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Shape of Things To Come?

Most who watch the news in light of Bible prophecy agree that the world has moved into a time of birthpang-like convulsions. While such contractions have been observable for a long time, they seem now to be only minutes apart, rather than months and years apart, like in previous decades. It is with this frame of reference I would like to do some scenario postulating. 

By doing so, I am setting myself up for severe criticism, I realize. So, I want to preface this in the strongest possible terminology. Please read carefully: This is from the thought process of Terry James, not from the mind of the Creator of all things. While I do believe the Lord gives discernment in the areas of things to come (prophecy yet future), He no longer reveals new prophetic truth in the sense He revealed prophecy to Old and New Testament prophets–i.e., God has given His Word, and there is nothing left to be given, so far as prophetic truth is concerned. Now, we who study the prophetic Word can get enlightenment and discernment. I base the following on that premise –that I sense possibilities, based upon prayer, study, and observation. What follows is postulation from a human being in God’s family (through belief in Jesus Christ as Savior). It is speculation, but, I believe, speculation that has been placed in my mind by the Holy Spirit. It is not a “word of knowledge,” as some would have it. It is an assiduously studied and prayed-over speculative insight, I believe.

It is with that understanding that I would like to look somewhat into things to come.

The prophet Zechariah comes most specifically to mind, when beginning these ponderings: “The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zech. 12: 1-3).

Israel appears to be headed toward exactly the isolation outlined in Zechariah’s prophecy for the end of human history. The tiny Jewish state is being more and more blamed by the international community for its retaliation against incessant attacks from its enemies. While terrorists are given shelter and endless supplies from countries like Iran, they are given time to resupply, rebuild their losses for their terroristic assaults by those like U.N. Secretaries, with cease-fire resolutions which, even if implemented, are kept only by the Israelis, never by the Hezbollah or Hamas or other murderers.

The latest convulsion brings to mind the question: Might this be the time violence will reach the level that is dangerous to the point world diplomats will become so terrified at the prospect of nuclear conflict they will demand peace above all other considerations? Here’s an interesting scenario:

Israel continues to move toward a preemptive attack to slow or eliminate Iran’s atomic weapons development. Israel becomes increasingly isolated in its determination to eradicate these terrorists who have bedeviled them throughout their modern nationhood.

Even within the U.S., there is an increasing cry for Israel to desist from its aggressive actions –which is exactly how the ever-present “peace” purveyors view the actions by Israel.

The tide in America turns more and more against Israel, while world media and the international community castigate the Jewish state at every turn. Israel’s only true friends are Christians in the United States who believe Israel is God’s chosen people and nation. While those Christians don’t approve of every action and everything Israel does, they continue to believe that Israel has the right to exist, and more than that, that Israel (the Jews) continues to be the heir to all of the land God granted it. The Lord has never gone back on His land covenant. “If his sons forsake My law, and do not walk in My judgments, if they violate My statues, and do not keep My commandments, then I will visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. But I will not break off My loving kindness from him, nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. My covenant I will not violate, nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David. His descendants shall endure forever like the moon, and the witness in the sky is faithful” (Psa. 89:30-37).

Just as the war is about to explode into an uncontrollable conflict, the rapture of the Church occurs.

One can only faintly imagine the fear that will result. Every supporter of Israel’s right to exist, because of the belief that it has a God-given right to the land He gave it, has suddenly vanished without a trace –except for the material possessions left behind. Israeli leadership –especially the military leaders –panicked because of complete loss of this support, and with Washington and all of Israel’s key U.S. supportive structure gone, seeks to neutralize its enemies as quickly as possible. 

They destroy Damascus with a tactical nuclear strike because that city is headquarters for every significant terrorist organization in the Middle East. Damascus, known as the oldest city of continuing existence in the world, is reduced to radiation-contaminated rubble: “The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap” (Isa. 17:1).

Now the international community of nations is in sure enough distress, with perplexity! Israel has made itself a cup of trembling, and a burdensome stone.

Peace is the word most often heard, while the diplomats, and even the dictators, scream for Israel to be brought into subjection. But, Israel still holds the Samson Option (to bring everyone and everything down around it with all-out nuclear war, if it appears the Jewish state faces annihilation).

America is in chaos, having lost a sizable portion of population, including many who were in key positions of government and business. Who will pay the taxes? Who will pay off the tremendous personal debt that has been charged over the months and years preceding the disappearance?

