The Christian church year begins with the season of Advent in the weeks prior to Christmas. The Sundays of November mark the final days of the church year. The appointed Scripture readings in this season direct our hearts to reflect on the end times. This tends to be a topic that sparks many questions among believers. It’s also one that’s addressed extensively in the Gospels along with several other biblical books, such as the book of Revelation, which we’ve just begun studying in our Thursday morning Bible study.

            What are we to think of the end times? How should we prepare for them? Should we be quaking in fear or looking forward with confidence? Here are some main points for you to remember about the end times:

            First, the Bible teaches us that we are living in the end times. In this sense, the end times began with Christ’s first coming, when He became man, was born, lived, died, resurrected, and ascended for us. Christ’s own words prepare His people to live with the understanding that He has already ushered in the end times by His first coming. There are numerous reminders in God’s Word to be prepared for Christ’s return at any time, telling us “The time is near” (Rev. 1:3), and “Surely I am coming soon” (Rev. 22:20). Biblically speaking, we understand the end times as unfolding now, not someday far into the future. The exact time of Christ’s return is also not revealed to us so that we should live in a continual state of readiness and expectation. 

            Second, the end times will be a time of great distress. The Bible speaks of various signs which are and will continue to be markers of the end times. These include such things as earthquakes, floods, storms, signs in the heavens, wars and rumors of war, diseases, and famines. The Church will be afflicted with false teaching, hypocrisy, and many falling away from the true faith. The last days will be manifest in people’s everyday behaviors: “people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Tim. 3:2-4). Do you notice how so many of these things are already happening?

            Third, Christ comforts Christians as we approach the end times. While the last days will be a time of “great tribulation” for the earth and for believers, we also have God’s promise that we will come out of the tribulation and be washed clean by the blood of the Lamb to enter the presence of God (Rev. 14:14). As Jesus was describing some of the distressing signs of the end, he also shared this special word of comfort: “Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28).

            Yes, the end times will be (and already are) troubled times. There will be a constant stream of things prompting us to turn toward our Savior and take refuge in Him. But be assured of this: with each day that goes by, and as these end times intensify, your redemption is even nearer! That’s your Lord’s promise to anchor you through these end times.

Peace in Christ,

                        Pastor Kory Janneke