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The last days

 

 

Bible prophecy refers to the last days as well as the coming of Jesus. Read how these prophecies are currently being fulfilled

 

 

Foreword

                                                            

What will the future bring? Will the world be better or worse tomorrow and what will our own personal future be like?

   These are questions that interest many people. This is why people read horoscopes or try other ways to find out what lies ahead of them. They are greatly interested in discovering their own future.

   However, an issue that is often neglected in our time is the kingdom of God and the coming of Jesus Christ just before it. If we read the Bible, we learn that many passages refer to the second coming of Jesus and the kingdom of God that is established after his return. The importance of this matter can be seen in that the New Testament refers to His coming 318 times, while there are only 260 chapters in the New Testament. If we take baptism – which is generally regarded an important issue – as an example, we find altogether only about 20 references about it.

   We are going to study this important issue below, and the events preceding it. Naturally, we cannot know the exact date and time. But it is interesting to note that many events occurring now have much in common with the last days described in the Bible, i.e., the period before the coming of Jesus. It seems like prophecies that are hundreds of years old are about to be fulfilled right in front of our eyes, and we do not even see it. Therefore, it is good for us to spend a little time getting acquainted with this topic.

 

1. The days of Noah and Lot
2. The days of Noah and Lot 2
3. Apostasy and delusion
4. The gospel as a witness
5. What will the future bring?
6. Israel in prophecy
7. The recovery of Roman power
8. The Antichrist
9. Battle for the land and the city
10. When is the rapture?
11. The coming kingdom

 

 

1. The days of Noah and Lot

 

If we start examining the signs preceding the coming of Jesus, then a good place to start is with the words spoken by Jesus himself, in which He referred to the days of Noah and Lot concerning the generation experiencing the coming of Jesus. He stated that the conditions just before His coming would very much resemble the societies of the time of Noah and Lot, and that before His coming, people would be as unprepared as they were back then; history would in a way repeat itself.

 

- (Luke 17:26-30) And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.

27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.

28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built;

29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.

30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

 

When we start examining the issue of whether we can, in the current society, see signs of the same kind of times as in the days of Noah and Lot, it is startling to note that we are moving towards that kind of society at a fast rate. For the prophecy says that the condition of mankind will drop lower and lower and become more immoral as the world is drawing closer to the evening of time, and the closer the coming of the Son of Man is. Keeping this in mind, nowadays, we can see just such signs and development; in other words, development that indicates that the old prophesies are becoming true right in front of our eyes.

   In the next section, we are indeed going to show some examples indicating the direction of development today. This development becomes best apparent by comparing the points of time and decades.

 

EMPHASIZING SEXUALITY ABOVE MEASURE. In the days of Noah and Lot, one feature of society was over-emphasizing sexuality and appreciating it too highly, which can be seen in the verses below. The immorality of these societies and how the Earth was completely corrupt in God's sight is mentioned. The list of verses also includes Paul's reference to the last days and what it will be like then. He pointed out, for instance, that people then would be lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God:

 

- (Gen  6:11) The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

 

- (Jude 1:7) Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

 

- (2 Tim 3:1-4) This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

3 Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

4 Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

 

When we think about the fulfillment of this sign at the present time, the situation has already advanced quite far. If we compare, for example, the 1950s to today, the difference is quite apparent, though not even the period of a normal human lifespan has passed since then. Then, back in the 1950s, the extent of immorality, use of vulgar words, and perversity was nowhere near the extent that we see today.

  David Wilkerson anticipated this development quite accurately, and wrote about it in his well-known book Näky (The Vision), published in the beginning of the 1970s. He foresaw even then that the world would experience a collapse in morality, when Satan would try to deceive people and tempt them. It would be very difficult for people to resist this development and to stay out of it:

 

Moral collapse is on its way - 1

 

Oh, all residents of the earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in his great anger to deceive, if possible, even the elect of God. And how does Satan try to tease and deceive even the elect of God? I believe that Satan will try to tempt mankind by bringing about a collapse in morality. He will open the floodgates of hell and try to sink the world under erotic dirt, indecency, and sensuality.

   This collapse in morality can be won by nothing the human mind can conjure. Already, the demonic spirit of lust sweeps over many nations bringing about nakedness, perversity, and the flood of dirt. (...)  

   We say that the pendulum moves from one extreme to another. Many have said optimistically that we have seen all the nakedness, dirt, and indecency that the nation can tolerate, and that the pendulum is now moving in the other direction. I hope with all my heart that this is so. But I believe without a doubt that the flood of dirt I have seen coming is the same of which the prophet Nahum has spoken.

"Behold, I am against you, said the LORD of hosts; and I will discover your skirts on your face, and I will show the nations your nakedness, and the kingdoms your shame. And I will cast abominable filth on you, and make you vile, and will set you as a spectacle. (Naah 3:5,6) (1)

 

The development of society is perhaps manifested best in the following examples, which we will study. From these we can see what has taken place in the last years and decades, and how the situation has constantly developed in the same direction. What will the situation be like if we go 10- to 30 years forward and if the change continues the same and at the same rate as it has until now?

 

Decay of the institution of marriage is a prophecy that has been fulfilled especially during the last forty years. It becomes apparent, for instance, when several young people simply live together without getting married. Fifty years ago common-law marriages were hardly known and living together was only started after marriage, unlike today. In those days, when our grandparents were young and up to the 1950s, these kinds of couples were considered odd.

   This matter and change can also described very well by the next quote referring to the situation in Finland about 50 years ago. In those days, Finland and many other countries experienced a so-called "sexual revolution" brought about by the youth of the time. Nowadays, the ones who experienced the "sexual revolution" are already parents and have raised their children in accordance with their way of thinking:

 

I was away from my homeland for three years, the years 1965 to 1968. When I returned in the autumn of 1968, I was very surprised at the change that had taken place in the atmosphere of public conversation. This concerned both the tone of conversation and also the framing of questions.

(...) In the world of high school, those who demanded justification of sexual relationships were the ones blowing their trombones loudly. They insisted, for instance, that boys and girls should be allowed to live together in university dormitories even though they were not married.

   It seemed as though the Teenager Union had been conquered by new leaders, who announced not only socialism and school democracy but also an idea of free sexual relationships.

   All in all, what was new with the situation was that there were reference groups speaking about sexual questions much more openly than it had been normal in public. These groups accused the society and the church of double standards.

   The tone of the conversation was to a large extent ethical. Morals were regarded as bad, and were blamed. However, a new moral was simultaneously announced, often very moralistically and intolerantly. It was discussed earlier that the sexual behavior of young people must be understood, but now some groups announced that it is right to have free sexual relationships. The institution of marriage and real genuine love were even set aside. Illegal couples were interviewed in public, as though they were some kind of heroes of a new moral standard, who had dared to rise against the morals of the bourgeois society. Homosexuals were interviewed in the same way and people demanded abortion to be legalized.

(...) Even though, according to my observations, the atmosphere of public conversation in Finland had changed surprisingly much between the years 1965 and 1968, the topical questions discussed everywhere else in the world were the same as in Finland. The difference was only in the vehemence of conversation and perhaps in the fact that in a small country like Finland, small active groups can almost overpower the media. In addition, we are probably still unaccustomed to public conversation. So the simple attitude of being right becomes dominant in a small country like Finland much easier than in larger countries. (2)

 

Anton LaVey, who acted as the high priest in the church of Satan, describes the change that has taken place especially since the 1960s. He was quite right in saying that a great change in the area of sexuality took place in the mid-1960s:

 

"The period of Satan started in 1966. At that time, God was announced to be dead, people started to defend sexual freedom, and the hippies developed a free sex culture." (3)

 

Divorces are connected to the above-mentioned decay of marriage. At present, in Finland, for example – which is one of the most immoral countries in the world along with the other Nordic countries – almost every second marriage ends in divorce.

   However, if we compare the divorce rate to that before, the current negative development has lasted only for some decades. It becomes apparent from the following figures.

 

- 1881-1890 there were about 53 divorces in Finland

- 1901-1910 there were about 125 divorces

- In 1930 there were 1,106 divorces

- In 1938 there were 1,784 divorces

- In the years from 1946 to1950 there were about 5,000 divorces annually

- In 1979 there were 9,624 divorces and 5,547 judicial separations, and as a consequence 11,000 orphans. Almost 35 out of 100 marriages broke up.

- Nowadays, marriage break-ups and common-law marriages are even more common than in 1979.

 

Change in the TV. When speaking about television, it is good to note that it is a rather new thing. The rapid increase of the popularity of television and its influence on society is reflected in production numbers: in 1945 there were only 5,000 televisions in the United States, nowadays there are over 100 million of them. In Finland and in numerous other countries there are as many televisions as in the USA per capita.

   We should note, however, that a change has occurred in the programs shown on television. Nowadays, there is much more nudity, the language has become more and more vulgar, and even hardcore pornography is presented, especially on satellite and cable channels. The things that are being done now would have seemed impossible a few decades ago and they make the TV programs of the 1960s look nice and harmless, not to mention the Finnish films of the 1950s. A comparison between the present day and past decades is easy to do because the difference is so huge. Old Clark Gable or Bogart movies are quite innocent compared to the current films:

 

It seems an eternity from the times of old Clark Gable. In those days the bravest scene in the film It Happened One Night was when Gable and Claudette Colbert made a curtain from a blanket between their beds when they had to spend their night in the same cabin. They named the blanket "the wall of Jericho", but the filmmakers of today have overturned the walls and exchanged them for wrinkled sheets. (4)

 

A change has occurred in TV programming, but it is just as interesting to note that sin is openly boasted about and freely presented. It is an issue for which the Sodomites were known because it is said in the Book of Isaiah (3:9): The show of their countenance does witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe to their soul! for they have rewarded evil to themselves.

   Good examples are the advertisements of two TV channels in which they promote their new programs. They indicate the moral collapse of the TV companies and how they tempt people to sin (Jesus said in his time, ”But whoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!”, Matt  18:6,7). Such promotional material was not used to the same extent by TV companies some decades ago. The programs were advertised in the following ways:

 

- “Indecent, brave, dissolute…”

- ”Morals are loose on the weekends but on Mondays they are lost.”

 

Internet and other channels. A matter, which has revolutionized the current-society, is Internet. It has become widespread only in the last 15 years and soon it will be as common as television. The web can also be used for good and bad purposes like television. It is a good channel in spreading of the Gospel and good things, but it can also be used for the following:

 

- Porn pages, which can be visited by clicking a few buttons

- Spreading of sex pictures

- Searching for sex partners

 

A good indication of the development we are experiencing are also the sex shops on the streets: there can be many of them even in small towns. These and other places that spread pornography – such as topless restaurants, which in the 1950s would have been regarded quite impossible – have become more and more widespread and they are one sign of the phenomena of our times. These observations prove that we live in the midst of such a moral collapse, which in Finland and in other countries has not ever been experienced.

 

Increase of homosexuality is an issue to which one should pay attention. It was not dealt with much in the 1950s but especially during the last ten years it has become more and more generally accepted in the society. (It is significant that up until the year 1971 sexual relations with the same sex was a crime in Finland. Likewise, the homosexual tendency was considered an illness up to the year 1981, so the society has clearly changed.) Its acceptability has certainly been affected by TV talk shows, series in which actors in major or minor roles are homosexuals, and by newspaper articles that have kept this issue in the open all the time. The development in our times has been similar to the days of Noah and Lot. Sodom was especially famous for this.

   It is important to emphasize, however, that God loves homosexuals and we will not (fortunately) be judges of our neighbours. Nobody has been called to do that. But the problem in modern society is that homosexual relationships (and often relationships out of wedlock) are no longer regarded as a sin and lust, which one should repent and from which one can be freed because God has the power to release a man. People may notice that some people resist such issues or abortion, for example, but people do not want to see the point of view of God regarding the issue and how He reacts to sin, whether it is a question of homosexuality or another form of sin. There are good examples of this, the point of view of God to sin, in history. Sodom and Gomorrah, the Canaanites, or the ancient Israel are only few examples of it, which can be seen on the pages of the Bible.

   In any case, homosexuality has become commonly accepted. Society did not accept such a lifestyle before but now people are encouraged and supported in it. Likewise, the same has affected and affects the church. In the beginning of the 1970s David Wilkerson stated that something like this would take place. One can say that the prophecy has really come true.

 

"There are two forces that prevent gays from dedicating themselves completely to their sin: society does not accept them and the church's teachings are against them. But these barriers will disappear when society no longer resists their sin and deems it abnormal, but on the contrary encourages them to continue, and when the church no longer preaches about their sin but supports them in their sexual activities. The floodgates will open, and the gays will be encouraged to continue in their sin. I have seen in my vision that these two obstacles will be wiped away and when they are taken away, chaos will follow."(5).

 

Another thing worth noticing in regards to the increase of homosexuality are the great marches connected to the issue. In New York and other cities around the world, marches have been organized since the 1970s, and hundreds of thousands of people have participated. They have been in the newspapers and the issue has become well known. The quote below indicates how this matter has become common only during this present generation, mainly in the last twenty years. It is an indication of the moral revolution that has happened in our society. They were not known yet in the 1800s or in the childhood of our grandparents.

 

Since the 1970s, the homosexual movement has regularly appeared in public in the spirit of the so-called "Pride parades". There are annual "Gay Pride" days during which many homosexuals, transvestites, transsexuals, etc. march around the streets of cities around the world "celebrating" their sexual behavior. As a certain kind of motto, they use the words "Proud to be gay".

   SETA (Finnish Association for Sexual Equality) arranged a Helsinki Pride day in Helsinki in July 2000. The people of SETA and their supporters marched on the streets of Helsinki. The event was a part of the worldwide Gay Pride 2000 event being arranged at the same time. Perhaps the most notable Gay Pride 2000 day march in the whole world occurred in Rome where tens of thousands of homosexuals marched trough the historical city causing grief to the Pope. The authorities estimated the number of marchers at about 70,000, the newspapers about at 200,000, while the marchers themselves spoke of even about 400,000 marchers, who were "celebrating their homosexuality". (6)

 

 

 

2. The days of Noah and Lot 2

 

VIOLENCE. One aspect of the society in the days of Noah and Lot was perversity and over-emphasized sexuality, and another feature was violence. The Earth was full of violence, as we can see from the book of Genesis. In addition, Paul prophesied that the same would take place before the coming of the Son of Man:

 

- (Gen 6:11) The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

 

- (2 Tim 3:1- 4) This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

3 Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

4 Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God

 

Can we see similar developments now, in the present time? Have we changed for the better or worse? What is the current situation?

   The answer is that even though we have not yet seen violence blossom in full, there are signs indicative of how the change from the 1950s, for example, is remarkable. We can see it clearly in the following examples where we will study changes in music, on TV, in computer games, on the streets, and also in other issues. These are not separate issues because music, TV, and computer games are issues that build up the attitudes of people. We should also note that before Nazism and Hitler gained power, there was a powerful increase in occultism (it has been said that Hitler and other high-ranking Nazi leaders were well familiar with occultism) and secularization of the society. This, together with the shaky economy, was one reason why the speeches of Hitler affected people so powerfully:

 

“The last turning of people from the circle of senses to mysticism, almost as widespread as now, happened in the 1920s and 1930s. It is very probable that just this awakening of occultism in Western Europe and especially in Austria and Germany assisted the approval for Nazism in Germany. Actually, some historians have referred to Hitler as an ‘occult messiah’.” (7)

 

Music. The development of music is striking. When we examine the history of music, we can see that in the 1950s such names as Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry were popular. They were deemed “brave and radical”. They were considered by most to be the greatest instigators.

   However, a long process of development from the previous times to the present has taken place! “The radicals” of the 1950s, Elvis and Chuck Berry, seem almost harmless and kind when compared to the radicals and heavy rock bands of today. In the lyrics of many of these bands, drug abuse, murders, suicides and occultism are quite openly idolized. This was not the case some decades or a century ago but this kind of music and these kinds of bands are a fairly new phenomenon.

