But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up…nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore…be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless. (2 Peter 3:10–14—NKJV)

The hubbub concerning the Mayan calendar is the latest illustration of lemming-thinking. For me, the suspected Mayan prediction of the end of the earth occurring on December 21st was not to be believed. If they had truly planned to foretell the end of time accurately, then the date would have been hundreds of years ago when we know their society met its demise. For them, their world ended. If you are reading this, then their prediction simply proves that the Mayans have taken their deserved place in the long line of false prophets among men. Shame on us if we gave credence to their poor prediction!

End of the world theories have been bandied about since the creation of man. It is no surprise that any prediction concerning “doomsday” will gain a large hearing. Even when I was a youngster, in the jarring days of the cold war, it was not an unusual thing to hear kids on the playground discussing a nuclear world war that would spell the end of mankind.

Though I was a young believer with only a rudimentary understanding of Scripture, such talk was not a harbinger of fear for me. I knew enough of God’s promises that described a different reason for the end of the world. Even our text teaches that it will be the “day of the Lord,” which is a very technical term in the Bible concerning a specific day known only to God. It is not just any day, but it is a day that will be orchestrated by God, not errant nations or terroristic leaders. Taken together, Scripture points to a literal millennial kingdom of Jesus Christ ruling from Jerusalem; this has not happened as of yet, but it will. Any theories about the end of the earth that ignore Christ’s coming literal Kingdom are plainly fallacious.

I am not saying that the world will not get worse or that countries and civilizations will not come and go before the Lord returns. These “world-changers” have happened since the advent of sin among men. There probably will be more “doomsdays” before we hear the “trump of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16) calling His church out of the world, so that the stage will be set for the Tribulation and the coming Kingdom of God.

What is to be the believer’s reaction to all these “wars and rumors of wars?” The rest of the verse where this phrase is found gives us direction. Matthew 24:6 concludes, “See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” The comfort for believers is found in the providential grace and care of God for His own even in desperate times. This verse is addressed to the “Great Tribulation” saints who precede the millennial Kingdom (they are our successors after the Church Age is complete and the church is removed at the rapture). They will hear of wars and rumors of wars far surpassing the conflicts of our day, and when they do, they need to know that God cares for them and has not forgotten them. The same lesson is applicable to us in our trying times. God’s assurances of His care are equally applicable to the saints of all ages.

Matthew 6:31–34 serves to keep believers focused on God in the midst of real-world worries: “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’…For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” 2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us, “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind,” and verse 12 reads, “For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”

Every day that passes brings us a day closer to the arrival of the “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” Therefore remember Peter’s words, “be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.” Let the fears and tragedies of this world drive you to greater ambitions of holiness and godliness. Love truth, stand firm, live honorably, and witness to the lost. Trust and obey!