Apostolic End Time Truths

Friday, June 26, 2009

Two State Solutions

Jeremiah to today's Israel: No 2-state solution!

By Bill Salus


Presently, there is an unprecedented push for peace in the Mideast. President Obama, Pope Benedict XVI, along with a significant host of other powerful world leaders, clamor once and for all for a two-state solution. They have heightened concern that the writing is on the 403-mile wall currently protecting Israeli's from Palestinian terror that a Middle East war is imminent.

As the clock rapidly ticks toward what will likely be the prophetic Psalm 83 showdown, Israel circles the wagons in preparation for a multi-front confederate conflict with its ancient enemies, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu loosens his grip from the thorny Obama olive branch of "Engagement."

Currently, the international prescription for two states comprised of Jews and Palestinians living autonomously and peacefully side by side requires Israel to destroy outposts, freeze settlements, forfeit land acquired after 1967, divide Jerusalem and allow Palestinian refugees to homestead the Holy Land. These refugees number in the millions, cannot obtain citizenship in the surrounding Arab nations and represent a second-generation population that hates and blames the Jews for their impoverished existence. The ploy of Israel's enemies has been to banner the plight of these Palestinians as the justification for Islamic jihad against Israel and her supporters.

It is quite apparent that the world has become empathetic to the Palestinian plight but apathetic to God's foreign policy contained in Genesis 12:3 and the one-state solution prescribed in Jeremiah 12:14-17. Genesis 12:3 bestows blessings upon those that bless the Israeli descendants of Abraham but conversely must curse those populations that oppose them. Jeremiah 12:15-17 follows stride by declaring that God would have compassion on the pro-Israel populations, but "will utterly pluck up and destroy" Israel's neighbors who fail to operate in compliance with God's roadmap for peace.

God's peace plan

The Bible foretold in Isaiah 11:11, Ezekiel 37:12, Deuteronomy 30:3-5 and elsewhere of a time when the Jews would be brought back into the Promised Land from the nations of the world. This regathering began 61 years ago on May 14, 1948, and is ongoing today. Possessing omniscient foresight, God foreknew that an Arab-Israeli conflict would erupt as a result.

Jeremiah 12:14-17 tells us that as the time drew near for the return of the Jews into Israel the landscape of the Middle East would undergo a geopolitical facelift as God intended to restore Arabs, Persians and Jews back into the historical homes of their ancestral heritages. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1917, we see this turn of geopolitical events take place as one by one the Arab, Persian and Jewish states emerged.

Afghanistan 1919
Egypt 1922
Saudi Arabia & Iraq 1932
Iran 1935
Lebanon 1943
Syria & Jordan 1946
Israel 1948

Jeremiah's passages make it clear that God would import the Jews into Israel and export the Arabs and Persians out of Israel when the time came for the implementation of God's one-state solution. Jeremiah 12:14 refers to the Arab and Persian populations as "My evil neighbors who touch the inheritance which I have caused My people Israel to inherit," alluding to the Promised Land given to the Jewish Patriarch Abraham in Genesis 15:18. As stated prior, God intended to have compassion on those populations that would operate in compliance with His divine plan.

As I point out in my book, "Isralestine the Ancient Blueprints of the Future Middle East," many predominately Islamic populations will fail to comply. These nations and/or terrorist entities are described in Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 and include but are not limited to: Palestinians, Syrians, Hezbollah, Hamas, Iranians, Lebanese, Jordanians, Saudis, Egyptians, Libyans and Turks.

The Saudi peace plan

For even your brothers, the house of your father, Even they have dealt treacherously with you; Yes, they have called a multitude after you. Do not believe them, Even though they speak smooth words to you. (Jeremiah 12:6; NKJV)

In the above passage Jeremiah appears to issue a stern warning to the modern-day state of Israel not to believe the smooth words of the descendants of their ancestral brothers. Without going into a detailed Bible study, the abbreviated interpretation is likely as follows:

The subjects of the prophecy for the most part are the Jews, Saudis and Palestinians. The "brothers" of the Jews from the "house of" their Hebrew fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were Ishmael and Esau. Ishmael was the half brother of Isaac, and Esau was the twin brother of Jacob. Jacob was renamed Israel in Genesis 32:28, and Esau was also referred to as Edom in Genesis 36:1, 9. Both Ishmael in Genesis 21:18 and Esau in Genesis 25:23 were promised to father nations. Ishmael is generally associated today with Saudi Arabia, and Esau with the Palestinians. ("Isralestine" details who the Palestinians are today).

The "multitude" formed by the "brothers" Ishmael and Edom is most likely the confederacy tabled below contained in Psalm 83 that ultimately seeks to destroy the modern-day Jewish state, "that the name Israel be remembered no more" (Psalm 83:4).

The Psalm 83 Confederates

Tents of Edom – Palestinians & South Jordanians
Ishmaelites – Saudis (Ishmael father of Arabs)
Moab – Palestinians & Central Jordanians
Hagrites – Hagarenes – Egyptians
Gebal – Hezbollah & North Lebanese
Ammon – Palestinians & North Jordanians
Amalek – Arabs of the Sinai Area
Philistia – Hamas of the Gaza Strip
Tyre – Hezbollah & South Lebanese
Assyria – Syrians and Northern Iragi’s

The "smooth words" are deceptive and the Jews are cautioned not to trust them. They are likely penned in the Saudi Mideast peace plan initiated at the Beirut Summit of the Arab League in March of 2002. This Saudi peace initiative calls for a two-state solution that embraces and strongly favors the Palestinian plight. In a nutshell it requires Israel to withdraw from the territories acquired in the aftermath of the "Six-Day" war in June of 1967 to provide for the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. Furthermore, it calls for the return of millions of Palestinian refugees into Israel. In return, Arab states, like those listed in Psalm 83, would establish normal relations with Israel.

Sounds pretty smooth on the surface, but in application it puts Israel in harm's way. Surrendering land like the Golan Heights would compromise Israel's security from external attacks, and assimilating refugees who hate Israel would subject the Jewish state to terrorism and turmoil from within. The bottom line is that the Arabs don't want peace with the Jews; they want another Arab state called Palestine and they feel the only way to ultimately achieve this goal is to destroy modern-day Israel. The Saudi two-state solution puts the enemies of Israel one step closer to the kill.

Jeremiah appears to be warning his descendant Jewish brothers and sisters of today to Say NO to the Saudi two-state solution!


Has The Ark Of The Covenant Been Found?

