Saturday, January 31, 2009

Israeli elections and Iran

Israel will have their elections on February 10. Based on current polls, it appears that Benjamin Netanyahu should win the election, thus becoming Prime Minister of Israel.

In a recent article read here Mr. Netanyahu confirmed a fact that he has stated on many previous occasions: If he is elected, his first mission will be to ensure that Iran doesn't become armed with a nuclear weapon. He also stated that he will use military action if necessary. His very first mission.

At the same time, just this week, articles have emerged which state that Iran is rapidly progressing towards this nuclear capability - the window is closing rapidly. It may be a matter of months before Iran has "on-line" capability for nuclear weapons.

Based on the rhetoric coming from Iran, its not likely that any measure short of "military action" will stop their progress towards a nuclear weapon. Iran's leaders have made it abundantly clear that they have no intention of stopping their nuclear plans. At the same time, they continually call for Israel's complete destruction.

That leaves Mr. Netanyahu with one choice only, and that is military action.

I have long believed that Israeli military strikes upon Iranian nuclear facilities will represent the final tipping point for the last dominoes to fall - either leading into the Tribulation, or representing the first stages of warfare once the Tribulation has started (it is impossible to set the exact timing). Either way, I believe that if Israel "invades" Iran, it will be the beginning of the end of this age.

The reasons for this follow:

- We know that the epic battle of "Gog-MaGog" is led by Russia, with Iran as one of the principle allies.
- Iranian nuclear facilities are being built with Russian scientists and other Russian staff who are present in large numbers in these various nuclear sites.
- If Israel bombs these sites, there will be many Russian workers who perish during the military action.
- This will immediately bring Russian involvement into the conflict. Escalation of the conflict will then be a given.
- Other Islamic states will be outraged, and inviting their participation in any "counter-attack" will be easy for Iran/Russia.

Its hard to imagine the consequences of an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities - especially in the current "powder-keg" situation that exists in the Middle-East. Tensions are extremely high in the Middle-East at the moment, as a result of the Gaza conflict and the raging debate regarding Jerusalem's fate. The stakes are high and world leaders are watching this situation, hoping it doesn't explode before a peace plan can be confirmed. Any Russian involvement is particularly ominous, as such involvement would expand the Middle-East conflict considerably.

According to biblical prophecy, only the Anti-christ will have such a peace plan in the region. We know the plan will be short-lived however, as once his plan is "confirmed", the Tribulation has officially started. We all know what happens after that.

So, the reason the upcoming election is so important prophetically, is simple. Mr Netanyahu will most likely destroy these nuclear facilities in a military action. Iran will most assuredly retaliate, along with Russia involvement. This sounds very much like the beginnings of Ezekiel's described battle of "Gog-MaGog". Even if this retaliation isn't "Gog-MaGog", it will fast-forward remaining events.

The consequences of an invasion such as this, are profound. World-leaders are acutely aware of this fact. I believe it could serve as a ripe opportunity for the Anti-christ to emerge and confirm his long awaited peace plan for the Middle-East. Could we see such a leader emerge, in efforts to divert an Israeli invasion? The idea of Israel "invading" Iran, and then, effectively bringing in Russia, is almost unthinkable.

On the other hand, if such an invasion did take place, it seems obvious that the Middle-East could completely explode. The idea of Israel "attacking" a Muslim State would set off a fire-storm of rage among Islamic fundamentalists. The consequences would be severe - again, however, giving a perfect opportunity for someone to take the world-stage and finally present a peace-plan which would solve these ongoing problems.

February 10. It will be fascinating to see who becomes the next Prime Minister of Israel, and how this will fit into God's plans.

It may also present several different scenarios for a "perfect" peace plan to emerge, and perhaps a world leader who can "confirm" such a plan. Regardless, if Mr. Netanyahu becomes the next Prime Minister, things will become very very interesting in the Middle-East.

Keep watching, and keep looking up. Our redemption may be drawing near.

Maranatha !

A "cashless society" and the Anti-christ

As we "prophecy watchers" know - we are approaching a future in which a global, cashless financial system will be instituted. During the Tribulation, the Anti-christ will take control of this financial/banking system, and ultimately force every human to agree to "his" system. At the same time, according to the book of Revelation, one will determine his or her ultimate fate. In keeping with the detailed information in the book of Revelation, each individual will be forced to choose between Christ or the Anti-christ:

"He forced everyone, smalll and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on the right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast of the number of his name" (Rev.13:16-17).............Then we see the result of such action:

""If anyone worships the beast...and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand he too, will drink of the wine of God's fury...this calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus" (Rev. 14:9-12).

This is one clear manner which everyone on earth, at the time of the Tribulation will be forced into a decision - to follow Christ, or to follow the Anti-christ.

As technology within banking systems progress, we can see movement to a cashless society - a milestone which will be necessary for the Anti-christ to implement his scheme.

Hal Lindsey has written a commentary, below on this very topic, and can be found at: here, and below in full:

Prophesied cashless society: It's almost here
Posted: January 30, 2009
1:00 am Eastern

© 2009
When I read the headline to Jerome Corsi's story, "Economic meltdown excuse for 'new world'" at WorldNetDaily yesterday, my first thought was, "What took them so long?"

That thought was immediately followed by the realization that the timing is just about perfect. Corsi zeroed in on comments by Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland – specifically, Schwab's comment that the global economic crisis was a "transformational crisis" useful in reshaping a "new world."

One of the scarier quotes in his piece was from a professor Nouriel Roubini who said the global banking system was "effectively insolvent," which, to my untrained ears, sounds a lot like "bankrupt."

The last time this happened was in 1933, forcing the federal government to ban private ownership of gold so it could be confiscated and used to satisfy the government's creditors.

That was the national bankruptcy that predicated the Great Depression, which allowed Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration to ram through the socialist "New Deal" policies that economic historians say made the Depression both longer and deeper than it needed to be.

(Column continues below)

During the Depression, FDR had more or less unhindered ability to push through whatever socialist legislation he deemed necessary. People were in pain and were willing to accept almost anything the government proposed if it would make it stop.

It was this same economic pain that convinced the Germans to go along with Adolf Hitler's madness during the 1930s.

After more than a decade of economic depression, as long as Hitler's policies were keeping factories busy and the economy humming along, he was free to do whatever else he pleased.

