Dramatic Increases in Travel and Knowledge :: By Britt Gillette

Twenty-six hundred years ago, God provided the prophet Daniel with a number of visions concerning the future. In one of these visions, God revealed several events set to take place just prior to the Second Coming. But an angel told Daniel to seal up his vision until the end times, “when travel and knowledge will increase” (Daniel 12:4). That means one of the clearest indications of the end times (and thus, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ) is a general worldwide increase in travel and knowledge.

As we survey the world today, do we see such an increase in travel and knowledge? Absolutely. In fact, we see a dramatic and undeniable increase in travel and knowledge. It’s so dramatic, it’s best described as exponential. Why? Because from the time of Daniel (6th Century B.C.) to around A.D. 1800, we didn’t see any noticeable increase in either. Then, something happened. The speed and frequency of travel started to pick up, and the pace of change continues to this day. And human knowledge? It took off as well, and it shows no sign of slowing down. The pace of change has been so rapid and consistent, people take it for granted. But if you take a moment to reflect on where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we’re going, I promise you one thing – it will astound you.

Increased Travel

In the days of Daniel, most people traveled less than 50 miles from where they were born – not in the course of a year, but in the course of a lifetime. As a slave carried away into captivity hundreds of miles from where he was born, Daniel was the exception, not the rule. After arriving in Babylon, he spent the remainder of his years in and around the city. In the ancient world, routine travel from one part of an empire to another was not commonplace. It was extremely rare. And sometimes these trips took months if not years.

In Daniel’s time, a horse was the fastest way to travel over land. This remained true for over two thousand years. During all those centuries, the speed of human travel didn’t change in any noticeable way. In the year 1800, the fastest land-based mode of transportation was… still a horse. The War of 1812 offers an excellent example to illustrate just how slow early 19th Century travel was. The Treaty of Ghent ended the war on December 24, 1814. The famous American victory at the Battle of New Orleans occurred on January 8, 1815 – fifteen days later. Travel was so slow, it took weeks for news of the treaty to reach the United States. But this shows something important – in terms of travel, things stayed relatively unchanged from the days of Daniel to the Battle of New Orleans.

Then, it all changed. Human travel exploded, and the change was both swift and dramatic. What caused this change? The Industrial Revolution. In the 19th Century, the Industrial Revolution gave birth to the steam locomotive. This revolutionized the speed of travel. While the average horse galloped at 30 mph, by 1900, trains routinely traveled twice that speed. Then, in the early 20th Century, the horseless carriage (the car) took the world by storm. In 1908, the Ford Motor Company produced the first Model T – a car with a top speed of 40 mph. By the 1920’s, race cars topped 100 mph.

For thousands of years, the horse dominated land-based travel. Yet within the span of a single century, trains and cars completely replaced horses as the dominant mode of travel. And the speed and power of human travel continued to increase throughout the 20th Century and right up to our present day. Similar advances took place in both water and air travel.

For instance, in 1952, the ocean liner Blue Riband crossed the Atlantic in less than four days – a voyage that took Christopher Columbus and his crew five weeks. In 1998, that record fell. A passenger ship crossed the Atlantic in under three days.

And air travel? No other mode of travel better illustrates Daniel’s long-ago foretold increase in travel and knowledge. For several thousand years, men dreamed of controlled flight. But for centuries, that’s all it was. A dream. Then, in 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright put together an airplane that flew for 12 seconds and traveled 120 feet. Just 66 years later, Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon. Do you think that qualifies as a notable increase in travel and knowledge?

Increasing Knowledge

About three hundred years before Jesus, the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt constructed a library. Known as the Ancient Library of Alexandria, many consider it to be the greatest collection of written knowledge in the ancient world. While we don’t know for sure how much knowledge was housed there, some estimates say as many 500,000 papyrus scrolls. This means the library probably housed tens of thousands of original works comparable to today’s books, although some of these may have been duplicates. Two thousand years ago, this was the height of human knowledge. Today? You probably have a bigger library on the phone in your pocket.

