Category: End of Days

Rise of the Ezekiel 38 alliance of nations

Anyone who has followed my blog or FaceBook posts for any period of time know of my great interest in Biblical prophesy. To understand any ancient literary work, it takes a lot of hard work, time and research. For each author wrote of peoples they lived among or learned about from others more-traveled than themselves. But kingdoms of the earth were in constant flux. Nations fell and nations rose. Over the centuries and millennia borders were realigned times innumerable as the once-dominated became the dominant force of a later time, and vice-versa.

So when the average reader happens upon futuristic predictions such as provided in the 38th chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, there’s a tendency to skip over them, ignore them or give them little credence, simply because it’s difficult to associate the prophetic utterance with the world as they know it. So in order to help you better understand these and other writings of Ezekiel in the light of current events in the region, here’s a geography translation.

6th Century BC                                    Year AD 2017

  • The lands of Gog, Magog,             *Russia
  • Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal           *Russia
  • Persia                                                       *Iran
  • Cush                                                           Ethiopia
  • Put                                                             *Libya
  • Gomer                                                       Parts of *Turkey
  • Beth-Togarmah                                    Parts of *Turkey,  Armenia & Asia Minor.
  • Syria                                                          *Syria
Is it mere coincidence that the five asterisked nations have formed a military alliance within the borders of Syria? Ostensibly this coalition is to battle radical Islamic terrorism and prop up the Assad regime. I personally find it curious that this is the first time in human history that there has been a cooperative economic and military alliance between these nations.  In fact, just a few years ago this alliance would have been considered unthinkable, because America and NATO had a strong foothold in the region. But the vacuum created by prior American administrations changed all that. Regardless of their reason for being there today, according to the prophet Ezekiel, this alliance of nations will one day mobilize with the intent to destroy the state of Israel.

One of the reasons I study prophesy is because I hate to be surprised. Perhaps it’s time for you too to read “the rest of the story.”

A 21st Century Tower of Babel

The city of Strasbourg (France) is the official seat of the European Parliament. Ever since its completion in December 1999, the main tower structure, called the “Louise Weiss” building has raised eyebrows and questions. Its promoters describe its peculiar appearance as reflective of the “unfinished nature of Europe.” It was intentionally designed to look like the Pieter Brueghel 1563 painting entitled “The Tower of Babel.” The ancient tower which theologians recognize as the unfinished work of Nimrod, who was building a tower to defy God, is an interesting source of inspiration for a modern democratic institution. 

The professed intention of Strasbourg building’s lead designer was that the EU Parliament would complete the original goals of these ancient peoples. I challenge those history buffs among you to research the proposed official poster promoting the Parliament Building. The poster was eventually banned due to protests by numerous groups, but it clearly reveals the mindset of the builders. The poster showed the people of Europe rebuilding a replica of the tower in Pieter Brueghel’s painting. At the very top of the poster were reversed pentagrams (upside down stars.) And the poster’s slogan was: “Europe: Many Tongues One Voice,” inferring that the activity of Parliament would reverse God’s punishment for the idolatry and arrogance of the people of the world. 

Even those of you who see this as a silly religious conspiracy theory must admit that the inspiration behind the Louise Weiss building oddly seems to align with the esoteric beliefs of the world elite and their fractured understanding of ancient scriptures. Just one more thing to think about in the light of recent world events.

From Signs to Signals: an End-of-Days Alert

Universe-1Delving into the patchwork of messages hidden within thousands of verses of Biblical prophesy to arrive at a composite End-of-Days picture is akin to assembling one of the complex puzzles that many of my pre-smart-phone generation once relied upon to get us through a boring rainy day. The more pieces and the more complex the better. There was something about dumping a thousand seemingly disassociated puzzle pieces into a pile in the center of a kitchen table then accepting the challenge of making them come together to resemble the well-known landscape or man-made wonder displayed on the front of the box. Each stand-alone piece wasn’t much to look at and yielded little information; for in a tiny fragment of a scene, the corner of a man’s elbow looks about the same as a crag on a mountaintop or a pebble on a beach. But when properly matched with its adjacent brethren the image, feelings and message that the artist or photographer intended to convey begins to rise to the surface.

Like the picture on the box cover, we too have Biblical snapshots to guide our efforts, prophetic images of wars to be initiated by the enemies of Israel, the return of the Son of God to gather His flock, times of tribulation for those left behind on the earth, wondrous acts of God in the heavens and a white throne judgment of the lost. For centuries theologians struggled to assemble the fragments of prophesy, many of which didn’t seem to be either plausible or possible. And those who attempted to make sense out of them and to assemble the puzzle often faced severe ridicule for their efforts.

Yet recent decades have favored those who put their trust in the Word of God. Archaeological finds and the ongoing march of modern world events have unveiled much of that cover image painted by our Creator ages ago. Mysteries once hidden within His holy book’s pages have been gradually revealed to faithful believers. Like a grandiose chess game, world powers are maneuvered around the board in a series of interactions that will usher in the Lord’s return. Prophetic images that once appeared unrelated and unlikely now seem quite feasible, even probable.

Scriptures that foretold earth-shaking changes that would catapult Biblically-cited nations from obscurity back to the center of the world stage seemed unrealistic a couple decades ago. Yet recent events, highlighted by the meteoric rise of an Islamic Caliphate and a nuclear Iran, have refocused the entire world’s attention on the Middle East. And one tiny plot called the Land of Promise is in the crosshairs of every nation on the planet.

Jesus told His followers to wait and watch for various signs that the time was near. And we are the generation chosen to witness and alert others that the time is at hand. Only the willfully blind can ignore the twists and turns in world events that have become so frequent and glaring – for they now are more akin to signals than signs that we are on the very precipice of the last days. No one can afford to ignore the direction in which world events are moving. To the unbeliever it should be worrisome.  But to the Christian, it’s exciting to be living in this age. It’s imperative that those of us in-the-know seek to understand and communicate to others not only what is going to happen, but why.

Modern Nations in Prophesy

To understand Bible prophecy modern nations must be correlated with their ancient names – develop sort of a “Who’s Who.” National borders have changed multiple times over the centuries. For the most part what is now Iran was once called Persia. What is now Iraq, in ancient times was composed of several different kingdoms. Southern Iraq was comprised of the peoples of Shinar, Chaldea, and Babylon, while northern Iraq was part of Assyria, and today’s Kurdish portion was inhabited by the Medes. Assyria also extended into what is currently Turkey. What are now Russia and parts of China were referred to as Gog and Magog. And what formerly was Tyre is modern Lebanon. Only a few nations have retained their names over the centuries: Israel, Egypt, Syria and Ethiopia. Since the Bible is focused on Israel and its Middle Eastern neighbors, distant nations in Europe, North and South America, and Australia are not even cited; rather they are referred to only in general terms as to whether or not they are righteous, treat their own people and strangers with compassion, serve God and support Israel.