One of the first things I expect to see introduced as a consequence of this "transformational crisis" is the elimination of cash as a medium of exchange. This is a step that governments and banks have been trying to take for almost two decades without success.

There are good and logical reasons for the elimination of cash. It will essentially wipe out the cash dependent drug trade. It will remove the incentive behind most petty crimes. Paper money is dirty, spreads diseases and it is expensive to print
and expensive to handle.

Electronic money addresses all of these issues in a single stroke. The difficulty rests in overcoming public resistance to the idea. But desperate times call for desperate measures, as the saying goes, and when the times get desperate enough, public resistance will evaporate like summer rain.

The Book of the Revelation foretells the events that will take place during the final seven years of human government before the Second Coming of Christ. It records the judgments of what popular culture has come to call the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

One of these judgments is symbolized by the rider on the black horse: "When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, 'Come!' I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, 'A quart of wheat for a day's wages and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!" (Revelation 6:5-6 NIV)

The symbols of wheat and barley are representative of a day's food and a denari was a day's wage for an average worker. The oil and the wine are symbolic of a wealthy man's food. So in that day, it will cost all of a workingman's wages to buy a day's food. However, the wealthy will be relatively unaffected during this judgment. This is a textbook description of a modern economic depression.

During Revelation's predicted Tribulation period, the global system will be presided over by a single political authority in the person of the antichrist. The Apostle John forewarns that his control over the economy will be absolute: "He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name." (Revelation 13:16-17 NIV)

This is one of the most famous prophecies of Scripture, especially today. Even in 1969, when I wrote in my book "The Late Great Planet Earth" about the Mark of the Beast and the numerical value of his name – 666 – it was difficult to understand just how such control over every individual on earth could be accomplished.

However, it is only in the light of the exponential leap in today's technology that this crucial end-time prophecy can be fully comprehended.

The one necessary element for which I have been looking for more than 50 years that would make this prophecy possible is now becoming clear. It was the mystery of just how the economies of the world would be forced under the central control of one small group.

So now let us return to the enormous relevance of Klaus Schwab's above-mentioned comment that "the global economic crisis" is a "transformational crisis" useful in reshaping "a new world."

If the present economic crisis continues to spiral downward into a world depression, as experts reluctantly admit will happen, it can indeed be the "transformational crisis" that forces the world to accept a totally centralized control of a cashless society. All that remains, then, is for the anointed leader the Bible calls the antichrist to step forward and take over.

The Apostle John, under the inspiration of God's Spirit, predicted these things 2,000 years ago on the small island of Patmos. Now what seemed impossible for nearly 20 centuries is developing right before our eyes.

It is important to remember that all of these predictions were linked with a series of events that lead to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. He is coming very soon. It is time for everyone to receive the gift of pardon He died to purchase for us. As Jesus promised, "Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." (John 3:18 NIV)

Monday, January 26, 2009

The EU and the Tower of Babel

As discussed many times in this forum, the EU, now expanded into the Mediterranean Union is believed to represent the "revived" Roman Empire as described in Daniel 2 and 7. According to these two chapters of Daniel, along with Revelation 13 and 17, we expect the EU to continue its growth and ultimately give birth to the Anti-christ. The Anti-christ, along with his "10 Kings" will ultimately rule the earth (Rev.13:7-8, Rev. 17:12-15), and impose draconian persecution of Christians and Jews who are living during the 7-year tribulation period.

The Anti-christ will also be opposed to God (Daniel 7:25) to an extreme degree: "He will oppose and exalt himself over everything that is called God.." (2 Thess. 2:4). "He opened his mouth to blaspheme God and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven" (Rev. 13:6). You might safely say - the Anti-christ will be opposed to everything and anything related to God.

The EU has provided us with some rather obvious tips regarding their views of the God of the Holy Bible. First, lets briefly review Genesis 11 and the Tower of Babel.

Nimrod, an imposing and powerful man, established the first post-flood empire and he rebelled against God (Genesis 10, 1 Chronicles and Josephus, "The Antiquities of the Jews"). In order to promote his power and the integration of the surrounding people under his rule, Nimrod initiated great building projects, including the Tower of Babel. Genesis 11:4 provides more information regarding this project:

"Then they said, 'Come, let us build ourselves a city with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.'" (Genesis 11:4).

This scripture alone reveals many sins of man that we see today. Pride. Arrogance. Attempting to reach heaven, in order to become "god-like". Nimrod attempting to consolidate his status as "god-like", designed this building.

God responded to this effort by Nimrod:

"But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The Lord said 'If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this...Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other. So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it is called Babel - because the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth." (Genesis 11:5-9).

In other words, God was not pleased with this display of man's arrogance and pride, displayed through Nimrod's attempt to ascend to the heavens, and, at the same time, establish a dominate government. NIV notes read as follows: "At Babel, rebellious man undertook a united and godless effort to establish for himself, by a titanic human enterprise, a world renown by which he would dominate."

Suffice it to say - God was not pleased with the Tower of Babel.

That brings us to the current situation.

The EU's Parliament building in Strasbourg has been DELIBERATELY designed to represent the Tower of Babel, as per the famous painting by Peter Brueghel in 1563. Called a "modern" Tower of Babel, the EU Parliament building even appears unfinished with the illusion of scaffolding surrounding the building around the upper levels, exactly as Brueghel's painting appeared. See pictures here and here.

In fact, the EU was quite obvious in this attempt - by inverting the very words of God in a very public and "proud" display. A poster which circulated during the construction of the building, celebrated the building of this Parliament "Tower", as the poster showed the Brueghel painting beside the new Parliament building and the words "EUROPE: MANY TONGUES, ONE VOICE", indicating their attempts to reverse God's very words: A very public display revealing complete opposition to God's word. Arrogance indeed - just like Nimrod.

So...As God dealt with Nimrod's tower by confusing languages and scattering people - the EU contends that they will attempt to reverse this will of God, by reversing His actions at Babel, and recreating what Nimrod had attempted in Genesis 11.

In fact because of the many languages used within the member states of the EU, there are now approximately 2,000 written-text translators and about 80 interpreters who are required on a daily basis in order to bring these different languages together: read here. "Many tongues, one voice" - indeed.

So, there we have it. In one of their first public displays, with their grand Parliament building, the EU directly and overtly snubbed their collective noses at God.

The question is - Why?
Why would they design this building with such an overt "anti-God" message in such a profound and obvious manner?

