Beliefnet
Is it the End of the World?

Just one of the fascinating characteristics of Bible prophecy is its proximity to reality. Many don’t think of it that way, but I do. Bible prophecy is not some esoteric nonsense.

I was reminded of this today after reading that former Vice President Dick Cheney urged President Bush to bomb a nuclear reactor in Syria in June, 2007.

During a cabinet meeting, Cheney laid-out his reasons for doing so, and Bush looked around the table for a show of hands from those who agreed with the vp. No hands went up.

Three months later, the Israelis (apparently) bombed the site, concluding that there was an existential threat, due to Syrian hostility.

The whole affair calls to mind the famous prophecy of Isaiah 17, which I’ve discussed before. In this chapter, it is predicted that Damascus will be obliterated, never to be inhabited again.

Since the ancient city has never endured such a scenario, it must be yet future. Of course, plenty of more liberal teachers and students view it as anything but real future history, but it is an interesting passage.

For me and my house, we will consider it future history. Cheney’s little account lends credibility to the view that the home of Bashar Assad—currently killing his own citizens—will vanish one day without a trace.

People everywhere are unnerved by daily events: Wall St., hurricanes, brain-eating amoeba.

Earthquakes.

With recent news of earthquakes in such odd places as Colorado and Washington D.C., I was reminded of the famous pronouncement by Jesus that earthquakes in “diverse” places would be one of the hallmarks of the last days.

The Gospels contain this account, such as in Luke 21:11. Luke also mentions that Jerusalem would be “trampled down” by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

The truth is, that is a controversial passage in that no one can say with certainty just what that means. Many conservative Bible scholars point to the liberation of Jerusalem’s Old City by Israeli paratroopers on June 7, 1967. The Israelis declared all of Jerusalem as their undivided capitol in 1980.

If that is true, and Luke’s account is referring to our time, we see that “weird” earthquakes are also a tell-tale sign. The damaged spire at the National Cathedral is a particularly strange site. I have noticed of late a turning-away of support for Israel, among American Christian leadership.

I want to be specific about that: American Christian leadership. The people are strong in their support (even if it is not as widespread as has been claimed), but prominent leaders like Bill Hybels are embracing the Palestinian narrative.

Could it be that the God of Israel is shaking the nations, due to their treatment of Israel? This is the message in Joel 3.

Whatever the source of the earthquakes, there is no question that they are occurring in far-flung places, now. People have often mistakenly compared these Gospel pronouncements to “increasing numbers” of earthquakes, but that is not what Scripture says. It says “diverse” places.

And that is certainly happening.

Fairly often, I hear people debate whether the Bible can be proven to be true (or not true). By that, I mean arguments on both sides suggest, strongly, that the Bible’s history and science is either right or wrong.

I’m sort of used to that from secular (or agnostic/atheist) sources. What surprised me recently was the publication of a new book from an apologetics ministry that listed reasons why the Bible can be trusted as an historical document.

Amazingly, the writer claimed that predictive prophecy is not even bullet-proof evidence, primarily because critics can say that the “prophecies” were written down after they actually occurred.

It’s incredible to me that a ministry leader would make that claim. The “prophecy written after the fact” excuse is an empty one. For example, the numerous prophecies in the Old Testament (Hebrew Scriptures), preserved as they are in the Dead Sea Scrolls, are thousands of years ahead of the establishment of the modern state of Israel.

That can’t be explained away.

What do you think?

A constant theme in both biblical and secular history is the devilish propensity for many to hate and do harm to Jews. This morning is the latest sorry reminder.

At least six Jews were killed near the Sinai, in an area that is a hotbed of violence from jihadists. Buses were sprayed with bullets, mortars were fired, and at least one roadside bomb detonated near an IDF (Israel Defense Forces) vehicle. Israel will retaliate and is already hunting the killers.

This is what has changed recently in history. The Jews, hunted for so long, now have the means to fight back and I predict they will never experience a Holocaust again.

The Bible is very clear that God will A)protect national Israel in the last days of world history and B)seek (successfully) revenge on their enemies.

One lament I have is the silence coming from much of the American religious community, when Jews are murdered. The silence is even more pronounced when the dead Jews are also Israelis.

This is a dreadful indictment of our culture. The world community rightly condemns human rights abuses all over the globe, except within Israel proper. Worse, it is denied that this moral imbalance even exists!

Interestingly, the Bible is thought by many to be a fanciful document, yet the Lord has promised certain things, and He has—I say this trembling—staked His reputation on the prophecies coming to pass (Isaiah 46:10).

Just as the terrifying revenge destroyed the Nazis examining the “ark of the covenant” in the first Indiana Jones movie, so too is the real deal coming very, very soon.

Most will be caught unaware.