A bright future
"And this do, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed." (Romans 13:11)
These words which have to do with the return of Christ, were written by the Apostle Paul to the Christians in Rome.
They were appropriate then and they are appropriate for Christians in our own day.
In the final days of 1999, there were many who feared the world would end at the arrival of the year 2000.
It was reported in the news one man sold his home worth a half million dollars and moved out into the wilderness to build a bunker in order to survive the inevitable catastrophic events.
Many stockpiled supplies and purchased guns in order to prepare for the worst.
The year 2000 came and the world didn’t end, which all goes to prove we do not know the time when the world will end.
Christ instructs His followers not to predict the end of the world based on the escalation of catastrophic events such as wars, famines and earthquakes, "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.
"But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs." (Matthew 24: 6-9)
Although Christ warns of terrible times and dreadful events, He insists these are not the main things Christians should focus on and they are not the main sign that the end is getting near.
What then is the main sign that the end is near?
Christ tells us, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations and then the end shall come." (Matthew 24:14)
That is the main sign.
That is the only thing the Lord is really waiting for, the spread of the gospel to every corner of the world.
The more the gospel spreads, the closer we are to the return of Christ.
The timing of the Lord’s return does not depend on any crisis (Y2K or otherwise).
The timing depends on God’s patience and His eternal plan to save more souls from every tribe, language and every nation.
We can be sure the time of Christ’s return is nearer than ever, not because 2,000 years have passed since His first coming, but because throughout those two millennia, the gospel has been preached.
Those who know Him, look forward to His return.
For them, the best is yet to come.
On one occasion, He told His followers, "In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."