How long until Christ returns? Before this greatest of all events occurs, the Bible speaks of a period called “the last days”—“the time of the end”—“the end of the world [age]”—“the end of these things”—“the end of the days”—and of a time when the course of human history, as we know it, “shall be finished.”
Of course, many professing Christians do not believe in a literal Return to earth by Jesus Christ. Of those who do, most believe that it could be hundreds of years away. Some believe it could be “a thousand years in the future.” Others are somewhat concerned about “Armageddon.” They feel that time may be short but have no sense of how to know.
What do you believe?
The original apostles thought that Christ would return in their lifetimes. Paul, in I Corinthians 15:51 and I Thessalonians 4:15, when speaking of the resurrection of the dead to occur at Christ’s Second Coming, using the word “we,” expected to be among those who were “alive and remain[ing] unto the coming of the Lord.”
In his second epistle to the Thessalonians, Paul had come to realize that he had previously misunderstood the timing of specific events that must precede Christ’s Return. He even warned of those who would deceive others about the issue of when this would occur. He wrote about the “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” and that the brethren should be careful to “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (II Thes. 2:1, 3).
Could you be deceived?
Are we in the last days? If so, can you know for sure that this is true? Jesus said to His disciples, “I will come again” (John 14:3). Further, forty days after His Resurrection, two men (angels) told His disciples as He was rising to heaven, “this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Matthew records the words of Christ: “For as the lightning comes…so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matt. 24:27, 30, 37, 39, 42, 44, 46). Will the world soon arrive at this climactic event? Again, can we know?
Make no mistake! The Bible is plain about the Return of Jesus Christ. Many more verses could be quoted that speak of His Second Coming to earth. It will happen—and it does not hinge on the opinions of men. However, before this climactic event occurs, many other things are foretold to happen in the period leading to the final terrible events that precede it!
The idea of the end of the world has been a subject of speculation, ridicule, general discussion, fascination and fancy for 2,000 years. Yet, few realize how much the Bible shows can be understood about this time.
In the famous Olivet prophecy of Matthew 24, the disciples asked Christ, “Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the world?” (vs. 3). After answering this question in detail, Christ, thirty-three verses later, added, “But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven but My Father only” (vs. 36).
Does this mean we cannot know the general time of Christ’s Second Coming? Some believe this—and these same people shrug off any need to even be concerned with the timing of Christ’s Return.
What does Matthew 24:50-51 mean when it says, “The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looks not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites”? It is clear that almost everyone is not looking for Christ’s Second Coming at the right time. In fact, He will come when most are not looking for Him at all. What will cause so many to not recognize the onset of such an enormous event?
Why are so many unable to recognize the arrival of the last days?
In verses 32-33, Christ spoke a parable: “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near: So likewise you, when you shall see all these things, know that it [margin: He] is near, even at the doors.” Christ states that we can know the “season” of His Second Coming.
Do not be willing to settle for anything less than what the Bible tells you!
Years ago, a catchy tune called “A Sign of the Times” became popular. I enjoyed it and you may remember it. The title was actually derived from another verse in Matthew. In chapter 16, the Pharisees and Sadducees confronted Christ, desiring a “sign” from Him. He called them hypocrites, saying, “You can discern the face of the sky; but can you not discern the signs of the times?”
While the intent of their question was that they wanted a sign that Jesus was the Messiah (see Matthew 12:38-40), Christ’s point was that they were unable to properly discern events they were witnessing—the “signs of the times.”
Can you discern the signs of our times?
Christ told His disciples, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28). The “things” He referred to include a whole series of events prophesied to occur for the first time in history! These things are happening—and intensifying—now! A quick study of them will not do. Only a more thorough examination reveals the clear picture. We must look carefully to properly discern the “signs of the times.”
God has allotted man 6,000 years to try his own governments, philosophies, value systems, religions and forms of education. Humanly-devised ideas of men do not and cannot work in solving the world’s truly big problems. The 6,000 years is almost up. And, in the last 200 years or so, the world has changed dramatically—and rapidly. Events are speeding up in a way that has never been seen before!
Everyone is familiar with the kooks and oddballs who stand on street corners shouting, “Repent! The end is near!” Hollywood has depicted many of them. Of course, no one takes such people seriously. But times have changed, and many are the voices of reason who now tell us that something is wrong—even terribly wrong!
