Signs of the End: Rumors of wars
During the Olivet discourse, Jesus revealed that in the last days there would be wars and rumors of wars.
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.
There have been wars and rumors of wars throughout recorded history but I believe the point that Jesus was making is that these things will escalate in the last days. This is what Jesus meant in Mark 13:8 when He said that these signs are the beginning of birth pangs. Some bible translations render it as the beginning of sorrows. I don’t know about you, but it seems clear to me that rumors of wars and even threats of wars are escalating at a faster and faster pace right now, pushing us closer to the return of Jesus.
Let’s take a look at some of them.
Iran threatens Israel
Iran has been completely open and transparent about their intentions to wipe Israel off the map. During a parade in September 2016 the Islamic Republic boasted of its military prowess by placing a banner on an Iranian military truck in a missile parade that read “If the leaders of the Zionist regime make a mistake then the Islamic Republic will turn Tel Aviv and Haifa to dust”.
Tel Aviv is a major city in Israel with a population of more than 400,000. It’s also known to be the financial center and technology hub of Israel. Haifa is the third most populated city in Israel with a population of 277,000 people living within the city limits and another 300,000 living in towns directly adjacent to it.
Is Iran making idle threats or do they mean what they say? Consider this. Thanks to the advanced missile technology provided by the Russians and Iran’s nuclear program, they will soon have the capability to carry out that threat, if they don’t have it already. The question is, how long will Israel and the world suffer these threats from Iran before they act in a preemptive strike? The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu takes these threats very seriously. He said that Israel can’t let Iran get a nuclear bomb because Tel Aviv is a one-bomb town. Unfortunately, because of the horrible Iran nuclear deal that the Obama administration made with Iran, it’s only a matter of time until Iran is allowed by the agreement to have a nuke.
Iran’s nuclear program aside, in May of 2016 Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his surrogates claimed they could raze Israel in less than 10 minutes. Without a doubt, they were referring to their ability to use a vast number of missiles to overwhelm Israel’s missile defense system and hit Israeli cities and military bases. In July 2016 General Hossein Salami, deputy chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard noted that Iran and its ally, Hezbollah have deployed “100,000 missiles that are ready to hit Israel.” It’s been confirmed that those missiles are deployed in South Lebanon. Could they be there for any other reason other than to strike Israel? I don’t think so. By the way, South Lebanon is the exact location that the United Nations said it would prevent another military buildup from happening. I guess the toothless U.N. failed at that one.
The Iranian Navy has also been flexing their muscles. US officials say there have been more than 30 close encounters between U.S. and Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf so far this year which is more than twice as many as in the same period last year. Iranian naval vessels continue to harass the U.S. Navy, risking a dangerous escalation of conflict which could lead to all-out war with Iran. Just recently there were four incidents in the Strait of Hormuz, which is the narrowest point of the Persian Gulf. Why is Iran doing this? I think it’s because they want us to believe they can carry out their threat to close the Strait of Hormuz. Doing so would devastate the U.S. economy because a vast amount of oil is shipped to the United States through the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. Without that oil, the U.S. economy would be in a serious world of hurt.
Conflict in Syria and the Golan Heights
After opting out of a nationwide ceasefire, Jihadist Rebels repeatedly attempted to capture a strategic hilltop in the Golan Heights but were repelled in a violent clash with Israel. After Israel struck targets in Syria in defense against mortar attacks, the Syrian Army began amassing troops along the Golan Border. Should the enemies of Israel succeed in taking the Golan Heights, Israel would be unable to defend herself.
By the way, Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 say there will be an invasion into Israel over the Golan Heights. I’ll talk more about this in my next message in the Signs of the End series.
Palestinian Cleric promises world domination
Palestinian cleric, Abdallah Ayed gave an address at Jerusalem’s al Aqsa mosque in September 2016, in which he assured his audience that Allah has promised Muslims the White House and the Kremlin. He said “Allah promised the Prophet Mohammed that Islam would rule the entire land.” Ayed prayed for more international terror against Americans. “Oh Allah, blow up their capital cities and their planes,” he begged. “Pulverize their ships, and kill their soldiers.” The preacher continued, “Oh Allah, we ask you to subjugate them and burn them… Burn all that they have with your fire.”
