It is interesting how many Christians feel that we are near the End Times. What is interesting is that the Apostle Paul tells us that we are not children of darkness, causing that day to catch us unaware. (I Thessalonians 5:1-5) We are spiritual beings, and have the Holy Spirit. Some Christians feel that the Spirit is telling us that the time is near.
But there is more tangible evidence. Israel is said to be "God's timepiece." In 1893, the brilliant Christian scholar, E. W. Bullinger, published The Witness of the Stars. In this book, Bullinger concluded that the year 1897 was somehow special to the Land of Israel. We know from history that the Zionist Congress, the purpose of which was to work toward the establishing of the people Israel back in the Land of Israel, first met in 1897. We also know that fifty years later in 1947, the United Nations passed a resolution creating the State of Israel. The next year, 1948, that became a reality.
From the time of the dispersion of the Jews across the Roman Empire (the Diaspora) in 135 A.D. until 1948 A.D. is 1,813 years. I know of no other nation that has been re-established in their land after over eighteen centuries. This is remarkable. For centuries prior to 1948 Bible students have said that Israel would come back to the land. In 1948 their belief was confirmed.
It is necessary for Israel to be a nation, because there must be a Temple in Jerusalem in order for the prophecy of Jesus and Daniel regarding the Abomination of Desolation to be possible. (Matthew 24:15-16, Daniel 9:27) The Temple is not there, but the nation of Israel is.
It was not until the Twentieth Century that mankind was able to kill so efficiently. Clubs, javelins, swords, cannons and single-shot rifles were the progress made through the Nineteenth Century. But by World War I, we had machine guns that could mow down a column of men. Then large aircraft capable of bombing entire cities were developed and then the nuclear bomb. The destruction described in Bible prophecy was not possible until the Twentieth Century.
There is a prophetic event described in The Revelation that was not possible until recent times. This is the death and resurrection of the Two Witnesses as described in the Revelation 11:7-12. With the invention of radio in the Twentieth Century, people around the world could hear events being described. But it wasn't until the development of satellite television in 1962 that the prophecy of the Two Witnesses could be realized. The Revelation tells us that their bodies will not be buried, but will lie in the street in Jerusalem. We are also told that all peoples, tribes, tongues and nations will see the dead bodies and will exchange gifts in great joy. Until 1962 it would not have been possible for all the people of the world to see what was happening in Jerusalem as it occurred.
There have been many suggestions as to possibilities for the "Mark of the Beast." Ten years ago according to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. government was experimenting with permanent identification marks for frequent international travelers. This was to simplify the immigration process at busy airports
More recently, there have been tiny transponders which can be placed beneath the skin. The transponder reacts with a specific code to a radio signal. These have been used to identify pets. A more sophisticated version has been suggested for use with humans to locate them in the event of a kidnaping.
The technology has improved to the point where Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags are used at the retail level to facilitate inventory control and to reduce theft by shoplifting. In Prophecy in the News Magazine Dr. Gary Stearman reports that RFID technology has just moved up another notch. On January 10, 2007, Somark Innovations announced an invisible RFID ink that can be used to mark animals. Each animal is given a specific identification number which "can be detected without line of sight."
As you know, humans are animals.
The technology is here and now. All that remains are the circumstances for it to be utilized for control of the population.
The Lord also has a mark. In Ezekiel 9:2-6 a mark was placed on the forehead of those people who were unhappy over what was occurring in Jerusalem. It was a mark of protection. The mark was a Tav, the Hebrew letter which, at that time, was in the shape of an "X" or a cross. Interestingly, the "X" is also the first letter in the Greek word "Christ." Second Corinthians 1:22 tells us that Christians, like the Jews of old, are sealed also. I strongly suspect we are sealed with a mark like a cross.
Although I have no knowledge of when the Lord will call the Church to be with Him, it is very clear that, with the exception of the Temple being built, circumstances are now in place for that event to occur. Never before in the history of man has it been possible for all the prophecies of the Old Testament and the Revelation to be fulfilled. It is now. Maranatha!