The news is full of reports of violence. Another brutal slaughter in the Middle East. Wars in Europe and Africa. Another school shooting in the United States. Another murdered girl. Another suicide bombing. We are entering violent times, and there is more prophesied meaning behind this violence than the media and average person understands.
Jesus Christ warned that the “beginning of sorrows” preceding the Great Tribulation and His Second Coming would include increasing national and international war and ethnic violence (Matthew 24:6–8). Additionally, 2 Timothy 3:1 warns that in the last days “perilous times” will come. What is the cause and the meaning behind the increasing violence in today’s headlines? And how should a Christian live in what are becoming violent times?
God inspired the description of “perilous times” in 2 Timothy 3:1 to use the same Greek root word (chalepos) that described the unusually fierce, demonic spirits that possessed the two men who lived among the tombs in Matthew 8:28. This is insight into what is behind the ferocity and the evil that is intensifying in the world around us, because where violence, hatred and war are, the sinful drives of lust and murder are stirred by Satan the Devil (John 8:44; James 4:1–7).
Sadly, whether school shootings in the U.S. or “lone wolf” terrorist acts, or the intensifying clash between the “Western world” and “Islamic extremists” or the wars in Africa, Europe and Asia, or the drug-fueled violence in Mexico and Central America, or rise of terrorism, God warns that violence and brutality will intensify as we approach the end of the age (cf. Mark 13:7; Matthew 24:6–14), and will eventually explode into “Great Tribulation” such as the world has never seen (Matthew 24:21).
So, faithful Christians living at the end of the age must live by faith (Hebrews 10:38). It is by faith that a Christian pleases God (Hebrews 11:6) and it is by living a life of faith and obedience to God’s law that a Christian shows their love to God and will be counted worthy to escape the violence that will come to pass before Christ returns (Luke 21:36; 1 John 5:3).
As Christians of faith, do we beseech God in earnest prayer that He will speed Christ’s return to establish His Kingdom and peace on this earth (Luke 11:2)? Do we also show the fruits in our lives that God wants us to produce? Do we strive to be peaceable to all (Titus 3:2)? Do we strive to love God, neighbor, friends, family, and even our enemies (Luke 6:35)? Do we pray even for our enemies (Matthew 5:44)? Do we shun violent movies and entertainment, remembering that God will protect from danger one even avoids such things, “who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, and shuts his eyes from seeing evil” (Isaiah 33:15)?
Are we faithful stewards of the truth and the blessings that God has given us (Matthew 25:23)? Is our heart in the work of God (John 4:34)? Do we love and keep holy His Sabbaths (Isaiah 58:13, Hebrews 4:9)? Are we faithful in our tithes and offerings (Malachi 3:8)? In our lives, do we “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33)?
The world is heading toward increasingly violent times, such as in the days of Noah when “the earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11), but faithful Christians can have confidence that once these days come upon the world, the final, climactic end-time events and the “coming of the Son of Man” is not far off (Matthew 24:37). Please order our free booklet The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like?, and let us pray fervently for Christ’s return, when violence will be no more, and when the “Prince of Peace” will rule (Isaiah 9:6)!