The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What Can The World Expect To Experience Toward The End of The Age?

Jesus told His disciples what things would be like toward the end of the age. He said:


  • Matthew 24:4-14 – “And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.5 “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.6 “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.7 “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.8 “All these are the beginning of sorrows.9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.10 “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.11 “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.12 “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.13 “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” 

As we draw closer and closer to the end of the age, what will the world look like? What can the world expect to experience as we approach the end of the age? As we answer these questions, keep in mind that we disciples will see many of these things as we are in the deteriorating world prior to being raptured out of the world before the Tribulation period.


First, deceivers and false messiah’s in the name of Jesus (24:4-5, 11). Jesus actually mentions the rise of false prophets twice in His sermon. If He mentioned false prophets and deception twice, He must have felt we needed to be doubly aware of the danger such false prophets hold.


When leaving the Ephesian church the apostle Paul gave the following warning: “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.” (Acts 20:29; see also Peter’s words in 2 Peter 2). The Spirit inspired Paul to reiterate this later in his ministry when he wrote: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,” (1 Timothy 4:1-2). Again a double warning for emphasis; we need to pay attention to this.

False ministers of religion are proliferating at a rapid rate. There is a proliferation of lying signs and wonders in the world (2 Thessalonians 2:9). God states in His word that a time would come when people would reject His word and question the prophetic nature of it (2 Peter 3:1-4; Jude 17-18). And that is exactly what we see today.

There is much debate today over fitting, even squeezing the theory of evolution and its contention that the universe is billions and billions of years old into the Genesis account of creation. There are interesting presentations on both sides. Some exalt “science” over scripture as having the final word. That is a position proved wrong throughout history. Remember, the secular world once viewed the world as flat in opposition to scripture which presented the world as round (e.g. Job 26:7; Isaiah 40:21-22). How many times have “missing links” been “found” only to be discredited as frauds? Some fail to distinguish between micro adaptation and macro evolution. Christians seeking “relevance” with the world are running away from the literal truth of God’s word. If Creation is a miraculous work of God our Creator, then why couldn’t He create the world in days rather than billions of years? The debate goes on. The motives for the debate will be exposed and judged by God. There is nothing wrong with debate. However when debate minimizes the inspiration and authority of God’s Holy Word, the same Word that he exalts above His own Holy Name (Psalm 138:2), that is dangerous. Debate and our attitudes toward God and His Word can cross the line and offend the Holy One. And when that happens, it becomes an end time attribute of evil.

When we look at the impact of evolution on history and civilization we see it is the basis for much discrimination and immorality. Hitler and his Final Solution were based on evolutionary theory. Racial discrimination is rooted in evolutionary theory. This cannot be denied. There are some who would say “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” They’d say, “There is truth in evolutionary theory.” There is genuine interest in the nature of the universe. But there is also a lust for academic acceptance. Some would sacrifice scientific integrity for fitting in with the world’s view even if though the nowhere or at any time has any ordered thing come from a blast from the past. Order does not come from disorder. God is a God of order and the order of the universe points to God as its Creator (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40). Poppycock to the contrary is evidence of the deception in the End Times.

Secondly, wars and rumors of wars (24:6-7a). Is such a sign applicable to our world today?

The War Atlas (a publication of The Club of Rome which is a part of the European Economic Community) reports:


·         Since WW II there has not been a single day of peace on the planet.

·         There are 32 million soldiers on active duty (570 million in reserve).

·         50% of world’s scientists are working on weapons

·         40% of all money spent in the field of science is to research and develop weapons.

·         USS Pennsylvania, (an atomic submarine costing 3 billion dollars) carries 24 missiles each with 15 separate warheads (each can be individually targeted) and has 40 times more killing power than all combined weapons detonated in World War II.

·         For every person on earth there is 40 tons of TNT.


