Revelation 14: 14-19
Then I looked, and there was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like the Son of Man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand! Another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to the one who sat on the cloud, “Use your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” So the one who sat on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.
Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Then another angel came out from the altar, the angel who has authority over fire, and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Use your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for its grapes are ripe.” So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and gathered the vintage of the earth, and he threw it into the great wine press of the wrath of God.
Psalm 96: 10-13
Say among the nations, “The Lord is king!
The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved.
He will judge the peoples with equity.”
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the Lord; for he is coming,
for he is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with his truth.
Luke 21: 5-11
When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”
They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them.
“When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.
When we really think about it, it is amazing that Jesus can talk about the last days more than 2,000 years before they happen. We know the scripture says that only the Father knows the day or the hour and we are still waiting, but we all would like to know when and what sort of times we will be living in.
Today there are many signs that we may be near the end. There have been other times in history when people were fairly sure that the end was near. Jesus warns us not to follow anyone who says that the time has come. We know that we are supposed to follow only Jesus.
So what would we do differently if we did know when the end would be? Not unlike the feeling you get when a person is leaving your school, business or neighborhood, there is a sudden feeling of friendliness and wishing we had gotten to know them better before they were gone. We are faced with the reality that life changes, people come and go. We all die. When that happens, we act very differently. We appreciate people. We want them to think kindly of us. We want to do what we can to make a good impression. We spread more joy and more love.
Perhaps, rather than looking for signs of the end, the response Jesus wants us to have is to just be ready and prepare as if every day is the last day. If you have something or someone who has been neglected and you can do something about it, consider doing it today. By day’s end, we can ask the Lord to put it on our hearts what he wants from us while we have the chance.