In the Old Testament, as we go through the history of God's chosen people, the Israelites, we come across many instances where He chastises them because of their rebellion against Him. But the peak of the chastisement was seen in the form of the destruction of the first Temple – a Temple that was of great significance to the priests, the kings and the people of Israel. No one living at that time imagined that something like that would ever happen; but it did happen as foretold by God through His prophets.
In the New Testament, Jesus not only foretold about the destruction of the second Temple but also the chastisement that was going to come upon the whole world – and the end of the age that would follow (Matthew 24:3-14). The second Temple was indeed destroyed as foretold by the Lord. However, as far as the prophecy about the end of the age is concerned, it still remains to be fulfilled. And here is where the human mind is quick to find out ‘when?’ For we are told that as soon as Jesus spoke about the destruction of the Temple, the disciples came to him in private, "Tell us when all this will be," they asked, "and what will happen to show that it is the time for your coming and the end of the age." (Matthew 24:3).
Therefore, on the one hand, we have people who ask the question, “Tell us when will all this happen?” However, on the other hand, there are those who don't really believe that a chastisement described by Jesus will ever come - not at least in their lifetime. And so, the question “Tell us when will all this happen” does not come to their mind at all. All that they care about is what the world has to offer them. St. Peter writes… First of all, you must understand that in the last days some people will appear whose lives are controlled by their own lusts. They will make fun of you and will ask, "He promised to come, didn't he? Where is he? Our ancestors have already died, but everything is still the same as it was since the creation of the world!" (2 Peter 3:3-4). Isn’t this the attitude that we find even among modern-day Christians? They even disregard the warnings given by God through the prophets of our times.
Today, if there are those Christians who are concerned only about the time aspect and others who are simply controlled by their lust, it is because they have failed to perceive God’s eternal power and His great mercy. St. Paul wrote... Ever since God created the world, His invisible qualities, both His eternal power and His divine nature, have been clearly seen; they are perceived in the things that God has made. (Romans 1:20). A person who fails to perceive God's eternal power ignores the fact that He is capable of destroying everything on earth in a split second. As St. Peter wrote... They purposely ignore the fact that long ago God gave a command, and the heavens and earth were created. The earth was formed out of water and by water, and it was also by water, the water of the flood, that the old world was destroyed. (2 Peter 3:5) On the other hand, a person who fails to perceive God's Divine nature, knows that God is capable of destroying everything but he ignores the fact that God is delaying the chastisement simply because He is merciful. The Lord is not slow to do what He has promised, as some think. Instead, He is patient with you, because He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants all to turn away from their sins. (2 Peter 3:9). This applies to us even at an individual level. At any moment God can put an end to our life here on earth and we may find ourselves in hell. He has the power to do it. Yet because of His great mercy, He is patient with us and is leading us to repent. Jesus said, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather be afraid of God, who can destroy both body and soul in hell." (Matthew 10:28).
"Tell us when all this will be?" Well, Jesus never answered that question. In fact, He told His disciples, "No one knows, however, when that day and hour will come—neither the angels in heaven nor the Son; the Father alone knows. (Matthew 24:36). One thing is certain: the ‘time’ for the chastisement will surely come. But unlike man, God is not concerned about the time. Solomon, who was given extraordinary wisdom by God, once wrote… You can show your great power any time you wish, and no one can stand up against it… You are powerful enough to do anything, but you are merciful to everyone; you overlook our sins and give us time to repent. (Wisdom of Solomon 11: 21, 23). Even though you have absolute power, you are a merciful judge. You could take action against us whenever you like, but instead, you rule us with great patience. (Wisdom of Solomon 12:18). Thus, neither time nor anything on heaven and on earth can prevent God from showing His great power in the form of chastisement. What holds Him back from pouring out His wrath on the wicked is His abundant mercy.
There is no doubt that in these last days, we are experiencing God's great mercy rather than His great power. Although the day and hour are sure to come, God is dealing with us with great patience at the moment. He is still leading souls to repent. We who are seeking His will, ought to make that day and that hour come soon. Since all these things will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people should you be? Your lives should be holy and dedicated to God, as you wait for the Day of God and do your best to make it come soon—the Day when the heavens will burn up and be destroyed, and the heavenly bodies will be melted by the heat. (2 Peter 3:11-12).
God has offered great mercy to us through His Son Jesus. But God's mercy is so abundant, and His love for us is so great, that while we were spiritually dead in our disobedience He brought us to life with Christ. It is by God's grace that you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4-5). Therefore, let us trust the one who said, "That day and hour will come." St. Paul reminds us... You need to be patient, in order to do the will of God and receive what He promises. For, as the scripture says, "Just a little while longer, and He who is coming will come; He will not delay. My righteous people, however, will believe and live; but if any of them turns back, I will not be pleased with them." (Hebrews 10:36-38).