I am sure that one of today’s most talked subjects will be the prediction with certainty that today the rapture will occur, and the end of the world begins. The claim has been made by Harold Camping, founder of Family Radio, a Christian non-profit. For the past week many people have begun talking, debating, and sadly mocking God, Scripture, a rapture and the end times.
Foremost, we have to clarify that any man made claim that Jesus will return and/or the world will end on May 21, 2011 or any other specific date is 100% false. Jesus addresses the end times in Matthew 24, and states very clearly “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” in verse 36. Only God the Father, the Creator of heaven and earth, knows when the world will end.
But with all the talks of a rapture, and apocalypse there is still much confusion by both believers and non-believers of what the end of the world looks like. There is still some mystery surrounding the actual events, and their order leading to the return of Christ, but Jesus did provide us with some clear signs.
- Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” (Matthew 24:4-5)
- “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” (Matthew 24:6-7)
- “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:9-12)
- And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)
- For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now–and never to be equaled again.” (Matthew 24:21)
- For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect–if that were possible. (Matthew 24:24)
- “Immediately after the distress of those days ” ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ (Matthew 24:29)
Based on Scripture we can see some very clear, and distressing news about the events that are to take place prior to the return of Christ. Is any of it starting to sound familiar? And what about the return of Christ, what does look like and what does it mean to us? Jesus explains further in verses 30-31 of Matthew 24, “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” There is also very strong imagery in the book of Revelations about this future event. Here are some things we know with absolute certainty. Jesus will return someday, and the world be destroyed. In addition, the truth for all of humanity is that one day we will die, and for us that day will be the end of the world for each of us.
So in light of that knowledge what should our response be?
For believers in Christ, and those saved by His work on the cross? Our attitude should be like John’s in the book of Revelations verse 20, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” in response to Jesus “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” (Rev. 22:12) We should look forward to a day when Jesus will bring judgement, and will take us into His kingdom to be with God the Father for all eternity. We should be bold, and sharing the Gospel message with the world, and “making the most of every opportunity.”
If you do not know Jesus, and have never accepted His sacrificial work on the cross then you may experience fear, uncertainty or unbelief. For those apart from God, the truth is that you will face judgement, wrath, and eternal separation from God. But the good news is that God made a way for us by sending His Son Jesus to pay the penalty for our sin. To give us by grace forgiveness, righteousness, restore our brokenness, and our broken relationship with God the Father.
Unsure of your eternal future?
Today you can know Jesus, you can begin a relationship with Him. You can receive forgiveness, and peace. Confess your sin to Him, and trust by faith that the work He did on the cross paid the penalty for you sin. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Come to Him, so that you can be ready when He comes for you. We need to ask ourselves daily, “is today the day Jesus returns, and will today be the end for me?” Then we can truly be prepared for what is surely to come.