A previous Real Truth article covered the failed prophecy of a radio preacher about May 21, 2011, and his prediction about an October 21, 2011 doomsday. It addressed how to know false prophets from God’s servants, and much more.
But what is the truth of Bible prophecy?
Jesus Christ, along with Old Testament prophets and other New Testament writers, spoke about specific events and trends that would precede His Return. There are about 70 that occur in sequence, culminating in the Return of Christ. Some are larger than others—but all are provable. The purpose of this unique Personal is to simply and briefly reveal in sequential order the first of 13 major events. They form a foundation to understand the answers to the most crucial questions about the future!
I will be plain about what is coming! To defeat widespread confusion, no punches can be pulled.
Many sense the world is hurtling toward calamity. Mankind is overwhelmed with every kind of trouble, evil and ill—terrorism, violence of every kind, pollution, overpopulation, political upheaval, religious confusion and tremendous economic turmoil and decline, which suggests an even worse Great Depression is ahead.
New diseases keep emerging and old ones are re-emerging. Famine is decimating entire segments of local populations. And incomprehensibly lethal weapons of mass destruction now threaten humanity.
Hundreds of millions live in abject poverty, ignorance and oppression. Add rampant and worsening immorality and perversion across the world—and the never-ending cycle of hatred and unrest growing ever worse in the Middle East—and earthquakes, volcanoes and frightening weather patterns across the world—and devastating fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts and floods occurring more often and in more places. Headlines scream daily of seemingly endless problems. World conditions, events and trends speak in frightening terms about how things could quickly turn in the wrong direction.
Most do not know where or how to look within God’s Word to get correct understanding of how events will play out, sequentially, within God’s Master Plan for the end of the age. And, instead of examining the hundreds of verses on prophecy themselves for proof, many are content to trust supposed experts.
One-third of the Bible is prophecy—history written in advance. Over 80 percent of this future history is unfulfilled. Many major events must yet occur. God wants His servants to understand them. He has provided clues—necessary vital keys!—to understanding what lies ahead for the world.
The prophet Isaiah explained that God’s Word is written, “…precept upon precept…line upon line…here a little, and there a little…” (28:10). Nowhere is this Bible pattern more true than with prophecy. And another great Bible truth is that this Book interprets itself.
Millions are wondering about the course of events, and whether the world is on the brink of destruction. Jesus’ disciples asked Him about final events. Notice: “The disciples came…saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the world [meaning age]?” (Matt. 24:3).
The idea of the world ending has been a subject of discussion and speculation, but also ridicule, for almost 2,000 years. Is the world nearing Christ’s Return—are these the end times? Can we know?
Now begins examination of 13 events or conditions—in sequence—that precede Christ’s Return. We will count forward from the present.
The apostle Paul warned, “In the last days perilous [or dangerous] times shall come…” (II Tim. 3:1). Here is what he describes: “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (vs. 2-4). This time has come!—and it is worsening!
Look around. People’s conduct is changing. More authority figures are sounding the alarm that human nature is running wild—and conditions are exploding out of control! No thinking person can disagree.
Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13 are parallel accounts of what is called the Olivet Prophecy. This crucial prophecy works in combination with the books of Revelation and Daniel, and puts in sequential order events that span the entire period from Christ’s First Coming until His Return 2,000 years later. Jesus explained exactly what would occur—what the serious observer should be looking for—and expect. He presented, in plain, clear language, all key events and trends. These parallel Revelation 6 precisely. Matthew 24 provides clues, which explain the symbols we will study in Revelation. You will see Jesus gives a direct answer to a direct question.
Paul’s last-days description culminates with, “Evil men and seducers shall wax [grow] worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (II Tim. 3:13).
First, Jesus told His disciples, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I [Jesus] am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matt. 24:4-5). Jesus goes straight to the problem that would exist—there would be many deceivers at work. Christ warned that the many would be deceived by those claiming to represent Him—not the few. Are you concerned about this?
The number of false teachers and false prophets is exploding, exactly as Jesus warned three times (just in Matthew 24) would occur. Most are unaware of this deception—and its impact throughout Christianity.
