Bible End Time Prophecy - The Biblical Last Days

See also Astronomical Signs

Jesus confirmed that there wil be a definite end to the present age when He told us to watch for certain signs. Bible prophecy adds many more signs to give a comprehensive view of the state of the world just before Christ returns. This topic is widely debated with various interpretations of prophecy. Here we take a common interpretation that is not in conflict with historical events, or with observed events (reality) in today's world.

Summary of Major End Time Signs

  • increasing spiritual darkness across all nations
  • widespread lawlessness
  • increasing famines and plagues
  • increasing persecution of Christians and Jews
  • the return of the Jews to the land of Israel and the re-birth of Israel
  • a false (apostate) church
  • the sudden and miraculous removal of the true church from the earth
  • a godless and ruthless world government with total control over individuals
  • a godless and blasphemous world dictator
  • a seven-year Peace Treaty with Israel, which is then broken mid-term
  • a purely electronic i.e. cashless trading system, with the insertion of an 'ID' on individuals
  • a global financial-economic crash
  • a possible Islamic invasion of Israel, followed by an 'all-nation' invasion of Israel (Armageddon)
  • God's judgement upon nations: cataclysmic events such as severe weather and severe earthquakes

Interpreting Bible Prophecy

Any prophecy is subject to various interpretations since, as scripture says, we are 'looking through smoked glass' - God has not revealed all the details. However, He has given believers His Spirit to guide them to the truth on such issues (John 14.26). For an End Time or Last Days view to be true it must agree with knowledge i.e. established fact. It must agree with both historical fact and present-day reality - what is observed. The interpretation must also be consistent with many Bible scriptures.

Daniel's Prophecy

The Old Testament book of Daniel contains one of the most significant and intriguing prophecies of the Bible:

"Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make an atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place" (Dan 9.24)

This prophecy first defines a timeline (70 'weeks') for some of the most significant events in history. It is widely accepted that one 'week' refers to a period of 7 (Old Testament) years. The prophecy then refers to the Jews (Daniel's people) and to Jerusalem ('your holy city'). The final part of the prophecy refers to the plan of salvation for all mankind. It spans from Old Testament times to the time of Christ, or to the Second Coming of Christ, depending upon how we interpret the prophecy. The prophecy is then expanded in Dan 9.25-27.

One interpretation of Dan 9.24-27 (which fits observed facts extremely well) takes the present age to lie between week 69 and week 70. Week 70 is still future but, prophetically speaking, very close.

Some who adhere to this interpretation believe that the true church will be removed from the earth around the start of week 70. Others believe the true church will be removed 'mid-week' or at the end of week 70. Either way, world events will get dramatic just before the end, especially during week 70. Daniel says the world will see a crushing world government led by a godless world dictator who will persecute Israel in particular.

Atheist Investigates Daniel

Heard of The Daniel Project? The Daniel Project is a genuine investigative documentary that puts Daniel's prophecies under a journalistic microscope. Presenter and self-confessed atheist Jeremy Hitchen accepts the challenge to investigate the plausibility of such prophecies.

The film looks into end time prophecies of rapidly expanding travel and knowledge, a world leader, electronic ID, severe weather events, the restoration of Israel, Middle East war and much more. By examining observable evidence (reality) it finds that prophecies appear to be unfolding one after the other with astonishing accuracy. Over 100 prophesied end time events have already occurred. Is the world as we know it rapidly coming to an end?

Warning: this film may change your worldview!

Big Issues Facing Mankind

Many observe the state of the world and ask 'where is it all leading? They see rapid population growth (estimated to be 9.6 billion by 2050) which will put pressure on food, fuel, water and land. They also see less social and financial stability. And then there is the problem of climate change ...

God is Shaking the Nations

After 6,000 years of steady human progression, the global scenario suddenly seems far less certain. From many aspects, life as we have known it suddenly looks threatened. We see demographic, climatic, environmental, financial, social and political instability. We are even aware of asteroid impact link!

