by Tony Nester

Ready or Not
Tony R. Nester
Mark 13:32-37

Over Sunday dinner, a family discussed the sermon of the morning "The Second Coming of Christ." The teenager said that he still had a lot of questions about the Lord's return. The father tried his best to answer him, but after a while He concluded by saying, "We do not have all the answers we might like, but we do have all we need to know. The best preparation is simply to live each day as if it were your last."

"I tried that once," the teenager replied, "and you grounded me for a month!" (1)

Well, how should we be thinking about "the last days?" I've received numerous questions about whether or not I believe we're nearing the end of the world with the year 2000. What about the Return of Christ? What about the Book of Revelation? What about the Rapture? (For those of you who don't know what the Rapture means, it refers to the idea that believers will be taken out of the world just before God initiates a terrible time of suffering called "the tribulation.")

Do I believe the end is near? I know I'm going to disappoint some of you here this morning with my first answer. But I must be honest with you. I don't know!

I have studied the Bible, including those sections of the Bible that are most often quoted by prophecy experts -- The Book of Daniel, the 13th Chapter of Mark, 1 Thessalonians Chapter 4, and the Book of Revelation -- and I found nothing that gives me dates for predicting the Rapture, the return of Christ, or the end of the world.

Whenever I listen to Christians who try to determine a date for the end of the world I find them making claims that are unsupported by Scripture. They make too many leaps in logic and too many assumptions that have no basis in clear Scriptural teaching. Here's a current example of end-time prophecy by someone who happens to believe in two Raptures and expects them to happen in the near future:

"From Sept. 13, 1993, the signing of the Oslo Accords, to Sept. 13, 2007 i ...

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