Now let’s read the exact parallel in the first seal of Revelation 6. Understand that what the apostle John records is written in symbols, not plain language. He introduces the infamous Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: “The Lamb [Jesus] opened one of the seals…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” (Rev. 6:1-2). The white horse represents false Christianity. The rider is a counterfeit of the true Christ and a counterfeit of His Second Coming, described in Revelation 19:11-16. There, the real Christ wields a sharp two-edged sword, while the false christ is carrying a bow. Do not overlook this critical difference!
Since false teachers, ministers and false prophets have been plying their trade for centuries, Jesus’ warning for the end of the age must involve a big increase in the power, prevalence and influence of false Christianity.
Following false Christianity, Jesus states, “You shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you 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” (Matt. 24:6-7).
This requires no interpretation. In fact, it is Jesus’ interpretation of Revelation 6. As we read the remaining seals, we have Jesus telling us in advance what we are viewing—what the symbols mean. All mystery disappears.
When the second seal opens, a red horse appears: “When He had opened the second seal…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” (Rev. 6:3-4).
The same Jesus Christ would not give two different versions of what happens immediately before His Return. He would not tell one thing to His disciples of the first century, and another to those of the 21st century! This should be obvious.
Wars have continued and grown steadily worse since the time of Christ’s prophecy. This part of John’s astounding vision has the gravest implications for all alive on Earth today. This horseman represents the dreadful destruction of world war. By the end of the age, the potential for devastation in war has become so great it holds the power to take peace not just from two or more nations, but “from the earth.”
Only in the modern age have weapons of mass destruction been available. The 20th century saw the two most devastating wars in history, with WWII far more destructive than WWI. We are in the last intermission preceding the truly greatest war, foretold to exceed anything before it. A sinning, rebellious humanity is reaching the end of its rope, when war’s potential cannot grow worse, because it can erase all life from Earth in one last blast of total destruction—if Christ did not intervene and cut events “short” (Matt. 24:22).
Jesus added this in Luke 21: “When you shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by [or yet]” (vs. 9). The Greek word for “commotions” means disorder, confusion and tumult. An expanded definition could include acts and effects of terrorism, such as bombings, but also demonstrations, protests and riots. These things have almost arrived full force. But civil disobedience and related acts, including violence, will grow far worse than today’s mere front edge.
The pattern of history is that famine always follows war. In Matthew 24, Christ also said, “There shall be famines…” (vs. 7). This is reiterated in Revelation 6—when the black horse appears. Notice: “He…opened the third seal…and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice…say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see you hurt not the oil and the wine” (vs. 5-6).
This pictures extreme worldwide famine—a widespread lack of food beyond anything civilization has seen. This condition is seen to seize the entire world in a terrible way. Famines are increasing now. They are now far worse than most imagine. Around 24,000 people on Earth starve to death every day—with this number steadily rising!
All nations are poised for a never-before-seen global food crisis. Drastic changes will soon come to an interconnected modern world. No more will supermarket shelves brim with abundance. No more vast exports. No more wealthy nations able to assist countries stricken with drought and famine. Articles every day declare that the black horse is just over the horizon for all nations! Believe this!
Mark’s account of Jesus’ list adds a word not found in Matthew or Luke: “There shall be famines and troubles...” (13:8). The Greek word translated troubles means “disturbance, that is, (of water) roiling, or (of a mob) sedition: trouble.” While this brings to mind riots, civil uprisings, protests, violent crime and gang war—and these are connected to commotions—it also includes a range of difficulties that would come from floods, tremendous hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons, and other severe storms—all forms of “roiling water.” Mark’s gospel indicates that these things will also grow worse. Make yourself see what is already happening.
If war leads to famine, and it does—the resulting malnutrition invites a host of diseases. Jesus next said, “There shall be…pestilences [or diseases]…” (Matt. 24:7). The fourth seal reveals a pale horse: “When He had opened the fourth seal…behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth [one in every four people], to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth” (Rev. 6:7-8).
This horse is depicted as pale because it is sickly. It obviously represents disease—pestilence! The pale horseman’s arrival portends that hundreds of millions—and not just in poor, underdeveloped countries—will perish through terrifying disease epidemics. The reference to “Death”—the end result of disease—and “Hell”—hades, meaning the grave—make this clear. The death toll now from disease around the world is staggering—82,000 lives lost every day, 30 million a year—and growing!
