By Nathan Jones
What are the signs that reveal we are very near the end of this age?
On Friday, September 27, 2013, I was interviewed on The God Solution Show with Nate Herbst which airs on KDUR 91.9 and 93.9 in Durango, Colorado. Nate's show is special because he's the only Christian program on a totally secular station. With such a fantastic opportunity to share the Gospel with an unbelieving audience, he focuses on apologetics which defend the Christian faith. I came on to share one of the best defenses for why we can trust the Bible as God's word and place our faith in it — fulfilled Bible prophecy.
Luke 21 and the Ten Signs of Our Age
Nate Herbst: What are some of the end time signs that we should be looking forward to related to all the incredible interest in what's going on in Israel and the Middle East? Sure, we all know about what's going on in Syria. We all know what's going on in Iran. We all know what is going on in all the different Palestinian areas with their struggle with the nation of Israel. What kind of end times signs then should we be looking out for to occur in the near future?
Nathan Jones: I believe the best place in the Bible to answer that is in Luke 21. There are also parallel passages to this chapter in Matthew 24 and Mark 13. These chapters contain where Jesus gives us basically a nutshell version of all the things that will happen up until His Second Coming.
Jesus in Luke 21 actually answers three questions His disciples ask of Him. First, they wanted to know when the Temple was going to fall, and we know that occurred in 70 AD. Second, they wanted to know what the signs that indicated the end of the age were, so Jesus gave the signs of the end times. Third, they also wanted to know what would be the signs that would precede Jesus' Second Coming.
We can read in Luke 21 that there are all sorts of different end times signs that are broken down into ten different categories, with the tenth being Jesus' actual return.
False Teachers — The first category of end times signs would be that the times would be filled with false christs, false messiahs, and false teachers. We can read for instance about Mormonism which was founded by Joseph Smith. It's one of the biggest cults in the world, and clearly he was a false teacher. Smith was a con-man who conned everybody into believing that he had the inside track on a second gospel of Jesus, which he just made up.
Other false teachers include Charles Taze Russell who founded the Jehovah's Witnesses. Jim Jones notoriously is known for killing his followers by making them drink poison in Kool-Aid. Today we've got Jose Luis de Jesus who claims that he is Jesus and has all his people tattoo 666 on their hands.
Jesus revealed that there would be an epidemic of false prophets teaching heresy just before Jesus returns to take His Church to Heaven. This event is what is called the Rapture of the Church.
War — The second sign of the end times would be an increase of wars. The earth would be covered in wars and rumors of wars. Did you know there are 38 wars going on right now? In the Twentieth Century alone, 160-187 million people were killed in wars. We have more wars now than we know what to do with. The United States just seemingly escaped getting involved in the civil war in Syria. Constantly the news reports on wars and rumors of wars.
The Bible says there will be more and more wars until we get to the time that Jesus returns. This is not even referring to future wars, but just the wars that are going on today that lead up to the Tribulation. There are future-related prophecies that predict even more wars during the Tribulation that reveal most of the earth being destroyed. Truly horrific times lie ahead.
Earthquakes — The third sign would involve earthquakes. Jesus said there would be many earthquakes that would shatter the earth. They would point to the last days as they grew more frequent and intense. True to prophecy, the world has since 1985 seen a 70% increase in earthquakes. The earth is shaking up. The worst earthquake in recent history of course has been the one that hit Japan in 2011.
Famine — The fourth end times sign would be famine. The world would see famines spread across the planet. People all over are starving. We've lived to witness great famines across the world, such as in Ethiopia and North Korea and other nations.
Plagues — Jesus gave the fifth sign which would be plagues. Disease and subsequent death would result from a growing amount of plagues. It seems that just as our doctors figure out a cure for one, another disease pops up its ugly head causing more and more people to die. The world has been covered with plagues for the last few hundred years, especially since the Black Death.
Fearful Events — Sign number six would involve fearful social disasters, for example, involving economic collapse. People will have all sorts of fear about what's inevitably coming due to our out-of-control spending. We see a great fear today among the people over social disasters that are coming to the world.
Events in the Sky — Sign seven involves fearful signs coming from the skies, such as different solar and lunar events. It's interesting that events that happen in the skies are kind of an untouched area of prophecy. But, those events include weather-related storms such as tornados and hurricanes. We have lived to bear witness to a great increase in weird weather and storms across the planet.
Persecution of Christians — The eighth sign covers the horror of the persecution of Christians. Ironically, said news doesn't make the mainstream news much right now. Shockingly, Christians are being persecuted more now than in any time in human history. For example, they are being slaughtered by the Boko Haram in Nigeria. They are being slaughtered by both sides of the civil war in Syria. They are being slaughtered by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. They are being slaughtered in North Korea by the government.
Pakistan endured recently a chilling mall bombing where the terrorists targeted Christians for killing. They were going around asking their hostages if they were Christian. The thugs who had taken over the mall were shooting the Christians point blank.
Today there's tremendous persecution of Christians, both physically and through the systems of law like we are finally seeing begin in the United States. As Satan knows his defeat is near, he will ramp up the persecution of the Body of Christ. That would be a sign that Jesus will be coming very soon.
Focus on Jerusalem — There is also a ninth sign, and that would be that the whole world would be focused on Jerusalem. Every political body wants control of Jerusalem. We are living to see that today as well.
I would advise everyone to look up Luke 21. This chapter has a tremendous amount of insight into the end times. It provides a nutshell-style view of the end time signs which prove that we are living in the season of the Lord's return.
Nate Herbst: Absolutely! There are a couple of other parallel passages to Luke 21, such as Matthew 24. These signs that Jesus gave us I think are outstandingly accurate and relevant. We are seeing these signs happen even today. Like you said, the accuracy of Jesus predicting these end time events is just incredible.
If I'm not mistaken, there is a martyr for Christ made about once every five minutes. That's about 100-plus thousand a year! That Jesus foretold is just incredible. It's exactly what you stated.
When you look at these signs that Jesus gave, I think it would take more faith to believe that somehow this is all a coincidence than it would be to just accept the fact that Jesus hit the nail on the head. These signs are happening in our day. They are something that we should be observing with a lot of respect, realizing that God has the big picture view. Jesus is giving some knowledge of the end times to us so that we can trust Him in the middle of it all.
In the tenth part of the God Solution interview, Nate and I will look at prophecies concerning wars yet to be fulfilled.