 

Television is an issue about which one need not speak much because its programming is commonly known. One can only state that its programs were much purer and more innocent only few decades ago. Likewise, one can state that the violent and immoral material certainly influences the minds of people. For example, Dr. Leonard D. Efron, who examined the behavior of over 400 television viewers over the course of 22 years, has noted the causal connection between television and behavior. Psychiatrist Arnold Kahn has noted the same (the latter comment):

 

"No more can there be any doubt about the fact that extensive predisposition to violence on television is one reason for aggressive behavior, criminality, and violence in society."

 

"Controversy over the effects of violence in television is the same as controversy over the connection of smoking and cancer." (8)

 

Furthermore, it can be stated that when television and other media bring out only bad sides of issues, it offers a distorted view of everything. As a consequence, more and more extreme issues become a part of people’s usual behavior. When we read and we see only one side of the matter, we may accept it as truth, and we begin to act upon it.

 

The mass media are one of main tools used by the enemy and by which he sows deception and dissension among people. Even though this is perhaps not the objective of these people, it is the result. The news themselves roughly twist the reality. Only extreme events are described in the news, and most of them are violent. Good news does not sell, and even those good events that are told, do not reflect the reality in the correct way.

    (…)The strongholds are basically lies that people believe. The more people believe a certain lie, the stronger that stronghold becomes. The enemy uses mass media to sow a twisted view of everything. As its consequence, more and more extremities presented by mass media become a part of usual behavior. (9)

 

Games have also experienced a change. When still in the beginning of the 1970s we only knew such games as Monopoly, the Star of Africa, and other board games, now computer, video and role playing games have also appeared, including violence and occultism. Many of them are like the television. They influence the minds of children in a negative way and lower the threshold for doing wrong.

   In the following example, a former role player, who was sentenced to life for murder, tells how these games affected him. He says that his conscious mind got used to and was numbed because of violence in a way that he could not control his thoughts anymore. What does it mean if millions of children and young people experience the same? It is possible, because these games are popular:

 

The game takes place completely in the player's mind and imagination. (…) If you play it three or five times a week, four or eight hours a time, for example, your conscious mind will get used to the violence. You no longer control your own thoughts. The game becomes true. You start to live the game as if it was reality. Everything you say or do is connected to the game. You no longer play for fun but because you have to. The game has completely taken control of him. It is so dangerous that I cannot even explain it. (10)

 

Satan worshipping. We live in a society in which many issues that were regarded as wrong before have become accepted or at least well-known. One of these is Satan worship. It was not found in the Nordic Countries or elsewhere a few decades ago, but now it has become common, indicating the direction of development. It is an issue causing damage to both the worshippers themselves and innocent bystanders, and into which, especially, institutionalized children and kids having problems with their parents drift.

   The current situation is special in that its difference from the popular hippie movement of the 1960–70s is very noticeable. The motto of the hippie movement was "peace, rock, and love", and they were called “flower children", but today a part of the current activity is futile, absurd violence, self-damaging, and occultism.

   When we compare these two issues – the generation of that time and the present time – we see a major difference. This difference also shows how each generation has moved further toward evil than previous generations. The change has occurred especially during the last 40 years. What will happen if the current trend continues for the next 20–40 years?

   Let’s look at a Bible quote indicating similar change. Also then, descendants behaved more wickedly than their fathers. This has happened also now:

 

- (Jer 16:11,12) Then shall you say to them, Because your fathers have forsaken me, said the LORD, and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshipped them, and have forsaken me, and have not kept my law;

12 And you have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, you walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not listen to me:

 

In the school world we can see certain developments. When, for example, the largest problems in American schools in the 1960s were still at the level of neglecting homework, jumping places in queue, making too much noise, etc., now they are committing murders, abusing drugs, and behaving in other violent ways. Many schools have even had metal detection devices installed, so that weapons cannot be brought to school. It is feared that someone will begin to shoot others, as has happened sometimes.

   Other problems have been caused by drug dealers hanging around the gates of schools, increased use of alcohol among the young, and reduced respect shown towards teachers. In the 19th century or in the beginning of the 1960s, these activities were extremely rare. Likewise, the word of the teachers and other authorities was respected but this has gradually changed. We live in a society in which the appreciation of teachers and older people decreases all the time.

   Let’s look at the newspaper article below, describing the development in the schools of Britain. The article describes the problems that have troubled schools in Britain, but it is certain that similar problems have been experienced elsewhere during the last decades. We should keep in mind that the children and young people of today are the adults of tomorrow:

 

British Schools Troubled by Violence

 

Violence casts a shadow over schooling in Britain. On average 10 students a day are currently expelled from comprehensive schools due to their violent behaviour. Even though most attacks are still directed against other pupils, the teachers are also the victims more and more frequently.

   Supported by the police, the teachers’ trade unions have demanded radical measures from the government to discipline the troublemakers. The teachers fear that if the current trend continues, the schoolyards will turn into battlefields and drive the next generation of teachers to other occupations.

   The actual scope of school violence was seen last summer when the Ministry of Education published the troublemaking statistics for the first time in history. The Ministry recorded a total of 80,000 cases over a course of two months.

   62,000 students total were guilty of violent behaviour, which is approximately one per cent of the entire pupil population. Boys of 13- to 15 years of age, who constituted 77% of all cases, formed the largest group of troublemakers.

   A total of 16,800 violently behaving students were expelled either temporarily of permanently from schools last summer. In a quarter of the cases, the victim of the troublemakers was either a teacher or other member of the staff. A total of 288 students were expelled from school because of physical damage inflicted upon a teacher.

   The thing that troubles schools – besides violence becoming more common – is the possibility of the violence turning more brutal. Serious cases, such as stabbings, are still rare, but the schools are disturbed by the fact that every fourth upper level pupil carries some kind of weapon with him or her. This was stated in a survey of 5,000 students initiated by the Ministry of Justice.

   (...) The schools hope for new powers from the government in order to secure peace at school. There are two points on their agenda. They wish that the expelling process could be simplified and that fluoroscopy machines could be installed in schools. The latter suggestion has received the prestigious support of the chief of police, Sir John Stevens. (…) (Etelä-Suomen Sanomat, 18 August 2004)

 

Changes in cities are also striking. This can be seen when we compare the 1950s or the 1960s to the current time. An internal change has taken place in cities over the decades.

     A good example is the city of New York. David Wilkerson and Nicky Cruz, who live and work in New York City, describe the changes they have seen in the past few decades, i.e., since the late 1950s. At that time, the City was still almost peaceful; some people did not even lock their doors. Now, one can only daydream about such a New York. We no longer live in a society where we can confidently gaze towards the future. Jesus said, ”And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matt 24:12). We can see this happening now. It happens in cities and it takes place in other everyday life.The prophecies of the Bible are coming true right before our eyes.

 

David Wilkerson: "I remember when I first came to this city in 1958. Thirty years ago, the city was scary, but relatively peaceful. Even though the things were bad, it was peaceful when compared to the present. You could walk freely on the streets. Some didn't even lock their doors on Upper West Side.

   "The Central Park was peaceful and there were few crimes. Although there were brutal youth gangs, who were guilty of violent crimes, the gang wars took place mostly aside. They didn't usually disturb adults; instead, they fought over their territories." (11)

 

Nicky Cruz: “The city of my violent youth is now ten times worse than when I first met Dave on the streets of Brooklyn – back then, when I was the unknown Nicky Cruz, the head of the bloodthirsty gang called Mau Mau.

   It is as if a cloud of evil has taken hold of the concrete canyons dripping with violence. The situation is much worse than what the TV and movies describe. (...) (12)

 

Disrespectful and angry behavior. When violence breaks out, it doesn’t happen all of a sudden. It is preceded by a gradual development, in which appears first slander and angry, disrespectful attitude towards one's neighbors. This was the case, for example, in Nazi Germany, where negative propaganda against Jews first appeared. The violence came to light later.

   What about modern time? The disrespectful and contemptuous speech has, by all accounts, increased. Others are cursed and slandered more than before, especially if they are different from ourselves. The reason can be a different appearance, different opinions, or any minor reason. We live in a society where our neighbors are no longer valued as much as they used to be.

   Fairly recent journal articles point to the subject. They show how disrespectful behavior occurs more than before. The direction of development is not good but bad. The first of the articles is mainly about xenophobia and its growth, the second about bad behavior towards municipal workers and the third about public service. Increased hate speech and derogatory behavior affects to people's daily lives:

 

Increased hate speeches disturb people’s ordinary life

Hate seminar: Muslim women must avoid going out. “Any one of the well-dressed Finnish people could spit in your face.”

 

…You hear hate speech on the streets, in public transportation, in schools, in the media, in social media and even from politicians. Hate speech has increased over the last few years remarkably, as well as hate crimes.

- The situation seems very worrying. The amount of hate crimes increased this year by 50 per cent from last year, tells superintendent Måns Enqvist from the police administration in the Hate speech-seminar organized by the Federation of Human Rights in Helsinki on Tuesday.

What makes the situation problematic is that people, who are victims of hate speech or hate crimes, do not report it. The majority of hate speech crimes stay under the radar.

- The atmosphere has changed and hate speeches have increased immensely over the last year, says project coordinator Habiba Ali, who came to Finland from Somalia when he was six years old, from the Foreign Aid of the Church.

He used to know, who are the people to be wary of in public areas: skinheads and drunks. Now any one of the well-dressed Finns might spit on him… (Etelä Suomen Sanomat 30.11.2016)

 

Violence experienced by the local council workers increased

In under ten years violence and its threats to local council workers have increased immensely, which comes apparent from the indicator of working conditions of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (TEM).

Last year almost half of the local council workers had detected violence or experienced its threat. Over 20 per cent experienced violence themselves of felt its threat. In 2008 the corresponding numbers were a little under 30 per cent and a little above 10 per cent… (Etelä-Suomen sanomat 15.2.2017)

 

Hate in net-world moves to the service counter

A friend told me a strange thing about his workplace. In addition to her studies, she works part-time at the customer service desk. Adult people will come there to rage.

   So they take a queuing number and queue for long periods of time in order to be able to tell people in service positions something outrageous, such as whoring female employees. The change has taken place during the summer.

   Now some of my friend’s co-workers are scared to come to work, and the employer has added guards.

In addition to my studies, I myself did work in the grocery trade through a job placement service. I was almost every day at a different store working at the checkout or filling the shelves. One of my shift managers advised that nothing should be taken personally.

   He recalled that we have work clothes that represent the employer. So the customer to choose does not choose for me personally, but for my employer.

   I never experienced anything threatening, but at times I was confused. Why is that talking to me in that way?

   From that is over ten years and then people could still behave. Now it seems that the malice and rage learned on social media is moving into everyday interaction. I have a right and I want the culprit… (Kauppalehti 2017)

 

 

3. Apostasy and delusion

 

APOSTASY. Before the second coming of Jesus, apostasy must occur. It is one of those issues the Bible says will precede the coming of Jesus, and one distinctive sign of the last days. People will get further away from Christianity and the basic message of the Bible because they follow lost false teachers:

 

- (2 Thess 2:3) Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

 

- (1 Tim 4:1,2) Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron

 

- (2 Tim 3:13) But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

  

The society 200 years ago. In order to understand apostasy in the modern times and before the coming of Jesus, we should go back in time two hundred years too see what this is all about based on a broader background. When we compare those times to the modern times, we can clearly see that society has changed a great deal.

   Two hundred or a little over two hundred years ago the western society was governed by a shared ideology: theism. This means that people in general believed in the existence of an almighty God. They did not question His existence, life after death or the Judgement; almost all people believed in them. People also believed in the Flood of the times of Noah, not only people in the church but also people in scientific circles. Very few questioned the historical authenticity of the Flood, or the authenticity of any of the events in the Bible. Even people who did not believe could consider these facts even though they did not live by the Bible or pay any more attention in spiritual issues. Society in general respected these facts. James W. Sire has written about this:

 

In the western world, the theistic ideology was clearly dominant up until the late-18th century. There were as many intellectual disputes as nowadays, but they were mostly family arguments: the Dominicans disagreed with the Jesuits, the Jesuits disagreed with the Anglicans, the Anglicans disagreed with the Presbyterians and so on, but all retained the same basic assumptions. The personal triune God of the Bible existed; He had shown Himself to people and He was known; the universe had been created by Him, and so had humans. The battle was about drawing lines within theism. (...)

   During a period of time from the early Middle Ages to late-18th century, very few people questioned the existence of God or considered the ultimate truth impersonal or death as the end of an individual. There was an apparent reason for this. Christianity had infiltrated the western world to such an extent that whether or not people believed in Christ or lived like Christians, they all lived under the powerful influence of Christianity. Even those who denied religion often feared Hell or purgatory. Although bad people could reject Christian virtues, they acknowledged that they were bad explicitly against the backdrop of the Christian norms; they may have understood these norms only to a limited extent, but the norms were still Christian. They got their theistic basic ideas in their mother’s milk. (13)

 

Modern times. The society has thus changed a lot over the past 200 years. Theism was the most common ideology still in late 18th century, and people in general respected the Bible’s teachings and considered the Flood and other Biblical events historical events. Only a few people in the society of that time doubted them.

   Things are different now, and people are giving up the basics. Things have changed as the Bible prophesied. This is proven by the following issues, for example:

 

The theory of evolution is naturally an issue that has changed many minds. It was made known by Charles Darwin, who had himself studied theology but whose way of thinking apparently changed at some point. He switched to a naturalistic ideology, which did not leave much room for the supernatural.

   The significance of the theory of evolution and its impact on apostasy is caused by the fact that the theory overrides the status of God as a Creator in the minds of people. The theory assumes that all life forms have originated from simpler original forms and before this occurred, some sort of original birth occurred in the wet conditions of some sort of a primeval sea. When people assume this, they do not leave much room for the supernatural or the Creation by God.

   What is odd is that Darwin or anybody else has not been able to prove how the species originated from simple original forms or even how life started. There is no such evidence because the creation of life has not been proven and because no observations proving macroevolution (meaning actual changes in species) have been made in fossils or the current species.

   Nevertheless, the theory still influences the minds of people, and this influence is apparently not about to change soon. The theory causes people to question the Bible’s stories about the Creation, and is probably one of the greatest reasons for apostasy. Many people have relinquished their faith because of the theory of evolution.

 

“Higher criticism,” i.e. liberal theology is another reason for apostasy. It is usually based on the naturalistic ideology, which does not leave room to the supernatural. It means that nothing supernatural can exist nor can it influence the modern world. God cannot announce Himself through historical events or interfere with the world. Thus, people cannot accept the supernatural miracles in the Bible and they try to find a natural explanation for them instead. This statement by Rudolf Bultmann is characteristic of this attitude:

 

“We stopped believing in the stories of Jesus’ visit in Hades and His ascension a long time ago. We no longer expect ‘the Son of Man’ to come on the clouds and the believers to be snatched up to meet Him in the air.” (14).

 

However, it is important to note that the opinions of Rudolf Bultmann and other liberal theologians are based on a presupposition and a material ideology. They are no more scientific or proven than the views of an ordinary person who considers these events true. Bultmann and other researchers of the same level only do not believe in miracles or supernatural issues. That is their prevailing attitude. Because others have listened to their non-believing opinions, many have relinquished their faith. This has happened to countless people, and it is one piece of evidence about apostasy.

 

Right and wrong. When people reject the basics of faith and reject the reliability of the Bible, their behaviour will inevitably change. When people do not recognise the existence of God or when people do not consider morals to be dependent on the afterlife, this way of thinking will soon reflect in how they perceive what is right and what is wrong.

   This means that people have had more and more lapses of morals during the past years and decades. Apostasy is evident in issues that people used to consider wrong but that are now supported or even become general practice. Such issues include extramarital and premarital affairs as well as support for homosexuality, abortion, euthanasia and people’s right to commit suicide. When a society accepts such issues and no longer considers them wrong, one can say that apostasy has occurred. Or is there any other conclusion?

