For my more seasoned readers, let's say you could travel back in time and revisit a moment in your life. You're not going back to change the past, but simply to sit as a silent guest and listen in on a conversation you might have had back then. Let's say you decide to go back to the year 1993 when you and a friend are in a restaurant having lunch. At some point the conversation steers into the signs of the times and when you think the Lord will return.
Your friend might mention the fact that the year 1993 is exactly seven years from the end of the millennium which means the Rapture is near. One of you might add in Hosea 6:2 for good measure to seemingly shore up this idea that there is some significance to the coming year 2000.
You overhear yourself confidently mention the fact that the nation Israel is the supersign, and it's been 44 years since Israel became a nation again. You discuss the merits of a forty-year generation, but it seems since the 1948 date didn't pan out in 1988, perhaps the time might in fact start from the unification of Jerusalem in 1967. However, the idea of waiting until 2007 seems very unpalatable and too far off to be taken seriously.
Now the conversation turns back to the signs of the times. The discussion turns to the recent and unexpected presidential election of a relatively unknown democrat governor named Bill Clinton. While you don't really see America in bible prophecy, you are not really sure how she disappears apart from the Rapture because the economy is strong, the nation still largely self-identifies as a 'Christian nation,' and America still seemed like America.
You might mention the recent Gulf War in Kuwait as a fulfillment of wars and rumors of war and how Saddam Hussein could easily fill out the role of the Antichrist. You might even mention the increasing use of credit cards to make purchases and the potential for UPC barcodes to be the fulfillment of the mark of the beast.
However, as you begin to go over the signs in more depth, you and your friend realize there are still so many things that don't make sense. There are things you aren't quite sure about because you can't see how they happen. Things like how this relatively new thing called the internet will play into the Antichrist's coming kingdom. Things like how the barcode gets on your hand or forehead, and how that controls all buying and selling around the world when cash was still king.
Things like how the collapse of the evil empire (the Soviet Union) just left a messy and uncertain future for mother Russia. You still can't see how Iran, Turkey, and Russia come to form some monstrous Magog coalition when Turkey and Israel are still friends, and Russia is now becoming democratic. You don't even mention Iran, because you both know that nation is still recovering after a devastating eight-year war with Iraq. Furthermore, you don't know which of the 11 nations in the European Union will drop out to make it an even, ten-nation confederacy?
As fascinating as this conversation has become, you both come to the conclusion that there are still too many unknown variables for it to make sense. You both admit that you were in the last days (in the Hebrew 1:1 sense of the word), and if that is true, then the end didn't seem quite as bad as you thought it would be. The picture was there, but there were still too many unanswered questions. As you get up to pay the bill, the one definitive conclusion you both arrive at is that while the end is near, neither of you could see it going much further than the year 2000. You certainly couldn't see it going further than 2008, which seemed so far into the future it was bordering on science fiction territory.
Does this conversation sound familiar to anyone?
I am using 1993 as a random number, but we could go back 10, 15, or 20 years and see that much of what is happening now, was still a mystery then. It was a mystery largely because we were limited to the information available to us at the time. Now, ask yourself these questions in the present time. Can we see our nation and world going on (i.e., the status quo) another 15 years into our future? Are the signs of the times still foggy and vague, or are they becoming increasingly clear?
While it is true that we also can't see into the future, much of what is laid out in the Bible is manifesting itself into a series of possible and highly realistic scenarios. Are we struggling with things like the Gog-Magog alliance? The Mark of the Beast technology? The one world government? A one world currency? The destruction of Damascus? The post-modern and post-Christian America? The demise of the US apart from the Rapture? The Psalm 90:10 application to Israel?
I think these things are becoming crystal clear.
“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” Daniel 12:4
I think one of the more underrated signs is the explosion of prophetic understanding regarding what is coming upon the world in these last days. I mean, it's becoming so obvious now that even non-Christians are starting to see it. Think about it this way, what is becoming increasingly obvious to even the most casual of laypersons, is something the greatest eschatological minds of the past two thousand years struggled mightily with understanding.
Here is something else to take into consideration.
The four horsemen of the apocalypse, are the first four seal judgments the Lord Jesus Christ unleashes upon the earth. He does this because nobody else in the universe can do it. He is the only One who is worthy to take the scroll from the Father's hand and then open them. But consider this.
We are starting to see these horsemen's shadow form in our day. We are starting to hear the hoofbeats of the riders in our day. What this means is Satan is trying to get ahead of Jesus' opening of the seals, and preemptively break prophecy by making these happen before Jesus is ready to execute them. Obviously, we know this can't happen until after the rapture of the church because the rapture is what sets the stage for these things to come about. Remember the boundaries in Luke 17:26-30: things are normal until the rapture, and then sudden destruction and judgment. Not the other way around. The days of Noah and Lot certainly can't apply to the time inside the 70th Week. So what do the horsemen represent again?
White Horse: regional/global government- the establishment of the Antichrist's kingdom
The popularization of globalist and regional systems: BRICS, AUKUS, Agenda 2030, the Great Reset, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the World Economic Forum, etc. that is creating the framework for the ten kings, and ultimately, the Antichrist
Red Horse: peace taken from the earth
Currently, there are 30 active conflicts in the world today, with violence soaring through crime in almost every nation that will give governments the justification to increasingly fast-track weapons technologies and artificial intelligence
Black Horse: economic collapse and ruin
87% of the nations in the world struggling with inflation, energy, and food shortages, and a staggering national debt that will be the justification for first, regional CBDCs and then, a global digital currency
Pale Horse: global pestilence and death
the rise of epidemics and pandemics, and the government's exploitation of management by crisis through planned releases that will first condition the global population, then justify the implementation of biotechnology into the skin
So if we are starting to see these world leaders (who are influenced by dark spiritual forces) driving their human puppets to meet a 2030 deadline, it means are enemy is privy to information most are somehow not seeing. Most likely, because of its proximity to the 2000th anniversary of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Let us not forget that they (the demonic hordes led by Satan) were there when Christ was crucified and rose from the dead victorious. That event, above any other, is painfully and permanently etched into their memories and they are extremely sensitive to its significance.
