The Drudge Report’s top headline in red reads: “Major Tsunami Damage Japan; 8.9 Mag Quake.” There is a picture in the top left corner of the tsunami’s waters flowing through Japan. The sub-headline read, “5th Largest Quake Recorded Since 1900…” “Fires, landslides…” “Cars, ships, buildings swept away…” “4 million without electricity in Tokyo…” “Nuclear plants shut down…” “LATEST IN SWARM…” “33FT WAVE…” “US widens warning to most of Pacific..”
And then of course there is civil war and unrest breaking out in the Middle East, and Wisconsin for that matter.
What does this all mean? Is this the end times we are living in? Is Jesus’ return imminent? I’m not sure if our Lord’s return is imminent, but it is definitely getting closer with each passing day.
The disciples asked Jesus similar questions:
“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’ And Jesus answered and said to them: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.’” (Matthew 24:3-14)
So once the gospel is preached to all in the world the Rapture will happen? That is the erroneous teaching of some. For those of us from the Pre-Tribulation school of eschatology, the Rapture could happen at any time and the signs have never been clearer than now.
There is great unrest and threat surrounding Israel today; before long most if not all Arab nations around and near Israel will be governed by Sharia law. Radical Islam, that is true fundamental Islam, has revealed its true identity not only in the Middle East and throughout Europe, but also here in the United States. We clearly hear and watch 24/7 on cable news reports of wars and rumors of wars. We see nation rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. Now this alone does not mean Jesus is returning soon; since mankind began we have had wars and so we will until the Prince of Peace returns.
With war comes desolation, poverty, homelessness, and famine. I’ve seen it with my own eyes in Bosnia and Kosovo; we’ve witnessed its devastation in the Sudan.
And now these terrible earthquakes in Haiti, Australia and Japan. There is always such pestilence, that is disease, that follows such devastating earthquakes.
And yet that alone does not signify the end.
Hatred towards Christians grows greater every day; one day true Christian persecution will come to America and most churches and its inhabitants will topple like dominoes for they cannot even stand up to the fear of ridicule or the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State. How will they be able to bear up to persecution such as our Chinese, Iraqi, and Egyptian brothers and sisters in Christ are facing now, if they can’t even stand up against Barry Lynn much less the threat of incarceration and death?
But be there no doubt that it will come to America; it will come to the world. And much confusion of who is or is not the good guy will only grow. Just back in August Glenn Beck was being hailed by many church leaders as a great leader of a Christian revival and a return of America to its greatness and now with his latest book he has revealed himself as the true pagan he is. (See Brannon Howse’s excellent review of Beck’s book)
What do we do, right now, where we are, with all that is going on? We do what we’ve been studying these past few weeks by going through the Sermon on the Mount. We live the Christian life the way Jesus commanded us. If we are persecuted, we consider it a blessing. If we are hated by our enemies, we pray for and love them. If we are insulted we turn the other cheek. We take the plank out of our eyes so we can better see and minister to a brother or sister who may have a speck in his or her eye. We do not worry about tomorrow. We seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness and allow God to take care of the rest.
That’s a pretty big list; where on it can you fit in tripping on the times?
For me, and I don’t know about you, but just trying to be the salt and light Jesus has commanded me to be is a full time job in and of itself, much less trying to predict what the world events mean. This does not mean I should ignore it; quite the contrary. I need to understand and have wisdom in what is happening and help others to understand, but primarily I should be about ministering to others and spreading the gospel as far and as wide as the Lord will use me. Now is the time for us to spread the glorious truth of the Lord Jesus Christ:
“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to gain, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
How are you going to spend your time during these times in which we live? Are you closely watching your portfolio? I know I do so too much. Are you buying precious metals for the coming collapse of the dollar? No one can say with any certainty what their value will be if and when the world economy collapses. Are you stocking up food for when the food shortages and riots comes to America? I too am stocking up food as a precaution, but do I really know how much is enough; what will sustain me? Of course I don’t.
What I do know is that if Jesus should tarry and I should die before He does return, I will have to give an account of my time and how much I shared the blessed hope we have in Him. I will have to do so should He return before I die.
Beloved, no matter the signs of the times, we should be like young Jesus when his parents found Him in the temple having frantically looked for Him:
“So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, ‘Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.’ And He said to them, ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’ But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.” (Luke 2:48-50)
The Boy Jesus was busy learning about the things of His Heavenly Father. Oh would that we His children have a hunger to be involved in the things of God!
I do not want to discount the importance of Biblical prophecy and eschatology; the third verse of the Book of Revelation says “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.”
It would do well for the American church to read about the Laodicean church in Revelation 3 because we are it.
But there are some questions we can ask ourselves when it comes to the times in which we live. Does it bring an urgency in my life to witness about Jesus to all I am given opportunity? Do I hunger more for of God’s Word to understand through a Biblical lens the things I see around me? Does all the chaos give me a greater desire to be in fellowship with a local body of believers? Does what I see around me make me understand that I am an orphan in this world and when I stray from Jesus and His church I become more separated from reality?
And most importantly, does the signs of the times make me realize that I need a Savior? Jesus died knowing I’d need a Savior. Is He yours? Have you come to a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ? Maybe you have but have not followed Him in believer’s baptism and/or not found a local church to which to worship and join.
All these things, particularly in the light of the signs of the times, are required of us by Jesus. It’s all there, yes, right there in your Bible. How about you dust off yours and begin reading the Gospel of John and learn the truth about the family of God instead of the nonsense Glenn Beck and other false teachers tell you?
Won’t you come to Christ today? I’ll be praying that you do. I’ll also be praying that all of you have a blessed weekend and please remember to go to church on Sunday.
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Copyright © 2011 David Jeffers