First, I would like to welcome and thank every one of you who has subscribed to the blog. Let us give glory to God, as there suddenly seem to be some good growth in the number of subscribers. While we await the return of Christ, we need to occupy and be about our Father’s business.
I am sharing another except from the first draft of my forthcoming book, “ON THAT DAY … LEAST EXPECTED.” Please note that quite a number of changes may still be required.
Matthew 24:36 tells us that nobody knows the exact day or the hour of the Second Coming, but then in Mathew 24:42 we are warned to be watchful. In Mark 13:37 we also read, “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” Throughout Scripture, God gave us many “clues” and signs. Luke 21:28 says, “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
Since the ascension of Christ, all or most generations saw some or many of these signs. It is however important to note that these signs are like birth pangs, continuously increasing in both intensity and frequency.
The sudden increase in earthquakes serves as an excellent example. According to an article published in the LA Times on 2 June 2014, a U.S. Geological Survey has studied the increase in earthquakes larger than 3.0 in the central and eastern United States in recent years. There have been more than 100 such earthquakes a year on average in the last four years of their study, up from 20 a year between 1970 to 2000.
Unfortunately, both the KJV and the NKJV translated “birth pangs” in the Greek Scripture, to “sorrows” in Matthew 24:8.
From A.W. Pink’s Studies in the Scriptures – 1922-23, Volume 1 of 17 we quote, “In the 4th chapter of this prophet (Jeremiah) there is a vivid description of the fearful afflictions which shall come upon the inhabitants of Palestine. Doubtless, what is there said received a tragic fulfillment in the past. But like most, if not all prophecy, this one will receive a later and final accomplishment. There are several statements found in it which indicate that it treats of the End-time. The plainest of these is found in the closing verse, where we read, “For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, and the anguish as of her which bringeth forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion.” It is the “birth-pangs” of Matt.24:8 (see Greek) which is in view.” End quote.
We are briefly looking at some of the most obvious signs of the end times.
1) Changes towards a new world order
The signs of decay and collapse of the existing world order cover a broad spectrum and affect all walks of life:
– Religious decay is responsible for the increased darkening of peoples’ minds, immorality and spiritual confusion.
– Social decay is seen in disintegrating social structures and the breakdown of marriages and the family values.
– Economic decay is evident in collapsing economies, poverty, unemployment, and rampant inflation.
– Political decay is seen in the acceptance of humanistic constitutions, anarchy, chaos, protests and violence.
The new world order will constitute the framework for the Babylonian system of the Antichrist described in the book of Revelation. It will consist of a one-world religion, a one-world society, a one-world economy, and a one-world government:
– Religious unity will be based on the deceptive idea that all religions worship the same God. This is already happening, with the Roman Catholic pope, Francis behind the steering wheel.
– Social unity among the internationalised planetary citizens will give further expression to the ideology of globalism. The worldwide reaction on social media to Donald Trump’s acceptance of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel serves as a good example.
– A centralised cashless economy will be established in which RFID chips and PIN numbers for all electronic funds transfer will be issued. Without the mark of the beast, nobody would later be able to buy or to sell.
– Political unity in the form of a world government and a global peace-keeping force will emerge. The “Climate change” summits provide a good opportunity while members of the Untied Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) are losing their identity as sovereign countries. The EU is already working towards a single army for Europe.
This means that the world will be united in the political, religious and economic arenas under the leadership of the Antichrist. The world empire of the Antichrist is monism, which means everything is one.
A united world
Unity must first be established in the world by building bridges and eradicating boundaries in all spheres of life. The ecumenical movement promotes religious unity. Once you have changed people’s believe systems the rest is almost guarantee to follow. Social unity is built where people are non-sexist, non-racial, multi-religious, and multi-cultural. Political and economical power is internationalized which will ultimately lead to the founding of a one-world government and a global monetary system. These building-blocks of the new world order are regarded as critically important for the achieving of a false sense of harmony and peace, and consequently also for the emergence of the long-expected Utopia on earth.
These reforms would lay the foundation for the Antichrist to appear on the scene as a political world leader, a universal religious messiah, and the head of a world economy. In preparing the way, the false prophet would play a major role to obtain the buy-in from politicians, bankers, church leaders and other relative parties.
