More than 100 Bible prophecies address the Church Age and 21st Century Church. This article provides a general summary of these prophecies; and will assist the reader in gaining insight into what will take place in the Church, and in the world, in the days to come.
Prophecies Concerning The Church And Church Age
Noted below are prophecies which speak of changes that will take place in the world, and in the Church, in the last days.
- Jesus Christ will establish the Church and serve as the Head and Cornerstone: (Matt. 16:18;1 Peter 2:6). The fulfillment of this prophecy took place at Pentecost – 50 days after the crucifixion.
- Every nation will hear the Gospel message: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matt. 24:14; 28:18-20). The fulfillment of this prophecy is expected to occur in the near future.
- False prophets will lead many astray: (2 Peter. 2:1-2). This prophecy is in the process of being fulfilled. The last days will see an increase in the number and influence of false teachers.
- Violence will increase: The Bible notes that war, crime, and violence will significantly increase during the last few decades leading up to the commencement of the tribulation period (Luke 17:26; Genesis 6:11-13). In the United States, violent crime has increased nearly 500% since 1960. Fifty years ago abortion was illegal in most countries. Today abortion is legal in many countries, and more than 46 million children each year. The news seems saturated with reports of terror and violence, but the worst is yet to be.
- Knowledge will increase: This is not a reference to technological, scientific or medical advances, it is a reference to an increase in understanding of Scripture and prophetic references (Daniel 12:4). It is interesting to note that since the year 2000, there has been a marked increase in the development of prophecy-related books and ministries.
- Disease (pestilences) will increase: (Matthew 24:7; Revelation 6:8). Through the centuries there have been some great plagues–but in recent decades there has been a marked increase in unusual and exotic diseases.
- There will be “signs and wonders” in the Heavens: (Luke 21:11, 26; Revelation 6:12). These may include (but not be limited to) red or blood moons, solar eclipses, comets, unusual sun activity, unusual weather, celestial formations, floods, fires, and more.
- Famines will increase: (Luke 21:11; Revelation 6:5-8). In recent years, at any given time approximately 20 million people are on the brink of starvation.
- A global economic system will exist: (Revelation 13:16-17). Global financial systems and economic alliances are fragile and weak. That fact and advancing technology make moving to a new economic system (a cashless society with the ability to monitor purchases) a not-too-distant-future possibility.
- The nations surrounding Israel will conspire against them and attack: (Psalm 83:4-8; Zechariah 12:2). Today, Israel is surrounded by hostile nations and finds little support in the United Nations organization.
- Jerusalem will be a “burdensome stone” and “cup of trembling:” (Zech. 12:2-3). Since 1967, issues regarding the partition of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount have been a source of significant tension and regional conflict.
- God will return Jerusalem to the Jews: (Zech. 12:3). Israel regained control over Jerusalem after the 1967 war (a miraculous victory). However, rightful control over this city is in dispute. The United Nations, the Vatican, and many world leaders want to make Jerusalem an international city. The Palestinians want Jerusalem as their capital city. However, God says that the city is His and He has given it to the Jews forever (Gen. 15:18; Lev. 25:23; 2 Chron. 6:6). All who burden themselves with it will be “cut in pieces.” Despite God’s warning, UN resolution 476 states that Israel’s claims to Jerusalem are null and void.
- The destruction of Damascus: Damascus will lie in ruins and be rendered uninhabitable (Isaiah 17:1, 14; Jeremiah 49:23-27; Amos 1:3-5; Zechariah 9:1-8). Damascus is the capital of Syria, and Syria is hostile to Israel and heavily supported by Russia and Iran. The destruction of this city will be a significant international event.
- Great earthquakes: There will be an increase in the number of earthquakes “in diverse” (unusual) places (Luke 21:11; Isaiah 24:19-20; Revelation 6:12-14;16:18-20). Experts note that in the last 50 years, the number of earthquakes each year has remained relatively constant, but the number of higher magnitude earthquakes has increased substantially.
