With the year 2012 approaching, many people that never gave thought to the "end of the world" are now doing so. Sparked by the discovery of the Mayan calender not going past 2012, the dark economic forcasts, and the media giving the recent "rapture" prophet coverage, (which they always will do to discredit faith), people are really concerned. Even some "science type" personalities are having real concerns about the direction of things they thought were proven facts, but are in question. That being the fact it's impossible to travel beyond light speed, but now that is in question after the super collider and the neutrinos arriving beyond that speed in Italy. (that is something for you to look up, keywords super collider, I don't have space or time to explain it here) And also cell discoveries causing some to panic over the crumbling pillars of biological evolution, due to dna/rna findings. (Again no time, or space for that here, keywords human cells, dna findings) Some reasons are real reasons to be concerned, some aren't. People who decide they are worried enough to change their way of living, will normally look in the Bible for direction, and for what to look for regarding events leading up to the end. Their first stop is the book of Revelations. After a little frustration they close the book, and hope for the best. If you want to know what to look for, start in Matthew 24. Jesus was asked by His disciples what the signs would be.
Read that passage. Here is what Jesus said to look for, I'll break it down:
There will be deception............People will say "I am the Christ" (annointed) deceiving many
There will be wars. Pestilence. Famines. Earthquakes in various places. These are just the beginning.
Followers of Christ will be given over to them and persecuted, and killed.
Followers of Christ will be hated because of His name.
Followers of Christ will themselves be offended by each other, and betray each other.
False prophets will rise up and fool many.
Because of wickedness, and lawlessness, the love of many believers will become cold.
Sounds bad doesn't it? Some unbelievers, or false prophets may say "its always been this way." These events have been like this since man's fall. That may be true, but not this scope, not of this nature. Some of what Jesus said in this chapter happened in 70AD when Jerusalem fell, some argue. But not of this scope or nature. These events will devastate all peoples of the world. American Christians love to think that God will not give us over to wrath, true, wrath will not rule us for long. We love to think in terms of living out our lives in peace and pleasure, and I hope you do. Please explain why 170,000+ followers of Jesus were martyred last year alone. If you aren't persecuted and despised for Him, check your faith, as Paul said. Aware of persecution or not, we are under attack by many groups, i.e. ACLU's constant attack on anything godly, Supreme Court rulings, claiming "separation of Church and State", the term that isn't in the Constitution the media and its plan to always show Christians in a bad light, et al. Those with designs on Christians demise haven't become violent, yet. There are more passages, by Peter, Paul, and John in regard to "end times", let's look at one more. Paul's in 2 Tim. 3, is even more expressive in what to watch for:
I last times there will be much difficulty, people will be, (see if any are familiar)
lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents,
ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self control, brutal,
not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
Having the form of godliness, but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
Paul does go on with more about false teachers, but I think that is another topic we all as believers should follow and discuss. We have enough in these few passages to see a mirror of the days we are living in. The Bible is full of warning signs, predictions that give us fair warning. Sorrowfully, many do not feel the Book is relevant for our day, it is just stories. Those people have probably never looked into it, but taken someone else's word for it. They will account, as will we. Events pointing to the last days are more magnified by troubles that fill our society, unemployment, or economic downslides, we think, "something bad is about to happen," or "something's got to give." Maybe we should "give up, surrender." Surrender ourselves to God's plan through Christ. Read Romans 10:9,10, or John 3:3, 16-17, that will show you how. I don't know that we will suffer persecutions, and actual blood letting as so many believers have throughout the centuries, but I know my stand this moment if it does happen. I'm ready, are you?