It's Deja Vu All Over Again
Tuesday, 3 March 2015
"THE FEET OF IRON AND CLAY" BY TODD STRANDBERG AND "IT IS DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN" BY TERRY JAMES - BOTH FROM RAPTURE READY!
The Feet of Iron and Clay
The revival of the Roman Empire is often called the second most important end-time prophecy, which is just behind the rebirth of Israel. Because this organization will give rise to the dreaded Antichrist, most Christians assume this alliance will be very powerful. The Bible actually says this coming world power will be very weak.
The vision that was given to King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2 showed all the great Gentile empires that would come to rise on the earth. Nebuchadnezzar was the head of gold; Media-Persia was the breast and arms of silver; Greece was the belly of brass; and Rome was the legs of iron. The final government will be the feet of iron mixed with clay.
The interesting thing about the series of governments is that they progressively lose value as you go down the list. As the head of gold, Nebuchadnezzar had absolute power over his subjects. At the bottom was the Roman Empire, which was represented by iron. You had a ruler who was largely beholden to the Roman senate for his power base.
The Bible tells us there will be a final world power made of ten leaders. Because it is described as iron mixed with clay, this government will have a connection to the Roman Empire, and it will have an extremely weak power base.
The European Union has been a perfect match for the prophecy concerning the revived Roman Empire. It started with the Treaty of Rome, and it encompasses the core nations that made up the Roman Empire. As far as the frailty of a government, you could not have a better example of an iron and clay union. The EU has long had a confusing array of bureaucratic departments, and it has suffered a host of political setbacks. The EU’s ability to survive one crisis after another has done the most to convince me that it truly is the organization spoken of in prophecy.
In 2005, the integration process suffered a huge train wreck. Unhappy with some of the provisions of the proposed European constitution, French and Dutch voters rejected the treaty. The EU moved forward by holding a “period of reflection” and then simply doing away with the whole ratification process.
The financial crisis of 2008 has proven to be the EU’s greatest test. The debacle made it clear that the entire economic structure of the EU is based on faulty logic. The lack of central monetary policy in Europe has resulted in deficit spending that is largely based on an honor system. While Germany maintains tight budgets, other nations like Italy, Spain, and Greece have spent money like drunken sailors. There is no incentive for austerity when you can rely on fellow EU members for a handout.
With Greece set for its third bail-out, it is no wonder that some people are forecasting the EU’s doom. Former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan, has predicted that Greece will end up leaving the eurozone and that the euro will not long survive its departure. He made a similar call four years ago.
I don’t blame any financial watchers for placing long odds on the EU’s survival. Nearly every major bank in the EU is insolvent. While the U.S recapitalized its financial institutions with taxpayers’ money, Europe decided to just cover-up its bad loans. Because of the lack of leadership in the EU, its members remain locked in an economic death spiral that has fueled a growing tide of political unrest. Again, Bible prophecy is the only workable explanation for why Europe’s ship of state refuses to sink.
The EU may be moving forward like a mindless zombie, but that is no reflection on the Antichrist himself. Scripture tells us that the only purpose of the final ten nation confederation is to hand over power to the “beast” (Revelation 17:12-13). Once the Antichrist takes the reins, he will become the most skilled and cunning politician the world has ever seen; because his “power” and “great authority” will come directly from Satan (Revelation 13:1-8).
There is no indication from Scripture that we will be able to know who the Antichrist is before the Rapture. To reach the point where we could easily identify him would violate the doctrine of an imminent Rapture. With Europe in desperate need of an economic savior, I think the time for the departure of the church is drawing very near.
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).
It's Deja Vu All Over Again
My favorite philosopher, Yogi Berra, who provides the world such profundities as "If you don't go to other people's funerals, they won't go to yours," issued the most famous of all in 1961, after watching Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle hit back-to-back home runs. "It's Deja Vu all over again!"
I'm getting a sense similar to that Yogi must have felt upon watching his teammates hit all those homers that year. Only, the feeling isn't so exhilarating as I'm sure was Yogi's experience. As a matter of fact, the sense is ominous--one of history repeating as the stage for the fulfilling of prophecy is being set by the grand deceiver of humankind.
