And we also watch for signs of the coming Tribulation, here including such things as the efforts to rebuild the Jewish Temple, on the Temple Mount (as this must occur at least before the 1/2 way point in the Tribulation); we watch the progress being made for the Mark of the Beast and we watch for the world government's early stages.
In addition to all of this, many folks watch for figures who could emerge, figures who would be candidates for the antichrist.
According to Biblical prophecy, the antichrist will not be definitively identified until he "confirms the covenant" (a covenant between Israel and "the many" - presumed to be a peace plan in the region). This covenant confirmation officially begins the 7 year Tribulation according to Daniel 9:27. Before that epic event, its all a matter of speculation as to the identity of the antichrist. And, to add to that - given that the Church will have been raptured prior to this event, so we, "The Church" will not know the identity of the antichrist.
Many have asked if Obama is a candidate for the title. I do not believe so, because we know that the antichrist will come from the revived Roman Empire.
Many prophecy watchers, including myself, often speculate as to whether we will see the early phases of the rise of the antichrist. The answer is "I don't know". One would think, that if the Rapture takes place immediately before the beginning of the Tribulation, then we would probably have a good idea. If the Rapture takes place years before the beginning of the Tribulation, then the odds are lower that we'd see the early rise to power of the antichrist - in my opinion.
Having said that, there are several elements that I look for in this "watch". Much of this isn't necessarily "scriptural" but more of a process of looking at the big picture and putting together elements of various prophecies that are written:
- Someone who ascends rapidly, seemingly from "nowhere" like Obama. (this is my opinion)
- Someone who is very "Pro-EU", and fosters a larger more potent EU.
- Someone highly charismatic, who gains big, widespread popularity.
- Someone who is deceptive and very clever.
- In fact, you could say - someone who has a rise to power very much like Obama - only he will have increasing popularity which continues unabated.
In this context (and I am not attempting to identify the antichrist - but the following scenario is exactly what I would expect to see when he does gain power), I find the following story-line definitely worth watching, not just for me, but for any prophecy watcher:
"The American Obama?"
It seems that Britain is about to make the same mistake America made in 2008.
...a coalition would give the Liberal Democrats the sort of power they have never seen before.
Because the Liberal Democrats would determine the coalition, they have not been challenged by the two main parties, who both want this third party to side with them. This has set up a situation where the young, unknown Lib-Dem leader -- Nick Clegg -- has not had his party's policies challenged and was able to present himself in last week's debate as the centrist who is something different from the establishment.
Clegg was able to promise the world, and neither Cameron nor Brown dared to challenge him. Clegg claimed that he would increase funding to our health service, make sure our troops had the best equipment and higher wages, put more police on the street, expand the welfare state, make Britain environmentally friendly, increase numbers of doctors and nurses, "fix" immigration and the prison system, provide care for the elderly, cut the national deficit, and cut taxes for all except the very rich. He offered to fix everything, with almost no cost whatsoever. The British Obama, anyone?
With Nick Clegg's claims unchallenged, the public have bought into his offer of a "different type of politics," and Lib-Dem popularity has skyrocketed. Clegg's personal popularity is in the 70% bracket, and a new poll has the perpetual third-place party now incredibly ahead of both Conservative and Labour by at least six points. Although a Lib-Dem majority seems unlikely, if they can keep this momentum going for just a few weeks, then they could be the dominant party in any coalition, which would make Clegg the natural choice for Prime Minister.
Their economic policies[i] are a plethora of mansion taxes, aviation taxes, capital gains taxes, bank taxes, business taxes, etc., as well as regulating banks out of business -- all reminiscent of the rich-hating mentality that brought Britain to its knees in the 1970s. Lib-Dem environmental policy includes rejecting both coal and nuclear power, attacking the aviation industry, and banning or taxing to death anything that isn't environmentally friendly. More tax increases would follow in order to fund the many U.N. and EU projects on "climate change action" they support, and Lib-Dem "green targets" are so high, even by Europeans' standards (who don't think they go far enough for Clegg), that Britain would collapse.
As for Europe, the Lib-Dems would drag Britain into the Euro currency without a vote, give up even more power to Brussels, and force taxpayers to fund yet more liberal dream projects such as "the global fund for social protection" (paying for other countries' welfare states), funds for green jobs in other countries, subsidies for European farmers, and funding for useless European agencies such as Eurojust.
It is defense where Clegg's Lib-Dems get really scary. Clegg would surrender British sovereignty in favour of an EU-led "European foreign policy", rule out military action against Iran, hold inquiries into "allegations" of torture made against British soldiers, and most shockingly, scrap the Trident nuclear defence, as there is "no need" for a nuclear deterrent according to Mr Clegg.
"Nick Clegg nearly as popular as Winston Churchill"
NICK CLEGG, the Liberal Democrat leader who until a few days ago was little known to voters, is now the most popular party leader since Winston Churchill, a new Sunday Times poll reveals.
Following his decisive victory in last week’s television debate, Clegg has surged to a higher approval rating than Tony Blair at the peak of new Labour’s popularity.
Clegg himself has an almost unprecedented approval rating of 72%, ahead of Cameron on 19% and Brown on minus 18%.
There has also been an eight-fold increase in visits to the party’s website, with Lib Dem strategists plotting how to capitalise on the new interest in their leaderr.
"Cleggmania spreads across Britain"
This eye-catching challenge from an outsider to the "old politics" of Gordon Brown and David Cameron, Labour and Tory, put Mr Clegg ahead among the 9.4 million-strong audience – many of whom were watching the Lib Dem leader for the first time – where he remained until the end.
The ComRes/ITV poll on the night gave him a jaw-dropping victory
This may end up as a big "nothing"...He could lose the elections and fade into obscurity. Who knows.
On the other hand, as mentioned, this is the kind of thing worth watching. A new leader emerges and gains almost immediate popularity. He wants to expand the EU and fold his country up into the EU full scale. he is charismatic, but still, a virtual "unknown". He is for massive taxation and he makes outrageous promises, but the population (much like the Obama election) only listens to his promises - without much basis in fact. But it doesn't matter - because he is attractive and spins a good story - one that convinces people, despite all logic and facts in the opposite direction.
Who knows where this will go, but this amazing story represents a figure - at least the type of figure - who is most definitely worth watching. His rise is exactly what we would expect from the "Tribulation Leader".
In 25 years of prophecy watching, I have yet to see a European/UK figure who is this interesting.
We shall see...Or perhaps not; it all depends on how much longer before the "gathering up" of the Church.