“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”
The disciples asked Jesus, “what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world” (3). In Matthew 24, He gave them many indications of the kinds of activities one will encounter in the end times. These signs include such things as: an abundance of false teachers, great deception, wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, persecutions, and great tribulation, such as has never occurred.
The world is headed for great catastrophe. It will not happen all at once. Much of this will take place after Christians are taken to Heaven, in the rapture that will precede the time of great tribulation. Most people would agree that many of these things have already begun. There are others, though, that have quite a different view about the time that we live in. And, there are even preachers that paint a much different picture about the future from the one described in our text. To hear them, you might think that great revival will accompany the last days. Some even proclaim what could be considered virtual world dominance by Christians.
The Bible does teach that Jesus will one day reign on this earth for a period of one thousand years and that His faithful followers will reign with Him in His kingdom. However, that reign will be preceded by a period of apostasy and great tribulation. When we read of and hear about the great proliferation of error, the natural disasters that seem to escalate both in number and magnitude, the serious famines and pestilences and such things, it should tell us that we are nearing the end.
What, then, should be our mindset as we ponder world conditions? Jesus said, “see that ye be not troubled.” We are not to be alarmed or frightened. For one thing, we have been warned. Jesus tells us in His Word what to expect. It should come as no surprise that there is a great falling away from the true faith, or that false gospels flourish in our day. We can trust in the Lord and know that He is in control and that He does all things well. While His return is imminent, we understand that we live in a day of tremendous opportunity to preach the Gospel and win others to Christ. We are to occupy until He comes. One day soon, our days of evangelism and discipleship will be over. We must work while it is day.