Thursday, January 28, 2010
The Bible tells us that a time will come when commerce—the act of buying and selling—can be controlled worldwide. This facility will actually be invoked at one point during the Great Tribulation period, “He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:16-17).
This is an oft-referenced verse, infamously misquoted and misinterpreted by Christians and unbelievers alike. It is the source of countless vain speculations about the identity of the “mark” and the “number.” However, the most critical error concerns the identity of who it is that actually brings in these controls. It is not the first beast with 7 heads, which is of the lineage that gives rise to the physical Antichrist. Rather it is the second beast (which emerges from earth and has two horns like a lamb) that brings in these commercial controls. This latter beast is commonly linked with the False Prophet, who is mentioned in Revelation 16:13.
I have always thought it a telling alert that it will be a religious figure that ends up being the world’s last “economic guru.” A strange coincidence? No. Seen together, macroeconomics and globalization today are the world’s largest religion. The beliefs imbedded in these bosom ideologies are the prevailing hope of humanity today. As such, it is only fitting that a deceiving religious figure would preach such a final Prosperity Gospel to the entire world. Indeed, the value proposition of the False Prophet at that time may sound like this: “Take the number that is religiously endorsed from this preacher’s pulpit and you will have prosperity.” At that time there will be such a crisis, that people will likely respond as they did to Joseph in the third year of the famine: “[…] Buy us and our land in exchange for food, and we with our land will be in bondage to Pharaoh” (Genesis 47:19).
However, the intent of this article is to show just how ripe the world already has become, having prepared the very control systems that will be given over to the False Prophet and the evil purposes of the Antichrist.
Why Global Systems Are Needed
Money—assuredly one significant factor that makes humans different from animals—is the designated medium of Mammon. Its strategic significance in the cosmology of mankind is more than it just being the chief temptation that qualifies “the love of money” as being “the root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). Crucially, “money systems” also play a strategic eschatological role as can no other form of earthly or spiritual rule. Why is this the case? There could be a number of reasons. But, very likely the main one is that Satan and his hierarchy of fallen angels do not have the power of omnipresence as does God. Therefore, an inventive tactic is needed. Here, a global commercial system offers the next most potent perch to omnipresence. There is no other medium more conducive to world control.
Moreover, as Satan’s power has been limited during the Church Age, an indirect means of control is required. Revelation 17:8 tells us, “The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction.” We seen here that “The Beast”—namely, Satan himself—has been detained in the Abyss until that point when he will again be released. Apostle John here confirms what Jesus said, that “[…] the prince of this world now stands condemned” (John 16:11). “[…] Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:15).
Though Satan’s powers may have been curtailed during the Church Age, the spirit of the Antichrist has been busy. “For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:7). Many antichrists have been at work, inevitably coaxing the world to its globalized, humanist state. Its endpoint is already nearly here. The supporting technologies ... the organizational structure is nearly complete … and the concentration of financial command nodes far advanced. Only one thing remains: The imperative to pull it all together … the imperative of policy. We will return to this point in our conclusions.
Concentration of Financial Control
Below are outlined a few trends which will provide the reader with some anecdotal evidence of how rapidly financial systems are converging and centralizing. We could cite countless more examples; however, here we only point to four of its telltale signs.
1. Concentrated Owners. For the U.S., consider that latest available year-end 2006 data shows total institutional investors—defined as pension funds, investment companies, insurance companies, banks and foundations—controlled assets totaling $27.1 trillion, up from $24.4 trillion in 2005. This level represents a ten-fold increase from $2.7 trillion in 1980. The equity market value of total institutional equity holdings increased from $571.2 billion in 1980 (or 37.2% of total U.S. equity markets) to $12.9 trillion (or 66.3% of total U.S. equity markets) in 2006. This represents a historic all-time high in the amount of total U.S. equities controlled by these institutional investors (Source: Conference Board).
2. More Evidence of Concentrated Holdings. A pair of physicists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich recently published preliminary findings of their network analysis of the world financial economy as it looked in early 2007. Stefano Battiston and James Glattfelder extracted the information for 24,877 stocks and 106,141 shareholding entities in 48 countries. It revealed what they called the “backbone” of each country’s financial market. These backbones represented the owners of 80% of a country’s market capital, yet consisted of a remarkably small number of shareholders. The most pared-down backbones exist in Anglo-Saxon countries, including the U.S., Australia, and the U.K. Paradoxically, these same countries are considered by economists to have the most widely held stocks in the world, with ownership of companies tending to be spread out among many investors. But while each American company may link to many owners, Glattfelder and Battiston’s analysis found that the owners varied little from stock to stock, meaning that comparatively few hands are holding the reins of the entire market.
