We live in an exciting time. Many Christian, Jewish, and Muslim theologians believe that the world is rapidly approaching a time of political upheaval and natural disasters called the Tribulation by Christians.
Before the world enters the seven-year Tribulation, several Biblical prophecies will occur. End time prophecies in the Bible include the reformation of Israel as a nation, an international war against Israel, the "rapture" of Christian believers, the rise of a unified world government, and the return of Jesus Christ. The fact that Israel became a nation over fifty years ago indicates that the fulfillment of many of these other prophecies may be imminent. The following scenario presents a possible chain of events that may lead up to the Tribulation.
In 2008, the economy of the United States is in serious trouble. Rampant spending and poorly conceived federal regulations have slowed growth and brought the US economy to the edge of collapse. The troop surge in Iraq has quelled much violence in that country and has largely removed the War on Terror from the headlines. As a result, American voters, worried about inflation, unemployment, and the mortgage crisis, elect Barrack Obama as the nation's first black President.
President Obama's administration, acting in concert with a Democratic House and Senate, enacts a series of economic reforms shortly after taking office. Many of these reforms, such as allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire and creating a nationalized healthcare system, further slow the economy and soon the United States is in a full blown recession. The Obama Administration does not withdraw US forces from Iraq as promised. Instead, US forces continue to partner with Iraqi government troops and friendly tribes to press the attack on fundamentalist insurgents. Attacks dwindle and eventually the Iraqi government is stable enough to stand on its own.
With Iraq stable and quiet, the world turns its attention to the other lingering Middle East hotspot: Palestine. Hamas replaces Fatah as the ruling party of the West Bank, as well as Gaza. Hamas and Hezbollah form a secret confederation with the goal of goading Israel into a war of attrition.
A third Intifada is launched against Israel. Suicide bombers and rocket attacks become commonplace throughout Israel and the Occupied Territories. Many of the attacks are by Arabs with Israeli citizenship. Eventually the Knesset is forced to place heavy restrictions on the large Israeli Arab population. These restrictions, together with Israeli incursions into neighboring countries and media reports of Israeli atrocities against Muslims soon spark worldwide protests against Israel.
Muslim nations launch an anti-Israel campaign in the United Nations. Dmitry Medvedev, the new President of Russia and a protégé of Vladimir Putin, takes up the cause. Many speculate that Putin himself, now Prime Minister, is actually controlling Medvedev's actions.
The UN Security Council passes several resolutions condemning Israel's actions. These resolutions also require more freedoms for the Palestinian Arabs and total Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories. Another resolution requires Israel give up its nuclear weapons and submit to inspections by the IAEA. Under President Obama, the US does not veto these resolutions. Neither does Israel comply with the resolutions.
Russia, partnering with its Arab allies, begins to put together a coalition to enforce the UN resolutions. Under the aegis of the United Nations, several nations agree to commit troops to the enforcement action. The principal nations involved the coalition are Russia, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Libya, Syria, Jordan, and Germany. Noticeably absent are Egypt, which has a peace treaty with Israel, and Iraq, whose military is preoccupied with internal conflicts. The United States, focused on its domestic troubles, neither joins the coalition nor intervenes on behalf of Israel.
Coalition forces amass along Israel's borders. The Israel Defense Force calls up its reserves and prepares for a desperate battle. The coalition issues an ultimatum to Israel: Comply with all UN resolutions or be destroyed. The Israeli government refuses. Israeli citizens not in the military go to bomb shelters to await the attack.
As the deadline for the ultimatum passes, the coalition forces start to move. Coalition jets scream overhead. As they cross into Israeli airspace, the unimaginable happens. Fire from the sky rains down on the invading army. The attacking aircraft are struck and crash. The entire coalition army dies a fiery death in a matter of minutes.
The devastation does not stop there. Facilities around the world belonging to the member nations of the coalition fall to the rain of fire. Military bases, embassies, and government buildings ranging from legislatures to post offices are destroyed. Mosques and madrassas that spread fundamentalist Islam are also destroyed. Civilian casualties number in the millions.
The world is stunned. The devastated nations mourn their losses and completely forget about Israel. The cleanup of the debris in Israeli territory alone takes years. Disease from unburied and rotting corpses runs rampant. Famine results from crop failures in the devastated countries of the world. The fact that many of the coalition nations were major suppliers of oil creates further economic problems around the world. Oil wells, drilling rigs, refineries, storage facilities, and ports destroyed by the fire contribute to oil shortages, causing the price of oil to reach new record highs.
In spite of the massive resources required for the cleanup, one project has even higher priority in Israel. One of the buildings destroyed in the rain of fire is the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem. The Dome of the Rock was an Islamic holy site located on the temple mount, the site of the ancient Jewish temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70. Even though the Israelis controlled Jerusalem since 1967, control of the temple mount remained in the hands of the Muslim authorities who controlled the Dome of the Rock. With the destruction of the Dome of the Rock, the Jews are free to begin construction of a new temple. There are very few remaining radical Muslims left in the country to protest.
Throughout the world, there is a religious revival. In Israel, scores of Jews who had lost faith in Yahweh as a result of the Holocaust return to the faith of their fathers. Similarly, the sudden evidence of forgotten and ignored God triggers a Christian awakening in America and Europe. Millions of people around the globe embrace a newfound faith in Christ.
For a time, the world is relatively peaceful. But it doesn't take long for people to forget the events around the world in Israel. In a short time, the world is back to business as usual.
Iraq continues to stabilize and benefits from the upheaval in fundamentalist Muslim nations, many of which had supplied arms and insurgents to groups fighting the US led coalition and the Iraqi government. Iraq also benefits from the oil shortage. Iraqi oil production picks up much of the slack and profits fill the Iraqi treasury. Iraq is both peaceful and prosperous for the first time in decades. This island of prosperity attracts thousands of refugees from Iraq's devastated neighbors and Iraq becomes a thriving commercial hub.
One of these refugees is a charismatic and handsome man who eventually enters politics. This man is from the Mediterranean. He fits easily into the secular world, but is a devotee of the Wahabi school of Islam. He is one of the few remaining radical Muslims after the short war. He begins a meteoric rise through the Iraqi government and becomes the darling of the world media.
One day, the world's tranquility is again shattered when billions of people suddenly disappear. Suddenly unguided, cars and planes randomly crash causing massive damages worldwide. Some countries lose large percentages of their populations, while other are almost untouched. Panic ensues and the world economy is again on the brink of collapse. No one can explain the disappearances or assure that they will not occur again.
The world is ready to be reassured and the charming leader of Iraq steps into the breach. His diplomacy comforts the people of the world and unites them in their fear and grief. The nations of the world rally behind their new leader. Reconstruction and aid efforts give way to national unification. Within a short time, the world is almost devoid of national borders. The leader of Iraq is now leader of the world.
One nation remains independent. Israel has not forgotten the recent coalition against it and refuses to be part of the new global nation. The Israelis are not hostile to the rest of the world, in their newfound religious fervor; they just want to maintain their national identity. To assure peace, the Israeli leaders announce a peace treaty with the rest of the world. The treaty is of limited duration and will be renewable in seven years. The countdown has begun.
For more information, read Ezekiel 38-39, Daniel 9, and the Book of Revelation. Also read Joel C. Rosenberg's "Epicenter."