It’s been tempting ever since Christianity started out, to think that we moving to the end of time and Christians have been reading the signs of their various times and thinking that the terrible events of the day, the wars and Christian lethargy point to an imminent end.
The Early Christians – including Apostles thought the end would be very soon.
In 1026 Richard II of Normandy lead a group of several hundred men on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in the belief that the Day of Judgment had arrived – and so it has gone in pretty well every century since.
Think, for instance about the moslem onslaught on Europe beginning in AD 711 and continuing until Georgia was reconquered in 1878. Much of southern Europe was held by moslems until the 1500s.
Reason perhaps to imagine that all of northern Europe would be conquered and islam would prevail entirely over Christianity.
So, today, we face a resurgent islam again wanting to conquer Europe and this time being aided and abetted by Europeans who have no idea of the danger they face.
We look around us and we see the almost universal abandonment of any pretence at Christianity throughout the western world. There may be theoretically around 2.2 billion Christians in the world – but does anyone seriously imagine that more than 30 million are active, or that more than that would stand up for their faith?
And where will we find that 30 million? Mostly in Russia, Georgia, Serbia I suspect – plus Africa with only small pockets in Europe, the British Isles and the Americas.
The moslems – all of them – read and understand the requirement on them to kill those who oppose islam and refuse to convert. So as they slowly gain control of parts of Europe, expect that to start and internal refugees to mass and move within Europe. The “Displaced Persons” camps of post WW II will start all over again.
Not everyone will be martyred or put to death or suffer unbearable torture. Some will escape, for the Lord told us that He will keep us from that hour of testing, otherwise no one will be here to greet Him. He will keep us, some of us miraculously. He will move us through the spirit of God to safe havens. Some will be moved to true sanctuary cities or towns. Others will be kept safe and provided for because they will be living in the outskirts and hidden away from those that would seek to do them harm. Whatever our fate might be, we need to remain faithful until the end. Our kingdom is not of this world.
When, however, will that “end” come? The moslems invasion could well be no more than God permitting them to run loose as punishment for our abandoning Him. It need not signify the Second Coming.
The Book of the Revelation of Saint John the Divine is not a timetable for the end. Part of it deals with the Roman Empire as can be easily seen by those who know history. Part of it is a non-linear accounting of the end times. We have, however no clue in it for when that is. Probably quite deliberately so. We are told to live as if we die tomorrow. We must live as if we will answer for all our actions immediately. That is sufficient. We live therefore as if the Second Coming were in fact next Tuesday.