The Bible refers to time epochs for this earth; one age comes to an end and another starts. Scholars of Bible prophecy interpret what we are observing as signs of "the end of the age". Referring to the very end of this age, just before Christ returns to Earth (Mat 24.29), God says:

"Once more ... I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. I will shake all the nations ..." (Hag 2.6,7)

What we observe today appears to be the start of this shaking. But, no matter what happens, there is hope for those who trust in Jesus. For these believers Jesus promises "an age to come, and eternal life" (Mk 10.30).

Hebrew End Time Dating

The concept of an end to the present age was readily accepted by Jesus (Mat 24.3). It is also embedded in Hebrew belief, which claims that we are now very near the end of the age. Consider our Gregorian (or civil) calendar year 2012 AD; this corresponds to the Jewish calendar year link 5772 - dated from Adam and the Creation c4000 BC (see also 'A Young Earth' link). Correcting for dating error link in the OT and for the difference between lunar years (Jewish calendar) and solar years (Gregorian calendar) we should add some 240 years to 5772 over a rough 6,000 year period, giving 6012. In other words, some believe 2012 AD actually corresponds to Jewish year 6012.

Clearly, this is an approximate calculation! But the significant point is that when the Jewish calendar approaches 6000, Jews believe from the Talmud link (a collection of Jewish laws and traditions) that the world as we know it will end. Jews believe human government will last just 6,000 years and after that they expect Mashiach link - a great political and military leader descended from King David (Jeremiah 23:5). Christians believe it is Jesus Christ who returns at this time. Thereafter, many Jews and Christians believe that the earth will experience a 'Sabbatical Millennium' - a new time epoch. Clearly, whatever the exact dating, the world is very close to the end of this age.

End Time Signs in the Bible

Here we adopt one particular (but common) interpretation of prophecy which is consistent with many scriptures and which seems to explain current world events. The latter point is particularly important because other interpretations fail to accommodate current world events i.e they cannot explain reality.

The interpretation assumes that Daniel's prophecy starts from the rebuilding of Jerusalem c445 BC and that the 69th week ends around the time of the crucifixion of Christ (Dan 9.25). There is then an unspecified time period between week 69 and week 70 (Dan 9.26,27). In other words, week 70 is seen as still future, but on an historical scale, very close.

The significant point is that, according to the Bible, the events leading up to the 70th week, and in particular the 7-year period itself, are dramatic. In the following sections we highlight end time (last days) prophecies and follow each one by related observations on the world (no attempt is made to attach any time sequence to these prophecies).

1. Worldwide Spiritual Darkness

"darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people" (Isa 60.2)

Sadly, the governments of many 'Christianised' nations are steadily abandoning biblical truth. Absolute biblical truth on morality link is now replaced by humanistic 'equality' legislation, and the biblical concept of creation is treated as a myth and evolutionary theory treated as fact link. Most institutionised western churches are in decline and biblical faith is being replaced by eastern religions, or no faith at all. The west is being dominated by Satanic blackness - humanism, multiculturalism, relativism, evolutionism, religious pluralism and political correctness link, link.

2. Worldwide Pollution

"The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants" (Isa 24.5)

There is increasing danger from nuclear and chemical pollution. Examples:

1984: the Bhopal disaster in India was the world's worst chemical disaster. Today in Bhopal, more than 100,000 people remain chronically ill link, and there are over 6,000 high-risk chemical sites across the U.S. link.

1986: an area some 80 km x 80 km around the Chernobyl nuclear plant is still an exclusion zone due to soil pollution by Caesium 137. This was the world's worst nuclear accident and was caused by human error link.

Large-scale Soviet nuclear tests, dumping of spent fuel and two scuttled nuclear-powered submarines are a major source of pollution in the Arctic ocean link.

2010: lung cancer resulting from air pollution took the lives of 223,000 people worldwide link. Air pollution now kills more people than AIDS and malaria combined link.

2011: contamination from the Fukushima nuclear disaster link affected an area nearly as big as Cyprus and included some 6,500 villages. Water samples from the Western Pacific region show radioactive Caesium 137 and 134, as well as Strontium 90 link.