Today, the number of books in the world is orders of magnitude larger than in ancient times. Ten years ago, Google estimated more than 129 million books are in print, and UNESCO claims 2.2 million new books are published each year. The emergence of ebooks and self-publishing has only accelerated that number. Today, you can buy a Kindle for less than a hundred dollars and hold a library larger than the Library of Alexandria in the palm of your hand. In terms of books alone, we’ve seen an exponential explosion in the amount and availability of knowledge. But Daniel’s predicted increase in knowledge is not limited to books.

The 20th Century witnessed an explosion of information via newspapers, magazines, radio, television, 24/7 cable networks, the Internet, and smart phones. Think of all the knowledge and information available on the Internet. In 1990, there was only one website. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Six years later, the Internet had over 100,000 websites. A decade later? One hundred million. As of right now, estimates say two billion websites are in existence. And that number will be out of date by the time you read this because each day sees another 500,000 websites come online. In fact, more information is added to the Internet every day than existed in the Ancient Library of Alexandria.

The world today features more than 25,000 universities. And according to University World News, over 30,000 scientific journals publish a total of two million articles each year. Think we’re witnessing a significant increase in knowledge? I think so, and the Bible says this means we’re on the cusp of seeing significant world events.

Where We’re Headed

The Book of Daniel says an increase in travel and knowledge will immediately precede the Second Coming (Daniel 12:4). That’s exactly what we see today.

For thousands of years, the horse remained the fastest mode of transportation on land, while the world’s most celebrated libraries contained at best a few hundred thousand papyrus scrolls. Today, jets travel faster than the speed of sound, and handheld devices store hundreds of times as much information as the Library of Alexandria.

It’s clear the world we live in has transformed dramatically since the days of Daniel. Critics mock this idea. They say, “Oh, Jesus is coming back, is He? Christians have been saying that for 2,000 years. Yet, the world goes on just the same as it ever has. What’s so different now?” This is the same argument Peter warned about almost 2,000 years ago (2 Peter 3:3-4). But it’s an absurd argument.

Do you believe the world of today is “the same as it’s always been”? I don’t. For centuries after the crucifixion of Jesus, the world was very much the same. Not one of the signs of the Second Coming Jesus and the prophets said to look for was present. But today?

It’s clear travel and knowledge have exploded. And all the signs Jesus and the prophets said to look for are present. They include, but aren’t limited to:

  • The restoration of Israel (Jeremiah 23:7-8; Isaiah 11:11-12)
  • The Jewish people in possession of Jerusalem (Luke 21:24-28)
  • The global spread of the Gospel (Matthew 24:14)
  • Israel surrounded by enemies (Psalm 83:4-12; Ezekiel 11:14-17; Ezekiel 35:10)
  • Israel fielding a great army (Ezekiel 37:10; Zechariah 12:6,8)
  • The rise of a United Europe (Daniel 2; Daniel 7; Revelation 17)
  • The rise of the Gog of Magog alliance (Ezekiel 38:8; Ezekiel 39:27)
  • Increased calls for global government (Revelation 13:7)
  • People acting the way Paul said they would act (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
  • Widespread ridicule of the Second Coming (2 Peter 3:3-4)

These signs point to the soon return of Jesus. He’s right at the door. Jesus told us to “look up” when we see all these signs converge (Luke 21:28), and they’re converging right now. That means we’re on the cusp of the end times, and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is close at hand.

Britt Gillette is author of the free ebook Coming to Jesus as well as the books Signs of the Second Coming, Racing Toward Armageddon, and The End Times. Receive his book 7 Signs of the End Times for free when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.

…Israel’s Recent Peace Agreements? :: By Britt Gillette

What Does the Bible Say About Israel’s Recent Peace Agreements?

In recent decades, no area of the world has been home to more conflict and ongoing animosity than the Middle East. A cauldron of ethnic, political, and religious clashes, many believe the spark that ignites World War III will come from the Middle East. Central to the region’s ongoing conflict is Muslim hostility toward Israel and disputes over control of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. These are the exact events the Bible says will happen in the last days. The Bible says Jerusalem will be “like an intoxicating drink that makes the nearby nations stagger” (Zechariah 12:2-3). That’s precisely what we’ve seen.

