Since Christ first promised His disciples He would return, Christians have wondered if their generation is the one that would witness the fulfillment of that promise. And probably every generation since has thought itself to be the last generation, basing their belief on the perceived or actual declining moral standards of society in their day. Yet for all the speculation and hearsay, only one generation can be the final generation, and all the evidence points to ours.
For centuries, Christians have used anecdotal evidence–such as “things have never been so bad” or “look at all the evil in the world”–as a basis for believing their generation was the last generation of this age. Yet very few biblical signs of Christ’s return, if any at all, were present for these preceding generations.
Now, fast forward to the present day, when almost every sign of Christ’s return is present. Israel is once again a nation, poised to fulfill the final seven years of God’s divine plan (Daniel 9:24). Travel and knowledge have dramatically increased (Daniel 12:4). Russia, Iran, and a unique coalition of anti-Israeli nations are gathering in concert (Ezekiel 38-39). The European Union, cultural and geographical heir to the ancient Roman Empire, has emerged on the world scene as a legitimate superpower (Daniel 9:26), and many other end-times prophecies (too numerous to list here) have been fulfilled or are in the process of being fulfilled in our time.
But one of the most recognizable signs that our generation is in the last days is that ours is the first generation with, or about to acquire, the technology necessary to fulfill many of the end-times prophecies. In fact, the book of Revelation describes several key events that will transpire on earth during the Tribulation period, which require mankind to be in possession of advanced technology. Some of these technologies mankind has already acquired; others will be developed in the very near future.
Let’s examine these technologies:
The Whole World Looks upon Them
Revelation 11 describes one such technology, which will allow the whole world to look upon the bodies of God’s two witnesses:
“When they complete their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the bottomless pit will declare war against them. He will conquer them and kill them. And their bodies will lie in the main street of Jerusalem, the city which is called ‘Sodom’ and ‘Egypt,’ the city where their Lord was crucified. And for three and a half days, all peoples, tribes, languages, and nations will come to stare at their bodies. No one will be allowed to bury them. All the people who belong to this world will give presents to each other to celebrate the death of the two prophets who had tormented them” (Revelation 11:7-10, NLT).
The fact that all peoples, tribes, languages, and nations will stare at these bodies has been fertile ground for modern speculation, with many Christians believing that, for the first time in history, this prophecy can be fulfilled through satellite news coverage on CNN or MSNBC. It’s true that this is unprecedented in human history. Yet the ability to view any area of the planet via a cable news network feed does not, of its own merits, mean that this prophecy can presently be fulfilled.
The verse specifically says “all peoples, tribes, languages, and nations” will stare at the bodies, not “some of” the peoples, tribes, languages, and nations. In our day, the technology capable of bringing this event to fruition remains unavailable to much of the world’s population. However, in the very near future, the cost of this technology will significantly decrease in proportion to its power, providing much of the Third World with the media access it currently lacks. As a result of a trend toward more powerful and cost-effective technologies, human progress will ultimately lead to the ubiquitous use of high-bandwidth video feeds on cell phones, PDAs, and other handheld devices most of us probably have yet to imagine.
In addition, the development of molecular manufacturing (MM) will make poverty as we know it a thing of the past. Humanity will still be divided into rich and poor, but today’s rich will envy the poor of a society where even the most destitute of citizens is in possession of extremely powerful, high-bandwidth networking devices. Moreover, the exponential advancement of technology will allow for the creation of virtual reality realms that will enable the end user to “experience” live events in another location.
As a result, for the first time in history, it will be possible for the entire world to simultaneously view or “be present at” a particular geographical location, just as Revelation 11 predicts. This fact alone is strong evidence that our generation is the first generation ever with the capability to witness Christ’s return.
No One Can Buy or Sell
In addition, the Bible has long foretold of a time when a specific individual will institute a worldwide system controlling all of human commerce:
“He required everyone–great and small, rich and poor, slave and free—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name” (Revelation 13:16-17, NLT).
