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"A Time of Trouble,
Such as Never Was
Since There Was a Nation"

Four Signs that Mark the "Time of the End"

1914 Changed the World

"Except those days should be shortened,
 there should
no flesh be saved"


Mass Murders






Four Signs that Mark the "Time of the End"

Many Bible prophecies predict the conditions and events of our day as signs of the end of the world—today’s headlines written nearly 2,000 years ago. Consideration of these prophecies establishes:

(1) that the Bible is indeed the inspired Word of God;

(2) that we are living in unprecedented times prophesied in Scripture as the “end of the world”; and

(3) that man is standing at the threshold of lasting peace and economic security in a pollution-free earth.

Daniel 12:1 and 4 give four signs that mark the “time of the end,” or end of the world:

(1) A time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation;

(2) Many shall run to and fro;

(3) Knowledge shall be increased; and

(4) Your (Daniel’s) people (Israel) delivered.

Unprecedented Trouble—Daniel 12:1

That the first sign, unprecedented trouble, is the hallmark of our time is confirmed by historians. True, the world has always had trouble, but never before has it been in such staggering proportions.

Wars: In the 20th century over 100 million lives were lost through war. From 1990 to 1995, 70 states involved in 93 wars killed 5.5 million people. Forty wars were waged in 1999. The unprecedented terrorism of September 11 marked 2001.

In his book Out of Control, Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor and professor of American Foreign Policy at John Hopkins University, notes that the 20th century began amid great hope and promise, but became the century of insanity. In elaborating on his observation of 175 million slaughtered in the name of the “politics of organized insanity,” he says:

Contrary to its promise, the 20th century became mankind’s most bloody and hateful century of hallucinatory politics and of monstrous killings. Cruelty was institutionalized to an unprecedented degree, lethality was organized on a mass production basis. The contrast between the scientific potential for good and the political evil that was actually unleashed is shocking. Never before in history was killing so globally pervasive, never before did it consume so many lives, never before was human annihilation pursued with such concentration of sustained effort on behalf of such arrogantly irrational goals.

The population explosion and industrialization of Third World nations accentuate the oil crunch. Nations will go to war for oil. Many Third World nations have the poor man’s bomb—chemical warfare, and are working on actual nuclear warheads. Such volatile weaponry in the hands of these regimes spells trouble. The economic and political instability of the Soviet Union could result in a military coup.

Population Explosion: Before 1650 A.D. the population doubled every 1,000 years. In 1804 A.D. the population was one billion. It doubled in 1927 (123 years later). And doubled again in 1974 (only 47 years later). In 1990 the world population was 5.5 billion. By 2000 A.D. it increased one billion.

Up to 15 million people die of starvation annually. There are 40 million refugees worldwide and 100 million homeless. Each day 40,000 babies die of starvation in Third World countries, while Americans spend over $900 million yearly feeding dogs and cats. 

Pollution: The U.S. has 4.6 % of the world’s population, but annually disposes of 290 million tons of toxic waste, uses 26% of the world’s oil, 26% of the world’s coal, and 27% of the world’s natural gas; releases 26% of the world’s nitrogen oxides; and produces 25.5 % of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Air pollutants from car exhaust and industry spawn disease. Deaths from respiratory disease double every five years. Skin cancer and cataracts caused by ozone depletion are increasing. From 1950 to 1980 melanomas increased by 500%.

Solid wastes, radioactive and toxic chemical wastes are contaminating our rivers, lakes and oceans. In the last 200 years, the U.S. has lost 50% of its wetlands, 90% of its old-growth forests, and 99% of its tall-grass prairie. The world is losing tropical forests at a rate of almost 42 million acres per year, an increase of 50% from a decade ago. At the current rate, tropical forests will be gone within 115 years. Rain forests cover only 7% of Earth’s surface, but contain over 50% of its species. Acid rain is destroying our forests, which in turn will produce “global warming.”

