Are We in the End Times?…
Many have spent their whole lives trying to predict when Christ will come again:
“Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.” -Mark 13:28-33, NAB
Once upon a time, I had read that the fig tree from this verse, which traditionally represents Israel, had begun to sprout leaves again (Israel became a nation once again in the middle of last century). Then, this verse goes on to say that this generation will not pass until these “things” (the prophecies of Mark 13) have taken place. Some interpret this passage to say that Israel’s re-establishment is a sign that we are in the last generation. Are we living in the end times?
To say that we are in the end times presents a few problems. First, when Jesus said that this generation will not pass before this all takes place fits well with the destruction of the temple about thirty to forty years after His death. It would seem that His message has already come to pass, then.
Second, later in this verse, Jesus specifically tells us that we will not know when the end times will come. So, why do people constantly try to predict the date when it will happen? They claim to be Biblical scholars who hold tight to the Word of God but completely ignore this verse. It doesn’t fit within their views, so they ignore it.
Are we living in the end times? Who knows! We need to stop trying to predict it. What we must do, then, is always be prepared for it:
“It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch. Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!'” -Mark 13:34-37, NAB
We do not know when the Lord will come again, so live your life as if today is your last. Like the servants, always be hard at work for the Lord. Jesus is not trying to tell us when the end will come; He is telling us that we should live our faith to the fullest, each and every day.
We do not know what will come first – our death or the Second Coming – and we cannot predict either one. But if we live a fruitful life, it doesn’t really matter. When the Lord comes for us, we will be ready.