the end of the world: an email exchange
I received the following email from a friend, a young Japanese woman who is a new Christian. She wrote in English. I have changed all names except mine and edited her email to take out information that might help identify her.
From: keiko tanaka
To: kevin seaver
Date: 2012/7/11, Wed 01:55
Subject: Ultimate question
I've been thinking the end of the world lately. It has been always on my mind.
And I just had a interesting conversation with my close friend, Joanne. She was told once that she could have sight, visions, and she told me about her dreams about the end of the world over and over.
I used to have a dream about it too. But not like hers. Not that detailed. But was about the end of world. That it will happen.
Lots of people were saying that December 21, 2012 will be the end. What is your honest opinion about that as a servant of God?
I personally wish it will come soon. So that we don't have to suffer any longer and the kingdom will come soon for the younger people and for all of us.
Like I told you I had a kind of crisis a little while ago. During that time, I went through very strange period. I had visions about the end of the world. Exactly like it was said in the Bible, in Revelation...I just wonder if I experienced this because I knew what was written or if it was a real vision.
Your honest opinion will be highly appreciated.
Love and Peace,
Always your younger sister,
May God always be with you,
+ + +
From: kevin seaver
To: keiko tanaka
Date: 2012/7/11, Wed 10:57
Subject: Re: Ultimate question
In Matthew 24, Jesus talks about the end of the world. And then he says: "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Matthew 24:26). Not even Jesus himself knew.
Again, before he ascended to heaven, Jesus said to his followers: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority." (Acts 1:7)
It is good to think about the fact that there is an ending to the story of this world, that human history will not go on for ever and ever. And it is good to think about the fact that it is a VERY happy ending because God's will finally will be done on earth as in heaven.
And, like you, I long for Jesus to return soon, so that all the cruelty and suffering of the world would be over and I would stop having to struggle against temptations.
But it is pointless and maybe a little presumptuous (厚かましい) to try to know the day and hour of the end. If even the Bible doesn't tell us when, we certainly shouldn't pay attention to ancient Mayan calendars or modern day "prophets" who claim to know more than God has allowed us to know.
Not even Jesus knew when the end of the world would happen. He didn't need to know. Neither do we. All we have to do is to live our lives each day so that when the end comes, we will be ready to greet our Lord with joy and thanksgiving.
Because we know, we have been promised, that when the end comes, those who have believed that Jesus died and rose again, those who have entrusted their lives to the mercy and grace of God, "will be with the Lord forever" (1 Thessalonians 4:17). We have hope, because we know Jesus, and Jesus has shown us the heart of the Father, who is the Author of History, in command of all things.
C.S. Lewis, who wrote the Narnia books, was once asked what he would do if he knew the world would end tomorrow. He said: "I would plant a tree." All the "trees" we plant in this life--all the little acts of kindness, mercy and love that we show, all the beauty we help create, all the prayers we raise up to heaven for people in need, all the temptations we resist for God's sake--all of this will have a place in the new creation. Nothing good will be lost.
So, I think you and I should live our lives so that, if the end comes tomorrow, we will be ready. But we should really LIVE our lives--"I came so that they would have life, and have it abundantly," Jesus said (John 10:10). God wants us to enjoy life, enjoy Him, enjoy our fellowship with His Son, enjoy our fellowship with each other.
If your visions or thoughts about the end of the world rob you of this joy, that might be a sign that they are not "of God." Christians of all people ought to live lives radiant with joy and thanksgiving and hope. Because we know! We have been promised eternal life. And "in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him" (2 Peter 3:13-14).
Go well, my friend.
Peace with Him,