Matthew 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
This passage of scripture delineates for us the questions posed by the disciples, and the answers given by Christ as regards the end of the world, and the signs that will portend His soon coming. Among the prominent signs given are wars and rumors of wars, pestilences such as the deadly Ebola virus, mad cow disease, and the aids virus amongst others, famines, and earthquakes in divers places. Without a doubt, all of these signs are now sitting on the front burner of our consciousness, because the daily news is riddled with many of these very occurrences and outbreaks, which are indeed increasing in severity and frequency, a fact that cannot be denied by even the most hardened infidel.
Just this year alone we had the unprecedented rise of Isis, the terror network that is currently invading hundreds of communities in parts of the middle east, with crimes too horrible to mention. But we also had the mysterious disappearance of the Malaysian jet liner, which so far has not been found. Then again we had the incursions of the Russian government into parts of Ukraine, which as brought violence and instability to that part of the world. And as if all of this weren't enough, we now have the Ebola scare, and political turmoil, gridlock, and upheaval right here in America, to the point where many are expecting a dramatic shift in the way the federal Government is run, with repercussions reaching out to all nations and also to all individuals living in this country.
But the sign that Christians and everyone else should be especially wary of is the rapid, and unprecedented proliferation of false Christs and false prophets, whose sole intention it is to deceive. This singular sign, which can affect a person's eternal destiny is mentioned by Christ several times in the discourse He held with His disciples. Let's read:
Matthew 24:23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25 Behold, I have told you before. 26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
The warning here given by Christ is not nearly understood as it should be, and as a result multitudes are falling for the numerous deceptions that are being tailor-made to suit the fancy of different minds, from those in the upper echelons of society, to the everyday John public, who has no clue of these current developments. One of the more prominent deceptions now being promulgated is the false doctrine of the natural immortality of the soul, in which its adherents are taught the fatal sophistry that there is life immediately after death, and that a person's spirit goes to heaven, or through purgatory when they depart this life. This one doctrine has bred many other spinoffs which have resulted in a callous indifference to the sacred truth of the judgment, as clearly presented in the scriptures. Lets read:
John 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
When people are taught that they go directly to heaven at death, then there is no motivation or reason for them to make the necessary efforts at overcoming sin, since eternal life is guaranteed, and this in turn sets the stage for the indulgence of moral abandon, and the cultivation of vices, with no compunctions of conscience whatsoever. From this false doctrine stems the rapid decline in morality, the unprecedented increase in violence, and the utter lack of accountability manifested in millions across the globe. For instance the terror group Isis also believes that their members go to heaven at death, hence the reason why suicide bombing has become so rampant, and as a result they take satanic delight in taking so many innocent persons with them as they go.
These are just some of the reasons why Christ cautioned us about false teachers and false prophets who parade as ministers of the gospel, but inwardly are ravening wolves. It is our sacred duty then to test every doctrine, and every would- be prophet, to see whether or not their presentations to us are in line with a "Thus saith the Lord", and if not, we should avoid their teachings like the plague, for it was by listening to the serpent that Eve fell, and we in turn should test everything we may hear by the word, lest we likewise fall too.
We therefore end with a passage of scripture which cautions us to be aware of the signs of Christ's coming as they are occurring across the globe, and the appropriate response is that we should live every day in readiness, since we know that His coming is near, even at the doors. Let's read:
1st Thessalonians 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.
May God add His blessing to the study and practice of His every word. God bless!