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Everyone wants to know what the future holds. With world trends and conditions growing more grim by the day, what lies ahead for all nations has become the very greatest concern today. Millions are searching—wondering about the course of events.
Jesus’ disciples asked Him about the “End of the world (meaning, age)” (Matt. 24:3). The prophet Daniel spoke of “the time of the end” (Dan. 11:40; 12:9). The apostle Peter foretold: “There shall come in the last days scoffers” (II Pet. 3:3). And the apostle Paul warned, “In the last days perilous times shall come” (II Tim. 3:1). This makes the subject more serious.
Has this final interval in world history arrived? Can you be sure? You can—in fact, God expects you to know!
Many “sense” or even firmly “believe” that we are in the last days. We hear from them daily. But these have rarely sought to prove this. They can—and should—know whether we are. So must you.
Let’s pull back and look at the big picture. It has become painfully obvious that this world is in terrible trouble. Mankind is overwhelmed with every kind of trouble, evil and ill—war, terrorism, violence of every kind, famine, disease, pollution, overpopulation, political upheaval, religious confusion and tremendous economic turmoil and decline, threatening to make the great depression look like child’s play. Then there are the hundreds of millions who live in abject poverty, ignorance and oppression. Now add rampant and worsening immorality and perversion in every Western nation—and growing hatred, unrest and the never-ending cycle of war in the Middle East—and deteriorating conditions throughout Africa—and frightening weather patterns across many parts of the world—and devastating fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, drought and floods occurring with greater frequency and intensity—and headlines screaming of murder, rape, robbery and crimes of every kind. These mushrooming problems now threaten all nations.
Is all of this really only a little temporary worsening of what is otherwise “business as usual” for Planet Earth? Many—and much louder!—are the voices that say time is running out to solve the really big problems facing the world. More and more world leaders are expressing pessimism about the rise of troubles within and between nations. So are educators, military planners, sociologists and scientists. Yet, because this is also an age of religious sundowners and doomsayers, most will not pay real—serious!—attention.
How long until Jesus Christ returns? For those who believe He will, no question is bigger. But there are other questions, some big, that must be answered first. This personal will look at perhaps the second biggest question.
The Bible speaks of the period preceding Christ’s Return as “the last days”—“the time of the end”—“the end of the 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, Daniel wrote, “shall be finished.”
Of course, many professing Christians do not believe in a literal Return to Earth by Christ. Of those who do, most think that it could be decades or even hundreds of years away. Some believe it could be “a thousand years away.” Others feel time may be short but see no way to know.
What do you believe?
The original apostles thought for a time that Jesus would return in their lifetimes. Paul spoke of the resurrection of the dead at Christ’s Second Coming, and twice used the word “WE—which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord” (I Thes. 4:15, 17), because he expected to still be alive when it happened.
Paul later came to realize that he had misunderstood the timing of specific events that must precede Christ’s Return. In fact, he had to warn of those who would deceive others about when this would occur. He wrote about “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” and that brethren should be careful to “Let no man deceive you by any means...” (II Thes. 2:1, 3).
Could you be deceived?
So then—have we entered the last days? Do you and I live at the time of the end? If so, how can you know for sure?
Jesus told His disciples, “I will come again” (John 14:3). Forty days later, as He was ascending to heaven, two angels added, “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 Christ’s words: “For as the lightning comes...so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Seven times just in this chapter (Matt. 24:27, 30, 37, 39, 42, 44, 46), Jesus spoke of His Coming again, and the need to watch for key events, trends and conditions preceding it.
Is the world nearing Christ’s Return? Again, can we know?
Make no mistake! The Bible is plain about the Return of Jesus Christ. Many verses speak of His Second Coming to Earth. It will happen—and it does not hinge on the opinions of men. However, in the period leading to this climactic event, many other things are foretold to happen—some, in fact many of them, catastrophic! Can you afford to be in the dark?
