Seven Prophetic End-Time Markers

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Seven Prophetic End-Time Markers

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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 Matthew 16:1-3 1 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered and said to them, When it is evening, you say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. 3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O you hypocrites, you can discern the face of the sky; but can you not discern the signs of the times?
American King James Version×
, 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 Luke 21:29-31 29 And he spoke to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; 30 When they now shoot forth, you see and know of your own selves that summer is now near at hand. 31 So likewise you, when you see these things come to pass, know you that the kingdom of God is near at hand.
American King James Version×
).

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 Luke 21:36Watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
American King James Version×
).

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 Hosea 4:1-3 1 Hear the word of the LORD, you children of Israel: for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. 2 By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood touches blood. 3 Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwells therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yes, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.
American King James Version×
).

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 Hosea 4:17Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.
American King James Version×
), 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 Revelation 17:12-13 12 And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. 13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength to the beast.
American King James Version×
).

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 12:3And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns on his heads.
American King James Version×
; Revelation 12:9 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
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; Revelation 13:2 Revelation 13:2And the beast which I saw was like to a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
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). 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 Revelation 13:3And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
American King James Version×
). 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 Revelation 13:4And they worshipped the dragon which gave power to the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like to the beast? who is able to make war with him?
American King James Version×
).

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 Revelation 13:5And there was given to him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given to him to continue forty and two months.
American King James Version×
). 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 Revelation 13:6-7 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 7 And it was given to him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
American King James Version×
). 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 Revelation 13:8And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
American King James Version×
). And: “If anyone has an ear, let him hear” (Revelation 13:9 Revelation 13:9If any man have an ear, let him hear.
American King James Version×
). 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 1 Timothy 3:15But if I tarry long, that you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
American King James Version×
) which will become the bride of Christ at His return (Revelation 19:7-9 Revelation 19:7-9 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he said to me, Write, Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me, These are the true sayings of God.
American King James Version×
). This woman is arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, representing the righteous acts of God’s faithful people (Revelation 19:8 Revelation 19:8And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
American King James Version×
).

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 Revelation 17:4-7 4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 5 And on her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. 7 And the angel said to me, Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and ten horns.
American King James Version×
).

This false church, led by the False Prophet who will perform “great signs” (Revelation 13:13 Revelation 13:13And he does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
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Revelation 19:20 Revelation 19:20And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that worked miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
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; 2 Thessalonians 2:9 2 Thessalonians 2:9Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
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), 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 Revelation 17:6And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
American King James Version×
).

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 11:4And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach to heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad on the face of the whole earth.
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; Genesis 11:9 Genesis 11:9Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from there did the LORD scatter them abroad on the face of all the earth.
American King James Version×
).

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 17:6And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
American King James Version×
; Revelation 17:15 Revelation 17:15And he said to me, The waters which you saw, where the whore sits, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
American King James Version×
).

Watch for the increasing prominence of a powerful false church with influence worldwide—over “peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues” (Revelation 17:1 Revelation 17:1And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying to me, Come here; I will show to you the judgment of the great whore that sits on many waters:
American King James Version×
; Revelation 17:15 Revelation 17:15And he said to me, The waters which you saw, where the whore sits, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
American King James Version×
).

Watch for a church that commits “fornication” with the world’s political leaders—compromising principles and exchanging favors (Revelation 17:2 Revelation 17:2With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
American King James Version×
).

Watch for the increasing influence of a church considered the “mother” of many other churches (Revelation 17:5 Revelation 17:5And on her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
American King James Version×
).

Watch for a church whose teachings and practices originated in the ancient Babylonian mystery religion (Revelation 17:5 Revelation 17:5And on her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
American King James Version×
).

Watch for a church responsible for the persecution and martyrdom of  many  true Christians down through history (Revelation 17:6 Revelation 17:6And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
American King James Version×
). 

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 Daniel 11:40-42 40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. 41 He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. 42 He shall stretch forth his hand also on the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.
American King James Version×
).

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 Revelation 9:13-15 13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. 15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.
American King James Version×
).

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 Revelation 9:16And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
American King James Version×
).

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 8:13And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the middle of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabitants of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!
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; Revelation 9:12 Revelation 9:12One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.
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; Revelation 11:14 Revelation 11:14The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe comes quickly.
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).

In Revelation 16:12 Revelation 16:12And the sixth angel poured out his vial on the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
American King James Version×
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 Matthew 28:18-20 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.
American King James Version×
; Mark 16:15 Mark 16:15And he said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
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), 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 Matthew 24:13-14 13 But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.
American King James Version×
).

But we are warned that a time will come when the gospel will not be proclaimed. God says in Amos 8:9-12 Amos 8:9-12 9 And it shall come to pass in that day, said the Lord GOD, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day: 10 And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth on all loins, and baldness on every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day. 11 Behold, the days come, said the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: 12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.
American King James Version×
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 Revelation 13:6-7 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 7 And it was given to him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
American King James Version×
: “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 Revelation 11:3And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and three score days, clothed in sackcloth.
American King James Version×
). 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 5:10And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
American King James Version×
; Revelation 20:4 Revelation 20:4And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
American King James Version×
; Revelation 20:6 Revelation 20:6Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
American King James Version×
). 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 Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
American King James Version×
).

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 Revelation 19:7-9 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he said to me, Write, Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me, These are the true sayings of God.
American King James Version×
). So:

Watch for God’s Church, those “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17 Revelation 12:17And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
American King James Version×
; see Revelation 14:12 Revelation 14:12Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
American King James Version×
) 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 Galatians 5:24-25 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
American King James Version×
).

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!