My view of that earlier era, of course, is through the prism of the study of history. I wasn't quite on the scene as yet when it took place. I'm referring to the time when Adolf Hitler was on the rise and made a pact with his nemesis to his east, Josef Stalin, the Soviet dictator. The German and Soviet tyrants signed the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact in August, 1939. Hitler roped in his bitter enemy in convincing him to sign in order that the Fuhrer not have to worry about being opposed by the Soviets in his assault on Poland. Stalin wanted to make sure his Soviet Empire was free from war in order to build his military into the powerful war-making machine it would one day become.
The deja vu comes into the picture for our purposes in this commentary in thinking upon recent developments taking place between the new Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. It is a most fascinating deja vu, to be sure. And, again, it is one that is ominous.
There is being much made in recent days of the similarities between Alexis Tsipras and the Bible's description of the person who will be Antichrist. I agree with most of the comparisons. They are striking in some instances. However, there have been many striking comparisons to world leaders throughout the centuries to what the Word of God says about that Son of Perdition.
Adolf Hitler was, as most everyone who knows anything about the Biblical description of Antichrist understands, a dictator who seemed to fill the bill as the first beast of Revelation in many ways. The German Fuhrer came and went, however, and the world yet wags on toward its fate, the last seven years of which will be ruled to great extent by the actual Antichrist.
To my way of thinking, Satan has at every pivotal moment in history had a personage prepared who might be the prophesied Man of Sin. We've all read of them. Antiochus Epiphanes, Nero, Napoleon Bonepart, and both Axis leaders, Benito Mussolini and Hitler. In between such powerful "candidates" have been people like Saddam Hussein and others. Franklin Roosevelt, Henry Kissinger, and even Ronald Reagan have had their names dragged through that apocalyptic mud as well.
In the case of Greek Prime Minister Tsipras--to me, at least--the fact that he has emerged so dramatically, in time of building economic crisis that could be earth-shaking to European environs, is highly significant. Likewise, he makes his appearance in Greece, the nation that in fact spawned the Roman Empire. Important, too, in my estimation, is the fact that Greece was the tenth nation to join the EU--in 1981.
All of this economic turmoil is going on, with Tsipras and Greece at its center, while even more turbulence engulfs Israel, the nucleus of all Bible prophecy, so far as the wrap-up of human history is concerned. To the point, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the world --and Bible prophecy--spotlight this week, speaking before the United States Congress about war and peace and the survival of his nation. Survival which, incidentally, is God guaranteed!
Add to this the sudden coziness that Russia's Putin says is "a warming relationship" with Tsipras, and you have something akin to deja vu all over again."
Tsipras is opposing his own geopolitical association, the EU, to embrace Europe's long-standing and stated enemy, Russia. He is, ostensibly, making a pact with Putin in declaring that the EU should make no sanctions against Russia, because he agrees, in effect, with Putin's ludicrous charge that there are neo-Nazis who are making great mischief in Ukraine. Thus, Putin has every right to meddle in Ukraine, however he thinks best.
His new pal, Vlad Putin, recently invited the new Greek prime minister to Moscow, where he gave him full moral support for Tsipras' demand that pre-1990 Germany owes Greece Nazi war reparations of more than 162 billion euros ($183 billion). This is apparently the scheme around which he plans to begin digging Greece out of the dismal fiscal hole it has dug for itself with its welfare state. Tsipras and Putin agree that the EU is treating Greece cruelly by demanding austerity be imposed if bail-outs are to continue.
It all conjures, for the student of history and prophecy, the likes of Hitler and Stalin joining in their strange collusion, while cordite odors of some great, future conflict singe one's spiritual nostrils.
I'm not declaring herein that we are witnessing Antichrist and Gog embracing on the end-times stage of prophetic fulfillment. I'm just saying that I'm sensing deja vu while our daily headlines continue to spell out how near we must be to Christ's call to His church.
I routinely have conversations with friends of mine in the Bible prophecy community, and many of us are virtually shocked at the speed with which prophecies are being fulfilled. You know that too, as well as we do. The feedback I get each week from readers shows that they are savvy, engaged, and well aware of where we are on God’s timeline.
