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Is This Gog-Magog?

Zola Levitt and I were talking privately, and Zola was thoroughly exercised about the topic of replacement theology. Some mainline denominations were beginning at the time to adopt the rising theological position termed “progressive dispensationalism.” The “doctrine” put forward that Christ’s throne had been transferred to Heaven with the Lord’s sitting down at the right hand of His Father. Therefore, the Davidic throne (throne of King David,) was also transferred from an earthly throne to Heaven. This meant, according to the progressive dispensationalists, that Israel had, in effect, been replaced in matters involving God’s promises to the nation.

This was not much different than pure replacement theology, and Zola was about to address, as I recall, the Pre-Trib Research Center group at Dallas that December on this topic. Such once-conservative seminaries as Moody and Dallas Theological had begun to go strongly toward the progressive dispensationalist viewpoint.

Zola, as anyone who knew him will attest, was passionate like few others about Israel and God’s dealing with the Jews. I have never seen him quite so animated as during that conversation somewhere around the turn of the century, as I recall. He said that he and Dr. J. Vernon McGee had once “gotten into it” on a television program over whether Israel was back in the Middle East for fulfillment of prophecy. Dr. McGee held that while it was interesting that Israel had its nation restored after more than 1,900 years in its geographical homeland, he didn’t believe this meant that Israel was necessarily there for the final time. They could yet be put out of the land and return again at a later date.

This, of course, was like throwing a glass of gasoline on a raging fire. Zola said they really got crosswise. Zola held that Israel was there for the final time–for the wind-up of this dispensation (Age of Grace) and into the Tribulation. I told him that Dr. McGee knew the truth now, his having gone to be with the Lord at age 84 in 1988. Zola’s only comment was: “Well, I would hope so…”.

Boy! Would old Dr. McGee have done a 180 on his view of the situation, if he could suddenly be shown developments since getting his–as Zola would later say of his own impending going to be with the Lord–promotion to that magnificent realm. As a matter of fact, I sometimes have wondered if they have not again had their conversation, with both now being in complete agreement on the veracity of God’s Word in regard to His promises to His chosen people.

Every day that passes brings into focus that truth. Israel is like a laser pointer indicating with pinpoint precision that these must indeed be the closing days of this Church Age. Stage-setting for fulfillment of Bible prophecy, as we have pointed out many times, literally fills today’s geopolitical, socioeconomic and religious landscape. Culture and society aren’t just headed toward the cesspool–we have arrived in the septic tank.

The world’s economy is poised to implode, with those in charge of the Fed (Federal Reserve Bank) not knowing which way to turn. to raise interest rates will bring the world’s economy crashing down. To not raise interest rates means that dynamic exigencies as part of the intricately linked world monetary system will heat up even further, making the ultimate crash far worse than any in history when it happens.

The pope is traversing the world apparently spouting strange doctrinal changes in his Catholic system and sticking his papal nose in every free nation’s business. He seems to me in cahoots with the Marxist ideology espoused by those who are said to have mentored the current U.S. president.

Russia looks to be making alliances that will one day -perhaps sooner rather than later–form a coalition like that forewarned by the prophet Ezekiel in his Gog-Magog prophecy. Iran occupies the geographical area of ancient Persia. This Israel-hating state of satanic rage is Putin’s client-state, as is Syria–these and other nations of the Islamist sort prophetically destined to be part of a horrendous end-times event.

Specifically, we must ask whether the most recent movement by Vladimir Putin might be, in fact, the actual staging for this great conflict of Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39.

Those who hold to the likelihood that a Psalm 83 war will precede the Gog-Magog attack will say this cannot be the time of that great Ezekiel 38-39 conflict. I continue to respectfully disagree with the proposition that such an inner ring of nations as given in what I believe to be an Imprecatory prayer by God’s chosen nation in Psalm 83 indicates a separate military action. I continue to believe that the prayer offered in Psalm 83 will be answered powerfully and unequivocally by the God of Heaven with the all but total annihilation of the combined Gog-Magog forces of all surrounding nations who come against Israel.

That Russia has inserted itself into the Middle East in ways that trouble America’s top military generals goes without saying. The Russians have said they won’t hesitate to send a large contingent of ground troops into Syria if the request is made by the Syrian regime.