3. Financial Institutions Become More Concentrated. Perversely, financial institutions continue to become larger, despite the clear “moral hazards” of “too big to fail.” Quoting an article on this topic: “Survivors … emerge[d] from the turmoil with strengthened market positions, giving them even greater control over consumer lending and more potential to profit. J.P. Morgan Chase, an amalgam of some of Wall Street’s most storied institutions, now holds more than $1 of every $10 on deposit in this country. So does Bank of America, scarred by its acquisition of Merrill Lynch and partly government-owned as a result of the crisis, as does Wells Fargo, the biggest West Coast bank. Those three banks, plus government-rescued and -owned Citigroup, now issue one of every two mortgages and about two of every three credit cards, federal data show.”
4. Global Wealth Skew. In December 2006, a groundbreaking report entitled The World Distribution of Household Wealth (World Institute for Development Economics Research, UN University—UNU-Wider) was released. The results were much more pronounced than had been previously indicated by other studies that surveyed income. Wealth and income, though surely related, are quite different. Income is generally defined as the annual flow of earnings and incomes, while wealth is the accumulation of income and hoarded assets. According to its authors’ research, the top 10% of adults in the world own 85% percent of global household wealth (2005). The average member of this wealthy group therefore has 8.5 times the holdings of the global average. Furthermore, the top 2% and 1% of the world’s population is estimated to own 51% and 40% of world household wealth, respectively. This is a more extreme distribution than had been estimated by surveying global incomes in previous studies.
Everywhere one peers, the forces of centralization can be identified, whether in North America or globally. Today, perhaps less than 10,000 people control the world’s money flows. Some have estimated a far smaller number … as low as 600. The signs of centralization are everywhere. Quoting a Club of Rome member, David Korten:
While the giants are shedding people, they are not shedding control over money, markets, or technology. The world's 200 largest industrial corporations, which employ only one third of one percent of the world's population, control 25 percent of the world's economic output. The top 300 transnational’s, excluding financial institutions, own some 25 percent of the world's productive assets. Of the world's 100 largest economies, 51 are now corporations—not including banking and financial institutions. The combined assets of the world's 50 largest commercial banks and diversified financial companies amount to nearly 60 percent of The Economist's estimate of a $20 trillion global stock of productive capital.
Global Systems Affect Cares of Entire World
As the global market gyrations of the recent Global Financial Crisis (GFC) attest, never before in history has global opinion been galvanized by financial events so quickly. This is remarkable. Never before has the entire financial world behaved so much as one monolithic culture, as is now evident in global capital markets. This is a direct, though not exclusive, result of the late stage globalized commercial systems.
Robert Shiller, in a commentary in the New York Times, provides an insightful perspective:
It is a large and diverse world, after all, so why should confidence have rebounded so quickly in so many places? The popularity of the term ‘green shoots’ shows the kind of social epidemic underlying our changing thinking. The phrase was propelled in Britain by Shriti Vadera, the business minister, in January, and mutated into a more contagious form after Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, used it on 60 Minutes on March 15. The news media didn’t need to change the term for different cultures around the world. With nothing more than a quick translation—brotes verdes, pousses vertes, grüne Sprösslinge, etc.—it is now recognized as a symbol of a revival coming soon. All of this suggests that a social epidemic is supporting renewed confidence. This confidence can keep growing by contagion, as a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, and we may see the markets and the economy recover further. But in an economy that is still unstable, the stories could also morph into different forms, the price feedback could turn downward and the dynamic could turn ugly again—just as it has in the past.
Putting it all together, we crucially now recognize that the economic, financial and psychological conditions of global markets have come to the point where a viral media-generated chain can impact the sentiment of the entire world rapidly. Both globally interconnected commercial and communications systems, such as already observed today, demonstrate the powers of control that the False Prophet will one day exercise.
Just as the Bible says, the spirit of the Antichrist has been active these past 2,000 years, despite the fact that Satan did indeed lose some of his powers and freedoms. After Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was given to indwell the members of the Church, Christ’s very body on earth. Once this body has been removed from earth, and along with it also the indwelling restrainer (the “Paraclete”); the “beast” representing mankind’s complicit kingdoms, which has been obedient to the “spirit of the Antichrist,” will be superseded by “The Beast”—this being Satan himself in the form of a man, the 8th king (Revelation 17:8).
The saints will not witness his arrival. As the Bible says, Only “the inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come” (Revelation 17:8b). This is consistent with the expectation that the Church will first be removed. The Beast will not come out of the Abyss until this “restrainer” is first withdrawn.
In the meantime, Satan and his hierarchy of fallen angels have been busy transforming the minds of mankind to accept humanism and globalism, and now await the opportune use for the global web of financial and economic systems that achieves the next best alternative to “omnipresence” and worldwide power.
Points to Ponder
The day is very near when it will be possible for a global authority to completely control global commerce. Already, it is technically impossible to live without money or a bank account. People that have attempted this must still rely on the charity and handouts of those that do have monetary income and bank accounts.
While the technology and the global systems stand prepared for this eventuality, the global “political” power structure is not yet in place. Such large organizations as the Bank of International Settlements, the World Bank … etc. have not yet had their levers of power given to a central authority. That development first awaits the emergence of the final 10 kings. These final events will happen very suddenly … once their time has arrived.