The sheer scope of issues is dizzying: of course, Israel is no. 1, by a long shot. Then you have the absolutely astonishing apostasy that is casting a dark shadow over the American church. Behind that we have wars and rumors of wars, plagues, natural disasters, geopolitical disasters, and economic woes. Most of these problems are man’s self-inflicted idiocy.
Through it all, though, we have the Blessed Hope. We are a people not without hope. That is our great opportunity for evangelism, for sharing the Gospel one-by-one. I’d like to share from my heart.
I am 52, born and raised in evangelicalism. In my Southern Baptist upbringing, there was a heightened sense of anticipation about the fulfillment of prophecy. In many ways it was an idyllic upbringing, sort of like Opie Taylor. In those days (really, I think, until about the year 2000), prophecy conferences were all the rage; the topic was taught from the pulpits, and the folks in the pews were engaged.
All that has changed. I want to be clear that I am speaking generally, and at the national leadership level. There are still many tens of thousands of wonderful churches and pastors who contend earnestly for the faith. There are still many thousands of believers who look for our Blessed Hope, the return of the Lord. There are still ministries dedicated to teaching these things, and still some well-known leaders who are prophecy proponents.
Yet the national scene has given rise to the likes of Rick Warren, who can stand before the Southern Baptist Convention and encourage pastors to downplay prophecy teaching. Failed and disgraced leaders like Mark Driscoll (who, incredibly, was reinventing himself even before the ink was dry on his resignation from Mars Hill) can mock prophecy teachers and students, calling us wingnuts. Even — and this is perhaps the most difficult to understand — heretofore friendly sources can twist and spin their own biases against prophecy teaching (http://www.charismamag.com/spirit/spiritual-growth/1980-what-if-jesus-doesnt-come-back-this-year).
Today, the landscape has changed. As I prepare to go speak at the Prophecy in the News conference in Orlando, I am buoyed by the fact that I’ll see dear friends like Don Perkins, Gary Frazier, Terry James, and Tommy Ice, to name a few. Another friend, Kevin Clarkson, has become the face of PITN, and that is frankly thrilling. These men are champions of sharing the Gospel, through the teaching of Bible prophecy.
And that’s the point of it, that’s why “prophecy matters.” It isn’t so we can name the antichrist, or predict the date of the Rapture. It’s to show people clearly, through the divine revelation of Scripture, that God is alive, well, and acting in the world today. That is Good News for every man, woman, and child, literally. No matter their backgrounds or worldviews, the message of predictive prophecy is thrilling, and highly relevant.
It is profoundly sad, to me, that there are forces within the American church dedicated to extinguishing that message. Oh, they don’t say it in so many words, but their actions speak very loudly. In fact, speaking of relevant, the magazine of the same name, published by Millennial influencer Cameron Strang, is another that likes to mock prophecy. Just check out the magazine.
Allow me to digress for a minute, and show you in a tangible way how sources like Relevant are changing American culture (part of the fallout of their center-left approach is the marginalizing of Bible prophecy teaching). A tweet from February 25 reads thusly:
“Everyone says they want diversity, but what many really want is for minorities to assimilate to the dominant culture.”
Now, do you see what the magazine’s editors are doing here? The tweet then has a link to the article, which invokes such leftist language as “collective guilt” and favorably quotes leftists like Desmond Tutu (who is anti-Israel, by the way).
I use that example — many others pop up daily — to show how this liberal/leftist mindset is changing the American church. Again, it shouldn’t surprise that a magazine like Relevant also never misses an opportunity to mock Bible prophecy teachers; they devoted precious space to gleefully poke fun at the new “Left Behind” film, starring Nicholas Cage. Relevant’s editors want readers to jettison old traditions and traditional teachings, including Bible prophecy. Why? Because they believe this old school approach is harming our capacity to see our own brilliance in “changing the world.”
There is no room in this worldview for a genuine hope in, even a dependency, on the soon return of Christ.
That’s one reason it’s critical that we redouble our efforts to promote and teach Bible prophecy. It’s why I’ve made a commitment this year to advance Prophecy Matters as never before.
