1. God is in control.
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All of God’s master plan for salvation is moving toward these singular events: the return of Christ as the fulfillment and satisfaction of prophesy, the ingathering of God’s elect, the supplanting of evil and the evil one, and the eternal establishment of his kingdom. Just as God has been and is in control of times past and times present, the future End Times will be no different. Like every other biblical event through the ages (from Creation to the Flood to Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection), “the day of the Lord” will be just as sovereignly and precisely orchestrated and executed by God.
2. It will happen.
Many believers have grown weary of waiting and watching for the end to come, even wondering if it really is going to happen. It is.
Just as the first prophets foretold Jesus’ first appearance, there remain prophesies regarding Jesus’ Second Coming that still await fulfillment and satisfaction. Seventeen Old Testament books mention it, as do 23 out of the 27 New Testament books. Scholars have identified 1,845 references to this one event. If the first-appearance prophesies proved true, so too will the second-appearance prophesies.
If the prophecies are hard to hold onto, grasp this: “I am coming soon!” Jesus said four times in the Book of Revelation (16:15; 22:7, 12, 20). Could it not be any more clear or more sure? Jesus—who is Truth and cannot lie—assures us with his own words of his return. It will come to pass, and it will be fascination to behold as we spy him visibly coming through the heavens, and “every eye will see” it in real time (Matthew 24:30, Revelation 1:7).
While Jesus assures us that he will return, he cannot divulge exactly when. “Soon,” was his cryptic hint. Whether it will occur in our lifetime or the next is unknown, and not for us to know. The eschatological timeframe cannot be rushed, and for good reason. Jesus’s tarrying is meant to give the maximum number of souls time “to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). In this sense, Jesus’ delay is good news!
However, not knowing the deadline can be unsettling, yet it is this very unknowing that forces us to trust God and his timing, and to “walk by faith” as we claim the promise of Jesus’ return (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Yet, Jesus did give us a few broad hints (“signs,” he called them) about certain events that will suggest his return is nearing (Matthew 24-25; Mark 13, and Luke 21:5-38). They include:
- The appearance of false “messiahs” who will deceive many
- Wars and rumors of wars, with nations and kingdoms revolting against each other
- Famines and earthquakes
- The appearance of false prophets
- Religious apostasy
- Intense hatred of believers
- Betrayals, persecutions, torturings, and executions of believers
- Increased hatred and rebellion within families
- Increased social decay and debauchery
- Peoples’ love will “grow cold”
- The “abomination of desolation” will set himself up in the rebuilt temple and demand to be worshipped
- Military invasion of Israel, causing great distress in that land and the massacre of its people
Yet, even when these things occur (and some of them are even now), Jesus gives this disclaimer: “Such things must happen, but the end is still to come…These are the beginning of birth pains” (Mark 13:7b, 8b, emphasis added).
In the meantime, we persevere, pray, and remain vigilant.
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