Apostolic End Time Truths

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Millenium Sacrifies

Why Literal Sacrifices in the Millennium

By Dr. Thomas Ice

A common objection to the consistent literal interpretation of Bible prophecy is found in Ezekiel’s temple vision (Ezekiel 40-48). Opponents argue that if this is a literal, future temple, then it will require a return to the sacrificial system that Christ made obsolete since the prophet speaks of “atonement” (kiper) in Ezekiel. 43:13, 27; 45:15, 17, 20. This is true! Critics believe this to be a blasphemous contradiction to the finished work of Christ as presented in Hebrews 10.

Hank Hanegraaff says that I have “exacerbated the problem by stating that without animal sacrifices in the millennium, Yahweh’s holiness would be defiled. That, for obvious reasons, is blasphemous.” He further says that such a view constitutes a return “to Old Covenant sacrifices.” 1

“Is it heretical to believe that a temple and sacrifices will once again exist,” ask John Schmitt and Carl Laney? “Ezekiel himself believed it was a reality and the future home of Messiah. Then, it becomes not heresy to believe that a temple and sacrifices will exist; rather, it is almost a heresy to not believe this, especially because it is a part of God’s infallible word. The burden on us is to determine how it fits — not its reality.” 2 At least four other prophets join Ezekiel in affirming a sacrificial system in a millennial temple (Isaiah 56:7; 66:20-23; Jeremiah 33:18; Zechariah 14:16-21; Malachi 3:3-4), which supports a literal and thus futurist understanding of Ezekiel.

New Covenant Sacrifices

We do not believe that reinstituting sacrifices in a future dispensation will be a return to the Mosaic system of the Old Covenant. The Mosaic Law has forever been fulfilled and discontinued through Christ (Romans 6:14-15; 7:1-6; 1 Corinthians 9:20-21; 2 Corinthians 3:7-11; Galatians 4:1-7; 5:18; Ephesians 2-3; Hebrews 7:12; 8:6-7, 13; 10:1-14). The millennium will be a time in which Israel’s New Covenant will become the ruling jurisdiction (Deuteronomy 29:4; 30:6; Isaiah 59:20-21; 61:8-9; Jeremiah 31:31-40; 32:37-40; 50:4-5; Ezekiel 11:19-20; 16:60-63; 34:25-26; 36:24-32; 37:21-28; Zechariah 9:11; 12:10-14). Therefore, it will not be a time of returning to the old but of going forward to the new. “For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also” (Hebrews 7:12).

The new millennial law will contain a mixture of Mosaic-type laws with totally new non-Mosaic laws not found in the 613, under the jurisdiction of the New Covenant. Jesus the Messiah will be physically present instead of the Shechinah glory presence in conjunction with the ark of the covenant; a new priestly order from the sons of Zadok (Ezekiel 40:46; 43:19; 48:11) instead of the Levites; a new temple measuring one mile square (Ezekiel 40:48-41:26) instead of the much smaller Solomonic model. Randall Price tells us:
The previous section concerning the design of the altar of burnt offering (43:13-27) introduced the reinstitution of the sacrificial service, which continues in the subsequent chapters (44-46) with regulations for the Levitical priests and the various sacrifices to be offered for Israel’s atonement. Although detailed instructions concerning the institution of the sacrificial system appear for the first time in these chapters, frequent references to the practice have been made since the beginning of the prophecy (40:38-43, 46-47; 41:22; 42:13-14).Moreover, these references are not incidental, but intrinsic to the entire presentation of Ezekiel’s vision in chapters 40-48. For example, there is a statement concerning the sacrificial system in every chapter but one (chapter 47). These references include: “new moons and Sabbaths . . . all the appointed feasts” (Ezekiel 44:24; 45:17; 46:3, 11-12),“daily offerings” (Ezekiel 46:13-14), “burnt offerings, grain offerings, and the libations” (Ezekiel 45:17; 46:2, 4, 11-15), “blood sacrifices” (Ezekiel 43:20), an “altar” for burnt offering (Ezekiel 40:47; 43:13-27), an “altar” for incense offering (Ezekiel 41:22), “boiling places” to “boil the sacrifices of the people” (Ezekiel 46:23-24); a “Zadokite” priesthood to “offer Me the fat and the blood” (Ezekiel 40:46; 42:13-14: 43:19; 44:15-16; 48:11), a “Levitical” priesthood to “slaughter the burnt offering” (Ezekiel 44:10-11;48:22). Furthermore, the offerings are stated to be for “a sin offering” (Ezekiel 43:22, 25; 44:24, 29) and to “make atonement” (Ezekiel 43:20; 45:25). Since the sacrifices and sacrificial personnel are so prominent throughout these chapters, the treatment of the sacrifices cannot be avoided. 3
Why a Temple and Sacrifices?

The purpose for a temple throughout Scripture has been to establish a location upon earth—which is under the curse of sin—for the presence of God that reveals through its ritual God’s great holiness. God’s plan for Israel includes a relation to them through a temple since He wants to dwell in the midst of His people. Currently the Church is God’s spiritual temple made of living stones (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; Ephesians 2:19-22). The millennium will return history to a time when Israel will be God’s mediatory people but will also continue to be a time in which sin will be present upon the earth. Thus, God will include a new temple, a new priesthood, a new law, etc., at this future time because He will be present in Israel and still desires to teach that holiness is required to approach Him. This is contrasted with the fact that no temple will exist in eternity (Revelation 21:22) because God and the Lamb are the temple since there will be no sin in heaven, thus no need for ritual cleansing.

The painstaking detail in Ezekiel 40-48 is similar to the instruction given to Moses for building the tabernacle and then to others for building the Solomonic temple. Such detail is meaningless unless taken literally as were the tabernacle and first two temples. If the detail was intended to be symbolic, the symbols are never explained, as is usually the case with genuine biblical symbolism. Because no textual basis exists for a non-literal interpretation, those attempting such explanations become subjective in their many and various guesses about the meaning of the passage.

It must be remembered that the levitical sacrifices of the Mosaic system are said by the Bible to “make atonement” as well (for example, Leviticus 4:20, 26, 31, 35, etc.). If these sacrifices in the past actually atoned for the people’s sins, which, of course, they did not, then they would be equally blasphemous in light of Christ’s perfect sacrifice. Hebrews 10:4 says, “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Furthermore, there would have been no need for Christ’s once and for all atoning sacrifice if these past acts did the job.

