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The Time is Now for Bible Prophecy
Why I believe we are closer to the End Times than ever before
Any student of the Bible and of history will tell you that our fascination with the events of the last days isn’t new. Since the Gospels, letters and prophetic books of the Bible were written, readers have been trying to figure out what they mean and when the predicted events might come to pass. Past students of Scripture and prognosticators have made some mistakes along the way.
In Europe in the 14th century, as the Black Plague killed a third of the population, countless people thought the end of the world was right around the corner. I completely understand why!
Early American settlers in Pennsylvania thought the apocalypse would happen in the late 17th century, as did multiple Puritan preachers in the 18th century—culminating around the American Revolutionary War.
It’s happened over the last hundred years, too, from the 1914 appearance of Halley’s Comet to the First and Second World Wars and throughout nuclear arms race between the United States and the U.S.S.R.
In fact, when I was a very young Christian, my first introduction to end-times teaching was the 1970 book The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey, which predicted that the 1980s could be the last decade of human existence.
Wars, Famines, Pestilences
On one hand, this is not surprising to me. After all, in one of the most well-known Bible prophecies about the end times, Matthew 24, Jesus paints a very broad picture of what life will look like before His return:
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.”—Matthew 24:6-8
War is constant in the history of humanity. Nations have been rising against other nations ever since the idea of nationhood has existed. Humans are always in combat with each other and likely will be until the end.
Meanwhile, the history of our planet is also marked by recurring famine, disease and earthquakes.
It’s not surprising, then, that some end-times skeptics hear biblical teaching applied to current events and say, “There’s no reason to get excited. What is happening now is the same thing that has always happened.” They believe we are no closer to the end times than we were in the 14th century or during the world wars of the 20th century.
I mean, had I been alive during the 1930s and 1940s, I could have been very easily convinced that Hitler was the Antichrist! Many Christians actually did believe this at the time. For what it’s worth, popular Bible teachers thought John F. Kennedy might be the Antichrist in the 1960s. In the 1980s, Christians wondered if either Ronald Reagan or Mikhail Gorbachev could potentially become the Antichrist.
But those who dismiss Bible prophecy as too vague or “applicable for any period in human history” are missing some very important details.
I believe we are closer than ever before to the events of the end times, making the next few years—or even this year—a logical scenario for the fulfillment of prophecy. Here are a few specific reasons why:
1. The Existence of Israel
As you have read in several articles here as well as in my book, Tipping Point, I believe the end times officially began on May 14, 1948, when Israel became a nation in a single day. That started the prophetic clock ticking, and since that time we have seen prophecy after prophecy fulfilled.
While World War II was very much a contributor to the founding of Israel, the Jewish people had not yet been “regathered” during the War itself. (The recovering of “the remnant” of God’s people is predicted in Isaiah 11:10-12 and Isaiah 66:8).
But since those days, in my own generation, God is fulfilling what He promised long ago related to Israel. I have said it before: Israel is God’s prophetic super-sign announcing the arrival of the end times.
2. The Retaking of Jerusalem
In Luke 21, Jesus predicts Jerusalem “will be trampled by Gentiles” until the end days. He was correct, of course. In 70 A.D., the Roman Empire invaded Jerusalem and destroyed the second Temple, scattering the Jewish people throughout the world. This was known as the Diaspora.
Even after the nation of Israel was created in 1948 and Jews began to return to their homeland, they were still not in possession of the city of Jerusalem. But during the Arab-Israeli Six Day War in 1967, the Jews regained control of the city. Most of Jerusalem is still in Jewish hands today. I believe this to have been the most significant prophetic event in my lifetime.
Since then, Jerusalem has remained a city under dispute. Both the Palestinians and Israelis have claimed the city as their capital. But in late 2017, President Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by stating that the American embassy would be moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. The opening of the new embassy took place on May 14, 2018.
3. Travel is Now Global
A well-known prophetic passage in Daniel predicts an age of unique human technological capabilities, different from any other generation that proceeds it. I have written a more extensive article about this in the past, but take a look at this verse:
“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”—Daniel 12:4
In this vision, an angel tells Daniel to “seal the book”—or to limit how he shared the information—because no one would understand it until the end times. How would readers thousands of years ago be able to comprehend people running “to and fro” around the world? Back in those days, you could have spent all day walking two or three miles for trade or to collect water from the village well. Today, in some cities, it’s not unheard of to drive 20 miles for lunch. Before the pandemic, traveling to the other side of the world in a day was a regular occurrence.
The increased access to travel is new. Space flight is even possible. It’s likely our traveling generation may be the period of human history Daniel was predicting.
4. Our Technological Reach is Global
We barely bat an eye when accessing a website or watching news footage from the other side of the world, but this technology is brand-new within the scope of human history. Today we can see events streamed live to our living rooms at the same time as everyone else in the world—the Super Bowl or the Olympic Games are a perfect example of this. But it hasn’t always been the case. Only our generation has had access to this technology.
But consider Revelation 11, in which the apostle John says people from all “tribes, tongues and nations” will see the dead bodies of the two witnesses after they are killed by the Antichrist.
“And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.”—Revelation 11:10
This ancient Bible prophecy says the entire world will witness the same thing at the same time. That wasn’t possible during the Middle Ages. That wasn’t even possible 50 years ago. Only today is the technology available for this to happen.
5. Global Financial Control is Possible
Fifty years ago, you might have read passages like Revelation 13 and scoffed. It paints the financial power of the Antichrist as absolute:
“He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has he mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”—Revelation 13:16-17
A generation ago, controlling the world through financial power may have seemed extraordinarily difficult. People still used cash for most purchases. Financial institutions were exclusively brick-and-mortar buildings. Someone in Washington or China had no authority to control whether a transaction took place in, for instance, London. Or in your own neighborhood.
But things have changed. In a cashless society, control can be maintained through a central, electronic data point. Right now, today, we are living in the world’s first generation with a central electronic system. Everything is inter-connected. We make purchases with credit cards and contactless payments. We send money using smartphone apps. And because of the pandemic, we are using less cash than ever before. Some customers and retailers have abandoned cash altogether.
Control over buying and selling would have been hard to comprehend in the first century. It was hard to comprehend in the last century. It is not hard to understand today.
These are only five examples. I could name more, like the scientific advancements that may lead to transhumanism or the unprecedented moral decline in our culture or the ongoing tragedy of abortion. I’m sure you can think of several other reasons! What should be clear is that we are living in a very severe time. We are closer to the end than ever before.
The bubonic plague or the world wars may have seemed like dark days for humanity, but today we have even more proof that the prophecies of the Bible are true, because we are seeing them be fulfilled before our very eyes. Consider what you have witnessed just within the past decade—or even the past year—and you will recognize the speed at which this is happening.
Jesus is on His way, and no one on earth can stop Him.