The e-mail wasn’t really a personal message at all. The large, red letters across the top said, “Five Signs of the End Times in 2003.” It happens that I know the gentlemen whose names were attached to the e-mail so I decided to click on the link, which led me to another page where I had to enter my e-mail address. Only then could I discover the “Five Signs.”
Here they are:
- Israel claims her land
- Saddam’s removal clears the way for rebuilding Iraq
- A power struggle emerges in Europe
- Religious leaders debate authority of Scripture
- Democracy falters in Russia
The first sign has to do with Israel building a security fence to protect itself from terrorist infiltration. I was surprised by the second sign simply because we captured Saddam Hussein less than a month ago. The third sign involves internal squabbling among the European countries. The fourth sign has mostly to do with the crisis in the Episcopal Church occasioned by the appointment of an openly-homosexual bishop. The final sign reflects the growing power of Vladimir Putin and the trend away from democracy as the economic situation in Russia worsens.
I agree with the general observation that these things are “signs” in the sense that they correspond with the broad trends the Bible says will take place in the last days. I do believe that some sort of “United Europe” or “Revived Roman Empire” will be the incubator for the Antichrist. And the Bible expressly predicts widespread religious apostasy in the final days preceding the coming of Christ. What happened in the Episcopal Church will happen in many other mainline denominations in the days to come. I also agree that Russia will play a major role in the battles predicted in Ezekiel 37-38.
It’s harder to be certain about the rebuilding of the ancient city of Babylon simply because the term Babylon is used literally to refer to the city and figuratively to refer to the anti-God world system. It’s fascinating to recall that Saddam Hussein cast himself as a modern-day Nebuchadnezzar who would restore the fortunes of ancient Babylon (modern-day Iraq).
One trend they didn’t cite that seems hugely important to me is the increasing trend toward globalization and a centralized economy. One hundred years ago no one could imagine how anyone could completely control the world economy so that no one could buy or sell without the mark of the Beast (see Revelation 13:16-17). Today the rise of computer technology has made it possible to identify (and track) people by facial recognition, the size and shape of the iris in the eye, the shape of the ear, and even by the distinctive pattern of body heat. Much of today’s high-tech security software may pave the way for the Antichrist to control the whole world–just as the Bible predicted. All these things encourage us to believe that Christ may come in our time.