You can help by subscribing to our newsletter, at $5 per month. You can also contact us about hosting a Prophecy Matters seminar in your church or community center, or living room if you so choose. We’ll go anywhere, anytime.
One of my topics at the PITN conference will be “The War on Bible Prophecy,” and I want to make people aware of those who would try to extinguish what some of us fervently pray for, as Tommy Ice would say, Maranatha!
The examples I’ve cited of our ideological opponents within the evangelical community are truly the tip of an enormous iceberg. Almost all national leaders and celebrity pastors are so deep into the poison model of the “Church Growth” movement that they are militant against the teaching of prophecy. It doesn’t fit the Kingdom Now perspective. Many, like Warren, believe our job is to “change the world” and create a church so powerful that we can then triumphantly hand it off to Jesus.
That worldview doesn’t square with Scripture, particularly the New Testament, where we see upon Christ’s return that “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).
But the highest-profile national evangelical leaders are embarrassed by, and dislike prophecy teaching. It isn’t difficult at all to see that Warren, Andy Stanley, and Bill Hybels are leading the charge to fundamentally remake the American Church. In my view, they have done it by stealth, and I want to be clear about that. The move to the left on social issues is part of the Great Apostasy foretold by Jesus and the apostles.
I recently asked Dave Reagan for some examples of Christian leaders who actively work against the teaching of Bible prophecy; my entire article on this subject will be posted soon at Prophecy Matters, but here are two:
•“Tony Compolo: In his book, Speaking My Mind, he attacks believers in Bible prophecy with these words:
‘Rigid Christians who believe in the possibility of Jesus’ soon return are a real problem for the whole world.’
“He then proceeds to blame them (us!) For wars and a host of other evils.”
•”Bill Moyers: The PBS journalist, who is a Baptist seminary graduate, gave a speech in 2004 in which he denounced Tim LaHaye as a ‘religious warrior who subscribes to a fantastical theology.’
“He added that those who agree with Tim LaHaye’s viewpoint desire environmental disaster ‘as a sign of the coming apocalypse.’”
These men are bearing false witness against us, and deceiving millions with their messages. The larger problem is, their views are no longer confined to mainline churches and dusty seminaries. Their anti-Bible prophecy messages are becoming mainstream within evangelicalism.
This is tragic.
Recently, I spoke in a church, and the theme was the miraculous modern state of Israel. I pointed out that God’s provision for the Jewish people is perhaps the greatest sign to us today that He is fully engaged with bringing His divine plan to fulfillment.
After the service, a 30-ish father, holding his little girl, approached me and said that he had been running from God for 10 years, but now he understood. He was turning back to his faith.
This, you see, is the great message of Bible prophecy, and it has been my privilege to see great men of God like Don Perkins articulate this to many.
It’s why I want to step-up my own efforts to do so, for the time is truly short. There’s no datesetting in that statement, either, for we have only to look at Israel’s current situation, and the growing departure from the faith by American church leaders, to grasp the truth of it.
My own particular brand of prophecy teaching relies very heavily on pointing out the divine nature of Israel’s past, present, and future. I use scores of examples to show that the Bible is wholly true, and that God cares for each individual. If He can bring back a people from 2,000 years of exile, in such dramatic and public fashion, don’t you think he can solve your problems?
He can and He will. We must trust Him. We must acknowledge Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
This is the profound message that the prophecy haters cannot begin to pass on to their followers, for the simple reason that they relegate so much of Scripture to myth.
We don’t do that. We teach the opposite.
If you feel lead, consider partnering with us at Prophecy Matters, in the ways I’ve listed above. For all the darkness in this tired old world, we have the ultimate hope. As Charles Spurgeon said:
“Little children, whatever you have not got, you have a God in whom you may greatly glory. Let the times roll on; they cannot affect our God.”
Sunday, 1 March 2015
"NETANYAHU SAYS THAT THE WORLD HAS GIVEN UP IN IRAN NUKE TALKS" AND MORE INSIGHTS FROM THE INSPIRATIONAL DR JOHN McTERNAN.
New post on John McTernan's Insights
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