The price of gas has passed $4 in many places, and some are predicting $5 across the country by Memorial Day. The Consumer Price Index has risen 2.7% just this year. Thunderstorms and tornadoes are occurring with incredible frequency in the United States, and it’s hard to miss the global increase in earthquake, tsunami and volcano activity. So am I ready to predict the end of the world? I suggest not starting an office pool.
The Apostle Paul expected the return of Christ in his lifetime. You can almost feel a change in his attitude by the time of his final letters. There is a noticeable “policy shift” if you know what to look for. Throughout the ages people have predicted the day and date for the end of the world. Statistically they have been wrong 100% of the time. Are wars in the Middle East and earthquakes a sign the end is near? Yes. But in a greater sense, the end is always near. The return of Jesus Christ is imminent; that means nothing else has to happen before his return takes place. That doesn’t mean it will be this weekend – or this decade – however. If I board a non-stop flight in Atlanta, then my arrival in (your favorite city here) is imminent. The plane will not be landing anywhere else first. The next stop will be at our destination. What we know for certain by reading the scriptures is that Jesus’ return will come like a thief in the night. What we know for certain is that we cannot know for certain when it will be.
Things will get worse before they get better. Ralph Sexton Jr. predicted in the late 70’s that the price of a loaf of bread would be over $1. People laughed. When Israel became a nation in 1947 that was as good as handwriting on the wall for many Christians. Yet Jesus did not return the next day. Mikel Gorbachev turned out not to be the anti-Christ. The 91′ Gulf War was not the beginning of Armageddon. The collapse of the Soviet Union meant that it was neither Gog nor Magog (though not everyone agrees).
Today there are earthquakes and storms. There are wars and rumors of war. The end is near. And if Christ tarries his coming another hundred years – or thousand – the end will near then too. Don’t go around saying stuff that will make all Christians look silly this time next year. Love your kids, read your Bible, share the Gospel – and go on with your life. I wouldn’t recommend selling your house just yet.