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Getting Ready for the End

January 4, 2016

finThe Bible says volumes about the end of the world. Nineteen of Revelation’s twenty-two chapters describe the end of this age and the beginning of eternity. Nearly one third of the book of Isaiah describes Messiah’s kingdom that will be. One of the longest of Jesus’ recorded discourses is primarily concerned with the end of the age. Scattered throughout the Psalms and the epistles are promises and warnings about the end of this world. Prophecy about the end makes up a significant portion of the Bible. The Christian does well to seriously consider the Bible’s teachings on the things that are coming. The wise Christian will also consider the purpose of Biblical prophecy. God does not tell of coming events to satisfy human curiosity. Prophecy is consistently applied to the child of God to comfort saints in time of trouble, to challenge Christians to continued obedience and to encourage of believers to remain faithful.

The day of the Lord is a descriptive term used of many different events. Though the specific events vary, the day of the Lord always has several features. The day of the Lord is a description of monumental, historic events. For an event to be the day of the Lord, it must be dramatic in nature. The day of the Lord marks a major turning point in the history of God’s people or of another great nation. For an event to be the day of the Lord is also must have been spoken of by the prophets. Not all historic catastrophes are the day of the Lord. The day of the Lord is foretold by the prophets. Dramatic, prophesied events are also ones of judgment, some of which were judgments to restore of Israel. For example, God’s judgment of Babylon is referred to as the day of the Lord. The conquest of the Babylonian empire was historic, it was prophesied by Jeremiah and it set the stage for Jerusalem to be rebuilt. In the New Testament the day of the Lord refers to three specific events: the tribulation (1 Thessalonians 5), the second coming of Jesus (Acts 2:20) and the destruction of the present, sin cursed universe (2 Peter 3:10). In 1 Thessalonians 5 the sudden destruction of the day of the Lord is applied to the believer exhorting Christians to live watchful, sober lives.

The application of prophecy to the child of God is to be watchful. Take heed. Pay attention. Go with caution. Watchfulness does not mean fearfulness about what might happen. Watchfulness does not mean speculation about how close world events might be to the return of Jesus. Such speculative thinking is contrary to Jesus’ warning that we are not to know the times or seasons. (Acts 1:7) Watchfulness is not filling our minds with the difficulties of the world so we may say we think Jesus is coming soon. In the letter to the Thessalonians watchfulness is associated with faith, love and hope. The coming judgments of God should motivate each Christian to give attention to the increase of basic Christian virtues in his life. Watchfulness is being on the alert for the attacks of Satan, the temptations of your flesh and the allure of the world. The watchful Christian stands in readiness for the onslaught of foes so he will not be ambushed or overthrown.

The prophetic call to Christians is a call to sobriety. Because Jesus is returning those who are His must not give control of themselves to any substance or any desire. Paul tells the Ephesians, “Be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.” The Christian must not be out of control, nor should he be ruled by his desires and passions. The sober Christian is under the Spirit’s control. The coming judgmeng of God teaches His children to not be led about after all the pleasures promised by this world. Because Jesus is returning, be under control, temperate and serious minded in all things.

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