Bible Verse: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

Scripture Reading: Matthew 24:1-51

As a child, I heard the story of Chicken Little who warned people that the sky was falling. I saw a similar story re-enacted as some eastern “prophets” set October 29, 1992 as the date for Christ’s return and the end of the world. The sky didn’t fall, and the world didn’t end.

Case closed? It’s not that easy.

Many people have been wondering what the Bible really teaches about the end of the world. Is there such a time coming, and, if so, when will it happen, and what will it be like?

Jesus’ disciples had similar concerns and asked him similar questions. Part of his reply is found in chapter 24 of Matthew’s Gospel in the Bible. A quick summary of the passage (in my understanding) reveals that Jesus gave a “3-D” overview of the end of the world.

First Jesus spoke about the coming DECEPTION. Regarding his personal return to earth he said there would be, at that time, many false prophets and religious leaders claiming to be the “Christ.” He also warned against believing anyone who proclaimed to know the exact place, day or hour of his return because God was not handing out that information. Spiritual lies and moral wickedness would also draw many people away from the true God. Thus, a climate of spiritual deception will prevail prior to the end.

Next, Jesus gave some DETAILS regarding events immediately preceding history’s end. He described the increase in wars, political unrest, famines, earthquakes, religious intolerance, and persecution as a pregnant mother’s “labour pains.” The implication is that these events, which both increase and intensify, lead right into “the birth” / “the end.” He then uses another illustration about a blossoming fig tree immediately preceding summer to show that, although no one can know “the day or the hour” of Christ’s return, we can know the “season” or the general time frame. When taken together with the other Biblical prophecies about the coming political, economic and spiritual alignment of nations, these ancient words are parallel to reading today’s newspaper headlines.

Finally, Jesus speaks of DELAY of his return. Throughout the ages, many people have ridiculed the idea of human history ending and Jesus Christ returning to earth. “If Jesus is coming back,” they say, “then why is he taking so long?” The apostle Peter reminds us, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise (of returning), as some understand slowness. He is patient not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” It is Christ’s love for us that holds back his arrival. For our sake he wants us to be ready. This “3-D” message was not intended by Jesus to produce fear, religious frenzy, or fatalism but rather a rock solid confidence about both time and eternity. Human history is not some directionless, evolving, out-of-control monster. It had a definite beginning, has a definite end, and God is perfectly in control at both ends.

— Dave Petrescue in Pastor Dave’s Reflections
© Brenda Petrescue, 2008. http://davepetrescue.com/ Used By Permission.


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