Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
The Antichrist and What We Know:
"Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour" (1 John 2:18). The Bible describes an enigmatic character who will rise to power in the last seven years of human history just prior to the return of Jesus to this earth to set up His Millennial Kingdom. This character has been called by many names, all taken from Scripture, but he is popularly known as the Antichrist. John teaches us that many antichrists or false teachers will come on the scene during the time between Jesus' first and second comings, but there will be one final world ruler empowered by Satan who will set out to replace and oppose the true Christ. He will be the ultimate personification of what it means to be against Christ. It will be Satan's attempt to mimic the Holy Trinity with the Antichrist being his expression of the Son. In this case, however, it will be an unholy trinity and a deceptively evil son.
The Bible does not reveal the identity of the Antichrist and it appears to discourage Christians from trying to figure out his identity. He will be revealed only after the church has been removed from the world. His revealing will signal the start of the final seven year period known by several names--the Tribulation Period, the Great Tribulation, the Time of Jacob's Trouble, and Daniel's Seventieth Week, to name a few. His identity not withstanding, the Bible does reveal several characteristics of this final world ruler. The list below is not exhaustive but will give you an idea of what the Bible teaches about this final world ruler.
Regardless of his worldly success, the Bible teaches he, his armies, and those who worship him will be defeated at Jesus' Second Coming. "And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. And the beast was seized, an with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh" (Revelation 19:19-21).
The Antichrist and His Rise to Power:
The Bible describes the Antichrist's rise to power. To understand his rise to power it is necessary to consider the context of the Bible's predictions. The best place to start is the prophecies of the Old Testament Book of Daniel. This book was written to encourage the exiled Jews by revealing God's program for them from the time of their Babylonian exile all the way to the end of Gentile power and rule in the world and the establishment of God's kingdom ruled by Messiah in both its millennial and eternal phases. Throughout the entire book the sovereignty of God over the affairs of men is easily discerned. Furthermore, history has authenticated the accuracy of Daniel's prophecy in great detail. Given the accuracy of Daniel's prophecy we can conclude that the historic Roman Empire was not its final form. There is more to come!
Six world empires have existed in the history of Israel and a seventh empire is on the near horizon. Daniel's prophecy is only concerned with the last five simply because by the time the prophecy is given, the first two--Egypt and Assyria--had largely passed from the scene. The last five include Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the Millennial Kingdom and Daniel has something to say about each one but it is Rome with which we are most concerned. Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece have all fallen to history. Although Roman dominion collapsed in A.D. 476, it has continued in a divided status. Daniel 2:40-43 and 7:7 predict a revival of the Roman Empire in the last days. The final form is predicted to be both strong and fatally flawed.
It has been suggested by some that the prophecy of Daniel 2 is from man's perspective while the prophecy of Daniel 7 is from God's perspective. Daniel writes, "Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces" (Daniel 2:40). Later he writes, "After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns" (Daniel 7:7). The prophecy of Daniel 2:40 describes Rome initially whereas the prophecy of Daniel 7:7 describes Rome in its end-time revived or final form. Daniel 2:41-43 provide further insight into the final form of the empire. "In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle. And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery" (Daniel 2:41-43).
The number ten is prominent in both Daniel's and John's prophecy--ten toes (Dan. 2), ten horns (Dan. 7), and ten horns and ten diadems or crowns (Rev. 13). Revelation 13 provides additional insight into the location of the empire in question although it does not provide much detail on how it will come into being and how it will transform into the worldwide global government the Bible says will devour and crush and trample down the whole world (Dan. 7). John writes, "Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems and on his heads were blasphemous names" (Revelation 13:1). Much can be said about the sea in this verse but suffice it to say it likely represents the area of the Mediterranean Sea--Rome, or what is today known as Western Europe and perhaps Northern Africa. Additionally, it should be noted these nations as an empire, touch Israel. Consider this in light of Daniel 9:26, "... and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary." Many prophecy teachers, myself included, believe the Antichrist will arise from somewhere within the European Union (EU) or a morphed form of it. Furthermore, this morphed form will ultimately devour the whole world under the leadership of the antichrist. It remains to be seen how this will unfold. Will the EU eventually become ten nations? Will ten kings arise from within the current 27 countries of the EU? Will the EU give rise to ten world regions from which the ten kings will arise and ultimately give their power to the Antichrist (Rev. 17:13)? Finally, how much of the world stage has to be set before the Tribulation begins? Time will tell and the closer we get to these things being fulfilled the sharper our focus will become. At some point in the near future, however, the church will be removed to heaven by way of the Rapture.
Regardless of the final form the Roman Empire takes the Bible is clear he will arise from among the then kings although he, himself, will not be one of the ten kings. In his rise to power the Antichrist will subdue three of the ten kings. "While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it" (Daniel 7:8). The Bible seems to indicate the Antichrist will arise from obscurity. In other words, it's really a waste of time today to try and figure out his identity. He likely hasn't even come onto the political scene at this point in history but when he does he will likely begin a slow rise to prominence before finally blasting onto the world scene and assuming total control. "As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings" (Daniel 7:24). His assumption of total control will likely occur at the midpoint of the Tribulation Period. The first half of the Tribulation Period will likely witness his rise to total world dominance.
To summarize, the Antichrist's rise to power out of obscurity and from among the ten kings. It is wise, therefore, to forego any needless speculation on the possible identity of the Antichrist. I believe what we are witnessing right now is a world moving and aligning with the prophetic scenario revealed in the Bible. Rome is slowly coming back into world prominence through the EU. Ultimately, we should expect ten kings (leaders) to arise either from within the EU itself or from ten world regions led by the EU. Time will tell exactly how all these things will work out. It is also important to remember the church will be removed prior to the Antichrist coming on the scene (2 Thess. 2:7). Although he'll present himself as a man of peace the Bible is clear he will ultimately prove to be the exact opposite. He will make war with the saints (Rev. 13:7), he will demand worship (Rev. 13:8), and he will have complete and total economic control over all nations and peoples (Rev. 13:16-17). But the question still remains, how might he rise to power?