By Dr. David R. Reagan

The Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia has announced that today (Friday, June 26, 2009) he will unveil to the world the Ark of the Covenant.

The Problematic Legend

There has been a legend for many years that the Ark of the Covenant is in the Saint Mary of Zion Church in Axum, Ethiopia. In recent years this legend has been popularized in the writings of Grant Jeffrey, a Canadian Bible prophecy writer who often specializes in the sensational.

This legend is based on a bizarre story that the Ark was smuggled out of Jerusalem by Menelik I, the supposed son of a union between the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. Supposedly, a replica of the Ark was left in the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem. The motivation for moving the Ark was to protect it from King Manasseh, one of the most ungodly kings in the history of Judah.

There are all kinds of problems with this legend. For one thing, it is doubtful that the Queen of Sheba ruled over Ethiopia. It is more likely that her realm was modern day Yemen.

Regarding Menelik I, he ruled over Ethiopia around 950 B.C., according to tradition. Manasseh did not become king of Judah until 253 years later.

Harry Atkins, an Ethiopian historian, contends that there is no record of this legend in Ethiopian history until the end of the 13th Century. At that time there was a dispute over who should be king, and one of the contenders claimed to be a descendant of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Atkins says it was at that point that the legend of the Ark entered into Ethiopian history.

The insurmountable problem with the Ethiopian legend is that 2 Chronicles 35:3 states that the Ark was still in the Temple during the time of King Josiah who reigned from 640 to 609 B.C.

Rabbi Slomo Goren, former Chief Rabbi of Israel (now deceased), spent his life studying the Temple Mount, the Temple, and the Ark of the Covenant. He always argued vehemently that it would have been impossible for anyone, including the priests of the Temple, to have unguarded access to the Ark. He dismissed the whole story as a "foolish suggestion" and a "joke." Modern day rabbis in Israel also consider the story to be ridiculous. Their consensus of opinion is that the Ark is hidden in a secret compartment beneath the Temple Mount.

The Ark's Disappearance

No one knows for sure what happened to the Ark. The last time it is mentioned in Scripture is in 2 Chronicles 35:3. That passage makes it clear that the Ark was still in existence at the time of the spiritual revival led by the boy king, Josiah. Within 22 years after Josiah died, Judah fell to the Babylonians (586 B.C.), and the Ark disappeared.

No one knows for sure what happened to the Ark. Some scholars believe it was simply destroyed when the Temple was burned. Others believe it was captured as a prize of war, taken to Babylon, and probably melted down for its gold. This latter theory seems to be substantiated by the Scriptures. For example, in 2 Chronicles 36:18 it states that when the Babylonians destroyed the Temple, they took "all the articles of the house of God, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem and burned all its fortified buildings with fire, and destroyed all its valuable articles."

The strongest tradition is that the Ark was taken out of the Temple by Jeremiah and hidden. Some are convinced he hid it in the ground on the Temple Mount. But most who hold to the Jeremiah rescue theory believe he either hid the Ark in a great cavern beneath the Temple Mount (known today as Solomon's Quarry) or that he hid it somewhere near Mt. Nebo in the modern day nation of Jordan.

The latter theory finds support in the apocryphal book of 2 Maccabees. The narrative in that book says, "the prophet, warned by an oracle, gave orders for the tabernacle and the ark to go with him when he set out for the mountain which Moses had climbed to survey God's heritage. On his arrival, Jeremiah found a cave dwelling, into which he brought the tabernacle, the ark, and the altar of incense, afterwards blocking up the entrance" (2 Maccabees 2:4 5).

Another theory regarding the fate of the Ark is that it was translated or raptured, being taken up to Heaven to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Chaldeans. This theory is based upon a reference to the Ark in Revelation 11:15. This passage is a flash forward to the end of the Tribulation when Heaven opens and Jesus returns in wrath. The writer states that when Heaven opened "the ark of His covenant appeared in His Temple." Those who reject this theory argue that the Ark seen in Heaven in this passage is the heavenly reality of which the Ark of the Covenant was only an earthly shadow or copy (Hebrews 8:5).

The Ark in Bible Prophecy

Regardless of what happened to the Ark, the Scriptures suggest that it will never be found again. This comes as quite a shock to some Christians who have assumed that the Ark must be found before the Tribulation Temple can be built and animal sacrifice reinstituted. Others have simply assumed that the Ark would be replaced in the Holy of Holies when the Lord's Millennial Temple is built.

But Jeremiah says point blank that "the ark of the covenant of the Lord... shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they miss it, nor shall it be made again" (Jeremiah 3:16). The context of this passage is the Millennial reign of Jesus, so it does not rule out the possibility of a discovery prior to that time. Conceivably, the Ark could be discovered, and Satan could use its discovery to incite the rebuilding of a Temple where an apostate sacrificial system would be reinstituted. We know that such a Temple will be built, but I doubt if its construction will be motivated by the discovery of the Ark.

The important point to keep in mind here is that the rediscovery of the Ark is not essential to the rebuilding of the Temple. After all, the Temple was rebuilt by Zerubbabel following the Babylonian captivity, and the Ark had already been lost by that time. There was no Ark in the Holy of Holies during the time when Jesus worshiped in the Temple.

Nor is the Ark needed for the Millennial Temple. Ezekiel describes the Temple in great detail (chapters 40-42), and he never mentions the Ark. There is a Holy of Holies (Ezekiel 41:4), but it is empty, and it is not separated from the Holy Place by a veil.

The Ethiopians may have an object they venerate and consider to be the Ark. But I personally believe there is no possibility that it is the original Ark of the Covenant.

Israel's End Time Prosperity

Israel no longer dependant on Arab gas

Written by Chris Perver


Many of you may have heard this news before. I didn't comment on it at the time it was published, as I wanted to wait and see just how significant this turned out to be. At the beginning of the year, an American drilling company by the name of Noble Energy, made a major gas discovery during exploratory drilling off the coast of northern Israel. At a staggering 3.1 trillion cubic feet, it was the largest discovery of natural gas in the history of the company. And it was found just 90 kilometers off the coast of Haifa. Further drilling in February had increased that estimate to around 5 trillion cubic feet of gas, and experts said they thought even that figure was too conservative. By late March an additional 500 billion cubic feet of gas had been discovered. The discoveries have inc
reased tensions with Lebanon, which laid claim to any gas that was discovered to be within its coastal waters. But the drilling rights to wells are owned by an Israeli firm, and further examination of the sites proved that the gas pockets were within Israel's territory. Israel had been struggling with a natural gas shortage due to difficulties with the supply from Egypt. But this latest discovery is expected to last at least 15 years, meaning not only will Israel no longer be dependent on Arab gas, but it could become a major energy exporter.

