Is the End Near? Part Two―What Will Happen?

Many times, people have predicted the rapture would happen on this date, but it never happened. Why did they get it wrong? They were so sure they had it figured out. How could they be wrong? The Bible says in Matthew 24:36, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” The next time you hear someone say, I know for sure that Jesus is returning on this date; ignore them, but be ready. Matthew 24:44 states, “Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” 1Thessalonians 5:2 states, “For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”

How should we be ready for Christ’s return? Over the next several blog posts, I will explore the meaning of each statement listed in 1Peter 4:7-10, which tells us what we must be doing when Christ returns.

1Peter 4:7-10 (NIV) states, The end of all things is near.

―Therefore, be alert (ESV says, be self-controlled; NAS says, be of sound judgment) and

―of sober mind so that you may pray.

―Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

―Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

―Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

What did Peter mean when He said the end of all things is near? First, let’s review the context of this chapter. Chapter four begins by explaining Christ’s suffering and how our purpose is to suffer in the flesh (also means tempted) until we cease from sin and live for the will of God. Hebrews 2:18 states, “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” God will help you to endure your suffering. The chapter ends by elaborating again on how suffering will test our faith.

These posts explain how to suffer well: Example of Suffering Well and God’s Response: Part 2 of Suffering Well and 7 Ways to Suffer Well: (Part 1).

This next Scripture passage explains how we are to live our lives and how to keep from being distracted from running our life’s race. For me running is suffering, so I think it is fitting that a race is a metaphor for suffering. Hebrews 12:1-2 states, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Each of us is running the race of life in different lanes. My lane may require I suffer persecution and hardships; your lane may require suffering afflictions. We each need to keep our eyes on Jesus and encourage one another to love and do good deeds. Hebrews 10:24-25 states, “And let us consider how to stir up (encourage) one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day (of Christ return) drawing near.

Jesus’s lane was not easy. He was born in a smelly, cold stable only to suffer persecution for speaking the truth that God was His Father. Then He paid the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross to save us from the wrath of God. 1Peter 2:21-23 states, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.   He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.”

The next Scripture passage encourages us to entrust our souls to God, who is faithful and to do good. 1Peter 4:16-19 states, “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”

“For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”

“And ‘If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’”

“Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”

Read the posts on what it means to do good. Part 1: How to Achieve Genuine Goodness? and Part 2: How to Overcome Evil with Good.

Jesus warned us that the world would hate us because it hated Him, so expect it and don’t be surprised. John 15:18 states, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” Then John 17:14 says, “I have given them Your Word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” And 1Peter 4:14 states, “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” Finally, Romans 8:16-18 (ESV) states, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Nobody wants to suffer unless you volunteer to join the military. But when you do suffer, keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith (Heb. 12:2), and He will help you endure to glorify you with Him. Matthew 24:13 states, “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

Be encouraged by the truth that nothing can separate you from the love of God explained in the following passage. Romans 8:35, 37-39 stares, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  37) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I hope you will keep your eyes on Jesus and the truth of God’s Word and not be distracted by your suffering, the problems in the world, and the allurements of your sinful flesh. We do not know when Christ will return but we need to be ready and watching. I am praying for you, please pray for me. I would love to know what your thoughts are.

RELATED POSTS:

Is the End Close? Part One―What does the Bible Say?

Unseen Battle With The Secular World

What Will Cause You to Lose Your Inheritance

How the Devil Causes Trouble

Forgiven and Saved? Now Renew Your Mind (Part One)

Three Steps to Renew Your Mind (Part Two)

Example of Suffering Well and God’s Response: Part 2 of Suffering Well

Have you ever thought about being molded by God?  Have you ever considered how the outcome of trials and sufferings mold us into vessels that God can use? Isaiah 64:8 states, “But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our potter; we are all the work of Your hand.”  God uses experiences and imperfect people to shape us into vessels of honor.  For example, a potter kneads the clay to get the air pockets out.  He then forms the clay ball into a desired vessel by pinching it into the shape he wants. Next, he puts it into a hot kiln for many hours. In the same way, God uses trying circumstances and imperfect people to shape us and to make us more like Christ. No one will say they like suffering but when we keep our eyes on Jesus and trust Him, He will strongly support us.  Sometimes though, we cause our own suffering because of our own wrong choices, even so, God can still use it for good if we allow Him to.  For example, if you tell your boss off and you lose your job, well, that suffering could have been avoided.  Even so, God can mold you into a more patient person.

