Seven Prophetic End-Time Markers

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MP3 Audio (41.9 MB)


Seven Prophetic End-Time Markers

MP3 Audio (41.9 MB)

My wife tells me I like to stay a little too informed of weather reports! I feel it’s good to know if rain’s in the forecast. Often we can tell when a thunderstorm is looming. We see black clouds rolling across the horizon. We feel the wind pick up. We hear thunder in the distance. Besides, we have the TV weather forecast—and, you know, I like to stay informed! She says, “Well, just look out the window and you’ll see what the weather is!”

The truth is, we’re quite good at predicting the weather today. Meteorologists can even tell us if we should expect rain a week from now.

Jesus referred to weather forecasting of His day in Matthew 16: “Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said to them, ‘When it is evening you say, “It will be fair weather, for the sky is red;” and in the morning, “It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.” Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times’” (Matthew 16:1-3, emphasis added throughout).

They should have known from all that was happening and the lead up to it that the Messiah was among them as foretold. Even so, the Bible reveals signs of His second coming. For example, Jesus gave a detailed prophecy in Luke 21 of what things would look like at the end of this age, with the Kingdom of God about to take over and replace Satan’s rule of this planet.

After listing conditions and events, Jesus drew another analogy, saying: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near” (Luke 21:29-31).

He further stated, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).

Please understand, watching doesn’t make us worthy. That depends on our relationship with God and our obedience to Him. Forgiveness offered through Christ is what makes us counted worthy to stand before Him without guilt—when we repent and follow Him. This is why we pray always.

Yet Jesus tells us to discern the signs of the times and to watch what’s happening. This will give us a needed sense of urgency, along with inner peace and trust in God to make it through.

Here we’ll look at seven end-time conditions to watch for—signs revealing the spiritual weather forecast of our day. If we’re watching carefully we’ll see when the fig tree is blooming, figuratively speaking, indicating that the Kingdom of God is very near!

1. The decline of the English-speaking nations

Much of Bible prophecy concerns Israel, but that includes much more than the modern Jewish state. The Jewish people are mostly of Judah, just one of the 12 tribes of Israel. Studying history and archeology along with the Bible, it is possible to determine who the modern descendants of ancient Israel are today. Foremost among them are the people of the United States, Great Britain and other English-speaking nations. (Be sure to read our study guide The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy to learn more.)

Sadly, biblical prophecy describes the decline of the end-time Israelites. This will be caused by a combination of war, financial collapse, natural disasters and social breakdown, with immorality and national sin leading to punishment.

The modern Jewish state of Israel will be in an especially perilous situation. Right now it is surrounded by threats—a soon-to-be nuclear-armed Iran to the east, Syrian chemical and biological warfare to the north, terrorist groups on all sides.

The biblical book of Hosea was meant for both ancient and end-time Israel. Listing many of the nation’s sins, the prophet delivers God’s warning of judgment if things don’t change: “Hear the word of the Lord, you children of Israel, for the Lord brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: ‘There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land. By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed. Therefore the land will mourn; and everyone who dwells there will waste away . . .’” (Hosea 4:1-3).

These evils are rampant in our society today: swearing, lying, killing, stealing, adultery—a complete disregard for God. Mentioned later in this passage is Ephraim (Hosea 4:17), the leading tribe of the northern kingdom of Israel, the northern 10 tribes (in contrast to the southern kingdom of Judah). So this prophecy is for the modern-day English-speaking people—as Hosea’s message was primarily for the end time.

In ancient Israel, true worship was corrupted by syncretism or blending with pagan religion. In effect, the Israelites came to worship the Canaanite god Baal. His name meant “Lord,” but this was the wrong Lord. Similarly, the “Lord” worshipped by today’s Israelites—many of whom are the English-speaking people of the U.S. and Britain and several nations of Europe today—is not really the true Lord of the Bible, as so many trappings and concepts of paganism are attached to him.

