Jesus’ prophecy, given upon the Mount of Olives just before His crucifixion, is that which presents things to come with the most profound gravitas, to use a word once bandied about in the American political melee of some years ago. Certainly, the direct foretelling by the Creator of all things must command attention of those of us who have believed in Him for our souls’ salvation. There can be no greater security and comfort than that found in God, Himself, telling us the end from the beginning, as He has done in His love letter to mankind, the Holy Bible.
The bottom line, of course, is that regardless of all we might see happening around us–this planet seeming to be coming apart at the seams—God is victorious. We who belong to Him, through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, are victors! To put it on a more personal level, some who read this might remember that I experienced clinical death in 2011–on Good Friday, of all days—and was instantaneously in the presence of a jubilant throng of cheering, young people.
They bid me to come to them. Each of the first two times in their presence, my heart having stopped each time, I started to join them, totally fixated (and joyfully so) on their bright, broadly smiling faces. Each time, though, I returned to the cath lab, where the members of the cardiologist team were working on me.
The third time I went to that realm, I did join them and we were running, as if in a victory lap. They were thrusting their hands in the air, and they were looking at me as I ran with them. We were celebrating a victory of monumental importance. Then the procedure was successful, and I was back again on the cath-lab table. (Incidentally, I haven’t had one moment’s indication of heart trouble of any sort since that day the “widow-maker” struck. Thanks be to our Lord!)
So, we who know Christ for salvation are victors, ultimately. That is one message I’m convinced I was given in that experience. Jesus, in His Olivet Discourse, told of some pretty frightening things to come. I believe we are witnessing these things as never before running concurrently at the very moment of your reading this essay. Thus, the title of this article. I primarily want to deal, as indicated, with three things Jesus said we should look for during the season when His return to planet earth at Armageddon nears.
The following quite familiar prophecy is what I want to look at for a bit:
For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 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. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Matthew 24:5-8)
The “triad”–as I put it–that foretells Tribulation (the last seven years of human history leading up to Christ’s return) is wrapped in this prophecy. This issued from the very mouth of God. Therefore, if the end of this Earth Age is near, we should see evidence of what He predicted in things taking place all around us.
The first matter of the three is the prophecy that deception will mark the era of His soon return. Jesus prophesied that many would come in His name. These deceivers would claim that they were Christ themselves, in some cases. I believe that even more profoundly to consider is the thought that many would come claiming to know Him as their Lord, and would even preach and teach under his banner, but would be liars of first order.
At this moment, we don’t have to look at just the growing cults around us to discern the deception involved in ministries and religions claiming that He is Christ, but denying the power of His lordship–even of His deity. And, the “deception” goes much deeper than that of how Christ is viewed and His message extolled. Deception will, I believe Jesus was saying, be the rule rather than the exception of days leading up to His coming to put an end to the devilish deportment of mankind.
One example, in my view, is the “transparency” promised by Barak Obama during the presidential campaign leading to his first election. We were to experience the most “transparent” administration in history. Yet he bypassed the Constitution in a lawless way at every opportunity–and, in secret, used that infamous pen to institute executive orders to fundamentally change America into something other than what the Founding Fathers intended.
The only “transparency” shown was when he spoke publicly, as do his secretaries of state, and telegraphed every military move that were to be made against the likes of ISIS (ISIL, as he would have it for whatsoever secretive reason). He then announces proudly what he has done to the world–to be “transparent,” I suppose.
Deception of every sort is everywhere we look today.
The second of the “triad foretelling Tribulation” I would like to consider is really a spin-off of the first. “Wars and rumors of war” come upon mankind from the deception surrounding the Holy name of Jesus and the truth of His deity–that He is the only Way to God the Father and eternity in Heaven.
Being called “intolerant” and hate-filled rhetoric and/or bigotry open societies and cultures to demonic invasion. Keeping people from coming to Christ, through deception or anything other brings satanic incitement and murderous intent to the human heart. Wars and rumors of war are the results–the harvest of millions dead in war across the world.
We are witnessing these exact fruits of rejecting Christ at this very moment. The monsters of ISIS reportedly beheaded children and infants as the beastly horde rampaged –for the fun of it, and to terrify those in their path into bending to their demands that their victims agree with their satanic view of religion. This degree of atrocity continues in many parts of the world at the time of this writing.
The third of the “triad” is the growing threat of pestilence–one of the signals Jesus said would point to His coming again being very near. The black death (Buebonic Plague) is a horrific disease reportedly again on the scene. That disease has those who study pandemic outbreaks worried that it could do what it did to medieval Europe and beyond. Pestilence might not yet be at the level of forewarning the end of the age as are the first two indicators, but many reports come to my attention, and, I’m sure, to yours that tell of any number of budding pestilences. The opening of American borders to practically uninhibited entrance to illegal peoples whom no one knows about, as far as their state of health, makes Jesus’ words in this prophecy particularly relevant, in my thinking.
How long might it be before we experience, literally, an explosion of such viral and bacterial detonations in the U.S. and across the world?
We can take comfort. These are, Jesus assured, “the beginning of sorrows,” the time just before He returns to put an end to the madness. Again, the love and comfort are there in the Savior’s words: “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).
We who know Christ are already victorious through our Lord!