So what do both past and future sacrifices accomplish if they don’t actually remove sin? These sacrifices provide ritual cleansing of the priests, sanctuary, and utensils. Only Christ’s sacrifice on the cross actually removes one’s sin. Jerry Hullinger provides a solution that:
...deals honestly with the text of Ezekiel, and in no way demeans the work Christ did on the cross. This study suggests that animal sacrifices during the millennium will serve primarily to remove ceremonial uncleanness and prevent defilement from polluting the temple envisioned by Ezekiel. This will be necessary because the glorious presence of Yahweh will once again be dwelling on earth in the midst of a sinful and unclean people.

Because of God’s promise to dwell on earth during the millennium (as stated in the New Covenant), it is necessary that He protect His presence through sacrifice... It should further be added that this sacrificial system will be a temporary one in that the millennium (with its partial population of unglorified humanity) will last only one thousand years. 4
Critics of future millennial sacrifices seem to assume that all sacrifices, past and future, always depict Christ’s final sacrifice for sin. They do not! There were various purposes for sacrifice in the Bible. Many of the sacrifices under the Mosaic system were purification rituals. This is why atonement can be said in the past to be effective, yet still need Christ’s future sacrifice, because many of the sacrifices did atone ceremonially, cleansing participants and objects in temple ritual. In Ezekiel 43:20 and 26, the atonement is specifically directed at cleansing the altar in order to make it ritually clean. The other uses of atonement also refer to cleansing objects so that ritual purity may be maintained for proper worship (Ezekiel 45:15, 17, 20).

A Memorial

Many who take a literal interpretation of these sacrifices also believe that they will serve as a memorial to Christ’s once-for-all atoning work. Yet, critics believe this to be a flawed conclusion. Support for a future memorial aspect can be seen in the fact that our current observation of the Lord’s Supper includes this aspect (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Under the Mosaic system — which looked ahead — many times various temple sacrifices are specifically called “memorials” (Exodus 30:16; Leviticus 2:2, 9; 5:12; 6:15; 24:7; Numbers 5:15, 18, 26). Such terminology could in fact be the basis for our current Church Age understanding of remembering the Lord’s death adopted by Paul. The Mosaic memorial aspect clearly supports viewing future Temple sacrifices in this way, as millennial believers look back upon Christ’s sacrificial provision.


The presence and purpose of millennial sacrifices neither diminish the finished work of Christ, nor violates the literal interpretation of these prophetic passages. Nothing in Ezekiel 40-48 conflicts with the death of Christ or New Testament teaching at any point. The supposed contradictions between a literal understanding of Ezekiel and New Testament doctrine evaporate when examined specifically and harmonized. Although there will be millennial sacrifices, the focus of all worship will remain on the person and work of the Savior. The millennial temple and its ritual will serve as a daily reminder of fallen man’s need before a Holy God and lessons about how this same God lovingly works to remove the obstacle of human sin for those who trust Him. Maranatha!


1. John Schmitt and Carl Laney, Messiah’s Coming Temple: Ezekiel’s Prophetic Vision of the Future Temple (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1997), p. 181.
2. Hank Hanegraaff, The Apocalypse Code (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007), pp. 268-69.
3. Randall Price, Unpublished Notes on The Prophecies of Ezekiel, (2007), pp. 70-71.
4. Jerry Hullinger,“The Problem of Animal Sacrifices in Ezekiel 40-48” Bibliotheca Sacra (July-September 1995, Vol. 152,No. 607), pp. 281, 289.


Fourteen Reasons Why Ezekiel 38 & 39 Is Armageddon!

A careful comparison of Scripture with Scripture and much prayerful study over a long period of time has led me to the conclusion that Ezekiel's Gog-Magog war and the Battle of Armageddon described by Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, and other prophets before the days of Ezekiel, as well as by the beloved Apostle John in the Book of Revelation, are the same event. Further, these comparisons have convinced me that Gog of Magog, the Assyrian, and the Antichrist are all one and the same person. Ezekiel 38:17 proves this fact beyond doubt.

"Thus saith the Lord GOD; Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them?"

The Lord GOD is speaking directly to Gog of Magog ("he of whom I have spoken"). It is evident in searching thru all the other books of the "prophets of Israel" that the Antichrist is referred to many times by many names, but, here in Ezekiel is the only place in the Bible we have a reference to a Prince called "Gog". So, if God's "servants the prophets of Israel" "prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee (Gog) against them", Gog and Antichrist have to be the same person because the only person the others prophesied about invading Israel was Antichrist.

I realize that most Bible scholars believe the land of Magog refers to lands encompassed by modern Russia. This does not, however, mean that Gog, himself, has to be a Russian in order to lead a coalition of "many nations" including Russia into battle. We know from a study of Daniel 11:35-45 that the Antichrist will come from the Syrian (Selucid) division of the former Grecian Empire and that other passages refer to him as "the Assyrian", "the King of the North", the "Prince that shall come", "the Beast", "the Son of Perdition", "that evil one", "a wicked counsellor", etc. Now, thanks to Ezekiel, we can also refer to him as Gog of the land of Magog, the Chief Prince of Meshech and Tubal. I think with a little careful study you will find historically that Meshech and Tubal were located in the area of modern Turkey, not Russia, and Turkey was definitely a part of the Syrian or Selucid portion of the four divisions of the former Greek Empire.

Only by firmly establishing the identity of Gog, can we correctly place the timing of the war that destroys him which is Armageddon. From Dake's Annotated Reference Bible, Rev. Dake offers 14 proofs that Armageddon is the battle referred to in Ezekiel 38-39.

Fourteen Proofs Armageddon Is Referred to Here:

(1) Not one statement in these two chapters (Ez: 38-39) mention a war in Israel before Armageddon [or after].

(2) The battle of Armageddon is the only war predicted by the prophets that could possibly be referred to in these chapters (Ezek. 38:17). Armageddon is mentioned many times by Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, and other prophets before the days of Ezekiel (Isa. 1:25-31; 3:25-26; 13:1-16; 24:21; 63:1-6; Jer. 25:30-33; 30:11,20-24; Joel 2-3; Oba. 1:15-21; Mic. 1:3-4; 2:12-13; 5:5-15; etc.).

(3) The destruction of Gog and his armies (Ezek. 38:18-23; 39:1-6,17-20) compares with similar statements about Armageddon in Joel 3; Zech. 14; Rev. 19:11-21.

