Are we seeing the end of the age, the days immediately before the tribulation and the return of Christ? Quite possibly. Previous generations thought they were living at the end, saying, “Look at all these wars and horrific events taking place. Certainly, the end is upon us.” And when Jesus did not return as expected, scoffers arose to criticize the church.[i] So what has changed in this generation? We will find out.
The Lord has given us several crucial signs from Scripture, the first being the rebirth of Israel in 1948. Israel’s rebirth is arguably the most significant fulfillment of Biblical prophecy since the resurrection of Christ. Yeshua said, “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near” (Matthew 24:32, NKJV).[ii] The fig tree is an apparent reference to Israel, most notably, its spiritual leaders.[iii]
I do not mean to oversimplify, but the context of the Bible is easier to understand than most people realize. It can be summarized in two major themes. First, all Scripture points to Christ and His atoning work for Israel and all humanity. Second, all Scripture revolves around God’s relationship with the nation of Israel, including the relationship of the Gentile nations with the Jewish people.[iv] As my father jokingly used to say, “So, what will this do for the Jew?” His humor conveyed a degree of truth.
The second, and highly significant sign given in Scripture, is that the world will unite as one people against the God of Israel. There are numerous global initiatives already in motion. Some are spiritual, others political or social, but the most compelling are financial. These global initiatives are forming a complex interconnected web of radical changes that would take volumes to describe. So, I will share only a few brief highlights.
In February 2019, Pope Francis, and Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Egypt’s Al-Azhar, signed a historic declaration of peace. They called for all people to rediscover and spread the values of peace, justice, goodness, beauty, human fraternity, and coexistence. This spiritual alliance is an unprecedented unification of two of the world’s largest religions, influencing nearly three billion Catholics and Suni Muslims.
While their signed document does not explicitly call for a "one world religion," it does highlight "the pluralism of all religions, including the diversity of colors, sexes, races, and languages as being willed by God in his wisdom."[v] This declaration that all religions are willed, and therefore, ordained by God strongly infers that all religions are equal. Not so, for we know and believe that Christ is the only way to heaven, the only truth in this world, and the only life available to all mankind.
Another substantial global initiative was launched by the United Nations in 1992, initially called Agenda 21. It has now been updated to Agenda 2030 and is titled Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.[vi] It promotes seventeen sustainable development goals (SDGs), covering everything from climate action to gender equality. These goals present a call to action by all countries to partner together, i.e., unite to achieve global peace and prosperity for all people and the planet.[vii]
The most aggressive and broad-sweeping global initiatives are being driven by The World Economic Forum (WEF). This organization has developed a Strategic Intelligence database to organize hundreds of topics describing complex forces driving transformational changes across global economies and industries (Figure 1).[viii] The driving force behind these changes is the COVID Action Platform established by the WEF to demand and galvanize the international cooperation of governments, organizations, and businesses.
The WEF, along with many influential global leaders, believe the pandemic has created ripe conditions for launching what is called “the great reset.” A microsite hosted by the WEF states, “There is an urgent need for global stakeholders to cooperate (unite) in simultaneously managing the direct consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The changes already seen in response to COVID-19 prove that a reset of our economic and social foundations is possible. Thus, to improve the state of the world, the World Economic Forum is starting The Great Reset initiative.”[ix] Their website goes on to say:
“The COVID-19 crisis, and the political, economic, and social disruptions it has caused, is fundamentally changing the traditional context for decision-making. As we enter a unique window of opportunity to shape the recovery, this initiative will offer insights to help inform all those determining the future state of global relations, the direction of national economies, the priorities of societies, the nature of business models, and the management of a global commons. Drawing from the vision and vast expertise of the leaders engaged across the Forum’s communities, the Great Reset initiative has a set of dimensions to build a new social contract that honors the dignity of every human being.”
Again, these are just a few examples, and there is much more to come as the world further unites against the God of Israel. Sadly, joining against the God of Israel also means coming against the people of Israel as well. However, we need to remember that this uniting is the Lord’s doing, as it is written, “For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled” (Revelation 17:17).
