Remember when the world was going to end on December 2012?
Have you seen those National Geographic shows about Doomsday Preppers? Each show features people preparing to survive the end of the world. Each show presents a different scenario. Lot's of money and time are sacrificed on an altar of paranoia.
Our fascination with the end of the world makes us vulnerable to cults, charlatans and false prophets. It was only two years ago that Harold Camping convinced large numbers of people that the rapture would be May 21, 2011. Many of them quit their jobs and spent their savings.
Jesus warns us not to be fooled by signs and false prophets but, rather, to preach the gospel: “Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many.” (Mark 13:4)
Wars, rumors of war and natural disasters are fuel for the doomsayers. Remember the media frenzy surrounding the Swine Flu? And the Asian Flu? And AIDS? And Herpes? The 1918 flu killed 100 million (6% of the world's population.) It was the worst medical holocaust in history but it wasn't the end.
In the midst of speaking about end-time scenarios, Jesus states that first the gospel must be preached. (Mark 13:10) Jesus reminds us to keep the main thing the main thing.
God will bring history to an end at a time and in a manner of His choosing. It is a day feared by some but welcomed by God's people. Jesus gives us words of encouragement. They are not meant to spark the imagination of false prophets nor create new theologies.
Jesus tells us that we are to first preach the gospel
- even in times of tribulation from war, disease and disaster
- even when the government turns against us
- even though everyone hates you