I admit it: I got distracted during the election. Took my eye off the ball and got caught up in the notion that my country could change what I believe is its path toward inevitable decline. I should not have let that happen. The one thing that will change the U.S. for the better is healing by God. Unfortunately, we show little trend toward calling on his name for that to happen. If anything, the election made our direction crystal clear, and I believe the hands on the clock of this age are spinning faster and faster.
3,000 rockets are launched from Gaza at Israel in one week. What happens the next week? The world votes 138-9 to upgrade the international status of those doing the launching. The United States is facing dire financial straits, so what does the president do? Spends $4 million on a 3-week vacation to Hawaii. The new president of Egypt grants himself sweeping new dictatorial powers and the world acts surprised? Are you kidding? Morsi is now exactly who he has always been, an Islamist bent on domination.
Just five years ago, virtually anyone with a secular viewpoint would have laughed if someone predicted that in 2012 Turkey would be swinging hard to an Islamic mindset. They would have cackled like hyenas at the thought of Egypt and Libya, a couple of stable non-players on the geostage for decades, being transformed into Islamist hotspots. Some really interesting things to note? Turkey is almost certainly a major player in the coming War of Gog and Magog. Doesn’t seem quite so unlikely now, eh? Is there more, you ask? Alas, there be more! The Bible identifies the three countries that the antichrist will first take over as–hold on–Egypt, Libya, and biblical Ethiopia, which is almost surely modern Sudan.
It has long been my belief that the rebirth of Israel in 1948 started the eschatalogical clock ticking in earnest. Geopolitical puzzle pieces required for endtimes events have been in constant motion, sliding around the globe, clicking into place. They’re not sliding around anymore. They’re flying around. Eyes up!
First, credit for the phrase “darkness descending” goes to Joel C. Rosenberg. He used it tonight in his opening comments at the 2012 Epicenter Conference. It so perfectly fit what I’ve been feeling lately that I felt compelled to borrow it. For me, there’s an almost palpable sense of spiritual darkness descending not only on the Middle East, but also the U.S., a feeling that the endtime clock is accelerating by the day. Does anyone else feel this?
Much has happened on the prophetic front since my last post. (Two years, yikes! Sorry!) More detail later, but the ramifications of the “Arab Spring” come immediately to mind, as does the looming prospect of an Israeli strike on Iran. Obama’s surreal behavior with regard to Israel, Iran, and Islam in general is also a topic I hope to explore in more detail over the coming days.
The main thing I wanted to get out right now: Time is short. Don’t wait. Be absolutely certain you have accepted salvation through Christ. Do it now. There is nothing more important. It is categorically impossible for anything to be more important. I’ve often thought about how we spend forty to fifty years in preparation for a few years of Earthly retirement. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but what is wrong is the fact that hundreds of millions of lost people would spend so much time and energy on so little, while barely passing a thought about their eternal fate.
Eternity. Think about it. Remember a time in your life when you were in terrible pain. For me, I’m remembering a couple bouts with kidney stones, remembering how excruciating the pain was as I literally writhed on the floor in vain search of relief for just a few seconds. The hours it took for me to make it to a doctor, get diagnosed, and get relief felt like they would never end . Choose your memory. Now imagine that you’re in pain like that all day. No doctor to help, no nurses around, just you and the pain. Pretty rough imagining, huh? What if it went on 24/7 for a week, a month, a year, a century? The thought of it terrifies me. And we haven’t even gotten around to imagining the worst part of it, the fact that there is no hope. None. There is no hope of the misery ending in a day or a year or a hundred years. Help is never going to come, period. After suffering through abject misery for a thousand years, you will know that you are not one millisecond closer to the end of it, because it’s an end that will never come. It’s just you and the misery. Forever.
Don’t believe in hell? Jesus did, talked quite a bit about the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. Are you willing to bet your never-ending soul on it? Please don’t. I do believe a darkness is descending. Not only descending, but accelerating. Don’t get trapped in it. The alternative to never-ending darkness is the polar extreme, unbridled happiness and satisfaction forever. It’s free to you. All you have to do is believe and accept. Do it now. Right now.
