March 25

Matthew 24:12-14 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 contain Jesus' teaching on the last days. The disciples asked for information about two separate events. They asked when the buildings of Jerusalem would be torn down. They also lumped in a request for information about the end of the age. They thought these two events would coincide. The destruction of Jerusalem took place in 70 A.D., but the end of the age has not yet come. Jesus' answer has an amazing overlap that speaks to both times just as many prophecies speak to both the first and second coming of Christ.

One of the clearest warnings is to be weary of false prophets and false messiahs. He taught that they would be able to deceive people, even displaying miraculous signs. He spoke of wars that would continue throughout this age, as well as famines and earthquakes. Then He gave a few specifics by which we can know the last generation has arrived. There will be a great increase in wickedness. Other passages call this the apostasy or falling away. Many will allow their (agape) love to grow cold. Only Christians truly exhibit "agape" love. The kingdom will be preached in the whole world. The abomination that causes desolation that Daniel wrote about will be set up in the temple. I suppose that means the temple in Jerusalem must be rebuilt first. These are the signs that the Lord gave us. He taught that this would be the beginning of a time of tribulation like the world has never seen.

In the years since Jesus' ascension, there have been many times that the church has thought Christ's return was at hand, but the signs had not all been fulfilled. We need not worry about the end of the world until these signs come to pass, but we should always live in such a way that we are ready to go from this life into eternity. Jesus' prediction about the destruction of Jerusalem came to pass. This age of the Gospel being preached to mankind will also come to an end. The time of the Gentiles is almost over.

Consider: Our life here is about our preparation for entering into that next age. Are you getting ready?