Read Matthew 24
Think about wars and rumors of war. Think about earthquakes and famine. These impact everyone. What would come would be targeted at believers. It would be more personal.
Jesus noted that his followers would be handed over—that means someone had to seize them first. They would be persecuted. That’s a wide-ranging term that could be anything from online bullying to physical attacks to being denied essential provisions and everything in between.
Believers will be hated by all nations because they follow Jesus.
This warning is not to be taken sequentially. Persecuted, killed, and hated are not the sequence of events. Once they kill you, what do you care if they hate you as well.
Jesus gives us a buffet of things that the ungodly will do to his followers in these last days. And some of the persecutors might claim to be godly for there will be many false prophets to follow. We will see these not only from the godless but also from those who claim to be followers of Jesus.
Wickedness will be on the rise.
Many will turn away from the faith.
The love of most will grow cold.
That’s some stuff right there. That’s some stuff that we probably don’t want interfering with our bucket list. That’s not good stuff, but it will come in the last days.
OBTW—the gospel will be preached to the ends of the earth—to the whole world. That’s a good thing. Not everyone will respond in the age of wickedness and hatred, but the commissioned do canvass the entire planet.
It’s going to be an ugly time but the gospel will reach to the ends of the earth. The work of the church will continue. The work of the commissioned will continue. God’s light will shine in the darkness.
And he who stands firm will be saved.
Do you remember the parable of the seeds? Only the seed that took hold in good soil produced fruit. Many who claim to follow Jesus will fall away, but he who stands strong to the end will be saved.
What is the message to us?
Stand strong. Don’t be deceived. Don’t focus on the storm. There will be more distractions and trials than you thought possible, but stand strong.
Stand strong to the end.