Archive for the ‘End Times’ Category


Terry JamesBy Terry James
Rapture Ready

A diagnosis of current, troubling realities in the Middle Eastern region of the world leads to a disturbing prognosis. Indigestion is possibly the culprit that threatens to bring on the terminal condition that prophecy calls Armageddon. Okay, so maybe it’s a bit of a stretch to liken what’s going on in the most volatile part of the world to a human gastrointestinal condition. But it certainly seems that it is gas that is shaping up to be at least one incendiary ingredient that might ignite history’s final holocaust.

While the Mideast broils with vitriol against Israel, the one nation on earth specifically pointed out by Zechariah the prophet as being at the center of end-times hatred, a situation taking place in the belly of that geographical beast bears watching. Natural gas is emerging as a burning issue in that highly volatile region. Key prophetic players are at the center of the ongoing developments.

The European Union (EU) is at the heart of matters involving the recent discovery of natural gas in Iraq’s Kurdish region. The EU has been striving to lessen dependence on Russia for supplying natural gas. Discoveries in Iraq open the possibility that the Europeans might be successful in accomplishing that independence. However, quickly rearranging relationships among nations surrounding the region of new gas discovery provoke some interesting thought, prophetically speaking.

The Nabucco consortium, a European group of oil and gas companies, hopes to construct a pipeline to southern Europe through Turkey. Nabucco is much more than just a commercial enterprise. It is an attempt to shift the balance of power in European energy politics, according to expert observers.

If the 3,300-kilometer Nabucco is built, it will be the first major natural gas pipeline into central and eastern Europe that isn’t controlled by Moscow.

This is important because the EU fears Russian control of such a large chunk of its gas supply. Several EU member states have also suffered severe winter gas supply disruptions in recent years as Russia fought with its neighbor Ukraine over transit rights.

So Nabucco has strong political backing from the European Commission, and is treated with disdain by the Kremlin. (James Herron, “Iraqi Gas Discovery Boosts EU Hopes of Gas Independence,” Wall Street Journal, 1/26/11)

Europe’s plans are far from being a done deal. The pipeline must go through both Iran (to an extent) and Turkey, as stated before. The Russians are almost certainly going to have a major objection to losing their monopoly on gas-supply operations in the region. And that country’s influence is considerable. Russia has over the past several years made ever-tightening alliances with the two major nations with which the EU must deal in order to bring natural gas from the Kurdish gas fields. At the same time, those nations, Turkey and Iran, are continuing to solidify relations with each other. The three – Russia, Iran, and Turkey — have formed a triad of sorts. It is a most fascinating arrangement in these strange days of quickly moving geopolitical realignments.

Russia and Turkey have just signed in Istanbul a strategic cooperation protocol for enhancing their bilateral relations. This was arranged by the Turkish-Russian Joint Strategic Planning Group, which is charged with carrying out preparatory work for the high-level Cooperation Council meeting in Moscow this March. Although the group didn’t divulge any details of the strategic protocol, it is logical to presume that considerations regarding the proposed EU pipeline figure in the planning.

One source reports:

Russian-Turkish ties have predominantly expanded on an economic basis, especially with energy deals. Projects in the energy sector such as Samsun-Ceyhan, South Stream and Nabucco will also be on the agenda of the preparatory talks.

Turkey receives 70 percent of its energy resources, including gas and oil, from Russia. Turkey will also put into operation its first nuclear power plant with the cooperation of Russia. (“Russia, Turkey Sign Strategic Cooperation Protocol,” People’s Daily Online, 1/21/11)

Russia no doubt intends to continue to exert hegemony over Middle East energy sources and supplies at all cost. Turkey, under its recently installed, antagonistic-to-Israel, Islamist regime, is firmly ensconced within the Russian-Iranian (Persian) camp. The EU will likely have to look elsewhere for its energy independence from the Russian Bear.

There is such a source to the south of Russia, Iran, and Turkey. Can you guess who that is?

In 2009, a partnership that included Texas Based Noble Energy Inc. and Israeli oil companies discovered Tamar, an offshore gas field containing eight trillion cubic feet of natural gas. It was the largest gas find in the world in 2009 and the largest ever for Israel at the time.

Last December, the company announced the discovery of the Leviathan field, which contains a whopping 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas — enough to supply all of Israel’s gas needs for 100 years — and promises to turn the once resource-starved country into a net energy exporter. (Charles Levinson, “Israel to Launch State Fund Within a Year,” Wall Street Journal, 1/26/11)

There is talk of the EU contracting with Israel to provide the much-needed natural gas supply. It will be fascinating to watch developments, in consideration of the Gog-Magog prophecy of Ezekiel chapters 38-39.

Related Links


Minister seeks to expedite Tamar gas flow – Globes
Is the Qatar-Iraq-Turkey-Europe Natural Gas Pipeline Project feasible? – Sunday’s Zaman
Ezekiel 38 & 39 (Part 1) – BPB (Thomas Ice)
Nabucco delayed? – UPI
Israel Gas Explorers Outperform as Egypt Unrest May Create Void – Bloomberg

Q. In the article The Age of Accountability you wrote: “When they reach the age of accountability, they become responsible for their sins. They acknowledge their accountability in a ceremony called bat mitzvah for girls, usually held at age 12, and bar mitzvah for boys age 13.”   Does this mean that when believers in Jesus are raptured, all girls under the age of 12 and all boys under the age of 13 will also be raptured? If so, can you imagine the impact on families worldwide?

