Before he left the earth, Jesus Christ gave eight basic signs about the end of what the Bible calls the “Times of the Gentiles.” Those days are just about completed and the Lord gave details about what would happen at the end and promised to return to the earth.
The Lord did make it clear, however, that no man knows the day or the hour of his return. He admitted that only the Father knows when that will be. (See Mark 13:36)
It’s very important that you examine these eight basic signs, because as you’ll see, there is strong confirmation that they have already been fulfilled.
The Signs for Christ’s Return
Right before Jesus was crucified, as he and the disciples were leaving the temple grounds, his disciples remarked: “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”
“‘Do you see all these great buildings?’ Jesus replied. ‘Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.’” (Matthew 24:1-2; Mark 13:1-2; Luke 21:5-6).
Jesus was referring to the destruction of the temple. He had talked about this in more detail earlier (see Luke 19:41-44) and those predictions were fulfilled quite literally in A.D. 60-70 when the Romans sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Jewish temple. They even commemorated the event on the Arch of Titus where the golden candlestick was clearly pictured.
The Lord’s answer prompted the disciples to ask him when this would happen and also what would be the sign of his coming at the end of the age. Because the destruction was only 35 years or so away, the events which he foretold obviously referred to a later period of time at the end of the age of the Gentiles. Here is just part of that extensive answer he gave to them in Matthew 24.
“Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 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.
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:4-14).
Now in this passage, Jesus gives us what I think of as a “short list” of the beginning signs. There are actually many more given in the New Testament, but let’s begin with the signs before he returns:
1) There will be Wars and Rumors of Wars; Nation will Rise Against Nation. It cannot be disputed that the world has seen an unusual number of wars in the last 150 years.
The first and second world wars killed millions. But since 1945 there have been well over 200 armed conflicts in which uncounted millions have died. There is still the constant threat of conflict and even of thermonuclear warfare hanging over the world with North Korea, China, Iran, Russia, the United States and many others all saber rattling with threats. But Jesus tells us not to be alarmed by this.
2) Earthquakes in various places. There are two main fault lines running around the globe where the majority of all earthquakes have traditionally taken place. But there have been an increasing number of earthquakes in all sorts of unusual places. Horrific tsunamis caused by these earthquakes have risen alarmingly in the last few years. If you have any doubt about how many earthquakes there are, take a quick look at this video of 2011 earthquakes. You can click ahead to March 2011 when the Fukushima earth occurred so you can see how powerful that one was.
3) Famines and plagues (see also Luke 21:11). Famines are caused by droughts and they are dramatically increasing in the world. Water shortages are becoming one of the biggest issues facing the world’s increasing population. There have been many plagues over the years including the black death, cholera, the Spanish influenza outbreak which killed 20 million in the last century. And now we have the nuclear “plague” coming from Fukushima. I firmly believe that the pollution that is currently pouring out from the stricken reactor in Japan is the beginning of a fulfillment of prophecy that the sea will die.
While many, many famines and plagues have already attacked the world, they are just the beginning of the birth pangs. Ebola is now spreading worldwide ad there is no known cure or treatment whatsoever. According to the Book of Revelation, they will get much, much worse.
4) Persecution and murder of believers. Right now, the rate at which Christians are being killed each year is about one hundred thousand! No other religious or racial group have more followers slaughtered than Christianity. Recently, the number of believers being slaughtered in Moslem countries has started to rise dramatically. But Jesus stated it will get much worse. With ISIS now growing rapidly in Iraq and elsewhere, and they slaughter any Christian believers that they find, it seems highly likely that the number of believers will go up dramatically. Wait until theUS Declares Martial Law and that number will explode.
5) A great falling away of Christians. Because the world has gotten so erotic along with the Internet, believers everywhere are falling away from their faith. Also, as persecution begins to get worse, an even greater number of Christians will leave the faith. In places like the US there is already a great falling away. Christians used to be the majority in the US, now they are definitely in the minority. There has been a movement away from biblical Christianity.
Many churches have grown corrupt with greed centered messages. Europe is full of huge monolithic church structures that house people who no longer believe in the true gospel. As the end times progresses, true Christians will become the enemy of the state and many other groups. Jesus states that many who fall away and will hate and betray each other. Its not a pretty picture for believers to look forward to.
6) Many false messiahs and false prophets. Within the US a lot of denominational and independent churches have moved towards presenting heretical messages. So many churches no longer teach repentance; instead, they tend to focus on making sinners feel comfortable. There are many modern-day false prophets whose teaching have corrupted the message of the true Church. Keep in mind that false prophets don’t just teach error. They mix heresy with the truth and that’s how they deceive true believers.
