Last week, I prayed with an elderly couple that seemed distraught over the latest events in the Middle East, particularly where Israel is concerned. Yesterday, I took part in a multi-church event we call "Operation: Jesus."
This involves donning the official t-shirt and going door-to-door praying for people and leaving a Billy Graham tract. Along with my "team" - a new Christian mother and her 16-year old daughter – we approached an old woman
sittingon her porch with her dog. After we explained that we weren't recruiting, and that we were merely people
from different churches all working together to pray, she was impressed.
At 101 years old, sharp as a tack, she said, "the worst thing that I have seen happen to American Christianity
has been the rise of denominationalism." She later added, "...if I were not already a Christian, I'd sure be thinking about it..." referring to the current state of the planet.
So, are we approaching the “end of the age” spoken of in Scripture? Is the return of Jesus Christ the world's next
The Bible plainly states that Jesus Christ WILL come again (Matthew 24:3, 30, 37, 44). Jesus said
(Matthew 24:36), "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."
The Father only?? Not even Jesus?? Then, how can WE know?
His original disciples thought He'd be right back soon after His ascension. Later, some thought A.D 1000 and then A.D. 2000 might mark His return. Certainly, Jesus could return tonight or in 100 or 1,000 years, if He comes at all.
It's all conjecture.
But Bible prophecies have been checked off one by one as they've occurred throughout world history and that
which is happening on the world scene today offers a sobering perspective.
When the disciples asked when they could expect His return (Matthew 24:3), the Lord mentioned four major sign-
posts (Matthew 24:4-7). Jesus added that these escalating events are merely "the beginning of sorrows" (Matthew 24:8), and that His disciples should remain "watchful" so they can recognize and announce that His return is
knocking at the door. Well, WE are His disciples, too, and we've had the very same instructions handed down to
us through generations of Christians that came before us. Some critics pooh-pooh such predictions by insisting
that these types of events have ALWAYS taken place. True, there is nothing new under the sun. But up until
Jesuswas born in a manger, babies, too, had been being brought into the world for eons. Students of Bible
prophecy claim that all their claims hinge upon Israel becoming an independent Jewish religious state in 1948.
The four signposts of Matthew 24:4-7 include:
1) RELIGIOUS DECEPTION, FALSE CHRISTS, FALSE RELIGIONS, FALSE GOSPELS
The proponents and adherents to the many religions of the world would agree on one logical thing, i.e., they can't
ALL be right. Despite all of today's religious tolerance talk, logic tells us that universal religious accuracy cannot
be attained. In other words, many people are obviously deceived where the things of Christ are concerned. But
such religious deception is not a new thing. Many believe that the Bible describes the coming of a prominent
religious figure who will deceive millions by doing miracles and promoting lies in place of Biblical truth (based
upon 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12; Revelation 13:11-14).
2) WARS AND RUMORS OF WARS
Jesus predicted that the end of the age would be marked by "wars and rumors of wars" (Matthew 24:6). Wars
have been with us for millennia, yet the 20th century was the first time in history when the entire world went to war...TWICE. Today, there are gang wars, a war on terrorism, drug wars and even star wars. Jesus foretold that
"nation would rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom" (Matthew 24:7). The word "kingdom" refers to
an empire, a political entity. "Nation" (ethnos) refers to a literal nation, but also a tribe, race or social group. In
recent decades, ethnic strife over religion, race, gender and moral choices, can be found in every culture and subculture on the planet. A Harvard University international relations expert wrote that "in the emerging era,
clashes of civilizations are the greatest threat to world peace" (The Clash of Civilizations, Huntington, 1996,
p. 321). What Jesus said would happen at the end of the age is happening NOW! For those praying and believing
for world peace, sorry; there will be no peace until the Prince of Peace returns. When Scripture instructs that we should "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem," I contend that the peace being referred to is Jesus himself. Unlike the Beatle's altruistic song, the world will NOT be as one. In fact, like a woman's birth pangs, getting harder and closer together, things will be getting worse before they get better.
3) FAMINES AND PESTILENCES, DISEASES & EPIDEMICS
Incurable diseases such as AIDS and bird flu are causing worldwide panic and devastation. Even diseases once considered conquered (tuberculosis, cholera and malaria) are returning with a vengeance, as bacteria become resistant to antibiotics. Medical experts warn that rapid international travel and deteriorating social, political and sanitary conditions in many parts of the world have created the potential for widespread disease epidemics.Even hospitals aren't safe anymore. CBS Television reported (March 15, 2005, The Early Show) that "about two million infections are acquired in U.S. hospitals each year, killing about 90,000 patients." Dr. Tim Wilkin of Weill-Cornell Medical College says the types of bacteria in a hospital are different from bacteria out in the world in general. He
says. "They can be resistant to antibiotics, which makes them more difficult to treat….”
