Many Christians struggle to understand the Book of Revelation. “The end times.” “The apocalypse.” “The day of judgment.” These terms are both fascinating and frightening – but what do they really mean?
Drawing from decades of study, Dr. Jeremiah explains every key sign of the approaching apocalypse and what it means for you, including international, cultural, heavenly, tribulation, and end signs. With his engaging writing style and clear analysis of how current world events were foretold in the Bible, The Book of Signs is an encouraging guide to the Book of Revelation.
In The Book of Signs, Dr. David Jeremiah offers answers to questions including:
- What does the Bible tell us about the future?
- How much can we understand about biblical prophecy and its application in our lives?
- What signs and signals will precede the end of everything as we know it?
- Which of those signs and signals have already come to pass, which are we experiencing now, and which are still to come?
An epic and authoritative guide to biblical prophecy, The Book of Signs is a must-have resource for Christians seeking to navigate the uncertainties of the present and embrace God’s promises for the future with a renewed sense of hope and purpose.
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Read an Excerpt
May 14, 1948, was a pivotal day in human history. On that afternoon, a car carrying Jewish leader David Ben-Gurion rushed down Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv and stopped at the Tel Aviv Art Museum. Four o'clock was only minutes away, and inside, Jewish leaders and press representatives from all over the world were assembled in an auditorium, awaiting his arrival. Ben-Gurion bounded up the steps. Precisely at four o'clock, local time, he stepped to the podium, called the meeting to order, and read these historic words:
This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign State.
Accordingly we ... are here assembled ... and, by virtue of our natural and historic right and on the strength of the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.
Six thousand miles away, President Truman sat in the Oval Office reading a statement. He signed his approval and noted the time: 6:10 p.m. One minute later, the White House press secretary read the release to the world. The United States had officially recognized the birth of the modern nation of Israel.
Isaiah's prophecy, written 740 years before the birth of Jesus, declared, "Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once?" (Isa. 66:8). Secular Israel was born that day.
In the past seven decades, this tiny nation with a population of 8.5 million has become the geopolitical center of the world. Why is this so? Why is a fledgling country with a total land space smaller than New Jersey mentioned in the nightly news more than any other nation except the United States?
To answer these questions, we must understand what happened on that day in 1948, what is happening today in Israel, and how these events affect the entire world. For answers we turn not to the evening news or the front page of the newspaper but to the Bible.
THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT
The story of Israel begins in the book of Genesis. The almighty God of heaven and earth made a binding covenant with Abraham, who was to be the father of the Jewish nation. The provisions of that covenant are recorded in Genesis 12:1–3, in which God said:
Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
God's covenant with Abraham consists of four unconditional promises. First, God promised to bless Abraham. That promise has been lavishly kept; Abraham has been blessed in many ways. For thousands of years, Abraham has been revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike.
Second, God promised to bring out of Abraham a great nation. Currently, more than 6 million Jews live in Israel alone. Another five million live in the United States, and a significant Jewish population remains scattered throughout the world.
Third, God promised to make Abraham a blessing to many. Just think what the world would be missing had it not been for the Jews. Without the Jews, we would have no Bible. Without the Jews, there would be no Ten Commandments, the basis of jurisprudence among most of the civilized nations of the world. Without the Jews, there would have been no Jesus. Without the Jewish Jesus, there would be no Christianity.
Fourth, God promised to bless those who blessed Israel and curse those who cursed her. He has kept that promise faithfully. I believe one of the reasons America has been blessed as a nation is that she has become a homeland for the Jewish people. Here Jews can retain their religion. Here they have economic, social, and educational opportunities. Today, the Christian church in America stands firmly between the Jewish people and the repetition of any further anti-Semitism.
God's covenant with Abraham reveals both the mission and future of God's chosen nation. Studying these promises will give us great help in understanding the present unrest in the Middle East, the future of the Israeli nation, and how the destiny of today's nations will be affected by their stance toward God's chosen people.