The idea of one world government, designed to save the planet and mankind from itself, is heard more often. However, no one seems to know how to create such a government and then acquire the cooperation of everyone necessary to make it succeed!
Look at the world around you. What do you see?
As a whole, the world was a much more stable place until the early part of the nineteenth century. At that time, the Industrial Revolution gave birth to the Modern Age. It was not until about a century ago that men began to drive cars and fly, and, since then, civilization has gone from the “Nuclear Age” to the “Space Age” and to the “Information Age” in a little more than a half century.
The arrival of new inventions, at the fastest rate in history, is changing life daily. Just think of the impact of the printing press and you can appreciate how dramatically a single invention can change the world. Modern computers have done the same—and there is no turning back from the huge impact of just this one invention. Jet travel has only arrived in the last half century. Although estimates vary, it is now believed that mankind’s total fund of knowledge is doubling every few years. Some think this could soon accelerate to every six months!
In the early 1970s, Alvin Toffler wrote a book called Future Shock. This large book described a certain “psychological stunning,” or shock effect, due to the high speed of changes in society. Toffler demonstrated that these changes began occurring in the 1970s at such a rate that people could no longer properly process them. Society as a whole began to go into what Toffler described as overload—or “shock.” He explained that the “future” was becoming the “present” so fast that people were beginning to “short-circuit” in a way that civilization had never seen before. Some years later, he wrote a sequel called The Third Wave. This second book described the advancing of this condition.
The picture he described was not good, and it has only gotten worse!
While all this “advancement” is occurring, mankind’s problems have never seemed greater or more insoluble!
The scope of the HIV/AIDS epidemic projections are being constantly revised to reflect an outlook that is far more alarming than previously thought. Entire sections of Africa’s population are projected to be virtually wiped out in a few years by the presence of this single terrible disease.
Earth’s population of 6.5 billion people (early 2007) is rising consistently at 1.2% each year. This means that it will reach almost 11.1 billion by 2050! This projection comes despite the fact that disease and starvation are expected to be worse in the fastest growing parts of the world! High fertility rates in the less-developed parts of the world have already brought these expected population increases right on schedule.
Let’s consider some Bible passages that describe certain crucial, end-time prophecies!
We explained that Paul came to realize that he did not live in the age when Christ would return. However, God did use him to record what conditions would be like when that time would finally come. Consider his prophecy of the widespread degeneration of attitudes and character, just prior to Christ’s Second Coming. He wrote, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (II Tim. 3:1-6).
This is a powerful prophecy describing the complete breakdown of character in “the last days.” This time has come!—and these widespread conditions grow worse daily! Look around. People’s conduct is rapidly changing—seemingly always for the worse. More educators and others in authority are sounding the alarm that conditions have exploded out of control!
Who can doubt this trend?
Recognize that this booklet is not intended to be written in an in-depth fashion. Otherwise, many pages would be required just to describe the conditions that Paul refers to in this single prophecy!
But the degeneration of people’s attitudes and behavior is stark when compared to a generation ago. There have always been acts of terrible violence but now they occur more often. There have always been liars but now the problem of deceit is more pervasive. There has always been adultery but the percentage of people who commit it is now epidemic. There has always been divorce but today it is much more common. There have always been disrespectful young people. Soon an entire generation will have forgotten the Fifth Commandment, “Honor your father and mother.” While there has always been thievery, statistics show that it has never been worse—even in the most affluent countries, where people already have many more physical possessions simply because of where they were born!
So much more could be said of each term or phrase used in Paul’s prophecy. And we have not talked about pornography, child abuse, crime and trends in perverted sex, drug abuse, hatred and war! All of these conditions have combined to create an age correctly described as “perilous”—or very dangerous! Collectively, this becomes an indicator that these are the last days!
Taken together, Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13 comprise Christ’s Olivet Prophecy. The account begins with His disciples (Matt. 24:3) asking Him about the events that would precede the “end of the world.” This time, what was being sought was a “sign” of when the end of the age—end of civilized society as we know it—would come. As mentioned, His disciples originally believed this would occur in their own lifetime, because they saw it in conjunction with the destruction of the physical temple in Jerusalem. This is because Christ had just explained this coming destruction moments before they had asked Him their question. While this temple was destroyed by the Romans in A.D.70, Christ understood that His Second Coming would be over nineteen centuries later. He prophesied that certain other events would precede it.