Quote: "The new discoveries could therefore save Israel from serious natural gas shortages beginning in 2012 and the continued use of dirtier fuel sources while building, at great cost, the infrastructure needed in order to import liquefied natural gas. They could save Israel from depending on British Gas, the Palestinian Authority and Egypt, with their associated political, military and economic implications.

So what has all this got to do with end time prophecy? Israel's position in the Millennial Kingdom, in which the Jewish state will become the head and not the tail of the nations, and will lend to many nations and not borrow (Deuteronomy 15:6), seems to indicate that the land of Israel is rich in natural resources. God describes it in Exodus 3:8 as "a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey". Not only that, but the Bible states that oil will be discovered in Israel. A few days ago I pointed out how end time prophecies concerning the tribe of Judah are being played out before our very eyes, through the disengagement from Gaza, along with efforts to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Today we are looking at another one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Once again I have taken a map of Israel, and drawn an outline around the areas that were inhabited by each of the tribes. I have imposed this on a modern map of Israel. This time we are looking at the tribe of Asher, which dwelled in the North West region of Israel, around the city of Haifa. As you can see, Haifa is located on the 'toe' of Asher. Haifa happens to be Israel's industrial heartland, and it is also where these recent gas deposits have been discovered. These were the words of Moses, that he prophesied over the tribe of Asher, before they entered the promised land.

Deuteronomy 33:24
And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil.

Shortly before he died, Jacob called his twelve sons together, to give them his patriarchal blessing. He also spoke a prophecy over each one of them, the fulfillment of which can be traced throughout the entire Scriptures, and which continues to this very day (Genesis 49:1). When Jacob began his blessing, he said to his sons, "Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days", Genesis 49:1. Some wonder why Jacob never got round to telling his sons what would befall Israel in the last days. Jewish rabbis teach that Jacob both did and didn't get round to telling his sons what would befall them in the last days. He did not mention any of those things which we would normally associate with the tribulation period. But Jacob's prophecy concerning the tribe of Judah represents a clear picture of one who was coming, who was manifest in these last times for us (1st Peter 1:20).

Genesis 49:22-26
Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.

Looking at the prophecies of Judah, it is clear that the one who is being spoken of here is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. He was the one that the archers sorely grieved, when He gave His life for us upon the cross of Calvary (Psalm 22). He is the Shepherd of Israel, the Good Shepherd that would give His life for the sheep (John 10:9). He was the Stone that the builders of the nation rejected, and the same is become the chief corner stone (Luke 20:17). He was the one who was separate from His brethren, in that He was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Do you know Him? Have you trusted Him as your Saviour? He bore God's punishment for your sins when He died upon the cross (John 3:16). And all who believe in Him can know their sins forgiven (Acts 13:38-39). Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved (Acts 16:31).

Ark of the Covenant, Where is it now?

'Ark of the Covenant' about to be unveiled?

Ethiopian patriarch tells pope he will show artifact to world

The patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia says he will announce to the world Friday the unveiling of the Ark of the Covenant, perhaps the world's most prized archaeological and spiritual artifact, which he says has been hidden away in a church in his country for millennia, according to the Italian news agency Adnkronos.

Abuna Pauolos, in Italy for a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI this week, told the news agency, "Soon the world will be able to admire the Ark of the Covenant described in the Bible as the container of the tablets of the law that God delivered to Moses and the center of searches and studies for centuries."

The announcement is expected to be made at 2 p.m. Italian time from the Hotel Aldrovandi in Rome. Pauolos will reportedly be accompanied by Prince Aklile Berhan Makonnen Haile Sellassie and Duke Amedeo D'Acosta.

"The Ark of the Covenant is in Ethiopia for many centuries," said Pauolos. "As a patriarch I have seen it with my own eyes and only few highly qualified persons could do the same, until now."

Want to know more about the ancient box holding the Ten Commandments? Get "Exploring the Ark of the Covenant" – a two-DVD set!

According to Pauolos, the actual Ark has been kept in one church, but to defend the treasure, a copy was placed in every single church in Ethiopia.

He said a museum is being built in Axum, Ethiopia, where the Ark will be displayed. A foundation of D'Acosta will fund the project.

The Ark of the Covenant is the sacred container of the Ten Commandments as well as Aaron's rod and a sample of manna, the mysterious food that kept the Israelites alive while wandering in the wilderness during their journey to the promised land.

The Bible says the Ark was built to the specifications of God as He spoke to Moses. It was carried in advance of the people and their army by priests. It was also carried in a seven-day procession around the walled city of Jericho.

The idea that the Ark is presently in Ethiopia is a well-documented, albeit disputed, tradition dating back to at least 642 B.C. The tradition says it was moved to Elephantine Island in Egypt, then to Tana Kirkos Island in Ethiopia and finally to its present site at St. Mary's of Zion Church in Axum.

Ethiopians believe it is destined to be delivered to the Messiah when He reigns on Mount Zion – the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Jeremiah 3:16 points to a time when the Ark will vanish not only physically, but from the minds of the people: "And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more."

The Book of Revelation says the Ark is in the temple of God in heaven (Rev. 11:19). Muslim scholars say it will be found near the end of times by the Mahdi – a messianic figure in Islam.

The Gift from Ethiopia: A Relic with a Future?

by Chuck Missler and Bob Cornuke


The Mystery of the Lost Ark

The Ark of the Covenant, a prominent fixture in the narratives of the Old Testament, certainly seems to have disappeared from view after the Babylonian captivity, which began in 606 B.C. There are many theories as to what happened to the Ark of the Covenant. This issue was, of course, popularized in the well-attended fantasy movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Among the many theories as to its subsequent whereabouts, the "official" position by conservative rabbis in Israel - and also the Temple Institute - is that it remains hidden in some secret location under the Temple Mount to this day. But there are many who doubt this. Some believe it was among the items plundered by the Babylonians during the captivity (however, it is conspicuously absent from the detailed inventories associated with those events). Some believe it was taken by Pharaoh Shishak;1 others believe it was hidden by Jeremiah on Mt. Nebo.2 Ron Wyatt claimed to have found it under Golgatha. Each of these views has various scholastic and technical rebuttals.

