The second sign that Jesus shares in vv. 6-7 is the sign of destruction. Wars and rumors of wars. Nations will rise against nation. There have been very few days in the history of the world that there have not been wars going on somewhere. It seems that men thrive on conflict. Why is that? I cannot begin to comprehend. When conflict arises, my heart beats harder, my blood pressure goes up, I feel like I cannot breathe. It isn’t a good feeling, but when I know that I am in the right, God takes over, calms my spirit, and gives me the strength to say and do what I need to do. But it seems that some people love a good fight. They enjoy the conflict. I think it is because they have the spirit of Cain on their lives. Things don’t go my way, I can fix that. You don’t like what I have to offer, I can fix that. Violence becomes a way of life — whether it is physical violence, verbal assaults, or sneaky little gossip sessions, it becomes ingrained in their psyche and their second nature.
Just about my entire life I have listened to pastors preaching about wars and rumors of wars, telling stories about how there have been more wars in their lifetimes than ever before. And it’s true. WWI was supposed to be the war than ended all wars, but it seems only to have whet the appetites of those with the spirit of Cain on their lives. WWII and the dropping of the atomic bomb should have scared some sense into the world, but all it did is make us more afraid of each other and hungry to have the weapons of mass destruction. And today, we see wars and rumors of wars everywhere.
Even Russia has begun to send its nuclear bombers flying towards America testing the limits of territorial boundaries. Iran agrees to a nuclear deal one day and then the next day threatens death and destruction to the USA and Israel. And our Secretary of State warns our closest ally, Israel, that to attack Iran would be a mistake. My point in saying all of this today is simply this: war has always been part of mankind’s history and until Jesus returns, it will be so. And as every sinful action and attitude has done through the generations, it grows worse and worse as human beings find more evil ways to do more evil things to people. Case in point: ISIS executing Christians because they refuse to convert to Islam — burning them to death in cages, drowning, beheading, shooting. Giving guns and knives to children and making them do the dirty work. See what I mean? And all of this is recorded to be watched by hundreds of millions of viewers daily on YouTube and the network news websites. Talk about depravity. The wickedness of men never ceases to amaze.
But wars and rumors of wars have always been with us, and like no other time in history, mankind has the capability to destroy everything. Nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. Cyber warfare – every day you hear about someone hacking into the computer systems of some government agency. But don’t misunderstand. They aren’t just trying to get your personal information so that they can steal your identity. They are looking for our weaknesses, trying to find a way to crash our systems. Do you realize that if they could find just the right switch, just the right program, just the right file, they could plunge our electrical grid into complete chaos. Can you imagine what it would be like if there was no electricity in this nation for weeks? or months? Electromagnetic Pulses are capable of frying every electronic circuit within hundreds of miles from the blast. And while our nation has supposedly sought to get out of the wars we have been fighting, all around the world, the wars continue to rage. We try to come to an agreement with Iran, and North Korea decides to act up. Unrest in the Middle East between the Palestinians and Israel, unrest in Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Syria, Turkey. And while war has always been a part of mankind’s existence, never before has there been the potential for total destruction like today. And Jesus says, disputes between nations will escalate dramatically.
So how are we supposed to know the difference between the everyday ordinary wars that happen all the time and those wars that signify the last days? I think I can help you with that question. Understand that Jesus is talking to His Jewish disciples in Jerusalem. And everyone of the prophetic wars yet to occur center around Israel. The War of Gog and Magog that I talked about two weeks ago will center around Israel. The destruction of Damascus in Isaiah 17 has to do with Israel. The War of Psalm 83 that we heard about last Sunday night has to do with Israel. Is.19 describes a time in the last days when Egypt faces a time of difficulty, violence, and economic disaster. Egyptians will fight against Egyptians. They will be demoralized and will resort to occult practices. They will be delivered into the hands of a cruel taskmaster. The Nile will dry up, industries ruined, living conditions will deteriorate, and their senior leadership will become stupid (vv. 11, 13). But then God will sweep in and Revival will break out. The Lord will strike Egypt to heal it. Is that part of what is happening now? I don’t know, but there is an enormous spiritual awakening coming to their land. Do you start to see the pattern? The wars and rumors of wars that Jesus was talking about are focused on Israel and the countries of the Middle East in the last days.