What are the signs of the end times?

Question: "What are the signs of the end times?"

Matthew 24:5-8 gives us some important clues so we can discern the approach of the end times, “For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” An increase in false messiahs, an increase in warfare, and increases in famines, plagues, and natural disasters – these items are “signs” of the end times. Even in this passage, though, we are given a warning. We are not to be deceived (Matthew 24:4), because these events are only the beginning of birth pains (Matthew 24:8), the end is still to come (Matthew 24:6).

Many interpreters point to every earthquake, every political upheaval, and every attack on Israel as a sure sign that the end times are rapidly approaching. While these events are signs that the end times are approaching, they are not necessarily indicators that the end times have arrived. The Apostle Paul warned that the last days would bring a marked increase in false teaching. “In the latter times, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1). The last days are described as “perilous times” because of the increasingly evil character of man and people who actively “resist the truth” (2 Timothy 3:1-9; see also 2 Thessalonians 2:3).

Other possible signs would include a rebuilding of a Jewish temple in Jerusalem, increased hostility towards Israel, and advances toward a one-world government. The most prominent sign of the end times, however, is the nation of Israel. In 1948, Israel was recognized as a sovereign state for the first time since 70 A.D. God promised Abraham that his posterity would have Canaan as “an everlasting possession” (Genesis 17:8), and Ezekiel prophesied a physical and spiritual resuscitation of Israel (Ezekiel 37). Having Israel as a nation in its own land is important in light of end-time prophecy, because of Israel’s prominence in eschatology (Daniel 10:14; 11:41; Revelation 11:8).

With these signs in mind, we can be wise and discerning in regards to the expectation of the end times. We should not, however, interpret any of these singular events as a clear indication of the soon arrival of the end times. God has given us enough information that we can be prepared, but not enough information that we can become arrogant.

Recommended Resource: Understanding End Times Prophecy by Paul Benware.

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What are the signs of the end times?