Many link its future to the rebuilding of the Temple that appears to be destined before the Second Coming of Christ. We know that the Temple will be rebuilt at that time: Jesus,3 Paul, 4 and John5 each make reference to it. However, the Ark of the Covenant is not an essential. The Tenach, the Tosephta, and the Mishna, regarded as the primary authorities in these matters, all indicate procedural steps regarding its absence. The Ark of the Covenant was not in Herod's Temple, the Temple that was standing during the ministry of Christ.

The Ethiopian Tradition

Many of us have heard of the belief that the Ark was taken to Ethiopia by Menelik I, the offspring of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba who, raised by priests until he was of age, and then leaving behind a replica, removed the Ark to separate it from Solomon's apostasy. (These ideas were developed by Graham Hancock in his book, The Sign and the Seal, 6 and also popularized by Grant Jeffrey in some of his publications.) Emperor Haile Selassie has been regarded as the 225th descendant of Menelik, and these traditions continue to be embraced by the current leadership of the government of Ethiopia.

The idea that the Ark is presently ensconced in Ethiopia is a well-documented tradition dating from at least 642 B.C. when it ostensibly was at Elephantine Island, in Egypt; then moved to Tana Kirkos Island, Lake Tana, Ethiopia; and finally to its present site in a well-protected bunker at St. Mary's of Zion Church at Axum, Ethiopia. The Ethiopians believe that it is destined to be delivered to the Messiah when He reigns on Mt. Zion. 7 Most of us have dismissed these tales for various reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the Ark appears in the Scriptures well after Solomon.8 Perhaps the biggest death knell for these various theories would seem to occur in Jeremiah:

And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. -Jeremiah 3:16

And yet there are some aspects of this mystery, in the Scriptures, that suggest a very different possibility. What may be presently in Ethiopia may have arrived there by a different path altogether, and may have a destiny that has been widely overlooked in the Biblical texts.

The Reign of Manasseh

The very positive reign of Hezekiah was, unfortunately, succeeded by his twelve-year-old son, Manasseh. Reigning for 55 years, and continuing the paganism of Ahaz, he relapsed into idolatry with all its vices. The worship of YHWH was banished; yet faithful prophets, including Isaiah and Micah, lifted up their voices in reproof and in warning. However, their fidelity only aroused bitter hatred, and a period of cruel persecution against all the friends of the traditional practices spread "blood from one border to the other." An ancient Jewish tradition indicates that at this time Isaiah was "sawn asunder."9

Manasseh was succeeded by Josiah, who led a significant revival and thereby gained a personal reprieve from the coming judgment that God had declared as a result of Manasseh's disasters.10

Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. - 2 Chronicles 34:28

What is strange is that Josiah receives his instructions through Huldah the prophetess. Why not through the traditional path involving the Levites and the Ark of the Covenant? Josiah had instructed the Levites to return the Ark to the Temple:

And said unto the Levites that taught all Israel, which were holy unto the LORD, Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build; it shall not be a burden upon your shoulders: serve now the LORD your God, and his people Israel... - 2 Chronicles 35:3

The Ark was, obviously, not in the Temple at that time. It is a reasonable conjecture that the Levites, due to the widespread mischief of Manasseh, removed the Ark to a place of safekeeping: out of the Temple, out of Jerusalem, and probably out of the entire jurisdiction of Manasseh. It was apparently in transit: "a burden upon [their] shoulders." (This may also explain why Josiah had to resort to Huldah the prophetess for his counsel.) Notice that this was Josiah's request. There is no evidence that they complied (quite the contrary!).

Pharaoh Necho

The Assyrian Empire, which had ruled the region for many centuries, was on the wane, and Egypt's Pharaoh Necho was moving to pick up some of the pieces. But he is surprised that King Josiah was taking up arms against him. Pharaoh Necho's response is one of astonishment:

But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not. -2 Chronicles 35:21

Why would Josiah go against Pharaoh Necho? The Assyrians were the adversary of Judah as well. What did Josiah expect to gain from this aggressive commitment? And why did Pharaoh Necho believe that God was on his side? The Chronicler adds an additional provocative insight:

Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. - 2 Chronicles 35:22

How could Pharaoh Necho have heard the words "from the mouth of God"? Is it possible that the Levites had sought refuge from Manasseh in Egypt, and had set up shop there? Was this what Josiah was after? Was this how Necho heard "from the mouth of God"?

In any case, Josiah goes in disguise and gets killed at Megiddo. After this battle Necho marched on to Carchemish (a Syrian city on the middle Euphrates River), where he met and conquered the Assyrian army, and thus all the Syrian provinces and Israel came under his dominion. On his return march he deposed Jehoahaz, who had succeeded his father Josiah, and made Eliakim, Josiah's eldest son (whose name he changed to Jehoiakim), king. Jehoahaz he carried down into Egypt, where he died.11

Four years after this conquest, Necho again marched to the Euphrates, but this time his army was met and routed by the Chaldeans under a crown prince by the name of Nebuchadnezzar, who drove Necho back and took from him all the territory he had conquered, from the Euphrates unto the "river of Egypt." 12 The establishment of the Babylonian Empire would thus be the means that God would use to complete the judgment He had pronounced in response to Manasseh's disastrous reign. But what about the fabled Ark of the Covenant? Did the Levites continue to keep it separate from the vicissitudes in Judea? Did this begin its trek southward from Egypt to Ethiopia? (It is interesting to note that Pharaoh Necho II was not Egyptian: he was Ethiopian. He was the grandson of Necho I, of the 25th, or Ethiopian, dynasty.13 )

A Relic with a Future? Pt. 2 - The Gift From Ethiopia

by Chuck Missler and Bob Cornuke


In our previous article we explored some hints, in the Old Testament Scriptures, that the fabled Ark of the Covenant may, indeed, presently reside in Ethiopia, in accordance with a tradition that goes back over 2,600 years. Many of us have been skeptical of the colorful legends surrounding Menelik, the offspring of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, who is reputed to have removed the Ark of the Covenant out of reach of Solomon's apostasy. (These views are still retained by the current leadership in Ethiopia. They believe they have a destiny to deliver their sacred relic to the Messiah when He rules from Mt. Zion.)1

What might be overlooked is that the Ark may have reached Ethiopia by a different path altogether: the Levites may have removed it during the dark days of Manasseh's persecutions2 and sought refuge under Pharaoh Necho II.3 Pharaoh Necho II was not Egyptian: he was Ethiopian: he was the grandson of Necho I of the 25th, or Ethiopian, dynasty.4 Our skepticism concerning the whereabouts of the fabled Ark of the Covenant would seem to be supported by Jeremiah 3:16:

And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The Ark of the Covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.

