"And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom . . ." (Matthew 24:6-7).
World War I began in 1914. It was followed barely two decades later by World War II. Both were so horrifyingly bloody and destructive that they led to worldwide efforts to find lasting peace, first through the League of Nations and then the United Nations. In spite of honorable intentions, the world has witnessed dozens of other major wars and smaller armed conflicts. The world remains dangerous and unstable—and prophecy tells us it will grow increasingly worse.
Did Jesus Christ predict another major sign, one that often accompanies warfare?
"And there will be famines . . ." (verse 7).
Will other conditions also bring great suffering?
"And there will be . . . pestilences . . ." (same verse).
The social unrest and disruption of agriculture and distribution systems that accompany war lead to food shortages and famine. The hungry, weakened victims of war are susceptible to illnesses and epidemics. War brings devastation and untold suffering, and not just to the combatants themselves.
Of course, not all famines and epidemics are strictly the result of war. Topsoil erosion, mineral depletion, loss of arable land, water and soil contamination and corrupt governments and policies also contribute to our growing inability to feed ourselves. Natural disasters such as droughts, floods and excessive heat or cold also destroy crops and can bring famine. Disease often rapidly follows to further plague a weakened population.
Many all-too-human habits—such as polluting our environment, poor diet, lack of sanitation and crowding into cities—also set the stage for famine and epidemics. Even modern travel is a two-edged sword. The same conveniences that allow us to travel all over the globe in a matter of hours can inadvertently allow the undetected and speedy spreading of diseases.
Did Jesus Christ predict natural disasters?
"And there will be . . . earthquakes in various places" (same verse).
In spite of these horrors, will world conditions grow even worse?
"All these are the beginning of sorrows" (Matthew 24:8).