Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 1 John 2, verse 18.
As I write this, the Roman Catholic church is undergoing a substantial change. Benedict XVI is abdicating his position as pope. Nobody knows who the College of Cardinals will elect, but one of the favorite front runners (in the media) is a cardinal named Peter Turkson. Already the internet is abuzz with conspiracy theories that electing this man as pope would fulfill an ancient prophecy concerning the end times, about how the next pope would be the last one and a man who would consciously strike a deal with Satan.
So let’s say this again: nobody here knows when the world will end. Nobody. Not even Jesus, because He said that only God the Father knows and He isn’t talking about it. Anyone who prognosticates that “this is THE SIGN” doesn’t really know any more than you or me. They’re interpreting and speculating.
What I believe this verse means, and is, is a call for vigilance. We are to be on our guard, living each hour as if it was the last…because it could be. The promise of mayhem, violence, and destruction is given in Scripture. It’s coming; it may be here; the time may be now; we may be in it. But we don’t know. None of us knows: not you or me. Not Barack Obama. Not Judge Judy. Not Billy Graham. Not the pope or the College of Cardinals or Cardinal Turkson. And because we don’t know, and because God says so, we should remain vigilant. Cling to Him, follow Him, share Him, live for and through Him, and live in this way knowing we could die at any moment.
We need to cling to Him because forces of evil really are at work in the world. We are to interpret signs of the times as proof that evil can be on the rise. Forces of evil are at work in terrorists, governments, fanatics, and religious militants. They are also at work in the suburbs, in the indifference in which we deal with our brothers and sisters and to whom life, death, despair, and a hundred crises plague their lives daily. Evil is at work in how we disregard the starving and poor, and how we choose safety and comfort over helping others. We need more than ever to cling to God because these petty evil antichrists are always at work, tempting us to follow them, lying to us that they know better. Signs and wonders say so. We need to cling to God to be able to stand, resist, and overcome them.
God Almighty, I’m scared and confused in this world sometimes, and I am tempted to follow evil. Help me to stand, to resist, to cling to you, and to do battle with evil using weapons of light.