The “he” described in this passage is the Antichrist, who will have unprecedented control over all worldwide financial transactions. In fact, he will have so much power that he will be able to determine on a case-by-case basis which individuals will be allowed to buy or sell anything.
As the development and advancement of human technology continues, not only will such an elaborate and detailed system of financial control become possible, it might well become necessary. Such a system would be the natural result of the development of molecular manufacturing and the widespread adoption of home-based, desktop, 3-D printing capability—a technology that counterfeiters of our day would kill for.
In the near future, governments will find it nearly impossible to distinguish counterfeit paper currency and metallic coins from their genuine counterparts. Today’s counterfeiters have access to the latest and most sophisticated printing technologies, making it quite difficult for the average citizen to identify counterfeit currency anyway. But, as printing technologies move from the two-dimensional realm into the three-dimensional realm, where every atom and molecule is in its proper place, no amount of watermarking or tamper-proof technology will be able to prevent a counterfeit currency from being indistinguishable from the real McCoy.
Given that most of the world’s currencies are fiat currencies (meaning value is completely derived from the public’s willingness to accept the underlying value of the currency), such an environment of rampant counterfeiting would destroy the international monetary system unless drastic change is implemented. The only method of currency verification a government could implement would have to involve direct tracking and oversight of all currency in the monetary system. And under such a system, what would be the actual point of paper currency or metallic coins? The vigilant fraud prevention necessary to protect the monetary supply would have to involve sophisticated electronic-banking encryption software and/or stringent personal identification verification technologies. One, the other, or both in the hands of government regulators would provide the government in question with unprecedented power over its citizenry.
As a result, for the first time in history, a government would be in a position to eliminate the existence of black markets (with the exception of those that involve bartering). For the first time ever, a government could literally control who is able to buy and sell.
The Mark of the Beast
In fact, such a scenario is exactly the one the Bible describes for the last days. As previously mentioned, the book of Revelation states:
“He required everyone—great and small, rich and poor, slave and free—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name” (Revelation 13:16-17, NLT).
Verifying whether or not someone is authorized to buy or sell based on a mark has theoretically been possible throughout history. However, given the level of control described by the Bible, enforcement of such a system (and the suppression of the inevitable black markets that will emerge) has been completely out of reach for previous generations. Taking this passage in its full context, even today’s world lacks the technology to completely enforce such a system of commerce. But the day is rapidly approaching when such a system will be within man’s reach.
A tattoo, by itself, is simply not sufficient to enforce such a system. In order to succeed, the distinguishing mark most also be paired with a worldwide database containing the necessary information relevant to the individual and his or her ability to make a financial transaction. While it’s certainly possible that a dictator could’ve mandated such a system in years past, the enforcement mechanism would’ve been lacking. Those without the mark might have faced discrimination or otherwise be ostracized from their community. But a mark by itself can do nothing to prevent the emergence of a black market. As long as the worldwide monetary system involves currency that can be stored, hidden, and traded in secret, government attempts at control will always lead to the emergence of a black market for commerce.
However, once a stand-alone currency is taken out of the equation and financial transactions are moved completely into the electronic realm, it will no longer be possible to store, hide, or trade currency in secret. An electronic monetary system of this type would have been inconceivable to our forefathers. But our generation is completely emerged in its predecessor.
Technology to Conquer and Control the World
Just as the massive global destruction chronicled in the book of Revelation remained beyond the comprehension of man until the development of the atomic bomb, the idea of one man becoming the undisputed leader of the world was beyond the realm of possibility for previous generations. Yet the Bible clearly states that one man will temporarily rule the entire world:
“And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation” (Revelation 13:7, NLT).
This man is known as the Antichrist, and not one person will escape the reach of his rule.
Even now, the technology required to conquer and control the population of the world does not exist. Most people remain under the illusion that it does, but destroying one’s enemies or conquering a territory is quite different from the process of administering that territory—especially when that territory’s citizens are hostile to the foreign intrusion. In 2008, the world’s most dominant military power was the United States, yet its efforts to govern and reshape the population of Iraq illustrate just how difficult such an undertaking can be. Administering and governing this relatively small state proved costly, both in man power and financial resources.