Christ described the breakdown of character similar to the way Paul did. In verses 36-39, Christ warned that conditions would mirror “the days of Noah,” which Genesis 6:11-12 describes: “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.”
Corruption is mentioned three times in this one short description. Yet, this passage is highly specific and speaks of men as having individually and collectively degenerated to a condition of absolute corruption—with civilization “filled with violence.” Notice God’s use of both the singular word “his” and the collective word “all” to drive this point home!
Consider how often acts of mass violence now occur in schools, restaurants or other places in ways that were virtually unheard of until recently! Who ever heard of serial snipers—or suicide bombers—before recently? The relatively new phenomenon of terrorism is also now becoming more global in nature. This is prophesied to spread worldwide!
In Luke 17:26-30, Christ also compared the conditions at the time of His Return to those found in Sodom and Gomorrah. Genesis 18 and 19 show that these two cities were so rotten and evil that, just before God rained fire and brimstone upon them, only three people (Lot and his two daughters—his wife later turned to salt) were deemed worthy to escape. Also, only eight people were allowed to enter the Ark before God flooded and destroyed the world.
Ask yourself: How much longer before conditions cannot grow worse?
What about religious confusion? Matthew 24:4-5 records Jesus’ warning about a coming great deception. He said, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name saying I [Jesus] am Christ; and shall deceive many.” In other words, many would claim to represent Jesus, and acknowledge that Christ was indeed the Christ, while bringing a message that deceives their listeners. The many divided, confused, disagreeing and competing groups within professing Christianity today surely prove the accuracy of Christ’s prophecy.
It is critical to note one other aspect of Jesus’ warning about those who would say, “Christ was Christ.” Almost all modern preachers stress the Person of Jesus Christ Himself, instead of the message that He brought! They focus on the Messenger instead of His message! Saying that Christ was, in fact, the Christ—the Messiah—is a true statement! The deception of “many” starts when His message of a coming world-ruling kingdom, with all that this soon-coming colossal event means, is ignored—and even suppressed. Herein lies the greatest deception! Understand this!
Let’s be more specific.
Jesus proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom of God. Mark 1:14-15 records this as the very first words He spoke: “Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying…the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel.” Many New Testament verses show that Christ consistently preached this message. (Read our free booklets Which Is the True Gospel? and What Is the Kingdom of God?)
Within thirty years of Christ’s crucifixion, Paul warned of those who were already perverting the true gospel into a different, false, counterfeit gospel (Gal. 1:6-7). This understanding was so important that a double curse was pronounced on any who did this (vs. 8-9). He also warned, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him” (II Cor. 11:3-4).
Paul indicted the many false ministers who bring such deception when he said, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers [Satan’s] also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (vs. 13-15). This verse demonstrates the power of deception held by the “many” (which Christ referenced in Matthew 24)—the many ministers of this world’s brand of Christianity. It plainly speaks of preachers who misrepresent Christ by preaching “another Jesus” and bringing “another gospel,” different than that of the kingdom of God.
The ministers of this world’s churches do not preach this message! They talk incessantly about “baby Jesus,” “Christ on the cross,” “the virgin birth” and various social gospels. But how often have you heard that Christ is coming to rule earth as a King—bringing a great supergovernment that will supplant and replace all of the governments of man? Probably never.
Until Herbert W. Armstrong began to proclaim this same gospel to the world in 1934, the gospel of the kingdom of God had not been taken into all nations for nearly 1,900 years. From the time of the apostles, until the beginning of the 52-year ministry of this one man, the true gospel did not go out in any real power to the world as a whole!
Matthew 24:14, also part of the Olivet Prophecy, states, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Mr. Armstrong reached an unprecedented hundreds of millions during his ministry. This included a readership of approximately 25 million people (over 8 million subscribing households) of the Plain Truth magazine just at the time of his death, in early 1986. This magazine was published in seven languages! Mr. Armstrong personally visited one-third of all the heads of state on earth during the last two decades of his life. He always brought this same message of the coming kingdom of God.
There were few places on earth where this message was not heard on either radio or television. This message was broadcast over many hundreds of stations. At one time, his World Tomorrow telecast topped the Arbitron ratings as the most listened-to religious telecast on earth. The gospel of the kingdom went out in great power—like no other time in history!
Christ’s prophecy was, and still is, true!
