Let me begin by saying that there are many good teachers and theologians out there with many solid lists as to why we are living in the last days. My list is not so different from theirs in this regard, however, I do want to approach them from a different angle and look at some things that often get overlooked or ignored altogether.
I believe the further time progresses, the more obvious it will become for those of us watching the prophetic signs unfold. I believe this is what Paul meant in both saying in Hebrews, we would see that day approaching (the Day of the Lord) as well as we would recognize the season of the Lord’s return (1 Thess 5).
Aside from the noticeable personal reassurances this provides watching believers (John 13:19, 14:29), it also has the pragmatic effects of causing us to increase and intensify our efforts to reach a lost and dying world. Many are doubling and tripling their efforts, creating left-behind kits, and becoming bolder in faith because of the inescapable conclusion (based on the abundance of evidence) that the world is running out of time.
Therefore, let us not forget this one thing, despite all the glitz and glamour, the tribulations and distractions this world throws at us, Satan is still running this corrupted and broken system (1 John 5:19). Anyone trying to hold on to this world is clinging to a sinking ship.
The nation of Israel was used by God in Scripture as an example that we could look back upon and learn from in understanding both the nature of God and our relationship with Him. Most dispensational theologians agree that the rebirth of national Israel is truly the prophetic super sign of the last days. Her reintroduction on the global stage as a sovereign nation after nearly two millennia heralds the closing moments of human history. We wouldn’t even know where we were on God’s prophetic calendar if national Israel was still stuck in the history books. However, there is something else I want to draw your attention to regarding the time between World War I and World War II. It is an eerie parallel we see from then, until now. Quote:
The future of Israel is a wide subject, for numerous are the scriptures which treat of it. It is, moreover, a subject of profound interest, the more so because what is now prophetic is so soon to become historic. The Zionist movement of the last twenty-five years is something more than the impracticable ideal of a few visionaries; it is steadily preparing the way for the re-establishment of the Jews in Palestine. It is true that the Zionists have been frowned upon by many in Jewry, and that, for a very good reason. God's time is not yet fully ripe, and He has permitted the mercenary spirit of many of Jacob's descendants to hold it, temporarily, in check.
The millions of Jews now comfortably settled and prospering in this land, and in the capitals of the leading European countries, are satisfied with their present lot. The love of money outweighs sentimental considerations. Zionism has made no appeal to their avarice. To leave the markets and marts of New York, London, Paris, and Berlin in order to become farmers in Palestine is not sufficiently alluring. Mammon is now the god of the vast majority of the descendants of those who, of old, worshipped the golden calf. A.W. Pink (The Antichrist) [my emphasis]
I included this lengthy quote to show a recent (relatively speaking) snapshot of the mindset of European Jews in the 1920s vs. the historical reality of how history turned out. Pink wrote this back in 1923, and we know by the end of the 1920s, and certainly, into the 1930s, it was becoming increasingly uncomfortable for Jews to remain in Europe. By the late 1930s, we see the beginning of the systematic Holocaust unfolding in Europe, for which, six million Jews (and others) would lose their lives at the hands of the murderous Germanic Third Reich.
The question I want to ask you now is this; are we seeing the same things happening now in the 2020s regarding true, biblical Christianity that the European Jews saw playing out in the 1920s?
Is it becoming increasingly uncomfortable for us to remain here?
I would say, given the increasingly antichristian zeitgeist that is sweeping the planet, absolutely yes. We can see the rampant hostility increasing against Christians in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and even in western nations (i.e., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, etc.).
Some would argue those hostilities have always been there, which is true but never to the extent we are seeing today. More Christians have been martyred in the 20th-21st century, than in the previous 20 centuries combined. Part of that is due to the massive population increase we have seen in just the last 123 years. The other parts include the rapidly expanding and diverse political and religious spectrums we’ve seen the world fracture into with the end of European and Islamic colonialism. But as bad as these are, this is not the most troubling aspect of all of this.
What we have seen in the days since WWII, is a growing drive toward godless globalism, with the United States increasingly becoming the place of final refuge. As the 2020 pandemic exposed, even our western allies with weak constitutions and political safeguards, quickly succumbed to their more totalitarian natures. Even within our borders, corporations, cities, states, and federal agencies are increasingly bending the knee to a vehemently antichristian agenda (wokeism) which is determined to destroy the nuclear family, the constitution, and stamp out true, biblical Christianity.
Prior to the pandemic, our increasingly godless governments couldn’t shut churches and places of worship down legally. However, when the news of the pandemic was breaking, they used the health crisis as a means to shutter our doors and used contradictory propagandizing statements to enforce complicit compliance. They even went so far as getting the churches themselves to buy into the idea that they were “non-essential.” Thank God that there were still some brave pastors and churches out there who refused to yield to this nonsense.
