Christ’s words indicate something of humankind-ending power. This statement follows His warning of wars and rumors of wars for the very end of the human history timeline that immediately precedes His second advent. All flesh will die if Jesus doesn’t return upon His divinely scheduled appointment time!
The question naturally emerges: Do we see any such power upon the world scene today? I, perhaps, don’t even need to go into answering that–at least not very deeply. That power to destroy all flesh has been on the scene as a major sign of where we are on God’s prophetic timeline since 1945. The first atomic bomb test at Alamogordo, New Mexico, flashed that sign across the night desert sky in a stupefying instant. Soon “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” incinerated and blew apart almost 200,000 Japanese citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The hydrogen bomb tests, coupled with intercontinental ballistic missile developments, made the whole world aware that the planet’s inhabitants could well be living on borrowed time. These weapons, yielding unfathomable power to destroy, continue to scream from the billboard of forewarning while this generation nears the denouement of the age. Weapons of such horrific magnitude must certainly be the subject of and reason for Jesus’ “wars and rumors of wars” sign being issued for the terminal generation. And this prophetic sign must, it follows because of that world-destroying weaponry being ubiquitous today, refer to our present generation of earth dwellers.
Third World powers and terrorist organizations lust after weapons of mass destruction. Potential for developing atomic weaponry is on the agenda of governments. North Korea, Iran and other nation-states race forward with nuclear programs, defying the international community as the G-8 and others try to prevent World War III.
Sign 3: Nations and Kingdoms in Distress
The most obvious category given by Jesus that we are in the time of the signs is that involving the geopolitical disposition of nations. No observer of the world scene today who believes that God has told the end from the beginning can look at the way countries are prophetically juxtaposed and not see the end times are upon this generation. Let’s look more closely at this third end-times prophecy Jesus put forth while on top of the Mount of Olives, overlooking the Jerusalem of His time while still in His flesh body: “Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Lk. 21:10).
The Lord forewarned tremendous ethnic upheaval at the time just before His second advent. We’ve looked many times at the Greek term used here, translated into the KJV as “nation.” The Greek term is ethnos, meaning “ethnic” in English. Jesus said that the end times would be marked by ethnic hatred and strife. “Kingdom” against “kingdom” can be interpreted nation-state entities or countries will be at war or about to go to war. These wars and rumors of war will present unprecedented levels of danger to the peoples that inhabit the “kingdoms,” is the implication. We have looked at why this is so. The nuclear and other threats from weaponry of mass destructive capability brings our time to this level of concern.
Jesus, when considering the Luke account of His Olivet Discourse, goes on to express this fact in expanding upon the time of the signs: “And there shall be…upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity…” (Lk. 21:25b).
Threat of calamitous destruction, should there be all-out nuclear war, is obvious. Worry about such potential catastrophe certainly fits Jesus’ prediction of end times perplexity and distress among the nations. The causes of this Armageddon-like potentiality, however, seems to be now coming into focus.
During the Cold War, there seemed little rhyme or reason why kingdom should rise against kingdom and want to destroy each other and the rest of the world with thermonuclear warfare. The unofficial doctrine termed “Mutually Assured Destruction” (MAD), in fact, kept the superpowers, with their potentially world-ending nuclear stockpiles, from doing the unthinkable–attacking each other just for the sake of empire building or stopping empire building. Again, there was no rhyme or reason–at least not enough–that convinced the leaderships of the superpowers to pull the nuclear trigger. Warfare on such a horrific scale was absolutely a no-win scenario for all concerned.
Now, in this, our generation’s time of the signs, a reason to go to Armageddon-like war might just be in view. The catalyst that just might be a large part of galvanizing the nations of the world into a collective mindset that throws MAD out the window of sanity, thus bringing all into the valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:2), isn’t so far fetched to contemplate.
The thirst, thus the lust, for petroleum looks more and more like a potential reason to cause all to gather at Megiddo on the plain of Jezreel. The nations in distress, with perplexity, exactly describes the industrialized nation-states of Planet Earth while they scramble to secure for themselves the black liquid gold that can fire their engines of wealth production.
While there is talk of alternative fuels, none of practical development and implementation looks to be in view for decades ahead. The oil-rich Middle East is the logical place to look first in the attempt to secure energy producing fuels. Oil in the region surrounding God’s chosen nation, Israel, is the quickest, most accessible such arena of supply.
The Nations in this Time of the Signs
The alignment of the nations pertinent to Bible prophecy, as they are presently positioned and are dynamically rearranging, are eerily similar to the configuration Jesus and the Bible prophets forecast for the time just before Christ’s return to put a stop to Armageddon, and to prevent the end of all flesh on Planet Earth.
