Articles


The last days of this world

 

  1 The scriptures use the term “last days” in reference to the period leading to the execution of God's Judgment. Thus, the ancient world lived its last days while Noah built the ark, and then perished by the sentence of God when the earth was swept away by the Flood, and also the old Jewish world with its worship focused in the temple of Jerusalem, lived its last days after the execution of the Messiah, in a period that culminated in 70 AD with its total destruction.

  Speaking of the events that brought an end to these periods, the apostle Peter says that they were foreshadowing what on a global scale will happen when by the sentence of God, all nations will face his verdict. He tells the disciples: “In the last days there will be scoffers who will say... mockingly: «Where is his promised presence? For from the time that our ancestors died, everything remains as at the beginning of creation». But these forget voluntarily that by the Word of God, in ancient times were made the skies and the earth that emerged from the water and was surrounded by water, and that by command of the same Word, this world suffered destruction by the waters of the Flood”. And that “by this same Word, the present heavens and earth are reserved to fire and preserved for the Day of Judgment and of destruction of the impious” (2Peter 3:4..7)

 

  2 Through Scripture, God revealed men the ultimate fulfillment of his purpose for the Earth, a purpose that all his prophets mentioned. In the Proverbs of Solomon we read: “The righteous will inhabit the earth and the upright shall remain in it, but the wicked shall be cut off from the Earth and the unfaithful will be uprooted”. (Proverbs 2:21..22) And also David writes: “Yahuh respects his own verdicts and does not forget his saints, they will be safeguarded forever, but the offspring of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the earth and dwell therein forever... put your hope in Yahuh and keep his way, he will raise you up for the heritage of the Earth and you will see the extermination of the impious”. (Psalm 37:28..29 and 34)

  Giving authority to their words, Jesus said: “Happy are those of gentle spirit, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5), and also: “Do not fear those who can kill the body but cannot kill life, rather fear him that can destroy life and body in Gehenna”. (Matthew 10:28) And he said of those who strive to understand God's purpose and ask for the help of his spirit: “Blessed are those who beg for the spirit, because the kingdom of heaven is constituted by them”. (Matthew 5:3)

 

  3 Speaking of the “Day of Wrath”, Paul says that when “the rightful judgment of God is manifested… and he rewards each one according to his works”, there will be “eternal life for those who with their perseverance in what is good, seek glory, honor and incorruption, but anger and outrage for the stubborn that driven by prejudice, refuse to believe what is true”, because “in that time there will be tribulation and distress for anyone who practices evil, first for the Jew and then for the Greek, but there will be glory, honor and peace for all those who practice good things”. (Romans 2:5..10)

  And also Peter warned: “The Day of Yahuh shall come like a thief, then the heavens will pass away with a roar, the elements, intensely hot, will be dissolved and the earth with everything in it, shall be consumed. And since all these things must be dissolved, live a pure and spiritual life, while you are expecting and accelerating the coming of the Day of Yahuh, in which the heavens will be dissolved and the elements, intensely hot will melt away. For according to his promise, we are expecting New Heavens and a New Earth, which will house justice”. (2 Peter 3:10..13)

 

How do we know that these are the last days of this corrupt world?

 

  4 Since ancient times the prophets spoke of this important period and Jesus pointed out some events that would precede it; those events were recorded by the apostles and disciples in chapters 24 and 25 of Matthew, in chapter 13 of Mark and in chapter 21 of Luke, but also in 2Timothy 3; in 2Peter 3 and in Revelation 6:1..8.

  The “signs” that Jesus gave his disciples are a set of events that will be manifested and noticed throughout the world. John writes down “the Revelation that Jesus Christ received from God to show to his servants the things which will occur in rapid succession”. (Revelation 1:1) And this means that all of them must happen in a definite and same period (Prophecy of Daniel).

  For this reason Jesus warns those who at that time will be his disciples: “Learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branches are tender and put forth leaves, you know that the summer is near; so you also, when you see all this, understand that He is near, at the door. I tell you that this generation will not pass away until all these things happen”. (Matthew 24:32..34)

  Now, these are in the words of Jesus about the outstanding features of this period:

 

  5 In that time “nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom”. (Matthew 24:7) Throughout history, wars have ravaged the Earth. From the beginning of civilization until the days of Jesus there were countless conflicts between nations in order to conquer land, or simply because of intrigue and lust for power. Therefore, when Jesus spoke of the period that would elapse from the moment of his execution until the days before his return, said for his disciples of all times: “you will also hear about wars and reports of wars; but do not be troubled because this will inevitably happen but it is not still the end”. (Matthew 24:6)

  When Jesus spoke of the conflicts that would forewarn the last days and he said: “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom”, he did not speak of the conventional wars between countries but of another kind of conflict, because his words may also mean: “nation will rise against itself and kingdom will rise against itself”. A parallel prophecy revealed to John shows the exact meaning of his words. It speaks of a rider that comes out to fulfill a specific mission; he writes: “There was another horse of a fiery red. To its rider was given a large sword and the power to take peace from the earth so that men should kill each other”. (Revelation 6:4)

  In addition to the wars, does not terrorism, rebellion and all kind of violent groups, undermine the peace of the nations with threat and death? It can actually be said that “nation rises against nation and kingdom against kingdom”, or that the growing threat suppresses the peace worldwide.

