SIGNS OF THE TIMES
"Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." (II Pet. 3:3-4)
This portion of scripture tells us that people are going to be doubting the Second Coming of Christ in the last days. Do you believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming soon? If not, have you taken the time to study this matter to see what the word of God says about it? Did you know that the Bible has a great deal to say about the days preceding the Second Coming of Christ? Friend, don't be like the ignorant scoffers in the above portion of scripture. Don't allow the philosophies of your fellow men to damn your soul to Hell! Why not get the facts? The Bible has much to say about the time of the Second Coming. Just like signs on a highway, the Lord has given us many signs which suggest that His return is very near. Why not take a few minutes to consider the signs of the times?
The Fulfillment of the Matthew 24 Prophecies
In Matthew chapter 24, the Lord Jesus Christ spoke of various signs that would precede His return. Among these signs, Jesus mentions false Christs, wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes. Some might argue that people have witnessed such things throughout history and that nothing really new is happening today, but this is NOT true. The very words of the Lord Jesus Christ are being fulfilled today before our very eyes, and this has NOT been true throughout history.
Jesus said that false Christs would arise. So we shouldn't be surprised to see such people as David Koresh, "Reverend Moon", and Daniel Waswa professing to be Christ, the Messiah. In this century alone, there have been over one thousand religious leaders around the world who have claimed to be Christ. This cannot be said of any other century in history.
I have in my files a copy of a full page advertisement from USA TODAY, January 12, 1987, which says "THE CHRIST IS IN THE WORLD." The ad goes on to say that "A great World Teacher for people of every religion and no religion...Christ is here, my Friends, Your Brother walks among you." The ad was sponsored by a New Age group in California. Only in our lifetime have so many people been so bold, and Jesus told us this would happen.
The Lord said there would be WARS, and that kingdoms would rise against kingdoms. Only in the twentieth century have we had two
"World Wars." It is true that men have always fought, but never like today. It has been estimated that 100,000,000 people have lost their lives due to the wars of the 1900's! With nuclear weapons now on the scene, a Third World War would be catastrophic. Perhaps this is why Jesus says, "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved..." (Mat. 24:22)
Jesus also spoke of famines and pestilences. In spite of the advancement of science, technology, and medicine, people are still dying by the millions from starvation and disease. The World Health Organization estimates that ONE THIRD of the world is starving. Around four million people die from starvation annually.
New diseases are affecting millions also. Just in the past twenty years we have witnessed the emergence of such new diseases as Toxic Shock Syndrome, Lyme disease, and A.I.D.S. Discovered only in 1981, HIV (the AIDS virus) has already infected over one million people in America alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Earthquakes? A person would have to be very blind to think that earthquake activity hasn't increased in the past few decades. It has increased enormously! From 1900 through 1969, there were 48 major earthquakes, an average of about 7 per decade. Then from 1970 through 1989, there were 33 major earthquakes, an average of 17 per decade. Since 1989, there have been well over 200 major earthquakes! Twenty thousand people die per year due to earthquakes, which totals about 1.9 million since 1900. At no other time in history have earthquakes been as frequent and as catastrophic as they are today.
Friend, God's word is true. The very words of the Lord Jesus Christ are being fulfilled every day. It's time to wake up and face the facts.
The Restoration of Israel
The restoration of Israel as a nation is perhaps the greatest sign that Jesus is coming soon. God allowed the Romans to destroy Jerusalem in 70 A.D., and He allowed the Jews to be dispersed among the gentile nations of the world. Throughout church history the Jews have wondered from nation to nation suffering persecution all over the world. Many have traditionally believed that God is finished with the Jews because they rejected Christ, but this is NOT what the Bible says. The Bible firmly declares that God is NOT finished with Israel, and that He has every intention of restoring the Jews to their ancient homeland and reestablishing them as a nation. Notice these important portions of scripture:
"But, the LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers." (Jer. 16:15)
"And I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God." (Amos 9:14-15)
Paul writes in Romans 11:25-26 that all of Israel will be converted. Acts 15:14-16 tells us that the "tabernacle of David" will be rebuilt. We read in Hebrews 8:8-10 that God plans to make a "new covenant" with the house of Israel. If there is one thing clear in the Bible, it is the fact that God has every intention of keeping His promises to Israel.
