Signs of the End

The final seven years before the end of the world are known as Daniel’s 70th week (Dan. 9:24), also called the Tribulation, after which Jesus Christ will return to the Earth (Matt. 24:29, 30). When asked about the signs of His return and the end of the world (Matt. 24:3), He mentioned deception (Matt. 24:5), warfare (Matt. 24:6), famines, plagues and earthquakes (Matt. 24:7). “Earthquakes” was translated from “seismos,” the Greek word for a commotion of the ground and air both. Tornados and hurricanes will accompany the earthquakes, and Jesus mentioned “the sea and the waves roaring” (Luke 21:25) as well. The book of Revelation describes the severity of these signs during the Tribulation, so what’s occurring now is just a taste of what’s to come. As for the Gospel message being preached “in all the world for a witness unto all nations” (Matt. 24:14), already happening with radio and television, its ultimate fulfillment will likewise be during the Tribulation (Rev. 14:6). But keep reading and you’ll learn of other signs Jesus didn’t mention.

Those who’ve heard but not accepted the Gospel message before the Tribulation will not be saved (II Thes. 2: 10-12), and it’s debated whether or not those saved prior to the Tribulation will remain on Earth. It depends on the timing of the rapture, in which Christians will instantly become immortal beings in Heaven (I Cor. 15: 51-54; I Thes. 4: 16, 17). (“Rapture” isn’t a word in the Bible but comes from “rapio,” a Latin word that means to seize or carry away.) If Christians remain for the Tribulation, they’ll be spared God’s judgments as His people were spared the judgments on Egypt (see the book of Exodus). Either way, nothing changes and the world will still be controlled by the Antichrist, a title taken from the words of the apostle John (I John 2: 18; 4:3). He’s also called Little Horn (Dan. 7:8), the Man of Sin and Son of Perdition (II Thes. 2:3), That Wicked (II Thes. 2:8), and the Beast (Dan. 7:11; Rev. 13: 1-4). He will have power over “all kindreds, and tongues, and nations” (Rev. 13:7). It used to be impossible for one man to rule the entire world. The greatest empires of the past didn’t have near that much power, and even the land they did control was often difficult to govern due to limited communication with distant regions. It’s why ancient Rome was divided into east and west sections in A.D. 285, each to be ruled by a different emperor. It wouldn’t have happened had the Romans had today’s technology. No longer do messages have to be carried by foot, horseback or boat. Messages today can be carried by satellite, and the Antichrist will be able to have his orders immediately carried out anywhere in the world by simply making a phone call.

We now have a world government called the United Nations. While the U.N. may not seem that powerful now, it’s just a matter of time. Before the United Nations, the League of Nations had been formed to keep peace after the First World War. It fell apart at the start of the Second World War, but that didn’t kill the vision for world government. World War II resulted in the United Nations being formed to maintain world peace and security. In the unlikely event that it falls apart too, another global organization will soon take its place. With international laws and a World Court, global government is here to stay. Eventually this government will offer protection for Israel, the only Jewish nation in a predominately Muslim Middle East. And it’s in their capital city of Jerusalem, which the Palestinians also claim as their own, where they will be attacked when the promise of peace is broken. More on that later.

Before saying anything more about Daniel’s 70th week, I’ll brief you on how the first 69 weeks have already come and gone. The 70 weeks spoken of in Daniel 9:24 are 70 sets of seven years. (” Week” is translated from a Hebrew word that means “seven.”) Daniel 9: 25-27 say the first 69 weeks (483 years) are to start with the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, and end when Messiah (Christ) is cut off (executed). They began in approximately 445 B.C. with the decree of Artaxerxes (Neh. 2: 1-8) and ended in approximately A.D. 33 with Christ’s crucifixion. The Hebrew calendar in Daniel’s time had 360 days, with an occasional 13th month being added to keep it in line with the solar year. This extra month was ignored when giving a prophecy, so the end of the first 69 weeks agrees with the date of the Crucifixion. The 70th week, or final seven years, will begin when the Antichrist confirms a covenant that allows the Jews to make sacrifices and offerings in their temple in Jerusalem (Dan. 9: 27). Because the Romans demolished that temple in A.D. 70, and the Jews are ready to rebuild it on the Temple Mount where Muslims now have a mosque, this covenant will have to be a peace treaty between Jews and Muslims.

