With the likelihood of a major military conflict—if not a nuclear World War 3—involving North Korea and the United States looming larger by the day, speculations about the biblical end times appear to be mounting once again.
Further stoking the fire, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted Thursday to impose new sanctions on North Korea amid heightened tensions over that pariah nation's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, according to Fox News.
The same news outlet reported that Pentagon officials are seeing more evidence of a North Korean military connection with Iran, another country that poses a security challenge to the U.S.
Although the findings were gathered more than four years ago, PRRI's Research Director Dan Cox told the news outlet this week that those views haven't changed all that much.
In its December 2012 survey, PRRI found out that nearly half of the American people, 49 percent to be exact, believe that severe natural disasters are another evidence of the biblical end times
The most recent natural disasters in the U.S. were the flooding and tornadoes that killed at least 20 people in Missouri, Arkansas, Texas last weekend, according to Weather.com.
According to Billy Hallowell, author of "The Armageddon Code," the end times concept is deeply embedded in Christian theology.
"In fact, many contemporary theologians and pastors believe they're observing numerous signs in the current culture that mirror the supposedly prophetic contents of scriptures in Old and New Testament books like Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation," he said in an article he wrote for Faithwire last February.
He said he interviewed 20 of these eschatology experts, many of whom cited the "sweeping moral decay, biblical disconnectedness and ongoing violence in the Middle East" as the very signs that were foretold thousands of years ago in both the Old and New Testaments.
Hallowell said Jesus himself foretold of his future Second Coming in Matthew 24:6-8: "You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed ... Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains."
But then in Matthew 24:36 Jesus also said that "no one knows" the day or the hour of his return.