What sign of lunacy can we all recognize? Maybe the man wearing a sandwich sign stating: “The end is near.” Most people would look at such a behavior and think the man must be crazy. Why would anyone spend their valuable time with such a message when the world is doing just fine (though some people wonder how long it might be fine)?
Scientist Fraser Cain projects that the sun will gradually get brighter until by 3.5 billion years from now, the oceans will boil away. I’d say that would destroy the earth as we know it. Whether Mr. Cain is accurate in his life cycle of the sun or not, it seems like the end of the world from the sun’s demise is too far away to imagine in human terms. So why worry?
People worried about watching may be concerned because Jesus led people to believe he was “coming soon.” He said: “So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that thekingdomofGodis near. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Luke 21:31-33, ESV) This sounds like the end of the world, but it plays out much sooner. ThekingdomofGodcomes when Jesus dies and rises again after three days. That event marks the coming of thekingdomofGod– the rule and reign of Jesus after defeating the devil.
Yet “heaven and earth will pass away” when Jesus comes again in his glory. It will be soon in God’s terms, not like soon for me. For the Bible says, “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8, ESV)
The watchful attitude Jesus wants for his people is to keep faithful to his wishes. People are tempted to party up to the last possible moment, much as revelers do through Fat Tuesday before Lent begins. The idea is to get things right with God later. The danger is to wait too long and miss heaven forever.
The final answer lies in what Jesus says about that glory day – Judgment Day: ” “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matthew 24:36-39, ESV)
So if the Son of God doesn’t know and the scenario will play out that all people will be completely surprised, then why watch for signs? Apparently, whatever signs we think will point to the event aren’t valid. So the answer is: I don’t need to watch for signs that the world is ending soon. It is, but no one can know when except God the Father.