Second Coming of Christ

The Signs


Dr. John Hoole – August 11, 2013




In Luke 21, Jesus is recorded saying, “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars.  On earth, nations will be in anguish … for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. [Luke 21:25-26]  Then He added: “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” [Luke 21:28]


Our Lord clearly indicated that certain “signs” would precede His return.  He also said “that day will close on you unexpectedly.”  Therefore, He urged us, “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen” [Luke 21:34-36].


Since Jesus returned to heaven with the promise that He would someday come back, nearly every generation has interpreted Bible prophecy in light of its own historical experience.  And every previous generation thought that theirs might be the one finding His return.  So, some are asking, then why do we think that He might return in our lifetime?  Why should we even try to discern the signs of the times?  Won’t we fall into the same category at every generation before who were wrong?  I believe these are valid question.


Today we are witnessing an unparalleled correspondence between the trend of world events and Bible prophecy.  People from all walks of life and religious backgrounds are asking the same questions.  Could the end really be near?  Is the world well down the road toward Armageddon?


Ever since Christ promised to return, Christians in all generation have been asking the same question as the Apostle asked Jesus in Matthew 24:3.


Matthew 24:3 NKJV


3       Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"


A study of prophetic writings from the first century to the present will show that Bible-believing Christians have always been interested in “When?” and the “signs.”


The purpose of this lesson is to answer but a few of the questions that are being raised.  We will look at what I believe are some major indicators that we very well could be living in the generation that sees Christ return to earth.


A word of caution – The Bible teaches us, “Let your moderation be known unto all men” [Phil. 4:5].  A study of “signs” of the end of the age or the return of Christ should always be undertaken with a degree of restraint.  Date setters are to be ignored outright.  It has always puzzled me that anyone would try to set dates for Christ’s return.


Matthew 24:36 NKJV


36     But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.


Acts 1:7 NKJV


7       And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.


Now, let’s look at some of the major signs or indicators of the Coming of Christ.  Although we cannot say with absolute certainty that each of these events are related to End-Time prophecy, it would be unwise to ignore them.


The Rebirth of the Nation of Israel


If I were to be asked what I believe to be the greatest sign of the soon-coming of our Lord, without hesitation I would say it is the establishment of the nation of Israel on May 14, 1948.  Israel!  The modern state of Israel.  This singular event is a prophetic watershed.


The most prophesied event in end-time passages in the Bible is the return of the Jewish people to their promised land.  There are dozens of Scriptures predicting that the Jews must be back in the homeland for the events of the end times to unfold [ Jer. 30:1-3; Ezek. 34:11-24; Zech. 10:6-10]


Simply stated, almost all the key events of the end times hinge in one way or another on the existence of the nation of Israel.  Israel is the battleground for all the great end-time conflicts and wars described in the Bible.


In A.D. 70 the land of Israel, the city of Jerusalem, and the Jewish Temple were crushed under the heel of Roman dominance.  Since that time, the Jews have been scattered all over the world.  God had warned the Jews through Moses just before Moses dies.


Deuteronomy 28:64-66 NKJV


64     Then the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known — wood and stone.

65     And among those nations you shall find no rest, nor shall the sole of your foot have a resting place; but there the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and anguish of soul.

66     Your life shall hang in doubt before you; you shall fear day and night, and have no assurance of life.


As we have seen in our series on The End Times, God did not intend to leave them scattered.  On multiple occasions, God promised to bring them back to their land.


In the famous “valley of dry bones” vision in Ezekiel 37, the bones symbolize the nation of Israel coming back together in the end times.  In that passage, Ezekiel sees a graveyard vision illustrating the national return, restoration, and regeneration of the “whole house of Israel.”


Ezekiel 37:11 NKJV


11     Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, 'Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!'


Israel is pictured here as first being restored physically.  This is the image of the coming together of bones, sinew, and skin.  A whole army comes together bone by bone, followed by being covered by tendons, flesh, and skin.  But according to verse 8, they are just a bunch of lifeless corpses.