To put it more directly, millions of people think that they accept the true God and Jesus Christ as their Savior when they, in fact, embrace a very different form of Christianity that Jesus Himself rejects. True biblical teaching is increasingly diminished. This brings a charge and judgment, as Hosea says, against our land and against our people. So:

Watch for the continual decline of the English-speaking nations.

Watch for the continual moral and cultural degradation of the United States and Great Britain.

Watch for the United States to become a secular, post-Christian nation in values and beliefs.

Watch for fragmentation in the United Kingdom, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland perhaps seeking independence from England.

Watch for increased cultural and moral tensions in the United States as the nation becomes so hardened in opposite views that virtually nothing can receive broad support.

Watch for the United States to eventually lose influence in the world as power becomes more based on economy and currency rather than simply on military strength.

Watch for Australia to lose its stability and fall into deeper problems.

BBC Focus magazine analyzed the world’s nations according to the classic “seven deadly sins”—lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. What nation was measured, out of all in the world, as the most sinful? Australia! The United States and Canada followed as numbers 2 and 3.

2. A 10-member European-centered superstate

With an analysis of history, prophecy shows the formation of a powerful European-centered superstate of 10 nations or groups of nations shortly before Christ returns—a final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire.

The book of Revelation calls this power bloc and its dictatorial ruler “the beast”—the system portrayed as a seven-headed beast with 10 horns (see Revelation 13 and 17; compare Daniel 7). The final revival here is what Daniel 11 presents as the last “king of the North” (north of Jerusalem). In Daniel 2, the 10 toes of a metallic human image are a corollary to the 10 horns of the final revival (download and read our study guide The Final Superpower for more detail).

The apostle John recorded: “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who . . . receive authority for one hour [a short period] as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast” (Revelation 17:12-13).

As the new European political and military power develops, an influential religious leader over a powerful church will provide guidance and unity to this new superpower.

This short-lived, end-time empire is orchestrated by Satan, the seven heads and 10 horns emerging from him (Revelation 12:3; Revelation 12:9; Revelation 13:2). Amazingly, the Beast power and its ruler will be worshipped worldwide. Satan will transform this political and military might into a great religious crusade.

John wrote: “And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast” (Revelation 13:3). This foretold the Roman Empire’s past fall and its later resurrection. In fact, there have been several successive Roman revivals.

“So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’” (Revelation 13:4).

Thus, it’s a military power as well as a political and religious power. Revelation 18 shows the system, there called Babylon, to also be a great economic power.

Continuing in chapter 13: “And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months”—3½ years (Revelation 13:5). This corresponds to the “one hour” or short period of the final revival we saw above.

“Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints [true Christians] and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation” (Revelation 13:6-7). So this is a world-spanning totalitarian power, the likes of which we have never seen.

We’re further told that “all who dwell on the earth will worship him” except for those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life—Christ’s true followers who obey God (Revelation 13:8). And: “If anyone has an ear, let him hear” (Revelation 13:9). What we read here is that we’d better be listening to this warning. We’d better be watching and make sure we’re on God’s side—not the devil’s. So:

Watch for the continued unification or restructuring of the European Union into a merging of 10 powerful nations or groups of nations with the world’s largest economy that will dominate the globe.

Watch for the decline of the democratic influence in the European Union and a drift into autocratic leadership, most likely dominated by Germany.

For several decades following World War II, Germany appeared content to just let France lead the way in European affairs. But in recent years, their partnership has been a lot more equal, and the pendulum now even swings more toward Germany.

Watch for the people of the world to look to a man to save them—trading their freedom for rescue from total societal collapse. The world may be in such disarray that people are happy to have someone take charge.

Watch for other nations to follow Britain in seeking to leave the European Union as Europe moves away from democratic principles. It could be that this is how there will be just 10 national rulers handing over power in the final union, as Daniel and Revelation both prophesy.

Watch for the continued decline of Russia as it finds itself outside of both Europe and Asia. The culture of the czars and the Soviet premiers and presidents is not working in modern times.

Watch for the buildup of European military might, like many journalists are predicting, centered once again in Germany.

