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(Part 97)


November 25, 2014

Today’s readings:
Revelation 14:14-19
Psalm 96:10-13
Luke 21:5-11

People asked Jesus about the end of time. “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” (Lk 21:7). When will the end come? No one knows except the Father. But there will be telltale signs. Jesus tells us what these are.

  • False prophets. “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he’” (Lk 21:8a). There are very many false prophets in the world today, with sects and cults proliferating. In the Philippines there is a man who is very famous and who has very many followers. He claims he is the Son of God (not in the sense that we are all children of God, but that in effect he is the new Jesus). There is also a woman who claims that she is the Holy Spirit, and she has very many followers among Catholics (this cult has been banned but still many Catholics join it). Many indeed are being deceived. Jesus says sternly, “Do not follow them!” (Lk 21:8c). Unfortunately many follow these false prophets.
  • Wars and insurrections (Lk 21:9a). “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” (Lk 21:10). There are so many armed conflicts in the world today--in the Middle East, in Africa, and in other continents as well. What is different today from previous wars is that many of these conflicts are within a country, and those who engage in it are killing their fellow citizens. There are very many insurrections, not just fringe groups that have always been there in many countries, but citizens rising up against their governments. There are also very many terrorist groups wreaking havoc within their nations’ borders, such as Boko Haram (in Nigeria), the Islamic State (in Iraq), and the Abu Sayyaf (in the Philippines).
  • Natural calamities, famines, plagues. “There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place” (Lk 21:11a). There are more and more earthquakes throughout the world. Very many old churches were leveled or severely damaged in the earthquake in Bohol in the Philippines. There is famine and starvation in Africa. Plagues such as ebola (in western Africa) and black plague (bubonic plague) in Madagascar have erupted.

We are already in the end times (even if it takes another millennium for the end to come). What will happen at the end? John saw this vision: “there was a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud one who looked like a son of man, with a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.” (Rv 14:14). There will be two reapings of the ripe harvest (Rv 14:15,18). The first symbolizes the gathering of the elect, and the second symbolizes the doom of the ungodly, who will be thrown “into the great wine press of God’s fury.” (Rv 14:19b).

How can people be prepared for the end? We need to “declare among the nations: The Lord is king.” (Ps 96:10a). We need to do a massive work of evangelization. People need to meet Christ and to live Christ, and then to share Christ. They need to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord. When they do, then “the world will surely stand fast, never to be shaken.” (Ps 96:10b).

The world today is in really bad shape. Darkness continues to deepen. Many are miserable. The world indeed is a valley of tears. But it does not have to be so when the end comes. We must be able to look forward with joy to the return of the Lord. That is, if we have accepted him as our Lord. If and when we do, then we can hold our heads up high, and look forward to Jesus’ second coming.

At that time, the angels and saints in heaven will rejoice. We will rejoice. All of God’s creation will rejoice. “Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and what fills it resound; let the plains be joyful and all that is in them. Then let all the trees of the forest rejoice before the Lord who comes, who comes to govern the earth” (Ps 96:11-13a).

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