It’s estimated that in the Twentieth Century 180 million people died in war and conflict related activities. This is a far greater number than for any other century of recorded history. One web commentator put that number in perspective by stating:


“Let's say that you're the receptionist in the Afterlife (a 9 to 5 job, 5 days a week, with two weeks vacation -- which comes to 40 hours per week and 50 weeks per year), and it's your job to simply ask the name of each victim, enter it into a computer and direct them to Room 504 for processing (a task that takes 5 seconds, which means that you can process 720 per hour), and these 180 million people were to approach your desk one after another without letup.”[1]


There is no reason to believe that the 21st Century will be any better. Indeed since the year 2000 there has been constant and ever increasing amount of unrest in the world. This is due to Middle East conflict, the September 11th 2001 terrorist attack on the United States and its repercussions, world wide terrorism, not to mention the noticeable rise of China as a world power.


In the January 2002 issue of Whistleblower magazine, David Kupelian, in an article entitled Preparing for the Next War,” writes the following:


“Americans have been conditioned somehow to go into denial about the nuclear threat. Perhaps it’s the standard Hollywood depiction of a nuclear detonation as causing the annihilation of everything – the end of the world – that causes most Americans reflexively to roll their eyes.


The truth is: 1) There are currently thousands of nuclear weapons in the world; 2) They are coveted by dictators, jihad madmen and would-be superpowers; and 3) they are constantly under development (or their acquisition is being negotiated) by unstable regimes run by megalomaniacal leaders.


If we’re going to face the fact that evil people are striving mightily to obtain, and use on Americans, the most devastating weapons possible – and after Sept. 11, who could doubt their willingness to do so – we must also understand that their favorite, and ultimate, weapon is the nuclear bomb. Nothing else will do.


A nuclear bomb is what turns a psychopath into a superpower leader. Not smallpox, not anthrax, not sarin gas, not jet fuel. A nuclear bomb is to a hate-filled, charismatic figure like bin Laden what a 12-gauge shotgun is in the hands of a 15-year old girl facing an attacker: It’s the great equalizer.” [2]     


That was over a decade ago. Does anyone doubt it is any less true today? The rise of China as a world power, the economic troubles of Russia, the Islamic hellish pursuit of a global caliphate are just some of the ingredients that involve our present day wars and rumors of war.


Look at the most organized, mechanized, and wealthy terror group to date, ISIS – Islamic State in Iraq (or ISIL - Islamic State in Iraq Levant). This group is the result of the proliferation of the use of terrorism as a war strategy. The world through media has been exposed to the literal cutthroat beheadings of this group. They are well funded and equipped and have swept into the void left in Iraq by the premature retreat of United States peace keepers ordered by an administration that cares more about votes than victory. The rise of ISIS is evidence of the fall of American prestige and foreign policy credibility in the world. It will only get worse. We are living in an age of wars and rumors of wars.


Third, famines (24:7). Studies of the global environment show that deserts increase 14.8 million square miles per year which leads to less and less land to produce the food necessary to feed an ever growing world population. In the U.S., topsoil measures 3 inches. Topsoil in the U.S. used to be like it is in Canada, 10 feet. Globally there is less food in storage than there was in 1920. The world is constantly experiencing a state of famine in various areas of the world. We are living in an age of famine.


Fourth, pestilences (24:7). A “pestilence” is defined as, “a contagious or infectious epidemic disease that is virulent and devastating.” [3] the Greek New Testament word translated pestilence is loimos and refers to “a pest; pestilence; plague.” Pestilences are spread by transmission from animals such a rodents or it could be microscopic entities.


At present there is a worldwide outbreak of Ebola. While the spread of this pestilence is somewhat contained, it is expected to continue through 2015. [4] HIV/AIDS is still a major issue internationally as it results in 1.78 million deaths annually, which accounts for 3.1 percent of deaths in our world.  But it’s heart disease that still accounts for the greatest percentage of deaths in the world; 7.25 million deaths annually; 12.8 % of all deaths. [5] With all that is going wrong in the world it’s not surprising that a disease of the heart accounts for the greatest number of deaths.


