97% of 1000 Bible believing pastors polled by 2/11/20 said ‘yes’ when they told Lifeway Research that they “believe Jesus Christ will literally and personally return to earth again. 56% believed it would happen during their lifetime. Jesus promised His second coming would be to judge the world and save His followers. Jesus also described how end times events before His return would come over the earth like “birth pains” that are ever closer together with more intensity. We will look at Jesus’ specific signs in detail, but 1st some current events. Below are the percentages of those pastors polled seeing the following events as signs of the end times- could they be?
- The rise of false prophets and false teachings (83%)?
- The love of many believers growing cold (81%)?
- Traditional morals becoming less accepted (79%)?
- Wars and national conflicts (78%)?
- Earthquakes and other natural disasters (76%)?
- Abandonment of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (75%)?
- Famines (70%) (And lately, food shortages)?
- The birth of the modern state of Israel (70%) (And events in Jerusalem).
I’ll add a few “up to date” possibilities:
- Mass lawlessness, hatred and social unrest?
- Plagues with global lockdowns, mask and vaccination mandates with digital tracking and “health passports”, along with predictions of more to come?
- Worldwide media censorship, “cancel culture”?
- Eugenics (the cry for population control/reduction)?
Jesus’ longest message on the end times came 3 days before His crucifixion while walking out from the temple with His disciples. They commented on the temple’s majesty and Jesus predicted, “Not one stone will be left on top of the other.” The disciples asked when the temple would be destroyed and “What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Jesus warned, “They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Roman army, fulfilling His prophecy. Jesus then answered their other two questions about His return and the end of the age in Matthew chapters 24-25.
The Signs Jesus Gave of End Times:
- v24: 5, 11: False teachers, prophets and deliverers (Christs) “Will rise up and deceive many.” Jesus warned, “Don’t be deceived!” – They are “Wolves in sheep’s clothing.” [Matt 7:15] The word “Antichrist” has two meanings, “against Christ” and “in place of Christ” (a cheap substitute). The Apostle John wrote, “You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared.” [1 John 2:18] There will be an escalation in false saviors and prophets and a consolidation of power into one man in the last days.
- v6-7: Jesus then prophesied, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. Nation will rise against nation… there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.”
- v9-10: Jesus’ followers would be “Arrested, persecuted and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are My followers.” As a result of persecution, “many will fall away” from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and will “betray and hate each other.”
- v12: “Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” The book of Revelation elaborates, “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols… nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.” [Rev 9:20-21] (The word for “sorceries” is “pharmakeia”, referring also to mind altering drugs.)
The Charge Jesus Gave His Followers for the End Times:
- v13: Jesus pleaded, “He who endures to the end shall be saved.” Endurance is by His power, protection and provision in the midst of tribulation, “In Me you… will have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” [John 15:33]
- v14: Jesus prophesied, “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the entire world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” This is being fulfilled before our eyes- the good news of salvation from the power and penalty of sin through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross in our place has gone out to every nation in our generation!
- v15-26: Jesus then warned us about the chief deceiver, the Antichrist: “When you see the ‘abomination that causes desolation’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place…flee… for then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.” [Matt 24:15-26, Dan 9:27, 11:36] What will the Antichrist do? What will the environment be like when it is his time to be revealed? Fearful people, unwilling to trust Jesus as their Lord and Savior, will look elsewhere for deliverance and find it in authorities providing empty promises, “For when they say, ‘peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them.” [1 Thess 5:3] The Antichrist is described as “Arrogant”[ Dan 7:8,20,25, Rev 13:5] and the “Lawless one” [2 Thess 2:8] who “Shall intend to change the times and the law.”[ Dan 7:25 ] He inspires awe, coming with “Lying signs and wonders.” [2 Thess 2:9-12] He will promote himself from out of the general population to become a leader among 10 kings[ Rev 13:1, 17:12,17] to a world leader, to a tyrannical global dictator, and finally to a god for all to worship. He is portrayed in the 1st seal in Revelation as a peaceful rider swooping in on a white horse (symbolizing a promised (false) world peace). “He who sat on it had a bow and a crown (In Latin, “corona” = “crown”) was given to him, and he went out conquering.” [Rev 6:2] This absence of war will last till the great tribulation 3 ½ years after he makes a peace treaty between Israel and her enemies. [Dan 9:27, 24:21] “The great tribulation” will start when he declares himself god and will last for 3 ½ years. It is envisioned as a red horse (war), then a black horse (famine), then a pale horse (plagues and death) which combined initially wipe out ¼ of the world population. [Rev 6:1-8]
What mechanisms will the Antichrist use to go from a world leader to a dictator to a “god”? The “mark of the beast” is so deceptive and ingenious that Jesus said, “False Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive if possible even the elect.” [Matt 24:24] A false prophet called “a 2nd beast” [Rev 13:11, 16:13, 19:20, 20:10] will promote the Antichrist- he “Exercises all the authority of the 1st beast (the Antichrist)… and causes” all to “worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.” [Rev 13:12-13] The false prophet then “Required everyone… to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark.” [Rev 13:16-17] This passage reveals one world government, one world currency (a cashless society?), a world-wide marking/tracking system and one world belief contrary to the Lord Jesus Christ. Later it is warned that a “Foul and loathsome sore came upon men who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image” [Rev 16:12, ref Ex 9:9-11] and “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God… he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone… forever; and they have no rest day or night… Here is the perseverance of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” [Rev 14:9-13, 20:4-6] Thus it seems that the Antichrist will use this mark to “Change the times and the law.” [Dan 7:25]
- Matthew 24:29-31: Then Jesus exhorted us to stay focused on our eternal hope, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man [Jesus] will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn [over their rebellion], and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect.” [Matt 24:29-31]
Jesus’ words quote Joel, “…the sun shall be turned to darkness…before the great and awesome Day of the Lord comes. And… everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” [Joel 2:28-32] The tribulation will be a great harvest of souls calling out for salvation to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The good news is there is protection from God’s judgment during those days: “Do not harm the earth, the sea or the trees till we have sealed the servants of God on their foreheads.” [Rev 7:3] (God promises, “When you believed, you were marked in Him [Jesus] with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession.”) [ Eph 1:13-14 ] Have you repented of sin and trusted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, who paid for your sins by dying in your place on the cross? If so, you are sealed, forgiven, protected and belonging to God.
