For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: andthere shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.(Matthew 24:7)We should probably take this warning to refer both to the frequency and tointensity of earthquakes around the world, particularly where they pose a major threat to human life. If so, then the pattern of earthquakes over the past few yearswould definitely qualify as a conspicuous sign of the End Time.
The warning in Matthew 24 also implies a significant increase in pestilence on aglobal scale. The Book of Revelation, which goes into greater detail about the EndTime, describes a very unsettling scenario in which countless millions will die.How will this come about?In recent years we have had one major global epidemic –HIV/AIDS –and another –Swine Flu –is currently under way. Both are believed to have been deliberatelyengineered in a laboratory. For two thousand years we have been subject tonaturally occurring diseases, such as malaria, smallpox, typhus, cholera and bubonic plague, but modern medicine has greatly reduced their effect. Therefore, if pestilence on an End Time scale is to develop, it will almost certainly have to bemanmade. Only in the last 30 years or so has it been possible to develop lethalviruses capable of causing death on this scale.
The warning in Matthew 24 also refers to famine. Again, the scale implied by thewarning must be global, with a high death toll. Advances in agriculture and croptechnology have enabled the world to meet its growing food requirements. Thus, if the widespread famine foretold by Jesus is to develop, then multi-regional cropdiseases of some kind can be expected.There is clearly a strong link between famine and pestilence. The types of pestilence envisaged by Jesus may affect not just humans, but crops and livestock as well. If that is the case, then manmade diseases will be the most likely cause.Since the genetic technology needed to engineer diseases of this kind has only become available in the last 30 years or so, the End Time scenario envisaged byJesus could not have arisen before the late 20