The end times
What will it all mean?
Christianity and modern science are both agreed that one day this universe will come to an end.
Christians agree that the climax of these end times, in which we now inevitably find ourselves, involve the ‘second coming’ of Jesus, or the ‘last judgement’.
This may not, in fact, involve the end of the whole universe (for which God may have other plans!) but simply the end of this earth, or even of the human species. From a personal perspective, it may be something we encounter when we die, and are released from linear time, in a way which will seem immediate. Or, on the other hand, we may experience a time of waiting after death.
Past ages have imagined Jesus coming as a sort of judge to send some of us to hell and others to heaven. This image is not always helpful these days. Others have tried to predict the precise date when the world will end. These predictions are ruled out by Jesus himself, and have more in common with the ‘prophecies’ of a Nostradamus than any Christian ideas. Those in the past who have set a date, and then waited in vain for the world to end, have understandably been ridiculed by those around them.
True Christian teaching about the end of the world, and our own death, is clear and practical. It may come unexpectedly, and we should be spiritually prepared for it. At the end, we will be held to account for the way we have lived. There will be no room for corruption and evil in the world to come, and whilst none of us is good enough to earn a place there, when we meet Jesus we can trust that the God who comes as judge will be infinitely merciful towards those who turn to him in sorrow for the mess they have made of their lives, and for the stupid and evil things they have done.
The question for which we are ultimately held accountable is whether we have said ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to Christ. Other people’s decisions are not ours to call; it is our business to make sure that we ourselves do not reject him.
We can only speculate about what form the second coming will take. Some imagine that this earthly dimension will be transformed into a paradise, while others locate the paradise to come in a realm outside our own dimensions of space and time. Either way, we can trust that the Jesus who now works for us through the power of his Spirit will be revealed in his full reality, and we will be able to love him and each other fully, face to face.
All that is unfolding in God’s creation will be brought to a glorious completion as God always intended. Bitter memories will be healed, and every tear will be wiped away. As awesome as it will be to meet God face to face, the second coming is an event which Christians await with solemn joy.
Pray: Lord God, help me to remember that you are the Omega as well as the Alpha; the end, as well as the beginning. Therefore the End Times are not the end for those who believe, but a new beginning. Lord, I want to be part of that journey into an eternal future with you. Please draw me close to you, and hold me there. Amen.
Look up what the OT prophesied about the end times
Look up what Jesus said about the signs of the end times
Visit the BBC webpages about the end times
Look up Christian eschatology (beliefs relating to the end times) in Wikipedia
Read the book End-Times Simplified: Preparing Your Heart for the Coming Storm by David Sliker
Read the book The End Times Made Simple by Samuel E. Waldron
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