 

The prophecy of William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, refers to the same subject. It was given more than a century ago, yet it is like reading a description of our times. In the prophecy, he describes the condition of society in the last days leading up to the coming of Jesus. Six of Booth’s prophecies are listed below. Items two and three are especially relevant to this subject. They refer to a time when a "gospel" for the itching ears of the people will be preached, and it will not include a message about Hell or our responsibility. This false gospel will describe Christianity as being full of forgiveness but without repentance. This is true nowadays when people no longer consider that divorce, extramarital affairs, homosexuality, etc., are acts for which they must repent. People can point to equality and human rights in connection with these actions, ignoring that they are lustful and sinful. Such behaviour will lead to damnation if it continues (1 Cor 6:9,10). It is hard to deny the fact that the development in our society has gone just as Booth prophesied   

 

   1. "At that time politics is without God. (...) There will be a day when the official state politics of the entire West is of the kind that nobody in a leading position fears God (...) the new generation of political leaders will rule Europe; a generation that does not fear God in the least;

   2. Then there will be heaven without hell (...) There will be a day when a great withdrawal of what the Bible says to be "the Gospel of the full truth" will take place. At that time a "gospel" for the itching ears of the people will be preached. The hearers will determine what is preached from the pulpits. Then, the common order for the pulpits will be 'speak mild, sweet words; speak about heaven, leave us in peace so that we would not have to be strained when you preach about hell.'

   3. Christianity is full of forgiveness but without repentance. The teaching of the Bible that there is not forgiveness without repentance will disappear from Christianity.

   4. The day before the coming of Jesus will be full of the joy of salvation, with people who have not been born again from above.

   5. There is a lot of religion without the Holy Spirit (2 Tim 3:5 Jude 18,19).

   6. Christianity without Christ. Christ is not anywhere where the 'BLOOD and FIRE ' are not valid – deny one of the two and you will have forms of Christianity but without Christ."

 

DELUSION. The Bible prophesies that when apostasy takes place, a delusion will also take place. Several Bible verses refer to this matter and Jesus first brought it up when the disciples asked about His second coming and about the end of the present age – so it must be one of the most important signs.

   We can also see that it is caused by the desire of people for wickedness and the fact that they have knowingly rejected the truth of God. So it is one consequence of a general apostasy.

 

- (Matt 24:3-5,11) And as he sat on the mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the world?

4 And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

 

- (2 Thess 2:3,9-11) Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

10 And with all delusion of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie

 

When we examine the fulfillment of this sign in the present age, we can see that we have moved in that direction, especially during the past few decades. We can see this when we compare attitudes in the 1950s to those in the present time. The practice of witchcraft and other behaviors that were regarded as shameful and generally associated with old hags or witchdoctors working in the jungles of Africa, are more frequently considered respectable. This transformation of attitude will likely follow the pattern established during the sexual “revolution”: Constant media attention and promotion, and public apathy, work together to strengthen social acceptance while widening the gap between humans and their Creator. Other indications are:

 

- The subject matter of books has changed since the 1950s and 1960s when there were storybooks, adventure stories, and instructive Christian materials available for children. Though there are books concerning the same topics today, now we see books whose plots turn on sorcery. For example, such books as “Student of a Witch", “Supernatural World”, “Monsters”, "Midsummer Witches" and many other similar titles are generally available to the young.

  Harry Potter, which is favourite reader of many children and young, is one example. Problematic in this well-written series of books is just that sorcery and witchcraft are made something the children and the young want to identify with and a good thing because the hero of the books, Harry Potter, is a student in a wizard school, a school with subjects like protection from dark powers, transformations, magic spells, foretelling, and herb information. When a child or a young person reads these books, the set of values displayed in them will certainly affect their mind somehow. It is sure that tens of millions have become favorable to sorcery and negative to Christianity through these books.

 

- In the 1950s there were no magazines for children in which sorcery was mentioned. They were not known then.

   However, nowadays there is a magazine by the name of WITCH (formerly "The Witch Gang"), which has been advertised repeatedly even in the best known magazine for children, Donald Duck, and which has spread to thousands of homes. In the magazine, there is also a correspondence column, in which little girls want to establish witch gangs – an issue that was certainly not familiar to those who were children in the 1950s or even in the 1970s. This is quite a new issue.

 

- Still it can be mentioned, how in the 1950s, there was not so much occultist literature, the current New Age movement, to say nothing of Satanism and the worship of Satan in the Western countries. These matters were relatively rare at that time and people were not interested in them. Since the 1960s, however, we have seen how the same issues have become more and more common. Occult literature, which has increased like an explosion since the 1960s, is one example. The New Age movement, which is a mixture of Hinduism and witchcraft, is also one example. It too began mainly in the latter part of the 1960s in the West, at the same time as the hippie movement and when people started seeking for a connection with the supernatural. The next quote from over 30 years ago describes developments in this area. In the text, Hal Lindsey tells how occultism started to become more and more common in the United States in those days; in the late-1960s:

 

   A few years ago, I witnessed an enormous upheaval in the academic circles. Many people who had completely denied the supernatural power of God experienced an unusual change of mind. Indifferent people of the age of rationalism, mockers, and proud agnostics became interested in the supernatural. They started to study psychical phenomena, parapsychology, ESP, mysterious philosophies, and religions of the East. All the forms of occultism have recently achieved enormous popularity.

   Witchcraft and the worshipping of Satan spread to universities and cities. People started practicing magic and rituals in America, a so-called civilized country. (15)

 

The next introduction to a newspaper article speaks about the same activity, but in Europe in 1984. The article describes how people started seeking help from witchcraft, and how patronage of clairvoyants and witches multiplied in a few years. The trend did certainly not stop here: it has continued into the new millennium. It can be said that the words of Jesus about delusion are true:

 

People Seek Help from Witchcraft

 

In these dismal days, when dark clouds cover future prospects of mankind, more and more people have started seeking for a solution to their problems from superstition.

   In different parts of Europe, we hear news about witches, miracle healers and clairvoyants, whose patronage has multiplied in a few years. Herbs, prediction tools, and postal courses for witchcraft sell like fire, and the entrepreneurs of the magic business are experiencing their heyday. (...) (Etelä-Suomen Sanomat, January / 1984)

 

 

 

4. The gospel as a witness

  

THE GOSPEL for a witness to all nations. One important sign that must be fulfilled before the manifested coming of Jesus is that the Gospel will be preached in the whole world for a witness to all nations. The fulfillment of this important sign does not mean that all nations or ethnic groups would receive salvation but that they will hear a testimony of the Gospel of Christ. It has also been said that the testimony of Christ's reign and power is connected to the issue; quite in the same way as happened in the early church, 2,000 years ago. This means a major revival including miracles and a turning of the masses towards God in an unparalleled manner:

  

- (Matt 24:14) And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.

 

We can make several interesting observations regarding the fulfillment of this sign. They suggest that the fulfillment of this sign is much closer than, for example, 100 years ago:

 

The translations of the Bible. If we first look at how the Bible in whole or part has been translated into many different languages, we can see progress in one of the signs mentioned by Jesus. If we think about the spreading of the Gospel to all nations, as Jesus said, one important factor is, naturally, that these nations can also read the Gospel in their own language. If this has not been taken care of, we cannot say that the Gospel has been given as a testimony to that nation.

  We can note, however, that this sign has already been almost completely fulfilled. The Gospel has really been ‘a testimony’ already to almost all nations and ethnic groups, because nowadays the Bible has, or sections of it have been translated into about 2,100 languages, which means that 98% of people can now read the Scriptures in their own language. If we compare this to the situation 200 years ago, we can see the remarkable difference: the number of translations has increased:

 

- By the year 1500 the Bible or sections of it had been translated into 14 languages.

- By the year 1800 the number had risen to 71 languages.

- By the year 1930 the Bible or sections of it had been translated into over 900 languages.

- Today, the Bible in whole or part has been translated into about 2,100 languages. As an estimate, we can say that 98% of all nations can read the Bible in their own language.

 

Formerly unattainable areas. An interesting observation is that the Gospel has spread powerfully to many areas in the world where there has been no Christian testimony. The next quote describes how areas such as interior Asia, Africa, and South America were almost completely untouched by the Gospel in the beginning of the 1900s.  The quote is from C. Skovgaard-Petersen's Viimeisten aikojen merkit (published in 1919, p. 52):

 

... the sign has not been fulfilled. In spite of all its victories, the Gospel has not yet been preached for a witness to all nations. There are still closed regions and unconquered missionary areas. Large parts of the world are still completely untouched by the Gospel. This especially goes to interior Asia, Africa and South America.

 

However, nowadays the Gospel has spread strongly even to those areas Skovgaard-Petersen mentions. This change is reflected in the following newspaper article referring to Africa, Asia and South America (Kristinuskon painopiste on siirtynyt etelään, Helsingin Sanomat 21 February 2004 / Risto A. Ahonen). In these areas the word of the Gospel has really been a testimony, just as Jesus prophesied, even though these countries are a great distance from Jerusalem where Jesus initially spoke about the issue. (It is good to see that the previous prophecy was spoken to twelve ordinary disciples in Israel. Many people would hardly have expected that the same message would spread throughout the world and among all the nations. Now, however, the fulfillment of this sign is almost on the homestretch.). It can be expected that God will also move in those areas where spiritual life is dry, such as in Europe. The Gospel will surely spread strongly there and in all other areas prior to the return of Jesus Christ. This will surely happen, because that is what Jesus said in His prophecy.

 

The center of Christianity has moved to the south

 

There is a widespread conception in Europe about Christianity as a religion that is gradually wasting away. However, worldwide statistics tell us quite the opposite: Christianity seems to be growing powerfully outside the Western countries.

  The current stage of Christianity can be compared to such turning points in church history as the spreading of Christianity to the Hellenistic world, ‘Christianizing of Europe’ or to the beginning of new era of missionary work in the 1500s and 1600s. Also, in our times the geographical center of Christianity is moving to new areas, this time to Africa, Asia and Latin America. (…)

  The next figures illustrate the situation: on average about 23,000 members join African Christian churches every day. Nowadays, there are about 383 million Christians in Africa, the same amount of people as the population of the EU.

 

 

 

5. What will the future bring?

 

FAMINE, pestilences, AND EARTHQUAKES. While talking about the signs of the last days, Jesus mentioned famines, pestilences, and earthquakes, for example. These events should precede His public coming, when He will come in His glory and power.

 

- (Luke 21:9-11) But when you shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.

10 Then said he to them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:

11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.

 

As to the fulfillment of these three issues, we can observe at least the following:

 

As to famine, we can say that although at the moment there is no famine in Western countries, there is still a large percentage of people in the world who continuously suffer from it and the numbers have increased. According to an estimate by the United Nations, on average 460 million people went to bed hungry every evening in 1977, but today the number has increased to about 800- to 900 million (see the newspaper article below). In addition, the seriousness of famine in our time is indicated by the fact that 30,000- to 40,000 people die of hunger or its consequences every day, and this is an enormous figure. It is enormous because if the same number of people were to die in some natural catastrophe or a war, attention would certainly be paid to this, and the media would have large headlines about it. But when it is a question of slowly affecting famine, we do not react to it in the same way and for that reason, we may not pay attention to it.

   The following newspaper article (Etelä-Suomen Sanomat 26 November 2003) refers to the seriousness and universality of this problem. It addresses how many people it actually touches. Famines are caused by such things as war, population growth, drought, and crop failures in general.

  (War: During the First and the Second World War, people in every warring country suffered from hunger to some extent – many essential foods were rationed so that they were only available by providing special ration cards.

  Population growth: In 1850 the population of the world was about one billion. Today it is over six billion.)

 

Food Organization FAO of the UN:

Hunger Becomes More and More Common

 

On Tuesday, the food organization FAO of the UN warned that the amount of people suffering from malnutrition has started increasing again when still in the first half of the 1990s it was diminishing. The target of the World Food Summit – dividing the amount of hunger in half by the year 2015 – will, under the circumstances, remain only a dream.

  FAO's annual hunger report states that the amount of people suffering from hunger increased by 18 million in 1999–2001 when compared to the reference period of 1995–1997. According to an assessment by FAO, there are now 842 million people suffering from hunger in the world.

  According to the account, there has clearly been a setback in the war against hunger.

  It has been estimated that approximately 798 million people suffer from hunger in the developing countries, ten million in the industrial countries, and 34 million in the so-called transition period countries.

  The situation in the developing countries is becoming worse and worse.

  - We must ask ourselves why this has happened, says Jacques Diouf, the Director General of FAO, in the foreword of the report.

 

Diseases. As to the distinctive features of the last days, Jesus also mentions plagues, or epidemics. According to His words, they will appear in many places.

  As to the fulfillment of this sign at the moment, we can mention AIDS, which is a real plague in extensive areas. The seriousness of the issue is indicated by the fact that up until now, approximately 27 million people have died of AIDS and approximately 65 million people are carriers of HIV. When we consider, for example, the fact that approximately 20 million people died as a consequence of World War I and 60 million died as a consequence of World War II, the figures of AIDS will be seen in the correct light. They prove that AIDS is not a small issue that we can overlook but it affects the lives of hundreds of millions of people. If this matter is not quickly resolved, the situation with the disease will become worse and worse, as described in the following newspaper article (Etelä-Suomen Sanomat 26 November 2003). The progress of the disease is aided by dirty drug needles and unprotected sex:

 

Aids Epidemic Becoming Worse

In addition to Africa, Asia and former parts of the Soviet Union are under threat.

 

On Tuesday, organizations of the UN warned that the AIDS epidemic is becoming worse around the world. The situation is still most alarming in Africa, south of Sahara, but it is feared that the epidemic will get out of hand in some countries of Asia and the former Soviet Union.

  UN AIDS and the World Health Organization WHO estimate in their shared annual report that there were 40 million carriers of the HIV infection. 2.5 million of them are children under the age of 15. Approximately five million people caught the infection in 2003 and over three million died of the illness.

  - The AIDS epidemic continues to expand – we have not yet reached the limit, says Peter Piot, the leader of UN AIDS.

  (…) The annual report included a warning about a new wave of infections that threatens China, India, Indonesia, and some eastern European countries.

  - There are an increasing number of warning signs indicating that several countries in Asia are being threatened by a serious wave of HIV infections.

  Intravenous drugs and unprotected sex are risk factors, according to the report.

  The UN organizations mention especially China, India, and Indonesia, where about 40 percent of the whole population of the world lives. The organizations warned that these countries are at a point where the infections can transfer from small risk groups to the majority of the population.

 

Having observed the epidemics and AIDS, there are also many other major threats. One huge threat is biological weapons, people themselves spreading epidemics among other people. This threat may be quite real if a person like Hitler receives a dominant position or some terrorist group acquires these biological weapons.

  The preconditions for this kind of warfare exist at the moment because many countries have been developing biological and also chemical weapons in their laboratories for many years. If this kind of warfare were to begin, terrible seeds of various epidemics would be able to spread into people. As a consequence, not only those who are at war would have to suffer but also the wider population. It is possible that many plagues and epidemics like the above-mentioned will start this way.

 

The former US Secretary of Defense, William Cohen, gave the following statement in 1997: "When technology has advanced, the world has become smaller and the significance of borders has lessened, the possibilities to spread illnesses, death and devastation on a large scale are much larger than before. An insane individual or a group of fanatics can threaten or kill tens of thousands of people at one go with a bottle of chemicals, with a batch of pathogen bacteria, or with an elementary nuclear bomb.” (16) 

 

Earthquakes are events that Jesus mentioned as a part of the beginning of birth-pains in the last days. As with famines and pestilences, they are not found everywhere and continuously but ‘in divers places’ and at times, maybe not so intensely, as is the case with birth-pains.

  When concerning the appearance of earthquakes in the last days their harmful effect is made more probable than before merely by the fact that the population density has increased to a greater extent than ever before. Even though earthquakes were not to appear more frequently than before, their destructive consequences will be more probable because of the dense urban settlement. Surely the largest earthquake-related catastrophes are still to be experienced:

 

“It is almost certain that in the years to come, unparalleled catastrophes will take place," stated Roger Bilham in the meeting of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics. "Losses of life rising to millions are not at all exaggerated when we know that 50% of the population of a given city can be lost in a single earthquake." Even though large earthquakes "have indeed spared the urban centers of the world in the last decades, this kind of tendency will not continue forever," stated Bilham. (17)

 

Also the Revelation speaks about a gigantic earthquake whose consequences are catastrophic. It is said that there has never been such an earthquake since men were on the earth, and that the cities of the nations fall, and the mountains are not found. So, it is really an earthquake of large proportion, and happens obviously very near to the coming of Jesus:  

 

- (Rev 16:18-20) And there were voices, and thunders, and lightning; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were on the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.