The idea of the end of the world has been a subject of speculation, ridicule, discussion, fascination and fancy for almost 2,000 years. Of course, most do not realize how much the Bible shows can be known about this time.
In 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 age?” (vs. 3). After a detailed answer, Jesus 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?—and then also about the last days before it? Many think so—and therefore shrug off any need to be concerned with either.
Then what do verses 50-51 mean?: “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”? Most will simply not be looking for Jesus’ Return at the right time. Worse, many will not be looking for Him at all. But Christ’s indictment shows they will have no excuse.
Why will so many be unable to recognize the onset of such an awesome, whole-world-altering event?
In verses 32-33, Jesus gave 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 [He] is near, even at the doors.” Since this could only apply to those alive at the end, Jesus states WE—“you”—can know the “season” of His Return, or when He is “at the doors.”
Do not be willing to settle for less than what the Bible reveals!
Years ago, a catchy tune called “A Sign of the Times” became popular. You may remember it. The title actually came from another verse here in Matthew. Religious leaders had confronted Christ, desiring a “sign.” He also called them hypocrites, adding, “You can discern the face of the sky; but can you not discern the signs of the times?” (16:3).
While the intent of their question was to get a sign that Jesus was the Messiah (read Matthew 12:38-40), His point was that they were unable to discern events they were witnessing all around them—or the “signs of the times”—and in that case, the “signs of their times” regarding Jesus’ FIRST coming!
Can you discern the signs of OUR times?
Christ told His disciples, “And when these things begin to come to pass [He has just listed them], then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28). The “these 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 closer look helps to see the “signs of the times.”
First know this. The apostle John recorded the words of Christ that open the book of Revelation (remember this book is Christ’s revealing of things to come, not John’s), “The Revelation of Jesus Christ...to show[get this, “TO SHOW”—reveal—open up] unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass...blessed is he that reads [you must pick up your Bible to do this], and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (1:1-3). At its end, the book states for emphasis, “Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand” (22:10).
Two thousand years later, how much more—today!—has the time for understanding colossal prophecies come! You CAN comprehend the message they bring, IF you are determined to obey God—IF you are determined to become one of His servants—and this begins with IF you are willing to research these prophecies.
But time is short.
God has allotted man 6,000 years to try his own governments, philosophies, religions, values and forms of education. But humanly-devised ideas do not and can never solve the world’s truly big problems. They always fail in the end. 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! The 6,000 years are almost up.
Everyone is familiar with sign-carrying kooks on street corners saying, “Repent! The end is near!” Hollywood has depicted many. For the most part, such people are not taken seriously. But times have changed, and, I repeat, now many are the voices of reason who report, for those who will listen, that something is terribly wrong! This has caused the idea of one world government, designed to save the planet and mankind from itself, to be heard more often. I recently read an article calling for this. 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 all around. What do you see?
As a whole, the world was a much more stable place until the early 19th 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 civilization went from the Modern Age to the “Nuclear Age” on to the “Space Age” and then to the “Information Age” in just 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. Computers have done the same—and there is no turning back from the huge impact, good and bad, of just this one invention. Remember, jet travel only arrived in the last half century.
Although estimates vary, it is 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, a book appeared titled Future Shock. It described a certain psychological stunning or shock effect on minds due to the high speed of changes in society. The author demonstrated that these changes began in the 1970s at such a rate that people could no longer properly process them. Society as a whole began to go into what was described as mental overload—or “shock”—explained as the “future” slamming into the “present” so fast that people were “short-circuiting” in a way never seen before. Some time after, a sequel described the worsening of this condition.
The picture described was not good, and has only gotten worse!
Yet, with all man’s supposed “advancement,” his problems have never seemed greater or more insoluble!
The projections of the HIV/AIDS epidemic are constantly being revised to reflect an outlook far more alarming than previously thought. Entire sections of Africa’s population are forecast to be wiped out in a few years by this single, awful disease.
