May 6th

The “end times” is a rich Bible theme. Prophets such as Isaiah and Micah watch the destruction of Israel and prophecy a new world when Israel is restored. Daniel bravely goes to the Lion’s Den believing in God’s Kingdom that would be more substantial than the despotic regime of Nebuchadnezzar.

As the Old Testament progresses, belief and hope in God’s New Kingdom builds. Jesus talks a great deal about “the end times” – parables about God’s coming Kingdom (the wise and foolish virgins, the meal of God’s Kingdom, many others), proclaims God’s Kingdom and goes to the Cross believing that God’s Kingdom will come.

After Jesus is risen, those he meets are in no doubt that He has ushered in God’s Kingdom. Apostles such as Paul see their whole ministry as taking place in the “short space of time” between the ascension of Jesus and his return – in other words, during the end times… which continue.

Much speculation today imagines the “end times” beginning with some major cataclysmic event (it used to be nuclear war, now it’s the coronavirus) and continuing through turmoil before the final return of Jesus. Perhaps better to see “the end times” beginning with the resurrection and extending down the centuries until Jesus’s return. After all, there is nothing new about “wars and rumours of wars”, earthquakes, famines, and viruses for that matter. And if we are, indeed, living in the end times then the two imperatives I outlined on Monday speak to the need to live by faith – “no one knows the day or the hour” and “be prepared”.

Michael Docker