How do you know the end of the world is close?
The short answer is that most of the prophecies that concern the end times, have already been fulfilled. I have absolutely no doubt that Jesus is coming soon.
In the Bible, Jesus Himself was asked what the signs of His coming would be, and He gave quite a lengthy answer. Let’s look at it.
Matthew 24 Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it.
24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.
26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! 34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
Jesus was talking about the destruction of Jerusalem at the beginning of this passage, but His disciples thought that the destruction of Jerusalem, and especially the temple, could surely only happen at the end of the world, and that is what they asked about. But in reality, Jesus is actually answering two questions here:
1. The destruction of Jerusalem, which would take place in AD 70, about 40 years into the future. The part of His answer which covers this, is verses 15 to 20 specifically, with possibly some other parts pointing to it.
2. The end of the earth and the Second Coming of Jesus.
The fact that two questions are being answered at once, can be confusing, so we have to be careful. But notice that the very first thing that Jesus says is, don’t be deceived. He is extremely concerned that His people will be deceived by the devil, and with good reason, as the devil has been deceiving everyone since he changed from Lucifer to Satan. Three times in this speech, Jesus talks about guarding against deception, so it must be very important (verses 4, 5, 11, 23-27).
Now let’s have a look at the signs that Jesus mentions, and where we stand at the moment. Firstly, He mentions wars and rumours of wars, but says that those are just the start of things. Then He talks about famines, pestilences, and earthquakes. These are familiar things in the world, and many people say that they have been around since the time of Jesus, so what is different? If you had to look at the statistics of these three items, you will notice immediately that both the number and severity of all three, have been increasing hugely during the time from Christ to today. Surely that must say something!
And then Jesus mentions persecution, which started right after Jesus returned to heaven. And if we look at history, we find that persecution of Christianity has always taken place, and at present we are seeing an amazing increase in many countries of the world. It may not be trumpeted in the news, but persecution is a reality in many Christians’ lives today.
In verse 24, we see Jesus giving a very definitive sign of the end, which is the Gospel being preached to the whole world. Where do we stand today? Well, Christianity is in most countries of the world, but there are many countries which ban Christianity, and won’t allow evangelism there. However, with the Internet, radio, TV and social media, we really have no idea how far Christianity has reached. So, that sign is difficult to measure, and therefore give us an exact idea of when the Second Coming will take place. In fact, Jesus made it clear that the exact date and time was only known by God the Father, so we will never have an exact date, only an indication through the fulfillment of prophecy (see verses 36 and 44).
In verse 29, Jesus says that there will be signs in the sun and moon, which will lose their light, and the stars, which will be falling like ripe figs. Then directly after that, Jesus appears on the clouds of heaven, to receive His children and take them home with Him (verses 30 and 31). In verse 27, Jesus warns that His coming will not be secret, but rather like a very visible lightning strike. All three of the heavenly bodies have already given these exact signs, but we have to assume that there will again be something similar, just before He appears.
In verses 37 to 39, Jesus says that the last days will be similar to the situation in Noah’s day, when normal life continued to the very end; people being unaware that their days were numbered.
As we can see, Jesus does not give us very specific signs, which indicate exactly where we are in the stream of time, but generally we have seen all of the signs already, except for the completion of the Gospel to all the nations of the world. But there are other prophecies that complement those of Matthew 24, which we also have to look at.
In Revelation 13, we see a “beast” from the sea, which denotes an earthly power, in this case a religious power, because it wants to be worshipped, it blasphemes God, and persecutes God’s people. It says that the whole world worships him, whose names are not in the Book of Life. It co-opts another “beast”, a land beast this time, to help enforce the mark of the beast. In other words, the religious power enlists the political powers of the earth to enforce what the devil has been wanting from day one, for him to be worshipped instead of God. And how does that happen? The Roman Catholic Church changed God’s seventh-day Sabbath, Saturday, to the pagan day of the sun, Sunday, and in the end times, Sunday will be legislated as the only day of worship. Every person on earth is compelled to receive the “mark of the beast”, which is acceptance of Sunday as day of worship. Some will accept it because they believe it to be true (the mark in the forehead, with their minds), and others will accept it because of convenience, even though they don’t believe (mark on the hand). Whoever does not accept the mark, will be persecuted. When this happens, everyone on earth will know that the end of the earth as we know it, is near, and that Jesus will soon come. This will be the last opportunity to take a stand for God. For more information, look at the Bible Flock Box videos on the mark of the beast.
And finally, in Revelation 16, we see the seven last plagues poured out on the earth. These plagues only affect those who had received the mark of the beast, while God’s people remain unaffected by them. At this stage, there is no more changing sides, there are only God’s people, sealed with His seal, and the devil’s people, all having the mark of the beast. God has already spoken the fateful words of Revelation 22:11, “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.” When the last plagues fall, the end is near, but the time for getting ready is over.
I trust that this makes sense to you. God bless as you study it!
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