Thursday, December 13, 2012

It Ain't Over 'til It's Over - More Thoughts on the 'End of the World'


Is there a way we can differentiate between the real and the false alarms about the end of the world? What is myth? What is reality? Do I need to know something about this cosmic final to ensure I am prepared for it? 

The Biblical authors clearly take the closing chapters of human history seriously. Despite what many believe today, we live in a moral universe and are accountable to God for the choices we make. The bad news is we all fail the test - even people like Mother Theresa, or my perfect neighbor Bob.  The good news - remember the angels from the Christmas story..."I bring you good news of great joy"? - the good news is that Jesus took the final on our behalf, passed with flying colors and now extends His perfect score to all who will receive Him - no ifs, ands and buts.

The only dismissive ‘ifs’of the end times belong to the skeptical mockers: 2 Peter 3:3-13 . The rest are given words of strong encouragement and warning, as well as promise of great joy and hope I Thessalonians 4:13-5:11. In the Gospel of Matthew 24, Jesus offers some definite particulars regarding this time, but never a specific date. In fact, we are warned against anyone who claims to know the date (except, of course, God the Father). Continuing in Matthew 25  with the powerful language of parables (‘he who has ears let him hear’), He outlines some thought provoking scenarios regarding His glorious return – not as a tiny baby born in a manger, but as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Without doubt, there will be a lot of surprises that day. In fact, everyone will be surprised! For some, it will be a day of terror and confusion.  For some a day of shame and regret.  For some, all of the above, plus an amazing realization that their fumbling walk, their hard labor of faith is finally over. Our faith in the invisible Lord of the Universe and His unfailing word will become sight at last.

One final thought... regardless whether we are around for the End of the World or not, each of us, sooner or later, will have to face our last day. For some, it will be today. This inevitable reality of death, and its daily reminders - including the 'End of The World' predictions, calls for careful personal examination, and recognition that without Jesus none of us can ever be ready.  But, thank God that through Christ's atoning sacrifice and victorious resurrection He provided a way for everyone who receives Him to look forward to that day.

And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. 1 John 2:28

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