Take a closer look at the world around you! It is obviously not led by God, but rather filled with problems, evils, ills, misery and unhappiness of every kind. Christ warned, “And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars…and there shall be famines, and pestilences and earthquakes, in diverse [various] places” (Matt. 24:6-7). He went on to say in verse 8, “All these are the beginning of sorrows [trials].” He also told the disciples that they would be terribly persecuted and even killed for the message that they would bring (vs. 9). Only the apostle John survived martyrdom, living into his 90s. (Read our series on the four horsemen of Revelation 6—false religion, war, famine and pestilence.)
None can doubt that these trends have now come to pass in a greater way than ever before. For instance, how often do we now hear of devastating earthquakes? One well-known television commentator stated that “for some reason” there are now more earthquakes occurring every day on earth. Seismologists record 12,000 separate, measurable earthquakes each day.
New, more serious outbreaks of old diseases—many of them now antibiotic-resistant—are reported more frequently. These include the HIV epidemic, Cholera, Typhoid, Dengue Fever, flesh-eating bacteria, Legionnaire’s Disease, the Ebola and West Nile viruses, Malaria, Hoof and Mouth Disease, Mad Cow Disease, the Norwalk virus, the return of a stronger, more resistant strain of Tuberculosis and an explosion of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). These are merely a small part of a large and still-emerging picture of frightening new diseases—and old ones returning with a vengeance!
Over 200,000 people now starve to death every day—with this number steadily rising! Wars, and what the gospel writer Luke called “commotions” (21:9), now fill newspaper headlines—bringing more suffering and death. And disease and starvation are merely natural by-products of the population displacement and confusion that always follow in the wake of war.
In recent years, scientists have warned of the grave danger of global warming. Few any longer doubt that more extreme weather is already arriving on the front edge of this worldwide phenomenon. Storms are more severe and come more often. Abnormal flooding and devastation of the land is causing famines and disease epidemics of unheard of proportions. Weather catastrophes, earthquakes, wars and the resulting disease and hopelessness tend to exacerbate what is already an epidemic of suffering. Prophecy also foretold that even more volcanic activity would be seen—and this is happening!
The world needs God’s Law, which, if kept by all nations, would bring universal peace, happiness, abundance and prosperity. Cities would become beautiful. Disease, famine and war would disappear, as would racism, ignorance, poverty and all forms of false religion.
Yet, no man, no government, nor all the governments of men put together can bring these things!
Only the kingdom of God, led by Christ and the saints who have qualified to join Him, can bring these conditions. The world must learn about the laws of God. Isaiah 2:2-4 and Micah 4:1-4 also speak of the “last days,” when these things will happen. God’s Law and the love of God (Rom. 13:10) are prophesied to soon replace the lawlessness and hate that now exist between people and nations on earth!
If He did not intervene, Christ said that, “Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [alive]: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matt. 24:22)!
Think! When has mankind held the capability to destroy all flesh? Only with the advent of modern nuclear, chemical, biological and now “radiological” weapons could this be possible. We live in an age when all of these are available—and nuclear weapons alone possess the capability, with the stockpiles that currently exist, to wipe out all mankind many times over! As one leader said, “Once would be quite enough.”
Some assert that these weapons are too terrible to ever be used—that they exist only as a “deterrent” against their use.
Do not be fooled! They will be used. Many prophecies make this clear. (Remember, the moment these weapons became available, and the United States felt it to be in their interest to use them, President Truman ordered it in August 1945—without hesitation! Yet, the two bombs that landed on Japan were little more than “firecrackers” by comparison to what exists today.)
It is no coincidence that the gospel was preached around the world precisely at the time when weapons of mass destruction became available—proving correct the timing of Christ’s warning about the danger to the survival of all humanity!
Describing a time when the gospel of the kingdom can no longer be preached (24:14), Matthew 24:21 includes a warning about the coming Great Tribulation. This is said just prior to Christ’s statement that the last days will be cut short. Notice: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
This pictures a truly terrible time for all life on earth!
This booklet could easily grow much longer if just a fraction of the passages describing the coming horrifying conditions on earth were to be cited here. Nearly every prophet in the Old Testament spoke of this time of worldwide trouble, now soon to occur. Time is running out!
The longest single prophecy in the Bible is found in Daniel 11. Chapter 10 introduces it and chapter 12 completes it. Numerous times (six in chapter 12 alone) is found the word “end.” The first time that “the time of the end” appears is in Daniel 11:40.