But most of us have failed to fully apprehend the verse that follows!

At that time they shall call Jerusalem the Throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. - Jeremiah 3:17

An Overlooked Piece of Furniture?

We are often guilty of stumbling over our own presuppositions. As we read the various passages concerning the Tabernacle and its seven appliances (the Brazen Altar, the Molten Sea, the Menorah, the Table of Shewbread, the Golden Incense Altar, the Ark of the Covenant, and the Mercy Seat) we tend to view the Mercy Seat as the "lid" of the Ark, since that is where it was located: covering the Ark.5 However, if we examine the passages carefully, we note that the Mercy Seat is distinctively separate: it is always described separately and it's made of different materials. The Ark was made of wood, covered with gold.6 (This is suggestive of both the humanity and the deity of Jesus Christ.) The Mercy Seat was made of pure gold. (This would seem to make it a more enduring relic.)

It is profoundly significant to recognize that all of this was a copy of a heavenly reality which had been shown to Moses.7 It is also important to note that the Holy of Holies was described as the location of the Mercy Seat.8 God Himself is described as "He that dwelleth above the Cherubim" of the Mercy Seat. 9

Millennial Throne

The Throne of the Messiah is surprisingly prominent in Scripture.10 It is interesting to note that there are Messianic psalms that associate the Ark with the Millennial Throne as His resting place forever.11 (It is also noteworthy that on Yom Kippur, the High Priest would sprinkle the blood upon the Mercy Seat, and also in front of it.12 This is provocatively suggestive of the picture presented of the "soles of His feet" in the Millennium.13)

The Gift from Ethiopia

The Ethiopians believe that the relic presently in their trust will be the subject of a very prominent gift to the Messiah when He rules on Mt. Zion.

From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering. - Zephaniah 3:10

The word "bring" is yabal, to bear or carry, as in a royal procession; the word for "offering" is hxn>mi minchah, a gift, tribute, present. This apparently is the presentation by the Ethiopians which receives such special emphasis in Isaiah 18.14

The Ethiopian Treasurer

This all lends a revealing perspective on the strange events which occurred with Philip's encounter with the Ethiopian Treasurer in Acts Chapter 8. In the middle of a major revival in Samaria, Philip is sent to the desert:

And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Isaiah the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, "Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Understandest thou what thou readest?" Acts 8:26-30

He finds this royal dignitary reading from Isaiah 52 and 53.

And he said, "How can I, except some man should guide me?" And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, "I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?" Acts 8:30-34

It is important that Philip interpreted this important passage in terms of the Messiah Himself (and not as symbolizing the nation, as some cling to).

Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. Acts 8:30-39

But, why was the Ethiopian Treasurer visiting Jerusalem? And then, why was he confused? Perhaps he was on an official errand for Candace, the Queen of Ethiopia. He came to worship the Messiah, but learned that He had been killed! Philip shows him that this was all a fulfillment of prophecy and that the Messiah was destined to return in the future.

After being baptized, the official returns to his Queen and when she inquires, "Has the time come?"

He replies, "Not yet!"

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Resurrection of Antichrist?

Will The Antichrist Be Killed And Resurrected?

Nathan Jones

There is a mysterious passage in Revelation 13 that implies the Antichrist might be killed and resurrected from the dead in the middle of the Tribulation. Is this what the passage means, or does it mean something else? Will the Antichrist be killed and resurrected from the dead? Lamb & Lion Ministries sought out eleven different Bible prophecy experts and asked this question. Of those eleven, two said yes, one said it was doubtful, and eight gave a firm no. Let's take a look at all eleven answers.

The following two experts answered "yes."

Arnold Fruchtenbaum

I would have to say, yes, because the very same term used of the Antichrist (Revelation 13:1-2) is also used of the true son (Revelation 5:6) as though he had been slain. In the case of Jesus, He didn't appear to be dead. He really did die. Under normal experience He should have remained dead. And so, He was alive because of resurrection. And the phrase "though he had been slain" is the Greek idiom for resurrected individual, was used of the true son in chapter 5 and is used of the counterfeit son in chapter 13. You have to understand the same way. He will be killed in this war against the 10 kings. He will be raised back to life by Satan's power. He will continue the war, kill 3 kings, then several will submit to his authority. And, therefore, he will undergo as part of the counterfeit program a counterfeit death and resurrection.

Mark Hitchcock

Yeah, I think in the Scriptures it seems clear to me from Revelation 13 and Revelation 17 that the Antichrist is going to suffer a fatal wound and come back to life. Now, some people take that it refers to the empire, that the Roman Empire is going to suffer this fatal wound and then the Empire will be revived or come back to life.

But, I think it is better to see this as the individual himself. The same language is used of the death and resurrection of the Beast or Antichrist in Revelation 13 that is used of the death and resurrection of Jesus, now back in Revelation chapter 5. Now some people will say, "Now, how is it that Satan has the power to raise people, someone from the dead?" Cause back in Mark 2 Jesus raises this man up who is lame and it is sign that only God has the power to do that. But, it seems to me like in 2 Thessalonians 2:13 it says, "God will send a strong deluding influence upon people in the world so they will believe the lie." So I think that God will allow Satan to have the power to pull off this great miracle as part of that deluding influence, because obviously God is the only one that has the ultimate power to give life. But, I think that He is going to allow Satan to do that as part of the great delusion that will take place in the end times.

This expert was doubtful the resurrection was real.

Al Gist

Revelation 13 speaks of an assassination attempt I believe on the Antichrist. In fact, it even goes on the say that it will be from the use of a sword. But, it uses some words there that indicate that it may not be successful to the extent that he actually, literally dies. It uses the words as though he were dead, or something to that affect. So, I don't believe that he will literally die. However this event will cause the world to wonder after him. So, whether he dies literally or not, the world will be amazed at this feat where he appears to die certainly and then is miraculously, so to speak, healed and able to resume his leadership of the world. So, whether he actually dies or not, I think is questionable. I tend to believe that he would not die but only appear to die. That is my personal position.

The following experts responded that they do not believe the Antichrist will literally die and be resurrected.

Daymond Duck

No, I don't. And again, there is a lot of different views on this issue and I think the controversy centers primarily around how you interpret Revelation 13:3 and Revelation 13:11-14. If you go with 13:3, you come up with one way. If you go with Revelation 14 and Revelation 13:11-14, you come up with another way. At least some people do.

Now, those who go with Revelation 13:3, they say that it is one of the seven heads that has a deadly wound and it is healed. And they believe that is the not the Antichrist, but that Europe fell apart and was killed, or died and was healed and came back as the revived Roman Empire which was raised from the dead.

