The disciples of Jesus could not believe what they were hearing. Jesus had just told them that the great stones of the temple would be torn down and not one stone would be left upon the other. And remember that one of those foundational stones was 44 feet in length and weighed over 50 tons. And what baffled the disciples is that the Master had seemed to tie the destruction of the temple to His coming again and the end of the age. See Matt. 24: 1 Pausing to rest on the Mount of Olives, the disciples eagerly questioned Jesus, "TELL US WHEN WILL THESE THINGS BE? AND WHAT WILL BE THE SIGN OF YOUR COMING AND THE END OF THE AGE." The reply that He gives here is found not only in Matt. 24, but also in Mark 13 and Luke 21. We will CONCENTRATE ONLY ON THESE THREE GOSPEL PASSAGES: Matt. 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. We will look at SEVEN THINGS THAT WILL HAPPEN BEFORE THE LORD COMES AGAIN.
1-BEWARE OF DECEPTION: It is very interesting that in ALL THREE OF THESE PASSAGES, Jesus told His followers that DECEPTION OR LYING WOULD BE A HUGE PROBLEM. The truths of the Bible would be controverted and would be presented as the New Doctrines. It reminds one of the saying, "Old HERESIES COME BACK IN NEW CLOTHES BUT THEY ARE STILL LIES." One of the biggest lies will be when Satan impersonates Christ. 1 John 2: 22-23 reads like this, "Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is Antichrist who denies the Father and the Son." The 9th Commandment as is recorded in Ex. 20 tells us "YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS AGAINST YOUR NEIGHBOR." In other words, don't attempt to deceive your neighbor. Don't lie to your neighbor. Be truthful and develop a bond of trust. It is said that in today's world we hear or come across from 10-200 lies each and every day. The result is simple, the trust factor in our world of today is missing. Lying is so commonplace, we tend to accept it and learn the hard way THAT MANY IN THIS WORLD OF TODAY CAN'T BE TRUSTED.
2-WATCH OUT FOR WARS: Again in the three gospels that record the signs that tell us of the Coming of Jesus, war is listed as a sign of the end. Matt. 7: 7, Mark 13 8 and Luke 21 10 talk of nations fighting against nations. In the past century, we experienced two massive world wars which involved pretty much the whole world. And now, just in the past few months, we have watched as Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine. What makes war so frightening in today's world is that many of the nations possess nuclear weapons which could kill thousands in a single attack. Nations such as Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and yes, our own nation of the United States have arsenals of nuclear bombs. Just today, the news coming from the two countries that separate Korea is frightening. It appears that North Korea, a communist country has fired missiles along the border with South Korea. Would the dictator of North Korea be foolish enough to invade his southern neighbor or would he consider using nuclear weapons in an attempt to gain more power in the area. Only time will tell.
3-FAMINES FAN THE FLAMES: In many parts of the world today, poverty is a very present evil. I have lived in South America and Africa where a vast majority of the people are poor. With food shortages looming will the people of Nigeria or Ethiopia survive? Can the poor of Peru or El Salvador live through a world-wide famine.? The answer is probably, 'NO'! Already, we are seeing shelves that are empty in the local grocery stores. I happen to be a vegetarian but I watched with amazement in a very large Super Walmart recently, crowded with shoppers, as no one, not even a soul was buying meat products. The counter was long and well stocked and why was nobody buying meat for their tables? One reason is the prices are outrageously high. My daughter who is Food Service Director for Andrews University in Michigan sent me an e-mail she had received recently from one of her food suppliers, detailing the food shortages that are coming. Heavy rains and hail have devastated many of the food and vegetable farms of Mexico and Central America. That is where we get a lot of our vegetables and fruits. Crops of leafy vegetables: onions, beans, tomatoes, and melons along with many fruits will be in short supply. When you tack on the massive hike in fertilizer prices, the world could be in big trouble.
4-PESTILENCES BRING DEATH: Most of us watched as the whole world became aware of Covid-19. The bad news swept across our population like a continuing nightmare. We watched as scores of people died, others have experienced side-effects that may be with them for a long time. We may never know exactly what happened but we do know that it has greatly altered life on planet earth. Pestilences is mentioned in Matt. 24: 7. Mark uses the term, 'TROUBLES' which he says is the "BEGINNING OF SORROWS". Since Mark uses that terminology right after the word famine, he likely is referring to pestilences. Note, Doctor Luke does mention pestilences in Luke 21: 11. Again, it has been incredible how this virus has affected not only the prosperous and modern cities of the world but also made its way into the most remote areas of the earth. People in the Outback of Australia and those who live in the deep dark jungles of the Amazon were affected by Covid-19. No area of the world was untouched!
