Whenever I present an overview of the signs of the
times that point to the soon return of Jesus, I am often
confronted by someone often a professing Christian - who
will say, "Come on David, these signs you are talking
about have always existed in one degree or another, so
what else is new?" They will then proceed to point out
that there have always been wars and rumors of war,
there have always been natural calamities, and
throughout history Christians have always been
persecuted. Then comes the inevitable challenge: "Show
me something really new and unique that clearly points
to our day and time as the season of the Lord's return."
The challenge is understandable, but it is not
entirely legitimate. That's because Jesus said the end
time signs would be like "birth pangs" (Matthew 24:8).
In other words, the signs would increase in frequency
and intensity as the time draws near for Jesus to
return. There would be more earthquakes, and more
intense ones. Wars would be more frequent and more
horrible in their degree of devastation. And that, of
course, is exactly what has happened in this century.
All the signs have been increasing exponentially in both
frequency and intensity.
But still, it is legitimate to ask if there are any
signs that are truly unique to our day and time - signs
that have never existed before. Are there new signs that
clearly point to this period of history as the time of
the Lord's return? The answer is yes.
A Key Prophecy
A verse that immediately comes to mind in this regard
is found in Daniel 12. Daniel was given many prophecies
by the Lord. Those relating to his day and time he
clearly understood. He even seemed to understand
prophecies that the Lord gave him relating to distant
times, such as the succession of Gentile empires that
would ultimately lead to the establishment of the Roman
Empire. But when it came to prophecies about the end
times - the period leading up to the Lord's return as
King of kings and Lord of lords - Daniel did not
understand what was revealed to him.
He wrestled mightily with the prophecies and finally
cried out to the Lord in despair. "I have heard," he
said, "but I do not understand! What do these events
mean?" (Daniel 12:8). The Lord, in effect, responded by
saying, "Cool it, Daniel, because it is not for you to
understand!" The Lord's actual words were: "Go your way,
Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up
until the end time" (Daniel 12:9). It was Daniel's
responsibility to deliver the prophecies, not understand
Note that Daniel was told the prophecies would not be
understood "until the end time." In fact, in the very
next verse the Lord told Daniel that at the proper time
"those who have insight will understand" (Daniel 12:10).
Accordingly, there are many end time prophecies that
have never been understood until now, either because
their understanding depended on historical events or
because they were dependent upon technological
developments. The fact that these prophecies have become
understandable in recent years for the first time ever
is proof positive that we are living in the end times.
Let's look at some examples from the book of Revelation.
The Tribulation Slaughter - Revelation 6
says that the Tribulation will begin with a series of
judgments that will result in the death of one-fourth
of Mankind. The world's population is approaching six
billion. That means one and a half billion people will
die in the initial judgments, reducing the world's
population to 4.5 billion. The next series of
judgments, recorded in Revelation 8 and 9 will kill
another third of Mankind. One-third of 4.5 billion is
another one and a half billion. Thus, in the first 3
years of the Tribulation, a total of 3.5 billion
people will die. That's half the population of the
Is this possible apart from the use of nuclear
weapons? Only if it is a supernatural intervention of
God. But God normally works through natural
The unparalleled carnage of the Tribulation seems
to me to point to nuclear weapons. Revelation 8 speaks
of one-third of the earth being burned and one-third
of the seas being polluted (Revelation 8:7-8). Later
in the Tribulation, near the end, we are told that
people will suffer from "loathsome and malignant
sores" (Revelation 16:2). That sounds like one of the
effects of radiation poisoning.
The advent of nuclear weapons makes possible for
the first time the overwhelming Tribulation carnage
portrayed in Revelation. I think nuclear power was
what Jesus referred to in His Olivet discourse when He
said that the end times will be characterized by "men
fainting from fear and the expectation of the things
which are coming upon the world; for the powers of
the heavens will be shaken" (Luke 21:26, emphasis
The prophecies concerning the Tribulation carnage
have clearly depended upon a major technological
breakthrough for their understanding. We are living in
the time of that breakthrough.
The Army of 200 Million - Chapters 9 and 16
of Revelation state that an army of 200 million
soldiers will march "from the east" toward Israel.
Daniel 9 indicates that this will be an army
representing nations in revolt against the
Demographers estimate that the total population
of the world at the time the Apostle John wrote
Revelation (95 A.D.) was only 200 million. How could
an army that size march out of the east? It made no
sense. In fact, it took 1,650 years for the world's
population to double to 400 million! At the beginning
of this century the total world population was only
1.6 billion, still too small for an army of 200
million to march from the east.
But this century has witnessed an exponential
increase in population. The population count is now at
5.8 billion, and just one country to the east of
Israel - namely, China - could field an army of 200
Here we have a clear example of a prophecy about
the end times that could never be understood apart
from historical developments.
