Wow, the world right now looks insane! Locusts are taking over in Africa. There’ve been earthquakes in the islands and mainland US. Murder hornets have been found in Washington State. The world is in the midst of a pandemic and two countries are seeing a resurgence of the virus (round 2). Economies are on the brink of collapse. Travel industries are barely operating. There are shortages everywhere. Persecution is rising. Power struggles are emerging. Iran and US tensions are rising exponentially. Accusations between countries are rising. Everyday, the “rules” for the pandemic are changing and no one seems to know what the “right” answer is. And let’s be honest, this is a short list. If you’re keeping up with the news, this meme rings true on so many levels.
Many are looking at these events and saying that we are in the End Times. Their rhetoric is sometimes frightening and we wonder if it is true. So let’s look at that today. Many people referencing the End Times are referring to the dialogue between Jesus and his disciples. Jesus had prophesied the destruction of the Temple and the disciples asked him to explain further. Jesus described to them the End Times. The verses people today are referring to are below.
earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.
Luke 21:10-122 NIV
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
Matthew 24:6-8 NIV
Many look at the world and they see all the rhetoric back and forth between nations. It harkens the words in Matthew of rumors of war. With that are earthquakes, locusts plagues that bring famine, and the world is experiencing a pestilence called COVID19. Many of these things are fearful, leaving many to believe we are in the End Times.
But are we in the End Times? There are several ways to look at this. In one aspect, yes, we have been in the end times since Jesus ascended to heaven. At that point, the clock has been ticking for his return. But when we capitalize “End Times” we start referring to something else, and that is the prophesied period that brings about the end of the world and ushers in the new heaven and new earth. Many know that involved in this are the years of tribulation. (Daniel and Revelation speak to the End Times) The birth pains, mentioned in Matthew, are the lead up to the End Times.
As we get closer to the End Time events, the world will experience more and more of these birth pains. Just like a woman has contractions that get closer and closer together, with more and more intensity, the earth’s birth pains will be the same. As we get closer, the intensity and the voracity of these events will increase. Many who look at today’s events and circumstances are experiencing this increase.
So are we close to the birth of the End Times? In short, no one knows.
But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Mark 13:32 NIV
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
2 Peter 3:10 ESV
Only God the Father knows when the actual date is. Just like giving birth. No one can predict the exact time the baby will emerge from the mother. Some mothers labor days and others minutes. The ushering in of the End Time events will be the same. No one will know. But just like we can tell the baby is coming, we can tell when the End Times are coming. Jesus gave us those signs.
So how do we respond? If the birth pains are increasing, should we be afraid? No. When a mother is getting close to labor, she starts preparing. She gets her things ready so that when the time comes, she can just grab her bag and get to the hospital. She might have some fear of the pain, but knows the result is worth it. She looks forward to her baby coming, despite the fear of the pain she will experience.
We, as Christians, should be the same. We don’t know when the End Times will happen, but we know that birth pains are coming. Have they started now? Maybe. But either way, they’re coming. So we need to prepare ourselves. We need to be right with God at all times. We need to be proclaiming Jesus’ love to others. We need to be about God’s business all the time. We don’t need to be spending our time worrying about the events to come. We have been saved from eternal hell. We need to be focused on the promise that comes when our time on earth has ended.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Revelation 21:1-4 ESV
Are you afraid? Spend some time in prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to you to root of your fears.
Take some time to write down the promises Jesus has given us.
Pray over your list and thank Jesus for these promises. Ask him to take away your fear and help you focus on what is ahead.
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Meme pictures derived from social media and shared under Fair Use Copyright Law