For I want you to remember the words spoken of old by the holy prophets as well as the commands of our Lord and saviour given to you through his messengers.
First of all you must realise that in the last days mockers will undoubtedly come—men whose only guide in life is what they want for themselves — and they will say, “What has happened to his promised coming? Since the first Christians fell asleep, everything remains exactly as it was since the beginning of creation!”
They are deliberately shutting their eyes to a fact that they know very well, that there were, by God’s command, heavens in the old days and an earth formed out of the water and surrounded by water. It was by water that the world of those days was deluged and destroyed, but the present heavens and earth are, also by God’s command, being kept and maintained for the fire of the day of judgment and the destruction of wicked men.
Wow! That is pretty descriptive of what we are seeing, isn’t it?
But you should never lose sight of this fact, dear friends, that time is not the same with the Lord as it is with us — to him, a day may be a thousand years, and a thousand years only a day. It is not that he is dilatory about keeping his own promise as some men seem to think; the fact is that he is very patient towards you. He has no wish that any man should be destroyed. He wishes that all men should come to repent. Yet it remains true that the day of the Lord will come as suddenly and unexpectedly as a thief. In that day the heavens will disappear in a terrific tearing blast, the very elements will disintegrate in heat and the earth and all that is in it will be burnt up to nothing (II Peter 3:1-9)
Good advice! But wait, didn’t Jesus tell us to watch for His coming? Didn’t He give us signs that we were to watch for? Could it be, that all that we say we “believed” is coming true? Whoa! Could it be true? Well, if He did indeed tell us to be watching, shouldn’t we be watching? And if we are watching, shouldn’t we be ready for His arrival? Now, wait a minute. I don’t want anyone to become fanatics. But, if we do see the signs He gave us occurring, then why are we dismissing them as nothing more than mere happenstance?
As Jesus was sitting on the slope of the Mount of Olives his disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will this happen? What will be the signal for your coming and the end of this world?”
“Be careful that no one misleads you,” returned Jesus, “for many men will come in my name saying ‘I am christ’, and they will mislead many. You will hear of wars and rumours of wars — but don’t be alarmed. Such things must indeed happen, but that is not the end. For one nation will rise in arms against another, and one kingdom against another, and there will be famines and earthquakes in different parts of the world. But all that is only the beginning of the birth-pangs. For then comes the time when men will hand you over to persecution, and kill you. And all nations will hate you because you bear my name. Then comes the time when many will lose their faith and will betray and hate each other. Yes, and many false prophets will arise and will mislead many people. Because of the spread of wickedness, the love of most men will grow cold, though the man who holds out to the end will be saved. This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed to men all over the world as a witness to all the nations, and the end will come (Matthew 24:1-14)
I think a key point of that text is where Jesus gave several dire warnings, but then said, “all that is only the beginning of the birth-pangs!” So, we have been supposedly watching and waiting . . . and here they are, but we forget that these are merely the beginning of the turmoil. Just like the birth-pangs mentioned earlier, they are going to become more intense and, most importantly, more frequent!
He also added that the gospel of His kingdom would be preached all over the world! That it would be a witness to all nations. Now, that is interesting. Why didn’t He say to “all people“? I mean, I am always hearing preachers claim that. But it is not what He said! He said, “in all of the world” as a witness to, what is it? All nations! I have heard believers say that we have plenty of time because the gospel has not yet been preached to all people. But how can it if people are continually being born? And if we are to wait until they can understand the gospel then the cycle will never end, unless people stop reproducing.
Then Paul told us what people would be like in the end times.
A warning of what to expect
But you must realise that in the last days the times will be full of danger. Men will become utterly self-centred, greedy for money, full of big words. They will be proud and contemptuous, without any regard for what their parents taught them. They will be utterly lacking in gratitude, purity and normal human affections. They will be men of unscrupulous speech and have no control of themselves. They will be passionate and unprincipled, treacherous, self-willed and conceited, loving all the time what gives them pleasure instead of loving God. They will maintain a facade of “religion”, but their conduct will deny its validity. You must keep clear of people like this.
6-9 From their number come those creatures who worm their way into people’s houses, and find easy prey in silly women with an exaggerated sense of sin and morbid cravings—who are always learning and yet never able to grasp the truth. These men are as much enemies to the truth as Jannes and Jambres were to Moses. Their minds are distorted, and they are traitors to the faith. But in the long run they won’t get far. Their folly will become as obvious to everybody as did that of Moses’ opponents.
Your knowledge of the truth should be your safeguard
But you, Timothy, have known intimately both what I have taught and how I lived. My purpose and my faith are no secrets to you. You saw my endurance and love and patience as I met all those persecutions and difficulties at Antioch, Iconium and Lystra.
And you know how the Lord brought me safely through them all. Persecution is inevitable for those who are determined to live really Christian lives, while wicked and deceitful men will go from bad to worse, deluding others and deluding themselves.
Yet you must go on steadily in all those things that you have learned and which you know are true. Remember from what sort of people your knowledge has come, and how from early childhood your mind has been familiar with the holy scriptures, which can open the mind to the salvation which comes through believing in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the faith and correcting error, for re-setting the direction of a man’s life and training him in good living. The scriptures are the comprehensive equipment of the man of God and fit him fully for all branches of his work (II Timothy 3)
Just to give you a clue, if we are going to “come to the knowledge of the truth,” then we had better get busy studying the Word of God! As Tim just told us, “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the faith and correcting any error; for re-setting the direction of a man’s life and training him in good living!”
Oh, man! If you are truly devoted to Jesus, then by golly, start being devoted to His Words! And, be prepared to observe the events in the world, and discern what they mean!
“When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once that it is going to rain, and so it does. And when you feel the south wind blowing, you say that it is going to be hot, and so it is. You frauds! You know how to interpret the look of the earth and the sky. Why can’t you interpret the meaning of the times in which you live?” (Luke 12:54-56)
Look, everybody is fretting and worrying; wringing the hands and pacing the floor wondering if all of these disasters mean that the Earth is going to end. Why? Certainly, believers shouldn’t be worried about them. Just remember that even after the “Tribulation Period,” the earth will remain for a minimum of a thousand years as Jesus rules. After the thousand years, we will see the New Heaven and New Earth descend. So, there are no worries.
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