What are the signs of the Second Coming and of the end of the world?
Jesus Christ’s disciples asked this question of Christ Himself, and He gave a detailed answer—many specific signs to watch for that would show when He was about to return to Earth in glory!
You can read His answer in Matthew 24. He explained that “all these things must come to pass” just before His Second Coming.
“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:32-33).
You won’t know the day or the hour of Christ’s return (verse 36), but you can know based on the signs when it is, as Moffatt translates it, “at the very door.”
This is the single most important prophetic message Christ ever delivered. It takes study to understand it. But it is one of the most exciting studies of the Bible you will ever have! Pay close attention to this truth, and you will be stunned!
I want to point you to six signs Christ gave that prove His return is at the very door—right now.
Here is the context of this prophecy: “And as he [Christ] sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world [age]?” (Matthew 24:3). Christ’s disciples heard His prophecies and believed them, but they were curious about when these prophecies would be fulfilled.
Look closely at that verse, and you notice two questions. These correspond with the last two eras of God’s Church before Christ’s return. (I explain this in my booklet Nuclear Armageddon Is ‘At the Door’; request a free copy or read it online.) “The sign of your coming” refers to Herbert W. Armstrong’s work of preaching the true gospel of God around the world—as I will show you. And the sign “of the end of the age” refers to the work of God’s Church today, which has been commissioned to prophesy again (Revelation 10:11) in this last era of the Church, the Laodicean era. (You can read Christ’s prophecy of these eras in Revelation 2-3, and learn more by studying my book Malachi’s Message to God’s Church Today. All of our literature is free.)
What was the sign of Christ’s coming? God’s Work under Mr. Armstrong. What is the sign of the end of the age? The work of the Philadelphia Church of God (pcg) today! The commissions of these two eras are both signs. But only one belongs to the six signs I will explain in this article.
Mr. Armstrong’s work was a sign to this world of Christ’s imminent return. It fulfilled Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” That work was “the sign of thy coming.” It showed that Christ’s return is near. But it is not a sign that this epic event is “at the door”!
Compare verse 3 with verse 14. Both refer to “the end,” but the Greek words are different. Verse 3 relates to the end of the age of man’s rule over man and Christ establishing God’s government over the Earth. Commentaries tell us that the context must reveal which “end” is being discussed in verse 14. The context shows it is the “end” of the period during which the gospel of the Kingdom of God was preached around the world as the Church’s primary commission. This “end” took place when Mr. Armstrong died in 1986.
The gospel being preached around the world was “the sign of thy coming”—but not a sign “of the end of the world” and of Christ’s coming being at the door!
With that important distinction in mind, here are six signs that Christ’s coming is now at the very door.
1. Ninety-five percent of God’s own people have rebelled
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:4-5). This was Christ’s primary warning to His disciples! He foretold that just before His Second Coming, many false religious teachers would preach a message about Christ the man instead of focusing on the message He taught while on Earth.
There are many “Christian” churches that preach about Christ and ignore His message. But Christ was warning His very disciples, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” He is warning of a deception that would affect even His own disciples! That is how deceptive Satan the devil is.
Christ backed up this warning a few verses down: “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity [lawlessness] shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (verses 11-13). “Love” here is translated from the Greek word agape, which is the very love of God. This can only be referring to God’s own people—those who have been begotten with the Holy Spirit, which alone gives us that love (Romans 5:5). But these saints lost their first love: They no longer love God or His message! They don’t hunger and thirst after righteousness as they did at the start of their calling to the truth.
Christ warned that “the love of many shall wax cold”—or as the Greek reads, the majority! After Mr. Armstrong died, 95 percent of God’s Church fell away! This was a shocking event—likely the greatest falling away from God in human history!
How could this happen? Because they descended into lawlessness.
Mr. Armstrong gave everything he had to preach the true gospel message around the world in dozens of nations and in front of hundreds of national leaders. At the same time, a “synagogue of Satan” within the Church fought against his work in secret (Revelation 3:9). When Mr. Armstrong died, they took over the Church and it became the Laodicean era (verses 14-22). God says He will spew these rebels out of His mouth (verse 16).
Matthew 24:12 is about rampant lawlessness. Moral and spiritual decay will abound. The whole world is infected, and God’s people have been swept up in it. Mr. Armstrong warned that such degeneration is more dangerous than the nuclear bomb!
