David Reagan - Modern Signs of the Times
Do you know that although we cannot know the date of the Lord’s return we can know the season? And the reason is because the Bible gives us signs of the times to watch for. What are those signs, and are there any that are unique to our day and time? For the answers to these questions, stay tuned.
David Reagan: Greetings in the name of Jesus, our Blessed Hope, and welcome to Christ in prophecy. And thanks for tuning into our program. I hope it will be a blessing to you.
You know folks I grew up in a denomination that had a very negative attitude toward Bible prophecy. One part of that negative attitude was manifested in severe condemnation of anyone who expressed the view that we might be living in the season of the Lord’s return. Such persons were accused of sensationalism and date-setting. Our preachers always taught that there was nothing we could know about the Lord’s return because He is coming like a thief in the night. The result is that we lived with no yearning for the Lord’s return. All this despite the fact that the Bible tells us to live with the expectation of the Lord’s return at any moment. And the Bible clearly reveals that living with such an expectation will have a spiritually cleansing effect on our lives. Consider, for example, this passage from 1 John 3, verses 2 and 3 it reads, “We know that when He, Jesus appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” Now folks, these verses make it very clear that when you live with your heart focused on the Lord’s soon return, it will have a purifying effect on your life. The signs of the times that are revealed in both the Old and New Testaments concerning the Lord’s Second Coming are very important and should not be ignored.
I was asked to make a presentation about these signs to a conference hosted by Jan Markell’s Olive Tree Ministries in Minneapolis, Minnesota. And in just a moment, we will share a portion of that presentation with you.
David Reagan: The Bible says that there are certain end time prophecies that will not be understood until the time comes for us to understand them. Jeremiah was told that. Isaiah was told that. Daniel was told that. In Daniel 12 Daniel had been given all these prophecies and he did not understand the end time prophecies and he was wringing his hands. Look what it says, “As for me I heard but I could not understand so I said, ‘My Lord, what will be the outcome of these events?’ And He, God said, ‘Go your way Daniel for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end times.'” Daniel said, “Lord I don’t understand what these prophecies mean.” He said, “It is not for you to understand them, it is for you to write them down. When the time comes they will be understood.” That’s one of the reasons I know for certain that we are living on borrowed time; that we are living in the end times because we are understanding prophecies that no other generation in all of recorded history has understood. And we are understanding them for one of two reasons.
The first we are understanding them because of historical developments, because of historical developments. How could you understand all the prophecies about Israel in the end times before Israel even came into existence? Or take for example the C.I. Scofield Study Bible this was something that popped into my head this morning as I was going over this lesson. C.I. Scofield was a Dallas pastor who wrote the very first Study Bible. I don’t know if you were aware of that or not, but the very first Study Bible ever written was by C.I. Scofield. And it was in 1909 where he put study notes down at the bottom of the page. And incidentally he was severely criticized for that; people said that he was adding to the Word of God. Today we just don’t even think about Study Bibles just about everybody has one. Now what’s interesting here is when he got to Ezekiel 38 and 39 you know what he said about those chapters? He said, “Folks, I don’t understand it. I can’t explain it. But the Bible says it therefore I believe it, in the end times Russia will invade Israel.” Now that took a lot of faith in 1909. Think about it. In 1909 Israel did not exist. There was no prospect that Israel would ever exist. Russia was a Christian Orthodox nation in 1909. A Christian Orthodox nation is going to invade a nation that doesn’t exist? He said, “I don’t understand it. I can’t explain it, but the Bible says it therefore I believe it. You see there has been many prophecies through the years that we never understood. He didn’t understand it, but he believed it. He believed that somehow or other God would bring it together. Today we don’t even stop and think about that because we know Israel now exists. Russia is an aggressive nation. They’ve just taken Georgia for the purpose of providing their land bridge to come down into Israel. We can see it all coming together. And we understand it where as other generations did not understand it.
There is a second reason that we are understanding prophecies we’ve never understood before and that is because of technical developments. Technology that suddenly we say, “Aha, that’s what that prophecies been talking about all the time.” We never understood it before a certain technological development came along. Now with that background I just want to show you a few prophecies in the book of Revelation. We’ll just take the book of Revelation and I want to show you a few prophecies that we have never understood until now; until this generation. They are modern day signs of the times.
