Monday, April 18, 2011

The End is Near! Or is It?



by Jennifer AlLee


Do you ever wonder what's going on with the world? There's certainly no lack of devastation, gloom and doom being reported every night on the news. Earthquakes, tsunamis, global warming, threat of nuclear reactor melt-downs, wars, famine, terrorism, Charlie Sheen... disasters abound.

I can almost guarantee that you or someone you know has recently said something like this: "Jesus must be coming soon. How much worse can it get?"

It seems like a sensible question, but in reality, people have been asking it since the beginning of Christendom. The apostles were sure Jesus was returning soon. Things were so bad for them, they were being killed for their faith. Certainly that meant Jesus was coming for his bride pronto.

But he didn't.

Think back over the decades... earthquakes, wars, and catastrophic events are nothing new. (Charlie Sheen, on the other hand, is a phenomenon of the media saturated age we live in. We all should pray for Charlie.) Also not new are the "profits" who claim to know when Jesus is coming back. Some of these folks are charlatans who pray on people's fears. Some are well-meaning Christians who believe that God has given them insight to the second coming. But whenever I hear someone quoting a date for Christ's return, I always think, "Okay, I know for sure that's NOT when Jesus will come back." Why? Because of this:

But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.


Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.


But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.


(Mark 13:24-33 - NKJV)

No one knows the day and hour. Not the angels. Not even Jesus. Only the Father. (I don't pretend to understand how one person of our triune God can be the only one to know something. I just believe what it says.)

That's not to say there's anything wrong with studying Bible prophecy, end-times, the Book of Revelation, and so forth. In fact, I'm fairly certain we're going to see a slew of end-time books coming out in the next few years. The Left Behind series is already being repackaged and marketed through a new campaign. Fiction and non-fiction books on this topic will abound.

So, when is Jesus coming? I have no clue. What I do know is that he wants us to be ready, but not fearful.
It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
(Mark 13:34-37 - NKJV)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
(2 Timothy 1:7 - NKJV)
The next time the news gets to be too much, turn off the TV, throw away the newspaper, and say a prayer. A prayer of thanks for God's goodness, and a prayer of mercy, grace, and peace for those who still haven't surrendered to him. Then live your life with power, with love, and with a sound mind.

What about you? How do you handle the dismal news that bombards us on a daily basis?




JENNIFER ALLEE believes the most important thing a woman can do is find her identity in God – a theme that carries throughout her novels. A professional writer for over twenty years, she's done extensive freelance work for Concordia Publishing House, including skits, Bible activity pages, and over 100 contributions to their popular My Devotions series. Her first novel, The Love of His Brother, was released by Five Star Publishers in November 2007. Her latest novel, The Pastor’s Wife, was released by Abingdon Press in February 2010. Her upcoming novel, The Mother Road, will be released by Abingdon Press in April 2012. She's a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Christian Authors Network, and the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.

http://jenniferalleesite.blogspot.com/ - Jennifer's website
http://thepastorswifespeaks.blogspot.com/ - A safe haven for women living on the front lines of ministry.

12 comments:

  1. My name is CJ, and I'm a news addict.

    Funny thing, just before reading your post, Jennifer, I was ready an opinion piece (about Iran's nuclear weapons program) mourning the fact that so many people seem to be in denial about what is happening in the world. And yet, I understand the desire to ignore the news. There isn't much we as individuals can do to change things on a global scale and to focus too much on bad news is not good for the mind.

    A friend told me about going to BK for breakfast a few years back, and there was an older man reading both a Bible and a newspaper. Now that's keeping things in perspective!

    Sometimes I fear for my children. And then I think to those early Christians. They lived in one of the most decadent societies known. And yet, in the end they changed the society instead of the society changing them. I've come to the realization that my job is to prepare my children (and myself!) to think of themselves as "First Century" Christians, like those John was writing to in Revelations. We know Who is in charge and we know Who wins in the end -- we just have to be faithful in the meantime.

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  2. Good morning, Jen. There sure is an over saturation of doom and gloom and the countdown to Dec 21, 2012. I stay totally away from those types of programs, not because I believe what they're saying, but just because I hate the way they promote fear and get people so caught up in the doom and gloom. I've heard of people going on these massive credit spending sprees because after 12/21/12, they don't have to worry about paying the bills. I wonder what their reaction will be when they wake up the next morning? I'm sure a lot of people will be filing for bankruptcy in 2013.

