Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My prophetic evolution

My understanding of Bible end-time prophecy has undergone an evolution over the years. I’ve always been interested in the Revelation and what might happen at the end of time. I suppose that this can be traced to a comic book.

When I was young, we had a number of issues of Spire Christian comics. Some of these comic books were adaptations of Christian classics that I read later in life. We had a comic version of “God’s Smuggler” by Brother Andrew, “the Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom, “the Cross and the Switchblade” by David Wilkerson, and “Born Again” by Chuck Colson. There were stories of people like Dallas Cowboy coach Tom Landry, the appropriately named Nate Saint, a missionary bush pilot killed by South American natives, Mitsuo Fuchida, a pilot in the Japanese navy who led the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Johnny Cash. There were also adaptations of Bible stories set in modern (1970s) day. I would love to find some of these for my kids to read today.

The one that is most memorable was an adaptation of Hal Lindsey’s “There’s a New World Coming” (you can read the whole thing online here). For a child, this was an intriguing comic. It was also more than a little scary. Fortunately, I was certain that the end of the world was many years into the future.

I also remember reading a short book based on the Revelation at a young age. I think that it was called “Out of Time” or something similar. A brief Google search didn’t turn up this book, but it was a short prototype of “Tribulation Force.” Again, it was a bit scary for me at the time.

Fast forward about 20 years. Pat Robertson’s “the End of the Age” (1995) was more intriguing than scary. So were the “Left Behind” (1995-2007) novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. It was these books that probably really inspired me to start reading commentaries and guides to Revelation. It was around this time that I remember praying for enlightenment and understanding for these Bible prophecies.

It was slow in coming, but I think that God did lead me to more understanding. Years later, after watching the September 11 attacks and the Iraq War unfold, I began to realize that there were many similarities between radical Muslims and the forces of the Antichrist in the Revelation. I wrote my first blog, “Islam and Revelation,” and created on October 26, 2007.

About the same time, my brother told me about a book called “Epicenter” by Joel Rosenberg. Rosenberg made me realize that to understand what is to come, you have to look at other prophecies throughout the Bible. Rosenberg’s book, which centers on Ezekiel 38-39, was the subject of my second blog post.

As I looked through the Bible, I found many more passages that described the end of the world as we know it outside of Revelation. There were passages in Daniel, Joel, Thessalonians, Timothy, and Peter that also addressed eschatology, as the study of the end-times is formally known. Jesus himself talked about the end of the age in the Mount Olivet discourse that is described in three of the four Gospels. I took much of this information and put it into another early blog post, “Signs of the Times.”

Rosenberg’s book made me think about America. America is the best friend that Israel has in the world. Sometimes America seems to be Israel’s only friend. Ezekiel 38-39 describes a multinational coalition that is assembled against Israel and that is subsequently destroyed by divine intervention. The coalition is led by Gog of Magog, a figure that many speculate is Vladimir Putin.

I wondered how a coalition could be assembled against Israel under America’s watch. The U.S. typically vetoes anti-Israel resolutions in the United Nations and aids Israel in its wars. If a coalition were assembled against Israel, wouldn’t the U.S. intervene? There is no indication in the Bible that it does. That leaves two possibilities for the U.S. Either America becomes anti-Israel at some point or it ceases to be a player on the world stage.

About the same time, the authors of “Left Behind” released the nonfiction, “Are We Living in the End-times?” I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in prophecy. It is very readable and has good explanations and descriptions of figures and events in Biblical end-time prophecy. It does focus primarily on the events in The Revelation however.

As the Great Recession deepened and Barack Obama came into office, I began to wonder if the two events were not related to prophecy. Barack Obama is the most anti-Israel president that the U.S. has had since Israel was reborn as a country. Obama may have inherited the recession, but his policies prevented a recovery and, with his reelection, will lead to an economic lost decade. While he is in office, he is rolling back American power abroad. The Obama Administration seems to fit perfectly with the theory that America will cease to be Israel’s ally or will cease to a military and diplomatic power. A blog, “Why is this Happening?” on Feb. 28, 2009, describes this in more detail.

Along with the decline of America, the construction of a new Jewish temple in Israel is also required before the events of Revelation can be fulfilled. The aftermath of the War of Gog of Magog might pave the way for the rebuilding of the temple. The Temple Mount is now occupied by the Islamic Dome of the Rock mosque. The Israeli government protects the mosque from Jews who would like to clear the mountain and rebuild the temple. For the Jews to destroy the mosque would undoubtedly spark a major war. However, if the mosque were destroyed in the Magog war, it would be easy for the Jewish temple to be built on its site.

A chance meeting led to more understanding about the Jewish temple. In 2010, while traveling home from work on an airline, I met a Jewish woman in the Newark airport. We were eating lunch and I had been at a table by myself. There were no other open tables so she asked to sit at mine. I rarely strike up conversations in airports, but we started talking.

Somehow, the conversation turned to a blog that I had written a few weeks earlier, “the Khazar conspiracy.” This post was inspired by some Ron Paul supporters who espoused the theory that modern Israelis were not Jews. Instead, they claimed that they were Khazars, descendents of an ancient Eastern European nation that had converted to Judaism over a thousand years ago. This theory was easily disproved by modern genetic studies which verified that Jews who migrated to Europe remained genetically distinct from their host populations and that they had originated in the Middle East. Written two years ago, the Khazar article remains one of the most read articles on my blog.

The woman mentioned the Cohen gene, something that I had never of. Upon investigation, I learned that the Cohen gene was a genetic marker that identified the priestly line of Aaron. Not only had God kept his chosen people separate from the gentiles after a Diaspora lasting 2,500 years, he had kept the family of priests separate from Jewish laity. When the Jewish temple is rebuilt, it will be simple for the new priests to be identified from the Aaronic line.

