End of the World?
By Mitiku Adisu
|"The Last Judgement" by Afewerk Tekle, 1958, 3 x 2.5 meters|
Prophets, priests, and politicians have all speculated when the world will end. By prophets, we mean the type that can't even cheat the lie detector. We need not waste time on politicians [and some in the "climate" camp]. Many have come and gone, including sincere but misguided Christians, warning us to prepare for a Doomsday that never came.What this does is spread cynicism to the point of making the idea indistinguishable from the characters proclaiming it. As we write this, the news that has been twirling for over two years is that Maya priests have finally figured out 12-21-12 as the real end of the world! Let me go ahead and predict that the end of the world will not happen tomorrow! How can I say that? Well, first, the date is too specific; secondly, to mark such a momentous matter with such specificity is not what humans are made for. I will admit, however, that there is something in our psyche that desires to know both the knowable and the unknowable. Remember Y2K.
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" [Jesus answered] No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father... He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority" [Matthew 24:4, 36; Acts 1:7]. Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, "I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places and famines. These are the first signs of labor...Therefore keep watch, because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, at midnight, when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. "What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’" [Mark 13:5–8, 35–37].
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything on it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation [2 Peter 3:10–15]. [Jesus said] Heaven and earth will perish, but my words will not perish [Mark 13:31].
Jesus came as a Savior the first time. He will appear as Judge the second time. The question for every one is this: What have you done with Jesus' offer of love, forgiveness, and hope? "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" [Gospel of John 3:16]
Those who come up with dates are here to scare us out of our wallets, are out to promote an agenda, or are simply focused on their own merits. These could be a distraction, and yet, the Lord could use man's follies to draw people to himself.
Let us recap. The world as we know it will at some point come to an end. Jesus will return as promised [just as He did the first time].No one knows the time of his coming. "For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man ... So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it... For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done... So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him [Matt. 24:26; 16:27; 24:44].
Are you ready?