Christians today, as everyone, are already entrapped in a global financial system. While we enjoy its conveniences, we also suffer under the many materialistic temptations that the spirit behind these worldly systems incessantly proposes. Someday, these systems will be turned against the Tribulation Saints.
Today, pre-Rapture saints are implored to enter a different kind of transaction. “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see” (Revelation 3:18). Those are the words of Christ to the 7th and last church that exists even now just prior to His return. It is not an impulse purchase, an approach so widely promoted in our culture today. The gratification is not instant, but eternal. The Apostles knew the cost of “gold refined by fire.”
Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything (2 Corinthians 6:4-10).
 Quoted from GlobalResearch.ca. Source: “Backbone of complex networks of corporations: The flow of control,” J.B. Glattfelder and S. Battiston, Chair of Systems Design, ETH Zurich, Kreuzplatz 5, 8032 Zurich, Switzerland.
 Washington Post, August 28, 2009.
 David C. Korten, “When Corporations Rule the World,” http://www.pcdf.org/corprule/failure.htm Accessed October 31, 2009.
 Source: Robert Shiller, “An Echo Chamber of Boom and Bust,” New York Times, Economic View, August 30, 2009.
Monday, January 25, 2010
The White Horse and Rider
Joseph R. Chambers, DD, DSL
The ultimate face-off between the Lamb of God and Satan is the most breathtaking truth in the Book of Revelation. But, first a six thousand year old scroll must be understood. “And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals” (Revelation 5:1). Apparently, our Heavenly Father commissioned this scroll to be written just as soon as Satan stole the legal deed to the beautiful world that Adam and Eve had inherited. This scroll was never seen by mortal man until John saw it in his vision. The Father held it as a strong angel sought a Worthy Redeemer who had earned the legal right to open its content.
Nowhere in God’s entire universe was there a being or creature kin to the divine person of God. The great host of angels must have searched every nook and cranny in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth. By divine revelation, John was either told or made to understand that this book contained the hope of humankind. Without this great scroll in the Father’s hand being fulfilled, this unclean universe was destined to continue downward. Someone had to open this book and take back what the devil stole. In this six thousand year old document were the title deed and the divine process to uproot the usurper. The Father’s plan and purpose was recorded; but, the first of kin to God Himself had to unseal the plan.
John was weeping in soul-rending disappointment. We would think that John already knew that there was an answer; but, it had been held back from him. It was an unfolding drama. He was still in the flesh even though he was caught up in the Spirit. But, the Elders at the scene were glorified saints and now possessed the wisdom of the ages. “And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof” (Revelation 5:5). This is one of the most revealing manifestations of the victory of the cross in Holy Scripture. His death was the redemption and reclaiming of paradise lost.
When the Son of God said, “It is finished,” He literally ripped a stolen and emaciated world out of Satan’s possession. That victory could not be claimed until the Gospel had its day of redeeming souls. But, that day is now at hand in this vision; and we are about to see the real drama in our day. John was beholding the scene that is soon to be acted out when the Raptured saints are gathered home. “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne” (Revelation 5:6-7).
The Heavens exploded in triumphant worship. The saints will sing their first song after arriving in the Eternal City of Jerusalem. This is the Holy City of which earthly Jerusalem was but a shadow. The worship will be of Jesus Christ our Emancipator. Finally, the universe will see the full scope of who He is and the finished work of what He did. He was the first of kin, His only begotten Son, to the Father. As the Divine Savior, He is ready for the ultimate face-off with the lying masquerades of Satan.
That’s the background of the beginning process to open the “Seven Sealed scroll.” This entire document is a legal manifest, it is divine business and His saints are the offended host. Satan is the accused and judgment has been passed. Let the proceedings begin, “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer” (Revelation 6:1-2).
The picture of this beginning eviction is very celestial. John sees this after being “caught up” himself while still in his body but allowed to see in the Heavenly realm. The Lamb is the Grand Marshall. The first four seals are unique and reflect a unity of purpose. Zechariah had seen the same four horses and riders, “And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass. In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses; And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses” (Zechariah 6:1-3). It was noted that these go forth from God and are instrumental for judgment on the earth. In every act of redemption there is its counterpart of judgment. You can have judgment without redemption, but you can never have redemption without judgment.
The White Horse and its rider cannot represent Jesus Christ or the Antichrist. If the rider of the first horse was a noted personality, then the other riders would by necessity represent someone equal. All of the activities of these horses and horsemen are a redemptive and judgmental process right out of the seven sealed scroll. The Son of God turns these forces loose and they are going forth throughout the earth. The Antichrist is part of the action but on the defense. He cannot come out of God’s redemption plan which is recorded in this scroll. Rather, he fights to defeat the process.
Those who see the Antichrist in connection with this White Horse are not altogether wrong. This horse and rider represent the ultimate face-off between light and darkness, truth and error, Christ in His glory, and the Antichrist in his masquerade. This action will continue for the entire seven years as will the whole process of the seven seals.