Disease will soon alter the course of history in a profound way. Horrific epidemics, the likes of which have never been seen, will strike the world’s wealthiest nations. And coming pandemics will dwarf all that preceded them. The ensuing chaos will affect you, and all of your loved ones. Everything around you will change for the worse.
Revelation describes “beasts of the earth.” The prophet Ezekiel recorded, “The sword is without, and the pestilence and the famine within: he that is in the field shall die with the sword; and he that is in the city, famine and pestilence shall devour him” (Eze. 7:15). First, notice the similarity to Matthew 24 and Revelation 6. When one allows the Bible to interpret itself, a clear picture emerges every time.
Ezekiel continues, “Thus says the Lord God; As I live, surely they that are in the wastes shall fall by the sword, and him that is in the open field will I give to the beasts to be devoured, and they that be in the forts and in the caves shall die of the pestilence” (33:27). The picture painted is almost too horrifying to contemplate.
There is seen to be no way out! God permits no escape for those who will not turn to Him! Many will try to flee, but will be unable. Death will literally pursue them like a tracker an outlaw. In fact, you saw one fourth of all human beings will die from the horsemen and wild animals—and this is before things get much worse.
Revelation 6:8 becomes one of the Bible’s most powerful single passages—or what might be called a summary statement—on the entire subject of prophecy. Grasp the sheer awesome magnitude of the message here.
Earthquakes and volcanoes have become regular in the news. The greatest period of activity in history is now underway. Jesus warned, “There shall be...earthquakes in [various] places” (Matt. 24:7).
Jesus says earthquakes would be here and there—but also that they would increase in frequency and intensity before His Return. Luke adds “great earthquakes” (21:11). The word translated “great” is megas, meaning “big,” “great,” “high, large, loud, mighty,” and “strong.” Believe Christ’s words. Mega-earthquakes—of awesome magnitude, resulting in tremendous, widespread destruction. This sets apart the time when earthquakes come more often and with more destruction from less frequent relatively “average” quakes in previous periods of history. The same would be true of volcanic activity.
A second point is seen by comparing Luke and Mark to Matthew. The latter lists earthquakes at the end of war, famine and disease. Luke and Mark list them before these things. The point is obvious. They will occur throughout the final years when false Christianity, war, famine and disease have grown worse.
Grasp what you have learned! In effect, Jesus has given an advance newscast—or the headlines—of events and conditions that are all around us and will grow much worse.
Remember, it is not my purpose here to prove every detail of every prophecy. We can only examine summaries of the most crucial events to come. The serious reader will want detail—and that detail is available. The purpose here is to give the briefest thumbnail—a powerful overview—of what is happening.
Jesus foretold that a worldwide effort to preach the true gospel would occur before the end! Notice: “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matt. 24:14). This means someone is preaching the gospel of the kingdom today, in our present age, because the end—close as it now is—has not yet come!
Delivering the only true gospel to the world—the good news of the coming kingdom of God!—is the Work of God’s Church! While this commission began with the original apostles, The Restored Church of God continues it. The message and goal are the same—only the methods differ. Today, God’s truth is available as never before. Vast thousands the world over are learning sound principles, straight from their Bibles, helping them to live happier lives.
The Restored Church of God offers more material—more truth in writing and in video and audio form—than at any time in the history of God working with mankind. Check this for yourself. And we offer it all without cost on our websites. We are the largest (most extensive) religious publishing operation in the world—now or ever.
Our websites, collectively—rcg.org, realtruth.org and worldtocome.org—are also the most extensive religious websites of any kind in the world—now or ever!
This event works alongside number 10. The world does not know God. It is unaware of the Plan and Purpose He is working out. Worldwide disobedience to His laws, and rejection of His truths, will cause horrible plagues to be poured out on a God-rejecting humanity. But the God of the Bible is a loving God. Before punishment, He always makes certain His “watchman” sounds the alarm to those in harm’s way. Notice: “Son of man, I have set you a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear the word at My mouth, and warn them from Me. When I say to the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die; if you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity [lawlessness]; but his blood will I require at your hand. Nevertheless, if you warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul [your life]” (Ezek. 33:7-9). Also read verses 30-33.
God wants no one to have an excuse, to say, “I didn’t know” or “Why didn’t you tell me?”