The AP reported September 17 that Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Damascus wouldn’t hesitate to ask for Russian troops if needed. At the same time he denied that Russian combat troops were already fighting in Syria. Proof continues to accumulate that the Russians are moving in to stay in the region. Many military and other intelligence officials are asking in television appearances what the build-up means. Ezekiel, we remember, said some would be asking the same question as the Gog-Magog invasion began to take shape.

One respected intelligence advisory writes the following.

The Russian military deployment to the Bassel al Assad air base in Latakia, Syria, is continuing at a rapid tempo, Stratfor can confirm. Previous imagery of the airfield, taken Sept. 4, showed significant engineering works underway. New imagery from Sept. 15, provided by our partners at All Source Analysis, reveals the completion of several large concrete aprons that were previously under construction. A large amount of Russian military equipment has also arrived at the airfield. A battalion-sized Russian contingent now appears to be located at the base, along with artillery and attack helicopter support. Several large Russian transport aircraft are also visible on the runway and the nearby ramps. (Stratfor, “Russia fortifies its position in Syria,” September 17, 2015)

With American fighter jets and other military assets in the same general area, there is growing concern that an incident of dangerous sort could happen whether by accident or by instigation. The Russian and American officials have been shown to be engaging in meetings over developments in the war-torn region.

Are we seeing the beginning of a Russian build-up for the fulfillment of the Gog-Magog assault?

I’m of the opinion that this is indeed a point in the staging for that prophesied war. Just what point is anyone’s guess.

My own thinking is that the Gog-Magog assault will take place some time after the Rapture of the Church. This is because this will be a world-shaking, cataclysmic event. Many other lands besides just this region will be affected. This war, in my view, will take the world out of the business-as-usual state that Jesus prophesied will be prevalent at the time He next intervenes into human history in a catastrophic way. Judgment will fall, the Lord said, that very day, just as in the days of Noah and the days of Lot (again read Matthew 24:36-42 and Luke 17: 26-30).

We see developing a sure signal that the Tribulation period is fast approaching. It it time for believers to work hard to bring as many of the lost into God’s family as possible. At the same time, we must remember to lift up our heads and keep looking up!

Handwriting on the Wall

Think with me for a moment—back to the time on September 11, 2001, when you first learned of the World Trade Center tower being hit by the commercial jet. All eyes quickly went to television screens everywhere in America. Then the second tower was hit, and we were awestruck at the ensuing carnage that took the lives of nearly three thousand people who couldn’t escape the horror.

Remember when the huge monoliths collapsed to rubble with billowing clouds of smoke and dust—a holocaust of flaming fuel and the blood of crushed, burning humanity.

Those of us who look through the prism of God’s prophetic Word couldn’t at that stunning moment help but consider that we were witnessing an event that punctuated the fact that the very end of the age was upon us. The United States of America was somehow, in the collapsing of those giant towers, brought front and center into God’s focus for judgment and wrath about to be unleashed upon a world that has rejected Him.

Think then of what happened just the past week to Islam’s most holy place, as many gathered in Mecca.  Another God-rendered exclamation mark seems to have punctuated the handwriting on the wall that began the final sentence of human history.

At least 107 Muslims worshiping at the mosque considered the most holy by Islam died when a gigantic crane crashed from above and crushed the building. Many more were injured.

It seems beyond ironic that this happened on September 11, just this past week.

America and the world have long been holding a debauched banquet to which the God of heaven was not invited. America disinvited Him in 1963 by the judicial act of doing away with prayer and Bible reading in public schools.

The True Deity and His prescription for living life, given through His love letter to humanity—the Bible—has been evicted from all public places, for the most part. Thus with this exclamation point of supernatural irony—Islam’s achieving its mocking tribute to its symbolic conquest of America and the subsequent exclamation Point of anger that looks to have been put on Islam’s fraudulent worship system by the Hand of God—the finger of God might be writing upon the wall the world has erected to keep him out of human affairs. This nation’s and the world’s prophetic fate might thereby be in the heavenly process of being sealed.

Tragically, the message might indeed be one not unlike that Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson, Belshazzar, saw being written across the wall of the Babylonian banquet hall that housed the party during his last day on earth.

And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. (Dan. 5:25-28)

Every indicator that God is about to bring human history for this dispensation to a close is on the prophetic horizon.

The Tribulation hour approaches, as can be witnessed hourly on the minute by minute news flashes from around the world.

Time to do what we can for the cause of Christ might be very short. The time to do the Lord’s business is fleeting swiftly. Whatever contributions we have to put into heavenly bank accounts must be done now. “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).

