Are We in the End Times?
The year 2020 will be a year few will forget. We saw a global pandemic and civil unrest. Many cities had untold violence, including the forced takeover and burning of city property. Along with this, we witnessed possibly the most fraudulent election in the history of this nation.
These events have many asking, are we near the end? While it is not the intent of this ministry to predict dates and times, the signs that we are seeing on a global scale are undeniable! In this article we will explore many prophecies from Scripture, including from the Apostle Paul and Yahshua the Messiah, and show how many of them are being fulfilled in our day.
Yahshua the Greatest Prophet
There is no better place to begin our “End Times” prophetic journey than with the Olivet Prophecy. Yahshua there provides many prophetic signs that will precede his coming. In Matthew 24:32-33 he compares this time to the changing of a fig tree: “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth 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 24:32-33.
Just as we see signs in nature telling when the seasons are upon us, we can use the prophetic Word to know that the Messiah’s coming is near. Today we are seeing many of these signs coming to pass. For this reason, now is not the time to be spiritually negligent.
Yahshua warned in His Olivet Prophecy that we would see deception, war, disease, earthquakes, famines, and other horrific plagues before His return. Many of these have already begun. From the global pandemic, growing lawlessness, and the threat of wars and conflict, the plagues in Yahweh’s Word are knocking at the door – the branch is tender.
The first sign given is deception. Yahshua in His Olivet Prophecy states, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying. I am Messiah: and shall deceive many…For there shall arise false Messiahs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders: insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect,” Matthew 24:4-5, 24.
During the end times, there will be deception as never before. Many false prophets and false messiahs will arise to show great signs and wonders. The word for “signs” is derived from the Greek semeion and refers to a miracle.
Many will witness these great wonders and believe in the power of these false men. These signs will be so remarkable that even the most sincere may be deceived. Yahshua warned, “…if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect,” Matthew 24:24.
Because of the deception of miracles, this time will require complete faith and devotion in the One we worship. If we are deceived by a false prophet or false messiah into forsaking Yahweh, we will forfeit our eternal salvation. As found in Revelation 14:9-11: “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of Elohim, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”
Those who forsake Yahweh for the worship of the Beast will pay with their lives and salvation. Scripture declares that they will drink of the wine of the wrath of Elohim. Our Father will destroy the Antimessiah and those who follow him. This includes those who receive the mark of the Beast on their right hand or forehead.
How can we avoid such deception? We must know the signs that our Savior gave in the Word. These serve as a roadmap of that which we’re to avoid as believers. As the end draws closer, these threats become increasingly real and dangerous!
Mass Defections Coming
The Apostle Paul prophesied of a great falling away that would precede the end times and the revealing of the Man of the Sin. He wrote. “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Master Yahshua Messiah, 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 Messiah is at hand. 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,” 2Thessalonians 2:1-3.
This same admonition is as relevant to us as it was to the people of Thessalonica. We are not to be soon shaken. We’re to hold firm to the promise and truth of Scripture. This is why it’s critical that we prove all things, as Paul instructs in 1Thessalonians 5:21 and as we find from those of Berea. “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so,” Acts 17:10-11.
What is the result of not proving all things? The consequence is deception and falling away from the truth. Paul prophesied here of a great falling away that would occur before the exposing of the Man of Sin. Will we be one of the deceived or one of those who will not be quickly shaken from their faith?
Protection in Knowing the Word
The answer lies in our willingness and ability to study and prove what we believe from our Father’s Word. If we simply coast through life without proving our core beliefs, then what makes us think that we could possibly have the spiritual stamina and strength to hold firm to the end? If we have allowed the pandemic and the current political issues to weaken our faith, Yahweh help us. What we see today is nothing compared to what we will see near the end.
The life of a believer requires action, and this was the message of our Savior in His Olivet Prophecy. This is why He warned first about deception. He knew that this end times sign would be the most destructive.
As believers we’re to be cautious of deception. We’re to obey the commandments and hold to the faith of Yahshua the Messiah (Rev. 14:12). Any man claiming to be a prophet and trying to persuade that Yahshua is not the Messiah is to be avoided.
Now we may say, “We could never be deceived by a man claiming to be a prophet or the Messiah.” Remember what Yahshua said: these false prophets and false messiahs would show great signs and wonders and if possible, deceive the very elect of Yahweh. To protect against such deception, all believers should put on the whole armor of Yahweh:
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of Elohim, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the good news of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of Elohim,” Ephesians 6:13-17.
First Horseman, the Antimessiah
In Revelation 6:2 we find the first horseman and counterpart to the Messiah’s warning about deception in the Olivet Prophecy: “And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.”
A debate continues among scholars as to what or who this horseman represents. Some attribute this horseman to the Messiah: however, a far more likely interpretation points to deception and by extension, the Antimessiah. One reason this view is favored is the parallel between Yahshua’s Olivet Prophecy and the four horsemen.
As Yahshua began His prophecy in Matthew 24 with a warning against deception, we find the same message here. Let’s consider some of the attributes of this horseman. The rider travels upon a white horse, comes forth conquering, and wears a crown, indicating kingship.
