I have personally been searching the Bible for years in an effort to identify all the signs that show we are living in the end times and soon return of Jesus Christ. It has not been an easy task to get a hold on them. That's because there are so many of them, both in the Old and New Testaments. I have found that the best way to deal with them is to put them in categories, and in doing that, I have come up with six categories of end time signs. The following are the last three categories.
4) The Signs of World Politics
"You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars... for nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom..." (Matthew 24:6-7)
I taught international politics for 20 years before I entered the ministry full time, so this is an area that is particularly fascinating to me.
The Bible prophesies a very specific end time configuration of world politics. Israel is pictured as being re-established (Ezekiel 37:21-22) and surrounded by hostile Arab neighbors intent on its destruction (Ezekiel 35:1 - 36:7). This, of course has been the situation in the Middle East since the Israeli Declaration of Independence in May of 1948.
Daniel prophesied that the Roman Empire would be revived (Daniel 2:36-41), something many men — like Charlemagne, Napoleon, and Hitler — tried to do through force. But the prophecy had to await God's timing for its fulfillment, and that came after World War II, with the formation of the European Common Market that has since morphed into the superpower called the European Union.
The Bible pictures a great power located in the land of Magog in the "remote parts of the north." This nation will menace Israel in the end times and will ultimately lead an invasion of Israel together with specified allies, all of which are modern day Muslim states (Ezekiel 38:1 - 39:16). Russia with all its Muslim republics and its Muslim allies fits this description precisely.
All the nations of the world are prophesied to come together against Israel in the end times over the issue of the control of Jerusalem (Zech. 12:2-3) — a prophecy being fulfilled today.
The magnitude of warfare in the 20th Century is another fulfillment of end time prophecy related to world politics. The 20th Century was one of unparalleled war. Like birth pangs, the frequency and intensity of war increased exponentially. It is now estimated that more people died in wars during the 20th Century than in all the previous wars throughout all of recorded human history.
5) The Signs of Technology
"Men will faint from fear over the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken." (Luke 21:26)
The development of nuclear weapons seems to be foreshadowed by this prophecy in Luke 21 that speaks of people "fainting from fear" due to the "powers of the heavens being shaken." The incredible carnage of the Seal and Trumpet Judgments portrayed in chapters 6 and 8 in the book of Revelation indicates that the Antichrist will conquer the world through the use of nuclear weapons. We are told that one-third of the earth will be burned and that one-half of humanity will be killed. Further evidence that this is a nuclear holocaust is found in Revelation 16 where we are told that at the end of the Tribulation the survivors will be covered with sores that will not heal (Revelation 16:11).
As I pointed out earlier, there are many end time prophecies that simply cannot be understood apart from modern technological developments. Consider the prophecy in Revelation 11 about the two witnesses who will call the world to repentance during the first half of the Tribulation. When they are killed by the Antichrist, we are told that their bodies will lie in the streets of Jerusalem for three and a half days, and the whole world will look upon them (Revelation 11:9). How could anyone understand such a prophecy before the development of satellite television in the 1960's?
Likewise, how could the Antichrist control all buying and selling worldwide (Revelation 13) without the aid of computer technology? How could the False Prophet create the illusion of giving life to a statue (Revelation 13) without the technology of holograms, virtual reality, and robotics? How could an army of 200 million come out of the Far East (Revelation 9) before the population explosion that was produced by modern medical technology? How could the Gospel be proclaimed to all the world (Matthew 24) before the invention of motion pictures, radio, television, and the Internet? The list goes on and on.
6) The Signs of Israel
"And it shall come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it." (Zechariah 12:3)
The signs that relate to Israel are the most important of all because the Jews are God's prophetic time clock. What I mean by this is that the Scriptures will often tie a prophesied future event with something that will happen to the Jews. We are told to watch the Jews, and when the prophesied event concerning them occurs, we can be sure that the other prophesied event will also occur.
An example can be found in Luke 21:24 where Jesus prophesied that the Jews would be dispersed from Jerusalem and be led captive among the nations. But then He added that one day they would return to re-occupy Jerusalem, and when this happens, the end time events will occur that will lead to His return.
There are many prophecies concerning the Jews in the end times, many of which began to be fulfilled in the 20th Century, but there are four key ones. The first is their worldwide regathering in unbelief (Isaiah 11:11-12). In 1900 there were only 40,000 Jews in Palestine. By the end of World War II that number had risen to 800,000. Today, there are more than 5.7 million who have come from all over the world. Very soon there will be as many Jews in Israel as died in the Holocaust. The prophet Jeremiah says twice that when history is completed, the Jewish people will look back and conclude that their worldwide regathering was a greater miracle than their deliverance from Egyptian captivity (Jeremiah 16:14-15 and 23:7-8). We are truly living in momentous times!
The second key prophecy concerning the Jews is a natural consequence of their regathering. It is the re-establishment of their state which occurred on May 14, 1948 (Isaiah 66:7-8). The third key prophecy is the re-occupation of Jerusalem which occurred on June 7, 1967 during the miraculous Six Day War (Zechariah 8:4-8).
The fourth key prophecy is the one whose fulfillment we are witnessing today — the re-focusing of world politics upon the nation of Israel (Zechariah 12:2-3). All the nations of the world, including the United States, are coming against Israel over the issue of the control of the nation's capital — the city of Jerusalem. The Vatican wants the city put under its control. The United Nations wants it to be internationalized. The European Union is demanding it be divided between the Arabs and the Jews. The Arabs want all of it.
In Part 5, the final installment of this series, I'll list 50 Bible prophecies being fulfilled today that show we are living in the season of the Lord's return.