For the further development of man to higher levels of divinity, they would seek to make contact with spiritual entities and forces in the cosmos. People must be taught how to contact spirit-guides and masters of wisdom in cosmic spheres. Apart from spiritism and other techniques, transcendental meditation (TM) is regarded as one of the most effective methods of achieving an alternative state of consciousness and of becoming one with the cosmic world.
The false prophet will be highly exalted in the hierarchy of cosmic masters of wisdom. He will occupy the “right hand seat” of the Antichrist, and be able to perform amazing signs and wonders. He will even make fire come down from heaven and, according to Revelation 13:14, this sign will eventually deceive the nations into worshipping the Antichrist.
The role of Europe and the elite
The Antichrist will almost certainly rise from Europe from where he will initially rule the entire world before he eventually moves his headquarters to Israel. The Czech president Vaklav Hoval said in a major article written for U.S. News and World Report in 1990, that “Europe has been the cradle of a civilization that has shaped the history of the world for the last two thousand years. The spiritual impulses of antiquity Judaism and Christianity merged into a force that has forged the world as we know it. European civilization discovered, explored, conquered and dominated other continents and other civilizations. It has brought European thinking, enterprise and inventions to the remotest corners of the earth.”
Europe colonized the globe and the unified Europe leads to a unified world. European culture and apostate Christianity have simultaneously spread to the colonized countries. A worldwide foundation was laid to quite easily link the entire world back to Rome.
The revival of the old Roman Empire began with uniting Europe and the European Union is evident thereof. Eastern Europe was democratized and became a partner with Western Europe. Catholic popes first begged for a united Europe and now for world unity.
Trade agreements also linked Europe to other continents and countries across the globe, such as America, Canada, Japan, Asia and Africa. We see the unity between world leaders who participate in organizations such as NATO and the United Nations. This paves the way for the global political and economical system of the Antichrist.
To assist in Satan’s evil plan, the elite play a major role. An elite group of wealthy globalists and their interlocking network of transnational corporations, international banks, government agencies, foundations, and secret organizations are working to create a global government, cashless society, and universal religion as predicted in Scripture. These include people like George Soros, the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers. In general, globalism creates goals in the corporate environment. Academic then provides studies and white papers to justify these corporate goals. Political players sell the arguments of the academic to the public and if necessary, change laws to accommodate and facilitate Corporate in getting what it wants. Organized religion along with church and state secures corporate, academic and political rule into a global order.
Curriculums are changed in schools and God is no longer welcome. Parents no longer have the right to discipline their children and court cases are made against businesses who insist on maintaining Christian values. These globalists are often behind wars, riots, and protests, in the way they are currently using liberals, abortions, homosexuality, and racism in America and elsewhere in the world. Behind closed doors they discuss their plans at Bilderberg conferences. Themes such as climate change, aliens from outer space and more are being used to cause fear and give an excuse to draw world leaders and powers together. By creating chaos, the world is certainly looking for a leader to rise to solve the world’s problems.
When the chaos gets real bad and there are no answers and solutions left, the perfect conditions are set for the Antichrist to be revealed and be empowered by Satan. People will be willing to throw away their democracy and their freedoms just for peace. He will have great authority. The world will give him all of the authority he needs. As soon as the Church is taken out of this world, it will most likely be in a time of great chaos.
2) Falling away – Apostasy, false teachers and false prophets
The Bible tells us that there will be a great apostasy during the end times. The KJV calls it the “falling away,” while the ESV calls it “the rebellion.” That is what an apostasy is: a rebellion and an abandonment of the truth. The end times will include a large-scale rejection of God’s Word and even of God’s existence. Many warnings are given in the Bible against false doctrines, teachers, prophets and even false christs in the latter days.
Describing this aspect of apostasy and its underlying danger, A. W. Tozer wrote, “So skilled is error at imitating truth, that the two are constantly being mistaken for each another. It takes a sharp eye these days to know which brother is Cain and which is Abel.”