(4) Gog will not fall upon the open field until Armageddon (Ezek. 39:3-5; Rev. 19:11-21).

(5) The great supper for the fowls and beasts will only be at Armageddon (Ezek. 39:4,17-20 with Mt. 24:27-28; Rev. 19:17-21).

(6) The presence of God (as pictured in Ezek. 38:18-21; 39:1-6,17-24) will not be until Armageddon (Isa. 63:1-6; Zech. 14:1-5; Rev. 19:11-21).

(7) The supernatural destruction of Gog and his armies (as described in Ezek. 38:21-23) will not be until Armageddon (Isa. 63:1-6; Joel 2-3; Zech. 14; Rev. 19:11-21).

(8) God will not magnify and sanctify Himself and set His glory among the heathen (as stated in Ezek. 38:23; 39:21-24) until He comes at the second coming of Christ -- at Armageddon (Zech. 14:1-21; Mt. 24:29-31; Rev. 19:11-21).

(9) Gog will not bring the many armies of the nations into Israel to be destroyed until the time of the second coming of Christ, at Armageddon, as referred to in Ezek. 38:18-23; 39:1-7 and proved in Zech. 14:1-5; Rev. 16:13-16; 19:11-21.

(10) The great earthquake of Ezek. 38:20 will not take place until the seventh vial and the second coming (Zech. 14:1-5; Rev. 16:17-21; 19:11-21).

(11) God's presence will not destroy Gog and his army until the second coming, at Armageddon (Ezek. 38:20; 39:2-7 with Zech. 14:1-5; Rev. 19:11-21).

(12) Gog and his army cannot be destroyed in a war in Israel before the second coming, at Armageddon, to fulfill Ezek. 38:18-23; 39:1-7,17-20, and then be destroyed again at Armageddon to fulfill Isa. 63; Joel 2-3; Zech. 14. We must therefore recognize all these passages as referring to the same destruction -- at Armageddon (Rev. 19:11-21).

(13) The burial of Gog and all his armies destroyed in the fulfillment of Ezek. 38-39 will be at the second coming of Christ (Ezek. 39:11-16 with Dan. 7:11; 2Th. 2:8-12; Rev. 19:11-21).

(14) It is at the second coming of Christ that God's glory will be set among the heathen and Israel will be completely gathered and blessed (Ezek. 39:21-29; Zech. 14; Mt. 24:29-31; Rom. 11:24-29; Rev. 19:11-21).

There is not one single scripture in the Bible that describes any war in Israel after the Gog-Magog war -- because there isn't one. If we accept the Battle of Armageddon as coming after Gog-Magog, then, we must accept two supernatural destructions of two gathered armies by the Lord of Hosts each led by a different Assyrian Prince, two great suppers for the fowls, two great earthquakes that shake the whole world, two mass burials of armies in a valley called Hamongog, two 7-year periods of burning weapons, and two different days about which God proclaims, "Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken."

Ezekiel says they will be seven months burying the dead and seven years burning the weapons. This obviously can't happen during the Tribulation Week with everything else that will be going on. Weapons of war will only be burned after Christ returns and Israel is living in perfect peace under the Prince of Peace, no Antichrist in sight and weapons of war are no longer necessary. And, it won't just be Israel that burns weapons of war. In the beginning of the Lord's Millennial Reign we will see the fulfillment of Micah 4:3.

"And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."

In other words, all the nations of the world including Israel will be implementing the most massive and permanent disarmament program in history.

Further, the Gog-Magog war cannot take place before the Rapture when the "Restrainer of Lawlessness" is removed for obvious reasons as proved in the many Scripture references above. It cannot take place in the first half of the Tribulation Week for such an significant event would certainly have been mentioned by John separately from Armageddon if they were two separate events conducted by two separate invading "Princes". Furthermore, it is beyond credibility to think that Ezekiel would describe the invasion of Israel in the latter days by an Assyrian Prince named Gog and never once mention a war as significant as Armageddon led by another Assyrian Prince if they are two different "Princes" and two separate conflicts. Remember, Ezekiel's war and Armageddon are both described as only lasting a single day, the same day, the Day of the Lord.

Finally, it is only at the Second Coming and after the Battle of Armageddon that Ezekiel 39:7-8 can possibly be fulfilled:

Ezekiel 39:7 "So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, THE HOLY ONE IN ISRAEL.

8 ¶Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken."

In my King James Bible (the only version I use), the phrase, "the Holy One of Israel" occurs many times and always refers to Messiah the King. But, the phrase "the Holy One IN Israel" occurs only once in Scripture, here in Ezekiel 39:7. This proves beyond doubt that Jesus Christ is physically present IN Israel after Ezekiel's war.

Now that we have proven that Ezekiel's war and Armageddon are the same battle, and that Gog is the Assyrian Prince we call the Antichrist, any remaining questions regarding the timing of "his two campaigns" against Israel can easily be resolved.

Two Invasions of Israel by Gog

1. The first will be in the middle of the tribulation of Daniel's 70th week, and only 10 kingdoms of the Revised Roman Empire will be with him (Dan. 11:35-45; Rev. 11:1-2). [This is when Gog, the Antichrist, takes Jerusalem, makes it his capital and enters the Temple proclaiming himself to be God.] Between this war and the fulfillment of Ezek. 38-39 the combined nations of the north and east of the 10 kingdoms will make war on Gog and these kingdoms. He will leave Israel and his capital (Jerusalem at this time), to go forth against these new enemies until they are defeated in the last 3 1/2 years of Daniel's 70th week (Dan. 11:44).

Daniel 11:44 But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.

2. The second invasion of Israel by Gog will be at the end of the last 3 1/2 years of Daniel's 70th week, after he has conquered the countries north and east of his 10 kingdoms inside the old Roman Empire boundary lines. By then he will have conquered Russia, and the many countries with her, becoming their ruler as well as being the ruler of the 10 kingdoms and the countries of the north and east. Gog will then lead all these to battle, and many other nations whom he has not yet conquered, but who will cooperate with him through the ministry of the 3 unclean spirits of Rev. 16:13-16. These vast armies being mobilized [at Armageddon] will converge on Israel in an effort to destroy Israel completely (Zech. 14:1-15) and stop Christ from setting up His kingdom on earth (Rev. 19:11-21). At this time all of Ezek. 38-39 will be fulfilled. Then after this battle of Armageddon Christ will set up His kingdom on earth as predicted here and in Isa. 2:2-4; 9:6-7; 11:1 -- Isa. 12:6; 63:1-6; Jer. 30-31; Dan. 7:13-14; Mic. 4; Joel 2-3; Zech. 14; Lk. 1:32-33; Rev. 11:15; 19:11 -- Rev. 20:10.

