The Handwriting on the Wall
The prophet Daniel, one of the Jewish captives taken to Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar, was a servant to King Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar's son. Approximately 500 B.C. Belshazzar held a banquet for the lords and ladies of his court. While the guests were drinking from gold and silver cups that had been taken from the Jewish Temple, the House of God in Jerusalem, praising their idols of gold and silver, a mysterious hand began writing on the wall of the banquet room. Daniel was called on to interpret the message, which was from the God of the Israel; he informed the king that his reign was ending. That very night the king was slain.1
Undoubtedly, this is where the term, “the handwriting on the wall,” originated. It is used today as a warning that something significant is about to happen or come to an end. In a very real sense God’s handwriting “is on the wall” again today—warning all mankind of the coming climax of world history—a climax that will be marked by two spectacular worldwide events the likes of which have never ever been seen before—one exciting; the other terrifying!
And What Are the Two Events?
One, the exciting: This will be the return of Jesus Christ to earth to rapture (the catching up to heaven) of every Christian who has accepted Jesus Christ as his/her Savior, and whose sins have been forgiven by God.
Two, the terrifying: The other dramatic event will be the entrance of the Antichrist onto the stage of world history to launch his worldwide reign of terror during the seven-year Great Tribulation period which will be a horrific time of hell on earth. The Antichrist will be a world-leader who will violently oppose anything and everything that has to do with God, with Jesus Christ, and with Christianity. While there is not always agreement as to which of these two events will happen first, the critical issue, however, is that we are ready for Christ’s return so we won’t be left behind when he comes.
The signs of the end times today
are all standing up at once.
God’s Handwriting Today
So what is God’s handwriting today telling us? It is all but flashing in neon lights that the world as we know it is about to end, perhaps more quickly than we think. As Jesus said, “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption [the return of Jesus Christ] is drawing near.”2
The “These Things” Signs of the Times
The Bible notes several signs to indicate the approaching nearness of these two major events we are discussing today. While it is true that some of these signs—especially those relating to wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and the like—have been happening since Jesus Christ was on earth 2,000 years ago, today, as another has said, “THEY ARE ALL STANDING UP AT ONCE!”
One very clear sign for the setting of the stage for the climax of world history is the fact that Israel is back in the Promised Land even though, as a nation, she was decimated by the Romans in A.D. 70, and her people scattered throughout the world. Against all odds, Israel as a nation was reborn in 1948—two-thousand years after the Roman decimation—exactly as the Word of God said it would be. "For I will take you from among the nations,” God said, “and gather you out of all countries and will bring you into your own land."3 "I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and live in them again,"4 and the nation "will blossom as the rose."5
Second: Entrance of the Antichrist
According to God’s Word, in the end-time Great Tribulation period there will be a one-world government, a one-world economy, and a one-world counterfeit religion, all of which will be controlled by the Antichrist.6 The religion, one that is anti-the-real Christ, will undoubtedly claim that Jesus Christ is NOT the Son of God; that he did NOT die to pay the penalty for our sins; and that he is NOT the Savior of the world.7
However, for the Antichrist to take control of the world, the world will have to be in chaos—similar to that of pre-Hitler Germany—when another super-charismatic leader with dynamic oratory skills of persuasion will arrive on the scene promising peace and prosperity to all who follow his leadership.
It appears that we may be moving rapidly in this direction right now. For instance, think of the economic chaos that Europe is in; and consider the ever increasing moral decline here in the U.S.; plus the outlandish spending of our government that is incurring an incredible debt that may never be able to be repaid which, if it continues, may likely cause the U.S. economy to collapse, setting the stage for a powerful dynamic and charismatic leader to take over.8
Third: The Mark of the Beast
During the Great Tribulation reign of the Antichrist, people will not be able to buy or sell without the “mark of the beast”—the beast being the Antichrist, taking the place of the real Christ.9 Thus, to buy and sell, people will have to have on either their right hand or forehead this “mark of the beast.”10 Quite possibly, the mark of the beast will be some kind of electronic chip with an identification mark or symbol so that every person on earth can be tracked and controlled. During this tribulation period everyone will be required to either accept the mark of the beast or be killed. The system for this may need some tweaking, but the basic technology is already in place. For instance, you can put an electronic chip in a dog and find it anywhere in the world via GPSatellite. Furthermore, some parents today are having an electronic micro-chip placed in their children so that they can be traced and found in case they are ever lost or abducted.
The world’s knowledge is increasing at
exponential rates, as is our technology.
Fourth: The New Jewish Temple in Jerusalem
Another clear sign of the nearness of the end times will be the building of—or the preparation for the building of—the third Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. This has to be in place because, according to the Bible, the Antichrist in the middle of the Great Tribulation will enter this Temple and set himself up as God in it.6
But you say, “There is no Temple in Jerusalem.” Correct, but the critical issue is that right now the Jews are preparing to build the third Temple. The plans are underway; priests are currently being trained to lead worship in this temple; and the needed worship instruments are being made right now. Knowing the Jews, you can be sure that today they are “out in the backwoods” somewhere cutting out all the necessary stonework needed for the construction of the Temple, so that everything will be ready to go the moment the time comes—which could be immediately before or immediately following the Rapture return of Christ to earth. Thus the preparations for the building of this temple in Jerusalem is another clear sign that the setting of the stage for the end is accelerating.
5. All articles on the ACTS International website are by Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise noted.
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