3. A powerful false church

As the new European political and military power develops, an influential religious leader over a powerful church will provide guidance and unity to this superpower. The book of Revelation refers to this church as “the great whore” and “the mother of harlots,” and its leader as “the false prophet.”

A woman is used to represent Israel and the true Church in Revelation 12. The true Church is “the church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:15) which will become the bride of Christ at His return (Revelation 19:7-9). This woman is arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, representing the righteous acts of God’s faithful people (Revelation 19:8).

But, in contrast, in Revelation 17 a wealthy, immoral woman is used to depict a revival of ancient pagan Babylon as a false church: “The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written: mystery, babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth. I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus . . . The angel said to me, ‘. . . I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns’” (Revelation 17:4-7).

This false church, led by the False Prophet who will perform “great signs” (Revelation 13:13 Revelation 19:20; 2 Thessalonians 2:9), will direct the end-time Roman Empire, as it did the earlier empire and previous revivals.

Through her influential relationships with the highest political and social circles, she will become the pride of this world but also will be the relentless persecutor of God’s people. God accuses her of being “drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Revelation 17:6).

Her cultural and religious roots go back to ancient Babel, the city where mankind rebelled against God soon after the great flood in the time of Noah (Genesis 11:4; Genesis 11:9).

When the apostle John saw her (this harlot woman representing the great false church) he “marveled with great amazement.” Then the angel said to John: “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues” (Revelation 17:6; Revelation 17:15).

Watch for the increasing prominence of a powerful false church with influence worldwide—over “peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues” (Revelation 17:1; Revelation 17:15).

Watch for a church that commits “fornication” with the world’s political leaders—compromising principles and exchanging favors (Revelation 17:2).

Watch for the increasing influence of a church considered the “mother” of many other churches (Revelation 17:5).

Watch for a church whose teachings and practices originated in the ancient Babylonian mystery religion (Revelation 17:5).

Watch for a church responsible for the persecution and martyrdom of many true Christians down through history (Revelation 17:6). 

4. New alliances and the king of the South

The new world order of globalization has resulted in the rise of new powers in the place of domineering superpowers. Smaller nations hold hostage the greater powers of our day. And even smaller terrorist organizations wreak havoc and fear on much larger enemies.

All this is leading toward new alliances. These relationships are based on financial benefit, including regional trade, and on mutual protection, with consolidation of military strength.

So, with the decline of the English-speaking nations mentioned earlier, who will fill the power vacuum?

Much of the answer is found in Daniel 11, the longest continuous prophecy in the Bible. Historians can go through its verses, one by one, and pinpoint exactly what Daniel prophesied—Alexander the Great, the great empires of the world, various wars and conflicts through the centuries. And then we come to verse 40, which concerns the end time.

“At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him [the king of the North]; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He shall also enter the Glorious Land [the Holy Land], and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab and the prominent people of Ammon [modern Jordan]. He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape” (Daniel 11:40-42).

What we see here is the aforementioned united European power as the king of the North, being to the north of Jerusalem. The king of the South is most likely a group of Islamic nations centered to the south of Jerusalem that will band together to protect and advance their interests, religion and culture. You can read a detailed analysis of this in our free study guide The Middle East in Bible Prophecy.

What may cause the coming war between these two regional powers—between Europe and the Arab world? Time will tell. So:

Watch for increased tension between the Muslim world and Christianity—tension that will eventually result in war, as foretold in Daniel 11.

Watch for regional trading blocs in North America, Europe and Asia to become powerful political partners leading to trade wars between the different regions of the world.

Watch for war to break out in the Middle East—not just small clashes in front of embassies, but full-scale war.

Watch for Israel and Jerusalem to be at the center of conflict.

Watch for the rise of the king of the North in Europe and the king of the South in the Islamic and Arab world, leading to a conflict of ideology between the West and Islam, between North and South, as prophesied in the book of Daniel.

5. A vast Asian power bloc

Revelation 9 reveals a great Asian regional power whose massive armies will attack the forces of the king of the North in the last days, this being announced by the sixth of seven trumpet blasts in the book.