And the first one is this one; the magnitude of the Tribulation slaughter in Revelation chapters 6 through 9. The magnitude of the Tribulation slaughter. Now why is that a modern day sign of the time? Well first of all let me explain the magnitude of the slaughter. If you will read chapter 6 through 9, study them carefully you will see that it says that in the seal judgments, the first series of judgments are going to fall upon this earth during the Tribulation that one-fourth of humanity will die. Now, there are 6 billion people today. One-fourth of that would be 1.5 billion people are going to die in the initial war of the Tribulation. One and a half billion! You know how many died in World War II, it is estimated to be 60 million. We are talking about 1.5 billion folks. Then it goes on to say that in the second stage of that war that one-third of those remaining will die. One-third of those remaining would be another 1.5 billion. That means that by the middle of the Tribulation in 3 ½ years one-half of humanity will die. Three billion people in 3 ½ years. It is no wonder it’s called the Great Tribulation. It is no wonder Jesus said that if God did not bring it to a halt at the end of seven years all of humanity would cease to exist. It’s going to be a time of absolutely unparalleled horror.
Now how can this be? How can that many people die? Before our generation people always interpreted this in one way it’s all going to be supernatural. God is just going to pour out wrath from Heaven and it’s all going to be supernatural. And God is going to kill all these people because of their rebellion against Him and because of their refusal to accept His Son as their Lord and Savior. It will all be supernatural have to be miraculous because there was no other explanation. But today that is no longer true. Today we can understand this is naturalistic terms and all through the development of atomic energy with the explosion of the first atomic bomb in August of 1945. With atomic energy we can understand that we now have the power ourselves to bring about such a massive destruction upon ourselves. And when you read the book of Revelation from a modern technological viewpoint it suddenly appears that John is talking about a nuclear event that is going to occur in the end times. That he is describing this nuclear war in First Century language. It appears that what’s going to happen is that God is going to pour out His wrath the way He normally does it, not supernaturally but the way God normally pours out His wrath. Read Romans 1 and you’ll see this. Is that God simply when a society refuses to repent, when all the world is refusing to repent what God does it says in Romans 1 He steps back and lower the hedge of protection. And in fact what He says is ok, you want to live like that then I’m going to lower the hedge of protection and I’m going to let evil multiply. And it says that when He does that, when He lowers the hedge of protection that the first thing that happens is a sexual revolution which occurred in this country in the 1960’s. Then Romans 1 says that if the people do not repent He steps back a second time and lowers the hedge of protection and then you know what happens? A homosexual plague. And then it says that if they refuse to repent at that point He steps back a third time, lowers the hedge of protection and He turns the society over to a deceived mind and the society destroys itself. He lets man just destroy himself.
I think this is what God’s going to do in the end times He is going to lower that hedge of protection and people are going to start using the weapons that we have accumulated. Man’s never created a weapon he hasn’t used. Fortunately the atomic weapon has only been used once in history at the end of World War II. But we have stock piled them and they are going to be used, I believe with all my heart they will be used in the end times as God simply lowers the hedge, allows evil to multiply and allows man’s heart to take over and people will start pressing the button. And this is something that I think Jesus refers to in Luke 21:26, “Men will faint from fear over the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” I think Jesus is referring there to this nuclear holocaust that will probably occur in the end times.
A second example the size of the Asian army. In Revelation chapter 9 and also in 16 it refers to the fact that in the Tribulation, during the Tribulation an army of 200 million Asians will march across Asia toward Israel. I believe these will be Asian’s in revolt against the Antichrist. You stop to think for a moment when the Antichrist takes over the world, it says he’s going to take over every nation in the world. He is going to do that through military force. He will rise to power in Europe through his charisma, his dynamism, through deceit and all of that. But he’s going to have to conquer the rest of the world. The world is not going to come and bow down to the Antichrist and say, “We want you to rule us.” Asia, Africa, and Latin America have not spent 200 years getting out from underneath European rule to suddenly turn around to a European ruler and say, “Please come and rule us.” He is going to have to conquer them. And I think that in the middle of the Tribulation when he begins to focus upon one thing to destroy the Jewish people his empire is going to start falling apart. And that army of 200 million is going to start marching across Asia to destroy him. Now why is that a modern day sign of the times? Stop and think about that for a moment. Why is this a modern day sign of the times? Well let me illustrate to you this one. Let’s say that this is the population of the world at the time of Jesus. If you were to chart the population of the world century, after century, after century, after century, it would be almost a level line. It took 1,650 years for the population of the world to double. Do you know what the population of the world was at the time of Jesus? The population of the world at the time of Jesus was 200 million. This prophecy says that an army of 200 million is going to march across Asia. How can an army of 200 million march across Asia when there is only 200 million on planet earth? John didn’t understand the prophecy. Nobody has understood this prophecy until now. It wasn’t until 1650 that the population of the world reached 400 million. It wasn’t until 1850 that the population of the world reached 1 billion. Here is a chart I pulled out of United Nations Publications showing the exponential curve of the growth of world population. Would you put that on the screen please? The population of the world. Look at that exponential curve. It starts in about 1900 when it starts up. We entered the 20th Century with 1.5 billion people. We ended the 20th Century, a 100 years later with 6 billion people. Folks that is an exponential curve. It is an exponential curve.
