The suddenness with which the Coronavirus pandemic spread throughout the world is an example of how quickly dire situations can develop. Bible prophecy warns of a future time of great tumult and peril just before the return of Jesus Christ, and Christians are exhorted to be spiritually prepared.
Recent events have served as a stark reminder our daily lives can be turned upside down in a very short time. Thousands have died, economic growth has slowed and whole populations have been frightened, discouraged and demoralised.
Jesus Christ warned His Disciples to properly discern the warning signs of impending calamity: "Hypocrites, you can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it that you do not discern this time?” (Luke 12:56). And again in Mark 13:33 He warns: "Take heed, watch and pray: for you do not know when the time is."
Christ urges us to be spiritually preparing for what lies ahead, and also assures us in Amos 3:7: "Surely the Lord does nothing without revealing His plan to His servants, the prophets."
God's word not only describes what will happen, but it also shows how to spiritually prepare for these events: "For you yourselves know perfectly, that the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night. For when they say peace and safety, then sudden destruction comes upon them as labour pains upon a pregnant woman...But you brethren, are not In darkness, so that this day should overtake you as a thief...Therefore, let us not sleep as others do, but let us watch”( 1 Thessalonians 5:2-6).
A significant prophecy pertaining to the time just before Christ’s return occurs in Revelation 13, with the Apostle John describing an unusual beast: "I stood on the sand of the sea, and I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and 10 horns, and on his horns, 10 crowns, and on his heads, a blasphemous name" (Revelation 13:1).
We are told these 10 horns represent 10 kings and, in order to solve an impending crisis, these kings give their power and authority to a man referred to as ‘the beast’ --- an international leader regarded as someone who can promote global order and prosperity: "...and power was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nations…” (Revelation 13:7).
This will be the beginning of the prophetic storm which will astound the world by its power.
The second development is then described: "Then I saw another beast coming out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon... He causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great wonders so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs…” (Revelation 13:11-14).
This second beast is also referred to as a false prophet. He and the beast become allies, with the beast ruling through governmental domination and the false prophet manipulating and deceiving the people via religion. It will be an international, political, religious and economic system controlling many nations, and dividing the world into basically two groups. Those who obey God and keep His commands and those who choose to ignore God and disobey their Creator.
Now is the time to line our lives up with God and choose His way of life. God makes it clear He will be there to deliver and save during the crises to come: "Look to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other"(Isaiah 45.22).
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