Here is a analytic thought exploriment for you: Sit down and juxtapose current events (especially the darker side of the news) with the prophecies in both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. I suspect that if you weren’t concerned about where civilization is headed before this exercise, you likely will be afterwards.
If you happen to be a Baby Boomer you probably have watched a succession of popular books and films on eschatology themes (“End of Era” events and corresponding prophecies) such as those of Hal Lindsey (Author of the bestselling 1970 book, “The Late Great Planet Earth“) come and go. A look back through these makes it very clear that nailing down the “End Times” is an iffy enterprise. However, today events are unfolding that line up with ancient prophecies in ways that are both starling and difficult to dismiss or gloss over.
And it isn’t believers in the mainstream religions that are blogging and tweeting on “End Times” prophecy. The Web abounds with fearful speculation on the part of people who are more secular in their thinking than religious or spiritual.
Many people are turning to prophecy teachers for help in piecing together and understanding what is unfolding. They are not so much asking “Is this stuff true?” but, rather, are saying things like “The books of Daniel and Revelation (among others) are being fulfilled right before our eyes. But are we yet in the End Times?”
There is no lack of books and videos by prophecy experts who have tackled this question. One of most cogent recent books (which I recommend) is Sid Roth’s book* “Sooner Than You Think: A Prophetic Guide to the End Times“.
I have read Roth’s book and probably one hundred other recent tomes on the subject, distilled down what I deem on target, and come up with the following tentative conclusions:
First off, I do, yes, believe we are on the cusp of what is so oft called “The End Times”. However, with this said I do not believe we are not as close as some writers and believers think, although things could come together quickly to herald in the “final chapter”.
We are, I believe, at a crossroads in history in which the timing of prophetic events rests with what people (especially believers) do or don’t do. If for instance, believers intercede and begin behaving themselves and eschewing sin, then I believe the Almighty will give humankind more time before the seven year “Great Tribulation” kicks off. But if believers do not make teshuvah (i.e., repent & then do what is pure, right & holy) and get their ducks in a row in every respect, the Great Tribulation could commence in no time at all.
Here is what I am certain must happen that will signal we are entering the seven year Great Tribulation:
Before I get into the meat of the matter, let me share some thoughts on the very popular line of speculation that states a future Mahdi will be the Anti-Messiah, i.e., a phony messiah who gives lip service to keeping the rules governing Jewish conduct laid out in Torah but whose actions will encourage lawlessness. This is illogical as the prophesied Anti-Messiah is a false messiah, and the only way this man could qualify as a messiah Jews will accept is to be Jewish. However, with this said it is possible the anticipated Mahdi could fulfill the prophesized role of “False Prophet”.
Now for a rundown of “what’s coming down the pike” including those specific events that precede and declare that “The Great Tribulation Lies Immediately Ahead”:
(1) There will be a war in the Middle East in which Iran, Syria and other Arab countries will try to attack & conquer Israel. This is prophesied in Psalms 83. This invasion will fail. However, I believe that during the attack an Arab or other missile will veer off its prescribed path and strike and destroy the Dome of the Rock (The one major physical impediment to the rebuilding of the Temple). Damascus will also be utterly destroyed. As a result of Israel’s victory, she will also acquire vast new territory and think herself safe. Walls will come down and a false sense of invulnerability will take hold.
(2) With the Dome of the Rock gone and the Islamic world paralyzed by widespread destruction, Israel will be commence building the Third Temple unopposed and, following its completion, resume animal sacrifices for sin (Check out The Temple Institute’s website at https://www.templeinstitute.org/ and http://www.jewishroots.net/library/end-times/rebuilding_the_temple.html).
(3) During this period of time the world will be in economic and social chaos, most likely due to the Psalms 83 Arab-Israeli war and the destruction of many oil refineries and other industrial complexes across the region (Not to mention nuclear contamination unleashed by the military destruction of Iranian nuclear facilities and any others in existence in the area at the time). Things will get so bad that it will seem as though the 1930s in Germany have come roaring back (As in it will take a wheelbarrow of money to buy a loaf of bread). Stocks and such will likely become worthless or nearly so. And, as you might expect, It is during this dire time — when the world is desperate for leadership that will set things right — that the Anti-Messiah will rise to power rapidly and forge a peace treaty that will formally end Arab-Israeli hostilities (A prophesied 7 year peace covenant)..
(4) At the mid-point of his reign, the Anti-Messiah will enter the Temple in Jerusalem and declare that he is not only the Jewish messiah, but divine or semi-divine to boot (A malignant narcissist whose self-serving evil will dwarf that of his “spiritual predecessor and twin”, Adolf Hitler). This will result in the Jewish people (among others including genuine Christian believers) turning against the evil one’s regime.
