The Chaotic World Before the Return
In the previous 23 verses of Matthew 24, there are 11 prophecies which can positively be classified as already fulfilled or in process:
|· A deceptive use of Jesus’ name||· False prophecies about Jesus|
|· Wars and rumors of wars||· Publishing the gospel|
|· Famines||· Extreme social pressure|
|· Earthquakes||· Love waning|
|· Renunciation of schisms within religion||· Annihilation of all life being possible|
|· False prophets|
There are two others, about which, the exact timeline of fulfillment is uncertain:
· Persecution of believers – We know that the persecution of Christians occurred between the first and fourth centuries AD.
· Destruction of the Temple – The Temple was destroyed in 70 AD.
Other references to this event and the conditions leading to it are found in other books of the New Testament; particularly the entire 13th chapter of Mark, Luke 17:20-37, Luke 21:7-35, the third chapter of 2 Timothy, and the Revelation.
· Mark 13:19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.
“affliction” – thlipsis, pronounced thlip’-sis; pressure (literally or figuratively):
· Luke 21:9 But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.
The word “commotions” was translated from the Greek word akatastasia, pronounced ak-at-as-tah-see’-ah, meaning; instability, i.e. disorder. The list of countries, which we could classify as unstable, is long and growing rapidly.
· Luke 21:11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.
The word “pestilences” comes from a Greek word meaning plagues, which we see worldwide in the form of several communicable diseases.
· Luke 21:34. And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
The word “surfeiting” = kraipale, pronounced krahee-pal’-ay; properly, a headache (as a seizure of pain) from drunkenness, i.e. (by implication) a debauch (by analogy, a glut):
· Luke 21:35. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
· Matthew 24:1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
· 2 Peter 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts
· 2 Timothy 3:1-5 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
· 2 Timothy 3:7. Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
· 2 Timothy 3:13. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
The First Tribulation In Conclusion
The most important consideration is that the events occurring just before the return of Jesus will result in unprecedented times for humanity. Many will either claim themselves to be Christ, and there are a few of those, or misrepresent the true nature of the Christ, while claiming miracles, prophecies, and great works in his name, and there are many of them. Many false prophecies about the return of Jesus will appear, there will be religious strife, and false prophets, all of which abound in our society. Humanity will be under the most extreme pressure and love will wane worldwide; a point we are rapidly sinking toward. Wars will be ongoing, an undercurrent of war will exist, and instability will replace security. The Earth will experience its greatest earthquakes, while famine and disease will increase, and the planet will be brought to the brink of destruction.