The Antichrist and His Rise to Power ~ A Possible Scenario:
We know from Scripture the Antichrist will only come on the scene at some point after the ten kings have risen to power. There is much debate as to who the ten kings might be--political leaders, oligarchs, big tech, alien (demonic) hybrids, to name a few. The purpose of our present speculation assumes the ten kings, whoever they might be, have risen to power. Despite our speculation, the Bible is clear--these ten kings have one purpose and one purpose only. "The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. These have one purpose and they give their power and authority to the beast" (Revelation 17:12-13). The question in my own mind is how do things get to the point the ten kings are willing to give their authority to the Antichrist? As I consider that question I am also reminded three of the ten or less than enthusiastic about giving up their authority but give it up they will--"While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it" (Daniel 7:8).
One scenario for how things get to the point the ten kings arise to power and are willing to give their authority to the eleventh king is worldwide instability brought about by a combination of economic chaos and military conflict possibly including one or more nuclear exchanges. The former is coming into clearer focus with current events related to economic instability, the attack on the US dollar, and talk of Central Bank Digital Currencies. The latter is certainly not out of the realm of possibility considering the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine and Russia's Vladimir Putin threatening nuclear action. If the aforementioned wasn't enough, we also have China saber-rattling about Taiwan and aligning themselves with Russia in the present Russia-Ukrainian conflict. A combination of these events, especially the latter with a nuclear exchange, could certainly set up a scenario for the ten kings to rise to power. Ultimately, I believe, the ten kings will not fully give their authority to the Antichrist until near the midpoint of the Tribulation Period. This assumption makes perfect sense to me given the prophecy in Daniel 7:8, "... three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it." This scenario appears unlikely near the beginning of the Tribulation Period when the Antichrist is on a peace mission.
The aforementioned scenario, particular military conflict leading to a nuclear exchange or at least the possibility of one, would likely require an envoy who's mission would likely be that of negotiation on behalf of world leaders (in this case, the ten kings) to try and bring peace and stability to the world. Assuming this envoy is successful, it just might be he is then dispatched to do what no man has, to date, been able to do--solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem. To add more amazement to this scenario, suppose this individual, in his role as envoy is able to not only bring both sides to the table in an agreement for peace and prosperity but is also able to negotiate an end to the status quo on the Temple Mount complex thus opening the door for many Jews to realize their dream of a third temple on the site of the previous two. "And he will make a firm covenant with the man for one week" (Daniel 9:27). "Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard on of the four living creatures saying with a voice of thunder, 'Come.' I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer" (Revelation 6:1-2). The long awaited period known as Daniel's 70th Week will have begun.
Over the course of the next three and one half years, this peace envoy will continue to rise to power. The Bible predicts a short lived peace followed by wars, famines, death, and a host of other ills. But in all this Israel seemingly continues to enjoy peace but by the midpoint of the Tribulation Period he will have solidified his power and become the worst dictator the world has ever known. He will turn on the Jews and seek to destroy them. His time, however, will be brief. "You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth" (Daniel 2:34-35).
"Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will all be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). The Rapture of the Church. It is Christianity's most preposterous belief. The very idea that a Savior from the sky is coming to get a particular group of people, that dead bodies will be raised back to life, and those alive at that moment will be changed into a new body suitable for heaven before being snatch away from this earth seems more like the work of science fiction than unadulterated biblical truth. But this is exactly what the Bible teaches. Jesus promised His followers that he would return for them at some future time (see John 14:1-3). The Apostle Paul described this still future event when he wrote, "For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians4:15-17).
The purpose for this article is not to defend the doctrine of the Pre-Trib Rapture of the Church. I'll save that for a future article. In this musing I want to consider how the world might go about explaining the disappearance of millions of people worldwide. Some explanation will most certainly be offered and I suspect Satan will, in a very direct but deceptive way, join in on the explanation. If millions of people have disappeared and you are reading this article in your search to figure out what has happened, please don't let anyone deceive you. The explanation the world will offer you will not be true. And the deceptive intervention from those who might seem other worldly will be just as false, no matter how 'miraculously convincing' their explanation appears.
The Rapture of the Church will occur at some future time just prior to the Return of Christ to this earth. This earth-shaking event will occur at seven or more years before Jesus' Second Coming. Since nearly every prophetic trend pointing to the soon start of that seven year period the Bible calls the Tribulation is accelerating and converging, we can only conclude the Tribulation is near. This can only mean the Rapture is close at hand. No one knows the day or the hour of the Rapture but the season of the Rapture is undoubtedly upon us. When it occurs the world will naturally be thrown into utter chaos. This will be in addition to whatever chaos is already occurring due to the ever increasing, accelerating and converging trends that are already in play. Those left behind will be looking for answers. Below are some of the possible answers you can expect and the one I believe will be at the top of the list of answers and will be convincingly offered to a world in chaos. There may certainly be additional possibilities not noted below. My list isn't meant to be exhaustive, only thought provoking.
Some possible explanations (in no particular order)...
1. It wasn't the Rapture, because we're still here -- Many of those left behind will have heard about the Rapture from Christian loved ones and friends. They will immediately conclude it was the Rapture. But, among those left behind will be some pretty prominent "Christian" religious leaders and even pastors. They will opine the disappearances could not possibly be the Rapture because, after all, they are still here.
2. Secret military technology -- Kind of far fetched in my opinion but I can see world leaders suggesting secret military technology by a hostile adversary as the culprit behind the disappearances.
3. Quantum leap in the human evolutionary process -- I wouldn't be surprised if many, if not all of the New Age practitioners and gurus suggest this idiotic idea as the reason for all the disappearances. They may say something along the lines of the 'vibrations' of all those who disappeared were out of harmony with the rest (those left behind) and who will be leaping forward in the evolutionary process. Another twist could be that those who disappeared are the ones who have made a quantum leap in the human evolutionary process and those left behind will need to fall in line if they have any hope of catching up with their evolved loved ones.
