by Ted Kyle
"And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows" (Matt. 24:3-8).
So: are we seeing this time of sorrows all about us? Of course we are! Consider: Have men put themselves forward as being the Christ—or better than Christ? Have we heard of wars and rumors of wars? Has nation risen against nation? And what about famines, epidemics, and earthquakes?
I believe the real question much on the minds of believing Christians these post-tsunami days is where we are within this time frame which Jesus prophesied. Near the beginning? Close to the end? Somewhere in between? Is God ready to turn the final page? There is only one sure way to find out, and that is to WAIT.
Our Lord's great foretelling of the end-time events didn't end with the text quoted above. It continued: "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (vv. 9-14).
Every item on this list is currently being fulfilled in our world—maybe not here yet, but somewhere. People are being hated and persecuted and killed for professing and proclaiming Jesus Christ as the only Savior. Certainly iniquity abounds, and the love of many has waxed cold indeed. There have also been false prophets—think of Buddha, Confucius, and Mohammed, and their latter-day proclaimers, together with the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, the New-Agers, the pluralists, etc. And the gospel is being preached in nearly every nation.
However, had we lived in any number of earlier centuries, we could have made similar statements about our world. Things are worse now, we feel sure—but perhaps the next generation (or the next or the next) will see the world engulfed in even more violence, more sin, more rebellion against Jehovah, the Creator God, and His Son, Jesus Christ.
If God is ready to open a new chapter, the only preparation we can make is to prepare ourselves—and that means turning utterly to the Lord Jesus and giving Him total obedience. Thus He can turn us into rock-solid mature Christians—the only kind which can influence our world for good.
Meanwhile, the great thing for us to do now is to pitch in with all our might to show Jesus to the world by showing it the sharing, caring, loving, weeping faces of His sheep. And that we are doing! Let us only be sure that we do not grow weary in our well doing. And when God's time is fully come, His Son will return in glory!