Those that go down to Revelation 13:11-14, they look at those verses and they believe that those verses are saying that the Antichrist will receive a deadly wound and be healed and raised from the dead. Now, when I look at Revelation 13:3, the way I read that it says "this head looks like," or "this head is as though," "this head appears as," however you want to phrase that, as though it had a deadly wound that was healed. Now to me, there is a little bit of difference in saying it looks like, or it were a wound, a deadly wound that was healed, and actually having a deadly wound that was healed.

What I am getting at, when I get down to Revelation 13:11-14, we start reading about the False Prophet, and we see the False Prophet forces people to worship the Antichrist. And the False Prophet uses wonders and signs to persuade people to believe that the Antichrist received a deadly wound that was healed and he was raised from the dead. In other words, the way I interpret that passage it's saying the False Prophet uses persecution and force and phony miracles and deceit to cause people to believe that the Antichrist was killed and raised from the dead. Not that he actually was killed and raised from the dead, but that he uses deceit and force and things like that to perpetrate that untruth, that false doctrine, or that lie.

Phillip Goodman

No, I do not. I don't think the Bible teaches that.

First of all, we have to look at it from a theological standpoint that the evidence that Jesus himself is the Son of God is because of the resurrection from the dead. That is unique in all of human history. As a matter of fact, I want to read a passage out of Romans chapter 1 that speaks to that affect. Romans 1:4 tells us that Jesus was declared the Son of God with power by what, by the Resurrection of the dead. So, we could not possibly have Jesus rising from the dead and saying, "I am the life and the resurrection." And Satan on the other hand coming up and saying, "So am I, I am the life and the resurrection also." And also the evidence in the Scriptures don't indicate that.

Revelation 2:18 tells us what it is like to be raised from the dead. Jesus says this, He says, "I am the first and the last I was dead and I have come to life." We never see that about the Antichrist. In Revelation 13 he's got 7 heads — 7 kingdoms — one of those is slain.

The real commentary on what really happens with the Antichrist is Revelation 17, it says, "He was, he is not and he will come." That is the language of reincarnation. That is not the language of resurrection. And Satan has raised up reincarnation as the chief antithesis of the resurrection all through history. Satan hates the Doctrine of the Resurrection because of the resurrection of the Son of God. But, when we look at "I was, he was, he is not, and he will come, he was in past history, he is not" during the time of John when John wrote that particular passage and he will come in the future. That is the most it says about the Antichrist and his origins. He will come up by the way out of the Abyss. That also is not the language of Resurrection. He will be indwelled by a spirit that comes up out of the Abyss. So he is two persons in one, he is a man, and he is a spirit from the Abyss. And, he comes up from the past a spirit who controlled a kingdom in the past, comes up and indwells the Antichrist, raises him up in the last days. And perhaps fakes a resurrection, but Satan does not have the power to perform resurrection.

Ray Gano

No! Actually, I back that up with a couple points. First point is a lot of people point to and make an assumption that the Antichrist is being raised from the dead based on Revelation 13:3. You know John describes a beast with seven heads and that one of these seven heads has a mortal wound and is resurrected and everything. There is problems with this. I see in Revelation 13:1-3 that this is not the Antichrist. This actually represents the seven Gentile nations. And, in this I see it's: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the final kingdom or empire that has the wounded head. It is the one people totally disregard and forget about — the Ottoman Empire.

Nathan Jones

That's a tough one. That could be a reference to the Roman Empire being wounded and being broken up for so many hundreds of years and reviving as the European Union. God does seem to like a lot of symbolism, though. If you look at the seven churches, the seven churches of Revelation were seven actually churches, they also represent time periods, and they also could be representative of the seven churches today. So, the Antichrist could very well have something that seems like he died and then rose again. But, Satan has no power over death. So, if it is a resurrection, it's going to be another counterfeit resurrection, a counterfeit miracle.

Todd Strandberg

No. The healing of that wound is the Roman Empire in which it has two stages. I believe when someone dies you are in God's hands. Only God can resurrect someone. I don't think the False Prophet can bring him back to life.

Don McGee

I don't believe the Antichrist is going to be killed and resurrected from the dead because only the Lord Jesus Christ has the power over death. If you look at those passages that have to do with the slaying or the mortal wound of the Antichrist, it says that John saw that he had a wound "as if" he had been slain. Not every mortal wound results in a fatality. People have been healed from wounds that would otherwise be mortal in nature, but for some reason they were not. And, I believe this is going to be a resuscitation more then anything else. I believe that it is going to be fakery. I believe that it is going to be trickery. It's going to be one more thing in the arsenal of the Antichrist to convince the whole world that he is their Messiah.

Ed Hindson

I do not. I differ here from some other prophecy preachers. I think that passage that says in Revelation one of his heads was wounded unto death represents the multi-headed facets of the kingdom of the Antichrist in the last days. I don't think that it is an individual that is attacked. I think that you have serious problems with saying Satan will have the power to resurrect the Antichrist. That is a power given only to God in Scripture. Now it may appear to be a resurrection if it is an individual attack, but not a real resurrection. It is a pseudo-miracle at best. I think that it actually represents the fact that part of his kingdom will be devastated and that part of the kingdom will be revived. Could that apply to a nation, for an example like Germany, that was totally destroyed and has now come back to power as a major leader in Europe and as part of the kingdom of the Antichrist of the end times... I think that is certainly a very real possibility.

David Reagan

I side with those who believe the Antichrist will not be killed and resurrected from the dead. I think the passage is speaking of the Roman Empire rising from the dead and not the Antichrist. But, if it is speaking of the Antichrist, I do not believe he will be resurrected from the dead. Instead, I believe his death and resurrection will be a deception using modern technology.

I hope you found those answers as fascinating as I did, and I hope the discussion will drive you into the Scriptures to judge for yourself the meaning of Revelation 13:3.

You can watch this Q&A at our website on Christ in Prophecy.

Borrowed Time!

Jesus is Coming Soon! - We are living on borrowed time.

by Dr. David R. Reagan


Many people believe there is nothing that can be known about the timing of the Lord's return because Jesus said He would return like a "thief in the night" (Matthew 24:42-44).

But Paul makes it clear in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 that Jesus' statement does not apply to believers: "But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief..." He then proceeds to explain why: "for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober." Paul is referring, of course, to the light of the Holy Spirit who indwells all true believers and who can enlighten us through our study of Scripture to know the season of the Lord's return (1 John 2:27).

