Are we in the ‘End Times’? – Session Three
Are we in the ‘End Times’? – Session Three
This session asks how Jesus’ predictions about the end times were reflected in the events of the first century, and how they speak to us today.

This session asks how Jesus’ predictions about the end times were reflected in the events of the first century, and how they speak to us today.

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Study Notes

Some people have been obsessed with predicting the end of the world through history. Over the last 50 years ‘doomsday cult’ leaders in different parts of the globe have forecast the imminent end of the world and led their followers into dramatic waiting.  Jesus’ warning in the Gospel of Matthew that we should pay little attention to those who claim to know the workings of God’s mind on the future is very relevant. We cannot know the future or when our created world will draw to a close, even though many of the signs Jesus spoke about have already taken place. The key issue for us is the one Jesus outlines in all his parables –  the need for us to be prepared.

From the book

‘Jesus lists wars, rumours of wars, earthquakes and famines as all marking the beginning of birth pains (Matthew 24: 8) but the end is not yet. He makes it clear that no one knows when that will be.  Yet he is unambiguous about the things that will happen in the disciples own lifetime, not least their persecution. The disciples would have grasped by now that suffering was to be on their agenda but everything Jesus had already told them was now coming closer to realisation. They would face hatred torture and death. The integrity of the church itself could be threatened. The temptation to betray fellow believers, to follow false leaders and to fall away from the faith, was all part of the challenges ahead.’

Page 111

‘In all these parables it is clear that the return of the Messiah does not simply mark the ending of our world; it also brings judgement. This is particularly hard for our generation to hear because judgement is such an unpopular concept. Many even in the church exclude God’s judgement from their thinking and focus only on love yet they are bound up together. God’s love for the vulnerable is expressed in judgement on the evil that harms them.  The unfaithful servant in the parable is openly judged by God not only because of his own complacency but because of his cruelty and injustice.  When we are indifferent to the needs of those who suffer we compound their pain.

Page 116

Jesus predicted that towards the end times people would fall away from their belief in God. It is significant that this has been the case in the countries of the affluent North and West. Globally, the centres of contemporary Christianity have moved to Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Points for Reflection

  1. How do we prepare for Christ’s return?
  2. What do you make of the huge variety of contemporary cults and the way their spread is facilitated by social media? How would you describe what this is about?

A Prayer

Dear God, we pray that your Holy Spirit will give us courage to witness to your truth in an unbelieving age and keep us faithful to you. Help us to be prepared and ready for whatever the future holds. Amen.