Time of the End

Facts about the Future Series

Thousands of years ago, the Lord gave man this challenge: “Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, you who have escaped from the nations. They have no knowledge, who carry the wood of their carved image, and pray to a god that cannot save. Tell and bring forth your case; yes, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, a just God and a Saviour; there is none besides Me.” Isaiah 45:20, 21. He gave the same declaration in Isaiah 46:9, 10: “Remember the former things of old, for I am God and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.’ ”

Can we accurately predict the future? God is saying in these two passages from Isaiah that if we think we can, to try it. But the truth is, none of us can. We cannot even predict what will happen next week, much less what will happen a hundred years into the future. But the Bible has been depicting the events of the future and just exactly when they will occur for millennia.

A careful study of the prophecy of Daniel 12 tells us that the last days or the time of the end actually began at the close of the 18th century. “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” Verse 4. It is very clear that knowledge has increased amazingly since the end of the 18th century. People are traveling all around the world, much more so than two hundred years ago.

At the end of the 18th century, there were no cars, planes, or internal combustion engines, so if people went anywhere, they had to walk or travel by horseback or in carriages and wagons pulled by an animal. And if a person wanted to travel to a different country, they would have to sail over the ocean on some type of sailing vessel. There were no telephones, telegraphs, typewriters, or computers, so if they wanted to go to school, they had to do their homework by hand. They wrote letters by hand. In fact, at the end of the 18th century, mankind was still living very much like those in Abraham’s time.

But the Bible says that at the end of time, people would travel much more and knowledge would increase. I have been in several international airports in England, France, Germany, and Holland. These airports are teeming with people traveling to and from places all around the world. A couple hundred years ago, a person was born, lived, and died within a relatively small radius. Only a few people such as the wealthy, soldiers, sailors, and royalty were able to travel extensively. But that has changed here in the time of the end.

We should, however, note that while the Bible predicted all these amazing developments, it has also predicted that terrible things will happen in the time of the end. Jesus said, “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:37–39

This is an interesting scripture to think through. Noah spent 120 years building a 500-foot-long boat, on the land, with no place to launch it. During that time, he also preached to everyone in the world of the coming flood and the need for repentance. So how could it be that the world did not know that the flood was coming? They knew he was building a boat. They heard what he was saying and called him an alarmist, a fool, a crazy man, even a lunatic. But still he preached that when the boat was finished, the flood would come and destroy the whole world.

So how could Jesus say in Matthew 24 that they didn’t know that the flood was coming? It was because they did not believe what they had been told. Jesus says that the last days will be just like that. The Bible is more accessible today than it has ever been in the history of the world. People have access to Bible prophecy, but they do not believe what they read. The end of days will be a time of great unbelief.

The world is not interested in knowing that the Bible says that we are living in the last days or that the world will soon come to an end. Like those in Noah’s day, they have been told, they can know, but—what they hear, what they read, what they see—they simply do not believe.

The people in Noah’s day scoffed at him and would not believe that a flood was coming. They had proved to themselves, scientifically, that a flood was impossible. There were no oceans and most of the water was under the earth. The Bible calls them the fountains of the deep. It had never rained; the earth was watered by a dew or mist that came up from the ground and watered everything. It did not appear to them that there was enough water to even cover the earth. They felt that God loved those He had made and would not destroy them. So they did not believe and they did not get on the boat.

Peter talks about this same attitude in the last days, “[K]nowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’ ” 2 Peter 3:3, 4

And then we read in verses 5–7, “For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”

So, the world was told that the flood would come, but they did not believe. And the Bible says that in the last days the same attitude would exist. Men will know that the world will come to an end, but they will not believe. Consequently, when the world does end, most of the people alive today will not be ready.

Imagine how God must feel. What more could He do? He has given them the Bible as a guide, sent prophets, increased knowledge, but the people of the world will not listen and will choose instead to go on their own way. If you were God, what would you do?

Genesis 6:5 says, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Evil imaginations and thoughts lead to nothing good. “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” Verse 11. If the world in the last days is to be like the world in Noah’s day, then we will see increasing wickedness and violence. And as a result of this wickedness, the Bible predicts very clearly that the last days will be a time of great lawlessness. People will keep neither the law of God nor the laws of man.

“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 24:12, 13. Paul says it a different way in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 and 9, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until he [the anti-christ] is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.

“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

Jesus also said that the last days would be like the days of Lot. “Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot; they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” Luke 17:28–30. Life went on as usual, until suddenly great calamity came and the world as they knew it ended.

