A dear friend recently asked if I thought the “Occupy Everywhere” crowds connected in my mind with Biblical prophecies about the end times. Good question. These days practically everything seems to yank my mind in that direction; evil seems to be crawling out from under every rock.
Whoa – am I assuming that the “Occupy” movement is evil? Well, let’s see: using drugs, drinking, and having sex in the streets, using cop cars as toilets, making constant noise, having no coherent message, blocking traffic and commerce – that is chaos. Chaos is evil. Ergo, in a perfect logically syllogism, the “Occupy” movement is evil. Since the American Nazi Party and the Communist Party USA have both endorsed the movement – I stand vindicated.
Is this evil connected to the end-of-the-world scenario? Could be. Of course, upheaval weaves through history leaving slubbed wads of nastiness in every decade. Of course, fraud and corruption have walked the halls of government before – remember Tamanny Hall from your high school history class? Of course, power-hungry people have been trying rule the world since Babel.
We do have to remember that this old globe is no stranger to evil. I think of that scene in Job where Satan turns up in the throne room of God, and God asks him where he’s come from. Satan, no doubt leaning insolently against a pillar and picking his teeth, replies, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it” (Job 1:7). Feels to me like he’s still out and about, doing what he does best.
However, in this age of invention (beyond anything our grandparents ever hoped for or dreaded) we are finally seeing -- not the fulfillment of prophecy -- but the unfurling of the technologies that will make those events possible. Revelation must have been a total mind boggler to earlier generations, but now it’s not at all hard to understand a world-wide economic system which uses a “mark” to identify those who are allowed to participate. It’s not at all hard to picture Christ returning to earth and everyone on the planet seeing Him land on the Mount of Olives.
It’s also not difficult to picture the Anti-Christ taking the reins of a one-world government, and doing so, much to the relief of chaos-torn nations. Many of the “Occupy” crowd carries placards demanding global government. (They don’t seem able to imagine what the world would look like today if Hitler had come to power under such a system.) Speaking of Hitler, some of the protesters carry anti-Jewish signs. Hmmm… that rings some prophetic bells too, but before I can discuss that issue, I need to prevent some confusions.
You see, the Doctrine of the Immanency of the Rapture teaches that no prophecy need be fulfilled before the Rapture’s occurrence; we don’t want to make the mistake of reading what we’re seeing on the national and global scene as fulfillment of prophecy. We can, however, see it as the setting of the stage, not only for the Rapture, but for the two major events that will precede the Tribulation.
According to the scholarship of Bill Salus in his new book Isralistine, Psalm 83 presents us with a picture of Israel, after a successful blitz attack on those hostile countries on her borders, becoming wealthy beyond belief. Picture Israel in control of part of Egypt, the Sinai Peninsula, Syria, Jordan, -- well, you get the picture. Oil, oil, oil. It’s not out of the question for Israel, now that the U.S. is not likely to be of much assistance, to pre-empt the hatred that is brewing against her. It’s not out of the question that God would bless that effort. Salus places the timing of this event after the Rapture but before the Tribulation.
Arnold Fructenbaum (In the Footseps of the Messiah) also thinks that the famous Gog and Magog attack on Israel (Ezekial 37-39) will happen because of her vast wealth – and note that the nations involved there are not her current next door neighbors, but distant nations – Russia, Iran, Turkey – as if the buffer nations now occupying the land in between aren’t even there. He places the timing for this event also after the Rapture and prior to the Tribulation.
Today, a fairly casual observation puts Israel on the edge of doing something rash, and probably necessary. And it’s not hard to imagine Russia, Iran and Turkey aiming for her, whether she’s oil-wealthy, or not. Conditions and events that seemed far-fetched just twenty years ago seem totally plausible today.
To go back to my friend’s question: the world feels to me as if it’s a caterpillar turning to pre-butterfly soup. The Middle East muddle, the world’s financial stew, the trans-national demonstrations of confused and mostly unbelieving people – any Bible student could list a dozen more symptoms.
I have no idea what a caterpillar feels like mid-metamorphosis, but it doesn’t look pleasant to me, any more than the world’s immediate future looks pleasant. I’ve never been a fan of living through history, which is often painful and messy. I like history tucked away safely in books. That being said, our Lord promised to come for us. He also promised Israel her land, and His kingship. Those things will happen – everything else He’s promised, He’s delivered. So, all things considered, there’s a mess ahead, but I think those of us who belong to Him also have a really exciting flight to look forward to. I hope to see you all then.
1Thessalonians 4:13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.[a]
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
John 5:34 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”