But we have a lot more than promises. We have actually lived to see many of these promises fulfilled! It wasn't until the late 1800's that the Jews began to migrate back to Palestine in large numbers. By 1939, when World War II began, there were over 400,000 Jews living in Palestine. After the war, the United Nations granted 5000 square miles of Palestinian land to the Jews. In 1948, Israel became an independent nation for the first time in over 2,500 years! Today there are over 4,000,000 Jews living in Israel (over 200,000 migrated from the Soviet Union in 1990!). Friend, why has God restored Israel as a nation, if He isn't fulfilling His promises to them and preparing them for His Second Coming? He IS preparing them for His return! Israel, the "fig tree" (Jer. 24:2-8; Luk. 13:6-9) has put forth leaves as a nation, and Jesus said that the generation which witnesses this will also witness His return (Mat. 24:32-34)! The restoration of Israel is a definite sign that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming soon--very soon.
The Revision of the Roman Empire
Did you know that modern Europe is in the Bible? Did you know that the Bible speaks of ten European powers being associated with the coming Antichrist? It's true. Daniel 7:1-8 speaks of four separate "beasts" rising up from the sea. We are told in Daniel 7:17-28 that these four beasts represent four "kings" and "kingdoms" which would rise to power, and the fourth beast is said to be worse than all of the other three. Most agree that these four beasts represent the empires of Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece, and Rome, and we know from history that these four kingdoms did arise in this order, with the fourth kingdom, Rome, being the most "dreadful and terrible" beast of all (Dan. 7:7).
However, the prophecies about this fourth beast have not been completely fulfilled. In fact, this same beast reappears in Revelation 13:1-2, which is PROPHECY--not history! The "ten horns" on this beast are "ten kings," according to Daniel 7:24, and they reappear in Revelation 13:1-2. These ten horns are ten kings which will be associated with the Antichrist (Rev. 17:12-13), and they are PART of the Roman beast. That is, they make up the Revised Roman Empire. In the early 1900's, Bible teachers C. I. Scofield and Clarence Larkin both taught that the Roman Empire would be revived as an empire of ten federated kingdoms. These men did not live to see this Bible prophecy fulfilled, but you and I are seeing it fulfilled before our very eyes!
For centuries Europe has wanted to reunite its separate nations, but only in the twentieth century have we seen the actual formation of the "European Community." Since World War II, various treaties have been signed and various organizations have been established to bring Europe closer to being a world super power (NATO, 1949; Treaty of Paris, 1951; Treaty of Rome, 1957; The Merger Treaty, 1965; The European Monetary System, 1979; The European Single Act, 1986; The European Economic Area, 1991). The EC is the world's largest trading power controlling about twenty percent of all international trade, and there is presently much talk about a "common currency" for the member nations of the EC. Some European leaders are even considering the elimination of all currency, by replacing it with "Smart Cards."
The EC also consists of a European Commission, a Council of Ministers, a European Parliament, and a European Court of Justice. So with every passing day, the nations of the ancient Roman Empire grow a step closer to forming their own federated kingdom. The Bible says there will be TEN kings which make up this federation, and that they will give their power to the Antichrist who also rises up among them (Rev. 13:1-8; 17:12-13). No one knows for sure which ten European nations will make up this federation in its final form, but one thing is very certain: The "ten horns" of Revelation 13:1 and 17:12-13 are now a reality. Europe has come a long way in her attempts to revise the Roman Empire, and it is only a matter of time before the "United States in Europe" is formed with the Antichrist in control. Dr. Henry Spaak, former Secretary General of NATO said it this way: "What we want is a man of sufficient stature to hold the alliances of all people and to lift us out of the economic morass into which we are sinking. Send us such a man, and be he god or devil, we will receive him."
