Early in World War II, there were those who believed they had seen unmistakable signs that we had entered the time of the end. They could point to specific items in prophecy and the movement of nations that made it appear so; and the argument that we were entering the very last crisis in the age of Man was very strong. But it was wrong.
In first-century Judea, when Jerusalem was actually
encompassed about with armies, the Temple fell; and the church of that era would have been as convinced as anyone could ever be that they had entered the time of the end. But they were wrong. They couldn’t know that. They could see many signs and warnings that they should heed, but there was no way to know whether they were at the time of the end. And, as we now know, they were not.
In fact, when you get it in perspective, we today have seen very little to tell us anything. We have seen one terrorist act (a big one, to be sure) but since then we have seen nothing but talk. From this talk, some have concluded we have entered the time of the end. We may have, but there is no way that we can know it.
I did hear one prophecy after September 11th. It was that many people would be saying that this is the time of end. That one has come to pass. But there has been no credible prophet on the scene, so I have no reason to believe that God did this, nor do I have any reason to believe that we have entered the time of the end except in the broadest sense; but the world has changed, and the Church needs to change, as well.
What kind of changes do we need to make, where should we be going, and what should we be doing? There is a lesson from Jesus’ teachings that I think is very poorly understood among God’s people—perhaps for the commonest of reasons: we though it applied to someone else and not to us. I’m going to try to rectify that error today, if you’ll bear with me.