(5) Following the Anti-Messiah’s sacrilegious announcement, the “Wrath of Satan” laid out in the book of Revelation will then begin. This includes almost 3.5 full years of persecution (Jews and believers) and the inauguration of a cashless economic system in which only those who embrace the Anti-Messiah as their source and take his “mark” (radio frequency identification biochip most likely) will have access to goods & services. The church will see the “Great Apostasy” unfold quickly, as many believers will be expecting to be spared the Great Tribulation and will be unable to deal with living in the midst of it (A great many will willingly receive the implant and even turn against believers who do not). Apparently, though, there will be “cities of refuge” in which genuine believers who have God’s favor will be able to escape the reach of the Anti-Messiah. [This “Pre-Wrath” perspective is ably laid out in Sid Roth’s book and also in Robert Van Kampen’s “The Sign” (1992) and his “The Rapture Question Answered: Plain and Simple” (1997), among other cogently argued works on the subject]
(6) Towards the end of the 3.5 year Great Tribulation period, perhaps about 45 days before the final curtain goes down, God’s Wrath will be loosed on the inhabitants of this planet. As believers will not be subject to this, they will be removed to Heaven (Parousia or Rapture). They and all the saints in Glory will return with Messiah at the end of this period of God’s Wrath to restore & inaugurate the Almighty’s reign over men.
So, bottom-line — once people see the Psalm 83 war, the construction of the Third Temple, and the enactment of a 7 year peace treaty between Israel and her Arab neighbors (and possibly others), the Great Tribulation will be at-hand. I am hoping and praying this will not happen for many decades yet. However, if believers (and it is they and not unbelievers who stay God’s anger with sin) continue to “play church”, chase women, drink heavily, and pretty much do whatever the world offers in the way of pleasure & narcissistic self-indulgence, the Great Tribulation could be realized within a few year’s time.
The good news is that many, many ministers, priests and others – men and women who have been given the gift of prophecy by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), – are saying a Great Awakening (like those in past history such as the one spearheaded by John Wesley) is coming to America and to other lands as well. Many of these spiritual turnaround periods lasted for decades. If this one does, then the Great Tribulation will (I posit) come to pass in the 2060s.
* Readers interested in hearing what Sid Roth has to share from his book and other sources, should click this link (Video)
YOUR “GET SPIRITUALLY EMPOWERED CRASH COURSE”:
- Go and Sin No More: A Call to Holiness by Dr. Michael L. Brown
- Good or God? by John Bevere
- Breakthrough Faith: Living a Life Where Anything is Possible by Larry Sparks
But let me add this caveat: A lot of Christian theology and beliefs (including portions of the books above) draw on the very flawed letters (epistles) of Paul (Saul of Tarsus). It is therefore important that you also acquire the knowledge and insight to identify what is edifying and true from what is not. These two free, online resources will help you mightily in this regard:
Jesus’ Words Only (Second Edition 2007) (Free online in its entirety) by Douglas J. Del Tondo, Esq.
ARE YOU IN AN ADULTEROUS MARRIAGE?
If you are in a 2nd (or..etc.) marriage you need to dig into these websites:
© 2015 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
From the “sure to throw off your spiritual gyroscope” department: 3 books — 2 free online & 1 cheap through Amazon
Will Islam Be Our Future? A Study of Biblical and Islamic Eschatology (This book is FREE online in its entirety) by Joel Richardson
Jesus’ Words Only (Second Edition 2007) (This book is FREE online in its entirety) by Douglas J. Del Tondo, Esq.
The RAPTURE QUESTION Answered: Plain & Simple by Robert Van Kampen
Few reading this, I dare say, have any qualms about seeing religious extremists who believe they please the Almighty by dealing with nonbelievers, sinners, so-called apostates and “infidels” with intolerance and especially cruelty and butchery, contained and even eradicated (Mandated when an armed response is the lesser of 2 evils — kill or else have more innocents killed).
At the moment (October 2014) a coalition of nations including many predominately Muslin ones are involved in rolling back the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL) whose atrocities and wanton evil are regularly showcased and discussed on TV and in newspapers, not to mention web, blog and social media outlets galore worldwide.
In the midst of all this most justifiable righteous indignation with extremist violence and monstrous wickedness, there is also a growing hostility towards Muslims in countries throughout the world in which peaceful, law-abiding ones are not only suspected of being sympathetic to Islamic extremists like IS/ISIS/ISIL but are thought to be fellow travelers, even members of planted “sleeper cells” who lurk in the shadows awaiting conditions to favor their popping out and engaging in terrorism.
