June 2013

END TIMES

Rhoda Grace Andrew

Our Lord warns us that His coming will be ‘like a thief in the night’.

“Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places” (Matt.24:7). “When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, ‘Come!’ I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales (balances) in his hand” (Rev.6:5).

We are living in precisely the kind of age prophesied by our Lord in these verses: increasing catastrophes and rapid technological progress, advancing towards nuclear warheads, missiles, microchips. Today we are witnessing the fulfilment of one of Daniel’s prophecies, “But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge” (12:4).

Vain Pursuit
Human hands are being replaced by robots, microchips, and so on. The earth’s moon is no longer a wonder we used to look at and admire; it has man-made machines and flags dug into its surface. Mars and other planets are subject to scientific interplanetary explorations. What kind of advancement are we heading to? Where will all our scientific research and

God is asking man, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” (Job 38:4). “Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades? Can you loose the chords of Orion?” (Job38:31). “Meaningless! Meaningless! says the Preacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless. What does man gain from all his labour at which he toils under the sun?” (Ecc.1:2,3).

Although many of our scientific explorations and technologies are beneficial to mankind, many of them are being misused and abused by man for selfish and sinful pleasures, in wilful rebellion against God’s thoughtful instructions to man to be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth (Gen.9:1). All these scientific and technological advances must come to an end on the dreadful day of God’s judgment through the Lord Jesus Christ who Himself will descend from His throne in heaven to this sin-ravaged world to judge its inhabitants for their rebellion!

Today, there is neither peace nor safety anywhere in the world, except under the protective arms of the Almighty God being enjoyed by those who know Him and await Him. Undoubtedly, we are living in the end-times when people are running helter-skelter. We are witnessing unprecedented deaths and untold natural and man-made catastrophes, such as earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, famines, fires, floods, bomb blasts, violence, mass killings, accidents, shootings and the like.

Jesus Is Coming Soon
As Jesus warned us, when we see all these things happening, we should understand that the end is near, right at the door (Matt.24:33). In Revelation 22:10-11 the angel of the Lord tells John, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near. Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy.” The Bible says that Jesus will come suddenly and His coming will be seen by all the people in the world; the brightness of His light will appear from one end of the world to the other.

The Lord’s coming is a day of great rejoicing for all His saints (the elect) who eagerly wait and watch for His return. But for all the unbelievers who do not love or seek God, it is a day so dreadful that they would rather prefer to hide or fall under the hills and mountains than face the holy and sacred face of Jesus (Lk.23:30)!

The righteous are compared to sheep who are gathered together into heaven by the angels of God. But the proud, the boastful and the unrepentant wicked are compared to goats and thrown into hell fire by the angels of God. Again, the believers are compared to the wheat grains which God collects into His barns and the wicked as the chaff fit to be thrown out and burnt by fire (Matt.25:32).

Don’t Be Slack!
Centuries have gone by since the earth was formed, and the old serpent has had a thumping success in deceiving billions of its inhabitants into believing his lie that life on this earth is an endless process of birth, growth and death and that everything will be fine in the end! (Lk.12:19). But our Lord warns us that His coming will be “like a thief in the night” (1Thes.5:1-2;Rev.16:15) and gives a figurative illustration of what it means to be prepared for His sudden appearance: if the owner of the house knew that his house would be burgled, he would be alert and watchful, not asleep (Matt.24:42-43). Those who are preoccupied with this world and all that it offers are bound to neglect their soul and are least prepared for the Lord’s return; but those whose first love and priority is God’s kingdom and His righteousness, know the true worth of their soul and are always ready for their Lord’s return (Matt.6:33;16:26).

Signs Of His Coming
Jesus’ second coming shouldn’t be a surprise to the believers if they heed His warning: “See, I have told you beforehand” (Matt.24:25). A few years ago my six-year old grand-daughter had a dream in which she saw Jesus standing beside her. He had dark brown hair and blue eyes and a star that flashed its light on her so brightly that she began trembling. A pastor who was with her announced loudly, “Jesus is coming soon.” Peter said that Joel’s prophecy about dreams and visions was fulfilled in the events that occurred on the day of Pentecost (Joel.2:28;Acts.2:16-21).

Besides giving us the sign of dreams and visions, the Lord has taught us a lesson from the fig tree so that we recognise the signs of the end-times and know that the ‘end’ is near. “Likewise, when we see all these things happening, we must know and understand that the kingdom of God is very near” (Matt.24:32,33). “Then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, and He will send His angels with the great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matt.24:30,31). Again He says, “But of that day and hour no one knows, no not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but my Father only” (Matt.24:36). “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming” (v.42). “Blessed is that servant whom his Master, when He comes, will find so doing” (v.46).

Endure To The End
Life for us Christians, who are set apart by the Holy Spirit for God’s glory, need not be a ‘wild goose chase’ or a ‘blind mice in a maze’ as we sojourn in this world. We need to be alert and watchful, like the soldiers on the battlefield, so that we are not caught napping when the final trumpet call is given! We must endure hardship, be patient, read God’s word and meditate on it, and wait on the Lord in prayer, abounding in love as we serve Him in these crucial last days. Our Lord said, “He who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt.10:22). The trials, tribulations and temptations we face in this world can mould us and make us strong in the Lord. We need to remember that we are more than conquerors in Christ who strengthens us.

Let those who have not accepted Jesus as their personal Saviour and Lord, do so quickly.

May God help us to be like trees that bear good fruits, setting an example for others to emulate. “Therefore, ...let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb.12:1,2), prayerfully awaiting our Lord’s return.

Editorial: ENTERTAINMENT - Jacob Ninan

A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH - Shantanu Dutta

END TIMES - Rhoda G. Andrew

CONFIDENCE IN GOD - Vimal R. Ram

FOLLOWING METHODS, MISSING GOD - Jacob Ninan

REACHING THE PINNACLE - Walter Sunder Singh

DIFFICULTIES AND TRIALS - Zac Poonen

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