In the last lesson, we saw that before the Second Coming of Jesus, there will be an increase in disastrous events worldwide. The things that we studied in the last lesson were deception, wars and rumors of wars, national disintegration and natural disasters. In addition to the earthquakes that we mentioned in the last lesson, there will be an increase of famines resulting in starvation and death, and there will be an increase in pestilences.
Famines and Pestilences 7
Famines result from food shortages caused by war, drought and pestilence. In the last several years, countries suffering from famines have included, Somalia, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Kenya, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, etc. Currently, 11 million people are facing starvation in Africa due to famine. As wars increase, weather patterns continue to change, and pestilences rise, famines will increase.
The word pestilence comes from the Latin word “pestis” which means, “plague.” The bubonic plague for instance was a pestilence. A pestilence is any epidemic disease that is highly contagious, infectious and devastating. Though the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization endeavor to minimize pestilences and their effects, they will fail to control the diseases that will increase as we near the Lord’s return (Eze 14:19-21; Rev 11:6 (compare Ex 9:3, 6, 8-10).
Hatred for the Jews is nothing new; it has gone on for millennia. However, as we near the Lord’s return, hatred for the Jews will become worldwide, when the nations of the world will attempt to destroy them completely.
Interestingly, by cross-referencing the scriptures in Matt 10, we see what aggravates the world’s anti-Semitism. During the tribulation, the Jewish remnant will be preaching the gospel of the kingdom again. You will remember that the gospel of the kingdom is not the same as the gospel of the grace of God. The gospel of the kingdom simply states that the Jews will become the ruling world power with Jesus Christ as the king and the world dictator.
Compare verse 9 with Matt 10:22. The hatred is the same. Then notice that the second half of verse 10 is the same as Matt 24:13, in the context of our study. Enduring to the end has to do with tribulation salvation. In Matt 10:7, the gospel of the kingdom is being preached just like it is in Matt 24:14 and the context in both chapters is the Second Coming of Christ (Matt 10:23, 24:3).
The Lord uses this international intolerance for Israel to gather the nations together (even enemies become friends against a common enemy) so that he can destroy the nations and save the Jews (Zeph 3:8; Joel 3:11-17).
Offense, Betrayal, Hatred 10
Today, people are generally very easily offended. Evidently, offense because of Jesus and the words of God is even greater than ethnic offense. Indeed, Jesus will be the greatest cause of offense before his coming (Matt 11:6; 1 Pet 2:6-8; Rev 16:11). The betrayal and hatred will continue to be directed at his saints (Matt 10:21-22).
False Prophets 11
False prophets have been around as long as God’s prophets have. Moses warned the Jews about them in Deut 13:1-5. Still, they will increase as we approach the Lord’s return. Their increase and presence is typified by Ahab and Jezebel’s kingdom (1 Ki 18:17-21). They had 850 false prophets and the prophets of God were either killed or hidden for their safety (1 Ki 18:4, 13). The apostles of Jesus identified today’s false prophets as being sensual and not having the Spirit. Certainly, the false prophets of today are easy for Bible believers to spot by their sensuality.
Iniquity first entered men in Gen 3. The only difference between now and then is that in the last days “iniquity shall abound,” (2 Tim 3:1-5; Rev 9:20-21). And the love of many waxes cold. How strange considering that the universal theme of preaching today is “love.” A woman who called herself a lay preacher recently said that all of her “messages” were on love. She’s not alone.
Oddly, though, as we near the coming of the Lord, when the people say one thing, the exact opposite occurs.
When they say “love”, hatred abounds.
When they say “peace”, then sudden destruction cometh.
When they say “cures”, then pestilences thrive.
When they say “war on hunger”, people starve to death.
When they say “truth”, they are lying.
Everything in the world today is flipped (Is 5:20). And in the end, it will be the Lord who flips it for the last time (Is 24:10) just to straighten everything out.