Purpose of this Session
The Scriptures clearly show us signs and indicators to watch for, both positive and negative. Here are the negative signs to look for. Not surprisingly they sound very much like the everyday news we are subjected to in these last days.
1. Perilous times are to come in the last days.
(2 Tim 3:1-7; 2 Pet 3:1-12)
Certain characteristics will be evident in these times:
“BUT UNDERSTAND this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear].
For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters.
They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane.
[They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement);
[they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good.
[They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.
For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them].” (2Timothy 3:1-5 AMP)
2. The days of Noah and the days of Lot are to be repeated as to the evil and judgements, and also deliverance of God’s own. (Luke 17:20-37)
3. Wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes are to increase. (Mat.24:6-7; Rev.6:1-17)
No period in all history has witnessed the escalation of wars, as has the 20th century. The International Red Cross estimates that over 100 million people have been killed in wars since that century began. The century came to a close with a third of the world's 193 nations embroiled in conflict. In 1999 alone there were 65 armed conflicts and this trend has continued to the present day. The death toll in armed conflicts since the end of World War II topped more than 23 million people before the end of the 20th century.
The Greek word for "nation" originally used in this prophecy, is ethnos, which is more accurately translated "a race" or "a tribe". Jesus was saying that ethnic groups would rise against each other; a prophecy dreadfully fulfilled in former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and other trouble spots around the world. The Associated Press (AP) reports that during the 20th century, the murders perpetrated by dominant clans or ethnic groups in nations against other clans or ethnic groups in their own countries have exceeded the deaths caused by wars with rivals outside their borders.
Today, WHO (World Health Organization) estimates that about 4 million people a year die of starvation, or about 30 people every minute. While some famines are caused by drought or other natural disasters, most starvation in the world today could be avoided were it not for man's selfishness and inhumanity. War, embargoes, government corruption and economic oppression are all symptoms of the real problem. While innocent children starve, some rich nations destroy millions of tons of food in order to keep prices artificially high.
At least 30 previously unknown diseases have appeared globally since 1973, including HIV-AIDS, Hepatitis-C, Ebola hemorrhagic fever and others. Drug-resistant strains of microbes are having a deadly impact on the fight against tuberculosis, malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia, which together kill more than 10 million people worldwide each year. AIDS is the fourth leading global cause of death, according to UNAIDS. At the end of 1999, 34.3 million adults and children worldwide were living with HIV/AIDS with more than five million people are newly infected each year. There are now 16 countries in which more than one tenth of the adult population aged 15-49 is infected with HIV.
The Universal Almanac tells us: There were only 21 earthquakes of major strength between the years 100 and 1800; There were 18 major earthquakes between 1800 and 1900; There were 13 major quakes between 1900 and 1950 - so there were almost as many in 150 years as the number in the preceding 850 years. There were 93 major earthquakes between 1950 and 1991 (almost triple the number of the previous half century), which claimed the lives of 1.3 million people around the world. The trend has continued and increasing and sizeable disasters are commonplace. This dramatic increase of severe quakes has led many scientists to predict that we are entering a new period of great seismic disturbances.
4. Intense persecution and tribulation is to come upon the saints in the last days. (Mat.24:9-10,21)
More people have lost their lives for their Christianity since 1900 than in all the previous centuries combined. Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world. During the twentieth century more of them died, as a result of persecutions, than in all the preceding generations since the birth of Christ. Across the world there are about 200 million followers of Christ suffering today. The average number of Christian martyrs per year worldwide is more than 160,000.
5. False prophets and antichrists are to be manifested in these times. (Mat 24:5,11,23-26; 2Thess. 2:1-12; Rev 13)
6. Great apostasy from the Church will take place. (2 Thess.2:1-3; Mat. 24:12)
7. A one-world religious Church will be manifest. (Rev. 17)
8. A one-world dictatorship and government will arise and be under the rule of the antichrist at the coming of Christ. It will be a ten-kingdom world power. (Rev. 13:17; Daniel 2,7)
9. There will also be special judgements of God in the earth as prophesied in Revelation. (Rev.6-16)
The generation alive at the coming of Christ will see these things in intensity at Christ’s coming.