Only time will tell. However, working under the assumption that the EU is indeed the revived Roman Empire, as expected according to the book of Daniel, then its not really surprising. We know that the Anti-christ will "oppose and exalt himself over everything that is called God". This is just the beginning. Just as Nimrod's kingdom was ended by God - God will also put an end the "new" Roman Empire and an end to the Anti-christ:

"But the court will sit and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever." (Daniel 7:26).

God will destroy the Anti-christ at the time of the Second Coming of Christ Jesus. Revelation 19 details that eventual fate.

But there is good news, as described by Daniel. After the Anti-christ is destroyed, Christ Jesus will establish His permanent kingdom, along with His saints:

"Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom..." (Daniel 7:26-27).

Comforting words for a Christian. We know how this story ends. We've read the last chapter.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Watching Birth Pains

Jesus informed us that watching the signs of His return would be like watching birth pains (Matthew 24:8). The obvious implication here, is that the signs that He had just given (war/rumor of war, disease, earthquakes and famine) would appear together. In other words, all of the above would have peaks and valleys together. Indeed, during both WWI and WWII eras, all of these signs peaked together. I believe these were the beginnings of birth pains, or, stated another way, these signs marked the beginning of the last generation. Since then, we've seen more cycles of these signs, repeating over and over for the last 60 years. Recently, we experienced a bolus of these signs, too many to state here.

One interesting footnote to the above. Most of us "prophecy watchers" get stuck in the mode of only watching these "peaks" in the signs but we ignore a very important point in prophecy. Several of the biggest "signs" occur in the midst of a "lull" in the action. Lets look at three examples; three of the biggest signs that we are watching:

1. Gog-MaGog. As stated many times, this is highly significant because God will reveal His divine hand in ending this epic battle. God will also make it clear and unambiguous that He indeed intervened (Ezekiel 38:22-23, and 39:27-29). However, interestingly, this invasion will be sudden and unexpected (ie, during a "lull" in the action).

The scriptures describing Israel's condition just before the attack confirms this: "In future years you (Gog) will invade a land that had recovered from war" (note "recovered from war", not "in the midst of war")...Gog himself states in Ezekiel 38:11 "I will invade a peaceful and unsuspecting people" ("unsuspecting" suggests a time that Israel is not engaged in warfare). These clues indicate that Israel will be in a "quiet" period when this invasion takes place.

2. The beginning of the Tribulation. The bible tells us (1 Thess. 5:3) that the Anti-christ will bring in a brief period of "peace and safety" but in the midst of this "peace and safety", the scripture tells us that "destruction will come on them suddenly", a reference to the 21 judgments that will fall on earth during the Tribulation. This idea is confirmed by the parables that Jesus gave in Matthew 24-25. The Anti-christ will have a peace plan for the Middle-East, and the nations will believe that they are finally living in "peace and safety" as created by the Anti-christ. At that time, however - just when the world is settled into a "peace and safety" mode, the 21 judgments will begin rapidly and unexpectedly.

3. The Rapture of the Church. This one is a little more difficult. We know that the Rapture is an "imminent" event, as detailed previously on this blog. That alone suggests that it will come at an unexpected time. There are no specific events that must take place before the rapture.

Will the rapture occur during a "lull" in the birth pains?

Its very difficult to say, as again, there are no specific events that must occur first. We know that we have already seen most of the signs of the "generation", over a period of approximately 80-90 years. But this still doesn't give us the information regarding the state of affairs in the world at the very moment of the Rapture.

The fact is - we just don't know.

Me MAY have a couple of clues as provided by the apostle Peter, as written in 2 Peter 2.

The apostle Peter revealed two similar events. He mentioned that Lot was spared from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and he reminded us that Noah was saved from the flood. Then he stated the following revealing words:

"...then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment"

What is he saying here? several things. First, Peter puts to rest the notion that some folks hold - which is the incorrect assumption that we won't be spared the Tribulation, via the Rapture because Christians have faced severe persecution throughout the ages, so why should "we" be spared?

Peter answers this question by drawing a distinction between "God's wrath" (both Sodom and Gomorrah and the flood were GODs wrath - not man's persecution). Thats an important distinction, because the Tribulation is God's wrath on an unbelieving world (post-rapture), not just man-on-man persecution. Peter reminds us that God has a history of sparing "His people" from such wrath. A clear reference to the Rapture of the Church.

Secondly, it may represent another point. This is complete speculation on my part - it cannot be proven scripturally. But it causes me to ponder the following: if Peter's reference included two events in which "God's people" were spared from His wrath - we can see that in both instances, they (Lot and Noah) were taken from the "wrath", almost immediately before the massive destruction took place.

More speculation: Will the rapture occur just before an epic, destructive event, similar to the examples given by Peter?

Possibly, but again this requires much speculation. We also know that the Anti-christ, and an unbelieving world - just after the rapture - will need to offer an explanation of what just happened - with millions of Christians having disappeared from the earth. The passage in 2 Thess. 2:11-12 may serve as a reference to the "lie" propagated by the Anti-christ. There is more speculation on how that will play out. BUT (again, speculating) - if the rapture were to occur (like the removal of Noah and Lot from imminent danger) just before a huge, epic event (nuclear? biological terrorism? ENP strike on the US? large-scale terrorist attack?), then the rapture could be rendered a "page 4 story" in the news. Additionally, one could argue that the "nutty Christians" simply fled to the countryside and are in hiding (rathered than "raptured").

Back to the original point. The "lull" between birthpains is just as important as the "contraction" periods. During these apparent calm periods, is when some of the most epic prophetic events (still pending) will occur. Therefore we ALWAYS need to be watching, regardless of current events. Perhaps this is why Jesus gave the following parable:

"Therefore keep watch because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you must also be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." (Matthew 24:42-44)

Are you ready?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Gog-MaGog back in focus

There is so much going on in the world right now, prophetically - so much information coming across the news wires, its hard to keep up.

We're watching the situation in the Middle-East, and the growing involvement of the EU into the plans for a comprehensive peace plan for Israel and her neighbors. We're watching these developments closely, as the world calls for a leader, any leader who can ensure a "final" peace plan in the M-E. At the same time we keep one eye on Russia and Iran, as biblical prophecy has informed us of an upcoming massive attack upon Israel, as led by the Russia-Iran alliance.

