Article: A Perspective On The Signs of End Times for The Church – Part 1 | Roshan Benzy George

“Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.” – Jesus Christ (Luke 21: 31) [1]

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The phrase ‘last days’ in the Bible is simply the time after Jesus Christ, and it started with the 1st century. In Acts 2:15, Peter says to his audience that the day of Pentecost was a fulfillment of the prophecies in the book of Joel about the ‘last days’ (Joel 2: 28-32). If so, then the phrase ‘end times’, which is commonly used today, refers to the end times of the ‘last days’ in biblical context. However, to keep it simple, the phrase ‘end times’ will be used as it is commonly used in the coming paragraphs.

Of the many ‘end times’ prophecies, some are similar to events that happened and are happening now. The Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, 25:46, Mark 13 and Luke 21) is one among such prophecies. Furthermore, there are different views on this passage, and a parallel study of all these portions will only reveal the nature of these prophecies. Therefore, this article will only discuss a few important verses.

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When Jesus Christ was asked about the signs of His coming and the end of the age, Jesus first answered what would not be the signs of the ‘end times’. Jesus answered them, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.” (Matthew 24: 4-6) [1]

So according to Jesus, the coming of false messiahs and false prophets who lead people astray and local wars in parts of the world are not immediate signs of the end times, because He tells that the ‘end is not yet’. That begs the question about what will be the sign? For this, Jesus went on to say, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” (Matthew 24: 7-8) [1]

Here, Jesus tells clearly that these events will mark the ‘beginning’. While reading the verses, the reader gets a plain meaning that there will be enmity between different nations, earthquakes and famines in various places. Even though these events have been a part of the history of the world, there is a time in which these started happening on a massive scale. That time was the 20th century (1900 – 2000 AD). World War 1 (1914 – 1918) and World War II (1939 – 1945) marked a unique time in history when nations across the globe joined alliances and fought each other. That’s why these wars were named ‘World Wars’.

Famines and pestilences (epidemics) are a part of the history of humankind, but when these occur along with world wars, they have a different prophetic meaning. Indeed, the 20th century had World Wars, famines and pestilence in various places. Major famines in the 20th century were the Russian Famine (1921) which was an after effect of the world war and The Great Chinese Famine (1951) which was the result of bad government policies. Taking the case of pandemics, the Spanish Flu (1918), which was one of the deadliest pandemics, occurred just after World War I. Another point to be noted is that, eight out of 10 deadliest epidemics in history occurred between 1880 to the present [2]. Certainly, the number of pandemics has increased due to international travel and communication, but it all happened. In 2019, approximately 100 years after the Spanish flu, COVID-19 became a global pandemic which affected all the nations.

The case of earthquakes is more staggering. Out of all the recorded earthquakes that measured 7 or more on the Richter Scale (severe earthquakes), only a total of 994 earthquakes happened between 1000 to 1903 [3]. That is approximately between a 900 years span. In stark contrast to this, in a 100 years span, 1098 earthquakes (R.S. 7 or more) were recorded between 1903 to 2000 [4]. ISC-GEM records 970 earthquakes from 1900 to 1979 [5]. In other words, tectonic activities increased exponentially in the 20th century. The US Geological Survey also lists that all of the ‘20 Largest Earthquakes in The World’ occurred in the 20th century [6]. The tectonic activity increased exponentially in the 20th century and is continuing with 312 earthquakes (R.S. 7 or more) recorded between 2020 to 2021 [4].

As humans, we experience grief when a disaster strikes the world. However, all of these show us the big picture of the scope of Olive Discourse, and these should indeed point us towards Jesus Christ and His arrival, for our redemption is drawing nearer.

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