Change is Inevitable
For those of us who were born before 1950, we are survivors. Consider the changes we have witnessed...
We were born before television, before penicillin, polio shots, frozen foods, Xerox, contact lenses, frisbees and the pill. We arrived before credit cards, laser beams and ball point pens; pantyhose, dishwashers, clothes dryers, electric blankets, air conditioners, drip-dry clothing and before man walked on the moon.
We got married first, and then lived together. How quaint can you be? We were before house-husbands, gay nights, computer dating, dual careers and computer marriages. We beat daycare centres, group therapy and nursing homes. We had never heard of FM radio, tape decks, electric typewriters, artificial hearts, word processors, yoghurt and guys wearing earrings. For us time sharing meant togetherness, not computers or condominiums; a “chip” meant a piece of wood, hardware meant tools and software wasn’t even a word.
In 1950 “made in Japan” meant junk and the term “making out” referred to how you did in an exam or interview. Pizzas, McDonald’s and instant coffee were unheard of. In our day cigarette smoking was fashionable, grass was mown, coke was a cool drink and pot was a thing you cooked in. Rock music was grandma’s lullaby and AIDS were helpers in the headmaster’s office. We were certainly not before the differences between the sexes was discovered but were surely before the “sex change”. We made do with what we had, and were the last generation that was so dumb as to think you needed a husband to have a baby!
No wonder that we are so confused and that there is a generation gap. But without doubt our generation has witnessed more changes in our lifetimes than any other generation before us.
In this century alone we have suffered two world wars, seen the birth of motorised transport from the model-T Ford car and the Wright Brothers’ earliest flying machine, to landing a man on the moon. Man has moved from killing each other with simple fire arms to mass annihilation by means of hydrogen bombs and germ warfare. In spite of our so called progress as humans we hear of more and more warfare, genocide and “ethnic cleansing”.
Although crime has always been with us there is no doubt that the average citizen now has more chance of being robbed or harmed than ever before. Our prisons are full to overflowing and in many countries law enforcement is unable to cope with the rise in crime. Christian values are largely becoming a thing of the past and the structure upon which modern society has been built is fast disappearing.
What’s happening around us? What does it all mean?
Reading the Signs
“...when you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, here comes a shower. And you are right. When the south wind blows you say, today will be a scorcher. And it is. Hypocrites! You interpret the sky well enough, but you refuse to notice the warnings all around you about the crisis ahead.” ~ Luke 12:54-56
I have studied the prophecies of the return of Jesus for over twenty years and still find it amazing to see the signs foretold of in The Bible being fulfilled before my very eyes. Whenever I speak on the signs of the times, somebody will inevitably comment that these things have always been around, so what’s new? In one sense their comment is correct but what they fail to understand is that these signs will increase in frequency until they climax at the physical return of Jesus. Although there are signs occurring now which have never occurred before there are also many signs which Jesus said would be like birth pains or the beginning of sorrows.
"Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.” ~ Mark 13:8
When a woman is pregnant, she and her family are very aware that as the day of birth comes near so they must watch for the early signs of labour pains. Once the pains start they increase in frequency until they reach a stage that the husband usually rushes his wife off to the hospital. The pains continue to increase in frequency until the doctor knows that the birth is imminent. What Jesus was saying was that although many signs would be common they would increase in frequency and intensity until they reached a final climax.
When I first became a student of prophecy the birth pains were only very mild but I believe that the pains have now reached the point at which we should have our bags packed and ready. Although, it is a sad fact that the church has, to a large extent, ignored the prophecies that point to the Lord’s return, it is also true that in these last days God has raised up Godly men and women who are proclaiming this message at the top of their voices.
Many well known Christian leaders such as David Wilkerson and others have proclaimed the message that Christ’s return is imminent. However sadly many of these men have been or are being ridiculed by “The church” for their preaching on this issue.
“First of all, you must understand that in the last days, scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, 'Where is this coming he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.'” ~ 2 Peter 3:3-4
So even the fact that there are many scoffers out there is in itself a sign of the last days. The Bible spells out very clearly many conditions and signs that will be evident in the world prior to the return of Jesus. In fact there are so many signs given that we have no excuse to be unaware of the increasing signs of labour pains.