The only time Russia will invade Israel in fulfillment of Scripture will be as one of many conquered nations under Gog or Antichrist, when he and his armies will fight against Israel and Christ at Armageddon -- at the time of the second coming. Russia will not be under Antichrist at the time of his first invasion of Israel when he takes over Jerusalem and the Jewish temple as his capital; but she will be with him in the second conquest. The second will be necessary because of the Jews gaining control of Jerusalem again while Antichrist is away fighting against Russia and her allies in the north and east of the 10 kingdoms. Thus, after conquering these nations Gog will come back down into Israel, surround the city, take half of it, and then be suddenly defeated in one day's battle (Armageddon) by Christ and the heavenly armies (Zech. 14:1-15).

I feel I had to write this letter especially now with all the headlines regarding the Iranian nuclear controversy. Many people who know a little bit of Scripture are asking if the war of Ezekiel 38-39 is imminent. Many Bible scholars are falsely proclaiming that the Gog-Magog war comes concurrently with or just after the Rapture of the Church or in the beginning of the Tribulation. To me, this is not scriptural.

I am not saying that America or Israel or both will not attack Iran's nuclear sites and start a war with Iran. I am simply saying that Ezekiel's war is the same as the Battle of Armageddon, the final war between good and evil, and cannot not take place until the end of the 70th Week of Daniel at the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the meantime:

Matthew 24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

Your Brother in Christ,

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Single Currency


By Joel C. Rosenberg


(Washington, D.C., March 19, 2009) -- Amidst the global economic crisis in which upwards of 45% of the world's wealth has been lost in the last 18 months, talk of radically restructuring the global economic system is growing. In recent weeks, leaders in Europe, Africa and the Middle East have proposed scrapping the current economic order and going to a single common currency.

A story in yesterday's Moscow Times is creating quite a stir in particular. At the April 2nd meeting of world leaders in London (the G20), the Kremlin is reportedly set to propose a new global common currency system to replace the U.S. dollar as the international currency of choice.

The story notes that "the Kremlin's call for a common currency is not the first in recent days. Speaking at an economic conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, last week, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev proposed a global currency called the 'acmetal' - a conflation of the words 'acme' and 'capital.' He also suggested that the Eurasian Economic Community, a loose group of five former Soviet republics including Kazakhstan and Russia, adopt a single noncash currency - the yevraz - to insulate itself from the global economic crisis…."

"Nazarbayev's proposal...garner[ed] support from at least one prominent source -- Columbia University professor Robert Mundell, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1999 for his role in creating the euro. Speaking at the same conference with Nazarbayev, he said the idea had 'great promise.' The Kremlin document also called for national banks and international financial institutions to diversify their foreign currency reserves. It said the global financial system should be restructured to prevent future crises and proposed holding an international conference after the G20 summit to adopt conventions on a new global financial structure."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week called for a single regional currency for 400 million Muslims in the Middle East. "The process of obtaining one single currency in the trade and exchanges among members, and in the next stages with other countries and neighbors, should be designed," the Iranian leader said March 11th.

Libyan leader Muammar Ghadafi, recently elected leader of the African Union of states, is calling for a single continental currency for all of Africa and has persuaded 200 tribal leaders to call him the "King of kings." The BBC reported in February that Ghadafi "envisages a single African military force, a single currency and a single passport for Africans to move freely around the continent."

Now comes a new story on this morning on the Reuters news wire: "U.N. PANEL SAYS WORLD SHOULD DITCH DOLLAR."

"A U.N. panel will next week recommend that the world ditch the dollar as its reserve currency in favor of a shared basket of currencies, a member of the panel said on Wednesday, adding to pressure on the dollar," the story noted. "Currency specialist Avinash Persaud, a member of the panel of experts, told a Reuters Funds Summit in Luxembourg that the proposal was to create something like the old Ecu, or European currency unit, that was a hard-traded, weighted basket. Persaud, chairman of consultants Intelligence Capital and a former currency chief at JPMorgan, said the recommendation would be one of a number delivered to the United Nations on March 25 by the U.N. Commission of Experts on International Financial Reform. 'It is a good moment to move to a shared reserve currency,' he said."

The "Euro" is the model many are looking to, in part because 20% of the world's foreign exchange reserves are already held in euros. Last year, the EU celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the creation of the "euro."

These are curious developments given that scholars of Bible prophecy have long noted that according to the Scriptures, in the "last days" the world will see the emergence of an entirely new international financial architecture, complete with a single common global currency created and mandated by the leaders of Europe. The Bible indicates that eventually no one on earth will be able to engage in commerce without "buying in" to the new cashless system. The prophecy is found in Revelation 13:16-17, which reads: "And he [the world leader that emerges from a revived Europe] causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one can buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name."

Cynics and skeptics have long dismissed such talk as the province of "religious nuts" and "prophecy buffs." But the discussion is now being advanced by major world leaders. It's too soon to say where this will all lead, but these are certainly developments worth watching.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Fall of Babylon and Israel's Restoration

The End Times According To Isaiah, Part 10

by Jack Kelley


In this installment, we’ll take another look at the destruction of Babylon, this time from a spiritual perspective. At issue here is the origin of the pagan religions of the world and Satan’s effort to make himself the object of all worship. Then we’ll watch as Israel is once again made the premier nation on Earth.

Isaiah 47:1-15 The Fall of Babylon

“Go down, sit in the dust, Virgin Daughter of Babylon; sit on the ground without a throne, Daughter of the Babylonians. No more will you be called tender or delicate. Take millstones and grind flour; take off your veil. Lift up your skirts, bare your legs, and wade through the streams. Your nakedness will be exposed and your shame uncovered. I will take vengeance; I will spare no one.” (Isaiah 47:1-3)

According to Genesis 10:8-12 Babylon was originally founded by Nimrod. His wife Semiramis, who sometimes personifies Babylon in this prophecy, originally called herself the Virgin of the Sea, and that’s most likely the source of Isaiah’s sarcastic portrayal of Babylon in this passage. His command to “sit on the ground without a throne” is a reference to Babylon’s self proclaimed title of “Queen of Kingdoms”. Following with instructions to act like an ordinary woman of the time is like saying, “You’re no virgin and you’re no queen. You’re no better than anybody else.” As He frequently does, the Lord has His prophet use sexual terminology to symbolize their lack of righteousness.