More interestingly, perhaps, is the motive for this massive attack, as described in Ezekiel 38-39. Why does Russia invade Israel? We get several clues in these two chapters - clues which are now coming into focus. First, a couple of pertinent scriptures found in these two prophetic chapters:

In the words of Gog himself we see the following information pertinent to the attack: "I will plunder and loot" (38:12). Later, we read a commentary provided, which paraphrases the response of other countries as they watch this invasion taking place: "Have you (Russia et al) come to plunder? Have you gathered your hordes to loot, to carry off silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods and to seize much plunder?" (38:13-14)

The image that we receive here, written thousands of years before the fact, is that the invading forces are launching this massive invasion in order to "plunder and loot". In addition to silver and gold (don't forget, when Ezekiel wrote this prophecy, many "goods of value" that we have in present day, were unknown at that time). The term "to seize much plunder" suggests items in addition to the silver and gold mentioned.

What does Israel possess that Russia so desires? Speculation for years has ranged from food production in the time of a famine (Israel is one of the main food producers in the region), to the value of the dead sea minerals (which holds tremendous value), to taking advanced Israeli military equipment. But these discussions have been largely based on speculation.

We may now have a much more interesting reason for Russia to "plunder and loot".

As detailed in the book "Epicenter", Joel Rosenberg does an excellent job of detailing Russia's plans for complete dominance over gas and oil in the region. Its apparently one of the main reasons for their alliances with the various Islamic countries in the region, including Iran. By establishing such dominance, Russia could control the region's energy and thus, control the region. Just over the past 2 weeks, the EU has been perplexed that Russia has essentially cut off oil/gas supplies, thus revealing the EU's dependence on Russian "energy". In fact, many commentaries have suggested that Russia's recent military action into the nation of Georgia was to secure the only existing pipeline not currently in Russia possession (in the region).

However, recent developments may change Russia's plans.

Just this week, a HUGE reservoir of natural gas has been discovered in Israel article here. Described as "massive", "one of the biggest in the world" and "inconceivably huge quantities", the reserve is being billed as something that will not only create Israeli energy independence, but more importantly - Israel can also export from these massive quantities. It is also expected that oil will soon be discovered, as gas is often a "surrogate marker" for the presence of oil reserves in close proximity.

These findings will create a major problem for Russia. We have already seen them invade the northern half of Georgia, most likely to secure control of their oil pipeline. Russia is clearly in no mood to share the energy wealth in this region, and will see these Israeli findings as a significant threat to their plans.

Prophecy watchers, for years, have speculated that Israel could discover a large oil and gas reservoir in their land, effectively "forcing" Russia's military to take action. Now, Russia has major competetion and this competetion isn't from one of Russia's allies, its from the enemy of Russia and Russian allies. And given the "massive" reservoir of gas (and most likely oil), Russia can't take this lightly. It represents a SERIOUS threat to their plans.

This finding is very significant prophetically. A finding that prophecy watchers have been watching for and anticipating for years - has now occured as predicted:

Russia now has a reason to invade Israel. A big reason, or, as stated a "massive", "inconceivably huge" reason to invade.

Keep watching - the pieces are falling into place at an incredible rate. Just as predicted.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Whats next? (part II)

The EU (aka "Revived Roman Empire") is in the process of ratifying the "Lisbon Treaty". This treaty will consolidate many of the existing treaties between the EU member states and create some significant changes in the way that the EU currently conducts business. More importantly, the Lisbon Treaty once ratified, will create a single President of the EU, effectively replacing the current system of having a rotating (6 month) president. This presidency, once filled, could represent the most powerful position in the entire world. Prophecy watchers are very interested in these developments, as we know that the anti-christ will rise from within the EU.

Mike Mickey, on his website has written a timely review of these developments:

EU Diplomacy and The End Times

by Michael G. Mickey

The EU Observer hit the nail on the head in a recent article concerning the European Union's diplomatic efforts underway in the midst of the present Israeli-Hamas conflict in Gaza. The article stated, in its opening paragraph, the following:

The ongoing conflict in the Middle East has served to underline weaknesses in EU foreign policy, something that some analysts say will not necessarily be fixed by the bloc's planned new treaty.
As my regular readers know, based on Daniel 9:26-27, I believe that a prince (or leader) of Roman descent is going to confirm (or make strong) a seven-year covenant of peace in the Middle East between Israel and her enemies "with many" either aiding or supporting his efforts. The "prince" of whom I write is the prophesied Antichrist to come. He is going to eventually, if not from the very outset, be the leader of the revived Roman empire of Bible prophecy, today's European Union - an empire that is forever growing it seems. I point this out just in case its borders eventually stretch well beyond Europe before this leader's emergence occurs. Having stated that, I additionally want to emphasize that it is anything but my perception this man's appearance on the global stage is an event far, far away on the prophetic horizon. From where I'm sitting? Most days I feel as though we're so close to seeing Jesus Christ face-to-face that the warm glow of the lights of home are creeping into view but I digress for the purpose of staying on-theme, something I often struggle to do.

The EU's diplomatic impotence

Back to the EU Observer article linked above. Building on what its opening paragraph pointed out, the European Union has long suffered from an identity crisis of sorts - one the Gaza conflict is highlighting greatly.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a new world order proponent if ever there was one, once asked, “Who do I call if I want to call Europe?”

Based on the circus we've seen put forward by the revived Roman empire of Bible prophecy lately, the question is still relevant as the EU Observer points out, noting that "Israeli President Shimon Peres had an array of European interlocutors, including three EU foreign ministers, the EU external relations commissioner and the EU's foreign policy chief." Add to the aforementioned dignitaries French President Nicolas Sarkozy's well-publicized diplomatic efforts in the region and it's easy to see why Kissinger wondered aloud what he did.

Who should one call in a time of international crisis if Europe is needed to play a role? Even the Europeans don't seem to know and it's getting under their collective skin. Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini recently quipped, "When everyone conducts one's own mission, it weakens our strategic position." Bingo, Mr. Frattini! It drives many in the European Union nuts and, undoubtedly, those trying to deal with the global empire in the making.

Can you imagine what it must be like from the perspective of both Israeli and Palestinian leaders who are presently trying to interact with, host and protect all the diplomats in the region as they, simultaneously no less, are trying to protect their interests and those of their people amid bombs dropping, rockets being fired, casualties mounting and international pressure intensifying by the minute? Talk about a cauldron of stress! Valium prescriptions for everyone involved, right?