 

 

A Dragon by Any Other Name

Some years ago, a film crew from South Korea’s public broadcasting system came to my home to interview me on things to do with Bible prophecy. I remember them as quiet and very polite. We interviewed for about three hours, and I recall that most of my thoughts during that time were along the lines of: “How can these be the same basic people as their brothers and sisters of North Korea?”

The incongruity of these smiling, gentle journalists and film crew as juxtaposed against my perception of Kim Jong-il, his successor and son, Kim Jong-Un, and the people of the “Axis of Evil” couldn’t have been more dramatic. The North Korean dictator was saber-rattling then, as his dictator-son continues to do periodically today. His antics are mixed with the occasional hands-in-the-air, palms-out-in-professional-wrestler-fashion claim to the referee he planned nothing dastardly. These from South Korea were just the opposite—good guys, who even left for my wife a beautifully crafted porcelain dish as their appreciation for our hospitality.

The peoples of both north and south of the 38th parallel on the Korean peninsula being so close racially and in geographic proximity, why, the thought continues to ruminate, does one people move freely and peaceably about the world, even visiting my home, while the other people harbor thoughts of igniting nuclear war for the sake of enabling a tin-horn tyrant?

Bible prophecy leaps to the forefront of the thoughts. The north is under the influence, indeed, of the evil one. George W. Bush had it right, whether it was the term inspired by the president’s own brain or those of his speech writers. The leaders of the North Korean regime have demonstrated consistently that it is under luciferian influence, as are other diabolists with whom they are in league.

Enter the chief diabolist state of the Asiatic evil empire that Bible prophecy foretells will one day rage into the occidental world:

Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, “Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.” And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. (Rev 9: 14-16)

China is touted today as the merging industrial entity that will eventually overtake the U.S. as the economic superpower of the world. The woolly-minded predict in some quarters that China’s newfound economic clout will ultimately make it a responsible world citizen. However, God’s Word almost certainly refers to the great Chinese behemoth when foretelling a massive force that could be spawned by no other nation-state.

China is asserting itself not only in building islands and claiming territorial waters through aggressive expansion of its bases in the South China Sea and other waters close to its territory. It now is moving into territorial waters in regions much more concerning to American defense planners.

Five Chinese naval ships are currently positioned in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska, US officials confirm.

It is believed to be the first time Chinese military vessels have been seen operating in the area. Officials say they have been monitoring the ships’ activities, but said they were operating in international waters. In recent years Beijing has taken a more assertive stance on maritime territorial disputes with Japan and South East Asian nations. (Five Chinese ships seen off Alaskan coast, Pentagon says, BBC News, September 3, 2015)

There is coming a time when the huge forces of the Orient will become deadly in their aggression.

And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. (Rev. 16: 12-14)

It is more than ironic that China, put forward by some “progressives” as a budding good neighbor because of its need to foster good will within the global economic community, has for eons been depicted as a dragon. Shakespeare wrote, “A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.” Call this brutal regime—like that of North Korea, over whom it exerts hegemony—a good neighbor, budding industrial giant or whatever…Bible prophecy seems to be forewarning that a dragon by any other name smells just as dangerous.

 

Big Brotherism

Marxism, communism, Nazism, fascism–these evoke thoughts of tyrants and dictatorships. Well, Marxism and communism might be wishful utopianism to some within political ideology circles in these days of movement toward socialism. But for the most part, thoughts of these isms generate study-related memories of the likes of Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Mussolini, and other such humanity-destroying beasts.

The matters involved within the recollection include revolution, war, torture, gulag, genocide–any and all systems of governing that should be avoided at all costs. Fear and apprehension over dictatorships were the very reason the United States Constitution was written. Specifically, the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to that Constitution, spells out the rights of each citizen that government cannot usurp. These rights are, the shapers of the Constitution meticulously wrote, “inalienable.” That is, these are rights given by God, thus cannot be taken away by men–and/or women–in government.

Another ism has developed that threatens the inalienable rights of man. Its ominous construction continues at a torrid pace and will ultimately be worse than any of the aforementioned isms. As a matter of fact, it will be all of those tyrannical nightmares rolled up into one system of utter decimation. George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, authors of well-known novels, played upon fear of such governments in their futuristic books, 1984 and Brave New World. The swiftness of movement of the developments of late makes their works of fiction look ever more prophetic.

