Updated: Jun 23, 2022
Professor and author Dr. J. Budziszewski, wrote a masterful book titled, What We Can't Not Know. In it, he challenges the modern assumptions that moral truths have somehow become unknowable. He argues that since moral truths are grounded in natural law, and thus, ingrained in human nature, we can regain some confidence in them while traversing through this perplexing age of postmodernism and cultural relativism. I would argue that as believers, and moreover, as watching believers, we should have even more confidence given what we know, and can't not know, that the nearness of the Lord's return, is indeed, at hand.
I know, I know, men have been attempting to predict when the Lord would return now for millennia. Every conceivable calculation, astronomical alignment, geopolitical arrangement, and technological advancement have been scrutinized and theorized against the Holy Bible to align with some future prospective date. Nevertheless, those in the past who have settled on a hard future date for the apocalypse (Christian and otherwise), have all been proven wrong. Some are gloriously wrong. For example:
Failed Apocalypse/Second Coming Predictions (a sampling)
1000AD- Promoted by Roman Catholic Pope Sylvester II
1284- Promoted by Pope Innocent III
1524- Promoted by London Astrologers (world to end by giant flood)
1666- Promoted by the group the British Fifth Monarchists
1780- American colonists panicked by the sun going dark due to a massive forest fire
1806- A Leeds Witch/con artist
1844- William Miller’s “Great Disappointment”
1856- Ellen G. White’s 1856 SDA Conference
1874, 1914- Jehovah's Witness's Second Coming Prediction
1881- Mother Shipton's prediction
1936, 1943, 1972, 1975- Herbert Armstrong (Church of God) predicted dates
1988- “88 Reasons”
1993- Korean Doomsday Cult, Harold Camping
1994- Harold Camping
1999- End of the century-millennium, Y2K
2007- Pat Robertson in his book, The New Millennium
2011- Harold Camping, seven years before 2018
2012- Mayan Calendar
2014-15- Blood Moons
2016- Al Gore environmentalist apocalypse
2017- September 23 “Rev 12” Sign
2018- Seventy years from 1948
2020- Reuters prediction that “millions will die” unless climate policies change
Clearly, all of the proposed dates listed above have come and gone, and despite how persuasive many of the arguments for the aforementioned dates have been, we remain. But why is that? (Coming soon: Randy and I are working on an article dealing with this specifically) This article will not be joining the above list in naming any future dates, because a) I don't know it, and b) we can't know specifically.
However, instead of looking at the date, we can't know, let's look at this from a different perspective. As with any good hypothesis, the quality of the hypothesis is predicated on the quality of the question. So here is the question:
What are the technology and events which exceed the scope of that which is written of in Revelation?
Clearly, the book of Revelation mentions many technological realities which have confounded theologians, scholars, and laypeople for millennia. For instance, how could the whole world see the bodies of the Two Witnesses lying dead in the street of Jerusalem at the same time? How could one man control all buying and selling in the world? What confounded everyone for millennia, is easily explained in our day; satellite television and digital currency.
In fact, these technologies not only exist but are so commonplace these days that we have largely become desensitized to them. But there are some things currently in the cooker for what man intends to do in the very near term, that isn't in the Bible. These events and technologies listed below exceed the reality as found in the book of Revelation as well as other books of the Bible. These are:
World wide revival
Let us consider each one and see why they can't either exist before the Rapture (Rev. 4:1-2) or until the Lord returns at the Second Coming (Rev. 19).
1. Interplanetary Colonization: besides the fact it's not mentioned in Revelation, how could those who are stationed on the moon or Mars, suffer any of the 21 judgments that God pours out upon the earth? Perhaps this is why Jesus makes a point of identifying those who enter into the 70th Week (the Tribulation) as being earth dwellers (Rev. 1:7, 3:10, 5:3, 6, 10, 13, 6:15, 7:1, etc.). Nevertheless, Elon Musk (and others) are attempting to colonize the moon and Mars before the end of the decade. God will not allow mankind to spread beyond the earth.
2. Singularity: According to Wikipedia, the Singularity means: "a hypothetical point in time at which technological growth becomes uncontrollable and irreversible, resulting in unforeseeable changes to human civilization. According to the most popular version of the singularity hypothesis, called intelligence explosion, an upgradable intelligent agent will eventually enter a "runaway reaction" of self-improvement cycles, each new and more intelligent generation appearing more and more rapidly, causing an "explosion" in intelligence and resulting in a powerful superintelligence that qualitatively far surpasses all human intelligence."