Every inch of territory taken from Satan’s forces will be hard won. It is clear that God’s uses truth and righteousness to win, not sheer power. The Lord Jesus does not seek to overwhelm Satan with His supernatural strength but with the power of His blood and the triumph of His resurrection. This is why the identity of Jesus Christ during the entire Seven Tribulation years is the “Lamb of God.”
This rider is depicted as having a bow but no arrows. There is no relationship between this weapon and the Antichrist but a powerful picture relating to the triumphant powers of a Lamb slain. It is neither the person of Jesus Christ nor the Antichrist that is connected to this Great White Stallion. It is the going forth of righteous judgment, face-to-face with every design of the fallen prince. The entire Seven Years of the Tribulation will be one conquest after another. Every realm where Satan has reigned and defiled will be conquered and purified. When the Great Tribulation is over and the saints return with Christ, we will rule a world where paradise has been restored and the principles of His holiness will fill the earth. The Book of Revelation is perfect restoration of all things. That Great White Stallion is pawing the ground to ride.
Joseph R. Chambers, DD, DSL
Thursday, January 14, 2010
By Daymond Duck
The disciples asked Jesus, “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the age” (Matthew 24:3)?
After several comments, Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass away till all these things be fulfilled” (Matthew 24:34).
Controversy surrounds what He said. Some say “this generation” means the generation that was alive when Jesus was speaking. Most who believe this way spiritualize the Bible. They say Jesus came back about 2,000 years ago and that His return was a spiritual return. Others say “this generation” means the generation that sees “all these things” that Jesus had just mentioned in Matthew chapter 24. Most who believe this way take the Bible literally. And they say the return of Jesus is still future. It seems more likely that this second group is right.
For one thing, Jesus talked about “the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing in the Holy place” (Matthew 24:15). That didn’t happen in the generation Jesus was speaking to. But it will happen in the future when the Antichrist defiles the rebuilt Temple 3½ years after a seven-year covenant for peace in the Middle East. There’s no evidence of a seven-year covenant for peace in the Middle East when Jesus said these things.
For another thing, Jesus talked about “great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world, no nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21). It’s a stretch to say that 70 A.D. was worse than the Flood, worse than WWI, worse than WW II, worse than the Holocaust, or worse than anything that will happen in the future.
For another thing, Jesus said, “Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved” (Matthew 24:21). No one came close to destroying the Romans Empire or everyone on earth in 70 A.D. There’s no evidence that Jesus came back and prevented anything like this from happening.
For another thing, Jesus said, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:29-31). There’s no evidence of a darkened sun and moon, falling stars, everyone seeing Jesus, everyone on earth mourning, trumpets sounding, and all the elect being gathered together in 70 A.D.
Finally, Jesus told the parable of the fig tree (Matthew 24:32). Many commentators believe the fig tree represents Israel. Many believe that Jesus was saying when you see Israel back in the land know that the Second Coming is near. Israel had to be destroyed before she could come back into being.
How Long is “This Generation”
The Bible is vague and speculation abounds on this. After many years of saying we don’t know how long a generation is, this ministry has turned to saying, “We believe the terminal generation started in 1948 and it is our opinion that it will last 70 to 80 years.”
The major reason for this change is that we have a better understanding of Psalm 90. It is the first of eleven Psalms that were written by Moses. Many believe it’s the oldest Psalm in the Bible. It begins with a comment about all generations. Moses said, “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations” (Psalm 90:1). It talks about God forming or creating the earth (Psalm 90:2). It says, “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night” (Psalm 90:4). Peter said it this way, “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (II Peter 3:8). Psalm 90 makes a reference to the Flood and the brevity of life (Psalm 90:4-8). It turns to a discussion of our days and years (Psalm 90:9). Then, Moses said, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10). We will come back to this, but for the time being let’s stick to the remainder of the Psalm. It mentions the anger and wrath of God which could be a reference to the Tribulation Period (Zephaniah 1:14-15; Revelation 6:16-17). It asks God to teach us to number our days that we may use our precious days wisely (Psalm 90:12). It calls upon the Lord to return which could be a reference to the Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation Period and asks how long it will be (Psalm 90:13). Then, it closes with four verses that can well be applied to the Millennium (Psalm 90:14-17).
Now, let’s go back to verse 10 which reads, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten (70 years); and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years (80 years), yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” We are not predicting a date, but assuming that the terminal generation started in 1948, and it will be 70 to 80 years long, it appears that God will fulfill everything including the Rapture, Tribulation Period and Second Coming, in 70 or perhaps up to 80 years (by 2018, but He may delay up to 2028). If one subtracts seven years (from 2017 or up to 2018) for the Tribulation Period, and an unspecified amount of time for the period between the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation Period, it’s obvious that the Rapture could happen any time.
Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
Saturday, January 9, 2010
This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelley
9th Annual Update January 2010
There are seven major prophetic signs of the Second Coming, and currently all of them are in some stage of fulfillment. As in years past, I’ll list the seven with their primary biblical references and offer commentary from current events.
1. Israel Will Be In The Land… Ezekiel 36:24, 37:21
For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land .
This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land.
In 1948, when Israel took its place among the nations of the world again for the first time in nearly 2000 years, students of prophecy recognized the fulfillment of the primary sign that the end of the age was upon us. Isaiah 11:11-12, Ezekiel 36:8-12 and Amos 9:14-15 had also clearly foretold this. Jesus said that some from the generation being born when this happened would still be alive when He returned (Matt. 24:34).
The fulfillment of this prophecy caused another reaction as well. Satan reads prophecy too, and began exerting even more influence on world leaders in his continuing effort to thwart the plan of God. As a result, Israel has fought six major wars in the last 62 years, each of them an attempt to erase the Jewish Homeland from the face of the Earth. And it’s clear that this effort will continue, with the biggest battle of all looming on the horizon, foretold by Ezekiel in chapters 38-39. Israel’s enemies, both physical and spiritual, won’t let up until they’ve either succeeded (their view) or been destroyed (God’s view).
This past year we’ve seen unparalleled efforts by friend and foe alike to diminish both Israel’s influence and its size. Much of the attack has been focused on the capital city, Jerusalem. The new leadership in the USA, traditionally one of Israel’s most loyal allies, has caused many to doubt its willingness to stand with Israel by calling East Jerusalem occupied territory and demanding that no more Jewish homes be built there. At year’s end the European Union called for an official declaration dividing Jerusalem to make way for a future Palestinian State to have part of the city as its capital. And several Middle Eastern countries are said to be working with the Palestinians to introduce a UN resolution that will unilaterally declare a Palestinian state on Israeli land, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
But try as these nations might to destroy Israel, God has a different outcome in mind for Israel.
In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth. (Isaiah 11:11-12)
“You, O mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home. I am concerned for you and will look on you with favor; you will be plowed and sown, and I will multiply the number of people upon you, even the whole house of Israel. The towns will be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt. I will increase the number of men and animals upon you, and they will be fruitful and become numerous. I will settle people on you as in the past and will make you prosper more than before. Then you will know that I am the LORD. I will cause people, my people Israel, to walk upon you. They will possess you, and you will be their inheritance; you will never again deprive them of their children. (Ezekiel 36:8-12)
“I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the LORD your God. (Amos 9:14-15)
And the nations who tried to divide Israel?
I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land. (Joel 3:2)
2. Jerusalem Will Be In Jewish Hands… Luke 21:24
They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
The Lord prophesied that the reunification of Jerusalem as a Jewish City would be a sign that foreign (gentile) influence over His land, and indeed the world, was about to end (Luke 21:24). Fulfillment of this prophecy began in 1967, and scholars saw it as another major sign that the End of the Age had begun. The almost world wide effort to take the city apart again is in essence a battle of wills. Nearly every Israeli leader has stood firmly on a pledge to keep Jerusalem united forever as Israel’s capital, but the unbelieving leaders of the world are just as resolutely determined to divide it. Behind all this of course is a spiritual battle of massive proportions. While there’s no doubt as to the outcome, the battle will be a fierce one.
I’ve come to believe that Jerusalem won’t really be free of Gentile “trampling” until the Lord returns. Daniel’s prophecy that Gentile Dominion would not end until the Lord establishes His kingdom (Daniel 2:36-45), Zechariah’s prophecy of the city being captured and divided just before the Lord’s return (Zech. 14:2), and John’s observations in Rev. 11:1-2 of the gentiles trampling the outer court of the Temple during the Great Tribulation all confirm this.
The ongoing fulfillment of these major prophecies concerning Israel has caused confusion in the minds of some commentators. It centers around an incorrect interpretation of Matt. 24:34, that all end times prophecies would be fulfilled within a generation, nominally 40 years, of Israel’s re-gathering in 1948. That error made 1988 seem like the likely time for the End. But when 1988 came and went scholars focused on the Jerusalem date, 1967, and began adding 40 years to that, advancing their predictions to 2007. The rationale for this is that the timing of the First Coming prophecies in Daniel 9:24-27 keyed off the rebuilt city, not off the return to the Land. But that date proved wrong as well.
The problem is, the Lord didn’t promise that all end times prophecies would be fulfilled within a generation of their beginning, only that the generation being born at the time of the first of the signs would still be alive to see their completion. According to Psalm 90:10 an average Biblical life span is 70 years, so predicting the approximate time of the End requires the addition of 70 years to 1948, not 40.
