Consider this description of our time that comes from a perspective beyond the human sphere:
"In the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power" (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
The apostle Paul, thousands of years in advance, nailed this list of many of the causes of humanity's ills. God's Spirit showed clearly the things we are doing that are making our world more dangerous by the minute.
"No one would survive"
Jesus' disciples knew even then that the world was getting worse and worse, and would finally reach a point where these and other evils would crescendo to a final climax. Jesus told them He would return to begin a new age of peace. So they asked Him, "When will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" (Matthew 24:3, New International Version).
Jesus' answer was breathtaking in its scope, but one phrase caught their ears. "For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world till now—and never to be equaled again. 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 24:21-22, NIV, emphasis added).
The future of humanity is at stake! Jesus Christ identified the time of His return as a time when human extinction was possible. But He promised He wouldn't let that happen! The good news is that, before we can destroy ourselves, the story will change.
His feet will stand…
Jesus Christ will literally return to this earth—to the highly contested piece of real estate we know as Jerusalem! In the same way the disciples saw Christ ascend into the clouds after His resurrection, He will return through the clouds to this earth, but this time with power and great glory (Acts 1:11; Matthew 24:30).
That's the biggest news story in history, especially since if He did not come, humanity would destroy itself. Humankind continues to find more ways to obliterate every man, woman and child off the face of the earth.
Biblical prophecy describes in detail the time of great distress, or tribulation, that will envelope the earth. Wars, disasters, famines and disease epidemics will decimate the population.
Finally, when the nations of the world gather for battle at a place called Armageddon (Revelation 16:14, Revelation 16:16), Christ will swiftly intervene before it is too late. Sadly, the nations will not recognize or welcome their Savior, but will fight Him.
"Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east" (Zechariah 14:3-4).
The battle will be over swiftly, ending the painful age of human misrule. Finally a new day will dawn—a day fresh with the promise of peace and fulfillment, of joy and purpose, of happiness and accomplishment. The nightmares of history will fade, and the dreams of mankind will begin to come to life.
The time after Christ's return will be wonderful beyond imagination! No wonder Christians have always prayed, "Your Kingdom come!" At the end of the book of Revelation, Jesus Christ tells us, "Surely I am coming quickly." And we fervently respond with the apostle John, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20).