Modern Conditions Were Foretold in Scripture Many Centuries Ago
Bible prophecy has foretold a number of circumstances that have been realized or made possible only in modern times. Among these are:
Mass transportation and knowledge explosion.
Daniel 12:4 says that in "the time of the end . . . many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase." This obviously does not refer to the pace of travel and learning in Daniel's day. It denotes a marked departure from what the world at that time was accustomed to. This did not come until modern science and industrialization gave birth to rapid mass transportation and the knowledge explosion of our current information age.
Instant mass communications.
Revelation 11:8-9 says of God's end-time two witnesses: "And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city [ Jerusalem] . . . Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies threeand-a-half days." For all the earth's peoples to witness this requires such modern technologies as satellite television, the Internet or some other electronic communication medium, all unimaginable in the first century when this prophecy was written.
The population explosion.
Revelation 9:16 mentions a massive army of 200 million. This is a staggering figure even today—though possible given the world population. Yet when this prophecy was written in the first century, the entire global population was "about 300 million. For a very long time the world population did not grow significantly . . . It took more than 1600 years for the world population to double to 600 million" (United Nations, The World at Six Billion, 1998). So the idea of a 200-million-man army was inconceivable—except to Bible prophecy, which foresaw it.
Mass destruction and the possibility of human extinction.
The army mentioned above is influenced by demonic powers "to kill a third of mankind" (Revelation 9:15). Jesus Christ said that in the last days there "will be a time of great distress, such as there has never been before since the beginning of the world, and will never be again. 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" (Matthew 24:21-22, REB).
The ability to kill so many—all humanity even—did not exist until the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the later 20th century.
A Jewish state in the Holy Land controlling Jerusalem.
In the late first and early second centuries, the Romans expelled the Jews from their homeland. Yet the book of Daniel had foretold an end-time Jewish sanctuary defilement and interruption of sacrifices in Jerusalem—meaning there must first be a sanctuary and sacrifices in place (Daniel 12:10-11; compare 8:13; 9:27; 11:31).
There was a prototype fulfillment of these events in the second century B.C., but Jesus made it clear that Daniel's prophecy about the defilement of the holy place pointed mainly to a yet future event that would precede the end-time Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:15-22)—saying, "Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains" (verse 16).
For nearly 2,000 years, a Jewish state controlling Jerusalem seemed impossible, with the Jews scattered and the Holy Land in Muslim hands. Yet the Jews remarkably were never assimilated into the peoples among whom they were scattered. And, at long last, against seemingly overwhelming odds, they were able to return to their homeland and then to set up and maintain a Jewish state—an amazing fulfillment of prophecy.
The rise of Britain and the United States as world powers.
To the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob God promised great national blessings. Genesis 35:11 says that the national birthright blessings would be realized through "a nation and a company of nations." Genesis 48-49 shows that this birthright was passed on to Jacob's son Joseph and his sons Ephraim and Manasseh—with Ephraim destined to become the company of nations and Manasseh destined to become a great single nation. Further, these blessings would be fulfilled "in the last days"—near the end of this age of man.
The magnitude of the blessings described in these and other passages were never realized by Israel in the Holy Land. Instead, the northern tribes of Israel—including Ephraim and Manasseh—were eventually deported by the invading Assyrians. Clues in secular history and various prophecies reveal that the so-called lost tribes migrated to northwestern Europe. The British Empire and Commonwealth is evidently representative of modern Ephraim, while Manasseh is today the United States of America—these nations' wealth and geopolitical standing matching the Bible's promises that they would rise to be the dominant nations of the world. As Britain dominated the globe in the 19th century, so did America in the 20th. (To learn more about this, be sure to read our free booklet The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy.)
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