God gave the prophet Daniel a number of visions of the end times and Daniel puzzled by what he had seen, asked God to explain. However God answered his request by saying...
“...go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.” ~ Daniel 12:4
In the past many prophecies of the end times have been impossible to understand. However in the last few decades most, if not all, of the prophecies are becoming understandable in the light of technological developments and historical events. God said this would only happen at the time of the end. Another prophecy being fulfilled.
In 1995 an American named Elbert Peak spoke at a prophecy conference. He began his presentation by stating that “I began preaching on the signs sixty years ago when there were very few that you could actually see. Today they are everywhere. I am no longer looking for signs; I am listening for sounds!” The signs are now all around us and are unmistakable to those who seek them with an open heart. They are proclaiming that the return of our Lord is near.
As we study these signs remember that they do not relate to the rapture, as no signs will be given preceding this event. However, the closer we get to the second coming the more imminent must be the rapture!
Signs Relating To The Church
"Jesus answered: Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, I am the Christ, and will deceive many." ~ Matthew 24:4
Note that this verse says that these deceivers will come in God’s name. The implication is that they will be deceivers within the church.
As I have studied this prophecy I have been saddened to see the huge number of “Christian” leaders who are leading God’s people astray.
Some years ago whilst on a business trip to the United States I watched a Christian TV channel and was horrified to see and hear the messages that some of these TV evangelists were preaching. Thousands of Christians hung on their every word and were fleeced of their money and in some cases their faith.
Thankfully God has unmasked many of these men and women but others have risen in their place and many of God’s people are being caught up in ministries which have a different agenda to the Word of God.
Nowadays we are seeing a number of prominent and formerly respected church leaders (evangelists and teachers) falling away from the truth and in the process leading many away with them. Do not be led astray from the Word of truth. Jesus warned us of this for a reason. May we take heed.
"The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons." ~ 1 Timothy 4:1
The Bible is an inerrant document and God has made no mistakes in the Word He has given us. God is not referred to as mother/father nor as she, as some mainline denominations would have us believe.
No matter how you look at it, God declares homosexuality a sin, just as He does for murder or adultery or any other sin that we all face in our daily lives. Yet many Christian leaders would now have us believe that this particular act is not a sin.
A decade ago it was believed that 50 to 60 million Americans are involved in some form of the occult. Millions around the world follow New Age philosophies.
Friends don’t fall victim to this prophecy and be led astray by deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
Even Christian leaders can be deceiving. Search the Bible for yourself to check the truth of what men and women are preaching.
People, desperate for answers clamour to accept anyone who can offer them hope, but often seem to neglect the one and only source of hope, our soon coming Lord, Jesus Christ.
As with all birth pains this one will continue to increase in intensity until it culminates in the world wide acceptance of the False Prophet during the tribulation period.
Increased Wickedness → Love Grows Cold
"Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved." ~ Matthew 24:12
This prophecy foretold that in the last days the love of most will grow cold, not just some, but most. How much love do you come across these days? Both within the church and out people are so busy simply existing that they have little time for love.
Television and movies depict a society in which violence and sex out of marriage are treated as “normal”.
Our heroes, more often than not, go from one sexual encounter to another and violent films and programs draw huge viewing audiences. Even children’s cartoon programs now seem to be filled with weird creatures and violent content. Love is fast disappearing from our modern society.
We live in a world in which marriage of a man and a women for life is becoming the exception rather than the norm. Love is a very fleeting thing as couples live together for a time and then depart for another partner almost on a regular basis.
Even marriages are no guarantee of a life time commitment. To many, divorce is now the easy answer to solving problems in a marriage. Once the honeymoon is over, it’s not worth the effort of learning to live together. It’s much simpler to sign a piece of paper cancelling the marriage and find another man or woman to live with.
New Zealand is probably a good indicator of the trend in most countries. Recent government statistics give the following information;
The rate of marriage continues to decline, with the number of people living in “de facto” relationships continues to increase.
At the 1996 NZ Census 236,397 people were living in de facto relationships, an increase of 46.1% since 1991. De facto relationships increased to become 25% in 1996 to 40% in 2006 of all partner relationships. The rate of marriage has declined from 45.49 per 1000 people in 1971 to 15.60 per 1000 in 1998 to 11.6 per 1000 in 2014.