Our Redeemer—the LORD Almighty is his name— is the Holy One of Israel.

“Sit in silence, go into darkness, Daughter of the Babylonians; no more will you be called queen of kingdoms. I was angry with my people and desecrated my inheritance; I gave them into your hand, and you showed them no mercy. Even on the aged you laid a very heavy yoke. (Isaiah 47:4-6)

Here’s a prophecy that God would order the Babylonian captivity because of Israel’s disobedience. Jeremiah would later say that God was giving Israel to Babylon for 70 years and after that He would judge the Babylonians for their guilt. (Jeremiah 25:8-12) Some have questioned the Lord’s motives in judging Babylon for simply obeying His instructions, and for them Isaiah’s prophecy also contains His answer to their accusation.

You said, ‘I will continue forever— the eternal queen!’ But you did not consider these things or reflect on what might happen. “Now then, listen, you wanton creature, lounging in your security and saying to yourself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me. I will never be a widow or suffer the loss of children.’ Both of these will overtake you in a moment, on a single day: loss of children and widowhood. They will come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and all your potent spells. (Isaiah 47:7-9)

Under Satanic influence, Semiramis declared that she had been impregnated by the Sun god and then gave birth to a son, Tammuz. When he was killed in a hunting accident she went into mourning. After 40 days he supposedly rose from the dead. Semiramis thereupon named herself the eternal Queen of Heaven and established a celibate priesthood with an “infallible” leader to organize the worship of her and her son. She concluded that being the wife of a god and the mother of a “resurrected” son made her a goddess and meant she would never be a widow, nor would she suffer the loss of children.

Of course this was all nonsense, put into her head by Satan, the author of lies. But she became so powerful that her story has lived on in one form or another in every major mythology, and when the pagan religion of Rome was merged with Christianity in the 4th Century, traditions that began with her were continued in the Roman Church. Mistletoe, the Yule log, hot cross buns, the evergreen tree, the 40 days of lent, the elevation of Mary and others all come from the Babylonian mother-child cult started by Semiramis. Even the Bible recognizes her notoriety. The phrase “land of Shinar” is thought by some to have been derived from her name.

But as Rev. 18:4-8 confirms, total destruction would suddenly come upon the kingdom she personifies. By using a portion of Isaiah 47:7-9 John lends support to the view that he was speaking of literal Babylon, not someplace else. At the end of the age, the great Babylonian religion will return to its place of origin to die at the location of its birth. Zechariah 5:5-11 explains this:

Then the angel who was speaking to me came forward and said to me, “Look up and see what this is that is appearing.”

I asked, “What is it?”

He replied, “It is a measuring basket.” And he added, “This is the iniquity of the people throughout the land.”

Then the cover of lead was raised, and there in the basket sat a woman! He said, “This is wickedness,” and he pushed her back into the basket and pushed the lead cover down over its mouth.

Then I looked up—and there before me were two women, with the wind in their wings! They had wings like those of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between heaven and earth.

“Where are they taking the basket?” I asked the angel who was speaking to me.
He replied, “To the country of Babylonia to build a house for it. When it is ready, the basket will be set there in its place.”

When Babylon was conquered (but not destroyed) the seat of its mother-child cult was first moved to Pergamus, where Satan had his throne (Rev. 2:13), and then to Rome. So far it has never returned to Babylon, but 100 years after the Persians had conquered Babylon, Zechariah wrote that it will. The spirit of Semiramis is the woman in the basket who personifies wickedness. When the time is right she will be returned to her ancestral home. The Hebrew word translated Babylonia above is Shinar. We should remember that while Shinar may or may not be a derivative of Semiramis, it is a physical location in Mesopotamia called Babylon.

After the Rapture, the two largest and most powerful religious systems on Earth will be the Catholic Church and Islam. In Rev. 17, John describes how for a time they’ll appear to be united. A woman, identified as mystery Babylon, the mother of prostitutes, will be riding a beast, which has earlier been described both as the anti-Christ and his kingdom. (Some traditions hold that far from being the Virgin of the Sea, Semiramis was the madam of a brothel when she first met Nimrod. If so, she really was the “mother of prostitutes”.)

The woman and the beast are not the same, but for a time will appear to be in league with each other. The woman, being the rider, will actually be the dominate partner at first and has long been identified with the Catholic Church. But as Rev. 17:16 tells us, the anti-Christ and his kingdom will actually hate the woman, and acting on God’s orders will destroy her.

Now think about this. If the anti-Christ will come from the Catholic Church, as some believe, would he destroy the very system he heads up? I don’t think so. But today the countries that made up the Eastern leg of the Old Roman Empire are Islamic, and the anti-Christ could just as easily come from there as from the West. One of the central tenets of Islam is to make peace with your enemies until you’re powerful enough to conquer them. To me, it’s perfectly logical to see Islam’s messianic figure, who some call al Mahdi, teaming up with the Pope after the rapture until he becomes powerful enough to consolidate the whole world under Islam and eliminate the Catholic religion. Both John’s and Zechariah’s prophecies could be fulfilled that way with the one world religion headquartered in Babylon. If so, the location of its birth will become the location of its death, just like Isaiah foretold.

You have trusted in your wickedness and have said, ‘No one sees me.’ Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me.’ Disaster will come upon you, and you will not know how to conjure it away. A calamity will fall upon you that you cannot ward off with a ransom; a catastrophe you cannot foresee will suddenly come upon you. (Isaiah 47:10-11)

The Babylonian religion has always assumed that there is no one greater, no power to hold it accountable. But when the day of its destruction comes, neither great wealth nor supernatural power will be sufficient to rescue it.

