“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be great earthquakes, and in one place after another pestilences and food shortages.”—Luke 21:10, 11. You may say: ‘But there have always been wars.’ That is true, as Jesus himself knew. But he was speaking of unusual wars, such as we have seen only since 1914. Regarding the first world war, which started in that year, a military analyst wrote: “In its scope, its violence, and above all, in its totality, it established a precedent. World War I ushered in the century of Total War, of—in the first full sense of the term—global war. . . . Never before 1914-1918 had a war absorbed so much of the total resources of so many combatants and covered so large a part of the earth. Never had so many nations been involved. Never had the slaughter been so comprehensive and indiscriminate.” (World War I, by H. W. Baldwin) Needless to say, the carnage of the first world war was multiplied many times over in the second.
How about the food shortages that Jesus mentioned? It is paradoxical that, despite the fact that some countries have the highest material standard of living in recorded history, there are more people hungry today than ever before. The New York Times reported: “Every 8.6 seconds someone in an underdeveloped country dies as a result of illness caused by malnutrition . . . 10,000 every day. Over 3,500,000 every year.” Does that not fulfill Jesus’ prophecy about food shortages?
And has there been an unusual number of earthquakes? Well, in 1915, 29,970 people died in an earthquake in Italy. In 1920, 180,000 perished in China, 143,000 died in Japan in 1923, and in 1939, 32,300 people died in Turkey (Erzincan). According to Scientific American, since 1948 ‘one great quake is occurring each year.’ We can probably remember many gigantic earthquakes that have struck in recent years. Many of us either have felt an earthquake or have relatives who have been affected by one. Finally, Jesus mentioned pestilences. It is another paradox of the modern world that in spite of the advances of medicine, there are still scourges that take millions of lives, especially in poorer countries. Immediately after World War I, an international epidemic of influenza brought death to twenty-one million victims. Today, poorer lands continue to suffer from plagues such as malaria, cholera and typhoid. Even in wealthier lands, cancer and heart attacks cut millions off in their prime. Venereal disease is called a “pandemic”—more severe than an epidemic. And spreading, worldwide pollution is threatening us with additional horrible illnesses. Regarding pollution, ecologist Barry Commoner said: “We have come to a turning point in the human habitation of the earth. . . . I believe that continued pollution of the earth, if unchecked, will eventually destroy the fitness of this planet as a place for human life.”
There are many more details of Jesus’ great prophecy that are clearly being fulfilled in our days. One of the most noteworthy is with regard to a worldwide preaching work. Jesus said: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) In our generation, modern communications and travel have made fulfillment of this prophecy more practical on a global scale. Today, Jehovah’s Witnesses are preaching “this good news” in more than two hundred lands around the earth. Yes, this prophecy, too, is being fulfilled.
Sign Scripture Proof
1. World wars Matt. 24:7
2. Widespread food shortages Matt. 24:7
3. Unusual number of earthquakes Matt. 24:7
4. Sore pestilence and disease Luke 21:11
5. Persecution of Christians Luke 21:12-15
6. Many forsaking Christianity Matt. 24:12, 13
7. Formation of the League of Nations and United Nations
Rev. 13:14, 15; 17:11
8. Nations perplexed Luke 21:25
9. Increased lawlessness Matt. 24:12
10. Sleepy condition of the world despite the sign 1 Thess. 5:2, 6
11. Moral breakdown in public and private life 2 Tim. 3:1-4
12. Widespread juvenile delinquency 2 Tim. 3:2
13. People overly engaging in everyday affairs of life Matt. 24:37-39
14. World-wide preaching of the kingdom as good news. Matt. 24:14
*** sm pp. 41-43 pars. 8-12 The Bible’s Prophecies ***
*** w54 12/1 p. 712 The “Time of the End” ***