America was created by our founders to be the best and last bastion of true religious freedom on the planet, and as Ronald Reagan so aptly noted, if we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth. Think about that for a second.
The good news is that Jesus foresaw this and ensured that this divine message make it to the generation of believers living in the days we are in now. Here, Jesus says;
Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Revelation 3:10
Summary: The hour of trial that is coming is global in nature. What we are looking at today, except for a handful of nations, is a world ready and willing to embrace this coming new world order. America is that final straw that breaks the back of the old-world order, and in our absence, the seven-headed beast with its ten horns and ten crowns will arise.
2) The Seven-Day Millennial Theory
“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
Over the past two centuries, modern man has become fascinated with the story of ancient civilizations. What was either lost to time or relegated to the lofty legends of old, has now had new light shown upon it in ways previous generations could never even conceive of. This was brought on, in part, by two advancements of our modern era. The first is the advancements in travel, which among other things, enabled (or fueled) the advancement of archeology. What this means is that through the expanse and ease of global travel, the ability to discover long-lost kingdoms, documents, and artifacts from ages past had now become far more accessible than ever before.
The second, tied closely to the first, is the advancements in technology, enabling mankind to look deeper, further, and closer at what he has found, and also to be able to understand (to varying degrees) what it is he finds. We might call those advancements information processing, or computing power, either way, the better man was able to assimilate these discoveries and the ease with which more eyeballs could look at it, the faster it became understood.
Therefore, these two great leaps in modernity, have shed much new light on the ancient kingdoms of old – i.e., the Egyptian, Chaldean, Assyrian, Mycenean, Hebrew, Babylonian, and Roman civilizations. What has, and still, confounds mankind, are those civilizations before the great flood, and just prior to the biblical Tower of Babel. Nevertheless, the best source material we can draw from to know about those early ages of man still comes from Holy Scripture itself.
Notwithstanding the millennia-old genealogical controversies (here and here) that have arisen between the Septuagint (LXX), Samaritan Pentateuch(SP), and Hebrew Masoretic Texts (MT), we can still know with absolute certainty several truths about where we are in time now.
The LXX places (generally) the date of creation around the year 5,500 BC, whereas the MT creation date (for whom James Ussher popularized), begins about 1,500 years later in 4004 BC. For example, the early church father Hippolytus of Rome places the first year of creation at 5,500 BC. Believing correctly as we do, that God will mirror the ages of man to that of the days of Creation, Hippolytus, Julius Africanus, and others (using the LXX exclusively), believed the Lord’s second coming to be around the year 500AD.
Hippolytus, Fragments—Hexaemeron, On Daniel II:4 (written around 200AD)
“‘For as the times are noted from the foundation of the world, and reckoned from Adam, they set clearly before us the matter with which our inquiry deals. For the first appearance of our Lord in the flesh took place in Bethlehem, under Augustus, in the year 5500; and He suffered in the thirty-third year. And 6,000 years must needs be accomplished, in order that the Sabbath may come, the rest, the holy day ‘on which God rested from all His works. ‘For the Sabbath is the type and emblem of the future kingdom of the saints, when they “shall reign with Christ”, when He comes from heaven, as John says in his Apocalypse: for “a day with the Lord is as a thousand years.” Since, then, in six days God made all things, it follows that 6,000 years must be fulfilled.’”
The Epistle of Barnabas (written AD 70–100).
“Attend, my children, to the meaning of this expression, ‘He finished in six days.’ This implieth that the Lord will finish all things in six thousand years, for a day is with Him a thousand years. And He Himself testifieth, saying, ‘Behold, to-day will be as a thousand years.’ Therefore, my children, in six days, that is, in six thousand years, all things will be finished. ‘And He rested on the seventh day.’” Epistle of Barnabas, XV:4; The Catholic Encyclopedia
Irenaeus wrote in the 2nd century (180AD):
“For in as many days as this world was made, in so many thousand years shall it be concluded. And for this reason the Scripture says: ‘Thus the heaven and the earth were finished, and all their adornment. And God brought to a conclusion upon the sixth day the works that He had made; and God rested upon the seventh day from all His works.’ This is an account of the things formerly created, as also it is a prophecy of what is to come. For the day of the Lord is as a thousand years; and in six days created things were completed: it is evident, therefore, that they will come to an end at the sixth thousand year.” Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5:XXXVIII:3
Clearly, the year 500AD has long since come and gone and thus we are left with one of two conclusions: either the model of the Millennial-Day theory is incorrect, or the LXX is off in its chronologies. I tend to believe in the latter, due to a whole host of reasons as laid out in the first hyperlink above, but as a general rule, if we were to move away from the model God put forth in the seven days of creation, it opens up man’s past and future into an unrecoverable tailspin of unknowable speculation and confusion. [Sources: https://creation.com/creation-millennium-church-fathers]
I will return again to My place Till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.”
