Notice I said “end of this age”, not “end of the world”. The world really will end one day (II Peter 3:10, Revelation 21:1-5), but we’re not there yet. Before that happens King Yeshua has to come back and rule the earth from Jerusalem for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-6). As far as I can tell that hasn’t happened yet. Therefore what we expecting is the end of this age: the transition between the time in which we now live and the return of Yeshua.
And what is this transition? Some call it the Great Tribulation. It’s the time when God’s government smashes all the governments of human beings (the kingdoms of men, according to Daniel 2). That’s a time of great hope for all believers in Yeshua, but a time of great dread for those who do not believe in Him. The whole book of Revelation tells about how bad it will get. In fact, in Revelation the Apostle John was just providing details on events God had already explained to Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zephaniah, Zechariah, Joel, and other prophets in ages past.
Are we there yet? Maybe, and maybe not. For centuries people have expected Messiah’s return whenever great events happened. The Black Death in medieval Europe, the wars of the French Revolution, the great earthquakes in the Mississippi Valley in 1811, World War I, World War II, the independence of Israel, and many other events have caused Christians around the world to think that the end of this age has come. We are not wrong to join them in expecting the end.
The signs today are all there: wars and rumors of war, earthquakes, famine, economic distress, lawlessness, immorality, and more. We don’t know if we are about to enter the Great Tribulation, but we can be certain there are very, very rough times ahead.
And thus we get back to the question: How does this affect the way you live your life? God’s simple answer is this:
If we belong to Messiah, we know we’re going to get through it OK whether we live or die. As Paul explained:
For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. (I Thessalonians 5:9-11)