“And He said, “See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not go after them. When you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end does not follow immediately.” Then He continued by saying to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake. It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony. So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute. But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, and you will be hated by all because of My name. Yet not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives.””

Luke 21:8-19

As believers we need to be familiar with the scriptural truths of the end times, so that we are not overtaken by fear.  Jesus taught this to his disciples and I believe He also teaches all believers who follow, that before He returned to this earth in His glory to complete the fulfillment of all things that the earth and the peoples of the earth would experience trials, challenges, wars, plagues, famines and persecution of believers.  We see so much that is happening in the world now, in our own country and wonder if we are nearing the return of Jesus?  Certainly we are in the last times, there has been famines, plagues, earthquakes, pestilence, wars, rumors of war, various phenomenon in space and on the earth that keeps people of all nations trying in their own understanding to figure it all out.  I don’t think they will.  Believers don’t need all the answers we simply and faithfully trust God because He knows all the events and times, and most significantly the time of Jesus’ return.  Here in the U.S. we have not experienced persecution for our faith…yet.  The time may come, but now we must know of and pray for brothers and sisters across the world who are being persecuted, even martyred for the cause of Christ.  We cannot get lost in the unknown but rather “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” and He will provide what we need.  Yes, there are signs, but we can observe them and be encouraged that Jesus could be returning soon.

In the meantime, verse 19 gives us encouragement in what to do and in what it will result in.  “By your endurance”, brothers and sisters in Christ keep holding on to Jesus, persevere in your belief in God, endure through the difficult times because God is faithful, “and you will gain your lives.”  Lives is better understood as souls and the reference is to eternal life the promise of God.  It is encouraging but it is also a command for genuine believers to persevere in their faith in God, come what may, because God is in control.  Be attentive, don’t be overcome with uncertainty, and keep your trust in God!