Orwell used London and Britain in 1984 as the genesis of a world of ruthless control. “Big Brother is watching you” is a phrase the author used with portentous effect. It continues to be used by those who warn of the exponentially-encroaching surveillance technologies. Again, Orwell’s vision was almost prophetic in the biblical sense.

A friend who is a well-known journalist in Great Britain recently e-mailed me with the following troubling, though fascinating, information:

I was putting together some slides for one of my presentations yesterday and discovered that Britain has 1.5 times as many surveillance cameras as China! We now have cameras that talk to people, bossing them around in the streets! They are being installed in twenty cities. They are also getting listening devices. Some places also have face-monitoring systems so they can scan for people the authorities are interested in.

The average Briton is now filmed about three hundred times per day! We also have camera cars patrolling the streets, filming whatever takes their fancy and harassing motorists.

We are years ahead of America in plans to put GPS systems in cars, etc. They also want even more speed cameras, speed-averaging cameras–you name it. All of them are being linked into one enormous grid. The records of journeys are logged and kept. As you drive down the main highways, your number plates are scanned every few miles. Our son and I spent a day in the control room where all this information is monitored–an astonishing operation, with screens showing all the main roads. The EU is now planning to store all e-mails, log every web page visited, every phone call, etc., which Britain has done for years.

My friend has told me–has told the world–that cameras train on his home from right across the street, atop a telephone-type pole. It is just a matter of time until all of England is under a surveillance system much more sophisticated and intrusive than our 1940s author, George Orwell, could have imagined. All of Europe is sure to follow suit, and we can see more than cursory evidence that America is coming into Big Brotherism’s orbit of control.

The whole world is on track for super-sophisticated tracking. And a familiar name pops through the inky blackness of cyberspace to make this a readily observable fact. The familiar name is google.com.

Who in the world knows as much about you and your private thoughts as Google? That’s the question Katherine Albrecht, radio talk-show host and spokeswoman for Startpage, a search engine that protects user privacy, posed some years ago to American Internet surfers.

“It would blow people’s minds if they knew how much information the big search engines have on the American public,” she told WND. “In fact, their dossiers are so detailed they would probably be the envy of the KGB.” (Chelsea Schilling, “Life with Big Brother: Killer Way to Slay the Google Beast!” WorldNetDaily, 1/27/2010)

Albrecht detailed how Google and other search engines gather and maintain dossiers on everyone who uses the service. The information is released to governments–to, for example, America’s Homeland Security Agency–when such information is requested. It seems the Bill of Rights is cast aside, without a constitutional amendment of any sort even being considered. Such ability to collect data on their victims was merely the dreams of such people as those in Stalin’s secret service and Hitler’s Gestapo.

Albrecht said Americans unwittingly share their most private thoughts with search engines, serving up snippets of deeply personal information about their lives, habits, troubles, health concerns, preferences and political leanings.

“We’re essentially telling them our entire life stories–stuff you wouldn’t even tell your mother–because you are in a private room with a computer,” she said. (ibid.)

Big Brotherism, of course–in my view–is another way of defining the ideology that is heading up the drive toward establishment of the regime of Antichrist, found in Revelation 13:16-18. With government’s groping for control in ways that totally disregard the wishes of U.S. citizenry, more often than not throwing constitutional safeguards to the winds of political expediency, the ideology becomes ever more manifest through our daily headlines.

All of this shows how very near this generation must be to the Tribulation hour–thus, that much closer to Christ calling His Church to be with Him (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

Jesus’ Critical Question for End-Times Believers

A news item of a few years ago about certain polling data grasped my attention. I’m sure many who peruse the news had their curiosity piqued and read it as well at that time.

After looking into the matters reported, I found the poll wasn’t as thorough as I would have liked–but it was fascinating nonetheless. Also, it was too one-sided in ethnic make-up. However, I give it enough credence to examine it here because I believe it revolves around a concern the Lord Jesus Christ expressed while teaching about conditions that will prevail at the end of the age.

A new survey finds that Americans are divided over whether they believe Jesus Christ will return by the year 2050.

Among respondents to the survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press and Smithsonian Magazine, 41 percent said they expect Jesus’ Second Coming in the next forty years, while 46 percent said it probably or definitely won’t happen.