4. UFO's, UAE's, aliens, and the alien mother ship -- Although I am listing this explanation last, I believe it will be at the top of the list of explanations for the disappearances. I believe world leaders will not only offer this as the explanation but they will be assisted by the appearance of UFO's and aliens which will be nothing more than demons masquerading as our alien brothers or maybe even our creators. They will 'arrive' via so called UFO's that will, for the first time, be clear and easily observable by those left behind. It will be one of the greatest deceptions pulled off by Satan--the father of lies. In fact, this may very well be the grand delusion God sends upon an unbelieving world or at least a part of it. The Apostle Paul writes, "For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness" (2 Thessalonians 2:11). God will use Satan and eventually the Antichrist as His instruments of judgment.
Let's consider option 4 a little further. Hollywood, for example, has produced numerous movies in recent years about visitors from outer space. I'm convinced some of Hollywood's movie producers are getting their scripts from unseen sources. Could it be that Satan is using a mostly godless Hollywood to prepare the masses? Even more convincing than Hollywood is news reports of government confirmation of UFO's (or what the government refers to now as UAE's -- Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon) that began to trickle out a few years ago and is now reported with regularity. Here are a few news reports that have capture my attention and indicate to me the Tribulation Period is soon to start which can only mean the Rapture is close at hand.
1. I've seen the saucers: Obama weighs in as US interest in UFOs rises. This CBS 60 Minutes report appeared on May 20, 2021. "Obama was asked about the issue of UFOs during an interview on Tuesday, the former president confirming 'footage and records' of unidentified objects exist... What is true, and I'm actually being serious here, is that there's footage and records of objects in the skies, that we don't know exactly what they are, we can't explain how they moved, their trajectory,' Obama told CBS." https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/20/ufo-obama-cbs-60-minutes-america-alienswww.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/20/ufo-obama-cbs-60-minutes-america-aliens
2. 'Something's coming': is America finally ready to take UFOs seriously? This article appeared on February 5, 2022. "Last year was a breakthrough time for UFOs, as a landmark government report prompted the possibility of extraterrestrial visitors to finally be taken seriously by everyone from senators, to a former president, to the Pentagon... In June, the Pentagon released a highly anticipated report on unexplained aerial phenomena (UAP), the now preferred nomenclature by some in the extraterrestrial community, which found ore than 140 instances of UAPs that could not be explained." https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/05/ufos-america-aliens-government-report
3. Hundreds more UFO sightings included in latest report. It's not just 2022 and preceding years. 2023 has seen its fair share of UFO and UAE reports. On January 12, 2023, CBS News reported, "The office tracking reports of UFOs has added nearly 400 additional sightings to its catalog over the last year, either because of new sightings or older sightings discovered in existing files, bringing the total number of UFO sightings to over 500." https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hundreds-more-ufo-sightings-included-latest-report/
4. Could aliens be investigating us? It's more likely than you think. "Aliens may be sending us very small 'dandelion see' probes to gather information, according to a news article appearing in the March 28, 2023 edition of The Jerusalem Post. "Pentagon officials wrote in a document released earlier this month that it is entirely possible that aliens are vising our solar system and releasing tiny probes to perform small-scale reconnaissance missions like the ones the National Aeronautics and Spaced Administration (NASA) conducts on other planets." https://www.jpost.com/omg/article-735664
Although UFO's and other worldly visitors have been described by humankind going back millennia, the real uptick in UFO activity seems to have begun in 1947 and has continued to what we have read about, heard about, and witnessed today. I find the 1947 date interesting as it is one year prior to the rebirth of Israel in sovereign fulfillment of Isaiah 66:8. The modern Zionist movement--a religious and political effort that brought thousands of Jews from around the world back to their ancient homeland in the Middle East and reestablished the nation can be traced back at least as far as 1894. By 1947, I believe it had become obvious to Satan that God was about to fulfill His promises made in an everlasting covenant to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (see Genesis 12, 13, and 15). Since Satan is probably well aware of the coming Tribulation Period and the Rapture of the church that precedes it, it's no wonder that he and his minions would ramp up their spiritually deceptive practices of misleading men and women to believe the foolishness of aliens from outer space arriving via flying saucers or something similar. I believe what we are seeing today is yet another prophetic trend that is accelerating and converging with other prophetic trends all pointing to the to the fact the Tribulation Period is coming upon an unsuspecting world. I am fairly convinced that when the Rapture occurs, Satan and Company will be ready to further deceive the masses with a deluding influence explaining away the sudden disappearance of millions of people worldwide.
I believe the Rapture will occur any moment. It could very well be the catalyst that catapults the world into the final form of the ancient Roman Empire with its 10 kings who ultimately give their authority to the Antichrist. But I also believe it's possible it may not occur until sometime after the world morphs into 10 geopolitical regions and the 10 kings begin to rise to power. The disappearances followed by the arrival of humanity's 'ancient space brothers' arriving to 'set things right,' might be the perfect scenario to bring in the "man of lawlessness" (2 Thessalonians 2:3)--the Antichrist himself--who rises from among the 10 kings and to whom the 10 kings give all of their authority.
Will things work out this way? I'll admit, I am doing a lot of speculating so I'm not dogmatic about it. As I mentioned in a previous article, as the fog continues to lift, things will come into sharper focus. We will see things more clearly. In other words, time will tell. Of course, we may not be around to see it as the Rapture may very well occur right now!
The Rise of the Ten Kings
"After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns" (Daniel 7:7). One trend I have noticed among students of last days Bible prophecy is the penchant for thinking about who may or may not be the latest candidate for the role of Antichrist. I have to admit, I too, have considered a handful of world leaders for this role. This tendency, however, is really putting the cart ahead the horse. I have written about this before, all the way back in 2009. You can read it here--Stop Putting the Care Ahead of the Horse. Once you're done reading, return to this blog post because I have some up-to-date musings on this very same subject.
If the Pre-Trib position is correct--and it is--then we know Christians will not be present when the Antichrist rises to power. Writing about the Tribulation Period that is coming upon the earth, Paul told the Thessalonian believers, "Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship... And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed" (2 Thessalonians 2:3-6). Like many prophecy teachers, I believe the restrainer in 2 Thess. 2:6 is the Holy Spirit working through the Body of Christ--the Church. The reason for the restraint is so that the Antichrist will only be revealed at the appointed time--God's appointed time.
