Mar 19, 2010, 2:17 PM
Many a times, we see some people arguing as regards whether the days we are living in are the last days or not.The sad thing about something these arguments is that the message of the gospel in this regard is more often than not put out of context and interpreted in a very narrow way.We should always remember that God could not be consigned to space and time For him, according to the scriptures, “a thousand years is like a day, come and gone” (Psalm 90:4).Some sections of the prophecy of Daniel, most sections of the Apocalypse of St John and those sections of the three synoptic gospels that come right before the passion narrative, are mostly the portions of the Bible that people tend to quote or interpret whenever they predict the last days.Most of these passages are full of pictorial languages and metaphors that their messages are never meant to be understood in a literal way.They are arguably the most difficult parts of the sacred scripture.A true knowledge of the nature and attributes of God, and man’s own life helps us then to arrive at a better understanding of these inspired messages. We are told for example about the great violence and distress that will either precede or accompany the events of the last day.The prophet Daniel had it as follows:
“There is going to be a time of great distress, unparalleled since nations first came into existence.When that time comes, your own people will be speared, all those whose names are found in the book of life”(Daniel 12:1).Christ himself talked of it like this, “In those days, after the time of distress, the sun will be darkened, the moon will lose it’s brightness, the stars will come falling from heaven and the powers of heaven will be shaken.And then they will see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory, then too he will send angels to gather his chosen from the four winds, from the end of the world to the ends of heaven”(Mark 13:24-27)
It is wrong to understand the scripture as talking of one particular war or violence as many have tended to think.Since a thousand years are like one day in the sight of God, all the wars, crises and tensions that have been taking place in the history of mankind, be it at global, national, community or on a personal level are in the sight of God like one single event in function of the last day of humanity.It is quite in order for countries, families and individuals to see the crises and distress that they pass through in life in the context of the day of judgement.To be focusing on one particular distress and isolating others from the focus of God and his reckoning would amount to a great mistake.No single experience could be more than all the experiences we have got in our lives when we put them together.Such an experience could only be a fraction of our immense wealth of life experience.In the same way, no particular distress, be it on an individual or general level could be greater than all the distress either of an individual or of humanity put together.This helps us to understand when he described the grandeur of the distress that signals to the imminence of the last day as follows:“There is going to be a time of a great distress unparalleled since nations first came into existence:(Daniel 12:1).
The message is loud and clear.We could never get to our destination in life without going through trials, tribulations and persecutions.Any difficulty and temptation that we encounter, especially in our bid to live lives of integrity re-position us at the threshold of the day of judgement and salvation.Christ, fully conscious of the tribulations of life and their place on the question of our salvation, warns us as follows:“When these events start to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high because your liberation is close at hand”.That the events of life should not be saving event of God was shown by Christ when he used his entire life to offer a single but perfect sacrifice for every section and generation of humanity.For this the scripture made the following declaration:“All the priests stand at their duties everyday, offering over and over again the same sacrifice which are quite incapable of taking sins away.Christ, on the other hand has offered one single sacrifice for sins, and then taken his place forever, at the right hand of God.”(Hebrews 10:11-12).
We who live in the days of Jesus Christ are living in those days that have been predicted, prayed for a longed for by the prophets.The days of Christ in which we are living are the days of the fullness of revelations, the last and definitive age of mankind in terms of the history of salvation. The day of the Son of man is unknown to everyone of us as individuals and to the world as a whole.This is because from the beginning, God has meant such a day to be a surprise so that we would be diligent, preparing for it at every hour of our lives.So of the day and the hour Christ declared:“But as for that day or hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, no one but the Father”(Mark 13:32).