Is the end of all things near? If it is, what should Christians be like and what should they be doing?
Scripture answers both of these questions definitively: “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1 Pet. 4:7). We must heed this teaching diligently!
The End of All Things is Near!
Probably around 65 AD, the apostle Peter wrote to encourage believers who were suffering for their faith in Jesus Christ. Under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he declared, “The end of all things is at hand” (1 Pet. 4:7a).
Even though 1,948 years later, the end of all things has not yet come, what Peter wrote is still as true today as it was when he wrote it. His statement is true because time is different with the Lord than it is with man:
“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Pet. 3:8).
Although the end of all things has not yet come, we can be certain that it is near! By faith, we must accept this teaching from God and reject our own ideas to the contrary.
Furthermore, we must not be presumptive and think that the end will not come at least for some unspecified time. Because it is at hand, we must be mindful every day that the end of all things is near.
We must reject as unbiblical any theological viewpoint or teaching that is contrary to what Peter wrote. Because the end of all things is near, our thinking and living must be radically different from that of the world (1 Pet. 4:2-4) and from false teachers in the Church (2 Pet. 3).
We would do well to stress to ourselves daily the reality that the end of all things is near! Moreover, we ought to exhort one another continually with this truth so that we do not relapse into worldly thinking and living that is contrary to this truth to any extent.
What Christians Should Be Like and What They Should Be Doing
Because the end of all things is near, Christians must be sober and watch unto prayer (1 Pet. 4:7b). These commands direct us infallibly about what we should be like and what we should be doing because the end of all things is near.
When we lack sobriety, we show that our thinking is unbiblical. We show that we are not living rightly in view of the end of all things being near.
When we are not watching unto prayer, we are not right with God. We are not living properly in view of the end of all things being near.
The poor attendance in the prayer meetings of many local churches is a telling sign that the Church today is seriously lacking a proper perspective on the end of all things being near. Christians who regularly skip prayer meeting at their church without just cause (such as serious illness, unavoidable providential hindrance, etc.) need to repent and stop forsaking the assembling of themselves together to “watch unto prayer” (Heb. 10:25; 1 Pet. 4:7).
Scripture plainly distinguishes between being at home and assembling as a church (cf. “when ye come together in the church” [1 Cor. 11:18] vs. “have ye not houses” [1 Cor. 11:22]; “at home” vs. “in the church” [1 Cor. 14:35]). Neither staying at home and praying as a family nor leaving church before prayer time to pray at home is, therefore, a valid substitute for assembling yourself together with your church during the regularly scheduled prayer meeting time of your local church (cf. Acts 2:42).
Yes, various people will have extenuating circumstances on occasion that necessitate their missing prayer meeting or leaving before prayer time, but doing so regularly will certainly undercut you and your church’s heeding the teaching of Scripture concerning watching unto prayer in view of the end of all things being near. Apart from truly exceptional situations, every Christian should make every effort to be at his church to pray during the time that his church sets aside for praying in their prayer meeting (Acts 2:42).
“But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1 Pet. 4:7).