John writes: “Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, ‘Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates [at what was then the eastern edge of the Roman Empire].’ So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind” (Revelation 9:13-15).

Our world will become wonderful, with Christ as our King. That’s the message we preach today—the gospel of the Kingdom of God!

This will be a huge war. “Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them” (Revelation 9:16).

This event, the sixth trumpet plague called “the second woe,” seems to be a massive counterattack from beyond the Euphrates River against the European-led forces of what was the fifth trumpet plague or first woe (compare Revelation 8:13; Revelation 9:12; Revelation 11:14).

In Revelation 16:12 we again see “the kings from the east” specifically associated with the Euphrates River: “Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared.”

These forces will play a major role in the final events of this age. So:

Watch for China to become a dominant financial and military power in Asia, as its 1.4 billion people and growing economy modernize. Studies claim China could have as many as 3,000 nuclear warheads.

Watch for an unstable peace between many Asian nations leading to warfare. Problems between India and Pakistan will continue.

Watch for political instability to increase as millions of people in India now enter the middle class, seeking greater political freedom and wealth.

Watch for growing cooperation and partnership between many Asian powers, including China, India, Russia and Iran. We already see this in what is called the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

6. The gospel preached in all nations

The true gospel message of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God must be preached to all nations of the world. This is the commission given to God’s Church (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15), and the United Church of God and Beyond Today magazine and TV take this imperative very seriously.

In laying out events preceding His return, Jesus said that “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:13-14).

But we are warned that a time will come when the gospel will not be proclaimed. God says in Amos 8:9-12 that there will be “a famine . . . of hearing the words of the Lord.”

God’s Church will at that time be so severely persecuted that it will not be able to effectively preach the gospel.

Recall what we read earlier of the Beast in Revelation 13:6-7: “Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.”

Then, at this coming time of Great Tribulation, God will send two witnesses to preach: “And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days [3½ years]” (Revelation 11:3). It therefore seems that the famine of the word will occur prior to the Great Tribulation when destruction and captivity is imminent.

God’s two witnesses will stand in opposition to the Beast and the False Prophet. Jerusalem will find itself in the vortex of a great spiritual battle, as prophesied events reach a climax. So:

Watch for the Church of God to preach the gospel until it is prevented from doing so.

Watch for the Church to expand its technology to preach the gospel in many languages to reach billions of people around the world.

Watch for the Church of God to be increasingly persecuted by governments and the public for its unique beliefs and practices, such as the observance of God’s seventh-day Sabbath and His annual festivals, rejection of Christmas and Easter, upholding of God’s dietary laws, and the biblical belief in the God family and the rejection of the unbiblical concept of the Trinity.

Watch for God to use two uniquely called individuals to receive international media attention as they powerfully preach a warning message to the entire world.

Watch for God to use the technologies that mankind has discovered to instantly reach billions of people of all languages with His gospel and warning messages—and we’re seeing that more and more as each day goes by.

7. The Bride of Christ prepares for His return

The end-time Church of God prepares itself to serve the living Christ at His return. This is necessary to its members becoming ready to rule in the Kingdom of God—to be leaders and teachers of God’s way in the future (compare Revelation 5:10; Revelation 20:4; Revelation 20:6). These are people filled with God’s Spirit who believe their purpose is to serve others and develop the fruit of the Spirit in their lives (Galatians 5:22-23).

Revelation 19 talks of this momentous event that culminates after all of the seals of the book have been opened. We are here close to the end of the story:

“‘Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!”’” (Revelation 19:7-9). So:

Watch for God’s Church, those “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17; see Revelation 14:12) to become more zealous and committed disciples.

“And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:24-25).

And then?

What will happen next? At last, Jesus returns and the Kingdom of God arrives! It’s the end of this present evil age when the world enters a new age, a new beginning where peace and true religion prevail. It will be a time when all of humanity will be offered salvation and eternal life.

Our world will become a wonderful place, with Christ as our King. That’s the message we preach today—the gospel of the Kingdom of God—God’s Kingdom being established on the earth by Jesus Christ.