While this horseman resembles the Messiah, he also bears a striking resemblance to the Antimessiah. The Antimessiah will go forth conquering (Dan. 7:25: Rev. 13:4) and rule this earth as the ultimate tyrant (2Thess. 2:4: Rev. 17:12-13). Also, the fact that this horseman carries a bow with no obvious arrows is another indicator of the deception by the first Beast of Revelation 13:1.
The Messiah also warned about war: “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. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…” Matthew 24:6-7.
Of all the prophetic signs, this one is focused upon most often. What did He mean when He said, “nation”? This word comes from the Greek ethnos, which means, “a race or tribe.”
When Yahshua said that nation would be against nation, He was likely referring to civil wars. Today we see internal conflict in Indonesia, Colombia, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria, and many other countries. Millions have suffered and countless others have lost their lives in these conflicts.
Wary Eye on China
Yahshua also said that kingdom would be against kingdom. This word is from the Greek hasileia and means, “royalty, i.e. (abstractly) rule, or (concretely) a realm (literally or figuratively)” (Strong’s). The word “kingdom” refers to a sovereign nation.
While it seems for the time being that many of the recent wars have diminished, there are still many examples of unrest throughout the world and the potential for war at any moment. Russia, China, and North Korea continue to pose a serious threat to the peace of this world.
As believers, it would be wise to watch China, as prophecy indicates that they may have a major impact on end-time prophecy.
Revelation 16:12 speaks about the kings of the east, which according to many scholars is a reference to the nations of the Orient coming against Israel: “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.” Some also connect China to the 200 million-man army in Revelation 9:16.
Middle East Threats Increase
Besides ongoing wars, our Savior also said that we would hear of rumors of wars. It may be only a matter of time until Israel strikes at a nuclear Iran or another threat in the Middle East. This threat is only heightened with the possible change in policy with the new U.S. administration, which will likely be unfavorable to Israel.
These conflicts corroborate the words of our Savior in His Olivet Prophecy. It’s imperative that we put our faith and assurance in our Heavenly Father and to remember that no matter what happens Yahweh can see us through. There’s no trial too great for Him!
Second Horseman, War
In Revelation 6:3-4 we find a parallel horseman to this end times prophecy: “And when he had opened the second seal. I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.”
This second horseman rides on a red horse, likely symbolizing the blood of war. According to Strong’s, the word “power” is not found in the original text: howbeit, based on the context, this can be assumed. This horseman is given authority to cause death through the act of war, which is symbolized by the great sword.
As prophesied by Yahshua in His Olivet Prophecy, we find here that before the Messiah’s Second Coming this earth will suffer horrific conflict. Remember also that this time likely refers to the first three-and-a-half years of the Tribulation, also known as Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7). This war will likely provide an opportunity for the Antimessiah to bring peace (Jer. 6:14) and unite all nations under him for the last three-and-a-half years of the Great Tribulation.
As Israel suffered through the first four plagues of Egypt, prophecy indicates that the saints will suffer from these four horsemen during the end times.
Shortage of Food
Another prophecy is famine. In Matthew 24:7 Yahshua prophesied, “…and there shall be famines…” The word famine comes from the Greek limos and means, “a scarcity of food.” So before the Great Tribulation occurs there will be a shortage in foodstuffs. In part, this will be the result of war. We have also seen a shortage of food and other goods because of the current COVID pandemic.
According to the website worldvision.org:
• 689 million people live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $1.90 a day.
• Children and youth account for two-thirds of the world’s poor, and women represent a majority in most regions.
• Extreme poverty is increasingly concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa. About 40% of the region’s people live on less than $1.90 a day.
• Extreme poverty rates nearly doubled in the Middle East and North Africa between 2015 and 2018, from 3.8% to 7.2%, mostly because of crises in Syria and Yemen.
• Although countries impacted by fragility, crises, and violence are home to about 10% of the world’s population, they account for more than 40% of people living in extreme poverty. By 2030, an estimated 67% of the world’s poor will live in fragile contexts.
• About 70% of people older than 15 who live in extreme poverty have no schooling or only some basic education.
• 1.3 billion people in 107 developing countries, which account for 22% of the world’s population, live in multi-dimensional poverty.
• 644 million children are experiencing multi-dimensional poverty.
From these statistics many are suffering today from poverty, often caused by conflict and civil unrest. Although, environment is also a cause. Before Yahshua returns, such poverty will become worse. It will be on a global scale.
Just as Israel suffered from the first four plagues of Egypt, we will likely be impacted by this horseman in the end times. It would be wise for believers to begin preparing and have a food supply for when hard times come. There is no shame or weakness in faith in being prepared. “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest,” Proverbs 6:6-8.
Third Horseman, Famine
This plague is also seen in the third horseman of Revelation: “And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine, “ Revelation 6:5-6.
This horseman holds a pair of balances in his hand. These balances indicate famine and a shortage of food during the end times. The word “penny” refers to the denarius, a Roman coin that was worth about one day’s wage. A quart of wheat or three quarts of barley is considered the rations for one man. Famine will be so severe that it will require an entire day’s wage to purchase one day’s rations. Where will this leave families with children and those tending to the needs of others?