In The United States of America it is estimated that 50% of all marriages now end in divorce and that one quarter of all their children do not have married parents. In NZ the divorce rate is 35%.
The love in many marriages has certainly grown cold.
The increase of wickedness and love grown cold is also very evident in the growing number of abortions throughout the world. In New Zealand alone there have been 163,785 babies slaughtered in just the last 10 years to end of 2014.
Statistics from the USA show that country as having around 2904 abortions a day or approximately 1.06 million per year. It is estimated that there are now 54 million abortions per year worldwide. Approximately 20% of pregnancies end in abortion (2008).
Where has all the love gone? How much longer will God allow this to continue?
"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 24:14
Some Christians point to this verse to argue that we cannot be in the last days as the gospel has not reached all in the world as yet.
I believe that this verse cannot mean that every person on earth must first hear the Good News before the start of the tribulation or the rapture.
Why? Simply because Revelation 14:6 says "Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth - to every nation, tribe, language and people".
If all had heard the Gospel, and either accepted it or rejected it, before the tribulation starts, then there would be no need to proclaim the gospel further. Additionally God tells us that man has no excuse for not knowing Him. Creation itself shows the loving hands of the creator.
However having said that, there is ample evidence to show that the Gospel has indeed made huge inroads into all the nations of the earth. Many missionary organisations had, as part of their mission statement, a pledge to endeavour to reach their particular outreach groups by the year 2000.
Although the Joshua Project considers there still to be 40% unreached in the world, there is general agreement that all could be reached by 2020 by current methods.
Every year an average of 120 million Bible’s are printed. The Bible or at least portions of it, have now been translated into 2883 languages and is available to approximately 98% of the world’s population.
It is estimated that there are over 2000 Christian radio and television stations worldwide and many secular radio and TV stations also transmit some religious shows.
The end must be very close indeed!
"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me." ~ Matthew 24:9
Many Christians, especially those in the western nations, find it difficult to believe that in our day and age Christians could be martyred for their faith.
Yet statistics tell us that more people have been killed for their faith in the 20th century than have been martyred in the total church history.
The September 1999 issue of “Voice of the Martyrs” tells of believers in Sudan being sold into slavery, physically mutilated, deliberately starved, and even crucified.
They report of Christians in Saudi Arabia being arrested, tortured and beheaded. In Egypt Christian girls have been kidnapped, raped and then forced to marry their attackers.
Pakistani Christians have been tortured in prison, attacked on the streets and had their homes destroyed by angry mobs.
In China, church leaders continue to be sentenced to long prison terms in harsh labour camps.
In parts of Africa and the Middle East Christian communities are heavily persecuted for not denying their faith. Driven out of their homes, raped, tortured and beheaded. According to the World Watch List (WWL) 2015 report released by Open Doors International in April 2015, about 4344 Christians were killed and 1062 Christian churches attacked from Nov 2013 till Oct 2014. With the advent of ISIS in the Middle East and Boko Haram in Africa recently, persecution continues to worsen.
As the birth pains grow increasingly severe we are seeing growing antagonism towards Christians including in the West. Especially those ‘fundamental’ Christians who stand on God’s Word and proclaim that there is only one way to God and that is through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Tolerance is the call today from all sides, both politically and religiously. Intolerance cannot be tolerated they cry. Yet these same people will tolerate all beliefs except one, true Christianity.
A cloud of coming persecution is forming rapidly on the horizon of the Western world today. Watch for the persecution to escalate at an ever increasing rate in the days ahead. Do not be alarmed by this. Jesus told us it would occur. But rest in the truth of what God says...
"If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you." ~ John 15:18
"Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." ~ 2 Timothy 3:12
"Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!" ~ Luke 6:22
The Signs Of War
"You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom." ~ Matthew 24:6
There have always been wars and rumours of wars, but who can doubt that in the 20th century we have witnessed two of the most destructive wars in history. World War I and II claimed over 100 million lives (over 4% of the then world population), and millions more casualties. They caused untold destruction and involved practically the whole world in one way or another. In fact before 1914 there had never previously been a universal war.
