In an earlier post I talked about fear of death. Now I want to discuss fear of the End Times.
Fear of the End Times
Another fear some Christians have is the fear of the End Times. Hollywood cashes in on these fears with such movies as 2012, coming soon to a theater near you. Listening to the news, it appears that the frequency and severity of natural disasters is increasing, which also feeds our fears. In reality, the frequency and severity of natural disasters may not really be increasing, it’s just there is better and more timely reporting of them. However, things will get worse as we approach the End Times, and we have been warned in the Bible so we can be spiritually prepared.
1. What Jesus Said
In Matthew 24 Jesus mentions several things about the End Times, so let’s briefly look at each one:
a. Temple Destroyed
The first thing Jesus mentions is that the temple will be destroyed. This is not an End Times event, but was apocalyptic for the Jews when their beautiful temple was destroyed by the Romans in the year 70.
Next, Jesus said there would be widespread deception (Matthew 24:4b-5):
“Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” NIV
While there always has and always will be such deception, it will get worse as we get closer to the End Times. Technology allows deception to be disseminated widely.
c. Wars and Rumors of Wars
Next, Jesus warned of wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6-7a):
“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” NIV
Wars are constantly happening, and Jesus said the end is still to come. Therefore, we shouldn’t be alarmed because war is a natural state of affairs, although the world situation will really deteriorate towards the end.
d. Natural Disasters
Jesus warned of natural disasters (Matthew 24:7b-8):
“There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” NIV
Natural disasters have always been with us, so there is no cause for alarm. When there is a huge increase in their frequency and intensity, then we can assume we are getting close to the beginning of the End Times. I personally think that it will be very obvious to believers when we get close, as Luke 21:25-27 tells us:
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory.” NRSV
e. Increased Persecution
Next, Jesus said that persecution of believers will increase (Matt 24:9-11):
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” NIV
Persecution of Christians has always been with us, although it did increase significantly in the 20th Century. Notice that Jesus warned that false prophets will appear and deceive many people, one of many such warnings in the Bible. We should always be on the lookout for such false teachers and prophets masquerading as ministers of the Gospel. They mix just enough truth with false doctrines to seem trustworthy, but they are to be avoided.
f. Reached the Whole World
Lastly, Jesus says that the Gospel must be preached throughout the world (Matthew 24:14):
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” NIV
With radio, TV, Internet, and many missionaries, this is becoming a reality.
More on this topic in a future post.