While on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached Jesus and asked Him, “What are the signs of your coming and the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3). Jesus replied by giving them a list of signs and events to look for, such false prophets, earthquakes, wars, and desecration of the Temple. But Jesus said once they see one sign in particular, they should “look up” because redemption draws near. Fast forward almost two thousand years, and our generation is witness to the number one sign Jesus said to look for. So what is it?
That’s right. The number one sign is not a single sign, but the convergence of all the signs that Jesus, Moses, and the Old Testament prophets said to look for. Jesus said, “When you see all these things occur, look up. For your salvation is near!” (Luke 21:28). Note that Jesus didn’t say, “When you see one or two of these signs.” He said, “When you see all these signs.” In other words, the convergence of all the signs He spoke of are what we should be looking for.
The Converging Signs
“There’s a great deal to say in the Bible about the signs we’re to watch for and when these signs all converge at one place we can be sure that we’re close to the end of the age. And those signs, in my judgment, are converging now for the first time since Jesus made those predictions.” – Billy Graham, World Net Daily, 10/20/2013
Our generation is unique among all those before us because we see the convergence of the signs Jesus and the prophets said to look for. Here are just a few:
1) Israel – In A.D. 70, Roman soldiers put down a rebellion, sacked Jerusalem, destroyed the Temple, and carried the Jewish people to the farthest corners of the Empire to serve as slaves. They tried to eliminate every trace of the nation of Israel, even renaming the land Palestine in honor of Israel’s historical enemies, the Philistines. The Roman intent was to erase all memory of the nation of Israel forever.
But God had other plans. Thousands of years ago, He foretold the long exile of His people. And He promised to call them from “among the nations” (Ezekiel 39:28), from “the farthest corners of the earth” (Isaiah 11:12), and from “north, south, east, and west” (Psalm 107:3). He promised to welcome the Jewish people home from the lands where they were scattered (Ezekiel 20:34), and He promised to restore them to the land of Israel from distant lands (Jeremiah 30:2, 10). And this is exactly what He did. Every single person on earth is an eyewitness to the modern miracle of Israel. The prophets said that following this restoration, the Messiah will come and set up His everlasting Kingdom (Isaiah 35, Joel 3, Jeremiah 23, Micah 4). In other words, Israel’s existence today is a sign that the Second Coming is near.
For 1,878 years, Christians could not point to the sign of Israel. It didn’t exist. The Jews were not in the land. But today, they are.
2) Jerusalem – When the disciples asked Jesus to reveal the signs of His coming and the end of the age, He made a statement that’s one of the keys to understanding the timing of His return. He told the disciples this: Jerusalem “will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles come to an end,” and then Jesus promised to return (Luke 21:24-28).
The trampling of Jerusalem by the Gentiles began with the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70 by Titus and the Roman legions. For centuries thereafter, Gentile kings and kingdoms exercised complete control over the Temple Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem. However, in June 1967, the Six Day War concluded with Israel in control of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount for the first time since A.D. 70. And according to Jesus, the Jewish repossession of Jerusalem will closely followed by His return.
For 1,897 years, Christians could not point to the sign of Israel or the Jewish people controlling Jerusalem. They didn’t. For those 1,897 years, numerous Gentile kingdoms ruled over Jerusalem. But today, Israel controls Jerusalem.
3) Travel & Knowledge – In the Book of Daniel, an angel told Daniel to keep the prophecies revealed to him a secret until a later date. But what later date? The angel said, “Until the end times, when travel and knowledge will increase” (Daniel 12:4). In other words, a significant increase in travel and knowledge will mark the end times and the time just prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Have we seen such an increase? I think the answer is obvious. For all of human history right up until the early 19th Century, the fastest mode of land-based transportation was a horse. Yet today, we can travel to the other side of the earth in a matter of hours. As for an increase in knowledge, think about how much information in on the Internet. In 1990, there was only one website. Six years later, the Internet featured more than one hundred thousand. And a decade later? One hundred million. Today, estimates place the number of websites at somewhere around six hundred million. And that number will be out of date before you read this.
4) The Gospel Preached – In answering His disciples, Jesus described many signs to look for. But among them, He said this: “And the Gospel will be preached throughout the entire world, so that every nation will hear it – and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
Think we’re getting close to that day now? I do. The Bible is available in thousands of languages. Satellites broadcast Christian programming throughout the world, and every day, missionaries carry the gospel to people who have never heard it before. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting close.
But the gospel wasn’t always so widespread. Even after 1,500 years of Christianity, the message of Jesus was largely confined to the European continent. But today, the gospel is preached in every nation.
5) Global Government – According to the Bible, a global government will rule the world for the 3.5 years just before Jesus returns to establish His Millennial Kingdom. The Book of Revelation tells us this government will rule the world politically (Revelation 13:7), religiously (Revelation 13:8), and economically (Revelation 13:16-17).
The Bible also tells us this global government will rise from the ashes of the Roman Empire (Daniel 7:23; Revelation 17:11-13). This world empire will first appear as an alliance of ten kingdoms – some strong like iron and some weak like clay. These kingdoms will try to strengthen themselves by forming a union, but they will fail – just as iron and clay do not mix (Daniel 2:38-43).
Do we see anything like this today? Yes. We don’t see the ten nation alliance yet. But we do see the European Union, a loose confederation of European states – states that historically comprised much of the ancient Roman Empire. And just as Daniel foretold, the European Union consists of both weak and strong states.
By no means are these all the signs of the Second Coming. The Bible cites numerous signs and events we should look for, but recounting all of those signs in exhaustive detail is well beyond the scope of this article. Nevertheless, every one of the signs mentioned in this article is easy for the general public to recognize. They aren’t hidden signs. You don’t need a psychic, soothsayer, or prophet to interpret them. All you need is knowledge of the Bible and access to your daily news headlines.
The convergence of so many specific and detailed events – events Jesus told us to look for – should catch the attention of even the most hardened of skeptics. Why? Because these signs were noticeably absent for more than 1,800 years following the crucifixion. But today, we see them. For the first time ever, each of these signs is present. And all at the same time! Think that’s a coincidence? I don’t. It’s not a coincidence. And time will prove that it’s not. Jesus is coming. Now is the season of His return.