Are We Living in the Last Days?
The Philadelphia Trumpet, in conjunction with the Herbert W. Armstrong College Bible Correspondence Course, presents this brief excursion into the fascinating study of the Bible. Simply turn to and read in your Bible each verse given in answer to the questions. You will be amazed at the new understanding gained from this short study!
World leaders and scientists are frankly frightened by the prospects of the future. They warn that man now possesses the means of committing cosmocide—suicide of the whole human race—and even talk in terms of “overkill.” They realize something totally unforeseen must soon occur to stop the present trend of world events—or humanity will finally destroy itself!
Today, there is mounting speculation that terrorists have obtained weapons of mass destruction (wmd). Sam Nunn, co-chairman and chief executive officer of the Nuclear Threat Initiative and former U.S. senator, after visiting Russia in 2002 said, “It would be a miracle if nuclear materials had not been smuggled out of Russia to rogue nations and terrorist groups willing to pay top dollar to satisfy their wmd ambitions.” According to Nunn, less than half the material for making nuclear bombs that Russia inherited from the collapse of the Soviet Union was adequately protected.
Many other renowned statesmen and analysts speak fearfully of the end of the world—the END of human civilization!
Prophesied Centuries Ago
The sad state of our world was prophesied and written in advance. About 2,000 years ago, the greatest “newscaster” the world has ever known foretold today’s chaotic world conditions! He foresaw today’s scientific discoveries and technological advancements, and the outcome of it all.
This famous newscaster knew that men would produce the destructive forces that now threaten cosmocide! He warned: “For that will be a time of greater horror than anything the world has ever seen or will ever see again. In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, the entire human race will be destroyed” (Matthew 24:21-22; New Living Translation).
This great newscaster was Jesus Christ of Nazareth—the same Jesus who is coming again to intervene at the last moment to save humanity from extinction. What He prophesied has been written in your Bible all these centuries. No other book is as up to date as your Bible!
Jesus Christ prophesied today’s world conditions in vivid language. He foretold the wars, famines, disease epidemics and natural disasters that are now occurring increasingly before our very eyes! Scientists and world leaders—most of whom know little of Bible prophecy, and even reject the Bible—readily admit that events He prophesied are taking place right now!
The Last Days
“But,” some will object, “there have always been ‘prophets of doom.’” Skeptics have long scoffed at Bible prophecy. The Apostle Peter warned they would be especially active “in the last days”
(2 Peter 3:3-4). Yet how can we know for sure if we have crossed the threshold into the time of the end—the time shortly preceding the prophesied return of Jesus Christ? There is one statement in the Bible that is especially beyond refutation.
1. Did Jesus’s disciples ask Him about His Second Coming and “the end of the age”? Matthew 24:3, New King James Version. At what specific point in time did Christ declare He would have to intervene and return to Earth? Verse 22.
comment: We need to understand the full import of this shocking scripture! The Moffatt translation reads: “Had not those days been cut short, not a soul would be saved alive.” The Phillips translation states: “Yes, if those days had not been cut short no human being would survive.” The New Living Translation renders it this way: “In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, the entire human race will be destroyed.”
Let the gravity of those words sink in. If Jesus Christ does not return to this Earth, the time is soon coming when every last man, woman and child on this planet will be exterminated. Here is man’s number-one problem today—the threat of human extinction—predicted almost 2,000 years ago!
This is an irrefutable sign that we are in “the last days.” Never before has man had the capability to destroy every human being on Earth! Christ’s words could never have begun to be understood in correct context until the 20th century when the atomic bomb, followed by the hydrogen bomb and other weapons of mass destruction, was invented. In fact, the meaning of many other end-time prophecies could not be understood until the end time.
A Sign of Christ’s Coming
1. While sitting on the Mount of Olives, Christ’s disciples questioned Him about His Second Coming (Matthew 24:3). Did Jesus foretell that many deceivers would arise to deceive many people before His return? Verses 4-5, 11, 24. Are they the ministers of the archdeceiver himself? 2 Corinthians 11:13-15. Is the whole world deceived as a result of their activities? Revelation 12:9.
