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March 2011 entries

Let Me Tidy Up a Few Prophetic Loose Ends

In response to my last few entries to "Out of the Box" several people have asked about some of my resources for the things written here concerning end times. While on a trip to Israel I read a book by Joel Rosenberg called "The Twelfth Imam." This book is fiction, but based upon real possibilities given certain scenarios in the Middle East. Mr. Rosenberg documents much of his information. The events are speculative but could come to fruition within a short while. The Biblical foundation is plentiful and accurate in the book, but I was a little uncertain of the extra-biblical insights. I was then turned on to the book, "The Islamic AntiChrist" by Joel Richardson. This book is non-fiction and is heavily footnoted. I did not check every footnote but I did google many of them. I found them all to be authentic. Many of his references were not in the Christian media, but so many were from secular news sources.

Another question that has come up is the relationship of America to end times prophecy. I can't find the USA identified individually anywhere in Biblical prophecy. We are related only to the extent to which we are involved in Middle Eastern affairs. Since I believe we are going to continue to be heavily dependant upon OPEC oil, we are certainly counted as one of the merchants who weep at the billowing smoke of Babylon's demise. (Revelation 18: 9 - 19)  American Christians have certainly been partly responsible for spreading the gospel to every corner of the world. This of course is a requirement to trigger the Second Coming of Christ. (Matthew 24:14) But other countries are now taking the lead in sending messengers of the gospel into every land. Many of them are now sending missionaries to the US.

No the USA is not geo-centric when it comes to prophecy. The world has its eyes fixed on the events in the Middle East. As news comes from that small corner of the world we will continue to see the pages of Scripture come real before our eyes. There has never been a more exciting time to be a follower of Christ.          

One More Word about the End

Here is something weird. You don't know this but I just finished writing this blog a few minutes ago, but it actually just disappeared from my website. I mean literally. I had just finished revealing the identity of the one who I believe to be the antichrist and the page just disappeared. Never undersestimate the power of the enemy. I am rushed to get things done before I leave town with my wife for a couple of days and this happens. Well, with the Lord's help I will attempt again to reveal his identity.

I believe he is already at work in the world, particularly in the Middle East. If it is not him already, it is at least the spirit of the antichrist.

 1 John 4:3 (NLT)
3 But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here.

It seems the president of Iran believes he is here in person. He would not call him the antichrist, but he believes there is a supernatural force behind the unrest in the Middle East that is preparing to usher in the arrival of the Muslim messiah. President Ahmoud Ahmadinejab is referring to the 12th Imam.

“The final move has begun,” said Ahmadinejad. “We are in the middle of a world revolution managed by this dear (12th Imam). A great awakening is unfolding. One can witness the hand of Imam in managing it.”

This 12th Imam, or the Mahadi, is the topic of most of the president's speeches. Even when he addressed the United Nations in New York, he heralded the arrival of the 12th Imam and praised him. In his own country he declares that the 12th Imam will help kill all the Zionists and Americans. Why do I call this person the antichrist while the president of Iran calls himm the messiah? Let's look at the similarities.

Christians believe the antichrist will reign during a period of 7 years marked with war and violence. The Muslims believe their messiah will reign for 7 years during a period of war and violence. The Bible teaches that the antichrist will sign a peace treaty with Israel, but he will break it after 3 1/2 years. Islam teaches the 12th Imam will also sign apeace treaty with Israel. Christians believe the antichrist will murder Christians and Jews during the 7 year period of tribulation. Ahmadinejad believes his messiah will cut the heads off infidels (Christians and Jews) who do not welcome the 12th Imam's arrival. The Bible teaches Christ will return at the end of the 7 years to destroy the antichrist and his followers at the Battle of Armegeddon. Islam teaches Jesus will return at the end of 7 years to tell Christians and Jews to worship the 12th Imam. We teach that the mark of the beast will mean we are aligning with forces of evil. Muslims welcome the mark of the 12th Imam as a way to identify with supernatural leader of their faith. 

There is much more to say, but I will leave that to those attending the conference with me at the Cove next week. I hope this will be enough to at least make you aware of the significant events occuring in the world and be ready for Christ's return. 

Hebrews 10:23-25 (NLT)
23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.
25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.


More End Time Talk

Let's continue what I began last week. I want to share with you things I am seeing more clearly than ever before concerning end time events. Although I wrote my doctrinal thesis on the Book of Revelation, I would write it much differently if I were to write it today.