Aside from 2 Thess. 6, there are other passages that provide clues as to when the Antichrist will come on the scene. Make no mistake--he is coming. 1 John 2:18 reminds us, "You heard that antichrist is coming." He will be the final world ruler. he will be energized by Satan. He will oppose the true Christ. But when will he come? 1 John 2:18 goes on to predict his coming will be during "the last hour." This means the last period of human history just prior to the return of Christ to this earth to set up His Millennial Kingdom. Daniel's prophecy more precisely reveals the timing of his arrival--"While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them" (Daniel 7:8). The New Testament commentary on Daniel 9:27, Revelation, provides further insight--"... Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names... I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast" (Revelation 13:1, 3). The Antichrist will come on the scene: (1) During the last period of human history just prior to the return of Christ. (2) He will arise from among ten kings but it seems he will not be one of the ten kings but an eleventh. (3) He will seize control of the ten kingdoms--the entire world. There are many other things the Bible predicts the Antichrist will do but they are beyond the scope of this article. The point I am attempting to make is we should be less concerned with the identity of the Antichrist and more concerned with the rise of the ten kings as it is very possible the church will still be present on earth as the world begins to develop into ten kingdoms, whether this means ten nations or ten regions. I believe it means ten regions but I am not dogmatic about it. I base my position on the fact Daniel tells us this kingdom will devour the entire world.
The Bible predicts a revival or resurgence of the ancient Roman Empire in the last days. We see this in the prophecies of Daniel 2 and Daniel 7. The prophecy of Daniel 2 is the account of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream which only Daniel was able to reveal and interpret. The statue that the King saw in his dream detailed the entire period of Gentile history from Nebuchadnezzar to the present day. The first three kingdoms--Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece--fell to each succeeding kingdom or were otherwise divided. But the fourth kingdom--Rome--was different from all the rest. Rome did not fall to another kingdom but it was eventually divided and it did eventually seemingly fade into history. I say seemingly because Daniel's prophecy in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 move right into a prediction about the final form of the Roman Empire--ten of something. Both prophecies along with Revelation 13 and 17 describe toes, horns, and crowns--ten of each. Daniel 7 describes an eleventh horn and Revelation 13 describes a ruler arising from among the ten crowns. Revelation 17 describes ten horns or kings who have not yet come on the scene but whose coming is for one purpose only--to give their power to the Antichrist who rises from among them.
The Bible further predicts this final form of the ancient Roman Empire will be "partly strong and partly weak" (Dan. 2). It also predicts it will be "dreadful, terrifying and extremely strong" (Dan. 2). Finally, Daniel tells us, "It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns" (Dan. 7:7).
As the map shows, the ancient Roman Empire covered most of what we now know as modern Europe, as well as North Africa, and the Middle East. In the past several decades we have witnessed a divided Europe come back together into what we now refer to as the European Union. There have been challenges and Daniel's prophecy of "ten toes of the feet partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and some of the kingdom will be brittle" (Dan. 2:42) has certainly proven to be accurate. The Eastern Leg of the Roman Empire seemed absent from the discussion for many years but in 2008, the Union for the Mediterranean formed at the Paris Summit for the Mediterranean. Its stated aim was to reinforce the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership that was established several years earlier in Barcelona. For prophecy watchers, however, the scenario predicted in the Bible continued to come into sharper focus. The question that remains to be answered, and one that is often debated between prophecy watchers, relates to what will ultimately be the final form of this ten-toed kingdom. Will it consist of ten nations in Europe? That has been the traditional view as long as I can remember. Will it consist of some nations from the European Union and some nations from the Union of the Mediterranean? That possibility has crossed my mind but I do not really think it will be fulfilled in that way. I believe we need to think more globally (although I do believe it is crystal clear the Antichrist himself will arise from Western Europe).
As we seek to understand the prophecies about the revival of the ancient Roman Empire we must pay close attention to how the ancient prophets described it. We must also remember the words of the heavenly messenger to Daniel at the end of Daniel's prophecy--"As for me, I heard but could not understand; so I said, 'My Lord, what will be the outcome of these events?,'" Daniel asked. The messenger replied, "Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time" (Daniel 12:8-9). The lesson here is that Bible prophecy concerning the end of the age is shrouded in mystery--like a thick fog--until we near the time of their fulfillment. In the last several decades the fog has begun to lift. We are seeing things more clearly as they come into sharper focus. I do not, however, believe the fog has lifted to the point where we can say for certainty exactly what this last days Rome will look like.
We know from history that Rome conquered most of the known world of its day. But we also understand it will in its final form, as Daniel put it, "devour and crush and trample down the remainder with its feet" (Dan. 7:7). In other words, it will devour and crush and trample down the entire world, not just Western Europe. History and prophecies about the future have certainly led to much speculation. In 1973, the Club of Rome proposed dividing the world into ten economic trading blocks. This has fueled speculation that these economic zones will one day emerge into ten regions led by the ten kings.
Ten global regions not withstanding, other Bible prophecy teachers are just as adamant in their speculation the ten kings will comprise ten nations within Western Europe that will ultimately become the final last days form of the ancient Roman Empire. The Council of Europe, formed shortly after World War II, included a membership of--you guessed it--ten Western European countries. This organization as since morphed into what we know today as the European Union and its 27 member countries.
My point is three-fold. First of all, there has been much speculation concerning the final form of the ancient Roman Empire, the rise of the ten kings leading to the rise of the Antichrist. Secondly, the fog is still lifting on many last days prophecies so although it is okay to speculate some, it is usually much wiser to take a wait and see approach. The closer we get to the end of the age the more sharply things will come into focus. Finally, be cautious about being too dogmatic on things that are not as clear as we might like. Chances are, we all will adjust our understanding of these things as we near the end of the age.
