*Before I begin, if you are a regular reader of our blog allow me to tell you that this article is off-topic from the regular content, Disability Ministry, that you’ve come to expect. That being said, I believe this may be one of the most important things you will read in the coming days. It […]
*Before I begin, if you are a regular reader of our blog allow me to tell you that this article is off-topic from the regular content, Disability Ministry, that you’ve come to expect. That being said, I believe this may be one of the most important things you will read in the coming days. It is my prayer that it will open your eyes and mind to things that may have been hidden from you. It is also my prayer that it will motivate you to share the Gospel all the more boldly with your community and world.
“I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes, I saw the sign…”
“The Sign” song by Ace of Base, the Swedish pop group, dominated the airwaves back in 1993. I was never a fan of the catchy song and I tried to escape it each time it came on the radio. But no matter how quickly I turned to a different station that jingle was stuck in my head. It was inescapable.
Just as that song about signs was unavoidable back in the 1990s so too are there unavoidable signs that we are seeing present day. What type of signs am I talking about? Signs of the times. Specifically, signs that reveal we are on the verge of the end of times. I get it. At least half of you reading this will tap out now and mock me as some kind of lunatic. That is fine. The Bible predicted that it would happen in 2 Peter 3:3-4.
“Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”
People mock the warning signs of the end of the age because in the past it has not come to pass. This can be seen in recent end times prediction fails like the Y2K countdown on December 31st, 1999. As the clock ticked down to New Year's Day 2000 the world did not crash and burn. Another recent fail was the Mayan calendar count down. Dec. 21, 2012.
The truth is that the time and hour are unknown. Matthew 24:36 makes this clear.
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
So if not even Jesus knows when the end is, why should we care?!?! Because it is a matter of obedience. God tells us to keep watch in Matthew 24:42-44.
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
If we are obedient and we keep watch we will be kept safe and ready. No, we will never know the exact hour but we can be certain that we approaching the end because the signs are undeniable. Let me give you a cliff notes version of the signs. This is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list of signs.
Let’s start in Matthew 24:6-8.
“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.”
The war between Russia and Ukraine is something that has flooded every sector of life and media worldwide. Ukrainian President Zelensky warns daily about the potential for World War 3. Rumors of war between China and Taiwan are also floated in the media daily. Like almost no other time in history, the world stands on the edge of war and conflict as predicted in Mattew 24.
Preparations for a global war have been anticipated throughout scripture (Joel 3:9-14; Matthew 24:22; Revelation 16:14) and never in history have so many nations stockpiled weapons of mass destruction.
In the future, violence and war on a global scale will cause people to cry out for peace and safety as seen in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3.
“Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”
The ripple effects of war cause food shortages and eventual famine-type conditions. Already nearly 1 billion people in the world are facing insufficient food supplies. Famines and food insufficiency can be tracked worldwide and in real-time online at the WFP (World Food Programme).
Another connection with biblical end-times significance that is the result of the war between Russia and Ukraine is a worldwide wheat shortage. The rise in wheat prices and the shortages in the supply chain have been documented in the New York Times. This is a direct result of Russia and Ukraine both being top ten wheat producers.
This is predicted in Revelation 6:6 and connected with the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
“Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”
Shortly, with the dramatic rise in food prices and the shortage of wheat specifically, this sign of the times will be realized.
Earthquakes seem to be more and more common in our daily news feed as predicted in the Bible. Earthquakes can now be tracked and measured easily online. Future earthquakes are also being predicted all over the world including in the United States.
Luke 21:11 gives a similar list as the above passage from Matthew 24 but adds a sign, pestilence.
“There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.”
What are pestilences? By definition, they are a “deadly epidemic disease.” Pestilences in the past have also been referred to as plagues. This brings us undoubtedly to the hot topic of our day, COVID. Regardless of where you stand and how COVID has been politicized, it has been a tragic epidemic that has plagued the entire world. To date, over six million have died. COVID and all its variants easily classify as pestilences of biblical proportions that our world has not seen in generations.
It is also important to pay close attention to the language used by world leaders concerning the signs that have been predicted in the Bible. For example, Doctor Mike Ryan, Head of WHO (World Health Organization) Emergencies Programme recently spoke on the conditions in Ukraine creating the potential for an outbreak that could become a “horseman of the apocalypse.” These references are not by mistake.
Famines and plagues (pestilences) are also mentioned in Revelation 6:8 as one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
“I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine, and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.”
While we have begun to see the devastating effects of famines and plagues we have yet to reach the level of destruction mentioned in Revelation 6:8. These days will come and we must continue to be watchful.
Beyond the calamities, other signs point to the fact that we are approaching the end of times.
Many Will Fall Away
In the end, many will fall away from their faith. This will include many in leadership in churches. This was foretold in Matthew 24:10-12.
“And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.”
This falling away is happening rapidly yet for many it has gone unseen. It has happened in the form of watered-down preaching and teaching. The majority of Christian leaders have allowed the world to transform the church rather than the other way around.
The Barna Research Group has documented this in a 2022 study. The study found that only 37% of all Christian leaders in churches operate from a biblical worldview. 41% of Senior leaders operate with a biblical worldview while only 28% of Associate Pastors and 13% of Teaching Pastors do.