As it draws nearer, the approximate timing of the 2nd Coming will become more and more obvious. Those people around when a treaty is enforced permitting the Jews to build their Temple in Israel will know that it’s about seven years away. (Daniel 9:27) Those who witness the anti Christ standing in that Temple proclaiming himself to be God will know there are only 1260 days left until the end of the Great Tribulation, and the 2nd Coming happens shortly after that. (Matt. 24:15,21 & 2 Thes. 2:4) But even so, the Lord did state quite clearly that those alive on Earth at the end of the Great Tribulation would not know the exact day or hour of His coming until He actually appeared. (Matt. 24:42 & 44, 25:13)
3. A Moslem Coalition Armed And Led By Russia Will Attack The Holy Land… Ezek. 38:2-6
“Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army–your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops–the many nations with you.”
Over 130 historical references make it plain that Magog stands for modern Russia, and the other countries named here form a coalition based on their common religion, Islam. (Today Russia is 30% Moslem and growing.) Among them are Iran, several North African countries, Eastern European countries along the Danube, and the Turkic nations of Asia Minor. A quick look at a world map will reveal that these areas are home to some of the most radical Islamic groups. (For a detailed explanation of the modern nations to which these Biblical names refer, read “An In Depth Look At The Modern Equivalent To Biblical Names in Ezek.38)
The Russians are already a major supplier of arms for the Moslem coalition, just as Ezekiel prophesied, and will be drawn into joining in this battle by God Himself. Russia’s barely disguised policy of becoming the major outside force in the Middle East is playing right into the Lord’s hands. Iran and Russia are well into the implementation of a $50 billion deal to provide Iran with nuclear power. The 10 reactors called for in the deal are supposedly for electrical power generation, but most western leaders suspect they’ll be used to build bombs, too. Some experts claim that Iran will become a nuclear power this coming year, but others think a bomb is still a year or two off. Israel has again vowed to prevent that ever happening, but don’t be surprised if the US continues to back away from its similar promise, even though at year end the language coming out of Washington seems to be getting tougher again. I read recently that Pres. Obama and PM Netanyahu have agreed on delaying talk of military action until the spring of 2010 to give the next round of sanctions a chance. Netanyahu had previously announced a Dec. 2009 deadline for evidence of diplomatic progress.
Russia has also formed commercial and military alliances with Turkey and Syria, and has become Turkey’s 2nd largest trading partner after Germany. They’ve sold Damascus a state of the art anti-air defense system along with their latest generation missiles and anti-tank rockets and are building a major military seaport in northern Syria, in preparation for moving components of their Black Sea fleet there. In Lebanon, Russian Military Intelligence has just about taken over the town of Sidon, spying on Israel for Iran and Syria. Iran has taken delivery of a Russian air defense system too, to protect its Bushier reactor site, first in the series Russia has promised to build.
The major obstacle to an early fulfillment of this prophecy is the reference to its occurrence at a time when Israel is “a peaceful and unsuspecting people” (Ezekiel 38:11). This certainly is not the case today, but in Psalm 83 there’s a yet-to-be-fulfilled prophecy that appears to involve all of Israel’s next door neighbors in another unsuccessful attempt to wipe the Jewish nation off the map. The psalmist pleads with the Lord to intervene and defeat Israel’s attackers. If this happens, it will help explain why none of them are named in Ezekiel’s list of antagonists, and how Israel could be living in a perceived state of safety as Ezekiel 38:11 requires. Two of Israel’s neighbors, Hamas and Hizbollah are making frantic preparations for war and are on record as saying they expect one soon. Not surprisingly, these preparations are being bought and paid for by Iran.
But two other pre-requisites for Ezekiel’s battle are clearly being met. The Gaza war strained Israel’s relationship with Turkey to the breaking point, and as I’ve shown Turkey will be on the Moslem side in Ezekiel’s battle. Public support in Turkey for membership in the EU is also declining, another sign that attitudes toward the West are changing. Turkey’s Prime minister Erdogan believes Turkey’s destiny is to rebuild the Ottoman Empire into the new Middle Eastern powerhouse. He’s getting cozy with Iran and Syria to accomplish this. It won’t be long before Turkey lands solidly in the camp of the Moslem coalition. Israel’s recent offshore natural gas discovery, said to be of “historic” proportions, could create the wealth necessary to make Israel an attractive target, fulfilling the prophecy of Ezekiel 38:13 that Russia will be looking for plunder. Till now Israel really hasn’t had any wealth to speak of, but the natural gas discovery is worth billions, and in the past few weeks oil has been found near Tel Aviv as well. There’s no specific information yet on how big the strike might be, but it could be significant and it already has people excited.
I believe that the removal of the US as Israel’s powerful ally is also necessary to pave the way for Ezekiel’s battle, because I don’t think the Moslem coalition will attack until they’re sure the US won’t retaliate. Any one of several scenarios currently being played out could accomplish this, especially since our national policy toward Israel is already changing. A deepening recession could turn the nation inward again and cause us to lose interest in defending Israel. Further decline of the dollar on world markets could even render us financially unable to do so. The funds would have to be borrowed, and our ability to repay current debt is already being questioned. The threat or actual occurrence of a major terrorist attack could cause us to stand down. And finally, the Rapture of the Church could deprive the US of both the leadership and manpower to respond. Any one of these would mean serious trouble for the US and all of them have a better than average probability of coming to pass in the coming years. In summary, it’s a whole lot easier to see the US abandoning its commitment to Israel than it was just a short time ago.
