Summary: There are nine major signs that come before the return of Christ
Signs of the Times
Series: Early Edition
January 25, 2009
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Review of Last Week
Jesus is giving answers to two different questions
1.) When will this happen? When will the Temple be destroyed?
2.) What would be the signs of Christ’s return?
We must remember that Jesus is predicting two different events in similar ways. Jesus is describing the destruction of the Temple along with Jerusalem and the End Times. Both sets of prophecies seem to go hand in hand.
Jesus warns about the coming deception
Jesus offers a clear warning about the End Times: Do not be deceived. If Jesus warned us about deception there must be good reason. Deception flows out of a creation of some form of confusion. Confusion is one of Satan’s most powerful tools because if he can confuse the Truth, he can distort the Truth.
Jesus told the disciples there will be many who come claiming to be Christ. These people will come claiming to be the Messiah or the Savior of the world. These false messiahs will teach a different gospel and lead large numbers of people astray.
War or World Violence
Jesus said that we will hear of wars and rumors of wars but not to be alarmed. The media seems to depict war all around us these days but there is hope. Jesus says that these things must happen before He returns. War flows out of the fact that we are fallen people, living in a fallen world.
1 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 "Do you see all these things?" he asked. "I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." 3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" 4 Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, `I am the Christ, ’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. 9 "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:1-14
Nine Major Signs of Christ’s Return
1.) False Messiahs
2.) Wars and World Violence
3.) Natural Disasters
Jesus specifically mentions two main disasters that were common to His region of the world. Natural disasters were considered an omen of coming doom. Jesus may mention only two different kinds of natural disasters but it is a general reference to all forms of disasters.
Famine has been called the new tsunami. More people will die this year from starvation and disease than from any natural disaster. Starvation is on the rise around the globe due not only to famine but through the hoarding of resources. Dying by starvation is an ordeal of intense agony. We see advertisements for various relief organizations showing children on the streets of Manila, in huts in Africa, and in the slums of India. We see the serious nature of famine all around the world. There are even children going hungry in the United States.
Over the past fifty years there has been a sharp increase in the number of earthquakes reported annually. Either our ability to detect earthquakes has radically improved or there is a significant rise in earthquakes. Jesus says that natural disasters are a sign of His return.
We should keep in mind that Jesus is speaking about more than just famines and earthquakes. These were two of the common disasters understood in the Jewish social context. Jesus means that there will be a rise in natural disasters on the whole and this could include floods, volcanoes, hurricanes, and even mudslides. The truth is that Jesus makes it clear that we will see a rise in human suffering due to disaster.