How to Interpret the Signs of the End

It has never been easier to stay informed about world events. With the help of the internet one can amass a huge quantity of information about world affairs in a short period of time. But there are several problems when it comes to analyzing the significance of such information for Christian faith. For one thing, within this enormous mass of information one must distinguish between information which is sound and that which is simply someone’s empty speculation forwarded from computer to computer. It is necessary to become familiar with a news source’s track record over time, with its biases, and with its reasons for offering information on the internet. Christians must be slow to accept the latest report or conspiracy theory, especially when relatively reliable filters like major news organizations or church papers are silent on the subject.

But even when information is reasonably solid, it is imperative to look at the evidence from all sides of the question. Those who emphasize the nearness of the End love to talk about rising crime statistics, catastrophic earthquakes and floods, wars and rumors of wars, imminent economic collapse, and declining morality. But credibility is severely damaged when we ignore solid evidence that points in other directions. For example, many sincere Christian speakers and writers regularly predict the imminent arrival of a national Sunday law in the USA. Yet in my lifetime public attention to the idea of Sunday laws in the USA has been in a steady decline.

But what if your information is unquestionably solid, balanced, and carefully verified? You still have to determine whether that solid information is of any spiritual significance or not. It is all too easy to jump to conclusions about the significance of particular world events. Just because events are taking a course that reminds us of a particular prophecy, doesn’t mean that this particular event is what that prophecy was pointing to. COVID-19 is certainly one of the greatest international crises the world has faced in my lifetime. Yet there is no specific biblical prophecy that tells us a contagious disease will be a definitive mark of the End-time. No matter how solid our reading of the “signs” seems to be, we are expected to stay sober as we approach the End (1 Thess 5:1-11)! We damage the credibility of all preaching about the End when we use inaccurate information, are selective in our use of solid evidence, or make exaggerated claims that are inappropriate to our level of expertise.

2 thoughts on “How to Interpret the Signs of the End

  1. Mariel Ravinovich Malherbe

    Thank you so much for these words of council. I’m Mariel Ravinovich Malherbe , Jean Marcel’s cousin from Argentina. I hope you and your wife are keeping well. God bless you and thank you so much for your ministry.

    Reply
    1. Jon Paulien Post author

      Mariel, what a joy to hear from you! I remember you well. I am with Jean-Marcel’s family in Hawaii right now. Tammy just told me about your baby to come! Congratulations and many blessings from God! Hope to visit Argentina again, so seeing you would be another good reason to go!

      Reply

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