Anyone who’s interested in eschatology and believes we’re nearing the end of the age, has probably heard something similar to the following statement many, many times. “Oh, I don’t pay any attention to that stuff, because every generation since Jesus was full of people who believed they were in the end times.” Another frequent comment is, “Even Jesus doesn’t know when He’s coming back, so we’re not supposed to worry about it.” Are they right? I think not, and I’ll summarize my position this way: If not now, when? Now let’s go deeper. Here’s what Jesus said about the day and hour:
But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. Matthew 24:36
On its face, and out of context, it seems to support the old “there’s no way we can know anything about it” position. If we put it in context, however, things look very different. Here are the four verses that immediately precede that verse:
From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Matthew 24:32-35
Once viewed in context, it seems clear to me that Christ was saying that we cannot know the exact time when he will return for us, but that we are to be vigilant so that we can recognize the signs of the season. He even used an actual season (summer) in the analogy. With this passage freshly in mind, let’s go ahead and address the frequent comment that every generation since Jesus has had those who believed they were in the end times. This is no doubt true, but there’s one salient distinction between then and now: They were wrong. Prophecies don’t work in piecemeal fashion. The Bible isn’t 75% accurate, or 90%, or 99%. The Bible is 100.0% accurate, period. But in past generations, those who believed they were the terminal generation were ignoring the very first sign Jesus gave us in the passage above!
The fig tree analogy is what kicks everything else into motion, yet it was conveniently ignored in the past because that sign was not fulfilled. What is that sign? I believe, as do most prophetic scholars whose opinions I’ve read, that the fig tree analogy refers to Israel’s rebirth as a nation. It’s the pivotal event that started the endtime clock ticking in earnest, and it was fulfilled in May, 1948, when the state of Israel was reborn. Only after that fulfillment could the other genuine signs of the endtime season occur. Wars and rumors of wars. Earthquakes. Famine. False prophets. Apostasy in the church. Preaching the gospel to the world. Godless living. All these signs and more are being fulfilled now, and they’re being fulfilled at the proper time, after the rebirth of Israel.
Another key sign that I believe has only been truly fulfilled recently is found in Daniel:
But you, Daniel, close up these words and seal the book until the time of the end. Many will dash about, and knowledge will increase. Daniel 12:4
I won’t get into the issue here, but one could make an argument that the “sealing of the book” refers to the fact that only now, with modern computer technology, are we able to truly analyze the Bible for the existence of coded messages beneath the plain text. Even more unequivocally tied to today, however, is the reference to “dashing about” and increasing knowledge. From the time of Christ until a little over a century ago, there was no appreciable advance in transportation technology. When Jesus walked the Earth, the dominant means of transportation was the horse. In 1900, the dominant means of transportation was the horse. Just one century later, on any given day there are approximately 87,000 airplane flights in the United States alone. There are over 625,000,000 cars on Earth. Can we seriously doubt that the “many will dash about” sign is fulfilled? What about knowledge? Sure, knowledge increased in centuries past, but by comparison to centuries past, knowledge in the twentieth century didn’t just increase; it exploded with the force of a thousand nuclear bombs. Daniel 12:4 is fulfilled, and in a way that was simply not possible before now.
We saw the rebirth of Israel sixty-two years ago, and I believe Jesus was saying that the generation who witnessed that would not pass away before the end of the age. We’ve seen sign after sign fulfilled since then, and we continue to see prophetic puzzle pieces slide into place before our very eyes. I believe an exhaustive analysis of endtime signs would lead us inexorably to the question: If not now, when?
I, like many prophecy followers, had for years believed that Ezekiel 38-39′s War of Gog and Magog was the next major event on the prophetic timeline. (Hint: There’s a reason for the title of this blog. :)) For me that changed a few weeks ago as a result of discussion with other prophecy followers, followed up by my own study and research. In the post When You’re Wrong, You’re Wrong, I posited that Psalm 83, not Ezekiel, described the next event. I then followed that up with another post called Three In One, in which I theorized that Psalm 83, Obadiah, and Isaiah 17 might all be separate elements of a single prophecy.
To be clear: It is my fervent hope that anything I discover/interpret/understand with regard to prophecy, be under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. With that said, I’m wondering if the Spirit is speaking to others on this exact topic. I’m a big fan of Chuck Missler (www.khouse.org) and his research, having followed him for years. I regularly purchase and download his Briefing Packs, which teach on a variety of prophetic and other interesting biblical topics. Yesterday I received an e-mail from kHouse about a brand new session available for download, a session entitled The Magog Invasion: An Alternate View. I purchased, downloaded, and listened to the entire session right away, and I was intrigued by the fact that Dr. Missler’s alternate theory is very similar to Three In One. I highly recommend his session, which is filled with his typically thorough exegetical research, and which is a far deeper look into this issue than I offered in this blog.
