Matthew 24:1-3 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world (KJV)?
Similar to the questions that the disciples asked Jesus during His earthly ministry, today there are two questions often asked: “When do you think the Rapture will take place,” and “What is going to happen in the last days?” Some pose these questions out of curiosity, some out of hopeful expectation, and others out of fear. Perhaps the question that they should ask before these is, “Why are these events going to take place?” Perhaps it is time to examine what purposes they do serve. Before addressing these questions, please consider this: the book of Revelation does not give the entire picture of end-time prophecy; therefore, it is not necessarily the first book to read concerning this subject. Revelation gives an overview of prophetic events that have taken place and will take place, but it reveals that there will be events hidden from man as well. For example, in Revelation 10 we find that when a mighty angel “Cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not” (Revelation 10:3-4, KJV). This amongst other verses of Scripture tells us that no one can give an absolute emphatic analysis of what and when everything will take place. Not to mention, that Jesus Himself said that no one but the Father knows when He will return. The bottom line is we need to be ready to meet our Maker at any time. For a number of people, today will be their last day on earth. In essence, either it will be their Rapture, or it will be their exile in hell until the Great White Throne Judgment found in Revelation 20. However, to better understand end-time prophecy, it would behoove the reader to also study the Old Testament prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc.), Psalms, Proverbs, Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, 1Thessalonians, and 2Thessalonians –okay, just read the entire Bible over and over.
One of the purposes that the end time events serve is to glorify God. They reveal His character and how awesome He really is. They teach us to walk in the fear of the Lord. In Revelation 14:7 an angel says, “Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” (KJV). Even the horrible events that will take place shows that He loves mankind and is faithful. “Despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance” (Romans 2:4, KJV). Only God knows what will cause a person to turn away from sin by turning to Him. Some are so stubborn and unbelieving that they will not repent unless they face hardship. Yet, the end times also reveals His righteousness and just judgments. There are those who will never repent, thereby condemning themselves. They force God to do what He does not want to do. We must remember that, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9, KJV). Yet, another reason for the end is to put an end to all rebellion and wickedness, which includes the destruction of death and hell. While there is the destruction of evil, there is the gathering of His people, who will never taste the pains of this life ever again. They will never feel one tear roll down their face as they embrace their God, Who is their Father –their Abba (Daddy) because they are His children. It finalizes every promise that God ever made, which includes the ones He made to Abraham in Genesis 12, along with the restoration of Israel (Acts 1:6, etc.). These are only a small number of purposes of the end-time events, which leads us to the other question: why? Sin. Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (KJV). Finally, think about this: people’s lifestyles show us the way they view the end-times. What does your lifestyle tell you about you?