What types of behaviors will many humans demonstrate during the so-called “End Times” that will occur not long before Jesus returns? This matter is addressed in a number of prophetic biblical scriptures that seem to be straightforward, in contrast with many other prophetic biblical passages which involve symbolism.
We will now consider several of these scriptures. [Note: When we quote Scripture in this article, we use the wording in the New King James Version of the Bible.]
In Matthew 24:6-7a, 9-12, Jesus Christ declares,
“[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.”
These scripture verses indicate that during the End Times (1) there will be both expectations of war and actual wars, (2) Christians will be severely persecuted, (3) people who profess to be Christians will betray other Christians, (4) many people will be deceived by false prophets, and (5) a lot of Christians will become less committed to their Christian beliefs.
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.”
According to these verses of scripture, during the End Times (1) there will be a number of men who profess to be Jesus Christ, (2) there will be wars and rumors of wars, (3) brothers [perhaps, professing Christians] will betray brothers [perhaps, other Christians], (4) fathers will betray their children, (5) children will cause their parents to be put to death, and (6) Christians will be hated by others. (Luke 21:8a, 10, 16-17 is similar to the previously-cited verses in Mark 13.)
And, the next three scriptures also pertain to the behavior of people during the End Times:
Second 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.
Second Peter 3:3b-4 pertains to lustful people who will scoff at the belief that Jesus Christ will return to earth. This scripture declares,
[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 alludes to mockers during the End Times, states,
[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, refers to several positive behaviors that will be evident during the End Times.
Acts 2:17-18 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.”
This scripture, which is a paraphrase of the Old Testament passage of Joel 2:28-29, indicates that during the End Times, many people – male and female, young and old – will have extraordinary spiritual abilities, including prophesy, visions, and, apparently, prophetic dreams, all of which will enable them to foretell the future.
During the centuries since the death of Jesus Christ approximately 2,000 years ago, many of the previously-mentioned types of occurrences have been demonstrated, but evidently not to the extent that they will be displayed during the End Times. We believe that it is logical to infer that the prevalence of the types of the aforementioned occurrences will be significantly greater during the End Times than during any time in the past, because 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 occurrences become significantly more evident that it can be confidently concluded that the End Times have arrived.
Although we may not yet be in the End Times, Christians need to be prepared for the adversities that will occur when the End Times come. This will necessitate a genuine desire to honor God, even if doing so costs Christians dearly.
[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?”]