War and Peace

Wars are the most common proof given that the end of the world is near. Yet they are mentioned specifically by Christ as proof that the end has not come: "You will hear of wars and rumours of wars. Do not let this trouble you, for all these things must happen, but the end is not yet." (Matthew 24:6)

An increase in the number, intensity, and 'rumours' (media coverage) of wars does, however, lead to an international craving for a single world government to end all wars. Jesus calls an increase of wars and natural disasters the 'beginning of sorrows'. (Matthew 24:8)

The world government that arises in response to all these wars and disasters will be a truer sign that the end is near. Its trademark will be a false 'peace', or time of worldwide prosperity. The Hebrew prophet Daniel says of the final world ruler, "He will come in peacefully, and obtain power through flattery." (Daniel 11:21b) "And through peace (or prosperity) he will destroy many." (Daniel 8:25)

Quakes, Famines, & Plagues

Another part of the 'beginning of sorrows' will be natural disasters. Two of these (earthquakes and famines) have dramatically increased in this century, though an even more dramatic increase may be yet to come. The third disaster (plagues) may be just beginning, and AIDS may be only a part of it.

These disasters are likely to lead to a call for a global organisation to combat them.

Denominationalism

A proliferation of so-called Christian denominations was seen by Jesus as another part of the beginning of sorrows, which may also require a strong central government to control it. (Matthew 24:5)

The ecumenical movement is an attempt to reverse the trend toward more and more religious leaders claiming authority or an anointing from God. ('Christ' simply means 'anointed one'.) A little diversity has turned into a lot of confusion, and churches everywhere are losing credibility because of their inability to get along with one another.

Unfortunately, the remedy may prove worse than the disease. A single, monolithic religious structure, without a change in the hearts of the individuals within it, will only lead to atrocities against non-conformists, as always happens with religious/political dictatorships.

In all attempts toward religious union, not one union has been made with the teachings of Jesus as the basis for determining what to accept and what to reject. The builders have left out the Cornerstone, and what they are building will only amount to a false unity and a diabolical bride for the coming world dictator.  (See also “Rebuilding the Temple” below.)

The Fall of America

Armageddon (Revelation 16:16, Revelation 19:19-21) is a battle in which Russia and the forces of world communism are destroyed. The present (apparent) collapse of communism suggests Armageddon is over and it is time for the reign of Christ. But communism or the "Beast" that will rule the world has most likely only received a 'deadly wound' from which it will soon recover. (Revelation 13:3-12)

Two symbolic powers exist in the last days: an atheistic anti-Christian “Beast" which blasphemes God, and a “Prostitute" which dominates world trade. The Prostitute "sits on" the Beast (Revelation 17:3-5) as America is doing with communism. But, with the help of ten other "kings" the Beast turns on the Prostitute and destroys her with fire. (Revelation 17:16-17) The businessmen and shipping companies of the world will mourn the fall of capitalism "in one hour". (Revelation 18)

World Communism

The fall of America clears the way for a popular world government. Its leader will control a 10-nation council from which he receives his authority to govern (Daniel 7:24).

A new economic policy will vastly increase production, resulting in worldwide prosperity. But the government will refuse to recognise God, and the world ruler will turn against all who have faith in God (Daniel 8:24-25).

Communism is the ultimate counterfeit of the kingdom of God (Acts 2:44-45). Though we support its ideals, we oppose its efforts to eliminate God. The use of religion by the rich and powerful to keep people in line is certainly wrong. But this is not what communism objects to. For communists too have used the institutional church as a tool of the state.

Rebuilding the Temple

It seems the coming ruler will bring about universal religious harmony by rebuilding Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem, thus allowing Jews to resume offering animal sacrifices. Plans have been put forward for a temple which would include an area for Jews, one for Muslims, and one for Christians.

Passages in Daniel indicate that it will take just over seven months to build this temple, and that from its completion there will be less than six and a half years left until Jesus returns. (Daniel 9:27; Daniel 8:13-14) (Note: The term "week" in the King James Bible is translated "7 years" in most other translations.)