This historic document includes seven important features. The Abrahamic covenant is ...
AN UNCONDITIONAL COVENANT
Seven times in Genesis 12:1–3 God declared in emphatic terms what He would do for Abraham. His covenant with Abraham was unconditional, and He ratified it in a ceremony described in Genesis 15. In The Jeremiah Study Bible, I explain the meaning of this ceremony:
To establish and confirm a covenant in Abram's day, usually the two parties would walk between the pieces of the sacrificial animals, saying, in effect, "May what has happened to these creatures happen to me if I break the covenant." ...
Because this was Yahweh's sovereign covenant with Abram, not an agreement between equals, symbols of God (a smoking oven and a burning torch) passed between those pieces; Abram did not. The Lord made the covenant with no conditions — independent of Abram — and He would fulfill it in His time.
No provision was made for this covenant to be revoked, and it was not subject to amendment or annulment.
A PERSONAL COVENANT
In His covenant with Abraham, God promised extravagant blessings not only to Abraham's descendants but also to Abraham himself: "I will bless you and make your name great" (Gen. 12:2).
In Genesis 12:1–3, God addressed Abraham using the personal pronouns you and your eleven times. The promises are ultimately far-reaching and eternal, but they were made first of all to Abraham personally and each has been fulfilled.
God directed Abraham to travel to the land He promised to his descendants, and Abraham found it to be, as Moses later described, a rich land "flowing with milk and honey" (Ex. 3:8, 17; 13:5; 33:3). His flocks and herds increased exponentially, and he became an extremely wealthy man (Gen. 13:2). Yes, this land would be the eternal possession of his descendants, but it was also Abraham's personal home throughout his life (25:7–8).
God's promise to make Abraham's name great has also been lavishly fulfilled. Even in his own time, Abraham was known throughout the land as a rich and powerful leader who was highly respected and feared.
A NATIONAL COVENANT
In the second verse of God's covenant with Abraham, He said, "I will make you a great nation." The ultimate greatness of the nation of Israel awaits the Millennium, but by all the common standards of evaluation, Israel is a great nation today. Professor Amnon Rubinstein gives us an impressive summary of Israel's national achievements:
Minute in size, not much bigger than a sliver of Mediterranean coastline, it has withstood continuing Arab onslaughts, wars, boycotts and terrorism; it has turned itself from a poor, rural country to an industrial and post-industrial powerhouse. ... It has reduced social, educational and health gaps ... between Arabs and Jews. Some of its achievements are unprecedented.
A TERRITORIAL COVENANT
Of all God's covenant promises to Abraham, I believe the most amazing is His promise concerning the land. God told Abraham to leave his country, his family, and his father's house and go "to a land that I will show you" (Gen. 12:1). God then led Abraham to the land that would belong to his descendants forever.
The land promised to Abraham and his descendants was described with clear geographical boundaries. It takes in all the land from the Mediterranean Sea as the western boundary to the Euphrates River as the eastern boundary. The prophet Ezekiel fixed the northern boundary at Hamath, one hundred miles north of Damascus (Ezek. 48:1), and the southern boundary at Kadesh, about one hundred miles south of Jerusalem (v. 28). If Israelis were currently occupying all the land that God gave to them, they would control all the holdings of present-day Israel, Lebanon, and the West Bank of Jordan, plus substantial portions of Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.
The strange thing is, Israel has never, in its long history, occupied anywhere near this much land — not even at the height of its glory days under David and Solomon. This fact has caused many biblical scholars to spiritualize the meaning of the term land and equate it with heaven. Others claim these promises were conditional and were forfeited by Israel's disobedience. In refutation of these interpretations, Dr. John F. Walvoord wrote:
The term land ... used in the Bible, means exactly what it says. It is not talking about heaven. It is talking about a piece of real estate in the Middle East. After all, if all God was promising Abraham was heaven, he could have stayed in Ur of the Chaldees. Why go on the long journey? Why be a pilgrim and a wanderer? No, God meant land.
