7 And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. 8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.
The celebrated expert on War from the early nineteenth century, Von Clausewitz, is reported to have said that war is the attempt to compel an enemy to do one’s will. I have read that in the last 4,000 years there have only been 300 without war and the person jokingly said that those 300 years must have been needed to reload. Since 1945, when the U.N. was created to end global conflict there have been nearly 200 wars, civil wars, genocides, terrorism, humanitarian interventions, inter-ethnic wars, and even drug wars. The 20th century was the bloodiest century in history and the 14th century ran a close second. One hundred million people were murdered in war, millions were displaced from their homes, and countless numbers suffered horribly in the 20th. Plague alone killed 35 million in Europe in the 14th century while nearly 20 million died of the Spanish flu alone in the early 20th.
Every week my email inbox receives notifications of earthquakes from the USGS. There are and have been earthquakes around the world, some in history killing hundreds of thousands of people as in Lisbon, Portugal in the 1700’s and in China in the 1500’s.
Historical famines, such as the one in the Deccan Plateau of India in the late 1800’s due to British Imperial policy (see Mike Davis' Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third World) and the one recently in Ethiopia, have killed millions of people. (see 1 Timothy 6:10 for the reason.)
These are not new things. They are the nature and condition of humanity. Books like Catastrophe: An Investigation into the Origins of Modern Civilization by David Keys shows how the ancient world was destroyed by climate change, famine, and plague beginning in the early 500’s. Books like James Reston, Jr.’s The Last Apocalypse: Europe at the Year 1000 AD show that the European world feared that the end was near as the first millennium was coming to an end and Vikings, Magyars, and Muslims seemed poised to tear their world apart.
Satan is the god of this world. (2 Corinthians 4:4.) It is under his operative control. Mankind is essentially wicked. Even born-again Christians are so consumed by the lust of the flesh, the pride of life, and the lust of the eyes (1 John 2:16) that they are for the most part useless to God if they are truly born-again.
Jesus tells you that this is only the beginning. What is coming will make World War II look like a skirmish. We act foolishly when we look at the conditions we see around us and say, well, this must be the end. You can’t even imagine what the end will be like. Read Revelation. Jesus is about to say that if those days weren’t shortened “no flesh should be saved.”
The time of God’s wrath is coming on the earth that will be unlike anything since the Great Flood of Noah that wiped out all humanity save eight people.