The re-establishment of Israel in 1948 led the neighboring Arab nations to declare war. In the years that followed, Israel fought no less than four conventional wars with its neighbors and has spent every moment preparing for all-out war. For all of its 72-year history, the Arab nations of the Middle East have viewed Israel as a mortal enemy. The lone exceptions have been peace treaties with Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994). Yet despite those treaties, many of the citizens of those two countries remain hostile toward the Jewish state. Is that changing? Some say it is, and they point out recent events that promise to transform the Middle East.

One of those events took place last month. That’s when Israel entered into its first peace agreement with an Arab neighbor since the 1994 treaty with Jordan. On August 13, President Trump announced the Abraham Accord – a peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. The Abraham Accord is notable because the UAE is the first Persian Gulf state (and only the third Arab state) to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel. Ultimately, the agreement promises to build deeper cultural, economic, and military ties between the two nations. Diplomats claim the agreement is a template for establishing a new era of peace and prosperity in the Middle East.

Less than a month after breaking news of the Abraham Accord, President Trump announced a similar peace agreement between Israel and Bahrain. Like the UAE, Bahrain will establish full diplomatic relations with Israel. As if that weren’t enough, in between the UAE and Bahrain deals, Trump brokered another deal that led Serbia and Kosovo to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

What do these agreements mean? Do they really herald a new era of peace in the Middle East? Some think so. But it’s more likely they herald a growing recognition on the part of many Arab Muslim nations of their common need to counter Iran’s growing influence in the region. All these nations have a shared interest in thwarting Iran’s regional ambitions, even if it means partnering with Israel to do so. For that reason alone, many people believe we’ll soon see similar peace agreements between Israel and other Arab nations, such as Oman and Saudi Arabia.

So is any of this in the Bible? And if so, what does it mean?

The Seven-Year Treaty

Students of bible prophecy immediately take notice of any peace deal involving Israel. Why? Because the Bible says an Israeli peace treaty plays a central and pivotal role in the end times. Over 2,500 years ago, Daniel said a mighty ruler will enter into a covenant or a treaty with Israel for a period of seven years (Daniel 9:27). This treaty kicks off the seven-year Tribulation and makes the ruler behind it a major player on the world stage. Who is this ruler? None other than “the man of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2:3) himself – the Antichrist.

Do any of the recent peace agreements qualify as the Daniel 9:27 treaty? Some say yes. They point out that the Daniel 9:27 treaty is a covenant made “with many,” and in this case, we see agreements between Israel and many nations – the UAE, Bahrain, Kosovo, and Serbia – with the prospect of more nations joining in the near future. But that’s where the similarities begin and end.

The treaty outlined in Daniel 9:27 is set for a specific period of time – seven years. None of the recent peace deals with Israel mention a period of seven years. Also, the man behind the treaty of Daniel 9:27 is a specific individual – the Antichrist. This is important to note.

Because when it comes to the recent peace agreements with Israel, the driving diplomatic force has been the Trump administration, and Donald Trump is not the Antichrist. Despite what many of his political opponents may think or say, he simply doesn’t fit the profile. The Bible describes the life and times of the Antichrist. It provides details in regard to his ethnic background and political career. Like Barack Obama before him, Donald Trump doesn’t fit the description.

While people have accused every U.S. president of the past several decades of being the beast of Revelation, the Bible says the Antichrist will be the leader of a revived Roman Empire (Daniel 7). He will come from among the people of the Italian peninsula (Daniel 9:26), and He will be called the Assyrian (Isaiah 10:12; Daniel 8:9). Furthermore, the Bible says the Antichrist will emerge from a group of ten kings (Daniel 7:7-8), and not all of these ten kings will willingly cede their power. Three will oppose him (Daniel 7:8).

None of these verses describe Donald Trump.