Estimates state that 120-155 million people have been killed in wars in the 20th century. And that 51.2 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes at the end of 2013.
Since the end of World War II we have had the Korean war, the Vietnam War, the Falklands War, the Gulf War, the Afghanistan War, the Iraq War, and of course the various wars that Israel has had to fight for her survival. There was a marked increase in the number of wars in the last two centuries.
In recent decades we have seen the rise of internal conflicts as not just nations fight against each other but now kingdoms fight against kingdoms (tribe against tribe). And more and more countries have declined into civil war, and the new terminology for war and murder, “ethnic cleansing”. In the last couple of decades we have been horrified by the “ethnic cleansing” in Rwanda, Kosovo and East Timor.
Conflicts are raging in Cambodia, Afghanistan, Indonesia, India, Tibet, Chechnya, Algeria, Congo, Angola, Sudan, Somalia, Colombia, Liberia and more. In 1993 there were a record 29 major conflicts raging around the world with possibly another 50 areas that were regarded as flashpoints that could develop into armed conflict at any time. The situation has not improved in the ensuing years and if anything is probably worse!
From the ever present possibility of a major conflict arising against Israel to the recent rise in tension between nations around the globe the world is living on a knife edge which could at any time erupt into a major conflict involving nuclear arms.
The list goes on and on. Surely only someone with their head in the sand would believe that the world is not heading for major conflict. The Bible is clear that many of these nations will participate in war in the last days. The birth pangs get stronger and more frequent by the day!
200 Million Mounted Troops
"The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number." ~ Revelation 9:16
This prophecy has generally believed to apply to China which is taken to be the nation of The Kings of the East referred to in Revelation 16:12. When this prophecy was written it is estimated that the total population of the world was only about 200 million. There is no way that any nation could have fielded an army of that size prior to this century. A decade ago the nation of China announced that it can now call up an armed force consisting of, you guessed it, 200 million.
"The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the Kings of The East." ~ Revelation 16:12
Aside from a supernatural act of God, which of course was always a possibility, this prophecy could not have been fulfilled in past centuries. However in 1990 Turkey built a huge reservoir on the Euphrates. While filling up this reservoir Turkey stopped the flow of the Euphrates for one month. Turkey now has the ability to stop the flow of this river at will. Yet another prophecy which can now be easily fulfilled.
"Son of Man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal;...." ~ Ezekiel 38:2
"After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate." ~ Ezekiel 38:8
In a further study we will see that the nation being referred to in this prophecy is none other than Russia who will, along with other specified nations, invade Israel in the last days. Yet when this prophecy was written Russia didn’t even exist as a nation. Certainly not one which would be large or powerful enough to launch an attack against Israel. In spite of the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia still prepares for war and sides with the Arab nations against Israel. Yet another prophecy set to be fulfilled.
Signs Of World Conditions
"......... and there will be famines......." ~ Matthew 24:7
Even in the Old Testament the Bible tells of famine in the lands. However famine continues to be a major threat to life, in spite of our modern technology.
We have seen and heard in the news media over recent years of country after country suffering under severe famine and drought.
Who can forget those images on our TV screens of children so thin that that you could count virtually every bone in their bodies? Of tiny faces covered with flies and no energy to wipe them away? Or of big round eyes pleading for help in the midst of utter hopelessness?
And it’s getting worse, not better!
Whatever the reason, El Nino or not, many countries are today experiencing severe drought conditions in at least part of their lands.
North Korea: A BBC news item on Feb 17th 1999 reported that North Korea’s population dropped by 2.5 to 3 million people in a three year period from 1995 to March 1998. This drop is due to droughts and floods. A report in April 1998 by the Council on Foreign Relations estimated that at least 1 million died of hunger in one year alone.
Philippians: A report in The Manila Star in April 1998 stated that 3.6 million people were going hungry in Mindanao with 720,673 families in desperate need of help.
Sudan: July 31st 1998 report from CNN showed Sudanese refugees dying from malnutrition. A further news report claims that 200 people a day are dying and that 1.2 million people are at risk. The UN world Food Program recently stated that if it didn’t double or triple its airlift of food to southern Sudan, thousands of starving people would face catastrophe.
