How many times have we read scripture from John, Ezekiel, Daniel and Christ concerning End Time prophecy and wondered if our interpretation of the prophecy is correct? I am not going to give a prediction concerning when Christ will return. The Bible clearly instructs us in Matthew 24:36 that we would only be guessing, for no man knows the day or the hour. Many have predicted exact dates concerning the latter days, only to find themselves one of many who have been in error. This has allowed the doubters of the world to grow in number, while those who understand what will eventually happen to this world find themselves discredited. Our faith tells us what events take place, but we do not know when. One thing we do know is that this world is growing in lawlessness and wickedness.
I would like us to consider the world events which are taking place. Do we consider those things that we can see and understand concerning the events that are transpiring before us? When we look at the events revealed to us in Matthew 24, do we ever ask ourselves how many individuals are asleep, unaware of the daily fulfillment of End Time prophecy? Anyone following the recent events occurring in Greece should be alarmed. The bank closures and the difficulty in accessing one’s own money have created a crisis of trust between the citizens and the banks. How would you feel if you had $5,000 in the banking system in Greece and you were limited to withdrawing $65.00 per day? You would quickly learn that what you thought was your money, and what you had worked so hard for and saved, was not really yours, and was being stolen from you in broad daylight. There is no financial security any longer for those who live in Greece. What they have on their person is the only security that exists in their current state (Ezek. 7:10-22). Verse 19 says, “They will throw their silver into the streets, and their gold will be like refuse; their silver and their gold will not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord; they will not satisfy their souls, nor fill their stomachs, because it became their stumbling block of iniquity.” Where will man look to find security in this period of time? How will one provide the basic necessities of life? The obvious answer is, “God is the only one who can provide for you and protect you.” The next question is, “Will you still have a relationship with Him at that time?” (Ps. 59:1-5, 8-10, 16-17).
It was much the same in the days leading up to the building of the Ark. Matthew 24:38 tells us that in Noah’s day, they were living their lives as if their world would go on forever. Luke 17:26-30 compares the days of Noah with Christ’s return to this earth. Did the world at that time have any idea of what was in their immediate future? Obviously not. They made no attempt to prepare for, or heed, what Noah was telling them was about to come on the face of the earth. In this present world, how many people will be caught off guard and lulled to sleep? How many of us will be caught sleeping and ill-prepared? Will we recognize the two witnesses in the Book of Revelation? What about the events of the seven trumpets and seven seals? I often ask myself, “Are we watching?” If we are watching, will we be able to recognize the day’s events, and be able to connect those events with what we read in prophecy?
When I was young, my parents used to store wheat in the crawl space under the house, because we were preparing for “if the food supply was shut off, we would have something to eat.” How far away from that concept have we strayed? I bring this up, because I do not believe many of us have done much preparation, for what we have been told is coming. How far removed are we from Matthew 24:8-13, concerning what we will be seeing in the future? Do we take Christ’s warnings seriously? Or do we think it somehow will not happen to us? The word “sorrows” in the Greek means “birth pangs,” the pain in childbirth. Birth pangs speak of frequency and intensity. As a woman gets nearer the birth, the pangs become more frequent and intense. This is also true for the signs of the End Times. These signs began not long after Jesus’ day, and as Jesus said, the end would not yet be, because this was just the beginning of sorrows.
The issue for us today is this, “Do we have our spiritual, financial and physical life in order?” Have we prepared for the events described in Matthew 24? Do you believe these events are going to happen to an unsuspecting world, and have you considered that they may well happen to you? We need to be prepared for hatred and betrayal (Matt. 24:9-10). We need to be well-grounded, to know the difference between the truth and a lie (Matt. 24:11-12). Finally, we need to be able to discern God’s truth from the traditions and teachings of men.
Considering all of the unspeakable atrocities which man has done to one another over the centuries and millennia, what we read in the book of Revelation and in Matthew 24 is not that far-fetched. Even if we are taken to a place of safety, it will be no cakewalk. Matthew 24:21 tells us we will see things that this world has never seen before. “Tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.” That realization should make us want to focus a little harder on pleasing God. When we study our Bible, are we simply reading the words, without understanding the seriousness of what Christ is telling us? If we think that things will start getting better and easier as time goes on, we have not been paying attention.
If we as parents have not done our jobs teaching our children God’s word, if we have not taught them how to respond and handle the moral issues of life, then we have failed to prepare them for the trials of this world and the trials that they will face in the future. For that failure, we will be held accountable. If we have not lived up to the principles we have been taught, heeding God’s commandments, statutes and judgements, how do we instruct a younger generation? How do we not appear as a generation of hypocrites? Surely, there will be a price to pay at some point in time. If we have not been a Godly example to the younger generation, if we don’t have a prayer life, have study time, occasionally participate in a fast of humility, and pay our tithes as we are commanded to, we appear as a “do as I say, not as I do” generation of hypocrites. If we fail to lead, not only by words, but by example, will we then be looking forward to Christ’s second coming?
My point is simple – you and I are not called to fail. You and I are called to lead. Have we taken the necessary steps to prepare ourselves to be called true servants of the Eternal God in heaven? Have we set the example in our own lives for others to emulate? When was the last time you poured out your heart in prayer, really studied your Bible, fasted for spiritual understanding or breakthrough, visited with someone in God’s Church, and prayed for a brother or sister in need? Our lives should serve as an example, to inspire another person to do what is right. There is a time coming, when we will all wish we had done more of those things.
Do not put off today what you know is right. As we understand from God’s word, we are all being evaluated by how we treat each other, how we serve each other, and our attitudes towards obeying God. Our time is short, as the prophetic End Time events march on at an ever-quickening pace. We really do not have time to sit back, be complacent, and be lulled to sleep. To do so would be a tragic mistake. It is time to wake up and look up, for our redemption is nigh.