Earth’s population of over 6.5 billion people is rising consistently at 1.2% each year. This means it will reach over 11 billion by 2050—if time were to permit, and it will not! This is despite the fact that disease and starvation are worst in the fastest growing parts of the world! High fertility rates in the less-developed parts of the world have already brought these increases right on schedule.
Let’s look at some passages that describe crucial, end-time prophecies!
We explained that Paul came to realize 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 finally came. Consider this description of the widespread degeneration of attitudes and character, just before Christ’s Return: “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 [just ponder changing marital laws], trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good [be aware of this], traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God [so true, but strangely at the same time]; having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof: [the instruction to you] from such turn away” (II Tim. 3:1-6).
This is a graphic picture. It describes a complete breakdown of character in “the last days.” This time has come!—and these conditions grow worse daily! Again, look around. People’s conduct is rapidly changing—seemingly always for the worse. More authority figures are sounding the alarm that human nature is running wild—and conditions are exploding out of control!
No thinking person could disagree.
The degeneration of people’s attitudes and behavior is stark when compared to only a generation ago. There have always been acts of violence but now they occur more often, and are more depraved. There have always been liars but now 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, but soon an entire generation will have forgotten the Fifth Commandment, “Honor your father and mother.” There have always been thievery and fraud, but statistics show these have never been worse—even in the most affluent countries, where people have a lot, but want more.
Much more could be said of each term used in Paul’s prophecy. And we have not discussed pornography, child abuse, crime and trends in perverted sex, drug abuse, hatred, war and others! All these conditions have combined to create an age correctly described as “perilous”—or dangerous!
They become one powerful indicator that these ARE the last days!
Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13 contain Christ’s Olivet Prophecy. We saw Matthew’s account begins with His disciples asking about the events that would precede the “end of the world”—the end of civilized society as we know it. They had originally believed this would occur in their lifetime because they misunderstood Christ and tied it to the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. While the temple was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70, Christ knew that His Second Coming would be almost 20 centuries after.
He prophesied certain other, much later events would precede it.
Jesus also described the breakdown of character: He warned that conditions would mirror “the days of Noah,” which Genesis 6 describes this way: “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” (11-12).
Corruption is mentioned three times in this one short passage. But, this description is at the same time highly specific and speaks of men as having individually AND collectively degenerated into absolute corruption—with civilization “filled with violence.” God uses both the singular “his” and the collective “all” to drive this point home!
Consider how often acts of mass violence now occur in schools, campuses, restaurants, malls and workplaces in ways unheard of until recently! The terms serial snipers and suicide bombers were unknown 15 years ago. And the relatively new phenomenon of terrorism has become global in nature.
Christ also compared conditions before His Return to those in Sodom and Gomorrah. He leads in with Noah again: “...As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage [society looked like it would go on], until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded [society looked like it would continue]; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:26-29).
Genesis 18 and 19 show that these two cities were so rotten—so evil—that, just before God rained fire and brimstone, only four people were deemed worthy to escape—Lot, his two daughters and wife, who later turned to salt. Only eight people were allowed to enter the Ark before God flooded the world.
Ask: How much longer before conditions cannot grow worse?
An aside at this point that has much to do with whether you will believe Christ: Many have been told that the early chapters of Genesis do not describe real people and real events. This is to accommodate the nonsensical fiction of evolution in place of a literal Adam and Eve. But had you realized Jesus Christ said that Noah, the ark and the flood existed?—and that so did Sodom and Gomorrah, including its destruction?
Those who dismiss these and related Genesis accounts seem unaware that Christ validated this first book of the Bible. They also forget—or willingly ignore—Jesus’ (and Paul’s) references to Adam, and how this validates the Creation account. (Most simply do not know that, while man has been here for only 6,000 years, the earth has existed for billions of years—and the key to this is understanding what happened between Genesis 1:1 and the very next verse 2, a subject for another time.)
We are left to ask: How many will believe and act on Christ’s warning about oncoming events—when He compared these future events to Bible parallels that most do not accept as true?—as having ever happened?
