The earthquake off Sumatra last week jolted (pun intended) my mind to the events mentioned in Matthew 24, that passage in which Jesus talks about the end times. Earthquakes are specifically mentioned in verse 7. So, is this earthquake another sign that the end is near?
There have been people who have nothing better to do but try to predict the future. Sadly, such leaders lead their followers on a wild goose chase, and some even end in tragedy. The bottomline is, no one knows when the Second Coming will be, except the Father. It will happen like a "thief in the night", i.e. it's unpredictable, so we must keep watch and be ready (Matt 24:42-44).
My personal view is that we've been living in the end times since Jesus' Ascension 2000 years ago. There is no extra special "end time". We're living in just a part of the continuum of the end times. Yes, if you consider the increasing severity or frequency of the signs happening, it looks like we're living in the end of the end times, but no one knows exactly when it will be. Next year? Another 10 years? 50 years? The signs are here, but similar things have been happening throughout the past two millenia.
In case you're wondering, my eschatological viewpoint, as of right now, is amillenial, post-tribulation Rapture (1 Thess 4:13-18). What's your stand? Does it really matter? Well, yes, but it's not the most important matter. What's most important is, Are you ready? Will you be ready when Jesus comes again? And, for heaven's sake, what are you doing on earth now?
Here's a classic song, "I Wish We'd All Been Ready", written by Larry Norman in the 60's and remixed by DC Talk. The song describes a pre-tribulation Rapture (which I don't subscribe to). But the question of readiness is infinitely relevant regardless of which end time stand you subscribe to. You don't want to be caught with your lamp out of oil (Matt 25).