Resources for the members of the United Church of God

Will Your Faith Survive the Time of the End?

You are here

Will Your Faith Survive the Time of the End?

Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up

×

Imagine it is nearly time for Jesus Christ to begin His journey from heaven to earth at His second coming (Matthew 24:27 Matthew 24:27For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
American King James Version×
). What conditions will He find when His feet touch the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:4 Zechariah 14:4And his feet shall stand in that day on the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall split in the middle thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
American King James Version×
)? Bible prophecy describes a shockingly fearsome global situation in which human relations have reached the point of overwhelming disorder and brutality (Matthew 24:7-9 Matthew 24:7-9 [7] For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. [8] All these are the beginning of sorrows. [9] Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
American King James Version×
). (Our booklets, Are We Living in the Time of the End? and Seven Prophetic Signs Before Christ Returns provide more information about this time of chaos leading up to Christ’s return.)

The Bible refers to this as “the time of the end”—the closing period of Satan’s corrupt and calamitous rule on earth (Daniel 12:4 Daniel 12:4But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
American King James Version×
, 9). The culmination of the devil’s dominion will be the most unspeakably catastrophic period in human history (Mark 13:19 Mark 13:19For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created to this time, neither shall be.
American King James Version×
). Jesus prophesied about this distressing time: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21 Matthew 24:21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
American King James Version×
).

In referring to this monstrous period, Christ posed a compelling question at the conclusion of a parable He taught His disciples in Luke 18. He spoke about a widow who sought intervention from a judge against an adversary. Although the judge ignored the widow’s pleas for a while, her persistence finally convinced him to act on her behalf. Jesus used this story to stress that God will “ . . . avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him” (verse 7). But in verse 8 He also states, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (emphasis added throughout).

Bearing up under great distress

Why would Jesus raise this specific question in the context of this parable? To understand, let’s quickly revisit the terrible state of affairs preceding His Second Coming. Living conditions will have deteriorated so badly that the “new normal” will be unlike anything ever experienced on earth. Food will be scarce and as a result, famine will be widespread. War, crime, lawlessness and violence will be pervasive. Disease will ravage families and communities. Animosity will typify many human interactions.

These grim conditions will not only impact the general population but true Christians will likewise be severely affected. How do we know? In Matthew 24:9 Matthew 24:9Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
American King James Version×
we read “ . . . they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.” What will occur as a result? “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another” (verse 10). Furthermore, verses 12-13 say this about God’s people: “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”

Prayer is an indispensable key to spiritual survival.

What if you have to face these coming dreadful times? How will you respond as society breaks down all around you? Will you stay faithful to God if, for example, you have to flee your home and neighborhood as a refugee from raging military conflict or to escape intense persecution (Matthew 10:23 Matthew 10:23But when they persecute you in this city, flee you into another: for truly I say to you, You shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
American King James Version×
)? How will you deal with these or other troubling situations if God doesn’t respond to your needs at the time you might expect?

An essential key to spiritual survival

How can you and I bear up under such distress? The answer is found at the beginning of Christ’s parable in Luke 18 where He stated, “ . . . men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1 Luke 18:1And he spoke a parable to them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
American King James Version×
). Unless we are persistently and deeply prayerful, it will be impossible to remain faithful during that coming, traumatic period. Just as the widow in the parable never ceased imploring the reluctant judge about her situation, neither should we stop asking God to supply our daily needs, increase our spiritual strength and rescue us from evil (Matthew 6:11 Matthew 6:11Give us this day our daily bread.
American King James Version×
, 13).

Prayer is an indispensable key to spiritual survival. God will powerfully aid those who obey Him and prayerfully seek His help and strength. The apostle Peter wrote: “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers” (1 Peter 3:12 1 Peter 3:12For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
American King James Version×
).

So, the biblical answer is clear. Spiritual endurance requires that we maintain a strong prayerful relationship with God. Accordingly, let’s now return to Jesus’ closing words in His parable of Luke 18:8 Luke 18:8I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?
American King James Version×
which states, “ . . . when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

As Christ prepares for his second coming will you be filled with prayerful, robust, fervent faith? Hebrews 11:1 Hebrews 11:1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
American King James Version×
defines faith as “ . . .  the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Even though faith is a spiritual quality, it is described as having substance, which means it is real and tangible.

Faith is profound trust in God

Genuine faith is proof or confirmation of things we don’t yet have. Faith is not an emotional feeling or sentiment but a profound trust in God that His promises are absolutely dependable (2 Peter 1:4 2 Peter 1:4Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
American King James Version×
).

Speaking about the patriarch Abraham’s faith, the apostle Paul made this remarkable statement. “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform” (Romans 4:20-21 Romans 4:20-21 [20] He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; [21] And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
American King James Version×
). We can have precisely the same belief and conviction.