This personal opened with a reference to “scoffers” in the last days. Let’s now read the passage containing it and continue reading through a warning for us today. Notice: “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts” (II Pet. 3:3)—people choosing and following the course of human nature, as in Sodom and Gomorrah, and Noah’s time.
Now verse 4, “And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? [thinking either “that’s faded knowledge” or “it will never happen”] for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation”—people unwilling to believe that serious times—the last days!—could actually come.
God declares, “For this they willingly are ignorant...”—this speaks for itself!
And verse 6: “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished”—remember, Christ supported the Noachian account and signified its warning for us.
So did Peter.
Now see this in verse 9: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise...but is longsuffering to us-ward [patiently waiting, because He is] not willing that any should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance.”
Sadly, of course, most will not do this.
Next comes a stark warning to those who are not looking: “But the day of the Lord [the time of His wrath upon a sin-sick world] will come as a thief in the night...”, followed by “Seeing then...what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy [conduct] and godliness”, and “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God...”, and also “...Seeing that you look for such things, be diligent that you may be found of [Christ] in peace, without spot, and blameless” (10-12, 14).
Finally, the very personal verse 17: “You therefore...seeing you know these things before[hand], beware lest you also, being led away with the error of the wicked [scoffers and ungodly people all around you], fall from your own stedfastness.”
Now a caution: Be careful you are neither among the pooh-poohing, unbelieving scoffers—nor one of those who will not seek and obey God while there is still time.
The Bible promises that those who are faithful and obedient will be protected through the worst calamities that could fall upon an unsuspecting world. While the last days certainly are perilous—or dangerous—this is just the run-up period prior to the infinitely worse final three and a half years to follow before the good news of the gospel is fulfilled in Christ’s Coming.
While much of Christendom accepts the false rapture theory—nowhere taught in Scripture!—God promises a special place of divine protection for the faithful in His Church.
You do not need to fear the future. But neither should you listen to people who do not understand either events that are playing out now, or how God will protect His people from this greatest time of world trouble.
But there is more to know about whether we have reached this time.
What about religious confusion at the end? Matthew 24 records Jesus’ warning about future great deception: “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I [Jesus] am Christ; and shall deceive many” (vs. 4-5). In other words, many would claim to represent Jesus, and would acknowledge He was indeed the Christ, but bring a message that deceives their listeners. The confused, disagreeing groups within professing Christianity today confirm Christ’s prophecy.
Jesus’ warning is critical. Modern preachers all stress the Person of Jesus Christ, instead of His message! They focus on the Messenger not His message! Saying Christ was, in fact, the Christ—the Messiah—is a true statement! The deception starts when His message of a coming world-ruling kingdom—with all that this means—is ignored—and even suppressed.
Herein lies the greatest deception! Understand this!
Jesus proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom of God. Here are His first recorded words: “Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying...the kingdom of God is at hand [Christ was its representative]: repent you, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15). Many verses show Jesus consistently preached this message.
Within 30 years of Jesus’ crucifixion, Paul warned of those who were already perverting Christ’s gospel with a counterfeit message. This understanding was so central that he pronounced a double curse on any who did this. 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)—meaning, you put up with it.
Preachers misrepresent Christ by bringing what is “another Jesus,” “another spirit” and “another gospel,” other than the kingdom of God.
God indicts these false ministers: “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 [don’t be surprised] if his ministers [Satan’s] also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness...” (vs. 13-15).
This demonstrates the power of the deception Christ warned of by the ministers of this world’s brand of Christianity. Some of these specialize, particularly today, in confusing, incomplete hodgepodges of prophetic theories about how the last days will play out. The utter nonsense of these conflicting seers, psychics and prognosticators, like Nostradamus and other supposed prophets and prophecy fiction writers, is without end.
