The Chaotic World Before the Return
Famines and Quakes
· “…and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” (Matthew 24:7)
The phrase “and pestilences” was added by the translators and was not in the original writing. The word famines can also be interpreted as destitution. We certainly see poverty and hunger worldwide and the instances of devastating earthquakes are on the rise. Again, this prophecy does fit our modern age. It should also be noted that lack of food in a time when modern agriculture should long ago have eliminated hunger on this planet is an anomaly in itself. Millions die every year from hunger in a world, scientists say, already produces enough food to feed all humanity, but distribution and lack of planning and compassion prevent that. For a better understanding of the hunger crisis in our world today go to Starvation Deaths This Year, where you can actually see a counter clicking away the deaths from hunger worldwide at the rate of about 1 every 4 seconds.
Only the Beginning
· “All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matthew 24:8)
An interesting aspect of this verse is the use of the word sorrows in this context. It comes from the Greek word odin, pronounced o-deen’; a pang or throe, especially of childbirth. The concept that these prophecies herald the end of the world is the common belief. Few consider that after the shock is over and Jesus takes the throne, it will be the beginning of a new era for humanity, which will be under the direct control of Jesus himself. The very nature of life itself will then change for the planet, and, no doubt, for the better.
· “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” (Matthew 24:9)
This seems to be a direct reference to those holding fast to the teachings of Jesus, which, when considered in their entirety, are an anathema to the core principles guiding our present society. Greed and love simply do not mix. This could be a reference to the persecution of the church, but the phrase, “all nations” probably means there will be, at least, a few remaining followers to be persecuted in the end times. However, we do not believe this is a reference to the church, which does not teach or practice anything that society finds objectionable. Also, it is clear the mainstream religion is not only accepted in society, but exercises a great deal of control and influence over it. No doubt, the church will be at the forefront of the resistance against the returning Christ.
· “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” (Matthew 24:10)
The word offended comes from skandalizo, pronounced skan-dal-id’-zo; to entrap, i.e. trip up (figuratively, stumble [transitively] or entice to sin, apostasy or displeasure). Apostasy means a renunciation of a religious faith. This verse can logically be interpreted as a deception that caused people to abandon the true faith. We provide ample proof that the truth about almost everything Jesus actually taught has been abandoned, ignored, or completely contradicted by the church. See our research project on “The Doctrines of Men” What we now find is a “religion” seemingly devoted to the same individual, and yet divided into literally thousands of denominations, all claiming they possess the truth. Hatred is prevalent throughout this strange web of beliefs, and infighting and schisms within the individual denominations are common. No doubt, this could be considered an accurate prophecy of our modern religious world.
· “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:11)
Our modern age is filled with false prophets who have, and are now, deceiving many. Fortune tellers, astrologers, and psychics all claim the power to predict future events, AKA, prophecy. There is certainly no shortage of movements and cults predicting the end is at hand, this day or that month, and they have been with us since before the sun set on the day of Jesus’ death.
· “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (Matthew 24:12-13)
A lack of community, the consideration for others, respect for human dignity, public safety, government integrity, honest business practices, trust, and tolerance relating to the race, color, religion, sex, age, social status, political persuasion, income, disability, and sexual orientation is a way of life in this society, rather than an exception. Love is almost never expressed or taught in any of our social institutions, and lack of love in this society is almost considered a virtue. Of course, there is a response when natural and manmade disasters occur, but that won’t do a whit of good for the 12 humans who have died, needlessly, from starvation worldwide in the time it took me to compose and type this sentence. Yes, this prophecy definitely fits our modern world.
Publishing the Gospel
· “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:14)
This is a clear indication that there will be some who are publishing these truths in the end times. Certainly, the very fact that the gospel is in the Bible, which is the world’s best-selling and most widely distributed book, means that, in any case, this prophecy is fulfilled.
A Temple Prophecy
· “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:” (Matthew 24:15 – 20)
Many believe this verse speaks about the Antichrist standing in the temple at Jerusalem, which, along with 2 Thessalonians 2:4, is the basis for the belief that the Temple at Jerusalem must be rebuilt. A complete reading of 2 Thessalonians 2 will show that the individual referred to here was alive at the time of this writing, and is believed to be the man Simon Magus. Many find a strong connection between Daniel’s prophecy and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD. Jesus clearly refers the disciples to Daniel’s prophecy in regard to the time to flee the city of Jerusalem.
· “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Matthew 24:21)
The word from which the word “tribulation” is taken should be carefully considered here. It is translated from the word ‘thlipsis’, pronounced thlip’-sis; pressure (literally or figuratively). No time in history can compare to our present state of worldwide paranoia, suspicion, and uncertainty in virtually every aspect of life. Everything, from the shaky economy to the very biosphere we inhabit, is under threat. The newest form of generic threat, “terrorism”, is heralding the beginning of, perhaps, the worst concept in modern thought that Big Brother is not coming, Big Brother is here. There is no sanctuary from fear any longer. Even the nuclear threat has morphed from the unthinkable nuclear war scenario to the very possible “dirty bomb” or “bunker buster” class of nuclear weapons, and the all-to-real use of “depleted” uranium weaponry. Starvation, disease, wars, poverty, crime, corruption, political scandals, xenophobia, isolationism, pollution, the cost of living, and economic uncertainty are all on the rise. Conversely, community support, love, tolerance, patience, cooperation, trust of government, hope for the future, personal security, freedom, creativity, health, and human dignity are all deteriorating. Even the weather is changing. One only needs to spend a few minutes in thought to realize that there is more pressure, with the resulting stress, on humanity than ever witnessed in history.
Total Annihilation Prevented
· “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:22)
The Industrial Revolution brought us global warming, World War II gave us the threat of global nuclear war, and the saturation of our air, water, and land with toxic chemicals; each threaten the very existence of all life on the planet. This prophecy could be fulfilled in, at least, a dozen ways and many scientists now believe we are living on a doomed planet already.
False Jesus Prophecies
· “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.” (Matthew 24:23 – 26)
This is a specific edict to pay no attention to those who claim he can be found on Earth, but, as the next verse clearly indicates, that he is in the sky and that is where to look for his return. This prophecy could easily have been directed specifically at what was going on in real time in his world.