The coming of Christ has always been associated with the end of the world. Most people see this event as so terrible they put it out of their minds. Are claims of Christ's soon return the ploy of crack-pots who want to spread a message of doom and gloom or is there something to it? You can know the truth.
The Bible has more prophecies about Christ's second advent than his first. When Jesus walked the earth, most of the Israelites rejected Him because they expected the Messiah to come as a conquering Savior that will usher all of mankind into His earthly kingdom. They were not looking for Him to come as a suffering Savior first despite their own prophets who gave them God's Word concerning this.
This article points out just a few of the most prominent indicators of Christ's soon return. We hope that when you see the relevance of the Bible to the world we live, you'll be compelled to establish a relationship with Jesus Christ and, if you already know Him as your Savior, be instilled with a sense of urgency to know Him better.
God has always used nature to send people wake-up calls. The Old Testament is full of stories where the prophets called the Israelites to repentance foretelling of crop failures and other calamities if they did not. A special star directed wise men to the Child Jesus (Matthew 2:1-12) and an earthquake heralded His death on the cross (Matt 27:50-51). As signs of His return in Matthew 24:7, Jesus told us to watch for famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. In verse 8, He said, All these are the beginning of sorrows. The original Greek word translated as sorrows refers to the travail or pain of childbirth. So we know that these events will increase in frequency and intensity leading up to the Lord's return.
We've been having some pretty unusual weather the last few years. El Nino used to be rare but we've been having it continuously the last few years. It seems like there is a flood going on somewhere in the world all the time. Even in the Brazos Bend area we've had two 100-year floods in three years. Earthquakes have been increasing as well and with greater devastation such as Kobe and Southern California.
There has been resurgence of diseases such as staph and TB we thought antibiotics had wiped out. We are also learning that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find antibiotics that are effective against certain strains of bacterial infection. The spread of AIDS has been alarming and the selectivity of this plague suggests that it is a warning from God. These pestilences should give us a sense of urgency to know what the God of the Bible wants us to do.
Jesus said in Matthew 24:37, as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Noah's society is the classic example of the pouring out of God's wrath: the wickedness of man was great in the earth... the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually... and the earth was filled with violence, Genesis 6:5,11. The Apostle Paul's description of the perilous times to come in 2 Timothy 3:1-4 fits today's society exactly.
The trend away from Christian principals toward relaxed morality has had disastrous effects in our society. Between 1960 and 1990, illegitimate births increased in the U.S. from 5.3% to 28%, the divorce rate went from 12.5% to 38.6%, and the teen suicide rate grew from 3.6 to 11.3 per 100,000. The crime rate in the U. S. is higher than any other industrialized nation.
Violence has become a part of every day life, 50,000 people are killed each year in U.S. automobile accidents. Since the turn of the century, more Americans have died from car crashes than were killed in all our wars.
God is being removed from all our institutions. There is more stress on the family than there ever has been. The growth of the gay pride movement is just one result of our society turning away from God and bringing His judgment upon us, see Romans 1:24-28.
The fastest growing religions in the world are cults such as Islam and Mormonism. Paul wrote that this would happen: evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived, 2 Tim 2:13. We've seen the fruits of people such as Jim Jones, David Koresh and the Solar Temple. Jesus spoke of these people when He said, many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many, Matthew 24:5.
The politically correct religion of secular humanism promotes all kinds of spiritual deception including public tolerance of abominations such as Satanism and witchcraft. Next time you're in a book store, compare the size of the Christian section to the New Age section, the difference will shock you. New Age is not new, it is re-packaged Hinduism based on Satan's lie that caused mankind's original fall into sin, ye shall be as gods, Genesis 3:5.
The growth of astrology, psychics, ESP, channeling, spirit guides, crystal gazing, etc. is proof people are actively rejecting the truth of the Bible for spiritual deception. Paul warned us about this, Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 1 Timothy 4:1. People do not want to believe the supernatural nature of the Word of God yet they'll espouse supernatural intervention in a cosmic context as if the universe as a whole were expressing itself.
