" As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3)
If I didn't believe the scripture or did not consider myself to be a Child of God", considering the unusual and catastrophic events of today, I most certainly would be crying out to God. In other words, if I were not saved today, I would make sure I was, at all cost because this old world will soon be forever changed.
Do you ever wonder about the "end times ? The time when God brings it all together. A time when good overcomes evil. A time when all the Old Testament and new Testament predictions come to pass. Well, all one need do is just pick up The Bible and the local newspaper, to see how close we are to these times. Even the most devoted atheists will tell you this old world cannot keep on its current course, without something drastic happening (Revelation 1:3).
And how many times have you heard someone say, " When is He coming back, it's the same now as it's always been" (2 Peter 3:4) ? But is it ? When unbelievers tell you there are no signs of the "end of time", you need to be ready to give an answer.
Contrary to some self-made soothsayers predictions no one, not even God's own Son, knows when God will pull the plug on mankind and civilization as we now know it (Matthew 24:36). However, scripture tells us to keep looking up. For there is a special crown given all believers who patiently await the appearance of Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 4:8) .
One thing we do know, however, is that Jesus' return will be unexpected (2 Peter 3:1-18) and sudden (1 Thess 5:1-9). And even though no one knows the exact timing of our Lords return, He still gives us certain signs, to look for, that warn of His quick return. What are some of those signs ?
ISRAEL'S RETURN AND STRUGGLES
God promised to bring the Jews out of exile, back to their home land. On May 14, 1948, the nation of Israel was fulfilled ( Ezekiel 37: 11-13).
Now we have a struggle over the so-called peace process (Zechariah 12:1-3). This is coming to a head, as a result of countless U.N. resolutions, and other diplomatic crises and calls for war. We know, according to prophecy, that during the seven year tribulation period, there will be a false peace agreement with Israel during the first half and then be broken during the second half of the tribulation (Daniel 9:27, 12:11).
REBUILDING THE TEMPLE
American Christians were jolted recently by the news that a member of the Israeli cabinet has called for the construction of the third temple.
Daniel was given a vision far into the future, pointing to a time when the Jewish Temple would be rebuilt. The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, and for nearly 2,000 years now it has laid in ruins, with just parts of the Temple walls and some of the foundations remaining. Watchers of end times Bible prophecy have long speculated as to whether or not the Temple would be built for a third time. But Daniel, verse 27, clearly sees that there is a rebuilt Temple.(Daniel 9:27)
INCREASED IN KNOWLEDGE AND TRANSPORTATION
One of the signs of the end times is the increase of travel and knowledge (Daniel 12:4). Just look around you, at the swift advances in the tech world, and in transportation within the past few years. Why one can purchase a current PC today and it be outdated tomorrow. And the same holds true with transportation.
One need only witness the TV ads for food shortage assistance, to prove this is an ongoing concern. As our population increases, so does the lack of food. During the first part of the 21st Century , we have witnessed 12 famines worldwide. These famines will be prevalent in the last days (Matthew 24:6-8).
In fact,one company that specializes on "long life disaster food" has recently emptied the warehouse.
THE GOSPEL REACHING THE ENTIRE WORLD
According to Christ, His Coming is preceded by the preaching of the Gospel "throughout the whole world" (Matthew 24:14). In the time of Jesus, the gospel was confined to a small number of people in and around Israel. However, today the gospel is preached in every nation, by way of cable TV , satellite and the internet (Revelation 14:6-7).
Just look around at the selfish demographics of our current world (2 Cor 11:13-15 ). Today, evil abounds around every corner, from our government, to our materialistic life style.
One need only research the current news media or surface the internet, to see how badly the Christian concept is treated.
The increase of unusual natural disasters, causing major property loss, injury and death to mankind. (Matthew 24:7) Earthquakes and other natural disasters are increasing in frequency and intensity. (Revelation 6:12-14, 11:13, 16:17-21) A British charity called Oxfam went through Red Cross data and found that the earth is currently experiencing approximately 500 natural disasters per year. There was only 120 per year back in 1980. The number of weather related disasters in 2006 was 240, while there was only 60 back in 1980. Between 1985-1994 they found there were 174 million people affected by these disasters each year. This figure has increased today to 70% or 254 million per year.
And don't forget the "big one" During the Millennial Kingdom when Jesus is back and ruling the planet, Jerusalem will be changed to the highest point on the earth, as the remainder of the earth will remain a flattened plain. (Zachariah 14:10) (Micah 4:1)
INCREASED UNDER EARTH SEISMIC ACTIVITY
The Bible also speaks of the increased underground seismic activity, pointing to the end times there will be the tossing of the seas. (Luke 21:25)
SIGNS IN THE SUN AND MOON
The Bible also talks about signs in the sun, moon and the stars. According to some Astronomers, the sun seems to be flexing from inactive to being very active. I have been very interested lately, in all the talk about the four blood moons. The Bible states that the moon will appear like sackcloth and like blood. The Bible also talks about the stars just disappearing out of the sky (Joel 2:30-31) (Acts 2:20).
WARS AND RUMORS OF WAR
What about Russia lining up with Iran and Syria. ( Ezekiel 38-39) Is the Gog-Magog Battle close at hand ? A battle where a group of Islamic nations, along with Russia, come against Israel in the end times and try to conquer the land.
Some additional second coming signs to watch are the reunification of Europe, the coming of the antichrist, the rise of a one world government and religion, the rebuilding of the third temple in Jerusalem, Invasion of Israel from the north, and finally the great battle of Armageddon (2 Thess 2:4) (Revelation 11:2, 13:5).
And oh yes, don't forget the changing life style of our churches. ( 2 Cor 4:4) You see, this is Satan's most important deception. (Ephesians 6:12), leading unsuspecting believers away from the church..
