“As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. ‘Tell us,’ they said, ‘when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’
Matthew 24:3

Zombies, desert wastelands, hoarding of water, dilapidated and cobwebbed dwellings, eating anything…or anyone, unspeakable evil, violence upon violence, death upon death, and some guy named Max, who is either very angry or half insane. Maybe a little bit of both.

apocalypse 2
 

Our culture is mesmerized by thoughts of straining to survive a post-apocalyptic age. It is enamored by the fight to withstand a revolution led by the most heinous of us, worlds overtaken by flesh-eating undead, by inhabitants of another world hell-bent on our destruction.  It is just this side of obsessed with all things ungodly and other worldly, as long as that other world is the one that breathes fire and sulfur.

It’s been made so fascinating, so entertaining, that scarcely anyone would think there could be, somewhere in the fray, some truth, and that the actual truth it mimics could be much more real and more frightening than fiction.

So why all the allure about the end of the world?

Could it be that our Creator has built into us, somewhere in the recesses of our souls, inside our DNA, an awareness of this truth?  Just as we have an awareness of something, or in reality Someone, greater than ourselves – someone who created us, someone who’s responsible for the existence of this world we live in, for the intricacy of atoms and the ginormousness of billions and billions of galaxies, and for the vacuum inside us that we all search to fill until we fill it with Him – is an awareness, and a question about our future.

And could it be that like all superheroes, God has an adversary, and that adversary will use our craving to fill the void inside us, and our fascination for the dark side of truth, to create a world so fantastical that we couldn’t possibly believe there is any actual truth to it? Where he himself is only a guy in a red suit with fluff-filled horns and a plastic pitchfork, and no one could really believe in the existence of someone like that, could they?  It’s all just too preposterous.

Only it isn’t.

God does have an adversary, many of them, in fact, but chief among them is satan, who isn’t red and I highly doubt carries a pitchfork, but was a created angel who rebelled against God and was banished from heaven. One-third of the angels rebelled with him, and his goal is to incite as many souls as possible to rebel against God, too.  satan’s tactics have always been subtle – to mimic God by taking a grain of truth and building around it so many tantalizing lies that we’d rather believe and act on the lies rather than the truth. 

He did it in the garden with Eve, and he even tried it in the wilderness with the Son of God.  His war against God won’t end until God ends it, and if we’re not careful, we can find ourselves on the wrong side of the battle line.

Just like the disciples, we have a curiosity about the end of the world as we know it because God wants to speak to our hearts through it, and the last thing satan wants for us to do is listen. Will the end include zombies and evil aliens? No. But the Bible has a lot to say about the end of all things and the time when Christ returns.

Jesus’ response to the disciples’ question was to warn them, and us, to be on the lookout for false prophets, false messiahs (mimics of the truth), wars and rumors of wars, nation rising against nation, famines and earthquakes, increased wickedness, many turning away from the faith, betraying and hating each other.

“Immediately,” Jesus said, “after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”  Matthew 24:29-31

Paul tells us:

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”  1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Could it be that satan has hijacked that glorious truth by mimicking God once again, and masterminded a theater of lies where he, instead, “resurrects” hoards to a state of hideous undead, so satisfying to the flesh that the world eats it up?  Has entertainment been used by satan like a blaring horn in the distance to draw the world away from the actual truth that one day they will face God for judgment of their sins if they haven’t believed in Jesus Christ?

I don’t put it past him.

Paul told the church in Thessalonica, and the Word tells us, that no one knows the day or the hour but that “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3

The book of Revelation gives us a glimpse into the real apocalyptic time when God’s judgment rains down upon the earth. It is teeming with visions of stars falling to the earth, warring angels, dragons, the seal of God on the foreheads of His servants, and of course, satan, once again mimicking God’s actions through the anti-Christ by forcing people to wear his number instead.

The enemy of God knows he’s living on borrowed time, and he appeals to the dark side of our nature, the attraction we all have toward sin and darkness, and bit by bit, tiny victory after tiny victory, if we don’t choose our steps carefully, we can follow him down the wide road as he robs us of our joy and peace and the life God wants to give us.

Through Paul, God reminds us that “you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober (watchful). For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober (watchful), putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8

We may not see the destruction of all things in our lifetime, but we will all see the end of our mortal bodies, and Paul goes on to remind us how we’re to live until then: “acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.  1 Thessalonians 5:12-22

And what will be the afterlife for us then? 

For those who die in rebellion to God, those wishes will be granted and they will not see the Light of God for the rest of eternity. Those souls will be banished from the presence and love of God to eternal destruction and torment.

But for those who die believing in Jesus Christ, those will be raised to everlasting life, and the ones who are yet alive and are believing when Christ comes again will join them all to ride to victory.

 

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24