10 Signs The End of this Age is Near (Part 2)
IV. Persecution and Compromise
Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:9-14)
A) Sign #6– “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.”
1.) 163,000 Christians die every year for their faith. Half of all the Christians who haveever died for their faith did so in this century alone, some 35 million.
2.) “…all nations for my name’s sake.” Clearly this is a reference not to anti-semitism, but to those Jews and gentiles that follow Jesus.
B) Sign #7– “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.”
1.) During times of persecution many are offended or as the Greek word suggests…scandalized. Many are stumbled by the fact that affliction, persecution , and hatred is the result of their following Jesus. They witness loved ones suffering and choose to betray one another and as a result hate instead of love.
2.) Polychronicus, a Christian, being seized, forfeited his faith, in order to preserve his life, and informed against his friend Theodotus, who hearing of this treachery, surrendered himself to the governor of his own accord. On his arrival in the court, he surveyed the instruments of torture with a smile, and seemed totally regardless of their operation. When placed at the bar, the governor informed him, that it was still in his power to save himself, by sacrificing to the gods of the empire. “And, (he continued,) if you renounce your faith in Christ, I promise you my friendship, and the emperor’s protection, and will constitute you one of the magistrates of the town.” Theodotus displayed great courage and eloquence in his answer: he refused to renounce his faith, declined the friendship of the governor and protection of the emperor, and treated their idols with the greatest contempt. The pagans on this were extremely clamorous against the prisoner, and demanded that he should be immediately punished. The priests in particular rent their clothes, and tore their chaplets, the badges of their offices, through rage. The governor complied with their desire, when Theodotus was scourged, torn with hooks, and then placed upon the rack. After this, vinegar was poured into his wounds, his flesh was seared with burning torches, and his teeth were knocked out of their sockets. He was then remanded to prison; and as he went, pointing to his mangled body, he said to the people, “It was but just that Christians should suffer for him who suffered for us all.” Five days afterwards he was brought from prison, tortured, and then beheaded.
C) Sign #8 “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.”
1. There have been many false prophets in the last generation that arose and deceived many, thus the emergence of many different cults in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s. During the last generation, from the outside, it seemed easy to recognize a cult leader and the tangential doctrines that seem to be characteristic of most cults. Yet many people were deceived and as a result many lost precious years, possessions, and some even their lives.
2. An estimated 5 to 7 million Americans have been involved in cults, or cult-like groups. The total number of these groups ranges from 3,000 to 5,000. It is hard to get a precise number as cults change their names, splinter off into other groups, or shut down in one area only to open back up in another. There are approximately 180,000 new cult recruits every year.
3. However, now even within the church or as the scripture calls us “elect”, there are many arising teaching and prophesying false doctrines and so much so that Matthew 24:24 declares “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. “
V. Worldwide Witness
A) Sign# 9 “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”
1. Lawlessness would be the NT definition of the word iniquity. There will be an increase of mankind’s disregard for the Law of God, law of man, and self-rule. This is increase of course will be related to the open rebellion that will increase, but also to the fact that mankind’s number will increase. 2000B.C.- 27 million., 1A.D.- 170-400 million, 1800sA.D.- 1 billion, 1930A.D.- 2 billion, 1960A.D.- 3 billion, 1975A.D.- 4 billion, 1987A.D.- 5 billion, 1999A.D.- 6 billion, 2012A.D.- 7 billion.
2. Waxing cold simply means there will be a chilling effect on the passion of love that the church will have as result of the lawlessness around her. We must endure to the end, seeking opportunity to keep the fire of passion and love alive. James 1, Hebrews 10:36, Revelation 2:1.
B) Sign #10 “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
1. world-oikoumenē Thayer Definition: 1) the inhabited earth
2. nations- ethnos- people group. www.joshuaproject.net suggest that there are 16, 704 people groups on the earth. There are 6,913 people groups that are unreached or 41.5% of the earth that do not have at least 2% of their population that are Evangelical Christians or at least 5% Adherents to the Faith. Revelation 5:9