Global Warming: “Except for nuclear war or a collision with an asteroid, no force has more potential to damage our planet’s web of life than global warming.” (Time Magazine, April 9, 2001) The 1990s were the hottest decade on record. Over the 20th century, Earth’s average temperature rose approximately one degree. Warmer climates have widespread effects on the environment.

The sea level will rise as oceans absorb heat from the atmosphere and expand. Polar ice caps will melt. Increases in sea level will flood and erode coastal areas inhabited by half the world’s population. Tropical storms will become more frequent and intense. Weather patterns will become extreme, causing flooding. Soil moisture will decrease impacting crop failures and life-threatening droughts. “Breadbasket farmland” (like our Midwest) will become barren desert. Markets and food supplies will be disrupted. Severe food shortages will result.

Time is running out, according to Lester R. Brown, president of the highly respected Worldwatch Institute.

Preceding generations have always been concerned about the future, but ours is the first to be faced with decisions that will determine whether the earth our children inherit will be inhabitable.

Scientists are now concerned that the population explosion could hasten and increase the effects of global warming. Drastic climate changes resulting in economic disaster in many nations could trigger wars for survival.

Drugs: We are losing the drug war because the huge profits are too corrupting. There are 2.2 million hard-core drug users in the United States. While one out of forty persons in New York City is hard-core, nationally one out of one hundred are hard-core users. The number of casual users is substantially higher. Is it any wonder the crime rate is spiraling? Seventy percent of New York City’s drug users are affluent. One thousand drug addicted babies are born every day.

Economic Chaos: The U.S. ended 2003 with a staggering debt over $6.8 trillion and a perilous foreign trade imbalance. The nineties were the “decade of uncertainty.” Outstanding consumer credit debts have increased from $349.4 billion in 1980 to $3,996 billion in 2003.

Indeed, our generation is experiencing a “Time of Trouble such as never was since there was a nation.”

Increased Travel—Daniel 12:1

The second sign is increased travel. Transportation has expanded rapidly because of the automobile. Selden made the first automobile in 1877. Today there are over 600,000,000 cars. Through numerous modes of transportation millions are crossing and recrossing each other’s paths around the world. In the past 100 years, man has increased his travel from 30 mph to 25,000 mph off the planet to the moon.

Knowledge Increased—Daniel 12:1

If the increase of knowledge from the dawn of history to the 1880s is given a value of one, then knowledge has doubled 16 times within the last 10 years. One hundred years ago, 90 of the world’s population could neither read nor write. Today, 40% of the world’s population can read and write, and in the Western world literacy has reached nearly 90%.

Ninety percent of all scientists who have ever lived are alive today. Fifty percent of the world’s inventions have been created in the last decade. 

Sophistication in communications allows man to see and hear throughout the world instantly. U.S. homes with telephone answering devices jumped from 31% in 1990 to 74% in 2000. Cordless telephones jumped from 25% in 1990 to 78% in 2000. In 1989 there were 3.5 million cellular telephone subscribers; by 1999 there were 86.0 million. In 1990 there were 9.9 million pagers; by 1999 there were 53.5 million.

In 1995, 31.7% households had personal computers; by 2000, 53%. In the last decade, 66.3 million computers were sold. In 1993 there were 3 million Internet users; by mid 1999 there were nearly 200 million; by 2000 there were 332.7 million.

The noted historian, Barbara Tuchman has observed,

Man entered the 19th century using only his own and animal power, supplemented by that of wind and water, much as he had entered the Thirteenth, or for that matter, the First. He entered the Twentieth with his capacities in transportation, communication, production, manufacture and weaponry multiplied a thousandfold by the energy of machines. (The Proud Tower, Foreword, xvi)

Unprecedented travel and increase of knowledge marks our day at the “time of the end.”

