Those who are looking forward to Jesus Christ’s return to earth (i.e., His second advent) should be aware of how people will be conducting themselves during the so-called “End Times” that immediately precede His return. This matter is addressed in several scripture passages in the Bible that seem to be straightforward rather than conjectural in interpretation, unlike most, if not all, of the prophetic biblical passages that involve symbolism regarding the End Times. (This article will not attempt to address any of these other prophetic biblical passages.)
We will begin by considering what the Bible says with regard to how people will behave during the End Times. [Note: When we quote Scripture in this article, we use the wording in the New King James Version of the Bible.]
Matthew 24:6-7a, 9-12 indicates that there will be both expectations of war and actual wars, Christians will be severely persecuted, people who profess to be Christians will betray other Christians, many people will be deceived by false prophets, and a lot of weak Christians will lose their zeal for their faith. Jesus Christ declares in this passage of scripture,
“[Y]ou 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.”
“Then they will deliver you [i.e., those who are true followers of Jesus Christ] up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
Somewhat similarly, Jesus Christ asserts in Mark 13:5-8a, 12-13a,
“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.”
“[B]rother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake.”
Luke 21:8a, 10, 16-17 is also somewhat similar to Matthew 24:6-7a, 9-12. In these verses of scripture, Jesus Christ says,
“Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’”
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.”
“You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake.”
2 Timothy 3:1-5a mentions a number of loathsome human behaviors that will be prevalent, as follows:
But know this, that 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 Peter 3:3b-4 pertains to lustful people who will scoff at the belief that Jesus Christ will return to earth. This biblical passage states,
[S]coffers 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.”
Jude 18-19, which has a similar focus as 2 Peter 3:3b-4, asserts,
[The Apostles] told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.
So far, all the behaviors mentioned with regard to the End Times have been negative. The next scripture passage, however, mentions several positive behaviors that will be evident during the End Times.
Acts 2:17-18, which is a paraphrase of Joel 2:28-29, indicates that many people – male and female, young and old – will prophesy, see visions, and dream dreams – all of which will apparently be with regard to what will subsequently occur. The New Testament passage declares,
“And it shall come to pass in the last days,” says God, “that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy.”
Since the death of Jesus Christ approximately 2,000 years ago, many of the previously mentioned behaviors have been demonstrated, but evidently not to the extent they will be displayed during the End Times. We believe it is logical to infer that the prevalence of the types of the aforementioned behaviors will be significantly greater during the End Times than during the past, since such occurrences would not be a special sign of the End Times unless they occur much more often than they have previously. Therefore, it is not likely to be until these behaviors become much more evident that it can be confidently concluded that the End Times have arrived. Then, in order to be better prepared for what will subsequently occur, it will be important for people to also properly interpret the prophetic biblical passages that involve symbolism regarding the End Times.
[For discussions of prophetic biblical passages that involve symbolism regarding the End Times, click on: “When Will Jesus Christ Return?”, “What Do We Know about the Antichrist?”, and/or “Will Christians Need to Endure the Tribulation?”]