It’s important to understand something else about faith. It cannot be generated from within ourselves. Rather, it is one of God’s precious gifts bestowed to us upon our repentance and baptism (Romans 12:3 Romans 12:3For I say, through the grace given to me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith.
American King James Version×
). God gives us a measure of the very faith of Christ and faith in Christ (Revelation 14:12 Revelation 14:12Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
American King James Version×
; Galatians 3:26 Galatians 3:26For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
American King James Version×
).

Just as Jesus faithfully trusted His Heavenly Father to guide and empower Him throughout His earthly ministry (Matthew 26:39 Matthew 26:39And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as you will.
American King James Version×
), so must we trust that God will strengthen and lead us. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6 Hebrews 11:6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
American King James Version×
).

Faith not only necessitates that we trust God but take action as well. We must “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12 1 Timothy 6:12Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto you are also called, and have professed a good profession before many witnesses.
American King James Version×
). But there is more we need to comprehend. Faith can be lost. It can weaken and wither away if it is not treasured and employed (1 Timothy 6:10 1 Timothy 6:10For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
American King James Version×
). Faith cannot remain static or motionless. Rather, it must grow and be nurtured. The apostle Paul stated: “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly . . .  (2 Thessalonians 1:3 2 Thessalonians 1:3We are bound to thank God always for you, brothers, as it is meet, because that your faith grows exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other abounds;
American King James Version×
). The apostle Jude encouraged church members to continue “ . . . building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 20). Our booklet, You Can Have Living Faith provides more information about the power of faith and how to build enduring faith with God’s help.

Will you be found faithful?

So, if we are still alive then, will we possess buoyant, growing faith at the closing days of this tumultuous, evil age? Will you and I be “rich in faith” (James 2:5 James 2:5Listen, my beloved brothers, Has not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to them that love him?
American King James Version×
) even as we experience deception, war, disease, scarcity, hunger, natural disasters, persecution and confusion? Will we be “found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2 1 Corinthians 4:2Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
American King James Version×
) while humanity teeters on the edge of potential extermination?

How can we endure coming traumatic times? How can we be assured we won’t weaken and abandon God and His way of life? A vital key is to prepare spiritually now. Each day we should cultivate and strengthen our faith by studying the Bible, applying its lessons and diligently praying for God’s guidance and help. Our current trials should not be regarded as simply frustrating annoyances, but as opportunities to enhance our faith and spiritual stamina. Therefore, if later we experience significantly greater troubles, we will have been divinely equipped to endure and overcome (Ephesians 6:10-18 Ephesians 6:10-18 [10] Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. [11] Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. [12] For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. [13] Why take to you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. [14] Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; [15] And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; [16] Above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. [17] And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: [18] Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
American King James Version×
).

Part of developing mature faith involves learning and exercising patience. Although God will not allow us to endure troubles beyond what we are personably able to bear (1 Corinthians 10:13 1 Corinthians 10:13There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.
American King James Version×
), He may choose not to intervene immediately in such trials. Why? To test and strengthen our faith (Acts 14:2 Acts 14:2But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brothers.
American King James Version×
). He may want to determine how well we do in “casting all our cares upon Him” (1 Peter 5:7 1 Peter 5:7Casting all your care on him; for he cares for you.
American King James Version×
). The apostle Peter wrote insightfully that “ . . . the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7 1 Peter 1:7That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
American King James Version×
).

Of course, handling such trials is not easy since each of us experience uncertainty at times. Indeed, just as some of the heroes and heroines of faith cited in Hebrews 11 doubted God’s help in distressing times, we do also. Yet, just as they ended up faithful we can too since Christ is steadfast toward us (Matthew 28:20 Matthew 28:20Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.
American King James Version×
) and the Father will strengthen us “with might through His Spirit” (Ephesians 3:16 Ephesians 3:16That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
American King James Version×
).

God will complete the good work He began

As we read earlier, Jesus asked, “ . . . when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Will He discover patient, faith-filled Christians who will have fully prepared themselves for His coming? The answer is yes! “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven” (Mark 13:26-27 Mark 13:26-27 [26] And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. [27] And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
American King James Version×
).

Each day we should cultivate and strengthen our faith.

Of course, that day of rescue and reward is not yet here. As we live in this corrupt world, under the sway of Satan the devil (Revelation 12:9 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
American King James Version×
), our faith may be tested rigorously. But our faith can also be greatly strengthened while we wait patiently for God’s help and deliverance. As we endure troubles now, let us not be like some who capitulate when upset or crisis occurs (Matthew 13:20-21 Matthew 13:20-21 [20] But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that hears the word, and immediately with joy receives it; [21] Yet has he not root in himself, but endures for a while: for when tribulation or persecution rises because of the word, by and by he is offended.
American King James Version×
). Rather, let us always “ . . . pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1 Luke 18:1And he spoke a parable to them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
American King James Version×
) while being fully confident “ . . . that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6 Philippians 1:6Being confident of this very thing, that he which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
American King James Version×
). As a result, with the Eternal God’s invincible help, we can be absolutely assured our faith will survive the time of the end. 

You might also be interested in...

Where will you spend eternity? Floating idly on clouds in heaven or as part...