He was predicting the end of the world on September 23, 2017. Now he is changing his tune to October. Conspiracy theorist and blogger David Meade writes, “It is possible at the end of October  we may be about to enter into the seven-year Tribulation period, to be followed by a Millennium of peace.” 1
David Meade’s doomsday prediction for September 23 drew the attention of many news channels, including National Geographic, Washington Post, Fox News, USA Today, and Forbes. Interestingly, USA Today even quoted Christ’s own words to refute the theory: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” 2
If Jesus so clearly states that no one knows the day of His return, why are so many hours spent trying to figure out when Christ’s return will happen? Our generation isn’t the first with an intrinsic curiosity about end times events. Just look at the millions of sales that the Left Behind Series generated back in the 90’s. Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins’ sixteen-book series has now sold over 80 million copies.3 More recently, books such as The Harbinger and The Twelfth Imam have spent time on bestselling lists.
Going back even further, we see Jesus’ disciples were anxious to know when Christ’s return would happen. One day, Jesus and His disciples were sitting on the Mount of Olives. The disciples asked Him, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?” 4
Instead of replying with the definitive answer they were hoping for, Jesus replied, “Take heed that no one deceives you.” 5
Jesus knew His disciples wanted to know when, but He knew they didn’t need to know when. Instead, they needed to know how to live as faithful disciples of Christ. He gave them three signposts of the end times and three appropriate responses for each of those signposts.
1. Deception will be widespread; therefore, do not be deceived.
Many will proclaim themselves as “The Christ,” the anointed one, the leader whom we must believe and follow. They will exalt themselves above Jesus and will promote their theories, doctrines, and agendas above Christ and His Kingdom. Of such men Jesus warns us, “Be careful! Don’t let anyone deceive you!” With each passing day, Christ’s return draws nearer. We don’t know how near it is, but we do know one thing: deception is increasing. Christ commands us, “Do not be deceived!”
2. Wars, natural disasters, and persecution will abound; but, do not be troubled.
Few of us have lived in a war zone with sirens blaring and missile flares lighting up the night sky. However, the news headlines are enough to remind us of the precarious times that we live in.
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria ravaged the Caribbean this hurricane season. Thousands of Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Floridians and Texans were left without a place to call home. Time Magazine ranks the 2017 hurricane season as the second most costly since 1900, with damage costs in the hundreds of billions. 6
On September 19, Mexico City was rocked by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, killing hundreds of people. This was Mexico City’s worst earthquake since 1985, causing billions of dollars in damage. 7
Persecution of Christians is at an all-time high. According to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, an average of 180 Christians are killed each month for their faith; 8 six will die today because of their faith in Christ.
All one has to do is read the headlines to realize that we live in a world of bad news. Jesus says that this is just the beginning of sorrows! Yet He says that we should not be troubled; we should not get worked up. Instead, we must endure. We must hold onto hope.
And this leads us to the third signpost.
3. The Gospel of the Kingdom will spread in spite of all the opposition.
You might be scratching your head, just as Jesus’ disciples were probably doing when He said this. Jesus had just predicted lots of horrible stuff. Deception will be widespread. Wars, natural disasters, and persecution will abound. It can feel like Christ’s followers are on the defensive of a losing team rather than the offensive of a winning team.
However, this third signpost guarantees that the light will overcome the darkness; the Good News will overwhelm the bad news. Quoting Paul the Apostle, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors…” 9 This should instill hope in each one of us!
Yet this plops the responsibility right in our laps. It places responsibility on the church to take the Gospel to all the world. George Eldon Ladd, a deceased teacher from Fuller Theological Seminary, states it well:
“He alone will know when that goal is fulfilled. But I do not need to know. I know only one thing: Christ has not yet returned; therefore, the task is not yet done. When it is done, Christ will come. Our responsibility is not to insist on defining the terms; our responsibility is to complete the task. So long as Christ does not return, our work is undone. Let us get busy and complete our mission.” 10
Perhaps, like the disciples, our first instinct is to wonder, “When will the end be?” Jesus’ response is the same 2,000 years later. Instead of telling us exactly when it will be, He tells us how we should live. We must be alert for deception. We must not be troubled by all the bad news. Instead, we are invited to join in spreading the Good News of Christ’s Kingdom. Even as the earthly kingdoms are shake and fall, Christ’s Kingdom will only become more firmly rooted and founded. Even as the bad news dominates the headlines, so will Christ’s Good News spread into every corner of the world. It is only when this Gospel of the Kingdom is preached in all the world that the end will then come.
|Ian Miller lives in Harrisburg, PA with his wife Marci, where they are involved in a Spanish church plant. Ian volunteers for a non-profit organization while working on his BA in English through College Plus. He is passionate about urban, cross-cultural church planting, and verbal, personal evangelism.|
- Gajanan, Mahita. “David Meade Says the World Will End in October.” Time, Time, 25 Sept. 2017, time.com/4955640/doomsday-world-end-david-meade/.
- Matthew 24:36, NKJV
- “Tim LaHaye, ‘Left Behind’ Co-Author and Evangelical Leader, Passes at 90.” Tyndale.com, Tyndale Publishers, 25 July 2016, http://www.tyndale.com/news/tim-lahaye-left-behind-co-author-and-evangelical-leader-passes-at-90.
- Matthew 24:3b, NKJV
- Matthew 24:4b, NKJV
- Johnson, David. “Is 2017 the Worst Hurricane Season Ever?” Time, Time, 24 Sept. 2017, time.com/4952628/hurricane-season-harvey-irma-jose-maria/.
- Flannery, Nathaniel Parish. “How Mexico City Is Beginning To Rebuild After The Earthquake.”Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 28 Sept. 2017, http://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanielparishflannery/2017/09/28/mexico-city-begins-to-rebuild-after-earthquake/.
- Erlc. “5 Facts about Christian Persecution.” ERLC.com, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, 31 July 2014, erlc.com/resource-library/articles/5-facts-about-christian-persecution.
- Romans 8:37a, NKJV
- Ladd, George Eldon. “The Gospel of the Kingdom.” Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, William Carey Library, 2009, pp. 83–95.