As I watch all of this unfold, I can't help but think how all the failed efforts to obtain peace in chaos like this is building, even now, the glory the Antichrist to come is going to reap when he is able to do what no one has ever been able to do before, potentially in the midst of a whirlwind of instability just like the one going on now in the Middle East. Riding in like a knight in shining armor upon a white horse, he is going to cause the world to erupt with joyous proclamations of peace and safety finally coming to the Middle East and, quite possibly, the entire world! (1st Thessalonians 5:3) The spirit of joy, peace and goodwill that will be born at the advent of the Antichrist will be short-lived we know, but, for a time, there will be an iconic hero for the world to adore in the son of perdition whose innermost wickedness will not be known at first.

It seems far-fetched to even imagine the rise of Antichrist coming to pass as we flip through the news stations on cable right now, but it's in the works, people. It's coming around and the present frustrations are serving to ensure it does. Why do I say that? Because the EU, as a whole, is perplexed by its impotence and, quite frankly, somewhat embarrassed that it isn't being what it so badly wants to be - a superpower in shaping our world today.

The need for the EU (or Lisbon) Treaty

What the current crisis in Gaza is highlighting for many is the need - or perceived need - for the European Union's constitution, repackaged and renamed the EU (or Lisbon) Treaty, to be passed and implemented. What would that accomplish?

Instead of the current six-month rotation of the EU presidency among the 27 member states of the EU, there would be a permanent president of the European Council.
An EU foreign minister would be named, giving EU foreign policy a consistency in tone and purpose.
Almost as though answering Kissinger's question from long ago, an EU leader quoted in the EU Observer says the treaty would lead to "all calling the same person [in the EU]."

So, even the circus we're witnessing? It's all part of a bigger scheme - one we can easily overlook if we fail to examine what's going on around us through the lens of what Bible prophecy tells us is going to come to pass.

If someone today told prophesied to you with certainty that a football player was going to become iconic, practically worshipped in Detroit, what better backdrop could there be for that to happen than an 0-16 season, for example? How about 20 0-16 seasons? Or 50? Think of how many failed Middle East peace efforts there have been, the blood and tears that have been shed as a result and just imagine, for a moment, the jubilation the entire world is going to feel when the Antichrist first shows up to solve the problem, winning the Super Bowl of international diplomacy after so many seasons of total failure! It puts things in perspective, doesn't it?

The Antichrist: Will he emerge from the shadows or appear in a spotlight?

As long as people have been curious about the Antichrist, people have speculated. Will the Antichrist's advent come after he has been a behind-the-scenes kind of guy for a long time OR will he be someone with tremendous charisma who, from the moment he shows up on the world stage, becomes a household name; someone like a Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Nicolas Sarkozy or Barack Obama. Time will tell, but it's very interesting, in light of the above, to see how much consideration is already being given to who the George Washington of the revived Roman empire should be if the EU Treaty passes and is implemented.

A Financial Times article offers the following on the topic, in part:

Tony Blair, the former UK prime minister, is re-emerging as a possible choice to be the European Union’s first full-time president after four momentous crises reinforced the argument for having a high-profile international personality in the job.

According to EU officials and diplomats, the impressive performance of Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s president, during his six-month spell in charge of the EU last year has strengthened the hand of those who say a big name should guide the 27-nation bloc.

In one sense, the discussions are premature. The full-time president will take office next year only if the EU’s Lisbon institutional reform treaty, which creates the position, is ratified by all member-states – notably, Ireland, which is expected to hold a second referendum on the treaty between September and December.

But the sheer scale of the challenges facing the EU – from last August’s Russia-Georgia war and the global financial meltdown to the Gaza conflict and the shutdown of Russian gas deliveries to Europe – is redefining the debate.

Whereas last year Germany and other countries looked favourably on candidates such as Jean-Claude Juncker, the long-serving prime minister of Luxembourg, more policymakers now feel the EU presidency demands an occupant from a much bigger member-state.

“Sarkozy concentrated minds,” said an EU diplomat. “He made a lot of us think, ‘When the going gets rough, you’ve just got to have a big person in this job.’”

If the world knew what those of us who understand Bible prophecy do, everyone would know that when the advent of Antichrist occurs, it isn't going to matter how big his name recognition was before he stepped up to fulfill prophecy.

EU diplomacy and the end times. They go hand-in-hand and there are numerous events of interest taking place where each is concerned.

Keep looking up!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Whats next? Reflections on birth pains

We have a vast array of signs that would indicate that we're living in the last generation. We are seeing them all occuring; not only that, we're seeing them happpening in the exact patterns that Jesus described. People who are watching these prophetic signs are continually amazed at the specificity of prophecy and the rapid rate at which events seem to be occurring. To recap some of these signs - all of which had to be taking place as this last generation comes to a close:

- Israel miraculously regathered as a nation, after almost 2,000 years of exile (Ezekiel 36-39).
- Israel surrounded by her enemies (Zechariah 12,14).
- Russia and Iran having formed a military alliance against Israel (Ezekiel 37-38).
- Israel/Jerusalem as the focus of the world's atttention (Zechariah 12:2).
- Earthquakes increasing in number and severity, in a cyclic pattern (Matthew 24:7).
- Pandemics/Epidemics appearing in cyclic patterns (Luke 21:11).
- Famine (Matthew 24:7).
- War and Rumors of War (Matthew 24:6-7).
- The ancient Roman Empire (aka EU expansion) regathered in the form of "Iron and Clay":a mixture difficult to unite (Dan 2).
- A "cashless" monetary system which will be global in nature (Rev. 13:16-17).
- A time of noteworthy increased capability of the ability to "travel" (Daniel 12).
- A time of noteworthy ability to increase and expand knowledge (Daniel 12).
- A time of persecution (Matthew 24:9).
- A time of false teachings and false prophets (Matthew 24:10-11).

There has never been a generation in which all of these signs were present. There have been sporatic eras in which one, maybe two signs have been present, but never an era in which all such signs were present at the same time. We're quite clearly living in this last generation. Additionally, we have seen the above signs appearing throughout most of the last century, (in fact many of these signs actually DEFINED the 20th century) indicating that we must be approaching the very final stages of the generation.

So the obvious question becomes - what happens next?

One interesting point comes into play here: Skeptics of the fact that we are living in the last generation (which is incredible to me, given the overwhelming weight of evidence) often state "Throughout the bible, people have thought that Christ would appear in their generation, and they were wrong, so I refuse to get excited about this possibility."

