Summary: Signs of the last days, famines, etc.
The Last Days Part 2
In my message last week I shared with you what Jesus said about us being ready for His return. He commanded us to be watchful and ready because we do not know the day or the hour of His return. We also had the opportunity to discuss the first sign of the “end times”, that is people being deceived. Jesus warned His disciples about not being deceived when many would come and say they were the Christ. The only way we can be sure of not being deceived is to study and pray through God’s word. This morning we will begin with the second sign, wars and rumors of wars.
I. Wars and Rumors of Wars
“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. Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom….” Matthew 24:6-7a
The Greek word for wars means both single events as well as a series of events. Now consider this, in the last 2000 years there have been many wars. Nations and other groups of individuals constantly fought over land, resources and beliefs. There were internal wars within a country; there were “religious” wars such as the crusades and the Protestant/Catholic wars; and a few wars between nations. In the beginning of the 7th verse Jesus says “nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom…” Although some nations have always fought against one another (nations occupying the same land mass), Jesus reference here was taking it to another level. You see, it was the invention of warships and airplanes that has truly made it possible for “all” nations to go to war with each other. A country did not have to worry being attacked if their enemy did not have means to reach them. Today, not only do we have ships and planes that can carry us to war with any nation, we have developed nuclear bombs which can be launched from any country of origin that can totally wipe our large geographies. When Jesus made the statement about wars and rumor of wars, this ability was not even in the wildest dreams of the disciples, but Jesus knew it was coming. Consider these facts of recorded wars (all wars):
• The first 1000 years after Jesus’ resurrection (1 to 999 A.D.) there were 32 wars recorded in history.
• The next 450 years (1000 to 1450 A.D.) there were 70 wars recorded. Did you notice that the number of wars increased as the number of years decreased?
• During the next 350 years (1451 to 1799 A.D.) there were 215 wars (warships were readily available during part of this time.) Again, the years decreased but the wars increased.
• The next 100 years (1800 to 1899 A.D.) there were 193 wars.
• During the next 45 years (1900 to 1944 A.D.) there were 66 wars.
• During the next 45 years (1945 to 1989 A.D.) there were 100 wars.
• The next 12 years (1990 to 2002 A.D.) there were 40 wars.
• Finally, the last 4 years (2003 to present) there were 14 wars.
• Current there are 26 wars being fought.
As you consider what Jesus said about wars and rumors of wars, let me put into perspective what I just shared with you concerning the wars that have and continue to take place. Remember there were 32 wars that took place during the first thousand years after Jesus was resurrected. During the last 1007 years there were 724 wars, an increase of 692 wars. Let me refine this a little more. If you were born in 1960 as I was, during our life time there have been 140 wars, almost five times that of the wars which took place during the first thousand years after Christ’s resurrection. Consider the terms “rumors of wars”. That term means that we will hear more and more about the “potential” for war, i.e. China and Iran developing and testing nuclear weapons. Besides the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel all have nuclear weapons. The world is in a position that given the right circumstance we could have a nuclear war. Now imagine that John, the author of the book of Revelation, witnessed a nuclear war, how would he describe it when he did not know what a nuclear bomb was? Could he have been describing this when he wrote: “…..and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up….” Revelation 8:7 It only takes one nation to start a nuclear war. By the way, just in case you have not been reading the papers, North Korea is currently helping Iran develop nuclear weapons.