With the current worldwide crisis on-going, many are concerned that what is happening might be the beginning of the end of everything. Millions are wondering if what is occurring around the world today is the impending fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Could God finally be bringing the age of mankind to a close? What is really going on and is the world as we know it about to change?
In chapter 24 of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus talks with his disciples about the signs of the end of the world. He begins by telling them that one day there will be no trace of the temple left in Jerusalem. Later in the day, the disciples ask Jesus two questions; 1) When will the temple be destroyed? and 2) What will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?
Jesus tells them that they will see and hear many disturbing things but they shouldn’t be alarmed. He told them that they will see a world filled with deceit and those who will love to follow deception rather than the truth. He also told them that as long as the world exists there will be a constant threat of war. There will be famines, plagues, disasters, turmoil, and great ruin, but they shouldn’t be afraid of these things. Why shouldn’t they be afraid of a world that appears to be speeding to destruction? Jesus tells them that they shouldn’t fear these things because they are the signs that birth is about to happen.
Within their lifetimes many of the disciples saw the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. The first question was answered. Now the second question needs an answer, “What will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?”
Everything that is happening in the world has always happened. Humanity has had plagues and famines, and wars and financial ruin, and disasters of epic proportions and nothing changes. At the moment mankind is apprehensive but when the alarm passes it will be just a momentary bump in the road of human history. Or is it?
Jesus told his disciples that before he returns the times will be just like the days of Noah. What was the world like when God brought the great flood on every living thing? Just before the first rains began to fall from the heavens, the world was filled with arrogance, violence, illicit sex, corruption, hatred, idolatry, and selfishness. In Matthew 24:38-39 Jesus says, “For, in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”
The true signs of the soon return of Christ aren’t the wars and plagues, and famines, and disasters, and financial collapses. No, the true signs of the imminent return of Christ are seen in the rise of the levels of the same evils as Noah’s day; arrogance, violence, illicit sex, corruption, hatred, idolatry, and selfishness. These evils are recognized throughout human history as the seven deadly sins. Do we live in a world that is filled with as much evil as Noah’s world? That is a question that only God can answer. Believers in Christ aren’t in the world to judge the world but to preach salvation and eternal life to the world. As believers, we are in the world but we should not be of the world. If we are of the world then we will not be aware of the signs within mankind that Christ warned us would be visible to us before his sudden return. Christ told us all that we must be ready because the Son of Man will come at an hour when we do not expect him. So the sign of his coming and the end of the age isn’t seen in the world, it is seen in the hearts of mankind.