The End of Days…..

So I am writing about the end times. These days, it seems that is reserved for religious nutcases, assuming that May 21st is when Jesus comes back, or the rapture will happen, or name your distortion of biblical truth – and then for those who are loving every opportunity to mock said nutcases.

Not that Jesus isn’t coming back mind you – and I have not way of knowing if May 21st is or isn’t thee day.  But he clearly says nobody will know until the Son of Man returns – read Matthew 24:36-44 for starters, to see what Jesus has to say about the end of days:

 “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;  and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.  But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.  So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Why am I bothering to write about this? Am I one of these two camps I write about? Or both? As I ponder why we have such fascination with things such as this, I can think of a few things:

  • We are fascinated easily with the ridiculous:  Vampires, UFOs, Jerry Springer, Donald Trump, on and on.  These claims, along with the mayan claims the world will end in 2012, and so on, fall in line.  I’m not saying this to discount Jesus’ return.  I’ll explain my point in a bit.  Bear with me……
  • We are unsatisfied with our normal lives.  So it’s much more fun to either “believe”, if even just a little, the ridiculous, or to go to great lengths to mock it.  I wonder why we would spend so much time mocking it, if we didn’t at least “wonder” deep down just a little bit if it were true?  When I was a kid, I used to sleep with my blanket over my head, becasue a little part of me was afraid that vampires “might be real”.  When Y2K was the thing, I verbally mocked all those who stored up goods and ammunition, yet I was awake that new year more becasue I wanted to see if anything might happen.  I bet many of you were too, for the same reason, if you’re being honest with yourself…..
  • All this mumbo-jumbo is distracting from some very important truth…..
  • The end times is a biblical truth.  If you don’t believe the Bible is truth, is the word of God – well, we aren’t agreeing on that, and you could probably skip the rest of this post, assuming I’m a religious nut.  But if you claim that Jesus is Lord, if you claim that he told the truth in saying he’s the Son of God, if you claim that you believe in and follow God – then you can’t NOT believe that all that he says is true.  (I suppose you could – but then who are you putting your faith in?  A liar?)
  • None of what I’m saying is to promote fear in anyone’s heart, in hopes they “convert”.  Whether or not you believe in God, that’s up to you.  I can’t change your mind.  But if you don’t believe, what do you have to be afraid of?  It’s all bunk right?  If however you do believe the Bible to be true, and you follow Jesus, and truly know him as your Lord ans Savior, what do you have to be afraid of?  We are assured eternal life with the Father – and oh, by the way that’s not a future thing.  That’s now, praise the Lord!
  • Jesus talks a lot about the end times.  He also warns us to NOT get caught up in fear over it, or waste our lives, and potentially others, worrying about it.  Worrying will not add one hour to your life – whether or not you see the end of days….
  • Jesus also tells us that we won’t know until it happens.  He wants us to be ready now.  He wants our hearts now.  All of us.  So I wonder sometimes if getting caught up in this stuff, whether we believe it or not, if we are missing that one important truth.  If we are missing the point – God wants his children to return to him.
  • Even if we don’t see the end times in our lifetime – we’re still going to come before our Creator.  Take that however you will – with joy and excitement, with fear and trepidation, or for some even apathy……  When it’s May 22nd, and nothing happens, it’ll be just one more thing that will dull the senses for so many, including believers, and make us not care if Jesus is coming back…….  This assertion would be true about more of us than are willing to admit…….
  • Part of me – a part that I’m not the most proud of, I must admit – thinks it would be funny if Jesus were to come back on May 20th.  But then I think about everyone who see’s this and other fantastic claims as bunk, and throw the baby out with the bathwater, and what happens to them?  And then I myself get fearful.  When I should be prayerful.  See how powerful these ridiculous things are, when we should be holding fast to HIS truth, not the world’s claims???

I think the bottom line is this – much like a lot of religious ranting, it can be distracting from what matters.  We often put the cart before the horse, so to speak.  Jesus says “Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me”.  GET TO KNOW JESUS.  That’s all.  He’s overcome the world, so why worry about the troubles?  Yes, we will have them, yes we have to deal with them.  Yes, all these things will come to pass, and it’ll be hard and it’ll hurt and and knowing Jesus doesn’t make any of that go away.  John 16:33 lays it out for us:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

I’ll leave you with this.  The end times are something to take joy in, and have hope for.  We’re talking about EVERYTHING being made new, and for good.  All the problems of the world today?  Won’t be here.  All the hatred, judgement, racism, sexism, oppression, pain, war, cancer, death, heartbreak, sex-traffic, greed, lust, sexual sin, divorce, murder, slander, drama, selfishness, hunger?  Won’t be here.  A new heaven and a new earth!  While I must admit I’m still nervous about meeting Jesus face to face (what will I say?  What will I wear???), I can’t help but be thankful that I some day will…..

From Revelation, the last two chapters….

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.  He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”  And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.  It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.  It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.  There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls.  The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long.  He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits thick, by man’s measurement, which the angel was using.  The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.  The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,  the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.  The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.

I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.  The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.  The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.  On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.  The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb  down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.  No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”

“Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.”

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!”

Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near. Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy.”

“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give youthis testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”

   Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

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