The Prophets tell us that in the end of days most nations will be aligned against Israel and will go to war with and invade it.  There have been a number of invasions by Israel’s Middle-Eastern neighbors since its founding on May 14, 1948, and Israel has successfully repelled each, gaining land and expanding closer toward its ancient borders each time. Israel has been unsuccessful in its attempts to make peace with most of her neighbors, and Islamic terrorist organizations situated on her borders have gotten more and more aggressive and murderous. But the prophet Ezekiel warns of one especially violent war with Persia and her allies. This prophetic war has never taken place. In fact, the only time in history Persia/Iran has ever gone to war inside the borders of what is now Israel was in 614 AD (prior to Islam) when the Persian Emperor sent his troops to take Jerusalem and overthrow the Byzantines who were persecuting the Jews and Samaritans of the land.

Iran today has two chief allies, Russia and China, and as permanent members of the United Nation’s Security Council these two have enabled much of Iran’s terrorist support activities against Israel. Together they stand in opposition to the United States and Western Europe as they vie for world domination.  The rest of the world’s prophetic nations are aligning themselves with one or the other of these two global forces.

Ezekiel 38 is a prophecy not only about Persia, but also about people groups referred to as Gog and Magog. These and all their distant “cousins” will form an alliance in the End-of-Days to try to destroy Israel. Gog and Magog and their invasion are also mentioned in Revelation 20. Few theologians doubt that this is a reference to modern Russia and China. Other prophesies speak of these forming a global economic partnership along with other nations of the world to exclude Israel.

In a prophecy recorded in Daniel 11, a clash is foretold between “the king of the north” and “the king of the south.” Emerging victorious, the king of the north’s army is then prophesied to conquer the tiny Jewish nation. At that point, the prophesy foretells, “tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble” this king. This event is further expounded in Revelation 16 where it is prophesied that the “kings of the east” will gather a vast army. There are many possibilities for these various north, south and east “kings,” based on their geographical location to Jerusalem, so we’ll just have to wait for more information. But most theologians see Russia, China, an Islamic Iran and Turkey, as well as some European nations fitting in those roles.

In addition to Magog and Persia, Ezekiel 38 references several of the people groups that will comprise the army that attacks Israel in this great war: Put, Cush, Meshech, Tubal, Gomer and Beth-Togarmah.  Ancient Put was the land just west of Egypt, or what is today Libya, a sponsor of terrorism, and one which refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist. The ancient kingdom of Cush was the land just south of Egypt on the Nile River. Today this land is occupied by Sudan, home to the National Islamic Front. The country which harbors countless Islamic terrorist groups has already a close alliance with Iran, trading military supplies for docking rights on the Red Sea shipping routes.

The remaining four names relate to lands that make up modern Turkey. As the 6th and 5th sons of Japheth, the son of Noah, Meshech and Tubal refer to peoples who dwelled in the area south of the Black and Caspian Sea which today is Turkey as well as parts of Southern Russia and Northern Iran. Gomer was the first son of Japheth and the Gomerites were the ancient Cimmerians who occupied territory from the southern steppes of Russia into Turkey. And Togarmah was the third son of Gomer, and in Ezekiel’s time there was a city in Cappodocia (modern Turkey) with a similar name. “Beth” at the beginning of the name is just the Hebrew word for “house” or “place of.”  Turkey is linked both ethnically and linguistically to Central Asia (Magog) and since the break-up of the Soviet Union, it’s seen a growing number of political parties that support opposition to Israel, establishment of a Turkish Islamic Republic, and the worldwide rule of Islam.

Signals via current events

  1. We’re all aware of the daily rocket barrages and suicide bomber attacks into Israel from both Hezbollah on the Lebanon border and Hamas on the eastern Gaza strip; but recently an ISIS-associated terror group of 600 fighters massed in Syria’s Golan Heights border. Incursions by terrorists are even taking place from the southern Egyptian border. For the most part, these are all financed and supplied by Iran. Also the Palestinian people are encouraged and paid to carry out terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians.
  2. Iran has tested missiles capable of reaching inside Israel – and its nuclear program is nearly complete – with the help of the current U.S. Administration.
  3. 2015 and 16 have been marked by Islamic terrorist attacks inside of historically-Christian nations such as France, Belgium, Australia, the U.S., etc. And the numbers of massacres of Christians across Africa and the Middle East have multiplied exponentially.
  4. China has published the coordinates for their bid to take complete military control of the East China Sea, claiming that the disputed and uninhabited islands known as the Senkaku and the Diaoyu are within their realm of international control, giving them territorial dominion over these islands. China also published a warning that any aircraft flying over this region could provoke “defensive emergency measures” against the aircraft that failed to identify itself.
  5. The United States, in an act of defiance to China’s changing the international rules controlling this region, dispatched two unarmed U.S. B-52 bombers to fly over the disputed islands accepted by the international community as belonging to Japan. This was done while doing training maneuvers in the East China Sea. Japan followed suit as their planes continued to fly through this new airspace zone.
  6. Russia likewise has reasserted control over much of the region it once possessed through the USSR. We’ve seen this in the Ukraine and elsewhere. And they’ve gained footholds militarily in Syria and Iraq.
  7. Germany’s and France’s military efforts against ISIS have developed gradually over the course of the last 15 months—spreading from limited sorties in Iraq to include missions over Syria and the deployment of an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf. Following the Paris terrorism attack, in December French planes began bombarding the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa in Syria. France and Germany have even opened the door to cooperation with the Syrian army in the fight against Islamic State, while Germany has made political moves to send 1,200 troops to the Middle East in a departure from its usual non-intervention stance.
  8. The United States, France and Germany have increased their cooperation on intelligence in Syria since the Paris attacks. And the U.S. is expanding intelligence sharing with her European allies and has agreed to speed the delivery of detailed targeting information in support of possible French retaliatory strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.
  9. And just last week we saw ISIS-supported terrorists attack at the very heart of NATO headquarters in Belgium, killing and wounding hundreds of innocent civilians.
  10. While many people seem confused and obsessed with this year’s Presidential nomination process, I view it as simply one more piece in the puzzle.