When the time is right, having recently taken His church to Heaven, the Lord will use this battle to orchestrate His reconciliation with Israel, and on its heels the anti Christ will emerge with a peace plan that includes a Jewish Temple. So once this battle takes place, end times prophecy will go on fast forward.
4. The Ancient Roman Empire Will Re-Emerge As A Political Force… Rev 17:9-10
“This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while.” (This one is a little obscure if you don’t know your history. When John was writing this, about 95AD, there had been five great world powers; Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Greece. All were conquered and absorbed. The current power was Rome, which was never really conquered and will re-emerge at the end of the age, according to Daniel 9:26.)
Daniel 2:36-45 describes Gentile Dominion from Daniel’s time forward (Egypt and Assyria had already fallen) in the form of a giant statue representing the four remaining Kingdoms. Babylon was the head of gold. Persia was the chest and arms of silver. Greece was the belly and thighs of bronze, followed by the two appearances of Rome, two legs of iron (Biblical Rome) and two feet of iron mixed with clay (the revived Roman Empire). Read it carefully and you’ll find some interesting things in the description of the two feet upon which the statue stands. In the first place iron and clay don’t mix. We can imagine sticky clay serving as glue sticking pieces of iron together, but the language describes a clay that’s made of dust and already baked … hard and brittle like shards of pottery. You can’t make random pieces of iron and pottery adhere.
The two iron legs of the statue describe the two divisions of the Roman Empire of Biblical times, Western and Eastern. Today the territory of the Western division is occupied by Europe, while the Eastern territory holds the Islamic countries of the Middle East. They’re the two feet of iron mixed with clay. Both divisions are steadily becoming more and more powerful. Some experts insist that the combined defeats spoken of in Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39 will render the Eastern (Islamic) leg incapable of becoming part of the World Empire of the End Times. But rough estimates indicate that as little as 15% of the Islamic world will be represented by the forces aligned against Israel, and remember it’s only their soldiers who die in battle, not their total populations. And besides, Daniel had both the statue’s feet in view in chapter 2 so both divisions of the Roman Empire have to be present at the End of the Age. The next step will be an uneasy alliance between these two divisions. Daniel’s use of iron and pottery in their makeup speaks to the difficulty the Western and Eastern cultures will have in remaining united. But the fact that Daniel only identified four empires means the last one can only be some form of ancient Rome. (I find it interesting that with the inroads Islam has already made in western Europe, some commentators have begun calling it “Eurabia”.)
5. The World Will Embrace A Single Religion… Rev 13:8
All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast–all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.
Make no mistake about it. Islam is the major religious force in the world today and their goal is nothing less than world domination, by any means necessary. It’s the world’s fastest growing religion and is second only to Christianity in number of adherents. Already nearly one out of every four inhabitants of the world is Moslem, and like most Christians and Jews they don’t really know what they believe or why. I’m no prophet, but as I look into the future, it’s much easier for me to see Islam riding its current wave of momentum to fill the void left by the departure of the Church than it is to imagine some watered down mix of apostate Christianity and New Age Mysticism doing so.
Much has been written recently about al Mahdi, a figure out of Moslem prophecies that are strikingly similar to Christian prophecies of the anti-Christ. Both show a leader coming on the scene during a time of great turmoil on Earth. Both depict him as man of peace who will have a seven year reign, head up a one world religion and one world government, and claim supernatural origins. Both prophecies culminate in a battle between good and evil that brings about Earth’s final judgment. It’s as they’re pointing to the same person. The difference is that in Islam he’s a good guy, while the Bible calls him evil.
Take this charismatic political and religious leader with his supernatural power, add the widely held but incorrect belief that God and Allah are the same, and that Islam is a religion of peace, and then subtract the spirit of discernment that will disappear with the Church and you can see how he could be the straw that a world on the brink of disaster grasps for survival.
6. The World Will Accept A Single Government… Rev 13:3
The whole world was astonished and followed the beast.
The last US presidential election showed how quickly a fearful and disillusioned people will get behind someone who promises to change things. When you look at the shape of the world it doesn’t take much to imagine circumstances getting to a point where the whole world will agree to follow a leader who will promise to bring order out of chaos. Whether it’s Global Warming (now called Climate Change) or the decline of the US dollar, the one solution everyone is talking about is some form of one world government. With the things that already threaten world stability getting worse by the day, how much more frantic will people be after millions of their neighbors suddenly disappear without warning or explanation, and there’s been a nuclear exchange that brings destruction from Europe through the Middle East and into Russia? All it will take is a leader who can persuade people he can fix things to bring this prophecy to fulfillment.