Rosh (Russia) sits due north of Jerusalem. The nation who will produce the evil leader called “Gog,” those of us who hold to pre-trib rapture eschatology believe, struggles internally and externally to become again a superpower to rival the United States. To do this, that prophetic nation will need energy to fire the engines of its industrial base.
Iran, the area where ancient Persia largely sat, is in the throes of international turmoil while it seems unalterably determined to produce nuclear weapons. At the same time, it is allying in many ways with Russia, in keeping with the Ezekiel 38 and 39 prophecy that foretells its joining forces with Gog to attack over the mountains toward Israel. All the while its leader declares his desire is to erase all Jews from the Middle East.
Nations of the area of the ancient Roman Empire have put aside centuries of disputes and warring to form a reviving Roman Empire. The EU looks more and more to fit the prophetic Daniel 9: 26-27 template in a way that can be denied only by those who refuse to acknowledge that Bible prophecy is to be interpreted as literal.
The great dragon nation, China, is perhaps the oil-thirstiest of all of the industrial giants. The prophetic scenario is not difficult to embrace that this behemoth, which by itself could field the astonishing, prophetically stipulated 200-million-troop force, will move toward the Middle East at some point yet future.
Despite recent attempts to slow the use of petroleum a degree, this emerging industrial titan, with its one-and-a-half-billion people, looks to be developing into becoming the king of the kings of the East of Revelation 9 and 16.
Modern Israel, the greatest sign in this time of signs, is positioned almost precisely where the prophet Zechariah foretold, as recorded in Zechariah 12:1-3. Most all of the distressed, perplexed nations of the world seem focused on God’s chosen people as the key to war and peace in the Middle East, thus the key to world peace. Again, modern Israel sits at the center of the region where the planet’s greatest pools of petroleum reside beneath what the world calls the Holy Land. It is a land destined for man’s most destructive war, then to become the heart of Christ’s glorious 1,000-year kingdom.
This generation of passengers on Planet Earth is passing through a corridor John the apostle and prophet called “the last time” (1 John 2:18). More to the point, we are somewhere near the very end of that corridor, and signs the size of billboards are on either side of the broad way that leads the world’s inhabitants toward Armageddon. The only way to miss those gargantuan signs, for the true child of God, is to deliberately ignore them, choosing instead to focus on things of this world that perspective hides in the distant blackness.
We are, as my good friend Chuck Missler says, in the time of the signs. They are signs so dramatic, so blatant, that the whinnying and violent snorting of the four horses of the apocalypse can almost be heard as they angrily paw the earth with rage, straining to burst to full gallop, determined to carry their death-dealing riders on their missions of globe-shattering devastation.
Jesus Christ, the Creator of all things and the One who holds all of creation together (Colossians 1:16-17), gave the signs that would be most prevalent at the time just before His return to earth. These primary signals are found in three of the Gospels: Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. We will first look at the Matthew account of the signs He gave for the final generation of human history, just before His second advent.
Sign 1: Deceivers who Claim Christ
Jesus was directly asked by His disciples: 1) When would the things Jesus prophesied be? 2) What would be the signs of His second coming? and 3) When would be the end of the world?
He gave the following answer: “…Take heed that no man deceive you, For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matt. 24:4-5).
Jesus gave “deception” as the first major sign that will alert the spiritually attuned believer that His second coming is near. Jesus, as recorded a few verses later, amplified His words on “deception” that would be manifest at the very end of the age:
”And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (Matt. 24:11).
The Lord begins by saying that Many will come in His name. This means, I think, that these end-times deceivers will claim to come as true believers in Jesus Christ. They will use His holy name to convince the undiscerning that the individuals making the claim are of the Church, the body of Christ. These are those who will be among the individuals Jesus condemned, as recorded in the following Scripture: “But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all [ye] workers of iniquity” (Lk. 13:27).
However, this prophecy that Jesus gave as the first sign of the very end of the age goes, I’m convinced, much deeper. These deceivers will be declaring that they, themselves, will be Christ-like, not in the sense of being a true Christian who is a Spirit-filled follower of Jesus Christ, but in the sense that they have powers and abilities like Jesus himself. They will claim to be the special conduit from God, used by the Almighty to read minds, receive special telepathic words from Him upon command, and even to raise the dead.
