Twenty years ago, the United States, like many other countries throughout the world, was preparing for what was expected to be a catastrophic, almost apocalyptic event: Y2K. It was feared that when the clock struck midnight on December 31, 1999, disaster would strike. Why? Because computers had been programmed using only two-digits to denote the year in dates. So the concern was that when the year 2000 began, computers would not know if it was 2000 or 1900. In the years leading up to 2000, there was a lot of fear about what the results would be if there was a computer problem.
People began preparing for doomsday. Would the power grid go down? Would we be unable to access our money in the banks? Non-perishable foods were stockpiled. A multitude of Y2K survival books hit the bookshelves. People built shelters in which they could hide from the inevitable wave of crime that would occur. Bootcamps that taught wilderness survival became popular. And NBC even made a TV movie about the disaster that was to come.
Y2K came and went without a problem. But the reaction of people to what might have happened but didn’t indicated a strong desire for survival. People wanted to avoid the trials and tribulation that the Y2K problem could possibly bring. But there is a time coming that will bring trials and tribulation like none ever seen before. Earthquakes, wars, famine, plagues. These are just a few of the things that will accompany this time of tribulation. How do we know that this will happen? Because it has been prophesied in the Word of God. Prophets such as Daniel and Isaiah spoke of this time. The apostle John wrote about it in the book of Revelation.
Jesus Himself said, “The day is coming when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about—the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing in the Holy Place… Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat. How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. And pray that your flight will not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again.” (Matthew 24:15–21)
No one knows when this time of great tribulation will take place. No one. No person here on earth, none of the angels in heaven, not even the Son of God Himself. No one knows but God the Father (Matthew 24:36). When Y2K was approaching, we knew when it would come. It would arrive when the clock struck midnight on December 31, 1999. And so, many of us began preparing for the disaster that was anticipated. But there is no date we can look to for the great tribulation. It will come unexpectedly, and so we must be prepared.
We don’t need to stockpile food or sign up for a wilderness-survival bootcamp. To prepare for the great tribulation, we need to repent of our sins and turn to Jesus. Joel 2:12 says, “That is why the LORD says,
‘Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.'” We need to believe that Jesus died for us and that He rose again so that we may have eternal life. We need to make Him the Lord of our lives and follow His ways. Because here’s the thing. Although we don’t know when that time of tribulation will begin, what we do know is this. It will be preceded by an event that is the hope of all believers in Jesus:
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16–17)
Before that time of great tribulation, Jesus will return. But He will not set foot on the earth at that time. That will take place at the end of the time of tribulation. Instead, all who believe in him, both living in dead, will be caught up to meet Him in the air. That is the Blessed Hope, and that is good reason to be prepared.
If you have never given your heart to Jesus, there’s no better time to do that than now. All it takes is pray to Him, to confess that you are a sinner, ask Him to forgive you, declare that you believe that He died for you and that you will make Him the Lord of your life, as you choose to follow Him all the days of your life.
If you have made that decision today, if you have turned your heart and your life to Jesus, let someone know. Find a Bible-believing church and talk to a pastor.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.