Even many Christian Churches embrace false teachings concerning prosperity, using the power of positive thinking, and picking yourself up by your bootstraps, having a form of godliness but denying its power, 2 Timothy 3:5.
The prophet Daniel recorded God's Word that there would be an explosion of knowledge in the end times: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase, Daniel 12:4. He also said that events leading up to the Lord's return would occur in rapid succession, the end of it shall be with a flood, Daniel 9:26. The rate of change we are experiencing is not just a by-product of our getting older, developments are accelerating as God said they would.
75% of all medicines in use today have been discovered in our lifetime. 90% of all the scientists who ever lived are alive today. A single nuclear warhead can exceed the power in all the bombs and artillery shells exploded in both world wars. Satellite communications systems broadcast news around the world in seconds.
Prior to the car, the fastest mankind could travel using personal transportation was about 30 miles per hour. Adam could mount a horse and gallop that fast through the Garden of Eden. Now, even air travel is routine. Running to and fro at 350 MPH between Houston and Dallas is like catching a bus. This century is the first ever to have such a dramatic jump in mobility.
Revelation 11:7-12 tells of two prophets who are killed by the Antichrist and all the world sees them resurrected. How would this have been possible prior to TV & satellite communications?
Only since the development of the space program have we been able to comprehend the biblical prophecies relating to man's efforts in the heavens in the last days. In Obadiah 4, we read, "though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down," says the LORD. The time of fulfillment for this prophecy is given in verse 15: For the day of the Lord is near...
The rapid growth of the computer has fueled the increase of man's knowledge and made it possible to manage vast resources of information.. Inexpensive personal computers the size of a notepad can contain the entire Bible and search it a couple seconds for a single word. The info superhighway (Internet & World Wide Web) makes it possible for someone in their home to use other computers anywhere in the world.
Computer automation is moving us closer to a cashless society with every day that passes. The Antichrist will use a cashless society to subjugate the whole world: He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name, Revelation 13:16-17. Miniature computer chips the size of a rice grain are already being injected under the skin of farm animals and pets to identify them. The mark of the beast technology is ready and waiting.
When Daniel asked God to help him understand the prophecies he was given, God said, Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand, Daniel 12:9-10. The prophetic pieces of the puzzle are just now all falling in place for the wise.
The Bible says the Antichrist will be head of a one-world government at the time Christ returns to earth, Revelation 13:7. The world's nations are rapidly moving in this direction reversing what God did at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9).
It is a rare day when the United Nations is not in the news. There is a growing belief that the only way to deal with global problems is for world organizations to resolve them. We've had global conferences on the environment, population growth, and AIDS. We've seen a lame-duck Congress approve a mysterious global trade agreement, GATT.
European countries are becoming the benchmark for giving up national sovereignty to a regional government. The world has a global economy where the economic troubles in one nation can effect many others. Corporations are forced into the international marketplace in order to survive. The U.S. is now the greatest debtor nation in the world. God said this will result in our being subservient to the world if we can't reduce our debts, see Proverbs 22:7.
The religions of the world are coming together as the Bible said they would in Revelation 13:8. There is a World Counsel of Churches, the Pope has hosted worship sessions for a diverse group of world religious leaders including the Dalai Lama and Indian shaman. There is a sense today that different religions just reflect a diversity of cultures, that all roads lead to God. When we hold to the truth that Jesus Christ is the only path to God, we are labeled as insensitive and intolerant. But Jesus did say, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me, John 14:6.
There is a reformation of the wrong sort going on in many churches today. People are rebelling against traditional doctrine not using the Bible as the source of authority but to "bring things up to date" for the '90s. Beliefs are being compromised to make people feel better about themselves. Conviction of sin is no longer politically correct in many of our churches. Paul wrote, For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables, 2 Timothy 4:3-4.
Paul wrote that, the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape, 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3. We've always had wars throughout history. Is there anything special about the wars in the 20th Century that would indicate we are nearing the time of Christ's return?
The Cold War has ended so the world believes it's time to cash in peace dividends. But this is a false peace. The end of the cold war was not the beginning of "peace breaking out in the world" as was proclaimed. Desert Storm proved that the end of the cold war just opened the door for more "police actions" and "low-intensity conflicts".
