Read: Matthew 24
“So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.” (Matthew 24:42-43)
Thirty years ago, singer-songwriter Barry McGuire sang a song called, “Eve of Destruction.” Today, a lot of people think McGuire was dead on—that we are on the eve of destruction! Given conditions around the world, can Planet Earth as we know it continue much longer? Can the human race survive? Are we living in the end times?
Wars, rumors of war, global warming, the real possibility of pandemic, drug-resistant disease, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, the inexorable march toward a one-world government, the increase of evil, the rising tide of Islam, instability and unpredictability in the Middle East, escalating hostility toward Israel, increasing intolerance of Christianity, and the alarming surge of rage and violence that is being directed at believers!
Sounds like a page right out of the Bible, doesn’t it? The fact is, 2,000 years ago Jesus predicted these very things here in Matthew 24 when he said, “So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!” (v. 33)
For very good reason, interest in the end times is at an all-time high! Just look at the unbelievable success of the wildly popular “Left Behind” series—100+ million copies sold. People want to know the future! And that’s not bad since we’re going to spend a long time there!
History is hurtling toward a conclusion—one that God has already ordained and foretold in the Bible. It could be soon—it could be today, or tonight, or this week, or it could be another thousand years from now. But no matter when, as the Bible says, God is not slow in fulfilling his Word—Jesus is coming back!
So what are you to do in response to that? Jesus twice said, “Watch and be ready for my coming.” (Verses 42,44) Jesus didn’t talk about the future just to get a crowd or to fill his disciples’ brains with prophetic minutiae. His purpose wasn’t to get them so hyped and overly focused on the second coming that they dropped everything to wait for his return. It wasn’t to make them so heavenly minded they were no earthly good.
Here’s the deal: Jesus’ prophetic sermon wasn’t meant just to clue us in, but to clean us up! He said these things to provoke us to purity! The Apostle John, who knew a fair amount about the end times—he wrote Revelations after all—spoke of our hope in Christ’s return this way:
“This hope makes us keep ourselves holy, just as Christ is holy.”
(I John 3:3, CEV)
So the question of when and the details of how that so many people are focused on, though interesting, are not nearly important as this one overriding issue: Are you watching, and are you ready?
“It is vain to be always looking toward the future and never acting toward it.” ~John Frederick Boyes
What If God Took Over?
If you knew that Jesus would return exactly at midnight seven days from now, what about your life would change between now and then? What would you stop doing? What would you start doing? Write your thoughts down. Why not use that piece of paper as a to do list, and start now?