In the years of the first Obama Administration, I saw many signs that my worldview was correct. There began a movement among the Russians and Chinese to replace the dollar with a new world currency. I became more aware of the apocalyptic nature of the Iranian government. In 2011, the Iranians even released a film that said that the arrival of the Mahdi, a Shia Islam version of the Messiah, was imminent. The Arab Spring uprisings swept radical Islamists into power in many Arab countries and destabilized others, a development that prominent Israeli rabbis said may signal the coming of the Messiah. In America, there was apostasy in the church and unprecedented attacks on freedom of religion and the freedom of speech of religious believers. For the first time, voters approved same-sex marriage laws and President Obama publicly pushed “marriage equality.”

As the 2012 election approached, I felt that President Obama would surely be turned out of office. Reelecting him would be like reelecting Jimmy Carter or Herbert Hoover (although Americans did elect Franklin Roosevelt, a similarly disastrous president, to an unprecedented three terms). I felt that if Obama won the election that it would almost have to represent God moving his plan for America’s judgment forward. In September 2012, I wrote “the Biblical prophecy case for Obama’s second term,” which described how Obama might have to remain in office in order for prophecies regarding Israel to be fulfilled.

In the weeks leading up to the election, I felt certain that Mitt Romney would win after his strong performance in the debates and President Obama’s obfuscations in the wake of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. In the end, less than a week before the election, Hurricane Sandy ravaged the east coast from Washington, D.C. to New York City. Obama’s performance in the wake of the storm, particularly his bipartisan appearances with New Jersey governor Chris Christie, shifted the polls enough to allow Obama to eke out a victory. In any case, the reelection of Obama represented a rejection of Christian principles and teachings by a majority of Americans.

It seemed that the path of the storm may have represented divine intervention. In Parade magazine, Marilyn Vos Savant explained the unusual confluence of factors that steered Sandy toward New York: “On Sandy’s way north, it ran into a vast high-pressure system over Canada, which prevented it from continuing in that direction, as hurricanes normally do, and forced it to turn west. Then, because it traveled about 300 miles over open water before making landfall, it piled up an unusually large storm surge. An infrequent jet-stream reversal helped maintain and fuel the storm. As if all that weren’t bad enough, a full moon was occurring, so the moon, the earth, and the sun were in a straight line, increasing the moon’s and sun’s gravitational effects on the tides, thus lifting the high tide even higher. Add to this that the wind and water, though not quite at hurricane levels, struck an area rarely hit by storms of this magnitude so the structures were more vulnerable and a disaster occurred.”

While researching my article on Hurricane Sandy, “’Divine wind’ swept Obama to second term,” I was led to my most recent revelation. I discovered “the Harbinger” by Jonathan Cahn. I was honored to have Cahn respond to several questions that I had emailed him while working on a review of his book.

While I had suspected that America was on the verge of divine judgment, Cahn’s book pointed to specifics. Cahn found hidden but precise parallels between the fall of ancient Israel and the calamities that have befallen America since 2001. In addition to the removal of divine protection that led to the September 11 attacks, the U.S. underwent two financial crashes that occurred on the same day of the Hebrew calendar, a day that called for the cancellation of debts according to Jewish law. American politicians had uttered exactly the same words of defiance to God’s judgment that the ancient Israelites had proclaimed. The American response to the 9/11 attacks led directly to the financial crash, a relationship that even secular observers have noted.

I have come to realize that the Bible is more than life’s instruction book. It is the story of Israel, God’s chosen people. It contains their history and their future. The Bible is, among other things, the story of Israel’s rejection of God and ultimate restoration. It was not until Israel rejected the Messiah that God extended the offer of repentance and salvation to the gentile world.

For that story to be complete, the U.S. must undergo radical changes. It is likely that these changes will happen soon or are already occurring. The process began when Israel was reconstituted as a nation in 1948. In his Mount Olivet discourse, Jesus spoke of a blooming fig tree that is widely believed to refer to a reborn Israel. Jesus says that the generation that sees “these things” will “not pass away” until the end-time events he describes have happened. Obviously this means that the America must cease to be a powerful ally of Israel first.

America may cease to be an ally of Israel as pro-Muslim politicians like Barack Obama become increasingly powerful. It might cease to be powerful. The growth of government and the federal debt might strangle the economy to the point where the U.S. cannot support a standing army of sufficient size to protect its interests and allies around the world. This is already happening to many European nations.

A more catastrophic scenario, and one that I fear may come to pass, is that the U.S. might suffer a military defeat. A “nuclear 9/11” could destroy the American economy. A nuclear attack with an electromagnetic pulse weapon could wipe out the entire American electrical grid and cause mass starvation. Such an attack might be a prelude to a second wave of nuclear strikes or conventional attacks.

Interpretation of prophecy is not a certain thing. Often the realization that a prophecy has been fulfilled can only take place in hindsight. The prudent thing to do is to be prepared. Even if there is no large scale disaster from an EMP attack, we are still subject to local disasters from hurricanes, tornados, floods, riots or even a small scale terrorist attack. The experience of the L.A. riots, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Sandy underscore the importance of preparedness and being able to fend for yourself for at least a little while.

No one can say exactly what lies ahead for America. What can be said with certainty is that if America continues down its current path it will not only face economic stagnation, but it is increasingly likely that there will be more examples of divine “shakings” and judgment. We should all be prepared for disasters and be ready to protect ourselves in an emergency. We should also be spiritually prepared. As Jonathan Cahn told me, “The time to repent, to be saved, and to get right with God . . . is now.

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