I've been thinking about this topic in the last few days since having a conversation with someone about the end-times, whether or not we are nearing them and the feelings associated with them. I think that the fear reaction is not only very common, but entirely natural as well. The thought of years of upheaval, physical pain, suffering and persecution certainly don't help us look forward to the end-times.
So what is the solution to this problem? Jesus is very clear that we should be watching for the end-times and rejoicing as we see it approaching. To not watch is to disobey Him. So how can we get to this place of hopeful anticipation?
I believe that one very important component of changing our attitudes towards the end-times is to concentrate on His return at the end of the 7 year tribulation. This one single event has the power to make us hopeful and excited about the end-times rather than paralyzed with fear.
How can this event change our attitudes towards the difficulty and suffering we will be forced to endure during the tribulation?
Imagine that you are almost at the end of the 7 years of the tribulation. The first 3.5 years have not been too bad but the last 3.5 years have been hell on earth. All the plagues and judgements of Revelation 6 thru 19 have occurred during this time. Because you haven't taken the Mark, you have been prevented from working, buying or selling during this time. You and your family have eaten and survived this time period only because of the miraculous intervention of Christ. You have been ostracized, humiliated, mocked, abused and ridiculed by your friends and neighbors. You have been vilified and demonized by the media and every level of government, and you have been accused of being the source of everything that is wrong with the world. You have endured having the name of Jesus mocked, ridiculed and spit upon, and you have witnessed the Anti-Christ speak the most heinous blasphemies about Jesus, even claiming to be Yahweh Himself.
In the midst of all this, you hear a trumpet sound. The sun, moon and stars go black and the greatest earthquake in the history of the world occurs, affecting every inch of the planet. All at once you see the sky split open and you see Reality breaking through into our dimension. You see the King of the universe and the Mightiest Warrior in the history of the universe stride through this rift with His heavenly army close behind Him. As He travels around the globe, every human eye sees His glory and majesty. While this triumphant procession is happening He is simultaneously rapturing us into our resurrected bodies and into His heavenly army. All the world is witnessing this transformation, all of humanity is watching as the King vindicates us in front of all our oppressors. All the earth watches in awe as He shows that He loves us and approves of us, proving all our detractors to be liars. This is going to be the highlight of all of human history, every event has been marching and leading toward this one event, which will culminate with Jesus marching into Jerusalem, and we along with Him, to destroy the Anti-Christ and setup His one world government.
I truly believe that if we will meditate on these truths, take the time to think about what this moment will be like, what the Bible has to say about it and what it will feel like, we will find ourselves no longer dreading the end-times but looking forward to them with eager anticipation.