The Biblical plan for the future is laid out in detail. The sequence of events is plainly seen, but what is not clear is the timing of the end of the present age. Jesus admonished His disciples to be watchful for the signs pointing to His return.
“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near – at the doors!” Matthew 24:30
This present time period will be one of accelerated confusion and deceit. Recall that deceit is the attempt to draw one away from the truth and the truth is embodied in Christ. Because of the presence of deceit, lawlessness will abound.
“Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound the love of many will grow cold.” Matthew 24:11-12
A synonym for lawlessness in the New Testament is transgression. It is broader than just dismissing the ‘rule of law’ established by men. It means to transgress the ‘divinely instituted law’ of God.
“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.” I John 3:4
In other words, a sign of the times is to diminish the focus on Godly things. Furthermore, those who cling to the truth and Godly things will be despised.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.” Matthew 24:9
The Apostle and teacher Paul wrote that lawlessness had already begun in the early days of the church. The early days of the church marked the beginning of this present age.
“For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work…” 2 Thessalonians 2:7
Not only is lawlessness present in this age, it will accelerate until it is personified in the anti-Christ.
“…Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.” I John 4:2-3
“…it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.” I John 2:18
Recall that the major difference between Christianity and the religion of Islam is Christ. Christ, the Son of God, is the cornerstone of Christianity while He is relegated as a prophet by Islam. Islam denies the deity of Christ and teaches that He was superseded by their prophet Mohammed.
Many Christians are beginning to correctly associate any religion that is contrary to John’s teachings relative to Christ and antichrist with lawlessness. Perhaps that is why apprehension is intensifying among Christians upon hearing that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is being considered in the future plans for Egypt’s parliament, i.e. their proposed ‘democracy.’ Our State Department is now open to negotiating with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt even while knowing that the Brotherhood’s stated objective is to establish a global caliphate and destroy American from within. It is also well known that the Muslim Brotherhood is already deeply entrenched in the infrastructure of our country.
During this present time period emotions will run hot and will crescendo towards the end of the period.
“And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.” Matthew 24:10
While this verse appears less dramatic than wars and earthquakes, it does paint a picture of man’s relationships with each other during this time period.
The term ‘offend’ means to set a trap or cause one to stumble and fall. ‘Betray’ is to deliver to the power and pleasure of one’s enemies, while ‘hate’ means to persecute and/or cause tribulation. Deception is the impetus for such hatred because truth is rejected. The persecution of Christians will definitely increase during this present age as will anti-Semitism.
The Bible states that the major events spoken by Jesus in the gospel records relative to the current age are just the beginning.
“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.” Matthew 24:7-8
‘Sorrows’ in this context translates to pains of childbirth. When such pain begins, they increase and continue until the birth.
Many will rely on America’s resiliency and power to deliver her from the events spoken of in the Bible. Each individual has the right to assess the future from their own vantage point. While many will take God’s justice lightly, there are many who will accept Biblical teachings by faith, and then there are many who will review Israel’s history to shed light and credibility on Biblical prophecy.
It is very interesting to examine current events, political climate, and contemporary societal issues to see how the present age compares with 2,000 year old writings as future history continues to unfold.