Why is this flawed logic?

This "logic" indicates confusion over what the scriptures are actually saying. Biblical characters in the past were CORRECT in looking for the "imminent" appearance of Christ. We are directed to do so many times (1 Cor. 1:7, 1 Cor. 16:22, Philippians 3:20, 4:5, 1 Thess. 1:10, 4:15-18, 5:6, 1 Timothy 6:15, Titus 2:13, Hebrews 9:28, James 5:7-9, 1 Peter 1:13, Jude 21, Rev. 3:11, Mark 13:32, etc., etc.).

Were these biblical characters, who were looking for Christ's return, wrong to have been watching for this event? Did they misinterpret the signs, as skeptics attempt to point out? Clearly not.

The "imminent" return of Christ can only refer to the Rapture ("catching up") of the Church for one simple reason. The Second Coming of Christ Jesus is NOT an "imminent event". The english word for "imminent" comes from the latin verb "immineo" which means to "overhang" or something "hanging over one's head, ready to befall" - always close at hand - at any moment. Thus, an imminent event could happen at any moment. Importantly, nothing has to happen BEFORE an imminent event, otherwise the event wouldn't be "imminent". If something has to take place before an imminent event, then the event is no longer "imminent".

The Bible is clear that the Second Coming is NOT an imminent event. The Second Coming only occurs after the Tribulation has proceeded for its 7 year period. Jesus made that quite clear in Matthew 24, and the book of Revelation confirms this fact. Therefore, the Second Coming of Christ is not an imminent event.

The scriptures relating to the "imminent" return of Christ can therefore only serve as a reference to the "gathering up", or the "catching up" of the Church, - or, what we now refer to as the Rapture of the Church. It was correct for the early church to have been watching for this event, because technically, the Rapture could have occurred at any point over the last 2,000 years. There are no "signs" relating to the Rapture of the Church. They weren't misunderstanding the signs, as critics mistakenly point out, they were watching (correctly) for the rapture!

We also know, from many scriptures, that the Rapture of the Church will occur before the Tribulation begins its 7 year period.

So, back to the original question: What happens next?

As stated, the Rapture can occur at any moment. It will occur before the Tribulation. We are RAPIDLY approaching what appears to be the beginning of the Tribulation, therefore, the Rapture cannot be far off.

We may see fulfillment of the battle of "Gog-MaGog" (Ezekiel 38-39) before the Rapture, as it is very difficult to determine when this will occur (I don't believe we will see this, for a variety of reasons). We may see more conflict in the Middle-East before the rapture. We may see even more general signs increasing in frequency/intensity before the rapture. We may not.

There is one central, clearly defining point which marks the beginning of the Tribulation:

"He {the Anti-christ} will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven'" (Daniel 9:27). In other words, the anti-christ will confirm a peace covenant between Israel, and the "many" {referring to the many countries surrounding Israel who historically desired to destroy all of Israel}. A peace-plan which has been sought after since 1948, when Israel was re-established as a nation.

I believe we should watch for the EU/Mediterranean Union to propose a peace-plan in the Middle-East. The anti-christ will usher in a period of seeming peace in the region. The only way to "confirm" a "covenant" in this modern-day era, is to send in peace-keeping forces to the region. Therefore, I am looking for news which relate to the EU offering to send troops into Israel, to "confirm" their "peace-plan". Such proposals have been discussed, yet, at this point none have been formally agreed upon. Ultimately, a single individual will emerge, who will have the "perfect plan".

I believe the Rapture will occur prior to this "confirming" of any peace deal. We MAY be here to see discussions of the agreement, and we may even be here to see the signing of such an agreement - but the Bible clearly indicates that we won't be here to see the last stage of the agreements, aka the "confirming" of the agreement (ie, sending in troops to "confirm").

Current conflicts in the region only serve to increase the pressure for a peace-plan to be enacted. The international pressure on Israel and the "palestineans" is enormous right now, and increasing daily. The anti-christ will usher in a brief period of peace, when he confirms this final "peace-plan" but it won't last long:

"When people are saying 'Peace and safety' {a reference to the Anti-christ's peace plan} destruction will come on them suddenly" (1 Thess. 5). This "destruction" is a reference to the Tribulation and the subsequent 21 judgments imposed upon the world. The anti-christ will appear to create peace in the region, and for a brief period, it will appear so. But such "peace" will be short-lived, as described.

So whats next on the prophetic horizen?

We may see more conflict in the Middle-East. We will probably see serious discussions of how peace can be achieved in the Middle-East. We may also see a central character emerge in that region - a powerful, charasmatic, compelling figure emerge. A leader who will seemingly have a clear vision for peace in and around Israel. The world will embrace him and his plan.
We may see more of the overall signs given above - repeating in a cyclic "birth pains" manner.

Or, we may not.

The signs have been increasing in intensity and frequency now for almost 100 years. According to Arnold Fruchtenbaum's deep analysis of prophecy, in his landmark book "Footsteps of the Messiah", the generational signs probably began around the WWI era, which was somewhere around the 1914-1920 period. That was the first "birth pain", as all signs given by Jesus appeared in a dramatic way - suddenly and unexpectedly. To bolster that view, it is quite easy to review that all of the general signs given - occured throughout the 20th century, and increased throughout this entire period of time.

A generation presently, is in the neighborhood of 100-110 years, as life expectancy for many people reaches these numbers. If Fruchtenbaum is correct, and I believe he is, we are reaching the very last days of the generation.

The push for peace in the Middle-East is now a world-wide concern, and the focus of most of today's world leaders. The world is awaiting someone - anyone - who can make this happen. With every passing day, the international calls for a peace-plan in the region increase. Its hard to watch the news for more than a few minutes, without seeing discussions regarding the necessity for peace in the region. Its only a matter of time before a charasmatic figure arises and confirms the long-awaited peace plan.

Meanwhile, the Church awaits its prophetic fate. A fate which is different from the world which will enter the Tribulation, and given in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 4:16-18, 5:9, 1 Corinthians 15:50-52, and Rev. 3:10, just to name a few.

Jesus was crystal clear in his last words to the apostle John:

"I will keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world. I am coming soon." (Rev 3:10).

