Are We at the End?
One of the most common questions I have been hearing lately is, ‘Are we in the end times?’ To be honest, my first response is ‘We have been in the end times since Jesus ascended into Heaven.’ The apostles were expecting Jesus Christ’s return in their lifetime, and the signs have been reoccurring for every generation. We have seen evil men take great power and look like the Anti-Christ predicted in the Bible; we have seen wars, earthquakes, and diseases ravage the world, also as predicted in the Bible. So, how will we know that the end truly is nigh?
The best passage to go for the answer is Matthew 24, where Jesus Christ Himself answers the questions about the end and His return. Keep in mind that when Christ and the prophets described His return, they were combining the Rapture of the Church (when Christ meets His believers in the clouds) and the Second Coming of Christ (which is after the Tribulation).
Sign 1: Destruction of the Temple (v2) – fulfilled in 70 AD by the Romans
Sign 2: Deception of the People (v4-5) – becoming more rampant as time continues
Sign 3: Declaration of many Wars (v6-7) – growing
“See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”
Sign 4: Diseases and natural disasters (v7) – continuing to increase
Sign 5: Delivering of Israel into Tribulation (v9) – yet to happen
We must break here for an important fact that impacts as true believers in Jesus Christ (not all people who call themselves Christians, but all who truly are according to God’s standards). The next event in the Christian Calendar is the rapture of the Church (Acts 1:10-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). How do I know this? God tells us in His Word that the Church of Jesus Christ will be saved from the great tribulation. Look up and study the following verses to see this: Revelation 3:10, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 5:9, Romans 5:9, and Ephesians 5:6.
There seems to be signs of coming events that the Bible tells us will take place during the tribulation period (of seven years). These are explained in the books of Daniel and Revelation, including the following: the coming Anti-Christ who will rule much of the world, the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, 144 000 Jewish missionaries (witnesses), natural disasters that are like none we have yet seen (taking out 1/3 of the world’s population), mark of the beast, major world wars (like Armageddon). So, we must take note that none of these will take place until after the rapture of the church!
The one thing that is made crystal clear in the New Testament, is that God’s people (Israel and the Church) must be ready for Christ’s return. We must live as if He is returning at any moment, yet also be prepared to live as if His return could yet be a way off. See the following article to read of some ways to prepare for the true end: https://goexplorethebible.com/blog/adults/7-ways-to-prepare-for-jesus-return-session-11-mark-1324-37/