16th June 2013

What if the Sky Should Fall? 

“So when they met together, they asked him [Jesus], ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’”
Acts 1:6-8 (NIV UK)

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. That’s the bad news. 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. 

How, then, should we Christians view world events in the light of prophecy? Matthew 24:6-8 says: “You will hear of wars and rumours 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 things are 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 stresses, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

So, yes, the Bible predicts that bad stuff will happen, and we are seeing that being fulfilled all around us; these words of Jesus have been in the process of being fulfilled for nearly 2,000 years now. We, however, might want to know just how much longer. But the Bible specifically avoids answering that question. Apparently we, and even Jesus in his earthly life, don’t need to know. That’s how we should approach world events. Bible prophecy also tells us that people will make erroneous claims about the timing of the return of Christ, and that’s being fulfilled all around us. 

The real point about 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 a date will not earn us our 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 prophesies. 

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 (Luke 19:11); he told other parables about people who thought it was going to be a long way off (Matthew 25:5). We are not supposed to base our behaviour, or our faith, on whether it is near or far—the Christian life remains the same. 

So, in the light of Bible prophecy, take note of world events—watching them go up and down, getting better and worse—but don’t base your Christian life on them. Remember Jesus’ very last words to his disciples (quoted above). 

Holy Father, you who know the end from the beginning. Help us to leave all timings to you, because you know the best time for events to happen. Help us instead to concentrate on what you want us to do in living our lives daily walking with you.

Study by Joseph Tkach


joeandtammyAbout the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA.

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