SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
How should we approach the end times?
This is, by far, the most asked question that I have received. This is a very popular because, quite frankly, we don’t want to be surprised. We like to know our future, this is the same reason that as a kid, you looked at the gifts under the Christmas tree, you want to know what to expect and the proper reaction to have.
The Bible speaks of eschatology (the study of the end times), in multiple places, but most notably in Daniel and Revelation. The issue with understanding these writings is that sometimes the writer is using figurative language and sometimes he is speaking literally, and it is difficult to discern between the two. There are many, many questions that come from this topic, but we need to focus on what we do know. While running the risk of over simplifying, let me place what we know in three events. First, Christ is coming back to gather his followers, both the living and dead, to join him in heaven. Second, there will be a time of great trouble where people will have yet another chance to accept God. Lastly, there will be a creation of a new heaven and new earth. The details of all of these are debated and even the greatest biblical scholars disagree on how everything will happen, from the order of events to the time it will take each event to happen.
So, how should studying this affect your daily life? When Christ talked about the end, he explained that only God knows when he is coming and that we need to be prepared for his arrival. He explains himself in a story, saying that if you knew that someone was going to break into your house at a certain time in the middle of the night, you would be prepared. You would not be sleeping or relaxing, but would be awake ready to defend your family and possessions. Christ also explains in a different story that there was a servant who expected the master to come home at a certain time but didn’t, so he did what he wanted, he ate, drank, and was not prepared for his master’s arrival. (See Matt 24:36-51 for scripture quoted above)
What does this mean to you? You need to glean great wisdom from Christ’s words. You need to be prepared, you do not know when he is going to come, but you need to be ready when he does; living your life the way that he tells you to, loving God and others in the way that represents Christ. If Christ were to come back today, right now, would you be ready? Are you living your life the way that he tells you too or the way you want to?
Chase Smith is the pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Shelbyville. For more information from Chase or the church call 774-3636 or visit www.fellowshipinshelbyville.com.
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