- Narcissism: Humanity will become increasingly materialistic, selfish and lovers of pleasure (2 Timothy 3:1-5). It not difficult to see that in many (perhaps most) cultures, selfishness, self-centeredness, and feelings of entitlement are on the rise.
- A lack of respect for authority: Youth will become increasingly rebellious (2 Timothy 3:2-3; Mark 13:12). Anger, crime, the school drop-out rate, the creation of safe zones, protests and counter-culture demonstrations point to social-shifts that are moving the world toward the fulfillment of this prophecy.
- Persecution: Jesus said Christians “would be hated for His name’s sake” (Luke 21:17; Revelation 6:9-11; 20:4). Studies show that Christians are the #1 persecuted people-group in the world—Open Doors ministry reports that on average, more than 215 million people face high–extreme levels of persecution for their faith every day. The current scope of persecution surpasses the persecution Christians experienced during the dark days of the Roman Empire.
- Sexual confusion and homosexuality: Jesus warned that the last days would be like the days of Lot (Luke 17:28-30). Since 1960, there has been a profound shift regarding homosexuality in many parts of the world. The behavior has moved from being viewed as sinful and shameful, to be commendable and lauded. It is common now for politicians and the media to endorse and profile the behavior. Teachers seek to shape the thinking of today’s youth to present the behavior as acceptable. The behavior has never been, and will never be acceptable to God, but prophecy notes that the world will attempt to make it seem so in the last days.
- Apostasy in the Church: Apostasy will occur before the Antichrist is revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Prophecy notes that in the last days the Church will question and move away from holding to foundational teachings. In recent decades ‘mainline’ denominations have argued (and some have split) because they cannot agree on core teachings such as: Is hell to be understood literally or figuratively? Is the Bible literal or allegorical and figurative? Was Jesus divine? Did Jesus indeed die on the cross? Is homosexuality a sin? Is there a Heaven? etc. Increasingly, experience-based Christianity is replacing the Bible as the standard for saving faith. The ecumenical movement is striving for unity at the expense of truth. In the name of tolerance Christ’s absolutes are rejected as irrelevant. This trend will continue and escalate until the midpoint of the tribulation period when there will be a forced One-World (compromised) religion (Revelation 13, 17).
The political climate in the last days will become increasingly turbulent. In the name of tolerance Christian views will become marginalized, and there will be penalties for those who are bold in their faith. Is the Church dead? No. Dying? Perhaps. Apostasy in the Church is here and will increase. What should the believer do? Find a strong healthy church that isn’t afraid to teach the whole counsel of God. The call is to be a light. Study the Word. Seek truth. Stand firm on truth (wisely and in love). Be aware of world events. Follow the news with an eye toward end times. Be prepared to speak intelligently on happenings that fulfill prophecy. Work hard to better your witness.
Remember, it is possible to have peace in the midst of the storm. The Apostle Paul wrote of a “peace that surpasses understanding” (Phil. 4:6-7). The first step toward experiencing this peace is to accept Jesus into your heart as Lord and Savior and put your faith in Him. From that decision flows forgiveness, joy, hope, and the promise of eternity in Heaven (presented below are links to additional information on this topic).
Bible prophecy reveals how the Church and the world will change in the last days. Change can be sad and stressful, but believers can know that, though the world and even the Church may change, God never changes (Heb. 13:8). His goodness and faithfulness are sure. A spiritual battle is waging, but God will prevail.
There will be unrest. There will be wars and rumors of wars, and Jesus will return. Are you ready? Will you commit to being ALL IN for Him (which means you are committed to making serving Him, growing in Him and witnessing for Him the priority of your life)? God expects believers to be active in well doing (Galatians 6:9). And know this: A great reward awaits those found doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, at the right place, and with the right heart when the Lord returns.
“So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.” Matthew 24:44-46
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