5-EARTHQUAKES AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS WRECK HAVOC: Matt. 24: 7 tells us of earthquakes in various places. Mark 13: 8 uses the exact same words, while Luke 21: 26 warns, "Men's hearts failing them for fear of WHAT IS COMING ON THE EARTH, Natural disasters will pound the earth like something straight out of Dante's Inferno. Earthquakes will resonate through the Ring of Fire, while volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and other calamities will take the lives of many. Much of he last ten years of my life I have lived in the shadows of one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It is called the Turialba Volcano and it is near the city of Turialba, Costa Rica. No, it was not life-threatening but those eruptions were strong and persistent. I will never forget a visit from my middle son who also lived in Costa Rica. He arrived about 4: 30 in the afternoon one day and when he came into the house he yelled at me, "Dad we are covered up with ants, they are everywhere. We have to drive them away from the house. Get the brooms and a water hose." After a half hour of intense effort. we were able to herd the ants away from the house. They went up the hill into the forest. Shortly we both forgot the whole episode and at 8:30 that evening, I was preparing to got to bed. Suddenly, there was an extremely strong earthquake. The ground shook violently. We found out later that ants can predict earthquakes and because they live in tunnels in the ground, a strong quake can destroy their homes. THAT IS WHY THE ANTS WERE ON THE MARCH. That led me to think, "When it comes to signs related to Christ's soon coming. are ants smarter than human beings?" It sure looks that way. By the way, I just read that 153 people were trampled to death in a stampede during a Halloween Festival in Seoul, South Korea on Oct. 29, 2022.
6-PERSECUTION IS IN OUR FUTURE: Matt. 24: 9 puts it like this, "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation, AND KILL YOU AND YOU WILL BE HATED BY ALL NATIONS FOR MY NAME'S SAKE. Mark 13: Verse 9 says, "You (the Christian) will be brought before rulers and kings, for my sake, for a testimony to them." Later, in Mark 13: 13, it stresses that YOU WILL BE HATED BY ALL MEN FOR MY NAME'S SAKE. Later in Verse 19, it tells us, "FOR IN THOSE DAYS THERE WILL BE TRIBULATION, SUCH AS HAS NOT BEEN SEEN FROM THE BEGINNING OF CREATION." Luke 21: 12 warns the Christian that THEY WILL LAY THEIR HANDS ON YOU AND PERSECUTE YOU." And at this point, let's ask a very important question. Why would the authorities: law enforcement and those leaders at Federal and State levels persecute the Christian? Isn't the Christian the model for good living in the last days? One would certainly think so. One of the pioneers of the Adventist Church put it like this in a book called The Great Controversy. "In the end time, many Christians will be blamed when things go wrong." Great Controversy P. 592 Later in the same book, the author pens it like this, "Those who honor the law of God will be accused of bringing judgements upon the world, and they will be REGARDED AS THE CAUSE OF THE FEARFUL CONVULSIONS OF NATURE AND THE STRIFE AND BLOODSHED THAT IS FILLING THE EARTH WITH WOE." Great Controversy P. 614 Using lies and deception, authorities will seek out someone to blame for the chaos that is sweeping the world and MANY CHRISTIANS WILL COME UNDER FIRE. That is the reason why the good Christian will be persecuted. But the great Prophet Daniel predicts in a prophecy for the end time, "And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. AND AT THAT TIME YOUR PEOPLE SHALL BE DELIVERED EVERYONE WHOSE NAME IS FOUND IN THE BOOK OF LIFE.: So, victory is assured if OUR NAMES ARE WRITTEN IN HIS BOOK. Daniel 12: 1-3
7-THE GOSPEL WILL GO TO THE ENTIRE WORLD: Certainly one of the greatest verses in all of the Bible is found in Matthew 24: 14 where it reads, "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." And what is this Gospel that will be preached into all the world? IN A WORD IT IS JESUS CHRIST. He is our Savior and Lord. He is our Peace and Forgiveness. He is OUR SUFFICIENCY, OUR EVERYTHING. And this text here in Matt. 24: 14 predicts that the message of Jesus Christ will go to the whole world. That is great news. How it will happen, we are not really sure. Missionaries have labored long and hard but there is much more that needs to be done. Technology may help but I doubt that it will be the final answer. But most likely, it will happen as men and women and young people around this globe of ours are filled with the Holy Spirit in the Last Days and can't be stopped in sharing with others the good news of salvation. Joel 2: 28 reminds us, "And it shall come to pass afterward THAT I WILL POUR OUT MY SPIRIT ON ALL FLESH. YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY. YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS, YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS." Sometimes it is called the Latter Rain. And when this happens, our text above says, "THE END WILL COME!" The next to last verse in the Bible, Rev. 22: 20 Jesus tells us, SURELY, I AM COMING QUICKLY!: And the Apostle John's earnest reply was, "EVEN SO COME LORD JESUS." Rev. 22: 21
Wayne Easley/written on Oct. 29, 2022/Harvey, North Dakota