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Growing millions are troubled, even terrified, by what is happening almost everywhere. The world is in a place it has never been before—truly uncharted territory! No crisis since World War II has captured virtually every headline of every major news source like the coronavirus pandemic. Just a quick review of headlines in recent weeks reveals the unprecedented level of anxiety and fear. Masses flocked to stores, panic buying and stockpiling supplies, while others pursued pleasure, heads buried in the sand, trying to ignore the growing storm sweeping across the world.
With global trends and conditions growing grimmer by the day, what lies ahead for all nations has become the very greatest concern. As more perished and entire nations shutdown, millions were left searching—wondering about the course of events.
Jesus’ disciples asked Him about the “end of the world”—more correctly translated “age” (Matt. 24:3). The prophet Daniel spoke of “the time of the end” (Dan. 11:40; 12:9) and asked, “O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?” (12:8). And the apostle Paul warned, “In the last days perilous times shall come” (II Tim. 3:1). This makes the subject more serious.
Let’s pull back and look at the big picture. It has become painfully obvious that this world is in terrible trouble. Beyond the deadly pandemic gripping the globe, mankind is overwhelmed with every kind of trouble, evil and ill—war, terrorism, violence of every kind, famine, other diseases, pollution, overpopulation, political upheaval, religious confusion and tremendous economic turmoil and decline, threatening to make the Great Depression look like child’s play.
Then there are the hundreds of millions who live in abject poverty, ignorance and oppression. Now add rampant and worsening immorality and perversion in every Western nation—and growing hatred, unrest and the never-ending cycle of war in the Middle East—and deteriorating conditions throughout Africa—and frightening weather patterns across many parts of the world—and devastating fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, drought and floods occurring with greater frequency and intensity—and headlines screaming of murder, rape, robbery and crimes of every kind. These mushrooming problems now threaten ALL nations.
Has the final interval in world history arrived? Can you be sure? You CAN—and God even expects you to know!
Make no mistake. The Bible is plain about the Return of Jesus Christ—many verses speak to this subject. It will happen—and it does not hinge on the opinions of men. In the period leading to this climactic event, many things are foretold to happen—some even catastrophic! Can you afford to be in the dark? What will you believe?
In Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, Christ foretold a time when 12 major indicators would signal the imminent arrival of God’s Kingdom: (1) wars, (2) rumors of war, (3) nations rising against nations (Greek: ethnos, meaning ethnic rivalries), (4) kingdoms rising against kingdoms, (5) famines, (6) pestilences (disease) and (7) pests (another meaning for pestilences), (8) great earthquakes and (9) great storms (a second meaning for earthquakes), (10) troubles, meaning disturbance, mob sedition and (11) roiling of water, and (12) commotions, meaning instability and disorder.
In a global economy, stock market performance is one of the best indicators of the state of the world. If world events are going well—at least by man’s standards—so goes the market. As investment information giant Investopedia put it earlier this year (emphasis mine): “There is an old saying on Wall Street that the market is driven by just two emotions: FEAR and GREED. Although this is a simplification, it can often be true. Succumbing to these emotions can profoundly harm investor portfolios, the stock market, and even the economy.”
The stock market is now more volatile than it has ever been in history—and by far! Trillions of dollars drastically rose and fell over the past few months. No one has ever seen anything like this—ever! But this is the kind of volatility that a world gripped by fear and greed (fueled by the coronavirus pandemic) will not escape without God’s intervention.
What the world does not know is that Jesus said pestilences (and all of its destructive effects) come last. Notice the sequence recorded in Luke 21:10-11—“Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and great earthquakes shall be in diverse places, and famines, and pestilences…” Mark’s account does not include pestilences as the “beginning of sorrows” preceding the Kingdom. Matthew’s account does—but the original Greek does NOT! (Translators added it on their own authority to match Luke!) So neither Matthew nor Mark mention pestilences among the early indicators that God’s Kingdom is drawing near. Luke does—while at the same time dropping a reference to the “beginning of sorrows.” Why? Because pestilences are the last sorrow before the Kingdom. No one knows this! But now YOU do.
Get this giant metric straight in your thinking: pestilences come last! As terrible as what we are witnessing is, understand that God has given all of us something unmistakable that we can watch. This means all the headlines you read scream God’s Kingdom is close! Very, very close!
Pestilence—disease—will remain the focus of this Personal.
As with Ebola and influenza, the COVID-19 virus appears to have spread to humans from animals. This new virus was traced to a wildlife market in Wuhan, China, and quickly spread beyond China’s borders. Not since the influenza pandemic of 1918, in which an estimated 500 million became infected with the virus—one-third of the global population at the time—has the world seen anything with the same impact. The number of deaths worldwide was estimated to be at least 50 million.
The coronavirus affects the respiratory system. Many hundreds of thousands have been infected and tens of thousands left dead. Yet the impact is far greater than the disease itself. The incalculable toll it is having on people’s physical and mental health may pale in comparison to what society would look like were time to go on.
Due to the fear of catching the contagious disease, people everywhere have faced considerable disruptions, cancellations, postponements and shutdowns of nearly all aspects of their lives. Schools have been dismissed for weeks—even months. Religious services have been broken up. The economic pestilence of a virtual global shutdown is impossible to comprehend. What would follow (or maybe run parallel to) the coronavirus pandemic would be a global depression that would make what the United States endured during the 1930s seem like a walk in the park. And 90 years ago, people had much stronger character. Today there is almost none. In fact, a lack of character virtually defines this age in every regard.
Get this all-important point. Wars, rumors of wars, commotions, famines, pestilences, earthquakes—all kinds of instability and disorder—first grow to where they engender terror. Deep fear has gripped the minds of billions. But Luke recorded that we should see these things and “be not terrified” (21:9)—we should NOT be scared! Believe Christ’s words. Those who are seeking God with all their hearts have nothing to fear!
I hate bringing this bad news, but with it comes the best GOOD NEWS. It is in this world—one defined by turmoil, trouble, heartache and FEAR—that God’s Kingdom will intervene. With the Kingdom’s arrival comes the long-prophesied paradise for which mankind longs. In a single day—very soon!—we will no longer have to pray for its arrival. It will come! Mankind will once and for all collectively learn the solution to all its problems and God’s Kingdom will usher in a peace that is now unimaginable.
The world has reached critical mass. It has passed the point of no return. Things could ebb and flow a little—from day to day. But do not be fooled! The world’s descent into chaos will not turn around!
During today’s heightened time of fear and uncertainty, people begin to ask questions. They begin to pull away from the routines and pleasures of their existence and ponder how their lives fit into the big picture. With all that has transpired with the virus, millions even admitted to praying to God for deliverance.
This is no coincidence. Do not miss a great purpose we are all witnessing. Come to grips with the truth of prophecy. Understand what is going on all around you. Jesus Christ was right! And when the chaos intensifies in a big way—when terror and trouble prevail everywhere—know that God’s Word foretold all elements of it.
The Real Truth is proclaiming the truth about these things.
In a world wracked with terror and frightening events, know also that Christ brought a counter-message. He came preaching the gospel—the ultimate GOOD NEWS for this dying world!
The many terrible things we are witnessing all have an ultimate purpose. God is not a monster. He does not take pleasure in seeing people suffer. When people see that their decisions and ways can only take them so far, they become more open to an alternative. God understands this. The alternative is a government ruled by God in which all that we see today is far behind us. Only then will events cited here—and bigger and worse stories to come—be old news.
The Bible foretells a violent wakeup call is coming that no one should miss—but sadly most will not heed its importance. This need not be you. Keep your eyes on world events. It is not too late!