Daniel 9:27 says the Antichrist will break his covenant three-and-a-half years after it begins and commit the Abomination of Desolation. Although the last seven years are often referred to as the Tribulation, the last three-and-a-half years are specifically called the “Great Tribulation” (Matt. 24:15, 21; Rev. 7:14). During that time the Antichrist will sit in the Jewish temple and claim to be God (II Thes. 2:3,4). There will be “given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power [will be] given unto him to continue forty and two months” (Rev. 13:5). He’s going to be doing this in the city that has the whole world’s attention. Jews want their temple rebuilt where it was before, and Muslims insist on keeping their mosque there, so world leaders have proposed that they share the Temple Mount. The vision is that Jews and Muslims will live side by side in harmony. This is an international goal, and when the Antichrist negotiates the ultimate peace deal between them, you better believe he’ll receive international praise for it.

Except for those whose names are written in the book of life, “all that dwell upon the Earth shall worship [the Antichrist]” (Rev. 13:8). With the growing popularity of interfaith prayer services, we’re seeing the formation of this all-inclusive world religion that will swear its allegiance to the Antichrist as its god. If you’re wondering how atheists will fit into this, you should know that the interfaith religion of Unitarian Universalism places more meaning in this life than an afterlife and some of its members are atheists as well as people of various faiths. Regardless of how the Antichrist labels his religion, he’ll claim anyone who favors one religion over another opposes world peace. He will be a great leader for the U.N., an organization that claims all religions are equal. The mindset is fighting will end if members of all religions agree that they have different ways of worshipping the same God. This “need” to unify the world’s religions couldn’t have been understood in biblical times, nor could it have been understood how a covenant involving Jewish sacrifice would have global significance. Centuries before the birth of Islam and the construction of a mosque on the Temple Mount, there was no reason for the world to focus on Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is sacred to the world religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, making it the ideal place for the Antichrist to go to be worshipped. Worshipping him will be mandated by a world religious leader called the False Prophet (Rev. 13:12-15). Revelation 17 gives us a clue as to who he will be. It personifies a city as a woman (v. 18) who is Mystery Babylon, mother of harlots and abominations of the Earth. (v. 5). She is “arrayed in purple and scarlet” (v. 4), the same colors worn by Catholic bishops and cardinals. (The Greek word translated “scarlet” [red-orange] could have also been translated “crimson” [deep red].) This city sits on seven mountains (v. 9) and is Rome, called the city of seven hills for which it was built on. Within Rome lies Vatican City, the spiritual and governmental center of the Roman Catholic Church. Its leader is the pope, and the last pope will obviously be the False Prophet.

There is salvation in Jesus Christ alone (Acts 4:10-12), yet popes have implied other paths will do. Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis have all held interfaith prayer services, and they and Pope Paul VI have all addressed the U.N., preparing the way for a union of world government and world religions. And Pope Francis made history in June 2014 when getting the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian territories to join him for a prayer summit in Rome where they expressed their desire to coexist peacefully. It can’t be long until the Antichrist is able to get Israelis and Palestinians to share the Temple Mount. In fact, during negotiations between Israel’s Ehud Barak and Palestine’s Yasser Arafat at Camp David in 2000, Barak proposed the U.N. administer this sharing arrangement. When this happens, Jews will again sacrifice there, as the prophet Daniel foretold (Dan. 9:27). Whoever oversees this will be the Antichrist, a man with the authority over all nations (Rev. 13:7). Who better to be the Antichrist than the head of the U.N.? Everything is falling into place for the fulfillment of events foretold thousands of years ago. Before the existence of the United Nations or Roman Catholicism, Revelation foretold a satanic alliance between a political leader and a religious leader. We can now be almost certain what organization each will be the leader of.