6 Come, and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
2 After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight.
3 Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth
First and foremost, God did not need six days to create the world and universe, nor did He need the seventh day to rest. God could have created everything all at once, and never even broken a sweat (metaphorically speaking). He did that for our benefit. Furthermore, even though God can use confusion as a form of divine punishment against the wicked (e.g., Ex. 23:27, Deut. 28:20, etc.) God is not the author of confusion for His own (1 Cor. 14:33).
Nevertheless, as the LXX fell into disfavor after the publication of Jerome’s Latin Vulgate, the MT became the standard by which Judaism and Christianity would come to rely upon ever since, consequentially forcing the shift of when exactly creation began and when Christ would return.
Author’s note: I’m not discounting everything in the LXX, as I do believe it provides valuable insights in many places, but I have come to believe that its chronologies are not accurate, nor it’s dating of creation. In full disclosure, I am a young earth creationist.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention Hosea 5:15-6:3 in codifying this concept (i.e., a day is as a thousand years and vis versa), which we see found in passages like Psalm 90 and 2 Peter 3. True, the overarching meaning is that time, no matter the length, is a minor thing to God. But also true, that every jot and tittle has meaning and value in God's Word. He is not including those passages in the precious Scriptural literary real estate as vague metaphoric filler. Thus, when taken all together, have meaning like a beautiful, prophetic mosaic that creates a beautiful picture of control, order, and purpose. If you haven’t already, check out mine and Tyler's expansive look at this subject here.
Granted, some might place the dating of Christ’s crucifixion to the year 29, 30, or 32, although I am firmly convinced (but not dogmatic) that the only date that makes sense is the year 33 AD (Anno Domini). In closing this particular section, let me leave you with a quote from one of my long-standing spiritual mentors, Don Koenig, in discussing the entirety of this issue. It doesn’t say specifically when he wrote this, but it was at least ten years ago, but likely more than 20 years ago).
Some are dogmatic about the dating from Adam using only the Masoretic text of the Old Testament. By their count (using Bishop Usher's chronology), six thousand years from Adam would have occurred in 1996 AD because Bishop Usher determined that Jesus was born 4000 years from Adam in 4 BC.
However, Bishop Usher's dating assumptions may not be totally accurate. Some ancient texts require Terah to be 130 years old when Abram was born and not the 70 assumed by Usher in his chronology. This reference explains the dating problem. If true, that one error would make Usher's dating off by 60 years. There can be other chronology problems as well.
After not seeing the seventh millennium with the rule of Christ in 1996 AD, I am inclined to believe that Bishop Usher's dating from Adam is in error. It is my opinion that if the seven-day theory is true, the fourth day since Adam should have ended when Jesus was cut-off around 33 AD and not when He was born. The seventh-day Sabbath reign would then begin 2000 years after the Lord was cut-off or about 2033 AD. Don Koenig, The Prophetic Years
Summary: When you boil down all the incredible amounts of facts and figures, here is what we can know with a rather surprising simplicity.
1. From Adam to Abraham, was approximately 2,000 years
2. From Abraham to Jesus, was approximately 2,000 years
3. From Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection to 2033 will be 2,000 years
3) The Convergence of the Birth Pangs
Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
Jesus’ description of both the near and far-term prophetic signs provides a clear picture of the events surrounding the last days. Now, according to Hebrews 1:2, we have been in the last days since Christ walked the earth. So even the destruction of Jerusalem was technically in the last days, however, we may distinguish that time by calling it the beginning of the last days, from where we are today, the last of the latter days. This makes sense given my previous point, that if the totality of human history is only six thousand years in length, being in the last two means we are in the last portion of the overall time allotted to mankind.
But is that true?
