If you look at any road close up, you will find minor flaws and yes, even inconsequential pits, even small potholes that any modern car tire can easily drive over. Now if you were driving along and someone yelled out "POTHOLE!" what would you expect? Something inconsequential. No, there has to be a reason for the warning--its because it is big enough to cause concern. And all of a sudden the car goes buh-bump!
The same goes for the warning that Jesus gave regarding the composite sign of the time of the end. Please turn to Luke 21:11 to notice a few of the mentioned elements about the Sign.
(Luke 21:11) and there will be great earthquakes, and in one place after another pestilences and food shortages; and there will be fearful sights and from heaven great signs.
We'll concentrate on just two of the elements, earthquakes and pestilences.
Are the earthquakes that we are experiencing now more frequent just because we have better reporting and recording? With the increasing discoveries of ancient writings from all periods of times and all corners of the earth, we are discovering that our ancient forefathers were just adept at recording details as we are. So, looking at 1914 as the see-saw pivotal year, lets look back from that point a period of 2,000 years. How many GREAT earthquakes were recorded? And by GREAT, I mean those measuring 7.5 or greater or causing 100 or more deaths or devastation costing more than 5 million dollars. How many? 865, or, less than one-half earthquake per year. Now, lets look at the other side of the teeter totter. In just 69 years (report I looked at went up to 1983) since 1914 there were 605 major or great quakes. That is an average of 8.8, yes, nearly 9 major quakes a year. So from 0.43 (or less than one-half) to almost 9 is a monumental leap.
What about pestilence. In just the Spanish flu which took 20 million lives by conservative estimates and up to 100 million lives due to residual effect (based on the figures you'll easily find on the internet), that is substantial figure.Do you know anyone that was affected by the Spanish influenza? I do. My own grandparents. Yes, my mother's parents both died as young adults when she was about 3 years old. But how many is 20 million people? Well, presently, California's last census count was 37 million people. So you were to kill 2 out of every 3 people here in California, you would have the death toll of the Spanish flu. Bringing it home, reflect that today there are a little over 7 million Jehovah's Witnesses earth-wide. If all of them were to suddenly die, that would only be one-third of the people killed by the Spanish Influenza. But it is not the only pestilence to have struck since 1914. With increasing frequency, new strains of old diseases are popping up. On top of that you have cancer, AIDS, and other problems that have plagued modern man for decades. Some in the medical field feel it is only a matter of time before another major issue arises. Indeed these are difficult times hard to deal with.
So size, duration, increasing frequency, impact on human life, all of these are part of that Sign, just as noteworthy as is a large pothole. But there is one more thing that people minimize the importance of. While it is true that pestilence and earthquakes have always existed and are stand-alone events in themselves, what Jesus foretold was a composite sign. To illustrate, have you ever seen images like these that are made up of dozens of smaller pictures?
Mike Phelps: http://mosaicmadness.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/MichaelPhelpsMosaicFinalDripbook.jpg
Each picture is like the separate elements in Jesus Sign, each is a stand-alone picture in itself. However, Jesus wasn't talking about that. He was talking about the big picture that all those events combine to form. So, what you are supposed to see is not the individual images of this swimmer in various swim positions. You are supposed to see the gold-metal winner. Likewise, what people are supposed to see regarding Jesus' sign is not the individual events, but that they are part of a much larger picture marking a particular time in history.
So don't loose faith or hope friends. Even though the faithless people in this world try to discourage you with talk that the potholes of life's troubles have always been with us, we know that Jesus was warning us of something much greater than a typical pothole. This is major buh-bump! Hold on. The ride will only get rockier as Jehovah carefully drives us into the new order.
Reference: Other samples of composite or mosaic pictures (Google search on keyword phrase: "mosaic pictures")