Yet the prophet Daniel was not permitted to understand the prophecy he recorded. When he asked God (12:8) its meaning, God told him that it was “sealed till the time of the end” (vs. 9). It was to be unsealed when that time came—and this has happened. Verse 10 teaches, “the wise shall understand,” but that “none of the wicked shall understand.” This means that some—a relatively very few—will understand, while most will not understand Daniel’s prophecy!
Daniel 12:4 gives two vitally important clues to know when the end time has arrived. Notice: “But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”
We have already discussed the incredible knowledge explosion brought about by the arrival of computers in scores of millions of homes. Great numbers now have access to vast amounts of knowledge—instantaneously! What can be quickly known by anyone seeking information is staggering! Surely we have arrived at the time when “knowledge shall be increased”—along with its easy access!
Daniel also wrote, “many shall run to and fro.” It took the arrival of railroads in the middle of the nineteenth century—then great ships driven by powerful engines to move them ever faster across oceans—followed by automobiles—and finally, jet planes to make our planet almost universally accessible. The arrival of the supersonic Concorde Jet turned the Atlantic Ocean into little more than a large lake. Seemingly, the planet grows smaller daily because of people’s ability to “run to and fro” almost anywhere and at any time!
The book of Daniel addresses many of the other great prophecies in the Bible. The second chapter contains a prophecy spanning over 2,500 years, concluding with Christ’s Second Coming. This prophecy pictures a giant man consisting of four metals (gold, silver, brass, and iron mixed with clay), which represent four great, world-ruling kingdoms that began in Daniel’s time.
The first kingdom, which was the head made of gold, represented Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian, or Chaldean Empire (625-538 B.C.). The silver breast and arms represented the second or Persian Empire (558-330 B.C.), which followed, while the belly and thighs of brass represented the third Grecian (333-31 B.C.) or Greco-Macedonian Empire (led by Alexander the Great). Finally, the fourth kingdom, depicted by legs of iron, and feet and toes of iron mixed with clay, represented the Roman Empire. This last, greatest empire defeated and succeeded the Greco-Macedonian Empire. The ten toes represent ten different nations or kingdoms in Eastern and Western Europe. (The Roman Empire had two capitals—in Rome and Constantinople.) It is this religious and political combine of nations that will comprise the ten toes—under one final powerful leader, aided by a second, miracle-working world figure. This united superpower system is now forming on the world stage.
Daniel 2:34 and 44 prove that these ten toes exist at the time of Christ’s Coming. These verses describe a great stone coming from heaven and smashing the ten toes—replacing them—and establishing the kingdom of God on earth. This symbolism depicts Christ’s Return and the setting up of God’s all-powerful world-ruling government—supplanting all the humanly-devised governments of men!
When Christ spoke of the “end of the world” (Matt. 24:3), it was the end of man’s civilization that He referred to—He was not issuing a prophecy about the planet “blowing up.”
Only by comparing Revelation 13, 17 and Daniel 7, with Daniel 2, can you fully understand the immense scope and magnitude of this prophecy. Numerous scriptures refer to these four kingdoms, but these chapters describe them best.
Briefly, the Roman Empire (which began in 31 B.C.) collapsed in A.D. 476—having been overrun by three kingdoms (horns) from Northern Europe called the Vandals, the Heruli and the Ostrogoths. Daniel 7:8 shows that these three horns were “plucked up by the roots.” This means that they completely disappeared from history. (The Vandals were so barbaric and destructive that the modern term “vandalize” is derived from their name.) However, seven more horns (verse 7 says there were a total of ten) were prophesied to rule this empire.
Beginning in A.D. 554, the Roman Empire became known as the Holy Roman Empire. Historians acknowledge that the Pope’s crowning of Justinian signaled this change. Events in Europe, surrounding the Holy Roman Empire, rose and fell for many centuries. Periodically, new rulers appeared—Charlemagne (the Frankish head in A.D. 800)—Otto the Great (the German head crowned in A.D. 962)—followed by the Habsburg Dynasty of Charles V (the Austrian head crowned in A.D. 1520)—which, in turn, was followed by Napoleon’s reign (the French head crowned in A.D. 1805)—with the sixth head being that of Garibaldi’s united Italian head from A.D. 1870-1945! This sixth resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire culminated in the defeat of Adolph Hitler and the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Mussolini, after signing a secret agreement (Concordat) with the Vatican in 1929, united Ethiopia, Eritrea and Italian Somaliland back to Italy in 1935. He declared this union to be the Roman Empire re-established!