 

A. The article was meant to show that children under a certain age are not responsible for their sins and from God’s perspective are sinless.  But the ages come from Jewish tradition, and cannot be found in the Bible.

So this is what we know.  The Holy Spirit led Paul to say that there was a time in his early childhood when he was considered to be sin free and had eternal life.  When he became old enough to be held accountable for his sins he was scheduled for death. (Romans 7:9) Of course, his belief in Jesus canceled his death sentence (Colossians 2:13-14).

There are other Scriptures that hint of eternal life for children (Matt.18:10 is one example).  The thing that isn’t clear is at what age a child becomes accountable.  Many scholars believe it depends on each child’s intellectual capability to understand the sin/salvation issue.  But whatever the age is, it would seem that all children who are not accountable will go in the rapture, regardless of their parents’ spiritual condition.  And yes, it will have an impact on the post rapture world that’s hard to imagine.

Will Jerusalem Be Divided Again?

Posted: December 7, 2010 in End Times, Q&A
Tags: ,

Q. There is so much talk about scattering Israel and dividing Jerusalem these days. Also much talk about the Psalm 83 prophecy which talks about a confederation of the surrounding Arab and Palestinian nations coming against Israel and being completely defeated by the IDF.  At the same time I read in Zechariah 1: 18 / 19 about four horns coming to scatter Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. There seems to be a contradiction between this Scripture and Psalm 83. I know there cannot be any contradiction in Holy Scripture, that is impossible. How do you see things? Can you help please?

 

A. Notice in Zech. 1:19 the word scattered is in the past tense.  Zechariah wrote just after the 70 year Babylonian captivity, and the Jews were scattered at its beginning, which is what the vision was recalling.  In verse 20 the word scattered is also in the past tense.  In effect, the vision says that those who scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem will now be punished.

The real answer to your question is contained in Zechariah 14:1-2.  There we can see that Jerusalem will again be divided, just before the 2nd Coming.

Q. I have been wondering for some time now if there is a chance that the peace treaty that is being negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians now, could possibly be the treaty called for in Daniel 9:27. And now that there’s a chance that Israel will “lease” their land from the Palestinians for 7 years, it really makes me wonder if there is a chance that this peace treaty and the one in Daniel 9:27 are one in the same.  Your thoughts?

A. By reading Daniel 9:27 carefully you can infer that the covenant being spoken of must include a provision for building a Temple in Israel, since it will be defiled in the middle of the covenant’s 7 year term and there isn’t one there now.  Treaties being discussed these days have the opposite intent in an effort to deny the Jewishness of Israel and especially East Jerusalem where the Temple mount is.

Although a majority of Jewish people would like to see a Temple built, it’s not because they want to re-instate their covenant with God.  It’s more a desire on their part to underscore the Jewishness of Jerusalem than anything else.  I don’t believe there will be an official demand for a Temple until after the Battle of Ezekiel 38-39. So I don’t think we’ve seen the anti-Christ and his covenant yet.

Q. A recent news headline has reported that “In secret and with remarkable speed, North Korea has built a new, highly sophisticated facility to enrich uranium, raising fears that the North is ramping up its atomic program.”  Since they are not in the list of nations specifically mentioned in either Psalm 83 or Ezekiel 38-39, how does North Korea fit into end times prophecy (as an individual nation) or do they?
A. Neither North nor South Korea is mentioned by name in the Bible.  The same is true of most other nations of the world.   Some believe the concept of nation-states will soon disappear and under the reign of the anti-Christ the world will be divided into 10 regions each under the supervision of a “King”.  If this is the case, Korea might by included with Japan, China, and others in the reference to the “Kings of the East” in Rev. 16:12.

Q. I have a question that I hope you can answer. When we go to Heaven how will we ALL get to see Jesus? Is there going to be some big “wait list” to get our turn? My question is sincere. There will be a lot of us in Heaven but only one Jesus. I really want to see Jesus and I am afraid there will be too many of us to actually get to see or be close to Him.

A. You’re applying Earthly limitations to Heaven.  Standing in line and waiting, and not being sure we’ll get what we’ve been promised are experiences we all endure here, but will not be problems in Heaven.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev. 21:4)

Q. My question is, how can the anti-Christ possibly be a muslim when it says the anti-Christ will proclaim himself to be god in the temple?  no muslim would ever say he is god, because in their religion that would be blasphemy.  please explain.

A. Remember, the anti-Christ will be indwelt by Satan.  The Bible calls him the god of this age (2 Cor. 4:4) and says the whole world is under his control (1 John 5:19).  As far as Satan is concerned he is the god of this world.  He won’t consider himself to be a member of any religion, but the object of worship for all religions (2 Thes. 2:4).  According to Rev. 13:4 the world will agree and worship him as such.