The Great Tribulation

The period of religious tolerance and harmony under one world government will be short-lived. The Revelation depicts a period of great trouble, heralded by seven 'trumpets' (Revelation 8-9). Jesus called it the 'great tribulation', and said he would return immediately after it. (Matthew 24:16-17) Paul said Jesus would return at the sound of the seventh trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:51-53, and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

The first four trumpets describe a global catastrophe which burns a third of the ships and kills a third of the animal life in the oceans. It tells of a 'star' hitting the earth, the sky being darkened, and great hailstorms over much of the earth. Hailstorms and darkness are consistent with widespread fires filling the sky with smoke, and repeatedly forcing condensation far up into the atmosphere, where it would freeze and refreeze into giant hailstones. It is possible that the 'star' (a giant meteor or deadly satellite) will be what causes the fires and sea deaths (maybe from tidal waves and radioactivity as well).

These disasters trigger off a global persecution of Christians by the world dictator, who will take over the temple in Jerusalem and cause the Jewish sacrifices to cease (Matthew 24:15-22, Daniel 11:31, Daniel 12:11). It may be that the dictator will blame Christians for the disasters. It will not be hard to convince the world that we did it if we have been predicting for years that it would happen!

There will be great confusion amongst the masses of churchgoers, who have been told that they would never have to go through this period (1 Thessalonians 5:3-4, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). Many will be killed (Daniel 7:21-25) because they have not learned to hear God's voice above the clamour of religion. (Matthew 24:24-28) Idealists of many persuasions will look to Christians for leadership as they, too, flee from the colossal deception of the government in which they had put their trust (Daniel 11:32-35). Many of us will die during this period, but our witness will go into all the world. (Revelation 6:11, Revelation 7:14)

The Church in the Wilderness

When the sacrifices cease, Christians around the world (referred to in The Revelation as the "Bride" of Christ) will be instructed by God to flee to secret hideouts which God has prepared for us. If necessary, he will give us supernatural assistance to reach our place of refuge (Revelation 12:6, Revelation 12:12-14) where we will survive (at least some of us) for 3 1/2 years until Jesus returns.

Revelation 12 tells of a cosmic struggle between good and evil. The battle starts with the virgin Mary giving birth to Jesus as the Devil tries to destroy her son (Revelation 12:1-4) like Herod did in Matthew 2. Jesus eventually ascends to heaven, where he reigns in triumph over the devil. (Revelation 12:5-12)

When the devil knows there is little time left before Jesus returns, he begins an all-out war on the 'woman' and her descendants (Revelation 12:13, 17). Mary is symbolic of the true church or all true followers of Jesus (Luke 8:21). The sudden escape to the wilderness is described in Luke 17:28-37 where Jesus commands us not to delay when he tells us to move (Luke 17:31).

It seems that during this 3 1/2 year period immediately prior to the return of Jesus, and for 3 1/2 years immediately prior to that, the true church is at last a visible organisation (Daniel 9:27). God's Spirit organises all truly sincere people in the world into 12 tribes of 12,000 people each, possibly in 12 different locations around the globe. (Revelation 7:4-8)

The 12 tribes don't just 'survive' during these final terrifying years. Instead, they actively recruit thousands (if not millions) of other believers, many of whom will be executed for their faith. (Revelation 7:9-14; Daniel 7:21, 25; Daniel 11:31-35)

There is no organisation you can join that can guarantee you will be part of this elite army. You can only prepare yourself by actively seeking the truth every day, and by learning to instantly obey anything God directs you to do.

The Mark of the Beast

Revelation 13:15-18 says that all the world will be linked to a system which does not allow people to buy or sell without showing a mark that they have either in their hand or in their forehead. More and more economists are predicting exactly the same thing in the form of an implanted silicon chip which will identify every individual on earth.

The Bible gives solemn warning against ever accepting this mark (Revelation 14:9-12). It may be that the only way anyone who does accept it can be saved will be to take passages like Matthew 18:8 literally!

See also “Armageddon for Beginners” for more details.  You can also find more information related to this article by checking out the following video: Survivors Chap. #4 - Searching.