Then Ezekiel witnesses Israel’s spiritual regeneration when, in verse 9, the breath of the Spirit breathes spiritual life into the dead nation.  That as yet has not occurred, although many Jews have come to accept Christ as their Messiah.  But, I believe the physical regathering to the Land of Israel has begun.  The pile of dry bones are coming together.


The regathering of Israel will set the stage for many of the events of the end times.  The Bible predicts that Israel must be partially regathered to her land for the events of the end times to unfold.  Many of the End-time prophecies in Scripture are built upon the assumption that Israel will be regathered to her land and functioning as a nation again.


Daniel 9:27 tells us the 7-year Tribulation period begins with the signing of a covenant between  the Antichrist and the leaders of Israel.  That cannot happen without the presence of a Jewish state.


Alignment of Nations


As mentioned earlier, the migration of Jews to their nation is prophesied to have an effect on what the Bible prophesies about many other nations.


The Lord said that at the End of the Age He will make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding people reeling.


Zechariah 12:2-3 NKJV


2       Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem.

3       And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.


Over the last several years, much of the Middle East talk has been focused on Jerusalem.  American leaders, traditionally some of Israel’s most loyal allies, have publicly called East Jerusalem occupied territory, and demanded that no more Jewish home be built there.  I am of the opinion that Jerusalem won’t really be free of Gentile “trampling” until the Lord returns.


The Bible records more than two dozen nations that will be impacted in the End Times.  Actually we know that all nations will be impacted, but many are specifically named in the Bible prophecies.


In just two Bible passages, we find more than 1½ dozen nations or people groups mentioned by name, all of whom would like to see Israel cease to exist in the Middle East.  These two passages speak of two future wars against the Jewish nation, and are mentioned in Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 & 39.


Let’s read Psalm 83.


Psalms 83:1-8 NKJV


1       Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O God!

2       For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; And those who hate You have lifted up their head.

3       They have taken crafty counsel against Your people, and consulted together against Your sheltered ones.

4       They have said, "Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more."

5       For they have consulted together with one consent; They form a confederacy against You:

6       The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; Moab and the Hagrites;

7       Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek; Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;

8       Assyria also has joined with them; They have helped the children of Lot. Selah


Before going further, let’s identify where these people groups/tribes lived.


         Edom                       Southern Jordan

         Ishmaelites               Northwest Saudi Arabia

         Moab                      Central Jordan

         Hagrites                   Egypt (Hagar was an Egyptian)

         Gebal                      Northern Lebanon

         Ammon                   Northern Jordan

         Amalek                   Negev/Southern Jordan/Sinai

         Philista                     Gaza Strip – (Hamas)

         Tyre                         Southern Lebanon – (Hezbollah)

         Assyria                    Northwest Iraq (Near Turkey and Syria)


Between these two passages, there are 19 people groups involved against the nation of Israel.  Ten are mentioned in Psalm 83, and nine in Ezekiel 38, and no nation finds itself involved in both wars.


I also presented that the people involved in the war of Psalm 83 form an “inner circle” of nations.  By that, I mean, these enemies are predominantly immediate neighbors of Israel.  The nine  nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38 form an “outer circle.”  That is, none of them border immediately on Israel.


The outer ring consist of these nations:


         •  Russia            - Magog, Rosh (Including some of the former Islamic provinces of Russia)

         •  Iran                - Persia

         •  Sudan            - Cush [Ethiopia]

         •  Libya             - Phut

         •  Turkey          - Togarmah, Meshech, Gomer, Tubal


In the Ezekiel prophecy, we read of a massive assault by Russia, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Turkey, etc.  With the sheer size of the assault force, Israel will seem to have no chance of defending itself.  God, however, will intervene and supernaturally annihilate the invaders.  The nations involved will be reduced to ashes.  Of the 19 different tribes or people groups, all but possibly one are Muslim nations today.