This again is why it would be wise to begin preparing now for this time. Storing grains and other items with long shelf lives would be wise.
Earthquakes and Disease
Scripture speaks of two more signs of the end: earthquakes and pestilence. In Luke 21:11 Yahshua said, “And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences: and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.”
According to Wikipedia, in 2020 there were 13,654 earthquakes throughout the world. This was 124 more earthquakes than reported in 2019. From these, nine earthquakes had a magnitude of 7.0-7.9 and 112 earthquakes had a magnitude of 6.0-6.9. As time continues, we will see a greater number and strength of earthquakes.
Fourth Horseman, Pandemics
We will also see pestilence. This word comes from the Greek loimos, which refers to “a plague or disease.”
With a reported 93 million cases of COVID and 2.01 million deaths, COVID would certainly be considered a pestilence. Although, based on the CDC, it should be noted that 94 percent of COVID deaths had other instances of comorbidity (the existence of two or more conditions or illnesses in a patient). However, COVID was far from the leading cause of death.
In 2020, the World Health Organization estimated that there were 19.3 million new cases of cancer with 10.0 million deaths. Other kinds of pestilence would include heart disease, malaria, tuberculosis, and stroke. People ask why Yahweh allows diseases like COVID to flourish. In part it’s because of man’s refusal to obey. As a nation we can’t expect our Father’s blessings if we refuse to follow Him.
In Deuteronomy 28 Yahweh speaks about both blessings and curses – blessings for those who obey and curses for those who disobey. We are also living in a cursed world where good people often suffer as well.
Parallels in Revelation
In Revelation 6:12 we find another parallel to our Savior’s Olivet Prophecy. “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake: and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood.”
A great earthquake will precede Yahshua’s Second Coming. Afterward the sun will turn black and the moon will become like blood. Some say that this is only allegorical but Scripture speaks of these events happening.
Zechariah speaks about the day of Yahshua’s return. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to Yahweh, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light,” Zechariah 14:6-7. This passage seems to correspond with Revelation 6:12.
We also find a similar parallel with plagues in Revelation 16:10-11: “And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast: and his kingdom was full of darkness: and they gnawed their tongues for pain. And blasphemed the Elohim of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.”
Near the end of the Great Tribulation, Yahweh’s angel will pour out a plague upon the Man of Sin and his kingdom, corresponding to what Yahshua said in Luke 21. Whatever the nature of this plague, it will torment the Beast and those who follow him.
Despite all of this, mankind will refuse to repent of sin. This passage is reminiscent of what we witness in the Exodus account in Egypt. Instead of repenting and recognizing the power of Almighty Yahweh, the Egyptians fought and defied His will, and in the end they paid with the lives of their firstborn.
Also significant, our Savior prophesied that we would see an increase in lawlessness in the end times. In Matthew 24:12, He stated, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”
The word “iniquity” is from the Greek anomia and means, “illegality, i.e. violation of law or (genitive case) wickedness” (Strong’s). Before Yahshua returns, the level of sin will increase, and as a result many will become calloused. They will lack kindness and concern for others, probably out of fear of them.
This is reminiscent of the atrocities that occurred under Nazi Germany. It is unthinkable how many millions of people, including children, suffered, were tortured, and died, under this regime. The inhumanity and acts of terror of that dreadful time showed what evilness man is capable of.
During the Great Tribulation the persecution and suffering will be far worse. This is why we must have complete faith in Yahweh. Lukewarm faith will not sustain anyone then. Only the strongest believers with the deepest faith will overcome the coming trials that will rock the world.
Loved Ones Turned Rivals
Because of burgeoning sin and callousness, many will be hated and murdered for their faith, while some who aid and abet the Beast system will come from an alarming source. Yahshua declared, “And you shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends: and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake,” Luke 21:16-17.
A believer’s loved ones will become adversaries as they fear the powers in control. During the Great Tribulation, believers will rely only on their spiritual family in Messiah. This is why we’re told to love or “agape” one another, to care for another, and to even prefer one another, Romans 12:10. No matter what happens, though, Yahshua said that those who lose their lives for His sake will find them, Matthew 10:39.
This sign is also found in Revelation 6:9-11: “ And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of Elohim, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Yahweh, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”
Faithful Richly Rewarded
Some will die as a testimony to their faith. At the same time they are guaranteed a white robe, symbolizing salvation and the promise of eternal life in Yahweh’s Kingdom. Those who are martyred as a testimony to the true Faith will rise to everlasting life at our Savior’s return. There’s no greater promise in our Father’s Word. No matter what tribulation we encounter, it won’t compare to what we’ll receive in the life to come.
“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of Elohim is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and Yahweh himself shall be with them, and be their Elohim. And Elohim shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his Elohim, and he shall be my son,” Revelation 21:3-7.
We have trials in this life, but the life to come for those who prove worthy and faithful will far surpass anything we can imagine.