Everywhere I go lately, someone is talking about the end times and the disasters happening in our state and even the hurricanes hitting other countries and earthquakes. They are convinced it is the end times. I wanted to know your thoughts about this.
What a question! I was looking for something to do this morning anyway, so I will attempt to answer as briefly as I may. Hopefully it will not be too much answer for you. I would first recommend that you read a great book on the subject of the rapture, called The Rapture Question, by John Walvoord. I am reading it through for my third time right now. He thoroughly covers the topic from A to Z, presenting the literal viewpoint of a pretrib rapture, and why the post-tribulation positions are so much less literal. You note that “your take is that we might spend less time talking about it, and using more time to tell others about Jesus.” What a fine observation! But it still should be the driving force of our need to talk to others about it, for as the song wonderfully asks, “What if it were today?”
So no, we should not just sit around and talk about it, rather it should be our motive to push us to be found busy following our calling.
Jesus is very clear about his expectations for his saints. Jesus tells us in Matthew 24, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” History is full of people who have erred grievously by trying to predict the day of his coming, and all have been wrong. But if we cannot know the day, Jesus does teach us that we will know the season, “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door” (24:32, 33). He goes on to tell us, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (24:45).
So when your friends note that the season is near, they are doing exactly that which Jesus commanded. They are watching. But, as you did suggest, they ought to be doing more than watching. The epistles to the Thessalonians were both written to clarify the incidents that happen around the Second Coming, particularly the Rapture. I am so glad the Thessalonians became confused about the details, because it caused Paul to stop and write down the prophecies clearly, so that you and I might understand more about what is to come. (In fact, every chapter in the epistles of Thessalonians, except for one, tells us something about the coming of our Lord. Can you find the chapter that does not talk about the coming of the Lord? It makes for a wonderful Bible study!) Did you know that church history teaches that some of the Thessalonians were parking themselves on rooftops, so sure were they that the coming was near? They did not want to miss a thing, and were watching. They might remind you of the friends you mentioned that want to talk about nothing else.
You are correct when you observe that we need to be busy telling others about Jesus, and if we are truly following the Lord, our watching for his return should make us realize that our time is indeed short, and we will need to be found busy following our calling when he does return. So end time sentiments should be motivating us to work harder, lest we be caught unaware. So there is a place for both, and we need to watch ourselves so that we are not found on the rooftops, but rather in the harvest where we have been placed.
Knowing him is a beautiful thing that ought to be shared in hopes that others might hear and begin watching with the rest of us. Hope this very short answer helps, and don’t forget to check the book out!