America’s leadership looks for any solution to the chaos. The infrastructure is still there, but the nation is fumbling for any semblance of restoration to its former status as the world’s lone superpower.

The world searches for peace. America seeks desperately for something –someone, anyone—to restore its former glory. Israel faces destruction, and the diplomats in the know realize the Jews have vowed “Never again!”

Just as the world seems destined to come apart, a man of unusual diplomatic acumen and charisma is shoved forward out of the crowd of EU nations. He explains that Europe, unlike the U.S., hasn’t sustained the degree of loss of people. He has some answers to the itching ears and terror-stricken minds of everyone around the globe.

With America’s basic infrastructure of technology and nuclear arsenal still intact, he proposes the western world, with the EU at its center, restructure, bringing America under the umbrella of the Europeans’ governmental capability. He proposes a redistribution of the wealth of America –the wealth of those who disappeared– thrown into the mix to raise the unfortunates of the western world out of poverty. It will be a superstate to end all superstates!

Israel, he proposes, will have the complete protection of this burgeoning superstate. The caveat is that it must agree to disarm –to turn in its nuclear arsenal. It will be assured of its existence, and will be restored to favorable status within the community of nations.

There is no option for Israel other than this brilliantly conceived resolution. Israel accepts, and the agreement is made, based upon peace efforts that have been in process for years. It is a peace based upon the constructs of man’s capability to create the most magnificent society in history. Every person,once electronically documented, will be part of the new order. Terrorists and all others of diabolical bent will become manifest, and easier to eliminate.

Oh, well… Then I awake from my scenario-ponderings. Such a scenario might not be precisely the shape of things to come. But, our hourly headlines should nudge us to consider the possibilities.

American Elections and Mid-East War and Peace

The United States stands upon the brink of entering uncharted territory in many areas of national movement into the future. Economy is one such area. America’s Out of control momentum–generated by credit and market crises since the 2008 elections– pushes the nation toward a destiny the experts talk about but seem unable to comprehend, much less predict.

Uncertainty about petroleum and the end game for that critical commodity has for the moment left the forefront of national and international crises. But, don’t be lulled into thinking we’ve heard the last of extremely troubling energy prices that are tied up to that finite resource. America, the most dependent of all national oil-dependent entities, is but a Middle East crisis away from suffering problems even greater than the oil crisis of a few years ago.

Both matters are, of course, inextricably tied to one another. The petroleum crisis, mixed in with the monetary/credit fiscal affairs of all nations, means unprecedented global solutions are forthcoming–are already on their way, as a matter of fact. The resolution, or at least rational ways of dealing with this new global paradigm upon the brink of which America stands, almost certainly revolves around whether there is war or peace in the Middle East.

According to recent statistics, with America’s Gross National Product (GNP) down  and consumer spending moving downward because of loss of confidence in job security and other economic realities or perceived realities, the nation seems to be in perpetual recession. European economic experts in some quarters say that some parts of Europe are definitely in deep recession. Business and consumers alike are looking to what the future holds with regard to projected economic circumstances and financial instrumentalities that might be employed to bring forth brighter prospects. When the gurus of global economics look at potential Mid-East turmoil, one thing stands out: There must be peace in the region for the world’s economy to get better, and stay better.

There is, by any rational account, enough blame to go around on how the U.S., thus the industrialized world, got into this mess. President Barack Obama’s dismal popularity statistics at this late hour of his administration demonstrate that the buck stops on the president’s desk. But there are, in the electorates’ view, apparently many bucks to go around because Congress, dominated during the Obama Administration by the Democratic Party, has a popularity rating even more dismal than the president’s. Clearly, though, the entire government is held accountable by the public.

The voter who wants to discern what is best for America in a geopolitical sense should look at the nation Israel. That nation, though tiny, is nonetheless a powerhouse that, despite the deluding voices that claim Israel is the problem in the Middle East, maintains the balance and stability that keep the region from boiling into total war. America’s alliance with the Jewish state is critical in helping maintain a perhaps uncomfortable, but working, stabilization.

Israel’s enemies are legendary for taking advantage of perceived weakness. Anyone who denies that just doesn’t know anything about the history of Mid-East war and peace and are sadly deluded–or are lying. And this brings up the critical nature of the American elections during this upcoming mid-term and then the  presidential election year.

