© 2023 Warren L. Johns. All Rights Reserved.
“…This gospel of the kingdom
will be preached in the whole world,
as a testimony to all nations,
and then the end will come.”
“No one knows about that day or hour,
not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,
but only the Father.”
“Terrible trouble” engulfs end-time cultures.
Irrational hatreds unleash unspeakable violence.
Merchants of death, slaughter children in school rooms.
Ruthless tyrants, grasping for power, murder millions.
Lying voices corrupt justice, laws and messages of faith.
The Apostle Paul warned of “terrible troubles in the last days.” He cited signs of an end-time society drowning in a culture of evil.
“But mark this: there will be terrible troubles in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.” II Timothy 3:1-4
Signs of the Times
Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings ‘Do you see all these things?’ he asked. ‘Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.’
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?’
“Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 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. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
“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.”
“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel— let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!
“Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now— and never to be equaled again.
“If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time.
“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
“Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.
“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.
“That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
“Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.
“But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at any hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
A Time of Trouble
“Then the dragon was enraged with the woman
and went off to make war
against the rest of her offspring—
those who obey God’s commandments
and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” Revelation 12:17
Five hundred years later, (590 A.D.), the Church, led by Gregory, Bishop of Rome, had wandered away from its rich, spiritual roots into a deceptive quagmire of secular, political power. For the following millennium, what had been the “persecuted” in the first century emerged as a “persecutor.” As a result, survival of the simple beauty of the Christian faith proved at risk. The Bible had predicted “a time of trouble such as never was” and an era of bloody conflict when “nations shall rise up against nations” while “men cried ‘peace, peace’ and there is no peace.”
Objective review of the last 500 years reflects fulfillment of the Apostle Paul’s dire predictions outlined in his 2nd letter to Timothy, verses 3:1-4.
The Church itself emerged as a persecuting power. Dissenters and “heretics” were introduced to the physical agony of the wrack and the screw to induce “confessions” and “allegiance” to a religious/political power that ruled by force. Slavery destroyed the lives of other humans to line the pockets of the privileged.\
Human ingenuity devised weapons capable of wiping out as many as 100,000 other humans in an instant. Hate-inspired racism introduced a mid-twentieth century holocaust that introduced a system of organized murder to kill six million Jews. Twentieth century combined war deaths run as high as 70,000 apart from millions of wounded.
Other than the hunger, hate, brutality, and agony of wars, the worldwide wars of century twenty-one destroyed nearly 100 million human lives. Poverty, homelessness, havoc-wreaking storms, polluted air, racism, corrupt governments, drought, uncontrolled disease, and new dimensions of criminal conduct, all conspire to dominate the last days.
This, less than pretty end-time picture, is darkened further by a growing world population estimated to have passed seven billion—and growing. Signs suggest the fraud launched by Lucifer (aka Satan, the Devil) may have virtually run its course in the “theater of the universe” so that all observers have seen the dire consequences of his deceit.
Christ himself alerted all mankind as to what to expect in the last days of Earth’s history.
“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.” Mathew 24:14 “So as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so will be the coming of the son of man.” Mathew 24:27
This world is awash in multiple religious organizations, each claiming to carry the truth about God. Forget the dazzle, claims, and nice words and vest your faith in Christ’s words presented in Mathew 25. Forget the titles and the promo. There are but two classes of humans when judged by Almighty God: the good and the evil; the righteous and the unrighteous; the saved and the lost.
God’s eternal judgment is based on His unchanging law written in the ten commandments and summarized by John the Beloved in Revelation 14:12. The saints are all those of every era from creation to the present who “obey the commandments of God and remain faithful to Jesus, the ” only begotten Son of Almighty God.
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