Eight Signs of Jesus’ Soon Return
It is Christmas, the time we celebrate Jesus first advent. Yet, while we give thanks for Jesus birth and victory as our Savior 2,000 years ago, our ultimate longing is in His second advent – and the Bible is filled with promises that Jesus is coming again. So, let’s this holiday not only celebrate the birth of our Savior, but look with longing expectation at the signs of His soon return.
All throughout the Bible are warnings for people to be ready for Jesus’ second coming, signs of the approaching end, and prophecies of His return. Many have been frustrated because these prophecies often seem non-specific or difficult to understand. But these signs and warnings have been written this way purposely, in order to give encouragement to God’s people in every generation. How discouraging would it have been to live in the apostle Paul’s day and think, “Jesus is coming again – in 2,000 years.” But as we will see, we can have confidence that we are living in the last days and that Jesus is coming soon.
In this blog, we are not going to do an exhaustive review of all the Bible signs and prophecies of Christ’s return, but we will review only eight of them, enough to demonstrate that we are in the last days and that now is the time for each one of us to wake up to God’s reality and prepare ourselves to meet our King and Savior!
First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:3, 4 NIV84).
This sign was fulfilled in the late 18th and early 19th centuries during the Enlightenment, which directly opposed the Great Awakening. The Great Awakening was a religious movement that called people’s attention to the nearness of the second coming of Christ. But this movement was countered by the Enlightenment, in which godless scientific views and human reason replaced a belief in God, and godless evolutionism spread throughout the world. In the wake of godless evolution came communism and other godless philosophies that scoff at the idea that Jesus is coming again.
Not only is the world today filled with scoffers, but the critics of God have come to dominate the scientific, educational, and media landscape, creating a societal attitude that those who continue to look for Christ’s return are less educated, ignorant, or foolish.
But those of us who know God and trust the Bible know, just as Peter prophesied nearly 2,000 years ago, that it is the scoffers who are failing to understand reality. So, our first sign, which also gives us a timeframe for when the end-times began, is the rise of godless evolutionism, with its scoffers that ridicule our expectation of Jesus’ return.
2. Wars and rumors of wars
You 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 (Matthew 24:6 NIV84).
Jesus here refers to the never-ending regional struggles, tribal wars, crusades, and conflicts throughout the Dark and Middle Ages prior to the “end times,” which began in the 19th century with the Enlightenment. The end times come after these wars. Notice the shift from wars to nations and kingdoms rising against each other.
3. World wars, natural disasters, famines, pandemics
Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven (Luke 21:10, 11 NIV84).
Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains (Matthew 24:7, 8 NIV84).
After the long history of wars and conflicts through the Dark and Middle Ages, after the Enlightenment and the rise of the scoffers, we enter the 20th century and experience WWI, WWII, nuclear weapons, wars in Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, and Syria, and terrorism around the world. The 20th century, with its two world wars and other military conflicts, saw more people killed by war than any other century in human history. And in the past fifty years, the world has seen massive famines, the threats of climate change, HIV, SARS, Swine Flu, COVID, and the increasing frequency of earthquakes, hurricanes, destructive storms, and other disasters. But all of this is the beginning of the birth pains.
When a woman goes into labor, the time of delivery has begun. In other words, she has entered the “end time” of her pregnancy – but the labor isn’t instantaneous. The pains get more frequent and more intense right up until delivery. We are now in the time of the end, the time of ever-increasing rapidity of events leading up to our Savior’s return!
Understand that no matter what we do, things on Earth are not going to get better until Jesus returns. And the worsening of conditions on Earth, the increasing labor pains as the Earth itself groans under the weight of sin, will be used by the scoffers to incite fear, turn minds away from God, and promote their godless solutions that will solidify power into a global coalition that persecutes the righteous.
4. The promise of an era of peace and safety
Paul also used the metaphor of a woman going into labor when referring to the return of our Lord, adding an interesting detail:
Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled (1 Thessalonian 5:1–6 NIV84).
When those who don’t know God – the scoffers, the evolutionist, the humanists, those who are desperately seeking to save themselves and “save the earth” – are saying, “This is the way we can have global peace and safety,” sudden destruction will come, as labor pains on a pregnant woman.
They will be unaware that sudden destruction is coming, but why? Because they have given up a belief in God, they no longer trust Scripture, they have accepted the false narrative of godless evolution and secular humanism, and they believe peace and safety can be achieved through the implementation of their worldly agenda. This is the delusion of socialism, of globalism, of the Green movement – that we can save the planet. They claim, “We can create a new world order in which all nations come together to stop climate change, to stop the destruction of the environment, to eliminate poverty – all doable through a new globalism that we can create with new economic realities that will bring in a new era of peace and safety.”
But Jesus continues His warning:
5. Increased divisions in society, loss of faith, persecution of believers in Jesus
Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people (Matthew 24:9–11 NIV84).
