Friday, February 17, 2023

When Your Children Ask If We Are Living in the End Times


By: Sarah Geringer

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 
Matthew 24:3 ESV

This week, two of my three teens asked me if we are living in the end times. They are concerned about the headlines and curious about what the Bible says regarding what's going on.

I am honored that my children came to me with their questions. I didn't do a perfect job of answering them, but I told them what I know based on Scripture and what I've heard from pastors who teach on this subject. 

Teaching our children about the Bible is one of the most important jobs as parents. Did you know Barna research proves that the number one reason children keep their faith once they leave home is that they had honest, faith-based conversations with their parents? This is how vital your conversation with your children could be on this subject.

Today I'll give you an overview of what I told my children. But before I begin, I need to outline a few things for you. First, there are several main views in the Church about the end times, and none of us is 100 percent sure about the timing. Some people devote their entire careers to this subject, yet still don't know everything about it. However, we can look at the Bible itself to learn some things, and make educated guesses about others.

When your children ask if we are living in the end times, what do you tell them?

Let's look at a few scriptures on this topic:

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
2 Peter 3:9 ESV

My pastor from my teen years taught me this truth: Jesus will not return to earth until every single person that he wants to be saved comes to faith (before the rapture, since some will be saved during the tribulation). God knows exactly who that person is, but we don't - and that's why we need to focus on spreading the salt and light of the gospel to as many people as possible.

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
Matthew 24:7-8 ESV

When labor first begins for a woman, her contractions are mild and spaced relatively far apart. However, the closer the time gets to her baby being born, the birth pains are stronger and much closer together. So the wars, earthquakes, famines, and more problems will be stronger and closer together as the time for Jesus' return draws nearI have learned more about this analogy from the teachings of Adrian Rogers.

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Matthew 24:14 ESV

Many Bible scholars believe that Jesus will not return until every single tribe on Earth has access to the Gospel in their own language. There is a huge effort right now to translate the Bible into every language in the next 10 years. You can learn more about this effort HERE. That being said, the Bible is clear that every person has a culpable knowledge of God simply from observing nature, so Jesus could return at any moment.

Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour...Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son.
1 John 2:18, 22 NIV

Even people in Jesus' time wondered if they were living in the end times. The sign God told them to watch for was the antichrist - a real person aligned with the devil's purposes to try to overthrow God's plans. I learned from either Adrian Rogers or David Jeremiah that there very well may have been a potential antichrist in every generation since Jesus - one who could have risen to this role. But we know that God knows exactly who this person will be and has already secured victory.  We need not fear this person, but focus on our own spiritual growth while we meet in community with other Christians. 

I have barely scratched the surface of what you can discuss with your children. I encourage you to go directly to the scriptures, look at them together, and discuss them with your children from an open and honest standpoint. Ask them their thoughts and encourage them to think through these things while praying about them. Remember to meet your child at his or her emotional maturity level, which differs for each child.

Most of all, encourage your children to take hope in God's sovereignty. He knows all there is to know about the end times. He knew your child would be born in this exact time of history and has great plans for him or her. Tell them to remember that in the middle of Jesus' own teachings on this subject, he told his followers to invest what they had been given, and that truth is the same for us now. Our focus needs to be on discipleship and evangelism rather than on fear and anxiety.

Here are some excellent longer passages to discuss with your children:

I pray that this devotion is just a starting point for rich family discussions in your home. Your children are looking for guidance on this subject, so why not start with family devotions on these passages? I hope that these discussions will inspire greater faith and hope in your family, as well as a renewed desire for doing God's will.

Join me for a brand new Lenten study on prayer, being held on Facebook from Feb. 22- Apr. 9, 2023. No pre-reading is required! Learn more HERE.


Reflection questions:

1. Which of these Scriptures above gives you new insight, comfort, or challenge?
2. Who do you know that may benefit from this devotion? Will you share it with them?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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1 comment:

  1. Such wisdom in this post and comfort, as well. I'm excited that our youth are looking for His return.


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