By Nathan Jones
Is an increase in immorality a sign of the end times?
On Saturday, April 9, 2011, I was interviewed by host Brian Thomas of the Blessings to Israel Ministries Saturday podcast show. During the hour long interview we took a look at twelve major end times signs in an attempt to raise the awareness of people concerning the numerous things going on in the world currently, how they relate to Bible prophecy, and the imminent return of Jesus Christ.
#1) Increase in Immorality
Brian Thomas: Things are definitely accelerating today in the world as far as Bible prophecy goes, and we are seeing so many fulfillments of these prophecies. But, one thing I do have to ask is, "Are we getting ahead of ourselves?" Sometimes those of us like myself who are very excited about the return of Jesus Christ sometimes have a tendency to read a bit into things. So, are we seeing the true fulfillment of these prophecies? And, what may be things still to come?
To answer these questions, we're going to look particularly at twelve signs of the times that the Bible told us to look out for which would reveal to us that we are truly living in the last days. A lot of these signs we are going to look at were actually prophecies that came out of the mouth of Jesus Christ during His time on earth.
I want to begin with is the increase in immorality. The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 3:1-4 that this would be a mark of the last days. Briefly it states, "But mark this, there will terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God." Have we arrived to the point that these signs of immorality are currently being fulfilled today?
Nathan Jones: I believe so, Brian.
When we talk about the signs of the times given in the Bible which Jesus and the Apostles and the Prophets told us about, we have to also take into account that these signs we are told will come more both in frequency and intensity the closer to when Jesus returns at His Second Coming. We merely have to look over the last 100 years or so to see they are certainly increasing in both frequency and intensity.
Jesus in Matthew 24:8 called this escalation of signs "birth pains." The term is an illustration based on how a woman goes through labor. As the labor pains come on during the delivery, they occur more frequent and more intense until the baby finally comes. That is what the world is going through right now.
One of the main types or categories of end times signs is the increase in immorality. If we go to Matthew 24, which is one of the best chapters for knowing the end times, Jesus explains in pretty thorough detail what the moral condition will be like coming upon His Second Coming. In verses 37-39, Jesus declares, "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man." We know from the Bible that the days of Noah were very lawless and the society was very hedonistic. The Bible even says that Noah was the only righteous man alive at the time! And so, the closer we get to Jesus' return, society will continue to become more and more like Noah's immoral time period.
We can learn from 2 Timothy 3:1-4 just what an immoral society looks like. This passage even points out to the return of such a society by beginning with, "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days." The first characteristic is that the people will become lovers of themselves, so much so that the love of most will grow cold, as Jesus stated in Matthew 24:12. Without love, immorality then will just flourish. We are seeing this lack of love all over the world today with high crime, with senseless violence, and with no love shared between parents and children so that there's child abuse and abortion. We are seeing lawlessness and corruption at every level of government. We are seeing countries that are ruled with iron fisted dictators. And, sadly, even the Western nations which have historically been such bastions of freedom are quickly falling apart due to immorality.
Brian Thomas: If anyone is a little skeptical as far as the proof that there's an increase in immorality, I just want to read a little bit of the research that I've found. There was a record 41% of babies born to unmarried woman in 2008 in the United States of America, which is up from 28% in 1990 and up from 18% in 1980. The trend continues worldwide with the European Union's out of wedlock births at 35.1% in 2008, which was up from 25.1% in 1998 and up from 17.4% in 1990.
There are a lot more statistics out there showing an increase in immorality, but basically what these birth statistics are showing us is that there has been an increasing trend in children being born to unmarried woman, which obviously means there is more fornication going on, which the Bible speaks against. This statistic is one of many examples of immorality increasing in the world. Statistically, we definitely can see that we are living in an increasingly immoral time period which marks the end times.
Nathan Jones: I used to live in Philadelphia for a number of years. It is a very violent town. Instead of it being called the "city of brotherly love," it should be called the "city of brotherly shove." My mother grew up in Philadelphia and she would tell us stories of when she was seven years old. She would get on the bus by herself and go downtown and she would do a little shopping with some friends maybe before she would come back. She said she never had to worry about crime or violence or being molested or anything horrible like that. Now that I have children who are that age, I worry about them just going down the street to the local park because it has just gotten so bad with the crime and everything. I worry about all the child molestation and the abuse going on.
Even though we call our own society a "Christian" society, it is awful. And then, when we read about some of the other countries that have no Christian foundation whatsoever, living means for them that they are constantly watching their backs.
We can simply look at the trends going on even during our own lifetimes now that we have lived while enough and can claim that, though I'm not saying that we are even very old, Brian. You know you can see this increase. It is just getting worse and worse to the point where you fear for your family and sometimes for your life all of the time. I agree, this increase in immorality is definitely supported by the statistics.
Speaking of getting worse, after Jesus comes to Rapture the Church up to Him, there will be seven years of tribulation which will befall the planet. During those seven years called the Tribulation, that is when the world will really see lawlessness and immorality radically increase until the day Jesus returns at the end of those seven years. We on this planet are definitely on that steep decline into total immorality, but it will exponentially explode once the Church is no longer here to be a restraining influence on the immorality in the world.
Brian Thomas: It sounds to me that what you are saying is that some of the signs we are seeing are actually building even today, though we haven't yet come to the Rapture of the Church. You are a Pre-Tribulation Rapture believer as I am myself, and so we believe the Rapture of the Church occurs before the Tribulation. So, once the Rapture has occurred, the world will see immorality escalate even moreso until the Second Coming of Christ which will happen at the end of the Tribulation?
Nathan Jones: Correct. During that Tribulation time on earth, God's judgments will be poured out on the earth because of its great immorality and sin. We can read in Revelation 22:15 where outside of Heaven dwell the "the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood." That passage lists some of the aspects of the great immorality that goes on outside of Heaven.
Immorality will greatly increase in both frequency and intensity leading up to and throughout the Tribulation mainly because 2 Thessalonians 2:3-7 talks about the removal of the Restrainer, which is a restraining influence that God has placed on this planet that keeps it from getting as bad as it could be. I believe the Restrainer is the Holy Spirit's work through the Church, because once Jesus removes the Church then He is also removing a major restraining influence on the earth. Obviously, the Holy Spirit works during the Tribulation because people are getting saved. We need the Holy Spirit to get saved, so He is not being removed from the earth. With the removal of the Restrainer the world will endure an unprecedented amount of immorality. All the evil that believers in Christ have been trying to hold back won't be there anymore, and the world will instantly become a moral cesspool. It's just awful to think about.
The next end times sign we'll look at is the ever blooming hope that the Rapture brings.