Whenever the world is in crisis, such as we are living now with a virus that can attack anyone at any time in life threatening ways, believers who have read, or at least heard about the end of the story in our Bibles often think, is this the beginning of the end of time? Stress and worry build and we wonder, are we ready? Hold that thought.
I remember being scared for nine months before the birth of our first child. I wanted to be close to the hospital when the first labor pains hit. I even looked for apartments near the hospital and asked how much the rent was! Yes, I was overly worried about what would happen when the pregnancy would be ending and a new life would be born. Television dramas depicting a baby born unexpectedly in a cab on the way to the hospital didn’t help my anxiety. Horror stories from other moms who had difficult births didn’t help, either. The doctor tried to ease my worry by saying babies will come when they are ready. Just be ready.
Giving birth to my first child, I also worried about what a labor pain would feel like. Would I know when the pains would come? Would I recognize the pain as the beginning of birth? Experienced moms assured me that I would INDEED know what the pain would feel like and when the pains would hit, signaling the start of birth. “No doubt about it, Susan, you will know!” “Birth pains are like no other pain you will ever have in your life!”
But when it is your first, you wonder over EVERY pain. Is this it? Is this real or false labor? Is this pain the real deal? Only if it continues, says the doctor. Oh yeah. So, it seems to be every ten minutes, is this it? Only if the pain continues and the time shortens between the pains. Okay. So, I put my efforts, instead, into preparing for her arrival. I got busy with getting the room ready by cleaning, polishing, mopping and decorating. This “nesting” encouraged me to prepare my mind, heart and soul for her arrival, too. The worry subsided and excitement began to build.
All that worry and concern over making it to the hospital in time was a useless stress that I didn’t need to have. Our first baby took a lot of time to be ready. She took even more time to be born. Our first child came, three weeks after her “due date” and 36 hours after labor. I had plenty of time. I smile now at the immature thoughts of needless worry I had at that time. Our precious daughter arrived when she was ready and we were more than ready to welcome her into our lives.
Whether we are living in the “end times” or not, if we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and follow Him in obedience as Lord of our lives, we will be ready for His arrival. Our own end time could be tomorrow or many years from today. Do we worry and stress needlessly until Jesus comes? Or just be ready? Mm, I choose to be ready.
Jesus IS coming, you know. No doubt about it. Be ready. Don’t worry about the hour or day, just be ready.
The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times
24 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 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. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 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.
15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29 “Immediately after the distress of those days
“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The Day and Hour Unknown
36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Remember these important key points that Jesus said to settle our souls:
“Watch out that no one deceives you.”
“…see to it that you are not alarmed.”
“…the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
“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.”
“For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” We will know when Jesus comes! It will be obvious and grand!
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” NO ONE on earth will know, only God.
Don’t worry, be watchful. Be ready. Live as if it will be in an hour, today, tomorrow, next week…be ready. When you least expect Him, expect Him. “Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”
AND BE EXPECTANT, full of hope as we see the arrival of the King of kings and LORD of lords!
Thank you for this message to us, dear Jesus, that reminds us to get and stay ready for when You come for Your own. Thank you for your patience with us on earth. Continue to transform us and prepare your bride, your church, for your coming. Help us to always be watchful, without worry, standing firm in our hope in You.
In Jesus Name, Amen