Faith & Insight: End of the world?

The end of the world started this month. At least, that’s what you’ve seen if you follow some Christian accounts on social media or subscriptions.

Iran’s attack on Israel has led some Christians to speculate about whether this event will lead to a full-scale conflict that mirrors something described in the Bible. There was also a total solar eclipse that was said to have crossed seven cities named Nineveh (which it did not).

No matter how chaotic the world feels, there may even be a Christian in your circle of friends who has said, “This is the beginning of the end.” So what’s going on, readers of faith and insight: is this the end of the world?

(By the way, I’m fully aware that one of the quickest ways a Christian will be canceled by other Christians is to address this topic. And I have a mild concern about it, but here we are, and you have already read this far, so let’s go).

The answer to the question “Is this the end of the world?” for Christians anyway: no, yes, and now live for Jesus. No, it’s not the end.

Jesus said about the end of the world that no one knows the exact time, and everyone will be on guard, because life at that time will look… well, the best word for it is “normal.” Matthew 24:36-41

This hasn’t stopped people from pointing out when it would happen, and there is a Wikipedia page dedicated to predictions about Jesus’ second coming. You can google it, it’s embarrassing.

I encourage all Christians and students of Christianity to devote your time to the present work of Jesus to save us from our shame, bring us into a family, unite us with God and send us into this world to work to do in his name.

Yes, it’s the end too. At least the beginning of it. The New Testament of the Christian Bible teaches that it has been “the end times” since Jesus’ death and resurrection (see 1 John 2:18).

So Jesus said that when we “hear of wars and rumors of wars, let us not be alarmed, for this must happen, but the end has not yet come. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom… all this is but the beginning of the birth pangs.” Matthew 24:6-8

From the standpoint of the end of the world, we do not panic and fixate on every world event because of God’s deliberate control and dominion over all history, but we recognize unrest as a sign of the times.

So Christians: live for Jesus now. Even if Jesus’ return is not imminent, we still serve him (and others) and tell the world about him because there is hope and life in Jesus right now. And one day he will return. And because we are already living in “the end times,” our reactions to headlines or social media are tempered by sobriety, prayer, love, and ultimately hope that takes away passivity or fear. Just as Jesus taught us.

Gavin Jarvis is lead pastor at Living Stones Church.