Fifth, earthquakes (24:7). Major earthquakes doubled in 2014. While scientists attribute this development to random chance, it may by a sign that we are closer to the return of Jesus. [6]

Jesus said such natural upheavals are only the “beginning” of the birth pangs and sorrows that will come on the earth (Matthew 24:8; Mark 13:8). Is there any doubt that our world is going through some serious natural change? Meteorologists are having a more difficult time predicting the weather. The weather seems to swing on a pendulum of extremes. The point is that just as the labor pains of a woman who is with child increase as the delivery gets closer, so too the natural signs mentioned by Jesus will increase as the delivery of the prophetic fulfillment of the End Times gets closer.

Sixth, persecution (24:8-10).  Are Christians and Jews persecuted today? ISIS is systematically exterminating Christians. There is eyewitness evidence that this terror group has beaded children unwilling to renounce their faith in Jesus. [7] The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission reports that “Christians are the most persecuted religious group worldwide. An average of 180 Christians around the world are killed [murdered] each month for their faith.” [8]


Persecution of Christians is on the rise. Persecution is often covered up for political expediency by governments. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10). Those persecuted for their faith, those called upon to testify to whether or not they worship Jesus and to bear the life or death consequences are spiritually enriched as they offer themselves completely to their God as a living and then literal sacrifice. Persecution purifies faith (1 Peter 4:1). Persecution deepens faith (Psalm 66:10-12). We need to pray for the persecuted brethren throughout the world. We need to prepare ourselves for the likelihood of our own future persecution.  


Seventh, cold-heartedness (24:12). We live in a society where the law is continually weakened to pander to the lusts of people’s selfish fleshly desires. The laws of men are more and more in opposition to the Law of God. Laws legalizing such activities as Same-sex marriage is nothing less than licentiousness; the giving license to sin. Legalized abortion dehumanizes and cheapens life and even moreso as sonogram technology exposes the humanity of life in the womb and proponents of baby-murder insist on the “right” of a “mother” to rip up the “fetal tissue” within her. The sanctity of human life is steadily declining. The “love” of our day isn’t love at all; it is lust for hedonism.  The only “love” during the end times is an obsessive self-love (2 Timothy 3:1-7).

Ninth, the gospel will be spread throughout the world (24:14). This is a verse that has been often misinterpreted and greatly abused. The return of Christ is not dependent on our preaching of the Gospel throughout the world. The return of Christ will occur according to the Father’s set time. Many use Matthew 24:14 as a call to missions but the Gospel will be preached throughout the world during the Tribulation by 144,000 apostle Paul-like messianic evangelists (Revelation 7), two witnesses (Revelation 11), Tribulation saints  (Revelation 12) and angels who fly throughout the world warning against the antichrist (Revelation 14:6-7).


There’s scriptural evidence that the gospel being preached “in all the world” was fulfilled in New Testament times (cf. Colossians 1:3-6). This means that there is no outstanding activity that needs to be accomplished in order to usher in the return of Jesus. If there was, then Christ’s return could not be said to be imminent. It is misinterpretation of scripture to say that the rapture cannot occur for any reason. Jesus could come back at any time, even before you finish reading this study. Are you ready?


What do we do now? When we look at the world today in light of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24, it seems clear that we are closer to the end today, than ever before in the history of mankind. If that is so, what should we do? Jesus tells us: “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” (Matthew 24:13). Jesus instructs us to “endure to the end.” What does it mean to “endure”?

Enduring to the end. In Matthew 24:13, Jesus speaks of endurance. The word “endure” is translated from the Greek term hupomeno meaning, “to stay under; remain under; have fortitude; persevere; endure patiently; abide; endure; and suffer.”  We get a clearer sense of the word by examining it more closely. Hupomeno is a word formed by joining the prefix hupo to the term meno. The preposition hupo can mean, “by” or “under.” The word meno is translated, “abide.” To “abide” means, “to continue; abide; stay; dwell; be present; remain.” Therefore hupomeno communicates the idea of continuing-under/by; abiding-under/by; staying-under/by; dwelling-under/by; remaining-under/by.


Jesus particularly said His followers needed to “endure” when faced with persecution (Matthew 10:22). The agape love of God is defined in part by bearing or enduring all things (1 Corinthians 13:7). Paul testified he endured all things for the sake of the elect church (2 Timothy 2:10).  We should be willing to endure too.


