End Time Signs
An excerpt from the recently updated booklet A Glimpse into the Future.
We live in exciting times where at any moment, Jesus could return to catch away His Bride—those who have repented of their sins and committed their lives to God—in the Rapture of the Church. We are witnessing Bible prophecy being fulfilled, and these signs indicate that the culmination of God’s dealings with the people of this earth will soon occur. The Rapture is the next great event to take place in God’s plan for the ages. After that, God will pour out His wrath in judgment on those who have rejected Him and are left behind. This period, known in the Bible as the Great Tribulation, will be a time of terror and torment unparalleled in the world’s history.
What are the signs prophesied in the Scriptures which indicate the Rapture and the Great Tribulation are just ahead?
The signs that Jesus gave
When Jesus’ disciples asked Him what signs would precede His return and the end of the world, He responded with a comprehensive list. (See chapter 24 of Matthew.) He said there would be:
• Wars and rumors of wars. Warfare has long been part of human existence, but the sheer annihilative potential of current weaponry and the possibility of conflict on a global scale has made our day a unique and dangerous time unprecedented in history. Today, nine countries possess nuclear weapons, and military engagements are constant. Since the end of World War II, there have been 280 armed conflicts involving one or more governments.
• Famines. In 2016, an estimated 815 million people worldwide were suffering from hunger and malnourishment. In addition to drought, other contributing factors of worldwide hunger include economic collapse, the displacement of people as a result of warfare, an increasing world population, and diminishing natural resources. In 2017, the chief economist for the U.N. World Food Programme said that twenty million people were in danger of dying from starvation in the next six months due to four different famines. 
• Pestilences. As of 2012, there were 219 virus species known to affect humans, and every year new strains of viruses are being discovered. The past few decades have witnessed the emergence of “new” infectious diseases such as Ebola, HIV/AIDS, SARS, and the Zika virus. In addition, there is the growing problem of antimicrobial-resistant strains of “old” diseases such as influenza, malaria, and tuberculosis. According to the World Health Organization, about 490,000 people contracted a drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis in 2016.
• Earthquakes. Approximately 500,000 earthquakes are detected in the world each year, though only around 100,000 are felt because many occur in remote areas or have small magnitudes. In 2017 there were 13,095 earthquakes worldwide measuring 4.0 or greater. In recent years, new technologies, such as processes related to oil and gas extraction, have increased the risk of earthquakes occurring in parts of the world where they were never before experienced.
• Persecution and killing of followers of Jesus. Open Doors USA, which tracks persecuted Christians worldwide, stated that around the globe, oppression against Christians has increased with 215 million Christians experiencing high to extreme persecution in 2017. A resolution passed by the United States House of Representatives condemning human rights abuses against Christians listed recent persecutions from around the globe, stating: “The Christian population in the Middle East has significantly decreased over the past few decades as a result of persecution, displacement, and genocide . . . such persecution ranges from social harassment and discrimination to physical violence, imprisonment, torture, enslavement, rape, and death.”
• False prophets deceiving many. Since the time of Christ, numerous individuals have amassed followers by falsely claiming to be God’s messenger, including Mohammad in the seventh century, Nostradamus in the sixteenth, and more recently, Joseph Smith, Sun Myung Moon, and David Koresh to name a few.
• Widespread iniquity. This past century has seen an increasing tolerance for sins relating to the devaluing of human life and sexual immorality. In 2013, 61 percent of the world’s population was living in a country where abortion was legal on demand or for social and economic reasons, and from 2010 to 2014, an estimated 56 million abortions were performed annually, constituting 25 percent of pregnancies worldwide. Euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide are also gaining acceptance; one or the other is now legal in nine countries. There is a growing movement to embrace “alternative lifestyles” as natural and healthy, and same-sex marriages are now recognized in twenty-six countries.
• Declining love for truth. As of 2017, over 11 percent of the world’s population did not claim any allegiance to a religion, and 45 percent adhered to Buddhism, Hinduism, or Islam. Even many churches which at one time preached the fundamentals of Christianity—the new birth and a life without sin—have changed their doctrines, “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (2 Timothy 3:5).
• The Gospel preached worldwide. Several interdenominational groups are currently working toward the goal of reaching every part of the world with the Gospel message. By 2001, the film entitled JESUS had been shown in every country of the world in over 1,000 languages. Today, in addition to audio and video recordings and printed materials, the internet is taking the Gospel to places where it has never before been heard. One website, Bible.is, has posted the Bible online in 1,293 languages. The Wycliffe Global Alliance reports that one or both of the Old and New Testaments are now available in 2,200 different languages, and organizations are currently working on 2,584 translations. They estimate translations are still needed in 1,636 languages.
The signs of modern society
In addition to the end-time events detailed by Jesus, numerous other prophecies in the Word of God deal with the last days.
• Perilous times. Paul wrote that perilous times would come in the last days and evil men would become worse and worse (2 Timothy 3:1,13). We live in a day of inexplicable outbreaks of violence—riots, mass murder, and random shootings. In 2016, there were 469 suicide bombings in twenty-eight countries, and in 2017 there were eight mass shootings in the United States alone, resulting in 117 deaths.
