“And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled: for these things must needs come to pass; but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and earthquakes in divers places. But all these things are the beginning of travail” (Matthew 24:6-8).
As Jesus begins to describe to His disciples how the end will come for Jerusalem, He encourages them to not be disturbed at all the rumors of destruction that they will hear. Instead, He lays out precisely what will happen, and how its destruction will be made evident, and how He will be vindicated on that day (Matthew 24:9-36).
Ever since Jesus spoke these words, there have been the proverbial “wars and rumors of wars” regarding His final return in glory. The number of predictions of Jesus’ imminent return is legion; a generation sees signs of the end in their own day and age. They go the way of all flesh, and the generation after them still finds all kinds of reasons to justify why it is that the Lord will return in their own generation.
This is no different today. 1843, 1844, 1914, 1975, 2000, among other dates, have all come and past. Now we hear of 2012. After that another date will crop up. Yet more “wars and rumors of wars.”
Let none be deceived: a day will come upon which the Lord will return. If you believe that the creation will continue just as it always has, Peter would like to remind you of the days of Noah, and how no one was expecting the apocalypse that took place then (2 Peter 3:1-9; cf. Genesis 6-9). Thus it will be when the Lord returns: the day will come as a thief in the night (Matthew 24:43, 1 Thessalonians 5:2). No special predictions, no special warnings. In fact, it would hardly be surprising if the Lord intentionally does not come back on a popularly set forth date for that very reason!
Believers in Jesus Christ are not to be troubled by these “wars and rumors of wars.” Instead, they are to be perpetually ready for His return (Matthew 24:45-25:30). If you are a servant of God faithfully serving God daily, will it matter if the Lord returns tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, or even in the next millennium?
Let us be sober-minded, realizing that our generation is no more or less special than any generation that has gone on before us. The Lord may return in our generation, but it will not be because of the “wars and rumors of wars.” If Jesus returns after we die, He has not proven unfaithful to His Word! Nevertheless, we should be prepared, for we do not and cannot know exactly when He will return. Let us be profitable servants of God while we have the chance!
Ethan R. Longhenry