The nations have long been judged for mistreating Israel—both God’s land and His people. The Lord declared, “I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land” (Joel 3:20).
Yeshua said, “All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats… And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me’” (Matthew 25:32 & 40). The least of Christ’s brethren is a direct reference to the Jewish people, as it is written, “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples” (Deuteronomy 7:7).
In these last days, we will see the nations uniting against Israel. However, a more disturbing fact is the number of Christian denominations that have adopted anti-Zionist, and therefore, anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic positions, most of whom hold to supersessionist theology (replacement theology). The list includes Baptist, Armenian, Catholic, Episcopal, Evangelical, Greek Orthodox, Moravian, Presbyterian, Reformed, United Methodist, Unitarian, and many more. Equally disturbing is the growing influence of left-wing Jewish organizations. For example, B’Tselem, Jewish Voice for Peace, J Street, and If Not Now have also adopted anti-Zionist positions that oppose Israeli occupation of the West Bank and support, in futility, a two-state solution.
On the political spectrum are numerous Muslim organizations, such as the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Holy Land Foundation, and the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood that oppose Israel. In addition are non-Muslim groups, such as Code Pink, Interfaith Peace-Builders, and Black Lives Matter (BLM), which have adopted the same anti-Zionist position supporting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement (BDS). BLM falsely claims that Israel is a colonial-imperialist country, like England and the United States, that has created a racist apartheid separation between Jews and Arabs. They have even called for the complete liberation of Palestine, not just a two-state solution.
Melina Abdullah, the co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of BLM, recently said: “We understand that the liberation of Black people in the United States is tied to the liberation of black people all over the world and tied to the liberation of oppressed people all over the world. Being in solidarity with the Palestinian people is something that’s been part of our work as Black Lives Matter for almost as long as we’ve been an organization.”
The irony of their argument is that the Jews and Arabs are ethnically related. Both are Semitic, and of course, there are also Ethiopian, and other dark-skinned Jews living in Israel that have been subjected to the same hostilities and violence levied by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, two of Iran’s militant proxies.
What is common to all these organizations is their lack of discernment about the origins of this seemingly endless spiritual conflict surrounding Israel and the Jewish people. At the epicenter of this intense battle is the heart of God’s Kingdom (Judea and Samaria), His Holy city Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount itself. As the Lord declared, “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” (Zechariah 12:3).
This period of the nation’s rebellion is called “the times of the Gentiles,” as it is written, “And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). Notice that “times” is plural, suggesting seasons of rebellion leading up to the end of the age.
Some have compared the “times of the Gentiles” to the “fullness of the Gentiles.” They have equated these expressions as part of the same dispensation in which a predestined number of Gentiles receive Christ and are saved.[x] But that interpretation seems to contradict another sign of the end—the great falling away. As Paul said, “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [the Day of the Lord] will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin [the Anti-Christ] is revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
Notice the falling away starts before the revealing of the anti-Christ and continues through the seven-year tribulation up to the return of Christ (the Day of the Lord). As Yeshua said, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things [these judgments] must come to pass, but the end is not yet” (Matthew 24:6).
Paul’s use of the term “fullness of the Gentiles” is correlated with Israel’s final deliverance, which comes at the end of the tribulation when Christ saves the Jewish people from the Gentiles that have trampled Jerusalem. The Prophet Ezekiel makes a similar reference to this dark period, saying, “For the day is near, Even the day of the Lord is near; It will be a day of clouds, the time of the Gentiles” (Ezekiel 30:3).
In conclusion, “the fullness of the Gentiles” and the “times of the Gentiles” are the same dispensation. These culminate in a global rebellion of the nations against the God of Israel and His people. This rebellion coincides with a time of God’s increasing judgments in the world and a great falling away of those (Jews and Gentiles) who have rejected Christ.
God’s judgments can be scripturally correlated with what are called “birth pangs.” For example, we read, “Behold, He shall come up and fly like the eagle, And spread His wings over Bozrah; The heart of the mighty men of Edom in that day shall be Like the heart of a woman in birth pangs” (Jeremiah 49:19).