• Automobile traffic. Nahum prophesied that in the end time, “chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall justle one against another in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches, they shall run like the lightnings” (Nahum 2:4). Automobiles throng our six- and eight-lane freeways; it is estimated that more than 1.2 billion are traveling the world’s roads today. Each year motor vehicle crashes result in nearly 1.3 million fatalities and up to 50 million injuries globally, and are the leading cause of death among young people ages 15 to 29.
• Widespread travel. Daniel prophesied that “many shall run to and fro” in the time of the end (Daniel 12:4). Air travel continues to increase worldwide, with about 4.1 billion people traveling by air in 2017.
• Knowledge increased. Daniel also foretold that knowledge would be increased in the last days (Daniel 12:4). Modern computers have capabilities that would have been unfathomable a few decades ago, and technology is continually advancing. The Internet allows instant access to vast quantities of information, and engineering feats are performed that stagger the imagination.
The signs of the nation of Israel
Perhaps the greatest sign that we are living in the last days is found in recent happenings concerning the nation of Israel. Jesus said, “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; when his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it [the coming of Christ] is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:32-33). Scripture teaches that this fig tree represents the Jewish nation (see Jeremiah 24:5-10; Hosea 9:10; Luke 13:6-9). God said that because of their disobedience, the Jewish people would be scattered among all nations. During the more than thirty centuries of their perilous existence, the Jews have been on the verge of annihilation many times, yet they have always regained their footing. They have been miraculously preserved for a special purpose in connection with the future fulfillment of God’s plan.
• Jerusalem inhabited by Jews. In 1948, Israel was declared a nation for the first time since the beginning of the Babylonian captivity in 597 B.C. The new nation was named Israel. Today emigrants from every country in the world are moving to Israel just as the Bible foretold (Jeremiah 16:14-15). Luke 21:24 indicates that Jerusalem would be controlled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles were fulfilled. In 1967, Israel once again assumed control of Jerusalem, and on December 7, 2017, the United States was the first nation to recognize it as Israel’s capital.
• Return of rainfall. When the Jews were scattered after the crucifixion of Jesus, the region became desolate, unproductive, and barren. For nearly 2000 years, rainfall was minimal. The Prophet Joel indicated that the rains would return when the Day of the Lord was at hand (Joel 2:1,23). At the turn of the twentieth century, rain began to fall in Palestine (modern-day Israel) and vegetation began to grow. From 1961 to 1990, the annual rainfall increased by roughly 30 percent.
• Restoration of a pure language. The prophet Zephaniah foretold that the nation of Israel would have a pure language during the end times (Zephaniah 3:8-9). In 1982, Hebrew was declared the official and national language of Israel—a language which had been considered dead.
• Preparation to rebuild the Temple. Daniel 9:26-27 indicates that during the Tribulation period, the Temple sanctuary will be in use. Currently, in Jerusalem, several organizations are preparing to rebuild this sacred structure. The Temple Institute has recreated seventy artifacts needed to furnish the Temple and perform the sacred rites, including the golden menorah, the jeweled breastplate of the high priest, and the musical instruments to be used by the Levitical choir. In addition, the Nezer HaKodesh Institute for Kohanic Studies was established in 2016 to train men from the tribe of Levi in performing the priestly duties of the Temple.
• Availability of a red heifer. Numbers 19:1-10 indicates that a red heifer is necessary for the ceremonial purification of the Temple and the priests who serve in it. For over 2000 years, there has been no acceptable red heifer, though a handful have been located and then disqualified. Since 2015, rabbis of the Temple Institute have been coordinating an effort to breed a red heifer in Israel using the imported embryos of red Angus cattle.
• Restoration of the shekel. According to Ezekiel 45:12-13, 16, the shekel will be used as the
offering to the Messiah at the Temple during the Millennium. In 1980, the shekel was restored as the official currency of Israel.
• Military victories. The overwhelming victories of Israel over the vastly superior armies of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan in 1948, 1967, and 1973 amazed the world. According to Zechariah 12:6, these victories are a prelude to the Revelation of Christ at the end of the Great Tribulation.
• Jewish unbelief. In spite of the powerful evidence to Jews today that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah, according to Romans 11:25, their continued unbelief is a sign of the nearness of the Lord’s Second Coming.
We are seeing a foreshadow of what is yet to take place in this nation which will be at the center of end-time events. The fig tree of Biblical prophecy is budding and putting forth leaves. The Jewish people, however, are not yet turning to God, nor crying for their Messiah as Zechariah prophesied they will do (Zechariah 12:10).
The Sign of the Latter Rain
Another indication that we are living in the last days is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the Latter Rain foretold in Joel 2:23 and James 5:7. In the early 1900s, God gave a sign to an unbelieving world by pouring out the baptism of the Holy Ghost on a group of sanctified believers, just as it was given in the “early rain” on the Day of Pentecost. Since then, a widespread preaching of the Gospel by those endued with power from on High has resulted in the salvation of many souls, the sanctification of believers, the empowering of witnesses, and the healing of many from incurable diseases. Clearly, the Holy Spirit is in the world and is preparing a Bride for Jesus.
Without a doubt, the stage has been set. We are seeing the fulfillment of the prophesied events which are to herald the Rapture of the Church and the terrible events that will occur on earth when the Bride has been taken away. Jesus could come back for His followers at any moment! Will you heed the signs and be ready when He comes?
For more on the topic of Bible prophecies about the end times, see our booklet “A Glimpse into the Future.”
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