Now, imagine the United States attempting to administer, regulate, and govern all the states and territories in the world. That’s a tall order.
Nevertheless, some will still argue that it’s certainly possible for a world power to conquer and govern all the states of the world. A totalitarian regime could simply murder all who pose the slightest threat to the status quo. Regimes of this kind (such as Saddam Hussein in Iraq or the Taliban in Afghanistan) have succeeded in taking state control of a population to heights never before achieved. But still, both of these societies were home to black markets, secret resistance movements, and other elements of dissent. No society has ever achieved the level of population control the Bible predicts for the Antichrist’s kingdom. The logistics of such a detailed and individual level of control have simply made such a scenario impossible.
However, the day is fast approaching when this will no longer be the case.
In his Future Brief article, “A Global Surge Protector,” Mike Treder makes the following observation: “For, until our time, conditions have not made it possible for true world domination to exist.”
Treder is comfortable making this assessment because he is intimately familiar with the emerging technology of molecular manufacturing. Molecular manufacturing will lead to the immediate creation of extremely cheap advanced technologies capable of aiding an individual or a small group in the task of dominating and controlling the world population.
Here’s a glimpse of what the world would look like under such a scenario:
Government surveillance will be “god-like” in its scope and capability—seeing everything, hearing everything, and knowing everything. Try to envision “nanodust”—particles the size of a single speck of dust complete with on-board cameras and listening devices. This nanodust is as plentiful and difficult to remove as the natural dust people encounter every day. The construction of trillions of these sophisticated devices will be possible to achieve at negligible cost, thereby making them ubiquitous.
Outfitted with advanced artificial intelligence software, these devices sift through continuous video and audio feeds, searching for predetermined patternsthat indicate potentially “aberrant” behavior as defined by the state. Such a world isn’t difficult to imagine. Similar pattern recognition technologies are already in widespread use. In the future, they will simply be extended to applications that encompass all human behavior on a global scale.
The aforementioned scenario isn’t as futuristic as some believe. The technologies described will emerge suddenly with little time for the world to plan or adjust to their impact. Nevertheless, if current trends continue, they will come. This is just another reason why our generation is unique in its ability to fulfill the prophecies catalogued in the book of Revelation.
No generation before ours could have realistically expected the fulfillment of the aforementioned end-times prophecies. While the Tribulation features supernatural acts by both God and Satan, our generation is the first capable of fulfilling the book of Revelation’s prophecies without a need for supernatural acts to accomplish the feats described therein.
This is one of the strongest arguments that ours in the last generation prior to the return of Jesus Christ. However, it’s also one of the least accepted, because it’s difficult for people living in our times to recognize just how completely unique and unrecognizable our world is compared to that of previous generations. But if a person takes the time to study and examine human history, it becomes clear as day that Christ is knocking on the door.
Would it have been realistic for the whole world to literally watch an event unfold prior to our generation? Of course not, yet it would seem like business as usual for our generation.
Would it have been realistic for a single individual to control world commerce prior to our generation? Of course not, yet our generation is the first to conduct the majority of its sales and purchasing transactions electronically. In this day and age, is it really difficult to believe a single government could control all financial transactions?
Would it have been realistic for a previous generation to create a giant, worldwide database containing the financial history of every single individual on earth who accepted a mark? Of course not. Such a system, without the aid of powerful computers and sophisticated software, would have been a costly, bureaucratic sea of inefficiency, incapable of monitoring financial transactions. Yet our generation is the first that can conceivably implement such a system.
Would it have been realistic for a previous generation to set up a truly global government, governing its citizens with ruthless efficiency and little threat of revolt? Of course not. Not only has nationalism stood in the way, but the logistics of such an undertaking are well beyond the capabilities of human beings unaided by powerful technologies. Yet, in the very near future, not only will such an undertaking be possible, but many will argue that it’s absolutely necessary.
For our generation, the writing is on the wall. Jesus Christ is coming soon! The question every person should ask is whether His coming will bring indescribable joy or abject horror. The choice is ours to make.