The end of the year is a great time to reflect on endings. No matter how old we are, as long as our abilities to comprehend are not impaired, we have a certain degree of familiarity with endings. This familiarity provides us the necessary background with which to communicate our experiences. Endings can be seen in either positive or negative perspectives based on what led up to them and how they affect future decisions and experiences.
In order for an ending to arrive, a beginning must have taken place. In between the beginning and the end is the journey. Life consists of birth (start), living (journey), and death (ending). Within the journey are many sub-journeys that one undertakes. No matter what journey one takes within the journey, the idea that an ending is coming is never far from the mind. Those who are in the Christian journey should know that the ending of endings is coming.
For over 2000 years, the Christian church has been driven by a fervent conviction that Jesus Christ is coming back soon. The “soonest” was not a concept that developed based on rationalization, but it was revealed through scripture. It was in the first century that Jesus choose to end the apocalypse with the assuring declaration of His soon return (Rev. 22:20, cf. 3:11; 22:7, 12). This “second coming” is supposed to mark the ending of an existence marred by sin.
It does not take a genius to realize that the ending is not yet (check your prophecy charts, there are some events left). It has been not yet for a while, and this has caused many to wonder if He is coming at all. There was a time in history where Christians were certain that Jesus’ second coming would mark the end of life as we know it. This belief was so engrained in the fabric of society that even non-believers planned to convert before their deaths (as if they were able to predict when they were going to die). Today it seems as if the Mayan and Nostradamic predictions of the world ending in 2012 are more convincing. Jesus’ very words concerning man’s inability to predict the exact “day or hour” are widely ignored (Matt. 24:36).
It may be that some have become so comfortable with how things are that the thought of a new world is disturbingly unrealistic, and is looked upon as the inventions of myths and apocalyptic fanatics. The Adventist spirit has been neutered (so it seems). Perhaps the journey has been a bit too long (from their perspective), comfortable, with no threat of a horrific persecution edging over in the horizon. Life seems to go on as it always had. People are “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage” (Matt. 24:38). The rich and the poor are always among us. They have espoused a certain philosophy concerning the repetitiveness of human conduct and world events (and life itself): “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9).
No matter how unrealistic it may seem, the ending will come. What matters is how one lives during the journey. Jesus calls the Christian to adopt a culture of preparedness during the journey (Matt. 24:42-44). Because the ending that we refer to as death is only a sleeping time—a state of unconsciousness and inactivity—until the trumpet sounds, Christians live their lives knowing that this life will impact the one they hope to have in the new world (Job 14:10-12; 1 Thess. 4:16). Despite the not yet that may be swirling around in your mind, it is crucial that the Christian lives everyday thinking that Jesus is coming soon. Such thinking will affect thoughts and actions.
Is your conduct in the journey reflective of where you hope to be when the ending comes? If not, there is no need to despair, there is a need to repent (gr. metanoeo, to change one’s mind). This internal repentance will result in an outward manifestation. Prayerfully evaluate your present condition, and with eyes stayed on God, make the necessary changes. Do not wait, pray now. Jesus is coming back again. The world will be ending soon.