It is absolutely crucial to have a president and a working congressional bipartisanship that remain allied in an unyielding way to Israel.

Does this mean that Israel is never wrong? No, of course not. However, in matters of the Jewish state’s security –its right to exist–America must never relent. To do so would certainly bring on war. And Israel, despite its split leadership, has collectively vowed, “Never again!” This administration has clearly, undeniably, moved away from the commitment this  nation has always held for the Jewish state. God, of course, is Israel’s ultimate Protector. There will never cease to be an Israel, from here to eternity. But, the Lord uses human offices to work in His dealings with mankind for the most part. Thus, America has been used to ally with Israel since its modern birth in 1948.

A president who moves America away from Israel will be disastrous. Such will be calamitous in the human alliance sense, but it will be much more so in the sense of violating the place in His plan that God has determined for the United States as the world moves into prophecy yet future. America’s desertion of Israel in any way whatever will be violation of Genesis 12:3.

Europeans, despite their jealousies of U.S. leadership and other antagonisms for America, understand at the top levels of leadership the importance of presidential elections for the world. A number of years ago, even before Obama was elected, one European leader expressed his concern. His worst fears have been born out, in my opinion. “JERUSALEM, Israel – French President Nicholas Sarkozy remains leery of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s stance on Iran, according to reports received by the Israeli government. In closed forums in France, Sarkozy called Obama’s statements on Iran ‘utterly immature’ and ‘formulations empty of all content.’ During Obama’s July visit to France, Sarkozy reportedly told the Democratic candidate that it would be ‘very problematic’ if the U.S. changes its policy toward Iran. Sarkozy is also concerned that if elected, Obama would attempt to ‘arrogantly’ override the U.N. Security Council’s position by making good on his promise to open direct dialogue with Iran without preconditions. Since their meeting, Sarkozy has continued to express disappointment with Obama’s stance on Iran, saying that it’s ‘not crystallized,’ and ‘many issues’ remain open…” (“Sarkozy Wary of Obama’s Iranian Stance,” CBNNews.com,10/28/08).

Much of Sarkozy’s concerns have materialized, it is disturbing to say. Every week I receive emails castigating me for concerning myself with political issues–with election matters. By insinuating ourselves into this earthly process of governing, I am–so the arguments go—becoming part of the humanistic drive that will enslave mankind under Antichrist.

I consider my concern for who is elected our leaders a matter of occupying until our Lord calls us to himself, either through death or, I prayerfully hope, in the rapture. I am convinced by God’s Word that, like each one who reads this and is a born-again member of God’s family, we are to serve as royal ambassadors while here. We are to be salt and light to an ever-darkening world.

Giving the Gospel message is the Christian’s number-one priority, of course. But, Jesus said in His Great Commission that we should teach whatever He taught while we go through this life. Part of the Lord’s teaching was to show the way for the world to live righteously under God’s rules–rules that Jesus Christ fulfilled on the cross. The Lord of heaven sets up nations and their leaders, the Bible tells us, and He brings them down. He wants us involved.

He commanded us to bless Israel. We will thereby be blessed by God. We are to stand for not shedding the blood of innocents. We are to uphold God’s prescription for the marriage relationship. We are to fight against the evils of this world. Sometimes that means fighting evil physically through the courts–through the political process, as well as through the spiritual warfare given in Ephesians 6.

As a matter of fact, dealing physically or literally, and dealing spiritually with God’s prescription for life on Planet Earth are not mutually exclusive. We must be involved; God demands it!

Next for America: Corrective Measures, or Accumulating Pleasures?

My research in writing my book –The American Apocalypse: Is the United States in Bible Prophecy?—(released in 2009) took me back to God’s harsh dealing with America in the 1930s. The things Americans suffered were considered by preachers and politicians alike to be God’s wrath and judgment.

One well-known writer, John Steinbeck, even gave his famous novel on that depressed time in America the title, The Grapes of Wrath. America had gone through a tremendous time of growth and relative prosperity during the “Gay 90s” (for the younger readers, it had nothing to do with the Clinton years, nor with homosexuality). It was the 1890s, and the term “gay” still enjoyed its proper definition.

Despite the early 1900s bringing about World War I, the nation leaped forward, and soon the “Roaring Twenties” brought forth the flappers and boisterous, even debauched, “good times.” Reformers tried to squash the hedonism, and with the passage of the 18th Amendment instituted prohibition against alcohol manufacture, sale, and transportation. The action only increased rebellion against morality. American gangsters took over, and illegal booze, gambling, and every other type of nefarious activity permeated culture and society.