The Great Coming War

Both Ezekiel 38 and 39 and the Book of Revelation speak of a great war that will be unlike any other war in history. It will unleash a series of irreversible events which will change the world forever. According to the Bible, Israel must stand alone – with God.  For when this coming war does finally start, even the United States will be unwilling (or unable) to help Israel defend herself.  Even though the Bible warns that the invading armies will be ultimately destroyed by God, it will be a devastating war for both Israel and the whole world.

We are not exactly sure when this attack will take place, but from current news headlines, it looks as though it is getting very close.  Iran is constantly threatening Israel with annihilation and this month test fired two 2000 km ballistic missiles with the words “Israel must be wiped out” emblazoned on their sides in Hebrew.  Russia is fully backing Iran, and Turkey is quickly turning against Israel, as are most other nations with the exception of America. And many of these are, or soon will be armed with nuclear weapons.

The Bible goes on to declare that the invading armies will be utterly destroyed by God with the aftermath of this invasion very gruesome. There are hints this coming war may go nuclear: the Bible says Israel will wait months to enter the battlefield after the battle; that they will “set apart men regularly employed” to bury the dead; and later if a bone is spotted it is to be “marked” for the professionals to bury. These are the same procedures found in nuclear/biological/chemical battlefield cleanup manuals today.

We aren’t sure if this coming war is part of the prophetic battle of Armageddon or will just precede Armageddon in order to prepare a path for a coming World Leader who will enforce a Peace Plan upon Israel. But it will trigger the final prophetic 7-Year period of time which is called the “Tribulation.” That’s when the coming Antichrist will rise up to command the 10 nations which were once a part of the Roman Empire, filling the world power vacuum that will be left after the war.

Our Hope

The Bible promises that believing Christians who are alive at that time and who have endured in their faith in God’s Word will not be “appointed” to this coming time of “God’s wrath” that will be poured out upon the whole world. As a result, many believe the prophetic event called the Rapture of the Church must take place sometime before God intervenes in this coming battle. Regardless, all Christians are told to “examine” themselves in the Word and in their faith to insure they are not “lukewarm” in their relationship to Jesus and God’s Word.

Signs of End-of-Days continue to mount

 What an exciting time to be a Christian and to be alive.  “Little things” keep happening that are a set up for the grand event – the return of Jesus Christ for His Church.  But these “little things” are happening now at a more frequent and accelerating pace.  Just in the last week:

  1. The six-month deal to freeze Iran’s nuclear program in return for relief from sanctions and the release of some frozen assets was due to expire on July 20, but instead the U.S. and Europe agreed to extend the negotiation timetable – enabling Iran to continue enhancing its nuclear weapons capability.
  2. To the horror of the rest of the world, Russian Ukrainian separatists shot down a commercial airliner, killing its 300 passengers and crew.  And Russia thumbed its nose at the U.S. and European nations who demanded access to the crash site.
  3. Rockets were fired from both Lebanon and Gaza into Israel.
  4. Israel invaded Gaza with ground forces to cleanse the area of Hamas missiles, tunnels and terrorists.
  5. Both the U.S. and Europe have demonstrated they are either too weak or too disinterested to “broker” a peace deal between Israel and Hamas.  Egypt, which intervened the last time fighting broke out, is a much different and weaker government than previously and doesn’t seem capable of getting the parties together.  This appears to be setting the table for the anti-Christ to eventually come on the scene and arrange the prophesied peaceful settlement.
  6. Elsewhere in the world, persecution of Christians continues to grow.  ISIS fighters in Iraq have made great gains in their effort to establish an Islamic Caliphate across much of Syria and Iraq.  As a result, Christians in northern Iraq have been given the ultimatum to convert to Islam and be exorbitantly taxed or die.  And in the Sudan and Nigeria, Christian towns are being attacked by Muslim terrorists on a daily basis and their citizens murdered.
  7. In the U.S, this week the President signed an order expanding the workplace rights of LGBT’s, with no religious exceptions.
  8. And some mainline protestant denominations are conducting “voting” in local parishes across the country to determine whether a majority would accept their denomination’s leadership’s recommendations to allow homosexual pastors.

 The apostle Paul prophesied that “in the last days perilous times will come,” and that “evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”   Every Christian should consider it a privilege that we have been hand-selected by God “for such a time as this.”  We’re all familiar with these famous words from the Book of Esther, when the Jewish nation faced extinction at the hands of the Persians and Medes in the 5th Century B.C.  How ironic is it, that it is again the Persians (Iran) who are their greatest threat!  And we’d also better take heed of the warning Mordecai gave his cousin that day: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews.  For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

 So what do we do with the time and opportunity we have been given?  Do we preach the Gospel as we’ve been commanded by Jesus and lead more souls to Christ?  Or do we just sit back and watch the world fall apart and its inhabitants fall prey to the works of the devil?

 We’d better give ourselves to intercessory prayer.  We’d better get off our duffs and start warning our unsaved friends and relatives of the predicament they’re in and give them the solution.  We’d better recognize we’re in a real spiritual war and start fighting.  The enemy isn’t going to let any of us get away with declaring neutrality – he’s out to destroy each and every one of us.

 If you don’t know how to fight spiritual warfare: read the New Testament; take a class on it in your local church; read my book, “Soaring above the Storm” (that’s why I wrote it); do something!!!  But don’t just sit there!!!  Because you were hand-picked by your heavenly Father to live in this age, you are accountable to Him for what you do with the time and talent He’s given you.  He’ll show you what to do and how to do it.

To Tell the Truth

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the game show, “To Tell the Truth.”  It features a panel of four celebrities who attempt to correctly identify a relatively unknown contestant who has an unusual occupation or experience.  Two impostors sit with and pretend to be that person while all three persons are asked questions about the central character.   While the central character is sworn “to tell the truth,” the impostors are allowed to lie.   Prize money is awarded to all three challengers based on the number of incorrect votes the impostors draw from the panel; in other words, based on how good of a liar each is.  This game show has actually aired episodes on and off over the last six decades.  I guess its main attraction is that the audience is put in the same boat as the celebrity panelists – of trying to identify who is and who is not telling the truth.

No one of us is immune from being deceived, or from being tempted to deceive others.  Unlike the challengers in our game show, most “untruth” in the real world does not come in the form of an outright lie.  More often we find it in the truth being stretched or an unconfirmed source being quoted and relied on as support for a business advantage sought or a desired policy or doctrine pursued.  Society unfortunately has grown used to expecting this type of behavior in our business leaders, in the political arena and even in the broadcast media.  Unfortunately, it’s sometimes even slipped into Christian ministry – and this ought not ever be the case!

