I have in my office a newspaper from 1858. The front-page story is about how a mob in Lexington, Kentucky, broke into a jail and lynched an unfortunate prisoner. On the second page is a report about an upstart political candidate named Abraham Lincoln.
In the 1850s it could take weeks, even months, for a news event from another part of the world to be published in a newspaper like this. Most people had little knowledge of events outside their own community.
A simple technology like glass insulators made it possible to string tens of thousands of miles of wire for telegraph and telephone lines. Because of telephones and faster vehicles like trains, by the early 1900s the speed of communication was much faster than in the days of news delivered by horseback.
Then came radio, and soon those with a receiver could listen to a news event halfway around the world the moment it happened. Everything changed. During World War II, people in New York City or on a farm in Iowa could listen to nightly reports of the Nazi bombings of London.
In the mid-20th century the technologies of radio and motion pictures were combined to create what was called "the miracle of television." Now people could, in the comfort and safety of their own living room, watch earth-shaking events, first in black and white and then in "living color." People marveled in 1969 at the surreal images of the first man stepping onto the moon.
Today, with computer networking technology, billions of people are connected through the Internet. Satellites, orbiting thousands of miles above the earth, make it possible to receive or send images from the most remote areas of the globe. With the advent of instant visual technology, there are few places where people can't learn of news as it happens.
But did you know that this explosion in communication technology was foretold in a prophecy in the mysterious book of Revelation?
A prophecy unfathomable until our day
Revelation, the last book of the Bible, is an advance newscast of events that will happen before Jesus Christ's return. In this book the apostle John writes about two "witnesses," two divinely appointed individuals who will announce to the world the urgent need to turn to God because Jesus Christ's return is imminent. According to Revelation, these two men will perform amazing miracles.
John tells us, "And if anyone wants to harm them [these two witnesses], fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies . . . These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues" (Revelation 11:5-6).
After 31⁄2 years of proclaiming the return of Jesus Christ, the two witnesses will be killed at the behest of the political and religious leaders who oppose them, and their bodies will be left in the streets of Jerusalem. John describes the scene: "Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies for three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth" (Revelation 11:9-10).
This passage reveals two important points if you want to know the answer to the question, Will Jesus return tomorrow?
One is that these two men are killed and seen by the entire world. This wasn't possible until the explosion in satellite and computer technology. People in Beijing, the outback of Australia, the Amazon and the major cities of Europe will all see this event from Jerusalem.
This prophecy now comes alive! Television, satellites, cell phones, computers—these kinds of technologies make it possible for those the world over—"the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations" of this planet—to see the dead bodies of the two witnesses.
There's another important point in these verses: Prior to their death, these two individuals will have achieved worldwide acclaim in announcing God's message for the nations, performing miracles and stirring up opposition among political and religious leaders and many of the common people. This also hasn't happened yet.
So we're back to our original question: Will Jesus Christ return tomorrow?
Since the two witnesses haven't yet appeared on the world scene, we know that Jesus isn't returning tomorrow. But the explosion in communication technology reminds us that key conditions foretold in Bible prophecy are coming into existence and that Christ's return is getting closer every day. He's not returning tomorrow, but the stage is being set for that dramatic, earth-changing event!
By the way, the death of the two witnesses isn't the end of their story. Their bodies will lie in a street in Jerusalem for 31⁄2 days. The entire world will see them on their electronic devices like television sets, computers and cell phones.
But then—all activity screeches to a halt as all human beings look to the sky and witness the majesty and power of the second coming of Jesus Christ! Life enters into the bodies of the two witnesses and they are resurrected to meet the Christ they were killed for proclaiming!
What does it matter?
So how does this prophetic information about technology and the biblical two witnesses affect your life?
You are part of this big picture. The God of the Bible is the Creator of the universe. He is also the God of history. In all this human mess we see around us, the Creator has a plan. He has a plan for humanity. He has a plan for you. Your life can change.
In all this suffering and chaos you can actually become part of God's solution!
Christianity has enough adherents merely paying lip service. Jesus Christ wants committed disciples—men and women willing to emulate His way of life. If you're tired of powerless Christianity, it's time to find out what Jesus really taught and to live as He tells us to!
Prophecy is one way that God shows us that He really does exist and that He is involved in His creation. It is also a way for God to show you that you can have a personal relationship with Him.
He tells us the future. It's up to you to prepare for that future! GN