In Romans 13:11–14, we read: “And, knowing the time, that already it is the hour for you to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. The night is far gone, the day has drawn near. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us be clothed with the weapons of light. Let us walk becomingly, as in the day, not with carousing and drunkenness and sexual orgies and sensuality, not with strife and jealousy. But clothe yourself with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not make provision for the flesh that you should do its lusts.” That is quite a Scripture!
Paul says that now is the time. It is the hour already for you to awake out of sleep. Do you know the time? Do you know that now is the time? Now is the time to wake up, because we do not have very much time left.
Knowing the Time in the World
I would like for you to consider just two things. The first thing is knowing the time in the world. I will not take the space to prove this, although it can be proven. If we compare Daniel 7 and Daniel 11, we will see that the great time of persecution of God’s saints, which was to last 1,260 years, was to extend until the time of the end. When that period was over, then the world was going to enter the period called, in Daniel’s prophecy, the time of the end. Most Bible writers call it the latter days or the last days.
That period of time (1,260 days) came to an end in 1798. We, then, have been in the last days or in the time of the end for over 200 years. The last days—the time of the end—is the last epochal period of this world’s history. At the end of that time, probation will close, and Jesus will come, and that will be the end of this age, the end of the world, as we know it. We are not at the beginning of the time of the end; we are at the end of the time of the end.
Daniel said, in Daniel 12:4, that at the time of the end two things would happen.
He said that many are going to travel to and fro. In other words, it is going to be a time of great travel. Are we living in a time of the greatest travel since the beginning of the world? There has never, ever been a time like today. Never!
Society thought we were living in a time of great travel when I was a boy, because we had airplanes. I traveled half way around the world when I was about seven years old. But let me tell you, it was absolutely nothing compared with today.
When I was boy, I used to go with my father to the Stapleton Airport in Denver, Colorado. My father was a businessman, and at times he would need to travel by plane. While waiting for my father to depart, I would look out the airport windows, and would usually see four or five airliners waiting there—DC7s and a few Lockheed Electras. Those planes could hold between 40 and 50 passengers. That was the total number of airplanes generally at Stapleton at any one time, and I was there many times.
How is it today? At the new Denver International Airport, there are between 50 and 100 airplanes at any given time, and those planes do not hold just 40 or 50 passengers, like they did when I was a boy. They hold 100, 200, or more passengers!
We are living in a time when there is more travel. I have done a little traveling myself, and I have been in the airports of London and Paris, New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Dallas, and Los Angeles. If you go to any one of these places, you will see people from all over the world.
There has never before been a time like this. We are living in the time of the end. In the time of the end, travel is going to be increased.
The second thing mentioned, in Daniel 12:4, is that in the time of the end there is going to be a great increase of knowledge. It says, “Knowledge shall be increased.” Are we living in a time when there has been an explosion of knowledge?
Some of you are too young to remember how things used to be, just a short time ago. Do you realize that just a few years ago, if you had a cataract in your eye and you had it removed, that after the surgery you would be sandbagged? Sandbags would be placed around your head, and you would have to lie in a hospital bed, sometimes for up to two weeks or more. But do you know how it is done today? I recently took a close relative of mine to have a cataract removed, and it was an outpatient procedure. We walked in, got it done, walked out, and went home—pretty much business as usual the rest of the day. That is just one example; there are hundreds of other examples.
A second example of increased knowledge is our cars, our airplanes, and our machines. Computers now monitor these things, indicating to us when service, repairs, or changes are needed. I am old enough to remember when it was not that way. Things were mechanical, and we thought we had a great increase of knowledge then, but now things are electrical, and everything is connected to a computer.
I remember telling people 20 years ago that we were living in an age of an explosion of knowledge—that there would soon come a time when, through the computer, we would be able to access central data banks and find out whatever we wanted that is known to man. We have been doing that now for several years.
Third, in Matthew 24, Jesus said that in the last days there would come a time when there would be great earthquakes. Have you noticed the increase of earthquakes lately?