I believe it’s more than just a challenge that we have to deal with, but an obligation we must embrace to weed out the true from the false – wherever we find it.  Any minister worth his salt will encourage the people to whom he ministers and/or speaks to “cross-check” his truth claims with the Word of God and with evidentiary facts.  And I make it a practice to do just that.

This week’s blog addresses two such claims that I recently heard espoused by a respected ministry, whose name will remain anonymous.  Both truth claims relate to purported evidence that we are living in the end-of-days leading up to the return of Jesus Christ.  As I wrote in a prior blog, I believe that we are in the last of the last of the last days.  However, I base this on the prophesies of the Bible, many of which have already been fulfilled in my lifetime. (See my blog entitled “Storm Chasers and First Responders.)

I’m not sure why some ministries feel compelled to stretch the truth or to use unconfirmed, disputed and, in some cases nonsensical reports to back up what the written Word of God clearly states.  We cannot use the ways of the world to convince the world that the Bible is alive and true.  Doing so hurts the credibility of that specific ministry and may even make it more difficult for some unbelievers to “hear” the true Gospel message later on.  Below are two such end-of-times claims: the first claim exaggerates and misstates the evidence associated with a valid prophesy – the second claim is down-right foolish in nature and has no scriptural basis whatsoever.

Claim #1:  In fulfillment of Ezekial 39 and Revelation 19 concerning the battle of Armageddon, and the feasibility of every sort of bird coming to feast on the victims killed in the battle: “Scientists are very puzzled at the phenomenon that is taking place in the valley of Megiddo in Israel. Vultures are reproducing and hatching in an unusual manner, more than they normally produce. There are millions of vultures along the canyon walls of Megiddo.”

Below are the specific prophetic statements:

Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.”  And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. An d the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.  Revelation 19:17-21

“You shall fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your hordes and the peoples who are with you. I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.” Ezekiel 39:4

“And as for you, son of man, thus says the Lord God, ‘Speak to every sort of bird and to every beast of the field: “Assemble yourselves and come; gather together from all sides to My sacrificial meal which I am sacrificing for you, a great sacrificial meal on the mountains of Israel, that you may eat flesh and drink blood.  You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams and lambs, of goats and bulls, all of them fatlings of Bashan.  You shall eat fat till you are full, and drink blood till you are drunk, at My sacrificial meal which I am sacrificing for you.  You shall be filled at My table with horses and riders, with mighty men and with all the men of war,” says the Lord God.  Ezekiel 39:17-20

Facts:

  1. The actual numbers of raptors (e.g.: vultures and eagles) actually birthed and permanently residing in Israel is somewhat reduced in recent years due to poisoning.  However, Israel is one of the main migration routes for these birds.
  2. The Israel Federation of the North Shore (Boston) advertises that Israel has the largest raptor migration in the world, with hundreds of thousands of African birds of prey crossing as they fan out into Asia.
  3. Israeli Tourist Bureau acknowledges that “Israel is located at a geographical bridge between three continents – Europe, Asia and Africa, which make it a “bottleneck” into which hundreds of migrant species converge during spring and autumn migration. Thanks to its unique location a vast variety of migrant species are found in Israel.  As result of this singular geographic location, the boundaries of many birds distribution range occur in Israel.  Few countries can simultaneously boast skies filled with raptors, storks and pelicans, wetlands heaving with egrets, herons, wildfowl and shorebirds, hillsides alive with the songs of warblers, wheatears and bunting. Israel has all of these. It is one of the most exciting and accessible regions for bird watching in the whole of the West Palearctic.  More than 500 species have been recorded in Israel and over 400 of these occur annually. Many Middle Eastern and classic desert birds, specialties such as Black Francolin, Spur-winged Plover, White-breasted and Pied Kingfishers, Clamorous Reed Warbler and many raptors can be seen with relative ease year-round. Little Green Bee-eater, Desert Lark, Pale Crag Martin, Blackstart, White-crowned Black Wheatear, Scrub Warbler, Arabian Babbler, and Brown-necked Raven can be easily seen here.”
  4. In September 1985, Thomas L. Friedman published in the New York Times an article titled: Israel and the birds vie for precious air space.  In it he notes that “Since the mid-1970’s, migrating buzzards, storks, pelicans and eagles have done more damage to Israeli fighter jets than all the Arab air forces combined. A two-pound stork hits a fighter jet flying at about 500 miles per hour with a force of 20 tons.  In hundreds of jet-bird collisions each year, Israeli planes sustain millions of dollars of damage in cracked and punctured wings, destroyed engines – and worse.  The severity of the problem derives from Israel’s unique geographical and political predicament: It is a tiny country with very little air space, maintaining one of the world’s biggest air forces in what happens to be the main corridor for storks, pelicans and raptors – predatory birds – migrating from Europe and Asia to Africa and back every spring and fall.”

He goes on to note that, “The dimensions of the bird problem facing Israeli Air Force pilots were enormous.  Every fall, as the food supply dwindles, millions of birds of all species migrate from their nesting places in Europe and Western Asia to their wintering grounds in Africa. The smaller, ‘active flyers,’ like quails or waders, are so light they can cross the Mediterranean by flapping their wings in one tiring day.  However, the bigger birds, known as ‘passive flyers,’ primarily raptors and storks and pelicans, have to take an overland route for two reasons.  First, they must land each night to rest, and second, with their heavy bodies and wide, long wings, they glide their way to Africa on the warm air currents, known as thermals, which are produced only over land. If the birds had to beat their wings for the whole 5,000 to 6,000-mile journey, they would never make it.  The birds make their way by gliding into a rising thermal of warm air and riding its swirling spiral up to about 2,000 to 4,000 feet, where the air cools and the thermal expires. The birds glide down from the top of one thermal to the bottom of the next one and repeat the process all the way down to Africa and back.  The narrow valleys flanked by cliffs running from northern Israel through the Jordan River and Dead Sea, as well as along Israel’s coastal plain, are ideal hothouses for rising thermals, and they serve as the two main aviation highways for most European and West Asian raptors looking for the shortest route around the Mediterranean.”

In the 1980’s,volunteer bird watchers at 13 points all over the country began to count the birds and identify species.  “They soon discovered that more birds were coming over Israel than anyone imagined – one million birds of prey alone during each spring and fall. More important, each species was coming at almost the same time and through the same air corridors every year. For instance, on Sept. 4, 1984, and on Sept. 4, 1985, the honey buzzards began their parade over Israel, an estimated 220,000 of them in two days.  When the birds start coming they are a remarkable sight, swirling around in thermals of sometimes 5,000 birds at a time, and then gliding in pairs or three or four across to the next thermal.  There are 475 different species of birds flying through Israel – so many birds, in fact, that the International Council for Bird Preservation, the leading bird conservation organization in the world, has decided to hold its quadrennial convention in Eilat in March 1987.”

