|Are We Living in the Last Days?|
|By: Dr. John G. Weldon; ©2011|
|In probably every century since the death of Christ, Christians could marshal arguments that their generation comprised the end times prior to Christ’s return.|
Why the times we are living in truly are unique
In probably every century since the death of Christ, Christians could marshal arguments that their generation comprised the end times prior to Christ’s return. Of course, such arguments were wrong. Still today, many Christians are convinced we are approaching the rapture and the Second Coming of Christ. As Hal Lindsey has emphasized on his television show, the time seems to be short: “We [the US] could fall and be forced into a one world government and economy tomorrow… All of this has made the possibility of the Antichrist making his appearance an event that can happen in weeks or days, not months or years… As never before in world history, world conditions are set up perfectly for all of this to take place in literally a matter of days.” And, “The Antichrist could appear at any moment.” (The Hal Lindsey Report May 7, 2010)
But is this really true? Are there events that make this generation stand out from all others, especially considered cumulatively? I think so. Some historically unique features involving world conditions do indicate that we may not be far from the actual return of Christ. Most of these events were not present in earlier centuries. There are a number of characteristics of this current period that seem to indicate the return of Christ may be near and they are principally related to the biblical books of Revelation, Matthew, Ezekiel, and Daniel, though others are also relevant. For example, consider the following points related or predicted to occur in the last days of Israel:
First, the broad outline of prophetic events predicted for the last days in the biblical books of Ezekiel, Daniel, Revelation, and others remains viable—something highly unusual if geo-political events are merely random.
Second, consider the combined weight of the following 14 sample events related to end times biblical prophecy:
- The rise of a great and hostile power to Israel’s far North (Russia);
- The revival of the ancient Roman empire in the present-day European Union, which is increasingly powerful and centralized, although still fluid in some respects;
- A major increase in knowledge and the global communications needed for the entire world to see the events of the last days, as suggested in Revelation;
- The possibility of a single global economic system and global government headed by an amazingly powerful dictator biblically called the Antichrist. As Dr. David Jeremiah pointed out in an appearance on The John Ankerberg Show, today there is a growing electronic financial net circling the earth and providing the foundation for global economic unity. Never before in world history has there been a financial stability Board (created in 2010 by the G-20) seeking the ability to control a global economy. Indeed, if the Antichrist appeared today, there is virtually nothing additional he would need to assume control of a global economic system.
- The technology (at least) exists for “the mark of the beast,” cited in the Book of Revelation, without which no one on earth can buy or sell;
- Preparations exist to build the Third Jewish temple, a requirement for certain prophecies to be fulfilled;
- A dramatic seven-year peace covenant that Israel makes with a world leader (the Antichrist) can hardly be considered impossible, given the endless turmoil in the Middle East that occupies the attention of the world;
- The increasing persecution of Christians worldwide;
- Potential signs in the sun and heavens, something some astronomers have been theorizing about;
- Even the war of Armageddon seems possible, given A) the significant and in some cases dramatic rise of anti-Semitism in the world; B) the United Nations obvious hostility toward Israel; C) Israel’s various failed peace treaties with its Arab neighbors; D) the current turmoil in the Middle East, E) the increasing influence of global Islam and the increasing Russian alliance with certain Muslim nations against Israel, and F) other facts listed below, then the idea that the world could some day, perhaps relatively soon, be aligned against Israel, leading to a massive war to destroy it can no longer be considered the “impossibility” it once was prior to the reestablishment of the Jewish state in 1948;
- As Revelation teaches, a great army from the East comprising 200 million men will march toward Israel. China, now a superpower with the world’s second-largest economy, could alone marshal a 200 million-man army, but other Eastern nations could also be involved;
- Global evangelism is predicted prior to the return of Christ. We are fast approaching this with portions or the entire Bible having been translated into over 2,300 languages and dialects covering over 90% of the world’s population. Cell phones alone are currently used by some four billion people and could be used to share the Gospel message with almost the entire world via this medium. The Bible also predicts there will be 144,000 Jewish evangelists who proclaim the gospel of Christ throughout the world during the Tribulation period, prior to the Second Coming.