19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give to her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.

 

Pollution. An issue to which the Scriptures sometimes refer in passing is pollution. The Book of Isaiah and also the Revelation talk about defiling the Earth (Rev 11:18: ... and should destroy them which destroy the earth):

 

- (Isa 24:5,6) The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.

6 Therefore has the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.

 

As to the fulfillment of this, we can note that the change – when compared to 300 years ago – is remarkable. In the beginning of the 1700s one would never have thought that the Earth could one day be polluted, but now, 300 years later, this is reality in many areas because of the industrial revolution.

  In the beginning, man was put into paradise to work it and to keep it (Gen 2:15: And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.) but this has changed dramatically during the past centuries and pollution has gathered everywhere and is increasing all the time.

  We will look at some of the signs that prove that this sign is developing:

 

- In the beginning of the 1700s there was not the kind of industry that we have today to produce air pollution and destroy extensive forests by means of acid rain and sulphur emissions. Nowadays, the annual fossil fuel emissions are billions of tons.

 

- In the 1700s there were no polluting cars. Horses were used as a means of transportation. In some big cities, the pollution from cars and industry may be so great that in order to drive safely in the daytime, one must turn on the headlights. In some areas it has been necessary to cut down motoring due to excessive smog.

 

- In the 18th century, the seas and waters were relatively clean, but today water pollution is a reality because sewage waste and oil and chemicals are constantly transported to the seas. For example, the running aground of an oil tanker, which usually occurs a few times a year, can cause extensive environmental damage.

    Another major problem is the explosive growth of plastic waste in the Seas. Plastic bags and poorly degradable plastic products have filled the seas and are a danger to fish.

 

- In the 1700s the current kinds of dumps – there can be several of them around every town and municipality – did not exist (as there are hundreds of thousands of towns and municipalities, there must be at least the same number of dumps). There may be processed plastics (these too, the same as plastic bags, became common only with the oil industry), other non-decomposable materials, and also environmental poisons and chemicals in the dumps. Many dumps present a danger to groundwater, the quality of the drinking water, because the chemicals can be absorbed into it.

 

- In the 1700s powerful fertilization of the fields and use of pesticides and additives were not reality, but nowadays they are one reason for the eutrophication of waterways and the pollution in the groundwater.

 

- In the 1700's there were no areas polluted by nuclear tests, no nuclear accidents (such as Chernobyl, which polluted ground in extensive areas, caused the destruction of reindeer in Scandinavian countries, and required restrictions on the eating of fish), and no problems with what to do to with nuclear waste from nuclear power plants. These are new problems of the 1900s and an indication of how pollution has progressed.

 

WARS

 

- (Matt 24:6-8) And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

 

When Jesus talked about the signs of the end of time, he mentioned wars in which ‘nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom’. He also said that people shall hear of wars and rumors of wars and that these things must happen first but the end will not come right away. (Luke 21:9-10).

      When thinking about the fulfillment of this sign, the first two World Wars were certainly signs since they were fought over such a large area and because nations and kingdoms did rise against each other. It is known from the scale of World War II - the most destructive war in history - that an estimated 93 million people served in the army at the time, and as many as 42 kingdoms took part it, representing about 94% of the world's population. The First World War was also broad in its extent, because 50- to 60 million soldiers and about 40 countries took part in it.

   The Second World War was pretty much total in the sense that it concerned not only soldiers but also the civilian population, because the frontlines often went amongst ordinary people. For example, up to 20 million civilians in the former Soviet Union died as a consequence of the war and this is quite a huge figure. The total number of victims of this war was an unprecedented 60 million people, compared to three times less or approximately 20 million in the First World War. Naturally, the difference was partly due to the number of countries involved but also the more and more technical and powerful weapons (bombers, tanks, submarines, more and more powerful cannons, etc.), which resulted in a much greater devastation than before.

  Unfortunately, however, the wars in the world did not stop with the last world war. Even though Europe, for example, the primary battleground for the Second World War, has been relatively peaceful in the last decades, there have been hundreds of wars and conflicts elsewhere in the world where even millions of people have lost their lives (the war between Iran and Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, Timor, Rwanda, Algeria, Sudan, former Yugoslavia, etc.). The next article from the Washington Post refers to this and also to the numbers of victims in these conflicts:

 

The wars of the 20th century have been ‘total wars’; they have been waged against both civilians and soldiers. (…) When we compare these wars to the ancient barbaric wars, they seem like little street fights.

  After the Second World War, which was assumed ‘to stop all wars’, there have been over 150 larger wars (conflicts in which more than 1,000 people have died in the course of one year) and hundreds of smaller wars, armed rebellions and revolutions. After the Second World War more than 23,142,000 people have died in armed conflicts. (18)

 

Will nuclear weapons be used? Even though the world wars have been destructive and have consumed millions of lives, according to the Bible it seems that in the coming days there will be even more destructive wars, the kind where nuclear weapons and probably also chemical and biological weapons will be used. When we look at the Scriptures, we can see that they speak of much greater devastation on the globe and in people's lives than what, for example, the world wars caused and what mere submachine guns can cause. These things should apparently take place just before the return of Jesus in His glory and power.

   These verses also show the extent of these future wars; they refer, for example, to an army coming from the other side of the Euphrates (from the east, Rev 16:12, 9:14-16) consisting of 200 million men, which must have greatly amazed John, the receiver of this vision, since there were not even so many people in his time. This kind of an army will, however, appear and cross the river Euphrates from the east, according to the Revelation:

 

- (Rev 9:14-16) Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates.

15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.

16 And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.

 

As comes to nuclear weapons, their threat is very real and it should not be belittled. Many nations now posses a nuclear bomb or at least have the prerequisites for making such a bomb, and if some terrorist group or an unpredictable ruler such as Hitler gains possession of such a bomb, it could result even in a third world war or at least in extensive devastation. Anything can be expected.

  Another reason to be pessimistic is, of course, the fact that history often repeats itself and we do not necessarily learn anything, especially as to wars. As arsenals have become larger and the weapons are more powerful and destructive than before, it is possible that they will also be used in a tight spot. This happened during the Second World War when the United States first took the atomic bombs into use in August 1945 when they were dropped into Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Certainly Hitler would have used these weapons earlier if they only had been at his disposal.

  In any case, we shall look at a few references in the Bible, possibly to nuclear weapons. In some of these passages, it may also be a question of meteors or supernatural issues, for example, but most of them include strong similarities with those phenomena, which are generally brought about by nuclear bombs:

 

Few people will survive

 

- (Isa 24:5,6) The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.

6 Therefore has the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.

 

- (Matt 24:21,22 ) For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

 

A possible reference to the fact that nuclear weapons and not only handguns or spears will be used in the last days is that there will be great distress and only a few people will survive. Earlier, in Isaiah's time for example, this idea of nearly total elimination of mankind would have been regarded as impossible. Today it is possible because there are so many countries with nuclear weapons and because they are capable of destroying all life on the Earth, several times. Today’s nuclear and hydrogen bombs are up to thousands of times more powerful than the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Therefore, it is highly possible.

 

The pillars of smoke

 

- (Joel 2:28-31) And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

29 And also on the servants and on the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

30 And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.

31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.

 

Another reference to nuclear explosions may be found in the mention of fire and pillars of smoke in the Book of Joel. These pillars of smoke are typical in nuclear explosions; they appeared in the nuclear explosion of Hiroshima, as described in the following quote.

  In hydrogen bomb tests, mushroom-like pillars of smoke more than forty kilometers tall have been observed. The largest measured pillars of smoke caused by volcanic eruptions have only been three kilometers tall:

 

“Everything became white before my eyes," said Colonel Tibbets. "After the blazing flame of light, which was the largest ever observed on earth, there came a rumble that was heard hundreds of miles away (…) The men onboard the Enola Gay could clearly see an enormous pillar of smoke at a distance of over a hundred miles." "It seemed so massive that you’d think someone could walk on it,” said one of the men.

  (…) Another eye-witness, Captain Parson, said:

  "It was a terrible sight. An enormous cloud of smoke covered everything. The earth shook and boiled at the foot of this enormous, mushroom-shaped, purple-grey cloud. Yes, it seemed to me like everything was boiling in that area that was several hundreds of miles across. Suddenly, an enormous white cloud detached itself from the top of the mushroom and rose into the air. Then yet another cloud rose. It seemed as if it was chasing the first cloud. Then the top part of the cloud started to boil…" (19)

 

The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood

 

- (Joel 2:30,31) And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.

31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.

 

- (Rev 6:12-14) And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, see, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

 

- (Rev 8:12) And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.

 

- (Luke 21:25,26) And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;

26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.

 

- (Mark 13:24-26) But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,

25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.

26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.

 

Because pillars of smoke are typical in nuclear explosions, they could cause the Sun to be turned dark and the Moon to blood, in quite the same way as in forest fires and also in volcanic eruptions. For example, the eruption of the volcano Krakatau in 1883 reduced the amount of sunlight even in Europe and colored sunsets for a long time.

  A bomb of merely one megaton (almost 1,000 times more powerful than the bomb that was dropped to Hiroshima) could cause millions of tons of soil and stone to rise as dust into the air and obscure the Sun. If several similar bombs were detonated simultaneously, the effect would be even more extensive on the whole globe. Then, the Sun could "turn black like sackcloth made of goat hair, and the whole moon turn blood red".

 

Heat

 

- (Isa 24:5,6) The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.

6 Therefore has the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.

 

- (Rev 8:7) The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast on the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

 

Heat that appears in nuclear explosions is one of their distinctive marks: temperatures of up to millions of degrees have been measured in nuclear tests, similar to the temperatures inside the Sun. It has also been calculated that the effect and heat of a 50-megaton bomb would be so great that it would cause second degree burns even at a distance of 60 kilometers and would cause people to lose their sight over an area of 1.6 million square kilometers. If several of these bombs were fired simultaneously, the consequences might be exactly those mentioned in the Book of Revelation: grass and trees would burn in wide areas.

 

The consuming of flesh

 

- (Zec 14:12,13) And this shall be the plague with which the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand on their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.

13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbor, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his compatriot.

 

Perhaps the worst description of the consequences of a possible nuclear war – the consuming (or rotting) of flesh – is in the Book of Zechariah. It refers to the nations who attack Jerusalem in the last days. In Hiroshima similar events took place, as can be learned in the next quote:

 

“I do not know how many I saw. They were burnt from their waist up and where the skin started peeling off, the flesh was moist and loose. Some people did not have faces at all. Their eyes and noses had burned away." Another eyewitness said, "Before nightfall they started to smell bad." (20)

 

The hailstones

 

- (Rev 8:7) The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast on the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

 

- (Rev 16:17-21) And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.

18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightning; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were on the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.

19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give to her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.

21 And there fell on men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.

 

One possible consequence of a nuclear explosion is hail. When the nuclear bomb was dropped in Hiroshima in 1945, it was followed by a sudden hailstorm, and this also took place in the nuclear tests of the Bikini Island. Thoralf Gilbrant has taken up this possible consequence of using nuclear weapons:

 

This will also take place in an atomic detonation. In the nuclear tests of the Bikini Island, holes the size of a human head appeared on the decks of aircraft carriers. At first, it was not understood how they were formed, but research indicated that they were caused by a hailstorm. Tens of millions of tons of water was shot high up the atmosphere. A color picture indicated how warm, damp gases cooled down at a height of six kilometers and turned into ice. Millions of kilograms of ice, or hailstones as John calls them, fell in the area surrounding the Bikini Island. The hailstones in the Revelation have already been seen in action. It is difficult to imagine the scary damage these hailstones will inflict if they fall into a population center in a nuclear war. (21)

 

The atmosphere being rolled up

 

- (Rev 6:12-15) And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, see, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every slave, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;

 

One consequence of a nuclear explosion is the atmosphere being rolled up. In these situations, the air mass moves violently aside causing a vacuum and then suddenly the same air mass returns back to its place. This violent movement that takes place in the atmosphere is one of the most common and destructive effects of a nuclear explosion.

 

 

 

6. Israel in prophecy

 

Most of the signs preceding the coming of Jesus that we have been examining above are connected with the condition of society and nature in the last days. They are connected to the condition in which mankind and nature will be when Jesus comes to the Earth in his glory and power. We also noted that most of these signs have already been fulfilled or are being fulfilled, thus proving the validity of the prophecy.

   Another important sign that must not be disregarded is the birth of the State of Israel on 14 May 1948 and the Jews’ return there. When in 70 A.D. and 135 A.D. the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple and the banishing of the Jews from their country took place, they had to get along without a homeland. The period when they had to live among other nations lasted almost 2,000 years, which is a really long time. During that time their country were occupied by Romans, Arabs, Europeans, Turks, and Englishmen who were in power one after the other.

  We are going to study verses from the Bible referring to the return of Israel and the Diaspora. We will try to indicate how in both of these, the old prophecies – some of which were prophesied 3.500 years ago – have been fulfilled.

 

THE DIASPORA. A fact that can be seen is the formation of the State of Israel and the return of Jews who have settled down in this country. These events indicate that several old prophecies, which we are going to examine below, have been fulfilled. There are several prophecies of this kind.

  However, before examining the Bible passages referring to the return, we are going to examine prophecies referring to the Diaspora – there are several of those as well. They refer to the dispersion of the Jews among nations. Certainly no one can deny this fact, because nowadays they are found all around the world and almost amongst all the nations of the world. For example, the following words of Moses and Jesus quite accurately refer to the Diaspora:

 

- (Deut 28:63-65) And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nothing; and you shall be plucked from off the land where you go to possess it.

64 And the LORD shall scatter you among all people, from the one end of the earth even to the other; and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known, even wood and stone.

65 And among these nations shall you find no ease, neither shall the sole of your foot have rest: but the LORD shall give you there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:

 

- (Luke 21:23,24) But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath on this people.

24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

 

Another significant feature is that the Jews have preserved their own identity over the 2,000 years – remarkable in the sense that when members of other nations settled down among foreign nations, they usually lost their own identity and were assimilated into the new environment by the third generation. But, obviously, this did not happen to the Jews. We cannot explain this in any other way than that ”the hand of God” and His plan have been behind these events, and that He has allowed all of this to take place.

 

The debt of sin as a cause of the Diaspora. When we search for reasons why the Jews got dispersed amongst all the nations in 70 A.D. and much earlier into Babel in about 600 B.C., we can find a simple explanation for both of these miserable events: the debt of sin, that is the same issue that was behind the disaster of Sodom and Gomorra and the Canaanites who destroyed their children (Deuteronomy 12:31 refers to the Canaanites: You shall not do so to the LORD your God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hates, have they done to their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.):

 

- (Gen 13:13, 19:15) But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.

19:15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take your wife, and your two daughters, which are here; lest you be consumed in the iniquity of the city.

 

- (Gen 15:16) But in the fourth generation they shall come here again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

 

- (Lev 26:38,39,43) And you shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.

39 And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.

43 The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lies desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes.

 

The devastation Israel experienced did not take place by accident but the starting point of everything was that the sins and evilness of the people had exceeded a fixed limit, which then led to the disaster. They had heaped sin upon sin for decades and centuries (Isa 30:1: Woe to the rebellious children, said the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin:) and behaved more wickedly than their fathers (Jer 16:12: And you have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, you walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not listen to me:) until finally God's patience ran out and he took away his protection from the nation of Israel. Even Josephus, a historian, spoke about the sinfulness of the generation of his time and atheism, and why they were met by the devastation then. He wrote:

 

It was destiny that ordered devastation like this. Inevitably it came, both for the living and the lifeless, also places. However, one cannot help but to wonder the accuracy of data, how it has been proportioned: the destruction took place on the same day of the same month (…) as the Babylonians earlier burnt the holy room. (22)

 

I presume that if the Roman attack against these rascals had been delayed, the earth would have opened and swallowed this city, or a drowning flood would have come, or it would have been destroyed by the fire and burning sulphur of a thunderstorm as the country of Sodom was destroyed. This generation was much more atheistic than those who were destroyed before in the punishment of Sodom; and then, the whole nation was also destroyed for the sake of their absurdity. (23)

 

It is also worth noting that in both cases the nation had been warned many decades in advance. For example, Jesus warned forty years earlier what would happen to Jerusalem and to the evil generation of the time (Matt 23:37,38, Luke 19:41- 44). The same happened also before the captivity of Babel but the reactions of people towards these warnings were generally not very favorable, and that is why things happened as they did. The next verses clearly indicate how the warnings were not listened to and how tragic consequences resulted from fulfilling of the sin:

 

- (2 Chron 36:15-19,21) And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place:

16 But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.

17 Therefore he brought on them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion on young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand.