Africa: August 10th 1999 - According to the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation, nearly 10 million people in sub-Sahara Africa need emergency food. One million in Somalia alone face food shortages with 400,000 of them at risk of starvation. This same agency lists 16 nations, most in the east of Africa, which face “exceptional food emergencies.”
Australia: In 1994 Australia suffered from what many said was their worse drought on record but in 1998 the country was still suffering with the south coast of New South Wales battling its most crippling drought in 15 years.
New Zealand: Even “green and lush” New Zealand has suffered from severe drought in the high country of its South Island. Many farmers predict that they will soon have to abandon their land.
In addition to droughts, many agencies are reporting that the world is facing a growing water shortage. At this time nearly half a billion people don’t have enough drinking water. That number is expected to increase to 2.8 billion by 2025. Today, 31 countries are reported to be facing water stress or water scarcity.
According to a report by The Worldwatch Institute, humanity is on the boundary of nature’s limits and is facing a worldwide crisis in fish stocks, grain production, over population and deforestation. The report goes on to say that “The world is now only one poor harvest away from chaos in world grain markets.”
"......and earthquakes in various places." ~ Matthew 24:7
Earthquakes are not new of course and have been recorded in many ancient historical documents including the Bible.
Whilst some scientists say that the perceived increase in earthquakes is only due to modern technology, many others will agree that the recorded number of earthquakes is definitely on the increase. Published statistics report that in the 15th century there were 150 earthquakes; in the 16th century, 153; in the 17th century, 378; in the 18th century, 540; in the 19th century, 2119 and the 20th century far exceeded that figure. During recorded history an estimated 74 million people have perished in earthquakes and the subsequent floods, fires and landslides that have been triggered till the end of last millenium. Of the thirteen greatest known earthquakes in history, 10 occurred in the 20th century.
The following report from the US Geological Survey shows the increase of magnitude 6 or greater earthquakes over the last century. Interesting, for those skeptics that consider the increase is only due to modern technology, the number of magnitude 5-5.9 and magnitude 7-7.9 earthquakes remained steady throughout this period.
When looking at the data closer by year, the marked increase shown in the number of earthquakes began, interestingly, in 1948 (when Israel became a nation again).
In a letter written in 1777, John Wesley wrote, “There is no divine visitation which is likely to have so general an influence upon sinners, as an earthquake.”
No matter how you look at it, earthquakes are definitely on the increase! These increasing birth pains will climax in the greatest earthquake the world has ever known at the return of Jesus.
".......and epidemics............" ~ Luke 21:11
Only a couple of decades ago the world was patting itself on the back in the belief that we were well on the way to doing away with major worldwide diseases such as TB, Malaria, Polio and Leprosy. But in 1996 report from The World Health Organisation (WHO), at least 29 new infectious diseases had emerged over the prior 20 years. These diseases included AIDS, Ebola virus, Lyme disease, Hanta virus and the Equine Morbili virus to name just a few. In addition to these new diseases the old ones are returning with a vengeance and a resistance to antibiotics.
In 1955 The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that Malaria was on the verge of complete eradication yet in the 1990’s an estimated 270 million people were infected with up to 2 million dying from it each year. A report in March 1998 from the WHO advised that 1 billion may become infected by TB and 70 million die during the next two decades.
Further recent reports from WHO advise that Hepatitis C now infects an estimated 2% of the world’s population with 150 million chronic carriers and 500,000 people dying each year. Hepatitis B has infected an estimated 240 million being chronic carriers and 780,000 people dying every year. Cholera is now classified as a pandemic with 3-5 million cases and 120,000 deaths due to cholera every year.
Of the “new” diseases AIDS, is the most well known, first appearing about 30 years ago. WHO advise that in the space of those 30 years 39 million have died from the HIV/AIDS virus. HIV/AIDS is now the 6th leading cause of death. Sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected region, with 24.7 million people living with HIV in 2013. Also sub-Saharan Africa accounts for almost 70% of the global total of new HIV infections.
Hand in hand with the HIV/AIDS virus is sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). WHO reports that more than 1 million people acquire a sexually transmitted infection every day. Each year an estimated 500 million people become ill with one of 4 STIs: chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphillis and trichomoniasis. More than 530 million people have the virus that causes genital herpes (HSV2).
