The End Times: a Bible Study

Life as we know it will end, possibly quite soon. That prediction comes from sources as diverse as atomic scientists, superstitious people and groups, even Christians. Each believes cataclysmic change is on the horizon. However, the reasons for their thinking, and how it will happen, have little in common.

2012 is the year of destiny according to some who try to interpret the ancient Mayan calendar. They say the fact that the remarkably accurate Mayans stopped their calendar at December 21st this year means either the end of the world or, at least, a wrenching restart of the cycle of life. Hollywood tried to imagine this in a sci-fi blockbuster movie named 2012.

Atomic scientists at the University of Chicago have long believed that we are nearing proverbial midnight and, since 1947, keep moving the symbolic minute hand of their Doomsday Clock to show how close they think humanity is to self-annihilation.  Will the end come from nuclear war, climate change, some other ecological cataclysm, or biogenetic engineering? None of those possibilities is appealing.

Every few years a high-profile Christian preacher defies the explicit teaching of Scripture and sets a specific date when Christ is supposed to return. Claims about such an apocalypse made headlines repeatedly last year. It is remarkable that any Christian would dare to make such a prediction in light of Jesus’ clear teaching in Matthew 24:36 (NIV),

No one knows when that day or hour will come – not the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

No wonder that all the claims to know the date of Christ’s return have proven wrong.

Yet, it remains an authentic, core Christian belief that colossal change is coming. Jesus will return. Once again, different people have widely varied notions about what will trigger Christ’s return. Some say that evil increases to a point that God must act. Others think that current instability in the Middle East escalates until an attack on Israel ushers in a new age.

The end times is an important subject for many reasons. What you believe can scare you, depress you or even drive you to build a survival shelter. Consider this instead. Let a sound understanding of what the Bible says about the end times fill you with anticipation and inspire you to constructive action. Look closely at the single clearest statement about God’s intentions for the future. These words came directly from Jesus in Matthew 24:14 (NIV).

 this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

That’s the biblical prediction: words directly from Jesus. So, rather than descending into dread, leaping into political action or military intervention, the Bible teaches that the way to look at the future is to focus on getting “the Gospel of the kingdom…in the whole world.” What could be a better cause?

David C Cook is committed to this objective. This year we are giving and subsidizing resources to churches in 135 nations. We are not quite “to all nations” yet but we are reaching more every year. We work , so far, in more than half the countries on Earth. Your giving, together with our giving, will present the Gospel to more than 15 million people this year through the Story of Jesus. Once people turn to Christ we build churches by developing leaders.

Sensational newspaper headlines, movies and radio talk shows can distract us from what is most important. Jesus told us to take this gospel “as a testimony to all nations.” Be part of taking the message. Have a part in the climax of history.

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