End-time events are heating up. This is obvious to anyone who has eyes to see. But why? The book of Daniel tells of a remarkable, ongoing spirit war then taking place in Persia (Daniel 10:12–14, 20–21). Our world today and the events happening in it are difficult to explain without understanding that there are unseen spirit forces at work. The prince of the power of the air and his powerful assistants are moving in our world (Ephesians 2:2; Mark 9:28–29).
These evil spirits must know that their time is short. And, although we do not know how short or when Satan will be cast down as described in Revelation 12, that event and the consequences of that battle are certain. Please do not read into this more than is intended, as it is likely that we will only understand the timing of that event in retrospect. But what we see for now is that prophecies we have known for decades are coming alive before our very eyes. While we have the overview of prophecy, we do not know every detail—but the stage is being set. Speculation is alluring, and fine when kept in perspective, but let us focus more on what we know for certain than on what we can only guess may happen.
We see an effort by the evil side of the spirit world to polarize and divide mankind at all levels. Sadly, even some in the Church have allowed themselves to become instruments of those unseen hands causing divisions. This problem is not new (1 Corinthians 1:10–13; 3:4). Again, please do not misunderstand; Paul was describing what was happening within the Church of God in Corinth. He was not promoting some form of emotional ecumenism to unify groups that had chosen to separate. He addressed that problem in Acts 20:29–31 and elsewhere.
Brethren, we must not get caught up in worldly controversies and political strife that evil spirits are stirring up to create division. Rather, we must keep our focus on what God has called us to do, especially as we see the events that we have talked about for decades occurring at warp speed before our eyes. Politicians and media have their agendas and messages, but we, as the body of Christ, must recognize why God has called us—to proclaim the good news of a better world and to warn the current world of what is happening and why.
A Remarkable and Special Calling
Dramatic events and sudden geopolitical shifts are making the world more dangerous. The pandemic turned our world upside down in too many ways to mention in this short message. America’s disastrous departure from Afghanistan shocked the world—destroying trust among our allies and emboldening our enemies. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine changed Europe overnight, moving it in a direction incomprehensible to most of the world. Germany is rearming, moving toward a future it does not even understand itself (Isaiah 10:5–7). This leaves us with a question: “What should we be doing right now?”
In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, Jesus described ten virgins with lamps. Five are wise, five are foolish (Matthew 25:1–13). The wise take oil for their lamps, while the foolish do not. Five prepare for the wedding supper, while five remain unprepared. We are all familiar with this parable, but does it change our behavior?
The parable warns us that we must prepare for uncertain events with uncertain timing. Disasters come suddenly, but rarely without warning for those who have eyes to see. Is this not what the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:1–8? Did he not warn us to stay awake, to watch, to be sober so we will not be—like the world and lukewarm Christians—caught off guard?
We should also learn lessons from the times of Noah and Lot. In both cases, people were going about their lives, oblivious to the calamities about to fall upon them. They were eating, drinking, marrying—carrying on as though all was okay—until the disasters suddenly descended (Luke 17:26–31). God used those times as examples for us “upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11).
If there ever was a time to get serious about our relationship with our Creator, it is now. May we personally and collectively redouble our efforts to strengthen our bond with God the Father and Jesus Christ.
King David prayed three times a day (Psalm 55:17). So did Daniel (Daniel 6:10). It is easy to think, I am ordinary, not special like these men were. That is partly true—God did call those men for a special purpose—but your own calling means that God has something in mind for you as well. We all have the same nature, as we read regarding another powerful servant of God: “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit” (James 5:17–18).
Yes, we are ordinary people, not of ourselves remarkable or special. But we have been called to a remarkable and special calling—to be part of the Work of God. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). That will be done! God has given us understanding of who the Israelite nations are, and we have the additional responsibility to warn them (Ezekiel 2–3; 33:1–9). We also see the whole world stumbling to the slaughter and must do all we can to warn mankind about what is coming (Proverbs 24:11–12).
The End May Be Closer Than We Thought
Along with having our spiritual house in order, we would be wise to prepare bodily and physically for difficult times. COVID-19 should have been a wake-up call. Some, even amongst us, were unnecessarily vulnerable to serious consequences—including death. Many of us live sedentary lives. We do not move our bodies as much as we should. We have a greater variety and quantity of food than in past ages, but this can be a curse as well as a blessing. We know that COVID-19 took a greater toll on the obese and diabetic. How many lives were lost because the virus came suddenly, before victims had made the needed lifestyle adjustments? And what are we doing now to prepare for the next pandemic?
In addition, the Church has for many decades encouraged members to set aside moderate amounts of emergency supplies, such as food, water, batteries, and cash. But there is something in human nature that thinks, Nothing will happen to me, or, I still have time. It was remarkable to see how many Ukrainians did not believe Russia would invade, though all the signs of invasion were there. The same can be said for NATO nations, who belatedly recognized the potential threat and the need to rearm, which will take time.
The end is not yet, but events leading toward the end are coming together far more quickly than many realize. Can we not see that we may be closer to the end than we thought? Consider the moral slide that has taken place during the last five to ten years. Consider how our world has changed in just the last two years—a pandemic, economic upheaval, supply shortages, inflation, storms of “biblical proportions,” a war in Europe, the real possibility of major wars erupting in the Middle East and Asia this year, and a dangerous open border between Mexico and the United States. And there is much more. Stunning disasters are in our near future.
Let us never forget the spirit power behind division, chaos, and confusion. Now is no time to fall asleep spiritually. We must keep oil in our lamps and remember to heed Paul’s words:
And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light (Romans 13:11–12).