“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3)
Many people read the words of Jesus following this question, and without looking at what He really said think false prophets, wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, persecution of Christ-followers, betrayals and lawlessness are the signs of the end of the age.
But we must pay attention to what Jesus actually said: “All these are but the beginning of the birth pains,” NOT the signs of the end. He provided ONE and only one sign of the end of the age:
“This gospel [good news] of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Mathew 24:14)
Now we do not know exactly what Father evaluates as a “nation” or ethnicity (a more accurate translation of this word, ἔθνεσιν). Could it include the Sentinel Indians that John Chau was trying to reach? Nor do we know what the “testimony” involves: someone announcing it on a soapbox or a Bible translation in the native language?
In any case, we should not think that because Russia is invading another country, THIS is it. The tragic 2015 earthquake in Nepal was not an indication that Jesus was coming soon. The 21 Coptic Christ-followers that were beheaded by merciless ISIS Muslims was not the end. The summer riots of 2021 in Seattle, Portland and other cities of the U.S. were not indications of Jesus’ return any more than the Watts riots of 1965 or the Dead Rabbits riots of Irish immigrants of 1857.
Jim Jones was one of many false prophets to flit across our television screens depicting crazy guys who led many people to their deaths when they “drank the cool-aid” quite literally. He simply followed the path of previous devious leaders like Joseph Smith of Mormon fame and Pope Julius who sold indulgences to enrich the coffers of his organization. Such wars, rumors of wars, natural disasters and false teachers will continue until Jesus returns.
Jesus main emphasis in describing all this was to say, “See that no one leads you astray!” He mostly wanted His followers to be careful not to be deceived by miracles and false prophecies. He laid down a basic principle for future prophecy in John 14:29: “Now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.” Though this was in regard to specific things coming the next day at His crucifixion, the postulate is applicable across the board for all Bible predictions of coming events.
We need to study the future prophecies of the Bible to have some ideas of what to expect, but we likely will not be able to predict stock market crashes, where the next riot will occur, when the tsunami will break over the Northwest coast or who the Anti-Christ is . . . until he is revealed. (BIG hint: he’s probably not Donald Trump nor Joe Biden.🙄) The important thing is to keep in tune with the Spirit of God and be able to understand what is happening in the world as it unfolds. And BE READY! Scripture (Matthew 24:17-20) suggests events will occur so rapidly that one will not even have time to grab an extra coat! It will happen as fast as lighting‼️
So what is The Sign? Tell everyone that Jesus is returning. Tell everyone that sin is forgivable. Tell everyone that there is hope, even when the world seems to be reeling out of control. Tell everyone that Jesus is God, that The God Who Is has revealed Himself in Jesus who died to take away our sins, MY sins, YOUR sins. Preach this Good News to all the world all the time until everyone has had an opportunity to accept or reject the claims Jesus made. Then the end will come and the redeemed will be saved, the blind will receive sight, the oppressed will be set free and God’s will will be done in earth as it is in Heaven.
Whatever we believe about the End Times, they will happen according to God’s timeline, not ours. They will happen according to His plan, not any man’s. But the End Times will happen.
Know and love the truth.
Do not be deceived.