Many examples of modern day signs that Jesus is returning in our time can be found in the book of Revelation. Seven of the many signs will be covered, starting with the following three.
1) The Tribulation Slaughter
Revelation 6 says that the Tribulation will begin with a series of judgments that will result in the death of one-fourth of Mankind. The world’s population is approaching six billion. That means one and a half billion people will die in the initial judgments, reducing the world’s population to 4 1/2 billion. The next series of judgments, recorded in Revelation 8 and 9 will kill another third of Mankind. One-third of 4 1/2 billion is another one and a half billion. Thus, in the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation, a total of 3 billion people will die. That’s half the population of the world!
Is this possible apart from the use of nuclear weapons? Only if it is a supernatural intervention of God. But God normally works through natural processes.
The unparalleled carnage of the Tribulation seems to me to point to nuclear weapons. Revelation 8 speaks of one-third of the earth being burned and one-third of the seas being polluted (Revelation 8:7-8). Later in the Tribulation, near the end, we are told that people will suffer from “loathsome and malignant sores” (Revelation 16:2). That sounds like one of the effects of radiation poisoning.
The advent of nuclear weapons makes possible for the first time the overwhelming Tribulation carnage portrayed in Revelation. I think nuclear power was what Jesus referred to in His Olivet Discourse when He said that the end times will be characterized by “men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Luke 21:26).
The prophecies concerning the Tribulation carnage have clearly depended upon a major technological breakthrough for their understanding. That breakthrough occurred on July 16, 1945 when the first atomic bomb was exploded in New Mexico. When the first hydrogen bomb was exploded in 1952, we entered the era when, for the first time in human history, we could inflict upon ourselves the kind of carnage described in the book of Revelation.
2) The Army of 200 Million
Chapters 9 and 16 of Revelation state that an army of 200 million soldiers will march “from the east” toward Israel. Daniel 11 indicates that this will be an army representing nations in revolt against the Antichrist (Daniel 11:44).
Demographers estimate that the total population of the world at the time the Apostle John wrote Revelation (95 A.D.) was only 200 million. How could an army that size march out of the east? It made no sense. In fact, it took 1,650 years for the world’s population to double to 400 million! At the beginning of the 20th Century the total world population was only 1.6 billion, still too small for an army of 200 million to march from the east.
But the 20th Century has witnessed an exponential increase in population. The population count is now at 6.7 billion, and just one country to the east of Israel — namely, China — could field an army of 200 million.
Here we have a clear example of a prophecy about the end times that could never be understood apart from historical developments.
3) The Two Witnesses
Revelation 11 reveals that two great witnesses of God will preach in the city of Jerusalem during the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation. Then, in the middle of that terrible period, the Antichrist will kill them.
We are further told that their dead bodies will lie in the streets of Jerusalem for 3 1/2 days and that all the people of the world will look upon them. How could that be? Prior to 1957 that prophecy was not understandable in natural terms. There was just no way that all the people of the world could look upon two dead bodies in the streets of Jerusalem.
All that changed on October 4, 1957 when the Russians sent up the first satellite called Sputnik. Today, 52 years later, our planet has many man-made satellites circling it, making possible all sorts of instantaneous communication.
When those two prophets lie dead in the streets of Jerusalem, all someone will have to do is point a TV camera at them, send the signal up to a satellite, and all the world will be able to look upon them. Once again, modern technology has made an ancient prophecy understandable for the first time.
The next article will look at more examples of modern day signs that Jesus is returning in our time from the book of Revelation.