First, I believe there will be some kind of general Artificial Intelligence utilized by the Beast system to help enslave the earth dwellers into the Mark of the Beast system. What we won't have, is this all-powerful, artificial superintelligence (think Skynet) apart from the man Antichrist. Satan will not share his glory and seven-year throne with anyone, let alone a sentient computer system. Experts predict that Singularity will occur sometime between 2045 and 2075 given our current trajectory. However, we all know that technological advancements can happen much sooner.
3. Time Travel: Now, when I mention this, I think everyone immediately thinks of the movie, Back to the Future. As fascinating as time travel maybe, this is not necessarily how I think scientists view it. The traveling portion isn't necessarily to the past, but to either parallel time (i.e., pausing time for the traveler) or into the future. They may not even have a human traveler go forward, but rather, a machine/robot/synthetic human do the traveling and grab information to bring back to the past. Of course, we know if this were possible, Satan would have already exploited this to even further confuse and lie to humanity about what the distant future holds. However, we know that time is God's domain, and He alone is the only One who can traverse time as He sees fit. Nevertheless, mankind is feverishly attempting to do this by creating 'wormholes' and other ways to bend time and space.
4. Teleportation: Teleportation can be defined simply as going from one point in time and space to another, without having to actually travel there. It would be akin to taking a shortcut through a dimensional opening. As humans get closer and closer to understanding how the universe works, many feel they are closer than ever to figuring out how interdimensional gateways work. This is one of the purposes of the CERN project in the European Union.
The image was taken above the CERN supercollider complex in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2016
The late Chuck Missler (among many others) theorized we exist in at least 10 dimensions simultaneously (four we know about and six we don't). Others have theorized that this was the real purpose of the Tower of Babel. They (those building the tower) were attempting to reopen a gateway to the spiritual realm that had been closed as a result of the Flood.
While modern people aren't necessarily attempting to reopen the interdimensional portal for those purposes, the potential for teleportation, even if it's only goods and products, would be a watershed moment for humanity. Think of logistical improvement in our modern era- instead of traveling by boat, plane, or 18-wheeler, goods could be shipped instantly from the factory to the store. Weapons could be sent directly from the factory to the front line. The marketing and economic possibilities for them are no doubt, exhilarating.
For the record, I do believe mankind will achieve this feat. Except, when they do, they aren't going to be using these dimensional gateways to ship goods and people through; rather, they will unintentionally unleash something God has kept locked away for millennia. (See here).
5. Worldwide Revival: Although I have no doubt that the period just after the Rapture and prior to the Great Delusion (2 Thess. 2:9-12) will be a time of tremendous soul harvesting, this will not occur before the Rapture. Jesus wrote seven letters to seven churches, and because of the order they are given to us, indicates a weakening and collapsing state of the church across Christendom at the time of the Rapture. Likewise, the epistles (2 Timothy, James, 2 Peter, Jude) also indicate a global culture in decline descending quickly into wholesale wickedness, not turning back to God.
What we know
We know in Genesis 11:6, that God makes a profound, yet often underrated statement: And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.
Think about that for a second; Nothing will be withheld from mankind when they are united in one purpose and in one language. Given the proper amount of time, resources, and know-how, mankind could colonize Mars. Mankind could figure out interdimensional teleportation. Mankind could create a technological Singularity. However, God will not allow these things to go that far. This is why God shut the way to the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve sinned (Gen 3:22-24). This is why God flooded the earth during Noah's day (Gen. 6:5-7). This is why God stopped the Tower of Babel before it was finished (Gen. 11:6). Not that God is afraid of tall buildings, or what they were intending to do, but that the building itself (as well as the previous situations) would have permanently and disastrously altered the course of human history going forward. Likewise, this is why God will not allow this generation to do likewise. There are some things, however, God is going to allow to play out. And it will not turn out how mankind thinks it will.
1. Temporary immortality: Revelation 9:6 states- "And in those days people will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, and death will flee from them!" Somehow, in connection with opening the dimensional portal that unleashes the demonic hordes from the abyss, mankind makes some kind of breakthrough that prevents death. Perhaps this is tied in with the genetic upgrade the Mark of the Beast gives the bearer? However this comes about, this medical breakthrough comes at exactly the wrong time, as men are now being tortured beyond comprehension by the demonic hordes...only now wishing they could die but are unable.
2. Becoming post-human: While I believe this is already becoming a reality, depending on what criteria we use to determine what it means to be human, the general consensus is that changing our DNA by more than 1% makes us 'post-human, or transhuman.' Now, many people today have bionic hearts, neural implants, cochlear implants, prosthetic limbs, digitally aided vision devices, and other modifications that help them live. This is not saying they are somehow no longer human. That's not what I'm saying. What I am saying is that we now have the technology to augment the human condition.
