By Nathan Jones
What are the end times signs that parallel the signs of pestilence and fearful events?
In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista and I will look at the fifth and sixth end times signs of pestilence and fearful events prophesied by Jesus in Luke 21:11.
The Three Questions
Vic Batista: Our subject will be the End Times Signs of Pestilence and Fearful Events. We'll be reading from Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13, which are all parallel passages.
Nathan, in the past you've taken us through this very exciting journey through the Word of God speaking about the signs of the times. As we move on to this new sign, I want to ask if you would recap a bit about some of the other signs of the times Jesus gave in those chapters?
Nathan Jones: Certainly. The discussion began when the Apostles asked Jesus three questions. They wanted to know:
1) When will the Temple would fall? Jesus had just told them that not one stone of the Temple would be left upon another. That declaration really surprised the Apostles, because they thought that the Temple would always be there because it was God's home.
2) What will be the signs of the end of the age? In other words, the end of the Church Age when Jesus comes back to rapture the Church up to Heaven.
3) What will be the sign of Jesus' coming? This question refers to when Jesus comes back at the Second Coming at the end of a seven-year long Tribulation that will befall the earth.
As Jesus was answering those questions, He revealed to the Apostles ten signs. Jesus also said that each sign would get more frequent and more intense and more ferocious the closer we got to the answer to each of these questions.
We know from history that the Temple fell in 70 AD by the hands of the Romans. They destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. They besieged Jerusalem for three years, and by the time their assault was complete, there was literally not one stone left upon another. The Romans actually pried the stones apart to get the gold that had melted down in between the stones. That fulfilled the prophecy related to the first question back in 70 AD.
We are still waiting for the fulfillment of the second and third questions related to the signs of the end of the age and the signs of Jesus' Second Coming.
Nathan Jones: Jesus in Luke 21 and Matthew 24 and Mark 13, in those parallel passages, gave us ten signs. The first sign was the sign of false Messiah's. As we get closer to the time of Jesus' return to rapture the Church, one of the most prolific signs we would witness would be many cults and false teachers. We have 500 cults in the United States alone, not to mention all the other false religions of the world. Such a proliferation of false teachers shows we are clearly living in that time Jesus prophesied of false Messiah's and false teachers.
The second sign Jesus told us about is that there will be wars and rumors of wars. He said that wars would increase in frequency and in intensity and in their destructive capability the closer we got to His return. Certainly, with 38 wars raging around the planet right now, we are living in that time of war. Amazing, isn't it? We are living in a time of great wars that Jesus prophesied nearly 2,000 years ago!
We also talked about earthquakes, which is the third sign that Jesus gave us. Quakes would increase in both frequency and intensity. Certainly the National Weather Service and other weather watchers have proven that earthquakes are exponentially increasing. Therefore, we know Jesus is coming back soon.
Sign #4 — Famine
Nathan Jones: We also just began to touch on the fourth sign, which is the sign of great famines across the earth. What a terrible death toll that has wrought!
In Matthew 24:7, Jesus said, "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places and these are the beginnings of sorrows." This is the beginning of the signs just before Jesus returns.
When we read about famines, we know that to answer the question, "When would the Temple fall?" that there were famines before the Temple was destroyed. We can read about one such in Acts 11 where it talks about a man named Agabus. The chapter says that during this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch, and one of them named Agabus stood up and through the spirit predicted a severe famine that would spread over the Roman world. This happened during the reign of Claudius Caesar, which was about 41-54 AD. So, we know there were famines occurring at that time.
As we get closer and closer to the end of the Church Age, the famines will come more frequent and more intensely. And, Pastor Vic, the famines of the 20th Century have been incredibly destructive.
Vic Batista: Nathan, you have for us some incredible statistics about the effects of famines? We also know about the shortages that soon come when disasters such as famine take place. Even in our modern time with so much surplus of food and technology, the amount of people who are suffering from famines and even plagues is just astounding.
Nathan Jones: For statistics, we can look back at the Great Chinese Famine in 1959-61 when 43 million people starved to death. That's an astronomical number! Russia in 1921 lost 5 million people. Ethiopia in the mid-80's lost 400,000. North Korea in '96 lost 3.5 million people. So, there were lots of famines in the 20th Century, and these are just a few examples.
Again, the famines are increasing in frequency and in intensity. Just in the 21st Century now, Pastor Vic, there are 17 famines going on around the world today — Myanmar, Malawi, North Korea, East Africa, Kenya, Somalia and other countries. They are all facing horrific famines.
Did you know that 925 million people go hungry every day?
Vic Batista: That's tragic! There are so many people who are in the dark about this problem.
In the second segment of our discussion on the end times signs of pestilence and fearful events, Vic and I will get into detail on the prophetic significance of pestilence and plagues.