And, even though Muslims including scholars have come out and denounced the extremist evil of IS including their cherry-picking of the Quran to support their beliefs and actions (Examples: Here & here), this is oftentimes ignored or eclipsed by our all-too-human in-group/out-group sentiments (wiring?) which in many instances has given rise to xenophobia and then paranoia. There is something both ironic and paradoxical in the fact that many who decry the intolerance and acts of cruelty championed by extremists began to treat anyone or anything that “smacks of the enemy” with intolerance and cruelty (ranging from subtle ostracism to physical violence).
It is also tempting to filter out contrary evidence within the Islamic world and conclude that IS/ISIS/ISIL actually reflects the heart and soul of Muslim beliefs and heartfelt convictions. It doesn’t help that stories and accounts come out of how many Muslims actually do believe that certain Islamic extremist groups, often dominated by clerics, are an antidote for deviating from a literal interpretation of the Quran or “creeping liberalism”. This sort of thing is naturally seized upon by those who argue that Muslims who bomb, shoot, crucify, bury alive, behead and otherwise dispatch “infidels” in bestial ways represent the real Islamic McCoy. Here is one of many posted articles on the Web that take this position (This one claims that the Oklahoma Muslim who beheaded an ex-coworker represents the “real Islam”): http://www.wnd.com/2014/09/oklahoma-beheader-represents-real-islam/
If this doesn’t should familiar, you’ve either forgotten your high school history lessons or slept through them. How so? At one time the Christian world, especially many of its leaders both religious and secular, sanctioned draconian measures against “infidels” which included torture, imprisonment, exile and cruel executions. What did these “defenders of the faith” base their actions on? They certainly didn’t need to make up scriptural justification for this sort of thing. The Bible provided them abundant material that when taken literally and narrowly applied, sometimes out-of-context and sometimes not, justified the cruelest imaginable treatment and horrific execution of gays, occultists, nonbelievers, heterodox believers (heretics), infidels (non-Christians) and more. Click to read a rundown of such verses.
Historic examples? Thankfully, a chap by the name of Mark Humphrys saved me having to dig out all the applicable historic incidents and practices and such, as he researched, organized and posted this to http://markhumphrys.com/christianity.killings.html (Readers are also encouraged to peruse what’s posted at http://www.heretication.info/_heretics.html).
Of course, most modern (Western) Christian believers and organizations including churches and denominations would never entertain taking verses such as Leviticus 20:10 as (ahem) gospel and acting on them: If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death (Albeit some especially aggrieved wives or husbands might wish this was the law of the land)
But ask yourself: What stopped the waves of church-sanctioned persecution, torture and cruel execution of heretics and those declared apostates, sinners or such who would not repent or otherwise bend their knee to those who held their lives in-the-balance? History reveals no sudden turnabout. However, over time a number of shifts and changes occurred that gradually undermined and eroded intolerance and forced conformity to orthodoxy: Among these, the church lost secular power and influence while Biblical literalism and militant, extremist Christian policies and actions lost steam as more moderate views won the day (And these because to a great extent religious scholars and others critically examined archaic beliefs and practices and even the scriptures themselves in light of contrary or mitigating factual evidence and reasoning).
This is viewpoint is reflected in comments made by Southern Baptist Theological seminary faculty member Dr. Timothy Paul Jones to the Baptist Press which were incorporated in a July 2014 article titled “Why Christians killed and why Muslim violence continues” by David Roach:
“Christians used to kill with some frequency over matters of doctrine. There was the Spanish Inquisition, Calvin’s Geneva, England’s notorious Bloody Mary, the drowning of Anabaptists, the Crusades and more.”
Dr. Jones, the author of “Christian History Made Easy“, also stated that “it was the intermingling of church authority and civil authority that made it possible for persons who claimed to be Christians to have the state execute others who also professed Christ.”
But,…and this is a big but…..this shift was not without acrimonious debates, calls for a return to “that old time religion” (i.e., a church with secular power that punished heretics and others), fist fights and open warfare, and worse, in various quarters at various times.
Now ask yourself: Does all that’s happening in the Middle East — the theocratic Islamic governments who rely on oppression and cruelty and public executions to hold the pot lid down on dissent, the pitched battles (literal and figurative) between proponents of a Muslim religious worldview that is exclusivist literalist, and radically fundamentalist and those who champion the opposite, etc. — represent the kind of “Future Shock” cultural, social and religious clashes and upheavals that arose from and signaled the transition from a Europe that was ruled by clerics and which burned heretics to one of nations largely democratic and essentially tolerant? (But not without periodic lapses into darkness when conditions favored the eclipse of reason and tolerance by fear, hatred and bigotry). I tend to think so.
