What are the signs of the end times?

By S. Michael Houdmann, Got Questions Ministries

Recent events in Syria have a lot of people wondering if the end times are approaching. Some Bible prophecy aficionados are claiming that a war with Syria will result in an explosion of conflict in the Middle East, leading to World War 3, leading to Russia (Gog and Magog) attacking Israel, leading to the Rapture, Tribulation, Second Coming, etc., etc. If I could summarize this blog post with one word, it would be: relax!

Don't get me wrong, I do not deny that a conflict with Syria could possibly be a precursor to biblical end times events. But, I do not see this as likely. The Isaiah 17 prophecy could be predictive of destruction of Syria and Damascus in the end times, but that is not necessarily the context of the passage. Further, the idea that a US attack on Syria would result in World War 3 is an unlikely scenario. While Russia enjoys opposing and insulting the US, they have no actual interest in a military conflict with the United States. While Iran, Hezbollah, and other terrorist groups might use the US attacking Syria as an excuse to attack US interests and/or Israel, the damage would likely be minimal.

During the 1990-1991 Gulf War, Iraq launched dozens of scud missiles at Israel. Many were convinced it was the beginning of the end. It is now 22 years later, and still there is no World War 3, no antichrist, and no Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Since the Gulf War, there has been near constant military conflict in the region. If the US attacks Syria, there will be conflict. If the US does not attack Syria, there will be conflict. All that to say, I do not think the Bible is specific enough to conclusively know that any particular conflict in the Middle East is a definite sign of the end times.

Jesus declared, "And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains" (Matthew 24:6-8).

Rather than worry about whether this or that is a sign of the end times, instead of interpreting the Bible based on world news, instead of writing books, articles (and blog posts) about how current events fit with biblical end times prophecy we should be living every day of our lives as if Jesus could return at any moment. We should have urgency in our evangelism. We should be passionate in our walk with Christ. The coming of Christ is something we are to use to encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18).

The one thing it is not to be is something we obsess over, worry about, or use to stir up an apocalyptic freak out.

TagsCurrent-Issues  | End-Times

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Published 9-9-13