We also have the ability to rewrite our genetic code with technologies like CRISPR and mRNA "medicines/vaccines." We have nanotechnology, which is being used inside the human body to do all manner of things. It's this nanotechnology, married with changes to our DNA that I believe will be the fundamental characterization of the Mark of the Beast technology will bring. I imagine the mark itself (on either the hand or forehead) will be the visible representation of the genetic changes. It will be like permanently coding the Antichrist's name (or its numerical equivalent) into each bearer's human genome. This act will fundamentally change what it means to be human. It could also, as a friend of mine suggested, assign a demon to each person as well. And thus, like the Nephilim of old (i.e. human/angel hybrids) they cannot receive salvation, because salvation is reserved only for the sons of Adam.
As usual, Billy Crone is about 10 years ahead of everyone else in terms of thinking through the technological realities of what is coming!
Just as the Lord prematurely stopped the builders at Babel before the construction was finished, what is our modern-day equivalence to the Tower of Babel? All things considered, I'd say the single most significant invention has been the creation of the World Wide Web. Now, it's not that the Internet could exist without the other foundational things, like the harnessing of electricity or the creation of computers, but the Internet opened the door to the Age of Information as nothing else could. This is what is uniting mankind as nothing else has in the last hundred years.
Because of the Internet, we have global communication. We have E-Commerce and digital financial systems. We have the mass acceleration and proliferation of information and information processing in every field of human intelligence; everything from Quantum physics to medicine. Artificial Intelligence. Information processing. So what is the end-state for the Internet? Most conclude it will be Singularity. The moment when Artificial Intelligence becomes self-aware. Some are trying to counter that threat by putting the same level of technology into the human brain.
We know after the Rapture of the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ will open the Seals and unleash the judgments which will come upon the world. We know there will be a great harvest of souls after the Rapture when the seeds we planted now, will finally begin to bear their fruit. What I suspect (a theory really) is part of the cause of the great martyrdom which will come by the fifth Seal judgment, are those newly converted, who are speaking out against anyone taking the new Mark of the Beast system which should just be starting to make its debut around that same time.
These Tribulation Saints will be slaughtered because they are warning people not to take it. They will be martyred because they are "halting progress." And just like the Christians in the days of the Roman Empire, they will be the ones who are considered an apostate, while the new Babylonian Church, the Mother of Harlots, becomes the preeminent religious force on the planet.
Since trying to guess when the Lord will return exactly is an exercise in futility, we are not completely left in the dark on the timing. Three passages come to mind when thinking about the time surrounding the Lord's return for His Church. Just remember, Matthew 24:36 was not Jesus' final words on the subject of His return.
Luke 17:26-32: Jesus said the days just prior to His return would be similar to those of Noah and Lot's day. There would be a sense of normalcy but also coupled with great wickedness, debauchery, violence, and all the other signs Christ gave in His Olivet Discourse. But the distinguishing differences between our day and any other generation are that: a) Israel is back in her land as a sovereign nation (necessary for Matt. 24:15-21), and b) the global wickedness is similar to the days of Noah.
Hebrews 10:25: The writer of Hebrews noted, that we would see the day approaching. If we weren't meant to know anything about when the Lord would return, then this verse wouldn't make any sense. We can't 'see the day approaching' if we don't know what that day looks like or have any reasonable expectation as to when to expect it. I believe this indicates that watching believers, who all have the same Holy Spirit guiding them into all truth (John 14:17, 16:13) are all coming to the same conclusion as to the nearness of His return. When we gather together, this Holy Spirit-driven expectancy becomes reaffirmed amongst like-minded believers.
Revelation 3:3: Jesus' message to the Church at Sardis, tells us two things: first, because Christ didn't return at the end of the first century, and also the order the letters were given to us, indicates there would be an evolution of the church ages, as well as an expectation for when (roughly speaking) the Lord should return. Clearly, if Laodicea was the first letter, then this theory wouldn't make any sense. However, given the fact Laodicea, is the last church written to, and given the fractured and broken state of most of Christendom today, the time is indeed at hand.
While we can't know exactly when the Lord will return, we can know roughly when He should. It will be, as the passages above indicate, near the end of the church age. The geopolitical, cultural, and economic conditions (global wickedness and the normalization of perversion) should line up with the times of Noah and Lot. Time-wise, it should mirror that of previous ages where roughly every two-thousand years some significant event happens in human history (as we are coming up on the two-thousandth anniversary of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ). Lastly, it will not exceed the technologies that were forecasted in the book of Revelation. Seeing how all of these descriptors match our day, and not another (either earlier or later), I would say we are most assuredly in the closing moments of this dispensation. Therefore,
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25 (NLT)
Even so, Maranatha!