Any normal reading of Scripture recognizes Canaan as an actual place, a piece of real estate, an expanse of soil that belongs to Abraham's descendants forever.
The fact that Israel has been dispossessed of the land in three periods of its history is not an argument against its ultimate possession. Occupation is not the same as ownership. After each dispossession, God brought Israel back to its originally promised land. God has consistently kept His promise to Abraham, and that gives us absolute assurance that He will keep it in the future.
The turmoil over Israel's right to its land will not cease till the end, for the land provision of the Abrahamic covenant is at the core of the hatred of Middle Eastern nations for Israel today.
But ignoring God's care and protection of Israel is extremely dangerous. The land of Israel is so important to God that, according to Deuteronomy 11:12, it is "a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year."
A RECIPROCAL COVENANT
God also promised protection to the nation that would descend from Abraham: "I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you" (Gen. 12:3). Leaders and nations that ally with Israel to preserve, protect, and defend it will likewise be preserved, protected, and defended. On the other hand, those who stand in the way of Israel's well-being will find themselves standing against God — which means they will not long stand at all.
The prophet Zechariah declared that God would plunder the nations that plunder Israel, "for he who touches [Israel] touches the apple of His eye" (Zech. 2:8). History tells the tragic story of what has happened to nations and leaders who dared to oppress Israel. Egypt, the first nation to enslave Israel, was brought to its knees by ten devastating plagues (Ex. 7–12). The Amorites, who resisted Israel's march toward their promised land, were soundly defeated (Num. 21:21–30).
One of the most notable examples of God's vengeance against an enemy of Israel was the annihilation of the Midianites who joined with Moab in trying to stop Israel. After their failure to bribe the prophet Balaam into pronouncing a curse on Israel, they used Midianite women to seduce Israel's men into immorality and idolatry. Moses prepared Israel for war "to take vengeance for the Lord on Midian" (Num. 31:3). The battle was quick and decisive. All the Midianite cities were burned to the ground, and the Israelites took as plunder massive amounts of gold, silver, bronze, tin, lead, and wood, along with cattle, sheep, and donkeys (Num. 31; Rev. 2:14).
Babylon, the empire that destroyed Jerusalem and deported the Jews from their homeland, was soundly defeated seventy years later by the Persians. And one of history's worst persecutors of the Jews, the Greek-Seleucid ruler Antiochus IV, died a horrible death shortly after hearing that his army had been defeated in the Jewish Maccabean rebellion.
In modern times, Russia confined Jews to ghettos and harassed them with pogroms under the czars, who were overthrown in the communist rebellion of 1917. Under communism, the Jews were forbidden to practice their religious rites, and many were arrested, deported, or executed. Hitler's Germany, which destroyed some six million Jews, was crushed in World War II.
Israel's Six-Day War of 1967 stands today as the most spectacular modern example of God's punishment on those who curse Israel. Although Israel became an independent nation in 1948, the Palestinians and Islamic states surrounding it didn't recognize its statehood and vowed its extermination. In 1967, the United Arab Republic (UAR) allied with Jordan, Syria, and Palestinian guerrillas to attack Israel from the north, south, and east. Israel was hopelessly outmanned. The Arab armies numbered more than 500,000 men; Israel had only 75,000. The Arabs fielded 5,000 tanks and 900 combat aircraft, whereas the Israeli total was only 1,000 tanks and 175 planes. Yet when the smoke cleared six days later, the UAR had lost almost its entire air force (about 20,000 lives), and Israel had taken over significant Arab-controlled territory, including the Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights, Gaza Strip, and West Bank.