“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared” (1 Timothy 4:1-2)
““But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived… having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1,5)
“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)
“Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.” (1 John 2:18-19)
Televangelists, the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), Bethel Church and others, mainly in the Charismatic Movement, who preach the Prosperity gospel, are all good examples of apostasy in the days we are living in. They run their ministries for personal gain and unfortunately often rob those who are already in financial difficulties or in despair while giving them false hope.
But they are not the only ones in err, as there are also false doctrines being preached in other denominations. These teachings include, but are not limited to, conditional salvation, grace and faith plus works, partial or no rapture, and others by which they steal the joy and certainty of believers’ salvation or their blessed hope. Their objective is to imprison believers within boundaries of rules they themselves are not able to follow (Read Colossians 2:8-23 for Paul’s opinion on modern day legalists).
Another category are those who either treat the prophecies of our time as if they were already accomplished in history, or they give the prophecies an unbiblical allegorical meaning. They expect believers to trust in their superior intellect or advanced education instead of what the Bible teaches.
Signs and wonders
Churches and Christians who place a heavy emphasis on signs and wonders are playing perfectly in the hands of the false prophet as described in Revelation 13. Signs performed by false teachers and unbiblical prophecies by false prophets are greatly on the increase and being used as a tool for mass deception. This reminds of a warning in Deuteronomy 13:1-3:
“If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying: Let us go after other gods – which you have not known – and let us serve them, you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Religious deception is wilful rebellion against God and all false prophets, teachers and their deceived victims are heading for eternal damnation in the Lake of Fire. Many of the Charismatic churches are performing these signs and wonders under the influence of deceiving spirits. They have “departed from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Timonthy 4:1). Before the Great White Throne, they will in vain glory in their false ministries on the final day, but Christ will reply to them: “I never knew you; depart from Me…” (Matthew 7:23).
Take heed that signs and wonders do not replace the Word of God! Also beware of the so-called signs and wonders conferences and spectaculars. Satan is increasingly going to concentrate on signs and wonders and will use every available demon in his kingdom to this end. Because the Antichrist will get the credit for the greatest signs, wonders and manifestations of power, the whole world will marvel and follow him, saying: “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” (Revelation 13:4).
The Emerging Church
One of the driving forces of the emerging church movement is a market driven strategy, similar to that used in a business. They identify the wants and needs of their target “customers” and adapt themselves accordingly.
The religious organization identifies the needs of our self-centred, self-sufficient generation, removes the focus away from Christ, and put it on the congregation. Entertainment replaces worship, philosophy replaces theology, and good works replaces holy living.
Borrowing a phrase from Dominion Theology they call it “bringing Heaven to Earth” to make it sounds more appealing to their target market. Little do their followers realize that for believers, these “good works” will be burned up in the fire (1 Corinthians 3:14-15), and for unbelievers they will be insufficient to enter into the kingdom (John 3:3). Commenting on their works in the letter to Laodicea, Jesus said, “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16) They are excited about the great entertainment, the motivational talk and the good works, but they know little about God.
During the last couple of years, they drew many who had become bored with traditional Church and wanted a place where they could “feel good” and do good with no messages about sin and repentance.
Christ said the true Church would become weaker and less influential as the end approaches (Revelation 3:8). As the world moves further and further away from God, those of us who follow Him will naturally feel less comfortable and less welcome in most churches today. Our citizenship is in Heaven (Philippians 3:20) and we look for a city whose architect and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10).
In the meantime, we have to stop depending on organized religion to meet our needs as the gulf between religion and the Church is growing wider by the day. In many instances, the real Church is even being forced underground.
If you cannot find a God worshiping, Bible teaching church where you live, do not settle for whatever is available to you. Gather a small group of like-minded believers and worship at home. Paul and Timothy did not have a huge bureaucracy behind them. They did not have million dollar buildings or professionally designed programs. They did not even have the New Testament. Yet they found a way to worship God and to help others do the same.
Stop supporting churches and groups who are trying to bring “Heaven to Earth” and store for yourself treasures to Heaven. Also dig into prophecy. It is the single biggest topic in the Bible and be prepared like the five wise virgins.