The apostle Paul echoed these words, as he directed us to wait for Jesus:

"Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath" (1 Thess. 1:10). and

"For God did not appoint us to suffer the wrath" (1 Thess. 5:9)

We don't have long. This generation is coming to a close. The peace-plan for Israel cannot be far off, therefore the beginning of the Tribulation cannot be far off. That can only lead to one conclusion:

Jesus will come for His beloved Church, and this epic event is imminent.

Maranatha! Come quickly Lord.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Daniel 2 and the last world empire

Daniel was given a dream interpretation which detailed Israel's long-term future. Specifically, Daniel saw a great statue which consisted of different metals. There were four distinctly different metals in this statue. The head of the statue was made of gold, the chest and arms were silver, the belly and thighs were made from bronze and the legs were made of iron.

This would be confusing and difficult to understand, but Daniel was given a full explanation of the meaning of this statue in Daniel 2:36-49. These four metals represented the 4 gentile empires that would rule over Israel, successively through time:

Gold Head: Babylonian Empire (626 BC - 539 BC)
Silver Chest/Arms: Medo-Persian Empire (539 BC - 330 BC)
Bronze Belly and Thighs: Greecian Empire (330 BC - 63 BC)
Iron Legs: Roman Empire (63 BC ->)

Note that Daniel was told that only 4 empires gentile empires would rule over Israel. Daniel was also told that the last empire, the Roman Empire, would ultimately be destroyed by Christ at the Second Advent (Daniel 2:35-49). Because this epic event - the Second Coming of Christ hasn't occured yet, it can only lead to one conclusion: The Roman Empire must regathered in some way, just before the Second Coming of Christ. The Roman Empire, in some form, has to be in existance at the time of Christ's return.

We also get some additonal details from Daniel 2. Iron was a fitting description to describe the Roman Empire at the time of Jesus. The Romans occupied cities and indeed ruled like "iron". Additionally, the two legs are considered to represent the split that took place in the Roman Empire, into an Eastern half (Constantinople) and a Western half (Rome).

However, Daniel saw the Roman Empire evolve over time, and at the time of the Second Coming, this representation of "iron" changed. What we believe represents the regathering of the Roman Empire at end times, is shown on the statue as the iron legs changing into a mixture of iron and clay. This shows the evolution of the Roman Empire from the time of Christ (iron) into something like "iron and clay" at the time preceeding the Second Coming.

"Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom...And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united." (Daniel 2:41-43)

So, we have a description of the revived Roman Empire just before the Second Coming. Most prophecy watchers who are taking a literal view of prophecy believe that this evolution of the European Union - into the new Mediterranean Union, now with 43 member nations, does indeed represent the long awaited "Revived Roman EMpire". A map of this union is virtually sumperimposable over maps of the ancient Roman Empire. It seems clear that the EU/Med Union represents the regathering of the Roman Empire, just as predicted.

Unlike the first Roman Empire, this current regathering of nations certianly resembles a mixture of "iron and clay", just as Daniel 2 predicted. As seen in the link provided above (see map), the northern half of the Mediterranean Union is predominately Roman Catholic. The southern half of this union is predominately Islamic. Iron and clay indeed. In fact these stark differences haven't been ignored and lawmakers have searched for ways to unite these two vastly different religions and people.

The Mediterranean Union has indeed found a way to deal with this problem - and it fits the prophetic scriptures perfectly. Recall that there are two feet in Daniel's statue - feet consisting of iron and clay. Also recall that the two legs of iron on the statue, represented the ancient east and west divisions of the Roman Empire (prophecy is THAT specific).

Now we search for a similar division of the Mediterranean Union, a division that will explain the two feet of iron and clay in Daniel's statue. Somehow, the Mediterranean Union will have to fractionate into two divisions, for Daniel's statue to be completed.

In breaking news this week, we discover that the Mediterranean Union has formally broken into two halfs, just as seen by Daniel. In order to recognize the vast cultural and religious differences in these people, the union has decided to break up into two halfs: a northern half and a southern half.

France is reporting here that such an agreement has now been reached. The foreign ministers of the Mediterranean Union have announced a formal division of the Mediterranean Union into TWO HALVES.

We will have a northern Mediterranean half, with a president representing these nations, and
we will have a southern Mediterranean half, with a president representing these nations.

We now have our two feet of Daniel's statue. Just as the two iron legs represented the east-west division of the first Roman Empire, the two feet have now been formally defined for the revived Roman Empire - by this northern and southern division of the Mediterranean Union. We also have the iron and clay mixture of people who will have great difficulty uniting (Daniel 2:43). The description in Daniel 2 fits these current developments perfectly.

This is important for two main reasons. 1) It shows the amazing accuracy, specificity and literal nature of Biblical prophecy, and, 2) Daniel's statue, as you move from head to toe, is actually a representation of moving through time. We just witnessed another jump in time, as we move down the statue. The division of the revived Roman Empire has now been formally divided into two parts. Amazing.

In fact, all that remains now is the further evolution of the Mediterranean Union (aka "Revived Roman Empire") into the "ten toe" stage and the subsequent rise of the anti-christ. The ten toes representing "ten kings" will rule with the anti-christ during the Tribulation (Daniel 7:24, Rev. 17:12). It is these "kings" along with the anti-christ that will be destroyed at the time of the Second Coming (Daniel 2:44).

Therefore, the next awaited stage in this progression through time will be the ten toes - as a representation of the 10 Kings. These kings will have one purpose, and one purpose only: to serve the anti-christ (Rev. 17:13).

This is an amazing prophetic development. Not only do we now have a revival of the Roman Empire, even with details including a "mixture" of people who can't unite, as described by Daniel - but we now have a formal division within this Mediterranean Union into two parts, exactly as predicted by Daniel's dream. We are moving rapidly through time and the rate of speed seems to be increasing daily.

It is difficult to know if we will see the next anticipated stage: the "ten kings" of Daniel's statue, (from which the anti-christ will arise). We may or may not be here to witness this. The Rapture can occur at any moment, but it will most definitely occur before the Tribulation.

Keep looking up as we approach the very end of this age. We are clearly in the last days.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The situation in Israel and upcoming elections

Most prophecy watchers are following the developments in Israel very closely, for many of the reasons stated thus far.
Isaiah 17 suggests that we would see Israeli cities appear to be evacuated - prior to the complete destruction of Damascus.
We now see this vision of Israeli cities as "deserted" and "abandoned".