But, it will all be smoke and mirrors. There will not be a single validated case of any of these supposed miraculous activities direct from the portals of heaven to the mortals of Planet Earth. The question to ask, then, while considering the time of the signs and whether we are indeed at the very end of the age as predicted by Jesus is: Do we see today any sign, any indicator, that there are such “deceivers” among us?
There have always been deceivers and those specifically claiming to be Jesus Christ. Some have been certifiable lunatics, some have been proven charlatans, and have faded into the darkness of the exposed and deposed. Today, it seems to me at least, they are announcing their Christ-like powers from the very billboards mentioned earlier–the ones lining either side of that broad way that leads to destruction during these troubling days.
We see many of them as glitzy, projected TV images calling the gullible to give their money to special programs they proclaim God has told them about, which can make the members of their audiences healthy, wealthy, and wise beyond their wildest imaginations.
These promote the outward turning message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ only in a minimal way, their messages designed to turn thoughts inward to the feel-good message that God wants them to materially prosper. Viewers are deceived, because they can see, through glazed, mesmerized eyes, that the wealth message certainly works for the rich and famous purveyors of the prosperity gospel. Their desire to obligate the God of heaven to provide overflowing wealth and health, based upon the TV magicians’ special formulas for success, make the deluded open their wallets with glee.
Paul the apostle’s prophetic words ring true for our time: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
Others, appearing more sophisticated and high-minded, claim to have Christ within their pontificating, but are turned far from truth found in God’s Word. These ecclesiastical elitists fit the mold of false prophets/teachers found in forewarnings of Paul and Peter:
- “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come…For men shall…[Have] a form of godliness, but [deny] the power thereof…” (2 Tim. 3:1, 5).
- “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Pet. 2:1).
These, though under the guise of Christian clergy, join the ecumenists who proclaim that there are many ways to God and heaven. By this heresy, they deny the Lord Jesus, who said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the father, but by me” (Jn. 14:6).
Sign 2: Wars and Rumors of Wars
The second sign of the very end of the age given by Jesus is in His declaration: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: See that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet” (Matt. 24:6).
“What is so different about hearing of wars and rumors of war?” one might ask. Such has been part of the human condition since history first began to be recorded. The key to what makes this profoundly different is found in Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:21: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” The Lord himself said that the time of the end will be worse than any in history. This declaration, by its very nature, makes the “wars and rumors of wars” He predicts well beyond the norm. We see just how far beyond the norm they will be, as recorded in His next statement: “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matt. 21:22).
We will look more deeply into the time of the signs in part 2.
Bible prophecy students who hold to a literal interpretation of prophecy yet future–futurists, as we are sometimes termed—have long speculated how America might figure into the ultimate system of control of the beast regime. That Antichrist economic/worship system is foretold in the following:
“And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 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 threescore and six” (Revelation 13:15-18).
America–but not Al Gore, as he has claimed–was at the heart of developing the internet. The internet is a type of medium that more and more looks to be one a hybrid of which might deliver on the globalist elite’s ambition to intricately link everyone on the planet in a person-to-person system of governance. More than coincidentally, such an internet hybrid will almost certainly produce, through electronic bondage, the Antichrist dictatorship that will enslave everyone on the planet.
We should expect, based upon the many proliferating end-of-days signals now occurring in birth pang-like frequency and intensity, that there should also be found on the prophetic horizon such an enslavement system in the making. Sure enough, there is such a system developing, and, again, the United States of America is at the forefront, just as the nation is at the forefront of the gush toward globalism.
The once mighty U.S. dollar is being systematically rendered the equal of all other of the world’s currencies. This is being done through printing trillions of dollars that have nothing of substance backing them whatever, and by U.S. leadership intentionally melding America’s sovereignty with a swiftly changing global monetary order.
The great tax-and-spend powers that be have been turning up every stone known to the fiscal world to find a way to exact tax revenues from use of the internet. Believe me when I tell you that they will be able to do this at some point in the near future. The voracious tax grab must first, of course, be shown to have a dramatic reason to be done. A crisis must be at hand, you see, in order to justify such invasion into the individual liberty intrinsic within the internet. No doubt, the crisis must involve national security so that we the people will be afraid not to go along.
Try this on for size, my fellow citizens…
The President has likened threats to the internet to that of a nuclear attack. The White House should take direct control of US cybersecurity, the woman once tipped to be President Obama’s net security czar has said. Melissa Hathaway told a conference in San Francisco that the net had not been built with safety in mind. She has just completed a review of cybersecurity for the President. “This poses one of the most serious challenges of the 21st century. Cyberspace won’t be secured overnight on the basis of one good plan,” she said.
