Before His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus Christ delivered a major prophecy of end-time events, recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. He was asked by His disciples: “When will these things be? And what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?
1. The human race would have the ability to exterminate itself
In Matthew 24:22, describing world conditions prior to His second coming, Jesus said that “if that time of troubles were not cut short, no living thing could survive; but for the sake of God’s chosen it will be cut short” (Revised English Bible).
The main message that Jesus Christ brought was of the coming Kingdom of God. This is described as “the gospel” (Mark 1:14). Gospel means “good news.” While some of the prophecies concerning events prior to the establishment of the Kingdom can seem negative, we should always keep in mind that the central focus of Bible prophecy is the good news (gospel) of the coming Kingdom of God.
2. A Jewish homeland had to be reestablished in the Middle East
Geopolitically, the central focus of end-time events is Jerusalem and its environs, what many people refer to as the Holy Land.
Luke 21 is a parallel chapter to Matthew 24. Notice Luke’s account of Christ’s long prophecy that answered the disciples’ questions: “Teacher, . . . when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?” (Luke 21:7).
Recommended: List Of Fulfilled Bible Prophecies
In response, Jesus showed that Jerusalem would be the central focus of the political and military upheavals that would immediately precede His return: “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near . . . For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled” (Luke 21:20-22).
3. The end-time king of the North and king of the South
In Daniel 11 we find an amazing prophecy about two leaders, the kings of the North and South, the heads of regions that were geographically north and south of the Holy Land. To understand this prophecy we have to go to the time of Alexander the Great, who lived near the end of the fourth century B.C., 200 years after Daniel.
Alexander figures prominently throughout the book of Daniel, even though Daniel did not know his name and never knew him personally. He couldn’t have, since he died almost two centuries before Alexander appeared on the world stage.
But God revealed to Daniel that after Babylon, Persia would arise as the greatest power of the region, to be followed in turn by Greece. Not surprisingly, the prophecies regarding the rise of Greece are centered on Alexander the Great, one of the greatest conquerors in history.
4. An end-time union of European nations
In Daniel 2 and 7 we see prophecies about four great gentile empires that would arise in the period between the time of Daniel and the coming establishment of the Kingdom of God (Daniel 2:44). Daniel was himself living in the first of these great empires (Daniel 7:4) as a Jewish exile in ancient Babylon.
Following the fall of Babylon in 539 B.C., Persia would become the greatest power, to be followed by Greece (Daniel 7:5-6). After Greece came the Roman Empire, “dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong.” This empire was to have “ten horns” and would continue in some form until the establishment of God’s Kingdom at Christ’s return (Daniel 7:7-9).
As we saw in the previous section, horns represent leaders or governments. Here these 10 horns symbolize 10 attempts to restore the Roman Empire to the power it had in ancient times. Various attempts at a restoration have taken place since the fall of the Western Roman Empire in A.D. 476. A final attempt is to be made shortly before Christ’s return.
5. End-time rise and fall of Israel and Judah
” Israel” was the new name God gave the biblical patriarch Jacob in Genesis 32. The 12 tribes of Israel were descended from his 12 sons. These tribes later formed a united kingdom.
It’s been almost 3,000 years since the kingdom of Israel was split in two. Ten of the 12 tribes of Israel rebelled against King Rehoboam, the son of King Solomon and grandson of King David. The Bible continued to refer to these 10 tribes as Israel while the other two tribes (Judah and Benjamin) that remained loyal to David’s descendants were known as the kingdom of Judah or simply Judah.
Sometimes Israel is referred to as the northern kingdom and Judah as the southern kingdom. Dominant among the northern tribes were to be the descendants of Jacob’s son Joseph through his sons Ephraim and Manasseh—prophesied by Jacob to be the chief nations of the world in the last days (Genesis 49:1, Genesis 49:22-26; compare Deuteronomy 33:13-17).
About 200 years after the kingdom split, the northern tribes of Israel fell to Assyria and were deported by the Assyrians to the northern parts of their empire. Often referred to now as the lost tribes, they later migrated northwest across Europe, eventually settling in new homelands far from the Middle East.
The kingdom of Judah fell to Babylon more than a century after Israel’s deportation, but its people were not lost to history. We know them today as the Jews.