Then, at the time of the end, at the time after the scoffers arise, at the time when the labor pains have begun, after the nations have had global wars, after the increase in natural disasters and pestilence, then those loyal to Christ will be persecuted, some put to death, and hated of all nations. Then people will betray each other to find security for themselves.
And what do we see in the world today? Christians beheaded in some parts of the world. Christians ridiculed for resisting the new world order, scorned for standing against the restrictions of liberty, hated for holding to faith in Jesus, vilified for voicing the hope in God and warning of Christ’s soon return.
The governments of the world are becoming ever more dominated by global corporations in the West, communism in the East, and Islam in the Middle East – all of which are hostile to Christianity and all moving toward consolidation of power through globalism. See how COVID-19, a pestilence originating in a communist country, is being used to incite fear, divide society, and increase governmental control. Note how big business and global media coordinate together to advance a narrative to give more power to a few ruling elites, destroy small business, which makes individuals more dependent on either the state or big corporations. All of this undermines individual liberties. Government leaders are encouraging people to spy on their neighbors, to report family members who violate arbitrary edicts from local government leaders – and often these rules are violations of law and due process. Yet, citizens are still being arrested if they don’t comply with shutdown mandates. Governments close houses of worship and restrict freedom of assembly and interfere with free commerce. Governments and big tech censor speech, seeking to silence voices that oppose the formation of their global coalition. The signs of the nearness of Christ’s return are everywhere!
6. Love of most will grow cold
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold (Matthew 24:12 NIV84).
Because of the increase in wickedness – which is all the violations of God’s designs, laws, methods, and principles – the love in the hearts of most people grows cold. Because of the denial of God and the rise of the lies of secularism, humanism, socialism, evolutionism; because of the breakdown of families; because of the assault on our common heritage and community values, love is dying in the human heart.
The historic big three societal defensive barriers to this tidal wave of fear we are seeing today have been God, family, and country. But since the Enlightenment, since the rise of evolutionism and secularism, these three “other-than-me” values have been removed. The messaging today is that there is no God, families are the “misogynistic domain of the patriarchy,” and our countries are abusive relics of colonial exploitation and abuse. This leaves people with nothing greater than themselves, which results in increasing fear and a sense of isolation. This leads to a sense of hopelessness; there is no purpose to life other than survival, and people become increasingly fearful and concerned for their own safety and wellbeing. Fear of global warming, fear of economic collapse, fear of COVID and we see love growing cold. People argue in grocery stores, fight in parking lots, “Cover your nose with your masks! You’re to close; back up! You’re going the wrong way down an aisle. You had your family over for a birthday party; you’re a super-spreader.” Government officials recommend canceling family gatherings, don’t celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas – two holidays rooted in love for God and others. Thus, society devolves into ever increased pleasure-seeking, trying to numb the fear as love grows ever colder.
7. So caught up in entertainment and living, people are unaware
As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:37–39 NIV84).
Incredible! The people before the Flood knew nothing about what was going to happen despite Noah preaching for 120 years and building a giant boat. How did they not know? Because they were consumed with pleasure-seeking, eating, drinking, and marrying. They were too busy either being entertained or living their lives to be bothered with eternal realities.
This is exactly the state of the world today: It is caught up in increasing consumption of mind-altering substances, or leaving reality behind for their preferred fantasy world of video games, social media activity, TV shows, movies, sports, concerts, amusement parks, or anything else to consume and distract the mind. This is the world today – ignoring the warnings of Jesus, ignoring the signs of the end all around, and living merely for the pleasures of the moment.
8. The good news about God’s kingdom of love lightens the world
But he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:13, 14 NIV84).
But those who stand firm for the truth of God’s kingdom of love will be saved! We will be the ones who take the good news about God and His kingdom of love to the world. We will advance the cause of liberty, for love only exists in an atmosphere of freedom. We will stand for truth in a world of falsehood and propaganda. We will glorify God by revealing His character of love in how we treat our neighbors. We will call people back to the truth of our Creator by teaching people God’s design laws – the laws our Creator built reality to operate upon, demonstrating that harmony with God and His design laws are the only way to health and happiness.
The truth about God and His kingdom of love, in the face of a world consumed with greed and selfishness, is the final message to lighten the world for Christ’s return. It is the final message of mercy, the message of hope, the message of God’s true character of love that Jesus revealed. It is the message that Satan hates because God’s love destroys the fear Satan works so hard to incite.
So, as you see the signs all around us, don’t let fear rule your heart; instead,
“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28 NIV84).
Timothy R. Jennings, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, international speaker, Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association. He is President and Founder of Come and Reason Ministries and has served as President of the Southern and Tennessee Psychiatric Associations. Dr. Jennings has authored many books, including The God-Shaped Brain, The God-Shaped Heart, and The Aging Brain.