What are the
signs of the end times?
to know so we can explain to others why Christians believe what we believe.
As Peter says:
in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to
everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
1 Peter 3:15 (NLT)
Unfortunately, too many Christians are unable to explain why they believe we’re
in the last days when the opportunity presents itself.
argument in particular seems to catch today’s Christians off guard.
Peter forewarned us of this argument:
"Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will
come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, 'What
happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our
ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.'"
2 Peter 3:3-4 (NLT)
version I hear most often is, “Sure, you think Jesus is coming, but so have
is that our generation will pass without the Second Coming just as those
previous generations passed without His Coming.
Aside from being
illogical, this assertion flies in the face of plain observation as well as
mountains of irrefutable evidence.
A Sign of the End?
Is the prevalence of Peter’s end time skeptic argument
in-and-of itself a sign of the end times?
But let’s take a second look at what he said:
will say, 'What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before
the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was
first created.'" 2 Peter 3:4
How many times have you heard someone say, “It’s the same now as it’s
always been” or at least something along those lines?
Probably a lot.
But is it?
Is it really the same?
When non-believers tell you there are no signs of the end times which are
unique to our time, you need to be prepared to set the record straight.
Below are at least seven signs of the end times.
Commit them to memory, and as Peter says, “be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to
give the reason for the hope that you have.”
Clear Signs of the
Below is a list of seven clear signs of the end times,
which highlight the nearness of Christ’s return.
In fact, He’s so close He’s knocking on the door:
1) The Holocaust and
the Re-Emergence of Israel
One of the
preeminent signs of the end times is the Jewish survival of the Holocaust and
the re-emergence of the nation of Israel as a Jewish state.
Over 2,600 years
ago, the prophet Ezekiel foretold these events:
"Then he said to me, 'Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel.
They are saying, 'We have become old, dry bones - all hope is gone.' Now give
them this message from the Sovereign Lord: O my people, I will open your graves
of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of
Israel. When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the Lord."
Ezekiel 37:11-13 (NLT)
As God says, the
bones in Ezekiel 37 represent the people of Israel – otherwise known as the
first century Roman conquest of the Holy Land, the Jews were banished from the
land of Israel. The Romans renamed
the area Palestine, and exiled its people to farthest corners of the Roman
Yet, in Ezekiel
37, God promised to bring the Jews out of exile.
He promised to bring them back into the land of Israel.
Not only did He
promise to restore their nation, but God promised to do so by opening their
“graves” at a time when the Jews feel that “all hope is gone.”
The aftermath of
Hitler’s Holocaust of the Jewish people created these very conditions, nearly
destroying an entire race of people and draining the hope of countless
But out of the
Holocaust, God brought the Jewish people back into the land of Israel, just as
He had promised.
On May 14, 1948,
the nation of Israel reappeared in fulfillment of not just Ezekiel 37:11-13, but
countless Old Testament prophecies.
Of all the signs
of the end times, the re-establishment of Israel as an independent nation is the
clearest and most unmistakable sign that we are in the last of the last days.
2) Jerusalem is a Burden to the World
sign of the end times is the world diplomatic struggle over Jerusalem.
Zechariah foresaw this event centuries ago:
will make Jerusalem and Judah like an intoxicating drink to all the nearby
nations that send their armies to besiege Jerusalem. On that day I will make
Jerusalem a heavy stone, a burden for the world. None of the nations who try to
lift it will escape unscathed." Zechariah 12:2-3
Since 1967 when
the Israelis retook Jerusalem in the Six Day War, the division of Jerusalem and
ownership of the Temple Mount in particular, have been a source of countless
U.N. resolutions, diplomatic crises, and calls for war.
over the “Peace Process” in the Middle East is the stated number one priority of
world diplomats, and Jerusalem resides at the center of discussions about “land
With the threat
of World War III casting a shadow over every decision to rebuild Jewish
settlements or expand Israeli society, the City of Jerusalem is no doubt “a
burden for the world.”
Is this “the way
it’s always been”?
generation, Jerusalem was not “a burden for the world.”
In fact, prior to 1948, world diplomatic leaders rarely mentioned it.
3) The Dramatic Increase in Travel and Knowledge
One of the signs
of the end times that anyone can easily recognize is the recent explosive
increase in travel and knowledge.
In a vision, God
revealed to Daniel that in “the time of the end,” travel and knowledge will
you, Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal up the book until the time of the
end. Many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase." Daniel 12:4
According to the
book of Daniel, two things will increase in “the time of the end” – travel and
Is this the case
At the time the
Book of Daniel was written, horses were the world’s the fastest mode of
In fact, horses
remained the world’s fastest mode of transportation for over 2,000 years until
the Industrial Revolution spawned such innovations as the steam boat, the
locomotive, and the horseless carriage.
Prior to the 20th
Century, most people rarely traveled more than 30 miles from where they were
born. Today, people routinely travel
from one continent to another within the same day.