The Israeli Air Force even replaced their motto with a slogan which has been printed on a poster that now hangs in every Israeli air base. The poster shows a fighter plane flying next to a steppe eagle and says, ‘Take Care, We Share the Air.’

5. Birds of prey in Israel, an update/July 29, 2010 – “Israel is a great place to go birding having over 500 resident and migrant species. This is due largely to its location in the eastern Mediterranean at the crossroads of Asia, Europe and Africa. Habitats from all three continents meet here: the snowy peaks of Mount Hermon, the temperate rolling mountains of the Galilee, the warm Mediterranean coastline, the semitropical Jordan Rift Valley, the varied deserts of the south and east, and the Red Sea shores of Eilat`s desert oasis. Part of the only land bridge between the three continents, Israel is along the major migration routes between them, with millions of birds making the trip twice a year. All this variety comes in a small package: the drive from north to south takes less than a day and the trip from west to east under two hours.

Northern Israel is blessed with an abundance of water sources, craggy volcanic mountains in the northeast and a temperate climate, all of which attract species not found in other parts of Israel. The north is home to many birds of prey, including Griffon vultures, imperial eagles, long legged buzzards and Egyptian vultures. A prime site for these species, especially Griffon vultures, is the Gamla nature reserve in the southern Golan Heights.

6. Abstract from Ibis, 21st May 1996, Israel – Crossroads for Migrant Birds

Israel as a very important country for the migration of soaring birds. The numbers involved have been counted accurately by a string of observers covering the whole width of the country and radar observations and brought together by Yossi Leshem and Yoram Yom-Tov. The autumn figures were about 500,000 raptors, 250,000 White Storks and 70,000 White Pelicans and spring was even higher with a millionm raptors and 450,000 White Storks. No fewer than 35 different species of raptors were involved with Honey Buzzards featuring heavily in both spring and autumn but, of the major species, Lesser Spotted Eagles and Levant Sparrowhawks were autumn species and Steppe Buzzards, Steppe Eagles and Black Kites were spring species.

Variations between years in numbers was quite high – probably mostly to do with weather or counting effort. The total World population Lesser Spotted Eagle and Levant Sparrowhawk and the Pelearctic population of White Pelicans passed over each year. For other species it is clear that the previously published population estimates are grossly too small – even in some cases an order of magnitude too small!

The mean arrival dates of the raptors is very predictable with confidence limits ranging from 1.5 to 5.5 days – so holiday makers can plan very precisely what they want to see – but White Storks and White Pelicans are not so predictable – confidence limits 4.2 to 13.8 days. The flocking species pass in a very concentrated period. The period in autumn when 90% of the passage takes place is 13 days for Levant Sparrowhawk, 15 days for Lesser Spotted Eagle, 16 days for Honey Buzzard and 18 days for Red-footed Falcon. Individual migrants – Egyptian Vulture, Marsh Harrier and Short-toed Eagle take twice as long. The timing and spread of the migration for each species was affected by age at first breeding, diet and the extent of the breeding area.

Claim #2: The Irish Bishop Malachy, in the 12th Century received a vision accurately describing the next 112 popes.  The current Pope is the 112th pope in Malachy’s list.

As you read the history of this so-called prophesy, keep in mind:

  1. There is no scriptural basis for this claim as it relates to the Last Days.
  2. The “accuracy” of the descriptions of the future popes is highly questionable.
  3. The evidence seems to indicate the list was fabricated to try to influence (unsuccessfully) the election of a specific man to be pope in the late 16th Century.

Prophetia Sancti Malachiae Archiepiscopi, de Summis Pontificibus is a series of 112 short, cryptic phrases in Latin which purport to predict the Roman Catholic popes (along with a few antipopes), beginning with Pope Celestine II in the 12th Century.

According to an account put forward in 1871 by Abbé Cucherat, Malachy (a 12th‑century Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland) was summoned to Rome in 1139 by Pope Innocent II to receive two wool palliums for the metropolitan sees of Armagh and Cashel. While in Rome, Malachy purportedly experienced a vision of future popes, which he recorded as a sequence of cryptic phrases. This manuscript was then deposited in the Vatican Secret Archives, and forgotten about until its “rediscovery” in 1590, supposedly just in time for a papal conclave ongoing at the time.  Bernard of Clairvaux, a contemporary biographer of Malachy who recorded the saint’s alleged miracles, makes no mention of the prophecies, nor are they mentioned in any record prior to their 1595 publication.

The alleged prophecies were first published in 1595 by a Benedictine named Arnold Wion in his history of the Benedictine order. Wion attributed the prophecies to Saint Malachy.  He explained that the prophecies had not, to his knowledge, ever been printed before, but that many were eager to see them. Wion includes both the alleged original prophecies, consisting of short, cryptic Latin phrases, as well as an interpretation applying the statements to historical popes up to Urban VII (pope for thirteen days in 1590), which Wion attributes to Alphonsus Ciacconius.  This attribution was refuted by Claude-François Menestrier in 1694.

Several historians have concluded that the prophecies are a late 16th‑century forgery.  The Roman Catholic Church also dismisses them as forgery. Spanish monk and scholar Benito Jerónimo Feijóo y Montenegro wrote in his Teatro Crítico Universal (1724–1739), in an entry called “Purported Prophecies,” that the high level of accuracy of the alleged prophecies up until the date they were published, compared with their high level of inaccuracy after that date, is evidence that they were created around the time of publication.

The prophecies and explanations given in Wion correspond very closely to a 1557 history of the popes by Onofrio Panvinio (including replication of errors made by Panvinio), which may indicate that the prophecies were written based on that source.  One theory to explain the creation of the prophecies, put forward by 17th-century French priest and encyclopaedist Louis Moréri, among others, is that they were spread by supporters of Cardinal Girolamo Simoncelli in support of his bid to become pope during the 1590 conclave to replace Urban VII. In the prophecies, the pope following Urban VII is given the description “Ex antiquitate Urbis” (“from the old city”), and Simoncelli was from Orvieto, which in Latin is Urbevetanum, old city. The prophecies may, therefore, have been created in an attempt to demonstrate that Simoncelli was destined to be pope.  Simoncelli was not elected pope; Urban VII was succeeded by Pope Gregory XIV, born Niccolò Sfondrati.

