Jesus says in Mark 13:7-8;
When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.
He was answering their question about how they would know when it was time for Him to return to this Earth and set up His Kingdom here. Before those verses it talks about how there would be many false Messiah’s and false prophets, which there have been plenty of for hundreds of years but which we seem to be drowning in these days.
But in any case, these passages are often brought up when Believers get together and wonder if we are, indeed, living in the “End Times” when the time is close for the Second Coming.
In other words, when we ask each other and ourselves, could this be “it”?
There certainly is a lot of really scary stuff happening out there.
The US has been hit with a series of devastating natural disasters in recent weeks, including massive hurricanes, forest fires and floods, with more forecast. Seismologists are pointing with concern to a series of small but significant earthquakes in the Midwestern US, which could lead to a catastrophic eruption of long-dormant volcanoes.
Even before that, America was hit by a series of man-made disasters, including riots, social unrest and general sociopolitical dysfunction including violent street demonstrations by groups on the Far-Right and the Far-Left, both disregarding or even targeting police and other elements of government authority.
It’s not just America either.
Nepal, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh saw unprecedented amounts of rainfall in their fall monsoon season this year, leading to massive floods all over South Asia. An 8.1 magnitude earthquake hit southern Mexico recently, and smaller but still significant quakes have happened elsewhere.
There are four countries in Africa, South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen, which the UN says are officially in famine. Dozens more countries all over the world, with a collective total of over a billion human beings, are on the brink of famine. Yemen is also suffering from an outbreak of Cholera, with at least 600,000 people already diagnosed and many more in danger.
A heatwave with temperatures far above seasonal averages is making life miserable for millions of people in Europe. Forest fires have ravaged large swaths of several countries, with little hope that rain will soon come to offer any relief. Large fires are also raging in the Russian far east.
Then of course there are the “wars and rumors of wars” that Jesus warned us about.
North Korea is busily testing nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles. Russia is holding enormous military exercises in an effort to intimidate its former subjects in eastern Europe while the Swedes (of all people!) are holding their own war games this week to show Moscow they, at least, will not be cowed.
China continues to make aggressive moves in the South China Sea, while its smaller neighbors feverishly shop for weapons from whoever will sell them in order to prepare for what many fear is an inevitable confrontation. India and China also have a simmering border dispute which threatens to erupt into a general conflict between the world’s two most populous countries.
Closer to Israel, the war in Syria appears to be winding down, but the aftermath of this war might be just setting the stage for another, much bigger one. Most of the major players in the “Gog-Magog” scenario prophesied about in Ezekiel 38-39 are actively engaged in Syria or at least mobilized and prepared for action.
There are many more worrisome things going on all over the world.
So, once again, could this possibly be “it”?
The simple answer is, yes, this very possibly could be the “it” we’ve been waiting for.
But it’s also very possible that we’re not quite there yet. For the last two thousand years there were MANY seasons when it looked almost as bad as it does now. But Jesus didn’t come back then, and He might not come back now.
So, what should we do?
My advice, for whoever wants it, is that we should do the same thing we should be doing if none of these scary things were happening.
We should be praying, daily. We should be studying the Word, daily. We should be in fellowship with other Believers, daily. We should be serving the Body of Christ and the work of the Gospel, daily. We should be caring for the sick, the orphans, the widows and everyone else who needs our help, daily.
We should continue to be a light in a dark world, daily.
Jesus is coming back when He’s coming back. It might very well be next week, or next month, or next year. Or it might be a lot longer.
I personally think we’re very close to the end, simply because the physical environment of this planet which makes human life possible here is deteriorating at a rapid pace and soon it simply won’t be possible for human beings to live here. But I could be wrong, and even if I’m right, it’s not a reason for me to slack off any of my responsibilities to God or my fellow human beings.
May God give us all the wisdom, strength, patience and discipline to do what He has called His Church to do in this season of history.
Famine in Africa https://www.csis.org/podcasts/csis-podcast