There are a lot of people talking about the end times and because of that there will be a lot of misleading books and comments. We are to constantly study the truth of God’s word so we are not led astray, even if it is someone we trust.
When I was growing up the future looked bright and it was all about what a great world we will live in. The cartoon show the Jetson’s and Disney World set the stage by promising us a better tomorrow. Tomorrow is here and people are not as excited about it as they said we would be. Now everything has shifted to almost a pessimistic attitude as people search for answers for why our world seems to be getting worse and not better.
It must be man’s fault and so we must get rid of the human race so that the world can survive is the mentality that is prevalent. Too many humans or too big of a carbon footprint and when you believe in Mother Earth instead of Father God you whole world view becomes about this planet.
Movies seem to take look at the world in a pessimistic view and how there is no hope for our future.
The Road in 2009, The Book of Eli in 2010, 2012 in 2009, The Walking Dead in 2010, Falling skies in 2011, Revolution in 2012 , Oblivion in 2013, Elysium in 2013, This is the End in 2013 , World War Z in 2013 , The worlds end in 2013
Coupled with this thought is many talk shows about the financial and apocalyptic crises that seems to be headed our way. Shows about survival and dooms day prepping are popular along with survival guides and products so we can survive anything.
There is also the Middle East and the focus seems to be all about what will happen there with Russian, Iran, Israel, Egypt and the other surrounding countries. Although we should be realistic about what is going on we have to be careful to not grow pessimistic. We have to stay focused on the one who knows the future.
Read Matthew 24:32
From the fig tree learn its lesson
Although this verse of scripture has been given various meanings the plain reading of scripture makes it clear that we are to see things coming by the signs that show themselves.
Fig trees would lose their leaves in the winter so when the people starting seeing them bud they knew summer was near. Too much has been read into what the fig tree represents and especially how it pertains to Israel. The disciples would not have taken this figurative of speech to mean Israel, but only that summer was on the way when the fig tree starts budding.
“So when we see these things”, means it is going back to the whole passage that we have been studying. The best way to make sure you are not taking a verse out of context is to read the whole passage.
So are there signs that we can see that Jesus appearing is getting closer?
Signs of the Times
1) The Reuniting of the Roman Empire forming 10 Nations working together (Daniel 2; 7:7; 14
There will be a ten nation empire that could be similar to the G-20 or the G-8 that is active right now. The European Union is working on a military and justice system that would be for all nations and that has similarities to there being a world wide government.
The antichrist will come to power with the approval of the group of ten (Rev. 17:12-13)
2) Earthquakes, plagues and diseases (Luke 21:11; Revelation 6:8;
According to an article in news week from 2003 there have been 30 new diseases since 1970. Time magazine in 2009 sounded the alarm on how quick diseases can spread with global travel, food distribution and even birds.
Although Earth quakes are used to show that things are getting worse they are harder to determine because our technology has grown so we know when one happens at all times. This was not the case in the past. It does seem that they are happening regularly but because we do not have scientific evidence of their activity in the past it is harder to determine if these are truly a sign at this time.
3) A 200 million man army (Revelation 9:13-16)
China bragged about having almost 200 million in the year 2000 but they were counting 15-49 year olds so depending on who you count that number could be skewed. Of course many estimate that they have anywhere from 1.8 to 2.1 million at this time.
Some believe that this army represents demons but I believe it is to be taken literally.
4) The Euphrates river dries up (Revelation 16:12)
This is how the 200 million man army will cross to invade Israel. This is happening today and it would be the equivalent of the Mississippi river drying up. If you Google Euphrates river, stories come up about how it is drying up.
5) One world currency (Revelation 13:16-18)
The G-20 is made up of the world’s 19 Largest worlds currencies which have 85% of the world’s wealth represented. It is estimated that by 2020 only 10% of transactions will be in cash. Experts predict that cell phones will replace credit cards or a chip that is placed in the hand of each person for paying. You can also see that they have thumb and eye scans already for individual identification.
Some of the technology we are seeing come out lately does show how a one world currency can take place.
6) Babylon rebuilt
11% of the book of revelation is dedicated to Babylon and it becoming a major part of the last days. The American government has been helping rebuild it since the Iraq war ended. Many have hopes it becomes a place of tourism and a world wide trade hub.
Whatever these things I mentioned mean, we can see that things are happening in the Middle East that is lining up some end times prophecies.
What we have to do is watch observe and study the scripture so we know what God is up to. He did not leave us in the dark when it comes to what He is doing but we do have to be careful to not make things say what they do not mean.
If you have ever done a crossword puzzle you have experienced filling in the blanks only to have to erase when that was not the right word for that blank. This is how it is as we study the end times. We can try and fill in the blanks but we need to be ready to erase them when we find out that we were wrong.
The neat thing is the Bible is the answer Key and so although we may not understand everything right now, one day, we will flip to the back of the answer key and it will all make sense.
Signs point to something in the future just like exit signs let you know that your road is ahead so the signs of the end times let us know that Jesus return is getting closer.
So also when you see these things, you know that He is near, at the very gates. (30)
Again we need to evaluate what is going on not to get fearful but to get excited and motivated.
Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
We should be more motivated than ever to continue to do what God has gifted and called us to do. We should be more motivated to study Gods word and to tell others about the love of Jesus Christ. We should be looking at these things and realize that God is coming back soon.
Skeptics say nothing is a sign and Sensationalist say everything is a sign.
Read Matthew 24:34
Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
This generation: the generation alive when the end comes; the generation referring back to the destruction of the temple or the generation meaning the Jewish nation.
This generation has several meanings that I will not go through but those are the main ones. If this is read in context and the birth pains then those who are alive on earth during the birth pains will know that the time is near. Skeptics of the Bible point out that Jesus or His disciples made a mistake but Jesus predicted accurately the destruction of the temple and so to say He made a mistake on this issue is ridiculous.
If you are pretrib then you believe the church will be raptured and in Heaven. If you are Mid Trib the Church will see the Anti- Christ come to power but raptured before or right after the abomination of desolation. If you are Post trib you will be on earth for all the end time events if they happen in our lifetime
Heaven and Earth will pass away but my word will never pass away
One thing we can be sure of in this world is that God’s Word will remain. When you read your Bible you are reading eternal words.
Sport Teams will pass away, careers will pass away and houses will pass away. Things we give the majority of our time to will be gone. Our priorities need to change as to what we really think is important because Jesus said His word will last not all these other things.
Revelation 21:1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”[a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
See also 2 Peter 3:10
I am not saying we do not care about some of these things but at the same time they should not become God status in our lives. The word devoted means to be committed to show loyalty and we are sometimes more loyal to our favorite sports team than we are to reading the Word of God.
Read Matthew 24: 36
But concerning the day or the hour no one knows
As a child I played hide and seek and the last words you would hear before the person would come and find you were, “Ready or Not here I come” As Christians although we do not know exactly when Jesus is coming we can know that it is close. When I played the game I always tried to count along with the one who was it so I knew about how much time I had. The problem was that my counting and their counting would not always line up so sometimes I would not have as much time to hide or sometimes I would wait for what seemed forever.
Jesus is letting everyone know that we will never figure out exactly when His return will be. Even if we are here during the Tribulation we may know it is close but not know exactly when it will happen.
Of course, no one knows the day or the hour they might pass from this earth so we have to always be ready. (See Luke 12:16-20).
In Luke 12:16-20 Jesus tells a parable of a rich man who had such a great year that he was building new barns to store all that he had. But he was a fool for investing in things that did not matter when he was getting ready to lose his life.
James 4:13-14 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
If you knew today would be your last day on earth how would you live? What would you do? What would you say? Who would you talk to?
Not even the angels of Heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only
Some take this passage to mean that Jesus was not God in the flesh. Jesus came as a man to the earth and when He did, He took on the limitations of men. He had to eat, sleep, and even die as a man. Of course when He rose from the dead it showed that He was still God.
Jesus laid aside His divine attributes by choice but it does not mean He did not have access to them. (See John 1:1,14;2:25; 6:38; Philippians 2:6-8)
Read Matthew 24:37-39
As were in the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man
It was not that they were not warned, Noah preached to them for 120 years warning them. It was not that they were not given a sign, there was a huge boat that they could see. When the end comes it will be like the days of Noah when the people only cared about themselves and felt like there would be no destruction. They will ignore the verbal warnings as well as the physical signs and continue in their lifestyles.
All the thoughts of man will be on themselves and not about their obligations to God and ignore the evidence of God and replace it with self-satisfaction.
One of the end time predictions is that man will be lovers of themselves and we will see this carried out to its fullest.
See Genesis 6:2 Peter 2:5
Read Matthew 24:40-41
Two will be in the field and one taken, two will be at the grinding mill and one will be taken.
Two together pictures the same family as they would be working together. Taken could mean taken to Christ or taken to judgment. So it either means that the rapture will happen at the end of time with the Christ followers being taken to God, or that God removes the wicked and sends them to judgment. In either case it is the same because the whole emphasis is that it will happen without warning.
Read Matthew 24:42-43
Stay awake for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming
The Bible tells us to be vigilant in things that matter because we never know when the Master will come. Ignorance or poor planning will not be an excuse. Jesus then uses a thief as an illustration of how you must always be prepared.
If you knew someone was going to come and rob your house, but you did not know what time, would you stay awake? As Christians we have to stay awake to do the things that matter. Although we are eternally secure we will still be held accountable for what we did or did not do for the Kingdom.
Non-Christians will be judged on their works and come up short and be separated from Christ for eternity. Christians will be accepted into Heaven because they accepted the gift of Christ, but will be judged for what they did for Him and His Kingdom.
1 Thessalonians 5: 1-7 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.
We do have to be careful to make sure our focus stays on Christ and not on the things of this world, we still need to ponder the end times while staying focused on the task we are called to accomplish.
It is a trick of Satan to have us focus on good things but not great things. Even family can be a trap when we place them over God and what He has called us to do.
We may not know all the answers but we do know who has the answer key. Again these things are for us to discern and much is written about them but they cannot consume us only motivate us. If anything we should have an eternal view of what we do not just a worldly view.
Are you ready for the King to return?