So unless a dramatic change takes place, the recent Israeli peace agreements are not the treaty described in Daniel 9:27. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t have prophetic significance. In all likelihood, they lay the groundwork for the treaty Israel will eventually sign with the Prince of Darkness.

A Time of Peace

While the Bible doesn’t cite any end-times peace agreements other than Daniel 9:27, it does mention a time of relative peace Israel enjoys in the last days. The prophet Ezekiel described this time of peace as a time when Israel will be an unprotected land of unwalled villages – a time when Israel will live in great confidence of its safety (Ezekiel 38:11). During this time, a massive coalition of armies will invade Israel from the north (Ezekiel 38:15; Ezekiel 39:2), and Russia will lead them. Known as the Gog of Magog War, the invading nations are as follows:

Rosh = Russia

Magog = Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan

Persia = Iran

Cush = Sudan, Ethiopia

Put = Libya

Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, and Beth-Togarmah = Turkey

While the recent peace deals with the UAE and Bahrain aren’t the covenant mentioned in Daniel 9:27, I believe they’re setting the stage for the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38-39. The battle lines of the Middle East are being drawn, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the official response to the recently announced deals.

Most predictable among them was Iran’s reaction. According to Al Jazeera, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the United Arab Emirates of betraying the Islamic world and the Palestinians. He promised the Emiratis will be disgraced forever, and the stigma of their betrayal will always be remembered.

It’s clear Tehran stands against this alliance, but the most revealing reaction came from Turkey’s president – Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan threatened to suspend diplomatic ties with the UAE and withdraw its ambassador after the Gulf state and Israel agreed to normalize relations.

Until recently, this would have been a surprise. After all, Turkey is a longtime ally of Israel. However, since Erdogan rose to power in 2003, he’s slowly dismantled many of Turkey’s democratic institutions. He’s taken an antagonistic stance toward Israel and strengthened Turkey’s ties with Russia and Iran. All that’s left to permanently move Turkey into the Russian/Iranian sphere of influence is a clear break between Turkey and NATO.

While we wait for that moment, the military forces of the three most powerful members of the Gog of Magog alliance – Russia, Iran, and Turkey – are now cooperating in Syria. This puts their joint military forces right on Israel’s border. And not just any border – Israel’s northern border. This is where Ezekiel said the invasion force will come from – north of Israel (Ezekiel 38:15; Ezekiel 39:2). Is this a mere coincidence? I don’t think so. Never in history have these three nations formed an alliance. Now, they’re stationed directly to Israel’s north.

God continues to set the stage for the fulfillment of the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecies. Turkey has made a strategic choice to align itself with Russia and Iran. The UAE and Bahrain have made a strategic choice to align themselves with Israel. If Oman and Saudi Arabia follow suit as expected, it explains why these nations aren’t part of the Gog of Magog alliance. Eventually, Russia, Iran, Turkey, and their allies will launch an overwhelming invasion force against Israel (Ezekiel 38:8-9). When they do, God will destroy them and display His power and glory for all the world to see (Ezekiel 38:23).

The Bottom Line

We’ll have to wait and see what further developments take place before we can know for sure what the prophetic significance of these peace deals will be. None of these agreements are explicitly mentioned in the Bible, and none of them qualify as the covenant mentioned in Daniel 9:27. However, collectively they’re setting the stage for a prophetic event that will soon take place – the Gog of Magog invasion.

Never in world history have the invading nations of Ezekiel 38-39 banded together. Today, they have. Never before have Russia, Iran, and Turkey posted armies on Israel’s northern border. Today, they have. Israel enjoying peace with its neighbors and a false sense of security is the only missing ingredient. Once it’s in place, the stage will be set for the fulfillment of the events described in Ezekiel 38-39. It’s just the latest sign highlighting how close we are to the end of the age and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

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Britt Gillette is author of the free ebook Coming to Jesus as well as the books Signs of the Second Coming, Racing Toward Armageddon, and The End Times. Receive his book 7 Signs of the End Times for free when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.