The Bible gives a vivid picture of the church in the last days. It is an apostate or counterfeit Christianity found in (Revelation Chapters 13-18) . Here, we find a merger of all religions under one great head in chapter 13. There will be two Devil-inspired men, (The Antichrist) and (The False Prophet of the one world church) who will take over the rule of the earth after the rapture of the Church. The beast of (Revelation 13:1-10) is the Antichrist. Notice that this whole chapter deals with the worship of this man by the people .
The Apostle Paul uses similar language and issues a similar warning in referring to the last days. By echoing Christ's warning about apostasy, Paul provides an added insight. The Great lie reveals that the spiritual deception to which Christ referred, though it will of course involve rank unbelievers following the false anti-christs and false prophets, will and has infected the professing church. It will involve a great "falling away," or apostasy. (2 Thess 2:3) :
So. what about the church ? What part does the church play in the end time? I am very worried, even now, concerning the church. And I say this name (church) loosely. I can surely see how the church could be taken by Satan's deception, as the church is not as it was in the beginning. The true "full gospel" (1 Cor 15:1-4) seems to be drifting away, in today's pulpits.
A well known pastor once made the statement that when the rapture occurred, most churches would not even realize it. That's very sad. Yes, the church is and will come under the fire of the unbelieving world, in the last days (1 Cor 2:14) .However, the church will always survive. (Matthew 16:18)
We followers of Christ (Philippians 1:21) may needs go underground or meet in secret within homes, similar to the early Jewish church ( Acts 2:41-47) , but the church will be here, as Jesus promised, until the "Rapture".. And according to the fast moving world chain of events, this may happen any day.
YES THE END IS NEAR
I feel very strongly that we Christians don't have much time to wait. There is much prophecy that will take place between the rapture, the 7 year tribulation, the 1000 year reign of Christ on this earth and the new heaven and new earth. However, no prophecy need be fulfilled now before the rapture. Or, the catching away of the saints (Christians) at the rapture.
The rapture takes place in (Rev 4:1). This voice that John hears in verse 1 is either the voice of Jesus Himself, or the voice of Jesus' own personal messenger. It makes no difference; the message itself is from Jesus. When the Lord calls us to meet Him in the air, when the church is caught away. Then, the remaining passages of the book Revelation, is predicted for the times after the rapture.
Along about the first of November each year, we start seeing signs that Christmas must be near, as the decorations and tree trimming start showing up. We know by these displays, that Christmas is near but we also know that we must get over Thanksgiving before Christmas can happen.
A similar allegory to this scenario is that we know the rapture precedes the second coming of Christ by 7 years. Thanksgiving points to Christmas as the rapture does the second coming. By this, I am referring to the rapture (catching away) of the church and the second coming of Jesus.
The Bible gives us at many general signs of Christ's return, at the end of the seven year period. Some of which are: (Luke 21:28) (Revelation 22:12) (Revelation 21:6) (Revelation 22:20)
One subtitle hint of when God stops time, as we know it, is found in ( Romans 11:25). Many Bible scholars interrupt this passage to mean when the last Gentile is saved, according to God's plan, then the Rapture will occur. In fact, one preacher made the statement that every time he hears of a Gentile being saved, he shouts " Hallelujah" and starts looking to the sky.
In fact, Dr. Charles Ryrie makes this comment as a footnote, to this verse of scripture, in his study Bible. The fullness of the Gentiles, i.e., the full number of Gentiles who will be saved (Acts 15:14). After this, God will turn again to the Jews and will save "all Israel" at the Lords return.
This particular theory is not widely published in the various prophecy circles, but should be one to consider. You see, if you want to hasten the rapture, then you should be active in your witnessing. For that next gentile, that you win to Christ, may be the one to hasten the rapture.
Remember !, One important scripture fact to remember is that the false church, headed up by the antichrist and the false prophet, cannot happen until the Holy Spirit is taken out of the world, at the rapture. This gives us a bit of a break. ( 2 Thess 2:7) So, let us take advantage of this short time left, and be a "one person" evangelist to our friends and family. (Mk.16:15) (Mat.28:19) (Lk.8:39) ( Mk.5:19) (Mat.11:5) ( Isa.61:1) (Acts 26:22)
Author's Post Script
Given our world's evil situation, I cannot help but wonder about our countries future, as relating to the end times. And along with this thinking comes thoughts of the anti-christ. What culture will he be ? What demographic area will he come from ? Could this man of sin be from the middle-east ? Could he be a well-known religious figure ? Could he come out of the European Union ? Could he be from the United Nations or even from our US government ? No one known, of course, just a little speculation, on my part. One thing for certain, he will be possessed by Satan.
I personally feel that the anti-christ is alive today and just waiting in the wings, to be overcome by the Devil. You see, this old world just cannot keep going like it's going. Something's got to give, one way or the other. Regardless of your personal beliefs, be them positive or negative on Bible prophecy, it will happen. Do you actually think anyone, outside of the living God Himself, can changed history, based on personal beliefs.
Here are some scripture references concerning the Antichrist.
(Daniel 7:8) The Antichrist will have a mouth speaking great things.
(Daniel 7:25) The Antichrist will seek to change times and laws.
(Daniel 8:25) The Antichrist will rise to power as a man of peace.
(Daniel 9:27) The Antichrist will confirm a covenant (sign a peace treaty) for seven years of peace in the Middle East
(Revelation 13:16-18) The Antichrist will head up a one-world economy that will track all buying and selling using a mark in the hand or forehead.
HOWEVER, AS CHRISTIANS , WE SHOULD NOT FEAR. ( 2 TIMOTHY 1:7)
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW
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