A local priest and pastor stood by the side of the road holding up a sign that read: "The End is Near! Turn yourself around before it's too late!" "Leave us alone you religious nuts!" yelled the first driver as he sped by. From around the curve, they heard a big splash. "Do you think," asked one clergy of the other, "that we should just put up a sign that says 'bridge out' instead?"
Admittedly, there is a lot of careless communication regarding the end times; but, with that said, much of the world is receiving that communication much like the driver in the above anecdote. Yet, the kind of negative reaction that deems as "nuts" those who talk about the possibility of soon end-times fulfillment does not change the fact that it, indeed, could come soon.
In fact, there are seven signs indicating that end-times fulfillment may arrive much sooner than most believe. We will briefly state each of those and allow you to come to your own conclusion on the evidence.
The first is the world's focus on Israel. This is exactly what we would expect on the eve of end-times fulfillment, and that is what we see today. Tiny Israel, no bigger than the state of New Jersey, is commanding the attention of the world—for good or for ill. The Bible predicts that the world's focus on Israel will result in ten leaders of nations representing the world in order to guarantee terms of "peace and security" as co-signers of a treaty with Israel. When the world realizes the treaty will be confirmed, world leaders will proclaim "peace and security," as per 1 Thessalonians 5:3.
The thought of that end-times treaty brings us to the second sign—the world's focus on a Middle East treaty. This is also what we see today. It is not just U.S. leadership that is focused on that treaty; Arab states have pushed that to the foreground of their discussions, the European Union has made it a priority interest, so has Russia; in fact, so has the U.N., which has desired for some time to lead the way on that treaty. One leader after another has communicated that if a Middle East treaty, involving Israel, were enacted, the world's problems would be solved. (Yes, I realize that is an exaggerated statement; however, that very thought has been proclaimed among Arab leadership, as well as European leaders.) Since the Bible portrays the final seven years leading to the return of Christ as beginning with the initiation of a seven-year treaty with Israel, then, surely, we would expect the world's focus on a treaty with Israel to be prevalent on the verge of end-times fulfillment—particularly a treaty in which "peace and security" are repeatedly mentioned together in the same sentence with it.
If we were on the cusp of the end times, we would also expect the world to be focused on "peace and security" (again, as per 1 Thessalonians 5:3). Well, guess what? If you have been listening closely to world leaders since 9/11—and especially in the past two years—you would have heard "peace and security" emanating from the mouths of world leaders again and again. As just one example, in a recent speech on the Middle East peace process (addressed to the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy), Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used the word "peace" 24 times and the term "security" 23 times! In the world of terrorism we experience today, this focus on "peace and security" simply makes sense. (For example, two weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal stated that somewhere in the world, a radicalized Muslim "will try to blow up innocent men, women, and children in a suicide mission". The New York Times reported recently that the German Interior Ministry ordered simultaneous raids in three German states against radicalized jihadist networks. These examples could be multiplied again and again.) It also makes sense that if we were near to end-times prophetic fulfillment, we should expect to see this increased focus on "peace and security" just before the confirmation of the end-times treaty.
Fourth, if end-times fulfillment were close at hand, we would expect the greatest terroristic state in the world—and the one which has threatened the existence of Israel—to bring on the "end times" by racing toward nuclear capability, so it could introduce its "Messiah" to the world. Of course, we are speaking of the Iranian regime which believes it will introduce the Twelfth Imam (the Mahdi) to the global stage via the chaos of a nuclear launch AND the destruction of the Jewish nation.
Fifth, if we were close to end-times fulfillment, we would expect a global financial crisis to hit—one which could eventually bring down the superpower of the world by its massive debt and by replacing its currency as the world's reserve currency (which has been discussed seriously by the International Monetary Fund, the EU, Arab states, Russia, Brazil, etc.). In addition, we would expect this financial crisis to speed the talk of a one-world currency (which it has) and a one-world economy (which it has) in order to prepare for the mid-point of the future seven-year period (mentioned above). For at that point, a world leader will enact a one-world economic system, which he will control (as per Revelation 13:16-18).
Sixth, we would also expect the vanishing role of the world's superpower. There have been indications of that possibility—both politically and economically. Certainly, this sixth sign will be fulfilled if the U.S. economy goes through the kind of Armageddon that has been predicted by a number of economists.
Finally, as argued in my book, Apocalypse 2012: The Ticking of the End Times Clock—What Does the Bible Say?, if we were on the verge of end-times prophecy, we would expect the state of the Church (the global body of all who have believed in Jesus Christ for their eternal destiny) to be lukewarm and ineffective at reaching the world with the gospel of Christ. Well, the most recent Gallup Poll survey showed that 7 out of 10 Americans say religion has lost its influence on American life, which is an indictment on the Church. Other recent surveys and studies have shown that the world's population is growing far faster than the conversion rate to Christianity. The Church seems to be at a point at which Jesus will soon come in the air to pull it out of the world (an event referred to as the rapture of the Church) so that the Lord can begin again with two Jewish prophets (cf. Revelation 11) who will reach Israel for Christ, and, as a result, send 144,000 Jewish evangelists around the world to reach the nations with the gospel of Christ. (In this way, Israel will then become the light to the nations God wanted it to be long ago.)
So, as you look at the evidence of these seven signs, what is your verdict? Am I communicating like a "religious nut," or do we really seem to be on the verge of seeing end-times fulfillment? You be the judge.
Keep looking up!