7. Babylon Will Re-Emerge As A Prominent City In World Affairs… Rev 18:2-3
With a mighty voice he shouted: “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.”
You may not know it, but Babylon is being made ready to accept its destiny as a city of power in the end times. It’s just a ceremonial city right now, but 20 years ago nobody even knew it existed at all. One of the shocks of Gulf War 1 was the discovery of Babylon standing there on the banks of the Euphrates again. Now there’s a concerted effort underway to complete what Saddam Hussein began and return Babylon to world prominence. The government of Iraq has decided that making Babylon an international tourist destination is in the country’s best interest, and the US has agreed to underwrite a feasibility study to see how this could be accomplished.
You may think that being little more than a tourist attraction is a far cry from being a center of world power, but not too long ago some of Iraq’s new political leaders were calling for their nation’s capital to be moved to Babylon, too. The logic behind this is that Baghdad was Saddam’s capital, and the new Iraq needs a new capital, more consistent with its heritage. Babylon fills the bill, and becoming the capital of Iraq would be a giant step toward achieving its transformation into a center of power.
Because of Babylon’s current lack of importance in the world, some students of prophecy search for an allegorical fulfillment of its destruction in Rev. 18, and of course many see the USA or some city therein as a logical candidate.
But remember, even though in Revelation 17:9 John describes “mystery Babylon” as seated on seven hills (meaning Rome), a prophecy in Zechariah 5:5-11 shows it being moved “to the plains of Shinar” a reference to ancient Mesopotamia called Iraq today. We can’t switch from literal to allegorical interpretations of Scripture without clear direction, and where Babylon is concerned no such direction exists. In fact the opposite is true.
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. (Matt. 24:6-8)
Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. (Luke 21:10-11)
“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:25-28)
WARS AND RUMORS OF WARS … According to intelligence reports that include all our current wars as well as conflicts where a cease fire exists but are still unresolved, 47 wars are currently being fought around the world. But some reports say there may be as many as 200 additional disputes threatening to erupt into armed conflict.
THE INCREASE OF NATURAL DISASTERS … More frequent and more severe hurricanes, more frequent and more intense earthquakes continue to dot the news. According to the USGS there were 73 “significant” earthquakes around the world in 2009. This compares with 58 in 2008 and 55 in 2007. (Source: www.earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqinthenews)
SIGNS IN THE SUN, MOON, AND STARS … The Magnetic Polar Reversal, predicted by computer model for 2012 is gaining more attention since its likelihood was first announced. While the effects of a Magnetic Polar Reversal have never been observed by mankind, it has apparently happened in the distant past. What’s unique this time is that the Sun is due for a polar reversal at the same time. What this means is that while the Sun will be experiencing its most intense radioactive storms, Earth’s magnetic field (that protects us from these Sun storms) will be at its weakest and may even be non-existent in some parts of the world. No one knows the extent of the damage this could cause, but based on expert opinion I’ve speculated that the combined effects of the 2 polar reversals could fulfill the 6th Seal judgment of Revelation 6 and if the projected time of 2012 is correct, it fits into the early stages of Daniel’s 70th Week that I believe will begin sometime in 2011.
PESTILENCE… Not only new diseases like HIV and SARS, but also the return of old ones like Whooping cough. The big news this year was the swine flu which has so far failed to materialize into the pandemic experts were predicting.
THE LOVE OF MOST WILL GROW COLD … 3500 people die every day in defense of the Christian faith. Run away crime, children being abused and murdered by their parents, children killing children. Murder trials as public entertainment soon to be followed by televised executions. Ethnic cleansing, rape and forced pregnancy, pedophilia, random shootings, the incidence of disrespect is enough to make you sick.
THIS GOSPEL WILL BE PREACHED IN ALL NATIONS … Looking at the state of the world, it’s hard to be encouraged. But as world news gets worse and worse, more people are turning to the Lord for solace. According to some reports as many as 175,000 new believers are born again every day, mostly in Africa, China, and India. Reports of these conversions are accompanied by accounts of miracles, people receiving supernatural healings and even being raised from the dead. It appears that Just as He did at the beginning of the church Age the Holy Spirit is moving mightily at its End. I believe the Lord is issuing a giant “last call” before He suddenly takes the church out of here to begin the End Times judgments.
As you know these signs from the Olivet Discourse (Matt 24, Mark 13, Luke 21) are progressive and all are described as beginning well before the end. Their main interest to us is found in the phrase “beginning of birth pangs.” Natural disasters, the tendency toward war as a tool of diplomacy, famine amidst plenty (35,000 children die each day of starvation and related diseases) and pestilence are described as being common to the era but increasing in frequency and intensity as the end approaches.
It’s true that for over 100 years folks have been saying, “how much worse can it get?” Sadly, the answer now as it was then is, “Much!” It seems man’s depravity knows no limits. But take heart. Though we are in the world, we are not of the world. We don’t belong here, being citizens of heaven. And one day soon our long awaited King will return to take us there. Maranatha!