The False Prophet will want everyone to show their loyalty to the Antichrist by receiving the Mark of the Beast (Rev. 13:16-18) in their right hand or forehead (v. 16), which a person can’t buy or sell without (v. 17). Its number is 666 (v. 18), and whatever its meaning, what’s certain is a number will be needed to buy and sell. Decades ago credit cards were a new way to buy things with a number. Now people have been injected with microchips to have that part of the body scanned for reasons that include financial transactions. Eventually only hands and foreheads will be chipped to replace the chipped credit cards and smartphones that are scanned for purchases. And since this economic system will be worldwide, all nations will use the same currency. The first step in that direction was when several European countries adopted the same currency (euro) on January 1, 1999, but that’s old news. Presently there are international currencies such as bitcoin that are entirely electronic and being accepted by a growing number of legitimate businesses. Once cash is completely replaced with an electronic currency, as it soon will be, everyone will need a number to buy and sell.

Probably the greatest sign of the end was the rebirth of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948. 2,500 years earlier the prophet Ezekiel foretold the Israelis being gathered from among the nations and returning to their land (Ezk. 37:21). In 722 B.C. the Assyrian Empire took the ten northern tribes of Israel into exile, and few returned. Israel later went through a series of conquerors, with the last one being the Roman Empire in 63 B.C. After the remaining Jews twice revolted (A.D. 66-70 and 132-135), the Romans forced most of them to leave and renamed their land Palestine, which was conquered by Muslim Arabs in 634. In the late 1800s European Jews formed a movement called Zionism and tried creating a Jewish state there, causing a lot of hostility between them and Arabs. So, in 1947, the U.N. suggested dividing the land into an Arab state and a Jewish state. The geographic nation of Israel was reborn the following year. Since then, millions of Jews have returned. Ezekiel 37 is currently in the process of being fulfilled.

It has been argued that few citizens of modern Israel are full-blooded Jews, but they are an ethnic group, meaning they don’t all have to be of the same race to identify as a people. Hispanics are another ethnic group commonly thought to all be genetically similar. Most are, but Spanish-speaking descent is what makes them Hispanic. Someone of any ancestry could be Hispanic or Jewish because ethnicity is based on national origin, language and/or religion. Jewish law considers a Jew to be anyone born to a Jewish mother, or anyone who has converted to Judaism. Even King David wasn’t a full-blooded Jew. He was the great-grandson of Ruth, a Moabitess (Ruth 4:9-22). Furthermore, foreigners who settled in Israel were counted as Jews and given an inheritance in the land (Ezk. 47:21-23). Modern Israel has a real Jewish population, and the world as we know it will end with a war against them.

The very last battle before the second coming of Christ will be the Battle of Armageddon (Rev. 16: 12-16). Before it begins, the Euphrates River will be dried up to prepare the way for the armies of the Antichrist to travel there (v. 12). Impossible before the 20th century, this can now be done with a modern dam. It has happened before, and it will happen again. When the time comes for the battle, stopping the flow of the Euphrates will be no problem. The nations that cross over it will be doing battle against Jerusalem (Zech. 14: 2), but Jesus Christ will return and fight against them (Zech. 14: 3). Jews today believe this is speaking of the first and only coming of their Messiah (whom they don’t believe is Jesus), but when this day comes they will know it’s the second time their Messiah has come to the Earth. At this time the Antichrist and the False Prophet will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19: 20), and Satan will be bound for 1,000 years (Rev. 20: 1-3) while the righteous will reign with Christ on Earth (Rev. 20: 4). After the 1,000 years have ended, Satan will be released and provoke another army, also referred to as Gog and Magog, to attack those who have remained faithful to God (Rev. 20: 7-9). Satan will then be cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20: 10), as well as every unrighteous person who has ever lived (Rev. 20: 11-15). But all of the righteous will spend eternity with God in paradise (John 3: 16; Rom. 6: 23).

There’s much more to biblical prophecy than what you’ve read here. This is just an abridgement of the subject with the purpose of showing you how world events relate to it. You may have heard that these prophecies are no more significant than the ones made by the French astrologer Nostradamus (1503-1566). To set the record straight, this man’s prophecies are vague and ambiguous. There’s nothing vague or ambiguous about the Bible’s prediction that every nation on Earth will one day be under the authority of a single government that sanctions a unified religion and a global economic system. Nor is there anything vague or ambiguous about Jews from around the world returning to their land and getting permission from this government to resume making sacrifices on the Temple Mount. Keep in mind that nothing has to happen before the signing of the covenant that starts the final seven years. The world is ready and waiting for someone to negotiate a final covenant of peace between Jews and Muslims.

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