IS THE WORLD COMING TO AN END?
The terror in Israel continues on a daily basis. Memories of September 11 haunt the corners of every mind in America. Fires burn out of control, droughts plague vast areas of the land, crime is on the rise, immorality runs unchecked and according to Time Magazine, “One-third of Americans say they are paying more attention now to how the news might relate to the end of the world” [July 1, 2002; p. 42]. What do all these events point toward? Can it be the end of time? Is the world coming to an end?
The prognosticators of our time would have us believe that all these signs point to an end of the world. Religious leaders point to a coming rapture, the holy war of Christ and the forces of evil, the kingdom of Christ being established in Jerusalem and a fair portion of the events of the last days being fulfilled. Seven million copies of the book “Left Behind” have been sold to a world thirsty for a peek inside the mind of God. Millions more of the follow-up series have been sold depicting the same arena of the end of times.
The Bible does speak of the end of times. The Bible is the mind of God, and from its pages we can learn the truth about what God has said concerning the end of time. It is important to lay aside the fairy tales of Buck Williams and focus upon the only one who knows the truth about the end of time – God. What He says matters because it is entirely upon His word that truth is established. What does the Bible say about the end of time?
First Thessalonians 4:16-17 says, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” The rapture is depicted by men as being a quiet transformation of the saved from earth. How quiet can a shout be or the voice of an archangel or the trumpet of God? The doctrine of “rapture” as given by men has no basis in scripture. When the Lord returns, “All who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth – those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28-29).
What are the signs of the end of time? The Bible clearly shows what signs will be evident when the world comes to an end. Peter writes, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2Peter 3:10). Paul explains to the church at Thessalonica: “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night” (1Thes. 5:1-2).
When people look to the news for the signs of the times, they look to the wrong source. The Lord will never herald His return with signs to the end of time. He will come as a thief, without warning and without the advance knowledge of men. As in the days of Noah, the coming of the Lord will be swift and decisive. As in the days of Noah, when God decides to shut the door of the ark, invitations will not be sent. It will be too late. The lesson is that we must be prepared at all times. (See Luke 12:35-48) The faithful servant is ready and watchful. As Paul said in Romans 3:4, “Let God be true but every man a liar.”