Are the events Christ said would begin to occur before his return starting to happen? At least 9 out of 10 pastors believe we are seeing those signs happening right now in current events, a study by Lifeway Research found.
In Matthew Chapter 24, Jesus offers prophecies of things to come soon, as well as the signs of the end of the age. There is good reason to trust Jesus’ words, as his first prophecy came true 70 years after he spoke them, as his disciples pointed out the buildings of the Jewish Temple.
“But he answered them, ‘You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.'”
– Matthew 24:2
Following the rebellion by the Jewish population in 66 CE, the Romans destroyed much of Jerusalem and left the Second Temple in ruins on 4 August 70 CE.
Jesus goes on to describe the events of the end times and the signs of his return. He warned of false teachers and false Christs, wars and rumors of wars, nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom, famines, earthquakes. He likened these events to the birth pains of a woman.
Jesus goes on to warn that believers will be persecuted, hated, and put to death for his name’s sake. False prophets arise and will lead many astray. Lawlessness will increase, and the love of many will grow cold.
A study conducted in 2020 by Lifeway Research of Nashville Tennessee, surveyed pastors of evangelical and historically black churches found nearly 9 in 10 pastors believed we were now seeing signs that Jesus said would occur shortly before his second coming. Nearly all the pastors, 97%, believe that Jesus literally and personally will return to Earth.
The study was exclusively focused on Christian eschatology, which is the part of theology concerned with the death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind.
At least 3 of 4 pastors agreed that Jesus was referring to some of the things we now see in current events, including:
Only roughly 1 in 10 pastors (11%) said they didn’t consider any of the above factors to be part of the birth pains Jesus was referring to.
Over half of pastors (56%) said they expected Jesus to return in their lifetime.
Seven in 10 pastors (70%) said the modern rebirth of Israel was a fulfillment of biblical prophecy and 82% believe Jewish people are special in God’s sight.
The majority of pastors (62%) believe that another temple will be built in Jerusalem as prophesied in the Bible, and 89% believe Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, while only 39% believe that the establishment of the US Embassy in Jerusalem was a sign of the end times.