Christians are never to worry about the signs of the times only be aware of them as we see them happening. We cannot look at the events going on and then put scripture passages with them but we must always look at scripture and then be aware of what is happening in our world.
Many of the signs Jesus mentions are things that will happen year end and year out until He comes again. SO this list is a list that Jesus gives that shows as the time draws near to the end we will begin to see more of.
1) World Wide Deception (24:4-5)
(See last blog post for description)
2) Wars and Rumors of Wars (24:6-7)
(See last blog post for description)
3) Famines and Earthquakes (24:7)
Not only will the human calamity continue but the earth will continue to break down. War and earthquakes can be the result of famine so they can tie into one another.
Romans 8:19-22 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
Yes the earth was subjected to sin and destruction because of mans choices. The Bible is clear that the earth has suffered because sin entered into it. This is something Bill Nye the science guy had a hard time with in his debate with Ken Hamm. Before you say that it is not fair that that happened keep in mind that we suffer because of the choices of others every day. Many believe if it were not for a few greedy people who were behind the banking loans we would not be in the economic predicament we are in. Also if you think about how theft effects us all because it drives up our prices at the stores then you understand a little more clearly that sin effects everyone not just the person sinning.
Again this is not a sign of the end times but signs of the beginning of the end. Some believe that if they count the earthquakes or tsunamis or hurricanes they can see a pattern but that is not true. These things will continue to happen until the end of time although in the end times they will be a lot worse.
Luke 21:11 There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.
The Gospel of Luke makes it clear that these things will be like never before even calling them signs from Heaven. Again we have to be careful to not allow people to twist the Bible to fit what the times are doing but we must interpret the times in light of scripture.
All these things constitute the beginning of the birth pains.
Birth Pains always represent suffering. (Isaiah 13:8; 26:17-18; Jeremiah 30:5-7)
So although these things will happen Jesus is not saying that they are the signs of what is about to happen. Birth pains have varying degrees and as the Baby comes closer they get stronger and more frequent. So although there is discomfort it may not be time yet for the baby or the end to come. We also have to discern between false labor pains and the real labor pains.
The end time earthquakes and famines will be unlike anything that has happened so far.(See Revelation 6:8; 8:7-12; 11:13; 16:1-21; Joel 2:10)
When Jesus said these are the beginning it means there is so much more to come. The wars and rumors of wars, the famines and pestilence will all be the beginning not the end of what is to come. So although people say that they show the end is near it is really just the beginning.
4) Persecution of the people of God will increase (24:9)
Then they will deliver you up to the tribulation
The focus shifts from what is happening in the world with wars and natural disasters to the people of God. Depending on whether you are pre tribulation or post tribulation will bring a lot of interpretation to this statement. (see previous blog post for differences between these two views)
Pre Tribulation people believe that the church will already be raptured at this time and these will be experienced by post rapture Christians. Post Tribulation people believe that things will escalate against Christianity until there is a world wide assault against Christians. Of course there are people in many parts of the world that are already being handed over to governments and tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus Christ.
Tribulation: unequaled distress
Deliver you: the basic meaning is turned over to police or authorities
Throughout the New Testament they were told that because they hated Jesus they will hate you as well. Paul even said he bore the marks of Christ in Galatians 6:17 and that means he was beaten because of no other reason that being a Christ follower.
See John 3:19-20; 15:8-16:4; Romans 5:3-5; 2 Corinthians 5:1; Philippians 3:10; Colossians 1:24; Revelation 6:9-11)
They will kill you and you will be hated by all nations because of my name
Christians will be hated simply because they follow Christ. To takes one name is similar to a family name in that they are identified with the person. This is similar to a marriage ceremony or an adoption where a person takes the name of the one they are now joining with.
They will hate Christians not because of what they have done but because they hate God.
Revelation 7:9-14 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
5) People will no longer follow Christ (24:10)
Many will fall away
During this time there will be many church attenders and people who call themselves Christians who will no longer follow after Christ. When it cost people to be a Christian then they will no longer go by that name.
Fall Away: to reject the faith
This is similar to the parable of the weeds and when the heat came up then those that had no root faded. It revealed who they really were even though for awhile they looked good.
See Matthew 13:21; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; Jude 1:1-16
1 Timothy 4:1-2 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,
As the end of time approaches we will see less people following after God not more.
1 John 2:18-19 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
Betray one another and hate one another
Not only will church goers stop following Christ they will turn in those who do.
The Price will be too high, the deception too great, and sin will be too attractive
One another shows that they were in a relationship with each other. If you do a search in the Bible of all the “One Another” statements you will see how we are to treat each other. The one another indicates that they will be people you will have trusted, served with, prayed with, and loved and yet they are the ones who will betray you. Just like Judas who was with Jesus for three years people who are among you will betray you.