Seven churches of revelation (Revelation 2-3)
Even in our traditional churches we see decay and a lack of discipline, faith and holiness. It is therefore always wise to be reminded of the messages from Christ, to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3.
a) Ephesus – The loveless church (Revelation 2:1-7)
The church of Ephesus had many positive qualities and Christ commended them on their dedication, determination, discipline, and discernment. (Revelation 2:2-3).
Revelation 2:4 however reveals that the church looked good on the outside, but inwardly they lost their love for Christ. “Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”
“Remember therefore from where you have fallen” (Revelation 2:5). They needed to remember where they started and to repent and “… do the first works.” Often we are so busy with the things of God, that we actually forget about the God of these things.
b) Smyrna – The suffering church (Revelation 2:8-11)
There are churches in the world where persecution is a daily reality. The ancient church in Smyrna suffered because of pressure, poverty, and persecution (Revelation 2:9). Christians should be prepared for what might come as we see how God is being kicked out at schools, universities, by governments and more.
“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer” (Revelation 2:10). Paul wrote that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:35-39). Fear is a natural human response, but we live supernatural lives through the power of Christ in us.
“Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
c) Pergamos – The compromising church (Revelation 2:12-17)
Pergamos was nicknamed “Satan’s City.” The Christians in Pergamos were surrounded by pagan beliefs and practices and in spite of their faithfulness in some areas, they compromised their faith in others. They allowed idolatry to creep into their congregation.
We need to guard against the dilution of true doctrine by false teaching and authoritarian leaders.
d) Thyatira – The adulterous church (Revelation 2:18-29)
There are Christians and churches today who feel a need to be all-inclusive when it comes to spiritual and moral boundaries. The ancient church in Thyatira also allowed an immoral individual to lead many others away from Christ (Revelation 2:20).
When the prophetess refused the chance to repent, Christ warned of His judgement: “Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed.” (Revelation 2:22) This warning is not just to the prophetess but also to “those who commit adultery with her.” (Revelation 2:22-23) They would find themselves in “great tribulation” unless they repented of their immorality.
God is holy and will not abide rebellion forever. As Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
To those who distance themselves from the adultery, Christ said, “Hold fast what you have till I come” (Revelation 25.) He basically promised that they would be raptured.
e) Sardis — The dead church (Revelation 3:1-6)
This church received no commendations and Christ begins immediately with a denunciation. “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” The church today is also full of Christians in name only.
Christ gave five specific directions for the dead church.
– Be sensitive to the inroads of Sin in the church (Revelation3:2)
– Be supportive of those who remain true to Christ in the church(Revelation3:2,4)
– Be submissive to the control of the Holy Spirit in the church (Revelation3:3)
– Be subject to the authority of God’s Word in the church (Revelation3:3)
– Repent for the sin of the Church (Revelation3:3)
There is hope for those that do what Christ has directed. He promises eternal life for those that repent and submit to Him (Revelation 3:5).
f) Philadelphia – The faithful church (Revelation 3:7-13)
Christ commended the church in Philadelphia as they had an open door, they had a little strength (and depended on His strength), they have kept the Word of God, and they did not deny God.
g) Laodicea — The lukewarm church (Revelation 3:14-22)
The church in Laodicea was lacking in every way. It was a compromising, conceited, and Christless church and Christ said He would spew them from His mouth (Revelation 3:16). Today, many churches are in exactly the same boat.
The Laodiceans were rich, but their riches were worldly, not spiritual. They needed spiritual wealth which can only come through Christ (Revelation 3:18).
Nakedness in Scripture is a metaphor for defeat and humiliation, therefore Christ counsels them to procure “white garments” from Him that the shame of their nakedness might be covered (Revelation 3:18).
Christ still invites those who are living without Him in this late hour: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). There will come a time when it would be too late to turn around. As we read in Isaiah 55:6, “Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.”
3) Perilous Times and Perilous Men
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
We only need to look around us to recognize how society has changed, especially over the last couple of years. Things such as lawlessness, violence, corruption, the lack of discipline in schools and even in churches have become part of daily living. Young children are exposed to pornography and the Illuminate on television and on the internet. The roles of men and women are no longer according to God’s ordained will and the list goes on and on.
