Four Absolutes to Observe
Sane and Sensible Perspectives on the Last Days
Amidst all the confusing reports and contradictory teachings that surround the Last Days, it is a great comfort to know that there are some basic truths that can be known for absolute certain. These four truths give key insights into the times we live in and provide a very handy framework to surround all the mysterious pieces of this fascinating puzzle. Although these absolutes are scattered generously throughout the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, we can see them gathered together in Peter's second letter.
Peter not only prophesies these things, but his letter carries an ominous sense urgency that the church not lose sight of these basics. He wants believers to know for certain that “the predictions” of the prophets and the Lord Himself will come true, even though the Last Days will be filled with “scoffers.” This means that believers should “be diligent” and “take care” so they won’t be swept up and carried away by “the error” of the unbelievers surrounding them. Scoffers and rumors will abound in the Last Days, but faithful people can and should remain calm, certain and watchful.
1 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires… 14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace… 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 2 Peter 3:1-3, 14, 17 ESV
Two Sets of Two
These four absolutes pair off nicely. If we are faithful believers, the first pair has to do with what we can know with absolute certainty about the Lord and ourselves. His faithfulness requires our watchfulness. The second pair shows us the two sides of what we can expect from the unknowing and/or unbelieving people around us. Their foolishness will spread errors of all kinds. The increasing intensity of scoffng and rumors around us is, therefore, a telling sign of the times we are living in. It may not be as unprecedented and incontrovertible as other signs we will look at, but because it was correctly predicted about the Last Days, it deserves to be mentioned with honor.
We can know these four things with absolute certainty.
1) Jesus Will Return. This grand promise will come true. This is our base line for understanding everything else. If we doubt this in the slightest, we would shift to the wrong side of history and lose our privileged position of being a people in the know. What we know is stupendous. The last recorded words of Jesus in the Bible are, “Surely, I’m coming quickly.” The Early Church had the urgency and the expectancy that belong to those words. They got that part of it right, but they got the timing wrong. It will fall to our generation to walk out the order of events in God’s timing. Nevertheless, this promise and it’s long delay lead directly into the other three absolutes.
2) We Must Watch. Because Jesus is certain to return, we of all people need to be on the lookout. Therefore, we are told repeatedly by Jesus and all the apostles to be on guard, to be at watch, to be alert. This too is certain. What could be worse than to be doing the wrong thing, heading in the wrong direction, and have the Lord suddenly appear? Who wants to be caught like “the wicked servant” Jesus described? Besides, in the context of the dangerous days that precede His Return, we need to be watching for safety’s sake as well as for taking part in the Harvest. Still, the best reason for watching is looking for any sign that our heart’s True Love is about to appear.
Although we are expected--by the Lord---to know these things with clarity, the world around us will not. Expect that there will be an increase of skeptics and scoffers who don't
believe Jesus is coming at all. Period. However, there will also be an increase of confused and conflicting reports by those who believe, but don't have clarity.
3) Scoffers Will Come. There will be scoffers. Peter says to know this “first of all” that scoffers will come. Indeed, they will. They are already here. Even some Christians are saying, “We heard about His Return, but it never happened. Things are going on as usual.” But they’re wrong! Ironically, all these scoffers are themselves signs. Astoundingly, the closer we get to the time of Jesus’ Return, the more the scoffers will increase. This will be due to the heightened awareness within the Body of Christ that the Last Days are real and that they are really upon us. But unbelievers (and blinded Christians) won’t have a clue. They will seek out fresh reasons to ridicule the growing Christian witness, rather than give in to it. For that would mean repenting of their own wrong ways and joining us.
4) Rumors Will Abound. There will be rumors and false expectations going off like popcorn. Just as scoffing will increase due to the unbelievers around us, so too, wild rumors will increase due to the misguided among us. The closer the Last Days come, the greater will be the expectancy, excitement and anxiety. Those who believe the scriptures, but lack a well-grounded understanding, will run with whatever fanciful ideas occur to them. Ungoverned souls will spread "errors." Jesus emphasized this, so we need to pay attention to His warning. He said specifically, “Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There he is!' do not believe it” (Matthew 24:23). We need to know for certain that what excitable people will be saying, will usually be foolishness. Calm and settled souls rarely start or spread rumors.
The Picture within this Frame
With these absolutes in mind, we have a clearer picture of what to expect in the days ahead. No matter what, we need to stick to our rock-solid belief that Jesus is indeed coming soon. This in turn means we need to stay watchful like no generation before us, for the signs are growing in clarity and intensity that the time is short. At the same time, the unbelieving world will do its best to ridicule us as nut jobs and misfits. In their eyes we will be seen as clinging to long-unproven beliefs, resisting progress (aka. the mark), rather than living in the “real” world like sensible people. They’re blind, but it won’t help our position to have lots of misguided believers running around spreading foolish and half-baked rumors, easily proven false when they fail to occur. This will only add to the scoffing! So, let us be prepared for that, too, and not "lose our own stability."