2013: air pollution in China reached crisis levels. In the city of Harbin, levels of PM2.5 (the fine air born particulate matter that poses a great risk to human health) reached 40 times the levels tolerated by the WHO link.

The above image shows the average global concentrations of tropospheric carbon monoxide during March 2013. It reached 300 ppbv over China. In the UK, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide emmissions from 30 million vehicles is a major problem. Air pollution fatalities now exceed traffic fatalities 3:1 [Earth Policy Institute]. The view from space is becoming marred by smoke and dust [NASA]. Mercury pollution (from coal-fired power stations) is a huge threat to health [UN].

3. Knowledge and Travel Increase

"many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase" (Mat 24.12)

Over the past 100 years or so we see an amazing increase in knowledge:

In technoloy: satellite communications, radar, motion pictures, recording, TV, telecommunications, cell phones, the internet, electron microscopes, computers, EFTPOS, nuclear power, solar power, fuel injection, jet aircraft ...

In medical science: MRI scans, ultrasound, pacemakers, radiotherapy, IVF, artificial hearts, DNA, organ transplants, vaccines against major killers (typhoid, cholera, polio, smallpox)... The US saw a 14-fold reduction in death from infectious disease over the 20th century [University of Maryland].

In space science: rockets, satellites, spaceships, space stations, radio telescopes. NASA has developed technologies that benefit society in health and medicine, transportation, public safety, consumer goods, environmental and agricultural resources, computer technology and industrial productivity.

Inventions: US Patents: 1900-1920: 25,000 , 1995-1998: 150,000 [University of Maryland].

Boeing 737

Boeing 737. Image: Copyright-free-photos

Annual air travel in the US: 1950: less than 100 miles/person, 1978: 1000 miles/person, 2000: 1500 miles/person.

100 years ago commercial air travel was unheard of; now there are typically 100,000 commercial flights each day!

Worldwide, air travel is projected to grow by 5% annually until 2015 [IPCC]. Aircraft fuel consumption: 130 million tonnes in 1992, increasing to 450 million tonnes by 2050.

Tourism is the world's largest industry: annual revenue of $500 billion, and is one of the major sources of foreign exchange in 83% of countries.

International tourism: 1950: 25m , 2003: 693m , 2020: 1.6 billion [WTO].

4. False Christs and Cults

"Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many" (Mat 24.5,11)

Over the past 2000 years there have been dozens of people who have claimed to be the prophesied Christ, or a Messiah under the umbrella of Christianity. To name a few:

  • Aldebert (8th century)
  • Tanchelm of Antwerp (c1110)
  • Haile Selassie of Ethiopia (1892-1975)
  • Sun Myung Moon (born 1920)
  • Inri Cristo (born 1948)
  • David Koresh (1959-1993)

5. Worldwide proclamation of the Gospel

"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world ... and then the end will come" (Mat 24.14)
The Bible describes End Time events

Parts of the Bible are now available in more than 2,400 languages, covering some 98% of the world's population link, and this message is available worldwide using various technologies:

  • Local AM and FM radio in towns and cities
  • International shortwave Christian radio, such as HCJB and FEBC
  • Satellite platforms carrying Christian radio and TV
  • The Internet

Today some 33% of the world population call themselves 'Christian'. During the 20th century the number of Christians in Africa, Asia and Latin America increased ten-fold, and today Asia has the fastest-growing churches in the world link. Sadly, much of the western world, particulary Europe, is often regarded as post-Christian.

6. Famines and Pandemics

"there will be famines and pestilences" (Lk 21.11)

Famine is one of the seven seals of judgement of God, and is symbolised by a shortage of wheat and barley in Rev 6.6. Already about 1 in 8 people are already suffering from chronic undernourishment link, and global warming studies estimate that half of the world's population could face severe food shortages by the end of this century link.