That world will be a stark contrast to what we see today. Hunger, suffering, child slavery, wars, violence, riots—these will be things of the past—history. This world will be a different place under the rule of the Kingdom of God.

The final weather report

It’s good to know if rain or sunshine is in the forecast. Weather forecasters are quite good at forecasting tomorrow’s weather, but we’re looking beyond that. For we know that ultimately true sunshine is in the forecast, don’t we?

How are you at discerning the signs of the times? Jesus told us to watch. If we are watching carefully and keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, we will see when the fig tree is blooming. And we’ll know and expect that the Kingdom of God is very near!

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  • Zstaticz

    Hear me out... so with everything that is going on right now with Russia and the UN... this sounds like it could be the actual end of times. The UN being the kingdom with 10 horns ( 10 of the top contributors). One kingdom with many nations voluntarily. They actually just erected a statue at the UN in New York... it is of a beast with a lions head with wings and bears feet. it also has what looks like scales (dragon). Everyone admires the UN, and the claim is 'who can wage war against them' . So, I don't mean to throw an axe in the mainstream belief that the European and American governments (UN) are the good guys.... but is that what Satan wants us all to believe. But again, in this war waging on today, are there really any good guys? But think about it... is Russia just trying to stop the one world order? They have never wanted to be part of the UN or central banks, that most of the world is. Why? Food for thought...

  • Peter Eddington

    Hi Lisa. Thank you for your thoughts and comments. Perhaps the best explanation on where we see the United States and Europe fulfilling end-time prophecy can be found in several of our booklets that you can search for here on our site. These include: "The Book of Revelation Unveiled," "The Middle East In Bible Prophecy" and "The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy." There is some very good information in these. All the best! And, we are working on a new booklet about Russia In Bible Prophecy. ....Peter.

  • Sarah Shiny

    Thank you very much. May God bless you !

  • Dameon

    Articles like this are sources of stability. Confusion sets in when so many a claiming random and half baked theories about end times. Made worse that many don't know God's word. Your breakdown was effective fit for consumption by a wide scope. Thank you

  • Peter Eddington

    Thank you Dameon. Your feedback is much appreciated...

  • truthseeker-

    Excellent article. Well organized and the timeline flows in a succinct and easy to understand manner. Thank you investing the time, prayer and study to complete it.

    Well done ~

  • Peter Eddington

    Thank you Jerri. Your words are very encouraging...

  • mgmurphy1963

    Thanks for this very informative and motivating article. I hope that this will motivate us all to be about our Father's business as the end of this age closes in on us.

  • Peter Eddington

    Thank you Maria for your encouraging comment. Yes, may we all be about our Father's business!

  • robrog8999

    Absolutely engaging. This is an eye-opener & should have the attention of us all! It's time we educate ourselves with world events and Bible prophecy so that we know what's happening and can decipher truth from error. Most of the world will be in error in these end times and instead of joining the masses because it's popular opinion, we need to learn God's stance and way. As His way becomes ever less popular, we need to remind ourselves to follow Bible prophecy, as well as the council of church leaders.
    This was a great article and needs to be read by everyone, as well as studied. After reading this, I am now doing Bible study (end-time prophecy, etc) and informing myself of current world events and hope to stay on this regularly. It's the most important thing we have in this world- Bible!
    Thanks again for this smart, well-researched article. I hope it's opening other's eyes the way it has my own!

  • Peter Eddington

    Thank you for your encouraging comment Robert. I pray your studies will go well!

  • robrog8999

    Thank you!
    I have been studying with the Mormons for a few years now. I recently learned of this church and after learning that you guys don't suppose the trinity, I began reading your material more and ordering your study guides. I have learned a lot about the church and God through the material. I'm still reading through study guides as I have about 15 currently , as well as a few beyond today magazines. I enjoy your material and also feel as though Ive become closer to God through your churches teachings. I only live about 45 minutes from Cincinnati, so I think I will be paying the home church a visit!

  • Peter Eddington

    Hi Robert. We would be happy to welcome you to our Cincinnati congregation. Check out our congregation page at . All the best in your studies!

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