Draw near, O nations, to hear,
and give attention, O peoples!
Let the earth hear, and all that fills it;
the world, and all that comes from it.
For the Lord is enraged against all the nations,
and furious against all their host;
he has devoted them to destruction, has given them over for slaughter.
Their slain shall be cast out,
and the stench of their corpses shall rise;
the mountains shall flow with their blood.
All the host of heaven shall rot away,
and the skies roll up like a scroll.
All their host shall fall,
as leaves fall from the vine,
like leaves falling from the fig tree. Isaiah 34:1-4 ESV
[Jesus said:] “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:25-28 ESV
The Ojibwa Indians of the Great Lakes area in the United States have a story about a star named Genondahwayanung. This name means, “Long Tailed Heavenly Climbing Star.” Genondahwayanung was as hot as the sun and had a long, burning tail. Thousands of years ago this star came and burned everything in the whole world except some Native American people who were warned ahead of time by a good spirit. They rolled themselves up in the mud of a bog, and they weren’t burned by this star. Someday this same star will come back and completely destroy the world, according to the story. The Ojibwa Indians, like people all over the world, watched the stars at night for signs of trouble and disaster.
The prophet Isaiah spoke words of warning to all the nations of the world. They had all turned against God and sinned, and God’s judgment was coming. Isaiah used the picture of all the stars of heaven rotting like spoiled fruit on a tree and falling like leaves when summer is over, and the heavens rolling up like a scroll. When Jesus came he also talked about signs in the stars and in God’s creation on earth. He talked about the waves of the sea roaring while the powers of heaven were shaken, and people all over the world fainting with fear. When the final day of judgment comes, it will be terribly frightening, and God’s creation will seem to fall apart to show God’s anger over sin.
Even though God’s judgment is very scary, and the end of the world will be a terrible time in many ways, Jesus gave his followers words of comfort and hope. He said that when we see these things happening in creation, we should stand up straight and look up, because our redemption is getting close. Redemption means to be saved and to be brought back to the one we belong to. When the end of the world comes, Jesus will come and bring us back to our heavenly Father, who loves us. Jesus came the first time to die on the cross and take all of God’s judgment for our sins. For everyone who believes in Jesus, his second coming will be good news. It will be the time when Jesus brings us to our heavenly home where we will be safe and happy with him forever.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to die for us so that we don’t have to be afraid of your final judgment. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.