“But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.”
– Mark 13:7-8 (NKJV)
One aspect of Christian television that I’ve found interesting (to say the least) is the number of people who attempt to accurately predict the end times, even to the day. I read recently that someone is predicting that May 21 of this year will be the day the world we know it ends (which is an amendment of their earlier prediction of a date in 1994). I’ve found these types of predictions to be odd for someone who claims to adhere to the Word of God, since Jesus Himself stated in Mark 13:32, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” I would ask someone how they would reconcile Jesus’ statement here with their own predictions that point to a certain date. What is this based on?
I will say though that I can’t remember a time when the daily news seemed so troubling. The conflicts and uprising in Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria are difficult to get a handle on. Recent earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand have left a trail of sorrow and unimaginable loss. Many Americans kept a watchful eye on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill last year (which now in light of recent events looks like a blip on the radar) and are now worrying about the effects of radiation from the disaster in Japan. On a much smaller scale, the recession here in the U.S., which many experts believed should have ended by now, still seems to lag on, with many folks struggling to find good jobs or out of work entirely. It’s hard to determine what really is ‘breaking news’ these days with events happening so quickly.
Since becoming a Christian I haven’t spent a great deal of time thinking about prophecy and end times. Reading Revelation actually gets harder each time I read it, not easier. I am wondering now though if we are really entering the latter stages of this world as we know it. I’m sure it’s possible that other generations may have thought this as well – the Civil War here in the U.S. 150 years ago could well have triggered the same kind of thinking, especially being so close to home.
So what are we clinging to and where are we placing our trust? When we look at our day-to-day activity and how we plan what we do, is the basis of our trust really here? “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:17). Through all of the sadness and trouble that seems to surround us these days, we would all do well to take a step back and evaluate what our foundation is. If it is not on the Lord Jesus, we are all in great danger and sadly deceived.
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
– Luke 6:46-49 (ESV)