The Two Witnesses - Revelation 11 reveals
that two great witnesses of God will preach in the
city of Jerusalem during the first 3.5 years of the
Tribulation. Then, in the middle of that terrible
period, the Antichrist will kill them.
We are further told that their dead bodies will
lie in the streets of Jerusalem for 3.5 days and that
all the people of the world will look upon them. How
could that be? Prior to 1957 that prophecy was not
understandable in natural terms. There was just no way
that all the people of the world could look upon two
dead bodies in the streets of Jerusalem.
All that changed on October 4, 1957 when the
Russians sent up the first Sputnik satellite. Today,
30 years later, our planet has many man-made
satellites circling it, making possible all sorts of
instantaneous communication. When those two prophets
lie dead in the streets of Jerusalem, all someone will
have to do is point a TV camera at them, send the
signal up to a satellite, and all the world will be
able to look upon them. Once again, modern technology
has made an ancient prophecy understandable for the
The Nation of Israel - Revelation 12 focuses
on the nation of Israel. It makes clear that in the
middle of the Tribulation Satan will motivate and
empower the Antichrist to annihilate the Jewish state
and its people. A remnant of the Jews will flee into
the "wilderness" where they will be supernaturally
protected by the Lord (Revelation 12:14).
At the time the book of Revelation was written,
Jerusalem had already been destroyed by the Romans and
the worldwide distribution of the Jews had begun.
Until this century, there was never any prospect that
the nation of Israel would ever exist again. There
were, of course, prophetic scholars who pointed to the
many promises in Scripture that say the Jews will be
regathered in the end times and the nation of Israel
will be reestablished once more. But people laughed at
these scholars and wrote them off as "dreamers" who
were out of touch with reality.
Then, on May 14, 1948 the "dream" came true. The
independence of the nation of Israel was proclaimed,
and the Jewish state came back into existence for the
first time in almost 2,000 years.
All the end time prophecies of the Hebrew
Scriptures make it clear that the Lord will return
when the Jews are back in the land (Ezekiel 37) and
back in their capital city of Jerusalem (Zechariah
12). Jesus emphasized these two events in His
teaching. He pointed to the reestablishment of the
state in his fig tree parable (Matthew 24:32-35), and
He stressed the importance of the reoccupation of
Jerusalem in His Olivet discourse (Luke 21:24). He
stated point blank that when Jerusalem is no longer
under Gentile control, all the end time events would
take place. Jerusalem ceased to be under Gentile
control on June 7, 1967.
The central piece of the end time world political
puzzle is now in place for the first time.
The Image of the Beast - Revelation 13 says
that the Antichrist's religious leader, the False
Prophet, will make an image of the Antichrist that
will appear to come alive and speak. This trickery
will amaze most of the world's population and will
cause many of them to give their allegiance to the
What is the explanation of this event? Many
have concluded that Satan will empower the False
Prophet to give the image life. But Satan does not
have the power to create life. Satan is a liar and a
So, again, how can the False Prophet give an image
life? I don't see any way for him to do it apart from
modern technology. The illusion can be created through
the use of modern robotics.
Thirty years ago in 1967 I took my family to
Disneyland. We went into a theatre where we saw a man
who looked exactly like Abraham Lincoln get up out of
his chair in stage center, walk to the edge of the
stage, grab the lapels of his jacket, and proceed to
quote the Gettysburg Address. When he finished, a lady
behind me exclaimed, "Wasn't he a good actor!" He was
not an actor. The "actor" was a robot. That was thirty
years ago. Think what could be done today with the
advances in computer technology.
The Mark of the Beast - Another prophecy in
Revelation 13 that is dependent on modern technology
is the famous one that states the Antichrist will
control the world's economy by requiring people to
bear his mark or name on their hand or forehead in
order to buy or sell anything.
Again, how could this be possible before the
invention of laser and computer technology?
The Uniqueness of our Age
After reviewing the prophecies listed above, I don't
think we need any handwriting on the wall to indicate to
us that we are living in a unique age. Historical
developments and technological inventions are making it
possible for us to understand many end time prophecies
for the first time.
Nor is the list above an exhaustive one. I could name
many other signs unique to our day and time - such as
the reunification of Europe, the exponential increase in
travel and knowledge, and the preaching of the Gospel to
the whole world.
Even the phenomenal success of Hal Lindsay's book,
The Late Great Planet Earth, is a unique sign of
the times. Keep in mind that this book was the number
one best seller in the world, with the sole exception of
the Bible, for ten consecutive years, from 1970 to 1980
(as authenticated by Time Magazine). What was it
that the Lord told Daniel? - "Seal it up to the end of
time when those who have insight will understand."
The bottom line, my friends, is that we are living on
borrowed time, because Jesus is coming soon!