Israel Becomes a Nation—Daniel 12:1

The fourth sign which marks us at the “time of the end” is that the Lord will stand up for Daniel’s “people,” the Jewish nation. If we are living in this “time of the end,” we should expect dramatic evidence of God’s favor on behalf of the Jewish people.

Against this background, Matthew 24 becomes meaningful. “What shall be the sign of your coming [Greek, parousia], and of the end of the world [age]?” Matthew 24:3

Matthew 24:32-34 gives the deliverance of Israel as one of these signs. “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is nigh: So likewise you, when you shall see all these things, know that it is even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”

Israel Restored

Students of prophecy from many denominations generally recognize that the fig tree is pictorial of the nation of Israel. (See Jeremiah, Chapter 24). In Matthew 21:19, Jesus cursed a fig tree because he found no fruit on it. As a result of his cursing, the fig tree withered.

Several days later Jesus applied the lesson of the withered fig tree. He proclaimed judgment on the nation of Israel, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate” (Matthew 23:38) because it had not borne fruitage to God. Israel was subsequently scattered and persecuted.

Israel’s restoration is an outstanding sign of the end of the age. The fig tree coming back to life and putting forth leaves represents Israel coming to life as a nation and receiving God’s increasing favor. Historians agree that Israel’s rebirth is a miracle of history. Never before has a nation been destroyed, its people dispersed to the ends of the earth and then—nearly 2,000 years later—its descendants regathered to their homeland and re-established as a nation.

Compare Luke 21:29-32 with Matthew 24:32-34. The restoration of Israel means the kingdom is at hand.

   “And he spoke to them a parable: Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth, you see and know of your own selves that summer is nigh at hand. So likewise you, when you see these things come to pass, know you that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.” Luke 21:29-32.

The generation that witnesses Israel restored as a nation will also witness the complete end of the world or age and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God.

Scriptures are charged with signs that have become the headlines of our day. Jerusalem is no longer trodden down by Gentiles (Luke 21:24). Many new nations have gained independence (Luke 21:29-30). Evil is exposed as never before (I Corinthians 4:5). Most people, even the professedly religious, lack faith (Luke 18:8). Men love themselves, have no respect for parents, and have no natural affection (2 Timothy 3:1-5). Turmoil grows between labor and capital (James 5:1-4). Wars and war preparations intensify (Joel 3:9-11).  All the while men proclaim “peace” (I Thessalonians 5:2-3).  Men’s hearts fail for fear (Luke 21:36).

One more sign bears consideration.

Nations on the Run —
Another Remarkable Prophecy

  “Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.” Amos 5:18,19,20

In Amos’ prophecy the fleeing man represents the world’s experiences in this dark “time of trouble.” At the dawning of our era, Great Britain ruled the most expansive empire on earth. The lion in this prophecy, Britain’s national symbol, appropriately illustrated the mighty nation that devoured (colonized) weaker nations. Colonialism’s suffocating grasping led to the world’s fleeing to another form of government.

The man in Amos 5:20 escaped the lion only to meet the bear—a form of government diametrically opposed to the grasping greed of colonialism—communism! The former Soviet Union, the “bear” of Amos’ prophecy, offered man another hope for safety in this time of trouble. Communism’s failure to rescue man was underscored by its precipitous fall. Nations are now seeking another hope of security—nationalism.

Entering the “house” of nationalism has been anything but comfortable for the nations of the world. Bosnia, Serbia, Germany and other nations seeking safety in nationalism have suffered civil war, economic malaise, the rise of new “hate groups” and other ills. While in the supposed security of ultra-nationalism (will church and state reunite?) the people place their hand on the wall. Seeking rest in the supporting structure of human government will result in being bitten by the serpent. That old Serpent, the Devil and Satan, which once deceived the nations to think that they were Christ’s Kingdom (Revelation 12:9) will bite them again. Then the nations will feel the rebuke of Jehovah in the great time of trouble.


