Is This the End?

  • Pete Johnson
Coach reading the Bible to team

Since before the ascension of Jesus Christ and especially after, the time of his return has been a topic of disagreement, controversy, and unfilled expectations. Jesus’ own apostles attempted on several occasions to get an answer on this important subject, of the end of time.

“As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Matthew 24:3

“So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel” Acts 1:6

Even today, with the threat of a new World War, geopolitical unrest, famines, earthquakes, and the increase of religious intolerance and persecution, this very question is asked, “Is this the end?”

Well, is it the end? Are we now living in the last days? Is Christ’s return just around the corner?

Over the centuries men have been in the business of attempting to “decipher the code” of Christ’s return. Many have answered this question with bold assertiveness that they know and even documented their conclusions.

One of the earliest known predictions of the return of Christ was said to be by Hippolytus of Rome (c.160–236), a highly regarded early Church father. Hippolytus of Rome was a powerful writer and regarded as one of the most important theologians of the third century. His most important work was Refutation of All Heresies. He predicted the return of Christ to be in the year 500 A.D.

The years following produced more invalid predictions from Popes, Theologians, Preachers, Astrologers, Mathematicians, and false prophets. The formulation of these predictions was based on astrological events, number combinations found in the Bible, dates of certain events, persecution of Christians, ungodly rulers, wars, famines, plagues, dreams, angels, and of course the Holy Spirit.

Familiar names to all of us have predicted the coming of Christ, without success.

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church predicted in his commentary of Revelation 12, he believed that Christ would come in the year 1836. Even before Wesley some of the Reformers made failed predictions regarding the return of Christ.

Charles Taze Russel the first President of the Watchtower Society stated that Christ would return in 1874.

Herbert W. Armstrong: The Worldwide Church of God movement made several predictions such as 1936, 1943, and then 1972.

Edgar C. Whisenant: Wrote the book 88 Reasons Why the Rapture will be in 1988. 4.5 million copies sold. You can still buy this book on Amazon .com!

I could go on with familiar names like Harold Camping, Jerry Falwell, and Jack Van Impe.

However, the bottom line comes down to what Jesus said about his return, not what men, no matter how sincere, intelligent, or religious, or convincing they may have been.

To answer the question: “Is this the end?” … wait for it…

I don’t know.

But what did Jesus say about his return?

Matthew 24:3–14

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”  And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray.  For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.  And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.  And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.  And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.  But the one who endures to the end will be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Matthew 24:36–39

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.  For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

So taking what Jesus said concerning his return, how should we live? How should we live if we think Christ’s return is right around the corner or years down the road?  In Jesus’ parable of the ten minas in Luke 19:11–14 we find our answer.

Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’– Luke 19:13

Keep doing the business that you were saved to do. Spread the gospel.

When I read this verse, I can’t help but think about words that Jesus spoke as a 12-year-old when Mary and Joseph realized that Jesus wasn’t with them and went back to find him at the temple conversing with the teachers.

“And he said unto them, how is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” Luke 2:49, KJV

Instead of being fearful, instead of trying to figure out if this is the end, be about the Father’s business.