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Jesus Christ told His disciples that if He doesn’t return to earth conditions will deteriorate to the point it would be the end of humanity. He also described what conditions would be like just before His return.
On October 22, 1844 the event known as the Great Disappointment took place. Owing to a misinterpretation of Scripture many people in New England, USA thought the end of the world was about to take place and Christ would return to earth. In anticipation crowds assembled, with some farmers leaving their farms and camping out in the meadows. Others threw away their money believing the earth would be destroyed by fire. But the day passed, midnight came and the light of dawn revealed once and for all that Christ had not returned.
This experience contains lessons for us today. What are the prophesied signs of Christ’s return and how we should look forward to and anticipate them?
Jesus Christ was with His disciples on the Mount of Olives when they asked him a very important question: “...when shall these things be and what shall be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age” (Matthew 24:3). Christ answers by first of all telling them to be careful because there will be a lot of different ideas around and even outright religious deception. “...Take heed that no one would deceive you. For many will come in my name saying I am the Christ and will deceive many.” (Verses 4 and 5).
He goes on to describe how the situation in the world will get much worse before He returns. He mentions increased warfare, global famine, earthquakes and disease epidemics, culminating in the religious persecution of those who don’t follow the heretical teachings of false Christianity (Verses 6-11) and warns: ”And unless those days should be shortened no flesh should be saved but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22).
Christ then tells His disciples and us: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is” (Mark 13:32-33). Therefore Christians anticipating Christ’s return will prepare by living according to His values and His teachings, which can mean they will be out of step with the values and standards of the present age and may not fit in.
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