Bible Question:

Are the recent events of the terrorists' attack on America some kind of a sign from God that His coming is close?

Bible Answer:

There are several key signs of Jesus’ Second Coming. Jesus gave us some clues. The apostle Paul gave us some others.

Jesus’ Comments

While Jesus was here on the earth, His disciples asked Him what would be the signs of His return to earth or His Second Coming. Here is what Jesus said,

And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name. And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many. And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come. (NASB) Matthew 24:6-14

Jesus grouped the signs as birth pangs and tribulation. The birth pangs will hurt, but they are not as difficult as the later signs. The birth pangs are war, famine, and earthquakes. The next group of signs are worse and indicate the end times are closer. These signs are tribulation, hatred of Christians, apostasy, deception, “love has grown cold,” and the preaching of the gospel throughout the world. The birth pang signs are not new to us. Among the second group of signs, the world has recently been seeing love growing cold. It is hard to know if God means that every person in the world must have heard the gospel when He says, “the preaching of the gospel throughout the world.” This did not occur before the 20th Century.

Paul’s Comments

Paul gives us more signs. The first group is found in 1 Timothy 4.

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. (NASB) 1 Timothy 4:1-3

While Jesus tells us that the gospel will be preached throughout the world, Paul says apostasy will also be occurring in the last days. Today, we know that the gospel is being preached throughout the world, in almost every culture, nation, tribe, city and village. Many people are coming to Jesus Christ. But it also true that many men and women, people we thought were Christians, are turning away from God. One way we can explain these two statements is that many more people will be turning away from Jesus than are coming to Him. They will be going after other gods or other religions and forsaking the true God – Jesus Christ.

. . . “In the last time there shall be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit. (NASB) Jude 18-19

Other signs of the last days are a rise in evil, divisions, pursuit after material possessions, and absence of the work of the Spirit in the lives of Christians and in the church.

Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to Him, that you may not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction . . . (NASB) 2 Thess. 2:1-3

But the last major sign of Jesus’ coming is apostasy in the church of God. Many will not be real Christians and many will leave the faith.

Conclusion:

These signs are present today. Does this mean that Jesus’ Second Coming is near? We must be careful because the church has thought that Jesus was coming soon for the last thousands of years too! But we should pray, “Lord Jesus, come quickly!”