By Nathan Jones
What signs can we specifically see happening right now that are indicating that the Rapture of the Church is close at hand?
On Saturday, November 19, 2011, I was interviewed by host August Rosado of the BlogTalkRadio show Signs of the Times. August is a Bible prophecy teacher and preacher and founder of a ministry called Today in Bible Prophecy. He has and continues to be a personable guest on our television program Christ in Prophecy. He and I spent some time discussing the signs of the times that point to Jesus Christ's soon return.
Signs of Nature
Nathan Jones: Oh, my goodness! There are just so many signs that demonstrate the Lord's soon return.
Nathan Jones: Take the signs of nature for one. Luke 21:11 says, "there will be great earthquakes in varies places, plagues and famines, there will be terror and great signs from heaven." We know that as the time approaches for Jesus to come back, Matthew 24:8 says it will be like birth pains. You and I have children, August, so we have gotten to watch our wives (thank goodness we didn't have to go through it), but our wives went through labor. The labor pains get stronger and closer together and faster as the baby is about to come. With the signs of nature, natural disasters the world has always experienced because it is a fallen and cursed world, but the disasters of the last days will come more frequent and intense. They will get stronger and cause more devastation.
It used to be years and not merely months between natural disasters, but now it seems like every week we hear about another natural disaster. As a matter of fact, I'm reading here some of Dr. Reagan's research, that between October of 1991 and 2004 nine of the ten largest insurance natural disasters happened. Nine of the ten greatest disasters ranked by FEMA caused relief crises. Five of the costliest hurricanes happened in history. And, three of the four largest tornado swarms occurred.
I'm in Texas right now and we are having the worst drought ever. If you go out to Lake Lavon near us you can literally walk across where it once was because there's almost no water left in it.
While there are terrible droughts, meanwhile in other parts of the world like up in the New England area and in Thailand. Bangkok is pretty much under water.
We are having earthquakes all over the planet in strange areas like in Washington D.C. and Oklahoma where we don't usually experience them.
We have hurricanes like Katrina and a number of others which come destroying huge swaths of land.
Natural disasters are probably the number one most effect attention getting sign that the Lord is returning. And so, fortunately, there is a good side to it in that it's a sign that most people will acknowledge and realize, "Hey, wait, something must be going on!" When you see the news the reporters will then say, "This disaster was an act of God," or the insurance company will claim, "An act of God." Disasters cause secularist to admit there is a God. The signs of nature is a big one.
Sign of Society
The second sign I'd bring up is the sign of society. Second Timothy 3:1-4 says, "Realize that in the last days difficult times will come, for men will be lovers of self, money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient, ungrateful, malicious gossip, irreconcilable, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless…" The list goes on and on. Society will return to being like the days of Noah. Before Noah and the Ark, society was so bad that God decided that He just had to do something about them because they were just so evil. When society becomes like that again, and today it very much is that evil, that is a sign we can point to. That is the sign of society.
There are positive and negative spiritual signs. For one, the Gospel will spread across the entire planet. But, Matthew 24 tells us it will also be a time with lots of false Christs, lots of cults, and lots of people being confused doctrinally.
I think of the Church of Laodicea, that last end time Church Revelation 3 talks about. It says the Church will grow apathetic, and clearly we are seeing the Church fall into that apathy today. The end time Church thinks it's wealthy with its big church buildings and our big budgets, but spiritually we are just falling apart. We are just drinking the milk of the Word all the time, but not the meat of the Word of the Lord.
Sign of World Politics
The fourth sign I would bring up is the sign of world politics. Matthew 24:6-7 says we will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars, for nation will rise up against nation and kingdom against kingdom. In the Twentieth Century we saw two of the worst world wars in history. More people died in the last hundred years of war than ever the wars before combined.
Clearly the world is gearing up for yet another major world war. World War III could very well be what the Bible talks about concerning the Antichrist conquering and in the process destroying much of the world.
Sign of Technology
We talked about the signs of technology a little earlier in this interview, August, like how Luke 21:26 says that, "Men will faint from fear over the expectations of things which are coming upon the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken." And, clearly today we have the technology to see all that is going on in the world and so put those prophetic pieces together.