It becomes our responsibility to warn all who will take heed of the seriousness and meaning behind world-shaking events and calamities, soon to come on a sleepy, unsuspecting world. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (58:1). The job of The Real Truth magazine is to issue this warning while there is still time.
Jesus makes a special promise in Revelation 3: “Behold, I have set before you [His Church, in context] an open door, and no man can shut it” (3:8). This door refers to the Work God’s Church must carry out and complete.
My book The Bible’s Greatest Prophecies Unlocked! – A Voice Cries Out is unlike anything you have ever read. Many have and are reading it. Even greater numbers soon will. I urge you to read this book. It goes far beyond what is covered in this Personal.
Revelation 17:8-9 describes a Beast that ascends out of a bottomless pit and is ridden by a “woman.” Verse 12 shows that this Beast involves 10 kings who shall receive power and unite to bequeath it to a leader who will take the role of the Beast.
Comparing Revelation 13 and 17, with Daniel 2 and 7, brings full understanding of this Beast, and the system it represents. Numerous Old Testament scriptures also refer to this system, but these are the most critical chapters to understand. Combined, they explain a staggering—and deeply sobering!—prophecy about latter-day events that will affect all peoples in your lifetime!
This seventh, final, short-lived resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire is arising now in the heart of Europe! A United Europe is coming—and lies just ahead. When it appears, the entire world will stand in shocked amazement.
Revelation 13 describes a symbolic Beast with seven heads, 10 horns and 10 crowns, as well as a second beast with two horns. The first Beast represents the Roman Empire—a political kingdom. The two-horned beast represents the headquarters of an influential, prophetic woman, or church, that controls the first Beast. Revelation 13 also describes the “image” and the “mark” of this Beast. The prophet Daniel explained that the “ten horns” of Revelation 13 were 10 successive governments, which arose out of the Roman Empire and continue until Christ’s Second Coming. Daniel states, “The ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings [or governments] that shall arise” (7:24). Who are these 10 kings? Start by recognizing they must be successive, not simultaneous because they span a period from AD 476 until Christ’s Return. Obviously, no man can live this long and neither has any single government, empowered by Rome, lasted this long.
Briefly, beginning in AD 554, the Roman Empire became known as the Holy Roman Empire. Historians almost universally acknowledge that the pope’s crowning of Justinian signaled this change. Over the centuries, new rulers appeared and were crowned—Charlemagne (AD 800)—Otto the Great (962)—the Hapsburg Dynasty of Charles V (1520)—then Napoleon (1805)—with the sixth head being Garibaldi’s united Italian head from 1870-1945! This revival of the Holy Roman Empire culminated in the defeat of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. Mussolini, after signing a secret agreement with the Vatican in 1929, united Ethiopia, Eritrea and Italian Somaliland back to Italy in 1935. He declared this to be the Roman Empire re-established!
But there is another figure who appears on the world scene during this period of end-time events.
This event could easily be exchanged with number 12 because these appear at or about the same time. The Revelation 17 “woman” riding the Beast is a great false church—and the evidence of this is overwhelming. This explains the “Holy” attached to “Roman Empire.” Like one who rides a horse, camel or elephant, the woman directs, controls and guides the animal to go where she wants and do what she wants. This church is led by a leader the Bible calls the “False Prophet.” The Beast and False Prophet will combine to rebuild and lead a powerful religious-governmental system. Many verses show that demons will bring the power to work miracles through this system.
The False Prophet is also called the “Man of Sin,” among other names. Paul wrote, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [the day of Christ] shall not come, except there come a falling away first [a prophecy fulfilled in the late 20th century among God’s people], and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (II Thes. 2:3-4). This religious figure will be revealed some time before God’s Work is over.
This final, world-charming False Prophet will lead all nations to worship the Beast! The deception will be so widespread that these men will actually deceive all mankind into fighting Christ at His Return (Rev. 16:9, 13-16; 17:13-14).
A regathering of power—under two men—is foretold to happen one more time!
Look for the final 13 events, culminating in Christ’s Second Coming, in an upcoming Real Truth issue.
For much more about what will happen in your lifetime, read my vital book The Bible’s Greatest Prophecies Unlocked!– A Voice Cries Out.