Beliefnet
Is it the End of the World?

And I bless those blessing thee, and him who is disesteeming thee I curse, and blessed in thee have been all families of the ground. (Genesis 12:3)

When one looks at Scripture, then looks at world history, the Bible makes a lot of sense. So does our world.

Genesis 12:3 is one of the most beloved passages for what I call Bible-believing Christians. Pro Israel Christians recognize that the verse reflects reality.

From the Babylonians to Hitler, we see the downside to this verse, this promise. It is pure prophecy. Conversely, the few nations (and many individuals) who have respected the Jews and Israel have prospered. Prospered…the word fits.

Babylon invaded and conquered Israel in the sixth-century B.C. Her kings went mad. Today, the nation is literally buried in its grave. All the ancient powers which followed and persecuted the Jews are visibly gone, if I may say it that way. And we know of course the modern examples: Stalin and Hitler, both of whom loathed the Jews, shoved their own people into the meat-grinder of Stalingrad. Both nations have suffered terribly for their murder of Jews.

A lot of commentators like to say that passages like Genesis 12:3 are coincidental, or misinterpreted. How comical. Tell that to Antiochus Epiphanes, who desecrated the Temple, then lost huge to the Maccabees. As his diseased body rotted and he lay dying, Antiochus knew exactly what he was paying for.

Egypt’s General Nasser sounded like today’s Iranians, 40 years ago. He was going to push Israel into the sea. An epic defeat on the battlefield and a fatal heart attack squashed those plans.

And so it goes as history rolls on.

The United States once officially was for Israel. And the nation was blessed.

That is changing. By the day.

In the Bible’s Book of Revelation, the 13th chapter, we read—if one supposes this figure is yet future—a description of a world leader who will be so fearsome, he will make mass murderers Hitler and Stalin look like amateurs.

Interestingly, a key feature of this person, whom conservative Bible scholars identify as THE antichrist, will be his ability to assign some sort of “mark” for all people who want to buy and sell. In other words, if one does not have this mark, one cannot participate in commerce.

For many years, Bible prophecy teachers like Hal Lindsey were ridiculed for suggesting that this scenario was coming. Now, we have a global economy that is deathly fragile. Barack Obama really doesn’t have any answers. Neither do our financial experts, etc. The world is ripe for a single, extraordinary leader who will have all the answers.

This beast from the Bible, a man with barbaric appetites and uncommon political skills, will control global commerce. With all the world’s national powers nervous about a domino effect, if a large economy falls, we can actually see a plausible scenario in which this man of evil emerges.

The United States alone has been almost crippled financially, as merely two battlefield fronts in the war on terror have cost over $2 trillion. The world is losing its grip on sanity.

A man much, much smarter than Bill Clinton (or any of the other candidates for the Man of Sin) will rise and appear to solve the world’s problems.

But the day will then come when he will call in every person’s spiritual debt, and the fallout will be much worse than the collapse of any economic system.

I just returned from a terrific Christian conference, Future Congress (www.futurecongress.com). This was a gathering of conservative Christian thinkers, including several who teach Bible prophecy.

Although some in the Church refer to us as espousing “escapist eschatology,” I find that conservative commentators who believe in the validity of Bible prophecy are quite lucid and articulate.

I also know that in general, conservative Christians do not utilize new media as effectively as more…liberal commentators, speakers and writers. That’s why I was thrilled to see Bible prophecy “guru” Terry James (who is blind) using PowerPoint! Terrific!

I’ll write more about it later, but again, this gathering was significant and wonderful.

Terry James speaking at Future Congress

Speaking on the subject of Bible prophecy in a church last night, I was reminded again that Bible-believing Christians are not the bumpkins their critics make them out to be. There was a lively and sophisticated set of questions for me after the talk. Truly, Bible-believing Christians to do not “check their brains at the door” as certain evangelical commentators like Mark Noll allege.

It is possible to believe that the Bible is exactly what it appears to be…and be intelligent.

My overall theme last night was that since I am often asked what is the greatest sign we are living in the last days of world history, my answer is of course, “Israel.” This evidence is huge, very visible, and ubiquitous in the Bible, particularly the Old Testament.

As I talked with the people in the audience last night, I was reminded of the wonderful comedy team of Laurel & Hardy. Stan was known for saying inane things and the slightly smarter Babe Hardy would then affirm his dumb, lovable friend.

Once, Stan made the statement, “You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead.” The line is so funny, I think of it often and laugh every time.

For the critics of the Bible—particularly Bible prophecy—those of us who believe in it and teach it are Stan Laurel. Dim-witted.

Ironically, our fiercest critics are in the Church. In fact, secularists or those from other religions are often quite curious about Bible prophecy and open-minded.

Bible-believers do not reject “careful thinking.” They are not Stan Laurel’s character.

That is a false charge.

Take for example the intensifying pressure on Israel, from the international community. This precise scenario is predicted in the Old Testament, in the context of the last days. Over and over. It is what we see going on right now. Remember: what we read in the Bible is what we see in the real world.

As more and more prophecy is fulfilled, who is it that has really checked a brain at the door?

Prophecy students and teachers are not Stan Laurel’s famous bumbling character. They are more like Stan Laurel himself: a sophisticated, gifted, smart man who understood human nature.