The birth pains of epidemics are increasing despite man’s increasing knowledge and his ability to find cures.
Signs From Heaven
".....and fearful events and great signs from heaven." ~ Luke 21: 11
Of all the signs this one is probably the one least obvious for many. Some prophecy students have attempted to show that strange things are indeed happening at this present time in the heavens.
There have been reports of ‘Blood Red’ moons over Israel and sightings reported of new comets and asteroids heading our way. Are all these the signs in the heavens? I don’t know. I tend to suspect that this particular sign may be more prevalent during the period of the tribulation rather than prior to it.
THE BETHLEHEM STAR
The first visit of Jesus to earth was heralded by signs in the sky. The wise men followed a bright star in the east to locate his birth place. Is it unrealistic to expect to see signs in the sky heralding his return? On 30 June 2015, the same event occurred in the heavens - where the Star of Bethlehem reappeared in our skies, the same as it did on 17 June 2 BC. The first time the star of Bethlehem came it was to announce the first coming of Jesus. You can read more about this at thechristmasstar.org. We do urge caution with this sign as it is not clearly described as an last day sign. It could be a diversion, but we do not know at this point.
"The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord." ~ Acts 2:20
In 2014 and 2015 the world has been witnessing a lunar tetrad of blood red moons, and a solar eclipse amidst them. It has been exposed to most people across the globe on news channels everywhere. The significance is that the 4 blood red moons fall on Jewish holy days Passover (15 April 2014 & 4 April 2015) and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles - 8 Oct 2014 & 28 Sept 2015). The only times that this has occurred in the passed saw significant events transpire for the Jewish nation. The last 2 lunar tetrads falling on Jewish holy days were in 1948 (reforming of the nation Israel in a day) and 1967 (Jerusalem was restored to the Israel after winning the 6 day war). The final blood red moon on 28 September will be visible from Jerusalem, and will also be a supermoon.
"A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth." ~ Revelation 12:1-2
This constellation sign has not yet occurred, but it appears that the fulfilment of this verse will occur on 23 September 2017 in the sky above Jerusalem, for the first time in 7000 years.
Signs Of Human Condition
Lovers Of Self & Sin
"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them." ~ 2 Timothy 3:15
Of all the signs of the last days this one must surely be the saddest one. Can anybody doubt that the above is a perfect description of society today?
...lovers of themselves...
Look around at the people you come across in your daily life. Often, in spite of adamant denials, they are lovers of themselves. This generation has often been referred to as the “me” generation, a very apt description as people look out for themselves and give no thought to others. Some say the currently emerging generation is the most narcissistic generation the world has seen. Clinical psychologist Bart Rossi said, "Today too many people are interested in making a statement about themselves on the internet and creating an influential existence. Selfies, when used to excess show a lack of depth and a shallow personality. If someone is obsessed with taking selfies it is most likely because the individual is self-absorbed and narcissistic". With the emergence of social media individuals can create their own little kingdom with themselves as the focus, gaining followers from far and wide.
...lovers of money...
We give lip service to feeling for the poor or the hurting. But what we often do is slip a few measly dollars into a charity envelope and feel self satisfied that we have done out bit!
We get very indignant if somebody accuses us of being lovers of money yet we work long hours, often to the neglect of God and our families. We justify this on the basis that we have to work these hours just to live in this modern materialistic world. Whilst this is true to some extent, it cannot be denied that we also have a choice.
I know of Christians who have given up their highly paid job with the long hours and high stress levels to opt for a smaller home in a less affluent suburb, a second hand car instead of a new one and a local camping holiday instead of an overseas trip with a stay in an expensive resort. The children now attend a local school instead of the expensive, prestigious one and the family have never been happier or more content as they spend more time with God and each other.
...disobedient to their parents...
Look at our youth today. How much obedience do you see them giving to their parents or authority?
Every one of the descriptions in this prophecy apply to our generation. The country of New Zealand in which I live, used to be referred to as ‘Gods Own,’ a Christian country of peace and beauty, of friendliness and low levels of crime. A good country in which to raise a family. But not anymore. We like so many other nations have lost our way.