In Lk 21.11 the Greek word translated 'pestilences' means any sudden fatal epidemic. Epidemics that span across international boundaries are called pandemics. In 1918 the Spanish Flu pandemic killed over 50 million people link. Since then the world has seen SARS, the avian flu pandemic in 2007, and the swine flu (H1N1) pandemic from Mexico in 2009. An increase in pandemics is expected, partly due to increase in air travel.

7. Increased Lawlessness

"Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold" (Mat 24.12)
9/11 - worst ever act of terrorism

The 9/11 attack

9/11 was the worst ever act of terrorism.

Recorded annual offences in England and Wales:
1920: 0.1m , 1950: 0.5m , 1980: 2.5m , 2005: 10.8m [link].

Total recorded crime in England and Wales in 2009 was about 5,000% above the 1900 level [NCRS].

Aggravated assult per 100,000 people in the USA: 1957: 60 , 1992: 440 [FBI].

For 2000-2009, terrorist attacks against Americans show over 900% increase on 1970-79 levels [link].

Each day 135,000 American children bring a gun to school.

Fatal terrorist attacks worldwide: 1972: 200 , 1982: 1000 , 1992: 2000 , 2002: 600 , 2007: 2000 [link]

8. Persecution of Christians

"They will lay their hands on you and will persecute you" (Lk 21.12-19)

Although Christians have been persecuted for 2,000 years, they are now the most persecuted religious group in the world link. Some 26 million Christians were martyred during the 20th century - more than the combined total of all previous centuries. Today, one Christian is killed every 11 minutes!

The 10-40 Window:

Today much of the persecution occurs in the 10-40 window link (from West Africa and across Asia) where religious liberty is restricted. There are 1.6 billion Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists living in this window link, and in some countries the Church has almost been eliminated as a result of Islamic or atheistic oppression.

Westernised Nations:

A more subtle form of persecution is now occurring in secular Europe due to EU Equality Directives link - which are void of biblical morality. In the UK for example, Christians are losing employment under Equality Law for simply holding to their Christian ethos in the workplace link. In both the USA and Europe, persecution is growing via the media, entertainment industry, educational authorities, and the police.

Eamples worldwide:

  • 1998: 500 Christian churches burned down in Java.
  • 2000: 800 homes and stores owned by Christians destroyed in Poso, Central Sulawesi.
  • 2005: 175,000 Christians were martyred worldwide [Int. Journal of Missionary Research].
  • 2008: 200 million Christians worldwide in danger of being tortured, persecuted, or killed [Idea, EA].
  • 2010: Nigerian Christians suffered terror from Muslim extremists. Whole village massacred
  • In China, 60-100 million risk their lives and liberty to worship in underground house churches [Focus on the Family].

9. Sudden Removal of the True Church

Many evangelical Christians believe in the sudden and miraculous removal of the true church from the earth:

"Two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken the other left" (Mat 24.40,41)

The context in Mat 24 is of people working and living normally until something totally unexpected and supernatural happens. Although many dispute this concept link, there is strong justification for such a prophetic interpretation link.

10. A Godless World Government

A godless and ruthless world government link with total control over individuals:

"and the fourth kindgom shall be as strong as iron ... and crush all others" (Dan 2.40)(Rev 13.1)

and a godless and blasphemous world dictator link:

"he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God" (Rev 13.6)

Albert Einstein said: "There is no solution for civilization or even the human race, other than the creation of world government". By this he inferred that all humankind should be united under one common political authority. Today, many organisations are working towards World Government e.g. NATO, the UN, the IMF, the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, the Club of Rome, the Illuminati, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization, the World Council of Churches link.

11. A False World Church

A false (apostate) world church is emerging link

"I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast ... and on her forehead a name written 'Babylon the Great'" (Rev 17.5)

Many see this being formed via the Ecumenical Movement and headed by the Roman Catholic church. And, like Wycliffe, Luther, Calvin, Tyndale, Bunyan, Huss, Knox, Edwards and Wesley, many identify the Papacy with the Antichrist in Rev 13.

12. Electronic ID for Trading

"And he causes all ... to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead ... and no one will be able to buy or sell, except the one who has the mark ..." (Rev 13.16,17)
  • Cards and Biometrics: Cashless transactions via magnetic-stripe cards were introduced in the 1980's. Today 'chip and PIN' cards are widespread. But cards can be lost or stolen and a way of avoiding this is to link a person's identity to their physical characteristics (Biometrics) - such as fingerprint identification and iris recognition. Whilst the International Biometrics Group link envisaged annual biometric revenue to be $10 billion by 2014, biometric techniques are not 100% accurate. Clearly, a method of identifying each person by number seems less prone to error.
  • RFID: A seemingly attractive trading system would be to number each individual and then detect their number remotely when automatic payment is required. Current technology uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips or tags link, link.
    An RFID chip

    An electronic RFID 'tag'.
    It is the size of a grain of rice
    and is human implantable.

    These low-cost chips (the size of a grain of rice) are used to tag animals, but they could also be embedded in people. A scanner energises the chip, which then returns a radio signal containing the person's ID number, which in turn is fed to a computer database. An example of this technology was 'VeriChip' from Applied Digital Solutions. Its marketing was discontinued in 2010, possibly for privacy, health and social reasons (the ability to remotely scan personal data could be a security risk). The most suitable location on a human being would be in the hand or forehead. Clearly, this technology is only a short step from the technology described in Revelation 13.

13. Sudden Worldwide Financial Collapse

"the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn ... for no one buys their merchandise anymore ... in one hour such great riches came to nothing" (Rev 18.11,17)

The global government (public) debt is rapidly increasing link, leading to sudden global financial meltdown link. "You will never foresee these things - the system is ultimately just too complicated for anybody to really understand" [Martin Wolf, Financial Times, London] link.

14. Extreme Weather

"The inhabitants of the earth are burned ... men were scorched with fierce heat" (Isa 24.6, Rev 16.8,9,21)

"Climate change is the most severe problem that we are facing today" [Sir David King, UK Government Chief Scientific Advisor]

Whilst this statement is based on disputed IPCC data link the fact remains that over the last century the climate warmed significantly, by about 0.8C [NASA].

Severe Storms:

Increased temperature brings increased storm severity, and hurricane forecast models link indicate a tendency for more intense hurricanes due to increased energy obtained from warmer seas [RealClimate].

Since the 1970's there has been a marked increase in the intensity and duration of tropical storms, including North American hurricanes. The number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes has nearly doubled since 1970 [MIT]. So, if there is further warming, the world can expect increased storm activity:

"There will be ... dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves" (Lk 21.5)

Increased Drought:

"The earth mourns and withers, the world fades and withers" (Isa 24.1-4)

The area of the earth's surface affected by drought has more than doubled since the 1970's [Nat. Geographic].

Lake Chad in Africa has shrunk to 5% of its size in the 1960's [Nat. Geographic]

Partly due to over-exploitation of groundwater, water tables are falling on every continent: 1.5m/yr in China, 1-3m/yr in India.

New wells for Beijing now have to reach 1,000 meters [Executive Intelligence Review].

Two out of every three people will be short of water by 2025 [WWI & Tearfund].

Increased aridity may be an natural response to climate warming [The Earth Institue].

15. Severe Earthquakes

"there will be great earthquakes" (Lk 21.11)

According to the USGS link, the world experiences about 50 earthquakes each day and can expect about 17 major earthquakes in any given year.

"And there was a great earthquake ... and the cities of the nations fell." (Rev 16.18,19)

An earthquake of magnitude 8 on the Richter Scale can totally destroy communities near the epicenter link.

16. Asteroid Impact

"And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea ... and a third of the ships were destroyed" (Rev 8.8,9)

This appears to be a biblical description of a future major asteroid impact in the sea, and, clearly, such an impact will generate a huge tsunami link. Jesus Himself told us to watch for 'signs in the stars' (Lk 21.25). Asteroid impact is certainly a reality. A Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA) has the potential to make close approaches to the Earth and a size large enough to cause significant damage in the event of impact. By March 2014 there were some 1,458 known PHAs link. It only needs one to hit!

On 15 February 2013, an asteroid some 45 m in diameter passed the Earth at a distance of just 27,700 km. This is nearer than a geostationary satellite! On 11 March 2014, asteroid CU13, some 190 m wide, passed earth at a distance of 3 million km. A potentially catastrophic asteroid some 410 m wide link has a slim chance that it will impact Earth in 2032, creating a blast 50 times greater than the biggest nuclear bomb.

When faced with a potential impact, Americans are advised to 'pray' [Charles Bolden, NASA administrator, March 2013].

17. Israel - the Nation and the Land

"I will take the children of Israel from among the nations ... and bring them into their own land" (Ezek 37.21)

By 586 BC the whole of the nation of Israel link had been exiled and scattered amongst the nations. But the Bible predicts that one day Israel will return to her promised land:

  • In the last days, Israel will be gathered from many nations, from the north, south, east and west (Isa 43.6)(Ps 107.3)
  • Israel will be placed in her own land (Ezek 37.12,14)
  • Jerusalem will be placed under Jewish rule (Lk 21.24)
The western wall in Jerusalem

Western Wall, Jerusalem. Copyright: Free Photos

This has been born out in recent history:

1882: first wave of emigration (first 'Aliyah or ascent) to Palestine, particularly from Russia and Romania

1917: General Allenby liberated Jerusalem from the Turks, giving Jews access to the city

1948: State of Israel established, David Ben Gurion became the first Prime Minister

1950: Law of return passed by Israel's Parliament - opening Israel to Jews from over 60 countries

1967: Jersualem came under Jewish rule

Israel's Population: 1900: 0.5m, 2012: 7.9m (a 1500% increase since 1900)

The Bible also predicts that Israel will have increasing wealth and prosperity (Isa 60.5,17) link. This too is coming true. Today, Israel is particularly advanced in hi-tech industries such as computer science, electronics, genetics, medicine, optics and solar energy. She mines natural gas, potash, magnesium, copper, gold and phosphates. New natural gas finds link could supply Israel for more than 20 years. She also has highly developed banking, health, and University systems.

Between 1990 and 2000 Israel's forest area increased by 61%, compared to a world change of -2% [Earth Trends 2003]. Israel's agriculture produces apples, pears, peaches, apricots, bananas, mangoes, dates, olives, grapes etc., and it is well known that Israel has a powerful, technically advanced defence force link.

18. War Against Israel

War on Israel
"I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem" (Zech 14.2)

It is well known that Israel is hated by her neighbours:

"The battle has come in which we shall destroy Israel" [President of Egypt, 1967]
"Our goal is clear - to wipe Israel off the map" [President of Iraq, 1967]
"Israel should be eliminated from the pages of history" [President of Iran, 2006]
"Israel is a cancerous tumour that should be cut and will be cut" [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 2012]

Many Christians see an Islamic invasion of Israel link, followed by an 'all-nation' invasion of Israel (Armageddon).

The following video graphically illustrates many of the above end time signs:

The End of the Age and the Return of Jesus Christ

Jesus said:

"When you see all these things (the end time signs), know that it (the Second Coming of Christ) is near - at the doors!" (Mat 24.33)
Entry to heaven through Christ

The destruction of the end time World Government link and the judgement of the nations is immediately followed by the return of Jesus Christ to earth link - His feet will stand upon the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem.

Many prophecies then point to a 'millennial' age on this earth, where the world is at peace, justice is established, and Christ rules the nations from Jerusalem:

"And the LORD shall be King over all the earth." (Zech 14.9)

The good news is that you do not have to go through the trials soon to come upon the earth. Jesus Christ will deliver you from the coming judgement of the nations if you put your trust in Him.

See Steps You Must Take

Download a detailed study of end time events:
Part 1: End-times: The Last Years of this Age
A Word version is here

Part 2: End-times: The Millennial Reign of Christ
A Word version is here

Bible quotations are from the New American Standard Bible