Anyone who has put together a puzzle knows the feeling. When you get started, you have a vast array of pieces to put together, and its difficult to see the overall picture. But as you reach the last few pieces, you can see the picture far more clearly. The last few pieces are fairly easy to put together.
Its the same way with prophecy. End times prophecy is like an array of puzzle pieces - all of which fit together to form a complete picture. Over the past 25 years, its amazing how many pieces have come together - forming the complete picture. I believe we're seeing those last pieces coming together now.
As we face the global economic meltdown, perhaps even entering into a "global depression", several pieces of the puzzle have been put in place. We know from biblical prophecy that during the Tribulation, a global leader known biblically as the Anti-christ will rule the world's financial system. He will control this system, by forcing anyone who wants to "buy or sell", to take his "Mark" (aka "Mark of the Beast") on the right hand or forehead. This will accomplish three things: 1) It will indicate that the individual has completely committed himself/herself to loyalty to the Anti-christ, 2) It indicates that the individual has formally rejected any association with Jesus Christ, and the God of our bible, 3) It will enable the individual to be able to "buy and sell", or engage in financial trasnactions; otherwise he/she would be forced into hiding, and into a black market (which will presumably exist during the Tribulation).
I recall years ago, much speculation regarding what could lead to this financial scenario. In fact, as recently as 6 months ago, these discussions led to much speculation on how the world would shape up, and lead to such draconian measures. Now, however, the picture is much clearer. Discussion points which were laughable only 6 months ago, are now commonly discussed: A global currency, a global governance of this currency, a global financial system, etc. etc. These things could have occured during the beginning part of the Tribulation, but we are already seeing the world shape up perfectly for a global leader to arise and put the last pieces together.
At the same time, we see the epic battle of "Gog-MaGog" shaping up. Much has been discussed about the Iran-Russian alliance, which is the most certian of the Middle-East alliances described in Ezekiel 38. Russia is clearly identified in the scriptures found in Ezekiel 38:1-3, 38:15, and 39:2. "Persia" (Iran) which is specifically mentioned as one of the allied regions attacking Israel, is obviously Iran, as "Persia" only became "Iran" in the 1930's. Of the other countries or regions mentioned, the third most commonly identified country has historically been Turkey. Most prophecy scholars identify Turkey from the reference of "Beth Togarmah" given in Ezekiel 38. Therefore, we have been watching developments in Turkey with great interest. In a relatively "quiet" way over the past several years, Russia has been creating a variety of economic and military alliances with Turkey. Now. we see read here this alliance as formalized. Another piece of the prophetic puzzle put in place.
At the same time, we witness the Israeli election process, in which the "conservative" bloc has regained power for the first time in many years. This conservative bloc read here has made it clear that they will bomb Iran's nuclear facilities, and soon.
At that point, the "powder keg" known as the Middle-East, may be ignited, and set off an irreversible chain of events exactly as predicted in the Bible.
At the same time, we see tensions between Syria and Israel increasing. Syria has threatened Israel with "gas-tipped" missiles, and Israel has declared that they would view such actions as nothing less than a nuclear strike. In other words, Israel will respond to gas-tipped missles exactly as they would nuclear missiles (footnote: its easy to understand Israel's dismay at the prospect of "gas" following the gassing of so many Jews during WWII). Isaiah 17 has informed us that Damascus, Syria will be completely destroyed in these end times.
The puzzle is coming together rapidly. Alliances that were predicted several thousand years ago, by God's prophets are coming together exactly as stated. The ecomonic crisis is creating the perfect scenario for a world leader to ultimately assume complete control. The world is desperate for a solution to the economic crisis. Technology can now provide the perfect solution which will allow implementation of the "Mark of the Beast". America is diminishing on the world stage, as we face a severe recession, if not an outright depression. Israeli elections have now provided the perfect ruling party to ignite the powder-keg in the Middle-East.
In 25 years of following prophecy, I have never seen a 4-6 month period like this. Not even close. The way the world has changed, just over this period of time is astonishing for a prophecy watcher. Almost every "big" world-wide event lately has ties to prophetic fulfillment.
I believe we are in the very last days. The puzzle only has a few remaining pieces left. The biggest piece may be the Rapture of the Church. We're drawing closer and closer to this predicted event every day. How much more we will witness on the world stage, before Jesus comes to gather up His church, is unknown. It can't be long, because the Tribulation period appears imminent.
Keep watching, as directed by Jesus, and keep looking up. In the context of this message, Jesus gave us several lessons or reminders during this period of biblical prophecy:
* Jesus reminds us that He has informed us of these events: "So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time." (Mark 13:23)
* Jesus reminds us of the difficulties of living in this era: "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkedness, and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap." (Luke 21:34)
* Jesus reminds us of the meaning of witnessing these prophetic events: "When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (Luke 21:28)
Lastly, the following words from Jesus should serve as tremendous comfort during this age:
"Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near". (Luke 21:31).