We used to live in southern California, and, while residing there, we were always apprehensive of earthquakes. While traveling in southern California recently, I was shown a newspaper that identified the different areas where earthquakes had occurred in the last several weeks—there were over 60 places! We do not even hear about those earthquakes on the news, because the news does not report the little ones.
If you want to do an interesting study, look on the Internet for the web site that is just about earthquakes. Do you know when the incidents of earthquakes started increasing? About 1800. The time of the end is going to be the time of earthquakes. They started increasing at the time of the end. It is interesting to note that the number of earthquakes stayed about the same for many hundreds of years—for over a thousand years—until about 1800; then, for a reason no one can explain, they started increasing. Why? Jesus said that in the time of the end there would be earthquakes. Since 1950, the number of occurrences has skyrocketed. So much so that between 1980 and 1990 there were as many serious major earthquakes as the world had experienced between a.d. 526 and 1797. That is a period of almost 1,300 years. Somebody may challenge that in old times they did not record them all, but they did record them when something major happened. They did not have seismographs, but they recorded the big ones, when buildings started falling down. It is one of the signs that we are living right near the end.
Rumors of War
Another sign, the fourth, which Jesus gave, was that there would be “wars and rumors of wars.” We do not need to expound on this. World War I was going to be the war to end all wars. Did it end all wars? No, the United States was in another world war within 20 years after it ended. Since World War II, there has been a war somewhere in the world all the time—some coup d’état, revolution, or war somewhere in the world.
The fifth sign of knowing the time in the world you can study out for yourselves. Bible prophecy tells us that in the last days there is going to be a great, international religious peace movement. Predicted both in Isaiah 2 and Micah 4, it is not a true revival or a true religion. Read Micah 4:1–6 carefully, and you will see that is the case. They are going to be preparing for war at the same time they are talking peace.
Hearts Fail for Fear
And, then, number six. In Luke 21, Jesus said that the time of the end will be a time when men’s hearts will fail them for fear. Are we living in a time when men’s hearts are failing them for fear? People are afraid. One thing of which they are afraid is what is happening to the worldwide economy—not just the United States, not just Europe, but the economy of the world. The worldwide economy is shaky today, and economists are scared to death. People are saying that we are out of the recession, but we are deeper in debt than ever before.
We are concerned about the environment. We are destroying our environment. One reason for concern is the natural disasters.
Have you heard on the news of the concern regarding Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming? A certain part of the park has been closed off, because the experts are saying that this area in the park could blow at any time. If it blows, it will be the biggest volcanic explosion in history, and it will be heard hundreds of miles away.
At the huge crater, where the ground is lifting, the temperature is rising and has now risen so much that all the fish are dead and there is nothing living directly around it. Just a few inches under the soil, the temperature is 200 degrees. If it completely blows, the scientists are telling us that the entire United States will be completely covered with five inches of ash, and there will be no living thing within about a 600-mile radius—everything will die. It could bring on a miniature ice age; it could destroy crops all through the Midwest.
I am not saying it will be as bad as predicted; nobody knows. But the people who have studied this phenomenon are scared. Jesus said, “Men’s hearts would be failing them for fear because of the things that are coming on the earth.” Do you realize the economic consequences of something like that? If it occurs, just that one thing alone could cause a worldwide depression.
And then, of course, there is terrorism. Everybody knows about terrorism today—not just the United States. They know about it in Spain. They know about it in London. They know about it in the Middle East. They know about it in South America. Terrorism! And, of course, there is crime, crime, crime.
Number seven. Jesus said that in the last days there would be pestilences. We are experiencing pestilences like never before in world history. One example is cancer. Oh! Somebody may say that cancer has been around for hundreds of years. Of course it has, but in 1945, do you know how many people were getting cancer? One in fifteen. In 1945 (if you read the Spirit of Prophecy), the number getting cancer had skyrocketed from what it had been in the past. Do you know what the numbers are today? One in three. Is that a pestilence? It is a pestilence, friends.
