All indications today, therefore, are that Judgment Day is not far off. For the world has certainly made a very good start in that direction, beckoning it more and more. The mad chase after material things is beyond calculating. Among the common masses the smug self-security is so strong that they laugh contemptuously at preachers. And this overconfident level will grow even worse. People will become so secure that they will refuse to tolerate any preaching at all but will chuck it completely and say with contempt, “You are a fool, why do you care a straw for still more preaching?” Already this thinking is widespread among our burghers and peasants. Whoever lives to see that day will understand these words well.
For this reason Christ says to his disciples and Christians, “Be on your guard so that I do not find you in this rowdy crowd.” When they say, “Nothing to worry about”, at that very moment they will by lying flat on their faces. That’s what happened when Lot warned his sons-in-law; they laughed at him contemptuously. Their thinking, you see, went like this: “Oh, this city has stood for such a long time; it will stay standing for a while yet.” However, the next day before they ever got up, they were dead and engulfed in fire. That’s the way the world wants it. Christ, of course, is vindicated. He faithfully warned the world and still today has the message preached. But to no avail. Really, people ought to be terrified and realize, this man who has preached these things to us will not lie to us. But they continue feeling secure and say, “For the time being I’ll go on drinking my beer.” “All right! It will serve you right. You did not want to listen; I have warned you; therefore I shall suddenly smite you.” Whereupon they will have to say that they got what they had coming. Now they don’t trouble themselves at all about it. But the Lord says, “The day will come, like lightning, let us be forewarned!”
Such are the conditions prior to Judgment Day. We need to learn from this and not fret because we see these things happening, but say: “Christ predicted beforehand that the world would become so savage, coarse, greedy, and so on. Well then! That’s the way it is, and it is even going to get worse.” That’s the way it was with Sodom in Lot’s day and worldwide at Noah’s time. All these things are told us for our comfort, warning, and learning, that we understand what it all means. The ill-bred masses do not know what it is all about; but we are to know and be on guard so that we do not fall in with them! Eat and drink we must, but in such a way that we do not encumber the heart, for all is contingent on the Lord’s coming and knowing that the resurrection of the dead and life everlasting lie in the future. If I am aware of that, then I can peacefully fall asleep, awaken, study, eat, or drink; and let Judgment Day come when it will, it cannot come too soon for me.
Martin Luther, First House Postil for the Second Sunday in Advent (Luke 21:25-36)