God's Attitude

As a matter of fact, God is obligated by His character to warn the world of the imminent return of His Son. The reason is that Jesus is returning in great wrath to "judge and wage war" (Revelation 19:11), and God never pours out His wrath without warning.

God does not wish that any should perish, but that all should be brought to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Therefore, God always warns before He executes His wrath. He warned the world through Noah for 120 years. He warned Sodom and Gomorrah through Abraham. He sent Jonah to warn the pagan city of Ninevah, and He sent Nahum to the same city 150 years later.

Likewise, God is warning the world today that His Son is about to return. He is calling the world to repentance. The message of the hour to unbelievers can be summed up in these words: "Flee from the wrath that is to come by fleeing into the loving arms of Jesus now." Jesus came the first time as an expression of God's love; He came to die for the sins of Mankind. But when He returns, He will come in vengeance to pour out the wrath of God on those who have rejected God's love and grace.

The soon return of Jesus also carries with it a message for believers. Lukewarm Christians and carnal Christians are being called to commit their lives to holiness: "The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts" (Romans 13:12-14).

God's Method of Warning

God is alerting believers of the soon return of His Son through what are called "signs of the times." These are prophecies concerning world events that we are told to watch for, prophecies that will identify the season of the Lord's return.

The Bible is full of these signs. There are about 500 prophecies in the Old Testament that relate to the Second Coming of the Messiah. In the New Testament, one out of every 25 verses is concerned with the return of Jesus.

In fact, there are so many signs that it is difficult to grasp all of them. The best way I have found to do this is to put them in categories:

1) The Signs of Nature — We are told to watch for earthquakes, famine, pestilence, and signs in the heavens (see Matthew 24:7 and Luke 21:11).

This is the least respected category of signs for several reasons. For one thing, many people simply shrug their shoulders and say, "There have always been natural calamities, so what else is new?" Note that Jesus says these signs will be like "birth pangs" (Matthew 24:8) — that is, they will increase in frequency and intensity as the time draws near for His return. In other words, there will be more intense earthquakes and more frequent ones. That is exactly what is happening today.

Another reason these signs are given little respect is because most Christians are so rationalistic that they do not really believe in the supernatural, and they therefore find it difficult to believe that God speaks to the world through signs of nature. Yet, the Bible teaches this principle from start to finish.

God dealt with the world's sin through a great flood in the days of Noah (Genesis 6). He called the nation of Judah to repentance through a terrible locust invasion (Joel 1). In like manner, He called for the nation of Israel to repent by sending drought, wind storms, mildew, locusts, famine and pestilence (Amos 4:6-10). The prophet Haggai pointed to a drought as evidence that God was calling the people to get their priorities in order (Haggai 1:10-11).

The New Testament begins with a special light in the heavens marking the birth of the Messiah (Matthew 2:2). On the day that Jesus was crucified, there was three hours of darkness and an earthquake (Matthew 27:45-51). And when Jesus returns, the earth will experience the greatest earthquake in its history as every mountain is lowered, every valley is raised, and every island is moved (Revelation 16:17-21).

God has always spoken through signs of nature, and He continues to do so today. We had better pay close attention to them.

2) The Signs of Society — Jesus said that society will become increasingly lawless and immoral as the time approaches for His return. In fact, He said it would become as evil as it was in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:12,37-39).

Paul paints a chilling picture of end time society in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. He says it will be characterized by three loves — the love of self (Humanism), the love of money (Materialism), and the love of pleasure (Hedonism). He then points out that the payoff of this carnal lifestyle will be what the philosophers call Nihilism — that is, a society wallowing in despair. Men's minds will become depraved (Romans 1:28), and people will call evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20).

We are seeing these prophecies fulfilled before our eyes today as we watch our society reject its Christian heritage and descend into a hellish pit of lawlessness, immorality, and despair. Even worse, we are exporting our nihilism around the world through our immoral and violent movies and television programs.

3) The Spiritual Signs — There are both positive and negative spiritual signs that we are to watch for. The negative ones include the appearance of false christs and their cults (Matthew 24:5,11,24), the apostasy of the professing church (2 Thessalonians 2:3), an outbreak of Satanism (1 Timothy 4:1), and the persecution of faithful Christians (Matthew 24:9).

These negative spiritual signs began to appear in the mid-19th Century when Christian cults started forming. First came the Mormons, then the Jehovah's Witnesses, and then a great variety of spiritualist groups like the Church of Christ Scientists and the Unity Church.

The apostasy of the mainline Christian denominations began in the 1920's when the German school of higher criticism invaded American seminaries and undermined the authority of the Scriptures, teaching that the Bible is Man's search for God rather than God's revelation to Man.

During the 1960's Satanism exploded on the American scene and has since been exported worldwide through American movies, books, and television programs. Dabbling in the occult has become commonplace in the form of astrology, numerology, crystal gazing, transcendental meditation, and channeling. The whole trend has consummated in the appearance of the New Age Movement with its teaching that Man is God.

As society has secularized, true Christianity has come under increasing attack. Judeo-Christian values, once the foundation of Western Civilization, are now openly mocked, and those who still adhere to them are castigated as "intolerant fundamentalists" by the media.

The positive spiritual signs include the proclamation of the Gospel to the whole world (Matthew 24:14), a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-32), and spiritual illumination to understand prophecies that have been "sealed up" until the end times (Daniel 12:4,9).

As with the negative signs, we are seeing these positive signs fulfilled in our day and time. Through the use of modern technology, the Gospel has been proclaimed throughout the world in this Century, and the Bible has been translated into all major languages.

The great end time pouring out of the Holy Spirit that was prophesied by the prophet Joel has also begun. Joel called it "the latter rain" (Joel 2:23), and he said it would occur after the Jews had returned to their land. The state of Israel was re-established in 1948. In 1949 God anointed two ministries that would have a worldwide impact — the ministries of Billy Graham and Oral Roberts. Then, in the 60's, came the Charismatic Movement which prompted renewal in worship and gave emphasis to the continuing validity of the gifts of the Spirit.

The acceleration in the understanding of Bible prophecy began in 1970 with the publication of Hal Lindsey's book, The Late Great Planet Earth. It seemed to open up to popular understanding many prophecies that had been "sealed up" until the end times (Daniel 12:4, 9). Remarkably, it became the number one best seller in the world — with the sole exception of the Bible — for the next ten years!