The interpretation of the prophecies for pre-publication popes provided by Wion involves close correspondences between the mottos and the popes’ birthplaces, family names, personal arms, and pre-papal titles. For example, the first motto, Ex castro Tiberis (from a castle on the Tiber), fits Pope Celestine II’s birthplace in Città di Castello, on the Tiber.

Efforts to connect the prophecies to historical popes who were elected after its publication have been more strained.  For example, Pope Clement XIII is referred to in a prophecy as Rosa Umbriae (the rose of Umbria), but was not from Umbria nor had any but the most marginal connection with the region, having been briefly pontifical governor of Rieti, at the time part of Umbria.

One writer notes that among the post-publication (post-1595) predictions there remain “some surprisingly appropriate phrases,” while adding that “it is of course easy to exaggerate the list’s accuracy by simply citing its successes,” and that “other tags do not fit so neatly.” Among the reported ‘successes’ are ‘Religion depopulated’ for Benedict XV (1914–22) whose papacy included World War One and the atheistic communist Russian Revolution; ‘Light in the sky’ for Leo XIII (1878-1903), with a comet in his coat of arms; and ‘Flower of flowers’ for Paul VI (1963–78), with fleur-de-lys in his coat of arms.

In recent times, some interpreters of prophetic literature have drawn attention to the prophecies due to their imminent conclusion; if the list of descriptions is matched on a one-to-one basis to the list of historic popes since the prophecies’ publication, Benedict XVI (2005-2013) would correspond to the second to last of the papal descriptions, Gloria olivae (the glory of the olive).

The longest and final prophecy predicts the Apocalypse, which when translated into English is: “In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit Peter the Roman, who will pasture his sheep in many tribulations, and when these things are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people.”  Many proponents of the prophecies claim that Pope Francis (the 112th on the list) corresponds to “Peter the Roman” the pope described in the final prophecy, whose pontificate will allegedly bring the destruction of the city of Rome and usher in the beginning of the Apocalypse.  Since Francis’ election as Pope, proponents in internet forums have been striving to link him to the prophecy.  Theories include a vague connection with Francis of Assisi, whose father was named Pietro (Peter).

e.g.: In a WND Films documentary “The Last Pope?” Tom Horn, co-author of “Petrus Romanus,” says he believes the motto fits just fine.  Explains Horn in the film: “We had given interviews [prior to the election of Pope Francis] saying it would be a mistake to try to nail down the last pope having the Christian name Peter, that in fact the only thing that it would take to fulfill the prophecy would be a cardinal of Italian descent. And low and behold Jorge Bergoglio, Italian descent, parents full-blooded Italians, or in the old language ‘Romans.’  “But he names himself after Francis of Assisi. Now this is a Catholic friar who lived in the late 1100s and the early 1200s, but his name of birth Giovanni Di Pietro Di Bernardone, Peter. He was an Italian, or Roman in the old language, a man whose name can literally be translated as ‘Peter the Roman.’ So to take that as a namesake, well it was intriguing to say the least.”

Clearly, this argument is a stretch – and one in which Christians should not engage.  We should stick to the written Word of God.  There is plenty of evidence in the form of fulfilled prophesy to know that we are in the last of the last of the Last Days.

Storm Chasers and First Responders

Last week I attended what were entitled a series of “Impartation Meetings,” because the intent was to impart God’s knowledge, His blessings and His anointing upon each participant.   One speaker in particular reignited a flame that burnt brightest for me shortly after I made a commitment to Jesus Christ some thirty years ago.  About that time one of my new Christian friends gave me several cassette tapes that spoke of the “End of Days.”  Some were based wholly on the prophetic Word of the Bible, while others were more conspiratorial in nature.  I’m sure it was not my friend’s intent; but, as a new believer, I got caught up looking for signs of a one-world government and a one-world religion under every rock and in every rainbow symbol in a children’s story or on a storefront.

 See, I have the mentality of a Storm Chaser.  That was the case before I became a Christian, and I brought that attitude and its behavioral effects along with me.  If I observed what I perceived to be a wrong, I’d jump in with both feet, to save the day, before I’d ask if help was either needed or desired.  Fortunately, I survived being battered against walls a number of times by tornados that made a sudden sharp turn my way.  And I learned to rein in my Storm Chaser mentality and became more of a First Responder.  Unfortunately, that also poured some cold water on my interest in the End-of-Days message.

Last-week’s speaker reignited that flame.  For as he said, the End-of-Days message was intended to open the eyes of the people of God, to enable us to see the brevity of time for reaching the lost and to encourage us to act on the urgency of the situation, to quarterback that two-minute drill before the game clock expires.  Jesus never intended the message to instill fear or worry in the believer, or to turn us into conspiratorial freaks.

Although I believe much of Jesus’ message was to teach the Church to be First Responders, to preach the Gospel to the lost, to lay hands on the sick, to cast out devils, even to raise the dead; He still had a lot of Storm Chasers in his merry band of twelve.  Not only did He pick a man whom the locals called Simon the Zealot, but even His three closest friends, were extreme.  The brothers James and John were known as “Sons of Thunder” because they were just as apt to suggest that God send fire to strike down people who rejected their message as to pray for them.  And Peter was always the first to speak his mind, to make promises he couldn’t or wouldn’t keep, or to volunteer to die along-side Jesus – even the first to draw his sword and attack one of the temple guards in the garden the night of his Master’s arrest.

But years later, it was Peter who advised believers to be prepared to be scoffed at whenever they spoke of the End of Days.  “Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days, scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, ‘What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.'”

As I pulled out my old notes from the mid-80’s, I decided to research the internet to bring them up-to-date.  I was amazed at how much has occurred in recent years which lines up with prophesies two and three thousand years old – prophesies that seemed outlandish and unlikely even two and a half decades ago.   I shouldn’t have been the least surprised, for the Book of Revelation tells us that “the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus,” and I’ve long placed my trust in Christ and the authenticity of His written Word.  So I guess I was more in awe than surprised.

So what are some of the signs that Jesus and many of the prophets of old spoke of that we’ve already seen come to pass in just the last century?  The signs that relate to the nation of Israel are the most important of all, because the Jews are God’s prophetic time clock.  What I mean by this is that the Holy Scriptures will often tie a prophesied future event with something that will happen to the Jews.  We’re told to watch the Jews, and when a prophesied event concerning them occurs, we can be sure that other related prophesied events will also occur.