“Keep on, then, with your magic spells and with your many sorceries, which you have labored at since childhood. Perhaps you will succeed, perhaps you will cause terror. All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. Here are no coals to warm anyone; here is no fire to sit by. That is all they can do for you—these you have labored with and trafficked with since childhood. Each of them goes on in his error; there is not one that can save you.” (Isaiah 47:12-15)

Today, some unbelievers dismiss Christianity as a corruption of the Legend of Semiramis, just another mother-child cult with Mary in the role of the Queen of Heaven and Jesus as the resurrected son, Tammuz. But here Isaiah shows that even though the myth preceded the truth in fulfillment, it was the prior knowledge of the truth that spawned the myth. Long before the prophets wrote of a coming Messiah, God had the gospel written the stars. It was called the Mazzaroth and was based on 12 constellations with a total of 48 stars traditionally named by Adam, Seth, and Enoch. Called by their Hebrew names, the stars in these 12 constellations tell of a coming redeemer who would be born of a virgin, die for the people, and be resurrected to life. But, still acting under Satan’s influence, Semiramis and her priests corrupted the Mazzaroth into the 12 signs of the zodiac, giving birth to the blasphemy we call astrology today. Evidence of this has been confirmed in the ruins of the tower of Babel, one purpose of which was the study of astrology. That’s why in Biblical times the practice of astrology was a crime punishable by death (Deut.18:10). (You who follow your horoscope should take heed)

No matter how astute their knowledge nor how comprehensive their experience, no astrologer will be able to save him or her self from God’s judgment, let alone their mentor and their goddess, Semiramis.

Isaiah 49:8-26. The Restoration of Israel

This is what the LORD says: “In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances, to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’

“They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill. They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat upon them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water. I will turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up. See, they will come from afar—some from the north, some from the west, some from the region of Aswan.” (Isaiah 49:8-12)

The Lord has always kept a faithful remnant of Israel. In each generation some have been called to simply keep the dream alive in their hearts, while others moved the Lord’s agenda forward, one small painful step at a time. But soon the time of waiting will be over. Imagine the joy in the hearts of those who hear the Lord’s call to reassign the tribal inheritances, as prophesied in Ezekiel 48. When that happens, they’ll know it’s forever, that their times of hardship and unmet expectations are over.

Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” (Isaiah 49:13-14)

After so many centuries of disappointment and heartbreak, many will be unable to believe it’s actually happening. Over time they’ve spiritualized the promises and allegorized the prophecies until it no longer seems possible that the Lord will actually return for them. His response is poignant to the point of tears.

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?

Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. Your sons hasten back, and those who laid you waste depart from you.

Lift up your eyes and look around; all your sons gather and come to you. As surely as I live,” declares the LORD, “you will wear them all as ornaments; you will put them on, like a bride.

“Though you were ruined and made desolate and your land laid waste, now you will be too small for your people, and those who devoured you will be far away. The children born during your bereavement will yet say in your hearing, ‘This place is too small for us; give us more space to live in.’

Then you will say in your heart, ‘Who bore me these? I was bereaved and barren; I was exiled and rejected. Who brought these up? I was left all alone, but these—where have they come from?’ ” (Isaiah 49:15-21)

As the people return in a seemingly endless stream, they’ll be surprised at their own numbers. After 2000 years of relentless persecution the size of their population will far surpass their expectations. The true extent of the Lord’s providence will be seen in their preservation. And though for 70 years now they’ve heard the world constantly demanding that they get smaller, they’ll realize that instead, they’ll need to get bigger. Ezekiel’s prophecy says that Israel in the Kingdom Age will extend from 100 miles north of Damascus to 100 miles south of Jerusalem, and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, so it’ll will be more than sufficient to their needs.

This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “See, I will beckon to the Gentiles, I will lift up my banner to the peoples; they will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their shoulders. Kings will be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground; they will lick the dust at your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.” (Isaiah 49:22-23)

Having labored to keep their Jewish populations subjugated and contained, gentile leaders will offer them every kind of assistance when the Lord returns in victory. It will be their last chance to get back into His good graces, and there’s no limit to what they’ll do avoid being seen as opposed to His wishes. Sadly, it’ll be too late.

Can plunder be taken from warriors, or captives rescued from the fierce? But this is what the LORD says: “Yes, captives will be taken from warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save.

I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh; they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine. Then all mankind will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” (Isaiah 49:24-26)

Israel’s wealth will be restored, all their captives set free. The Lord will personally see to it. The ill gotten gains of their enemies will be taken to the point of leaving them completely destitute, and they’ll finally realize that the Lord sees fighting against Israel as fighting against Him. More next time.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Signs Unique To Our Day

Modern Day Signs of the Times - A review of signs unique to our day and time.

by Dr. David R. Reagan


Whenever I present an overview of the signs of the times that point to the soon return of Jesus, I am often confronted by someone — often a professing Christian — who will say, "Come on David, these signs you are talking about have always existed in one degree or another, so what else is new?" They will then proceed to point out that there have always been wars and rumors of war, there have always been natural calamities, and throughout history Christians have always been persecuted. Then comes the inevitable challenge: "Show me something really new and unique that clearly points to our day and time as the season of the Lord's return."

The challenge is understandable, but it is not entirely legitimate. That's because Jesus said the end time signs would be like "birth pangs" (Matthew 24:8). In other words, the signs would increase in frequency and intensity as the time draws near for Jesus to return. There would be more earthquakes, and more intense ones. Wars would be more frequent and more horrible in their degree of devastation. And that, of course, is exactly what happened in the 20th Century. The signs began to increase exponentially in both frequency and intensity, and they continue to do so to this day.
But still, it is legitimate to ask if there are any signs that are truly unique to our day and time — signs that have never existed before. Are there new signs that clearly point to this period of history as the time of the Lord's return? The answer is yes.

A Key Prophecy

A verse that immediately comes to mind in this regard is found in Daniel 12. Daniel was given many prophecies by the Lord. Those relating to his day and time he clearly understood. He even seemed to understand prophecies that the Lord gave him relating to distant times, such as the succession of Gentile empires that would ultimately lead to the establishment of the Roman Empire. But when it came to prophecies about the end times — the period leading up to the Lord's return as King of kings and Lord of lords — Daniel did not understand what was revealed to him.

He wrestled mightily with the prophecies and finally cried out to the Lord in despair. "I have heard," he said, "but I do not understand! What do these events mean?" (Daniel 12:8). The Lord, in effect, responded by saying, "Cool it, Daniel, because it is not for you to understand!" The Lord's actual words were: "Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time" (Daniel 12:9). It was Daniel's responsibility to deliver the prophecies, not to understand them.

Note that Daniel was told the prophecies would not be understood "until the end time." In fact, in the very next verse the Lord told Daniel that at the proper time "those who have insight will understand" (Daniel 12:10).

Accordingly, there are many end time prophecies that have never been understood until now, either because their understanding depended on historical events or because they were dependent upon technological developments. The fact that these prophecies have become understandable in recent years for the first time ever is proof positive that we are living in the end times. Let's look at some examples from the book of Revelation.

