Summary: This sermon examines some of the ’signs of the times,’ recorded in Scripture.
Introduction: Recent articles or cover stories from Tabloids?
On Paul Harvey’s noonday broadcast on Thursday of this week He said, “that (1/3) one third, of the nations of the world today are at war. Many of them with themselves.”
Some prophecy scholars believe that Jesus’ prophecy concerning Nation rising up against nation and Kingdom against Kingdom was fulfilled in 1914 with the beginning of World War I. In that war, which has been called the Great War, and the War to end all wars, 13 million men lost their lives.
I. In the second part of verse 7 Jesus says, “There will be famines, pestilence’s, and earthquakes in various places.” NKJV.
In 1943 an estimated 3 to 5 million people died in China’s Henan Province as a result of starvation caused by World War II (1939-1945).
In recent years the most devastating famines have occurred in Africa. The famines have been Famine been the most severe where wars or civil unrest have existed, as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Chad, the southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Somalia.
The United Nations claims that over 30 million people in Africa are now in danger of dying from one of the most devastating famines in History.
Despite great advances in food production and storage more people are starving today than at any other time in history.
II. The next thing the Lord mentions in verse 7 are pestilences, or diseases.
A look back into History reveals that a flu epidemic broke out after the end of World War I. In 1918, the illness spread throughout Europe, Canada and the Untied States, killing more people than were killed during the war.
In 1995 the World Health Organization said, “the world is ripe for super plagues of apocalyptic proportions.” In 1996, Dr. Hiroshi Nakajima, the Director of the World Health Organization said, “We are standing on the brink of a global crisis in infections diseases.” He went on to say, “During the past 20 years, at least 30 new diseases have emerged to threaten the health of hundreds of millions of people. For many of these diseases there is no treatment, cure of vaccine….Diseases that have been around for centuries are popping up in incurable strains.”
Of course during the last 20 years, AIDS has been the most devastating plague or virus to ever strike mankind. In a 1997 report The World Health Organization reported that 11.7 million people had died of AIDS since it was discovered. The report also estimated that there are 30.6 million people who are now infected with the disease, with over 5 million new cases discovered every year. The hardest hit areas have been the underdeveloped countries in Africa & Asia. And with no cure in sight, it’s frightening to think how many people are going to die from this terrible disease.
III. Not only does the Lord mention wars, famines and diseases, but he also mentions earthquakes.
In his book, “Apocolyptic code,” Christian author Hal Lindsey says, “Earthquakes have increased in frequency and destructiveness during the 20th Century. Between 1890 and 1950 there were an average of 2 to 4 devastating earthquakes every year in the world. In the Decade of the 50’s there were 9. During the 60’s there were 13; during the 70’s there were 51; during the 80’s there were 86, and from 1990 – 1996 there were more than 150 damaging earthquakes recorded.”
One seismologist at the Scripps Research Center in La Jolla, California, recently said, “It is almost as though the earth’s plates are gyrating in anticipation of the world’s greatest earthquake.” In the Book of Revelation the Apostle John prophesied that the worst earthquakes to ever be recorded will occur during the Tribulation period. But of course we have no way of knowing when these powerful earthquakes will strike.
These are a few of the signs that Jesus mentioned in our text to be on the lookout for. But there are additional signs that I want to mention this morning that lead me to believe that we may very well be living in the “Last Days.” That we may in fact be the last generation before Christ returns.
I. Additional Reasons why we could be very well be living in the last days
Read Matthew 24:32-44,
Many prophecy students interpret this passage to mean that when we see the rise of Israel as a nation (as we did in 1948), we will know that the time of the end is “near.” The reason for this is that when a fig tree is used symbolically in the Bible, as it is here, it usually refers to the nation of Israel.
1. Israel became a nation again in 1948. The return of the Jews to their homeland after 1700 years in exile may well be the most significant sign that we are indeed living in the “Last Days.”