In the last few years many who have claimed to be the Messiah. Sun Myung Moon, Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, Baha’u’llah, Jim Jones, Father Divine (George Baker), Wayne Bent, and L. Ron Hubbard to name a few. These men have claimed to be Jesus Christ or the devil (or both) and have founded their own religions.
7) Because of the increase in lawlessness the love of most people will grow cold. Within the United States, the age of civility is over. Professional racial bigots are constantly fomenting conflict between the races by accusing others of racism. Police have turned lawless, breaking into houses without warrants, pulling out weapons if anyone videotapes their actions and even killing unarmed civilians with immunity.
As our world continues to polarize, good men are now becoming more fearful of doing good works because they feel the backlash of so many groups. In all the years that I’ve lived, I’ve never seen people’s hearts growing so cold.
8) The gospel will be preached in the world to all nations. There are Christian organizations who have kept track of all the nations and ethnic groups within the world and almost every area has had some kind of gospel presentation. Certainly this sign can be considered fulfilled even though many still have not heard. As the population has dramatically exploded in the last few years, it becomes obviously that billions of people have never personally heard the gospel message.
Are You Ready for the Liberator’s Return?
Jesus said the last days before his coming will be “as it was in the days of Noah.” Back then people were oblivious to the signs. They ate and drank and got married right up to the day Noah entered the ark. They knew nothing about what was coming until the flood swept them all away. Today we have so many diversions with television, cable, the Internet, movies, sports, music, art, celebrity worship, alcohol, pornography, a multitude of drugs and so much more. All of this stuff keeps us distracted and not paying attention to what’s really happening in the world. And we’re all in danger of being swept away.
In the following video Ray Comfort reveals a lot about the days of Noah and how that is so completely applicable to our day. This guy has had a big impact upon my life over the years. The video is worth watching to its completion:
The world situation is bad, but is going to get MUCH worse. It is amazing that most people would rather not know. The world’s problems just seem too depressing to them and they just don’t want to think about it. But we can be sure things will get worse because it has all been predicted. As governments become more desperate for cash (because they can’t borrow any more money from the people who make the money), things will keep turning from bad to worse. Natural and man-made disasters are beginning to envelop us in ways only the ancient Scriptures could have predicted. You really want to ask yourself if you’re ready for what’s coming.
“Keep watch,” Jesus said, “because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” He then gives the illustration of a house owner preparing for a thief who is coming in the middle of the night. I now live in a country a lot like Israel during Jesus’ day. Thieves are not very sophisticated here, but they will definitely break in to any undefended home, especially in the middle of the night. High concrete fences topped with broken glass, large metal gates, bars on the windows, dogs, hidden weapons—these are all standard defensive equipment in a country like this, if you want to protect your stuff and your live. And when things get really bad, they will be all that more necessary.
If you knew exactly when a thief was going to break into your house you would certainly be ready for him. But because you never really know when or even if he’s coming at all, its just too easy to get complacent and assume no one will ever break into your house. This is why so many homeowners make no preparations. It just seems too remote of a possibility that it someday happen to you. If you have any common sense at all, you’ll make the proper preparations so that when a thief does arrive you’ll be prepared.
The flood came and no one believed it until it starting to rain. Judgment is also coming, and few people will believe that until the events start to happen. The best way for you to prepare yourself for the Lord’s coming is to be ready to meet the God of the universe on a moment’s notice. This is something that you can’t put off for a more convenient day. Not only could you die tonight from any number of causes, bad events are approaching us like a freight train whose brakes have failed. If you do not have Jesus living right inside your heart, you simply don’t have a survival plan for the future.
I don’t care how much food you have stored in your basement. If you are not ready to fly into the sky with Christ when he comes, you’re not ready for the worst case scenario here on our earth. The only way that you can be sure that you’re ready to meet God is if you are found by him to be a true Christian. I’ve prepared several articles for you that will help you here in the Seeker’s section so that you can connect with Jesus. Take a look at: How to Repent and How to Become A Christian.
The Lord could come back at any moment. No sign has to take place before he appears in the sky, with a trumpet and a shout, all Christians will rise up to him and then we will disappear, leaving the turmoil behind. Trust me when I say that you really do want to be ready for that event when your Liberator returns! The alternatives are just too horrific to contemplate.