- The reestablishment of Israel in 1948 and the 1967 capture of Old Jerusalem, possibly signaling an ending of “the time of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24; but the Muslims still hold the Solomonic-Herodian temple area); and
- An end times apostasy in the Christian church. Note that the apostasy before the return of Christ mentioned in the Bible doesn't necessarily have to deal solely with the Christian church, such as today’s nominal or cultural Christianity, but may also refer to cultures as a whole. For example, there is a strident anti-Christian movement in America today where once there was a general consensus as to the importance and value of a Christian worldview whether or not one was a Christian. Abandoning this culturally may be considered a form of apostasy.
The above and more indicate that we are living in a truly unique period as far as the end times relating to the nation of Israel and the world are concerned. We are called to be prepared as believers, realizing that now more than ever; we may truly be living in the last days.
Below are over a dozen additional indicators, which further illustrate the uniqueness of the times we live in relation to the fulfillment of biblical prophecy relating to the "end times" of Israel:
- This is the first time in history where Russia and Iran have a military alliance and Russia has and is seeking alliances with Muslim nations that seem to fit the pattern in Ezekiel 38. (In the Ezekiel 38 war, it is primarily Russia and a coalition of Muslim nations that attack Israel.) In order to attempt to forestall the Russians from giving specialized arms to Iran, such as their powerful S-300 air defense missiles, Israel is accepting greater Russian influence in the Middle East.
- This is the first period in 2,000 years that Israel is a nation state and has regained all of Jerusalem. Hebrew is no longer a dead language, but spoken throughout Israel, as prophesied over 2,500 years ago (Zephaniah 3:9)
- It is the first time in 2,500 years that Israel is a fully sovereign nation. Ezekiel 36:24, 36 we read: “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.” “Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the LORD have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.'” The Bible is clear that in end times, the Jews would begin to re-gather in Israel (Isaiah 11:11-12; Ezekiel 37:21-22; 38:8), and several million Jews have returned to Israel in recent times with more on the way.
- This is the first time in over 2,000 years that Israel, miraculously, has become a prosperous nation, with one of the great armies, economies, and geopolitical systems of the Middle East. Indeed, most Americans have no idea how important tiny Israel is to the quality of life, security, and even to the fate of America itself. None less than George Gilder, author of The Israel Test, refers to Israel as "a spearhead of the world economy." (Of all the nations that have ever lived on the face of the earth, only Israel has a title deed for a specific area of land given to it directly by God Himself, provided some 3500 years ago in the Abrahamic covenant of e.g., Genesis 15:7-21).
- This is the first time in history that the apparent four major power blocs of biblical prophecy now exist. It is today possible that America and/or the West could be headed toward an economic, terrorist (cyber, nuclear, biological), theological (the rapture, divine judgment), “perfect storm.” America could become crippled, perhaps beyond national survival; regardless it will, as a result, become isolationist. Israel would be cut off from American support, a power vacuum would be created in the Middle East and throughout world, and other nations will rise to prominence such as China and other Eastern powers, the Islamic Confederation, Russia, and the European Union. These are precisely the four power blocs the Scripture speaks of relating to last days of Bible prophecy. (Depending on circumstances, America could become part of the Western/European Confederacy but no longer be a great power.)
- This is the first time since the birth of the modern nation of Israel that an American president is not proactively on the side of Israel.
- This is the first time since the birth of Israel that a nation (Iran) has not only declared it will literally annihilate the state of Israel but may soon have (or has) the capacity to do so.
- This is the first time in 2,500 years that the ancient city of Babylon is literally being rebuilt, having been started by Saddam Hussein (stopped during the Gulf wars) and is now being rebuilt again. The city of Babylon is mentioned prominently in the book of Revelation in the last days, and these prophecies may indeed refer to a literal rebuilt city.
- This is the first time in over 1,000 years that there is a Jewish spiritual awakening toward their Messiah. Possibly, more Jews have come to Christ in the last 60 years than in the previous millennium. According to Mideast prophecy expert Joel Rosenberg, in 1948 when Israel was founded, there were 23 known families that believed Jesus was the Messiah. Today there are 15,000 Jews who follow Jesus in Israel and as many as 300,000-500,000 globally.