For the first time in history, we are on the brink of a setting where this prophecy could be fulfilled.  Israel again will be seen as the “bad guy” for daring to defend themselves.  What I like about these verses though, is that the Lord isn’t going to stand for it.  It says He will rebuke them for both their words and their actions against Israel.  I am kind of curious exactly what He’s going to do or say.  But, whatever it is, God is going to have the last word.


Revised Roman Empire


At another location on earth, we are told of another group of nations.  The Bible speaks of ten national powers being associated with the coming Antichrist.  Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 mention four separate entities.


         Daniel 2 mentions them in the form of a gigantic metallic statue.’


         Daniel 7 depicts them as beasts coming up out of the sea.


We are told, in verses 17-28, that these four beasts represent four “kings” and “kingdoms.”  These kingdoms are prophesied to rise one after the other, with each nation worse than and more powerful than those before it.


Most Bible scholars agree that these four beasts represent the empires of Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece, and Rome, and we do know from history that these four kingdoms did arise in this order.  The fourth kingdom, Rome, is described the most “dreadful and terrible” beast of all (Daniel 7:7).


However, the prophecies about this fourth beast have not been completely fulfilled.  In fact, the same beast reappears in Revelation 13:1-2.  The ten horns on the Revelation 13 beast, are in Revelation 17, said to be “ten kings” and are the same as the “ten horns” of Daniel’s beast.  These ten kings are part of the Roman beast of Daniel 7 and Revelation 13.


For centuries Europe has wanted to reunite its separate nations, but only in the 20th century have we seen the actual formation of the “European Community.”  Since World War II, various treaties have been signs and various governments have been established to bring Europe closer to being united.


The European Community has established a Commission, a Council of Ministers, a European Parliament, and a European Court of Justice.  So with every passing day, the nations of the ancient Roman Empire are moving a step closer to forming their own federated kingdom.


The Bible says there will be TEN kings which make up this federation, and that they will give their power to the Antichrist who also rises up among them.  At this moment, we do not know for sure which ten European nations will make up this federation in its final form.  But one thing is very certain:  The “ten horns” of Revelation 13:1 and 17:12-13 are now a reality.


It is only a matter of time before the “United States of Europe” is formed with the Antichrist in control.


The Desert is Blossoming


The Old Testament prophets relate to the reader how fertile the land of Israel will be in the last days.  This is especially true in the prophecies of Isaiah.


Isaiah 27:6 NKJV


6       Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob; Israel shall blossom and bud, And fill the face of the world with fruit.


When one considers how that during most of the last 2,000 years, the land of Israel lay in total desolation and utter deforestation throughout the land, it is remarkable that the Bible prophesies that the land would be abundantly fertile again in the last days.  The Roman Legion stripped the land of its trees and burned its orchards.  The Turkish absentee landlords displayed no genuine concern for the land.


In Mark Twain’s book, The Innocents Abroad, he comments about his 1867 tour of the Holy Land.


“There is hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere.  Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.”


That was all well and truthful until the Jews returned to their ancient land.  They have transformed the Promised Land into the most agriculturally efficient land on earth.  The value of the agricultural crops produces annually exceeds $2 billion dollars.  Today, Israel supplies over 90% of the citrus fruit consumed by Europeans.  The astonishing fertility of Israel in the last days is verified by these yields:


•  Peak yields of tomatoes reach 202 tons per acre.


•  1.2 million roses are grown in greenhouses per acre per season.


•  Annual milk yields per cow reach an average of 2,640 gallons.


•  In the Negev Desert, peak yields of citrus reach 32 tons per acre.


They have devised a remarkable new drip-irrigation technique that ensures every drop of water is delivered directly to the plant’s roots.  They utilize fertilizer from the minerals in the Dead Sea.  This has allowed Israel’s farmers to turn the deserts into lush gardens growing bananas, mangos, watermelon and grapes.


This was all prophesied by the Old Testament prophets.


Isaiah 35:7 NKJV


7       The parched ground shall become a pool, And the thirsty land springs of water; In the habitation of jackals, where each lay, There shall be grass with reeds and rushes.