Rom 8:28, 29a states, And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29) For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son,…”

One of my favorite stories on suffering well and God’s response is the story of Joseph in Genesis, chapters 37-50.  Joseph had an understanding of the eternal perspective of God’s plan and purpose.  I encourage you to read this whole story.  The following is a very short overview of his story and some reflective questions. As you read, imagine if you were him.

Joseph was the second youngest in a family of 12 sons.  His brothers were jealous of him because their father favored him.   His brothers dislike him even more when he told them about dreams he had and how they were bowing down to him.  After some time had past, his father sent him to check on his brothers in the fields. They desired to kill him but one of the brothers, who had compassion, convinced them to put him in a dry well instead.  He suggested this because he wanted to get him out later and send him away to safety. When a band of Egyptian traders came along, the other brothers sold him to be a slave.  

?? How do you think Joseph must have felt, not knowing what will happen to him or if he would ever see his family again?  How would you feel if you were him?

Joseph behaved well and accept his fate and God blessed him by causing everyone to give him favor.  His first owner made him head over his entire household.  In the meantime, his owner’s wife wanted Joseph to sleep with her.  But he refused because of his faith in, and fear of, God.  One day, she grabbed his coat as he fled and she then lied to her husband and said that Joseph tried to rape her.  As a result, his owner sent him to jail.  Once again, Joseph behaved well, even when suffering an injustice, so God gave him favor with the head jailer.  Then God provided an opportunity for Joseph to interpret the dreams for two of Pharaoh’s servants.  He then asked them to remember him to Pharaoh when they got out of prison so he could get out too.  But, the servants forgot Joseph.  

?? Did Joseph have the right to be bitter, resentful, and angry at his brothers or the servants who forgot him, or his master’s wife who lied? Would you have if you were Joseph?

?? Is there a situation in your life that you are bitter and resentful about? If you answered yes, then please visit my website, hopeforcompletehealing.com, to learn how to work through the issues that have caused you to be resentful.

One day, Pharaoh had a dream which no one could interpret. One of his servants remembered that Joseph had interpreted his dream in prison and told Pharaoh, who then sent for Joseph.  Joseph interpreted the dream which was about seven years of abundant crops followed by a seven-year famine. God caused Pharaoh to make Joseph second in command of Egypt to prepare for the seven years of famine. Now that is a promotion. During the famine, Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt to buy food for their families. They did not recognize Joseph, but he recognized them as they were bowing before him. Remember his dreams? Not only did Joseph give them food, but he also gave their money back, by putting it into the grain bags. He forgave them and blessed them.

?? Did Joseph have the right to be prideful and rub his success in his brother’s faces instead of blessing them? Would you have?

?? Is there someone who has humiliated, dishonored, or wronged you and you are still struggling with the painful memory and offense? Again, I encourage you to visit my website to help you overcome these painful memories.

Genesis 50:20 records Josephs confession to his brothers, As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.What a fabulous attitude. I want to have that same attitude, how about you? Please read the rest of the story in Genesis to see how he saved his family and the nation of Israel.

?? How will the choices you make affect the outcome of your life or the lives of others?

The following is an example in the Apostle Peter’s life:

Luke 22:31-32 Jesus said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you , that he might sift you like wheat, 32) but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Remember, Jesus is also interceding for each of us (see Romans 8:34) that our faith does not fail. Therefore, one of the purposes of going through trials and sufferings is to encourage and strengthen others when they are in the same or similar trial. See my blog on “7 ways to suffer well.”