God’s Word Is Alive
Could the World’s End Be Near?
SHORTLY before Jesus’ death, four of his apostles asked him: “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3, Authorized Version) Ever since, Christians have been interested in this subject. Of course, the expression “end of the world” does not mean the end of the earth. Rather, it refers to “the conclusion of the system of things,” as modern Bible translations show.
In answer to their request for a sign, Jesus gave them one. He did not give just one event, such as wars, as “the sign.” He told of many different happenings and situations. All these things that were foretold would take place during the time that Bible writers called the “last days.” (2 Timothy 3:1; 2 Peter 3:3, 4) As you examine these things that Jesus foretold, note how they have been undergoing fulfillment in the lifetime of persons now living.
“NATION WILL RISE AGAINST NATION AND KINGDOM AGAINST KINGDOM.”—Matthew 24:7.
World War I, fought from 1914 to 1918, was much greater than all the major wars put together during the 2,400 years before 1914. Yet only 21 years after that war ended, World War II began. And it was four times as destructive as World War I. Since World War II ended in 1945, more than 25 million persons have been killed in some 150 other wars fought around the globe.
“THERE WILL BE FOOD SHORTAGES . . . IN ONE PLACE AFTER ANOTHER.”—Matthew 24:7.
Following World War I came the greatest famine in all history. But the shortage of food was even greater after World War II. A fourth of the world was then starving. Millions still die of starvation—some 50 million a year! Even in places where food is plentiful, many are too poor to buy it.
“IN ONE PLACE AFTER ANOTHER PESTILENCES.”—Luke 21:11.
Right after World War I more people died of the Spanish flu than had died of any disease epidemic in the history of mankind. The death toll was some 21 million people! Yet pestilence and disease continue to rage. Millions die each year from heart trouble and cancer. Venereal disease is spreading rapidly. Other terrible diseases occur in country after country.
“THERE WILL BE . . . EARTHQUAKES IN ONE PLACE AFTER ANOTHER.”—Matthew 24:7.
From 1914 until now, there have been many more major earthquakes than in any other like period in recorded history. For over 1,000 years, from the year 856 C.E. to 1914, there were only 24 major earthquakes, causing some 1,973,000 deaths. But in the 63 years from 1915 to 1978, a total of some 1,600,000 persons have died in 43 great earthquakes.
“INCREASING OF LAWLESSNESS.”—Matthew 24:12.
From all over the world come reports of increasing lawlessness and crime. Crimes of violence, such as murder, rape and muggings, are now running out of control.
“MEN BECOME FAINT OUT OF FEAR.”—Luke 21:26.
Fear is probably the biggest single emotion in people’s lives today. Not long after the exploding of the first nuclear bombs, atomic scientist Harold C. Urey said: “We will eat fear, sleep fear, live in fear and die in fear.” People fear crime, pollution, disease, inflation and many other things that threaten their security and their very lives.
Although there are many other features of this sign, those listed here should be enough to prove that we really are living in the time the Bible foretold as the “last days.” This means that shortly now God will bring an end to this wicked system of things. But those who serve God will survive to enjoy life on the cleansed earth.