Revelation Examples

1) The Tribulation Slaughter — Revelation 6 says that the Tribulation will begin with a series of judgments that will result in the death of one-fourth of Mankind. The world's population is approaching six billion. That means one and a half billion people will die in the initial judgments, reducing the world's population to 4 1/2 billion. The next series of judgments, recorded in Revelation 8 and 9 will kill another third of Mankind. One-third of 4 1/2 billion is another one and a half billion. Thus, in the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation, a total of 3 billion people will die. That's half the population of the world!

Is this possible apart from the use of nuclear weapons? Only if it is a supernatural intervention of God. But God normally works through natural processes.

The unparalleled carnage of the Tribulation seems to me to point to nuclear weapons. Revelation 8 speaks of one-third of the earth being burned and one-third of the seas being polluted (Revelation 8:7-8). Later in the Tribulation, near the end, we are told that people will suffer from "loathsome and malignant sores" (Revelation 16:2). That sounds like one of the effects of radiation poisoning.

The advent of nuclear weapons makes possible for the first time the overwhelming Tribulation carnage portrayed in Revelation. I think nuclear power was what Jesus referred to in His Olivet Discourse when He said that the end times will be characterized by "men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken" (Luke 21:26).
The prophecies concerning the Tribulation carnage have clearly depended upon a major technological breakthrough for their understanding. That breakthrough occurred on July 16, 1945 when the first atomic bomb was exploded in New Mexico. When the first hydrogen bomb was exploded in 1952, we entered the era when, for the first time in human history, we could inflict upon ourselves the kind of carnage described in the book of Revelation.

2) The Army of 200 Million — Chapters 9 and 16 of Revelation state that an army of 200 million soldiers will march "from the east" toward Israel. Daniel 11 indicates that this will be an army representing nations in revolt against the Antichrist (Daniel 11:44).

Demographers estimate that the total population of the world at the time the Apostle John wrote Revelation (95 A.D.) was only 200 million. How could an army that size march out of the east? It made no sense. In fact, it took 1,650 years for the world's population to double to 400 million! At the beginning of the 20th Century the total world population was only 1.6 billion, still too small for an army of 200 million to march from the east.

But the 20th Century has witnessed an exponential increase in population. The population count is now at 6.7 billion, and just one country to the east of Israel — namely, China — could field an army of 200 million.

Here we have a clear example of a prophecy about the end times that could never be understood apart from historical developments.

3) The Two Witnesses — Revelation 11 reveals that two great witnesses of God will preach in the city of Jerusalem during the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation. Then, in the middle of that terrible period, the Antichrist will kill them.

We are further told that their dead bodies will lie in the streets of Jerusalem for 3 1/2 days and that all the people of the world will look upon them. How could that be? Prior to 1957 that prophecy was not understandable in natural terms. There was just no way that all the people of the world could look upon two dead bodies in the streets of Jerusalem.

All that changed on October 4, 1957 when the Russians sent up the first satellite called Sputnik. Today, 52 years later, our planet has many man-made satellites circling it, making possible all sorts of instantaneous communication.

When those two prophets lie dead in the streets of Jerusalem, all someone will have to do is point a TV camera at them, send the signal up to a satellite, and all the world will be able to look upon them. Once again, modern technology has made an ancient prophecy understandable for the first time.

4) The Nation of Israel — Revelation 12 focuses on the nation of Israel. It makes clear that in the middle of the Tribulation Satan will motivate and empower the Antichrist to annihilate the Jewish state and its people. A remnant of the Jews will flee into the "wilderness" where they will be supernaturally protected by the Lord (Revelation 12:14).

At the time the book of Revelation was written, Jerusalem had already been destroyed by the Romans and the worldwide distribution of the Jews had begun. Until the 20th Century, there was never any prospect that the nation of Israel would ever exist again. There were, of course, prophetic scholars who pointed to the many promises in Scripture that say the Jews will be regathered in the end times and the nation of Israel will be reestablished once more. But people laughed at these scholars and wrote them off as "dreamers" who were out of touch with reality.

Then, on May 14, 1948 the "dream" came true. The independence of the nation of Israel was proclaimed, and the Jewish state came back into existence for the first time in almost 2,000 years.

All the end time prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures make it clear that the Lord will return when the Jews are back in the land (Ezekiel 37) and back in their capital city of Jerusalem (Zechariah 12). Jesus emphasized these two events in His teaching. He pointed to the reestablishment of the state in his fig tree parable (Matthew 24:32-35), and He stressed the importance of the reoccupation of Jerusalem in His Olivet Discourse (Luke 21:24). He stated point blank that when Jerusalem is no longer under Gentile control, all the end time events would take place. Jerusalem ceased to be under Gentile control on June 7, 1967.

The central piece of the end time world political puzzle is now in place for the first time.

5) The Image of the Beast — Revelation 13 says that the Antichrist's religious leader, the False Prophet, will make an image of the Antichrist that will appear to come alive and speak. This trickery will amaze most of the world's population and will cause many of them to give their allegiance to the Antichrist.

What is the explanation of this event? Many have concluded that Satan will empower the False Prophet to give the image life. But Satan does not have the power to create life. Satan is a liar and a deceiver.

So, again, how can the False Prophet give an image life? I don't see any way for him to do it apart from modern technology. The illusion can be created in several ways through the use of modern robotics or holograms.

In 1967 I took my family to Disneyland. We went into a theater where we saw a man who looked exactly like Abraham Lincoln get up out of his chair in stage center, walk to the edge of the stage, grab the lapels of his jacket, and proceed to quote the Gettysburg Address. When he finished, a lady behind me exclaimed, "Wasn't he a good actor!" He was not an actor. The "actor" was a robot.

That was forty years ago. Think what could be done today with the advances that have been made in robotics and computer technology.

A couple of years ago the Dallas Morning News reported that the governor of Texas had "appeared" at a technology conference being held at the University of Texas at Dallas. Actually, the governor's appearance consisted of a three dimensional hologram that was projected from his office in Austin, Texas!

I recently shared this hologram story at a Bible prophecy conference. When we opened up the session to questions, a man in the audience made the point that the hologram technology was nothing new. When I asked what he meant, he replied, "They've been doing that for years on Star Trek. Haven't you ever seen them stand on a special platform and say, 'Beam me up, Scotty'?"