The European leaders have every intention of establishing a modern-day Roman Empire, and they'll stop at nothing in their efforts to get it. This is truly a sign that our Lord's return is very near.
Mark of the Beast Technology
"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred three score and six." (Rev. 13:16-18)
Many Bible readers over the centuries have been puzzled wondering just how such a system could ever be established, but it's no longer a puzzle. Advanced technology has brought the world closer to the Mark of the Beast than anything else in history.
We know that the coming Mark of the Beast will somehow be connected with the economy, for the Bible says that no one may buy or sell without it. It may very well be that cash, checks, and credit cards are soon to become a thing of the past, because electronic money is becoming more popular all the time.
One form of electronic money is the use of smart cards. A smart card looks like a credit or debit card, except it contains a small computer chip with all sorts of information about the card holder, including bank account numbers and balances. When a smart card is used, the card holder's bank account is immediately debited at the point of sale by computer transaction. This means more profits to retailers and banks alike, for bad checks and credit card abuse would be eliminated.
Smart Cards are most popular in Europe, but Japan and the United States are expected to be leaders in this new technology as well. In fact, the Clinton Administration has suggested the use of Smart Cards in their proposed heath care package.
Many banks and credit card companies believe that electronic money will eventually usher in a cashless society where everyone will buy and sell electronically. Terry Galanoy, former director of communications for what is now Visa International has made this bold remark: "Protesting too loudly about it isn't going to help either, because the disturbance you kick up is going to end up in one of your files. And on that come-and-get-it day when we're all totally and completely dependent upon our card--or whatever security device might replace it--you might be left all alone without one!"
In promotional literature from the Danyl Corporation of Moorestown, New Jersey, Robert J. Merkert, Sr., senior vice president, says: "One day in the near future, we'll be able to pay for almost everything with just one 'prepaid stored value' or 'smart card.'" This system has actually been tested at the University of Rochester with great success.
Though many industry leaders are very much in favor of a cashless society where buying and selling is done electronically, there is a problem. How can it be guaranteed that the individual using a Smart Card is the authorized card holder? Some believe that this problem can be solved by combining Smart Card technology with Biometric Technology. After all, a Smart "Card" is only a piece of plastic. It's the computer chip inside the card that stores the needed information. As unbelievable as it may sound, biometric technology has now made it possible to implant small computer chips under the skin of animals and people. The European Community's Executive Commission has already passed legislation which REQUIRES farmers in the EC to have their livestock implanted with microchips! In many cities across the U.S., the Humane Society is selling such implants for pets, as a replacement for dog tags.
You say, "Well, that's just for animals. No one would ever try this technology on people." I wouldn't be too sure about that. According to the book, The Mark of the Beast, by Peter and Paul Lalond, a plastic surgeon in Florida has hit upon the idea of implanting microchips in people. This would be helpful in locating missing people, such as run away children, kidnapped children, wondering victims of Alzheimer's disease, and parolees. The surgeon has even been awarded a patent on this device!
Just for a moment, use your imagination and think about the convenience of implanted microchips. You wouldn't need any cash or checks for making purchases, for your bank account would be automatically debited every time you went through a check-out stand. You wouldn't need to keep up with a social security card, a driver's license, a Medicare card, a credit card, or even a smart card, because all of this information could be stored in the implanted chip. You wouldn't have to worry about getting mugged on the street, because there would be no demand for cash in a cashless society.
So what are we saying? Are we saying that the government is going to make you receive a microchip implant? No, we are simply pointing out the fact that THE TECHNOLOGY IS HERE. We do not profess to know exactly what the Mark of the Beast will be in it's final form. It may be UPC bar codes, implanted microchips, or something yet to be thought of, but it is obvious that the possibilities are greater today than ever before, and this is a definite sign that the events of Revelation 13 are not far away.