This is one of the great signs in Bible prophecy regarding the last days. Almost all the world will be living lawless lives, unwilling to keep the laws of God or man, but, when the Lord comes, all those who have practiced lawlessness will be destroyed. “But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.” Revelation 9:20, 21

There are many Bible prophecies that predict the things happening in the world today. Luke 21 lists several signs that will occur over time, specifically for the last generation.

“There will be great earthquakes in various places.” Verse 11. If you do some research regarding the number of earthquakes over the last hundred years, you will find that earthquake occurrences have increased, not only in number, but also in severity. In fact, in the ten-year period between 1980 and 1990, the same number of major earthquakes occurred as those that occurred between 526 and 1797, a period of almost 1,300 years.

Verse 11 also predicts that famines and pestilences will occur in the last days. Again, in the last hundred years, there have been 56 recorded famines somewhere in the world. Two such famines occurred in Russia and northwest China. Over two million people starved to death in the Russian famine and more than twelve million people died in China. It was said of them both that they were the worst famines in all the history of the world.

A pestilence is a contagious or infectious epidemic that is very virulent and devastating. There have been 90 virulent epidemics caused either by known or new viruses within the last 50 years—as we have experienced over the last two years with Covid-19 and its numerous mutations. The Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918 has been described as, “[t]he crowning tragedy of so many tragic years. At least twenty million people perished.” (The Encyclopedia Britannica).

Joel 1:4 tells us that there will be great destruction by insects. “What the chewing locust left, the swarming locust has eaten; what the swarming locust left, the crawling locust has eaten; and what the crawling locust left, the consuming locust has eaten.” Beginning in the spring of 2019 after Cyclone Mekunu produced heavy rains in the Arabian Peninsula, swarms of locusts developed in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Oman, Iran, India, and Pakistan. By mid-2020, a new swam had appeared in Paraguay and Argentina in South America, and the travel restrictions implemented as a result of the Covid pandemic has hindered efforts to end this plague.

In the business world, the Bible predicts that in the last days there will be a rapid accumulation of wealth. There are more extremely wealthy people today than ever before in the history of the world. In 1925, there were 207 individual millionaires in America and one billionaire. As of 2021, there are 22 million individual millionaires in America and 630 billionaires. This rapid increase in wealth is described in James 5:1–3: “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days.”

The Bible predicts racial hatred, troubles, and uprisings throughout the world, great corruption in world governments, disregard for justice, contempt for authority, increased pressure for religious legislation, and a growing prestige for hierarchical church government in the last days. (See Micah chapters 1–4 and Revelation 13)

There will be a moral breakdown within society and lawlessness (law breaking) will abound. The love of money will become so great that the acquisition of it will be the determined goal of most people. Crime will increase and we are certainly seeing that today in numbers almost beyond imagination.

The seeking of pleasure, perversion in the marriage relationship, immorality of every kind will become (has become!) widespread—an easy accomplishment as knowledge increases and man can travel throughout the world at any time.

Social problems will increase as real spirituality declines. “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.” 2 Timothy 3:1–5, first part

There will be a rebellion against the straight truths found in God’s word. People will demand that their preachers speak only smooth things. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3, 4

And we read in Matthew 24:6, “[Y]ou will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Whenever you say something like that people will say, “Oh, I know, but there’s always been wars.” Yes, it is true, ever since sin entered the world, there have always been wars. But, there has never, ever been a war like World War I from 1914 to 1918. Regarding this war, Winston Churchill said, “It was different from all ancient wars and from all modern wars. All the horrors of all the ages were brought together. Henceforth whole populations will take part in war. Mankind has never been in this position before.” During World War II, whole nations were engaged in war and taken into captivity. Millions of people died of hunger, starvation, and forced labor, as well as from bombardment, from land and sea and the air. And then war took on an entirely new dimension with the creation of the atomic bomb.

In the midst of this fighting and killing, the Bible predicts that there will be a great international peace movement. All the while the nations are marching to war, they will be talking peace.

But the Bible doesn’t only predict wickedness and destruction. It also predicts that in the last days there will be a small group of people, a remnant, who have been and will be keeping God’s commandments. They are described in Revelation 14:12, “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus.” When you understand the context of this scripture, you will see that this remnant group is found to exist in the last days, when almost the whole world will be deceived by lawless teachings and false doctrines.

So, we can see in our world today exactly what the Bible has predicted would happen in the time of the end and we are quickly approaching the very last days. We must leave this world and the things in it behind and determine to follow Jesus, accepting Him as our Lord and Saviour, so that we may be included in the remnant; that small group who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus. Are we ready for that last day to come?

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at: historic@stepstolife.org, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.