Then in 1929 came the stock market crash in the United States, and worldwide depression quickly followed. The wrath of God had fallen! Or had it?

No, it had not. Neither had His judgment against America’s sin fallen upon the nation, thus affecting the world–not in the sense of God’s great judgment that came upon the antediluvians, the wicked, violent, even genetically corrupted earth dwellers of Noah’s day.

But God’s mighty hand of correction through the Great Depression and the horrendous “Dust Bowl” era came down hard on the backside of this nation He so manifestly chose to accomplish great things for His great purposes. Those things would include, in particular: 1) developing the technologies that would spread the gospel around the entire world, and 2) to act as midwife for the birth of modern Israel on May 14, 1948, and to become that Jewish peoples’ closest ally–an ally which just happened to soon become the most materially blessed, most powerful, and most influential nation the world has ever known.

America has, despite recession, economic downturns, and wars that took thousands of young American lives, known a standard of living and pleasures–both unsullied and debauched—like no generation of any people in history. The profoundly disturbing questions to ponder are: Will God choose to again correct this special nation called America? Or, will He take His hand off to an extent, allowing the U.S. to find its own way, which is what the majority of the electorate seems to want?

Daily I get email from people who fear this nation will now feel the Lord’s hand of wrath. The die is cast, as one of Shakespeare’s characters said. I don’t necessarily subscribe to that “judgment and wrath is about to fall” opinion. At least not in the immediate near term way many who send the fear-filled emails believe.

God’s wrath is building. It will be unleashed when the “prince that shall come” confirms the covenant with Israel and Israel’s antagonists (Daniel 9:26-27). That pouring out of God’s anger won’t happen until the Church is removed. However, there is almost certainly a heavenly decision that has already been made, and is even now in the process of implementation. It is likely the decision to either take corrective measures as in God’s past dealings with America in order to get this nation back on the moral course, to complete its work in His grand prophetic design, or to give rebellious masses what they more and more demonstrate they demand. They demand freedom to choose what is right in their own eyes.

God’s decision to take His hand off to some extent would be far more fearful than His again taking corrective action like world economic depression. To let the rebels do what is right in their own eyes, thus casting God away from any semblance of divine guidance, means America’s work is done. That is indeed a frightening thing to contemplate.

I must say that I, with reverential consideration, don’t expect immediate meltdown and correction from Almighty God. I believe with all that is within me that He has been demonstrating corrective movements over the past years and months–movements that have gone unheeded by even the majority of His people. These have chosen, it is obvious to me, at least, to bury their heads in the sands of watered-down messages that have practically no relevance to God’s message of doctrinal truth. Rather than revival, there have been false, emotional outbursts that have done disservice to the Lord who purchased each and every one who has been born again. It seems to me that the Church’s work, like that of America, has almost run its course.

Dave Hunt once wrote a book called Peace, Prosperity, and the Coming Holocaust. His basic premise was that this fallen world system, and particularly the United States and even the Church, would be drawn ever deeper into believing in humanistic salvation by seeming peace and prosperity. He demonstrated, then, through historical precedent and Bible prophecy both past and yet to come that the world of fallen man will at a future time of unprecedented evil activity on earth endure a holocaust far worse than that perpetrated by Adolf Hitler. The end will bring, he concluded, God’s wrath and judgment on an incorrigibly wicked world.

I believe America and the world might yet have another burst of so-called peace and prosperity. But the “change” the country and the world is clamoring for through trust in human governmental entities rather than God’s moral governance will, as my friend Dave Hunt wrote, swiftly bring the holocaust of the tribulation.

Let us pray for the president –even when it seems to do no good– and for all governmental leaders, so that we might lead peaceful lives. This is commanded of us by the Lord. But, let us work to complete whatever He puts in front of us to do for the Kingdom. Let us, as Oswald Chambers entitled his book of devotions, do “Our utmost for His highest” while our fleeting time remains upon this fallen sphere.

