There will be two comings of the Lord, one to catch us up to meet Him in the air to take us to heaven (IThes. 4:13-18), and another all the way back to earth 7 years later to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth for Israel (Zech. 14:3,4). But that means there will be two sets of last days!
Most Christians think the Lord’s “coming” in Matthew 24:3 is the Rapture, but the 12 also asked about “the end of the world,” and the world won’t end at the Rapture! The world as men know it will end at the 2nd coming of Christ to establish the kingdom though. Most Christians think “rumors of wars” (Mt. 24:6) will come before the Rapture, but they will come when Antichrist shows up with a bow but no arrows in the Tribulation (Rev. 6:2).
Most Christians think the rising of nations against nations today is a sign of the Rapture (Mt.24:7), but it too is a sign of the Tribulation (Rev. 6:4) and the 2nd coming. “Famines” too (Rev.6:5). These are “the beginning of sorrows (Mt. 24:6-8), and when God starts judging He will begin in Israel (I Pe. 4:17), so modern wars and rumors of wars and famines that don’t start in Israel aren’t a sign of the Rapture. Men recently thought of Matthew 24:29 when the total eclipse happened, but the darkening of the sun that this speaks of is also Tribulation ground (Lu. 21:25,26).
The last days before the Rapture are very different. I Timothy 4:1 says nothing about wars or the darkening of the sun. It speaks of darkness in men’s souls. “Seducing spirits” in the past seduced women to produce a race of giants to oppose Abraham. Seducing spirits in the last days will be creeping into houses and seducing women and men with “doctrines of devils” (I Tim. 4:1). Just as there have always been women silly enough to be “laden with sins” and wicked men willing to seduce them (II Tim. 3:6), so there will always be silly people laden with sins and religious teachers willing to seduce them with false teachings.
Some of those doctrines of devils are “forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats” (I Tim. 4:3). Your two main drives are your drive to eat and procreate. To deny them and think that you are pleasing God in the process is very seductive to your religious flesh, as Rome has proved for centuries. But in the last days before the 2nd coming they’ll be doing the opposite (Mt. 24:37-39).
II Timothy 3:2-5 also says nothing about earthquakes or wars, just more darkness of men’s hearts, which is scarier. I know they’ll be “blood” in the last days before the 2nd coming (Acts 2:19,20), but spiritual darkness is worse than physical darkness. Don’t forget, the physical darkness will be from God but the spiritual darkness will come from men, and David feared man’s judgment worse (II Sa. 24:14)
II Timothy 3 is all about when you see this spiritual darkness in spiritual leaders, that’s a sign of the rapture. They’re the ones that creep into houses, by radio and TV and internet, and seduce people. Most spiritual leaders mean well and are “ever learning, and never able to come unto a knowledge of the truth” (II Tim. 3:7) because they’ve been blinded by religious tradition. But these religious seducers won’t come to a knowledge of the truth because they study the Bible looking for ways to seduce men. The more men know about a woman the easier it is to seduce her, and these religious seducers know that the more they know about the Bible the easier it is to seduce Christians.
Jannes and Jambres (II Tim. 3:8) opposed Moses by duplicating his miracles, and religious seducers teach a duplicate Jesus (II Cor. 11:4), the Jesus of the four gospels, and the “Spirit” of Pentecost, and the “gospel” of the kingdom. Their “folly” appeared (II Tim. 3:9) when Moses’ snake “swallowed” theirs (Ex. 7:10-12), and “swallowed” should make you think of the resurrection (I Cor. 15:54; II Cor. 5:4). Religious seducers always look good in life, but their folly will be made known after the Rapture at the Judgment Seat.
How should we prepare for the last days? Not by stocking the shelves of our pantry with survival food to survive the Tribulation, but by stocking the shelves of our mind with Pauline doctrine, as Paul prepared Timothy (II Tim. 3:10).