Today’s world is
definitely not “the way it’s always been.”
speed of travel have markedly increased!
time, few people received a formal education.
In fact, basic literacy was a foreign concept to all but an elite
minority of the world until the past 100 to 150 years.
Yet, in the past
century alone, human knowledge of science, biology, technology, and countless
fields of endeavor has exploded. And
the advent of the Internet has created a worldwide archive of human knowledge
that far exceeds even the wildest dreams of the great ancient civilizations.
knowledge base today “the same as previous generations”?
Human knowledge has also markedly increased.
Given that all
this can be ascertained from mere observation, how can anyone say with a
straight face that “things today are the same as they’ve always been”?
4) Exponential Growth Marks the Times
If a marked increase in travel and knowledge constitute one
of the most clearly observable signs of the end times, then the two are merely
components of a much larger sign of the end times – exponential growth.
Jesus pointed to exponential growth as a sign of His
"Later, Jesus sat on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to
him privately and asked, 'When will all this take place? And will there be any
sign ahead of time to signal your return and the end of the world?' Jesus told
them, 'Don't let anyone mislead you. For many will come in my name, saying, 'I
am the Messiah.' They will lead many astray. And wars will break out near and
far, but don't panic. Yes, these things must come, but the end won't follow
immediately. The nations and kingdoms will proclaim war against each other, and
there will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this
will be only the beginning of the horrors to come.'" Matthew 24:3-8 (NLT)
translation fails to communicate an important revelation from Jesus - that the
end times will be analogous to the birthing process.
According to Strong’s Concordance, the word “horrors” as translated above comes
from the word “odin” which is best translated as “the pain of childbirth” or “birth pangs.”
means that, much like birth pangs, signs of the end times will appear with
greater frequency and intensity as Christ’s return draws near. This is why Jesus
mentioned this sign first when answering his disciples' questions “When will all
this take place? And will there be any sign ahead of time to signal your return
and the end of the world?”
According to Jesus, three things in particular will increase in frequency and
intensity as the world draws closer to His return:
Have we seen
these three things increase in frequency and intensity in the recent past?
Let’s take a
brief look at wars, famines, and earthquakes over the past 500 years.
Wars – A Sign of the End Times
According to a
Wikipedia list of wars, the past 500 years have witnessed an increase in the
frequency of wars:
Century – 29 wars
Century – 59 wars
Century – 75 wars
Century – 69 wars
Century – 294 wars
Century – 278 wars
The first decade
of the 21st Century has already witnessed 55 wars, putting humanity
on course for 550 wars over the next
one hundred year period.
Have these wars
increased in intensity?
For most of
human history, wars were fought through individual hand-to-hand combat.
But the past few hundred years have witnessed the ascension of more
accurate guns, machine guns, and aerial bombing.
Today, a single weapon of mass destruction can kill hundreds of thousands
Famines – A Sign of the End Times
According to a
Wikipedia list of famines, the past 500 years have also witnessed an increase in
the frequency of famines:
Century – 6 famines
Century – 10 famines
Century – 24 famines
Century – 28 famines
Century – 30 famines
Century – 44 famines
The first decade
of the 21st Century alone has already witnessed 12 famines, putting
humanity on course for 120 famines over the next one hundred year period.
famines increased in intensity and severity?
population of the world has grown, famines have caused more and more death and
destruction in their wake.
In fact, while
the Roman Empire’s entire population at the time of Jesus is estimated to have
been approximately 55 million people, the first half of the 20th
Century alone witnessed these famines:
The 1921 famine
in Russia (5 million+ dead)
famine in China (3 million+ dead)
famine in Ukraine (2.6 and 10 million+ dead)
famine in Kazakhstan (1.2 and 1.5 million+ dead)
The 1936 famine
in China (5 million+ dead)
famine in China (1 million+ dead)
famine in the Soviet Union (1 million+ dead)
estimated 18.8 to 26.5 million who perished from famine just from these seven
And from 1959 to
1961, the Great Chinese Famine is estimated to have killed more than 36 million
dramatically increased in both frequency and intensity since Jesus first
answered His disciples’ questions.
Earthquakes – Another Sign of the End Times
According to a
Wikipedia list of earthquakes, the past 500 years have witnessed the following
number of earthquakes described as a magnitude 7.0 or greater:
Century – 2 earthquakes
Century – 3 earthquakes
Century – 7 earthquakes
Century – 13 earthquakes
Century – 29 earthquakes
Century – 123 earthquakes
The first decade
of the 21st Century has already witnessed 144 earthquakes with a
magnitude of 7.0 or greater, putting humanity on course for 1,440 such
earthquakes over the next one hundred year period!