18 And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes; all these he brought to Babylon.

19 And they burnt the house of God, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.

21 To fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfill three score and ten years.

 

A special feature that can be seen even in historical books is the fact that at the time of both of the above-mentioned disasters (606 B.C. and 70 A.D.) even nature was not favorable or on the side of the defenders. The Jewish historian Josephus observed that both when Nebuchadnezzar attacked and when the Romans later laid siege on Jerusalem, the attackers had plenty to drink in water springs, even though the situation was usually just the opposite; the water sources were almost dry and water had to regulated. This cannot be deemed a mere coincidence: it was an indication of how God’s protection had really been withdrawn from over the nation because of its heavy debt of sin:

 

As comes to Titus (a Roman general who destroyed the second temple in 70 A.D.) the water springs that earlier had almost completely run dry, now when Titus had come had more water flowing from them than ever before. 

 

We know that Shiloh, just as the other water springs outside of town, were dried to the extent that water was sold in accurately defined measures. However, at the moment there is so much water for the enemy's use that it is not only enough for them and their stocks to drink but it is also enough for watering their gardens.

 

The same noteworthy distinctive mark has been experienced also before when the above-mentioned king Nebuchadnezzar waged a war against us when he conquered the city and burned the temple. (24)

 

Jerusalem and the temple. The destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 606 B.C. and 70 A.D. had both been prophesied many years earlier, just as we noted above.

  Thus, especially when we examine the devastation that took place in 70 A.D. we can find, for example, Daniel's prophecy that was uttered not only a few decades but as long as 600 years earlier. It refers to how Jerusalem will be built – this took place after the captivity of Babel – but also to how the city and the temple are going to be destroyed again by an attacking prince. Also Jesus spoke of this, of the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple, to the generation of that time (Matt 23:36: Truly I say to you, All these things shall come on this generation.).

  These words indeed came true when Titus, who later became the emperor of Rome, marched to Jerusalem with his troops, laid siege on the city, and forced it to surrender under the threat of starvation. The final consequence was burning of the city, destroying the beautiful temple built by Herod, and the death of approximately 1,100,000 people and 100,000 people taken prisoner. It is still one of the largest mass destructions in history.

  We are going to look at the prophecies by Daniel and Jesus about the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple, which came true 70 A.D.:

 

- (Dan 9:25,26) Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem to the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

26 And after three score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and to the end of the war desolations are determined.

 

- (Matt 23:37,38) O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not!

38 Behold, your house is left to you desolate.

 

- (Luke 19:41-44) And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,

42 Saying, If you had known, even you, at least in this your day, the things which belong to your peace! but now they are hid from your eyes.

43 For the days shall come on you, that your enemies shall cast a trench about you, and compass you round, and keep you in on every side,

44 And shall lay you even with the ground, and your children within you; and they shall not leave in you one stone on another; because you knew not the time of your visitation.

 

- (Luke 21:5,6,20) And as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said,

6 As for these things which you behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone on another, that shall not be thrown down.

20 And when you shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is near.

 

To understand how the disaster of 70 A.D. really took place, we can read Josephus' notes about the event. He was a Jewish historian who lived during the time of the second temple and the destruction of Jerusalem and wrote everything down. His role during the occupation was significant in that he advised his fellow patriots to surrender so that the temple would not be destroyed. He even went to John, the leader of the rebels, to advise him do this, but John did not listen to Josephus' advise:

 

However, John, it is not dishonorable in any situation to regret and to correct your mistakes, even at the last moment. The ruler of the Jews, king Jehoiachin, acted in an exemplary way. Take him as your example if you are thinking about saving the city. King Jehoiachin, who was at war with the Babylonian king, went on his own initiative and voluntarily surrendered along with his family so that the sanctuary would not fall into the hands of the enemy and that he would not have to see the room of God being burned. (25)

 

The consequence of this all was what it was: the temple was burned against the will of Titus, the future emperor, and the city was destroyed beyond recognition. Josephus wrote of the city's destruction and how radically it changed:

 

No visitor who had seen the old Judea and the beautiful suburbs of its capital and who saw this destruction could hold his tears and not mourn the terrible change. The war had changed all the beautiful things into a desert. Nobody who knew these places from the earlier times could any longer recognize them. (26)

 

The land becoming desolate. When the Diaspora took place, the land had to become deserted and get compensation for its Sabbaths. This had to be because of the nation's disobedience and its debt of sin, as we noted earlier. The following verses by Moses refer to the depopulation and destruction of the country and the city. What is significant is that these words were spoken approximately 3,500 years ago, a long time before the destruction by Nebuchadnezzar and the later destruction by the Romans:

 

- (Lev 26:31-34) And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries to desolation, and I will not smell the smell of your sweet odors.

32 And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.

33 And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.

34 Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lies desolate, and you be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.

 

As to the fulfillment of these verses, we can say that they really have come true. When the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple took place in 70 A.D., the words of the prophecy came true at that moment and in that place because the cities fell into ruin and the land became desolate. In other words, whenever the land and the city of Jerusalem have not been in the hands of the Jews, they have become desolate and fallen into ruin, but in their hands they have grown and prospered.

  The well-known author Mark Twain gives a good picture of the desolation of the land. His description is of Galilee in the 1800s:

 

There is not a single village in the entire vast area. Only two or three groups of Bedouin tents were in sight but not a single permanent settlement. In an area ten miles wide, not ten people are in sight. This area was spoken about in a prophecy: 'I will lay waste the land, so that your enemies who live there will be appalled. I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins.' No one who stands by the ruined Ai Mellah can say that this prophecy has not been fulfilled. (27)

 

A Finnish soldier, who also was in General Allenby's troops conquering the land under Turkish power for the British empire, described the desolation of the land and doubted whether it could ever become inhabited again. This was only a little over 30 years before the creation of the country. On the basis of these words we can conclude that the prophecies in the Bible about the desolation of the land have been fulfilled:

 

Until now, I have been able to believe everything the Bible says. But that at some point in time the Jewish shopkeepers, doctors, and judges will return here – and the Bible indeed says that they will – I find hard to believe. This country we conquered from Turks is completely desolate, burnt by the Sun, full of sand, thorns, bogs, scorpions, and snakes. Nobody could ever live here. (28)

 

An object of proverbs and bywords. When the Bible had in advance predicted the Diaspora of the Jewish nation amongst all the nations, it also said that a consequence of this Diaspora would be the Jewish nation becoming an object of proverbs and bywords and that they would not find ease in other countries. This is clearly referred to in the Books of Moses, 3,500 years ago.

   As to the fulfillment of these verses, they could not better hit the nail on the head or in any better way describe the exile that lasted from 70 A.D. all the way to today. Even though the words are 3,500 years old, uttered centuries before the Diaspora, expressions such as ‘an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart’ are an accurate description of an exile of centuries and of its most difficult moments. They describe all the persecutions and discrimination that the Jews experienced in other countries; the greatest were the persecutions carried out by Hitler some decades ago.

 

- (Deut 28:37) And you shall become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations where the LORD shall lead you.

 

- (Deut 28:64-67) And the LORD shall scatter you among all people, from the one end of the earth even to the other; and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known, even wood and stone.

65 And among these nations shall you find no ease, neither shall the sole of your foot have rest: but the LORD shall give you there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:

66 And your life shall hang in doubt before you; and you shall fear day and night, and shall have none assurance of your life:

67 In the morning you shall say, Would God it were even! and at even you shall say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of your heart with which you shall fear, and for the sight of your eyes which you shall see.

 

THE RETURN. The Bible does not only include prophecies about the Diaspora of the Jewish nation among other nations, but also about their return to the Promised Land. There are quite many of these prophecies and their reliability was doubted quite a long time because their fulfillment seemed so impossible. It could not be believed or understood how these kinds of prophecies could be fulfilled one day because there did not seem to be even the slightest possibility for their fulfillment.

  However, there have always been people who believed in the return of the Jewish nation and rebirth of the land of Israel. In the 1800s, researchers of prophecies who trusted the prophetic word were John Gumming and James Grant, for example. Neither of them doubted the credibility of the Bible's prophecies but believed that everything would happen according to the Scriptures, and their expectations were met.

  For example, John Gumming wrote in his book in 1864 how prophecies about the return of the Jews were just as clear as the ones about their dispersion, but they had not yet been fulfilled. He still believed that the nation would gather together and awaken into a new splendor:

 

How is it possible that even though they have been scattered to all possible countries, they have remained a separate nation? The prophecies about their gathering together are as just as clear as prophecies about their scattering; they simply have not been fulfilled yet. The nation of Israel had to be completely destroyed and scattered, but it will gather together and awaken into a new splendor still.

  The final act of the dramatic history of the remarkable nation is yet to be played. The Jewish national recovery has been prophesied, but it is yet to happen. Who will reach out his hands to change the scenes and call out the actors? (29)

 

James Grant in 1866 also anticipated the same to happen though he believed it would take a long time. Now, it can be seen that the prophecy has been fulfilled proving that the present age is coming to an end:

 

The personal return of Christ onto the Earth and the establishing of the millennial kingdom cannot take place before the Jews are once again in their own land and the enemies of Christ and Jews from all over the world have joined together and gone to conquer Jerusalem. (…) the return of the Jews to the Holy Land and the gathering of all these great armies will probably still take quite some time. (30)

 

From all countries. When we start to examine the return of the Jews into the Promised Land, it is good first to note those passages in the Bible that speak about their return from around the world. As they initially got dispersed amongst all nations of the world (Deut 28:64: And the LORD shall scatter you among all people… Luke 21:24: And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations), many passages in the Bible refer to how they will return from the North (the majority of the Jews have moved from Russia, Poland, and Germany), from the South, from the lands of the rising and the setting Sun (the east and the west) and also from the four corners of the world and from the islands of the sea. These can in no way refer to the return from Babel (in 536 B.C.) because it was only one country and one area. Instead, they fit well with the return that has been taking place over the last decades, which we have been witnessing, and in which the people have always been returning from the ‘four corners of the earth’:

 

- (Zec 8:4-8) Thus said the LORD of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age.

5 And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.

6 Thus said the LORD of hosts; If it be marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvelous in my eyes? said the LORD of hosts.

7 Thus said the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country;

8 And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the middle of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.

 

- (Isa 11:11,12) And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.

12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

 

- (Isa 43:5,6) Fear not: for I am with you: I will bring your seed from the east, and gather you from the west;

6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth

 

- (Jer 16:14,15) Therefore, behold, the days come, said the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD lives, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;

15 But, The LORD lives, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands where he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave to their fathers.

 

- (Deut 30:3-5) That then the LORD your God will turn your captivity, and have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from all the nations, where the LORD your God has scattered you.

4 If any of your be driven out to the outmost parts of heaven, from there will the LORD your God gather you, and from there will he fetch you:

5 And the LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and he will do you good, and multiply you above your fathers.

 

- (Jer 31:7,8,10,17) For thus said the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish you, praise you, and say, O LORD, save your people, the remnant of Israel.

8 Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travails with child together: a great company shall return thither.

10 Hear the word of the LORD, O you nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd does his flock.

17 And there is hope in your end, said the LORD, that your children shall come again to their own border.

 

The ruins will be rebuilt. When the Jews were forced to disperse in 70 A.D. and still after 135 A.D., one consequence was that the land became desolate and fell into ruin, as the third Book of Moses prophesied (Lev 26:31-34). When the land was not in their hands, it changed into something resembling a desert where it was difficult to live. This kind of unfavorable situation prevailed for centuries. C.F Volnay visited the area and wrote in 1787 how "the land had fallen into ruin and become desolate".

  There are, however, many passages in the Bible that speak of rebuilding the ancient ruins – the ruins that have been desolate not for a short while but for generations. These verses cannot refer to the return from Babel because at that time, the region had been desolate for no more than two generations, for approximately 70 years – this is not ‘from generation to generation’.  

   Instead, they better describe the current return where ‘the ancient wastes’ have been restored and where the land has been desolate for 1800- to 1900 years, almost fifty generations. What also describes the situation well is that several cities have really been built again either on the ruins of the ancient towns or right next to them. Among them are towns such as Arad, Giilo, Beersheba, Rehovod, Beit Shemesh, and Laakis:

 

- (Isa 61:4) And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.

 

- (Eze 36:4,8-10) Therefore, you mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus said the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes, and to the cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and derision to the residue of the heathen that are round about;

8 But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come.

9 For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown:

10 And I will multiply men on you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be built:

 

- (Isa 49:17-20) Your children shall make haste; your destroyers and they that made you waste shall go forth of you.

18 Lift up your eyes round about, and behold: all these gather themselves together, and come to you. As I live, said the LORD, you shall surely clothe you with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on you, as a bride does.

19 For your waste and your desolate places, and the land of your destruction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants, and they that swallowed you up shall be far away.

20 The children which you shall have, after you have lost the other, shall say again in your ears, The place is too strait for me: give place to me that I may dwell.

 

By air and water

 

- (Isa 60:4,8,9) Lift up your eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to you: your sons shall come from far, and your daughters shall be nursed at your side.

8 Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?

9 Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring your sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, to the name of the LORD your God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he has glorified you.

 

One feature that can be seen in the Book of Isaiah is that the people will return by air and by water; this is also an issue that cannot be connected with the return from Babel, because it was on dry land and there were no planes in those days.

  Here, it is interesting to note that the Jews in Yemen had for centuries the impression that they would, at the end of time and before the coming of the Messiah, return to the Promised Land ‘on the wing of a large silver bird’. This was said by a prophet living among them and the information has been preserved all the way to the present day. Lance Lambert describes the prophecy and the return of the nation from Iraq:

 

When the leaders of the Jews of Yemen were asked why they wanted to leave Yemen, they replied that the time had come for them to return home to Israel. A prophet among them had prophesied hundreds of years earlier that at the end of time, before the coming of the Messiah, they all would move back to the Promised Land on the wing of a great silver bird. This is exactly what happened. The British government granted permission for the whole Yemen community to fly to Palestine aboard Dakota airplanes. The event was named Operation Magic Carpet. During the time between June 1949 and June 1950, 43,000 Jews from Yemen were flown to Israel. Nowadays, there are only a few Jewish families in Yemen.

  This air bridge was exceeded in greatness only by the flight of Iraq's large Jewish community in 1950. In the Old Age or the Middle Ages, this community was greater than any other when measured in scholarship, wealth, or influence. With the help of an air bridge called Operation Ali Baba, 113,000 Jews were transported to Israel from Iraq. (31)

 

The words of Jesus

 

- (Luke 21:20-24) And when you shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is near.

21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the middle of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.

22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

23 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath on this people.

24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

 

The words of Jesus above refer to the return of the Jews. When he first prophesied the siege of Jerusalem, its destruction, the people falling by the sword or being taken as prisoners, and being scattered among all the nations – the prophesies that have all been fulfilled – he also prophesied the return of the Jewish nation, how Jerusalem would be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

  As to the latter, the Gentiles ruling in Jerusalem, we can see that this has also happened. When in 70 A.D. Jerusalem experienced the siege, the city was ruled in turn by the Romans, Arabs, Europeans, Turks, Englishmen, and a few other nations.

  The situation changed first in 1948 when the country became independent and immediately after it, during the War of Six Days in 1967, when also the eastern side of Jerusalem fell into Jewish possession. At that time, in 1967, one could indeed say that the city was no longer being trampled on by the Gentiles, because the city was under Jewish control, although the temple area, where the holy places of the Muslims are situated, was still left under Muslim control.

