The End Times Pt 2: Be Discerning

The End times Pt 2
Be Discerning
Devotion in Motion
Friday Meditation
Mark 13:3-8
  “And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many.” “But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet.” “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.”
Jesus begins with a question. “The disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” The sermon that follows has three points… 1: describe signs of the end times as they relate to the world. 2:the signs that directly relate to the nation Israel.3: It involves the implications of these signs for the Church. Jesus had just mentioned the destruction of Jerusalem – an event the disciples would have associated with the end of the age and the second coming of the Messiah. And they were right… Both Old Testament prophecy and Revelation tells us when Jesus returns, Jerusalem will be at war. What the disciples didn’t understand was that the city would be destroyed many times beforehand. 
Over the last 3000 years Jerusalem has been conquered 38 times. But Jesus uses the disciples’ interest in Jerusalem to answer their question about the end of the age and the signs that will precede His second coming… “And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” Toward the end of the age many false Messiahs, false Christs will come on the scene. It’s interesting that before the life of Jesus, there was a Messianic fever, a huge expectation of the Messiah, no one was rising up claiming to be Him. There were no Messianic counterfeits prior to Jesus for the same reason there is no such thing as a counterfeit $200 bill. You can’t counterfeit what never existed. The real deal has to come along before you can try and manufacture a copy. That’s why after Jesus, there were a whole succession of counterfeit Messiahs.
 In 132 AD there was a man, “Simon Bar Kochba,” a Jewish rebel who led a revolt against Rome. He promised his followers no one would be harmed. When he led them to battle, half-a-million Jews were slaughtered. Here’s a list of more modern False-Messiahs… Jim Jones, whose followers drank the poisoned kool-aid in Guyana in 1978, Sun Myung Moon, the Korean founder of the Unification Church, or Moonies. David Koresh, the Waco Whacko, died in 1993. He founded Branch Davidians. Sergei Torop, a former Russian traffic cop, has a 4000 member cult in Siberia. Benjamin Crème a nut-case who goes around the world suggesting a false-christ named “Maitreya” is alive on Earth, awaiting his Day of Declaration. Jose Luis DeJesus Miranda is a Puerto Rican who’s fooled 100,000 followers. In 1997 Marshall Applewhite, convinced 39 followers to commit suicide and hitch a ride on a supposed spaceship, trailing the Hale-Bopp comet. 
And if the true Messiah, Jesus, tarries you can be sure more will follow… “ “But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars”,  The Norwegian Academy of Sciences has concluded that over the last 3600 years of world history there’ve been 14,531 wars -and only 292 years of peace. That means over the last 3½ millenniums there’s been a war in the world 92% of the time. Think about it, in the last 3600 years of recorded history the world has had peace only 8% of the time. Look at it this way… there’s been one minute of peace for every four hours of war. Jesus said , wars and rumors of wars were going to be frequent occurrences. 
As long as man is in charge of planet Earth, his greed and selfishness will guarantee there’ll be continual conflict between nations and their citizens. James said James 4:1 “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? Its in man’s nature to take and to war for his own pleasures and desires.. Its also in his nature to kill and murder Jerimiah said Jer 17:9″ That heart is decietful above all things and desperatly wicked” Yes, as long as man is in charge there will be war. But Jesus said “do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet.”Jesus tells us that false-christs and frequent combat are going to happen. But ““For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.”” The Greek word for “sorrows” means “labor pangs.” You’ve heard of Braxton-Hicks contractions? Throughout a woman’s pregnancy she has false labor pains. They occur irregularly. They’re mild contractions. But the childbirth is signaled by an increase in the frequency and force of her contractions. False-christs and military conflicts will come – but when their frequency and intensity peaks – the end of the age – and birth of God’s Kingdom is near…
  Well just like wars will happen because of man’s fallen nature, so too we will have all of this other stuff because we are living in a fallen world. Paul said in Romans 8:28 ” And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” We live on a fallen planet – when you see it, don’t panic. It’s not the end.
 It took until the last century before the Earth saw its first world war – now we’ve seen two – and for the last 60 years we’ve been sitting on the verge of a third. More people have died in war in the last century than any other time in history. The world today is armed to the teeth. More powerful weapons are in the hands of more radical people.  I read There’re 42 armed conflicts in the world – right now… One scientist was asked what weapons will be used in World War III? He said, “I don’t know, but I know what weapons will be used in World War IV – sticks and stones – because that’s all that will be left after World War III.”  Wars are and will happen. But there are signs that alert us to when God is turning up the heat, and judgment is imminent. First is an escalation of warfare – war on a global scale.
2nd: the escalation and intensity of famines, pestilences, and earthquakes on a global scale will happen.
 Notice Jesus also mentions the rise of “famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.” Every day in the world 854 million people go to bed hungry. 16,000 kids die every day of hunger related causes – 1 child every 5 seconds. 9 Every 3.6 seconds somewhere on the planet a person starves to death. And speaking of pestilence… Every day there’re new reports of drug-resistant strains of new viruses. The CDC announced a shocking study where 1 in 4 teenage girls in America admitted to having a sexually transmitted disease. Worldwide 40 million people now live with HIV/AIDS – which results in 3 million deaths annually. There are 400 million cases of malaria – and 1 million fatalities. 
The World Summit for Children reported, “Every day in the world: 1400 kids die from whooping cough, 4000 from measles, 2150 from tetanus, 2750 from malaria, 11,000 from diarrhea, and 6000 from pneumonia.” Not to mention the World pandemic today of covid-19. Pestilence is everywhere. 
And earthquakes – In the last 30 days the world has experienced 409 quakes with a magnitude of 4.0 or greater – 13 at 6.0. There have been killer quakes such that happened in China responsible for 10,000 deaths, that was 7.8 on the Richter scale. Remember the underwater earthquake that triggered the killer tsunami in Indonesia. What do Oregon, Indiana, California, Southern England, Japan, China, Trinidad, Chile, the West Bank, Israel, Jordan, Iowa, Peru, Nevada, the Philippines, and Hawaii have in common? They’ve all been rocked by earthquakes in the last few years. According to the US Geological Survey the 1980s saw 47 significant quakes. The 1990s recorded 57 such earthquakes.
 But from January 1, 2000 until now the USGS has recorded 109 earthquakes measuring 7.0 or better on the Richter scale. There’s been an obvious increase of earthquakes in strange places. 
Perhaps this is why in the last days, we will see more and more earthquakes. God wants people to wake up and listen to His message salvation. Wars, and rumors of it, and false-christs are to be expected, in the here and now. But when wars expand and intensify on a global scale – and when earthquakes, pestilence, and famine increase – you know this is “the beginning of sorrows.” It will be undeniable. What comes next but the Great Tribulation when God begins to judge the Earth.  As we see all that is going on in our lives, family, church, nation and in the world. Its easy to say that the birth pangs are intensifying. We are to be ready and discerning. We are to understand we are living in the last days, We are to be ready. for the soon return of Jesus Christ. Are you ready? 
Victor Tafoya
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