E33: The best way to prepare for the end times

PODCAST: We don’t know a lot about what is going to happen, or when, or how. But there is one thing we know for sure.

  • E33: The best way to prepare for the end times
  • Questions about the end times?

    “The end times.” “Signs of the times.” “The end of days.” These are things that we can quite naturally wonder about. We don’t know a lot about what is going to happen, or when, or how. But there is one thing we know for sure. When that time comes, whether now in our lifetimes or in the more distant future, those who are Christ’s will be taken to be with Him for eternity. Join Milenko, Julia, and Kathy as they talk about how we can best prepare ourselves for that day!

    Transcript: “Living the Gospel” podcast, Episode 33: The best way to prepare for the end times

    This is ActiveChristianity’s “Living the Gospel” podcast. Join us as we explore different aspects of the gospel according to the Bible, and how we can put this into practice in daily life.

    Kathy: Hi everybody, thanks for tuning in to “Living the Gospel.” I’m Kathy.

    Julia: And I’m Julia.

    Kathy: And we’re connecting today with Milenko, over in Norway.

    Milenko: Hi everyone!

    Julia: Hi Milenko! So, this is as close as they would legally let us get to each other to record this podcast. So we’ll have to make do. No, just kidding.

    Kathy: We just wanted to shake things up a bit, do things a little bit differently today.

    Julia: Yup.

    Kathy: So today we were going to talk about something that we’ve noticed a lot of people are searching online. And that is …

    Julia: The end times.

    Kathy: Yeah, the end times. Or the Great Tribulation, the rapture, Judgment Day – these are the kinds of things people are searching right now.

    Julia: Which is understandable, given the uncertainty of the times that we’re in right now.

    Milenko: But I think that’s actually a common thing, that in times of calamity and times of difficulty, people turn to their faith to get answers. And I think many people have probably read about this, or heard about it, and it’s also a theme in popular media, isn’t it? The Apocalypse. The end times. People maybe have a tendency to become anxious and try to find out what’s happening. And you see people who come with these doomsday prophecies and so on. But these kinds of things, they’ve been happening well, since the dawn of time, you know. There’s been natural disasters, there’s been wars, there’s been epidemics, or pandemics. And each time I think some people will come out there and sort of say, “This is a sign of the times,” “It’s the end of the times.” And I don’t want to go there. I don’t want to go there and say that this is a sign of the times, even though Jesus Himself also talks about it, that at the end times there will be difficulties, doesn’t He?

    Kathy: He does. And I don’t think we’re here to say whether it is or isn’t the end times. Jesus says no one knows that time, right? Like, we guess and we speculate about things, but we don’t know when that time is, actually.

    Julia: And we don’t actually need to know.

    Milenko: No, and I don’t think that’s the point either, that is this the end times or not? I think the thing is that we have to be ready and we have to be living a life that is worthy of our calling and worthy of Jesus’ life for us.

    Kathy: Yeah. And I can say, we are not by any means experts on the topic of the end times and what’s going to happen at the end of days, right. We know what you know, which is what we can read in the Bible, in Revelation and Thessalonians and different places where it talks about this. That’s what we know. So we’re not in any way saying that we’re experts or scholars on this topic. But there are some things that we can say for sure that we do know, right? And first of all, we do know that the end times is going to happen at some time. That is a reality. That’s written about in the Bible, and whether that’s now, whether it’s in 5 years, 10 years, 50, 100 … We don’t know.

    Milenko: We don’t know if it’s in our lifetime or not. And in a way that’s beside the point. But it is a reality. We know that Jesus speaks about it Himself also, that He will return.

    Julia: And the second thing that we know for sure is that those who are Christ’s, when He comes again, they will be taken to be with Him for eternity. So that’s actually incredibly hopeful.

    Kathy: It’s so hopeful, actually! It’s not something … When we think about the end times it can be such a tendency to have this, like you mentioned Milenko, a sort of doomsday feeling about it. But actually, what’s going to happen in the end times, is that those of us who are Christ’s will go to be with Him for eternity.

    Milenko: Right.

    Julia: And that’s, you can say the third thing that we know, is that if we’re faithful in following Jesus now, we will be with those that He takes to be with Him. So it’s written in John 14, Jesus says: “In My Father’s house are many mansion; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

    Kathy: That’s actually very exciting, when you think about that. Jesus is up there right now, in heaven, preparing a place for us. And we know where He is, we know He’s up there and we know the way to go to get there ourselves.

    Milenko: Right, and when we hear words like that, we should actually be feeling this thrill of excitement, you know? This is what’s going to happen; this is what it’s all about. And it’s not something that we should just be thinking about when there’s these big world events, or when there’s difficult times, but this is what our life as a Christian, as a follower of Christ should be all about.

    Julia: 100%

    Milenko: That we’re going to meet Him. We’re going to meet our Savior. And that when that time comes, “Yes! This is what I’ve been living for, this is what I’ve been working for, this is what I’ve been praying about, this is what my whole life is,” right?