President Obama has made the issue of cybersecurity a top priority and ordered this 60-day review to determine how the government should dramatically restructure how it handles the internet and security… Recent breaches have targeted the US power grid and the Pentagon.
To date, the government has kept its own counsel on the shape of its new cybersecurity establishment. However it has been reported the administration has finalized plans for a new Pentagon cyber command to coordinate the security of military computer networks…” (“US ramps up cybersecurity focus,” Maggie Shiels, BBC News, RSA Conference San Francisco, 4/24/09).
Since that time, there has been a never-ending call for control over internet from this presidential administration and from western governments. The American administration’s determination to bring the internet–and all involved within the medium–under strict government control proves there are plans for new bureaucracy on the drawing board of ever bigger government. It is only a matter of time–a very brief time, I suggest—until such bureaucracy will be constructed globally. It is just such a construct from which I believe the 666 mark and numbering system of Revelation 13:15-18 will ultimately emerge.
The super internet will have at its core the use of Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) monetary units. Such will eliminate, the developers and implementers will claim, theft of money that the hard currencies have presented. The problems that are part of national currencies will also be eliminated, or at least made controllable, they will assure, such as problems involved with the rates of exchange of one national currency against another.
The ultimately evolved super internet system will have at its heart a computer marking and numbering system that will electronically link the individual with a central controlling entity whereby all people can be monitored and instantly dealt with as necessary. Bible prophecy foretells this whole diabolist ball of wax will revolve around worship of the beast–Antichrist. This will take place during the tribulation era, the time of God’s wrath against rebellious earth dwellers (Rev. 6: 17). However, Satan’s scheme to ultimately have all of humanity worship him will not touch saints of the Church Age (Age of Grace).
Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail against his Church (Matt. 16:16). The Apostle Paul said: “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do” (1 Thess. 5: 9-11).
I read an international political thriller many years ago by Arthur Hailey called In High Places. It involved, as I recall, a fictional account of the intrigues of power at the very highest levels of the Canadian government.
I thought at the time about how strikingly appropriate that title was for the ne’er-do-well doings that the protagonist and cronies were attempting to perpetrate upon the good citizens of Canada during the time frame of the novel. In High Places was a perfect title, I thought. Hailey took the title from the ultimate nefarious activities that the Apostle Paul warns are constantly taking place in unseen dimensions and darkened enclaves of this fallen sphere called Planet Earth: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12).
At the apex of those wicked dealings in high places is the grand deceiver, Lucifer the fallen one, as described in the Apostle Peter’s warning: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).
One senses, if spiritually attuned to God’s Word about the last days, that indeed this generation is well into a battle with wickedness in high places. Satan is stalking about the halls and chambers of power of this and every other nation, seeking to formulate a dynamic that will force humanity into the abyss. America, it seems, is at present on the fast track to that nether region reserved for any people who choose to do what is right in their own eyes rather than stay within God’s righteousness.
Luciferian influences were on display in the U.S. House of Representatives several years ago when the House voted 249-175 to grant special rights to those who choose to practice homosexuality, an activity God’s Word, the Bible, condemns as an abominable sin. The U.S. government has since taken tragic steps toward the abyss, with the nation in tow. The powers that be in the high places of this once-great country expressed, even if unwittingly, the desire to consort with the powers and principalities–the wickedness—in those high places.
Through ignorance and/or willful disregard for the Creator whose law declares that sexual activity for humankind must be within God-ordained marriage between one woman and one man, for life, a major portion of the people’s representatives slapped the Lord of heaven–and the vast majority of America’s citizenry—in the face with politically correct acts of rebellion.
The on-going actions bring to mind an American founding father’s remark about what had just been accomplished. Benjamin Franklin was said to have commented to a fellow signer of the Declaration of Independence upon the founding fathers having completed work on the United States constitution: “Well, we have given the people their republic–if they can keep it.”
Bishop Harry Jackson Jr. of the High Impact Leadership Coalition condemned the House of Representatives action after that anti-God vote of a few years back, issuing a warning about the nation’s future:
“Jackson said the action puts ‘sexual orientation’ in a specially protected class under federal law. ‘Based on history, it really isn’t something that needs to be protected,’ he said. ‘There’s a problem that this is going to mark the first time that a protected class status is given to … whatever sexual orientation one has.’ He said the experience in other countries has led to prosecution of Christians. In Sweden, for example, a minister was sentenced to 30 days in jail for preaching from Leviticus…” Since that time, we have seen the degeneration of American morality on many levels.