When the Jews returned to their land, one of the first things they did was to plant trees.  They have planted 250 million trees thus far, with about 50% each for fruit bearing and non-fruit-bearing.  It has again become the land “flowing with milk and honey.”


Explosion of Travel


Daniel the prophet received some of the most sweeping prophecies found in the Bible.  Prophecies found in the book of Daniel take us from the days of the Babylonian captivity (which Daniel was part of) to the very end of this age.  It is fascinating that after giving him some of the most remarkable prophecies found in the Bible, God tells Daniel to "shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end."  But then God gives Daniel two signs that would help us identify "the time of the end.”


Daniel 12:4 NKJV


4       But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase."


The first sign here speaks of the Explosion in Travel.


For more than 5000 years prior to A.D.1850, the fastest speed at which mankind could travel did not vary at all.  Up until that time, the horse was the surest and fastest way to travel.  But in the last 150 years, the speed of travel and the places where we can quickly go is staggering.


Man has traveled to the moon and back traveling approximately 25,000 miles per hour.  Truly, there has been a veritable explosion in travel over the last 150 years.


We can look around and see tremendous progress since the 1890s in automotive production, steam engines, and the discovery of flight.  We have seen interstate highways built and quick travel between cities.


A hundred years ago, it was a huge decision and expense and time to go half-way around the world to visit another culture.  But today we can be anywhere in the world in just a few hours.


I have been to Japan on six or seven occasion.  My wife and I have traveled to Europe.  We have visited Czechoslovakia, a country that only 25 years ago was behind the iron curtain.  In the last ten years, I have traveled to El Salvador, Guatemala, South Africa, India, Philippines, London, Rome, Israel (4), Egypt, Jordan (2), Turkey (2), and Greece.  Yes, “many shall run to and fro.”


The Increase of Knowledge


The second sign given to Daniel as an indicator of the “time of the end,” was that there would be a significant increase in knowledge.


As a young college student, studying mathematics and physics, I was already seeing students shy away from general physics opting for narrower specialties: Nuclear Physics, Thermodynamics, Astrophysics, String Theory, Geophysics, Aeronautical Physics.  There was simply too much to learn to be a generalist.


The same is true in the medical field.  There are fewer and fewer general practitioners.  All of this occurs because there is simply too much information to be an expert in everything.  Therefore, more and more are choosing specialties within their field of study.


Scriptures like Revelation 1:7, which says of Christ’s return, “all eyes will see Him,” has puzzled people for the last 2,000 years.  But now, with the ability to view activity around the world as it happens, this is no longer a mystery.


Also, the technology needed to implement the Mark of the Beast is now here.  It is now possible to control what a person may be able to buy or sell as mentioned in Revelation 13.  Already, across the world99% of commercial transactions in many countries are done without cash.


Throughout most of earth’s history the level of knowledge increased slowly and incrementally.  In some centuries and nations, the level of general knowledge actually decreased for a time, such as during the thousand years known as the Dark Ages after the fall of Rome.  Yet, since 1850 we have witnessed an explosion of knowledge in all fields beyond anything ever experienced in human history.


There are more scientists alive today (500,000) than have lived in all the rest of history.  Recently it was calculated that the sum total of human knowledge is growing so quickly that it literally doubles every twenty-four months.  This is intriguing in light of Daniel’s ancient prediction that “knowledge shall be increased” at “the time of the end.”




The Scriptures teach us that the population who are living when Christ returns, will witness the fulfillment of numerous prophecies pointing to His return.  We have witnessed more fulfilled prophecies than any other generation in the last 2,000 years.  The Lord has not left us in spiritual darkness concerning the signs indicating His return.


Although we are specifically warned that we cannot know “the day nor the hour when the Son of Man cometh” (Matthew 25:13), the fulfillment of dozens of specific prophecies strongly suggest that Jesus Christ’s Second Coming will occur during this generation.


Someday, without warning, the heavens will open “with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God (1 Thess. 4:16) announcing to all true Christians the awesome news that our years of anxiously waiting are finally over.