We are continuing our daily meditations on what Jesus taught concerning the signs leading up to the Second Coming of Christ, found in Luke, chapter twenty-one. The first sign He spoke about is a period of great deception, a time that this writer feels that we are in right now. Secondly, Jesus warned us of false religious people who will make claims that they are the Messiah or Christ. We must not be deceived! Even though there will be those seeking to deceive us into following them, Jesus told us that this is just an early sign along with wars and tumults:
9And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.” 10Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom (Luke 21:9-10).
Deception, false leaders, wars, and revolutions are all early warning signs. Jesus warned us that nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom (v. 10). The statistics for those who died in the First World War is 31,508,200. For the Second World War, those who died amounted to 52,199,262. Over eighty-three million people died from just those two world wars in the Twentieth Century, that’s without the many other wars fought by various nations against one another. In our lifetime, leaders of nations have more efficient ways of reducing the population explosion of a billion people every nine years (Now at 7.4 Billion).
Revelation 6:5-8 says that at the opening of the third seal there will be many who die due to famines and plagues. It is this writer’s belief that we are not at the first seal yet, let alone the third. At the time of writing (March 27, 2020), there are many thousands dead due to an outbreak of a vir us. Luke 21:11 refers to famines and pestilences that cause fear, as well as fearful events and great signs from heaven. We don’t know if the vir us that’s running rampant in 2020 is the pestilence mentioned by Luke, but it could be a sign from God to wake us up to the reality that this world is not all there is, and that we are to prepare ourselves for the coming of King Jesus. The word pestilence comes from the Greek word “loymos” which means plague, a fatal epidemic disease. This writer believes that the vir us of 2020 is allowed by God to shake us and get our attention.
Matthew adds a few words more about the signs that should wake us out of spiritual slumber. He writes of Jesus saying that the signs of the times mentioned are the beginning of birth contractions: 7“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains” (Matthew 24:7-8).
What do you think the Lord is referring to by using the analogy of a woman in birth pains? (v. 8). When a pregnant woman begins the birthing process, the pain is not severe, and the birth contractions are several minutes apart. The closer she gets to the birth of the child, however, the more frequent the contractions are, with the level of pain much more significant. In using this analogy, Jesus was saying that the closer the world gets to the end of the age, the more frequent and traumatic will be the wars, revolutions, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes. Just as the contractions of a woman get more painful, so will be the level of pain, anguish, sickness, and death as we get closer to the coming of the Lord. Matthew records Jesus as saying,
If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened (Matthew 24:22).
It will be cut short by the appearance of our Lord Jesus. He will come for the elect, those who belong to Him. What does all this mean for you and me? It is time to make sure that we have a relationship with Christ so that, when He comes, we will not be ashamed at His coming. We are living in awesome days, but we need not be afraid. We should look forward to the time when Christ returns. Confidence and peace fill all who are in Christ and understand that He holds all world events and each of our lives in His hands. In light of this, we do not need to hold tightly to the things of this world. God is in control, and we need to remind ourselves of this fact. Keith Thomas
 Statistics taken from the BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A2854730