And the question of course is: What caused this? Why in the world did this happen? Well it is due to modern medicine. Most of us do not realize how modern, modern medicine is. The reason so many people died in the Civil War is because in the Civil War if you got nicked by a bullet, just nicked you were probably going to die. You were going to die from lockjaw. You were going to die from infection. That’s why so many people died. That is why so many people died in World War I not only in the war but in the flu epidemic that swept the world where 40 million people died. Because if you got the flu, if it turned into pneumonia you were dead. Modern medicine is very modern. Let me emphasize this to you. It was not until 1862 that the Germ Theory of Disease was discovered. It was not until 1867 that antiseptic operating procedures were developed. It was not until 1895 that x-rays were discovered. It was not until 1897 that the discovery of aspirin occurred. Can you imagine people lived 5,000 years without aspirin? It was not until 1900 the development of blood typing. It was not until 1921 the development of insulin. And the greatest medical discovery of all time did not occur until 1928 when the very first antibiotic was discovered; and that antibiotic was penicillin. Look at this ad, thanks to penicillin, this is a World War II ad, thanks to penicillin you know your son, your husband whatever he will come home. Very first antibiotic, 1928.
The result of this is something that astounds people and that is did you know that if you are over 35 years old that you have lived longer than the vast majority of all people who have ever lived on planet earth? Probably more than 75% of all the people who ever lived never reached the age of 35. If you are over 35 you have lived longer than most people. Did you know at the beginning of the 20th Century the life expectancy of an American was 47 years? Of an American. A 100 years later 77 years. If I had been born in the 19th Century I would have died at the age of 12; because at the age of 12 I had an appendicitis attack. And if you had an appendicitis attack in the 19th Century you were dead. Here is a point that I think will just blow you out of the seat, two-thirds of all the people who have ever lived to the age of 65 are alive this moment. They are alive this moment. Life has been short and brutal throughout most of history. And the key to all of this again is modern medicine.
Ok, let’s take a look at a third one; the display of two witnesses. In Revelation chapter 11 it says that in the end times there is going to be two witnesses of God who will be in Jerusalem who will be preaching the Gospel and calling the world to repentance and the whole world will hate them with a passion. Every night you can imagine the news commentators coming on and say, “Well here is what the two witnesses had to say today.” And everybody is sitting there grinding their teeth, “we don’t want to hear this. We don’t want to hear it.” They hate them with a passion but they are supernaturally protected by God. Then in Revelation 11 it says that when the Antichrist goes to Jerusalem and declares himself to be god the first thing he does is kill these two guys. And the whole world rejoices. It’s the only rejoicing you find in the Tribulation. The world is so happy they exchanged gifts; there is a Satanic Christmas in the middle of the Tribulation. And it says that their bodies lie in the streets of Jerusalem for three days. And it says on the third day as the whole world is watching the bodies they are suddenly resurrected and raptured up to Heaven and the whole world is astonished. How can the whole world look upon two bodies lying in the streets of Jerusalem? Nobodies every understood that except our generation, no one. The key of course is the development of satellite communication technology. But that’s a modern thing. It’s a very modern thing. Let me emphasize to you how modern it is. I entered the University of Texas in 1956 there were 17,500 students in the university. I thought it was big. Today it’s over 65,000. But there were 17,500 students. I signed up to take the Russian language, there were five of us in the entire university taking the Russian language, five. Don’t ever take a language class when there is only five people because there is no way to hide. I mean you are going to get called on every time. Five of us that was in September of 1956. Look what happened in October of 1957 the Soviets sent up the first satellite Sputnik. In January of 1958, 5,000 students signed up for the Russian language. And nearly all of them had a slide ruler hanging from their belts because they were engineering students wanting to know what the Russians knew that they didn’t know. This has all happened since 1957. And really it wasn’t even possible until the mid-60s when we began to put up communication satellites. Today we have all kinds of satellites. We have spy satellites and communication satellites, and TV satellites, and weather satellites. We don’t even stop and think about the whole world watching two bodies lying in the streets of Jerusalem. All you have to do is point a TV camera and zap it up to a satellite and the whole world watches, like you’d watch the Olympics. But before our generation nobody understood this prophecy of how the whole world could look upon two bodies lying in the streets of Jerusalem. It is a modern day sign of the times.