This is prophesied to happen one more time—only one revival of the Holy Roman Empire remains!
Only the tenth horn of Daniel 7:7 (the same as all ten toes of Daniel 2) is yet to appear. This will be the final great beast of Revelation 17 that will come upon an unsuspecting world with stunning speed and force (Rev. 17:12). With the 1989 collapse of the Iron Curtain and the reunification of Germany, the final resurrection, consisting of countries and kingdoms throughout Eastern and Western Europe, is soon to appear, as a kind of United States of Europe. But we have already read how Christ will smash this union of human kingdoms at His Coming!
In II Peter 3:3-4, Peter wrote, “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of His Coming?”
The modern world is filled with scoffers. They do not believe that God will intervene—or that this is even necessary! Most believe that humanity is capable at the last minute of “snatching victory from the jaws of defeat,” and will be able to save itself and solve its own problems! Most believe that “everything will turn out alright—somehow!” In the short term, man is wrong—but in the long term, he is correct!
People scoff at the thought that Christ is coming—and choose to live a rotten, sinful lifestyle, “walking after their own lusts”—but their scoffing will not change the truth of the prophecies contained in this booklet! Men must learn bitter lessons—that they have utterly failed to bring the world the conditions that everyone longs for. Peace, happiness, prosperity and abundance remain elusive despite humanity’s continued efforts to find them.
Armies “trying to make the world safe for democracy,” humanitarian efforts, missionaries, “think tanks,” new scientific labor-saving devices, computers, cell phones, better school systems, fundraising efforts to eradicate deadly diseases, etc., will all fail. This is because humanity will not humble itself and seek the God who truly does have the solutions to mankind’s troubles!
Just when it is almost too late, Christ will intervene in great power and glory to save man from himself!
What about you? What will you do to prepare yourself for what lies ahead? No one need remain powerless to ready himself for what is coming. Daniel 12:1-2 contains the following statement: “And at that time…there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time Your [God’s] people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life.”
This verse is describing the resurrection of the dead—of the true saints of God—those who will reign with Christ (Dan. 7:18, 22, 27)! Paul wrote, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout…and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we [the living saints in the true Church of God] which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thes. 4:16-17).
New Testament scriptures plainly show that Christ’s Second Coming will be sudden and unexpected. Christ is always depicted as coming “like a thief in the night.” Carefully read Matthew 24:43-44, I Thessalonians 5:2, 4, II Peter 3:10 and Revelation 3:3, 16:15. In his parallel account of the Olivet Prophecy, Luke recorded Christ describing His Return to an unsuspecting world: “So likewise you, when you see these things come to pass, know you that the kingdom of God is near at hand…For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:31, 35-36).
This verse can be your future!
You are the “captain of your own ship” and the “master of your own destiny”—whether you choose to reject God’s warning or to yield yourself to Him and ask Him to prepare you for rulership in His kingdom!
(Read our free booklets Who or What Is the Beast of Revelation?, The Mid-East in Bible Prophecy and Revelation Explained at Last! to understand in greater detail the events described in this booklet. Also read our book Tomorrow’s Wonderful World – An Inside View! to see the inspiring big picture of how God will solve, for all time, every one of mankind’s greatest problems.)
The following comes from the conclusion of Herbert W. Armstrong’s booklet Are We In the LAST DAYS? It well summarizes what is coming at the end of mankind’s allotted 6,000 years:
“And where do we go from there? In that same day Jesus’ feet will descend on the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem on the east (Zech. 14:4).
“We read in Revelation 20:1-2 that at the time of Christ’s coming, Satan shall be removed from the throne of world rulership. Jesus Christ will then sit on that throne over the whole earth. In Revelation 3:21, Jesus said to those in his own true church, that if we overcome Satan and the evils of this world, he will grant that we will sit with him on that throne.
“Jesus also said in Revelation 2:26-27 that if we, his own people, overcome we will be given power over the nations, and we shall rule them, under Christ. In Revelation 5:10, he says that we who are true believers in his own church shall be priests and kings, and we shall reign on the earth.”