Luke 21:25-36 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
25 “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26 People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
29 Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30 as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near.32 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place.33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
34 “Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly,35 like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
We are living in an apocalyptic moment. At least it is easy to read the situation at hand in an apocalyptic manner. Things seem to be coming to a head. The battle lines are being drawn and the various military forces are gathering. The Middle East seems to be in a constant state of chaos, with violence the norm. I was talking to a couple of friends who happen to be Muslim, and they are worried that this will lead to another World War that would erupt in the Middle East. For some this would be “good news.” We’ve been hearing from certain sectors of the Christian community for several decades that the we live in the last days, and thus the outbreak of a world war in this region would be the sign that the end has come. The only thing lacking, it would seem, is a rebuilt Jewish Temple. According to some accounts this is a necessary prerequisite, but perhaps not. If all the parties are present—Russia, China(?), the United States, France, Israel, and the many varying Islamic nations ranging from Saudi Arabia to Iran are present. Isn’t this all laid out somewhere in Revelation or maybe Daniel? In the aftermath of the attacks in Paris the great powers do seem ready to engage in a major military operation, which is fueling this apocalyptic fever. The only question left concerns who will light the match to set off the explosion that will trigger Armageddon.