By Nathan Jones
Is the end times sign of pestilence occurring today?
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.
Sign #5 — Pestilence and Plagues
Vic Batista: Not only are we seeing earthquakes and famines increasing, but also plagues, too, right?
Nathan Jones: Yes, we read in Revelation 6:5-8 that after the rapture of the Church, when the Tribulation and its great wars come, the world will be rocked by subsequent famines and plagues. There will be so much famine and plague that Revelation reveals they will both contribute in part to killing a fourth of the world's population. That's 1.5 billion people who will starve to death or suffer sickness during the Tribulation!
Pestilence, or plagues, which Jesus warns us about in Matthew 24 is the fifth end time sign that He gave us.
Vic Batista: People today don't often think of plagues affecting us, but look at AIDS and the many other venereal diseases in the world today.
Nathan Jones: That's right. Did you know that AIDS has been around since 1981, and since then 25 million people have died from it?
Vic Batista: No, I didn't know the death toll was that high.
Nathan Jones: That's because nobody talks about AIDS since it's usually sexually transmitted, and nobody wants to give up their fornication and all the other sexual immoralities that our country seems to love so much.
Some 25 million people have died from AIDS, but that's nothing compared to the Black Death. Back in the 1300's, 75 million people died from the Black Death plague. As bad as the Black Death has made a name for itself in history, in the 21st Century 300 million people have died from Smallpox. Another destructive plague was the Spanish Flu back in 1918-1919 which killed 100 million people.
Vic Batista: Those are just incredible, staggering numbers! Nathan, I'm so glad that we are bringing this problem of plagues to light. These modern-day events are happening all around us, but because we can be so isolated from plague's consequences, many people when they think of famines or plagues just think of Pharaoh in Egypt. They don't realize that terrible plagues are actually happening right now in our time.
Nathan Jones: We read in Deuteronomy 28:59 about how the Lord told Moses that if Israel started disobeying and not following God anymore, that He would send a number of punishments on them to make them repent and come back to Him. The verse reads, "The Lord will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disaster, and severe and lingering illnesses."
Certainly throughout Israel's history they experienced plagues, disasters, illnesses and famines. Every time they wandered away from God, God's blessings would stop. The Israelites would start getting attacked by their neighbors or get sick or something awful. The Lord used plagues to bring people back to Him, and He still works that way today. God still allows famines and plagues and death to come upon people so that they will say, "Hey, we need to turn back to Jesus Christ. We need to give up our sins and we need to repent and return to Him." As terrible as such suffering is, it works in bringing about repentance.
It's just sad that our pride keeps us from bending our knees and giving our lives to Jesus Christ. When people ask, "Why is there so much suffering in the world?", the answer is that our sin and rebellion against God has brought that suffering down upon us.
Vic Batista: Excellent point, Nathan. That's why we want to encourage everyone to understand that God's message is still the same. God's called us, especially as believers, to live pure lives. That's one of the problems that we are seeing today. In these last days people are just not wanting to live pure lives. Instead, they want to remain in rebellion against God and His moral law. That's why we have all these diseases and plagues in the world today.
Nathan Jones: People want God to step in and stop all the suffering in the world, but if He did that then He would also have to stop our freewill, because it's our freewill that decides our actions. Are we going to sleep with someone outside of marriage, or not? Are we going to kill somebody, or not? Are we going to follow God's rules which bring us life and peace?
When we disobey God by acting on that freewill, then we face the consequences, not only for our sins, but from the sins of others around us. That, too, also affects us. Sin affects society and drags society down. When you drag society down, economies start collapsing, armies start getting weak, and nations start crumbling.
We are bringing this calamity upon ourselves when we rebel against God. But, when we are in God's will and are following His law, then He blesses us by keeping the famines, plagues, attacks and natural disasters at bay.
At this time, though, all evidence points to the fact that we are currently living in an era where the world just keeps getting more corrupt and more rebellious against God. Because of this increase in sin, the end times signs will increase both in frequency and intensity, just like Moses prophesied and just as Jesus told us back in Matthew 24.
In the third and last 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 fearful events, especially financial.