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.