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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 had come 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. When Jesus Christ was with His disciples on the Mount of Olives 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 answered 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 then predicts a time of such global collapse that if He didn’t return nobody would survive, mentioning increased warfare, global famine, earthquakes and disease epidemics. These events will then culminate in the religious persecution of those who don’t follow the heretical teachings of false Christianity (Verses 6-11). Christ 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 those 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.
The age we live in is evil, transitory and it will end. In Isaiah 2:2-3 the ultimate triumph of the returned Christ is described with the nations finally turning to follow their Savior “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains… and all nations shall flow to it. And many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.’” ”
Then the next verse is one of the most quoted verses from the book of Isaiah. “He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4).
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