Are We Living at the End of Days Described in Revelation?

With plenty of bad thing happening in the world, it is tempting to think that this might signal the end of days.  Are we really living at the end of days described in the Bible chapter of Revelation?  The answer is no, as of the time this post was published, in January 2011.  Right now we may very well be in the preceding stage that Jesus described in the gospel of Matthew:

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
Matthew 24:6-8

Out of interest, as grim as this may sound to us now, living in this stage would have seemed a lot grimmer to those living at the start of World War II, during which (having not so long ago finished with World War I) no-one knew how long WWII would last or whether it was going to be a prelude to a possible World War III and perhaps the chaos of the end of days.
  
We have not yet experienced some of the later stages described in the Bible at the end of days, where the sun will  become darkened and the moon will become red as blood, before Jesus comes.  Both Matthew 24 and Revelation 6 are in agreement on that, as we can see below:
 
"Immediately after the distress of those days

" 'the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.'
"At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
Matthew 24:29-31

And I saw the Lamb break open the sixth seal.  There was a violent earthquake, and the sun became black like coarse black cloth, and the moon turned completely red like blood.
Revelation 6: 12

We know from experience that haze from widespread smoke and fire from various causes here on Earth can make the moon appear red to us and can block sunlight.  At the end of days, will there therefore be some uncontrollable fire spreading around earth? Or will this be the effects of ash falling from a nuclear winter? Or could it be due to an asteroid strike? We can only speculate, and speculating about the cause is futile, even though I have done it here.  Suffice to say that these signs seem pretty unmistakeable to anyone who will be living in these times. 

Take-home message:
One conclusion to draw here is that even though we are not at the end of days as of January 2011, we don't know when this could happen.  It could even happen tomorrow. We know what will happen, but not when.

Another conclusion to draw if you are heaving a sigh of relief that we are not at the end of days, is to think what is there really to be relieved about? Odds are that your own death will precede the end of days; which means we should be more prepared for that than the end of days.  We will all meet Jesus and God somehow, whether it's after our death or whether we are still alive here on Earth on those both terrifying and awe-filled days when Jesus comes.

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