Bible Prophecy and You: Are We Living in the “Time of the End”?

You are here

Bible Prophecy and You

Are We Living in the “Time of the End”?

Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up

×
Downloads
MP3 Audio (17.52 MB)

Downloads

Bible Prophecy and You: Are We Living in the “Time of the End”?

MP3 Audio (17.52 MB)
×

Welcome to this new mini-study series titled “Bible Prophecy and You.” We all wonder about the future, especially when we have financial or other personal problems and the global news is so gloomy. And in the face of worsening conditions it’s possible to become terrified and paranoid.

But God has not left us in the dark! Amazingly, more than a quarter of the Bible is devoted to prophecy! Why has God revealed so much about the future? Because He wants His followers to become spiritually prepared and to thereby also have peace of mind.

In this series of studies you’ll learn about fascinating prophecies that have already been fulfilled—in fact, fulfilled perfectly —and a great deal about important prophecies that will have a great impact on your life in the near future. You’ll see what a huge benefit and blessing it is to understand Bible prophecy!

This first study asks if we are living in what Scripture calls the time of the end or the last days. The answer is,

Yes, we are! This is both bad news and good news.

It’s bad news—or sad news—that mankind’s troubles and suffering will continue to get much worse! But it’s also good news—in fact, great news—because it means that Jesus Christ will soon be returning to earth to solve all of mankind’s problems and bring peace and prosperity for everyone!

In the meantime, you need to know what to do to be spiritually prepared for what is foretold to happen in these terrible times ahead.

What the Bible means by “the time of the end”

During the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, He promised that He would come again—the next time to establish His Kingdom on earth. But He also warned that before His return, mankind’s evils and suffering would dramatically increase, ending in “great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21 Matthew 24:21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
American King James Version×
).

Two seemingly opposite trends were to occur in the end time. On the one hand, interest in some kind of apocalypse would skyrocket. (“Apocalypse” comes from a Greek word meaning revelation or unveiling, but it has come to have a popular meaning of end-time cataclysm.) On the other hand, Peter said “scoffers will come in the last days”—people who don’t believe or respect the Bible (2 Peter 3:2-4 2 Peter 3:2-4 2 That you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior: 3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 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 the creation.
American King James Version×
).

The period leading up to and during the final tribulation is addressed many times in the Bible. It is referred to with such phrases as the time of the end, the end time, the end of the age, the latter days, the last days and the day of the Lord . The Bible gives us a great deal of information about the end time, especially in the book of Revelation and the other prophetic books.

The phrase end of the world appears in several places in the King James Version of the Bible. However, modern versions correctly translate those phrases as “the end of the age” (as in Matthew 24:3 Matthew 24:3And as he sat on the mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the world?
American King James Version×
).

Our merciful Creator loves all people, and that’s why He mercifully gives us advance notice of what to expect (Amos 3:7 Amos 3:7Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he reveals his secret to his servants the prophets.
American King James Version×
). Let’s now get an overview of His warnings about the end time.

Just what is this age?

“Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Galatians 1:3-4 Galatians 1:3-4 3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
American King James Version×
, emphasis added throughout)).

In the New Testament, “this age” refers to the era of man’s self-rule from the creation of Adam and Eve to the second coming of Jesus Christ. Paul called it “this present evil age.”

That’s because Satan is “the god of this age” and “the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (2 Corinthians 4:4 2 Corinthians 4:4In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.
American King James Version×
; 1 John 5:19 1 John 5:19And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness.
American King James Version×
). The age “which is to come” (Ephesians 1:21 Ephesians 1:21Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
American King James Version×
) begins with Christ’s return to resurrect His followers and to establish His Kingdom on earth (1 Corinthians 15:21-26 1 Corinthians 15:21-26 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 24 Then comes the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he has put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
American King James Version×
).

What did the disciples ask Jesus about the end time, and what was His answer?

“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, 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?’” (Matthew 24:3 Matthew 24:3And as he sat on the mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the world?
American King James Version×
).

Many people don’t realize that Jesus was also a prophet—in fact, history’s greatest Prophet, foretold by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15 Deuteronomy 18:15The LORD your God will raise up to you a Prophet from the middle of you, of your brothers, like to me; to him you shall listen;
American King James Version×
; Deuteronomy 18:18 Deuteronomy 18:18I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brothers, like to you, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him.
American King James Version×
. When asked about the signs of His “coming, and of the end of the age,” Jesus answered with a lengthy prophecy of shocking end-time trends, such as wars and devastating natural disasters (recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21). We will look at details of this prophecy in future lessons.

What is one present world condition that indicates we are in the end time?

