What are the warning signs of the end times? Many Christians refer to the days in which we’re living as “the End Times,” but this is inaccurate. The Bible never uses the expression “the End Times” (plural). Instead, when talking about the final period of world history it focuses exclusively on the last 3 ½ years and calls this period “the time of the End” (Daniel 11:35, 40; 12:9). Every time Christ spoke of those days, he called them “the End” (Matthew 24:6, 13, 14) and “the End” pertains to just the 3 ½ years of the Tribulation. (See Matthew 24:15, 21.) Contrary to what many Christians believe, therefore, we are not yet in the Time of the End. This may seem like a minor point, but it is very important.
Now, it is accurate to say that we are living in the Last Days, but this is quite a general term, since even the early Christians 2,000 years ago were already living in “the last days” (Acts 2:17; Hebrews 1:2; 1 Peter 1:20), since the “last days” were inaugurated by the death of Jesus Christ and his resurrection from the dead.
I say all this because of the oft-stated but misleading belief that “we’re living in the End Times.” The Doomsday Clock is supposed to have started ticking on May 14, 1948 when Israel became a nation again after nearly 2,000 years of the Jewish people having no country of their own. It’s true that this event was part of a countdown to Armageddon, but it did not initiate a 40-year timetable like Hal Lindsey and many others thought. The End did not happen in 1988, after all. So the best that can be said is that these specific events of the 20th century were a necessary preparation, laying the groundwork for the future Time of the End.
Another event that had to happen was for Europe (which once made up the bulk of the Roman Empire) to unite again as a kingdom. This had not happened since Rome fell to the barbarians in 476 A.D. Central Europe had been united in the Holy Roman Empire and most of Europe had been temporarily conquered by Napoleon then Hitler, but not until the formation of the European Economic Community in 1958 (renamed the European Union in 1993) did a united Europe begin to become a reality. Daniel 7:7-8; 23-25 tells us that ten horns (kings) would arise out of a terrible beast (the Roman Empire) and Revelation 17:12 states that these ten kings would surrender their power to the Antichrist, their new dictator.
Here is a third sign that we are living in the period not long before the End Time: Daniel 12:4 states, “Seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” For 20 centuries after this prophecy, mankind’s total knowledge base expanded slowly; by the 1930s, however, our accumulated knowledge grew twofold each 30 years; in the 1970s, it doubled every 7 years; by 2010, the world’s cumulative store of knowledge will double every 12 hours. Knowledge is advancing at a fantastic speed in the decades before the End. In addition, today’s rapid, long-distance transportation, from cars, trains, subways, and jets enables multiple millions to run “to and fro” to the farthest corners of the globe.