The dramatic increase in devastating wars, famines, and
earthquakes from the time of Jesus until today is one of clearest signs of the
5) Rise of
the Gog / Magog Alliance
Yet another sign
of the end times is the current rise of the Gog / Magog Alliance.
details of this future military alliance against Israel are found in the Book of
Ezekiel, Chapters 38 and 39:
"This is another message that came to me from the Lord: 'Son of man, prophesy
against Gog of the land of Magog, the prince who rules over the nations of
Meshech and Tubal. Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord: Gog, I am your
enemy! I will turn you around and put hooks into your jaws to lead you out to
your destruction. I will mobilize your troops and cavalry and make you a vast
and mighty horde, all fully armed. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya will join you,
too, with all their weapons. Gomer and all its hordes will also join you, along
with the armies of Beth-togarmah from the distant north and many others.'"
Ezekiel 38:1-6 (NLT)
nations cited in the verses above are associated with their Old Testament
predecessors, but they all represent nations that exist today.
Below is a list of those nations, each followed by its modern day equivalent:
Magog, Meshech, and Tubal = Russia
Persia = Iran
Cush = Ethiopia
Put = Libya
Gomer = Turkey
Beth-togarmah = Turkey, Armenia, and the Turkish-speaking people of Asia
According to God, Russia will mobilize a coalition that includes these nations
in the last days.
Throughout human history, there’s never been a cooperative military alliance
between the nations of Russia and Iran – at least until the fall of the Soviet
Union in 1991.
Since then, a cooperative diplomatic and military alliance between Iran and
Russia has formed and slowly expanded, ultimately leading to Russia’s assistance
in providing Iran with the necessary support to make the Bushehr nuclear power
plant operational in 2010.
when does the Bible tell us this alliance will form?
definitely says, “in the last days”:
ready; be prepared! Keep all the armies around you mobilized, and take command
of them. A long time from now you will be called into action. In the distant
future you will swoop down on the land of Israel, which will be lying in peace
after her recovery from war and after the return of her people from many lands.
You and all your allies - a vast and awesome horde - will roll down on them like
a storm and cover the land like a cloud." Ezekiel 38:7-9
According to Strong’s Concordance, “in the distant future” is better
translated as “achariyth
shaneh” which means “end years.”
6) The Rise of
Another sign of
the end times is the current trend toward globalization.
According to the
Book of Revelation, globalization involves more than just multinational
corporations and global commerce.
One day, a single man will rule all the people and nations on the earth:
he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and
nation." Revelation 13:7 (NLT)
each passing day more and more nations are ceding their sovereignty to larger
institutions such as the European Union, the United Nations, the International
Monetary Fund, and the World Court.
Given the current global financial crisis and the potential catastrophe of a
global war, more and more diplomatic leaders and world politicians are calling
for global government.
as human technology continues to advance and mature, we’re quickly reaching a
point where global totalitarian rule will be possible.
7) The Good News
Preached Throughout the World
the following sign of the end times to His disciples in response to their
questions about the end of the age and the sign of His coming:
the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so
that all nations
will hear it; and then the end will come.”
Matthew 24:14 (NLT)
According to Christ, His Coming is preceded by the preaching of the Gospel
“throughout the whole world.”
idea is reiterated in the Book of Revelation.
I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to
proclaim to the people who belong to this world – to every nation, tribe,
language, and people. ‘Fear God,’ he
shouted. ‘Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge.
Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of
Revelation 14:6-7 (NLT)
the time of Jesus, the Gospel was confined to a relatively small number of
people in and around Israel. And
much of the earth’s land mass was completely unknown to the disciples of Jesus,
so the odds of the disciples preaching the Gospel of Christ “throughout the
whole world” in their own time was quite remote.
2,000 years later, the Gospel is preached in every nation, the Bible is
translated in hundreds of languages, and the Gospel of Christ is delivered
through thousands of ministries via radio, cable TV, satellite, and the
this “the way it’s always been?”
truth is our generation is closer to preaching the Gospel “throughout the whole
world” than any preceding generation.
Signs of the
These are just
seven signs of the end times, but they aren’t the only signs.
The Bible has
much to say about the last days and the time of the end, and as followers of
Christ, we are warned to recognize the signs of the times.
"Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these
signs indicate that the end is near." Matthew 24:28 (NLT)
Because if we acknowledge the signs of the end times as well as our Lord’s
command to stay awake and alert, we will be driven to live Godly lives. Paul
emphasized this in his letter to the Romans:
"Another reason for right living is that you know how late it is; time is
running out. Wake up, for the coming of our salvation is nearer now than when we
first believed." Romans 13:11 (NLT)
Remember, all prophecy exists to give a clear witness for Christ:
the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus." Revelation
prophecy is telling us that Christ is coming.
the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very
near, right at the door.”
Matthew 24:33 (NLT)
Britt Gillette is author of End Times Bible Prophecy, a website dedicated to
helping people better understand God’s prophetic Word.
For more information or
to sign up for his free monthly newsletter, please visit