I have noticed that in the past months, Bible Gateway has added a search term to their keyword search enabling searches of just the apocalyptic books. The buzz about the eminent return of Jesus Christ is all over in the evangelical circles. People are asking the question, Is the world economic crisis a sign of the end times? Prophec Update Radio thinks it might be. Even some politicians think so (the brave ones are probably voicing what others are wondering, but are too afraid to actually say).
But this economic crisis is not a sign of judgment, the wrath of God, or a harbinger of the end times. This does not mean the end times aren’t close – they probably are. But this financial crisis is not a sign of it. Jesus said:
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matt 24:36-39
And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. Luke 17:26-30
Do you notice the theme connecting both Noah and Lot? The people in the world HAD NO CLUE judgment was about to fall on them. Life was going on as normal. There was food. There were parties (weddings). They were BUYING and SELLING. They were BUILDING. The economy was humming along until the day Noah entered the ark, and Lot went out of Sodom.
Revelation teaches us that the wrath of God is going to be trodden out by the returned Messiah. He is going to return first, then the age of grace will be over, and then and only then it will be time to execute wrath on the kingdoms of this world. He will rule the nations with a rod of iron. If they do not obey Him willingly, they will be forced to obey Him, but, obey Him they will, willingly or no.
This economic crisis is, I believe, more a wake up call to the ekklesia, to all who have ears to hear: To not covet anything. To free ourselves from every form of greed and materialism that has infected our lives. To stop laying up for ourselves treasures on the earth, where moth and rust can destroy, and where thieves can break in and steal, but to begin laying up for ourselves treasure that is in heaven. In other words, give to the poor, give to missions what you would normally spend on yourself, even in 401K payments. If these past months have taught us anything, it ought to be that "treasure on the earth" can vanish pretty quickly. It is a message to the ekklesia to GET OUT OF DEBT if you are not already. To owe no man anything but love.
God is calling His own out of Babylon before the ax falls. That is what I think it is. It is an act of mercy, forbearance, and grace. But then the economy will recover, and things will hum along again, and everyone will have forgotten about this little hiccup. Then the Lord will return, when He is least expected.