An example can be found in the 21st chapter of Luke’s Gospel where Jesus prophesied that the Jews would be dispersed from Jerusalem and be led captive among the nations.  Of course many of the Jews had been dispersed centuries earlier when the Assyrians and Babylonians invaded that little stretch of land along the Mediterranean Sea that we now call the Holy Land.  Thousands of the Jews were transplanted to other parts of the known world, so they could not rebel against their conquerors.  But this time Jesus was referring to the new destruction and dispersion that the Romans would inflict in 70 AD, forty years after his death.  While He was making this dire prediction, He then added that one day the Jewish people would return to re-occupy Jerusalem, and that when this happens, the End of Days events will occur that will lead to His return.

Well this and many other prophecies concerning the Jews in the End of Days did begin to be fulfilled in the 20th Century, right before the eyes of the secular and religious worlds.  This worldwide gathering of the Jews back to the Holy Land which Jesus spoke of was actually first predicted by the Prophet Isaiah, and is recorded in Chapter 11.  It’s noteworthy that the entire Book of Isaiah was discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls in the middle of the 20th Century.  In fact, all those discovered documents, written on papyrus and bronze, have been verified as authentic and dated to between the 4th and 5th Centuries BC.

Yet, at the start of the 20th Century, there were only 40,000 Jews in Palestine.  In fact, barely one hundred years ago there was not one single, tangible, measurable sign that indicated we were living in the season of the Lord’s return.  The first sign to appear was the Balfour Declaration which was issued by the British government on November 2, 1917.  This Declaration was prompted by the fact that during World War I the Turks sided with the Germans. Thus, when Germany lost the war, so did the Turks, and the victorious Allies decided to divide up both the German and Turkish empires.  The Turkish territories, called the Ottoman Empire, contained the ancient homeland of the Jewish people — an area the Romans had named Palestine after the last Jewish revolt in 132-135 AD.  In 1917 Palestine included all of modern day Israel and Jordan. In the scheme the Allies concocted for dividing up the German and Turkish territories, Britain was allotted Palestine, and this is what prompted the Balfour Declaration.  In that document, Lord Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary, declared that it was the intention of the British government to establish in Palestine “a national home for the Jewish people.”

The leading evangelical in England at the time was F. B. Meyer. He immediately recognized the prophetic significance of the Declaration, for he was well aware of the Isaiah prophesy that the Jewish people will be gathered again to their homeland right before the return of the Messiah.  Meyer sent out a letter to the evangelical leaders of England asking them to gather in London in December to discuss the prophetic implications of the Balfour Declaration.  In that letter, he stated, “The signs of the times point toward the close of the time of the Gentiles… and the return of Jesus can be expected any moment.”   Before Meyer’s meeting could be convened, another momentous event occurred.  On December 11, 1917 General Edmund Allenby liberated the city of Jerusalem from 400 years of Turkish rule.

A second key prophecy concerning the Jews is a natural consequence of their gathering again.  Isaiah 66 speaks of the re-establishment of their nation “in a single day,” which occurred on May 14, 1948.

In spite of the Balfour Declaration, Jews who had been scattered throughout the world over 2,600 years ago, seemed to have no interest in returning to the Middle East.  Yet, the prophet Ezekiel, recorded in his Book’s 37th chapter, had foretold these events:  “Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones – all hope is gone.’ Now give them this message from the Sovereign Lord: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel.  When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the Lord.”   The bones represent the Jewish people.  Following the first century Roman conquest of the Holy Land, the Jews were banished from the land of Israel. The Romans renamed the area Palestine, and exiled its people to the farthest corners of the Roman Empire.

But God didn’t just promise to restore their nation.  He promised to do so by opening their “graves” at a time when the Jews felt that “all hope is gone.”  Satan attempted to prevent the prophesy of Ezekiel from being fulfilled by using Hitler to kill millions of Jews in the WW II Holocaust.  And he came close to nearly destroying an entire race of people.  By the time the war ended, countless survivors had been drained of hope.  It created the very conditions described by Ezekial.  And on May 14, 1948, the nation of Israel reappeared in fulfillment of not just this prophesy, but countless other Old Testament prophecies.

By the end of World War II the number of Jews in Palestine had risen to 800,000.  Today, there are more than 6 million who have come from all over the world.  There are now as many Jews in Israel as died in the Holocaust.  The prophet Jeremiah twice says that when history is completed, the Jewish people will look back and conclude that their worldwide gathering again was a greater miracle than their deliverance from Egyptian captivity.  See Jeremiah, chapters 16 and 23.

One related but often ignored prophesy is Zephaniah chapter 3: “From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia My worshipers, My dispersed ones, will bring My offerings.  In that day you will feel no shame because of all your deeds by which you have rebelled against Me; for then I will remove from your midst your proud, exulting ones, and you will never again be haughty on My holy mountain.”  Before 1984 it was estimated there were approximately 250 Ethiopian immigrants in Israel.  Many more tried to make the trek over land and died.  A cooperative effort in 1984, between unusual partners consisting of the Israel Defense Forces, the CIA, the US embassy in Khartoum, mercenaries, and even some Sudanese Muslims and secret police of Sudan facilitated the mass migration of Ethiopian Jews out of Sudan.  The covert airlift brought 15,000 Jews who had fled to refugee camps in Sudan to escape starvation.  Over the next fifteen years, another 23,000 were transported directly from Ethiopia by paying off the dictator-led government.

There’s a similar Prophesy is Jeremiah 23 that relates to Russian Jews.  “Therefore behold, the days are coming declares the Lord, when they will no longer say, as the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt, but as the Lord lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from the north land and from all the countries where I have driven them.  Then they will live on their own soil.”  In the 1970’s and 1980’s there was a mass exodus of Russian Jews out of Communist Russia.  In 1999 the Associated Press even reported the dramatic increase in the number of Jewish immigrants from Russia.

Other key prophecies, including one in the 8th chapter of Zechariah relate to the re-occupation of Jerusalem.  In 1967, in “The Six Day War” the Israelis took Jerusalem in the midst of miraculous after miraculous events that were reported by the secular press and in several books.

The Prophet Zechariah also warned that in this same generation, Israel would become a burden to the nations of the world.  Prior to 1948, world diplomatic leaders rarely mentioned Israel or Jerusalem; but today all nations, including the United States, oppose Israel on control of Jerusalem.  The Vatican wants the city put under its control.  The United Nations wants it to be internationalized.  The European Union is demanding it be divided between the Arabs and the Jews.  The Arabs want all of it.  This was foretold in the 12th chapter of Zechariah: “I will make Jerusalem and Judah like an intoxicating drink to all the nearby nations that send their armies to besiege Jerusalem.  On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone, a burden for the world.  None of the nations who try to lift it will escape unscathed.”   The division of Jerusalem and ownership of the Temple Mount in particular, have been a source of countless U.N. resolutions, diplomatic crises, and calls for war.  The struggle over the “Peace Process” in the Middle East is the stated number one priority of world diplomats, and Jerusalem resides at the center of discussions about “land for peace.”