- This is the first time in history that science itself has commented upon the specific prophecies in the book of Revelation, declaring that many of them can indeed happen as declared, though not asserting the specific source of the predictions (i.e., God or natural events; in either case something rather significant). "Astonishingly, modern science seems to confirm these unfolding signs." And, "What religion has interpreted as prophecy, scientists ... now interpret as fact." And, "Incredibly modern science confirms many of the doomsday scenarios foretold in these mysterious prophecies" in the book of Revelation.
- For the first time in history, because of the 30-year old peace treaty, it is possible to see how Egypt may not be part of the Ezekiel Chapter 38-39 coalition against Israel, just as Ezekiel apparently prophesied 2,500 years ago.
- This is the first time in history that even some Muslims have proposed the rebuilding of the Third Jewish Temple, the building of which is one of the most significant aspects of end times prophecy. According to one poll, two thirds of all Israelis back the idea of a rebuilt Jewish Temple. A number of Jewish organizations have been preparing to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem for many years. Some 30 years ago when I first visited Israel, I personally saw some of the implements being prepared for the Temple.
Until 2009, it was almost inconceivable that a Muslim might endorse the building of a new Jewish Temple, let alone on the same site as the Muslim Dome of the Rock. But in April 2009 an article was published which suggested just this: "Trouble in the Holy Land: What? Muslim Leader Wants Temple Rebuilt, Jewish Sanhedrin Rabbis Unite with Turk on Common Cause,” (August 5, 2009 WorldNetDaily.com.)
"Adnan Oktar, who uses the pen name of Harun Yahya, is a controversial but highly influential Muslim intellectual and author with more than 65 million of his books in circulation worldwide. Oktar recently met with three representatives from the re-established Jewish Sanhedrin, a group of 71 Orthodox rabbis and scholars from Israel, to discuss how religious Muslims, Jews and Christians can work together on the project." and, "This is not the only similar call to rebuild the Jewish Temple, points out Richardson. Yoav Frankel is an Orthodox Jew who has been deeply involved in interfaith dialogue with Muslims and also envisions a shared Temple Mount. The Interfaith Encounter Association is working on a project called “God’s Holy Mountain.” It sees the day when the rebuilt Jewish Temple will exist side by side with the Dome of the Rock."
In addition, The Temple Institute is another group openly dedicated to rebuilding the Jewish Temple. That there will be another Temple is evident from several biblical scriptures including those prophesied in Ezekiel Chapters 40-48, which gives specific details.
The above and more indicate that we are living in a truly unique period as far as the end times relating to the nation of Israel and the world are concerned.
- ↑ David Limbaugh, Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity; Donald Wildmon, Speechless: Silencing the Christians; Janet L. Folger, The Criminalization of Christianity: Read This Book Before It Becomes Illegal!;fckLRClifford May, "The War Against the Christians," January 14, 2011; http://www.cliffordmay.org/8619/war-against-christians
- ↑ Answering Tough Questions about End Time Events
- ↑ Interview, George Gilder, The 700 Club, September 29, 2009
- ↑ Cf. Dr. Charles Dyer, “The Biblical Argument for the Rebuilding of Babylon,” http://www.pre-trib.org/articles/view/biblical-argument-for-rebuilding-of-babylon
- ↑ E.g., Troy Anderson, “A Jewish Awakening?,” Charisma, October 2010; http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/features/2010/october/29348-a-jewish-awakening
- ↑ The History Channel's, "Seven Signs of the Apocalypse" (2009; one of two or three TV specials on the subject).
- ↑ The specific nations listed do not include Egypt. Although other unnamed nations are listed, if Egypt were part of the coalition it is unlikely it would not be named, given its relevance historically to Israel and the hundreds of times it is named in Scripture. On the other hand, should Egypt become Islamist as a result of the February 2011 revolution, everything changes.
- ↑ Haluk Demirbag, “Jewish Sanhedrin Rabbis Unite with Turk on Common Cause,” Turkish Forum, August 22, 2009; http://www.turkishforum.com.tr/en/content/2009/08/22/jewish-sanhedrin-rabbis-unite-with-turk-on-common-cause/