2, Evil and lawlessness will increase greatly. As our Lord predicted: “Because iniquity will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Mt. 24:12). The weakening of faith will lead to further moral decline and in turn, as in a chain reaction, that will weaken faith even more. In the following gloomy picture the Apostle Paul depicts the general moral decay prior to the end of the world: “In the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim 3:1-5From the combined predictions of Holy Scripture, it should be concluded that by the end of the world carnal desires and passions will suppress all noble and spiritual aspirations in people. Interest in Christ will cease, His teachings will be neglected and ridiculed, and everything related to Christianity — its customs and traditions, Church architecture and music, Christian feast days — will be considered ancient history. The general mood will be reminiscent of ante-deluvian times described in the book of Genesis: “And the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart … for the earth is filled with violence through them” (Gen. 6:5-11). Similar conditions will prevail before the Second Coming of Christ.
Sorcery, the serving of evil spirits, and other pagan practices will become widespread. The minds of most people will be poisoned by all sorts of ungodly heresies, as the Holy Spirit expressly predicted through St. Paul: “In latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons”
(1 Tim. 4:1). The Apostle John depicts the following gloomy picture about the overwhelming permeation of evil spirits into peoples lives: “And he [the Angel] opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit … And they [the locusts which came from the pit] had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.” Even though the Lord, by means of different punishments and calamities, will try to stop people from doing evil, they “would not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts”
(Rev. 9:2-21, 16:13, 18:23). As mutual enmity and hatred grow,
g) Persecution of the faithful will escalate. Christians will be hated by people who reject any mentioning of God’s authority and who trust only in the power of their intellect. And as believing in God becomes unpopular, any Christian wishing to retain his faith will feel more and more isolated from society. He will discover that even his own relatives have become his enemies, as the Lord predicted: “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake; and then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.” So that even “brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake … But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Mt. 24:9-10; Mrk. 13:12-13; Lk. 21:16). The general moral decay and hatred will produce
h) Destabilization the very foundations of the social life. Bloody wars and various disasters will reach catastrophic proportions. People will become weary from the burden of suffering from disasters. They will be unable to overcome them through personal efforts; however, they will not turn to God for help due to their own disbelief. “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilence, and earthquakes in various places.”But people will become so hardened that even these calamities will not turn them to repentance. Ever increasing licentiousness, hatred, and mutual enmity will ultimately lead to the Last Judgment. Comparing the last times with the time before the deluge the Apostle Peter says: “As God did not spare the ancient world [in the time of Noah] bringing in the flood on the ungodly … and [later] turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorra into ashes, then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment” (2 Pet. 2:5-9). “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; and men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken” (Mt. ch. 24; Mrk. ch. 13 and Lk. ch. 21). The concluding words of this prophecy evidently pertain to the end of the world. However, a few years prior to this, a more fearful event in the life of mankind will occur: the coming to power of the Antichrist.