A year ago I felt compelled to resign my
membership in a prophecy study group because the
director suddenly revealed that he did not believe there
were any signs pointing to the soon return of Jesus,
with the possible exception of Israel.? I was astonished
by that statement, and I wrestled with what to do about
it. I finally decided that I had no choice but to resign
from the organization.
After all, I have devoted my life to
proclaiming that the signs of the times point to the
soon return of Jesus. How could I be a member of an
organization whose director denies that any such signs
exist? I concluded that my continued membership in the
organization would put me in the position of being a
house divided against myself. So, I resigned.
The signs of the times that point to the Lord's soon
return are so plentiful and obvious that I don't know
how anyone with any spiritual discernment could be blind
to them. This, in fact, is an area that even
amillennialists and premillennialists can and do agree
In 1995 I was privileged to participate in
a prophecy conference in Orlando, Florida that was
sponsored by Midnight Call Ministries. One of the
speakers was a remarkable man of God from Abilene, Texas
by the name of Elbert Peak. This is a man who has been
preaching Bible prophecy for over 60 years.
His first topic at the conference was "The
Signs of the Times." He began his presentation by
saying: "I began preaching on the signs sixty years ago
when there were very few that you could actually see.
Today they are everywhere. I am no longer looking for
signs; I am listening for sounds!"
I shouted, "Amen!" It is no longer
necessary to search for signs. We are inundated with
them. There are so many and they are so clear, that it's
like the Lord has a neon sign in the sky blinking on and
off, saying, "Jesus is coming soon!" As Elbert Peak put
it, we should be listening for sounds -- the sound of a
trumpet blast and the shout of an archangel (1
The Meaning of Signs
What is a prophetic sign? It is basically a prophecy
concerning an historical event or technological
development that will characterize a future time. Let's
consider the First Advent of the Messiah as an example.
The prophet Micah prophesied that the Messiah would be
born in the town of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Daniel said
the Messiah would be "cut off" 483 years after an edict
was issued to rebuild Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25). He also
stated that this would take place before the destruction
of the Temple in Jerusalem. And David stated in Psalm
22:16 that the Messiah's hands and feet would be
One of these signs is geographical
-- the birth site of the Messiah. The second is
historical. The edict it refers to was issued in 457 BC.
Counting 483 years from that date brings us to 27AD. The
Temple was destroyed in 70AD. So, the Messiah had to be
"cut off" (that is, killed) sometime between 27 AD and
70 AD. The third sign is technological in nature. The
method of execution at the time David wrote Psalm 22 was
stoning. Crucifixion was not even invented by the Romans
until 700 years later.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem. He was
executed in 31 AD, during the "historical window"
between 27 AD and 70 AD. And he was executed by
crucifixion. The fulfillment of these signs in the life
of Jesus serves to validate that He was the prophesied
There are over 300 prophecies in the
Hebrew Scriptures about the First Coming of the Messiah.
But many are repetitious. For example, it is said more
than once that the Messiah will be of the house of
David. When you cull out all the repetitious prophecies,
you are left with a total of 109 which were fulfilled in
the life of Jesus. (For a detailed listing of these
prophecies, order our publication entitled "The First
Advent of Jesus in Old Testament Prophecy.")
On one occasion when Jesus was teaching, the
Pharisees and Sadducees came and asked Him to give them
a "sign" to prove that He was the Messiah (Matthew
16:1-4). What they wanted was a miracle. But Jesus
responded by playing with the word, "sign." He asked
them why they could read the weather but could not
"discern the signs of the times." Jesus used the word,
"sign," to refer to fulfilled prophecies in His
The same principle applies to the Second
Coming of Jesus. There are more than 500 prophecies in
the Old Testament about the Second Coming, and one out
of every twenty-five verses in the New Testament also
speak of this great event. These prophecies contain many
signs that we are to watch for, signs that will indicate
that the time of the Lord's return is drawing near.
Jesus Himself emphasized this point in His
Olivet discourse. He presented a long list of signs that
would characterize the end times, and then He said,
"when you see all these things, recognize that I will be
near, right at the door" (Matthew 24:33). Paul also made
the point that we can recognize the season of the Lord's
return. In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 he stated that even
though the Lord will return like "a thief in the night,"
He is not coming for believers in that manner because we
are "sons of light." He is referring here to the
indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit who can open our
eyes to the signs of the times so that we are not caught
by surprise by the Lord's return. In like manner, the
author of Hebrews states that we are to "encourage one
another" as we see the day of judgment drawing near
Signs of the
The re-establishment of the nation of Israel is a
classic example of an end time historical sign. Over and
over again the Hebrew Scriptures prophesy that in the
end times, right before the return of the Messiah, the
nation of Israel will be re-established (Isaiah
11:10-12; Ezekiel 37:1-12; Amos 9:13-15; and Zechariah
12:1-3). Jesus emphasized this sign in Matthew 24 when
He told us to watch for the rebudding of the fig tree (a
symbol of Israel). When that happens, He said, the
generation that sees it "will not pass away until all
these things [the return of the Lord] take place"
The book of Revelation is full of
technological signs concerning the end times. Take, for
example, the prophecy that one-half the population of
the world will die in the first three and a half years
of the Tribulation (1/4 in the Seal Judgments and 1/3 of
those remaining in the Trumpet Judgments -- Revelation
6-9). How could such unparalleled carnage occur apart
from the development of nuclear weapons and their
missile delivery systems?
