So I originally posted this back in 2015, but when I came to look for it for tonight’s episode of Two Wise Guys (*SPOILER ALERT*) I found the original post was missing. Well, the page was there but the content was all gone. Strange as this is, I figured it was entirely possible that I had messed something up back then so I figured let’s go ahead and repost (thank God for backup copies) and revise it for two years later! With that said, here are 10 reasons Christians believe the End is nigh…
Originally posted 4 August 2015
Do you ever wonder why Christians keep talking about how we are living in the last days? Well, the obvious answer is that many believe we are living in the last days. But more directly, it is a matter of prophecy. In this post we will consider what I see as the top 10 reasons lending themselves to this commonly held belief.
10. The Rise in Global Persecution of Christians
Since the birth of Christianity we have been persecuted. The Church experienced a drop in persecution following the legalization of the faith in the final days of the Roman Emperor Constantine, but through the centuries we have still seen persecution. Secular/humanist revolutions usually react violently to Christianity and our moral code (i.e. the Bible); examples would include the French Revolution, the Soviet October Revolution, the Nazi (socialist) takeover of Germany, the Communist revolutions in China, Cuba, and many others. Religious revolutions have also spurred persecution of Christians throughout history. The histories of Africa, the Middle East, India, China, Japan have been littered with religious and philosophical revolutions that have seen their fields watered with the blood of Christian martyrs. Even in America, violence against Christians happens, even when no one talks about it; but what may be more ignored is the blatant verbal and ideological persecution as well as the countless so-called “micro-aggressions” that Christians are having to endure. That being said, there are several ministries with the goal of bringing attention to the plight of our brothers and sisters such as Voice of the Martyrs, Open Doors, and the American Center for Law & Justice.
9. The Push for Global Government
Just so you know: for Christians, a global government is a big freaking deal. Even to many freedom-loving non-believers it’s a big deal, but for Christians in particular the prospect of a global government sets the stage for the long anticipated Antichrist (he’s a really, really, really bad guy). I’ll touch on this more at a later time.
You’ve heard the conspiracy theories: the UN is being set up as a global government; the European Union will merge with other regional bodies to form a global government. The dollar will give way to a global currency, and the list goes on. Whether you believe these things or not, no one has all the answers but one thing is clear: there is a concerted push for a global government. The rise of globalism in the late 19th and 20th centuries has made it nearly unavoidable. World leaders have called for it (see “SEE ALSO” below); notably former president George H.W. Bush mentioned the rise of a “new world order” in a 1991 speech before Congress:
Ramesh Thakur of the UN has spoken about the need for a more flexible “multilateral” (i.e. UN controlled) global governance, and even the Pope has called for a global government. John Paul II did so in 2004, and Francis has done so on at least two occasions in his 2015 encyclical as well as in Ecuador during his South American pilgrimage. The Book of Revelation as well as the Old Testament Prophets are quite clear: when there is a global government of both strong and weak nations, the Antichrist will soon arrive (Daniel 2:41, Revelation 13).
8. The Downfall of Morality
I know, I know… morality is all relative, right? Well, I guess we’ll just have to fundamentally disagree on that point.
Religious people in general, but Christian’s in particular (if they are truly following Jesus) understand that there is a clear right and wrong on the vast majority of issues. It may not be easy to see at times, but the truth is still present. That being said, the Bible speaks of moral decay in the end times at a level unseen since the days of Noah (you know, when the world was so depraved that God flooded the earth to stop people from raping/murdering/etc). We today may not think it’s all that bad because we are living in the middle of it. There has been a campaign to redefine normal for years now that has been so effective that things which would have been the cause of outrage 50-100 years ago are now celebrated as victories in the cause for freedom and equality.
It should also be noted, in passing, that freedom and equality (along with order) are totally opposed to each other by their very natures. The unbridled freedom of one may impose upon the freedom of another to live or think as they see fit, and it goes both ways, which is where order comes in. This point is neither here nor there in regards to this topic, though it will likely be talked about at a later time.
7. The Advent of Modern Technological Advancement
The Book of Daniel includes an interesting passage in chapter 12:
“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 (ESV)
During a vision the prophet Daniel is instructed to seal the book he is writing until the time of the end. What this means is that the prophecy was given through Daniel, but it was not given for Daniel, but rather for those who are living in the end of the age. From Daniel’s time through the end of the 1800’s (even into the 1900’s) people did not travel very often. They might go to a local market once or twice a week but it just wasn’t practical. Until the advent of the locomotive, and later the automobile, the most efficient way of travelling was by horse. That literally means that transportation had stayed roughly the same for over 3000 years of human history. Now think about how often you and I “run to the store” that might be 5 or 10 miles away to get an ingredient for dinner. How long does that take you? 10-15 minutes each way if you hit traffic? Try it on foot and see how long it takes. Walking at a steady pace on developed land (i.e. not mountain trails) I walk 1 mile in roughly 12-15 minutes. That’s roughly 1 hour -2.5 hours each way by food, not to mention having to carry whatever is purchased.
