Biblical Interpretation from Someone with no Training in Biblical Interpretation
When is the end of the world? Nobody knows. It is literally the best kept secret in existence because even Jesus doesn’t know. When discussing the coming end, this is what Christ said, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matthew 24:36). There is one thing we do know though: it’s been roughly 2000 years since John recorded Jesus’ promise to return in Revelation 22:20,
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
So soon is apparently a very relative term- but certainly that “soon” is a more conventional “soon” for us today. Anyway, while listening to a sermon, the Holy Spirit started talking to me about the coming end.
Some people claim that Matthew 24:14 gives us the time frame for the return of Christ and the end of the world; we read, “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.” But that can’t be the case. First of all, we’ve basically already preached the gospel to the world; and it continues to be accessible non-stop to most of the planet thanks to TV and the internet. Sure, not everyone has heard of Jesus; but the Bible never said that everyone had to. However, at some point or another every country has been reached by the Gospel in some way or another and almost every definition of a “nation” has as well. Secondly, the idea of preaching the Gospel to everyone to spur on the coming of Christ sounds good for motivating people to become missionaries; but it puts the focus on our works, which goes against the whole point of the Gospel. Scripture reminds us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). It is true and written, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). However, although we’re called to good works, all of the greater heavenly movements are under the Lord’s jurisdiction, not our own; and trying to claim the coming of the Kingdom at the end of existence is not our place.
Ok, with this knowledge, does God actually know when the end will come? As we already read, yes, at the very least the Father knows. Our Lord spoke to his people,
Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
I make known the end from the beginning,
From ancient times, what is still to come.
I say: My purpose will stand,
And I will do all that I please (Isaiah 46:9-10).
God saw everything as he created the universe. Even how, he can follow our day and feel along with it; as we can read in Genesis 6:5-6,
The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.
We must remember though that the Lord is outside of our understanding of time, that is why Paul was able to confidently write,
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment – to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ (Ephesians 4-10).
Therefore we can be confident that the Lord has the whole blueprint for existence in front of him and knows exactly when the scheduled end is coming.
So then, what’s the hold up? To explain the answer to this question Peter wrote,
By the same word the present havens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is no slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:7-9).
Although there seems to be no set number, the Lord is waiting to save as many people as is absolutely possible. So presumably the end will come either during a massive Christian push or after Christianity takes an irreparable hit- but nobody knows for sure. So rather than worry about the time frame, you should care about whether or not you’re ready. If you’re not ready (that is to say, you’re still hell bound), there’s no time to change your circumstance like the present; thus is why it is written,
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him (2 Peter 3:14-15).
If you haven’t declared Jesus as your savior and given your life over to him, then I implore you my friend to check out the Emergency Salvation Kit here and come to the Lord and change your eternal destination. If you are ready though (and saved through Jesus’ blood), you aren’t off the hook entirely- I mean, you’re saved, but you’re also called to act in a manner worthy of your lofty position. To us of the flock it is written,
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness (2 Peter 3:11-13).
Trust in the Lord, my friends; and don’t worry yourself about the end of days and when they’ll come. They shall be here soon enough; no matter how long that “soon” actually is.