The End of Time

Floods, fires, viral pandemics, earthquakes  … shake us up, don’t they? Some are pointing to these things as evidence that the Second Coming must be near at hand. Conspiracy theorists, especially among some Christian groups, insist that a godless one-world government and the Anti-christ of the Apocalypse are waiting to step onto the world’s stage.  Somehow vaccines, 5G cell service, and Bill Gates, join Dr. Fauci in a strange concoction of fantastic ideas about a great conspiracy emerging. The closure of churches and restrictions placed on individuals must be, these people insist, the prelude to an organized attempt to silence Christians in America.  Could we please just STOP with the speculative, often silly, theories?  

We are more easily duped because so few of us trust our news sources, our government, or any institutions these days. “Fake news” is a phrase that has entered our lexicon for good reason. Our media has become so politicized and polar that we all know that much of what we hear is heavily biased or just out-right propaganda. In that environment, the most outlandish and baseless ‘facts’ find ways to take root in the minds of many.

Christian, we must be wise, which is not to be confused with ‘smart.’ We must anchor our minds in the eternal Truth and develop our thoughts with careful, prayerful reflection that is guided by the discernment that the Holy Spirit promises to give to us.  It is possible to be fervent in faith without losing our minds in the process

The world is a rapidly changing place. From where I stand, I see growing hostility toward God and His Word.  Large numbers of people have decided that they have no need of God, Jesus, or personal Deity. They have declared themselves, de facto, their own god (small g intended); throwing off moral restraint, worshipping at the altar of self-fulfillment and technology. 

So, does this indicate that we are now in the “End Times”?  Many will not like my conclusion. The answer?  Yes and no.  

When Christ ascended to heaven, He promised His return. The Church era is the ‘final chapter’ for this world. So, in one sense the end times started 2000 years ago.
We know from the Scripture that we are to expect the imminent return of the Lord so yes, that too, indicates that we are in the end times. 
And, more personally, we are mortal, our lifetime here finite, a sobering thought about our own pending appointment with God.  Jesus could return today, Glorious Day! But, the ‘day and the hour’ are not known to us, which makes Christians who engage in date-setting for ‘the End’ dangerously wrong-headed.

Instead of letting ourselves get worked up in fear, wrapped up in conspiracy theories, and duped by those who want to sell us an over-priced book, we need to take the word of Jesus to heart.  Luke recounts a parable He told about a nobleman traveling to a far country who entrusted his wealth to three of his managers. His parting words were – ‘Operate with this until I return.’ (Luke 19:13, The Message) They were to expect him to return while working to produce a return on his investment.  Jesus expects this of us. We are not to sit around wringing our hands with worry or waiting from a rescue from the sky. We have much Kingdom work to do, even as we hope for the coming of our Lord.

All the while, we have the promises of our Lord Jesus Christ who reminds us that a world in turmoil is reason to remember that time is finite and God will bring about His plan. “And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” (Luke 21:25-28, NLT)

When we start to think that life will go on forever, the truth smacks us in the face and we realize, anew, that we are mortal. When we grow arrogant, the fires, floods, earthquakes, wars, and pandemics remind us that we are not as much in control as we might wish to think we are.  

He is God, I am not.  My times are in His hands.  
Is your life held in His love, secured by His salvation? The declaration of judgment for all is not a terror to me. It gives me even more reason to serve Him, not from fear, but because I know my efforts for His Kingdom will be vindicated in that Day. Perhaps all the current shaking and rattling in the world will settle and a decade from now, peace and prosperity will have found us again. Or it may be that God is writing the epilogue of human history, soon to be published. That is not for us to say.

I leave Jesus’ words as the words from the Word. Own the promise, by faith, even if understanding is incomplete. In the promise there is peace. “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” (Revelation 22:17, NIV) “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.” (Revelation 22:12-14, NIV)  

________

Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending

Lo He comes with clouds descending
Once for favored sinners slain
Thousand thousand saints attending
Swell the triumph of His train

Alleluia alleluia alleluia
God appears on earth to reign
Every eye shall now behold Him
Robed in glorious majesty

Those who set at naught and sold Him
Pierced and nailed Him to the tree
Deeply wailing
Deeply wailing
Deeply wailing
Shall their true Messiah see

Those dear tokens of His passion
Still His dazzling body bears
Cause of endless exultation
To His ransomed worshippers
With what rapture
With what rapture
With what rapture
Gaze we on those glorious scars

Yea Amen let all adore Thee
High on Thine eternal throne
Savior take the power and glory
Claim the kingdom for Thine own
Come Lord Jesus
Come Lord Jesus
Come Lord Jesus
Everlasting God come down

Charles Wesley
Public Domain

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