 

The desert will be cultivated. When considering the return of the Jews into the land of their fathers, we should not forget prophecies referring to the change of the land from desolate and deserted into productive and fruitful. There are many prophecies about this and it is referred to in the next verses. It is significant in these verses that they are connected with the return, when the towns will be resettled, the ruins rebuilt, and David's fallen tabernacle restored.

 

- (Eze 36:33-36) Thus said the Lord GOD; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be built.

34 And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by.

35 And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.

36 Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it.

 

- (Amos 9:11,14,15) In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:

14 And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.

15 And I will plant them on their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, said the LORD your God.

 

- (Isa 27:6) He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.

 

- (Eze 36:24,29) For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.

29  I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine on you.

 

Concerning the fulfilment of these verses, many of them have already come true. When we think about the situation in the 1800s and in the beginning of the 1900s, the land was still dry and desolate wilderness where there was hardly any possibility of living. Even the trees had been cut down because they were believed to be inhabited by evil spirits and because they were taxed – this took place during the reign of the Turks, which lasted for 400 years (1517–1917). The descriptions of the people who visited the area describe the land as miserable and mere wilderness. For example, John De Heer wrote about this land after he visited it in 1910:

 

We saw a lot of interesting things on this journey, but what amazed us the most was the fact that the sentence of God was carried out so carefully by the Turks, the Assyrians of our time.

  Against all human reason, the land’s culture has been systematically wiped out. The land that once flowed with bread and honey looked like a desert in our eyes. A few isolated colonies that had been brought about with the help of the Jewish capital flourished like small paradises, but outside their borders there was only wilderness. (32)

 

However, nowadays the land is completely different from what it was a hundred years ago. In many places, the land has really changed into a Garden of Eden because vineyards have been planted, gardens have been made, and their fruit have been eaten – as the verses above indicated. Likewise, the land has had good harvests and it has ‘filled the face of the world with fruit’ (Isa 27:6) when, for example, oranges have been transported elsewhere to the world.

  It is also worth noting that the areas adopted for cultivation have not been fruitful areas only but also real desert regions, such as the Negev or Arava. They have been changed into cultivable areas by means of irrigation. When one compares this to the description above by John De Heer dating back to 1910, the change is quite remarkable:

 

Today, everything is different. I came to Israel with the landscapes of the Bible in my mind and was immediately filled with wonder. We travelled via shore roads from the airport of Lydda to Haifa and back via many route, and there was always something to marvel at. The region was like a garden and a fertile plain.

  (…) The most fertile areas of the Holy Land are on the shore of the Mediterranean and farther up in Galilee. Far away are the barren moon landscapes. The bashful greenness of early summer can be seen everywhere, especially in wineries and orange gardens whose other edge is out of sight. The couple hundred miles journey between Haifa and Gaza is indeed really one large garden. Wheat and barley are ripening in the fields. All that we see surprises us. (33)

 

All hope has gone. One special feature that the Bible mentions about the Jews' return to the land of their fathers is that it would take place at a time when ‘all hope has gone’ and people were like ‘lost’: when all would seem to be lost from a human viewpoint, God would have compassion upon these people, He would take their hand, and bring them back to the land. This would take place at the moment of their greatest weakness.

  When thinking about the fulfillment of these verses, they fit very well to the time 70 years ago. Before Israel became independent in 1948, there was a period when there did not seem to be any hope of preserving the Jewish nation, not to mention their own state. The persecutions carried out by Hitler made it seem as if everything was going wrong and that a change for the better was not in sight.

  However, only a few years after this dark period, the impossible became possible: the state of Israel was born. Even though the darkness had been great for some years and the power of Satan was great through Hitler's Nazi administration, Satan could not prevent the birth of the new state. The birth of Israel took place approximately three years after Hitler committed suicide and his Third Reich collapsed.

 

- (Eze 37:11-14) Then he said to me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.

12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, Thus said the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

13 And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,

14 And shall put my spirit in you, and you shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall you know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, said the LORD.

 

- (Deut 32:36) For the LORD shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he sees that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left.

 

The Hebrew language. One of the most remarkable issues connected with the current state of Israel is that the Hebrew language has returned as a spoken language and national language that is used on the radio, television, and in newspapers. This language had not been used as a spoken language for almost 2,000 years – it was already starting to recede from use during the imprisonment of Babel, being replaced by the Aramaic language. Therefore, the awakening of the ‘dead’ language can be deemed a kind of miracle. It is one of the events whose fulfillment was not regarded possible 200 years ago.

  The following description gives a good picture about the extent to which the recovering of the Hebrew language and the rebirth of the state of Israel were still regarded impossible in the 1910s. The story is by Derek Prince and it indicates how issues regarded impossible can become true:

 

Encyclopaedia Britannica probably includes 'information and teachings of the wise' just as any other piece of work published in our time. From the edition published in 1911, I happened to notice an article about the pronunciation of the Hebrew language; it was written by a learned German professor. I do not remember the quote word for word but the main point was as follows:

 

The possibility that we would ever be able to return the original pronunciation of the Hebrew language into use is as distant as the possibility that a Jewish state would be established in the Middle East.

 

In 1948, thirty-seven years later, the very issue that was judged impossible by the professor came true. The information of the wise professor changed into foolishness. Why is that? Because he claimed true something that was in conflict with the biblical prophesies of God's prophets; the prophecies of the prophets must be valid and become fulfilled. (34)

 

Spiritual awakening. Above, we spoke about the Diaspora of the Jews around the world. Issues connected with it are also spiritual blindness of the people, the fact that the Jews rejected the Gospel about Jesus, and that only a remnant of them have turned to God (Romans 11:5: Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.). Also at the time of Paul and the Apostles, only a small part of the population finally turned to God and the situation remained almost the same until recent years. Nothing like the whole nation turning to God has taken place yet.

  However, when the Jews rejected the Gospel of Jesus, God opened a door to a new life to the Gentiles. Many passages of the Bible speak about how God in the intervening years – during the Jews' fall – will take people for Himself from among the Gentiles and wants to bless all the nations (Acts 3:25: You are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, And in your seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.). He wants to gather a nation for Himself from the different tribes of the Earth and only after that will He restore David's fallen tent and lift it up again – an event that will certainly include not only external but also internal and spiritual regeneration of the Jewish nation.

   We should look at a few important verses referring to this. They show how, for example, the Apostle Paul turned to the Gentiles when the majority of his own people rejected the message of the Gospel. They also show how the fall of the Jews and their hardness of heart were temporary and that during that time people would be gathered also from the Gentiles into fellowship with God:

 

- (Acts 15:13-18) And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brothers, listen to me:

14 Simeon has declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,

16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:

17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, on whom my name is called, said the Lord, who does all these things.

18 Known to God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

 

- (Acts 13:43-52) Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.

45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spoke against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.

46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing you put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, see, we turn to the Gentiles.

47 For so has the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set you to be a light of the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.

48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

49 And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.

50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and honorable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.

51 But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came to Iconium.

52 And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.

 

- (Rom 11:11,12,15,25-27) I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come to the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?

15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

25 For I would not, brothers, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.

26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

27 For this is my covenant to them, when I shall take away their sins.

 

Even though most Jews have lived in a condition of spiritual blindness for quite some time, the Bible speaks about Israel not remaining in this kind of a condition but waking up. If we look at the following Bible verses, we can see the regeneration of Israel and also the point in time –in the last days when the people have spent a long time without a king and prince (the exile has lasted for 1,900 years), when they have been gathered from all the nations and when signs such as blood and fire and billows of smoke, can be seen in the heavens. At that time their spiritual regeneration will take place and God will pour out His Spirit upon them:

 

- (Hos 3:4,5) For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim:

5 Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.

 

- (Eze 39:27,29) When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;

29 Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit on the house of Israel, said the Lord GOD.

 

- (Joel 2:28-31) And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

29 And also on the servants and on the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

30 And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.

31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.

 

- (Rom 11:25-27) For I would not, brothers, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.

26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

27 For this is my covenant to them, when I shall take away their sins.

 

Even though no great spiritual awakening among the Jews has yet occurred, we must say that some changes have taken place. Their attitude towards the Messiah has become more open when compared to what it still was some decades or centuries ago. Derek Prince, who spent decades in Israel, pointed out his observations about this development:

 

I have personally been in continuous contact with Israel and the Jews there since the year 1942 when I went to Jerusalem for the first time. I will mention only one point: Among our adopted children, in the family of myself and my wife, there are nine Jews.

  The period between the years 1942 and 1982 represents more or less a biblical generation. During this generation, considerable change has taken place in the common attitude of the Jews towards the work of the Holy Spirit and the person of Jesus.

  If I am asked to mention some point in time that has crucially affected this change, I will mention the year 1967. It is the year of the Six-Day War when the Jews finally got the old city of Jerusalem into their possession. Since then, the Jews' attitude towards the person of Jesus has become more open. For the first time in many centuries, they start to regard Him as one of their own. New books are written about Jesus by the Jews every day. That warm and open attitude starts to show also in their relationship with those Christians who sincerely love the Jews and see the unchangeable love of God towards His nation. (35)

 

 

 

7. The recovery of Roman power

 

When we continue examining the prophecies of the Bible, it is worthwhile to pay attention to the Roman Empire, because it has an important role in the events of the last days according to the Book of Daniel and other sources. Even though the Roman Empire does not officially exist anymore – it was first divided in half and finally into many small states – it is possible to understand from the Book of Daniel that ten states or actually ten kings will appear from this region. They will appear at the very end of the current age, right before the coming of the kingdom of God.

   However, before we go on examining the prophecies about the last union or about the ten kings before the coming of Jesus, it is good to examine other great powers that are mentioned in the Book of Daniel. There are actually two dreams in this book referring to successive kingdoms – dreams that complement each other and where four kingdoms that will appear since the times of Daniel are mentioned. One of the two dreams was by the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, and the other one was that of Daniel. Both of them tell about four kingdoms that will temporally follow each other and that will be great powers on the Earth.

   The first reference to these four kingdoms can be found in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar: there was a great statue; a statue with a head of gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, and legs of iron and clay. In this dream, or actually in its explanation, which Daniel gave the king, is a clear reference to the four kingdoms that will follow each other. First of these was, of course, Nebuchadnezzar’s own kingdom, Babylon, and three other great powers would follow. These verses say:

 

- (Dan 2:31-40) You, O king, saw, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before you; and the form thereof was terrible.

32 This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,

33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

34 You saw till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image on his feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces.

35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

36 This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.

37 You, O king, are a king of kings: for the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.

38 And wherever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven has he given into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all. You are this head of gold.

39 And after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to you, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: for as much as iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things: and as iron that breaks all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.

 

Furthermore, we can find a reference to the four kingdoms in the dream that Daniel himself saw, which resembles the dream king Nebuchadnezzar had. The only difference in the dreams is the fact that Daniel did not see a statue but various beasts rising from the sea that stood for kingdoms. These four beasts were a lion with the wings of an eagle, a beast like a bear, a beast like a leopard, and the fourth beast, which was terrifying and frightening and very powerful.

 

- (Dan 7:2,3,16,17) Daniel spoke and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove on the great sea.

3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.

16 I came near to one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.

17 These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.

 

Babel or Babylon. The first of the four kingdoms mentioned by Daniel was Babylon (605–539 B.C.), whose king was Nebuchadnezzar who ruled during Daniel’s time. The golden head of the statue stands for this kingdom, because Daniel said to king Nebuchadnezzar, "You, O king (…) You are this head of gold", and the first beast, a lion that had the wings of an eagle (when archaeological excavations were made in Babylon, winged lions and ordinary lions were found):

 

- (Dan 2:31-33,37,38) You, O king, saw, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before you; and the form thereof was terrible.

32 This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,

33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

37 You, O king, are a king of kings: for the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.

38 And wherever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven has he given into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all. You are this head of gold.

 

- (Dan 7:3,4) And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.

4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand on the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.

 

So, concerning the kingdom of Babylon it was really superb at that time, and it was built especially by King Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 4:29,30: At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. The king spoke, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?).

   The greatness of its capital that Nebuchadnezzar had built is proven by the fact that it was surrounded by walls 105 meters tall, one six meters and the other three meters thick. Just by the dimensions of these thick and high walls, the city was deemed eternally unconquerable. Nobody believed it possible for anyone to conquer it.

   However, it did not take more than twenty years before Nebuchadnezzar died and the impossible took place: the city was conquered. It was done by the Medes and Persians who entered the city along the dried riverbed of the Euphrates. According to the historian Herodotus, the enemy redirected the river’s flow to a channel upstream then walked along the now-drained river bed to enter and conquer the city. The entire conquest took place almost completely without resistance and only a few nobles were killed.

 

Medo-Persia. The second kingdom that is mentioned in the Book of Daniel, the one that came after Babylon, is clearly Medo-Persia. It is symbolized by the silver breast and arms of the statue and also the bear in the visions. The bear has three ribs in its mouth, which probably refers to the largest conquests of Medo-Persia; Lydia (545 B.C.), Babylon (539 B.C.), and Egypt (525 B.C.). The reign of this kingdom lasted over two hundred years, until 331 B.C.:

 

- (Dan 2:32,39) This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,

39 And after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to you, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

 

- Dan (7:5) And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus to it, Arise, devour much flesh.

 

We can find more information about Medo-Persia in the eighth chapter of Daniel. This chapter refers to a two-horned ram, which clearly refers to this kingdom.

   What is noteworthy in this chapter is that one of the ram's horns grows up later and higher than the first horn – which certainly refers to the relationship between the Medes and the Persians in this kingdom. In the beginning the ruling party in the kingdom were the Medes – described by the smaller horn – but later, the Persians, represented by the horn that grew up later and higher, rose up. Finally they were ruling in a dominant position and their impact was greater.

   This kingdom ended in 331 B.C. when Alexander the Great, the first king of Greece (Grecia), came from the west and completely conquered Medo-Persia. He is described in the vision as the great horn of the ram:

 

- (Dan 8:3-7,20,21) Then I lifted up my eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last.

4 I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great.

5 And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.

6 And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran to him in the fury of his power.

7 And I saw him come close to the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and broke his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped on him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand.

20 The ram which you saw having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.

21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.

 

Greece. There is no doubt about the third kingdom: it is Greece, which under the leadership of Alexander the Great conquered Persia and several other areas in 331 B.C. It is symbolized by the brass belly and thighs of the statue, and the third beast, the leopard with four wings and four heads:

 

- (Dan 2:32,39) This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,

39 And after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to you, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

 

- (Dan 7:6) After this I beheld, and see another, like a leopard, which had on the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.

"After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard.

 

We can also find a reference to the king of Greece, Alexander the Great, in the eighth chapter of Daniel that we already examined above, and in the eleventh chapter. These chapters describe some of his conquests and his short life:

 

- (Dan 8:5,8,21,22) And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.

8 Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven.

21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.

22 Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.

 

- (Dan 11:3,4) And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.

4 And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided toward the four winds of heaven; and not to his posterity, nor according to his dominion which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be plucked up, even for others beside those.

 

These chapters contain details that are known to be connected with the kingdom of Greece and Alexander the Great. Consider these other details:

 

- The Greek King Alexander along with his groups conquered the kingdom of Persia of that time. He came ‘from the west’, as Daniel said.

- The speed of the conquests is described: the ‘goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground’. This really took place when Alexander conquered the whole known world in just eleven years. He even went to India.

- The short life of Alexander is symbolized by ‘And when he shall stand up, his kingdom shall be broken,’ and ‘…when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven’. He was 33 years old when he died from a sudden illness.

- The same verses that describe the premature death of Alexander also describe how the kingdom will be divided into four parts, and it will not be passed on to the descendants of Alexander. This really happened when Alexander died young and his generals eliminated his whole family and took over: Ptolemy I took Egypt, Seleucos Syria, Lysimachos Thracian, and Cassander Macedonia.

