Thursday, August 28, 2008

Politics and Prophecy

As much as I try, its hard to avoid politics during an election cycle. Over the years, I have developed a singular interest in politics. That interest is atypical, as I don't watch politics for the purpose of seeing one party win or lose. I watch politics in order to see how various prophetic developments may occur based upon who occupies the oval office. But this year, specifically, the next 5 months may prove to be very interesting.

President Bush has approximately 5 more months in office. During this period, Iran will most likely have nuclear capability, if they don't already. Israel is painfully aware of this fact, as the clock is ticking, day by day. A countdown that forces Israel to face the potential for their complete destruction, by a leader who has promised such on many occasions. Israel also knows that they have a "favorable" administration in office now, and that may change in a few short months. That fact puts tremendous pressure on Israel to make decisions based on the U.S. political climate.

Additionally, there is good evidence (here) that a military buildup has been ongoing in the Persian Gulf, where a large percentage of the world's oil supply is shipped on a daily basis. The U.S. has sent the largest armada to this region since the Gulf War began in 2003. French and British ships are also moving into this region, paralleling the U.S. movements into the Gulf.

This is a very large show of military force in this tenuous region. We have been watching this region, as we know from the biblical prophets, notably Ezekiel and Zechariah, that those countries surrounding Israel will launch a massive attack upon Israel. This attack, according to Ezekiel will lead to God's direct intervention - an intervention that will be obviously performed by God and God alone. Its hard to imagine what that will look like, but it will obviously be quite dramatic.

The Middle-East is a powder keg at the moment. Tensions are extremely high right now. And because of politics, and the political process in the U.S., we may be seeing some epic events take place over the next five months. The window of opportunity for Israel to take action is rapidly closing - based not only on U.S. politics, but also because of Iran's imminent development of nuclear arms.

Keep watching. I believe Jesus is preparing His return - to gather His Bride, the Church, for an early "exit" from this planet. Its a promise:

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my fathers house there are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 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."

Jesus is coming. I believe this will be soon, probably sooner than most folks realize.

Are you ready?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Is Gog-Magog on the Move?

Prophecy watchers have been watching Russia and Iran with great interest. We know that Ezekiel 38 and 39 makes a clear reference to modern day Russia. Ezekiel mentions a figure known as "Gog", which is a title given to the leader of the land of "MaGog". Ezekiel 38 also tells us that Gog is the "Chief prince of Meshech and Tubal". We know these names as the descendants of Noah - a group who later became known as the Scythians, who settled in what is now known as Russia. If this clue weren't enough, we get further confirmation of this idea, in Ezekiel 39:2, where God announced to Ezekiel that this group (Magog, Meshech and Tubal) will ultimately invade Israel from the "far north". From the perspective of Israel, this can only be Russia.

This week, Russia has invaded, not only the "disputed" area of South Ossetia, but they have also sent missiles and troops into the larger cities of Georgia and are threatening to continue moving south. As reported Russia is attempting to overthrow the government of Georgia, and from ongoing reports, this appears to indeed be the case.

A glimpse of maps of the region clearly indicate that Russia, once in control of Georgia would have a corridor through Turkey, to northern Israel. Lebanon and Turkey are already squarely in Russia "camp", based on mutual agreements, both militarily and economic, which have taken place over the past several years.

Its hard to see exactly how this story will play out. There are many many rumors circulating at the moment - too many to post. To summarize, there are many possibilities:

1. Russia has been quite vocal in their displeasure with U.S. efforts to bring Georgia into NATO. This invasion sends a strong signal regarding that scenario.

2. Israel has been providing Georgia with arms for several years; something else that Russia has been unhappy with. Additionally, rumors have been circulating that Israel was planning to use Georgia's airports and military landing strips for an invasion of Iran's nuclear sites. Russia may be intervening on behalf of Iran (aka "Persia"), in order to help prevent Israel's potential attack.

3. Russia has been attempting to gain more and more access and control in the Middle-East. Russian control of part, or all of Georgia would give them an excellent "staging" area for influence just a little further south - in the Middle East.

These recent events are ominous. The rhetoric between Russia and the U.S., who is an ally of Georgia, has reached cold war status. Its difficult, as usual, to see exactly what will occur next. We know the invasion from "Gog-MaGog" will come from the north, and Russia is now moving towards the south. We may be seeing the very first stages of the invasion of Israel, by Gog's forces.

Jesus told us that we would see "War and rumors of war", but we should not be alarmed (Matt. 24). God is in control, and He has a master plan that is rapidly coming to a conclusion. The geopolitical alliances and movements taking place right now, are shaping up exactly as the prophetic scriptures indicated.

Keep watching. Gog may be on the move. Ezekiel 38 and 39 seems more in focus today than ever before.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Jerusalem: The Focus of the Middle East and the World

Approximately 2,500 years ago, the prophet Zechariah warned us that Jerusalem would be the focus of the world's attention in the last days. Before 1967, Jerusalem wasn't a consideration in terms of the world's attention; a small city in the Middle East with seemingly no significance. Then, while Israel was in the process of responding to yet another attack by surrounding enemies, Jerusalem was taken by Israel. Thats when the process began - a process of dispute over who "owns" Jerusalem. Its also when Jerusalem became central in all negotiations regarding peace in the Middle East.