The Forming of the New World Order
The Bible says that "all the world" will conform to the system of the Antichrist (Rev. 13:3-8; 19:19), but this will not be possible unless Satan is successful in bringing about a "New World Order" where the people of the world are brought under the control of ONE central government. As eerie as this may sound, we must be honest enough to face the fact that this is precisely what the Bible says will happen. Notice the prophetic words of Zephaniah 3:8: "Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy." God said that He would "assemble the kingdoms." Have you ever heard of the United Nations General ASSEMBLY? Our world leaders are fulfilling Bible prophecy by bringing about their own destruction!
God created man and gave him the responsibility of governing society on a NATIONAL basis (Gen. 10:5; Deu. 32:8), but God despises the idea of man trying to govern society on an INTERNATIONAL basis. Remember the tower of Babel in Genesis chapter eleven? It has never been God's will for men to form a single world government. The right of governing the world is reserved for none other than God's beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (Psa. 8; Rev. 20:1-7; Isa. 2:1-4); therefore, any attempt by man to establish a one-world government is purely Satanic, and it will end with the intervening judgment of God.
Nevertheless, man has ignored God and went about establishing all sorts of world government organizations. Such establish- ments as the United Nations, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Court, the International Finance Corporation, the World Trade Organization, and the Council of Foreign Relations are all wicked, because they are all a part of man's open rebellion against God.
Politicians today are pushing harder than ever for a "New World Order," and the Bible says that they are going to push themselves right into the hands of the Antichrist (Rev. 13:1-18).
God's Sabbath Rest
II Peter 3:8 tells us that "...one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." This means that the coming one thousand-year kingdom of Christ will only be ONE DAY in God's eyes. This is interesting, for we read in Hebrews chapter four that there is going to be a SABBATH REST for God's people. This means that the one thousand-year reign of Revelation 20:1-7 will be a SABBATH REST. As everyone knows, God RESTED on the SEVENTH day of creation (Gen. 2:1-3). He worked for six days, and then He rested on the seventh day.
Well, that was SIX thousand years ago. Man has been on earth for about six thousand years; so the SEVENTH millennium will be a SABBATH millennium, a time of rest for God's creation. The Millennial Reign of Revelation 20:1-7 will be the SEVENTH DAY of world history in God's eyes, because II Peter 3:8 tells us that one day is like a thousand years.
This becomes more interesting when we consider a few other portions of scripture. For example, Hosea 6:1-2 says that God will revive Israel after TWO DAYS. This is exactly what is happening! Israel rejected Christ nearly 2000 years ago (two DAYS), but God is restoring the nation in this present century. Hosea 6:2 says, "After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight." The verse says that the Jews will live IN HIS SIGHT in the THIRD DAY, so the church age is around 2000 years in length, or two days, and then the Lord returns and establishes the promised Kingdom, which is the THIRD DAY after Israel rejected Him. It's the SEVENTH day in history, and it's the THIRD day after the First Coming.
Notice in John chapter eleven that Jesus waits TWO DAYS before going to raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11:6, 43-44). This pictures the fact that He has waited 2000 years to revive Israel as a nation, and to call the church out to be with Him. Similar references concerning the "two days" can be found in Luke 13:31-33 and John 4:43-45.
God has a 7000-year plan, and we are right on the threshold of God's Sabbath Rest, the Kingdom of Christ and His saints. If you have never repented (turned from) your sins and received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, then right now is the time. God has given you many signs to warn you, because He loves you and He wants to save you. We urge you to pay very close attention to the following section, because only by receiving Christ as your Savior can you be taken up to Heaven before God's judgment strikes this earth (I Ths. 4:13-18; 1:10; 5:9). If you've never been saved, or if you aren't sure about your salvation, then please read the following page where we've reprinted our tract, The Five Facts of Life, in hopes that you will see your need for Jesus Christ and trust Him. May God find you fully prepared to meet Him at His coming (Amos 4:12).
Copyright © 1994 James L. Melton
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