Matthew 24:6-7a (NIV)
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
Matthew 24:36 (NIV)
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
Wars, rumors of war and the activity of terrorists strike fear in the hearts of many people, both believers and non-believers alike. The business of war and terrorism always play on the emotion of fear. The government uses our fear and concern for our homeland security to justify war. Sometimes that fear is completely justified, other times it is not. Terrorists use the worldwide media to quickly spread their message of senseless violence and utter brutality. Their goal is to strike fear into the hearts of people across the globe.
If you read verse 26 closely you begin to understand that Jesus is telling his disciples and us to “see to it that you are not alarmed” (Mt. 24:6). Jesus doesn’t want us to stockpile canned goods and countless rounds of ammunition and lock ourselves away in a doomsday shelter. Jesus is warning us to not fall prey to those who say that the end of the world is coming because of war. Instead, our Lord and Savior wants us to preach and live out the Gospel message, showing others the way to Christ and saving them from eternal separation from God.
That’s not to say that we shouldn’t be aware of what’s going on in our world today. Jesus gave us these signs so that we could interpret the current time we live in, but he seems to caution against our tendency to read too much into any one war or conflict. It is our duty as citizens of this world and citizens of heaven to be aware of the many ongoing conflicts and wars and act accordingly. We are to speak up when Christians are being killed by terrorists and our own government will not acknowledge the fact that those martyred were in fact Christian. As followers of Christ, we are to stand up to those who murder innocent people, especially women and children, and be clear in our condemnation of these horrific acts of murder. Most importantly, we are to pray and pray continuously, for God to protect and comfort those who are in harm’s way.
“Such things must happen, but the end is still to come” (Mt. 24:6b).
Although we may not realize or understand it, Jesus is reminding us that God is in control. We tend to view the world as chaotic and we often fail to remember that God “has the whole world in his hands.” As we desperately try to figure out or make some sense of the constant reality of war in the world, we must trust in God’s divine plan. God revealed to Isaiah the prophet a coming day of judgment and peace when God’s divine plan will finally be realized.
And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore (Isaiah 2:4).
Jesus warns against overreacting to wars and rumors of war. It’s difficult for us to not overreact because we are exposed to wars as they are occurring, thanks to today’s 24/7 media coverage. And there are those who make a great profit through the media and publishing industry predicting when the end will come. Jesus plainly tells us to be about the business of disciple making instead of doomsday predicting. If the end is indeed near, Christians need to devote all their time and energy living out and preaching the Gospel message of Christ to the lost and unsaved. Our focus must be on bringing the lost to accepting Christ as their Lord and Savior before the unexpected and unannounced glorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Therefore keep watch (be ready), because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Matthew 24:42).