(Jesus said) "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour." Matthew 25:13
At the end of every broadcast on The Lutheran Hour we answer questions that have come in from some of our listeners. One question which has been regularly submitted is, "Pastor, do you think we are living in the last times?"
I imagine if Paul, Peter or John had been broadcasting out of Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago, the early believers would have asked them, "Are these the last times?"
The reality is every generation of Christians has believed the last-time warnings shared in Scripture were applicable to their particular era. So far, every generation has been wrong ... so far. Of course, because our ancestors were mistaken about the last times being imminent doesn't mean we will be mistaken, does it?
Maybe that explains the results of a poll that were released last month.
The Barna Group, the folks who took the poll, asked more than 1,000 Americans if they thought they were living in the last times. The results were surprising. Forty-one percent of those who responded agreed with the statement: "The world is currently living in the end times as described by prophesies in the Bible."
If Barna had asked me, I would have said, "I don't think so."
Now it is true, many of the promises about the last days are being fulfilled. Listen to the news, read the paper, and you will hear about wars and rumors of wars; you will be astounded at how things are being turned topsy-turvy. But there's more. Look behind the headlines and you will realize that, as was predicted, Jesus' people are being persecuted.
All of those things might indicate Jesus is coming soon, but there is one prediction which, as far as I can tell, hasn't come to pass. Speaking about the world's end, Jesus said, "For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect" (see Matthew 24:24).
That prediction, my friends, hasn't come to pass. Yes, we have false prophets but, as far as I have been able to see, none of those false prophets are doing great signs and wonders which might deceive God's elect.
No, the world may not be ending today or tomorrow. Even so, that doesn't mean our end is not around the corner. Those of us who have been given faith in the Redeemer, who have been cleansed of our sins by His holy, precious blood, are given no guarantee of longevity.
This is why we need to be prepared. Our houses need to be in order, and we need to be ready for that unknown hour.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, there is no doubt the world's end and my end are both coming. It is impossible for me to know if those events will happen at the same time or not. For that reason, may I always be found faithful to my Savior whose life was given so I might be forgiven and saved. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries