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Seven Major Prophetic Signs Of The Second Coming
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
There are seven major prophetic signs of the Second Coming, and ever since we started tracking them all seven have been in some stage of fulfillment. As in years past, I'll list the seven with their primary biblical references and offer commentary from current events.
1. Israel Will Be In The Land... Ezekiel 38:8
After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety.
In 1948, when Israel took its place among the nations of the world again for the first time in nearly 2000 years, students of prophecy recognized the fulfillment of the primary sign that the end of the age was upon us. Ezekiel had predicted this would happen and in effect Jesus had said that the generation being born when it happened would still be alive when He returned (Matt. 24:34) because the things He gave as signs of His impending return require that Israel be a nation in its historical land with a functioning Temple.
The fulfillment of this prophecy caused another reaction as well. Satan reads prophecy too, and began exerting his influence on world leaders in his continuing effort to thwart the plan of God. As a result, Israel has fought six major wars in the last 58 years, each of them an attempt to erase the Jewish Homeland from the face of the Earth. And it's clear that this effort will continue, with the biggest battle of all looming on the horizon, foretold by Ezekiel in chapters 38-39. Israel's enemies, both physical and spiritual, won't let up until they've either succeeded (their view) or been destroyed (God's view).
Although US and Israeli leaders promised that abandoning Gaza in 2005 would improve the nation's security, the opposite has happened. As those opposed to the abandonment predicted, Gaza has become a major center for terrorist activity and there's mounting pressure from the military to take it back.
Even so, there's now serious talk of repeating this mistake in the West Bank and parts of Jerusalem, all in the name of Palestinian statehood. In the political sense there are good reasons for pursuing this strategy, even considering its dangers. First, with their high birth rate, Israel's Arab population could actually achieve an electoral majority position in another generation and effectively vote Israel out of existence. So having their own state preserves Israel's Jewish majority. And second, if the Palestinians become a sovereign nation, Israel will have a legal entity with internationally recognized borders to hold responsible for preventing cross border attacks against it.
The real issue, of course, is religious not political. God made it clear that while the land He was giving to Israel would be theirs to use, He would always be its real owner. They were not permitted to permanently dispose of it. (Lev. 25:23-24) In case of an existential threat, they should turn to Him for protection. But they haven't and in the past few years we've seen the weakening effect each effort to trade land for peace has had. As hard as it is to watch, we know this has to happen in order to put Israel into a position where only God can help when the inevitable consequences of their appeasement strategies present themselves. Then they'll have to turn to Him for help.
And help He will, because the God of Israel has also said. "I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them," says the LORD your God. (Amos 9:14-15)
2. Jerusalem Will Be In Jewish Hands... Luke 21:24
They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
The Lord prophesied that the reunification of Jerusalem as a Jewish City would be a sign that foreign (gentile) influence over His land, and indeed the world, was about to end. With the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, prophecy experts saw another major sign being fulfilled, although as we'll see this gentile trampling won't be completely over till the 2nd Coming. Even so, the almost world wide effort to take the city apart again is in essence a battle of wills; the Will of God vs. the will of man.
Until recently every Israeli politician has stood firmly on a pledge to keep Jerusalem united forever as Israel's capital. But then former Prime Minister Sharon said that he'd consider abandoning parts of the eastern suburbs to achieve peace, and Ehud Olmert has hinted at following through on Sharon's proposals. There's even talk of turning the Temple Mount over to Jordanian custody with an international overseer composed of the UN, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Because sentiment in Israel's influential religious community runs strongly against this, the government has denied any talk of giving up the Temple Mount. But non-religious sources, including some among the Palestinians, insist that it's a “done deal.” If so we might not have long to wait to see if a theory first proposed by Clarence Larkin over 100 years ago is valid. A distinguishing feature of the treaty that begins Daniel's 70th week is permission to built a Temple in Israel. Larkin suggested that a correct understanding of Ezekiel 40-48 requires that Israel's 3rd Temple be built in Shiloh, not Jerusalem. I first became convinced of the validity of Larkin's position about 10 years ago, and have been pleased to learn that at least a few other prophecy scholars agree. If we're correct, the status of the current Temple mount will soon become a non-issue.
In any case, support for the idea that Jerusalem will be undivided during the 70th week can be found in Zechariah 14:2 which says that in the battle leading up to the Lord's return, the city will be captured and half its people will go into exile, but the rest will not be taken from it. There's also a hint that the Palestinian question will be resolved after the Battle of Ezekiel 38, because the area chosen for the burial of the enemy soldiers appears to be the valley at the bottom of the Old Jericho Road, near the Temptation wilderness. It's described as being in Israel in Ezekiel 39:11 but today it's part of the Palestinian West Bank Traditionally, they call it the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
From all this we can reasonably conclude that if whatever happens to the Holy Land and its Capitol City in the next year or so includes dividing them between Israel and the Palestinians, it'll only be temporary.
The fulfillment of these two major prophecies concerning Israel has caused confusion in the minds of some commentators. It centers around an incorrect interpretation of Matt. 24:34, that all end times prophecies are to be fulfilled within a generation, nominally 40 years, of Israel's re-gathering in 1948. That error made 1988 seem like the likely time for the End. But when 1988 came and went scholars focused on the Jerusalem date, 1967, and began adding 40 years to that, advancing their predictions to 2007 even though the Jerusalem prophecy won't be completely fulfilled until the 2nd Coming. As of this year, that deadline has also passed.
But the Lord didn't promise that all end times prophecies would be fulfilled within a generation of their beginning, only that the generation of people being born at the time of the first of the signs would still be alive to see their completion. According to Psalm 90:10 an average Biblical life span is 70 years, so if you begin with 1948, predicting the approximate time of the End requires the addition of 70 years, not 40. And remember, the culmination of End Times prophecies is the Second Coming, not the Rapture of the Church, which precedes it by at least 7 years.
3. A Moslem Coalition Armed And Led By Russia Will Attack The Holy Land... Ezek. 38:2-6
"Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army--your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops--the many nations with you."
(For a more detailed explanation of the modern equivalents to these biblical names, read "An In Depth Look At The Modern Equivalent To Biblical Names in Ezek.38) It's in the Ikvot directory.
Over 130 historical references make it plain that Magog stands for modern Russia, and the other countries named here form a coalition based on their common religion, Islam. (Today Russia is 30% Moslem and growing.) Among them are Iran, several North African countries, Eastern European countries along the Danube, and the Turkic nations of Asia Minor. A quick look at a world map will reveal that these areas are home to some of the most violent Islamic terrorist groups.
In 2007 there were several items of note is this category. Russia's continuing effort to re-establish itself as a force to be reckoned with is becoming more obvious with some in the West calling it a return to cold war conditions. Plans for re-locating its Black Sea fleet to the Mediterranean with headquarters in Northern Syria, the sale of even more advanced anti-air defenses to Syria and Iran, and the long delayed delivery of nuclear fuel rods to Iran's Busheir reactor are notable, as is it's claim to the North Pole, which if legal would make Russia the world's largest holder of oil reserves. The Russians are already a major supplier of arms for the Moslem coalition, just as Ezekiel prophesied, and will be drawn into joining in this battle by God Himself. Russia's barely disguised policy of becoming the major outside force in the Middle East is playing right into the Lord's hands.
Turkey is also flexing its muscles, crossing the border into Iraq recently to hammer the Kurds. This is something Iran has an interest in as well, since what the Kurds want is their home land, some of which in in Iran. Earlier this year it was reported that Iran was helping with weaponry and intelligence.
Russia has already formed commercial and military alliances with Turkey and Syria, becoming Turkey's 2nd largest trading partner after Germany. Since recent polls show a dramatic decrease in public support among Turks for EU membership, Russia has been quickly moving to bring Turkey under its influence, a shift that could help cause Turkey to abandon the West and line up with the Moslem coalition as Ezekiel foretold.
But the big news has to be the about face that the US has taken. From being on the very brink of an attack against Iran, and making no attempt to keep it secret, the US has suddenly decided that there's no Iranian nuclear threat and called the whole thing off. Immediately Russia stepped up its cooperation with Iran, and Saudi Arabia quickly became friends as well.
The public word is that the US and Iran have made a deal brokered by Saudi Arabia that in exchange for Iran no longer sending arms and explosives into Iraq and Afghanistan, the US would "remember" that Iran abandoned the military part of its nuclear program back in 2003 and call off plans to attack Iran. Israel has confirmed that the 2003 halt took place but swears they can prove it was just a pause while Iran relocated their program into secret facilities away from prying eyes. The rest of the world is still wondering just what to make of this, but agree it doesn't look good for Israel.
Suddenly, what we were thinking would take a huge terrorist attack, the meltdown of our economy, or the rapture of the Church may be happening without a whimper, as the US seems to be abandoning its commitment to stand against Iran for Israel's protection. All that's missing now is for something to happen to make Israel believe they've finally achieved peace with their neighbors and can relax their state of readiness. To this end, Pres. Bush is scheduled to be in the Middle East next month in a personal effort to accomplish what his predecessors could not, and that's to bring peace to the Middle East. With the exception of Iran, every leader involved is weak and desperate, so there's no telling what will happen.
But it appears likely that a false peace could soon come to pass, leaving Israel all set up for the battle of Ezekiel 38 by its supposed peace partners. When the time is right, having recently taken His church to Heaven, the Lord will use this battle to orchestrate His reconciliation with Israel, and on its heels the anti Christ will emerge with a peace plan that includes a Jewish Temple.
4. The Ancient Roman Empire Will Re-Emerge As A Political Force... Rev 17:9-10
"This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while." (This one is a little obscure if you don't know your history. When John was writing this, about 95AD, there had been five great world powers; Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Greece. All were conquered and absorbed. The current power was Rome, which was never really conquered and will re-emerge at the end of the age, according to Daniel 9:26.)
Daniel 2:36-45 describes Gentile Dominion from Daniel's time forward (Egypt and Assyria had already fallen) in the form of a giant statue. Read it carefully and you'll find some interesting things in the description of the feet of iron mixed with clay, representing the revived Roman Empire of our time. In the first place the two don't mix. We can imagine soft clay serving as glue sticking pieces of iron together, but the language describes a clay that's made of dust and already baked ... hard and brittle like shards of pottery. You can't make random pieces of iron and pottery adhere. They'll keep falling apart.
In 2005 the EU constitution vote was defeated as one more example of how the EU has had trouble sticking together just as Daniel prophesied. Half-hearted efforts to revive it in 2006 bore no fruit. The Treaty of Lisbon, signed just this month is another, more serious attempt to get it passed, and will likely be ratified. If so, the EU will have a single president, consolidated embassies, a peace keeping force, and will look ever more like a single entity.
Similar multi-national consolidations are in some stage of formation in North America, South America, Africa, the Far East, and the Moslem Middle East. Eventually the world will consist of a total of 10 of these regional governments, each with its own president, but all under the supervision of a single world leader, just as John said. (Rev. 17:12)
Prophecy buffs who've been watching the EU for years, seeing it as the fulfillment of Daniel 2, are beginning to remember that Daniel's vision of the Roman Empire had two legs. They appeared in history as the eastern and western divisions, the eastern leg situated on land that's occupied today by the nations of the Moslem Middle East. Its capitol was Constantinople, which is also a city on seven hills. With the growth and prominence of Islam increasing, and with its goals of world domination a well known fact, it's looking like this eastern leg will fulfill Daniel's prophecy along side the western one. Remember, the 10 toes, representing the ten nation confederacy, come from two feet. And with Shiite prophecies of al Mahdi being so similar to Christian ones of the anti-Christ, we may have to re-think the traditional western view of the coming one-world government. It could just a easily be a world wide Islamic Caliphate.
5. The World Will Embrace A Single Religion... Rev 13:8
All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast--all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.
The one world religion idea has been around for most of our generation, often under the guise of ecumenism. As the liberal denominations continue watering down their theology there are fewer things keeping them apart. Now some Evangelical leaders are questioning whether Jesus is really the only way to salvation. The flirtation between certain Evangelical groups and the Catholic Church is interesting, as is the dialog between the Pope and Leaders of Islam, and their common devotion to Mary. The Catholic Church is one of the richest organizations on the planet with over 1 billion members on 6 continents, and clearly thinks of itself as the world's dominant religious group. It's no secret that the Catholic church is posturing itself to be a major player in End times events.
But make no mistake about it. The rise of radical Islam is the chief threat to world peace today and their goal is nothing less than world domination. Their god is not the God of the Bible, and their fight with Jews and Christians actually began in the 7th Century AD when the Jews rejected Mohammed's offer of consolidation. Prior to that time he had counseled his followers to respect and befriend the Jewish people, but when they refused to join his religion, he declared jihad (holy war) against them. Christians were included 400 years later as a result of the Crusades.
Currently nearly one out of five inhabitants of the world is Moslem, and like most Christians and Jews don't really know what they believe or why. Ignorance and misinformation are primary tools of the devil so I would urge all thinking people to really study the origin and goals of Islam. It will soon be the world's most popular religion, and after the removal of Evangelical Christians in the Rapture could easily be the foundation on which the one world religion is built.
In 2 Thes. 2:7 Paul wrote that the secret power of lawlessness was already at work in the world but that the One who holds it back would continue to do so until He is taken out of the way (out of the midst). Understand that Paul wasn't referring to man's disregard for the law here, but rather to his refusal to accept the truth. In New Testament Greek the word for unbelief is also translated disobedience. God's view is that there's just too much clear evidence of His existence for anyone not to believe in Him. Therefore so-called unbelievers are really disobeying by refusing to believe.
In 1 Tim 4:1 Paul warned us of the doctrines of demons and in 2 Tim 4:3-4 of the growing popularity of mythology as being part and parcel of this end times religion. This is the lawlessness Paul was writing about. Having rejected the truth, those left after the Rapture will be ripe for the Great Lie of 2 Thes 2:9 to fill the need every man has to believe in something greater than himself. All it will take is for a charismatic religious leader to emerge, a leader powerful enough to bring all those who are left behind into one counterfeit religion.
Much has been written this year about al Mahdi, a manifestation of Shiite Moslem prophecy that is strikingly similar to Christian prophecies of the anti-Christ. Both come on the scene during a time of great turmoil on Earth, both come claiming a desire to restore peace, both have a seven year reign, both head a one world religion and one world government, both claim supernatural origins, and both reigns end in a battle between good and evil that brings about Earth's final judgment.
Islam is the world's fastest growing religion and is second only to Christianity in number of adherents. But the true Church will soon be gone in the Rapture. Those who are left behind, with their celebration of pluralism and their inclusive view of the way to salvation, will be ripe for conversion. Add the widely held but incorrect beliefs that God and Allah are the same, and that Islam is a religion of peace, and you can see how Islam could be the straw that a world on the verge of chaos grasps for survival.
6. The World Will Accept A Single Government... Rev 13:3
The whole world was astonished and followed the beast.
Last year I said that partly because of media distortion, and partly because of the constant meddling by Iran and Syria, the war in Iraq has become so unpopular that it's driven public opinion to devastating levels of dissatisfaction with the current administration. As a result both houses of Congress have changed hands and 2007 could very well see the beginning of the US departure from the Middle East entirely. After last month's Annapolis Conference and America's about face regarding Iran, that seems more likely now than ever.
I also said that a successful attack on the strength of the dollar could eventually sideline us from world affairs entirely. Last year the Euro became the most popular currency in circulation, surpassing the dollar for the first time, and is now challenging the dollar for supremacy as a reserve currency. According to experts, in the last few years the dollar has lost 40% of its value against the Euro. With just the interest on the national debt averaging $1 billion per day, effective loss of the dollar's monopoly on oil transactions, and a nation wide mortgage meltdown, it doesn't take a prophet to see that unless something drastic happens America's demise as the world's only super power is just a matter of time.
The Rapture of the Church would be the final and fatal blow to US supremacy, paving the way for the anti-Christ and his 10 regional governments to consolidate their hold on world affairs.
7. Babylon Will Re-Emerge As A Prominent City In World Affairs... Rev 18:2-3
With a mighty voice he shouted: "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries."
Babylon is still a ways away from accepting its destiny as a city of power in the end times. It's just a ceremonial city right now, but 20 years ago nobody even knew it existed at all. One of the shocks of Gulf War 1 was the discovery of Babylon standing there on the banks of the Euphrates again.
You may think that being little more than a giant museum is a far cry from being a center of world power, but some of Iraq's new political leaders are calling for their nation's capital to be moved to Babylon. The logic behind this is that Baghdad was Saddam's capital, and the new Iraq needs a new capital, more consistent with its heritage. Babylon fills the bill, and becoming the capital of Iraq would be a giant first step toward achieving its transformation into a center of power.
