christ’s return

PROPHETIC UNDERSTANDING OF LAST DAYS

part 2

(All scriptures in New King James Version, unless otherwise stated.)

II. SIGN OF RETURN OF CHRIST – THE WORLD.

Jesus gave us signs as a warning of coming events saying, “Watch therefore” (Lk 21:36). This command is particularly relevant to the generation living just before His return.

1/. THE WORLD – SIGNS IN NATURE.

These have changed little during the past 2,000 years and are described by Jesus as part of, “the beginning of sorrows” (Mt 24:8). As we enter the time just before His return, so they will increase greatly in intensity. In Lk 21:11 we read of:-

* “Great earthquakes in various places.” Usually they take place in the ‘fault lines’ of the earth’s crust. This will be extended to other areas.

* “Famines.” By 2020 the world’s population is projected to grow to over 7.7 billion, with almost all of that increase being in developing countries. This increase, unless extra food is produced, could result in famine and death for many, leading to riots and mass population movements bringing world instability.

* “Pestilences.” T.B, Aids and other sexual diseases are becoming rampant. Some viruses and sicknesses have become resistant to treatment by antibiotics.

* “Fearful sights.” Natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and volcanic eruptions.

* “Great signs from heaven.” Jesus continued in v25, “there will be signs in the sun, in the moon and in the stars”, many of these signs we have yet to see. However, in recent years the ozone layer has been shrinking, resulting in higher temperatures. As a result ice on the poles has been melting and the sea has been rising, threatening the disappearance of some islands and coastal areas. Climatic changes have caused parts of the world to experience terrible drought, while other parts experience torrential rain.

2/. THE WORLD – SIGNS IN THE NATIONS

As we near the time just before His return, the following will increase in intensity:-

a) Wars. Lk 21:10.Jesus said, “there will be …. distress of nations with perplexity” (Lk 21:25). Conventional, biological and nuclear weapons are becoming more deadly as the years pass, with more countries owning them. There is an increasing danger that some of these may fall into the hands of rogue states, terrorist groups or criminals. The rise of powerful and well organised terrorist organisations (often religious) has been an important factor in world instability, during the past few years.

b) Fear. Lk 21:26. The increase of wars, global warming, famine, crime, terrorist groups, disease, drugs and nuclear fallout will increasingly cause a great fear of what lies ahead in many hearts. Paul wrote, “in the last days, perilous times will come” (II Tim 3:1).

c) Knowledge. Dan 12:4. During the past 100 years, knowledge has been increasing at an accelerating rate. We are thankful for the many scientific advances that have brought better living conditions to countless people. Nuclear technology, Television, Computers, Fax Machines, the Internet, e-mail and Mobile telephones are common today, but 50 years ago they hardly existed. Many also “run to and fro” (in travel) with speed and ease, due to the advent of jet travel, cars and trains. The desire to do evil has not changed in the hearts of men, but the ways of doing it have increased considerably.

d) Ungodliness. II Tim 3:1-5. Peter wrote, “scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts and saying, ‘where is the promise of His coming?’” (II Pet 3:3-4). Jesus likened this time to the days of the Flood and of Sodom before the judgement (Lk 17:26-30). He also warned us not to be influenced by such decadence (Lk 21:34). The Internet and Television beam sordid sex and violence into many homes. As a result sexual promiscuity, child abuse, infidelity and homosexuality is becoming rampant, resulting in unwanted children, easy divorce and the breakdown of the family.

3/. THE WORLD – THE SIGN OF THE GOSPEL BEING PREACHED TO ALL ETHNIC GROUPS

James wrote about a great outpouring of God’s Spirit in the last days (Jms 5:7-8). Jesus did not say that all would believe, but rather that all would hear the Gospel (Mt 24:14). Much of the world has heard the Good News – by means of Television, Radio, the Internet and Literature. The Bible has now been translated into all the major languages. In the past missionaries tended to be sent from the Western Nations, but now they are going forth from Africa, Asia and South America to spread the Good News to all peoples. There remain resistant areas, but even there people are becoming more responsive. Satan will continue to oppose this move of the Spirit to the end, by the following means:-

a) A great increase of false religions and cults. Mt 24:11, 24. Paul wrote, “the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (I Tim 4:1). Satan, in his desire to prevent people responding to Christ, leads many into false religions and if that fails, into various false ‘supernatural’ or ‘religious experiences’. Some of which are:-

* False religious church – a very clever imitation of the real church (those born again of God’s Spirit), where adultery, homosexuality and fornication are accepted.

* Cults – Mormons, JWs etc.

* Occult – New Age, Spiritism, covens, white and black magic, ancestor worship, witchcraft etc.

* Evolution – A belief system, which denies the existence of God and therefore a final judgment for sin.

b) A great persecution against believers in Christ. Mt 24:9-10. Today many are being persecuted daily for their faith – infact more so than in any previous generation. This will increase as we near the end. Jesus said to the persecuted church at Smyrna, “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. …. Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev 2:10).

c) A great backsliding amongst Christians. Mt 24:12-13. Paul wrote, “that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first” (II Thess 2:3). If Satan cannot lead us astray or kill us, he will try to make us backslide through discouragement or sin.

4. THE WORLD – OUR RESPONSE TO THESE SIGNS

a) Ask for spiritual discernment and wisdom. I Jn 4:1. We read, “Do not be carried away with various strange doctrines” (Heb 13:9). We need to beware of cults and false prophets.

b) Endeavour to be salt and light. I Thess 5:23-24. The breakdown in moral values will get worse, let us continue to be a witness to His divine power and grace.We read in Heb 12:14, “Pursue holiness without which no one will see the Lord”.

c) Resist the temptation to backslide. Rev 21:7. To be an overcomer to the end, we need to receive His victory, which He has won over the flesh and the devil. Paul wrote, “Stand fast in the Lord” (Phil 4:1).

d) Be obedient to preach the Gospel in the power of His Spirit to the end. Mk 16:15-18. An eternal future awaits all – either in heaven or hell. Jesus said to His followers, “you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses to Me” (Acts 1:8).

Jesus said, “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come on all the world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Rev 3:10).

 

 

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