Here’s another one; the animation of the Antichrist image. In Revelation chapter 13 it says that in the end times the false prophet right in the middle of the Tribulation is going to create an image of the Antichrist. And then it says, while the whole world is looking on. Here we have it again, while the whole world is looking on he is going to do some mumbo-jumbo and that image is going to come alive and begin to speak. And people are going to be convinced that the Antichrist must be God and the false prophet must be true because he has the power of life and death. Well let me tell you something Satan does not have the power to give life to anything. I do not believe that this is going to be an image converted into some live being. I think it’s going to be an illusion. I think it’s going to be a deception. But it’s a deception that has never been possible until now. It’s possible now through animation technology. We have the kind of technology now where we can make a figure like that appear to come alive. In fact we are the first generation that’s ever lived where you absolutely cannot believe anything you’re eyes see.
There was a time if you wanted to go into a court and prove that a man knew a women that he claimed he didn’t know you could show a photo of them sitting together in a restaurant and say, “See he’s lying. He does know her.” Can’t do that anymore. Be worthless because I can take a picture of two people sitting in a restaurant I can put it on my computer. I can take the women out, I can put my wife in there. I could take any woman and put her in there right next to him and I can produce a photograph of a man sitting next to a woman that he never saw in his life and it looks very real. When you go to the movies and you watch the movies you cannot believe what your eyes see. Take the movie “Titanic” when that Titanic was sinking and all those people were on the ship and they were falling off and diving off, and jumping off in the ocean those weren’t real people. All of that, all of that were digital images created electronically.
I remember the movie, “The Beautiful Mind” was shot in Harvard Yard in the winter and Ron Howard the Director said, “You know I don’t like the look of that looks to cold, to sterile, let’s make it springtime.” So they went in digitally and put leaves on all the trees. And you look at it and you think it’s springtime, well it wasn’t shot in the winter. I remember the movie, “The Gladiator” when Russell Crowe is fighting the lions in the arena, have you ever seen the actual photographs? He’s out in the desert in Morocco. There is nothing there. There is no lions there. There is no theater. The theater, the people, the lions everything was put in digitally. You cannot believe anymore what your eyes see. Recently we had an article in “The Dallas Morning News” that I could hardly believe it. It said that at the University of Dallas they had a meeting of all the scientist there and they have several Nobel Prize winners there. And they said that the Governor of Texas Rick Perry suddenly appeared at the podium and he began to speak and talk to them. And he said, “You know this is really strange I feel like I’m right there with you. I can see you.” And they could see him. They could come up and they could walk around. They could see him behind. They could see him over here. It was a hologram that was being transported from Austin, Texas. He was not there at all, but the hologram was. He looked like he was there. I mentioned this some place recently and a guy came up to me afterward and he said, “You know that hologram thing you talking about?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “There’s nothing new about that?” I said, “What do you mean there’s nothing new about that?” He said, “There’s nothing new about it.” He said, “They’ve been doing that for years on Star Trek.” He really believed it you know. You know beam me up Scotty. Well. But it is for real now. It is for real. And we have this technology that we have never had before.
Another one is the mark of the Beast in Revelation chapter 13. There is going to be a mark that is going to be taken in the end time and that people will not be able to buy or sell without this mark. That Antichrist will be able to control the whole world. How could that possible before the invention of computers, laser technology and things of that nature? It was just beyond the realm of possibility. No longer.