Sign of Israel
Probably your favorite sign, August, if I know you right is the sign of Israel. Zechariah 12:3 tells us that, "And it shall come about in the 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." Clearly the entire world is against Israel today, and will continue to be even more hostile during the Tribulation. The reasons have to be Satanic because how can anyone hate one tiny little country like Israel like the whole world hates Israel and wants to take Jerusalem away from her? Israel's return and the conflict around here is a major, major sign indicating the Lord is coming back really soon.
Those are the six major sign categories. I would recommend people go to our website and look under Publications then Articles then Signs. We have a number of articles listed there that will add details for people who want to follow up on further information. Dr. Reagan even has a list of 50 signs of the end times if they're interested. He once said that he could just keep on listing them even after 50! So, there are a lot signs that say the Lord is coming back really, really soon.
August Rosado: For anyone to say that Israel is not a fulfillment of Bible prophecy simply is just ignorant, to put it mildly. Zola when he was alive rigorously defended Israel. He even went head to head with some major Bible scholars out there and taught about Israel in the Tribulation Period and Israel in the Millennium Kingdom. That Israel is not a fulfillment of Bible prophecy coming alive in the Twentieth Century, well how can anybody say that when you can read Deuteronomy 30, and Ezekiel 36:24, and Amos 9:15, and Ezekiel 37's dry bone vision? How can anybody ever ignore the fact that Israel is a modern day fulfillment of Bible prophecy? It's just absolutely mind boggling to me.
Nathan Jones: Oh, you're not kidding. What nation or people group that has ever been dispersed across the entire planet for 1,900 years forms their own country again? Have the Hittites risen up in power and formed their own country again? No! It hasn't happened. Have the Native American Tribes formed their nations again? It just doesn't happen!
Through the Jews God gave us the Bible. God has given us the Messiah through the Jews. God has given the promise of the mystery of the Church through the Jews. That it's Israel that's returned should make us think, "Hey, wait a minute, this isn't just a historical aberration. God must be telling us something."
Like you stated, August, when we have Bible verses that talk about Israel like in Zechariah 12 and also in 14 which talk about Israel being a stumbling block to the world and every nation that goes against it will be dashed to pieces, we should look around and see if the nations are stumbling over Israel. Certainly every nation that has gone against Israel like the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, you name it, even America which is getting so crippled the more we interfere with Israel and just not leave it alone but be supportive, the more our economy is falling apart. We can look at Canada and Germany right now which are the two countries that are somewhat supportive of Israel, and see their economies are thriving. So, clearly the Lord loves those who bless Israel (Gen. 12:1-3).
God has given Israel certain promises concerning their return, and we need to understand that. So, yes, Israel is not a historical aberration. It grieves me when I hear Christians even friends whom I respect say Israel doesn't matter. They say that because they are also the same people who don't care about Bible prophecy whatsoever. They want the Church to conquer the world for Christ, even though the Church was never meant to conquer the world for Christ. Christ is meant to conquer the world for Christ.
Israel has a future and it has a purpose, and therefore it is the number one sign of the end times. Watching it is like watching God's stopwatch counting down until His return.
I tell you, August, watching the news and reading the reports lately is fascinating and scary, especially about Iran near in getting the nuclear bomb. There's Hezbollah's 40,000 missiles pointed at Israel and the ones shot in daily from Gaza. Egypt and the whole Arab Spring proves the Muslim world is becoming more radical in their hatred of Israel. The coming deadline that there is just three months left before Israel will have to do something like attack Iran to stop them from going nuclear. If that happens Iran will activate Syria, Hezbollah, Lebanon, and Gaza in attacking Israel back. And so, we are looking at a potential major world war that will start in the Middle East. But, we know with the prophecies in Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39 that these things need to happen before Christ returns to make a believing remnant turn to Jesus Christ.
As scary as Bible prophecy can be, we know in the long run that there's hope and a future in Jesus' following victory. Sure, we have to get through some of the scary parts first, but frankly I believe that the Rapture of the Church will happen long before we see Israel really get into it like say the events of Ezekiel 38-39.
August Rosado: I agree with that, Nathan.
In the next part of this Interview by August, we'll reveal to key to interpreting Revelation.