“The weak say I am strong.” Joel 3:10 Although few in numbers and limited in armaments, the Islamic terrorists boast they will overthrow the “Great Satan,” the U.S. and Christendom, Western Europe. Already, fundamentalists in the large Islamic communties of Europe are openly calling for “holy” Jihad.

All of these prophecies mark the time when the present evil world is being destroyed. God is now revealing Himself as never before in history, a revelation which will climax with the establishment of the Kingdom of Christ on earth.

Take heart—even though things must get worse before they get better. It is the unprecedented severity of world problems (Matthew 24:21) and the paralysis of hopelessness (Luke 21:25) that mark us at the threshold of the great Kingdom blessings which God has in store for man.

Just as urban renewal requires the demolition of old structures, so the full establishment of Christ’s Kingdom requires the removal of our corrupt civilization (Hebrews 12:28). The present generation will see the Kingdom in all its glory (Luke 21:21-32). 

Why God Permits Evil

Justifiably, the question arises, Why has God permitted man to suffer for thousands of years, and then, only when Christ returns and establishes his Kingdom, is all changed? The question of suffering and evil has always been an enigma to man. Philosophers of all times and ages have pondered the question, to no avail. But the Scriptures provide a logical answer to this question which leaves one in awe.

Webster defines evil as “that which produces unhappiness; anything which either directly or remotely causes suffering of any kind.”

God desires mankind to live in peace, harmony and happiness. He knows this will only happen as each practices the principles of righteousness and love. Otherwise evil will result with its consequences of suffering and unhappiness.

Here we are faced with what can be referred to as the “dilemma of God”—the planetary systems move in mechanical obedience; the animal creation is driven mainly by instinct; but God desired the human race to have a free will and to “worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). God could have programmed the ideal man and utopia would have been inevitable, but man would be no better than a robot, nor would he be happy. Further, it is impossible to worship only “in truth,” to obey truth and righteousness for what you can get out of it without having the “spirit” or appreciation of righteousness.

Out of sheer appreciation of the principles of righteousness — worshiping in spirit—God desired man to live in harmony with both his Creator and fellow man. God knows it is only as man is fully motivated by the principles of righteousness, that he can really attain happiness for himself and be in that attitude of cheerful concern for the happiness of his fellows.

The problems of free will choice has a built-in dilemma. Man can rebel against his Creator. The Lord was willing to bestow free will, fully cognizant that it would cost Him dearly before man became fully responsible to this freedom. What an awesome power! Man can stand in stiff-necked rebellion against his Creator. He can refuse to submit to God’s authority. He can refuse to accept God’s favor. He can choose to avert the mercy of God and adamantly stand upon his decision against God. For by free will, man is man, created in the image of God, and neither an animal nor a machine.

Put yourself in God’s place to appreciate this dilemma. A parent will tell his baby not to touch the stove because it is hot. But, what does a baby know about being burned? The anxious parent knows the inevitability of the baby touching the stove before learning the consequence of heat. A wise parent will create a controlled experience with heat—lightly and quickly touching the child’s hand where the heat is not too severe. And all through life parents will admonish their children, knowing that they will only learn certain lessons the “hard way”—by experience.

As our Father, God knew man would not comprehend His warning about sin, disobedience and their dire consequences. So God formulated a plan whereby man, through his own choice, might first experience evil and then righteousness (in God’s kingdom). This contrasting experience will demonstrate the beauty and righteousness of God’s law and the dire consequence of its violation as no other process could.

The recovery from sin is called redemption in the Bible. Redemption simply means the release from sin and death through the payment of a price. The thought is similar to the releasing a person from prison when a benefactor pays the fine the prisoner couldn’t afford. This release through the death of Jesus is often considered as an afterthought of God to salvage some of the human race. But the depth of God’s wisdom is shown by His foresight in devising a plan that provides for man’s free choice and experience with evil, redemption through Christ and ultimate eternal happiness. Thus, Isaiah 46:9-10 speaks of God knowing and declaring the end from the beginning.

