Doomsday predictions have been around for centuries. Think of last December’s Mayan Calendar predictions, the Y2K scare of 2000, the Heaven’s Gate Hale-Bopp suicide of 1997, the current Blood Moons craze. Christians and non-Christians alike have long latched onto landmark dates or planetary alignments as “the day to end all days.” They’ve worked themselves into frenzies of fear and frantic preparations. Then as each chosen date has come and gone, they’ve been proven wrong.
Some skeptics use each wrong speculation as ammunition against “those kooky Christians.” Others use the false prophecies as proof that the world will never end. Even professing Christians are lulled into a false sense of complacency with the here and now and, though they may never admit it out loud, fall into living as though Christ will never return. Or worse, they get so comfortable with life on Earth, they don’t really want Him to come back at all.
And yet Jesus says He will return as a thief in the night. He says to be on the alert because nobody knows the hour or the day. He says when the end comes, we will be eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. In other words, we won’t be expecting Him to come when He does. So how should Christians live? Quit our jobs, stockpile food and guns, hide out in caves? Simply continue on with daily life as if the end will never come?
The Bible calls Christians to exist in a peculiar tension, one that puts us in a constant state of readiness for Christ’s return. We are to follow these three principles of preparedness:
Live life. Believers are told to “work in quiet fashion and eat [our] own bread” (2 Thessalonians 3:12, NASB). We are to labor at our job, enjoy our food, walk our dog, kiss our spouse, parent our children, pay our bills, wash our dishes. In other words, we are to go about the business of life.
Be ready. At the same time, we are to be ready for Christ to return at any moment. We must live like the five wise virgins who kept oil for their lamps so that when the bridegroom came, they were all set to go with him (Matthew 25). This does not mean we should hoard oil or any other physical supplies. It means we are to prepare ourselves spiritually for Christ’s return. First, we must look to Jesus to save us from our sins. Then we must study the Bible, memorize Scripture, and share the Gospel with the sinners around us who aren’t equipped to face Judgment Day.
Pray continually. As we live day-to-day life in a state of readiness, we are to pray, “Maranatha. Lord, come quickly.” As Christians, we should never tremble in fear of the end of life as we know it. We must never be so immersed in the stuff of this world that we forget to long for Heaven. Instead, we should tremble in anticipation of the triumphant return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We should beg Him to come back for us. Today.