August 17

Text: Matthew 24:4-7

And Jesus answered and said to them, "See to it that no one misleads you.  For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead many.  And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.”   (NASB)

When I was auditing a graduate level course a few years ago, the teacher introduced the class to Richard Kyle’s The Last Days Are Here Again.  The book is a history about predictions of the end of time.  Concerning that subject, I have two impressions.  (1) The predictions have a L-O-N-G history.  Some people have been quite certain they knew when time would end.  (2) So far, there has been 100% error in those predictions.  All the predictions were wrong about time ending.  The predictions are dust and time continues.  The end has not come—yet!

Though there have been so many failed attempts to predict time’s end, the prediction continues to be a popular prediction.  Every time there is a radical shift in human history, a popular explanation continues to be “time is coming to an end.”  Consider a few recent major shifts: the industrial revolution, World War I and II, the space age, a global economy, mass communication, the fall of the Soviet Union, the age of technology, major morality shifts, the decline of organized religions, etc., etc., etc.

When something occurs that many dislike, a major explanation always seems to be, “It has come!  Time is coming to an end!  The end will happen soon!”

The 12 wanted a “sign.”  Jesus replied, “Do not be misled.”  False claims about the presence of the Christ would abound.  There would be both man-made and natural tragedies.  None of these is the “sign” the 12 sought.  As much fear as these occurrences might generate, such things are not the “sign.”

To me the point is this: godly behavior is not dependent on an end-of-time “sign.”  God’s message IS NOT behave as ungodly as you wish before the end of time is near, but get serious about godly behavior when you observe the certain “sign” that time is ending.  Godliness is not “end of time” dependent.

Suggestion for reflection: Why are you godly?  (Read 2 Peter 1:5-11.)

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