    Kathy: Absolutely!

    Julia: Yeah. It just makes me think of an article that I read many years ago that is surprisingly relevant to the times, considering that it was written in the 1950s. The author here writes: “Many people are awakened by serious world events, but soon fall asleep again. If they knew for certain that Jesus would only return many years from now, they would immediately go right out into the world. Yet, if they had the mind of the bride and knew that Jesus was not coming for another hundred years, and they had the opportunity to live here on earth all that time, they would love and serve Jesus just as much, and speak with enthusiasm about that great day when He will return. They are finished with the world and have seen through its folly.” So, that’s really the way to take it.

    Kathy:  So, it’s not that we’re loving and serving Jesus because … “Oh no, what if He comes tomorrow?” Right? We’re loving and serving Him because He is our … We love Him, and we want to be with Him for eternity, and that’s our reality in our every day, right?

    Julia: Yeah, and that we want to be like Him. So the point of it is not that we’re trying to squeak into heaven at the last minute and now that we think it might be the end times there is this mad scramble to get in the door. The whole point is that throughout my life, I’m working to get more of the virtues so that I have this abundance to take with me into eternity.

    Milenko: Then you’ve got times like these that we’re in right now. There’s this pandemic, there’s a world economy in crisis, and people, you know, they see that their jobs might be on the line, or their health, and all these kinds of things. And then you can think, “OK, is this something where I should be rejoicing? Which I should be looking forward to, you know. What about this time?” And the thing is, we are living in this time, and we have to be aware of that, we have to take the precautions that are necessary, we have to be along in comforting and helping where we can. But in the midst of this, we have a future, and what can I get out of this situation now? How can I live my life so that when that day comes, whenever it is, that I’m ready? And that whole attitude, that should be there in good times and in bad. In crises and when you’re in your daily routine life. This is the attitude of a Christian, you know?

    Kathy: That we’re ready at all times, right?

    Milenko: Yes.

    Julia: There’s that verse in Luke where Jesus says that it shouldn’t be that that day comes upon you unexpectedly, right?

    Milenko: Not only does He say that it shouldn’t come unexpectedly, but He also says: “When these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” All these things in the world, we’re going to leave it behind. And sure, there’s a trial now, there’s a test of our faith, and there’s things happening. But our redemption is drawing near. And how can I know my redemption is drawing near? That’s when I really live this life, that I live my life because I love Jesus, because He has loved me. And then I can be really sure about my eternity.

    Julia: Yeah, that when He comes we can lift our heads, and I always think of the expression to be able to look Him in the eye.

    Kathy: And I just found it interesting, when we were talking about this episode and getting ready for it, we read the verse that Paul writes to Timothy, where he talks about … He says that in the last days perilous times will come. But then what was really interesting was that he doesn’t mention disasters and crises and that sort of thing. When he’s talking about perilous times, he’s talking about that people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, proud, unloving, unthankful, without self-control, despisers of good, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. And that’s what he’s saying are the perilous things. So that’s very interesting.

    Milenko: That’s actually a terrible disaster. That’s a calamity, that mankind has become like that. And that’s what we need to be saved from. When we talk about the salvation that we’re getting, that Jesus came to save us, He’s saving us from that, which comes from human nature.

    Kathy: Yeah, exactly. And these are the things that we need to be watching for, not in others, right? But these things I need to watch for in myself, so that when I see those things in myself, I am ready to cleanse them out. And right aways I have that firm, “No! I’m not going to let this in my life, because I belong to the kingdom of heaven!” I don’t belong to this earth, so what do I need with pride and all these things? It’s not going to have any part in me, because if I let that live then Satan gets something in me, right? But I need to have this mind that right away, when I see these things come up, that’s a sign of the end times, and that’s what I need to overcome right away in my life. So that I can be completely pure and without spot and blameless, and I can meet Jesus like that.

    Julia: And it brings rest too. If I’m working to fill myself with these virtues and root out all sin, then that day can’t come unexpectedly, even if it is tomorrow! Because I’m ready, I’m ready as I am now. And that doesn’t mean that I’ve attained perfection to the fullest, but that means that I can look at my life and say that there is nothing that is tying me to this earth. And there’s nothing that is tying me to sin. Everything that I’m required to leave behind when Jesus comes, I’ve left it behind already. Then I don’t have anything to worry about.

    Milenko: And Paul writes that in Colossians chapter 3 as well, that if you have been raised with Christ, then seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. For you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. And when He appears, you will appear with Him glory. Think of that, that that’s how I can live my life, that my mind is set on heavenly things. That I’m so in tune with heaven, that everything I do, my reactions, my deeds, and my thoughts and my words, they’re all based on that heavenly way of thinking. Because that’s where my mind is.

    Kathy: Yeah, they’re all pointing me in that direction, right?

    Milenko: Yeah! And then when Jesus comes, I will appear with Him in glory! Because that’s my element; that’s where I am.