ISIS plans to attack the Vatican
Last December, the terrorist jihadi group ISIS released a 15-minute propaganda video in which they revealed their intentions to conquer Rome, Christianity and the entire world. The video shows footage of masked ISIS fighters training with powerful rockets, tanks, and guns as well as training for hand-to-hand combat. The video also shows flags of 60 countries that ISIS views as enemies.
As I’m sure you know, ISIS has taken large amounts of territory in Iraq and Syria and has taken smaller amounts of territory in other countries as well.
North Korean Nuclear Tests
North Korea has made it clear that they want to unite the entire Korean peninsula which means they intend to conquer South Korea. The only thing that’s stopped them is that the United States and its allies have vowed to defend South Korea. To subdue the threat of the U.S. and its allies intervening in a war, North Korea has been aggressively testing medium and long range missiles and developing missiles that can hit any U.S. cities with nuclear warheads. Experts say they’re not far from having this ability and we have to assume at this point that they already have it. North Korea has even test-fired missiles from submarines which would eliminate any early warning of an attack, making them a serious threat to all coastal areas around the world.
In response to a massive annual joint military exercise between the U.S. and South Korea, a spokesman for North Korea’s military said that North Korea will turn the stronghold of provocation into a heap of ashes through Korean-style preemptive nuclear strike if the US and South Korea show the slightest sign of aggression during the drill.
Conflicts elsewhere in the world
I could go on and on about all the other conflicts that are happening around the globe. But in the interest of time, I’ll just mention a couple more of them. China claims Taiwan for itself and threatens to take islands from the Philippines. The awakened Bear (Russia) wants to control the oil in the middle east and it seems to be Vladimir Putin’s intention to re-unite the former Soviet Union, by force if necessary.
What should be our response
I’ve just given you a lot of bad news about the condition of the world today. Our natural inclination when presented with frightful news like this is to become fearful, and to sink into a sense of hopelessness and even depression. But that wasn’t my intention and it isn’t how the Lord wants us to react to these end-time signs. Instead of worrying and being fearful, we must keep our eyes on heaven and our hope in the Lord’s soon return. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Even if we should die because of what must come on the earth, if we’re right with God then we’ll be in a better place anyway. As much as you like your life down here, heaven is unquestionably better. It’s a win-win situation.
I know that a lot of people don’t like to pay attention to what’s going on in the world today. They don’t want to watch for the signs of the end of the age because it can be depressing. But please keep in mind that Jesus told us to watch for the signs of his coming (Matthew 24:4-8).
There are a couple of reasons for this.
One reason that Jesus wants us to watch for the signs of the end is so that his church will wake up and get ready for His return. Just like most of the first century churches had backslid and had lost their zeal for following Christ, many Christians are in that condition today. The first century churches not only lost interest in following Christ but some of them were allowing and even following pagan practices that God despised in the church (See Revelation chapters 2 and 3.). Many Christians today are asleep in their apathy towards God and it will take those of us who are watching for the signs of the end to wake the sleepy Christians up to the importance of doing God’s will. We need to wake them up so they can be ready when Jesus returns for His bride, the church. That’s why Jesus told this parable as a warning to those of us who are living in the last days. The whole point of this parable is so that we can understand how important it is to watch for these signs so that we’ll be ready and won’t miss out on the rapture.
Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!
Another reason that Jesus wants us to be aware of and watch for the signs of the end of the age is so that when those who haven’t accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior see these things happening, they might believe and be saved. Of course, someone will have to explain to them that these signs were foretold by Jesus so that they’ll understand that these things are not just happening by chance. God is in control and He has told us what He’ll do. So pay attention. You’re place in eternity could be at stake.
Friends, the rapture of the church is going to happen in an instant and at a time you don’t expect (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 and Matthew 24:44). If you’ve been reading my other messages in the Signs of the End series, then you know why you really don’t want to miss the rapture and be left behind. And you don’t want your loved ones to be left behind either.
Please be ready,
Wikipedia: Tel Aviv
I’ve been a Christian for more than 40 years. In 2013, I began growing in a closer relationship with God as I turned over more and more of my life to Him and asked Him for wisdom. Since then, I’ve been strongly compelled to share God's word and to warn others that we need to get ready because Jesus is coming soon.