There’s no doubt if you are aware of your surroundings that our nation and world is in absolute chaos. Christ predicted that social wickedness would increase prior to His Return: “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12, NIV). In the same passage Jesus compared social wickedness by referring to two periods of Old Testament history, namely, the “days of Noah” and “the days of Lot.”
“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:26-30, NIV; cf. Matt 24:37-39).
The social conditions of Noah’s and Lot’s times are described by a series of verbs (imperfect tense) expressing customary actions: they “were eating, drinking, marrying … buying and selling, planting and building.” None of these activities are wrong in themselves. What is wrong is that the people in those days lived only to satisfy their appetites and material desires. God and godliness had no place in their lives!
In the mad search for pleasure and prosperity, mankind sank into such great depravity, that, the Scripture says, “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5; cf. 18:20-21). Jesus referred to the godlessness and wickedness of these ancient times to illustrate the alarming social conditions that would prevail before His Return. The consistent use of the future tense suggests that Paul foresaw a deterioration of social conditions before the End. He indicates this also in verse 13 where he says: “evil men and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived.”
It is in this setting that the prediction of Christ and Paul about increased wickedness in “the last days” takes on added meaning for the times we are living in today. A significant fulfillment of “the increase of wickedness” (Matthew 24:12, NIV) predicted by Christ can be seen in today’s surge in crime in many countries. Among the reasons given by Paul for the “terrible times” to come “in the last days” are that people will be “without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (II Timothy 3:3-4, NIV). The fulfillment of this prediction is unparalleled today as crime, for example, is skyrocketing out of control throughout the world.
In a report filed by correspondents from several world capitals, US NEWS & WORLD REPORT writes: “Just as in the United States, crime is on the rise in almost every country around the world, terrorism and crime is fast becoming a major menace that is changing the way in which many people live. Crime is becoming more violent.” All countries which publish statistical reports show a frightening increase in terrorism, killings, assaults, rapes, robberies, and burglaries. The United States leads the world not only in science and technology, but, sadly to say, also in violence, crime, and delinquency. Figures released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the year 1980 indicate that in that year 23,000 persons were murdered, 82,000 women were raped, more than 500,000 persons were robbed, and over 650,000 were assaulted. However, violent crimes have quadrupled in America during the last 36 years. To bring home the intensity of violent crime in America today, US NEWS & WORLD REPORT gives the following “Clock Ticks” statistics: “A murder occurs every 23 minutes; a forcible rape occurs every 6 minutes; a robbery occurs every 58 seconds; an aggravated assault occurs every 48 seconds; a motor vehicle is stolen every 28 seconds; a burglary occurs every 8 seconds.”
The unprecedented rise of violent crimes in America is reflected in the population explosion of State and Federal prisons. From about 200,000 in 1970, the inmate population has grown to almost 2 million today. This alarming increase of violent crime is causing a paralyzing fear in the American society.
The rise of various forms of evil, which is causing a paralyzing fear in many parts of the world, represents, in our view, a significant fulfillment of Christ’s prediction regarding the increased wickedness before His Return. Many people today, as Christ predicted, are “fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world” (Luke 21:26). The frightening increase in wickedness points to the judgment which Christ will soon deliver upon evil people at His return. As believers, understand that following Jesus and His teachings is the only way we will be able to sustain what is before us.
This Sunday at South Side we will continue our series entitled “Simply Jesus” where we are looking at the teaching of Jesus. We would love to have you and your family at 10:45 for worship as we focus on our one true hope “Jesus,” the savior of mankind!