Because of Babylon's current lack of importance in the world, some students of prophecy search for an allegorical fulfillment of Rev. 18, and of course many see the USA or some city therein as a logical candidate. No one doubts that the US deserves this king of judgment.
But remember, even though in Revelation 17:9 John describes "mystery Babylon" as seated on seven hills (referring to Rome), a prophecy in Zechariah 5:5-11 shows it being moved "to the plains of Shinar" a reference to ancient Mesopotamia called Iraq today. We can't switch from literal to allegorical interpretations of Scripture without clear direction, and where Babylon is concerned no such direction exists. In fact the opposite is true. As the world rushes toward its destiny it becomes increasingly clear that the Bible is to be taken literally where Babylon is concerned.
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matt. 24:6-14)
Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. (Luke 21:10-11)
"There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (Luke 21:25-28)
WARS AND RUMORS OF WARS ... Depending upon whose intelligence reports you read somewhere between 30 and 50 wars are currently being fought around the world, with a substantial number of additional disputes threatening to erupt into war at any time.
THE INCREASE OF NATURAL DISASTERS ... More frequent and more severe hurricanes, more frequent and more intense earthquakes. Killer storms and quakes continue to dot the news. In 2007 there were 189 more earthquakes over 5.0 on the Richter scale than in 2004 and 365 more than in 2000. And before you blame all these disasters on “global warming,” over 400 prominent scientists have expressed public concern about the claims by Al Gore and others. To date the only demonstrable cause for increased global temperatures is that the Sun is getting measurably hotter, just like the Bible predicts for the Last Days.
SIGNS IN THE SUN, MOON, AND STARS ... The magnetic polar reversal, predicted by computer model for 2012 is gaining more attention since its likelihood was first announced. Having moved several hundred miles across Canada the Magnetic North Pole is currently headed for Siberia. While the effects of a Magnetic Polar Reversal have never been observed by mankind, it has apparently happened in the distant past. What's unique this time is that the Sun is due for a polar reversal at the same time. I've speculated that the effects of the polar reversal could fulfill Revelation 6 and if the projected time of 2012 is correct, it supports the view that all prophecy could be fulfilled within 70 years of Israel's re-birth.
PESTILENCE... Not only new diseases like HIV/AIDS and SARS but also the return of old ones like Whooping cough. But the big news this year is still the likely spread of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu). As more cases among humans are reported, fears that the virus has mutated to thrive in a human host have increased. Dire predictions are placing possible deaths from this pandemic in the millions.
THE LOVE OF MOST WILL GROW COLD ... 3500 people die every day in defense of the Christian faith. Run away crime, children being abused and murdered by their parents, children killing children. Murder trials as public entertainment soon to be followed by televised executions. Ethnic cleansing, rape and forced pregnancy, pedophilia, random shootings, the incidence of disrespect is enough to make you sick.
THIS GOSPEL WILL BE PREACHED IN ALL NATIONS ... Looking at the state of the world, it's hard to be encouraged. But as world news gets worse and worse, more people are turning to the Lord for solace. According to some reports as many as 175,000 new believers are born again every day, mostly in Africa, China, and India. Reports of these conversions are accompanied by accounts of miracles, people receiving supernatural healing and even being raised from the dead. Just as He did at the beginning of the church Age the Holy Spirit is moving mightily at its End. I believe the Lord is issuing a giant "last call" before He suddenly takes the church out of here to begin the End Times judgments.
The above are given as indicators in the Olivet Discourse (Matt 24, Mark 13, Luke 21) As you know most of these signs are progressive and all are described as happening well before the end. Their main interest to us is found in the phrase "beginning of birth pangs." Natural disasters, the tendency toward war as a tool of diplomacy, famine amidst plenty (35,000 children die each day of starvation and related diseases) and pestilence are described as being common to the era but increasing in frequency and intensity as the end approaches. This was certainly the case in 2007 and is an indicator of how close we are to the end.
It's true that for over 100 years folks have been saying, "how much worse can it get?" Sadly, the answer now as it was then is, "Much!" It seems man's depravity knows no limits. But take heart. Though we are in the world, we are not of the world. We don't belong here, being citizens of heaven. And one day soon our long awaited King will return to take us there. Maranatha!
What do YOU think ?
Date: 24 Jul 2007
Date: 14 Mar 2009
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