 

  6Starvation in one place after another” (Matthew 24:7)

  The FAO report about starvation in the period 1998-2000, showed that about 25 000 people die every day from hunger, plus 6 million children under the age of 5 per year. This was in 2000, but what now? It is estimated that there are in the world around one billion of undernourished people. The Secretariat of the campaign: “MORE AND BETTER” says: “the world has the resources and the technical knowledge needed to eradicate hunger and poverty. It is unacceptable that 40,000 people die every day from hunger... and 1,300 million live in extreme poverty”. This is also a worldwide fact because despite the help of science, food production has not kept pace with the increase of population.

  In keeping with this, we read: “a voice said: «One measure of wheat for a denarius and three measures of barley for a denarius»”. (Revelation 6:6) These words indicate that at the time described by prophecy, a small amount of basic foods such as wheat and barley would be sold for the equivalent of a daily wage, which in the days of Jesus was one denarius.

 

  7a succession of natural disasters in different places” (Matthew 24:7)

  Many versions translate the Greek word “seismos” as “earthquakes”, and yet this reduces the real meaning of the word, which describes any kind of natural disasters. The same writers admit this fact when in another verse, translate it as follows: “And behold, a great storm (seismos) rose on the sea, so that the boat was covered by the waves”. (Matthew 8:24) In Greek: “kai idou seismos megas egeneto en têi thalassêi, hôste to ploion kaluptesthai hupo tôn kumatôn”.

  Even if we are aware of the major natural disasters from past times, facts are that nowadays people are aware of the natural disasters that happen worldwide in one place after another and with such a frequency, that have virtually ceased to be news. Daniel Sarewitz, Professor of Science and Society in Arizona State University, declared: “The world has witnessed a marked increase of these “natural disasters”, from 100 per year in the sixties to 500 a year in the earlier 2000.

  And Omar Dario Cardona, Professor at the Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá) and Director of the “Centre for Disaster Studies”, in answer to the question of whether immediate natural disasters were expected, said to the BBC: “We expect that natural phenomena causing disasters will not only increase in severity, but also in frequency”.

 

  8Plagues in different places” (Luke 21:11)

  There is no need to speak of the diseases that mankind has to fight despite the advances of medical science. Today the world is aware of the large quantity of people that suffer from heart disease and tumor, malaria, dengue and several old and new infections, which cause countless deaths everywhere.

  The book of Revelation describes the situation as John writes: “And I looked and saw a pale horse. Its rider's name was “Death” and the “Hades” (the grave) followed him closely. And they were given authority over the fourth part of the earth, to bring death by the sword (the war), and by famine, and by mortality (plague) and by the wild beasts of the earth”. (Revelation 6:8) The nations are allegorically represented in Scripture as different beasts, just as the war is represented by the sword, but those who in this prophecy are called “wild beasts”, are the crowds or the factions causing riots, all sorts of disorder and death, because these things are powers in opposition to the established power. And it may truly be said that this kind of behavior is increasing.

 

  9Many false prophets will arise and will deceive many”. (Matthew 24:11)

  The published statements about the future of our planet produce insecurity and confusion. Science avoids carefully any mention of God, despite the perfect order in our universe and the evidence given by nature about the intended design and purpose of all existing things. Besides, Christianity is divided into hundreds of sects, and there are in the world all kinds of spiritual leaders.

  Those considered teachers within Christianity, accepted and teach a different “good new” from that taught by Jesus and his apostles. (2Corinthians 11:4) A vast majority have long since abandoned hope in the return of Christ and in the establishment of the God’s Kingdom on Earth, even though these fundamental events are repeated across the entire Scripture and imply the fulfillment of the promises of God.

  Jesus taught his disciples to ask for God’s Kingdom on the Earth and in the Heavens (Matthew 6:10), and also spoke to them of his return and the time which would precede it, saying: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, the moon shall not give her light, the stars will fall from the sky and the powers of heaven shall be shaken. Then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. He will send his angels with a trumpet sound, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other... Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away”. (Matthew 24:29..32, 35)

  However, these words are meaningless for millions who claim to believe in him.

 

  10 Many are the pastors from the more than fifteen hundred different Christian churches, who make ​​in the name of God a great business on others devotion.

  Some have predicted several times the world's end date, announcing the arrival of an “Armageddon” which cannot arrive anywhere, because Har Mageddon is the Hebrew name of a mountain: Mount Megiddo, a strategically located height, which was the scene of many battles and where some fortifications were built in old times, to guard the transit on the Via Maris, the road connecting the ancient Egypt with Mesopotamia.

