So, how do we know the times we are living in are the last days spoken of in the Bible? Because the shoe fits, prophetically speaking. In fact, it is a perfect fit. The end-times prophecies (which are scattered throughout the scriptures) paint a scene which is only now beginning to clearly materialize. In my last article, we discussed the end-times battle of Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38 and 39. This battle requires an alliance between Russia, Turkey, and Iran, and no such alliance has ever existed until just a few years ago. Now it does. The recently-discovered rich oil deposits in Israel fill the part of the spoil they will be after quite nicely. Most importantly, Israel actually has to exist as a nation state for the last days’ events to occur, which was a condition absent for more than 1,850 years prior to May of 1948.
The re-gathering of Israel into the Promised Land is the critical prerequisite for all the events of the last days. Now that this has occurred, the ball is rolling quickly towards the end. There are many prophecies in the Old Testament regarding the return of Israel to the land in the last days, but two especially prominent ones are:
Isaiah 43:5-6: Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth. – NIV
Amos 9:14-15: …and I will bring my people Israel back from exile. They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the LORD your God. – NIV
We know those prophecies are speaking of last days events (and not the return of exile from Babylon), because A) the exiles are gathered from around the globe and not just from the North, and B) they are never to be uprooted from the land again. That condition has happened and is still happening now.
At the end of the book of Daniel, the prophet was told by the angel:
Daniel 12:4: But you, Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal up the book until the time of the end, when many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase. – NLT
Notice how the end times are specifically identified in this verse, and associated with two conditions. The first being an increase in travel, with many rushing here and there, and the second being an increase in knowledge. The era in which we live is unprecedented in world history as far as the ease of travel and education is concerned. Knowledge has increased. Billy Graham has correctly observed that over 90% of all the engineers and scientists who ever lived are alive right now.
Jesus himself seemed to want us to be aware of the signs of the times when he taught:
Mark 13:7-8: But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows. – NKJ
Both world wars were the beginnings of sorrows, as have all the recent devastating earthquakes been. In the parallel passages in Luke and Matthew, Jesus tells us that when we see these things begin to happen, look up because our redemption draws near. These things have begun to happen, to say the least. Redemption draws near.
The Apostle Peter gave us a reliable sign of the end times with:
2 Peter 3:3-4: Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”– NASB
Atheism is at an all-time high. Can you imagine the mocking of unbelievers getting much greater than it is already? If you don’t know what I am talking about, just read some open internet forums and blog discussions on Christian topics. In the area where I live, Atheists have actually put up this blasphemous billboard:
The Apostle Paul gave us his own glimpse of the conditions in the last days with:
2 Timothy 3:1-4 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. – NIV
Know anybody like that?
In Daniel chapter 2, the prophet interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great statue as being the successive world empires which would come. These were accurately fulfilled in the coming of the Medo-Persian Empire, the Grecian Empire, and the Roman Empire. There is still one left to come, the feet and ten toes made of iron and clay, which has some resemblance to the old Roman Empire. It is with great interest that we watch the development of the European Union. At some point they will come to having a membership of precisely ten nations, one way or another, and will form the last world empire. As church-age Christians, however, we figure to be long-gone when that happens, having gone up in the rapture. The battle of Gog and Magog will likely clear the way for that last empire to form, which will ultimately be controlled by the anti-Christ.