2. What else did Jesus say would occur in the end time? Matthew 24:6-7.
comment: The 20th century was the bloodiest in human history. World War i commenced in 1914 and claimed 8.5 million lives. Then World War ii resulted in 55 million deaths. Moreover, according to author and professor of political science R. J. Rummel, totalitarian governments slaughtered 170 million people for ethnic, racial, tribal, religious or political reasons. Nation has continued to rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. Just since World War ii alone, there have been over 225 armed conflicts in 148 countries!
3. Is famine one of the major signs indicating that Christ’s intervention in world affairs is near? Matthew 24:7.
comment: About 5 billion people live in the developing world, and at the turn of the century, almost 800 million of them were undernourished. Today, multiple millions die of starvation each year. Others are severely stunted. Yet many experts believe the worst is yet to come.
4. What else was prophesied to occur? Matthew 24:7.
comment: Primarily a consequence of fornication and adultery, aids has become one of the deadliest diseases of these last days. According to unaids/who estimates, it has claimed 25 million lives, and each year is adding about 2 million to that total. Those infected with hiv/aids number about 33 million, and another 2.5 million are newly infected each year. The disease has plagued Africa most of all, but it is rapidly spreading in the rest of the world.
Pestilence is also partly the natural result of food shortages and consequent malnutrition, which breaks down the body’s natural defenses. In addition, huge concentrations of population are ready-made tinder boxes of potential disease epidemics. More and more crowding means more waste and refuse, more garbage, more pollution of the water, air and land—and more disease! Under crowded conditions, an epidemic can spread from person to person like wildfire. All the great pestilences of the past were just such contagious diseases.
Remember also that modern man already lives in an environment of poisons. He inhales dangerously polluted air, drinks contaminated water, and eats pesticide-laden foods. The inevitable result is that the heart, lungs and the entire body in general are weakened, thus lowering resistance to disease, which nearly always strikes the weakest first!
5. What else will happen with increasing severity? Matthew 24:7. When earthquake activity reaches a peak, will men at last begin to recognize that God is intervening? Isaiah 2:19-21.
comment: Whenever catastrophic natural disasters strike, it seems to drive some to contemplate God. In the case of the cyclone that hit Myanmar and earthquake that struck China in May, killing around 200,000, many people were forced to reevaluate their shallow, self-made concepts of a “loving” God. As such disasters intensify, people will increasingly come to recognize the hand of the great God of judgment.
6. Are the signs Jesus foretold only the beginning of sorrows? Matthew 24:8. If this prophesied time of world trouble were allowed to continue, would there be anyone left alive? Verses 21-22.
comment: Famine, disease, pestilence, earthquakes and other disruptions of nature are taking an increasing toll in human life today. World leaders everywhere are afraid that man’s destructive capability will annihilate all life on Earth!
When we take a hard, cold, realistic look at present world conditions and trends, they do point to a fast-approaching world crisis of war, starvation, uncontrollable disease epidemics, and the extinction of human life on this planet!
Some analysts look at this terrifying world picture and admit they are frightened! They warn us that man’s only hope lies in the formation of a super world government wielding all authority and power over the nations.
But the nations, hostile to one another, could never form such a government.
Let’s face it! Either there does exist a living GOD of supreme mind and total power who very soon will step in and intervene in the affairs of this world to save humanity from itself—or else the extinction of all life will inevitably occur as man unleashes the awesome forces at his control upon his neighbor!
There Is Hope!
1. Will Jesus Christ return with great power and glory? Matthew 24:30. Will He come to rule the entire Earth? Revelation 19:15-16.
2. Will there be warfare then as there is now among nations? Isaiah 2:4. Will people be taught the way to peace and productivity? Same verse.
comment: The very one who created man is coming to establish the government of God on Earth and to teach man the way to peace—to guide his inventive genius entirely into peaceful channels.
3. Did Micah also foretell the establishment of God’s Kingdom on Earth? Micah 4:1-4.
comment: Your Bible shows there is hope for mankind! God will not allow misguided mankind to annihilate life on Earth! He is soon going to send Jesus Christ again—this time to establish an all-powerful, world-ruling government to save us from ourselves! It will be a government ruled not by carnal men, but by the living, all-powerful Creator of the universe!