We continue Annex A to Simplicity and examine some items in earlier Briefings:
KEY END-TIME (or SECOND ADVENT) SIGNS and PROPHECIES
An awareness of End-Time signs will help us to see if any world events, as they unfold in the weeks, months and years ahead, can honestly be described as fulfilling Biblical prophecy. Analysis of world events in relation to prophecy requires care and integrity, both to ensure genuine spiritual significance, and to avoid “false news”, conspiracy theories and the pronouncements of false prophets. It will be exceedingly hard to convince a sceptical world that prophecy is being fulfilled!
Some prophecies in the Bible seem particularly significant, in light of current world events, especially in the Middle-East. The following prophecies are worth bearing in mind, especially by those who are intentional about marrying historic prophecies with contemporary occurrences. They are, in short, signs of the End-Times:
- Egyptian will turn against Egyptian (Isaiah 19:2)
- Damascus will be in ruins (Isaiah 17:1)
- Gaza will writhe in agony (Zechariah 9:5)
- There will be false teachers and prophets who lead people astray (2 Peter 2:1-2)
- Earthquakes, famines, plague and pestilences will intensify (Luke 21:11)
- People will prefer fantasy to reality, myth to Christian truths (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
Some other signs of note:
- The Jews have returned to their Biblical homeland, however, not all of the Jews have returned, and not to all of what was originally the Promised Land. We can expect to see more Jews returning and there may be further expansion of the current borders of Israel.
- The desolate land of Israel has become fertile and fruitful – Zechariah 7:14.
- The Gospel will be preached to all nations – Matthew 24:14. The Gospel is being preached in many nations, though not yet in all nations. It may be difficult for us to determine when full coverage has been achieved! At the same time, it is surely significant that in a matter of a few years from now the Bible, or parts of it, will have been translated into every known language.
- We can expect that in any communication on End-Time prophecies the message, and the messenger, will be mocked and ridiculed (2 Peter 3:3-4).
- Jerusalem will be seen as a problem by the whole world (Zechariah 12:2-3). Zechariah made this prophecy in about 520 BC, when Jerusalem was in ruins. Today, as foretold, Israel and Jerusalem are the focus of massive media coverage that is totally disproportionate to the size of the city or nation.
- Christians will be persecuted and martyred (Matthew 24:9).
- Many will turn away from the Christian faith (Matthew 24:10).
- The governance of Jerusalem will be free of Gentile involvement (Luke 21:24).
- The “Man of Lawlessness” (the Antichrist) will appear on the world stage. He will be seen as a great and very effective unifying world leader (Revelation 13:3-8). He will establish a seven-year covenant of peace with Israel which, after 31/2 years, he will break when he declares himself as god in the Temple in Jerusalem.
- A worldwide financial system will be established requiring people to register and show allegiance to the Antichrist, as a prerequisite to being able to shop and trade (Revelation 13:16-17). We hear talk today of a “new world order”, the need for a worldwide economic organisation and a world government.
- A 31/2 year period of desolation and despair, the “Great Tribulation”, will follow the “Abomination of Desolation” by the Antichrist in the Temple.
- In order for the prophecy at 11 above to be fulfilled, assuming it is not allegorical, we can expect to see the Temple rebuilt in Jerusalem.
- All nations will gather to fight against Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:2).
- Jesus will return and defeat the attacking nations at Armageddon (Zechariah 14:3-4, Revelation 16:14-16, Revelation 19:11, 19-21).
- The awesome realisation that Jesus is the Messiah, and all that that implies, will come to the nation of Israel in absolute certainty (Zechariah 12:9-10).
- Nations will be judged according to their treatment of the Jews (Joel 3:1-2).
(Annex A) CONCLUSION
Undoubtedly, more signs could be added. However, time and space dictate a degree of selectivity. Jesus gave us pointers for the circumstances that will prevail when he returns, but makes it clear that the specific time of his coming cannot be known. It seems clear that we are well along the time line of prophetic events. Those signs that await fulfillment could happen very quickly. Reading the Bible, watching what is happening, particularly in Israel and Jerusalem, and seeking to understand the spiritual significance of unusual signs and symbols in the world around us, are all key elements in our being ready for the return of Jesus.
Neil Mackereth, 21 May 2020