Likely you know about the movie where people who saw a video tape died seven days later. Though I did not see it myself, I am sure it revealed all the horror of their scrambling for salvation such a prospect might generate. Imagining the terror of imminent death is not hard to do.
Yet I want you to imagine a greater concern. Imagine for a moment that the entire world, not just your life, will end within seven days. You are not sure of the exact time, the hour, day or night – you just know that is the span of time in which it will happen. Further, you are absolutely certain of your information. You know for a fact that Jesus Christ is returning in glory and the world will be destroyed by fire. At that time He will deliver His saints from this present evil age, resurrect the dead, transform them and the living into immortal spiritual beings and restore the kingdom to His Father. Everyone who has ever lived will stand before the judgment seat of Christ, to be judged for their life’s actions whether good or evil. The righteous will shine like the firmament of heaven and all others will have their place in the lake of fire along with the devil and his angels for all eternity (Luke 21:25-28; 2 Peter 3:10-13; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Acts 1:9-11; Matthew 3:11-12; John 5:25-29; Daniel 12:1-4; Revelation 19:20; 20:14-15; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28; Romans 14:10-12). You know this will happen within seven days; you are as certain of it as you are your own name.
No doubt most people would try to spend as much time with their loved ones as possible. Some, even many, might do crazy, insane, things to fulfill some repressed desire, not at all concerned about the consequences of their actions. Others might ignore it, and go on their way, convincing themselves that it just won’t happen, being willing to take the risk. But you know they would die just as they are – sinners in need of a Savior.
Behavior could also depend greatly on whether one is already saved or not. A non-Christian might feel compelled to obey Christ and be saved. Their first thought would be to do whatever is necessary to ensure against total ruin, finally realizing that their worldliness has meant nothing in the grand scheme of things. They might scramble to shore up what needs shoring up, spiritually. They would be as the “eleventh hour” laborers, but they would be wise and saved nonetheless (Matthew 20:1-16).
What might Christians do? I think we would likely do what we should be doing now, because a version of this scenario will become reality (please review the scriptures listed above if you doubt it). True, we are not given the precise time of Christ’s return (Mark 13:32) but we should know enough of scripture to believe it will happen one day. We should be warning everyone that this is what is coming. It should make us frantic to get the word out – not merely a message promoting fear-mongering but one to fill in the rest of the story – that it does not have to be this way, that peace with God through the obedience of faith to the gospel of Christ provides absolute protection, full assurance that we will have a place among the redeemed in heaven when this old world is consumed by fire on that Last Day (John 6:39-40, 44; 11:24; 12:48). I believe we would hurry to warn our relatives, friends, neighbors, and even strangers to save themselves from the coming destruction not caring what their attitude might be. Even if they threatened us or hurt us we would speak out, as love for them would forbid silence. Nothing would contain us, hinder us, or keep us quiet. We would tell them to rely solely upon Jesus Christ for salvation, that positing faith, trusting obedience, in Him alone, not in our own good works, is the only way to be saved (John 8:24; John 14:6; Acts 4:12). We would speak out against sin to identify and expose it, proclaiming the need of repentance (renunciation) of it (Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 2:38). We would urge them to confess the Name of Jesus Christ as the Son of God (Matthew 10:32, 33; Acts 8: ; Romans 10:9-10) and to crown it all by being baptized, immersed in water, as directed by Christ and His Apostles so that our sins might be forgiven by His blood-bought sacrifice at Calvary (Matthew 28:18-20; John 15:15-16; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:3ff) and to live faithfully in Christ for whatever time is left (Revelation 2:10). We would do this as much as we could, as often as we could, whenever and wherever we could.
Whatever resistance we met would be brushed aside because we know this to be right: that salvation in Christ is based upon His promise to the obedient, not as a prayer to Him as many claim. We would not care who condemned or derided our words for we know in whom and in what we have believed, and there is none other who can save.
Though we do not know when the Lord will return we know that He can at any moment. We have lived many weeks holding onto a very real knowledge and firm belief that He could have returned any day of them. What have we to show for it? Have we been wasting the time?
Praying is not enough; it will not get the job done. We must get the word out to all people everywhere. We must tell them: “Jesus Christ is coming back! Are you ready for His return in flaming fire? Do you know what to do to be counted among the saved? Would you care to know? Friend, please give me a moment to tell you how. We haven’t much time! For the love of God and Christ, and the destiny of your immortal soul, won’t you listen?”
We may not have seven seconds, much less seven days, until the end of all things. Are we as Christians making a plea to the lost? Are we sounding a warning to them? Don’t wait on someone else to do this. If we believe Jesus is coming back, and the world as we know it will end, then for love’s sake, let’s act like it.