“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22 Matthew 24:21-22 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
American King James Version×
).

The New English Bible helps clarify verse 22: “If that time of troubles were not cut short, no living thing could survive …” Until the 1940s, there was no possible way, humanly speaking, for all human life to be annihilated. That became possible with the invention and proliferation of nuclear weapons. The development of modern chemical and biological weapons have added to the ways all human life can be destroyed. So it’s greatly comforting to know that Christ promised to intervene to prevent worldwide destruction! (In future lessons, we’ll learn additional evidence that we are in the end time.)

What will be the great climax of the end-time suffering?

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Matthew 24:29 Matthew 24:29Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
American King James Version×
).

“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31 Joel 2:31The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.
American King James Version×
).

The time of “great tribulation” culminates in the “day of the Lord.” Jesus’ warning and other biblical prophecies (Matthew 24:21 Matthew 24:21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
American King James Version×
; Daniel 12:1 Daniel 12:1And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of your people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
American King James Version×
; Jeremiah 30:7 Jeremiah 30:7Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.
American King James Version×
) tell us that the tribulation period will be the worst period of disasters and suffering the world has ever experienced.

Bible prophecy warns us that the period leading up to the Great Tribulation will be a time of increasing religious deception, religious persecution, demonic miracles, extreme natural disasters like storms and earthquakes, economic distress, famines, disease epidemics, violence of all kinds, intense conflicts in the Middle East, localized wars plus great regional wars, and other terrifying events and threats. These events will be further explained in future lessons.

But there is real hope beyond all of this! Prophecy is gloom and doom for those who won’t submit to God. But temporary fear is a healthy thing when it motivates us to put our faith in God! Keep reading, and you will learn a lot of good news —the good news about how God wants to guide, protect and bless you and give you eternal life if you respond to Him.

Why will God allow humanity to bring all this suffering on itself?

“And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.’

“If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.

“Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:5-11 Hebrews 12:5-11 5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to children, My son, despise not you the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and whips every son whom he receives. 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not? 8 But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are you bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they truly for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to them which are exercised thereby.
American King James Version×
).

Humanity has chosen to reject God’s rule and way of life to instead follow the way of self-centeredness and deciding for oneself what is right—the way that leads to suffering and death (see Proverbs 14:12 Proverbs 14:12There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
American King James Version×
; 16:25). Mankind is set on the path of self-destruction, yet God will intervene, first to chasten, then to save humanity from itself.

When God “chastens” (punishes) mankind, He does it out of love to teach us to repent of our sins and to turn to Him willingly. God wants His children to be those “who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12 Revelation 14:12Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
American King James Version×
).

Can we have God’s blessings and protection during the end time?

“Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36 Luke 21:36Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
American King James Version×
).

“The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment” (2 Peter 2:9 2 Peter 2:9The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust to the day of judgment to be punished:
American King James Version×
). The Bible gives us many examples of God miraculously protecting His people or providing a way of “escape” during times of danger. We can expect to see many such miracles in the future! At other times, some of God’s people have died as martyrs because of their beliefs.

Keep these two comforting scriptures in mind:

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalms 23:4 Psalms 23:4Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.
American King James Version×
).

“In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalms 56:11 Psalms 56:11In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do to me.
American King James Version×
).

God’s people don’t need to be fearful of the conditions in the world, for God is our protector and Great Shepherd! Even the thought of death need not terrify us because we know He will resurrect us to eternal life!

For more about being “counted worthy to escape all these things,” see the “Apply now” section below.

Is there hope for our loved ones who have not had any interest in the Bible?

“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4 1 Timothy 2:3-4 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
American King James Version×
).

“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” (2 Peter 3:9 2 Peter 3:9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
American King James Version×
).

So yes, there is hope! God “desires all men to be saved” and is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” Be assured that every person who has ever lived will eventually have his or her opportunity to learn and live by God’s truth. God’s great plan of salvation will be accomplished through more than one resurrection period, as will be explained in future studies in this series.

Apply now

Read and ponder Luke’s account of Jesus’ prophecy of the end time in Luke 21, and then focus on how Jesus concluded in Luke 21:36 Luke 21:36Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
American King James Version×
. “Watch” means to be spiritually on the alert.

We are to watch (pay close attention to) world events in light of the Bible’s teaching, and watch our own attitudes and actions to make sure we stay close to God and remain on the right path. Start by picking one prophesied world event and one personal weakness to watch and pray about today .

To learn much more about prophecies of the end time, including evidence that we are already living in the end time, be sure to request our free study guide Are We Living in the Time of the End?

You might also be interested in...

The Bible has been revered, respected, debated, dismissed and even reviled....