“The sun comes up; the sun goes down, and then the sun comes up again.”
Things in this world seem to go on in an endless cycle. There is a “sameness” that permeates life that seems to lull the occupants of our world to sleep. This type of attitude was foretold by the Scriptures:
2 Peter 3:3-4: “Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”
Certainly, there are cycles to life, but we cannot forget that in the beginning, God created the world out of nothing. We cannot forget that on a day like any other day, God opened the windows of heaven and sent a flood that destroyed the earth. The same God who accomplished both of these events has announced that a day will come when this world will be destroyed in its current form.
This apocalyptic event is scheduled for a time the Bible calls, “The last days.”
What period of time is the Bible speaking of when it mentions, “The last days?”
Are we near that period?
Hebrews 1:1-2: “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.”
The writer of Hebrews says to us that the period known as, “the last days” began at the appearance of Jesus. The same God who created the world out of nothing and destroyed it through a flood also sent His Son, Jesus to signal the beginning of the last days of this earth.
Some may say, “Well, that was two thousand years ago. That’s a lot more than a few days.”
2 Peter 3:8-10: “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.”
God counts time in terms of opportunities to repent. One day, the time of grace to repent will end and suddenly, the earth as we know it will pass away. According to scripture, the period known as “the last days” began at the birth of Jesus and will end at His Second Coming.
Scripturally, it is easy to see that we are in the last days. There are many events spoken of in the Bible that are scheduled for this time. For the next several weeks, I would like to write about some of these events. I also want to look at some things that characterize the last days so that we can recognize them in the time that we live.
Some subjects that we will talk about in the coming weeks are events of the last days that have not happened yet; things like the Rapture, the Tribulation, The Second Coming of Jesus, and the Millennial Reign of Christ.
Today, we will look at what is going on right now.
Some of what we will look at are descriptions of the prevailing attitudes present in the last days. Others are accomplishments or achievements that reveal that the last days have arrived.
So, let’s get started.
Daniel 12:4: “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
God told the prophet Daniel that a sign that the end of time is nearing will be something called, “The increase of knowledge.”
People that study trends and events say that 80% of the world’s total knowledge has appeared in the last one hundred years. 90% of all scientists who have ever lived are alive today. I found this quote regarding this issue:
“We’re all striving to keep up with the quantum leaps being made in all areas of knowledge. It’s estimated that medical knowledge, for example, doubles every seven years, and scientific knowledge doubles every twenty years. The total written knowledge in the world is said to have doubled between 1450 and 1750, and then to have doubled again between 1750 and 1900. Between 1900 and 1950, human knowledge doubled once more, and then again from 1950 to 1975. Now, it is believed to double every 900 days. By the year 2020, global knowledge is predicted to double every 72 days!”
We live in a time of the rapid increase of knowledge. God told us through Daniel that this is a characteristic of the last days.
Another characteristic of the last days is the exploitation of people and resources.
James 5:3-4: “Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields , which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the Lord of Sabaoth.”
The rich get richer and the gap between rich and poor grows. The top 1% of the world’s wealthiest people own over half of the world’s wealth. The top 20% of the wealthiest people in the U.S. own 85% of the country’s wealth! This is a biblical sign of the end.
Another characteristic of the last days is apostasy.
1 Timothy 4:1: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.”
A recent poll in Church Leaders.com reflects church attendance at 17.7% While many still report belief in Christ, the amount of those who corporately express that faith is at a low point.
Finally, let’s look at the condition of mankind.
2 Timothy 3:1: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come.”
2 Timothy 3:13: “Evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
2 Timothy 3:1-4 describes the prevailing characteristics of society in the last days. People will be:
Lovers of themselves
Lovers of money
Disobedient to parents
Despisers of good
Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God
Having a form of godliness but denying its power
It is not hard to read these characteristics and know that we are right in the middle of the period that is being described in the Bible. So, what is next?
We’ll talk about that next time!