This generation of
passengers on Planet Earth is passing through a corridor John the
apostle and prophet called “the last time” (1 John 2:18). More to the
point, we are somewhere near the very end of that corridor, and signs
the size of billboards are on either side of the broad way that leads
the world’s inhabitants toward Armageddon. The only way to miss those
gargantuan signs, for the true child of God, is to deliberately ignore
them, choosing instead to focus on things of this world that perspective
hides in the distant blackness.
are, as my good friend Chuck Missler says, in the time of the signs.
They are signs so dramatic, so blatant, that the whinnying and violent
snorting of the four horses of the apocalypse can almost be heard as
they angrily paw the earth with rage, straining to burst to full gallop,
determined to carry their death-dealing riders on their missions of
Jesus Christ, the Creator of all things and the One who holds all of
creation together (Colossians 1:16-17), gave the signs that would be
most prevalent at the time just before His return to earth. These
primary signals are found in three of the Gospels:
Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. We will first look at the Matthew
account of the signs He gave for the final generation of human history,
just before His second advent.
Sign 1: Deceivers who
Jesus was directly asked by His disciples: 1) When
would the things Jesus prophesied be? 2) What would be the signs of His
second coming? and 3) When would be the end of the world?
gave the following answer: "...Take heed that no man
deceive you, For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and
shall deceive many” (Matt. 24:4-5).
“deception” as the first major sign that will alert the spiritually
attuned believer that His second coming is near. Jesus, as recorded a
few verses later, amplified His words on “deception” that would be
manifest at the very end of the age:
”And many false
prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (Matt. 24:11).
Lord begins by saying that Many will come in His name. This means, I
think, that these end-times deceivers will claim to come as true
believers in Jesus Christ. They will use His holy name to convince the
undiscerning that the individuals making the claim are of the Church,
the body of Christ. These are those who will be among the individuals
Jesus condemned, as recorded in the following Scripture: “But he shall
say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all [ye]
workers of iniquity” (Lk. 13:27).
However, this prophecy that Jesus gave as the first sign of the very end
of the age goes, I’m convinced, much deeper. These deceivers will be
declaring that they, themselves, will be Christ-like, not in the sense
of being a true Christian who is a Spirit-filled follower of Jesus
Christ, but in the sense that they have powers and abilities like
Jesus himself. They will claim to be the special conduit from God, used
by the Almighty to read minds, receive special telepathic
words from Him upon command, and even to raise the dead.
it will all be smoke and mirrors. There will not be a single validated
case of any of these supposed miraculous activities direct from the
portals of heaven to the mortals of Planet Earth.
question to ask, then, while considering the time of the signs and
whether we are indeed at the very end of the age as predicted by Jesus
is: Do we see today any sign, any indicator, that there are such
“deceivers” among us?
There have always been deceivers and those specifically claiming to be
Jesus Christ. Some have been certifiable lunatics, some have been proven
charlatans, and have faded into the darkness of the
exposed and deposed. Today, it seems to me at least, they are announcing
their Christ-like powers from the very billboards mentioned
earlier–the ones lining either side of that broad way that leads to
destruction during these troubling days.
see many of them as glitzy, projected TV images calling the gullible to
give their money to special programs they proclaim
God has told them about, which can make the members of their audiences
healthy, wealthy, and wise beyond their wildest imaginations.
These promote the outward turning message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
only in a minimal way, their messages designed to turn thoughts inward
to the feel-good message that God wants them to materially prosper.
Viewers are deceived, because they can see, through glazed, mesmerized
eyes, that the wealth message certainly works for the rich
and famous purveyors of the prosperity gospel. Their desire to obligate
the God of heaven to provide overflowing wealth and health, based upon
the TV magicians’ special formulas for success, make the deluded open
their wallets with glee.
the apostle’s prophetic words ring true for our time: “For the time will
come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts
shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they
shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto
fables” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
Others, appearing more sophisticated and high-minded, claim to have
Christ within their pontificating, but are turned far from truth found
in God’s Word. These ecclesiastical elitists fit the mold of false
prophets/teachers found in forewarnings of Paul and Peter:
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall
come…For men shall…[Have] a form of godliness, but [deny] the
power thereof…” (2 Tim. 3:1, 5).