2. Nuclear weapons threaten to destroy all humanity
Still, many prophecies actually speak of nuclear bombs wreaking untold destruction—including Christ’s prophecy in Matthew 24: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (verses 21-22). This is the crisis of all crises! God is trying to get our attention.
What else besides nuclear weapons could wipe out all life on the planet?
There are more than enough such weapons on Earth to accomplish that, and they are in the hands of some very unstable people. North Korea likes to play deadly games with America. Its bizarre, extreme leader possesses nuclear warheads capable of reaching American cities, and at times he has shown an eagerness for war! Pakistan and India possess nuclear weapons, as do Russia and China, Brazil and other countries. Europe has the ability to use atomic bombs that America has stored on the Continent.
Do we really believe mankind is going to avoid any of these weapons being used? Isn’t it folly to think anybody could solve these problems except God Himself?
3. Society today is ‘as in the days of Noah’
Christ continued: “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37-39).
Noah spent 100 years building an ark and warning that God would send a great flood, which would drown the entire world. People taunted and scorned him and continued to rebel against God. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). Imagine people being so wretched as to think about evil all day long. The human mind of itself is incapable of conceiving anything righteous.
Christ said society would be the same way today. God is showing His love by trying to save mankind from their nuclear bombs, but they won’t listen! You can give them all the facts, information and proof they could possibly need, and they will still ridicule you for telling the truth. All who refuse to heed God’s warning will pay a heavy price.
We cannot save ourselves. It is already virtually guaranteed that nations as a whole will not listen to God. But God says to you individually, Even if your nation won’t obey me, you can choose to do so and be protected from the coming punishment. Just heed and obey God!
4. Only one of God’s churches is protected
Christ said, “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left” (Matthew 24:40-41). In the Bible, a woman symbolizes a church. This passage is about two churches grinding, or doing a work, but one is lukewarm and materialistic, putting physical riches ahead of God, His Family and His Kingdom. God says that only the one that is faithful to Him “shall be taken” and protected.
God has not and will not protect the 95 percent of His Church who have become rebels. They will be left behind when God’s loyal remnant is taken to a place of safety. This truth ought to sober us!
This is true during the coming Great Tribulation—but it also applies in the years leading up to it. God says He will protect, not only during the Tribulation, but even up until that time. What a wonderful blessing from God!
Why will they be protected? “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing” (verse 46). The faithful Church receives God’s protection because they are found doing His work. They remain vigilant, watching and praying about the fulfillment of Bible prophecy in end-time events (Luke 21:36).
This is definitely a time that demands spiritual vigilance. What a horrible time to fall asleep spiritually!
5. God is preparing His loyal people to rule at Christ’s Second Coming
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods” (Matthew 24:45-47). God will bless the tiny few who do His work before the return of Jesus Christ.
What does God mean by “ruler over all his goods”? Many other scriptures show the meaning: They will rule the universe!
Here is a promise God makes to those who remain faithful to Him during the Laodicean rebellion: “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name” (Revelation 3:12). Those who follow God today will not only become spirit-born sons of God, they will also marry Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:7) and rule at universe headquarters for all eternity at the highest level of God’s government! What mighty blessings for obedience!
6. The Laodicean rebels have lost the God Family vision
“But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:48-51).
The Laodiceans have lost the faith and patience to wait for Christ’s return and prepare for it. They had God’s power; they understood His truth, but they couldn’t wait. He didn’t come when they thought He should, so they turned from God and compromised with this evil world.
How important it is to wait on God! Look at the punishment that awaits for this treachery! A horrible time is coming, a time of “weeping and gnashing of teeth”! And God is going to allow these people of His to go right through the middle of that nuclear tribulation.
God puts them through that crucible in an effort to turn them back to Himself! Many other prophecies show that when they experience that worst of all trials, half of them will repent.
This is dangerous knowledge: Once God reveals it to us, He holds us accountable. But it is the most wonderful knowledge you could ever hear!
Christ gave these signs to put us on high alert for when He would return. He wants us to be watching and preparing! He wants us to be ready. We must listen and heed. The Second Coming is so close. The fulfillment of these six signs show that it is at the door.
Heed Christ’s warning, and obey Him. Learn to think like Him today, and you will sit on His throne with Him forever! There could be no greater reward!