  Some say that Christ reigns on earth since for almost one hundred years, arguing that his “presence is invisible”. Probably Jesus meant something like this when he warned his followers: “If anyone tells you then: «Look, here is the Christ» or «He is there», do not believe it. For false anointed and false prophets shall produce great signs and wonders to deceive if possible, even the elect. Behold that I have foretold it to you! So if they tell you: «He is in the desert» (an invisible presence), do not go out; «He is in the inner rooms» (an invisible presence), do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines unto the west, so shall also be the coming of the Son of Man”. (Matthew 24:23..27)

 

  11 Time before speaking to the disciples about his return, Jesus had already warned: “Beware of false prophets which come to you disguised as sheep but are inside ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them... Not everyone who says to me «Lord, Lord» will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my heavenly Father. Many will say to me that day: «Lord, Lord did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drove out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?» And then I will declare to them: «I never knew you! Depart from me, you that practice lawlessness»”. (Matthew 7:15..23) And he also said: “That day and hour nobody knows; neither the angels of heaven nor the Son, only the Father. The coming of the Son of Man will be like the days of Noah; and as in the days before the flood, they ate and drank and took wife or husband, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they did not be aware of anything until the flood came and took all them away, so shall also be the coming of the Son of man”. (Matthew 24:36..39)

 

  12The constant growth of iniquity will cool the love of a great part” of the people. (Matthew 24:12)

  Delinquency and criminality have always existed, but what is obvious when considering worldwide delinquency, is that crime and illegality increase and grow very rapidly and that its growth is real, not only due to the fact that we have today more information than in the past, for the crimes that come to our knowledge only reflect a small percentage of reality.

  Furthermore, the intention of establishing a subjective legality to suit different ethical standards, cancels the balance that the obedience to the basic moral laws represents, causing a decreased sense of personal responsibility and an impoverishment of human relationships. Lies, infidelity and immorality in general, become common and excusable, as does the removal of anything considered annoying or inconvenient. This is one of the reasons behind the elimination of tens of millions lives every year through the practice of abortions.

  That is the kind of iniquity which may be associated with the prophecy recorded in Matthew 24:12 and with the cooling of love in people's heart, for it promotes selfishness and the inclination to ignore anything that does not personally affect each one of us.

 

  13 Does the actual situation of the world point out that we are living its last days? Some may say that the world has always been this way, however, the great growth of humanity has exponentially increased these things and people are now aware of having the same problems throughout the world.

  For most of people, all this may have no meaning, but Christians should remember that Jesus warned: “In the days before the flood”, the people “did not notice anything until the flood came and swept them all” and said, “so shall be the coming of the Son of man”. (Matthew 24:38..39)

  Those who put faith in the Scriptures based on divine revelation, know that the prophecies were fulfilled at the appointed time, as Daniel’s prophecy about the time of the coming of the Messiah, and must show understanding and confidence in the promises of God, being conscious about this warning: “of that day and hour nobody knows, not the angels of heaven nor the Son, only the Father”. (Matthew 24:36)

  We do not know the day God has reserved to exercise his justice nor the moment of Jesus arrival, but we know that Jesus said for who would then be expecting him: “When you see all this, understand that He is near, at the door” (Matthew 24:33 and Luke 21:31) They would see the signs and understand the nearness of the things to happen from that moment on, which Jesus described saying: “then there will be a great tribulation, such as never has been since the beginning of the world until this time nor will ever be again; if these days were not shortened, none would survive, but for the elect's sake, those days will be reduced”. (Matthew 24:21..22)

 

  14 Will there be life on Earth after the foretold tribulation?

  The end of today's world will not be the result of an indiscriminate killing in a nuclear war; it will be caused by the great tribulation, which will include what the Scriptures call “the war of the great Day of the Almighty God” (Revelation 16:14 and 16), a war that will not destroy the Earth itself or cause the disappearance of all mankind, because as Scripture says, Yahuh, “the God who formed the earth, did not created and found it to be empty, he made it to be inhabited”. (Isaiah 45:18)

  Scripture says that on that day, all princes of the heavens will bow before God and bestowing him homage, will say: “We thank you, Yahuh, the God Almighty that is and was, because you have established your kingdom making use of your great power. The nations were angry, but your indignation arrived, and the time to judge the dead and to reward your servants the prophets and the saints, and the humble or powerful that prove respect for your name, and the time to destroy those who are destroying the Earth”. (Revelation 11:16..18)

  From then and forever, “The Temple of God” will be “with humanity. He will dwell with them; they will be his people and God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes and there will be no death, no mourning, no crying and no pain, because the former things passed away”. (Revelation 21:3..4)

  Meanwhile, those who put faith in the words of Jesus must remain vigilant, for he says: “Behold! I will arrive without delay. Blessed is he who considers the words of the prophecy of this book”. (Revelation 22:7) And declares: “I Jesus have sent my angel to show these things to the congregations; I am the root of David, the shining star of the morning. The Spirit and the Bride say: «Come»; he who listens, repeat: «Come» Whoever is thirsty, come. Anyone who desires it, take freely the water of life”. (Revelation 22:16..17)