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The short answer: maybe.

“Wow. Thanks a bunch,” you might say. “That was truly helpful.”

Let me explain. It seems like every few years there’s a new book published by some preacher who is certain that he has — after 20 centuries and thousands of other searchers have failed — deciphered the Biblical prophecies, detected the signs of the present times, and now want to reveal to the world that the end of the world is near. Often they even give a specific year, month, and day. And year after year the date comes and goes and the unbelieving world sneers, chuckles in a cynical way, and pockets one more reason to ignore Christian teachings and claims. I hate it, when I see it happening again.

“So, you’re saying that you don’t believe in the end of the world as Christians teach it?”

No, not at all. The part I hate is the date setting and the “arm twisting” evangelism that usually accompanies it.

Jesus Himself said, "No-one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Matthew 24:36, NIV). No one — no one will know the timing of the end except the Father in Heaven alone. That’s the final word on the subject — everything else is nothing but false advertising. Everything else is nothing but the little boy who cried, “Wolf!”; and just like the little boy who cried “Wolf!” after a while no one pays attention anymore until the real wolf comes and its too late.

God didn’t give us a specific date and time for a couple of reasons. First, humans being humans, people (if they knew the date and hour) would delay preparation for judgment until maybe five minutes before the end. And until that five minutes the world would undoubtedly be one giant Mardi Gras party — sin to the max, then do penance and go to Heaven. Second, God’s decisions about His judgment days (e.g., Noah’s flood, Sodom and Gommorah) are usually connected to the depth of sin and depravity of mankind. He is patient, but His patience has a certain threshold, known only to Himself.

The Biblical bottom line here is that we should get prepared to meet our Creator and stay prepared. Jesus tells this parable to illustrate this principle…

"At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour." Matthew 25:1-13, NIV.

That’s why the answer to the question or whether or not the end is near is “maybe”.

And even if the Lord comes 500 years from now, we all still realize (don’t we?) that our lives are really very fragile, we are all mortal, and we need to live each day as if it were our last — productively, properly prioritized, focused, and spiritually prepared.


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