lot of speculation is heard these days about the End Times. Some people believe that Jesus Christ is coming again soon, and that this will be the end of the world. Some people see further evidence of this possibility in the Mayan calendar that ends December 21, 2012; the unproven prophecies of Nostradomus; or in certain alignments in the solar system.
Jesus listed a number of things that are to happen before the end comes—false christs, nations rising against nations, earthquakes, famines, pestilences, persecution and betrayal. Luke 21. Generations before us have seen these events in their own time and thought it was The End. Obviously, it was not! While these signs have happened periodically throughout recorded history, they are occurring more frequently and with greater intensity.
The End Time scenario pendulum swings from one extreme to the other. Religious groups fall out with each other over these different ideologies as if these were absolute doctrines of the gospel. Many believe that this end of the age will be preceded by God’s judgment and by a period of great tribulation. Many believe they will be raptured out during the tribulation.
Such musings do one of two things in us. They either plunge us into the depths of fear or give rise to joyful anticipation, depending on what side of the fence you stand on. Jesus said, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:28.
A terrified woman read me a paper she had prepared predicting these pending horrors. She was considering moving to the mountains to attempt a self-sufficient life. Many people are seeking such refuge.
I talked with her about the need to trust the Lord in all things, regardless of our circumstances.
I shared my personal convictions. “Because I have surrendered my life to Jesus, I am able to live my life knowing that I am no longer my own. Jesus purchased me with His precious, shed blood when He died on the cross. I have been bought with a price. I am not my own. I belong to Him. Nothing can happen to me unless He says so. Whatever happens is His business, not mine.” Paul the apostle wrote, “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” Romans 14:8. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21.
I sensed within myself a serene disconnect from the world as I spoke these things. Even if these things happen in our time—and I am one who thinks they just might—I feel removed from them. I realize, of course, that we can never know for sure how we will face adversity until we actually face it.
Nevertheless, I felt a peace that had to be the work of the Lord in me. He desires to bring us to that place of rest in Him. After all, the Kingdom of God is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17.
This peace that passes all understanding settles upon us when King Jesus reigns and rules in our hearts and lives. When He rules, nothing else does. Come what may, there is nothing to fear.
Charles Elliott Newbold, Jr. has served as pastor, teacher and is the author of several books and numerous articles calling forth Christians to live the laid-down life for Jesus Christ. He and his wife, Nancy McDonald Newbold live in Knoxville, Tennessee where Charles continues his writing.