Then we have the new pestilences such as Mad Cow Disease. If you have ever read the book Deadly Feasts (Richard Rhodes, Touchstone, New York, New York, 1998), you know that Mad Cow Disease is a ticking time bomb. It is a disease that, in the future, could absolutely decimate Western Europe, the United States, and many other countries of the world. Some people think this disease is even more dangerous than AIDS. Whether or not it is I do not know. It is one of those illnesses that has a long lapse from the time a person is exposed until symptoms develop. In addition to AIDS, we have the plague or the pestilence of all the old diseases that we thought had been cured.
For example, when I was in graduate school—less than 30 years ago—we were told that the disease of smallpox would be completely eradicated, because it is a disease peculiar only to human beings. We were told that vaccinations would be available to everyone, and this would eliminate it. It would die out and would be known only in the history books. Well, this we did not succeed in doing!
We are discovering that the diseases we were so confident in knowing how to control, we cannot control. For example, have you heard in the news that we now have new bugs or new microorganisms? They are actually the old ones, but they are now resistant to our drugs. This is serious. If an elderly person gets a staph infection that does not respond to drugs, they will be in a very critical situation.
Days of Lot
In Luke 17:27–30, Jesus said that in the last days it is going to be like it was in the days of Lot. You have read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Book of Genesis. You have probably read what Ezekiel said about it in Ezekiel 16:49, 50, what Jude said about it, and what Peter said about it in 11 Peter. Jesus told us that this is the way the world is going to be in the last days when the Son of man is revealed.
I studied this subject a few years ago, and what I found was shocking. Do you realize that never before in the history of the world has homosexuality been accepted worldwide, until our time? It was accepted in Sodom, and it was accepted among the Canaanites. In Leviticus 18, we find that that is one of the reasons why the Canaanites were destroyed. It was accepted in the ten tribes of Israel, and that is one of the reasons why they were destroyed, sent out as wanderers among the nations. At a later time, it was accepted in the city of Rome, and that is one of the reasons why Rome was destroyed. It later was accepted in the nation of France, and that is one of the reasons for the French Revolution. But in the last days, it will not be a country or a city only that accepts it; it will be accepted by the whole world. We do not realize how true prophecy always is. When it says worldwide, it means worldwide.
A few days ago my wife and I were visiting with our nephew who is serving in the United States armed forces. He told me something I did not know. You think you can never get shocked, but then you learn something new. He told me that among the Muslims in Afghanistan, where he served, and throughout the neighboring countries, homosexuality is rampant. He said that they do not want the Christians to find out about it; they try to keep it secret. The United States military has to instruct the soldiers to be careful in certain situations. The prophecy of Jesus has been fulfilled exactly. We are living right at the time of the end.
When homosexuality becomes accepted, study the story of Sodom; study the story of the ten tribes; study the story of the Canaanites; study the story of Rome; study the story of France. God is not going to let that go on, friends. It is going to end.
Number nine. In the last days, according to the Book of Revelation, according to the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:24, there will come a time of gross darkness of the greatest deceptions ever to come on the world. We are living in that time.
And, finally, number ten. According to 11 Peter 3:3–7, the last days will be a time of great unbelief. The unbelief will be so great that it says that those living will deny that the heavens came into existence by the Word of God. That is exactly what has happened in the last few years—and all of it has happened since 1798. The theory of evolution to explain how we got here without God has been developed. We want a reason explaining how we got here without God. It says, in 11 Peter 3, that they would say that “since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning.” Do you realize that that is a word-for-word description of the theory of Uniformitarianism on which modern geology is based?
In 1979, my family and I traveled to the East Coast of Pennsylvania to visit my brother who was pastoring there. During Christmas time we went to the Smithsonian Institute, and while we were there, we split up to go to different places, because we could not see it all, and different people wanted to see different things. I decided that I wanted to see the geology building, which is where they tell you that this item is this many millions of years old and that item is that many millions of years old.
I visited every single exhibit to see what evidence they had for the age of each item. Do you know what evidence they had? They had only one piece of evidence for everything. This is the Uniformitarian Theory. Peter predicted the Uniformitarian Theory long before these people believed they invented it. The Bible predicted that it would be in the last days.
[Bible texts quoted are literal translation.]
Pastor John Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.