No longer do we look after our needy as we once did, violent crime is reported to be second only to South Africa’s and our prisons are full to over flowing. Incidents of road rage and mindless violence are increasing and we continue to fill the minds of our citizens with images of sex and violence on our TV and cinema screens.
In the USA it is reported that in one year alone (1994) there were 24530 murders and 1.1 million violent crimes (1992). Today (2010) it is reported that they have an incident of violent crime every 25 seconds, a rape every 6 minutes and a murder every 35 minutes.
It has been calculated that the average western citizen will have seen an estimated 35,000 images of the violent destruction of human beings on their TV screens during their life times. No wonder that this generation has little concept of the value of life.
New Zealand, like many other Western countries, is no longer referred to as a Christian nation with only 6% of our citizens professing to be Bible believing Christians. Whilst a few churches show signs of growth most are empty or are attended by those having a form of godliness but denying its power. Over a quarter of our population say that they have no religious belief at all, whilst the number of professing eastern religions such as Buddhist’s, Hindu and Muslim. Having said that there are several groups (2013 NZ Census) that have grown since 2006 - Protestant, Evangelical, Born Again, Christian (not further defined) and Adventist.
Yet New Zealand is only a mirror image of what is happening in many countries today. These are terrible times indeed and sadly they are going to get worse.
Days Of Noah
"Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being giving in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulphur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all." ~ Luke 17:26-30
Again, is this not a description of our world today? This prophecy indicates that the time of the Lord’s return will be one of ‘normality’ for most of the population.
Look around you, both within the church and without. In spite of the signs of the times, are not people carrying on as they always have? God is rising up many Christians in our day who are proclaiming the immanency of the Lord’s return yet how many are listening?
Over the many years of being a Christian I have seldom heard this message preached within the context of a Sunday sermon, yet in the few instances that it is preached it is largely ignored, and people just carry on as before. Many teachers of the immanency of Jesus’ return are in fact ridiculed and many churches will have nothing to do with them. All is as it has always been!
The people of both Noah’s and Lot’s time were warned of God’s imminent judgement upon them but they chose to ignore the warnings. The results were that few escaped God’s judgement.
Well friends, I’ve got news for you. All IS NOT as it has always been. Too many signs are being fulfilled around us for us to not be aware that something is happening. Don’t be caught up in the ‘normality’ of the times - be watchful and ready.
WORLD FULL OF WICKEDNESS
In both Noah's and Lot's time there was a reason that judgement came on the people... their extreme wickedness.
"The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time." ~ Genesis 6:5
"Then the Lord said, 'The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous..." ~ Genesis 18:20
We have seen from the other signs that today's world is much like those days.
An interesting aside is that many scholars calculate that the world population would have been between 6 and 9 billion at the time of the flood. Similar to now - "as in the days of Noah".
It was intriguing to see a movie called Noah come out in 2014 - "as in the days of Noah".
Faint From Terror
"Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world..." ~ Luke 21:26
Whilst I believe that this prophecy, like most of them, will escalate during the tribulation period, there are signs that this is happening now.
A look at many countries newspapers or statistical information will show a greatly increasing number of deaths through suicide, especially among the youth. Youth who seem to have no hope in their future or what lays ahead. I venture to say that all of us have heard conversations in which it is asked “What is happening in our world today, where are we headed?” Many people have lost hope in their leaders and dare not look too far into the future.
Climatic changes, storms, floods, searing heat waves, violence, unemployment, drugs and many other headlines have caused many of our friends and neighbours to live in fear and apprehension of what is coming on the world.
And there is no doubt acts of terrorism have struck fear into the hearts of many, from the 911 attacks in 2001 seen globally, to bombings and more recently beheadings and other indescribable crimes.
Oh Lord, why oh why wont they see the times for what they are? Open their eyes Lord before it is to late.
To And Fro Of Knowledge
"...Many will go here and there to increase knowledge." (At the time of the end) ~ Daniel 12:4
Only in the 20th century has technology advanced to the stage where man now travels to the uttermost parts of the earth, as well as to the moon, almost at will.
In the total history of man no real progress was made in developing better means of transport. Even up to the end of the 19th century the most common means of land transport was by foot or animal power. It took the same time to travel from point A to point B in the 1800s as it did 1000 years ago.
