What Is the Sign of “the Last Days,” or “End Times”?
The Bible’s answer
The Bible describes events, conditions, and attitudes that would mark “the conclusion of the [current] system of things,” or “the end of the world.” (Matthew 24:3; King James Version) The Bible calls this time period “the last days” and the “time of the end,” or “end times.”—2 Timothy 3:1; Daniel 8:19; Easy-to-Read Version.
What are some Bible prophecies about “the last days”?
The Bible foretold many things that together would be “the sign” to identify the last days. (Luke 21:7) Consider some examples:
War on a large scale. Jesus foretold: “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.” (Matthew 24:7) Similarly, Revelation 6:4 foretold a symbolic horseman representing warfare that would “take peace away from the earth.”
Famine. Jesus foretold: “There will be food shortages.” (Matthew 24:7) The book of Revelation foretold an additional symbolic horseman, whose ride would result in famine on a large scale.—Revelation 6:5, 6.
Great earthquakes. Jesus said that there would be “earthquakes in one place after another.” (Matthew 24:7; Luke 21:11) These great earthquakes around the world would cause suffering and loss of life on an unprecedented scale.
Disease. According to Jesus, there would be pestilences, or epidemics of “terrible diseases.”—Luke 21:11, Contemporary English Version.
Crime. Although crime has existed for centuries, Jesus foretold that in the last days, there would be an “increasing of lawlessness.”—Matthew 24:12.
Ruining of the earth. Revelation 11:18 foretold that mankind would be “ruining the earth.” They would do so in many ways, not only through violent and corrupt actions but also by bringing harm to the environment.
Deteriorating attitudes. At 2 Timothy 3:1-4, the Bible foretold that people in general would be “unthankful, disloyal, . . . not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride.” These attitudes would reach such extremes that the era could rightly be described as “critical times hard to deal with.”
Breakdown of the family. At 2 Timothy 3:2, 3, the Bible foretold that many people would have “no natural affection” for their family and that children would be “disobedient to parents.”
Diminished love of God. Jesus foretold: “The love of the greater number will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12) Jesus meant that love for God would grow cold in most people. Likewise, 2 Timothy 3:4 says that in the last days, such ones would be “lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.”
Religious hypocrisy. At 2 Timothy 3:5, the Bible foretold that people would appear to worship God but would not truly live by his standards.
Increased understanding of Bible prophecies. The book of Daniel foretold that in “the time of the end,” many would gain increased knowledge of Bible truth, including accurate understanding of these prophecies.—Daniel 12:4, footnote.
A global preaching work. Jesus foretold: “This good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth.”—Matthew 24:14.
Widespread apathy and ridicule. Jesus foretold that people in general would ignore the overwhelming evidence of the approaching end. (Matthew 24:37-39) More than that, 2 Peter 3:3, 4 foretold that some would ridicule the evidence, dismissing it completely.
All prophecies fulfilled. Jesus said that the last days would be marked by the simultaneous fulfillment of all these prophecies, not just a few or even most of them.—Matthew 24:33.
Are we living in “the last days”?
Yes. World conditions as well as Bible chronology indicate that the last days began in 1914, the year World War I began. To see how world conditions indicate that we are living in the last days, watch the following video:
In 1914, God’s Kingdom began ruling in heaven, and one of its first actions was to expel Satan the Devil and the demons from heaven and restrict their activity to the earth. (Revelation 12:7-12) Satan’s influence on mankind can be seen in many of the bad attitudes and actions that make the last days “critical times hard to deal with.”—2 Timothy 3:1.
Many people are distressed by these critical times. They are concerned that society itself is deteriorating. Some even fear for the future of humanity.
Meanwhile, others who are likewise distressed by world conditions have a hopeful outlook. They are convinced that God’s Kingdom will soon take action to rid the world of its problems. (Daniel 2:44; Revelation 21:3, 4) They wait patiently for God to fulfill his promises, and they find comfort in the words of Jesus: “The one who has endured to the end will be saved.”—Matthew 24:13; Micah 7:7.