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The End Times P1: Jesus' Outline

The highly discussed and debated issue with in the church and between other religions is the study of The End Times also known as Eschatology.  The Apostles ask Jesus directly.  Right after Jesus tells them Jerusalem will be destroyed (happened in 70AD), they then start to wonder and ask in Matthew 24:3 "...what is the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?”.  There are four predominate theories of how The End Time will happen and in this article we will look at what Jesus revealed first.  Jesus graciously gives us an outline of what will take place before The End Time happen and how it will unfold.

Matthew 24:5-31

"For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and they will deceive many."
First Jesus makes it absolutely clear that MANY people will come after him claiming to be HIM, The Son of God, Messiah, and God himself.  He is proven correct.  It did not take long for these "many" to spring up and begin "deceiving many".  Below are only a fraction of all those throughout history that made this claim Jesus predicted.

Simon Magus (early 1st century), was a Samaritan, and a native of Gitta; he was considered a god in Simonianism; he "darkly hinted" that he himself was Christ, calling himself the Standing One.  Simon bar Kokhba (died c. 135), founded a short-lived Jewish state before being defeated in the Second Jewish-Roman War. He claimed to be the second coming.

Ann Lee (1736–1784) founded the Shakers and claimed to be the female incarnate of Jesus.  Arnold Potter (1804–1872), Schismatic Latter Day Saint leader; he claimed the spirit of Jesus Christ entered into his body and he became "Potter Christ" Son of the living God. He died in an attempt to "ascend into heaven" by jumping off a cliff. His body was later retrieved and buried by his followers.  Bahá'u'lláh (1817–1892), He founded the Bahá'í Faith in 1863. Followers of the Bahá'í Faith believe that the fulfillment of the prophecies of the second coming of Jesus.

Ahn Sahng-Hong (1918–1985), a South Korean who founded the New Covenant Passover Church of God in 1964 and who is considered by the World Mission Society Church of God as the Second Coming of Jesus.  Sun Myung Moon (1920–2012), believed by members of the Unification Church to be the Messiah and the Second Coming of Christ, fulfilling Jesus' unfinished mission.

Alan John Miller (1962–), more commonly known as A.J. Miller, a former Jehovah's Witness elder and current leader of the Australia-based Divine Truth movement. Miller claims to be Jesus Christ reincarnated with others in the 20th century to spread messages that he calls the "Divine Truth."

"You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, because these things must take place, but the end is not yet." (Matthew 24:6)
The number of wars and "rumors" of wars throughout history is extensive as well.  From later Roman conflicts to European and Islamic wars; all the way to world war 1, 2, Korea, Vietnam, and major cold wars like US/Russia, and India/Pakistan.  Also notice that there is not going to be world peace no matter how hard humanity tries; Jesus, who is God, said so knowing the heart of man.
"For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places." (Matthew 24:7)
In 1960 Chile had a 9.5 earthquake; highest in recorded history.  Another massive earthquake known as the 1868 Arica earthquake.  The massive 9th century earthquake in Japan known as the 869 Sanriku earthquake.  And the 365 Crete earthquake was estimated to be close to a 9 by today's standard.  The Great Chines famine of 1958 killed an estimated 43 million people.  The Chalisa Famine in 1783 in Inda killed an estimated 11 million people.  In 441AD Rome had a devastating famine that weakened the empire severely.  An extensive list of earthquakes and famines through human history can be made BUT Jesus then states:
"All these events are the beginning of birth pains." (Matthew 24:8)
When Jesus compares the building up to his second coming like child birth; that means there will be more and more of these events more frequently and more fierce.  This 'build up' is also called the tribulation period.  During this period, it gets even worse for Christians.
“Then they will hand you over for persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 Then many will take offense, betray one another and hate one another."
Christians will become hated, persecuted, and even killed by all countries.  All the nations will be offended by Jesus and the gospel message.  The absolutes here are astounding.  We will be killed, will be hated and they will take offense. AND:
"Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 Because lawlessness will multiply, the love of many will grow cold"
People will rise and claim to speak Gods truths and they will deceive many.  Lawlessness (according to God) will grow and true love will fade.  Godly absolute morality and sacrificial selfless love will fade away.  THEN:
"This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come."
More wars, worse famines and earthquakes, death and persecution everywhere, and compromising false teachers will encourage the fading true love for worldly carnal love and fading obedience to Christ Jesus.  The times will be very harsh.  THEN the end will come.  Then Jesus will return.  But the question is:

Are We In Those "End Times"?

Given known history since the time of Jesus it is not obvious yet.  Some will argue that we see more than in the past but this is not exactly true.  We have mass media, internet, TV, and mass transit so we can learn of more events that occurred than ever before.  But just because we 'learn' of more events does not mean more events are happening.

The same events that have happened in the past are happening today. From what Jesus described will happen before his second coming, of course, we are still in that time frame; obviously the 'end times' clock started ticking since Jesus ascended to heaven because it was revealed to Daniel and John, God has already ordained it to occur in the future. Logically speaking; yes it is closer since ~1,980 years have lapsed from when Jesus answered the Apostles question.