Eden: Actual History

The third chapter of Genesis is the divinely provided history of man’s free will choice. God instructed man that if he practiced righteousness, he would live forever. If he disobeyed, then “dying he would die.” Death would be a process of sorrow and suffering culminating with the grave. Note well that death, not eternal torment, is the penalty for sin (Genesis 2:17; Psalms 146:4). Like the child and heat, man did not know what suffering and death were. He disobeyed. God is now giving man a controlled experience with evil. We read in Ecclesiastes 1:13 and 3:10, “This sore travail hath God given to man to be exercised therewith.” Man’s travail with evil is for a purpose, that he might be exercised or taught certain lessons by it.

Some will say, “Don’t tell me you still believe in original sin! Just because Adam and Eve were disobedient, the whole human race are sinners?” In I Timothy 2:13-14; I Corinthians 15:21-22; Romans 5:14; and John 8:44, both Jesus and the apostles refer to the event in Eden as a real time-space situation. What better proof can we have that the Genesis account of Eden was actual history? Unfortunately, the logic of this concept has been obscured by Dark Age superstitions that have been attached to it, such as “hell fire,” with a vindictive God who must be placated. Modern man is rightly repelled by the superstitions contained in some church theology, but these superstitions are not taught in the Bible. Shorn of Dark Age theology, there is no better explanation of man’s miserable plight than the Scriptural teaching of original sin.

Another Look at Sin

Not too long ago, sin was treated lightly. It was called “ignorance,” only a growing pain of the human race. Give man a bit more education, let him become a little more civilized and he will evolve out of his sin, leaving evil behind him. But now we are not so sure. The heinous events of World War II (12 million murders, leveled cities, gas chambers), followed by the continuing senseless acceleration of war, crime and violence (old people killed for kicks, 70-year-old women molested) and other immoralities, have forced man to take a second look at the problem of evil.

A fresh look at sin is pointedly reflected in the words of Dr. Cyril E. M. Joad, a noted Professor of Philosophy and Psychology at the University of London, and listed by the editor of The American Weekly as one of the world’s great scientists. Joad said:

For years my name regularly appeared with H. G. Wells, Bertrand Russell, and Aldous Huxley as a derider of religion.... Then came the war, and the existence of evil made its impact upon me as a positive and obtrusive fact. The war opened my eyes to the impossibility of writing off what I had better call man’s ‘sinfulness’ as a mere by-product of circumstance. The evil in man was due, I was taught, either to economic circumstance (because people were poor, their habits were squalid, their tastes undeveloped, their passions untamed) or to psychological circumstances. For were not psycho-analysts telling me that all the regressive, aggressive, or inhibited tendencies of human nature were due to the unfortunate psychological environment of one’s early childhood?

  The implications are obvious; remove the circumstances, entrust children to psycho-analyzed nurses and teachers, and virtue would reign.

   I have come flatly to disbelieve all this. I see now that evil is endemic in man, and that the Christian doctrine of original sin expresses a deep and essential insight into human nature.

As Dr. Joad, society is taking another look at evil. It can no longer be considered a growing pain. It is too deadly a disease to be explained away by environment.

Speaking collectively of the human race, the Psalmist said, “In sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalms 51:5) The Apostle Paul in Romans 5:12 says, “By one man sin entered the world and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”

Since father Adam sinned, justice required that he die. Before he died, Adam had children who were born in sin. They inherited Adam’s imperfections. Thus, the whole human race is born dying. This is how it is learning the consequences of evil. But the permission of evil is a brief controlled experience when compared with eternity. And what are some of the grim lessons?

God permits evil to demonstrate that man without God results in:

Science and possible extinction through the H-bomb or pollution;

Affluence that spends $900 million a year in the U.S. for pet food while 5 million humans starve to death;

Religious Institutions whose assets total billions of dollars while millions live in poverty;

Technology and its deadly tentacles of pollution encircling the globe;

Towering Cities that are concrete jungles of crime and violence, filled with faceless people experiencing life without meaning and terrible loneliness.