Now, let's speculate just a little, not about the Antichrist and his possible identity, because he comes later--much later, and Christians will not be around to witness his arrival (see 2 Thess. 2:6-8). First on the scene will be the ten kings. Who are the ten kings? Are they political leaders or are they oligarchs? Whoever they are we can be assured they are not historical figures as the Bible reveals they do not yet have a kingdom (see Rev. 17:12). How might they rise to power? These questions are important for us to consider for a couple of reasons. First of all, the Bible teaches it is from among these kings that an eleventh king will arise--the Antichrist--"While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them" (Daniel 7:8). John writes, "The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast" (Rev. 17:12-13). These ten kings may come to power with visions of world peace, saving the planet from certain environmental catastrophe, or any number grand and lofty goals world leaders have these days. But God's Word says they have one purpose and one purpose only--"They give their power and authority to the beast" (Rev. 17:13). The other reason it is wise for us to consider the ten kings and how they might rise to power is because we may very well be here to witness much, if not all of this process. If we are around to witness these things then take courage--"In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever" (Daniel 2:44). Yes, come, Lord Jesus!!!
Enter China the Peacemaker--or to put it another way, what planet am I living on? I must admit, recent news stories about China's Mr. Xi's recent bout of globetrotting peacemaker tours has taken me by surprise. In recent weeks, President Xi Jinping of China (who just happens to be in an unprecedented third term as leader of China) has sought to advance peace in the Middle East, including peace between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Not only that, just a few days ago he visited Russia seeking to encourage peace between Russia and Ukraine. There have even been rumors he would soon hold his first phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky. What in the world is going on?
I recently asked author and Bible prophecy expert, Pete Garcia (www.Rev310.net) this question. I won't relay the entirety of his answer here but suffice it to say Pete's insights proved to be thought provoking as usual. Pete suggested what we are witnessing may very well be geopolitical movement away from a world where America holds a more prominent role in world affairs. The Age of America might very well be ending and this movement may very well be the initial stages in the formation of ten regions ultimately leading to the rise of ten kings.
Consider Pete's insights alongside a recent article by Michael Schuman in The Atlantic. He writes, "[China's] campaign portrays the U.S. as a nation obsessed with war and its world order as unjust, unstable, and unable to solve the world's pressing problems... What better way for China to prove the superiority of its program than to seek peace? On the anniversary of Putin's invasion of Ukraine, Beijing announced a 'peace plan' for the conflict. The statement was nothing of the sort... But its purpose was more likely a headline-grabbing advertisement for Beijing's ideas for a reformed global order... Washington was cold toward China's peace proposal, but that response suited Beijing just fine. It offered an opportunity for Beijing's diplomats to claim that they wish for peace while the U.S. perpetrates war."
Will the ten kings arise from ten nations in Western Europe which is the more popular view or is the geopolitical landscape morphing into what will eventually become ten regions from which ten kings will arise? Time will tell. The closer we get to these things the clearer our focus will become. The fog will finally fully lift and we will be able to see more clearly than ever before. One thing is for certain, however--America is decreasing and things are changing and they are changing quickly. The speed at which prophetic trends seem to be occurring and converging is something to consider.
Finally, to quote my good friend Jack Kinsella--now with Jesus--"Isn't it amazing that given all the directions things could go, they always go in the direction prophesied in the Bible." Yes, Jack, it is amazing. We'll see you soon!
Pete Garcia and Scott Savell
This Generation Revisited
“Now learn the parable of the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:32-35). The parable of the fig tree, appearing in what is known as the Olivet Discourse, is perhaps one of the most challenging passages of Scripture for Bible students. The challenge stems from the fact that Jesus appears to be predicting a particular period of time in which we can expect to witness His glorious and visible return to earth. In light of current events and the fact modern Israel has been around for over 74 years, I recently revisited this fascinating prophecy. You can read about my earlier musings on this prophecy here.
The Parable of the Fig Tree--The argument goes something like this: The fig tree represents the nation of Israel. The branch that becomes tender and puts forth its leaves refers to the rebirth of the nation in 1948. Therefore, the generation born around the time of Israel’s return to the land will be alive at the Second Coming of Christ. Sounds like a legitimate interpretation, but is this the correct interpretation of this particular passage of Scripture?
Many conclude this traditional interpretation cannot possibly be correct given Jesus’ words in verse 36: “But of that day and hour no one knows.” He said the same thing in Acts 1:7, “It is not for you to know the times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority.” Paul reiterated this in his first letter to the Thessalonian believers: “Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you” (1 Thess. 5:1).
If you have been following my musings for any length of time you know that I believe the Bible says what it means and means what it says. In other words, God does not have a speech impediment. The rule of thumb I follow is, if the plain sense of the text makes sense; seek no other sense, lest you end up with nonsense. I follow this rule in every sermon a preach and every Bible study I teach and every article I right. With that in mind, how should we approach this difficult text?
Hank Hanegraaf, radio’s so called “Bible Answer Man,” and author of The Apocalypse Code (I do not recommend it), believes the entirety of Matthew 24 refers to events surrounding the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Therefore, his conclusion is that the “this generation” of Matthew 24:34, refers to the generation alive at the time Jesus gave this prophecy. Since Jesus gave this prophecy around A.D. 32, or so, there were some still alive when the Romans laid siege to Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple.
Suffice it to say Hank is guilty of seeking “other sense” in this passage thus ending up with nonsense. He is a partial Preterist who is thoroughly confused on matters of eschatology. He believes all prophecy except for the Second Coming and the resurrection have already been fulfilled. Just to demonstrate how utterly ridiculous this interpretation is, consider the fact that the worldwide preaching of the kingdom, the tribulation period, the return of the Lord in visible glory, and the regathering of the elect of Israel have not yet occurred.
Another solution to this difficult passage is offered by the late Pastor Bob Dewaay. He believes this prophecy is used in a pejorative sense in the New Testament and is therefore qualitative and not setting a time limit. He sees the issue of “this generation” in the sense of Jewish hardness to the gospel and their rejecting Jesus as Messiah down through subsequent generations. He uses passages like Matt. 12:41-45, Luke 9:40-45, and Acts 2:40 to support his interpretation. His argument is well thought out and may very well be correct.