Also read: False Teachings and Heresies Cults & Other Religions

Are they (the signs of the times) worse then before?  

This is very hard to tell.  It seems as if there were more loss of life closer to our time than Jesus' time but there were far more conflicts from Jesus' time half way to us.  Thus looking it from a death toll perspective it has not significantly increased; except the fewer events causes more death.

Also read Wall of Martyrs

Another Issue:

Another interesting fact that causes more uncertainty about knowing what times we are in is the fact that all these events were happening before Jesus' time as well.  Egyptian wars, Persian wars, early Greek and Roman wars, all the wars mentioned in the Old Testament, and every war, famine, and earthquake prior to 35AD cloud the issue.  Even with Jesus' first statement about many will come in his name.  His name is also the I AM.  He is God and many have come with armies claiming to be God in ancient history prior to 35AD.

Specific Events Will Occur

Then Jesus starts getting specific.  And those who will be living in those days will fully understand what is being said and it will all make since; much like Christology of the Old Testament to us now.  
"“So when you see the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 “then those in Judea must flee to the mountains!"
The Abomination that causes desolation prophecies by Daniel.  Jesus makes it clear to us that Daniel's prophecies were not all fulfilled yet.  Jesus gives a real and actual location of The Abomination "standing" in the holy place.  Then Matthew himself inserts that the readers of that day will understand what this is and when they do know exactly what he is talking about... RUN AND HIDE!
"For at that time there will be great tribulation, the kind that hasn’t taken place from the beginning of the world until now and never will again!"
This Great Tribulation will be crazy and so powerful and unimaginable it will never happen again.  Worse than the formation of rock and worse than the flood of Noah.  It will be so violent that God will limit its violence for the sake of those who he has called into salvation.
"Unless those days were limited, no one would survive. But those days will be limited because of the elect."
 These coming false People will be able to do miracles!  They will be able to do 'signs and wonders' and do unexplainable things.  But again, here is Jesus specifically warning of them.
"“If anyone tells you then, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Over here!’ do not believe it! 24 False messiahs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 Take note: I have told you in advance. 26 So if they tell you, ‘Look, He’s in the wilderness!’ don’t go out; ‘Look, He’s in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it."
So how do we know none of these coming false messiahs and false prophets are false?
"For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man."
Everyone will know and see him coming.  Like this:
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days:
The sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not shed its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the celestial powers will be shaken."

 “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the peoples of the earth will mourn; and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
When Will Everyone See Jesus' Second Coming?
" “Now concerning that day and hour no one knows—neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son —except the Father only. 37 As the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be... 44 This is why you also must be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
All the people of the earth did not believe Noah despite all that he said and did.  They had no idea the judgement that was about to fall on all the earth.  Same thing here.  The world will not know.  They will be partying and living like there is no worry of their stance before God.
"For in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah boarded the ark. 39 They didn’t know until the flood came and swept them all away."
Jesus' End Time & Second Coming Outline
  1. Wars, cold wars, earthquakes, famines, false messiahs, and false prophets who can work miracles will become more severe and frequent (Matt 24:4-8).
  2. Christians will become more targeted and aggressively persecuted, eventually world wide because the gospel will be known world wide (the general tribulations) (Matt 24:9-14).
  3. Then the Abomination of Desolation will be arrive to the scene and be obvious and fulfill Daniel's prophecy and the Christians of that time will clearly see the sign (Matt 24:15).
  4. The Great Tribulation will then be ushered in and it will be an extremely violent time.  So violent God will stop it early to save his elect from the full wrath (Matt 24:16-28).
  5. Then the Son of Man will arrive when no one is ready and the entire world will see him and the Elect will be gathered by angels (Resurrection and the rapture) (Matt 24:29-31).

    Point 6 and 7 was not part of Jesus' explanation in Matthew 24 because it is not what the Apostles asked about.  But this was later revealed to John in Revelations.
  6. Thus because the Son of Man has arrived, he will defeat all his enemies and reign as King (Millennial Kingdom).
  7. New Heaven and New earth is created for the elect for all eternity.
Jesus' outline seems to point to Mid and Post-Tribulation theories where the rapture will happen at some point after the Great Tribulation had begun.

Where Are We At Now?

It may seem that there have been more wars and natural disasters than ever before but this is not entirely clear.  Just because we now have access to being informed about world wide events does not mean that there are more.  There could have been just as many world wide prior to mass media.  BUT is clear that Christians are NOT hated world wide, the gospel has NOT made it to all people groups, and the Abomination of Desolation has NOT appeared.  Therefore we can safely say we are still in #1 of Jesus' descriptions listed above.

Let us not forget that this is only a secondary issue and that our primary concern is proclaiming The Gospel of Jesus Christ as the Lord God and The Messiah.  We must agree to disagree on this matter if necessary.

What About The Rest of The Biblical Accounts of The End Times?

After understanding the The End Time and Second Coming outline by God himself through Jesus we then can dig into more details about the events laid out by Jesus.  In the following articles we will book at Daniel's prophecies, 1 Thess, 2 Thess, 1 Cor, 2 Tim, Matthew, Revelations and many other verses that mention details about The End times.


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