As nations seek to balance their intervention into other countries’ use of chemical weapons and halting any nuclear ambitions of their enemies, the eyes of religious groups around the world are watching for signs that may trigger what they believe will bring an end to the world.
The fact is, people have been wondering about the end of the world and making predictions about how and when it might happen ever since ancient prophecies foretold this was a certainty. As time continues to tick down in what some call “The end of days,” “The end time” or “The last days,” speculation on what was written under Divine inspiration and how to interpret it has led to one disappointment or adjustment after another.
That is for good reason. The most quoted prophet of all time said at Mark 13:32, “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.” — New Living Translation.
His best advice to people living at any given time is found at Mark 13:33-37. Jesus said, “Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake — for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning — lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” — English Standard Version.
To “stay awake” one would have to be alert to any sights and sounds that could point to the Master’s return, would he not? He may speculate that his Master’s arrival may be on horseback, by chariot or on foot — the sounds of which might be different depending on the landscape and season.
In other words, a person who is keeping on the watch would be alert to any number of world situations that might result in its end. Such a person would not be overly disappointed that what was thought to be a sign turned out to be nothing. That person would “keep awake” and continue looking for signs that his Master was at hand.
While there is little dispute among God-fearing people about living in the “time of the end,” there is wide dispute about the series of events and order in which things will happen. Do you think you know? The truth is, until it happens, no one can be certain how it will happen. One must be willing to correct any misconceptions and stay awake. For example, notice what Daniel 11:35-45 says will happen before the end arrives. This is completely without commentary.
“And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time. Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things. Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain.
“At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.” — New King James Version.
Is this far-reaching prophecy happening now or about to happen? I am not one to try to interpret Scripture in the light of current world events. Greater minds than mine can do so. Not me. When the Almighty reveals the fulfillment of His Word, there will be no misunderstanding. Until then, we are told to keep on the watch, stay awake and see for ourselves the unfolding purpose of God.
By heeding Jesus’ words, we may also succeed in escaping all these things that are destined to occur and in standing before the Son of man. So, be willing to adjust your views and keep on the watch, because everyone can feel it — the Master is coming.