The marque sign outside of the United Methodist Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama read:
The End is Near!!
We Don’t Know.
That signed humored me because in my understanding of Christianity, the only way a church would not know that the end is near is if it does not open, read, or teach the Bible.
The theme of the end as near is a very prominent one in the Bible, especially the New Testament, so it is simply fake news to me when detractors deny that.
While it is true that we do not know that date, day, and exact hour of the end, the Bible is overwhelmingly clear that the end is near. It is clear that followers of Jesus Christ are to live in an anticipation of His return and the end of this age.
In Matthew 24:3 we read that the disciples came to Jesus asking, “what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” The disciples understood the end and return of Jesus as a simultaneous event. Likewise, Jesus did as well when He gave the Great Commission stating in Matthew 28:20 “even unto the end of the world.”
Sometimes the end of the world is referred to as the day of our salvation, when Jesus returns and the end has come. Romans 13:11 says, “for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.”
The Lord said that as we begin to see the signs of the times unfold we should know that the end is near. Luke 21:28 states, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
If we had no biblical benchmarks regarding the end, then we may have reason to deny that the end is near, but the Bible warns us of the signs that will tell of the end and His return. In Matthew 24 we are told to watch for wars and rumors of war, natural disasters, earthquakes, famines, crime, violence, corruption, etc..
2 Timothy 3:1-4 warns us that the end is near when we see people being “lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.”
It is interesting to note that 2 Timothy 3:5 explains that these who are “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” are those who have “a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” because they claim to be followers of God, but they are not. That itself is a sign that the end is near, when those who claim to know God do not.
The Christian life is one lived in an anticipation of the Lord’s return. The Apostle Paul said of those who would be saved that they are “them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).
The believer in Jesus Christ longs for the return of the Lord and the end of this wicked age, as stated in Titus 2:13 they are “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”
As followers of the Lord we are people who live a life in eternity, not as those who have no hope beyond this temporal world. Our focus, passion, and longing is in the return of our Savior and the end of our enemy. Colossians 3:20 states that our “life is hid with Christ” and as Philippians 3:20 puts it, “our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Our hope is not in building bigger barns or living our best life now or even draining the deep state — I am all for productivity, self-improvement, and ridding corruption from Washington, but our ultimate hope and redemption, regardless of those things, we are seeking the end of this world and the return of our Savior Jesus Christ.
I can remember as a small child before my brother and youngest sister were school age, my mother would build up an anticipation that my father would soon arrive home from his first shift factory job.
We would be playing in the house and she would announce, Dad will be home soon and we’ll go somewhere or maybe she would start dinner or maybe we’d be simply looking forward to him tossing us up in the air. Whatever it was for our little toddler minds there was a definite looking forward to his return and the end of whatever we were getting tired of.
We would start looking out the window for the car and his return, and do you know why?
We were all excited and enthused with anticipation of his soon return because we loved my Dad and we loved our home with him and we loved all that we were looking forward to when he returned.
As a church, whatever denomination or whatever non-denomination, if a local body of Christ claims the name of the Lord, if its people love the Lord Jesus more than they love the world today — start building up the anticipation, encourage the longing, and let the pulpit and the marque sign direct the sin-tired to look for His soon return and the end of this world.