The world that we know should have been destroyed. But God kept it for our sake. And we should not take it for granted.
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers, and sisters, were killed just as they had been.
— Revelations 6:9-11, NIV.
We often ask the question, “when will the end come?” Such curiosity prompted cults and false teachers to rise and lead many astray. And in modernity, we hear church leaders reminding us that we will never know the hour when the end will come. Not even Christ Himself. And that, we should stop asking and live life as per normal, finding God’s calling and living a life that “pleases the Lord”.
But truth be told. Is the end ever going to come? Or not? And if not, what should our focus be?
The mercifully delayed judgment
We all know that there will be a time of tribulation. We all know that there will be judgment. We all know that there will be 7 years of intense persecution on the part of believers. We all know this. Even the apostles who followed Christ Himself believed Christ when He said, “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened” (Matthew 24:34, NIV).
But the generation of apostles passed away and the day did not come. In fact, over 2000 years have passed now and the day still isn’t here. So what exactly is wrong? Is God lying?
No, God isn’t lying. In fact, God is extending His mercy towards us.
The wait must happen for Biblical prophecy to be fulfilled. War must take place. The man of lawlessness must rise up and exalt himself above all religions and kingdoms (ref: 2 Thessalonians 2:4, Daniel 11:36). Many will fall, including wise and learned Christians who feared the Lord (ref: Daniel 11:35). The third temple must be rebuilt. A king will rise to confirm a covenant with many nations for a week, will put an end to the existing sacrifices and offerings, and set up an abomination that causes desolation on a wing of the third temple (ref: Daniel 9:27).
We all knew this would happen. But the very fact that at every juncture in history, when it felt as if this is it, God changed the tide and things smoothed out.
Why? Because it will only happen “when the power of the holy people has been finally broken” (Daniel 12:7, NIV). Through all these, “many will be purified, made spotless, and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked.” (Daniel 12:10, NIV).
So, how long will that be? No one knows, except the Father (ref: Matthew 24:36, NIV), who searches all hearts (ref: Romans 8:27). For as long as there is one holy child of God on this earth praying for the salvation of the world, all these things will not be completed. And as long as there are Christians on earth confessing their sins and the sins of the world (ref: Daniel 9:20), God will wait a little longer, sparing the world from the impending doom we so deserve (ref: Genesis 2:17).