“Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” (Matthew 24:34-34) We began by examining the times we live in from Man’s point of view; breaking it down into the humanistic, the New Age view, the Islamic and New World Order perspectives. Right now we’re going through God’s plan for mankind as revealed in Biblical prophecy. We will finish our survey by studying those End Times prophecies that are in the process of being fulfilled. But in order to understand what’s to come, we need understand God’s stated purposes for the Tribulation. That’s the 7-year- period of time just before Jesus returns to judge the world. It is the time when the Antichrist will reign and rule a One-World civil and religious government.
A Detour: – The Tribulation
Where we are in God’s time now is right at the cusp of the End of the Age, The Tribulation, Jacob’s Trouble. We must always keep in mind that when we are dealing with End Times issues we must be aware of God’s plan for Israel. There is a seven year period beginning when the Antichrist “confirms a covenant” with Israel. That seems to refer to a treaty of peace between Israel and her enemies. (Daniel 9:27) It ends with Christ’s return in glory to judge the world. The Tribulation is a time of judgment and wrath that will put an end to Mankind’s age-long rebellion. End Times writer Thomas Ice identifies its 3 main purposes.
- To Provide Judgment on Sin & Wickedness – This is the judgment on the sins of the unbelieving. Isaiah 13:9 reads: “Behold, the day of the LORD comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, To lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it.” Just as the Flood, the Tribulation will serve as punishment for the sins of all Mankind.
- Worldwide Evangelistic Outreach – It will be a time of extremes. Yes, there will be extreme persecution of believers unto death. At the same time many will be saved. The Book of Revelation tells us that God will provide two Witnesses with supernatural power, 144,000 protected Jewish evangelists and an Angelic preaching of the Gospel. Matthew 24:14 tells us: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come”.
- The Salvation of Israel – This will see the completion of a process that began with the re-gathering of the Jews from all the nations of the world and continued with the reestablishment of the Jewish State in 1948 and the recapture of Jerusalem in 1967. This process will be completed during the 7-year Tribulation, as Israel is put through a purifying and winnowing process. Zechariah 13:8-9 says: “…two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, But one-third shall be left in it: I will bring the one-third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, …I will say, ‘This is My people”. And then Paul’s prophecy in Romans 11:26 shall be fulfilled: “And so all of Israel will be saved”.[i]
All that said; we know that we are not in the Tribulation. However, events do cast their shadows forward. Right now, every prophetic area is laying the groundwork for its near-term fulfillment. “So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near – at the door… But of that day and hour no one knows…Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming” (Mat 24:33, 36, 42) With the purposes of the coming Tribulation in mind, let’s look at just how events are shaking out.
- The Rise of a Revived Roman Empire – Daniel gives a detailed description of the history of the world, from the ancient times, through Alexander the Great and the demise of his realm, to the emergence of Rome, its division into eastern and western halves and its predicted reemergence as the dominant world power. Prophecy tells us that the Antichrist will arise from a revived Rome. This new Rome will have ten centers of power. Revelation 17:9-10 describes that renewed empire. “The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time.” Some scholars have seen in the “seven mountains” a direct reference to the seven hills of Rome. What it more clearly describes is the succession of world empires; – Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and finally ancient and a revived Rome, – the only power that was not conquered and absorbed.[ii] Some scholars see the Antichrist’s Kingdom, closely mirroring the ancient Roman Empire, possibly emerging out of the European Union. The ten power centers could also refer to international groupings a la NAFTA & the EU. There are ten of these planned, in a drive to set up an all-encompassing world-wide government.
- Jerusalem: The World’s Burden – The prophet Zechariah tells us that concern with the status of Jerusalem will become a burden to the surrounding nations and the whole world in the last days. “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples… And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples…” (Zechariah 13:2-3) Jerusalem is fast becoming that burden. The US, the EU, the surrounding Arab states and the UN are all working right now to establish a Palestinian State. To the international community at large, the status of Jerusalem is very much on the table. [Of course you get a very different answer from Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu.] And of course the Vatican is very much interested in seeing East Jerusalem become and international city administered by the Church of Rome.
- The Coming 7-Year Treaty – Look for an agreement to be negotiated with Israel that will ‘guarantee’ her security. That’s the treaty that will signal the start of the Tribulation. It will be an agreement confirmed by the Antichrist himself.
