If you've been watching the news lately it probably hasn't escaped your attention that really strange and unprecedented things have been happening: historic earthquakes, record-breaking floods, droughts, and fires, mass animal deaths, and a myriad of wars and threats of war. Additionally, you will probably have noticed the massive, rapid movement towards globalization and global governance under the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, Bank of International Settlements, World Court, and other international institutions. The miraculous rise and consolidation of the European Union probably has not escaped your attention either. Add to this the Biblical saber-rattling among the countries of the Middle East and the media's 24/7 fixation on Israel, Palestine, and Jerusalem and you know something is going on.
Muslims are predicting the soon return of the Imam Mahdi, Secular Humanists are predicting mass extinction because of global warming and unchecked capitalism, and Christians are predicting the imminent return of their Lord and Savior—Jesus Christ. Plenty of other "end of the world"-type speculation has completely saturated television and the internet with bizarre mentions of a Mayan calendar, quatrains written by Nostradamus, alien invasions, and an impending (though yet unseen) planet called "Nibiru". Hollywood has certainly added fuel to the fire with the recent releases of 2012, The Book of Eli, 9, The Road, Legion, The Day After Tomorrow, and others. The film and television industry has developed an odd fascination with the apocalyptic genre... very odd, wouldn't you agree? Something is definitely going on.
It might seem hard to find your way through all the confusion and mass deception, but it can be done. There is a light that shines in the darkness and He is called the Word of God. The Bible predicted, thousands of years ago in fact, that certain things would happen before God would return and make things right. These things are actually happening. All the things that are happening should demonstrate to you that the times we are living in are very different than all of the previous times where dates were set and time passed with nothing happening. Those dates occurred without the necessary accompaniment of the current events that were prophesied in the Bible. Things have changed.
The Bible has hundreds and hundreds of prophecies—a great portion of which were already fulfilled, and with pinpoint accuracy. The Bible predicted that: Egypt would never again rule over other nations (Ezekiel 29:15), Alexander the Great would rise to power and his empire would be split into four kingdoms (Daniel 8:15-22), the Messiah would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), the Messiah would belong to the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10), the Messiah would belong to the house of David (Jeremiah 23:5), the Messiah would be preceded by a messenger (Isaiah 40:1-9), the Messiah would heal the blind, the deaf, the lame, and the mute (Isaiah 35:4-6), the Messiah would enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9), the Messiah would be called the "Son of God" (Isaiah 9:6), the Messiah would be rejected and despised (Isaiah 53:1-3, Daniel 9:24-26), the Messiah would be betrayed by a friend after taking bread (Psalm 41:9), the Messiah would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13), the Messiah would be beaten, mocked, and spat upon (Isaiah 50:6), the Messiah would stand silent before His accusers (Isaiah 53:7), the Messiah would literally take our sins upon Himself and die in our place (Isaiah 53:4-6), the Messiah's death would include piercing (Zechariah 12:10), and the Messiah would be buried in a rich man's tomb (Isaiah 53:9). These are just a handful of hundreds. Fulfilled prophecy is what makes the Bible unique, and the reason we will look to the Bible for answers about the apocalyptic things happening, rather than the Koran, Nostradamus, or hearsay on the internet.
The Bible tells us many things about what will precede the return of Jesus Christ:
1. It will be a time when knowledge and transportation have greatly increased (Daniel 12:4)
2. Wickedness will be rampant as it was in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37-38)
3. Homosexuality will be rampant (Luke 17:28-29)
4. Adultery, material greed, and the killing of innocent life will be commonplace (Revelation 17-18)
5. The Gospel will have been preached to all nations (Matthew 24:14)
6. Many false religious leaders and false prophets will have arisen (Matthew 24:23-25)
7. Earthquakes, disease, and famine would be widespread (Luke 21:11)
8. There will be many wars and rumors of war (Mark 13:7)
9. There will be a Jewish holocaust (Ezekiel 37:1-14)
10. Followed by Israel's return as a nation (Ezekiel 37:11-12)
11. Israel's pure language, Hebrew, will return to the land (Zephaniah 3:9)
12. The Ethiopian Jews will return to Israel (Zephaniah 3:10-11)
13. The Russian and European Jews will return to Israel (Jeremiah 23:7-8)
14. The Roman Empire will be revived, but will only be a confederacy (Daniel 2:40-43)
15. Many believers will fall away (1 Timothy 4:1-3)
16. And perhaps the most shocking prophecy can be found in 2 Timothy 3:1-7:
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