I believe the Spirit may indeed be speaking to people on this topic. When the Spirit speaks, it always behooves us to listen, but I believe it’s more imperative than ever to have our spiritual antennae extended right now. After all, Christ Himself told us to watch for the signs. And if you don’t know Christ, please correct that. He is the only path to eternal salvation. The ONLY path, and the opportunity to choose that path grows shorter by the minute.
In the past several days, we’ve seen the following news related to Israel:
- An urgent terror alert was issued by the government to warn Israelis who were visiting in the Sinai region to come home immediately, due to “concrete” information that a terror cell was planning to kidnap Israeli citizens in that area.
- It’s been confirmed that Syria is transferring Scud missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon. These missiles, while notoriously inaccurate, nonetheless have the range and payload to put all of Israel at significant risk.
- The Israeli government executed an unannounced nationwide emergency drill to simulate a number of simultaneous major emergencies around the country. The drill caused unprecedented traffic jams.
- Russia announced that it would bring Iran’s Busheur nuclear reactor online in August. Because weapons-grade plutonium can be extracted from such a reactor, this puts Iran one step closer to The Bomb.
- Hillary Clinton just made a speech in which she once more placed the responsibility for the peace process on Israel’s shoulders. This tired drumbeat is just the latest signal that the Obama administration is no friend to Israel. When it comes to earthly allies, Israel now stands alone.
It’s impossible to say what the above info-tidbits mean with regard to the prophetic outlook, but it’s interesting that so much seems to be going on with regard to the Holy Land. Is Israel about to attack targets in Lebanon because of the Scuds? Or is she getting ready to move against Iran’s nuclear facilities. I believe both are distinct possibilities for the not-distant future. We all need to keep our antennae up.
On the lighter side, Israel has banned the new Apple iPad because its WiFi signal is stronger than Israeli standards allow.
From Israel National News, today: King Abdullah: Jordan Was Better Off without Peace with Israel
I know I say this a lot, but it’s true…we live in exciting times! For years, those who adhere to a secular perspective poo-pooed the idea that Turkey would be part of any invasion of Israel, despite Ezekiel 38′s clear prophecy that it would. After all, they said, Turkey and Israel are friends! Turkey and Israel even conduct military exercises together! Then a few months ago, seemingly out of nowhere, Turkey canceled its upcoming military exercises with Israel and simultaneously announced a strengthening alliance with Iran. A prophetic puzzle piece clicked into place. Today, another puzzle piece began sliding toward its destination when Jordan’s King Abdullah added his voice to the growing chorus of anti-Israel rhetoric from around the world. I won’t rehash what’s in the article since I’ve linked it in the top line of this post, but suffice to say that seemingly out of nowhere, Jordan has started to sound like an enemy of Israel.
I believe this to be of major significance, because I think Jordan is clearly part of the confederacy of nations prophesied to attack Israel in Psalm 83, Obadiah, and Isaiah 17. Like Turkey, however, Jordan was supposedly on friendly terms with Israel. (Jordan is one of only two Arab nations to have a peace treaty in place with Israel; Egypt is the other.) Once again, from the secular perspective it looked unlikely that Jordan, a heretofore peaceful neighbor, would be part of such a confederacy. And once again, we see that what the Bible says will happen, will absolutely happen.
The JoshuaPundit blog, citing Israeli (Hebrew-only) news source NRG/Maariv, reports that visa applications from Israeli nuclear scientists who work at the Dimona nuclear facility are being summarily rejected. This is a huge reversal, since these visas have been routinely granted in the past when the scientists wanted to come to the United States for education and training. The Dimona facility is widely believed to be the place where Israel generates plutonium for her nuclear weapons. The report also states that the Israeli government is stunned by the move.
Unfortunately, I’m not stunned in the least. From the moment it became feasible that Obama could win the presidency, I feared exactly this kind of betrayal of Israel. (On a side note, this news occurs while the Obama administration is stripping references to radical Islam from our national security policy documents. Plainly put, the Obama administration is coddling our enemies while betraying our staunchest ally in the War on Terror.) It is plain that Israel must stand alone with only God to protect her against upcoming prophesied threats, so we continue to see prophecy unfold before our eyes. As exciting as this is in one sense, it’s very frightening in another.
Great turmoil lies ahead, my friends, and the United States is being positioned on the wrong side of the action. The Obama administration grows more brazen by the day in its hatred of Israel, while showing no sense of urgency whatsoever about the Iranian nuclear threat. It is my fervent belief that we are rapidly becoming more and more at risk of cataclysmic judgment from almighty God. He promised in Genesis 12:3 that he would bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse her, and His promises are ironclad.