In a powerful speech to the United Nations General Assembly on October 1, 2015, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu summarized the miraculous preservation of the Jewish people:
In every generation, there were those who rose up to destroy our people. In antiquity, we faced destruction from the ancient empires of Babylon and Rome. In the Middle Ages, we faced inquisition and expulsion. And in modern times, we faced pogroms and the Holocaust. Yet the Jewish people persevered.
And now another regime has arisen, swearing to destroy Israel. That regime would be wise to consider this: I stand here today representing Israel, a country 67 years young, but the nation-state of a people nearly 4,000-years-old. Yet the empires of Babylon and Rome are not represented in this hall of nations. Neither is the Thousand Year Reich. Those seemingly invincible empires are long gone. But Israel lives. The people of Israel live.
History records that Israel stands at the graves of all its enemies.
A UNIVERSAL COVENANT
Here we reach the overarching reason for all the promises we have studied in God's covenant with Abraham: "In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Gen. 12:3).
This is the root of God's promise to Abraham and His purpose in creating a new people for Himself. Abraham's descendants were to become the repository of God's glory, wisdom, love, and redemptive grace. This saving grace was to overflow from the Jews to the rest of the world.
Through Abraham, God gave His written Word to the world. With the possible exceptions of Luke and Acts, every book of the Bible was authored by a Jewish writer. And through Abraham, God gave His Son to the world, blessing all humanity with the means of escaping the grip of sin and death, "that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith" (Gal. 3:14). All the other promises in God's covenant with Abraham are in support of this one universal promise that affects every person who has ever lived.
AN ETERNAL COVENANT
God's promise to Abraham came in three stages. It was initiated in Genesis 12:1–3, formalized in Genesis 15:1–21, and then amplified in Genesis 17:1–18:21. In Genesis 17, Abraham was approaching his one-hundredth birthday, and his faith was frail — it had been nearly twenty-five years since his first encounter with the Lord. Then God appeared, reminding Abraham that His promise was a forever promise, an eternal promise "between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God" (vv. 7–8).
The promise to Abraham is an everlasting promise because it is an unconditional covenant based on the grace and sovereignty of almighty God. There may be delays, postponements, and chastisements, but an eternal covenant cannot be abrogated by a God who cannot deny Himself.
WHY DID GOD CHOOSE ISRAEL?
When I first began studying prophecy, I remember reading an offbeat little rhyme about Israel by British journalist William Norman Ewer: "How odd of God to choose the Jews." When you think about it, this poetic quip expresses a valid observation. Doesn't it seem a little odd that of all the people on earth, God selected these particular people to be His chosen nation? Why would God choose the Jews?(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Book of Signs"
Copyright © 2019 David Jeremiah.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Part 1 International Signs
Chapter 1 Israel 3
Chapter 2 Europe 17
Chapter 3 Russia 30
Chapter 4 Babylon 44
Chapter 5 America 57
Part 2 Cultural Signs
Chapter 6 Materialism 73
Chapter 7 Immorality 85
Chapter 8 Radical Islam 97
Chapter 9 Persecution 110
Chapter 10 Spiritual Warfare 125
Chapter 11 Apathy 139
Part 3 Heavenly Signs
Chapter 12 Rapture 155
Chapter 13 Resurrection 168
Chapter 14 Heaven 181
Chapter 15 Judgment Seat of Christ 193
Chapter 16 Rewards 205
Chapter 17 Worship 218
Part 4 Tribulation Signs
Chapter 18 Four Riders 233
Chapter 19 Antichrist 246
Chapter 20 False Prophet 259
Chapter 21 Martyrs 270
Chapter 22 144,000 284
Chapter 23 Two Witnesses 298
Chapter 24 Dragon 311
Chapter 25 Mark of the Beast 324
Chapter 26 Armageddon 336
Part 5 End Signs
Chapter 27 Return of the King 351
Chapter 26 Millennium 364
Chapter 29 Great White Throne Judgment 378
Chapter 30 New Heaven and New Earth 391
Chapter 31 Holy City 405
About The Author 465