    I don't watch much news, but I read a lot of it. You can be a lot choosier when you read than you can when you're bombarded with news. I also think that the way the news programs play the same thing over and over all day and night is very unhealthy for people who never turn the news off. Yes, I do know people like that. It's very sad.

    I trust the scriptures you've quoted, and I often use them to reassure the people I know and love who get so caught up in all the 'end is near' hype. Great topic, Jen.

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  3. I always think the same as you do, Jen, if someone gives a certain day then that can't be it.

    As someone who grew up hearing Jesus was coming any day and therefore worried if she'd ever have a chance to grow up, fall in love, get married, have kids, I think it's best just to live your life and be in right relationship with God. I tend to think that anyone who thinks they have Revelations and end time theology all figured out is questionable. My feeling is that it is all very symbolic and hard to pin down on purpose.

    How do I deal with the news? I keep living my life day to day the best way I know how to.

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  4. Suzie, I remember s similar thing happening back in the '70s. Some "big name" somebody was so convincing in his conviction that the world was ending, lots of people literally lived like there was no tomorrow. Pretty sure they're still paying off those bills.

    Dina and CJ, you're absolutely right. All we can do is live each day to God's glory, and let him take care of the details. I'm just glad HE'S in charge :+}

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  5. Jen--

    Nice post. One radio commentator has predicted a date in May. I wrote the date down in my calendar, not because I believe it, but I want to remember to listen to the radio the day after to see how he explains the fact that he's still here!

    Still,I'm looking forward to the Lord's return for his bride--it's gonna make the upcoming nuptials between Will and Kate look like nothing!

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  6. I once heard a minister say something to the effect of, "These might or might be THE last of the last days, THE last generation before Christ's return, but whether it is or isn't, it's your last generation, so make the most of it.

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  7. Thanks for the post, Jen. I'm like you and Dina: if someone says, "this is the last day of the world!" I think it must absolutely NOT be that day.

    One of my kids gets petrified by the whole 2012 stuff, so I do not tolerate any programs about it. I remember when I was a teenager, there was some fuss over Nostradamus. He predicted an earthquake but it failed to appear that day/year/whenever people thought it would.

    As Niki says, none of us knows when our own last day will be, so I believe we should serve God to the best of our ability in the moments we have. He's a God of grace and mercy, and He'll be with us every step.

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  8. Yeah, I like what Niki said. This is MY last generation, so I need to make the most out of it.

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  9. So there I was reading along and I read this...
    'Also not new are the "profits" who claim to know when Jesus is coming back.'

    Well, right away I picked up that profits should've been spelled as 'prophets', but the last time one of you Inkies did that you had a reason for it. So, I kept reading and looking for the meaning behind profits. But I can't find one. Now I'm not sure if you're teasing me or I'm just not getting it - which is entirely possible since I've always said I have problems reading between the lines. :(

    As for the return of Jesus... JJ is very concerned about the world ending even for a very good reason like the rapture. He's very worried about Japan and the Middle East situation, etc and sometimes has trouble sleeping.

    And I know how he feels. Because as much as I want Christ to return, I like the familiar things. Change throws me off balance. I like being in a rut. You know?

    Excellent post, Jen. Thanks.

    Anita Mae.

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  10. Jen, you are soooo right about when the news of the day gets to be too much, turn off the tv.

    Great post!!! And a very timely reminder of God's Truth.

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  11. Anita Mae, she's making a pun on the fact that a lot of self proclaimed prophets really just want profits.

    I have to admit the scripture about earthquakes and the moon turning to blood and wars and rumors of war, have been going through my mind a lot over the last couple of months. I think it may actually be a good thing for the church. We need to always live in expectation of His return.

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  12. Yes, Lisa got the pun! Next time, I won't be quite so obscure :+}

    When I was in high school, I was scared to death the world was going to end in nuclear war. First, they showed us a movie about it in history class. Then I read "Alas, Babylon." Then I saw a mini-series about it. And then I had nightmares. War Games just about sent me over the edge. That was back in the '80s, and we're still here.

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