Still another prophetic subject concerns the Hebrew language.  Prior to the restoration of Israel in 1948, Hebrew was a dead language.  Throughout history, many cultures and languages have come and gone; but there is no record of a dead/lost language being restored – until now.  In the 7th Century BC, Zephaniah prophesied, “For then I will return to the people a pure language that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.”  Today Hebrew is once again spoken throughout Israel.

There are still some prophesies concerning the nation of Israel that remain to be fulfilled before the End-of-Days.  And they too seem unlikely, given current circumstances – but no more unlikely than the prophesies already cited above.  These unfulfilled prophesies concern the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem and the restoration of Temple worship, including animal sacrifices.  These are spoken of in both the Books of Revelation (Chapter 11) and Daniel (Chapter 9).

There are many groups already working on preparations for the new temple.  The blueprints are already done, and there have already been unsuccessful attempts to lay the cornerstone of the temple.  These will all be accomplished in God’s timing – not man’s.  The only thing standing in the way of the construction of the new temple is Islam’s third holiest site, the Dome of the Rock and government support for such an undertaking.   Unless it’s determined that the site of the first two temples is actually south of the Dome of the Rock, as some archaeologists believe.

Likewise, the temple garments have been made.  A group in Israel called the Temple Mount Faithful have obtained most of the clothing, instruments and other equipment required for temple worship and are actively preparing for the laying of the third temple’s cornerstone.

According to the Lord’s guidance for animal sacrifices, as found in Numbers 19, a red heifer will be required to be used in the process of purification.  Amazingly, in May 1997, the first Red Heifer was born in 2000 years.  Another red Heifer was born in Israel in March of 2002.  So things are indeed coming together.

Of course, Jesus, His disciples, the prophets all gave us other signs to watch for and prepare.

Signs of society: “Realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…” 2 Timothy 3:1-4  This passage sounds like a typical evening newscast!

And according to Jesus, there are three specific things to watch and observe: famines, earthquakes and wars.  “Don’t let anyone mislead you. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah.’  They will lead many astray.  And wars will break out near and far, but don’t panic.  Yes, these things must come, but the end won’t follow immediately.  The nations and kingdoms will proclaim war against each other, and there will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world.  But all this will be only the beginning of the horrors to come.'”

The first two are Signs of nature:   Natural signs have always been the least respected, even among believers.  The mere mention of natural disasters as a sign of the approaching End-of-Days usually evokes a sneer accompanied by the words, “Come on, what else is new? There have always been earthquakes and tornadoes and hurricanes.”  But those who have this attitude forget that Jesus said the signs would be like “birth pangs.”  That means they will increase in frequency and intensity the closer we get to the Lord’s return.  And that is exactly what has been happening over the centuries.

According to a Wikipedia list of famines, the past 600 years have witnessed an increase in the frequency of famines: from a mere six in the 15th Century, ten in the 16th, 24 in the 17th, 28 in the 18th, 30 in the 19th and 44 in the 20th.  And look at some of those 44.   They were extremely deadly.  The 1921 famine in Russia killed more than 5 million people; the 1928-1929 famine in China more than 3 million, the 1932-1933 famine in Ukraine, close to 10 million; the 1932-1933 famine in Kazakhstan, about 1.5 million; the 1936 famine in China more than 5 million; the 1942-1943 famine in China more than 1 million; the 1946-1947 famine in the Soviet Union more than1 million; and in the 1959 to 1961 Great Chinese Famine as many as 36 million people died.  The first decade of the 21st Century has already witnessed 12 famines, putting humanity on course for 120 famines over the next one hundred year period.

And what about earthquakes?  Every time there’s a major earthquake, the news media are quick to say there have always been deadly earthquakes, as if they’re trying to silence the End-of-Days message before it can get any traction.   So let’s turn to an independent source again.  According to a Wikipedia list of earthquakes, the past 600 years have witnessed the following number of earthquakes described as a magnitude 7.0 or greater: 15th Century – 2, 16th Century – 3, 17th Century – 7, 18th Century – 13, 19th Century – 29, 20th Century – 123.  The first decade of the 21st Century has already witnessed 144 earthquakes with a magnitude of 7.0 or greater, putting humanity on course for 1,440 such earthquakes over the next one hundred year period!

Some of the increases may be due to our modern scientific methods which have improved mankind’s ability to collect and report information around the world.  However, a person would have to be a fool to deny that each of these categories of natural disasters indicate a significant increase in intensity.

Signs of Wars:  Here we see similar increases in numbers over the centuries, a phenomenon the Bible refers to as “birth pangs” leading to an expected end.   15th Century – 29 wars, 16th Century – 59 wars, 17th Century – 75 wars, 18th Century – 69 wars, 19th Century – 294 wars, 20th Century – 278 wars.  And the first decade of the 21st Century has already witnessed 55 wars, putting humanity on course for 550 wars over the next one hundred year period.

The list of the signs and their linkage to prophetic statements in the Bible goes on and on, and I just don’t have the time to recite them all, except in very general terms.  But I encourage you to do your own research.  The evidence is readily available.  These include:

The exponential growth of travel, knowledge, communication and technology,

The re-emergence of the Roman (European) Empire,

The rise of the Gog/Magog alliance, which will mobilize a coalition in the last days.  [For those unfamiliar with the Biblical description of this alliance, it consists of the following nations: Magog, Meshech, and Tubal which are now modern day Russia; Persia is now Iran; Cush is Ethiopia; Put is Libya; Gomer is Turkey; and Beth-togarmah is now parts of modern day Turkey, Armenia, and the Turkish-speaking people of Asia Minor.  Throughout human history, there’s never been a cooperative military alliance between the nations of Russia and Iran – until now.  Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, a cooperative diplomatic and military alliance between Iran and Russia has formed and slowly expanded, ultimately leading to Russia’s assistance in providing Iran with the necessary support to make the Bushehr nuclear power plant operational in 2010.]

The rise of global government and monetary systems,  [With each passing day more and more nations are ceding their sovereignty to larger institutions such as the European Union, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Court.]

The rise of Godlessness and Apostasy,

The increase in spiritual signs of power in the Church.