I will admit it is possible the fig tree here refers to Israel’s rebirth. However, I believe Jesus was using this parable to say that when the people of Israel see all the end times signs He described, they will know that His return is really near. Notice I said, “The people of Israel.” I believe the Olivet Discourse, though contained in three Gospels, is meant for Israel (or the Jewish people), and not the Church.
The fig tree is among the last to get its leaves in the spring. So when it begins to bud, you know that summer is really near. Therefore, when the people of Israel see all these signs they’ll know their redemption is near. Luke’s account drives this point home clearly: “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift of your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28).
Another interpretation—one I like better than my own and it may very well be the correct interpretation—suggests Matthew 24:34 says that the generation born when the end times signs begin will still be alive when all signs are fulfilled and Jesus returns visibly to this planet. This interpretation aligns perfectly with my current position that with the exception of Israel's return to the Land, we are not witnessing signs today but rather prophetic trends pointing to future signs that will be fulfilled during Daniel's 70th Week.
According to Psalm 90:10, a biblical lifespan is 70 to 80 years. Many scholars agree that the first of the end times signs was the rebirth of Israel in 1948. Therefore, the generation born around 1948 can expect to see everything fulfilled in their lifetime. If this interpretation is correct we must keep in mind that Israel is recently 74 years as a nation. If a biblical lifespan is 70 to 80 years, what does this say about the lateness of the hour?
What does this say about the lateness of the hour? Israel has been a nation since May 14, 1948, sovereignly fulfilling Isaiah 66:7-9, and Ezekiel 36-37. Since that time the nations that made up the ancient Roman Empire have been coming back together in what is known as the European and Mediterranean Unions—a key End Time prophecy. Russia, for the very first time in history, has been entering into military and economic alliances with the nations described in Ezekiel 38-39. Jerusalem has become a heavy stone for all the nations of the world just like Zechariah predicted in Zech. 12:3.
But perhaps the key piece to understanding the lateness of the hour is found in Daniel 9:26-27. Here the prophet Daniel speaks of a pseudo-peace that is coming to the Middle East, between Israel and her enemies. The Bible gives us every reason to believe this peace will be brokered by a European—a descendant of the people who destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70—the Romans. Daniel predicts this so called peace agreement will be forced upon the Israeli people. This is amazing considering the ongoing desire of world leaders to broker some kind of peace in the Middle East.
Although it is impossible and foolish to try and interpret prophecy to fit every headline, it is not impossible to see that things are happening in our world, the Middle East, and Israel in particular, that are setting the stage for what the Bible describes as the final act of history—the 70th Week of Daniel and return of Christ. Given the direction things seem to be headed, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see some talk in the near future about dividing the world into ten regions. The Bible is not silent on that and seems to indicate the so called Antichrist will arise from among ten kings in the latter days. With that, I have one final question: Are you ready to meet the Lord in the air? If not, your time is quickly running out!
When Peace Equals Destruction
“His power will be mighty, but not by his own power, and he will destroy to an extraordinary degree and prosper and perform his will; he will destroy mighty men and the holy people. And through his shrewdness he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence; and he will magnify himself in his heart, and through peace he shall destroy many. He will even oppose the Prince of princes, but he will be broken without human agency” (Daniel 8:24-25). According to Wikipedia, “Peace is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility and violence.” This understanding of peace is passive in nature. It is the absence of war or other hostilities. Peace like this often seems elusive. Even when countries agree to peace terms, those terms often hang by a thread with the smallest misunderstanding resulting in a loss of peace and a return to hostilities.
Christianity affirms God alone is the source of true peace. The Bible teaches peace is possible but only through Jesus Christ. Through faith in Jesus and His finished work of redemption we can have spiritual peace with God (Romans 5:1). But the Bible also speaks of peace in the Age to Come. This peace will be achieved through Jesus Christ at His Second Coming when righteousness and justice will prevail for one thousand years (Revelation 20:4). Final judgment and the eternal state will commence shortly thereafter (Revelation 21). Leading up to His return to this earth, Jesus reminds us there will be “wars and rumors of wars” (Matthew 24:4). The Bible further predicts there will be hostilities and other unrest in that part of the world the biblical prophets were concerned about—Israel and the Middle East. Peace for this region, according to Bible prophecy, would seem elusive but a false peace would come at some future time when a man more cunning than anyone imaginable comes on the scene and seemingly brokers peace between Israel and her enemies.
Once again, the Bible bats one thousand when it comes to predicting the future. This time, the evidence points to two categories of events I like to call the anticipation for peace in the Middle East and addiction to Jerusalem. Consider this article that appeared in The Jerusalem Post on October 17, 2022—Israel slams Australia for revoking Jerusalem capital recognition—“The Australian government cited its belief that the status of Jerusalem should be resolved through peace negotiations.” No one seems to be concerned about the status of any other city on the planet except Jerusalem. Amazingly, this is exactly what the Bible predicts for the last days.
The quest for an elusive peace in the Middle East and the refusal to recognize Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people not only indicates the biblical prophets got it right. It also indicates things are falling right into place on the road to Daniel’s Seventieth Week (Daniel 9:24-27). Again, from the article: “Australian Foreign Ministry Penny Wong said, “Jerusalem is a final status issue that should be resolved as part of any peace negotiations [and] recommits Australia to international efforts in the responsible pursuit of progress towards a just and enduring two-state solution.”
The quest for an elusive peace in the Middle East points to a future time when a man comes on the scene who will seemingly broker the greatest peace deal the world has ever known. This peace deal, however, will end in destruction—“Through peace he shall destroy many” (Daniel 8:25). Furthermore, the Bible predicts the utter destruction of those who concern themselves with trying to tamper with or otherwise change the biblical status of Jerusalem as it relates to the Jewish people and God's everlasting covenant with them—“Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around… It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured” (Zachariah 12:2-3). World leaders are drunk over the status of Jerusalem, and it will not end well for them—just as the Bible predicts.