Good readers, we are about to, as Benjamin Franklin seemed to fear, lose this God-blessed republic if the Lord does not again intervene in the affairs of men as He did when bestowing His goodness on this nation. Alexis de Tocqueville said that America is great because America is good and that if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease being great. America is no longer “good” when her citizenry fails to hold to account their representatives who go so far contrary to God’s will as to make law that approves that which He calls “abominable sin.”
The Antichrist spirit is alive and thriving today in the sin-darkened high places of America and other nations. Humanistic government will bring mankind to Armageddon. Jesus Christ is the only “good” there is. The King of kings and Lord of lords—who sits in the highest of places—will save man from extinction (Matt. 24: 21-22).
Recent facts about drought in America’s western regions hit the discerning observer of the signs of the times between the eyes. Sin is the deadly bane of mankind, and the Creator of all things will not allow any generation to move into an era of His judgment and wrath without considerable warning.
Pointing out this truth is more often than not unpopular. Doing so is often more excoriated by those within the Body of Christ (the Church) than by the secular world. But, when God’s warnings are so direct and dramatic, to do less than attempt to point them out would be more than dereliction of duty. Pointing out such things is what we who “watch” for Christ’s Return are commissioned to do, along with breaking the Bread of Life (God’s Word)–and that gets to the point of a couple of news stories from a number of years ago at which we will briefly look.
Sin is at the heart of man’s thirst, the Bible tells us. There is drought where the water of life that comes only from God is disregarded–that is, refused. Certainly that water of life is wrapped up in God’s prescription for living here on this fallen planet. We can get perspective on this matter in the following excerpt of a story from a number of years ago about California lawmakers dealing with homosexual issues. Particularly, the “gay marriage” issue hits home in this regard:
I am convinced that the ramifications from decisions made in that time-frame are inflicting trouble on this generation today.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – California’s Supreme Court gave the final green light on Wednesday for gay marriages to begin later this month, turning down requests for a delay. The most populous U.S. state’s highest court ruled last month that refusing homosexuals the right to wed violated the state constitution…The court voted 4-3 to deny the petition to stay the decision. The same judges voted the same way on May 15 in the landmark decision, hailed by gay activists and condemned by social conservatives. The court’s original ruling becomes final at 5 p.m. on June 16, opening the way for gay marriages to start the next day (“California court says gay marriages can proceed,” Adam Tanner, Reuters, June 4, 2008).
Following hard on the heels of the decision at that time, in effect, to validate gay marriage as a norm for California, came the announcement by the Terminator. Well, not God, who will indeed terminate all sin with judgment and wrath at a point perhaps not too distant, but by the California governor at that time, Arnold Schwarzenegger:
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – After two years of below-average rainfall in California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a statewide drought on Wednesday…
“For the areas in Northern California that supply most of our water, this March, April and May have been the driest ever in our recorded history,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement…” (“California governor declares state in drought,” June 4, 2008, Jim Christie).
The connection between the decision to defy God’s design of one man and one woman in marriage for life and the governor’s declaration that what followed was the worst drought in the state’s history is at the very least fascinating to consider. I will be so bold as to postulate that it is not coincidence at all.
While California continues to thirst (despite recent torrential rains that are but a drop in the bucket of what is needed to refill aquifers), hunger grows on a worldwide scale, bringing about stated concerns from the very body that many who study Bible prophecy believe is the organization that harbors the greatest rebellion against the Almighty. The U.N. will likely be a part of establishing Antichrist’s power base during the most horrific time of famine in the history of man.
The following story from that same time-frame makes the point.
ROME – World powers must act quickly and boldly to control soaring food prices that threaten nearly 1 billion people with hunger and could trigger global social unrest, the United Nations said yesterday… “Nothing is more degrading than hunger, especially when man-made,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told more than 40 world leaders gathered here (“UN warns of food shortage and unrest, Urges world leaders to work to control prices,” Los Angeles Times, June 4, 2008).
There is increasing rebellion to God’s designed way for man to comport himself upon this planet. People more and more are directed to worship the creation more than the Creator, such as is involved within all of this “green” nonsense. Mankind majors on the minor do-good things, and gives little attention to the truly major issues in God’s omniscient view–like living within His marriage guidelines. The result is God’s warnings that will be increasingly commensurate with the seriousness of the transgressions, and lateness of the prophetic hour.
An instant cure is at hand for the thirst and hunger that plague this generation. It is a cure of a spiritual nature. Jesus Christ is the Word, and the Word of God is the Bread of Life. Water that assures eternal life is available, the Bible promises. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17).