Signs of the Times

Signs of the Times

By special guest contributor Ron Dee Mallett

Luke 21, Mark 13, and Matthew 24 relay Jesus’ lecture to His disciples on the subject of His return and millennial rule of the world from Jerusalem. Each writer employs unique terminology, but all agree on the Master’s ultimate message. Matthew offers the most detailed of the three renditions:

Matthew 24: 3-14 (Summarized):” As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples asked "… what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"

4 Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars… Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.”

9 "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death…hated by all nations because of me. 10 … many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold… 14 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.”

Each of the teachings by the three disciples agrees on seven specific events, postulates, and outcomes for which we should be aware.

THE SIGNS IN COMMON

  1. Wars and Rumors of War
  2. Earthquakes in Numerous Places
  3. Famine
  4. Pestilence
  5. Hatred
  6. Pretenders/False Prophets
  7. Gospel Preached to Whole World

A study of each category in our present era is very revealing. We no longer need ask: "Where are we today in fulfillment of the end-time prophecies of Jesus?"

  1. Wars and Rumors of War

Each of the following 20 nations experienced internecine wars as recorded by the U.N. in 2019, with known fatalities of 3,295 people. Yemen, Ukraine, Turkey, Thailand, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mexico, Libya, Iran, Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Congo, Columbia, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Afghanistan. The numbers seem low, but civilian deaths are usually not counted… and some nations do no official recording. Ask for an estimate, and you usually get an estimate.

Other conflicts were added to U.N. lists in 2020: namely Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Uganda, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad. In the Middle East we are also seeing armed combat in Yemen and Oman with no way of knowing fatality statistics in these sometimes barren regions.

In total, in the past decade, we have also seen some 45 separate and deadly "religious" conflicts, according to The World Economic Forum. Led notably by highly populated countries such as Malaysia (the largest Muslim nation in the world), the Philippines, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Myanmar, some 35 countries are experiencing “significant numbers” of people killed. Though they do not attempt to keep statistics on the number of deaths, The World Economic Forum does an excellent job of tracking the individual conflicts.

WEForum claims 2016 was one of the most violent years since the end of the Cold War. While violence levels decreased slightly from another high in 2017, non-state conflicts (regional and international) continue to frustrate all attempts at global peace.

The gruesome total from records kept by the U.N. indicate armed conflicts resulting in significant numbers of deaths inflamed some 75 nations in the past decade. Other outbreaks are simmering in another 10 regions/countries yet lacking enough deaths to tip the statistical scales. For those wanting more detailed reports on this growing global cancer, we highly recommend a full study of WEForum’s online documents and of the U.N. record archives.

In light of the overwhelming reports on our planet’s current lust for slaughtering our neighbors, it seems obvious Jesus’ prophecies on the topic are occurring today in unusual number!

Conclusion: Fulfilled Prophecy

  1. Earthquakes in numerous places.

The statistics are staggering. The National Earthquake Information Center records an average of 20,000 earthquakes each year (about 50 a day). This does not include the millions of mini-quakes occurring every year that are too scattered and/or too weak to be accurately recorded.

Unquestionably, the earth is seeing a ton of earthquake activity. Because of the increased sophistication and wider use of seismic measurement technology and methodologies in recent times, it is not clear as to whether or not we are seeing an increase in seismic events. In researching the possibilities, we found support for both sides of this speculative coin, leading us to say… neither position is proven to a level that we could honestly claim is ‘scientific fact.’

However: There is a growing trend that nobody refutes. Because of the increase in both human numbers and enterprise, such as dams and intricate transportation infrastructure, the cost of earthquakes in terms of human loss of lives and capital are growing astronomically.

Studies for the U.S. Geological Survey conducted by James C. Savage and Thomas L. Holtzer at Menlo Park, CA, conclude that “Earthquakes with death tolls greater than 100,000 have increased with world population and obey a non-stationary Poisson distribution with rate proportional to population.”

Studies by Statista support the U.S. Geological Survey conclusions on both increased death rates and increased wealth loss in the past century. The German-based enterprise Statista can be assessed on-line for anyone wanting to see specific charts, graphs or other supporting data on the topic of growing human loss worldwide via earthquakes.

Conclusion: Fulfilled Prophecy

  1. Famine.

After nearly a decade of progress, the number of people suffering from hunger has slowly increased over the past three years, with about one in every nine people globally suffering from hunger today, according to a United Nations report released in late 2019.  An estimated 820 million people do not have enough to eat, up from 811 million last year – third year in a row that the number has increased.