 

Rome. Neither is it difficult to name the fourth kingdom: it most certainly was the kingdom of Rome that was almost at the height of its greatness during the time of Jesus. Rome was larger and more powerful than all the preceding kingdoms. It is symbolized by the legs of iron and clay, and by the fourth beast, different from all the other beasts before it:

 

- (Dan 2:33,40,41) His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: for as much as iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things: and as iron that breaks all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.

41 And whereas you saw the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, for as much as you saw the iron mixed with miry clay.

 

- (Dan 7:7,23) After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.

 

THE UNION OF TEN STATES. We have studied the prophecies of the Book of Daniel, and their connection to historical kingdoms that no longer exist. We also noted that the prophecies about these kingdoms came true – so accurately that the third-century philosopher Porphyries believed that they had been written hundreds of years after Daniel's death. He did not believe it was possible for anyone to predict future events as accurately as Daniel did.

   Also, the first-century Jewish historian Josephus described the accuracy of Daniel's prophecies. He stated, ‘Daniel prophesied and wrote about all this years earlier. His writings tell us of our nation being forced under the yoke of slavery and the destruction by way of the Romans. Daniel left all these writings behind by the order of God to give a testimony to a reader and observer of history, how great an honor God had given him, and to assure those who doubt, those who refuse in their life all possibility of guidance that God still takes care of the world.’ (Josephus Antiqv. X. 10 and 11).

   However, what is more significant from our point of view is what Daniel says about the events of the last days and of the kingdoms. We can understand from this book that even though the Roman Empire no longer exists – it was first divided in half and later into many small states – a union of ten states or actually ten kings will rise from this region. These will have a certain role in the events of the last days. We will look at these references in the Book of Daniel and the Revelation:

 

1. The area of former Rome. Firstly, as we already noted above, the union mentioned in Daniel will rise from the fourth beast, from the area of the fourth kingdom, which cannot be anything other than Rome. This was already understood by the time of church fathers in the earliest centuries after Christ’s life. For example, Hieronymus wrote in the fourth century, ‘Let us note what all ecclesiastical authorities have left in our possession; when the Roman empire collapses, ten kings who share the Roman world with each other will rise.’

 

- (Dan 7:23,24) Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.

24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.

 

It is very likely that the current European Union is some kind of an initial stage of the union prophesied by Daniel. Even though there are currently more than ten states in the EU, it is possible that at a later stage a union of ten kings will be formed, as Daniel prophesied. The changes in these issues are often so quick that no one can say for sure what will happen in ten or fifteen years. Who would have thought 40 years ago that the former West Germany and East Germany would unite, or that the former countries of the Warsaw Pact would be a part of NATO today? We may doubt whether many people would have bet on these events, but they have occurred.

   The current development in Europe is interesting and very much resembles the world after the Flood. In that time, nations had united, had the same language, and settled on the plain of Shinar to start building the tower of Babel. But as we can see in the Bible, this attempt did not last long: it stopped short because the Lord intervened. He changed the course of events and mixed their languages, as described in Genesis (Gen 11:8,9: So the LORD scattered them abroad from there on the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from there did the LORD scatter them abroad on the face of all the earth.)

   The current development where the world is being united and power is being concentrated in smaller and smaller groups certainly has a prophetic meaning, which we will discuss later. It is interesting to observe that certain occultist organizations have for a long time already been aiming to create one world government and to concentrate all power. This is described in the following writing by Corrie Ten Boom:

 

I overheard a testimony of a man who had turned away from sorcery, who was in a high position among witches. He was one of the thirteen rulers of the United States. Activity in an underground political party was directly connected with his religious beliefs. This has spread everywhere in the world and has the goal of creating one united world government. (…)

   I checked his background and activity and so far, everything has proven that he has been in contact with witchcraft and illuminates (a political party working on behalf of the world government). He is in continuous mortal peril for the sake of revenge of his former cult companions, but in spite of that he wants to awaken the sleeping congregations to keep watch.

   He has revealed certain plans that might seem exaggerated if there were not information concerning the activity and influence of illuminates. That particular group contains influential capital circles, and it is capable of putting its plans into effect. (36)

 

2. It will be formed before the coming of Jesus. The second feature that we can note about the union of ten states is that it will be founded in the end of time just before the coming of Jesus, because the Book of Daniel and the Revelation (chapters 17-20) mention how the God of heaven will establish His eternal kingdom immediately after this union. It will be the last earthly kingdom before the coming of the kingdom of God:

 

- (Dan 2:40, 44) And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: for as much as iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things: and as iron that breaks all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.

44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

 

- (Dan 7:7-9,13,14) After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

 

If we think about the fulfillment of this sign, the current development in Europe can have something to do with it. It is at least interesting to note that the current integration of Europe began in 1948 – in that year, the pre-phase of the European Union, the Benelux union of countries was formed (Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg) – the same year when Israel declared independent and at the same time such things as atomic bombs and television, which probably have their own place in the events of the last days, became common. The manifestation of these two issues – the preliminary stage of the European Union and Israel became autonomous - was accelerated by the most devastating war in the history, which cannot be deemed an accident either.

 

3 . The ten kings. The third feature that we can note about the last kingdom is that there will be ten kings which probably also means ten states in this kingdom. This reference can be found not only in Daniel but also in Revelation, which was written hundreds of years after the Book of Daniel. The Revelation indicates that in the first century, the appearance of the ten kings will be sometime in the future:

 

- (Dan 7:7,23,24) After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.

24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.

 

- (Rev 17:12) And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.

 

THE SPIRIT WORLD AND EU. Europe has so integrated and can be a preliminary stage of the new Rome, as the previous verses indicated. It is possible that at some point it will become the kind of union of ten states described by the Bible as preceding the coming of Jesus. Now, we are just in its infancy.

   Another side of the issue is how the spirit world has brought out the same subject about the integration of Europe, the world government, and an idea of cosmopolitanism. In the messages of UFOs and mediums these subjects are repeated often, so it seems like the spirit world is in a hurry to produce its own kingdom and carry out its plan concerning mankind.

   One example is from Rauni-Leena Luukanen-Kilde's book, Universumin lapsi (p. 206). It is a book that was produced by means of automatic writing, and it describes one system, world government and how the UN is a good basic model for this. In another quote, she tells in an interview by the Finnish magazine APU (36 / 1991. p. 64) how humanoids wish to unite the world:

 

"Some day we will all be in one system, under the government of the world. The UN shows the way. It is getting stronger but it is still too weak to accept responsibility for the development of the entire planet. In the future, things will be different. When contact with other nations in the universe becomes a daily issue, the forming of a common global government will become a necessity. The UN is a good base model."

 

"The new world will be filled with a universal religion by the name of love. The other religions will fall as will political systems because the humanoids wish to unite the world."

 

The third example is connected with a book, “Education in the New Age”, which Alice Bailey received in 1945 from a spirit being called Djwhal Khul. In the book, this ambassador of the spirit world speaks about the world government and cosmopolitanism in the same way as the two previous quotes, so it can be said that the teachings are quite similar:

 

We need (…) political synthesis between the world federation and (…) the brains of the world. (…) We also need a planetary life form, planetary ethics, and a planetary attitude to bring forth the powerful trend that is required for the great upcoming mission.

 

When the young are civilized, cultivated, and receptive to cosmopolitanism, we will have a world where people will be awakened to awareness, creative, and have a real understanding of values.

 

Cosmopolitanism (…) should be a goal, which everyone who has been enlightened will pursue and it shall be a characteristic of a spiritual person. (37)

 

But is the power behind these thoughts evil? Are the beings who play the role of humanoids bad? It is not a question that earthly leaders are driving bad issues on purpose but that there is the evil spirit world, which tries to carry out its own plans through them. This possibility should be taken into account because if the evil spirit world mentioned by the Bible exists, it can cause bad things in the world if people give room for it. Jesus did not say in vain: The thief comes not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10,11). He knew the existence of evil but said that He came that we might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly.

   How can it then be proved and indicated that the evil spirit world is behind the previous thoughts and they are not from a good source? Are there any criteria for it?

   The answer is that we do not need to do anything other than look at the consequences in the lives of people who have dealt with humanoids. Another way is to watch the teaching and what consequences it has had in practice. There is good information also about this from several centuries.

 

THE consequences OF UFO EXPERIENCES. Most lessons about the integration of the world, world government and often one leader have come through UFOs and humanoids or mediums. They have been the most common channels for these teachings.

   But it is good to note that the consequences in the lives of UFO contact-persons are repeatedly negative. Even though the humanoids can seem loving at first, speak about love, and some can experience even a physical healing, the consequences are over the course of time injurious and harmful to the person him/herself. Such observations have been made by many UFO researchers, who have observed the consequences in the lives of UFO contact persons.

   Common consequences from UFO experiences and occultism can be delusions, nightmares, physical injuries, insanity, spiritual possession, and also certain other states. They have been brought forth by John Keel, one of the most famous UFO experts. He explains the consequences in the lives of UFO contact persons:

 

Working with UFOs can be just as dangerous as black magic (…) the consequences range from paranoid schizophrenia and demonic mania to suicide. (38)

 

I have helplessly watched these people fall into a hopeless decay of personality and become insane or even commit suicide.

 

Bob Larson continues along the same lines in his book UFO. He describes problems of people who have been in contact with UFOs and says that he has not yet met anyone who has considered their UFO experiences positive in the long run. The humanoids did not offer them any peace of mind:

 

In hundreds of accounts and personal interviews that I have examined, not a single victim has expressed his encounter with the humanoids being comforting. Humanoids do not offer peace of mind. Instead, those psychiatrists who have examined kidnapped people say that most of these encounters lead to serious traumas followed by distressing nightmares and fearsome memories. This initial fearful reaction generally gives way to resignation when you submit to the idea that you are a mediator through whom supernatural information is transferred. These people feel like manipulated robots, who do not have any other possibility than to obey these more developed beings.

   Because these people are completely under the influence of these beings, they feel that they are controlled by them so much that they no longer have any life of their own. Every decision in their life is controlled by these higher beings. If these bearers of messages really mean well and are mentally more developed, as they generally claim, why do their appearances not offer any comfort?

 

TEACHING. Secondly, it is good to watch teaching. If it in practice leads to suffering and causes problems to people, it cannot be from a good source. Then it must be from the devil and evil spirit world as it was stated, and to which also Jesus referred by saying, ”You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44).  

   To make the issue clearer, let’s study it through the above-mentioned book of Alice Bailey. We shall take from it an idea about world government and cosmopolitanism but also the teaching about the breaking of the institution of family and reincarnation because they too come from the same source.

 

World government and cosmopolitanism.  The fact that the thought of cosmopolitanism and the world government relating to it are brought out into the open might at first seem good. In the coming kingdom of God, there are also similarities because God will rule there and there will be no differences between nationalities or other disagreements. Chapters 21 and 22 of Revelation are an indication of the wonderfulness of this kingdom.

   However, the same issue can become a tragedy if the power is centered too much on one group or one leader (this has also appeared in the teaching of humanoids) and their intentions are bad. The more power a person or group gets, the greater damage they can inflict if their intentions are not good. This has happened several times in history and a development that at first may have looked good has often gone seriously wrong. Hitler, Stalin and Mao are only a few examples during the last century. In their time and through them, tens of millions of their own citizens died, so the consequences were negative, even though it was a question of citizens of the same country. It is possible that the same thing will happen again because we live in the fallen world.

   It should also be noted that the idea of a world federation presented in Alice Bailey's book is by no means new but it existed in a certain form already in the former Soviet Union, which was composed of many states as well – it was almost a “world federation” already then. Its consequences and history are well-known, such as the fact how it split up about twenty years ago. The book of Bailey is only a new version of the old story.

 

Breaking up of family. One goal of the spirit world is the world's integration, but another teaching from the same source is breaking up of the family. The next citation is from the book of Alice Bailey:

 

The first community (…) of which every child becomes aware is the family community. (…)The family community has separated itself to a prevailing isolation, selfishness, and individual isolation.

 

Family pride is overemphasized, which leads to various obstacles separating people from each other, families from the community. (…) However, in the coming world order, the instructors will prepare young people (…) for taking part in (…) the harmonious world. (39)

 

This goal to destroy the family community proves very clearly that there is the evil spirit world behind these thoughts. The intentions of this evil spirit world are simply to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).

   For the collapse of morals and breaking up of the family are the greatest causes of problems in society. Drug abuse, teenager pregnancies, mental health problems of the young, and especially crime are much more common among children who come from institutions and one-parent families, but are extremely rare among those who come from ordinary and unbroken families.

   It has been known for a long time that the most common cause of crime is the broken home, because most criminals come from institutions, not from intact families. The absence of a father especially causes many problems in society. According to a television program, children who have no father will be imprisoned eight times more often, and they also have other problems more often than other children (behavior problems are twenty times more likely, rapists are twenty times more likely, drug abuse is ten times more likely, and leaving school is nine times more likely). So the question of harmony in the family is important. Major social and costly problems are caused if women alone raise children, if children are cared for by orphanages, or if children grow up on the streets. 

   The following quote indicates what it means if there is no father at home:

 

When I was speaking at a certain men's camp in Hume Lake in California, I mentioned that the average father spends only three minutes of quality time with his child a day. After the meeting, one man questioned my information.

    He scolded, "You preachers only say things. According to the latest research, the average father doesn't spend even three minutes daily with his children, but 35 seconds."

   I believe him because he worked as a school inspector in central California. Actually, he gave me another startling statistic.

   In a certain school district in California there were 483 students in special education. None of those students had a father at home.

   In a certain area on the outskirts of Seattle, 61% of children live without a father.

   The absence of a father is a curse nowadays. (40)

 

The following quote refers to the same issue. It is about a family experiment in the atheistic Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1930s that concerned millions of people. The thing that was discussed only theoretically in Alice Bailey's book was put into practice. Z.I. Lalina uttered the famous words, "We have to save these children from the disgusting influence that the family provides. In other words, we have to nationalize them. They must be taught the ABCs of communism so that they may later become real communists. Our task now is to obligate the mother to give her children to us – the state." (41)

   However, it did not take more than twenty years before this extensive experiment of the former Soviet Union was given up, because it provided so many social and economic problems and criminality that it was thought best to stop. The change to a new direction took place in the late 1930s:

 

Very extensive experiments connected to the family institution was carried out in the Soviet Union since the revolution. When in Oneida Community it was a question of 300 persons, in the Soviet Union it is a question of at least 200 million people who also represent perhaps 170 nationalities.

   (…) In 1917, in the second month of the new governmental power, laws concerning marriage were published. Marriage in church was replaced with civil marriage. Divorce was permitted if one of the spouses asked for it. The following year these laws were complemented by imposing the birth of a child as the basis of marriage. There was to be no difference between children born in or outside of wedlock.

   (…) A more radical change came into effect in Russia in 1926 and immediately after also in other parts of the Soviet Union. According to this change, the registration of marriage was not necessary. (…) Thus, none of the responsibilities and rights of the spouses or children were dependent upon the registration of the marriage. In 1926, divorcing was made even more easy. Either both spouses or one of them could apply for divorce without giving any justification.

   (…) At first, there were no laws concerning sexual behavior. In 1920, abortion was legalized. Another law made adultery, bigamy, and incest acts not requiring punishment. The prevailing attitude was that there were to be no hindrances to free sexual relationships and no reactionary morals. Attempts to take contraceptives into use were taken and the idea was to abolish all shame concerning illegitimacy.

   (…) The consequence was that divorces became more common (…) the number of illegitimate children increased. (…) The number of abortions, according to some statements, ‘horribly’ increased. Women were in many cases forced to choose between their social status or maternity. (…) When the number of abortions increased, the birthrate in towns decreased. Worried statements concerning this were presented already in 1926. It was assessed in 1922 that the number of homeless children rose to about nine million.

   (…) Obviously, however, the breaking up of family relations caused an increase in juvenile delinquency. Many newspapers wrote about this phenomenon, called hooliganism, in the late 20s and in the early 30s. In 1929, hooliganism was deemed the most difficult problem. The number of juvenile delinquents was said to have doubled between the years 1929 and 1935. Groups of young people hanged around the towns and did all sorts of bad acts, such as attacked helpless citizens. There was talk about vandalism, thefts, burglaries, rapes, even murders that had increased over a short period of time.