These days, there's a whole lotta shakin' going' on! Charles Spurgeon said, in 1868, "At this present time, the
groaning and travailing which are general throughout creation, are deeply felt among the sons of men." Yes, unprecedented environmental conditions are also raising serious concerns. Global warming trends are disrupting weather patterns around the world, producing record-breaking droughts, forest fires, storms and floods. Famines
exist on several continents. The hottest years ever recorded have occurred in this past decade. Earthquake activity
is growing more dangerous as people crowd into built-up urban areas.
The Apostle Paul , too, had something to say about the end of the age.He wrote, "in the last days perilous times
will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, brutal… lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God…having a form of godliness [a superficial religion]"
(2 Timothy 3:1-5).
How accurately does this describes the affluent, amoral, increasingly violent culture we live in today. Ever since
the end of World War II and the social upheaval of the 1960s, things are simply worse than they used to be. When
I asked the 101-year old woman I prayed for yesterday if she's seen many changes in her life, she responded, "Oh, yes, I have...most of them NOT good..."
Paul also wrote, "We know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting
for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." (Romans 8:22-23).
In his letter to the church at Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11), he penned these words of encouragement,
"But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you your-
selves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and
safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons
of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but
let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But
let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of
salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for
us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing."
The Apostle Peter, too, gave his take on the last days. He wrote that "scoffers will come in the last days.saying, 'where is the promise of His coming?'" (2 Peter 3:3-5). He was referring to the skepticism and willful ignorance
about important Biblical teachings that will characterize those days. I believe this is even the case today as our
so-called Christian nation (the USA) arrogantly seems to be in denial that these things could ever happen to us.
After all, we're busy; we have stuff to do! But amidst our hustle and bustle, the earth groans.
SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS
Luke 21:25-28 declares: “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish
and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on
the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads,because your redemption is drawing near.”
Verse 25 depicts the end times as being signaled, not by one sign, but by many signs. Apparently, the coming
of the Lord will be preceded by cosmic chaos.
The signs that the unbelieving world will distort or deny are the same signs which the saints must heed. The signs
that bring terror and fear to the unbeliever, will bring courage and hope to the saints. Jesus instructed Believers to “stand up and to lift up their heads,” because their redemption was near (Luke 21:28). The reason is that these
signs precede His return, and His return in great power and glory (Luke 21:27).
JERUSALEM AND THE GREAT COSMOCIDE
Read Ezekiel 38 & 39 and Psalm 83 & 84. Many believe that these chapters describe an attack upon Israel by an enemy consisting of several Middle Eastern nations along with Russia. Though all of these nations have attacked Israel at one time or another throughout history, NEVER have all these nations joined in a unified confederation
against the Jews all at the same time. Certainly, never have any of these nations attacked Israel in an alliance with Russia. That is, until now. During the current war in which Israel is engaged, I’ve heard several sources state that
the weaponry being used against Israel by its enemies are all Russian -made.One source stated that “281”
Russian scientists and weapons specialist had been established somewhere in Iran with the purpose of manufac-turing missiles.
The prophecies of Scripture indicate that, before Christ returns, Jerusalem will become the focus of international attention. With a brother-in-law commanding troops in Ramadi as I write, I must say that I have noticed a drop in
the reports from Iraq and an escalation in the reports regarding the war between Israel and the confederation.
Bible prophecies indicate that just before His return, Jerusalem will become the focus of the world's attention.
Jesus spoke of a coming desecration of the holy place, the Temple Mount (Matthew 24:15) and that Jerusalem
would be surrounded by armies and taken over by Gentiles (Luke 21:20-24). Whereas Jerusalem drew little
attention during the years of Arab and Turkish control, all of a sudden the tiny nation became a major world hot-
bed of significance when it won its 1948 War of Independence. Now, in 21st century, many say that control of Jerusalem should be in the hands of the United Nations, or even the Vatican, hoping to bring peace
to this strife-torn region. It seems to me that any thinking person should step back and ask themselves WHY
this tiny region of the world seems so important to so many others throughout the world. Could it be compared to
a tiny rudder controlling the direction of a huge ship? Jesus told us what would occur just before His return.
Referring to escalating troubles in the last days, Jesus said that "unless those days were shortened, no flesh
would be saved" (Matthew 24:22; Mark 13:20). He said, just before His return, it would be possible to destroy all
life on the planet. Before nuclear weapons, in the 1940s and 1950s, this was humanly impossible. With more and more countries now having nuclear capabilities and weapons of mass destruction (WMD's), many in the hands of demon possessed thugs and terrorists, if these terrible weapons were used in an all-out war, that would spell the
end of the world as we know it. Jesus' prophecy of cosmocide is no exaggeration. This benchmark became a
reality became in the middle of the 20th century for the first time in human history.