A recent update by Joel Rosenberg reveals that this is already happening. We can see where Beersheba, for instance, appears empty, as an estimated 40% of citizens have fled to safer cities because of the ongoing missile threat from Hamas. According to the London Times, there is little sign of the 186,000 inhabitants of the city - exactly fitting the description seen in Isaiah 17.

I'm not saying that this is the same - specific - vision that Ezekiel recorded, just prior to Damascus' destruction (although this possibility certianly exists). However, it does confirm the concept that Israeli cities can and will appear "deserted" or "abandoned" in light of incoming missile attacks - we now have proof that such a scenario is not only possible, but it is happening, and happening now.

Only a few weeks ago, it was hard to envision a situation that would force Israeli cities to become desolated - but here we are, seeing it happen as we watch. Its amazing how rapidly prophetic developments can fall into place.

What does this have to do with the Israeli elections?

Because of the current conflict, the Likud party is surging in the polls, only a few weeks before the Israeli elections. Benjamin Netanyahu, their party's leader is well-known as a "hawk". Based on his constant rhetoric, over the past several years, it is clear that he will take a very different approach towards Israeli enemies, and the surrounding terrorist groups.

More importantly, it is assumed that if he wins the election the odds increase dramatically that Israel will launch an attack against the Iranian nuclear facilities - before they have time to assemble a nuclear weapon (if they haven't already). Mr. Netenyahu has made these intentions very clear; he will not tolerate a "nuclear Iran". Period.

The political landscape in Israel will change significantly if Mr. Netenyahu gets elected to the top position in Israel. The election is approximately one month away. All during a time of major conflict in the region, a conflict that shows no sign of slowing down.

Things seem to be happening very rapidly at the moment. I can't help but to focus on some of Jesus' last words regarding these overall, end-time prophecies:

"When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (Luke 21:28)

Or, we could turn to the last words found in the book of Revelation:

"Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Israel, Syria and Isaiah 17

The world is now watching the conflict raging between Israel and Hamas.

It appears that Israel will not immediately withdraw from this conflict, despite enormous pressure to do so. Israel's position is that they will complete this mission - a mission of destroying the missile launching capability of Hamas, in order to give Israeli citizens safety from the daily missile attacks which have been coming from Hamas, within the Gaza strip. Not an unreasonable goal. Imagine the reaction of the United States, if Cuba was launching approximately 100 missiles into southern Florida, on a daily basis.

There is one additional, interesting, dramatic prophecy that may come into play. This prophecy doesn't receive much attention, outside of prophecy circles, but its certianly worth watching.

Isaiah 17 provides us with this prophecy. It begins with an announcement:

"An oracle concerning Damascus: See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins"

The term "no longer be a city" is also translated to mean "cease to exist as a city".

This is relatively easy to see as a future prophecy, because currently Damascus IS an existing city. In fact, Damascus is considered to be the oldest inhabited city, period. And to repeat - it still exists. Therefore this prophecy is yet to be fulfilled. Something will happen to completely destroy Damascus as a city.

There is ample speculation regarding how and why this prophecy will unfold, particularly in light of the current conflict. We may have some assistance with subsequent scriptures.

"The cities of Aroer will be deserted...." (Isaiah 17:2)
(This is a reference to the Israeli region just to the east of the Dead sea)

"The fortified city will disappear from Ephriam..." (Isaiah 17:3)
(This is a reference to the old "northern kingdom" of Israel, where today, large Israeli cities exist).

To add to these scriptures we see similar verses:
"In that day the glory of Jacob will fade" (17:4), another reference to Israeli taking an initial "hit".

These two scriptures appear to refect the fact that Israel will most likely receive an attack. Referencing verses 2-4, its easy to see how cities will appear "deserted" during a time of regional conflict. In todays conflict, many areas of Israel have already seen the population hiding in their safe-rooms, and the streets seem empty at times, resulting from the ongoing missile attacks. As missile attacks escalate, one could even envision evacuations as well, leaving the Israeli cities as seemingly "deserted".

But Israel will respond:

"In the evening, sudden terror!
Before the morning, they are gone!" (Isaiah 17:14).

In other words, whatever destruction comes upon Damascus will be sudden - within the span of a night.

There is always speculatiion as to how this will happen. From a brief overview of this chapter, it appears that certian Israeli cities will appear evacuated - whether this is from a literal evacuation, or simply, how the cities appear "deserted" because so many Israeli citizens have retreated to their safe-rooms and are in hiding within their homes, etc. This process is already starting because of the missiles coming in from Gaza into Israeli cities.

"Damascus" has become symbolic of Syrian's anti-Israeli stance, plus it harbors a safe-haven for all surrounding terrorists groups, particularly Hezbollal. It is also rumored to have a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, including chemical-tipped missiles and biological weapons. There has also been much speculation that Iraqi arms were shipped to Damascus prior to the current Iraqi war.

Syria has also threatened Israel with "gas" loaded missiles, which would create massive terror and destruction in Israeli cities, if used. It would definitely lead to the evacuation of Israeli cities, as described in Isaiah 17.

In turn, Israel has stated that they view use of such missiles the same as a nuclear attack - in other words, Israel will respond as if hit by nuclear missiles - should Syria decide on such chemical/biological attacks. Certianly, if Syria sends in such missiles, its not hard to envision Israel eliminating Damascus.

There are of course, other potential scenarios. Any attack from Hezbollah will be considered as being directed from Damascus. Its also possible to envision some kind of biological or chemical accident which would leave Damascus desolate. Perhaps the destruction of Damascus is part of the Ezekiel 37-38 scenario that we've discussed so many times.

Its hard to know exactly how or why this will happen - but it will happen. Whether it fits into the current conflict (or subsequent escalation) or not, is anyone's guess. But whenever we have significant warfare in the region, its worth remembering this prophecy.

Things are moving rapidly right now. At the same time, we have seen an ominous increase in ebola outbreaks. There are more concerns about spread of the "bird-flu", and human-human transmission. A severe form of Rotavirus is hitting the UK hard this year and spreading. Earthquakes and volcanoes are making the news daily - From Russia to Yellowstone Park, which is considered to be a "supervolcano"; we have also seen quakes in highly unusual places during the last month. The impending conflict between Pakistan and India is making daily news. Russia is moving south again, further into Georgia. There are too many links to post.

It looks like the earth is experiencing another birth pain - just as described by Jesus.