But ministers do not preach the kingdom of God! Instead, they talk incessantly about “baby Jesus,” “Christ on the cross,” “the virgin birth” and various social gospels. How often do you hear that Jesus Christ is coming to rule Earth as a King—to bring an all-powerful government to replace the failed governments of men?
Rarely, if ever.
Christ told His disciples they would be terribly persecuted and even killed for the message they would bring. Only the apostle John survived martyrdom, living into his 90s.
Until Herbert W. Armstrong began to proclaim the true gospel in 1934, the announcement of the kingdom of God had not been taken worldwide 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!
In Matthew 24:14, Christ foretold, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations [this describes a huge, worldwide effort, and just before the end]; and then shall the end come.”
Mr. Armstrong reached an unprecedented hundreds of millions during his ministry. This included a readership (in seven languages) of approximately 25 million people of the Plain Truth magazine just at the time of his death, in 1986. Mr. Armstrong personally visited one-third of all heads of state during the last two decades of his life. He always brought the message of God’s coming kingdom. There were few places on earth where it was not heard on either radio or television. On hundreds of stations, his World Tomorrow telecast topped the Arbitron ratings as the most listened-to religious telecast on earth. The true gospel went out in power—like no other time in history!
Christ’s prophecy is still true! Beginning in 1966, Herbert Armstrong was my teacher. Today, The Restored Church of God continues this commission for a few more years.
The most cursory look reveals that this world is not led by God, but rather is filled with problems, suffering and misery 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,” but that “All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matt. 24:6-7, 8).
Who can doubt these things have come to pass in a greater way? For instance, how often do we now hear of devastating earthquakes? A well-known television commentator stated that “for some reason” there are now more earthquakes occurring every day. Seismologists record 12,000 separate, measurable earthquakes annually. 88,000 died in them just last year.
New, serious outbreaks of old diseases—some 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, the return of stronger, more resistant strains of tuberculosis and diphtheria, and an explosion of sexually transmitted diseases. These are but a small part of an immense, constantly-emerging picture of frightening new diseases—and old ones returning with a vengeance!
Consider. Over 10,000 die from lung disease every year just in Hong Kong—just due to pollution. But 1.28 million die just in China—one country!—each year just due to lung-related diseases.
About 24,000 people now starve to death every day—with this number steadily rising! Think. A medium-sized city disappears every 24 hours.
Wars, and what the gospel writer Luke called “commotions,” including acts of terror and protracted riots in more places, fill headlines—bringing more suffering and death. Greater disease and starvation are merely natural by-products of the population displacement and confusion that always follow in the wake of armed conflict.
In recent years, scientists have warned of global warming. Few any longer doubt that more extreme weather has arrived on the front edge of a worldwide phenomenon, whatever the cause. Storms are more severe, and more often. Abnormal flooding and devastation of the land are contributing to 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 more volcanic activity—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 false religion.
Yet, no man, no government, nor all the governments of men put together can bring these things!
Only God’s kingdom, led by Christ and the saints who have qualified to join Him, can. 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 this will happen. God’s Law and the love of God are prophesied to replace the lawlessness and hate between people and nations today!
God has to intervene! Christ revealed, “Except those days should be shortened [cut short], 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 human beings? Only with the advent of nuclear, chemical, biological and now “radiological” weapons could this be possible. We live 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 in its interest to use them, President Truman ordered it in August 1945—and 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 the gospel was preached around the world at the time weapons of mass destruction became available—proving correct the timing of Christ’s prophecy about danger to the survival of all humanity!
Immediately after the gospel can no longer be preached, Matthew 24:21 includes a warning about Great Tribulation. This is just before Jesus’ statement that the last days will be cut short: “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 article would be unending if only a fraction of the passages describing the coming horrifying conditions on Earth were cited. Nearly every Old Testament prophet spoke of this worldwide trouble, now just ahead. Time is running out!
The longest single Bible prophecy is in Daniel 11. Chapter 10 introduces it and 12 completes it. The first reference to “the time of the end” is 11:40, and six times in chapter 12 alone the word “end” is used.
