What time is it?
Don’t ask Phil Connors that question: for him, it really didn’t matter. In the 1993 movie Groundhog Day, Phil was stuck in a strange time loop, repeating the same day, continuously. If life isn’t moving toward some significant futuristic horizon – if every day is just a do-over – then asking the time, as if the answer would spark some urgency, is meaningless.
According to the Bible, there is a day when urgency would be dismissed: “In the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:3-4). The “last days” would be “days without end,” according to scoffers…
Are these the “last days?” A generation ago, that question was frequently posed in and around the Christian community. Sunday morning sermons on prophecy were not uncommon; speculation about some of the milestone markers related to the End Times could keep small groups in heated exchanges long after the coffee and desserts had disappeared. These days, that discussion has mostly disappeared…
If you’re feeling under the weather, a trip to your primary care physician could become a pop quiz: he/she will pose a series of questions seeking the presence – or, intensity – of symptoms that will, upon completion, allow an accurate diagnosis and subsequent prescription.
Here are some markers that Scripture aligns with the progression of the prophecy clock. For each, think about your lifetime: has this increased (+); decreased (−), or remained constant (=) ??
- Decline of unity and commitment in Christian community; false teaching. + − =
- Claims of faith, but character that mirrors the culture. + − =
- Extensive travel, and expansion of information. + − =
- Intense persecution, especially toward Christians, that threatens extinction. + − =
- Belief that creation lasts forever, without any Creator or conclusion. + − =
- Earthquakes, natural disasters and threats of cosmic catastrophes. + − =
- Conflicts between tribal groups, and wars between countries. + − =
- Deniers of divinity who live with no moral boundaries or sense of accountability. + − =
Click here for the biblical citations from which that summation of symptoms is extracted. You tell me: are these on the rise, on the decline… or holding steady? In the few decades of your adult life, has the movement foretold across millennia been in keeping with God’s projection, or not?
When Peter looks at the clock – and the careening culture that seems destined for a future collision – he says it demands a personal determination: “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:11-13).
So… what time is it?