Are we living in the ‘End Times’?
There has been a lot of talk lately about the state of the world and whether or not Christ’s return is imminent. With the threat of ISIS; the US nuclear agreement with Iran and a ‘cooling’ in relations with Israel; the steady deterioration of the moral fabric of society highlighted by the push for same-sex marriage and the recent revelations concerning Planned Parenthood in the US and the selling of body parts from aborted babies; the speculation surrounding the Jewish calendar in light of the four ‘blood moons’, the last of which takes place later this year; and the unveiling of a statue to Satan in Detroit; etc., has many Christians believing that Christ’s glorious Second Coming is not far away.
Just this week ACL (Australian Christian Lobby) has been promoting the signing of a petition to stop government funding of the ‘Safe Schools’ program which is supposed to be aimed at putting a stop to bullying but which is promoting gender experimentation and sexual diversity as things to be celebrated within the school community. Teachers are being ‘trained’ to give ‘inclusive sexuality’ education to children in the classroom. A website, which children are encouraged to visit, gives information to girls struggling with sexual identity as to how to ‘bind’ their chests to inhibit breast growth – a very harmful and dangerous exercise.
Yes, our world is in a very sad state and appears to be on a downward spiral. Does this indicate Christ’s imminent return? What we need to consider is that this world has always been full of sin and evil. Is it any worse now than it has been in the past?
When we reflect on history we see the rampant idolatry and immorality that occurred in ancient Rome; for years the slave trade flourished as African people were forcibly ‘stolen’ from their homes and shipped around the world as slaves – to be brutally treated and oppressed; then there was the Jewish Holocaust in World War II which saw over 6 million Jews executed. The list is extensive of atrocities and evil committed against mankind and the seemingly unrestricted nature of it. Wherever human beings are sin abounds!
Jesus made it clear to his disciples that ‘no one knows the day or hour when Christ will return’ (Matthew 24:36,42). What Jesus also makes clear in this passage is that as Christians we are to be watchful. False christ’s will lead many astray; there will be wars; there will be natural disasters; Christians will be persecuted; lawlessness will increase and the love of many will grow cold. But, this is just the beginning – the birth pains.
Jesus calls his followers to persevere and endure (Matthew 24:13); to be ready – living as God would have us live in obedience and faith (Matthew 24:45-46); and we are to continue to proclaim the good news of the kingdom through the gospel (Matthew 24:14).
We are closer to Christ’s return than ever before. We are in the ‘last days’ but these days started with Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension. Jesus may return tomorrow, but he may return in 100 years from now. But, be assured of this: He IS coming and His reward is with Him.