In modern times, we hear a lot about the End Times. Of course, talk of the end time and of the return of Christ has been around for centuries. A lot of it is false teaching: 2012, Y2K, etc. But there are also a lot of truths. Such as: The Rapture, the Tribulation. What are all these events that will come to pass? (Picture credit to ExploringTheMatrix)
In previous entries, I've covered the End Times. I've covered the Rapture and the Tribulation. The word rapture is not actually in The Bible, but it is the word used to describe the vanishing of true followers of Christ (and children unable to decide for themselves) across the world in the "twinkling of an eye." (See entry: The End Times Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
Jesus gave us a few Signposts for the End Times, so that we know what is coming. The signs given to us by Jesus - most have come to pass. If this were not so, he would not have told us. Since these things are coming into play, we can see that the End Times are near.
However, does that give us a date? No. Jesus himself said, "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Matthew 24:36) So, Let us look at what Jesus tells us about the End Times in the Gospels.
Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 all tell of the End Times. Each chapter parallels the other, for each account gives a varied view of this instance when Jesus was asked. In Matthew 24:2, Jesus tells the disciples that the Temple in Jerusalem will be torn down. This came to pass in 70 AD. So his disciples asked him, "When will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?"
Jesus replied, telling them to beware of false messiahs, people claiming to be divine, to be Jesus, to be the Messiah. We have many people across the Globe who, even today, claim to be the Promised Messiah. He continues, "You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places." (Matthew 24:5-7, Mark 13:5-8)
Now, these things have also come to pass. In the last two hundred years alone, we have faced more wars than ever: War of 1812, The Civil War, The Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam War, Iraq War, War on Terrorism, Cold War, etc. Rumors of war continue to sprout across the globe on a regular basis. Many Wars are at this current moment still ongoing. So yes, wars have occurred, and nation has risen against nation.
Mass famines have also become widespread in recent years, as has earthquakes. Many times I have given the statistics for the increase in Earthquakes. (See entry: Warning: Sign of the End Times) Luke 21:11 gives a varied version of what Jesus told them. This does not disregard either accounts, but it shows that Jesus told more, and each account recorded what was said, though Luke recorded another thing said that was not previously recorded.
Luke 21:11 says, "There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven." Now, this has all come to pass. Pestilences - think of the recent swine flu that we believed would wipe out much of the nation. Jesus goes on in all three versions to tell us that we will be persecuted, mocked for our beliefs. Am I mocked for my belief? Yes. But we must press on in the service and furtherance of the Kingdom of our Creator. These have all come to pass.
Jesus goes on to say, in Luke 21:20, "When you see [the reborn] Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near." Since that time, many armies have tried to take down the nation. Even before that, in WWII, the Jewish people were persecuted, and have been for centuries. Especially with the rebirth of Israel as a nation in 1948. This too has come to pass.
He continues, "There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea." (Luke 21:25) Jesus tells other things, but he concludes by telling of his Second Coming, which will happen at the end of the 7-Year Tribulation. "At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (Luke 21:27-28)
Mark 13:26 tells of the same event, the Second Coming, or Glorious Appearing, of Jesus. This is not the same as the Rapture, which occurs before the Tribulation. Verse 27 says, "And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens."
Jesus gives us a story of the Rapture, so that we may know what it will be like: (Matthew 24:40-41) "Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left." In this way, Jesus will take his "elect," his true followers. Those who are Left Behind will have the opportunity, even directly after this occurs, to turn to Christ and repent.
Do many of these "signs" being fulfilled mean the end is near? Yes. Does that mean that it is near, as in within the year, or within the decade? No. But it is closer than it was 2,000 Years Ago. The End Times are closer today than they were yesterday. Jesus tells us not to give a date or time for these events, because while we can see that they are closer now than ever before, it could still be a while before we are taken.
Therefore, as we see that the End Times are rapidly approaching, more so now than ever before, we must be ready. Jesus tells the saved that those who follow him should not fear these end times. For when he raptures his people, and then 7 Years later, comes to Reign and set up his Kingdom for 1,000 Years, we will be with him.
Many people criticize the teaching of The Rapture. Do we know for a fact that it will happen? While some scripture can be interpreted differently, there are several verses that speak of the Lord taking his people to be with him BEFORE the Seven Year Tribulation, and then the Return of Christ and His People - the Glorious Appearing. Regardless, I would ask that you look at the facts. Many of these things have already occurred. Jesus is the ONLY way, the truth, and the light. NO ONE can come to the Father, to Heaven, but through him, but by accepting his sacrifice and following him. So I ask you, do you follow him?
Many people believe in God but will not accept Jesus as their Savior. Verily tell you, Jesus is the only way to be saved. Put bluntly, unless we accept his free gift of salvation, by confessing that he is Lord, turning from your ways and asking God for forgiveness of your says, we will not be saved. Some people believe God is a being created in the minds of people who want hope. That he is some guy watching every little thing we do up in the clouds.
I tell you: God exists. He created you, he made everyone and everything in the Universe. Do not mock God, do not mock Christ, who died for your sins. If you do, judgment will surely follow. My intention is to not scare or coerce you into some cult. The intention is to lead and guide you to The Truth.
So dear friends, I urge you to acceot his free gift of salvation - the Master himself spoke of the End Times. They are coming, whether we want them to or not, and one day, will be be gone, whether we like it or not. If you do not accept Jesus as your savior, he cannot help you. So please, turn to him. Feel free to comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. Take Care, and May God Bless You. Troy Hillman