Living in these tumultuous and uncertain times, many Christians' are turning their attention to the ends times teaching of the Bible hoping to find answers. In particular, many believers are asking if the events in our world today suggest that the end of the age is near.
In chapter 24 of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus addresses a series of similar questions from his disciples concerning the end of the age and the circumstances surrounding His promised return. The disciples were naturally seeking clues to the Lord's return, so they asked Jesus what would be the "signs" of the end of the age leading to His return.
In His answer, Jesus offers a tantalizing and provocative answer that sheds light on our present time. First, Jesus clarifies for us what are NOT signs of His return:
Jesus cautions us not to be misled, meaning we shouldn't be too quick to believe when someone declares that the end is near or that Jesus is about to return. Men have been declaring "the end" since the first century church. Paul himself was required to debunk rumors of the end in his letters to the church in Thessalonica. Jesus reassures us that these myths must arise yet they should be viewed critically.
Secondly, the world will experience wars and rumors (or threats) of wars, among other disruptive and disconcerting world events, but these events are not by themselves meaningful. These things must take place, according to the Lord, but they are not indicative of the end of the age. Jesus' words compel us to be discerning students of the Bible, so that we will be prepared to recognize the true signs of the end without falling prey to deception in the meantime.
From this point, Jesus then proceeds to give the true signs of the end of the age and His imminent return:
Jesus says the first sign of the end will be a unique kind of war. Remember, Jesus warned earlier that routine war will not be a sign of His return, but when a new, unique type of warfare emerges, it will be a sign. When Jesus said "nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom," He was using a common, ancient Jewish saying that meant "the entire world at war." So, Jesus said when we see the entire world fighting in a war, the beginning of the end has come.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, our world experienced two such wars. World Wars I and II were the first wars in human history to involve countries from virtually every continent. In fact, we have named these events "world wars" because they were unprecedented conflicts.
Next, Jesus warned the world will experience increases in famines and earthquakes. Jesus compared this trend to the way a woman experiences labor pains: they will increase in frequency and intensity as the end draws near.
Even a casual observer of world events can notice the increasing rate and strength of both of these phenomena. In fact, statistical records compiled by various geologic agencies confirm our suspicions: earthquakes have been increasing in frequency and strength over the past several decades.
Jesus said the world would receive unmistakable signs that the end was near and that His return was imminent, but these signs would only be recognized by those who give attention to God's word and heed the signs. As believers who value God's word and endeavor to understand it, we may receive the blessing of recognizing these signs and preparing their hearts for the Lord's return. We may also be a blessing to others as we teach the truth concerning the coming day of Lord, and perhaps persuade some to accept the truth of the Gospel.
These chaotic times are reason for the world to worry, but they are reason for Christians to rejoice, as we anticipate the Kingdom's arrival on Earth. Verse By Verse Ministry remains committed to teaching Biblical truth so we may prepare believers for the Lord's return and draw unbelievers to Christ Jesus in this time of grace.
You can learn more about what the Bible has to say about the end of the age and Jesus' return in our verse-by-verse study through the Book of Revelation.