No one knows when Jesus will return. Jesus said, “…no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.” (Mt 24:36) However, that is not to say that there are no signs which will indicate that the time is near.
Notice what Jesus also said about the signs of His return – “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door.” (Mt 24:32)
Many believe that the signs given in scripture concerning the coming of Jesus pertain more to when He will come at the end of the Tribulation Period, than when He comes at the time of the Rapture of the church, which precedes the Tribulation. If that is so, then that is all the more reason for us to take note once we see many of these signs beginning to take place. Signs for the end of the Tribulation indicate that the Rapture is even closer than we think!
There are three major areas where there will be signs in the last days. In this lesson we will consider the Signs in the World.
First of all, consider the Sign of Strife
And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come. (Mt 24:6-8)
Secondly, consider the Sign of Sin
Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. (Mt 24:12)
You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. (2 Tim 3:1-4)
Thirdly, consider the Sign of Spirituality
They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. (2 Tim 3:5)
It should not be surprising that there will be an increase of sin and violence during the last days. What is surprising is that there will also be an increase of interest in spiritual things. That is not to say that there will be a hunger for spiritual truth. Peter teaches concerning the last days – “…I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, ‘What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.’ ” (2 Pet 3:3-4)
Though pretending to be spiritual, many will scoff at truths taught in the Word of God. We should also note that false spirituality will be a big part of the Tribulation Period. As we will see in other studies, along with the Anti-Christ, there will be another world leader known as the False-prophet. He will be a leader of a world-wide religion that promotes the worship of the Anti-Christ.
Today we are seeing a rampant growth of interest in spiritual things. Such interest includes what is known as the “New Age Movement”, as well as a push for tolerance for all religions and faith. For instance, in a recent article in USATODAY, one of the writers concerning religion posted an article condemning Franklin Graham for asking presidential candidate Barak Obama – “if (Obama) believed that Jesus Christ was the way to God or merely a way?” The writer of the article went on to state – “Was Graham’s question appropriate for a candidate in a religiously diverse nation? Is there a “wrong” answer. Isn’t that a judgment for God, not for mankind?” That is only one example. Others can be found almost daily on TV, in the newspapers and magazines, and even among some who profess to be Christian.
Are we living in the last days? It appears so. If so, then we should be all the more careful to live a life pleasing to the Lord, as well as sharing the gospel with those who are lost. One thing we know for sure; when Jesus comes, it will be as a ‘thief in the night.’
For a outline of other End Times Events covered in this study, click on END TIME EVENTS.