4) The Signs of Technology — The book of Daniel says that there will be an explosion of knowledge in the end times and that people will move about quickly (Daniel 12:4). There are many Bible prophecies that cannot be understood apart from modern technology. For example, how can the whole world look upon two bodies lying in the streets of Jerusalem (Revelation 11:8-9)? Modern television satellite technology makes it easy. How can the False Prophet build an image of the Anti-Christ that appears to be alive (Revelation 13:15)? The answer, of course, is the science of robotics. How can the False Prophet require all people on earth to take the mark of the Anti-Christ in order to buy and sell (Revelation 13:16-17)? It would not be possible apart from computers and lasers.

Jesus said that the Tribulation will be so terrible that all life on earth would cease to exist if He did not cut the period short (Matthew 24:21-22). How could all life be threatened prior to the advent of nuclear weapons? Another reference to nuclear power is likely contained in Luke's statement that men in the end times will "faint from fear" because "the powers of the heavens will be shaken" (Luke 21:26). That certainly sounds like a reference to the splitting of the atom.

5) The Signs of World Politics — The Bible prophesies that there will be a certain pattern of world politics that will characterize the end time geopolitical map.

The focus will be the re-established state of Israel (Zechariah 12:2-3). It will be besieged by a menacing nation from the "remote parts of the north," the nation of "Rosh" — or modern day Russia (Ezekiel 38:2,6). There will also be a threatening nation to the East that will be capable of sending an army of 200 million — namely, China (Revelation 9:13-16 and Revelation 16:12-13). A third source of danger to Israel will be the Arab nations that immediately surround it. They will covet the land and will try to take it from the Jews (Ezekiel 35:10 and 36:2).

Another key player on the world political scene in the end times will be a coalition of European nations that will form a confederation centered in the area of the old Roman empire (Daniel 2:41-44, Daniel 7:7,23-24, and Revelation 17:12-13). This confederation will serve as the political base for the rise of the Anti-Christ and the creation of his worldwide kingdom (Daniel 7:8).

Other international political signs include wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6), civil wars (Matthew 24:7), and general international terrorism and lawlessness (Matthew 24:12).

6) The Signs of Israel — The signs related to the state of Israel are prolific and very important.

The most frequently repeated prophecy in the Old Testament is the prediction that the Jewish people will be regathered from the "four corners of the earth" in the end times (Isaiah 11:10-12). The Bible states that a consequence of this regathering will be the re-establishment of the state of Israel (Isaiah 66:7-8). The Scriptures say that once the Jews are back in their land, the land itself will experience a miracle of reclamation (Isaiah 35). The desert will bloom and people will exclaim, "This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden" (Ezekiel 36:35).

Another end time miracle will be the revival of the Hebrew language (Zephaniah 3:9). Most people are not aware of the fact that when the Jews were dispersed from their land in 70 A.D., they ceased to speak the Hebrew language. The Jews who settled in Europe developed a new language called Yiddish — a combination of German and Hebrew. The Jews who migrated to the Mediterranean basin created a language called Ladino — a combination of Hebrew and Spanish.

Other significant signs of Israel that we are told to watch for in the end times include the re-occupation of Jerusalem (Luke 21:24), the resurgence of Israeli military strength (Zechariah 12:6), and the re-focusing of world politics on Israel (Zechariah 12:3).

All these signs have been fulfilled in this century. The nation has been re-established, the land has been reclaimed, the ancient language has been revived, the Jews are back in Jerusalem, and Israel is the focal point of world politics.

Jesus says in Luke 21:28 that when these signs begin to happen, we should "straighten up and lift up our heads" because "our redemption is drawing near."

The Key Signs

The most important signs are the ones that relate to Israel because God uses the Jews throughout the Scriptures as His prophetic time clock. By this I mean that very often when the Lord is revealing an important event that will take place in the future, He will point to the Jewish people and state that when a certain thing happens to them, the important event will also occur.

A good example of this principle can be found in Daniel 9 in the famous "Seventy Weeks of Years" prophecy. The prophet tells us to watch for a decree to be issued that will authorize the rebuilding of Jerusalem. He then says that the Messiah will come sixty-nine weeks of years (483 years) after that decree is issued to the Jewish people.

There are two key prophecies which relate the return of Jesus to events that have occurred in Jewish history since 1948. These two events clearly established the period in which we are now living as the season of the Lord's return.

The State of Israel

The first is the re-establishment of the state of Israel which occurred on May 14, 1948. Jesus singled out this event as the one that would signal His soon return.

His prophecy is contained in the fig tree parable (Matthew 24:32-35) which He presented in His Olivet Discourse. The day before He delivered this speech, He had put a curse on a barren fig tree, causing it to wither (Matthew 21:28-29). This was a symbolic prophecy that God would soon pour out His wrath upon the Jewish people because of their spiritual barrenness in rejecting His Son.

The next day Jesus reminded His disciples of the fig tree. He said to watch for it to bloom again. In other words, He said watch for the rebirth of Israel. He indicated that when the fig tree blooms again, He would be at the gates of Heaven, ready to return (Matthew 24:33).

Equally significant, He added an interesting observation: "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place" (Matthew 24:34). What generation? The generation that sees the fig tree blossom.

We are that generation. The fig tree has blossomed. Jesus is at the gates.

The City of Jerusalem

The second key event was prophesied by Jesus in the same speech, as recorded by Luke: "[The Jews] will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24).

The first half of this prophecy was fulfilled in 70 A.D., forty years after Jesus spoke the words. In that year the Romans under Titus conquered Jerusalem and dispersed the Jews among the nations. Jerusalem remained under Gentile occupation for 1,897 years — until June 7, 1967, when Israel won the city back during the Six Day War.

The Jewish re-occupation of the city of Jerusalem is proof positive that we are living in the season of the Lord's return. Jesus said it would mark the end of the Gentile Age.

A Call to Action

There is no way to escape the conclusion that we are living on borrowed time. The signs of the times are upon us, and they are shouting for our attention.

Are you ready? If Jesus were to return today, would He be your "Blessed Hope" (Titus 2:11-14) or would He be your "Holy Terror" (Revelation 6:12-17)? If you have never received Him as your Lord and Savior, now is the time to act. Repent of your sins, and call upon the name of the Lord that you might be saved (Acts 2:14-39).

And if you are a Christian, are you living as if Jesus might return any minute? Have you committed your life to holiness? Are you praying for the lost and witnessing the Lord when you have an opportunity?

Are you yearning for the Lord's return? Can you say with Paul that you are a candidate for a "crown of righteousness" because you have lived your life "in the love of His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:7-8)?