Are News-Making ‘Signs of the End Times’ Bogus?
Millions of people are seeing the “end times” in the news. This week, one of the most popular news-related websites in the United States, Drudge Report, featured a link to an article from Britain’s Mirror.co.uk. The headline: “The THREE Signs That Biblical Prophecies About End of the World and the Messiah Are ‘Coming True.’”
The Bible does have prophecies about the end of the world. It uses the phrases “time of the end,” “the last days” and “in that day” to describe the same time frame: a period long after the Bible was completed, during which sin would be rampant and the world would plunge into unprecedented catastrophes—world war, supernatural cataclysms and mass destruction. The Bible is where we get the term “apocalyptic.”
The sins described in these Bible prophecies certainly feel familiar. So does the increasing danger of nuclear, biological and conventional mass destruction. And the “signs of the end times” are drawing some attention too.
But they’re wrong.
Certainly these three signs from the Mirror are. I was amazed that someone thought this was worth writing, that editors thought it was worth publishing, and Drudge thought it was worth promoting to millions of people.
Sign one: The Red Heifer. For years, some Jewish sects have been looking for the birth of a red heifer. The Temple Institute is an organization that is literally creating the furnishings, tools and clothing described in the Old Testament in anticipation of rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. These Jews believe that the temple cannot be constructed until a pure red, unblemished heifer is born and sacrificed according to instructions in Numbers 19. This sacrifice is necessary to give ritual purity to the building of the temple. There is now a buzz that such an animal has been born, for the first time in 2,000 years.
Serious people have devoted serious resources and serious time to this effort. They have waited and waited for news of a new heifer that seems to fit the description. And those heifers have come, but after examination, they have been deemed “blemished,” for having too many black hairs, for example. Obviously there is also the issue that Palestinian Arabs control the Temple Mount where the Temple Institute plans to rebuild the temple and resume sacrifices. Just mentioning the idea is enough to send them into a violent rage. When a Jewish prime minister so much as visited the Temple Mount, the Palestinians launched four years of increased terrorism that resulted in about 4,000 deaths.
People who deeply believe in the prophecies of the Bible can put all that aside, of course, and even put their lives on the line to expel the Palestinians, remove one of their most important mosques, and rebuild the temple, just so long as they can find a red heifer.
The problem is, this isn’t a prophecy of the Bible. This “biblical sign” isn’t based on Bible prophecy but on centuries of religious interpretation and traditions of men. It’s based on human reasoning. The Bible mentions “red heifer” once, among a long list of other religious rituals. The ashes of this animal plus some cedar, some herbs and something scarlet doesn’t magically do anything or purify anything. Those sacrifices symbolized the coming of a sacrifice that would actually purify, cleanse and save all human beings.
To resume those physical sacrifices, according to Old Covenant prescriptions, denies the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And to consider it a sign of the end time is biblically unsound and ignores actual end-time prophecies.
Sign two: Fish in the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is so full of salt (about 35 percent) that almost nothing can live in it. Microscopic organisms can live there, but plants and fish can’t survive. Until now, it appears. The Mirror quotes an Israeli photojournalist as having captured images of fish in sinkholes at the Dead Sea and states, “Scientists are said to have been shocked to discover the sinkholes rapidly filling up with fish and other forms of life that never used to be sighted.” Breaking Israel News states that dropping water levels have caused the formation of freshwater sinkholes.
The photojournalist and others have referred to the presence of fish and other life at the Dead Sea as a fulfillment of Ezekiel 47, which prophesies that the Dead Sea’s “waters shall be healed” and that fishermen will catch a wide variety of fish species there.
But again, fish in sinkholes by the Dead Sea do not fulfill Bible prophecy!
Those verses in Ezekiel 47 are part of a long description of a river that flows out of Jerusalem down to the Dead Sea, healing and enlivening everything in its path. The description of this river follows an extended description of reapportioning of land in and around Jerusalem, a new temple being built, and a just, righteous government being established.
This idea that some fish swimming in sinkholes at the Dead Sea fulfills the futuristic vision that God gave Ezekiel is neither biblical nor logical. It requires a deep dive not into Ezekiel’s prophecy, but into human ideas and speculative reasoning.
Sign three: A snake wriggled out of the Wailing Wall. The area is part of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount enclosure. Jews and Christians believe it to be the last remnant of the second temple, which the Roman Empire destroyed in a.d. 70. It is one of the Jews’ holiest sites. Last week, worshipers there saw a snake emerge from between the stone blocks of the Wailing Wall and frighten away a pigeon. A man got a ladder and fetched the snake, and that was the end of the episode.
The Mirror cited “some bloggers” as saying the snake “is a symbol that we are living in ‘dangerous times.’ They say these times lead up to the coming of the Messiah.” It cites another reputable source, “some Internet users,” as saying the snake represents the serpent in the Garden of Eden that enticed Adam and Eve to sin against God.
The Bible contains absolutely no prophecies about a snake or a pigeon or a Wailing Wall. This event is as significant in end-time Bible prophecy as a housefly landing on your kitchen counter and taking off again.
Those are the three prophetic signs brought to you by the Mirror, a sensationalist tabloid, in its “Weird News” section. Two of them are backed up by a single Bible verse plucked out of context, and the third is supported by wisps of nothingness.
Yet people are interested. They are curious about end-time Bible prophecy. What a shame that their interest is squandered on false, worthless “prophecies” that divert them from real, honest, in-depth consideration of the actual end-time prophecies of the Bible.
Even in today’s secular, Bible-hating society, people have a sense that there’s something to Bible prophecy. And that’s because there definitely is!
Despite the errors of those who claim to know Bible prophecy, the Bible itself is flawless. It is one of the few religious books that dares to forecast the future, and it is the only one that gets it right. Thousands of years after its prophecies were written, they happen.
Many Christians shy away from this fact, but the Bible contains a lot of prophecy. Jesus Christ Himself prophesied—in detail. Bible prophecy can be difficult to understand. But God hasn’t left us to just wander in and out of random, mysterious news that sounds related to Bible prophecy, with no way of understanding if a current event is prophetic or not.
God wants you to understand Bible prophecy.
If only, at the top of Drudge Report next week, this headline appeared: “The FOUR Signs That Biblical Prophecies About the End of the World and the Messiah Are Coming True.” If only it linked not to the tabloid content of the Mirror, but to theTrumpet.com. And what would be waiting for the millions of people interested in Bible prophecy who click the link?
This article. With biblically sound explanations of actual signs, straight from Scripture, that would immediately precede Jesus Christ’s Second Coming—and that have actually been fulfilled.
If you have any interest in biblical prophecy, this is the article you need to read. Learn what the Bible actually says about the end of the world and the Messiah!
And these are just four end-time prophecies of many you will find in the Bible. Compare them to a few cherrypicked verses, a heifer, some fish and a snake, and I think you’ll see which prophecies truly deserve to be front-page news.