It is interesting to note that all of the things Paul mentioned in essence link back to the very first thing on his list. People have become lovers of self and the love of many grew cold (Matthew 24:12).
Though this may not appear to be such a huge issue at first sight, one only need to look at the number of photos some people post of themselves on social media since the invention of “selfies.” Even worse, shamelessness and the nakedness are often exposed.
Paul did not merely describe the unbelieving world, as he said that these people have a form of godliness but deny its power. He spoke about those who are only Christians by name, living lives indistinguishable from unbelievers, grabbing all they can get from the material world, while contributing little or nothing to the work of the Kingdom.
Paul has not been blind to the behaviour of these people, nor was this the only time he warned us to stay away from them. This is what he said in 1 Corinthians 5:9-11.
“ I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people – not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.”
Church discipline seems to become something of the past, even in most of the well-established denominations (Matthew 18:15–17).
Sadly, many self-professing Christians today also hide behind the excuse of “don’t judge me” to condemn those who correct them, while deep down inside they know that they are in conflict with God’s Word. The Bible does not teach us not to judge, but to judge fairly. In John 7:24 Christ said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
We need to be discerning (Colossians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:21) and speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Scripture actually instructs us to gently confront erring brothers or sisters in Christ (Galatians 6:1).
In addition, Christians and churches often defend unbelievers and organisations such as Planned Parenthood and the LGBT, which are an abomination to God.
There are numerous warnings against such practice. In Psalm 1:1 we read, “Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful” 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”
Isaiah 5:20 gives us a stern warning, “ Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
4) Anti-Semitism and Jerusalem, becoming a heavy stone
The United Nations and Israel
“Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it.” (Zechariah 12:2-3)
Zechariah makes it clear that Jerusalem would be a burdensome stone for the nations. Although the passage actually relates to the very end of the Great tribulation, this is nothing new in the times we live in. The large number of resolution passed against Israel by the United Nations (UN) is absolutely irrational to say the least. Most of these resolutions, relate to Jerusalem. The anger of the entire world, after the American president, Donald Trump, declared Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017, provides a very good example. While the UN turned a blind eye to war-torn countries such as Syria and Yemen, they repeatedly questioned Israel’s rights to defend itself against Hamas terrorists on the Gaza border in April 2018, shortly before the 70th celebration of Israel as an independent state.
The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, commonly known as BDS, says its objective is to utilize international pressure to end what it describes as “Israeli apartheid and its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands” and dismantling the security barrier separating Israel and the West Bank. Many Jewish and Israeli leaders see the effort as a discriminatory attempt to undermine Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state. The BDS operates from countries such as South Africa, Italy, France, and Chile.
Arabs, Muslims, and Palestinians
Many Arab countries make no secret that their goal is to sweep Israel and the Jews off the face of the earth. So-called Palestinians do not want a two-state solution; they are seeking to have all of Israel. The “holy” book of Islam, the Quran also instructs Muslims to go out and kill Jews (and Christians). Israel’s main enemy is Iran, who is the biggest funder of terrorism in the Middle East today. We are witnessing the aligning of the satanic front that will attack Israel during the Gog and Magog battle of Ezekiel 38. The presence of Russia, Iran, and Turkey in Syria, on the Golan Heights border of Israel provides more than adequate evidence of the times we are living in.
Although the intention with Replacement theology may not be anti-Semitic according to those who practice it, it does have a very negative impact on the attitude of many Christians towards Israel and the Jews as we discussed in detail in section A.
In 1948, Israel was recognized as a sovereign state, essentially for the first time since AD 70. God promised Abraham that his posterity would have Canaan as “an everlasting possession” (Genesis 17:8), and Ezekiel prophesied a physical and spiritual resuscitation of Israel (Ezekiel 37). Having Israel as a nation in its own land is important in light of end-times prophecy because of Israel’s prominence in any biblical eschatology (Daniel 10:14; 11:41; Revelation 11:8).
5) Peace, safety and security
“While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:3)
While the world is in chaos, world leaders often refer to “peace and safety” or “peace and security.” However, in most instances, this is a false sense of peace, created by the elite. The best example is the obsession of the world to seek for peace between Israel and the so-called “Palestinians.” Daniel 9:27 indicates that the 70th week of Daniel would officially start, once a peace treaty that involves the Antichrist is signed with many.
