“You will hear,” Jesus told His disciples, ” of wars, and rumors of wars, but do not not let that trouble you. Nation will go to war against nation, kingdom will fight with kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes all over the world. This is only the beginning of sorrows.”
War, famine, and earthquakes– these are destructive disasters that affect everyone in their path. The innocent and the guilty, the rich and the poor, the believer and the non-believer all suffer together.
But Jesus continued with specific warnings for His followers. “You will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world, because you are my followers, because you bear My Name. Many will turn away from Me, and betray and hate each other. Also, many false prophets will appear, deceiving many. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, will be saved.”
Once again, we come up against the fact that, in this world, there is an underlying bitter hatred for Jesus Christ, and everyone and everything associated with Him. “They hated Me”, Jesus quoted from the prophets, “without any cause.” Whether it is religious people who cannot bear to be shown up by the Light of the World as the frauds that they are, or rulers who hate and fear people that they cannot control with threats of death, the world hates Jesus and His Followers.
And this hatred will infiltrate even those who are called followers of Jesus, resulting in betrayal, and many turning away from Jesus. This hatred will be at the root of new doctrines, false doctrines, doctrines that appear good and yet deceive many.
But, in the midst of this persecution, betrayal, and deception, there is hope. While the love of many grows cold, the love of some remains constant and hot. While many fall away, some endure to the end, and are saved.
Jesus Himself is the one hope we have, in the good times, and in the terrible times described here. He has promised that those that call upon Him will not be ashamed; those that put their trust in Him will not be ashamed. He has promised life to those who will lose their own lives for His sake. To those who continue in His words, He promised they would know the Truth, which would set us free! With Jesus, we do not need to fear the persecution from without, the betrayal and deception from within. Stay close to Jesus, and He will never leave you, even in the midst of all these calamities.