There are many other modern day signs that I wish I had time to develop them. Let me just mention them to you. One is the reunification of Europe. This was prophesied by Daniel thousands of years ago. Prophesied by Daniel. And think about it throughout history person, after person, after person has tried to rebuild the Roman Empire. Charlemagne tried to do it. Alexander the Great tried. There were so many people who tried to reunite the area that we know as the Roman Empire including Hitler and his Third Reich, including Stalin, including Napoleon who tried to do it. And never were they able to do it with war. And yet after World War II a man nobody heard of Jean Monnet stands up in France and says, “The only hope for Europe is that we have got to come together and put all our petty differences aside and start cooperating.” And the result has been the peaceful development of what has come to be the world’s great super power the European Union. When it was God’s timing it happened. The Bible says in the end times the European, the Roman Empire will come back together. It’s come back together before our very eyes. I consider it a miracle second only to the reestablishment of the nation of Israel in the 20th Century.
Or consider the acceleration of life. I have a whole presentation about this called “The Exponential Curve” where I show that every aspect of life, whether it be power, whether it be violence, whatever you name it communication, transportation all on the exponential curve. And the Bible says that will be the case in the end times, that things will multiply like that. It is a sign that we are living on borrowed time.
Or consider this the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. The Bible speaks in both the Old Testament and the New Testament about the early rain and the later rain. The early rain was Pentecost, but it says there is going to be a great pouring out of the Holy Spirit in the end times after Israel is re-established in the land, Joel chapter 2. After Israel is re-established. And I think there are several manifestations of this. For example one is just the rediscovery of the Holy Spirit. Did you know at the beginning of the 20th Century that both Catholicism and Protestantism believed in what’s called cessationism? Cessationism is the belief that at the end of the First Century when the last Apostle died the gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased. The work of the Holy Spirit ceased. That the Holy Spirit went into retirement. And it was not until the 20th Century that suddenly through the Pentecostal Movement, the Charismatic Movement, the Third Wave Movement just one after another, after another that people began to believe, yes, the Holy Spirit is still alive. The Holy Spirit is well. The Holy Spirit is still active. The Holy Spirit is still gifting people. Even the most conservative churches will agree to that today whether they agree on particular gifts or not. The rediscovery of the Holy Spirit is one of these manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Another is the preaching of the Gospel worldwide. Oh, my we are living in exciting times. The Bible says in the end times the Gospel is going to be preached all over the world. Did you know that 70% of all missions work in history has been done since 1900? 70% of that since 1945. And 70% of that since 1985. That’s because of modern technology. Get a short wave radio and turn it on know what you’ll hear in every language of the world? The name of Jesus. The name of Jesus is everywhere in the atmosphere. Or take the Jesus film that’s now been seen over by 5 billion people and translated into more than 800 languages. Worldwide Christianity is growing at 3 times the rate of population growth. Let me emphasize that to you. In 1800 there were 100 people a day accepting Christ. 1900 a 1,000. 1950- 4,000. 1980- 20,000. 1990- 86,000. 1995- over 100,000 people a day accepting Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord for the work of the missionaries all over the world.
Another manifestation, the emergence of Messianic Judaism. In 1967 when the Six Day War occurred there was not one single Messianic congregation on planet earth. Today there are over 500. There’s over 70 in Israel alone. Jews by the thousands, by the 100’s of thousands even by over a million have come to the Lord Jesus Christ in a great move of the Holy Spirit. I think these are the first fruits, the first fruits. Jan is one of those, one of the first fruits of the great Jewish remnant that is going to accept Jesus in the end times. I think it’s a move of the Holy Spirit.
And then the understanding of Bible prophecy. We are understanding things we’ve never understood before and I think it’s proof positive that we are living in the season of the Lord’s return. It’s another manifestation of the Holy Spirit.
What’s the message? The message is we are living on borrowed time. Jesus is returning soon. And are you paying attention to the signs? Are you really paying attention? If you are I hope you’ll go home with a new zeal and desire to get your whole congregation aware of the signs of the times. That the time is short that we need to preach the Gospel to as many people as we can, as quickly as we can. That we need to get our lives in order. We need to get our congregations in order to get ready for the coming of the Lord.
David Reagan: Welcome back to Christ in Prophecy. I hope that presentation was a blessing to you. I just wish we had the time to show you all of it. What you have just viewed is only about half of the presentation I made. At the close of this program our announcer will tell you how you can get a copy of the entire presentation in a video album.
Well, folks, that’s our program for this week. I hope it’s been a blessing to you. Until next week, the Lord willing, this is Dave Reagan speaking for Lamb & Lion Ministries, saying, “Look up, be watchful, for our Redemption is drawing near.”