I have some good news and bad news. NASA
has predicted that the Andromeda Galaxy, which is hurtling towards us at
250,000 miles an hour, will collide with our Milky Way galaxy, scattering
stars, including our sun, in all directions. The good news is that it won’t
happen for about 4 billion years. Even so, it will probably give the
end-of-the-world doomsayers something else to worry us with.
So how should we Christians view world
events in the light of prophecy? Matthew 24:6-8 says, “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. 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”
So, what does Bible prophecy tell us
about world events? It says that lots of bad stuff is going to happen, and some
people are going to be led astray by those events, concluding that the end is
near, but that we shouldn’t follow their lead and believe it. “If they say to
you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look,
he is [coming in the year 2014], do not believe it” (Matthew 24:26).
Matthew 24, verse 36 says, “But about that day or hour no one knows,
not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (NIV)
So, yes the Bible predicts that bad stuff
will happen, and we are seeing that being fulfilled all around us. However,
these words of Jesus have been in the process of being fulfilled for nearly
2000 years now. We might want to know just how much longer. But the Bible
specifically avoids answering the question of how long that is going to
continue. Apparently we, and even Jesus in his earthly life, don’t need to
know. So we should approach world events in the light of that prophecy.
Bible prophecy also tells us that people
will make some erroneous claims about the timing of the return of Christ, and
we see that being fulfilled around us, too.
The real point of Bible prophecy is not
that we should watch world events, but that we should watch ourselves. When the
end does come, we want to be found faithful. Just knowing the date will not
earn us a ticket into salvation. The point of the prophecies is not to enable
prediction, but to foster faithfulness and our faith should not be based on
speculation but on the character of the one who promises and prophesys.
We live in an unstable world, and we will
see ups and downs. We are to live in the same way regardless of whether the end
is near or far. Jesus told one of his parables to people who thought the
kingdom of God was going to appear right away; he told other parables about
people who thought it was going to be a long way off. We are not supposed to
base our behavior, or our faith, on whether it is near or far – the Christian
life remains the same no matter which it is because we place our faith in the
Faithful One whose Word we live by.
So, in the light of Bible prophecy, we’ll
take note of world events – watching them go up and down, getting better and
worse – but don’t base your Christian life on them. In Acts 1:6, just before
Jesus ascended into heaven, the disciples asked Jesus if he was going to bring
the kingdom right away. Jesus responded in verses 7-8, “He told them, ‘You
don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is
the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be
my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the
I’m Joseph Tkach, speaking of LIFE.