The prophet Daniel was not permitted to understand what he recorded. God told him it was “sealed till the time of the end,” when it would then be unsealed. This has happened. Verse 10 teaches, “the wise shall understand,” but “none of the wicked shall understand.” This means some—a relative few—will comprehend events around them!
Daniel 12:4 gives two clues to know when the end time has arrived. Notice: “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 astonishing 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!
What about “many shall run to and fro”? The arrival of railroads in the middle of the 19th century—then great ships driven by powerful engines to move them ever faster across oceans—followed by automobiles—and finally, passenger jets, made our planet universally accessible, and quickly. Jets turned the Atlantic Ocean into little more than a large lake. Earth grew smaller because of its inhabitants’ ability to “run to and fro” almost anywhere at any time!
The book of Daniel addresses other great prophecies. The second chapter contains another long prophecy spanning over 2,500 years, concluding with Christ’s Second Coming. It pictures a giant man consisting of four metals (gold, silver, brass, and iron mixed with clay), which represent four succeeding world-ruling kingdoms that began in Daniel’s time.
The first, which was the head made of gold, represents Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian, or Chaldean Empire (625-538 B.C.). The silver breast and arms that followed represents the second or Medo-Persian Empire (558-330 B.C.), while the belly and thighs of brass represents the third or Greco-Macedonian Empire (333-31 B.C.), led by Alexander the Great. Finally, the fourth kingdom, depicted by legs of iron, and feet and toes of iron mixed with clay, represents the Roman Empire. This last, greatest empire defeated and succeeded the Greco-Macedonians. The toes represent 10 nations or kingdoms in Eastern and Western Europe. (The Roman Empire had two capitals—Rome and Constantinople.) This religious/political combine of nations will coalesce under one final leader, aided by a second, miracle-working world figure. This united superpower system is now forming behind the scenes, with today’s worldwide economic crisis giving it birth.
Daniel 2:34 and 44 prove these 10 toes exist at Christ’s Coming. They describe a stone coming from heaven that smashes and replaces the toes—and establishes God’s kingdom. This symbolism depicts Christ’s Return and the setting up of God’s divine government—supplanting all humanly-devised governments!
Remember, when Christ foretold the “end of the world,” He meant man’s civilization—not the planet “blowing up.”
Briefly, the Roman Empire, which began in 31 B.C., collapsed in A.D. 476—having been overrun by three kingdoms (or horns) from Northern Europe—the Vandals, the Heruli and the Ostrogoths. Daniel 7:8 shows these horns were “plucked up by the roots,” meaning they 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 10) 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 second head in A.D. 800)—Otto the Great (the German third head crowned in A.D. 962)—followed by the Habsburg Dynasty of Charles V (the Austrian fourth head crowned in A.D. 1520)—which, in turn, was followed by Napoleon’s reign (the French fifth head crowned in A.D. 1805)—with the sixth head being Garibaldi’s united Italian head from A.D. 1870-1945! This culminated in the defeat of Adolf Hitler and the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Mussolini, after signing a secret agreement with the Vatican in 1929, united Ethiopia, Eritrea and Italian Somaliland back to Italy in 1935—and declared this union the Roman Empire re-established!
This is prophesied to happen one more time—one revival of the Holy Roman Empire remains!
Only the tenth horn of Daniel 7:7 (the same as all 10 toes of Daniel 2) is yet to appear. This will be the final beast of Revelation 17 that will come upon an unsuspecting world with stunning speed and force. With the 1989 collapse of the Iron Curtain and the reunification of Germany, the last 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!
Fifty bibles are sold every minute worldwide. This translates to over 26 million each year. How many believe and act on its contents? All convicted Bible readers will accept that “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn...” (II Pet. 1:19). This personal has brought light on subjects you have almost certainly not even heard referenced, never mind explained. Incredible events are foretold to play out upon the world just before the Tribulation. Some people know a few pieces within God’s prophetic “puzzle,” but even then they are never assembled correctly.