In a world, desperately looking for real peace, safety, and security, the Antichrist is going to be be well accepted once he is revealed.
6) Scoffers questioning the coming of Christ
The word scoffer denotes a person who is engaged in the act of jeering, scorning, or mocking. Sadly, many Christians also partake in mocking the possible soon return of Christ. They rely on human wisdom as evidence to the contrary. These are normally the lukewarm and those who find it hard to let go of the things of this world. In fact, they are following their own sinful desires.
“knowing this first: that 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)
“how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts.” (Jude 18)
As mentioned earlier, these scoffers do not realize that the signs are like birth pangs, continuously increasing in intensity and frequency.
Sadly, there are also Christians who do believe in a Second Coming, but they use every attempt to steal the blessed hope from those who believe in the rapture of the Church.
7) The Olivet discourse of Jesus
Earlier on, in section A, we saw that the disciples asked three questions to Christ in Matthew 24 , of which the answer to the first question was discussed. Now we are looking at Christ’s answers to questions 2 and 3.
Question 2: What will be the sign of your (2nd) coming?
Question 3: What will be the sign of the coming of the End of the Age?
In Matthew 24:4-8 He tells us what would be the signs just before and during the tribulation. Note that Matthew 24:8 ended with, “All these are the beginning of sorrows (or birth pangs).”
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
As mentioned earlier, the correct translation of the Greek phrase archē ōdin (ἀρχή ὠδίν) is actually “the beginning of birth pangs.” The meaning of the phrase, translated in the KJV and the NKJV as “the beginning of sorrows” is therefore a direct reference to preliminary birth pangs that would increase to full-scale contractions and travail, which eventually leads to birth.
The Church Age would be characterized by the appearance of false messiahs, conflict between nations, natural disasters, famine, pestilence and great signs from heaven (Luke 21:11).
Jesus was simultaneously pointing his disciples to key passages from the prophet Isaiah. The first passage is in Isaiah 26, a portion of Scripture found in what is sometimes referred to as “Isaiah’s little apocalypse.” In Isaiah 26:16-18, we read that the expected “birth” of deliverance, redemption, and resurrection of Israel has not taken place yet, despite having endured the great suffering of labour:
“O LORD, they sought you in distress; they could only whisper a prayer, your chastening was upon them. As the pregnant woman approaches the time to give birth, she writhes and cries out in her labor pains, thus were we before you, O LORD. We were pregnant, we writhed in labor, we gave birth, as it seems, only to wind. We could not accomplish deliverance for the earth, nor were inhabitants of the world born.” (Isaiah 26:16-18)
The comparison to birth pains reveals that while these events would occur all through the Church Age, they would increase in frequency and intensity as the end draws nearer.
“THEN you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:9-14)
Matthew 24:4-14 provides an overview of the End Times that cover the period from the beginning of the birth pangs to the Second Coming.
Although believers were persecuted throughout the Church Age, persecution will become severe and even unbearable at the end. Therefore, the love of many will grow cold and they will leave the faith.
The fig tree – The generation
“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see ALL these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. (Matthew 24:32-36)
These things did not happen during the lifespan of people alive in the days of Christ during His First Coming. Obviously, He referred to some future generation. He was telling the people on earth at the time of the end of the Age that when they see all these things begin to happen, including the Antichrist making his appearance in the temple, that they will enter the Great Tribulation and not escape from it. Once the signs begin to be observed, the the Second Coming and the judgement will occur within that last generation.
Jesus reinforced this meaning with a parable in Matthew 24:32–33: “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.” A sure sign of summer is the leafing of the fig tree while a sure sign of the end of the world is that “all these things” are taking place. Those who were not raptured and are on the earth by then will only have a short time left.
Another interpretation is that the prophecy in Matthew 24 has a “double fulfilment.” In this view, it also refers to the people alive in the days during the First Coming of Christ. So, when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70, the prophecy was fulfilled in part and the fall of Jerusalem provided a foretaste of worse things to come. However, many aspects of the entire prophecy did not occur in AD 70.