The question of whether such a complete transition will occur may not be one of if but when. But at what cost to the Muslim world and Israel, the EU, America, and other countries before the dust settles?
Beyond containing militant/radical Muslim extremists, there are other variables at play that could up the ante and the “dust” that gets kicked up before it settles to the ground. Assume for a moment that those who warn that Iran is dead set on building nuclear weapons — something underscored by alarming developments such as this — are right and they do. What happens if a major offensive is launched by one or more Arab countries against Israel and Iran joins this? If so, it is not inconceivable that Russia, which has longstanding ties to Iran (not to mention Assad’s Syria), might seize the opportunity to support such military adventurism. This would surely result in America rightfully jumping into the fray to help Israel repel this armed assault and intended invasion. Bingo, WWIII or, if not something this dire, surely a major regional conflagration that will come awfully close to unleashing it.
A major war in the Middle East, too, seems less a matter of if but when. Certainly a great many Jewish and Christian believers view this as inevitable based on prophecies in the books of Daniel and Ezekiel (Among others). Read my blog entry on this by clicking this link.
However, whether a great war hits the Middle East in the near future, later on or not at all, we can all expect a lot of craziness and bloodshed not only there but in Europe, the US, Canada, and elsewhere before the Muslim world breaks free of the forces of extremism, oppression and such.
Our challenge here in the US lies not just encouraging and waiting out the hoped for transition among Muslim countries, but also in preventing terrorist acts by Islamic extremists and their sympathizers in our midst, while at the same time avoiding letting their occasional successes drive us into the arms of authoritarian solutions…or worse.
Dr. Anthony G. Payne (Br. Anthony of the Resurrection)
Additional/supplemental reading penned by “yours truly”
As a boy (1960s-70s) growing up in South in a world of fundamentalist & evangelical Christians I not infrequently heard pulpit & TV sermons about “The End Times” (Eschatology). Later Hal Lindsey’s books (such as “The Late, Great Planet Earth“) appeared and with this Christian “future think” consumed millions who might not have otherwise ever even heard of such speculation. Lindsey’s peculation proved to be largely wrong but it was still good fun to mull over & debate. Of course, predictions were revised as they failed to materialize as one would expect.
There are, as you might expect, so many issues and problems connected with non-Jewish commentators & analysts trying to apply material written for Jewish audiences from a Jewish perspective (And even the earliest so-called Christian epistles and such on the subject were born in the early Jesus Movement which was Jewish in nature & outlook and led by Jesus’s brother, Yaakov aka “James” which later non-Jewish scholars & such made a mess of interpreting & applying). You’ll find many books that make “course corrections” at https://biotheorist.wordpress.com/?s=books (Just drop down to the RELIGION/SPIRTUALITY section)
With all this said, there are interesting bits of thinking, speculation & “future think” that point to the fulfillment of specific prophecies in the books of Daniel, Ezekiel and others (including portions of the early Jesus Movement spawned “book of Revelations”) during the next 56 years. I’ve pieced these together and laid the more salient ones out below in the form of a simple chart of sorts.
And yes, anything done in the realm of eschatology is sure to be controversial and contested on everything from secular to religious-historical grounds to a blend of both. If what I’ve outlined below turns out to be very wrong so be it. To be honest, considering the horrific nature of various prophecies in the Tanakh and in early Christian writings I would much prefer being wrong than right.
Yom Kippur War 1967 ⇨ Regional Middle Eastern War (Exact timing unknown) ⇨ Fall 2063 (Gog-Magog War – Ezekiel 38-39) ⇨ 2070
Ezekiel 35 war —> Fall 2015 = http://www.prophecydepotministries.net/2012/ezekiel-35-the-arab-israeli-war-before-ezekiel-38/
Gog-Magog war (Ezekiel 38-39) –> Fall 2063
Founding of Israel 1948 ⇨ 2070
116 years – 58 two year terms of office for Israel PMs [1 Enoch 90:5 -as interpreted by some biblical commentators & analysts as referring to prime ministers (shepherds) whose specific rule over Israel begins after its restoration which happened in 1948]
From the destruction of the 2nd Temple – 70 CE ———–> 2070 = Davidic Messiah reigns/messianic age
This bit of speculation on my SCRIBD webpage: