When I watch the news, my heart beats a little faster, and I start to feel anxious and concerned about the future. Alarming news of natural disasters, political upheaval, vicious wars, and indescribable suffering and pain strikes fear in our hearts. Is this the end of time?
We are not to know the time of Jesus’ return, but there are signs to heed as the time draws near. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell how Jesus warned the disciples about the end of time. Jesus told them there would be false prophets, Christ-pretenders who come in His name. Wars and rumors of wars will leave countries desolate, thousands will suffer famine and pestilence, and great earthquakes will tremble across the globe (Matthew 24:3-7). “‘All these are but the beginning of the birth pains,’” Jesus declares (Matthew 24:8).
As the earth shudders in advance of Jesus’ return, men’s hearts will turn toward evil as well. The apostle Paul writes to his beloved friend Timothy warning the time will be difficult (2 Peter 3:1). In this passage, Paul identifies more than 20 ungodly traits that will mark men as the time draws near: pride, arrogance, abusiveness, and unholiness to name a few (2 Timothy 3:2-7).
If we look around, we notice the world looks a lot like these warning signs and people are understandably fearful. Perhaps they fear God’s judgment. Maybe they are unsure about the future or their salvation. For the children of God, however, the end of time is not a fearful prospect but a time of rejoicing.
“God’s promises never fail.”
Scripture tells us believers look forward to receiving beautiful promises when Jesus returns. Trusting in these promises in the midst of troubled times encourages us to look toward the heavens with anticipation, not anxiety. Sometimes, though, fear overtakes us, and we struggle to find peace in the middle of this turmoil.
When we feel those pangs of despair and dread as we witness tumultuous times and encounter evil, let’s remember God’s promises that give us hope, not fear. For God’s promises never fail (Joshua 23:14). Here are a few promises we have for hope:
1. Eternal life is ours.
As believers, assurance of eternal life began the moment we surrendered our lives to Jesus. We believe in our hearts that Jesus is the Son of God who lived a perfect life, and then, obediently died the death we deserve so we could be reconciled with God. Then He defeated death when he rose from the dead on the third day just as He said He would. As Christ followers, we have the promise of eternal life.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
2. Our citizenship is heavenly.
As God’s children, we enjoy dual citizenship. We live on this earth, but our citizenship is in heaven. If we visit another country, we do not become citizens of that country because we cross its borders. We are merely visitors and remain a citizen of our home country. The same is true for the kingdom of God. Our time on this earth is temporary, and our real home is heaven. We have the promise of heavenly citizenship.
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20)
3. We move into a new house.
During His last night with the disciples, Jesus told them He was leaving and would return. He was going to prepare a place for them in His Father’s house. In that house are many rooms, He told them (John 14:2). Wanting to get there soon, Thomas wanted directions. So, Jesus told him, “‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6). Jesus is the only way to our heavenly home. Our limited imaginations cannot begin to picture this glorious house. Whatever the home design, we are promised Jesus is preparing it just for us (John 14:2-7).
4. The old body is made new.
Our earthly bodies are fragile. Our bones break, and disease causes pain and suffering. Even if we have health, aging exacts a toll. When Jesus returns, however, we receive new glorious bodies. Paul looked forward to his new body. He encourages the Philippians by reminding them that although men turn to evil and the world is discouraging, “the Lord Jesus Christ will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21). Through Jesus, we have hope in the promise of a glorious eternal body.
5. Nothing can break us apart.
In Paul’s letter to the Roman church, he asks, “who can separate us from the love of Christ?” The answer: no one and nothing. Not life or death, angels nor demons, no power or living creature, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35).
Even when the world is spinning out of control, despair and tragedy all around, we are carefully in the grip of God’s love. If He is for us, who, or what can come against us (Romans 8:31)? Nothing. God promises that we will never be without His love.
6. An inheritance awaits.
In Peter’s first letter, he writes to the scattered Christians suffering persecution. Then, as now, the people feared the world and Peter wanted to encourage them to have hope. He reminds them of the precious inheritance that awaits us in heaven. This eternal inheritance will not perish, spoil or fade and God himself is the guard (1 Peter 1:3-5).
It seems that everything that was once valuable in this world is waning. What is important today will be replaced with something more important tomorrow. For us, however, a precious inheritance awaits that never tarnishes or depletes. This inheritance is not silver or gold but the promise of everlasting life with Christ.
7. Sin and suffering disappear.
As the apostle John records the revelation of the new earth and a new Jerusalem, a loud voice tells him that God will dwell with His people and He will lovingly wipe away every tear. The old order of things that included pain, suffering, sickness, sin, temptation, and death is erased (Revelation 21:1-4). The new order of things promises eternal worship and rejoicing as we sit in the presence of God.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)
8. There will be a heavenly celebration.
As we await Jesus’ return, we ready ourselves as a bride prepares for her wedding. Our preparations and details include loving others, sharing God’s grace and mercy, learning more about God, and turning away from temptation and sin. We are not to simply peer into the clouds looking for Jesus’ return. We are to prepare for His return.
Once that day arrives and the necessary things take place, there will be a great feast, a banquet, and as God’s children, we are all invited. Nothing to wear, you say? Jesus will give us fine linen robes of white worn only by God’s people (Revelation 19:6-9). We have the promise of heavenly celebration with Christ.
9. We win!
In the book of Revelation, there are several explicit descriptions of war. Nation will go against nation, son against father, friend against friend. At one point, it will seem the enemy is winning. Scripture tells us how that ends. We win! God destroys the enemy, and he no longer whispers lies, condemns and tempts. He will never again cause pain or destruction (Revelation 19:19-21). We don’t have to wait until the end of times to receive this victory. Through our faith in Jesus, we win over sin, and its destruction. We have the promise of triumph over the enemy.
10. God moves in.
According to scripture, many tragic events must take place at the end of time. Wars, earthquakes, and worse will come to pass, but once God has reckoned with the enemy, God will dwell among us. One Bible paraphrase says, “God will move into the neighborhood…” (Revelation 21:3-5 MSG) Another version says, “God’s home is now with his people. He will live with them…” (Revelation 21:3 CEV).
Either way, our Creator will live with us and among us. The prospect of walking and talking with God the Father is a beautiful promise that gives us hope and anticipation of things to come.
Maybe the time is tomorrow, we are not told, but the signs clearly point in the direction to Jesus’ return. Some become fearful at the prospect. Without a doubt, the description of the end of time in scripture is unsettling. As children of God, however, we do not have to despair in these difficult times. We have the promises of eternal life in a heavenly home in the presence of God for all time. We have hope for the future, not fear.