Let’s briefly assemble some critical time periods. The Great Tribulation and Day of the Lord last 1,260 days, or 3 1/2 years. This is one of three key periods in God’s final time frame before Christ’s Return. The others are “1,290 days” and “1,335 days.”
The 1,335 days—of Daniel 12:12—also count down to the Return of Christ. This moment signals the end of God’s Work for this age—the completion of Matthew 24:14—and is when the “call” goes out to His faithful people to assemble for flight to safety. Then, 45 days later, at 1,290 days until Christ’s Second Coming, events culminate in Jerusalem and the Church leaves its assembled location.
These things are carefully covered—and in plain fashion—all through our literature. Here is just some of what we have available on prophecy (shown above):
• Are These the Last Days?
• America and Britain in Prophecy
• Who or What Is the Beast of Revelation?
• Revelation Explained at Last!
• How World Peace Will Come!
• Tomorrow’s Wonderful World – An Inside View!
Finally, there is our series on the four horsemen of Revelation 6—false religion, war, famine and pestilence.
Earlier, we saw “There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His Coming?” (II Pet. 3:3-4).
The modern world is filled with scoffers. They do not believe God will intervene—or that this is even necessary! Most believe man is capable at the last minute of “snatching victory from the jaws of defeat,” and will save himself by solving his own problems! They think “everything will turn out all right, somehow!” Though wrong in the short term, this is ultimately correct—but by other means!
Scoffing at the thought Christ is coming, people choose to live rotten, sinful lives, following their lusts. But scoffing will not change the truth of God’s prophecies! Men must learn bitter lessons—that they have utterly failed to bring the conditions everyone longs for. Peace, happiness, prosperity and abundance remain elusive despite humanity’s best efforts to find them.
Armies “trying to make the world safe for democracy,” humanitarian efforts, missionaries, “think tanks,” new scientific labor-saving devices, computers, cellphones, better school systems, fundraising efforts to eradicate deadly diseases, etc., will all fail—because humanity will not humble itself and seek the God who does have solutions—all of them!—to man’s greatest troubles!
But, when it is almost too late, Christ will intervene in power and glory to save man from himself!
What about you? What will you do to prepare yourself for what lies ahead? Notice: “At that time...there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation...and at that time Your [God’s] people shall be delivered...And many...that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life” (Dan. 12:1-2).
This describes the resurrection of the dead—of the true saints of God, who reign with Christ! Let’s read: “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 God’s Church—the true Church] 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 state plainly that Jesus’ Second Coming will be sudden and unexpected. Christ is repeatedly depicted as coming “like a thief in the night.” Carefully read these verses. Christ returns to an unsuspecting—and unprepared—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 can be your future!
You are the “captain of your own ship”—the “master of your own destiny.” It is your choice to reject God’s warning or to yield yourself to Him and ask Him to prepare you for rulership in His kingdom!
A formal statement is necessary here. Many write or call our Headquarters to thank us for what they call the “service” we are performing. They often add, for boldly or courageously “educating” or “informing” the public about matters others will not address. Of course, we appreciate such gratitude. But The Real Truth magazine, The World to Come broadcast and our vast library of free literature are FAR MORE than a mere “service” or attempt to “inform.”
Just knowing about the last days means nothing. There is a warning attached to this subject. Notice what God recorded in Ezekiel (twice) to one who would be alive at the end of the age: “I have made you a watchman unto the house of Israel [the book America and Britain in Prophecy explains in detail who is the house of Israel]: therefore hear the word at My mouth, and give them WARNING FROM ME” (3:17; 33:7)—meaning, this is from God not any human.
Understand. Someone, somewhere—yes, someone, somewhere!—had to be raised up to do this. God does not speak audibly from the heavens, but rather through His human servants. But make no mistake. The warning is not from the servant, it is from GOD!
You have been warned. You now know the last days are here. What will you do?