Most people are at least curious about the end of the age and wonder when and how it will happen? Many wise men through the ages have tried to answer this riddle. The Holy Bible is full of prophets inspired by God to give clues to the answer to this question but, the greatest prophet in the Bible gives a clear answer to the question “what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?”. His name is Jesus, the Messiah.
He gave a complete outline to the events that would lead to the end on the Mount of Olives. That teaching is recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 which are like 3 cameras recording His teaching from 3 different views. The front view is given by Matthew 24 with Mark and Luke repeating much of Matthew but adding some different perspectives.
As Jesus and His disciples were leaving the Temple Mount, which was the center of Jewish culture in those days, the disciples were admiring the beauty of the Temple when Jesus declared that the Temple would soon be destroyed with not one stone remaining upon another. They were shocked and asked Jesus two questions: 1) When will this be? and 2) What will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?
The answer to the first question is recorded by Luke –
But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. – Luke 21:20, 21
This prophesy by Jesus happened a few years later in 70 AD when the Roman General Titus captured Jerusalem and
destroyed the Temple. Fire broke out in the Temple and the heat melted the gold causing it to run in between the cracks of the stones. The soldiers literally pulled the stones apart to get the gold. Those believers who obeyed Jesus fled as soon as they saw the armies surround the city and were saved.
Jesus also taught that the end of the age would resemble birth pangs and that certain labor pains would increase in frequency and magnitude, just like labor pains. These labor pains were identified as –
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. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows (birth pangs). – Matthew 24:6-8
That these are increasing in strength and frequency is easy to see but, they are not the answer to the 2nd question. Jesus next answers the question “What will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?” –
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. – Matthew 24:14
When the Gospel of the kingdom is preached to all the nations, then the end will come. WE ARE VERY CLOSE TO THAT BEING ACCOMPLISHED NOW!
It also leaves a great responsibility to the Church because we are the only ones that can preach the gospel. This gospel does not promote any particular denomination or sect – it is the gospel of the kingdom. The kingdom where Jesus reigns that will exist on the earth for a thousand years. It is not ruled by the Pope, by Pastors, or by Church Councils. It is ruled by the King, Jesus the Messiah.
Jesus also warned that great deception would be occurring:
“For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” – Matthew 24:24
Another great source of deception will be willful disobedience among believers.
“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,” – 2 Thessalonians 2:3
The Day being talked about here is the Day of Christ’s return. There are two events to happen first; 1) a falling away and, 2) the man of sin being revealed. The falling away is translated from the Greek word apostasia and refers to believers who have left their confession to the truth. The ‘man of sin‘ is referring to the appearance of the Antichrist.
When this man of sin (also called the lawless one) is revealed, he will do wonders and signs that will deceive many believers. But how can this happen? Paul gives the answer –
“and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, …” – 2 Thessalonians 2:10, 11
They did not “love the truth”! This is of course is God’s word which declares the hope of the gospel –
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,” – Ephesians 1:13
This “word of truth” is that Jesus alone is the way to salvation –
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” – John 14:6
There are millions of people alive today who have not accepted this message; Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims as well as many others. God loves them all and Jesus paid the price for their sin and calls them to prepare for His kingdom. And there are many Christians who are using their Christianity as an insurance policy against the wrath to come but, they do not obey God’s revealed truth. They are committing adultery with the world and have compromised the truth with such things as divorce, homosexuality, women pastors, and many other false teachings. They think they can be half-hearted in their devotion to God. Jesus’ call to them is to repent –
“So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—“I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.” – Revelation 3:16-18
God’s call of mercy and love is going out to unbelievers and apostate believers as well. It is called the gospel of the kingdom and it is the good news of salvation, free to all. But the time is drawing to a close.
Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. – Isaiah 55:6, 7