The poll suggests that 58 percent of white evangelicals believe Jesus will return by 2050, compared to only 32 percent of Catholics, and respondents with no college education were three times as likely as those with college degrees to expect Christ’s Second Coming in the next forty years. (“Many Americans Expect Jesus’ Return by 2050,” Associated Press/Israel News, 6/23/10).

To be honest, I was quite surprised that 58 percent of white evangelicals believe Christ will return by 2050. This disconnect in my mind comes from the fact that in looking for interest in Bible prophecy with in the church today (by this I mean, of course, born-again believers–see John 3:3), my colleagues and I find no evidence to support that percentage.

Perhaps I should speak just for myself, but if my colleagues are honest, based upon conversations we’ve had among ourselves, they will confess that the interest just isn’t there in those kinds of numbers.

So, a few cynical (I suppose) thoughts regarding the poll come to mind:

1) The poll was a complete “guesstimate”–even a prefabrication.
2) The poll was skewed because it was taken from among a limited group of believers thoroughly educated in Bible prophecy.
3) The poll reflects a flippancy that will agree that Christ could return within the next forty years because the possibility is far enough in the future that the respondents need not worry about changing their personal conduct.
4) My colleagues and I are wrong and the church–“white evangelicals,” in this case–is expecting the Lord’s return in majority numbers.

If the last point is true, then the fact that so many are looking for Christ is well hidden. I’m a blind guy, as many know, so I can’t see things all that well. But interest in Christ’s return–and in Bible prophecy in general, according to everything I hear–is confined to an extremely small number of folks in relationship to the tremendous number of people who claim the name of Christ.

Clicking through Christian TV networks (yes, we blind guys “watch” TV), I rarely come across a prophetic message. The majority of the viewing fare consists of the prosperity gospel or entertainment that is for the most part a rather poor knockoff of secular entertainment. The preachers who do present a sound gospel message and sound doctrine seldom-to-rarely speak on Bible prophecy. And they certainly don’t touch upon the pre-trib return of Christ in the Rapture.

When I’ve personally asked some of the preachers and teachers why they avoid presenting prophecy, they have said things like: “The people just don’t understand Revelation”; “The subject is just too scary to most people”; or ” We just concentrate on getting people the gospel so they will be saved.”

The honest such preachers and teachers say: “I just don’t know anything about prophecy. I’ve not studied it enough to preach on it.”

What a tragedy, a travesty, this is! There is a singular hope (Titus 2:13) that God’s people have in this swiftly degenerating age. Yet, their shepherds–the preachers and teachers, their suppliers of spiritual food–use every conceivable excuse for not telling Christians about their returning Lord.

Some accuse those of us whose mission we believe it is to concentrate on Bible prophecy in these times of doing so to the point that we ignore Christ’s love and the Bible’s life lessons for His people.

We in no way believe that prophecy should be taught exclusively. However, prophecy constitutes almost 30 percent of the whole Word of God, so the Heavenly Father obviously means for prophecy to be a generous part of the mix for His children’s spiritual sustenance. This is especially true in these days when the signals of Christ’s coming again are every direction in which one looks.

Bible prophecy is being marginalized by those who are supposed to shepherd their flocks, but who don’t want to study it and/or don’t want to risk scaring people out of the pews. This is because it is the feel-good and do-good, entertainment-oriented sermonettes that tickle itching ears and build many of the elaborate end-times edifices.

Understand that I recognize there are huge churches that hold to doctrinal truth and include God’s prophetic Word as part of feeding their attending flocks. This is not to castigate these wonderful pastors, teachers, and staffs. God bless them! But these are in the minority. The dearth of interest in Christ’s coming back in the Rapture, then in the Second Advent, demonstrates the lack of faith resident within Christ’s body at this crucial hour.

Jesus asked the following profoundly troubling question in that prophetic context: “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8b). The Lord had a somber message for God’s people who will be alive at His sudden, unannounced coming. I once wrote the following as part of a chapter for one of my books that I believe gets across the gist of this commentary:

The indifference so prevalent within the church is, itself, an end-times signal, it seems. The Lord obviously spoke to the fact that God’s own children will in large part be indifferent to the prophetic signals. They will not be living as they should at the time of His coming for them, as He promised in John 14:1-3. As a matter of fact, He forewarned: “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” (Luke 21:34-36)

I pray more born-again pastors, Bible teachers, and God’s children of this nation and the world will awaken en masse to the staggering implications of Christ’s Second Coming.

 

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