- Preparations For Messiah: Temple & Sanhedrin – Groups of Orthodox Jews like the Temple Mount Faithful have prepared to rebuild the Temple on short notice. They need only access to the site now occupied by the al-Aqsa Mosque. Many of the other preparations with regard to renewing the sacrificial system are already in place. The first Red Heifer in 2,000 years was produced in 1997 to fulfill numbers 19. Jews from the priestly tribe of Levi have been identified and computerized and readied to take their ceremonial place. Temple instruments have been gathered. A species of snail needed to produce a required ceremonial blue die returned to Israel for the first time since the Roman occupation. A flask of anointing oil, necessary for blessing the new Temple, was located after nearly 2,000 years, – discovered in a cave near the Dead Sea. Even a form of the Sanhedrin, an Israeli religious court set up to oversee the rebuilding of the Temple was re-constituted in October of 2004, for the first time in over 1,500 years. (This was the court that condemned Jesus.)
- Mark of the Beast Technology – Revelation 13 tells of a time when no one will be able to buy or sell without “a mark on his right hand or on his forehead”. Until recently, Bible scholars could never quite get a handle on what that meant. Now the technology, – and the nascent plans for such a scheme are in place. The VeriChip, an implantable microchip, or similar technology has made this possible. Volunteers have already had scan-able chips placed under the skin of their right hands. The technology would act as GPS-connected, human bar codes, – able to track location as well as store and manipulate medical and financial information.
- The Forming [Russian or Turkish] – Persian – Islamic Alliance – The Scriptures describe an alliance between Russia, (or Turkey) and several of the Islamic former Soviet republics, Persia and some of the Arab states that will come against Israel in the Last Days. It specifically mentions “Magog…Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal…Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya…Gomer and…the house of Togarmah”. (Ezekiel 38:2-6) These are but ancient names for the likes of Russia or Turkey, Iran, Turkey and many of the former Islamic Soviet Republics. Russia and Iran (Persia) have buddied up quite a bit with Moscow helping with military and nuclear technology and Russian ‘advisors’ already in country.
- Enter The Kings of the East – Revelation 16 tells us that in the last days an army of 200 million will march on Israel led by the “Kings of the East”. It would take the involvement of China to reach those kinds of numbers.
- The Coming One World Religion – Revelation 17 describes a false religious system that will arise during the Tribulation led by a false prophet that will encourage the world to worship the Antichrist. Described as a woman, she is rich, clothed in purple and scarlet, (the colors of the Vatican), and seated on 7 hills. Rome is the City of Seven Hills. Many believe the reference to be to a post-rapture Catholic Church. The Catholic Church under the last and current Pope’s, is leading the charge to unite not just all Christianity but eventually all religions under its banner. There is a surprising door of unity opening between Catholics and Muslims based on the worship of Mary. Islam presents a candidate for the Antichrist in its soon-returning Mahdi. According to Islamic scriptures, the Mahdi’s career will closely mirror that of the Christian Man-of-Sin.
- Earthquakes / Birth Pangs – Earthquakes have increased steadily and dramatically every decade since the Jews began to return to the land in the 1890’s, when there was one major earthquake in the world. After the birth of Israel in 1948 the increase became more marked. In the 60’s there were 13. The 1970’s saw 56 major quakes. By the 1990’s it was well over 100. Major seismic events are now a common occurrence, with many concentrating on the Pacific Rim.
- Famines & Pestilence – In Luke 21, Jesus warns of “famines and pestilences” in that day. I need only mention sub-Saharan Africa, AIDS, Avian Flu, Ebola and the resurfacing of diseases once ‘conquered’.
These prophecies and more are all occurring in our generation. The odds against just 10 of them happening in our day has been calculated at 97.5-trillion to one. And their very fulfillment is crying out Christ’s message to the world. ‘I am real! I Am! My Word is Truth!’ To those who would heed its wisdom it is a call to give up our self-centered, intellectual pride. It is a call to turn from sin; – to change our lives. Come to Him! Experience forgiveness, joy and the fullness of life. He is the only way! Here is the promise of Acts 16:31, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved”.
[i] The scholarship for this entire section is taken from Thomas Ice, God’s Purpose For The Tribulation. His argument ultimately originated with Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps of the Messiah: 1982, pp. 122- 23
[ii] Jack Kelly, Seven Major Prophetic Signs of the Second Coming, December 30, 2006