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as
there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring
in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them,
and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Pet. 2:1).
These, though under the guise of Christian clergy, join the ecumenists
who proclaim that there are many ways to God and heaven. By this heresy,
they deny the Lord Jesus, who said: “I am the way, the truth, and the
life. No man cometh to the father, but by me” (Jn. 14:6).
Sign 2: Wars and Rumors
second sign of the very end of the age given by Jesus is in His
declaration: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: See that ye
be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is
not yet” (Matt. 24:6).
"What is so different about hearing of wars and rumors of war?" one
might ask. Such has been part of the human condition since history first
began to be recorded. The key to what makes this profoundly different is
found in Jesus' words in Matthew 24:21: “For then shall be great
tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this
time, no, nor ever shall be.”
The Lord himself said
that the time of the end will be worse than any in history.
This declaration, by its very nature, makes the “wars and rumors of
wars” He predicts well beyond the norm. We see just how far
beyond the norm they will be, as recorded in His next statement: “And
except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved:
but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened” (Matt. 21:22).
Christ’s words indicate something of humankind-ending power. This
statement follows His warning of wars and rumors of wars for the very
end of the human history timeline that immediately precedes
His second advent. All flesh will die if Jesus doesn’t return upon His
divinely scheduled appointment time!
question naturally emerges: Do we see any such power upon the world
scene today? I, perhaps, don’t even need to go into answering that–at
least not very deeply. That power to destroy all flesh has been on the
scene as a major sign of where we are on God’s prophetic timeline since
1945. The first atomic bomb test at Alamogordo, New Mexico, flashed that
sign across the night desert sky in a stupefying instant. Soon "Little
Boy” and “Fat Man” incinerated and blew apart almost 200,000 Japanese
citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
hydrogen bomb tests, coupled with intercontinental ballistic missile
developments, made the whole world aware that the planet’s inhabitants
could well be living on borrowed time. These weapons, yielding
unfathomable power to destroy, continue to scream from the billboard of
forewarning while this generation nears the denouement of the age.
Weapons of such horrific magnitude must certainly be the subject of and
reason for Jesus’ “wars and rumors of wars” sign being issued for the
terminal generation. And this prophetic sign must, it follows because of
that world-destroying weaponry being ubiquitous today, refer to our
present generation of earth dwellers.
Third World powers and terrorist organizations lust after weapons of
mass destruction. Potential for developing atomic weaponry is on the
agenda of governments. North Korea, Iran and other nation-states race
forward with nuclear programs, defying the international community as
the G-8 and others try to prevent World War III.
Sign 3: Nations and
Kingdoms in Distress
most obvious category given by Jesus that we are in
the time of the signs is that involving the geopolitical disposition of
nations. No observer of the world scene today who believes that God has
told the end from the beginning can look at the way countries
are prophetically juxtaposed and not see the end times are upon
this generation. Let’s look more closely at this third end-times
prophecy Jesus put forth while on top of the Mount of Olives,
overlooking the Jerusalem of His time while still in His flesh
body: “Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and
kingdom against kingdom” (Lk. 21:10).
Lord forewarned tremendous ethnic upheaval at the time just before His
second advent. We’ve looked many times at the Greek term used here,
translated into the KJV as “nation.” The Greek term is ethnos,
meaning “ethnic” in English. Jesus said that the end times would be
marked by ethnic hatred and strife. “Kingdom” against “kingdom” can be
interpreted nation-state entities or countries will be at war or about
to go to war. These wars and rumors of war will present unprecedented
levels of danger to the peoples that inhabit the “kingdoms,” is the
implication. We have looked at why this is so. The nuclear and other
threats from weaponry of mass destructive capability brings our time to
this level of concern.
Jesus, when considering the Luke account of His Olivet Discourse, goes
on to express this fact in expanding upon the time of the signs: “And
there shall be…upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity…”
Threat of calamitous destruction, should there be all-out nuclear war,
is obvious.Worry about such potential catastrophe certainly fits Jesus’
prediction of end times perplexity and distress among the nations. The
causes of this Armageddon-like potentiality, however, seems to be now
coming into focus.
During the Cold War, there seemed little rhyme or reason why kingdom
should rise against kingdom and want to destroy each other and the rest
of the world with thermonuclear warfare. The unofficial doctrine termed
"Mutually Assured Destruction" (MAD), in fact, kept the superpowers,
with their potentially world-ending nuclear stockpiles, from doing the
unthinkable–attacking each other just for the sake of empire building or
stopping empire building. Again, there was no rhyme or reason–at least
not enough--that convinced the leaderships of the superpowers to pull
the nuclear trigger. Warfare on such a horrific scale was absolutely a
no-win scenario for all concerned.
in this, our generation’s time of the signs, a reason to go to
Armageddon-like war might just be in view. The catalyst that just might
be a large part of galvanizing the nations of the world into a
collective mindset that throws MAD out the window of sanity, thus
bringing all into the valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:2), isn’t so far fetched to
thirst, thus the lust, for petroleum looks more and more like a
potential reason to cause all to gather at Megiddo on the plain of
Jezreel. The nations in distress, with perplexity, exactly describes the
industrialized nation-states of Planet Earth while they scramble to
secure for themselves the black liquid gold that can fire their engines
of wealth production.
While there is talk of alternative fuels, none of practical development
and implementation looks to be in view for decades ahead. The oil-rich
Middle East is the logical place to look first in the
attempt to secure energy producing fuels. Oil in the region surrounding
God’s chosen nation, Israel, is the quickest, most accessible such arena
The Nations in this
Time of the Signs
alignment of the nations pertinent to Bible prophecy, as they are
presently positioned and are dynamically rearranging, are eerily similar
to the configuration Jesus and the Bible prophets forecast for the time
just before Christ’s return to put a stop to Armageddon, and to prevent
the end of all flesh on Planet Earth.
(Russia) sits due north of Jerusalem. The nation who will produce the
evil leader called “Gog,” those of us who hold to pre-trib rapture
eschatology believe, struggles internally and externally to become again
a superpower to rival the United States. To do this, that prophetic
nation will need energy to fire the engines of its industrial base.
Iran, the area where ancient Persia largely sat, is in the throes of
international turmoil while it seems inalterably determined to
produce nuclear weapons. At the same time, it is allying in many
ways with Russia, in keeping with the Ezekiel 38 and 39 prophecy that
foretells its joining forces with Gog to attack over the mountains
toward Israel. All the while its leader declares his desire is to erase
all Jews from the Middle East.
Nations of the area of the ancient Roman Empire have put aside centuries
of disputes and warring to form a reviving Roman Empire. The EU looks
more and more to fit the prophetic Daniel 9: 26-27 template
in a way that can be denied only by those who refuse to acknowledge that
Bible prophecy is to be interpreted as literal.
great dragon nation, China, is perhaps the oil-thirstiest of all of the
industrial giants. The prophetic scenario is not difficult to embrace
that this behemoth, which by itself could field the astonishing,
prophetically stipulated 200-million-troop force, will move toward the
Middle East at some point yet future.
Despite recent attempts to slow the use of petroleum a degree, this
emerging industrial titan, with its one-and-a-half-billion people, looks
to be developing into becoming the king of the kings of the East of
Revelation 9 and 16.
Modern Israel, the greatest sign in this time of signs, is positioned
almost precisely where the prophet Zechariah foretold, as recorded in
Zechariah 12:1-3. Most all of the distressed, perplexed nations of the
world seem focused on God’s chosen people as the key to war and peace in
the Middle East, thus the key to world peace. Again, modern Israel sits
at the center of the region where the planet’s greatest pools of
petroleum reside beneath what the world calls the Holy Land. It is a
land destined for man’s most destructive war, then to become the heart
of Christ’s glorious 1,000-year kingdom.