A recent poll has found that 41 percent of American adults believe the end times have arrived.
The percentage is even higher among certain Christian groups, according to a press release. More than three-quarters of Evangelicals (77 percent) and more than half of Protestants (54 percent) agree that "the world is currently living in the 'end times' as described by prophecies in the Bible."
Most Catholics take a different view of the world's current state, with 73 percent of them saying the end times have not arrived, though 45 percent of practicing Catholics say they have.
The end times question was commissioned by James F. Fitzgerald, producer of "The WatchWord Bible" series of videos, as part of a Barna Group OmniPoll conducted this summer. The poll results were released shortly after the release of Fitzgerald's new book, The 9/11 Prophecy: Startling Evidence the Endtimes have Begun.
"Even I was surprised by the findings," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "I thought the numbers could possibly be as low as 10 percent for the overall population and maybe 30 percent for Christians in general, or less. I had no way to know before the survey. But the response of the overall population was higher than what I expected from Christians, and the Evangelical's response was nearly twice what I thought."
The poll also revealed that 54 percent of blacks and 48 percent of Hispanics say the world is in the end times, while only 39 percent of whites say the same is true. Married adults (46 percent) and parents (47 percent) were also more likely to say the end times have begun than the national average.
"The Barna poll shows how many Americans and Christians believe the world is living in the end times," said Fitzgerald. "My book will give them lots of evidence to back up what they are already thinking and sensing intuitively. I demonstrate that the biblical end times began on 9/11 at a particular point in history. As I explain, Jesus himself taught we would recognize this time from its beginning which is what I believe is happening now."
Floyd Elmore, academic dean and professor of theology at Southern Evangelical Seminary in Matthews, N.C., told The Christian Post there have been events throughout history that could have been interpreted by people living in those days as end time events.
"I will say this: We could be seeing things that prepare us for the last scenario before Christ Jesus come," said Elmore.
Christians should study such prophecies because Jesus Christ has called us to be "watchful" of his second coming, he says. He also says it is important for Christians to take their cues about God's plans for the end times from the Bible rather than from newspapers or other books on prophecy, however, and says no one knows for sure when certain events will take place.
"The end times actually began with the first coming of Christ," said Elmore. "So we've been in the end times for 2,000 years. The question is, are we at the end of the end times?"
Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and author of Revelation: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture, which is part of The New American Commentary series, told CP he does not believe 9/11 marked the beginning of the end times, but says the event was part of "a continuum of the worldwide upheaval that the Bible clearly forecasts in the end time."
"The mistake that Christians make is to set a calendar," he said. "Anytime you set a calendar you are destined to be wrong and you're destined to look silly."
Patterson says the study of end time prophecies is important for Christians so that they're not taken by surprise when the prophecies come true and so they can continue to do good works.
"I believe that a study of prophecy helps a person to maintain his equilibrium in a topsy-turvy world and to be able to be of usefulness to his fellow man, because he knows that in the end Christ conquers," said Patterson.