UCOG Blog Logo
News and views from the German-language region of Europe

March 25, 2016

Watch – and pray!

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

The news can give us cause to ask about the times in which we live. Or perhaps more precisely: about the course of events relative to biblical prophecy.

Terrorist attacks in Europe by Muslim fanatics, the massive influx of Muslim refugees in Europe, the approaching referendum on the so-called "Brexit" and comments by a leading candidate in the American presidential race that America should greatly reduce its commitment to NATO can make us wonder: Quo vadis Europe?

With our traditional understanding of biblical prophecies about the end time it is no surprise that we follow trends and news events in Europe and wonder about the continent's future. We know that certain things must happen – in Europe, too – prior to Jesus Christ's return to this earth.

And that is the focal point of biblical end time prophecy: the return of Christ. Jesus' own disciples wanted to know what would precede the return of their Lord and Master. So they asked Him about it: "What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" (Matthew 24:3).

Over the years we often examined at the signs that Jesus gave as His answer to His disciples' question. We find His answer in three parallel chapters of the New Testament evangelists (Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21). We also have the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, whose symbolic meaning is given in the signs we find in those three parallel chapters. Our interest in those signs is understandable. Why else would Jesus have given them to us if we are not supposed to be interested in them?

In concluding His answer as recorded in the gospel of Luke we find an exhortation from Jesus that we may have misunderstood in the past and that becomes ever more important as time advances toward the return of Christ.

"But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:34-36).

We are to "watch". According to Strong's Concordance, agrupneo, the Greek word translated as watch in verse 36 means "to be sleepless, i.e. keep awake." Frequently, when the Bible mentions being asleep or tells us to wake up, it refers to our spiritual state (Matthew 25:5; Romans 13:11; I Thessalonians 5:6-8). So being watchful in this context isn't primarily about watching world events. Instead, it is about our spiritual condition.

The signs and trends that Jesus predicted to occur prior to His return are not intended to enable us to do a precise analysis of world events so we can know exactly when He will return. Instead they are to be a prod for us to continually nurture our relationship to our heavenly Father. In that way we won't be unprepared when those prophesied events take place – not in the sense of being surprised by those events, but in terms of our own spiritual health.

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


internal links:


search blog: