I believe we are seeing in our world right now what can be described as the foreshocks of Armageddon. We are seeing these foreshocks all around us. Jesus said that in the last days, we "will hear of wars and rumors of wars" (Matthew 24:6 NKJV). And it seems today that at every turn, there is a new conflict.
ISIS is creating chaos in the Middle East, North Africa and Nigeria, and they only continue to grow. Syria is effectively under siege by ISIS. And in Iraq, about one-third of the country is now reportedly under ISIS control.
Meanwhile there is Iran. They are a nation bent on getting hold of a nuclear weapon, which on more than one occasion they have threatened to use on the United States and Israel. In addition, Iran funds proxy groups like Hezbollah and Hamas to engage in acts of terrorism.
Then there is Russia, which seems to be getting as aggressive as it used to be. Now we see China beginning to grow as well, wanting to dominate Southeast Asia and developing its military in a dramatic way.
Meanwhile, NATO appears to be doing nothing.
So what does all this mean? These are wars and rumors of wars. And I believe they are foreshocks of Armageddon.
I'm not the only one who thinks this, by the way. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which maintains the Doomsday Clock, moved it to three minutes to midnight on Jan. 22 of this year. In a message to "leaders and citizens of the world" they said, "Unchecked climate change, global nuclear weapons modernizations, and outsized nuclear weapons arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity, and world leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe."
"World leaders ..." The world is ripe for a charismatic leader, for a man of peace – someone who can bring solutions. And folks, he is coming. He is not what you want; he is the Antichrist – also called the Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition, the Little Horn and the Wicked One. And he is also known as the Beast.
In many ways, Antichrist initially will appear to be a good guy, but it all will be a mask that hides who he really is: the most evil man who ever lived. If Satan ever had a son, this would be him. The only person who has come close to Antichrist on a level of evil was Judas Iscariot. Sometimes Judas is characterized as a guy who wanted to do well, but things just got out of his control. No, Judas was a wicked man who betrayed Jesus. In fact, the Bible says that Satan filled his heart. And the Antichrist will be just like Judas.
Jesus' disciples asked him, "What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" (Matthew 24:3 NIV). We couldn't have a more credible source than Christ himself for providing an answer to this often-asked question.
This brings us back to a very important subject: the Bible. It is the one book that dares to predict the future. That is what sets it apart from all other so-called holy books or writings. This is the book that dares to predict the future – not once, not twice, but hundreds of times with amazing attention to detail. We have seen what has already happened in fulfillment of Bible prophecy; thus we can be certain what the Bible says about our future will take place just as the Scriptures say.
I don't know if there has ever been an alignment of events with technology and global conflicts like we have today where it would not at all be a stretch to imagine end-times events unfolding before our very eyes.
And it is my opinion that the next event on this prophetic calendar is the rapture of the church, when all true believers are caught up to meet the Lord in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. In fact, I don't even think the Tribulation period can begin until the church is first removed. And I don't think Antichrist can emerge until that first takes place.
Right now in this world, we followers of Jesus are one of the few voices of reason in our culture – voices that would dare stand up for the rights of the unborn, that would dare stand up for the sanctity of marriage, that would dare stand up for what is right and what is wrong. We are sort of like a preservative, keeping the lid on a boiling pot that is ready to erupt at any time.
As a restraining force, Christians are doing their work. But once we are gone, Antichrist can emerge. Writing of the Antichrist, the apostle Paul said, "And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time" (2 Thessalonians 2:6 NKJV). This is speaking of the fact that the Holy Spirit is working through the church. Once the church is removed, the Antichrist can emerge.
So there is no reason to try to figure out who the Antichrist is. The Bible does not tell us to be looking for the Antichrist; it tells us to be looking for Jesus Christ. That should be our focus right now as Christians. Jesus said, "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near" (Luke 21:28). This doesn't mean we should stand on street corners staring at the sky. Rather, it means we are to live in eager anticipation of his soon return.
We see the signs of the times on the news and in the Scriptures, and these signs are saying the Antichrist is coming. But if the Antichrist is close, then the coming of Jesus Christ for his church is even closer.
Are you ready for his return? What if Christ came back today? Would you be one of those who would be caught up to meet him? As Jesus said, "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 and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming" (Matthew 24:40–42 NIV).
Be watching. Be ready.