ASK Newsletter, 1st Quarter, 1994
Regardless of whether a person is a Christian or not, it seems as if the question of how much time is left in the world is on the mind. To the Christian the question is, when will Christ return to take Christians home to heaven? To the person of the world, there is the question of the world blowing up, and the annihilation of mankind. Which view is right, and what does the future portend?
Recently, there were two views stated in print that gave a time period of about five years. Chuck Colson, in one of his columns, noted that it seemed to him that Christians every where sense the soon return of the Lord Jesus Christ, because of all that is happening in the world. He was not setting any date for Christ's return, but felt that the church had about five years before our evangelizing may be over. This could be because of Christ's coming, or it could be that the world will stop the church from carrying out its mandate from God.
The other view came from the book, Megatrends, in which the author felt that the world had about five years left to straighten out its problems, or face a world wide catastrophe. He did not delineate what that might be, but warned people of an impending world wide cataclysm of sorts.
Though no one knows the future, for the Christian it is comforting to have the knowledge of what the Bible says concerning Christ's coming and the end of the world. Since the Old Testament stated over 330 prophecies concerning His first coming, all of which were perfectly fulfilled, we can with confidence trust what He had to say relative to His coming again. Christ has established His credibility with mankind.
In John 14:3, Christ stated that He would come again. Then in Mark 13:31,32 He noted that no one knows when God will send Christ back to earth. However, He did give indicators as to the times immediately preceding His return, to guide us in our anticipation, as well as a warning to get ready for His coming again.
Matthew 24 outlines to us God's program for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. When the Disciples asked Him what the signs would be, He stated that there would be wars, earthquakes, famines, etc. immediately preceding His return. History has shown that mankind has experienced all these things, but Christ illustrated the immediacy by utilizing an analogy in saying that these would be the "birth pangs of sorrows". When a woman is about to give birth, she experiences birth pains, at various intervals, but when the pains are about a minute apart, she knows the birth is imminent. So, as we see the world reeling from one catastrophe to another constantly, it seems as if the pains of the world are about a minute apart. We live from disaster to disaster on a daily basis. In Luke 21:28 Christ pointed out that when these things begin to come to pass, the Christian should look for His coming again.
Another indicator of His return, has been the regathering of the people of Israel into a nation. It has been over forty years since that has become a reality, and Christ pointed out in Matt. 24:32-34 that the generation that witnesses all these indicators would not pass before God concludes all things in judgment and righteousness. Since a generation is approximately forty-fifty years, are we living at the end of time? Only God knows, but it behooves us to be ready and waiting His return. How much time is left, is according to God's program for His children and the world. He is in sovereign control.