Is the end of the world near?
When will the world end? Every war, famine and earthquake seems to trigger another thought among Christians that the end is near. We are justified in thinking these things because of Jesus’ prophetic words, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains” (Matthew 24:7-8).
But how close is the end of the world, really? Closer than you might think. First, it’s important to understand that we have been living in the last days for centuries now. When Peter addresses the crowd on the day the Holy Spirit birthed the church, he used as explanation a prophecy from the Old Testament and stated that we are now in the last days, “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people” (Acts 2:17). So if we’ve technically been in the last days for the past 2000 years of human history, why has God tarried so long? Look to the Old Testament story of Israel for explanation. God warned the Israelites for hundreds of years about the coming judgment on them as a nation, but He allowed them ample time to repent and change their ways. Ultimately, judgment came at the hands of foreign nations. So when God is warning judgment not just on a nation but on an entire planet and species, it makes sense that God would allow mankind ample time to repent and change our ways, even if that is thousands of years.
But just because God has delayed this long, we should not delude ourselves into thinking the end of the world is far off in the distant future. When the disciples asked Jesus about the end of the age in Matthew 24, here are five signs Jesus gave them that are being fulfilled today.