At the risk of sounding like a burlap robed hippie with a sandwich board declaring “The End Is Near,” let me be very clear: The End IS Near!
On a vacation to Prince Edward Island several years ago, my wife and I walked onto a beach to enjoy a quiet stroll from where it began at a wooded campgrounds to where it ended as a sand spit, a tiny dry finger of earth extending into the Atlantic Ocean. If you have never been to PEI, Cavendish Campgrounds, trails and beach is a must-stop on a trip to this beautiful island.
When we entered the beach area, I thought the walk to the end would be about an hour of perambulating on the wet sand close to the surf. The dry stuff higher up on the beach is very difficult to walk in as the sand sinks away with every step. The swimmers and lifeguard slowly became smaller as we moved westward by the gentle waves touching the shore.
After about 90 minutes, I photographed the route we had taken and then turned to picture how much further we had to go to reach the end. For anyone with experience walking beaches, you will know how I was fooled by the deceptively “short” beach we were on.
Passing several more large dunes on our left, we slowly made our way almost out to the end. We could actually see where the land ended and ocean separated us from the opposing shore. It really seemed very close, but our “stroll” thus far convinced us it was probably further away than we imagined or hoped. I wish we had made it all the way, but after two and a half hours of walking one way, it finally began to sink in that we had to go back the same way . . . now a five hour hike by the time we would be finished!
I took a quick nap on the soft grass between two dunes and then we headed back. The binoculars had made it seem so close and the distances had appeared much shorter than they turned out to be. The walk was exhausting as evidenced by the ease with which sleep overcame me when I laid down for our midway break. (Keep in mind that this was only a couple years after my last stroke and my stamina was still significantly decreased.)
After finishing what turned out to be a six-hour eight-mile hike I had learned how distorted distance perceptions can be on a beach!
This may serve as a reminder of what “The End Is Near” may look like in the real world of following Jesus. We often see things through the binoculars of the prophets’ visions, and our own experience leads us to believe we are almost there. World events, globalization, political turmoil in the Mid-East which is the epicenter of end time events, all suggest we may be only one dune away from seeing the end of our peninsula of time reaching into Eternity. (ahh, another blog subject!)
It is most important that we keep some foundational principles of Scripture in front of us while on this hike through this world.
- God will wrap up the end of this world someday; maybe tomorrow, maybe quite a few years from now . . . but it will happen. (2 Peter 3:9-10)
- We will not know the day or the hour; possibly the “seasons,” but be very careful when anyone claims to see the end. It may be farther off than we think, or it could be just around the next dune. (Matthew 24:26-36; Matthew 16:2-4)
- The identity of The Antichrist (according to John there are many smaller ones) is a mystery; i.e. we will not know until he is revealed. (I John 2:18; Revelation 13:1-8)
- Do not become obsessed with end time events. They will happen whatever we believe about them. Our only responsibility is to be faithful to Him who has called us to live as lights in an ever-darkening world. (Revelation 2:10; 3:4)
- Jesus’ instruction on future prophecy is very clear: “I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.” (John 14:29) In other words, He did not tell us what was going to happen so we could read the newspapers and make accurate guesses about what was going to occur next week. He told us so that we could recognize the times when they occur.