 

 

Key “Perilous Times” Indicator

So many end-times signals pervade the present hour that it’s difficult to choose one for this column. They are all important to our being faithful watchmen on the wall. We can always present analysis of news from Israel and the Middle East, or from the European Union, Russia, Iran, Iraq and China. We can–and often do—observe geophysical signals that look much like prophecy in the making. Economy, religion, and societal and cultural matters are most often somewhat less manifest on our prophecy screens of observation. Hidden down in the sub-strata of these categories are issues and events that are most often missed, or ignored. The old adage “can’t see the forest for the trees” applies in these cases. These are the issues that have become such a part of American–and even foreign—cultural life that we often miss their significance.

I would like to deal with one area of these prophetic sub-categories for a moment. Actually, the potential ramifications involved in this singular issue likely will be at the very heart of rebellious mankind’s final rebellion against God, as follows:

“And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds” (Rev. 16:10-11).

I would like to examine one of the “deeds” of which these hell-bound rebels will refuse to repent. This is because I believe this particular “deed” is becoming a prodigious problem in our time. We recently witnessed this through news media that has obviously gone completely bonkers in its obsession in reporting the matters involved.

The prophecy is given as part of the Apostle Paul’s “perilous times” forewarnings: “For men shall be…incontinent, fierce…” (2 Tim. 3:2-3). The word “incontinent” here doesn’t mean that adult diapers are required. The term means people will be unwilling and/or unable to control their desires. They will be totally addicted. Here’s the prophecy that captures the particular addiction to which that left-behind people will be willfully enslaved: “Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts” (Rev. 9:21).

The problem, so critical in our day that it is almost certainly the great addiction that will fulfill this prophecy during the most terrible time of judgment during the tribulation, is wrapped up in the word “sorceries.” Its root meaning is key to understanding what this great addiction will be when Revelation 9:21 comes to pass. Here is what one of the best Bible teachers to ever live–in my view–has to say about this matter:

“Sorceries” is the Greek word pharmakeion, from which we get our English word “pharmacy.” Pharmacy means “drugs”. What were called drugstores when I was a boy are now called pharmacies. The Great Tribulation will be a period when the use of drugs will not be controlled. Drugs will play a large part in the lives of the unsaved and will serve several purposes. Drugs will enable them to bear the judgments of the Great Tribulation…” (Dr. J. Vernon McGee, Edited Messages Commentary, p. 971).

News media reporters and pundits, as well as many of the fans/followers of the entertainment industry celebrities and their activities, are stunned when their heroes and heroines die as result of drug overdose. We remember Heath Ledger, the 28-year-old Australian actor who starred in “The 10 Things I Hate About You,” in Mel Gibson’s “The Patriot,” and in “Brokeback Mountain,” was found nude and lifeless in his New York City apartment. He is but one of many within the entertainment business to die from deliberate or accidental overdose. The drugs that took the actor’s life were, apparently, prescription–not illicit in nature.

We remember Judy Garland’s and Marilyn Monroe’s stories. John Belushi, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Anna Nicole, and dozens more have gone the way of one form or the other of pharmakeion.

Sadly, we are given the media eye’s view of possible tragedies in the making when the paparazzi follow the lives of stars like Brittany Spears, Paris Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan. Drugs and alcohol, according to news reports, are at the center of many of the bizarre incidents in which these young people are involved.

Those who name the name of Christ should pray for these caught up in this demon world of addictions, rather than simply cast invectives, saying overtly, or in effect, that they deserve what they get. Their influence on the youth of America is considerable, and we should pray that they turn in the opposite direction and become truly positive role models. God loves them and wants to bring them out of the darkness of this world, which is ruled over by the devil and his minions.

The perilous times Paul foretells are with us, we can know, because the Scripture frames precisely what we see today: “For men shall be … incontinent, fierce…” (2 Tim. 3:2-3).

There is no doubt that the most violent crimes in the news today are usually reported in tandem with drug dealings. Both dealers and those under the influence of pharmakeion are the fiercest among us. No one is safe when standing between the dealers and their drug money, or the addicts and their next fix.

The prophecy in Revelation proves the demonic, supernatural strength of addictions. With the very last vials of God’s pure wrath being poured upon the rebellious earth-dwellers, they, rather than repent and plead for mercy, shake their fists in the Creator’s face and curse Him. As bad as the addictions are at present, they, according to God’s prophetic Word, are scheduled to get infinitely worse as mankind moves down the hellish path prepared for them by Satan and his demonic hordes.

Pray for those held in this bondage. Only Christ’s return as King of Kings can and will ultimately prevail against this thing called pharmakeion. It is one of the most prominent end-times signals to be found in this generation.

 

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