Written by Derek Burton
What are the signs of the end of the age?
There will be wars and rumours of wars; earthquakes and famines, persecution of the Church; false prophets, increase of wickedness, and a corresponding increase in world evangelism. You may say that these things have been in evidence ever since the fall of humankind, so how are we to know the difference? Jesus says that the distress of the end times will be greater than at any time since the beginning of the world until now. According to the World Watch List by Open Doors International, persecution of Christians continues to rise. Jesus said to His disciples, “No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. John 15:20. “In his second letter to Timothy, this is what the Apostle Paul says, “This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, false accusers, fierce, despisers of those that are good; lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” (2 Timothy 3:1-4). The second advent of Christ will be when no one expects it. Scripture refers to it as ‘that day’, or ‘the day of the Lord’. Jesus says –
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father”. (Matthew 24: 36).
He says it will be just as it was in the days of Noah, with everyone eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage; and only Noah and his family prepared for the flood which came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
What should be the attitude of the Church in the light of all this? The answer is to be found in Matthew’s Gospel chapter 24: 42 – 44,
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this; if the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief would be coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. So you must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour you do not expect Him”.
When I was a Scout, the motto was ‘Be Prepared’. When Jesus comes, it will be a spectacular and awesome event, greater than anything the world has ever seen. He is coming to judge the world, and every eye will see Him.
“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. Then they will see the Son of Man coming with the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:30).
In his letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross. Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2: 5 – 11.