Jesus is our Model of Endurance. Jesus is our ultimate example of endurance. He endured suffering and shame for the sake of the gospel. We are exhorted, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured [hupomeno] the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured [hupomeno] such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” (Hebrews 12:2-3).

As we see the endurance of our blessed Savior it moves our heart in the Spirit. As we look at Jesus we are reminded of our great personal saving relationship with Him. Jesus referred to enduring by relying on Him in this personal relationship when He used the word “abide.”

Enduring means Abiding. Jesus used this word to instruct the disciple on how to endure and persevere. “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32).  


Abiding in Christ is not merely something we do with discipline, intestinal fortitude or our own strength. No, abiding is done by relying on Jesus, staying by Him, continuing by Him, dwelling by Him, abiding by Him in the personal saving relationship He has blessed you with. Jesus explains this when He says: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”  (John 15:4-8).


Abiding in Jesus is simply living by the Spirit in close relationship and communication with Him. Abiding in Jesus is an ongoing, moment by moment process by which we endure to the end of this life. Jesus must become our all in all. The apostle Paul expressed this well when he said, “For in Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28). Jesus is our all in all, He is our reason for living and that ultimately is what abiding in Him is all about. Abiding in Jesus is staying so close to Him that we stick to Him like glue. Abiding in Jesus means we are with Him and He with us at all times everywhere we go.  It is the Holy Spirit that enables us to endure in Christ (see Romans 8). There is one other way this is expressed.


Enduring is putting On Christ. Jesus said we need to endure. Spiritual endurance is abiding by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit in our personal saving relationship with Jesus. This includes relying on Jesus for our righteousness before God. We aren’t to strive to be right before God by good works. By faith we receive the righteousness of Jesus put to our account. Any good works we do is our response of loving appreciation for the righteousness provided in Christ by God’s grace. By faith we literally are to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:11-14). The next time you falter or get down or the enemy tries to trample you with discouragement, just abide in the love and righteousness of Jesus and you will endure. The love of Jesus is unconditional.

Blessed Endurance. It’s a blessing to endure with Jesus. There is no better way to live than to endure and live abiding in Jesus. James the half-brother of Jesus speaks of the blessedness of enduring in our faith when he is inspired to write: “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”  (James 1:12). Again James writes, “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.”  (James 5:11). Who better to testify to the blessedness of enduring with Jesus than His own brother!

When he was at the end of his life, preparing to be executed for his faith, Paul told Timothy, “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.” That is a wonderful prospect and hope. But Paul also said, “if we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.” In other words, if and when we falter, we can still repent and return to our Savior and He will receive us. Our faithfulness is secondary to His primary faithfulness (2 Timothy 2:11-13).

We may falter in our abiding, but Jesus will always be there for us to help us onward and through hard times. Abiding in Jesus is a blessed way to live one’s live, no matter the circumstances. Oscar Hammerstein II once wrote:

Give me some men who are stouthearted men
Who will fight for the right they adore.
Start me with 10 who are stouthearted men
And I'll soon give you 10,000 more. [9]

We need to be stouthearted and steadfast Christians as we see the End Times develop before our eyes. Paul was inspired to write: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58). That is how we ought to face the future. We may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future. Jesus holds everything together (Colossians 1:17). He is in control. He has a prophetic plan. And He is coming back! Be ready.



[1]   See
[2] David Kupelian, Whistleblower Magazine, January 2002 issue. Volume 11, No. 1. p. 6
[3]Merriam-Webster, I. 1996, c1993. Merriam-Webster's collegiate dictionary. Includes index. (10th ed.). Merriam-Webster: Springfield, Mass., U.S.A.

[4] Ebola Crisis Could Last Through 2015 as Marks Year Since Outbreak By Belinda Goldsmith

[6] Big Earthquakes Double in 2014, But Scientists say they aren’t linked by Becky Oskin
[7] ISIS beheaded four children: Christian Leader. By Marisa Schultz. New York Post. 12/12/14 -
[9] The New Moon © 1927

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