Finally, are you ready to see Jesus face-to-face? He’s coming soon for His bride—the church. Come to Jesus, confess your sin, and receive His free gift of forgiveness and eternal life. I recently preached about Jesus' promise to return for His church. You can hear it at https://youtu.be/0zr7qkU5O4c.
“Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My plan will be established, and I will accomplish all my good pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9-10). I have not written much lately concerning prophetic trends occurring today. A few reasons include things are happening so fast I can hardly keep up, there are Bible teachers a lot smarter than me writing and talking about these things, and life has simply been too busy to leave much time to write. But I am going to try to do a better job writing about these and other biblical subjects. Maybe this will satisfy the handful of people who have asked me to do so.
Major world events continue to take place further setting the stage for the end-times scenario found in age-old Bible prophecy. Most of the world—and many in the church—remains oblivious to the reality of what’s happening. But for Christians who believe and understand Bible prophecy, the only real surprise is seeing it occur in our lifetime. Some call these major world events prophetic signs, but I prefer the phrase prophetic trends. I believe we are witnessing all the prophetic trends the Bible predicts for the last days just prior to the return of Jesus for His bride, the church. I also believe these trends are rapidly converging. I classify these trends under six categories.
Over thirty years ago, when I first began studying Bible prophecy, we had maybe two or three of these prophetic trends in play. Today, they are all to one extent or another in play. Here are some recent prophetic trends related events that help us to see just how close to the Seventieth Week of Daniel (Dan. 9:24-27) we are, which can only mean the Rapture of the Church is likely a whole lot closer than most are willing to believe. Consider these recent news items:
Aliyah, on Sept. 29, 2022, The Jerusalem Post reported 55,000 Russian Jews eligible for Aliyah were impeded by flight shortage. The article reports about 40,000 Russian Jews have received immigration visas and about 15,000 are in the middle in the process of making Aliyah. “I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’” (Isaiah 43:6).
Anticipation, on Sept. 22, 2022, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid joined other world leaders at the United Nations where he endorsed a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in his address in front of the UN general Assembly. Current U.S. President Joe Biden later tweeted, “I welcome Israeli Prime Minister Lapid’s courageous statement at the UN General Assembly.” Not to be out done, Canadian Prime Minister Justine Trudeau tweeted that a two-state solution “with Israelis and Palestinians living in peace, security, and dignity—is in everyone’s best interest.” It seems the predicted covenant with death is approaching. “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week” (Dan. 9:27).
Alignment, on Sept. 23, 2022, The Jerusalem Post reported on changes that have occurred in the Middle East this year. According to the article, Iraq is in chaos, Israel confronts Iran, and Turkey grows closer to Russia, and there have been continued advances concerning the Abraham Accords. The phrase from the article that captures my attention concerns the Turkey-Russia-Iran alliance: “One major trend in the past year has been the continued integration of Turkey into an alliance and partnership with Russia and Iran.” Let me put that into biblical terms for you: “One major trend in the past year is the continued integration of the Ezekiel 38 countries of Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, and Beth-togarmah (Turkey), Rosh (Russia), and Persia (Iran). “And the word of the LORD came to me saying, ‘Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meschech and Tubal, and prophesy against him” (Ezek. 38:1-2).
Arrangements, on Sept. 19, 2022, several news organizations reported the arrival of five unblemished red heifers in Israel from the United States. The Temple Institute tweeted “exciting news to share about a major advance in efforts to raise a red heifer whose ashes can be used for purification—a huge step toward the building of the Holy Temple!” It remains to be seen whether these five red heifers will remain unblemished, and it is my understanding the actual red heifer, whose ashes will be used in the purification of the future third Temple, will have to be born in Israel. See Numbers 19-21 for more about the ritual of the red heifer.
Addiction, on Oct. 5, 2022, The National reported, “The British foreign secretary has been urged to ‘refrain from taking any illegal action’ by the head of the Arab League after the UK’s proposal to move its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.” A day earlier, Palestinian leaders were on the record condemning a proposal by British Prime Minister Liz Truss to move the UK’s Embassy to Jerusalem. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said, “Any change in the status quo in Jerusalem would undermine the two-state solution and will be considered a tacit recognition of the city’s annexation to Israel, which will encourage the occupying state and the settlers’ radical groups to continue their aggression toward our people and toward the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.” Let the reader note he did not mention the Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem. “Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around… It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured” (Zech. 12:2-3).
Austerity, on Sept. 29, 2022, The Jerusalem Post published an analysis, “Nord Stream [pipeline] sabotage will permanently shift global trade.” The article noted the damage to the Nord Stream pipeline is “important and symbolic and will also likely usher in a new global economic order.” It is still not clear who damaged the pipeline. Some have suggested Russia is behind it while others suggest the U.S. is behind it. Regardless of who is behind the sabotage, it is certainly causing a shift in the world economy and may very well be just one more event that is moving the world closer to the predicted one world government and economic system for the last days. “And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark” (Rev. 13:16-17).
It is clear to me the prophetic trends pointing to the end-times scenario predicted by the Bible are all in play and are rapidly converging. The Seventieth Week of Daniel (aka the Tribulation Period or the Great Tribulation) where God shifts His attention back to Israel and the Jewish people and pours out His wrath upon an unbelieving world is close at hand. The message is clear. Come to Jesus so that you can escape all these things which are coming upon those who dwell on the earth. Although some believe the church will go through part or all of Daniel’s Seventieth Week, I believe the Bible is clear in teaching that Jesus will return for His bride—the church—before this time comes upon the world. I recently preached about this event—the Rapture of the Church (our Blessed Hope as believers) and you can hear it at https://youtu.be/6rgIwMelLrk.
“The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks is to speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:7-11).
Every generation since Christ’s first coming has believed their generation would see the return of Jesus in their lifetime. It is no surprise, therefore, to hear someone point this out whenever someone like me suggests we are living near the end of the age and the return of Christ for His church is on the near horizon (see 2 Peter 3:3-5). The difference, however, between all those previous generations and our generation is the convergence of end-time trends we are witnessing today. Previous generations may have witnessed a prophetic trend here or there, but our generation is the only generation that is witness to all of them and they are all converging at breakneck speed. These converging signs or prophetic trends are just too numerous to list but here are a few.