Yet in the last 100 years we have developed transportation systems that now enable the average man and woman to travel to other countries as our parents travelled to the suburbs of the cities in which they lived. It has been calculated that around 200 million people now travel outside their own country every year. Many are certainly going here and there.
Knowledge has increased in the 20th and 21st century, almost beyond belief, and beyond man’s ability to keep up with it. It has been said that 80% of all scientist’s who have ever lived are alive today.
News is now reported globally live, as it happens. News networks across the globe share and publish news from anywhere in the world into your living room through television and other devices.
Our total store of knowledge is believed to double every 8 years and over half a million new books are printed each year. Computer technology has now become an essential part of our every day life yet it has only really developed in the last few decades. The internet sees information going from one side of the world to the other in mere seconds, and has played a major part in increased information and knowledge going here and there.
Mobile technology such as smart phones etc allow individuals to send and receive information to and fro across the planet.
Every single second of the day people around the world collectively...
- send 9,533 Tweets
- upload 2,299 Instagrams photos
- post 2,040 Tumblrs
- make 1,795 Skype calls
- generate 28,343 GB Internet traffic
- likes 52,000 Facebook posts
- make 49,520 Google searches
- view 103,520 YouTube videos
- send 2,407,458 Emails
There are 965,373,487 websites on the World Wide Web (oops actually there are 400 more than that now by the time I wrote this sentence). See http://www.internetlivestats.com/one-second/ and http://www.internetlivestats.com/watch/websites/ for update figures.
Knowledge has also increased to the point where many Bible prophecies can now be easily understood in the light of the technological advances made in the 20th and 21st centuries.
It is hard to believe that this prophecy could be any more fulfilled than it is right now.
Signs Of Israel
Israel is back in its homeland for the first time in nearly 2000 years. If there is one sign that is more significant than all the others in proclaiming the imminent return of Jesus then this is it.
The Bible is full of prophecies that the Jews will be back in their homeland in the last days
"So then, the days are coming,” declares The Lord, “When people will no longer say, ’As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ but they will say, 'As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.' Then they will live in their own land." ~ Jeremiah 23:7-8
"I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them," says the Lord your God. ~ Joel 3:1
There are many events prophesied for the last days which can only occur when Israel is again a nation. This has happened in our lifetime!
"...Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." ~ Luke 21:24
In AD 70 Jerusalem fell to the Roman army and the surviving Jews were scattered amongst the nations.
On June 7th 1967 during the six day war, Israel won back their holy city of Jerusalem.
The Gentiles no longer trample on Jerusalem so this can only mean that the times of the Gentiles are, or at least are about to be, fulfilled!
Signs Of The Last Generation
He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they spout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened." ~ Luke 21:29-32
No matter how you look at it, we are living in exciting times indeed. In the above parable Jesus was telling us that the people who witnessed the start of the signs heralding His return would know that summer, His return, was near.
Although many have tried, we cannot ignore the second part of this passage which says that the generation who see these things happening, would see the completion of the prophetic signs.
Scholars argue about what constitutes a generation and I admit that I don’t really know either. Yet it doesn’t matter how many years are a generation. All that matters is that the generation referred to will be the last one.
Do you believe that the signs of Jesus’ return are evident now, in our day? If you do then it is difficult to ignore the above passage. We, or at the very least, our children, must indeed be that generation referred to.
Are you living your life accordingly?
Friends how much more do we need to see to understand the times we are living in? The prophecies are being fulfilled before our very eyes. Surely we are living in the most exciting times in human history! The countdown to Armageddon has begun!
Whilst this is not an exhaustive list of signs of the coming return of our Lord, it must surely be enough for anybody to seriously consider that we are in fact about to witness the second coming of Jesus Christ.
God judged the world at the time of Noah and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah at the time of lot for their rampant sin and disregard for God and His laws. It is very difficult to believe that the world today is not worse than it could possibly have been in Noahs and Lot’s time. God is the same today as He was yesterday and will be tomorrow. We can be sure that He will not allow this world to carry on as it is for much longer.
Friends I repeat again, for all these signs to be so evident the return of our Lord must be more imminent than it has ever been. Are you ready?
Written by Bob Hines, Updated by Mark Stevenson