Luke 21:16-17 You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers[c] and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. 17 You will be hated by all for my name’s sake
Divorce is painful because of the betrayal and lashing out from those you trusted. This will be similar as you are betrayed by those closest to you. It will devastate you and you will be thoroughly shocked and in disbelief that people who you thought loved you will betray you.
6) False Prophets will increase (24:11)
Many false prophets will rise up
Some will not fall away because the cost was too high they will fall away because they will be led astray by false teaching. This goes along with the world wide deception but more geared toward followers who are then lead astray.
One of the signs of the end times is sorcery (Revelation 9:21) which translates Pharmakia, where we get our word pharmacy from. Mind altering drugs will abound with people turning themselves over to false teachings. Many religions in the world take mind altering drugs in their services to connect them to the spiritual world. Unfortunately, the only world they are connecting with is evil.
Mind Implants might play a part as well. Yahoo News has a story about what the future looks like as they implant computer chips into people’s brains. Many believe that Christians have to be reprogrammed because they were programmed with a virus and that virus is Christianity.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
The New Testament confronts false prophets: Matthew 23; 2 Corinthians 10-13; Philippians 3; 1 John; 2 Peter 2; Jude; and Revelation 2 and we need to be aware that they have always existed and will even grow worse as the end gets closer.
7) Love will be absent (24:12)
The love of many will grow cold
Wickedness and Love cannot coexist one must always increase and the other decrease.
I am thoroughly convinced that when the last chapter of humanity is written, we will find that the implications of atheism, i.e., living without God, if consistently carried through, will have made life plainly unlivable within the limits of reason or even common sense. Ravi Zacharias
Love for God and love for your neighbor will have vanished which is the two greatest commandments that Christ tells us to practice. It will be all about self-satisfaction and using people for one’s own gain. People will be so much into themselves and self-gratification that they will no longer care for each other but only how they can use each other to fulfill their own desires. Narcissism will be at an all-time high.
Grow cold is a fire term as the fire pit slowly extinguishes or is extinguished
Sin will no longer be something people hide but will celebrate.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
8) Christians will have to Endure Hardships (24:13)
Those that endure to the end will be saved
Endurance as a Christian has always been a sign of true salvation: Matthew 10:22; Luke 21:19; John 8:31; 1 Corinthians 15:1-2; Colossians 1:21-23; Hebrews 2:1-3;3:14; 4:14; 6:11-12; 10:39; 12:14; James 1:2-4)
Revelations 13:10 If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.
We see lack of commitment from people when things get difficult or don’t go their way in sports in churches and in jobs. When the going gets tough people say it is not for them and will walk away. In the last days it will become harder to be a Christian because to do so will cost you personally, financially and physically.
Revelation 2:10-11 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’
9) Jesus Christ will be told to the whole world (24:14)
The gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed to the whole world and then the end will come
As we said earlier all the rest of the things are not signs of the end but signs of the times.
This is the first sign of the end.
When the whole world hears about Jesus Christ then we can know the end is here. The end meaning the end of this world system and sin. Remember there are several endings but only one true end. (End of day, week, month, year and the end)
Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Our job as a church is to continue to share and teach about Jesus Christ. We are to have a global not just a local mindset and be a part of spreading the good news of Christ.
According to the IMB, there are approximately 570 unreached people groups (UPG) within the United States and Canada, as well as more than 6,400 UPGs in others parts of the globe. The IMB defines a people group as unreached if the number of evangelical Christians is less than 2 percent of its total population.
The Jesus film is being spread around the world and in Mecca, which has no christian missionaries because they would be killed, it was downloaded 2500 times and watched 3300 times.
So the gospel is spreading through technology even when missionaries cannot be present. God will also make sure the whole world hears supernaturally before He pours out His final judgment.
Revelation 14:6-7 Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. 7 And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
We are not all called to be missionaries, but we are called to be world Christians, to have a deep concern for the lost and to do our part in reaching unbelievers every -where (as Jesus commanded in 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8) The proliferation for short-term missions has wonderful potential for making the members of our churches into mission-minded Christians. The downturn in giving as a result of the economic pressures of recent years is a tragedy, for it means we place our creature comfort ahead of the Lord’s work. (Exegetical Commentary on Matthew, pg 879)
We all have a part to play. We are all called to reach those who live in our houses, our neighborhoods, our work places and our schools. We all also have the responsibility to be a part of the world wide spreading of the gospel through going or giving.
So if we have to face the end times will you be ready?
Do you have a relationship with Christ that is not based on life going your way or only if He does what you want?
Only you know your true walk with Christ and if it will endure any hardship that you will face for being a Christ follower.
Are you participating in what God is doing on earth with telling others about Jesus Christ?
Who do you know that needs to be told about Jesus?