August 10, 2022
I was reading Jesus’ response to his disciples’ question, “What will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?” in Matthew 24. Jesus said,”You will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of birth pangs”. Then, after warning about the persecution that will fall on believers and the resulting apostasy of believers he goes on to say,” And this good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come.”(Mt. 24:3-14).
Reading today’s news re: wars, drought, wild fires, and famine in the most unlikely places (read Europe and the USA) one is confronted with these words from the Son of God. The question arises, are we on the cusp of the apocalypse?
Two things emerge: Jesus said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it”(Mt.16:18) and the other is this reference to the Gospel reaching the whole world before the end. Even though there seems to be a certain apathy on the part of the Western church there is vitality and major growth in the churches of the Southern Hemisphere. Jesus is building there for sure. The Gospel has nearly reached everywhere.
The “birth pangs” are increasing. We can be encouraged by this “good news”. God is not surprised by our world’s travail. He is at the door.