Many in positions of Christian leadership likely do not realize that they have fallen away from the faith and led their congregations astray. This is confirmed in 2 Corinthians 10:13 as the plan of the devil.
“But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent.”
For leaders will hear the most dreaded words in all of scripture on judgment day from Jesus.
“Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:23)
The prophet Daniel is told to seal the scrolls until the end of times when knowledge will increase. This can be found in Daniel 12:4.
“But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.”
Never before in history has knowledge been increasing at such a rapid pace. David Schilling wrote an article about this stating that the knowledge base in our world today doubles every 12 hours with the help of the internet. To put it into context, in 1900 the human knowledge base doubled approximately every 100 years. By the end of 1945, the rate was every 25 years.
Why is the increase in knowledge significant to the signs of the times?
Without the increase in knowledge, the future events that will usher in the end of times including the ability to share the Good News with all the nations would not be possible.
The Bible tells us that the end can not come until the Good News is preached to all nations in Matt 24:14.
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
While the increase of knowledge is being sped along by the advancement of technology and the internet there are still pockets of the world that have yet to hear the Good News of Jesus. The Joshua Project estimates that there are currently 7,400 unreached people groups left in the world today. Until all are people groups are reached the beautiful fulfillment of what we read in Revelation 7:9 will not be possible.
“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.”
What Happens Next?
Now ask yourself what are the natural results of global wars, world food shortages, calamities in nature, and global pandemics? An easy answer would be chaos. And when the world feels out of control there becomes a need for stability. More than a need, but rather what will be communicated as a necessary seismic shift in how the world must operate moving forward if we are to survive.
This brings us to more signs that have yet to come but have been openly discussed and are forthcoming.
New World Order
With the world in crisis, there have already been calls for a “New World Order” to emerge and lead us out of chaos. President Joe Biden recently used these words exactly in a March 2022 press conference while discussing the war in Ukraine and the global economy.
The European Union which currently consists of 27 countries has been unified by the recent war in Ukraine. Other nations will no doubt join in this New World Order which will open the doors to a global government that will rule over the world’s population. This is referenced in Revelation 17:12-13 as something that has yet to come.
“The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast.”
The ten kings represent leaders from countries making up the leadership of the “New World Order.”
A “New World Order” or a global government will need to be supported by a global economy. It is hard not to see how this is connected to the rise of digital currency in our world today. Never before have conditions lined up to justify or demand a change to a global economy driven by a digital currency.
The trends toward a cashless society have been in motion for some time. The advent of bitcoin, NFTs (Non-fungible tokens), and other forms of digital currency are propelling us there now. World governments are scrambling to try to gain control of these currencies. This was clear in the United States in February of 2022, when President Joe Biden took a big step closer to having the United States government backing and controlling digital currency. As major players like the United States, China, etc. take control of digital currency it will set up the global economy which will be run by a one-world government.
So where does that lead us concerning Bible prophecy and signs of the times? Revelation 13:17 clearly states that in the future people will not be able to buy or sell without the mark or the name of the beast.
Many believe that this will be tied to the future one-world government and digital currency.
Mark of the Beast
What exactly is the mark of the beast? Let's turn our attention to Revelation 13:16-17.
“It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.”
While we do not know exactly what the mark of the beast will be we do know where it will be located on people. The Bible tells us above that it will be either on the right hand or forehead. This will be perfect for scanning information including making payments.
Have we seen a connection in technology today that would make this possible? Yes! It has already been implemented. In 2021 a Polish-British start-up company developed a microchip that can be inserted under the skin and be used for contactless financial transactions.
The technology is already in place and has been tested. The signs could not be more clear. But what will happen before this is fully implemented?
Before the mark of the beast can be implemented the Antichrist must both be revealed and installed into power. This has yet to take place and will not happen until several other things have transpired including the installment of a one-world government. What is important to note is the fact that all the necessary things are falling into place and the time is drawing near if you are watchful and pay attention to the signs.
What we do not have time to do in this article is to lay out all the differing views of eschatology, or the study of end times. Even among believers, there are four differing views of the timeline of the end times events. If you want to study those four different views (Amillennialism, Postmillennialism, Historic premillennialism, Dispensationalism) you can. The intent of this article is not to settle that argument or to lay out a complete timeline of end-times events.
Now moving along to yet another irrefutable sign of the times.
Persecution of Christians
In the Bible, suffering and opposition are a normal part of the normal Christian life. 2 Timothy 3:12 makes this clear.
“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,”
The closer to the end the greater the persecution of Christ-followers will become. Outside of the United States, this is already taking place. More than 340 million Christians – one in eight – face high levels of persecution and discrimination because of their faith, according to the 2021 World Watch List compiled by the Christian advocacy group Open Doors. And there was a 60% increase over the previous year in the number of Christians killed for their faith.
Well if you’ve read this far I trust that you will read a bit further. Things are about to get “out of this world.” Allow me to share with you one last sign that we are undoubtedly entering the end times.