We must also realize that God has a say in all this. As is always the case, He loves to throw monkey wrenches into the enemy's best-laid plans.
In order to not be blinded by the present, let us look back at Christ's first coming to see if there is any correlation between then, and the soon rapture of the church. We say rapture because this is the true wildcard or black swan event that Satan can't know. Nor can anyone for that fact. However, although the rapture isn't directly connected to the official start of the 70th Week of Daniel (aka...The seven-year Tribulation), it does set the stage for all of the highly chronicled and subsequent events to follow.
We know according to the Old Testament that the coming of the promised Messiah would have had to occur between two specific events:1) the passing of Israel's ability to fully govern itself (Gen. 49:10) and the destruction of the Second Temple (Dan. 9:26). Not only were these prophetic texts given centuries in advance but they were accompanied by prophetic proofs that would verify its soon fulfillment (John 18:31, Luke 19:41-44, rabbinical texts, and Josephus Antiquities 20:9).
Dr. Mark Eastman does an amazing job articulating this in his chapter (The Time of Messiah's Coming) from his book, The Search for the Messiah. Below is his summary.
"In our examination of Messianic prophecy and ancient rabbinical interpretations, we have seen a number of indicators which pinpointed the time of Messiah's coming. According to the ancient Jewish scholars, the Savior was to come:
During the time when membership in the tribe of Judah could confidently be traced. (Genesis 49:10)
Previous to the demolition of the Second Temple. (Daniel 9:24-27)
Before the scepter had departed from Judah. (Genesis 49:10)
At the beginning of the fifth millennium after creation. (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 96-99)
Remarkably, after 70 C.E., none of these criteria would ever exist again! However, when Jesus was growing up in Nazareth, the scepter had not passed from Judah, the Second Temple was still standing, and the fifth millennium after creation was at hand. Messiah had come, the scepter was removed, then the Second Temple was destroyed, just as Daniel had predicted."
Thus, the window for Christ's first coming was roughly 64 years (6-7AD - 70AD). This begs the question as to whether there will be an equal (or similar) window of time for Christ's rapture of His church, and if so, can we know it? So if we are measuring when Israel regained her national authority (1948- 75 years) or reunified her capital Jerusalem (1967- 56 years), is one of those things we'll have to wait and see. Since we know 'no man knows the day or hour', we aren't going to know specifically when the rapture happens, but that does not mean we can't know anything about His two-stage return (rapture then second coming) to establish His kingdom upon the earth when He rules from the throne of David (2 Sam. 7:16, Luke 1:31-33, Rev. 11:15, Zech. 14:9). Here are some thoughts on the subject.
Jesus explicitly stated He would come back (we can implicitly trust Him on this)
John 14:1-3: Upper Room Discourse
Matt 26:64/Rev 1:7: Coming with clouds
Luke 12:36: The faithful and evil servant
Phil 3:21-22: He is coming back to bring us home
He implied that His return would be after a long time (2,000 years is a long time)
Luke 18:8: Will He find faith on the earth?
Matt 25:19: Parable of the Talents
Luke 20:9: Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers
Matt 24:14, 28:19: The gospel to the ends of the earth
Matt 24:48: The faithful and evil servant
We won't know specifically, but the bible states we should recognize the season (convergence)
Matt 24:33: when you see ALL these things
1 Thess 5:1-9: The rapture is imminent, but if watching, we will know the season
Heb 10:25: We will see that day approaching
Rev 3:3: The church is commanded to watch, or else Christ will come upon them like a thief- the question is...watch for what? See Matt. 24:33
My theory on this is, just as it would have been possible (possible, not popular) to see the end extending forward thirty years into the future from 1993, it would be equally impossible to apply that same thirty years standard from 2023 to 2053. The reason it was possible then (1993) and not possible now (2023), is simply due to the reality of how far we've come and how fast the world is pressing forward into the framework for the first four seal judgments (four horsemen). Furthermore, technological advances are happening so quickly that they threaten to outpace the technological capabilities listed in the book of Revelation (global surveillance, global communication, human armies, etc.)
While it's hard to understand why Satan would want to press the fast-forward button on what will ultimately be his demise, perhaps he's doing it in an attempt to break prophecy by achieving those prophesied ends (i.e., the Beast kingdom) before Christ's pre-ordained timeline. In other words, he's attempting to force God's hand ahead of the coming official 2000th anniversary (2033) IF that is the standard by which God is using.
But just like our 1993 selves, we too are limited by what we can know and see in our own day. This is why Bible prophecy is crucial to our understanding of the 'whole counsel of God.' God gives us a sneak peek by way of an outline to know what is coming upon the earth, and in what order. Albeit, what we can know and see now is head and shoulders above what we could back then, nevertheless, we are still limited to our present. However, given the speed and pace at which bible prophecy is being fulfilled, should be an indicator of the nearness of His return.
Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near. Luke 21:28 (my emphasis)