As reported this week we see how Jerusalem is the last "sticking point" as far as completing a "Peace Plan" for Israel and the surrounding terrorist groups. As we have witnessed several times in the past, most notably during the Clinton administration's efforts to finalize a peace plan in 1993, the lack of an agreement over Jerusalem ultimately prevented the plan from completion. We are seeing the same difficulty today - the lack of agreements over the fate of Jerusalem, and how it would be "divided", remains as the last barrier during these ongoing negotiations.

The detail and specificity of biblical prophecy is stunning. Just read the words from the prophet Zechariah, as written approximately 2,500 years ago - at a time that Jerusalem had just been completely destroyed by the Babylonians, and there was little hope for Jerusalem to even exist again, much less be the center of the world's attention. Despite this, we see the following prophetic scriptures:

"This is the word of the Lord concerning Israel. The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays out the foundation of the of the earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him, declares: 'I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling.'"

"On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves"

(Zechariah 12:1-3)

These scriptures perfectly describe the current situation in the Middle East. Jerusalem - a small, seemingly insignificant city, buried in the region - yet, as predicted has become the focus of the peace efforts - and in turn, is thus the focus of all nations involved. Additionally, Jerusalem is completely surrounded by radical Islamic terrorist groups, all with stated objectives to destroy Israel: Hezbollah, which is embedded in Lebanon, just to the north of Israel, Hamas, who occupies the Gaza strip, to the west of Israel, and Fatah, who is embedded in the west bank. Extending outward, with countries such as Syria, Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Libia, Sudan, etc., indicate that Israel is indeed surrounded by enemies. A quick glimpse of a map reveals this truth.

Jerusalem. A small city in the middle of a large planet. A city that barely existed at the time of Zechariah's prophetic writings. Yet - because prophecy comes directly from God, as spoken by the prophets (2 Peter 1:19-21), we shouldn't be surprised. We have the news of our future, written in advance by these prophets. Jerusalem will continue to be the focus of the world's attention - right up until the Second Coming of Christ Jesus.

Keep watching. Its all about Jerusalem.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Will Gog-MaGog Lead to the Rise of the Antichrist?

As we watch current events unfold in the Middle-East, particularly with regard to Iran's progress towards nuclear capability, its easy to speculate regarding the potential order of events. According to Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz, Iran is headed toward a "Nuclear Breakthrough", and a nuclear program that is "unacceptable". Mozat is a former army Chief of Staff and a candidate to replace Prime Minister Ehud Olmert when he steps down in September.

We inch closer and closer to the events described in Ezekiel 38-39, known as the invasion of Gog-MaGog. "Gog" is a title given to the leader of the invading forces. Ezekiel's prophetic scriptures describe the land that Gog leads, as Meshech and Tubal. We know from Genesis 10 that Meshech and Tubal were sons of Japheth, who was Noah's son. Known as the "Japhethites", these people settled in the land which is now known as Russia. Ezekiel 38 and 39 also describe the invading forces as coming from the "far north" (Ezekiel 38:15 and 39:2), which from Israel's perspective, is Russia. Iran is known to also participate in this invasion, as Ezekiel 38 describes "Persia" included in the invasion, and Iran was formally "Persia" until the 1930's.

Israel will most likely bomb the nuclear facilities in Iran within the next 6 months, and possibly towards the end of this year. There are many rumors and articles written which describe the rationale of Israel attacking these facilities between November and January 2009, timed to occur after the U.S. elections but before the next president is sworn in.

We know from biblical prophecy that these invading countries will be destroyed in a dramatic way (Ezekiel 38:14-23 and 39:1-16) - such that the clean-up alone will take seven months. The Islamic countries who participate in this invasion will be severely weakened after this brief war.

We also know from biblical prophecy that a figure known as the Antichrist (Revelation 13) will rise to power with what initially appears as peaceful motives (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3), as he "confirms" a peace plan in the Middle-East, primarily involving Israel (Daniel 9:27). Given this, its easy to envision a scenario in which, immediately after this epic destruction of massive troops against Israel, the Middle-East, and the world will be in search of ANYONE who can create "permanent peace" in the region. It will be a ripe time, not only for a peace plan to finally be confirmed, but a unique time because of a severely weakened Muslim population in the region.

The potential scenario would be this: Israel bombs the nuclear facilities in Iran. Russia would immediately be brought into the situation, as their alliances with Iran dictate, and because thousands of Russian workers at these numerous facilities would undoubtedly be killed and injured. This could be the spark necessary for the invasion of "Gog-MaGog" described in Ezekiel 37-38. Following the massive destruction of these invading forces and their countries - it would be a very very easy time to confirm peace in the Middle-East, including a provision for rebuilding the Israel's Temple on the Temple Mount.

Even if this exact scenario doesn't play out in this manner, there is no doubt that this brief war will have dramatic implications for the Middle-East, and, in turn, the rest of the world. More importantly, it will have enormously significant implications regarding biblical prophecy, and the last events leading to the Tribulation.

We believe that we are in the very last days. Soon, there will be a gathering in Heaven. A celebration. Seeing loved ones again and regathering with them. Seeing the very face of Jesus Christ. Entering the gates of Heaven. Seeing God in His splendor and glory. It all awaits those who have accepted the gift of the cross. And it will exceed anything and everything our human minds can conceive.

Maranatha! Our Lord Come!