Well, if you read my post a few days back, this is one of the things I have been thinking about haha.
ODJ 1st May - Perhaps Today
When will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to take place?” (Luke 21:7). Over the centuries, Christians have asked these two questions. And in every generation they’ve believed that Jesus was coming back in their lifetime because of signs and events that they observed during their day. Yet, 2,000 years later, we’re still trying to find the answers to these questions.
Instead of giving the disciples a specific time, Jesus gave a warning, “Don’t let anyone mislead you” (Luke 21:8). To ask “when” is to ask the wrong question. Instead, Jesus gave us these commands: “Watch out!” (Luke 21:34) and “Keep alert at all times” (Luke 21:36). Why these emphases? Are we supposed to watch for specified signs and to match these signs with fulfillments in current events? Let’s take a look.
“Watch out!” doesn’t mean we should look for the signs of His return, but for the dangers of misinterpreting these signs and mistaking them for conclusive proofs that the end of the world is here. These signs—false Christs and teachers, apostasy, conflicts, wars, disasters, earthquakes, famines, pandemics, persecution, the hatred and martyrdom of Jews and Christians (Luke 21:8-17)— have been fulfilled in every generation. Jesus made it clear, “Yes, these things must take place first, but the end won’t follow immediately” (Luke 21:9).
Christ will return. That’s His promise (Luke 21:27). When? We don’t know (Mark 13:32-33). Is it near? Yes, it is nearer now than it was yesterday (Romans 13:11-12). Imminent? “The Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2). Soon? Perhaps today.
Jesus came as our Savior some 2,000 years ago. He will come again as Judge (John 5:22,27; Acts 17:31). “Don’t let that day catch you unaware” (Luke 21:34).
People often say things like 'the end times are near'. How near is near? Of course no one can give a specific answer and I dont expect anyone to, but theres a great difference when you think of near as within the year, a hundred years, and a thousand. Almost two thousand years have passed since the resurrection of Christ. Is it still considered 'near' if we wait another two thousand years?
After we have come to understand the impression of 'near' we have in our minds, then we have to ask ourselves, is the end times really going to come within this time frame? If you defined near as within your lifetime, how certain are you? If you defined near as including outside your lifetime, then is it really appropriate to say 'the end times are near, we must live righteously'? If you think there isnt a necessity to define it, then is the term 'near' even appropriate?
The Word tells us that the Day of the Lord will come unexpectedly. We are also commanded to live everyday as if it were the last because we dont know when the end times really are. Thus it doesnt matter whether or not the end times really are coming within our lifetimes, the fact remains that we have to live righteously at all times.
It seems therefore it doesnt really matter if everyone thinks that 'the end times are near' since accordingly to myself, whether it is true or not our lifestyles shouldnt be any different. Yet on a fundamental level, I feel that it is the very difference between truth and falsehood. It may be a merely a subtle difference between 'we dont know when, so we should live like its near' and 'it is definitely near', but it is nevertheless a difference. This idea of the end times can significantly affect one's worldview and mindset and though I dont think it will lead people astray that badly unless it becomes fanatic or something, but when it comes to something that you are going to believe in and live by, I'd like to think that it ought to be true.