What Are the Signs of the Apocalypse?

Do not obsess about whether a certain political figure is the Antichrist, certain signs of the Apocalypse, or whether a certain war marks the beginning of the final great battle. We need to lift one another up and to point others to Christ.

What Are the Signs of the Apocalypse?

“Apocalypse” is the word often assigned to the End of the World, a description of total Armageddon. Biblically, the word refers to a revelation, so one sees how two ideas coalesce: the End Times will be eye-opening for both believers and unbelievers.

Everyone will bow to Christ and confess that he is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11) and at the same time, systemic evil and those who plan destruction will be revealed for who and what they are.

Writers at The Bible Project say this: “An apocalypse is not the unraveling of good! On the contrary, an apocalypse is a reorientation to what is truly good, if you dare to accept it.” But the end will not come without warnings: what are the signs? Here are just five of them.

1. Revival Is Coming

What is revival? This movement starts with a group of Christians committing to meet regularly and asking God to forgive their sins individually, together, as a church body, and then interceding for their communities to do the same.

They are praying for God’s glory to be revealed and the veil to be removed from the eyes of unbelievers. Revival starts small but participation grows as more people join the prayer commitment.

A wave of new believers is added to the body of Christ, drawn to the irresistible beauty of Christ, and together they yearn to make his name famous.

God said, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

E. Michael Rusen and Sharon Rusen described five major revivals from the past three centuries. The most recent of these have been taking place in China, a country intolerant of Christians and other religious groups; yet, Christianity is on the rise. “In 1980 there were 2 million Christian believers in China — and by 2000 there were approximately 75 million.”

While missionaries planted seeds of faith, there is a homegrown facet to revival. The Rusens’ article describes various small-town prayer meetings whose impact led to the spread of Christian belief throughout entire regions, the example of which has sometimes inspired people around the world to take notice and pursue Christ.

“An apocalypse is always something God does in our lives to produce good and beautiful results, bringing glory to his name and ultimate good to his people.” Personal repentance invites the Lord to reveal himself in individuals, yet also reveals his glory to a watching world.

2. False Messiahs

Jesus warned his disciples that “many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray” (Matthew 24:5). The Apostle Peter also declared that false prophets would rise up, not just from the outside but from within the church (2 Peter 2:1).

Colin Smith explained that “there is no such thing as a pure church this side of heaven. You will never find it. The wheat and the tares grow together” — that is, the true plant and the weed grow side-by-side.

Smith also lays out some important clues for helping Christians discern truth from lies. Look at the source, nature, character, and appeal of a message.

  • Is Scripture taught, and if so, is it uncorrupted?
  • Is God being glorified, or is the speaker or some group being exalted?
  • Does his or her message stir the Holy Spirit to praise God or appeal to one’s pride and preferences?
  • Does the message turn listeners away from sin?

“The true believer is escaping corruption, while the counterfeit believer is mastered by it” (Ibid.).

A true prophet from God helps believers to mature in Christ. The fruit of this is great patience, a more loving posture towards others, wisdom, self-control, boldness in sharing the gospel, humility, obedience to the Lord, joy, reliability, peacefulness, and more. A true prophet models what he preaches.

As the End Times could be drawing closer, the veil will be lifted. Christ-centered believers will recognize false teachers, and those deceivers will multiply as Christ’s return nears.

So will their reach: and technology has made it very easy to spread appealing lies throughout the world in virtually every language.

Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:16).

3. Wars and Rumors of Wars

Warfare is taking place somewhere in the world every day. Whether gangs or tribes shed blood, or two militarized nations pummel each other with missiles, this is a daily reality.

How will Christians know which wars are precursors to the Final Battle? After all, many people believed Jesus was coming when the Second World War was declared.

“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matthew 24:6-7).

Jesus was saying there would be conflict, but it was not necessarily a sign of the end — the end is not yet.

What does Jesus mean here by “nations” and “kingdoms”? Jesus used the Greek word “ethnos” to refer to a nation, or to a race of people, or even the “heathen world, Gentiles.”

The word translated as “kingdom” could mean “kingship, sovereignty, authority, rule, especially of God, both in the world, and in the hearts of men.”

Great battles will take place at a military level, but intense conflict will also arise more frequently within cultures, communities, and families.

James asked, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” (James 4:1).

Good examples include current political turmoil regarding the responsibilities and limitations inherent to positions of political power; divisions regarding the LGBQT+ community and what can be taught in schools; and the social and political aftermath of the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Not only do these disagreements turn hostile, even violent, but they lead to disunity within communities, families, and even the church.

But Dr. Roger Barrier also outlines some specific battle tactics of the Evil One as prophesied in Ezekiel. They refer to Gog and Magog or modern-day Russia and Russia’s “prince.”

Other nations will join with Gog to attack Israel and God will allow them to do it so he can make his name great as he defeats them. For a detailed examination of Ezekiel 38-39, his article is very helpful.

4. Natural Disasters and the Apocalypse

Another precursor to Armageddon will be the prevalence of drought, forest fires, floods, famines, and earthquakes (Matthew 24:7). An earthquake shook the ground around those who witnessed Christ’s death at the cross (Matthew 27) and also when he was resurrected (Matthew 28).

Famine drove Joseph’s family to seek help in Egypt (Genesis 42). Massive natural disasters have rocked the world in every generation.

Some of the biggest, most devastating ones include an earthquake in Aleppo in the 12th century, one in Antioch six centuries earlier, and the Coringa Cyclone of 1839.

The people in those places at those times might have thought the Apocalypse was coming. Their own worlds were certainly coming to an end.

While natural catastrophes seem more frequent and intense in recent years, one could argue that the news is simply more immediate.

We look at photos and videos of events within minutes after they unfold, sometimes even as they unfold, thanks to social media and digital technology. People carry screens in their pockets.

The world lives in expectation of the next big event, either in a state of fear or, at times, disinterested; like a neighborhood trying to ignore a car alarm triggered by a cyclist rolling by too close. The Apocalypse often seems close.

5. Tribulation Before the Rapture

Jesus preached that enemies of the faith “will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake” (Matthew 24:9).

Christians in many parts of the world can testify that there is more than rejection awaiting those who proclaim the name of Jesus.

In some countries, imprisonment, torture, and murder are commonplace for disciples of Christ who pray their suffering will be a means by which the gospel is declared, and God is made famous.

Stephen, Paul, and many Christians of their day were persecuted, so as their lives were concerned, that was the End Times. But historically, we know that their deaths did not usher in the Second Coming of Christ.

There is great urgency to spread the gospel because the Apocalypse seems to be drawing nearer every day and unbelievers must hear the gospel so they can make their choice.

For those who reject Christ before they die, death ushers in a personal and devastating unveiling as they meet God and are turned away from heaven.

The apostles understood that the duration of their lives and the duration of unbelievers’ lives was all the time they had, and so it is with modern Christians.

Living for Today

“But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13).

Do not obsess about whether a certain political figure is the Antichrist, certain signs of the Apocalypse, or whether a certain war marks the beginning of the final great battle.

Use this remaining time to lift one another up and to point others to Christ. “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34).

A writer at Focus on the Family says this: “End-Time Christians are called to do one thing: they are to practice holiness and do good to others wherever and whenever they can.”

The name of Jesus is the Christian’s battle cry whether or not Revelation is nigh. The only refuge is Christ.

For further reading:

Is the Apocalypse Mentioned in the Bible?

A Glimpse of the Apocalypse?

What Are Signs of the End Times and the Rapture?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Ig0rZh


Candice Lucey is a freelance writer from British Columbia, Canada, where she lives with her family. Find out more about her here.