The point here is that until rapid transit systems like planes, trains, and automobiles (a great movie by the way), people worked and shopped locally. They wouldn’t travel a lot because it was difficult and dangerous. Christopher Columbus’ first voyage from Spain to the Caribbean took 2 months on the most advanced technology of that day. Today, you or I could make the same journey on a jet in a matter of hours for a fraction of the cost.
The Book of Revelation also speaks of an event in the last years of the Great Tribulation when two witnesses, who have been called by God to preach the truth in the midst of the Antichrist’s rule, will be killed. The Scriptures tell that when they die, their bodies will be in the streets for three days and that the whole world will see it and rejoice that they have been silenced. Now, invariably this is where some will argue that the whole world doesn’t actually mean the whole world. Maybe it means the people of the surrounding lands? Well in any event, having people from all around the Middle East seeing the same event at once would have been unheard of before the advent of television or the internet. But now we live in an age of interconnected globalized communication. Most people I talk to don’t watch or read the news for one reason or another, but nearly every single one of them are on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, Google+, or any number of other sites where friends and family members are sharing news pieces that are trending at that point in time. For the first time in history, we are truly living in a time when we can get a tweet from the Antichrist with a picture of the bodies of God’s prophets who have been disturbing the peace for far too long.
[UPDATE]: This article was originally posted before the release of tools like Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and Parascope (now owned by Twitter). These live stream services allow individuals to stream video feeds from their phone’s camera to the Internet in real time for anyone to see.
6. The Increase of Knowledge
The second part of Daniel’s prophecy is that knowledge shall increase. Some say this is educational/technical knowledge while others say this is spiritual knowledge. My answer: Sure, why not? We, as a people, have access to more information than any generation in the history of the world. Sure, we may not have all of the knowledge on an individual basis, but overall we can figure a lot of stuff out via YouTube tutorials and How To blogs. We pick up hobbies and learn new skills because we can, whereas in the past trades and skills would be passed down generationally and through apprenticeships. People didn’t change careers very much (if ever). And beyond the physical is the increase of spiritual knowledge.
God has been pouring out his grace and allowing His people to understand prophetic Scriptures and events in a way that has long been absent from the Church. Revelations of the Harbingers and the Shemitah, the Mazzaroth, and other signs from God are being understood like no time in recent Church history. While there are a lot of advocates for moral relativism and spiritual universalism, many people today are really seeking spiritual truth. They don’t just want some method for living a good life, they don’t want prosperity theology, they don’t want to go to church for good coffee, a cool band, or a pastor whose message makes them feel good. They want to know if God’s real. They want to know if His Word is true. They want to actually hear from Him and to have a dynamic spiritual connection with Him. And the more they seek, the more they find.
5. Wars and Rumors of Wars
Jesus told us in Matthew 24 that the end of the age would bring “wars and rumors of wars.” There have always been wars in varying places and at varying times, but we are living in a unique times when we are more aware than ever of global events than ever before. I mean, naming a few conflicts just off the top of my head:
- The Syrian Civil War
- The Ukraine Crisis
- Rising tensions between Russia and NATO
- Russian incursions into US airspace on July 4, 2015
- The Islamic State vs the World
- Israel vs Hamas (Gaza)
- Israel vs Hezbollah (Lebanon)
- Potential Saudi Arabian/Iranian Nuclear Arms race
- Boko Haram vs Nigeria
- Al Shebaab vs the African Union
- Turkey vs PKK (Kurds) vs IS in Syria
And the list goes on. There is even a real, and as I could see it, a legitimate concern that continuing divisions within the United States (if unchecked) could lead to a second Civil War. There may have been wars and rumors of wars throughout history, but facts are facts. Not only have the number of wars increased, but the human cost of war has increased as well. Estimates put the number of deaths as a result of armed conflict and oppression at 203,000,000 in the 20th Century. Compare that to the estimated 63,000,000 during the 18th and 19th centuries combined; and the 21st century is starting out along a more violent path than the last 100 years.
4. Earthquakes and Other Natural Disasters
There is almost too much on this to really go in depth. Below are links to photos and articles that were published a few months back from a variety of news sources.
You may recall back in April when a magnitude 7.9 earthquake destroyed large portions of Nepal. For perspective, the earthquake which triggered the tsunami that caused Japan’s Fukashima nuclear reactor to meltdown in 2011 was a 9.0. Severe earthquakes that impact human existence seem to be growing in frequency so much to the point that there is now an alarm being sounded by geologists in the Pacific Northwest of an overdue “big one” to strike off the coast of Washington/Oregon/Northern California.
Strange Geological Occurrences
3. Animal Die Offs and Other Unexplained Natural Happenings
If the natural disasters weren’t enough, there have been many unexplained animal die offs of birds, fish, animals which many of us believe is a sign of coming judgment as was the case in Hosea 4:3. Below is a video by YouTube user and fellow end times watchman JasonA. He puts these videos out nearly every week with news articles and videos of events that have happened in the past week or so. Not years, not months, but weeks. Below is a video from May, 2015.
2. Israel Restored
“Before she was in labor she gave birth; before her pain came upon her she delivered a son. Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment? For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her children.” – Isaiah 66:7-8
These two verses from Isaiah may not seem particularly important at first glance, but it prophesies the miracle of the restoration of Israel. From times past, nations were born through war and conflict, or they were formed through political or marital union. The Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman, French, British, Soviet, and American Empires all rose and fell through conflict. Our own (American) revolution lasted 8 years before our nation was born. The destabilized Roman Empire, in conflict with the Germanic barbarians, was united under Charlemagne in a union of the church and state to form the Holy Roman Empire after he’d become the king of the Franks and the king of Italy. In the Far East Japan, China, Manchuria (Korea), and Mongolia, were all governed by warlords who conquered and subjugated their lands through war. The same trend is seen in the pre-colonial West. Native American tribes in and the empires of South and Central America were notorious for their brutality in forging their kingdoms.
All that to say, if you look through history, there are no examples (at least none that come to mind), of nations being born in a single day or moment until May 14, 1948 when Israel was restored and the Jewish people once again had a homeland. So why is this a big deal to Christians? Well, for one thing, Israel in general and Jerusalem in particular are a major component to Christian eschatology (study of the end times). I could go into this further but it’s a lot and I’ll cover it in another post.
Secondly, Jesus told us to watch for these things. When asked by the disciples about what to watch for at the end of the age, Jesus responded:
“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branches become tender and puts out leaves, know that the summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” – Mark 13:28-31
For centuries people were convinced by replacement theology that the Church was the “new Israel”. The idea that we had replaced Israel in God’s covenant spread like fire across Europe, Asia, and Africa. Even today, I speak to some Christians who hold to this belief, but Scripture is clear that we are grafted into, adopted in, to the family of God. Nowhere in the Bible does it suggest that Israel was discarded by God. No better passage for understanding this can be found than Romans 11:
“Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob’; ‘And this will be my covenant with them when I will take away their sins.’” – Romans 11:25-27
So, to summarize, we believe we are living in the end of the age because my Grandparent’s generation saw Israel reborn. My parents saw Israel reclaim Jerusalem in the Six Days War. And no you and I are living in a day when plans are being finalized for the building of the Third Temple in Jerusalem. The generations who have seen the fig tree (the nation of Israel) come back to life have not yet passed away.
1. The Convergence of Prophecies
Many prophecy scholars would have topped the list with Israel being restored, but many more agree: the number one sign that we are living in the end of the age is this, so-called, convergence of end times prophecy. What does that mean? It means that it’s not just Israel being restored, it’s not just an increase in natural disasters, it’s not just animal die offs, or the increase in knowledge or travel, it’s not just the loss of morality, or the rise in persecutions. It’s not just the wars or the rumors of wars, it’s not just the push for global governance; it’s all of these things (and more) all converging at this time in history.
People who lived during the Great War (World War I) thought it was the end times. People during World War II thought it was the end times. During the Plague, the Napoleonic Empire, the Reign of Nero and Domitian, all thought it was the end times. And I guess in some ways they were right. Each generation has been closer to the end of the age than the last, and each has seen events that have shaped the world as God said it would in preparation for those latter days. But when World War I ravaged Europe, there was no Israel. No one could see the Two Witnesses dead in the streets of Jerusalem at the same time. When the world was on the brink of nuclear war in 1962, Christian’s were not being persecuted en masse as they are today. So many factors come in to play, many of which were not mentioned here, before the Tribulation begins and Jesus returns, and we are living in days when we are seeing them together as a whole.