Paul used the same analogy comparing the birth of God’s Kingdom to a woman in labor. He said, “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God… For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now” (Romans 8:19 & 22). The Kingdom of God is Israel, and the Gentile nations grafted into her, and its capital is Jerusalem.
Paul used the same analogy comparing the birth of God’s Kingdom to a woman in labor. He said, “For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:3). “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God… For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now” (Romans 8:19 & 22). The Kingdom of God is Israel, and the Gentile nations grafted into her, and its capital is Jerusalem.
Paul also recognized that Israel remains under God’s judgment for their rebellion and continual rejection of Christ. The Prophet Daniel declared, “The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined” (Daniel 9:26). And Yeshua wept over Israel, saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate” (Matthew 23:37-38).
Israel remains under God’s judgment, but how will this unfold as we near the end of the age? Throughout history, God has used the Gentiles to bring His righteous indignation against Israel, and in turn, God has judged that nation that came against His people. Yeshua warned the Jewish people, saying, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men” (Matthew 5:13). In other words, if Israel did not repent and turn to their Messiah, God would turn Israel over to her Gentile enemies.
Another form of God’s judgment is anti-Semitism. He does not hate the Jewish people, but He did warn Israel that we would be hated and persecuted in every nation where He scattered us. As it is written, “I will scatter you among the nations and draw out a sword after you… You shall have no power to stand before your enemies. You shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. And those of you who are left shall waste away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands” (Leviticus 26:33 & 37-39). In essence, God’s hedge of protection is lifted if we remain in exile and rebellion against Christ.[xi]
According to data from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL),[xii] anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. surged upwards in 2014. By 2017, these incidents had increased by 86 percent. In 2019, the reported cases were even higher, and in 2020, anti-Semitic crime in the U.S. reached a new record level. Given this trend, I only expect things to get worse for the Jewish people, as Jeremiah prophesied, “Afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks” (Jeremiah 16:16).
God’s ultimate judgment against Israel will come like a flood, as Yeshua warned, “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them [meaning whoever follows Yeshua], I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock [of Israel—Yeshua]. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall” (Matthew 7:24-27).
We compare the words of Yeshua in Matthew chapter seven with the Prophet Daniel, where it is written, “And in his place shall arise a vile person [the Lawless One[xiii]], to whom they will not give the honor of royalty;[xiv] but he shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom [of Israel] by intrigue. With the force of a flood [God’s judgment] they shall be swept away from before him and be broken, and also the prince of the covenant [the anti-Christ]” (Daniel 11:21-22).
This sudden flood and subsequent falling away of God’s people, Jew, and Gentile, will occur at the end of the age in the time leading up to and during the tribulation. I believe that those who are counted worthy will escape all these things in the rapture, but I also think that many will not make it.
The anti-Christ will not only persecute Israel with merciless wrath during the great tribulation, but he will also overthrow many countries and bring great fury to destroy and annihilate many Gentile people as well. Finally, however, he will come to his violent end, and no one will help him,[xv] as it is written, “Yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him” (Daniel 11:45). “Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time” (Revelation 12:12).
It is essential to understand that preparation for any flood is required before it arrives. Once it does, those who are not deeply rooted in their faith are at risk of being swept away, as it is written, “For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:3).
While God always allows people to repent, the great falling away is likely to occur precisely because of tribulation, as it is written, “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Luke 21:25-26). “For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles” (Matthew 13:21).
If we go back to our opening question, “are we seeing the end?” I believe the answer is yes. Once again, all Scripture points to Christ, and all Scripture revolves around God’s dealing with Israel and the nations. And we are presently seeing the world uniting against God and the Jewish people at an alarmingly fast rate. Time itself is being compressed, as it is written, “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22).
As Christians with the maturity and understanding of God’s word, we will also see increasing persecution along with the Jewish people, until the rapture, for our stand on Scripture and our support and protection of the Jewish people. “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36). Because “Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching” (Luke 12:37). For “My mercy I will keep for him forever, And My covenant shall stand firm with him” (Psalm 89:28).
Republished with permission of House of David Ministries. All rights reserved. To read more, visit www.thehouseofdavid.org.