What the Bible Says

In the Bible, “the time of the end” describes the period leading up to the return of Jesus Christ. It denotes the period just prior to the end of civilizations ruled by men and the beginning of Christ’s rule over the Earth. The Bible describes this period as filled with unprecedented violence—violence that almost annihilates all human life.

That is why people think of Bible prophecy when they see new reports about terrorism, religious clashes, trade wars, radical regimes and weapons of mass destruction.

Bible prophecies, including those spoken by Christ Himself, give specific signs showing when human history is approaching that fearsome time.

For Christians who believe Jesus Christ, there is no escaping this: He predicted that He would supernaturally return, and that there would be signs immediately preceding that event—signs we should watch for.

Jesus Christ is the only true son of the almighty God. He prophesied throughout His ministry. Not long before they crucified him, He gave His most crucial prophetic message on the Mount of Olives.

In this Jesus said, “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putt eth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:30, 32-33).

For Christians who believe Jesus Christ, there is no escaping this: He predicted that He would supernaturally return and that there would be signs immediately preceding that event—signs we should watch for.

In this same prophecy, Jesus also made this important clarification: “But of that day and hour know eth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (verse 36). Be wary when you hear someone predicting a specific date that Christ will return. But also be wary of anyone who tells you there is no way to know. Christ also said plainly that we should be able to recognize signs “that it is near, even at the doors” (verse 33). God has not revealed the date, but He has revealed several signs.

Here are four specific signs the Bible gives to know that the return of Jesus Christ is near. What makes these so important is that we have already fulfilled all four of them.

Sign One

“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3). The disciples specifically asked Jesus Christ when He would return. How did He answer? He did not say, Do not worry about such things, or No man can know the decade or the century. He answered by giving specific signs to watch for.

“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet” (verse 6). Christ said that wars and rumors of wars would spread, but these of themselves were not signs of His return. He then added that “there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (verses 7-8).

So, when you see wars and rumors of wars increasing—and you see famines, pestilences and earthquakes increasing—do not pretend everything is normal. Sit up and take notice!

Sign Two

Jesus gave another sign of His return, recorded in Matthew 17. Here, He was transfigured before three of His disciples. This was an incredible experience for them. They had believed He was the Son of God but here was a dazzling vision that not only confirmed this but showed them what He will look like at His Second Coming.

After seeing an advance vision of the most important event in human history, what did the disciples immediately think of? An intriguing question formed in their minds. After the transfiguration, the first thing they asked Jesus about was this: “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” (Matthew 17:10).

Sign Three

Back in Matthew 24, Jesus Christ gave more signs of what would occur before His return. Even among these descriptions, one statement comes across like a lightning bolt: “And I shall preach this gospel of the kingdom in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (verse 14).

Consider the radical implications of this clear, direct statement. Christianity has existed as a religion for 2,000 years since Jesus’s lifetime. It is the world’s largest religion. The New Testament has been translated into over 1,500 languages, and Christian churches have gone to extraordinary lengths over those 20 centuries to preach its message in all nations.

So how could the gospel being preached in all the world be a sign of the end? Christ’s statement could only mean that the message being proclaimed by all those churches worldwide is not the true gospel!

The word “gospel” is used to refer to the record of Jesus Christ’s life in the biblical books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But its main meaning is the message of Jesus Christ. The gospel message preached by billions of Catholics, Protestants and others over the centuries has been a gospel aboutChrist. It has been a message proclaiming that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and died to pay for the sins of humanity.

But this is not the gospel Jesus Christ preached, and it is not the gospel He said would be a sign of His return! Jesus Christ was the Son of God and died to pay the death penalty for human sin, but that was not His gospel message. The gospel message He Himself preached was the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God! That establishment of God’s rule over mankind will revolutionize the world and the universe (Mark 1:14-15; Matthew 9:35; Luke 4:43; 9:1-2, etc).

Many scriptures describe the emergence of false gospel messages after Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection (e.g. Galatians 1:8-9). In fact, false Christianity is another one sign that Christ’s coming is approaching (Revelation 6:2). Christians have misunderstood Christ, misunderstood His message, and therefore the gospels they have taught are flawed. Satan has counterfeited Christ’s message and His Church! (2 Corinthians 11:13-14).

Jesus Christ’s Church has endured over the 2,000 years since His first coming—as He promised it would (Matthew 16:18). But it has not become a nation- and empire-dominating religious force of millions of people blending in the doctrines of many belief systems. It has not become a fractured coalition of thousands of independent churches with differing beliefs. It has been small and persecuted. And it had not preached the gospel of the Kingdom of God in all the world for a witness to all nations.

God used an end-time Elijah to restore all things—including the gospel message of the Kingdom of God. That man preached the same gospel that Jesus Christ preached—and did so “around the world for a witness” for the first time in almost 2,000 years!

Sign Four

The existence of weapons that can annihilate humanity was a sign Jesus gave that everyone in the world could see. The sign of an end-time Elijah and the sign of the true gospel being preaching around the world were signs that require you to focus on God’s Church.

There is another major sign of Jesus Christ’s return that concerns God’s Church. It is a prophecy written by the Apostle Paul roughly 20 years after Jesus Christ had been crucified and resurrected, and it concerns the timing of His future return. To Church members in Thessalonica, he wrote, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2).

This scripture is revealing. In Paul’s lifetime, there were people who believed that Christ would return, but they were saying that He could return at any moment, and this was troubling the true Christiane Paul  was ministering to. They were in danger of being deceived by false Christianity. So he explained another specific sign God had given that had to happen first: a “falling away.”

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition. Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (verses 3-4).

What a remarkable and troubling sign of Christ’s imminent return! Writing to true Christians, Paul said that inside the New Testament “temple”—the Church (e.g. Ephesians 2:19-22)—an extremely wicked leader would rise up, and there would be a great falling away: many true Christians forsaking God!