Or consider the prophecy that when the two
great witnesses of God are killed by the Antichrist in
the middle of the Tribulation, the whole world "will
look upon their dead bodies for three and a half days"
(Revelation 11:9). How could this be possible before the
development of television and satellite transmission?
Another prophecy in Revelation that has
been waiting for historical developments is the one that
states there will be an army of 200 million soldiers
that will march across Asia toward Israel during the
period of the Tribulation. At the time that prophecy was
written (95 AD), there were only 200 million people on
planet earth! It took 1,600 years for the population of
the earth to double to 400 million. In fact, the earth's
population did not reach one billion until 1850. This
century has experienced a population explosion due to
the advent of modern medicine (keep in mind that the
first antibiotic, penicillin, was not discovered until
1928!). Today, the earth's population has just passed
the six billion mark, and one Asian nation alone --
namely, China -- could easily send an army of 200
million, as prophesied in Revelation.
An Overview of the Signs
Let me present you with an outline
overview of the signs of the times:
I. Signs of Nature
(Matthew 24:7; Mark 13: 8; and Luke 21:11)
4) Signs in the Heavens
(Unusual weather, new discoveries in space, UFO's,
II. Signs of Society
(Matthew 24:12,37-39 & 2 Timothy 3:1-4)
III. Spiritual Signs
a) False Christs & Prophets and
their cultic groups (Matthew 24:5,11,2-4;
Mark 13:6,21-22; and Luke 21:8).
in the professing church (2 Thessalonians 2:3; and
2 Timothy 3:5, 4:3-4).
c) Widespread heresy in
the church (2 Timothy 4:1-4).
toward a one world religion (Revelation 17).
e) Persecution of true believers (Matthew
24:9-10; Mark 13:9,11-13; and Luke 21:12-19).
f) Outbreak of demonic and occultic activity
(1 Timothy 4:1).
a) Outpouring of the Holy Spirit
b) Revival of Davidic worship
(1 Chronicles 16:1-39; Psalm 150; and Amos
c) Worldwide evangelism (Matthew 24:14
and Mark 13:10).
d) Understanding of Bible
IV. World Political
1) Re-establishment of Israel.
(Ezekiel 36:22 - 37:1-2; Zechariah 12:1-6; Matthew
24:32-34; Mark 13:28- 30; and Luke 21:29-31).
Arab hostility toward Israel (Ezekiel 35:1 - 36:7).
3) Russia as a menacing power to Israel (Ezekiel
38:1 - 39:16).
4) Asian nations capable of
fielding an army of 200 million (Revelation 9:15-16
5) Wars and rumors of wars (Matthew
24:6-7; Mark 13:7-8; and Luke 21:10).
against kingdom -- that is, civil wars and ethnic
wars (Matthew 24:7; Mark 13:8; and Luke 21:10).
7) Reunification of Europe (Daniel 2:41-44, 7:8,
24-25, and 9:26).
8) Movement toward a one world
economy (Revelation 18).
1) Nuclear weapons.
(Matthew 24:22; Luke 21: 25-26; and
Revelation 6:8, 8:7 and 16: 2-).
and satellite transmission (Revelation 11:3-12).
3) Robotics (Revelation 13:14-15).
Computer and laser technology (Revelation 13:16-18).
5) High speed transportation (Daniel
VI. The Accelerator Sign
1) Population explosion (Revelation 9:
15-16 and 16:12).
2) Increase in knowledge
3) Increase in violence (Matthew
4) Increase in transportation (Daniel
5) Rapid disintegration of society (1
6) Signs in general to be like
birth pangs' that is, increasing in frequency and
intensity (Matthew 24:8).
VII. Signs of Israel
1) Regathering of the people (Isaiah
11:10-12 and Ezekiel 37:1-12).
Re-establishment of the state (Isaiah 66:7-8;
Zechariah 12:1-6; and Matthew 24:32-35).
Reclamation of the land (Isaiah 35:1-2,7 and Ezekiel
4) Revival of the language (Zephaniah
5) Resurgence of the military (Zechariah
6) Refocusing of world politics (Zechariah
7) Reoccupation of Jerusalem (Zechariah
God never pours out His wrath
without warning because "He does not wish that any
should perish, but that all should come to repentance"
(2 Peter 3:9). Jesus said that when we see all these
signs come together, He will be "right at the door,"
ready to return (Matthew 24: 33). God is warning, and
Jesus is at the gates of Heaven waiting for His Father's
Are you ready?