When Will The End Come
[Jesus said] “He who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations,and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:13–14
For many of us, history seems to be endless cycles of prosperity and famine, peace and war. Our history courses in college bored us to death with facts, dates and obscure biographies of people we’d never heard of and never planned to mention again. The events of today blend in with the past,and though news anchors try to make every day sound unique, The news quickly fades in our memories. But Jesus announced that a day will come when history as we know it will come to an abrupt conclusion. On that particular day everything will change. That’s the promise; that’s the threat.
Some believers become preoccupied with figuring out every detail of the “end times”, The Scriptures give us just enough of a glimpse into the future to tantalize us, but not enough to provide complete answers. Even Jesus said He didn’t know the time the end would occur (see Matthew 24:36)!
If we can’t know the details for sure, what difference does His predictions make? It should cause us to live each moment of every day with the certainty that what we do today matters. Our choices, attitudes,and relationships shape today, but they also determine the eternal destinies of the people around us. We may not have the details on the end of the world, but we have the truth about the One who has paid the price to forgive sins and give eternal life. If Jesus returns tomorrow, we’re ready, and if He delays, we have the opportunity to take more people with us.
“Go, send, or disobey.”
Most of us live as though we’re going to live forever. We make great plans for the future. We wage war against aging for we are so enchanted by this world that we want to enjoy it forever. Even the church operates as though life will continue as usual and we will continue to gather each Sunday and sing songs and hear sermons and fellowship with each other with little thought given to the coming of the Lord. Oh we read the scriptures about the end of the world. Sometimes we may have a few conversations about it and then go back to our normal routines. One day all our routines will be interrupted by the return of Christ. We quote John 14 at funeral services of loved ones and certainly we value those comforting words, but somehow we miss what Jesus was saying when He said, “I go to prepare a place for you and if I go I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am there you may also be.”
As He ascended back to heaven after the resurrection, the disciples were told that “this same Jesus that has been taken up into heaven will return.” Paul gives us a detailed message about the return of Christ:
“Now we do not want you to be uninformed, believers, about those who are asleep [in death], so that you will not grieve [for them] as the others do who have no hope [beyond this present life]. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again [as in fact He did], even so God [in this same way—by raising them from the dead] will bring with Him those [believers] who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For we say this to you by the Lord’s [own] word, that we who are still alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will in no way precede [into His presence] those [believers] who have fallen asleep [in death]. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel and with the [blast of the] trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain [on the earth] will simultaneously be caught up (raptured) together with them [the resurrected ones] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord! Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words [concerning our reunion with believers who have died].”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Jesus in the final words of Revelation says this:
“Behold, I (Jesus) am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to each one according to the merit of his deeds (earthly works, faithfulness). I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End [the Eternal One].”
Revelation 22:12-13 –
There are three possible responses to the message of Christ’s return. We can choose to read it and continue to live as though it is some far distant happening that probably won’t happen in our lifetime. We can choose to try to determine when exactly Christ is returning and try to figure out who the Antichrist is and how tribulation is going to unfold. In other words we can get so busy figuring out when Jesus is returning that we forget to live for Him or carry out the mission of proclaiming the gospel. The third choice is to live each day with the expectation of His return. We do that by keeping ourselves ready and by feeling the urgency to obey the Great Commission. That’s literally what the angel said to those believers gathered on the Mount of Ascension. The angel said:
While they were looking intently into the sky as He was going, two men in white clothing suddenly stood beside them, who said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This [same] Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will return in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” Then the disciples returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet (Olive Grove), which is near Jerusalem, [only] a Sabbath day’s journey (less than one mile) away. All these with one mind and one purpose were continually devoting themselves to prayer, [waiting together] along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place, and suddenly a sound came from heaven like a rushing violent wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. There appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were being distributed [among them], and they rested on each one of them [as each person received the Holy Spirit]. And they were all filled [that is, diffused throughout their being] with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues (different languages), as the Spirit was giving them the ability to speak out [clearly and appropriately]. Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout and God-fearing men from every nation under heaven. They were completely astonished, saying, “Look! Are not all of these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears in our own language or native dialect? Cretans and Arabs—we all hear them speaking in our [native] tongues about the mighty works of God!”
Our world is filled with only two kinds of people. I know somebody is going to say that’s an incorrect statement for there are multitudes diverse peoples, cultures, races and the like. But I tell you as a preacher that in every people, tribe, tongue, or race there are those who have either been born again by receiving Christ as their Savior or they are dead in their sins and trespasses against God doomed for eternity in the torment of hell. We who are Christians dare not forget that there are only two destinies- heaven with Christ or hell with the devil. If we truly believe the words of Jesus we must accept the truth that only through Him is there hope for a blessed eternity. We must move away from the false theology that good people, kind people and so forth qualify for heaven or that somehow God is going to set aside the sacrifice of His Son and accept some other religion as sufficient to be with Him in heaven. We the people of God have been commissioned by Christ Himself for this great task of proclaiming the gospel to every creature every where. I leave us with His words:
Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority (all power of absolute rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.”
This good news of the kingdom [the gospel] will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end [of the age] will come.
Dr. John Thompson