If, for instance, the LXX’s reckoning of creation (5,500 BC) were correct, we would be in the year 3,723 Anno Mundi (from creation) and would have no way of truly knowing where we were on God’s prophetic calendar, aside from Israel being back in the land. Even still, this would likely mean that:
a) Israel wasn’t the super-sign of the last days
i. Her national rebirth was accidental or conspiratorial
ii. The major geopolitical events surrounding her rebirth (WWI, WWII, Holocaust) are also purely coincidental or conspiratorial
iii. Her national rebirth is of no prophetic consequence
b) the Seven Day Millennia theory is completely inaccurate
i. The Genesis creation model is (aside from the sabbath) utterly meaningless
ii. The order of creation (when things were created) was also random or meaningless
iii. Helps dismantle biblical creation science by disassembling biblical typology and prophecy
c) all of the Olivet Discourse and New Testament prophecies concerning the last days would be meaningless and/or unknowable
Or what if to extend this devil’s advocate charade out a little further, that biblical typology was unreliable, and that a) Amillennialism, b) Post-Millennialism (i.e., Dominionism, Supersessionism, Kingdom Now, etc.), c) Historic Premillennialism (Mid-Trib, Pre-Wrath, Post Trib) were all equally valid and legitimate forms of eschatology despite all of their flaws and inconsistencies.
Does that sound like God or Scripture?
For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. 1 Cor 14:33
Surely the Lord God does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. Amos 3:7
See, I have told you beforehand. Matt 24:25
But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand. Mark 13:23
Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He. John 13:19
“And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe. John 14:29
When Jesus was asked by His disciples the three questions pertaining to when these things will be, what will be the sign of His coming, and what the sign of the end of the age was, He chronicles nine things that would be congruent with the final chapter of human history. Not only would they be present (as they have been now for the better part of two thousand years), but they would come on like birth pangs, increasing in frequency and intensity as time got closer to the end. In answering my own devil’s advocate rhetoric, Jesus likens the end times signs with a universally familiar symbol as coming like birth pangs, which are of, well, the pregnancy and birth of a child.
Author’s note: For the purposes of this example, I’m using a normal birth (like Scripture does), not a C-Section (cesarean birth), or premature or induced birth.
The length of a normal pregnancy isn’t arbitrary or subjective. It has a definitive beginning (at the moment of conception), and it has a definitive end which is usually between 37 to 42 weeks later (give or take a week). Women do not deliver a healthy eight-pound baby at the end of their first or second trimester. Neither do they carry a baby beyond 42 weeks, unless there is some dire medical situation requiring it to save the life of the mother. Even still, these are rare occasions.
But just as pregnancy has its stages, and the moment of birth occurs in a window of time, no one knows the exact day or hour when that baby is going to be born unless the mother goes through some kind of artificial inducement which is usually not done unless reaching beyond 40 weeks.
Correspondingly, Jesus stated that the end would come on like birth pangs, and we would/should recognize the window of time (i.e., the season) but we can’t know the exact ‘day or hour.’ But just as there are tell-tale signs a woman is getting close to giving birth—the engagement (baby descends lower into the birth canal), increase in discharge (leukorrhea), weight gain slows, more frequent bowel movements, restlessness, cramping, and contractions, so too are we (watching believers) able to see all of these things come to pass.
Rumors of Wars
The distress of nations with perplexity
Cosmic signs and wonders
World’s moral condition deteriorating
Rise of False Prophets
While it’s not stated, the obvious reason for such an increase in frequency and intensity is both the timing of God’s prophetic calendar (the pregnancy), as well as the corresponding meteoric growth in the human population. In Jesus’ day, the total global population was approximately 200 million. In 1900, the global population was two billion. By 2023, the human population is now a healthy eight billion. I would say we are definitely at the end of the third trimester and somewhere near the fortieth week.
“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
I’ve made no bones about who I believe the Fig Tree sign is, but for those unfamiliar, I believe it to be the national rebirth of Israel. Whether some thin-skinned scholars disagree with this perspective, either to perpetuate a vanity of small differences or because they truly believe it is coincidental, is a dismissal of the colossally obvious.
First, there are many allusions to the fig tree representing Israel in both the Old Testament and New Testament, so the symbolism isn’t a stretch. (Judges 9:7-15, Hosea 9:10, Micah 4:4, Jer. 24, Zech. 3:10, Matt. 21:18-21, Luke 13:6-9)
Secondly, there is a famous example in Judges 9 that personifies trees as nations/peoples (personification is a type of literary tool that applies human attributes to non-human things). Again, a comparison between the two isn’t stretching credulity (see Luke 21:29).
The most consistent interpretation between Matthew’s Fig Tree Parable and Luke’s would be to say, if the nation of Israel is represented by a fig tree, then the other nations must also be represented by “all the trees.” While this is a method of parabolic interpretation, it certainly fits with the explosive appearance of all the new nations that arose between World War I and the 1960s.
Lastly, Israel’s national rebirth happening at the same exact time as the greatest convergence of all the other prophetic signs is either the grandest, most elaborate coincidence in all of human history, or it was divinely appointed.
And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings Acts 17:26