6) The Mark of the Beast — Another prophecy in Revelation 13 that is dependent on modern technology is the famous one that states the Antichrist will control the world's economy by requiring people to bear his mark or name on their hand or forehead in order to buy or sell anything.

Again, how could this be possible before the invention of laser and computer technology combined with the positioning of orbital satellites?

Such technology is already greatly advanced. In the year 2000 when I was in London, I discovered that taxis in that city were being tracked by satellite. Semi-trucks here in America are being tracked in the same way. Veterinarians are advertising that they can implant microchips under your pet's skin. These chips can be read by a scanner in the event your dog or cat gets lost. It will only be a matter of time before a more advanced chip will enable your pet to be traced by satellite.

We have almost become a cashless society, with most purchases being made by credit card. The problem with the cards is that they can be lost or stolen. A good solution would be to use a laser to put your credit card number on your hand in such a way as to be capable of being read by a scanner.

The point is that for the first time ever the technological tools are in place for the Antichrist to exercise control over the world's population.

7) The Euphrates River — Since all good prophecy teachers always have seven points, let me add another modern day sign from the book of Revelation.

As I mentioned previously, in chapters 9 and 16 we are told that an army of 200 million led by "the kings from the east" will march across Asia toward Israel during the Tribulation, most likely in revolt against the Antichrist. Revelation 16:12 indicates that this army will be held up at the Euphrates River until its water is suddenly dried up, enabling them to cross and proceed to the Valley of Armageddon.

Now, the Lord could dry up the water of the Euphrates River without any trouble at all, just as He parted the Red Sea for Moses and dried up the Jordan River for Joshua. But I think it is very interesting that this can now be accomplished over night through natural means. In 1990 Turkey completed the construction of the massive Ataturk Dam on the Euphrates, and they in fact cut off the flow of the river in order to fill up the lake behind the dam. This action almost resulted in a war with Iraq.

Other Unique Signs

The list of modern day signs given above is not an exhaustive one. They are simply some that I have pulled from the book of Revelation. There are others that are unique to our day and time that can be found in prophetic scriptures outside the book of Revelation. Let me just mention a few.

The first that comes to mind is the acceleration of life. In Daniel 12:4 we are told that the speed of transportation and the volume of knowledge will vastly increase in the end times. We have witnessed the fulfillment of this prophecy in our life time. When the 20th Century began, the vast majority of people were still traveling the same way they had been since the dawn of human history — namely, walking and riding a horse. Today we have autos, bullet trains, supersonic airplanes, and space ships. And all of this developed in only 80 years!

Similarly, the growth of knowledge has been overwhelming. Technical knowledge is doubling every two years. One edition of the New York Times Sunday edition contains more information than the average person in the 19th Century was exposed to in a life time! Through the World Wide Web, I can almost instantaneously access research resources all over the world. With the click of a computer key, I can go to the Vatican Library, and from there to the Library of Congress, and from there to the Jerusalem Museum.

The growth in communication speed is breathtaking. In the 19th Century it would have taken months for the news of the recent Mumbai terrorist attack in India to reach the United States. Even during the first half of the 20th Century it would have taken several days to a couple of weeks. But today, the news arrives instantaneously. Consider the years it took to reach a market audience of 50 million people: Radio, 38 years; Television, 13 years; Internet, 4 years; I-Pod, 3 years; and Facebook (an Internet sharing community), 2 years. That is truly exponential acceleration!

Spiritual Signs

Some of the most exciting signs that are unique to our day and age are spiritual ones. In Joel 2:28-32 we are told that there will be a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the end times, right before the return of the Lord. This chapter also tells us that this outpouring will occur after the Jews have been regathered to the land of Israel (Joel 2:18-28).

The nation of Israel was re-established in May of 1948. One year later the ministry of Billy Graham took off like a rocket, resulting in the Gospel being preached to more people than ever before in history. This important development was followed by the birth of the Charismatic Movement and the explosive growth of the Pentecostal Movement, both of which put an emphasis on the power of the Holy Spirit and the importance of worship.

Spontaneously, all over the world, the Tabernacle of David (Amos 9:11) began to be resurrected as churches returned to Davidic praise worship. This movement accelerated in the early 1980's when the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem started a yearly celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles. Thousands of Christians came from all over the world, and many were introduced to Davidic worship for the first time. They took the concept home with them in their hearts and introduced it to their churches.

In like manner the Holy Spirit has empowered world evangelism. Seventy per cent of all the missions work done by the church in its two thousand year history has been accomplished since 1900. Seventy per cent of that has been done since 1948, and 70% of that has been accomplished in the last ten years! In other words, the proclamation of the Gospel is on an exponential curve.

Much of the modern increase in missions outreach is due to technology, through the use of radio, television, movies, satellites, and the Internet. In April of 1996 Billy Graham preached a sermon that was broadcast to 200 countries in 40 different languages. It is estimated that 2.5 billion people heard or saw the message. The presentation was followed-up with the distribution of 445 million pieces of literature in over a hundred languages.

"The Jesus Film" produced by Campus Crusade in 1979 has been shown to over 6 billion people worldwide. Based upon the Gospel of Luke, the film has been translated into over 1,000 languages and is currently being shown in almost every country in the world by more than 2,500 teams.

The "10/40 Window Project" has focused the attention of Christians to pray for the success of evangelistic efforts in the area across Africa and Asia from 10 degrees latitude north of the equator to 40 degrees latitude north of the equator. Of the 55 least evangelized countries, 97% of their population lives within this geographical window.

The result has been a great harvest of souls. More Muslims have come to Jesus in the past twenty years than in the previous one thousand years.

What we are witnessing in missions outreach is a fulfillment of Jesus' words when He said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father" (John 14:12). The accelerated success of missions worldwide is also a partial fulfillment of a prophecy Jesus spoke in His Olivet Discourse: "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come" (Matthew 24:14).

The Uniqueness of our Age

After reviewing the prophecies listed above, I don't think we need any handwriting on the wall to indicate to us that we are living in a unique age. Historical developments and technological inventions are making it possible for us to understand many end time prophecies for the first time.

Even the phenomenal success of Hal Lindsey's book, The Late Great Planet Earth, is a modern day sign of the times. Keep in mind that this book was the number one best seller in the world, with the sole exception of the Bible, for ten consecutive years, from 1970 to 1980 (as authenticated by Time Magazine). What was it that the Lord told Daniel? — "Seal it up to the end of time when those who have insight will understand."

The bottom line, my friends, is that we are living on borrowed time, because Jesus is coming soon!