- Matthew 24:32-25:46, Jesus finally exhorted us through several stories to “Be ready” for His return- when you see a fig tree budding, “You know summer is near” [Matt 24:32-33] likewise when you see the signs of the end times, you know His return is near. Jesus reminded us that the people scoffed at Noah for building an ark on dry land and preaching God’s judgment, repentance and God’s ark of salvation. “So also will the coming of the Son of Man be… two men will be in the field, one will be taken and the other left…. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” [Matt 24:36-42, cf 2 Pet 2:5] Judgment is coming! The Lord Jesus Christ is your ark- flee to Him now for refuge! Jesus said that when He returns, there will be one of two phrases spoken to each person, either “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord” [Matt 25:23] or “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire” [Matt 25:41]- a place of “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” [Matt 24:45-51]
How can you be sure you are ready? When God opened the eyes of the disciples that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” [Matt 16:16] Jesus pleaded urgently with them (and likewise us): “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross and follow Me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? For the Son of Man will come with His angels in the glory of His Father and will judge all people according to their deeds.” [Matt 16:24-28]
Jesus warned us there would be a great falling away from the faith and much deception. Be ready! Jesus commanded us to “Repent and believe the good news.” [Mark 1:15] He implored, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” [John 10: 27-30] Are you ready to meet the Lord Jesus Christ in judgment today? Tomorrow is not guaranteed.
We have a choice what/whom we will fear, and it shows who our god and savior is- if we fear man, death or disease, are we trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, or bowing to the gods of mother earth, new age, humanism, sustainability, inclusivity, evolution and so called “science” (the same ones who told us everything evolved from nothing)? God warns us to “Avoid profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science [knowledge] falsely so called which some professing have erred concerning the faith.” [1 Tim 6:21] God “Alone is my refuge, my place of safety, He is my God, and I trust Him. For He will rescue you from every trap and protect you from every deadly disease.” [Psalm 91:2-3] Should we fear death? Jesus set “Free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” [Heb 2:15] and through Jesus’ resurrection, “Death is swallowed up in victory.” [1 Cor 15:54] Jesus warned, “Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell.” [Luke 12:5]
ESV, KJV, NKJV, NLT or NIV quoted:
- Matt 24:8
- Matt 24:3
- Luke 21:24
- Matt 7:15
- 1 John 2:18
- Rev 9:20-21
- John 15:33
- Matt 24:15-26, Dan 9:27, 11:36
- 1 Thess 5:3
- Dan 7:8,20,25, Rev 13:5
- 2 Thess 2:8
- Dan 7:25
- 2 Thess 2:9-12
- Rev 13:1, 17:12,17
- Rev 6:2
- Dan 9:27, 24:21
- Rev 6:1-8
- Matt 24:24
- Rev 13:11, 16:13, 19:20, 20:10
- Rev 13:12-13
- Rev 13:16-17
- Rev 16:12, ref Ex 9:9-11
- Rev 14:9-13, 20:4-6
- Dan 7:25
- Matt 24:29-31
- Joel 2:28-32
- Rev 7:3
- Eph 1:13-14
- Matt 24:32-33
- Matt 24:36-42, cf 2 Pet 2:5
- Matt 25:23
- Matt 25:41
- Matt 24:45-51
- Matt 16:16
- Matt 16:24-28
- Mark 1:15
- John 10: 27-30
- 1 Tim 6:21
- Psalm 91:2-3
- Heb 2:15
- 1 Cor 15:54
- Luke 12:5