First of all, we have the sign of signs—Israel’s return to the Land. This sign of signs was prophesied over 2,600 year ago by the prophet Ezekiel (see Ezek. 37:11-13). Furthermore, Jews are from all over the world are returning to Israel in record numbers.
Secondly, the Jews now control Jerusalem and Jerusalem has become a burdensome stone to the whole world (see Zech. 12:1-3). The so-called peace process has gone on for decades without success. The parties just cannot seem to get together over the issue of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. A future world leader will arise who will seemingly work all this out but at great cost to the Jewish people and the world (see Dan. 8:25-27).
Thirdly, Jesus predicted an increase in wars, rumors of wars, famines, and earthquakes (see Matt. 24). He also predicted an increase in deception and warned three different times to see to it that no one deceives you. We live in an age of remarkable misinformation, disinformation and outright lies. It is important we know what we believe and why we believe it and that we keep our eyes on Jesus so that we are not deceived in these last days.
Fourthly, we are witnessing the rise of global government. This trend has picked up steam in recent years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Bible, this rise in global government will one day coalesce under ten political leaders who will ultimately give their power to an individual the likes of which the world has never before witnessed (see Dan. 7:7-8; Rev. 13).
Fifthly, the good news of the Gospel has spread around the world. Jesus predicted the Gospel would be preached to every nation before the end (see Matt. 24:14). Furthermore, John predicted God would even use an angel if necessary (see Rev. 14:6-7). Our generation is the only generation that can honestly say this gospel has gone out into all the world.
These are just a few of the many signs the Bible predicts for the last days just prior to the return of Christ for His church. Others include the rebuilding of the Third Temple in Jerusalem, the total breakdown of society, a return to the days of Noah (days of perversion), and the alignment of nations for the last days. This is not an exhaustive list, but these are signs or trends we are witnessing today which, along with the previous five, are all converging together. Folks, Jesus is coming soon!
So, if all these things are true and the end is indeed a whole lot closer than most folks are willing to consider and believe, what should we do? Peter tells us to do three things. First of all, we are to live holy lives by purifying our minds, pursuing holiness, and practicing prayer (1 Pet. 4:7). Secondly, we are to live humbly by loving others, forgiving one another, and serving all (1 Pet. 4:8-10). Finally, we are to live heavenward by focusing on God’s purposes, serving in His strength, and bringing Him glory (1 Pet. 4:11). In other words, as God’s people, we are to live in light of the Lord’s soon return!
The God Who Laughs
“Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). No one can possibly fail to see the lawlessness that pervades our society today. On Tuesday, the nation watched as FBI Director James Comey laid out the case against Hillary Clinton for her total disregard for Federal Law and common sense over her handling of classified information. I don’t know about you but I sat in stunned disbelief as he announced there would be no recommendation for an indictment. As one who holds a TOP SECRET National Security Clearance, I am sure I would already be in jail had I been found to have mishandled only a fraction of the classified information Mrs. Clinton and her staff mishandled. One thing is for sure, there is no longer such a thing as the rule of law. Lawlessness is now firmly entrenched in our society and world.
Jesus foretold this lawlessness in Matthew as one of the signs leading up to His return to this world. I do not believe He is referring to lawlessness in a purely civil sense. I am sure He has in mind lawlessness as it relates to God’s law, as well. Consider how far we have come as a society in just a few short years. That which the Bible clearly calls evil society now calls good. Religious freedom, something not necessarily promised to us in Scripture, is now a thing of the past. Anyone who disagrees or takes a stand on purely religious conviction is shunned, ostracized, and destroyed. To me, it is like a giant whirlpool sucking everything and everyone towards the center of the vortex. I witnessed one such whirlpool as I sailed from Alaska to Washington a few years ago. As the outgoing tide increased in velocity it caused the waters of the intercostal waterway to begin to rotate until it looked something like the picture above. I am thankful the ferryboat captain chose to steer clear of this whirling vortex rather than sail through it. Such a picture is an excellent illustration of how lawlessness works. Society moves further and further away from God and morality at a faster and ever tightening pace.
Lawlessness, according to Scripture, will abound in the last days. Lawlessness, properly understood, is a life of disobedience to the law of God—a deliberate trampling upon His law. It is mankind’s contempt for God and his decision to do as he pleases. The Psalmist writes, “The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying ‘Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!’” (Psalm 2:2-3). Such is the irony of man’s rebellion—devising, conspiring, and scheming against God and His ways. The Bible, however, reveals God’s response to such foolishness. “He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying, “But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain” (Psalm 2:4-6).
I can almost hear the Lord saying, “Scorn My law all you want to but there is a payday coming and it is coming very soon for My Son will soon return and establish His Kingdom which He will rule with a rod of iron and destroy all those who do evil.” Perhaps this is why the Psalmist writes a few verses later, “Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” (Psalm 2:12) I do not know about you but as the tide of lawlessness rolls over the world and the rotating vortex of destruction sucks in anything and everything it can, I am taking refuge in Jesus. I would encourage you to do the same. The world is on a collision course to meet the God of the universe face-to-face. It will not be pretty. John writes, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds… And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15). How will you fare when you meet God face-to-face? Will you perish in the way, as the Psalmist writes, or will you join Christ upon Zion—His holy mountain?
2013 Pre-Trib Study Group
I've been enjoying day 1 of the 2013 Pre-Trib Study Group. As in previous years, the conference is occuring at the Sheraton DFW Hotel in Irving. So far, it has been outstanding. Although I will write a fuller report at a later time, suffice it to say the topic--the significance of the modern State of Israel--is spot on. You can read the papers for yourself at www.pre-trib.org/conference/papers.
You are welcome to leave comments and you don't have to necessarily agree with me. However, I expect a civil tone and charitable spirit. We can disagree with one another without being disagreeable. "Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt." (Colossians 4:6)
Striving to glorify God by becoming more like Jesus.
Copyright 2023. All rights reserved.