After examining Biblical prophecies in light of current events, one might strongly suggest that we really ARE living
in the last days. While we cannot know the day or the hour, Bible prophecy appears to indicate that God wants us
to recognize the approximate time of Christ's return (Matthew 24:32-35). Jesus told His disciples - that includes
you and me - to "watch" world events so we would not be taken by surprise. The greatest concern where last days
are concerned is NOT whether Christ will return today, tomorrow or at all. No, the greatest concern should be
whether or not today is YOUR last day. Why not live as if we were “clocking out” tonight? What are you doing with
the time you've been given and what will you do with the time you have remaining? God really DOES have a PURPOSE for all of us. HINT: It's NOT all about US.
The first recorded message that Jesus ever preached was, "Repent! For the Kingdom of God is at hand!" (Matthew 4:17).
For those seeking a "Word" from the Lord, there it is, straight out of Scripture..."Repent," meaning "change your mind."
Re-think your position regarding your relationship with God, the motivation of your heart, your life’s purpose, the churches responsibilities, your personal role in all this.
“The Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached to the whole world as a witness and THEN the end shall come.” (Matthew 24:14) There it is... preach the Gospel of the Kingdom. That's our mission in a nutshell.
Has the world in which YOU find yourself heard the Good News today?
About Michael Tummillo
Michael's mission is to bring Discipleship and Encouragement to the Body of Christ. Since 1999, he has broadcast nearly six hundred inspirational articles and a dozen booklets on subjects that will interest the thinking Christian, all designed to accelerate the process of spiritual development in God's people.
He is the founder of t.e.a.m. ministries (email@example.com). An Author, Pastoral Counselor and Teacher, his eMail broadcasts, known as "Your Town for Jesus" are reaching millions around the globe WEEKLY.
Quake hits southeastern Iranian city
December 9 - An earthquake hit out-
skirts of the city of Jiroft in southeastern Kerman province, IRNA reported. It was measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale.The seismological base of the Geophysics Institute of Tehran University registered the quake at 11:39 hours local time
The quake was epicentered in an area measuring 58.67 degrees in longitude
and 28.73 degrees in latitude, the report added. There are no reports of any casualty or damage to property caused by the quake. Iran is often hit by quakes of varying magnitudes as it sits on
some of the world's most active
The Loma Prieta was a major earthquake. It occurred on Tuesday October 17, 1989 and caused severe damage as far as 50 miles away from
its epicenter; most notably in San Francisco, Oakland, the San Francisco Peninsula, and in areas closer to the epicenter in the communities of Santa Cruz, the Monterey Bay, Watsonville,
and Los Gatos.
Alaskan earthquake in 1964
May 9, 2007 tornado
On May 4, 2007, Greensburg, Kansas, with it's small number of residents
was hit by a tornado. More than 90%
of the city was destroyed.
The helicopter carrying President
George W. Bush over the city is the Marine One.
Asian Tsunami Disaster
The Indian Ocean tsunami generated
by the most powerful earthquake in decades on December 26 is believed to have killed more than 300,000 people
and made millions homeless, making it the most destructive tsunami in history.
The epicenter of the 9.0 magnitude
quake was under the Indian Ocean near the west coast of the Indonesian island
of Sumatra, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which monitors
A violent movement of the Earth's
tectonic plates displaced an enormous amount of water, sending powerful
shock waves in every direction. Within hours killer waves radiating from the epicenter slammed into the coastline
of 12 Indian Ocean countries, snat-
ching people out to sea, drowning
others in their homes or on beaches,
and demolishing property from Africa
New Orleans hit by Hurricane Katrina
The hurricane, one of the deadliest natural disasters in U.S. history, made
it's first, second and third landfalls on 28 and 29 August 2005 causing
catastrophic damage to New Orleans. The city was flooded. And in the
process stranded many residents.
Some were trapped on the roofs of their houses.The city's roads and buildings were damaged, no electricity, no clean water, dead bodies were floating on the water.
Serious problems came in the aftermath of the hurricane; looting, violence, rape, etc.
Destruction of Pompeii
It was destroyed in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the year 79 AD. When the volcano exploded, the entire city was covered in layers of ash and other volcanic matter....Read
The Netherlands - Flood Disaster 1916
14 January 1916 - The failure of a dike
at de Zuiderzee near Katwoude caused sea water to race into the Netherlands flooding land east of Zaandam.
The Netherlands - Flood Disaster 1953
The night of February 1, 1953. A flood caused by a hurricane-force north-westerly wind and exceptionally high spring tides swamped the southwest region of the Netherlands
( Zeeland, and other regions ).
This disastrous flooding claimed nearly 2000 people and a great number of
cattle, destroyed 3000 houses and 300 farms.