Here are eight things that the Bible tells us will happen before Jesus returns.
A Falling Away
The Apostle Paul clearly tells us that “the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared” (1 Timothy 4:1-2). There has undoubtedly been a falling away from the faith; just look at plummeting church attendance. But there is also a falling away from the truth of the Bible with manmade doctrines that have distorted and twisted Scripture to fit what false teachers/pastors/prophets believe. This is a falling away from the truth of God and falling into error, and many are being led astray.
Increase of Lawlessness
Paul also wrote that “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8). Apparently, the “mystery of lawlessness” was already at work in Paul’s day; but today many who profess Christ do not keep the commandments. And although we can’t be saved by the commandments, those who are saved strive to do so (1 John 3).
Love of Many Growing Cold
Jesus prophecies about the end of the age in saying, “because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:13). Paul adds that “people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:2-4). All you have to do is look at the news to see how lovers of self and haters of others has exploded in the world.
The Voice of the Martyrs says that in just the last decade and a half of this century, there have been more killed for their faith than in all the time since Christ was crucified 2,000 years ago. In other words, take all of those killed for their faith for the last 2,000 years and then those killed in the last few decades and we see that more have died for their faith in recent years than in the previous 2,000 years!
Gospel Preached Worldwide
In the Olivet Prophecy, Jesus said about the end times that “this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). Aren’t we closer than ever to the saturation point of the Gospel today? The Gospel has been proclaimed throughout the whole world on every continent and nearly every people group through ministries, missionaries, and other Christians. Jesus’ return appears to be very close.
Calling Evil Good
When you look around the world today, especially in the media, what used to be evil or bad just a few decades ago is now taunted as “good,” and what used to be upheld as those things that are good, are now seen as evil in the eyes of the world. Isaiah the Prophet sent a warning from God and said, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20). The word “woe” is not just a groan or a moan, but this word means “a judgment,” so God will send His righteous judgment on all who call what is good, evil, and upon all who deem evil as good. People who do good things are now despised and ridiculed, but when people see evil, they actually rejoice. How backward this world is.
Wars and Rumors of Wars
There is a war on terrorism right now. Many nations have been impacted, but the death toll from terrorist attacks continues to grow, but there are also threats from radical countries like North Korea that threatened to blow the lid off of world peace. Jesus warned that in the last days, “you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains” (Matt 24:6-8). Undoubtedly, there is more violence on the earth every day and it will only grow worse as Jesus’ second coming nears and that leads to another sign of Jesus’ return; violence will fill the earth.
Jesus said that one of the signs leading up to His second coming would be like “the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt 24:37), “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark” (Matt 24:38). What were the days of Noah like? They were doing business as usual, marrying and giving in marriage, eating and drinking (partying?), but just as in the days of Noah, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5). More than that, “the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth” (Gen 6:11-12). That’s when God sent His flood of judgment and that same judgment is coming again when Jesus Christ appears for the second time, and when they see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory, “even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him” (Rev 1:7b) because they know their time of judgment has come.
Know that these things must happen before Christ appears for the second time (among other things), which include a falling away from the faith and the truth, growing lawlessness, the natural love of many growing cold, increased persecution, and the Gospel being proclaimed worldwide. I believe these have already happened; therefore, I see no reason that Jesus cannot come back today or tonight. All the more reason to hear what Jesus said: “Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42). “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:44).