Q. Sincere thanks for your labor of love providing rich insight into scripture through your web site.  My question pertains to 1 Timothy 4:1-5.  Since “the Spirit expressly says” some will depart from the faith etc. etc., how would you expound these verses for the “later times” we are living in?

 

A. 1 Timothy 4:1-5 says,

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.  For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

We’re seeing this all around us today as people who claim to be followers of Jesus depart from Bible centered churches to join congregations where the Bible is not studied, where there is no talk of being born again and where the focus is on entertainment and good works, not sin and salvation. I can’t tell you  how many eMails I’ve received from people who’ve searched in vain for a Bible centered church in their community.  We also see increased acceptance of witchcraft and other forms of counterfeit spirituality. Combined with its companion, 2 Timothy 3:1-5, we have some of the major indicators that these are the last days.

Q. A question on 2 Peter 3:3; who are the scoffers?  Are they in the body of Christ?  Do they not believe that Christ is coming back, or that he isn’t coming back soon or, that it cannot be known?  The pastor at my church believes the Bible says we cannot know when the end is near, and so does not address the subject.  Is he a scoffer?  He does expositional teaching from the Bible every week and does believe in the rapture, he just does not believe that current events can indicate where we are as regards to prophecy.  I appreciate his avid defense of the gospel and his desire to spread the good news, but I have been discouraged by his unwillingness to address what seems obvious to me, that we are quickly approaching the return of our Lord.

 

A. For the most part, evangelical scholars believe the scoffers in 2 Peter 3 represent people who call themselves Christian but don’t believe in a literal 2nd Coming.  They claim to believe in God but don’t think He intervenes in the affairs of men. This is consistent with the “watchmaker” theory of liberal Christianity.  It holds that God is like a craftsman who built a complex time piece, wound it up, and then stood back to watch it run without any further involvement on His part. Peter accused them of deliberately forgetting about past judgments like the flood, that prove God does intervene.

Your pastor may or may not fit this description.  Many pastors are taught in seminary to avoid end times prophecy since it’s controversial and could be divisive, threatening the stability of their congregation.  They’re told it’s much safer to keep their flock focused on the church’s work in this world and let the next one take care of itself.  Often these pastors are not even taught about prophecy and therefore don’t consider themselves to be competent to teach it to others.

Also, many denominational seminaries are officially a-millennial, which means they don’t believe in a literal fulfillment of end times prophecy. Others are of the Preterist view and teach that all prophecy has been fulfilled in history.  Any one of these factors could have influenced your pastor to avoid teaching prophecy.

It’s sad to say, but the vast majority of believers have to learn about End Times prophecy from sources outside their church.

Tony GarlandBy Dr. Tony Garland
SpiritandTruth.org

Q. Blessings to you and Shalom,

As I study I have found verses that state there were two in a bed and one was taken, there were two in the field and one was taken. Most people state that this is a picture of the rapture of the good one being taken. I don’t believe this. In many places in the Bible it states that the good will inherent the earth. That would make one think that the bad one is being taken away.

A. I share your understanding of the passages you mention (Mat. 24:37-42; Luke 17:26-37).

When it comes to determining the meaning of a passage, context is king! In other words, the immediate setting of the passage must be examined first for clues as to the meaning intended by the author. Only afterwards do we look to what we believe may be other related passages.

In Matthew’s gospel, notice the analogy Jesus makes between the global Flood which “took them all away” (to destruction, Mat. 24:39) and those who are “taken” in the subsequent verses. As during the Flood, they are taken in judgment.

It is also evident that the taken ones are taken in judgment in Luke’s account where His listeners ask about the destination of the taken ones, “Where, Lord?” (Luke 17:37). His answer:

“Wherever the body is, the eagles [or vultures, NASB] will be gathered together.”

Jesus is making reference to the common theme of judgment where God says He has a sacrifice for the birds of the air who will eat of the carcasses of the dead (e.g., Deu. 28:26; Rev. 19:17-18). His statement is rooted in an understanding of a similar passage in Job:

Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars, stretching his wings toward the south? Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up and makes his nest on high? On the cliff he dwells and lodges, upon the rocky crag, an inaccessible place. From there he spies out food; His eyes see [it] from afar. His young ones also suck up blood; And where the slain are, there is he. (Job 39:26-30)

Most careful teachers of the rapture know that these verses having nothing to do with the coming of the Lord for the Church, but speak about the Second Coming where Jesus comes in judgment and all the wicked are purged from the earth (Mat. 13:30,41-42,48) in preparation for the Millennial Kingdom to follow (Mat. 25:31).

Applying these passages to the rapture is eisegesis: reading into the passage something that is not there. The fact that people are ‘taken’ is incorrectly assumed to be their departure at the rapture, but the passage is not teaching this.

Related Links


What is the difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming? – GotQuestions.org
Matthew 24, Luke 17 and the Rapture – SpiritandTruth.org (Tony Garland)
An Interpretation of Matthew 24-25 (Part 34) – Pre-Trib Research Center (Thomas Ice)
A Testimony of Jesus Christ: A Commentary on the Book of Revelation, Vol. 1 – Anthony C. Garland (Book)