What We Must Endure to the End
In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus warned of many things, but He also promised that those who endure to the end would be saved. What exactly must we endure?
Mankind is often troubled by the future. Our imaginations can run wild and devise horrible doomsday scenarios and dystopian futures. Scientists theorize about multiple events that could end the world as we know it.
A look at the Bible also paints a grim picture at times. While the Bible ends with the glorious Kingdom of God reigning over all things, it also describes many dark, troubling events that precede it. Jesus explained that time this way: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21). This indicates that a terrible time is in our future.
However, within this same prophecy Christ uttered this powerful promise: “He who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13). This promise should be encouraging to God’s people and fill us with hope. God’s people who faithfully endure everything will be given the gift of salvation—eternal life in the family of God!
But what must we endure in order to be saved and enter God’s Kingdom? Jesus actually told us some of the things we must endure earlier in the prophecy.
The Olivet Prophecy starts with the warning to avoid being deceived by those who profess Christ’s name but teach doctrines contrary to what He taught (Matthew 24:4-5; 7:21-22). This point is so important that Christ repeated it (Matthew 7:23-24, 26).
We can avoid deception by developing a deep knowledge and love of God’s truthThe book of Revelation indicates that this religious deception in the end time will be led by a false prophet who has great political power and becomes a conqueror who tries to influence the world with his false teachings (Revelation 6:2). Christians must work hard to not fall victim to this religious power’s deception. Jesus warned us to “take heed that no one deceives you.”
How can you avoid deception? By developing a deep knowledge and love of God’s truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10).
Wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes
The next sign that Christ warns of is “wars and rumors of wars” (Matthew 24:6-7). Warfare will be a constant and prevalent factor in mankind’s future, ending the lives of millions (Revelation 6:4). These wars will range from conflicts against other nations to civil wars as countries tear themselves apart.
Then (likely because of the wars) there will be famines and pestilences (Matthew 24:7). Famines will strike the earth, causing food to be scarce and prices to skyrocket to an extent never before seen (Revelation 6:5-6). Amid the malnutrition and warfare, disease will run rampant, and epidemics and pandemics much worse than the COVID-19 pandemic will spread across the globe.
Earthquakes will also strike and decimate cities and national resources. As always, mankind will be totally helpless, only able to clean up the wreckage in the aftermath. This, Christ declared, is only “the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8).
Tribulation, persecution and martyrdom
With the religious deception, warfare, famine, pestilence and natural disasters striking all over the world, people will turn against the people of God. In their anger and confusion, mankind will lash out against anyone trying to live by God’s ways. Neighbors and family will betray one another (verses 9-10).
In this era of lawlessness, people will lose love for one another. All illusions of civility will disappear in a world that appears to be falling apart (verse 12). Knowing that his time is almost up, Satan will attack God’s people with everything he has (Revelation 12:12).
Some of God’s people will be killed for following God (Revelation 6:9-10).
Is it worth it?
A question that we must ask is whether or not this way of life is worth it. Christ tells us that we are to count the cost and gauge whether we value His way of life far more than the trials that will come (Luke 14:26-33). How much we value God’s truth will determine whether or not we stay faithful to the very end.
The Bible assures us that our future is absolutely worth enduring all these hardships (Romans 8:16-18, 32-39).
Endure to the end!