This gruesome statistic somewhat softens the hard fact that children suffer the most from this world-class malady simply because they are most vulnerable to the depredations of those older and larger than themselves. We see no need to dwell further on this very unhappy, obvious topic.

Conclusion: Fulfilled Prophecy

  1. Pestilence

Ironically, this writer had already formed the basic outline for this prophecy report before the current ‘Corona Flu’ epic made headlines in world newspapers. We probably don’t need to cover the topic further, but a few of the statistics we unearthed are interesting.

A pandemic is an outbreak of global proportions. It happens when a bacterium or mutated virus becomes capable of spreading rapidly. It causes serious illness and can spread easily from one person to the next. The Spanish flu pandemic, from 1918 to 1920, is estimated to have claimed between 50-100 million lives. It is considered the worst in history. The Black Death claimed the lives of over 75 million people in the 14th Century.

Other outbreaks of significant import include:

HIV/AIDS PANDEMIC   

Death Toll: 34 million  

HONG KONG FLU PANDEMIC (1968)

Death Toll: 1 million                     

ASIAN FLU (1956-1958)                                            

Death Toll: 2 million                               

So, we see that pestilence can kill millions with very little warning. And such diseases as HIV, Ebola, dengue, malaria and cholera are also killing their millions even at this moment. In totality, we can securely state that this prophecy of Jesus is being fulfilled even as we read these words.

Conclusion: Fulfilled Prophecy

  1. Hatred

In talking of this vile human tendency I believe Jesus was referring only to the fact we are hated for the same reasons He was hated. God’s standards of morality and behavior are absolute. The unsaved world prefers that these issues be addressed as situational.

Society says murder is unacceptable, but killing babies in the womb is okay. The Bible is clear and consistent in its messaging. Murder is unacceptable. Abortion is unacceptable. Sexual sin and destructive habits are unacceptable. Societies may waver and forsake long-standing values, God and the Bible do not.

We’re quickly reaching the point where the entire world mimics Sodom and Gomorrah (the practice of sodomy deriving its name from that latter city… the wickedness to which Jesus referred in Matt. 24:13). Indeed, we are now at that point!

Conclusion: Fulfilled Prophecy

  1. Pretenders/False Prophets

Few people fathom the enormous presence of false beliefs and metaphysical practices embedding our ‘modern’ world. Watchman Fellowship built a reference index listing over 1,200 distinct non-Christian belief systems. Many of the teachings from these groups are diametrically opposed to each other. This facilitates confusion and chaos.

In the book, Loving God’s Way!, Gary De Lashmutt and co-author Dennis McCallum list over 40 distinct cults and sects within Christianity itself. Given the prevalence and near-endless range of belief systems swirling about the world…what are young seekers to believe? To many, it must seem a hopeless riddle, leaving them with sensualism and pursuit of personal purpose (humanism?) as the ‘natural’ response… simply living life as a feel-good matter of ‘anything goes.’

Conclusion: Fulfilled Prophecy

  1. Gospel Preached to Whole World

Christian television networks have played a major part in helping to ensure that the entire world is being reached with Christianity’s message via radio (including short wave), television towers, satellites and mobile recording and playing devices. The last decade has seen a rapid growth of Christian broadcast networks throughout the world.

What more is left to do in terms of carrying the Word to a waiting world? True, pockets of people, such as the Tarahumara (Raramuri) of the Sierra Madres, Mexico, have not yet heard the gospel. But, in all such cases, these groups have been identified and efforts are underway to bring them into Truth.

Jesus did not say everyone will be reached. He said The Gospel would be a testimony to all nations. If there are nations that legally reject the gospel (Muslim, Eastern Mysticism, etc.) and fail to expose their populace to the Christian belief system, that is on them, not on Jesus. God has been quoted as saying it is not His will that any should perish. That is far different than saying none will perish. A hard truth.

Conclusion: Soon Fulfilled Prophecy

I see the minute hand ticking very near the High Noon deadline on God’s Pre-Ordained Clock of World Forebearance Time. Do we have but seconds remaining?  Considering all of the above… what say you?

 

Ron Dee Mallett is a retired newsman and former corporate communications director for several multinational corporations. After ‘retirement’, he worked seven years in full-time directorship of jail and prison ministries, and co-founded a Mexico outreach named Shine On Mexico.

 

 

 

 

 

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