    Julia: And if we have this foundation, and like you said, Milenko, that verse in Colossians about having your mind lifted and focussed on things above, then it actually leads you into a life of action. Jesus says in Matthew 7, He said: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” So that’s really what it is. It leads us to this life of action where we are, like you said Kathy, all these things that Paul listed, this pride and unthankfulness, and being a lover of myself and a lover of money, it leads me to a life where I’m actively rooting these things out in myself and replacing them with the virtues of Christ. And that is to do the will of God. It’s written somewhere in the New Testament that those who do such things, an abundant entrance will be provided for them into the kingdom of God.

    Milenko: Right.

    Julia: Because all of this is temporary, right? We know that. And whether it’s temporary as in, the rest of our natural lives, or whether it’s temporary as in Jesus is coming next week, I’m happy to leave it all behind.

    Milenko: And all these human reactions that I notice from my own nature, you know. When people say things, I’m easily offended, or I become impatient, or I become discouraged, or you can name it, there’s so many different things that I get tempted to. But when my whole expectation is to be with Jesus, to be with Him in eternity, to be there when He returns, then all those things, they become so, not only meaningless, but they become real filth for me, you know? That I hate them! That’s really something I want to leave behind. That’s something that I can now work with so that I overcome that and that instead I be filled with the virtues, which is Jesus’ nature, so that when He comes, I am a citizen of heaven. I belong there. And that’s incredible when we think about that, you know, that we can live that kind of life. And just on that note, I was just thinking of what was written there in 2 Peter 3. It talks about that the whole earth will melt away with fervent heat on the day of the Lord, and then it says in verse 11: “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness …” And that’s a real exhortation, you know? I know that the world will be dissolved. It’s nothing that I can build on, you know. Everything that’s here, all that is so natural for us to build on, that’s all going to go. But what’s going to remain, that’s the kingdom of heaven. And then it says here that: “Looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire …” And so on. And then it says: “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” That’s something to look forward to. And whatever happens here on earth – the big events, the small events, the routine things – everything should work together for me, that I am living for this. That my citizenship is in heaven, and that I am looking for this new heaven and a new earth, where I will dwell in righteousness.

    Kathy: And I thought about that, Jesus taught us to pray, in the Lord’s prayer: “Your kingdom come.” He taught us to pray that. So we need to live in that spirit, eagerly waiting for when we can join Him there in that kingdom.

    Milenko: That we’re looking for it. Hastening that day, you know. This is what we wanted … We want to have this.

    Kathy: And just going back to what was read there before in John, where Jesus says in My Father’s house are many mansions, I go to prepare a place for you. And then I thought too, actually in that article that Julia read, a little bit farther on he quoted the verse in 1 Corinthians 2:9. It says: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” So we don’t know what it is, but we know that it’s going to be beyond anything that we can imagine.

    Julia: And I was just thinking too, this isn’t anything that you need to be afraid of if you’re thinking in terms of, “Do I have enough time left to do what I need to do to be ready?” One thing that I always think of, is that all that God requires of you is that you’re faithful in this moment. So, while a whole long life of putting sin to death and gaining more and more of the virtues is awesome, and the more you can take into eternity the better, it’s also true that if I start now and I’m faithful from now on, no matter when that day comes, I will be judged righteous. So there’s no panic that I need X number of years, or it’s not going to work out, or there’s no ranking system. It’s if you’re faithful, and your heart is to please God, then you will be brought along into the kingdom of heaven. That’s just how it is. There’s nothing to be afraid of in any way.

    Milenko: Then you belong there.

    Julia: Exactly.

    Kathy: You belong there. Exactly. That’s actually something incredible. I belong to the kingdom of heaven. I don’t belong to this earth. So that’s something to really live for.

    Milenko: Yeah, that should be our life. That’s the only life that’s worthy of a Christian, a follower of Christ. When we think of what He did for us.

    Julia: Absolutely. And then not just that I have that abundant entrance into the kingdom of heaven, but that even here on earth I have just peace and rest. Even in a time like this. I don’t even ever have to come out of rest.

    Kathy: I have the kingdom of heaven actually within me, here already.

    Milenko: No matter what happens to me here, I can have that peace and rest. That’s amazing.

    Kathy: It’s an incredible life. And you know, Milenko and Eunice recorded an episode called, “Our time is our life,” and that actually goes very well along these lines. So, I would encourage you to go back and listen to that podcast episode as well, because that talks again about using your time to your maximum benefit.

    Milenko: So, all the different things that happen in our life, they should all give us content that’s worthy of eternity. And if you think this episode was helpful and encouraging, just share it with others who might also need some encouragement in this time. And that we can really be along in sharing the good news and the hopeful gospel that we have. It’s fantastic. So on that note I think we’ll finish here. So, thanks very much; I think this was a really edifying conversation.

    Julia: I think so too, so thanks Milenko, and thanks everybody for joining us and listening in.

    Kathy: Absolutely. And we’ll talk to you next time.

    Milenko: Good bye and stay safe!

    Kathy: Stay safe everyone.

    Julia: Yes.

    Kathy: Bye!