God permits evil to prove that man without God can only result in man’s inhumanity to man. What is this world coming to? An understanding of what results when man is separated from God.

The Problem of Communication

In our era of permissiveness, the justice of God seems to be an offense to the rationalist. But perhaps the problem is one of communication, which can be shown in the simple illustration of an argument. All of us at sometime have been engaged in an argument in which we really never objectively listened to the other party. We were too busy thinking of our answers to hear their logic. The rationalist is carrying on a debate with God. If he would only stop and listen to what God has explained in the historic account of Eden (Genesis 3), he would catch a glimpse of the wisdom and justice of God which becomes man’s guarantee of an eternity of happiness.

Is God’s Justice Severe?

Some question the severity of God’s justice in the death penalty. Could not some other penalty than death have been a just recompense for Adam’s disobedience? No doubt some other penalty would have been just; however, God chose this penalty because it best suited His overall plan for mankind. Once Adam was informed that death was the penalty for disobedience, then the penalty was fair.

A basic fact to always remember is that God in His foreknowledge knew that Adam would disobey. Therefore, long before the creation of Adam, God’s wisdom devised a plan of recovery and ultimate happiness for the human race that would require the death of His only begotten Son. Thus, I Peter 1:19-20 and Ephesians 1:4-7 speak of the blood of Christ as foreordained before the world began for the redemption of mankind. The Creator used the time-space situation in Eden to demonstrate the dependability of His justice. It is vital that man knows that “justice and judgment [just decisions] are the habitation of your [God’s] throne”—Psalms 89:14. Justice is the foundation of the government of the universe, the basis of all God’s dealings. Judgment is also spoken of as part of this foundation. The Hebrew word here means “a just decision.” We can take comfort in the realization that throughout eternity all of God’s decisions will be just.

Man was placed in the Edenic paradise to thoroughly enjoy the love of God. Suppose that after Adam and Eve had lived obediently for a while, God changed His mind and chased them out of the garden condition into the thorns and thistles of the unfinished earth. His love would be worthless, whimsical, because it was not based on justice. It would be changeable.

Another hypothetical situation: If when Adam disobeyed, God said, “Oh, I will overlook your disobedience this time, I will not punish you as I promised to do.” Adam might say, “Wonderful! I am surely glad God is more loving than just.”

Wonderful? No! This would be whimsical, capricious, arbitrary. The Creator and Ruler of the universe could never be trusted throughout eternity. At any time, in any place, with any order of intelligent creatures, God might at the slightest whim change His mind and turn on His creatures. Eden proved the unchangeableness of God’s justice. God declares in Malachi 3:6, “I am Jehovah, I change not.” James 1:17 states, “The Father of lights in whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

How unchangeable is God’s justice? So unyielding that God’s court of justice required the payment of the costliest fine ever stipulated in a court of law. What judge has been willing to give up his own innocent son to death in order to cancel the debt of crime of the defendant?

Another Problem of Communication

Our Creator wants us to know the depths of His love, that He is the most loving Being in the universe. How can God communicate this to our finite minds? In human relationships words of love can be quite meaningless. Actions speak louder than words. How did God show His love? With tender Fatherly emotions of sorrow, God took the dearest treasure of His heart, His only Begotten Son, and sent him to earth to suffer and die at the hands of man. At great cost to Himself, the wisdom of God formulated a plan which reveals that He is both just (unyielding justice) and the justifier (benefactor) of mankind (Romans 3:25-26).

The simple events of Eden and Calvary tell so much about our God. Calvary is the greatest manifestation of love and mercy in the history of the universe. The combination of Eden and Calvary stand as a pledge throughout eternity that there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning in God’s justice.

The world is, therefore, by experience coming to an understanding of God’s ways.