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COVID-19: Is This the End of the Age?

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Is This the End of the Age?

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No, not yet. There are many other events God revealed in prophecy that still have to happen before the end of the age (more on that in a bit).

That said, He is interested in how we respond to it—and He desires our response to be to change for the better. That’s the lesson of the 10 virgins: the wise ones prepared for the “moment of truth” in advance, the unwise didn’t (Matthew 25). The application for us is to allow God to work in our lives by loving Him and Jesus Christ, loving their way and living that way of life. Then when the “moment of truth” comes, our spiritual condition will help us respond to God’s direction when it matters most.

And to be honest, the age we live in definitely has some characteristics that indicate we are closer to the time of Christ’s return than ever before—things like the existence of the modern nation of Israel and the danger of mass destruction from nuclear weapons. UCG’s got a great, short booklet called “Seven Signs Before Jesus Returns” that briefly explains some of those. You can read it online at ucg.org.

Consider what Jesus said when His disciples asked Him what would be the sign of His second coming and of the end of the age: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences [epidemics], and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:4-8).

The first thing to note is: He said don’t be troubled—and these are troubling events! But He also says not to be deceived, to maintain hope and faith, and that these events are just “the beginning of sorrows.” So while life is going to change for us in various ways for the foreseeable future, even after the heavy restrictions from COVID-19 are lifted, we are not experiencing the end of the age or the Day of the Lord yet.

The book of Revelation is where Jesus gives some more specific prophecies that help us discern whether we’re in the end of the age. There is catastrophe after catastrophe that turns the earth into a living nightmare, with widespread famine, warfare, plagues and cosmic disturbances, all resulting in a death toll much higher than what we’ve seen from the COVID-19 pandemic. Jesus said to His disciples that “unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22). Two UCG booklets dive into this subject if you’re hungry for more understanding. One is Are We Living in the Time of the End?, which talks about some of the larger trends of the world with references to prophecies from throughout the Bible to show what’s going on. The other is The Book of Revelation Unveiled, which helps specifically explain what all the events in Revelation mean and why.

Jesus went on in Matthew 24 to say, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another . . . And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 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” (verses 9-14). Whew, quite a doozy—the followers of Christ will be persecuted and killed, people will betray each other and because of sin they’ll stop loving each other! Use that list as examples of what to actively not do in your life. Choose to love others as God does, choose to forgive and obey God’s law. And then there’s that last part, that the Gospel will be preached in the whole world. You can be an agent of God’s Kingdom in this world, preaching the good news of God’s way always through the way you live your life, using words if necessary. These are the responses to this pandemic that God wants us to have.

While we don’t know what the future holds—will there be other dramatic events in 2020 or 2021 that seem to speed us closer to the end of the age?—what God desires is for us to learn from this pandemic, and to become more like Jesus Christ. If you need some certainty right now, that is one thing you can bet on.  CC