A World in Turmoil
Confidence for the Future
World conditions are alarming. World leaders are seeking answers to some of the greatest problems society has ever faced. An uncertain future looms on the horizon. The Middle East continues to be a source of tension. No one knows when, or if, it will explode. The interdependent world economy is on shaky ground. Moral conditions are rapidly deteriorating. School violence is rampant. Weather patterns seem out of control. World hunger is increasing. Tens of thousands of refugees cross international borders seeking a safe sanctuary. People everywhere are asking, What do these things mean? The Bible presents an answer.
The second coming of Christ is one of the Bible's most important truths. It is mentioned 250 times in the New Testament alone - once in every 25 verses. The second coming of Christ has encouraged Christians through the centuries.
In Matthew's Gospel Christ clearly indicated the signs that would precede His return. Looking at the Temple in Jerusalem, He declared, "See! Your house is left to you desolate" (Matthew 23:38). Jesus then predicted in Matthew 24:2, "Not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down". The disciples thought that an event as cataclysmic as the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem must be the end of the world. In a magnificent prophecy Jesus answered their questions about the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world.
01. What question did the disciples ask Jesus regarding His coming?
Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
The disciples actually asked two questions. When will these things be (or when will Jerusalem be destroyed) and what will be the sign of Your coming and the end of the world? Jesus blended these two events. Events that led up to the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in A.D. 70 were miniature events that would occur on a larger, grander scale just before the return of our Lord.
02. Does the Bible reveal the exact date and time for Christ's second coming?
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
In His mercy God has not revealed the exact time of His second coming. Think of the despair of early Christians if they thought Christ's coming was more than 2,000 years in the future. Anyone who claims to know just when Christ will return is teaching falsehood.
03. How can we be ready for an event if we don't know when it will happen?
Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.
Our Lord advises us to "watch and "pray" or, to be ready at all times. The great evangelist Dwight L Moody in his book The Second Coming of Christ, page 9, said, "The proper attitude of a Christian is to be always looking for his Lord's return." Christ's counsel is to live in a state of expectation. We are to live our lives with a sense of the nearness of the Second Coming.
04. Although we cannot know the exact date of Jesus' return, what can we know about the time of his coming?
32. “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.
33. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!
Jesus' signs do not reveal He is here. They tell us He is near. A good farmer knows that summer will produce a harvest. He watches the crop carefully. Growing plants, opening buds, ripening fruit all indicate harvest time is near. Jesus' end-time signs in Matthew 24 clearly reveal a ripening harvest.
05. What signs in the religious world indicate Jesus' coming is near?
Matthew 24:5, 11, 24
05. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.
11. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
24. For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
As the end approaches, the devil will double his efforts to deceive. Millions will turn to counterfeit sources of truth. Falsehood will abound. Lies will be accepted as truth. False religious leaders will deceive. The occult and astrology will capture the imagination of gullible people who are looking for answers to life's deepest questions. There are more than 2,000 astrology columns in America's newspapers. An estimated 5 to 7 million Americans have been involved in cult-like groups. The modem Wiccan, pagan, and druid religion is now listed among the 10 largest religions in the country.
06. What prediction did Jesus make regarding international conflict?
06. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
07. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
Wars have occurred throughout history. There is nothing special about a single war. Jesus does not envision a war, He envisions many wars - nation rising against nation and kingdom against kingdom. Recent history has witnessed the horrors of World War I and World War II. The Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Indochina War, the Iran-Iraq War, Kuwait, the Balkans, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and tribal conflicts too numerous to mention speak eloquently of the fulfillment of Christ's words.
07. How does the book of Revelation describe the dangerous situation among the nations of the world prior to the second advent of Christ?
The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth.”
Jesus will come at"a time when the human race has the ability to destroy all life on Planet Earth. With nuclear weapons we now have the capacity for self-destruction. This is certainly One of the greatest signs of the return of Jesus. Broadcasting from Hiroshima in 1945 after the atomic bomb was dropped, William Ripley stated, "I am standing on the place where the end of the world began."
08. In spite of the buildup of thermonuclear weaponry, what will the nations be saying in the last days?
1 Thessalonians 5:3
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.
09. What signs will occur in the natural world before the coming of Christ?
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.
Because of crop failure, the politics of greed, growing population, and food distribution problems, world famine is still a major problem. Ten thousand people a day, or more than 3.5 million per year, die of starvation. More than 150 million children under the age of 5 are malnourished, with food shortages in at least 40 countries. In the past 100 years we have had 1.5 million fatalities from earthquakes alone. There are thousands of earthquakes each year. Jesus' words are certainly being fulfilled.
10. What does the Bible predict regarding the World economy at the end of time?
01. Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you!
02. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten.
03. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days.
04. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.
05. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter.
06. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.
07. Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.
The Bible predicts there will be a sudden economic collapse. The entire economy of the world is on a slender thread. America's national debt is enormous. Trusted financial institutions have collapsed. Tens of thousands of people have lost their homes and jobs. These unstable economic conditions are a sign of the times.
11. What does the Bible say the social conditions of the world will be like in the last days?
2 Timothy 3:1–5
01. But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
02. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
03. unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,
04. traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
05. having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
Read the morning newspaper of any major city, and you will note the sordid catalog sins mentioned in this Bible passage. The Bible predicts waning moral values just before the coming of Christ. Perilous or dangerous times, the disintegration of the family unit, "lovers of money," "lovers of pleasure," "without self-control" are word pictures describing life in the twenty-first century.
12. How does the Bible liken the society of Noah's day to our day?
26. And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man:
27. They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.
There is certainly nothing wrong with eating and drinking. Jesus is speaking of overindulgence, an obsession with eating and drinking. Eating, drinking, and marrying are all part of life's routine. Here Jesus describes people swallowed up in life's pleasures, oblivious to the fact His return is near.
13. What is one of the clearest indications that Christ is coming soon?
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
06. Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people--
07. saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
One of the greatest signs of the nearness of Christ's return is the rapid spread of the gospel throughout the world. In the twenty-first century our world has become a "global village." The gospel is now going to all the world with a speed that would have left the apostle Paul amazed. Sophisticated satellite communication systems such as the Internet, satellite technology, interlinking computers, the World Wide Web, and mass media television and radio communications are in reality a gift that God is using to communicate the gospel with incredible speed to the world. The twentieth-century technological revolution has provided a setting to spread the gospel rapidly.
14. How did Jesus tell us we should react to all the signs of His return?
Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.
For those who are unprepared, the second coming of Christ may be very frightening. The experience of those who love Him and long for His return is dramatically different. Their hearts are filled with eager anticipation. They joyfully await His coming. Their Savior, Lord, and King already rules in their hearts. Now they eagerly welcome Him as king and ruler of this world.
Its is not difficult to recognise that the signs Jesus gave in Matthew 24 are being fulfilled all around us in the world today. Would you like to heed Jesus' warnings and be ready for the day when He returns in glory as the king of the universe?
For Further Study:
Read the following Bible passages:
Genesis 6:5, 11-13;
1 Thessalonians 5:1-3;
2 Timothy 3:1-7;
2 Peter 3:10-13;