Revelation and Daniel are Old and New Testament mirrors of one another. Much that is revealed to the Old Testament prophet was later given in greater detail to John on the Isle of Patmos. So the image revealed to King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2, particularly the feet mixed with iron and clay, is often interpreted by the vision of the beast in Revelation 13. Instead of ten toes the beast has ten horns and ten crowns. The beast in Revelation 13 is also understood to be the beast with 10 horns in Daniel 7:7. The problem has been we have understood this beast to be the revived Roman Empire. Since the Anti-Christ comes out of this beast, his origin has been determined to be Europe, probably Rome. This has caused many to suspect the Pope as the Anti-Christ. We have all heard that he has the mark, or the number of the beast, inside the band of the cap he wears. Again, as I mentioned in the last entry, this comes from our westernization of the prophecies concerning Israel and the end times. The Vatican has never been an enemy of Israel. It is the Protestant church who has had our differences with the Church in Rome, not Judaism. Where has the enemy of Israel always been found? They have been their close neighbors and worst nightmare. I'm talking about the Arab states.atmos

I believe the 10 toes of iron mixed with clay in Daniel 2 represent the unstable alliance of military power and relgious fanatics. Until recently these two forces have been isolated because most Islamic countries were controlled by dictators with more interest in becoming wealthy and powerful than establishing a religious revolution. Things are changing. Even American politicians have become engaged in this historic shift of power by calling for the overthrow of these dictators and the establishment of democracy. Don't misunderstand, these men were monsters. However, their replacements may make them look like altar boys in comparison. Someone needs to educate our leaders to the truth that we don't live in a pure democracy. Our forefathers were too smart for that.  We have a republic. Remember, "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands..." What will happen if these countries become purely democratic? Well, Egypt is 85% Muslim. The other countries that are teetering on collapse are even greater. With a vast majority of elected officials in these countries campaigning for Islamic rule national barriers will fall and there will be a fragile alliance of Israel's enemies. Jesus said before the end shall come there will be wars and rumors of wars. Since all prophecy relates to the nation of Israel, the wars will be occurring in the middle east. Europe and the revived Roman Empire will involved only as much as they are willing to be connected with the countries of the middle east for economic reasons. Remember the "Mark of the Beast?"

Look for there to be saber rattling from these new governments toward Israel. No one knows the timeline that these events will take place or how quickly Arab nations will once again threaten Israel. I believe if another leader is threatened in the middle east he may try and save his position by accusing Israel of some plot and unite others around him to turn their wrath on God's chosen people. Next week I will give what I believe to be the identity of the Anti-Christ and the next events we should look for as the Lord's return draws near.                 

"The End is Near" (I thought that would get your attention)

As a child I was taken to a church other than the denomination to which I now belong. The topics for the pastor's sermon, or the often invited guest speaker, seemed to fall into one of two categories. They either concerned the painful and frightful sights, sounds, and smells of hell and the lake of fire or the Second Coming of Christ. The latter usually depicted famines, pestilence, wars and the mark of the beast. Somehow, either Nazis or communists were deeply involved in the story. I often went home afraid and unable to sleep. I think that the desired outcome was that we "live right" so that we may go to heaven. Unfortunately, for me, the booming voice of the preacher and the word images he painted were soon forgotten while the next compelling temptation waiting for me lured me in with little hesitation on my part. The next frightful sermon I heard would terrify me more since I had only given the Lord one more reason to cast me into hell since the last warning. It was an endless ugly cycle.

Since those days I have been equally drawn to and repelled by the Biblical subjects of hell and end times. (eschatology) My views have always been colored by those early experiences at church. I do not want to try and scare any one into heaven. I am convinced that just because you scare the "hell" out of a person doesn't mean you scare them toward heaven. Sometimes you scare them into drugs and chemical addictions. Others run to pleasure or materialism. Still others become convinced they will never appease such an angry and violent God and choose to have a good time on the way to hell. Such was the choice I made. Thankfully, I learned of God's grace later and it changed my life for eternity.

However, what I am learning lately compels me to speak of end time events more often. What I am discovering is more than I am willing to account for here in just one entry. I want to take a couple of weeks and share some fascinating things I have found as I not only study my Bible, but also as I read the daily news. Here's one for example. Because we Americans are very concerned with what happens to us in prophecy, we miss what the Bible is often trying to tell us. We have often framed our view of end times from our western mindset. As I mentioned above, somehow Russia and Germany have been a major part of interpreting Revelation and Daniel. Why, because they have been, at times, on the other end of a gun when wars began. We have reflected what happens in the Bible from our perspective, not necessarily from Israel's point of view. The events in the Middle East today are shaping up to bring about the events we know as "the Day of the Lord." The riots are not occurring in Russia, Germany or China; places we have been trained to observe by preachers. They are breaking down social structures in the Middle East. Structures that have impeded a unified enemy against Israel. These walls that are falling between Muslim nations must take place just before the end of time. We are witnessing the fullment of prophecies  Christians have argued and studied for two thousand years. I am going to describe some of these over the next few entries to "Out of the Box." I think you will find it fascinating.