The United States government had been working hard to refute the idea of UFOs and aliens since the infamous Roswell crash in 1947. And after 74 years the government finally made a major disclosure about the reality of UFOs or UAPs (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) as they are now being classified on June 25th, 2021. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence published a short unclassified document titled “Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.” In this document, the government released information on 144 recent UAP sightings that have been reported. Yes, UFOs are real! While this government document stops short of saying that these UAPs are maned by aliens it also does not deny the possibility.
While UFOs have finally been verified by our government their existence has not been hidden in history. Descriptions of what can clearly be pictured as UFOs can be found throughout the Scriptures. Ezekiel the prophet saw what can only be described as a UFO and humanoid aliens inside the craft in Ezekiel 1:4-5. Elijah is taken up to heaven in what is described as a “chariot of fire” in 2 Kings 2. In Zechariah 5:1-2 the prophet explains seeing a “flying scroll” that could easily be identified as what many people now classify as a tic-tac-shaped UFO.
Okay, but how is this relevant to signs of the end times?
Luke 17:26 warns us of the following.
“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man.”
How was it in the days of Noah?
“Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence.”
The levels of corruption in the world are on full display from governments to big tech companies. And violent crimes are surging like never before in our country and world. One needs to only turn on the news for a few moments to witness these things.
“The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.”
Recent studies have shown that Christian morales that were once a hallmark of our country are in a “free fall” ” not unlike the days of Noah that grieved the very heart of God. Evil is everywhere and you do not have to look hard to find it.
I know what you are thinking. What about aliens? Buckle up!
“When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.”
What are aliens, by definition? Aliens are otherworldly creatures.
The “sons of God” mentioned in Genesis 6:1 are a prime example of what people would classify as aliens. In reality, the sons of God that are referred to here are fallen angels, or demons, that were expelled from heaven along with Satan. They are “otherworldly” as they are from another world, the spiritual world.
Throughout history, people have identified angels and demons as aliens that have interacted with mankind. So are aliens real? Yes, though they should be thought of as either angels or demons and not products of Hollywood that humanity has been conditioned to believe in.
Angelic and demonic interactions with humanity are not isolated instances. We see this throughout the scriptures. For example, the angel Gabriel spoke with Mary the mother of Jesus, a host of angels appeared before the shepherds in the field pointing them to Jesus, an angel spoke to Philip directing him where to go, an angel of the Lord slaughtered thousands of Assyrians, etc. It is however the high level of demonic interactions in the days of Noah that brought about the judgment of God in our past. And it will once again be happening in our near future.
The disclosure of UFOs and the reality of what people believe to be aliens have set up the world for one of the final signs of the end of times.
The existence and interaction of aliens, or fallen angels, with humanity, will be used to deceive the nations and explain away a key end-times event that has yet to take place, the rapture.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 details the rapture account.
“According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”
So what exactly is the rapture? The rapture is an end-time event when all Christian believers who are alive, along with resurrected believers, would rise "in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.” Sounds like a Hollywood-produced alien abduction?
People have been conditioned to believe that aliens routinely abduct people into their UFOs. This is part of the great deception that will take place in the future. This narrative has been popularized in today’s culture through movies, comics, etc. As you can imagine people will be deceived and the rapture will be easily explained away. As believers, we know that this is not the case. It is God the Father that will take His followers to be with him in heaven one day. Who is to say that this won’t be done by the good angels working for God the Father using aircraft that appear to us as UFOs?
What is the Point?
The point is that God has called us to be watchful of the signs of the times (Matthew 24:42). It is a matter of obedience and for our benefit. Jesus said that some men would be gripped with fear when these signs occur. Luke 21:26 makes this clear.
“People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.”
If we believe we need not live in fear like the unbelievers. In fact, it can be just the opposite. We can live with hopeful expectations. Luke 21:28 teaches us this.
“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads because your redemption is drawing near.”
Looking up is vitally important because many of the signs to come, including the second coming of Christ, will come from the heavens above. God reminds us to keep our heads up both literally and figuratively as the end draws near.
Jesus gives a good word to his followers in John 16:33 as they wait in anticipation for His return.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
What Should Be Done While We Watch and Wait?
God does not want His followers to simply watch and wait. God desires that all people share the good news of Jesus with the lost and hurting world. He desires that none are lost and excluded from being a part of His family.
2 Peter 3:9.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
The parting words of Jesus give us our mission until he comes again in Mark 16:15.
“He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”
What Will You Do?
It is my prayer after reading this that you will be resolved to do the following with the remaining days that God has blessed you with.
Keep your head up
Spend every last breath you have sharing the good news of Jesus with the world
If you do these things you will need not live in fear but, rather in hopeful expectation of a day when you will no longer be separated from your creator.
It is Ryan's passion to equip and empower churches, organizations, and individuals to reach their disability communities for Jesus. Ryan comes to Ability Ministry with 15+ years of ministry experience. He previously worked at First Christian Church in Canton, Ohio as their full-time Disability Pastor. He also worked as a Church Consultant for Key Ministry. Micah 6:8 and Proverbs 31:8 best describe Ryan's commitment to life and ministry.