We have seen a dramatic escalation of violence in the wars of the 20th Century. In all the years of recorded history, there have been 600 million war casualties. Wars in the 20th Century have taken 300 million lives. The 20th Century was the first time when treaties and advanced communications would cause many separate nations to form large blocks to oppose each other. For the first time in history, mankind has the capacity to destroy all life on earth.
It can only be a generation with weapons of mass destruction Jesus referred to when He said, And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved, Matt 24:22. The nuclear threat is far more unstable now than it ever was during the cold war. The nukes of the former Soviet Union still exist and they're in the hands of economically desperate people.
Jesus said in Matt 24:6 that just prior to his return, you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. What is a rumor of war? Could this be Jesus' way of describing the cold war to a First Century audience? Or perhaps this is a reference to a time when there are so many little wars going on they are not even reported on any more. Either way, this verse describes the times we're in today.
God keeps his promises. He has made many to Israel that have great prophetic significance. The most vivid promise fixing the generation that will see Christ's return is in His parable of the fig tree: 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. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near-- at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place, Matthew 24:32-34. The fig tree is a symbol of Israel, see Hosea 9:10, Jeremiah 24 and Joel.
Prior to 1948, the Jewish people had been spread out all over the world without a nation of their own. It was incredible to imagine any people coming back together as a nation after almost 2000 years of dispersion but this was prophesied in many places throughout the Bible. We must be the generation Jesus spoke about that would see His return!
Since Israel became a nation, the world has been amazed at their ability to defend themselves against larger enemy forces that surround them. The prophet Zechariah said, In that day I will make the governors of Judah like a firepan in the woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves; they shall devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left, but Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place-- Jerusalem, Zechariah 12:6.
In 1967, Israel re-took possession of Jerusalem. Jesus prophesied that Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, Luke 21:24. Are the times of the Gentiles about to be fulfilled? Israel is in the land, they are a nation again and are making plans to build a third temple. As it was hard to believe before 1948 that Israel would come back together as a nation after 2000 years, it doesn't look like there will be a third temple in Jerusalem any time soon. With God, all things are possible.
Zechariah said that just prior to the Lord's return, God will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people, Zechariah 12:3. We are seeing this today with the conflicts between the Palestinians and Israel over who's capital Jerusalem is. The world's conventional wisdom is that man can negotiate a peace in the Middle East. The Bible makes it clear that this will not happen until the Lord Himself intervenes. The current peace process may in fact be laying the groundwork for Israel's covenant with the Antichrist where he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week [7 years], Daniel 9:27.
Hasn't every generation of Christians thought Christ would return during their life? Why should this generation be any different?
People don't want to recognize the eminent return of the Lord because it may force them to change something in their lives they think they need. Most people have a liberal view of the Bible and "spiritualize" the eminent return of Christ to mean He will not literally return any time soon. But this attitude in itself is prophetic, God said through Peter: Scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming?' For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation, 2 Peter 3:3-4.
The end-time sequence of events will begin with Christ removing His Church from the world, 1 Corinthians 15:50-51 & 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. The Antichrist will then be revealed, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-7 and there will be a 7-year period of tribulation described in Matthew 24:15-51 and Revelation chapters 11-18. Christ will return in glory with His saints to destroy the Antichrist and his followers at Armageddon, Revelation 19:11-21. Next, Christ will rule on earth for 1000 years as was promised to Israel, Revelation 20:4. At the end of Christ's millennial reign on earth, He will crush a final rebellion, Revelation 20:7-8, and create a new heaven and earth where everything as we know it now will be replaced with all things new, Revelation 21:1 & 2 Peter 3:10-13.
If you don't know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, no amount of preparation will allow you to escape the wrath that will come upon the earth in the Day of the Lord. However, If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved, Romans 10:9. Brazos Bend Baptist Church is a great place to make a public profession of faith in Christ Jesus. We invite you to come.
If you have been saved, you are welcome to join us at Brazos Bend Baptist Church no matter what denomination. In these last days, we should remember to encourage each other in the Lord not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching, Hebrews 10:25.