   A turning point in the family politics of the Soviet Union took place in 1934-35. (…) There is no need to clarify here in what way the official way of thinking changed. The main point is that the social defects and decay were acknowledged and powerful propaganda against hooliganism, irresponsible sexual behavior, and abortions was begun. (42)

 

Teaching the law of reincarnation. The third issue that appears in the teaching of humanoids, mediums and in the book of Alice Bailey is reincarnation. It is told how teaching of the law of reincarnation will be one of the key factors in the new world religion and there will be a new attitude towards sex and parenthood (a collapse in morals?):

 

One main task of an instructor of the future will be teaching the law of reincarnation (reincarnation and karma) and achieving (…) a thorough change in racial attitude to life and sex, to birth and parenthood. The doctrine of reincarnation (…) will be one of the key factors in the new world religion. (43)

 

If we think about the contents of this teaching, we can see that it is certainly as harmful as the previous issues. This teaching and the worship of cows as holy animals – people must not touch them or exploit them – has already been taught in India for centuries and seems to be the largest reason for the problems and misery of this beautiful country. The religion of humanoids (and the teachings of mediums and Alice Bailey’s book), which in fact are Hinduism, have caused – when put into practice – only damage and misery and by no means anything good. Its other doctrines include the following: all ways lead to the same destination, the divinity of man, and there is no difference between good and bad. Rabi Maharaj, a Hindu guru who himself too was enchanted by the same teaching, writes:

 

My heart hurt when I looked at the suffering multitudes of India. I wondered why the western people are searching for spiritual information from India. From experience I knew that Hinduism, its fatalistic belief in karma, reincarnation, and wrong gods was the basic reason for the problems in India. It was the blindness of the western people that made them turn to search for enlightenment from eastern mysticism! There was nothing else but darkness, and the anguish of India proved very clearly how deep this darkness was. Such an enormous deceit could only come from the same devilish, intelligent source that drives millions of people to destroy themselves because of the apparent paradise of drugs. (44)

 

 

8. The Antichrist

 

When we think about history and the appearance of dictators in different ages there often seems to be one common feature that has enabled them to rise into power. It is the fact that conditions in society have been restless and economically unstable. Dictators seldom gain power under normal and peaceful conditions: it almost always requires chaos or large inflation, which acts as a stepping stone to their rise to power:

 

The large inflations in history have almost always been followed by the appearance of a dictator, who in addition to everything else has promised to reform the value of money. Napoleon, Hitler, and Mao Tse-tung all rose to power, riding on hyperinflation." (Time, 16 March 1980)

 

When people are asked why Hitler gained power in Germany in the 1930s, it has usually been unanimously explained to have been caused by the fact that he was expected to bring law and order into the country and that Hitler himself also spoke about the same issue. He announced in 1932: "There is unrest in the streets of our country. The universities are full of rebellious and riotous students. The communists are trying to destroy our country. Russia threatens us with all its power and the republic is in danger. Yes, in danger from the inside as much as from the outside. We need law and order. Without law and order our nation cannot survive."

   Since there had already been instability, unemployment, and one of the worst inflations in history in the country – just one loaf of bread could cost 100 billion Deutsch marks in the 1920s – Hitler was at first expected to improve the conditions. Only later people started to see that Hitler was no blessing at all but a curse for the country. This happened some time after he had begun what turned out to be the most destructive war in history.

  On the other hand, coming back to the events of the last days, we cannot forget a certain leader, the Antichrist, who is mentioned in the Bible. We can understand from the Bible that just before the coming of Jesus and the appearance of the kingdom of God, a person will appear who will receive great power and become the leader of the region of the former kingdom of Rome. There have certainly been several people like this over the course of history but the Antichrist mentioned in the Bible will certainly have greater power than any of them because ‘power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. (Rev 13:7). He will also most probably gain power as a consequence of unstable conditions, apostasy, and lawlessness, as 2 Thess. 2 indicates.

  In order to get a better picture of this person to whom it is referred by several names – for example, the man of sin (2 Thess 2:3), the son of perdition (2 Thess 2:3), the beast (Rev 13:1-10), the Antichrist (1 John 2:18), and the little horn (Dan 7:8) – we are going to look at him in the light of the following passages. They show us some of the characteristics and special features of this person. They also show us his final fate.

 

He will rise from the union of ten states. Firstly, we can see that the Antichrist will rise from the union of ten states, which will be formed in the area of the former Roman Empire. When the new world order has been established in this area, the rulers will be forced to either step aside or hand over their power to this person. At that point, he will become the ruler and dictator of the entire area.

  If we look at the present development in Europe and the European Union – development in which the national governments are giving up their decision-making power and handing it over to Brussels according to the Treaty of Maastricht – we can see this as a preparatory factor for one leader. Now, power is being centered into fewer and fewer hands in Brussels and it can finally be concentrated in one person. This possibility should not be overlooked because there has already been discussion about a president of the European Union who could, in addition to everything else, be responsible for relationships with foreign powers – an issue that has not gained enough support yet. Similarly, the chairman of the Commission, Jacques Delors, presented similar thoughts more than 20 years ago. For example, the Evening Standard, a Palmerston North newspaper wrote on 8 December 1993: "Delors is opening a back door for a European president. There is no reason to overlook his plans about an elected president of Europe who would have more power than the prime ministers and presidents of the member states of the EU".

 

- (Rev 17:12-13) And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.

13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength to the beast.

 

- (Dan 7:7,8,19,20,23,24) After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

19 Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet;

20 And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spoke very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.

23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.

24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.

 

Getting his power from the devil

 

- (Rev 13:1,2) And I stood on the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads the name of blasphemy.

2 And the beast which I saw was like to a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

 

When we seek for the real reason behind the power of the Antichrist, we can see that the Bible says that he will get his power from the dragon, in other words from the devil, as the verses above indicate. The devil, whom the Bible calls the prince of this world, will give his seat to this person, which will enable him to gain great power and authority. Otherwise, he would certainly be like any other person but with the help of the devil, he will gain power and may even seem superhuman at times.

  The following quote that is tens of years old points this issue out very well. The quote talks about how children in Adullam Orphanage in China saw this person in a vision and how a group of devils followed him. Most of them did not previously have knowledge of the issue in question, but the description of this person goes quite well with the truth that is in the Bible:

 

The children of Adullam saw that superman, whom the world is so hopefully awaiting, and whom the Buddhists, theosophists, Muslims, and supporters of other religions are ready to worship. They saw Satan personified in a beautiful, strong, young man.

  They also saw the image that this atheist, the antichrist, is going to set up to be worshipped. This picture can speak and lead the world astray (Rev 13:14,15). When I asked the children how they knew that this handsome, powerful man was the Antichrist, they said that a group of devils followed him everywhere, obeying his every command, proceeding and stopping once having received the signal. (45)

 

He will recover from his fatal wound. Another issue that the Bible connects with the last ruler is the fact that he will recover from a fatal wound; he will obviously experience some kind of imitated resurrection. It is possible that just when he has become famous, he will be fatally wounded, by a sword (Rev 13:14), but will still return to life. Obviously, the whole world seeing this on television will be the fact that establishes his power and causes people to be greatly amazed.

  Hal Lindsey has compared this special situation, which the Bible predicts to happen, to the awakening of John. F. Kennedy. He wrote: "We could take John F. Kennedy's tragic death as an example. Imagine what would have happened if the president of the United States were to awaken into life after having been wounded and being declared dead! An event of this scope would surely shake the whole world." (46)

 

- (Rev 13:3,4) And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power to the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like to the beast? who is able to make war with him?

 

He will proclaim himself to be God. One clear feature that the Bible connects to the Antichrist and the coming ruler is that he will claim the respect and worship that belongs to God for himself, that is, he ‘exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped (…) showing himself that he is God ’(2 Thess 2:4). He will not be satisfied with being an ordinary person, but he will want to be equal with the Almighty who is worshipped as God. His actions are familiar to us from history, because already during the Roman Empire, emperors were regarded as gods. In the beginning, it was only after they died but finally they were considered to be godly already during their lifetime. The activity of the Antichrist does not differ much from the worship of the Caesars: it could be another variation of this.

  This person will, however, be just an ordinary person and the number of his name will be a man's number (Rev in 13:18: Here is wisdom. Let him that has understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred three score and six.). Actually, from the original language of the Bible we can understand that he will be a male person. This can be seen, for example, in Mark 13:14 where ‘the abomination of desolation' is referred to and in Rev 13:8 talking about worshipping of the beast. In both of these passages the masculine form is used, which indicates that it is not a question of a mere thing but of a ‘he’, a human and a male.

  It is possible that if the temple in Jerusalem is rebuilt this man – or his image – will proclaim his divinity.

 

- (2 Thess 2:3, 4) Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

4 Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

 

- (Mark 13:14) But when you shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that reads understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains

 

(The question of whether the Jews will rebuild the temple is interesting. If we think of Jesus' sin offering, it has already made both the temples and their duties useless – they are no longer needed, because they were only shadows of Christ's perfect work. Likewise it is noteworthy that the church and every person in Christ can be God's temple during this New Covenant, as many Bible verses indicate [for example, 1 Cor 3:16, 6:19, 2 Cor 6:16 and Eph 2:21].

  Another obstacle to building of the temple is that the current area of the temple and Mount Moriah – the only place where it can be built – are in the Arabs' possession. They have two important mosques there, the Rock Mosque and the El Aksa Mosque, which they certainly will not give up. Just a mere rumor about a few small Jewish groups trying to bring a foundation stone of the temple to these places has been enough to spark off their anger. They certainly will not give up this place to anybody, because they now regard it as the third important place immediately after Mecca and Medina.)

   In addition to the Antichrist and the beast proclaiming himself to be God, this person will be worshipped. People will worship him, the image of him (the significance of the image appears in Revelation many times [for example, 13:15, 14:9,11, 15:2, 16:2 and 20:4] – the fact that the image of the beast is given breath and even the ability to speak makes it difficult to say whether it is a question of something supernatural or television, for example, which John who lived 2,000 years ago might regard as a miracle) and also the dragon because he has given so much authority to this person. It is like the emperor worship of the past or, for example, worshipping Hitler or Mao Tse Tung. The latter persons did not, however, proclaim themselves to be God:

 

- (Rev 13:3,4,7,8,15) And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power to the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like to the beast? who is able to make war with him?

7 And it was given to him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

8 And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

15 And he had power to give life to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

 

Wrath towards God, persecuting the saints, and trying to change time and law. The Antichrist will by no means be favorable towards Christianity or towards God. On the contrary, his activities will bear the characteristic trait of anger towards God and persecution of the saints (compare Matt 24:9: Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.), and trying to change time and law. He will really be an opponent and a man of sin, as Paul wrote (2 Thess 2:3,4).

  Similar events have already taken place. There have already been persecutions since the first century and up to these days (Jesus spoke and warned us about these 2,000 years ago –for example, John 16:1-4 – and his words have really been fulfilled). Likewise, time and law have been changed many times. We can take the French revolution as an example. At that time, in the 1700s, the law of the Ten Commandments was abolished and replaced by the Law of the Republic with its own commandments. In addition, a ten-day week was adopted – which was soon given up, however, because the working people so fervently resisted it. The seven-day week was deemed better after all.

  In any case, these kinds of great changes can be expected to take place in the Antichrist’s time and just before the coming of Jesus. At that time, people will vehemently attack against God and all that reminds people of Him. The ideas of the future leader will certainly ‘eat as does a canker’ (2 Tim 2:17) and people will have a negative attitude towards Christianity. This can be expected at least according to Daniel and the Revelation:

 

- (Rev 13:5-7) And there was given to him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given to him to continue forty and two months.

6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

7 And it was given to him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

 

- (Dan 7:8,20,21,25) I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

20 And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spoke very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.

21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;

25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

 

His time of action and his fate in perdition. When the Bible speaks of the Antichrist, we can understand that the person in question will receive great power and that he must be a splendid person and a gifted performer – a speaker who can charm the multitudes with his magnetic attraction, a charismatic leader, and someone who is respected, even worshipped (... and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like to the beast? who is able to make war with him? Rev 13:4). It will not be a surprise if he gets the title ‘the man of the year’, as Hitler, his well-known predecessor (this really happened: the prestigious Time magazine gave Hitler this title in September 1938). He will certainly be a person who can receive this title, because in the beginning he obviously will seem like a man who has the solution to many problems of the mankind and who will appear a kind of benefactor.

  However, even though this person will receive great power, his most powerful time of action will only be three and a half years, a very limited time as the next verses indicate. It is exactly the same amount of time that Jesus' public service on the Earth lasted, so God has given this representative of evil the same amount of time as He gave to his own Son. We can see the same period, 3 ½ years, many times in the Revelation and in the Book of Daniel (Rev 11:2,3; 12:6,14; 13:5; Dan 12:7), when referred to the events that concentrate around Israel:

 

- (Rev 13:5) And there was given to him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given to him to continue forty and two months.

 

- (Dan 7:25) And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

 

The Bible clearly states the fate of the man of sin, the representative of evil. Even though this person will receive great power and admiration and attention from people, they will not benefit him at all – but he will be forced to go to damnation as a representative of evil. Indeed, one of his names is ‘the man doomed to destruction’, which describes his destiny. There is nothing unclear about his guilt; because he has misled others with his lies he will be thrown into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, where also Satan will be forced to go after 1,000 years or the millennial kingdom:

 

- (Dan 7:11) I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spoke: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.

 

- (Rev 19:20) And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that worked miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

 

- (Rev 20:10) And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

 

The spirit world and the Antichrist. We noted above that the goal of the spirit world is the integration of Europe and it is interesting to note that another one of their goals is the idea of one new leader. They simultaneously pursue both of these. So, when the Bible speaks of these two issues – the integration of Europe and one leader – it cannot be regarded as a coincidence. They prove that issues that were mentioned centuries ago are closer than ever to their fulfillment. It is hard to say, however, how long it will still take.

  The well-known Rauni-Leena Luukanen, who has written, for example, a book entitled Tähtien lähettiläs, refers to both these issues in an interview in magazine Ultra, 7-8/1991. When she was asked: "What do the aliens think of the integration of Europe?", she replied:

 

An interesting question because the Commander-in-Chief of the Belgian Air Force presented a question as to why have there been over 10,000 UFO observations in Belgium over the last 18 months. He did not have any answer to this but I immediately knew: because Brussels will become the capital of the European Union. In other words, a part of the globe is going to unite now. They are expressly trying to achieve this goal that all nations of our planet would be integrated, borders are removed, and that there is only one leader on this planet. Everything will eventually lead to this. (The Bible calls "the one leader" whom the UFO fans want by the name Antichrist. – Comment by S.T. ) (47)

 

THE FALSE PROPHET. We have spoken above of the Antichrist and the beast, a person whom the Bible predicts to receive authority just before the coming of Jesus, but there are actually two persons of this type. In Revelation chapter 12, we can see that at the same time when the first beast will be acting and deeming himself equal to God, there will also be another similar person. They will actually be working together. We will look at some of the special features of this person, which are shown in the Revelation:

 

The horns of a lamb. The first observation that we can make about the second beast, the false prophet (Rev 16:13: And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.), is that he is obviously a religious person. As the horns of a lamb describe him (the ten crowns describe the first beast, which probably stand for political and military power) and he is called the false prophet, he will probably use religious power and will, in some way, try to imitate Jesus, the genuine Lamb of God. However, he will speak like a dragon all the time, he will be a similar representative of evil as the first beast, the Antichrist. It is also said that he will come ‘up out of the earth’ that may mean the country of Israel. Instead, the first beast will ‘rise up out of the sea.’ (Rev 13:1) which is generally connected to the several different nations (cf. Rev 17:15: And he said to me, The waters which you saw, where the whore sits, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.):

 

- (Rev 13:11) And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon.

 

He will make people worship the first beast. Another important feature about the false prophet is that he will not emphasize himself and become the object of worship. Instead, he will direct the attention of the people to another person, the first beast. He will exercise ’all the power of the first beast before him’, and will order people to worship this first leader who sits on the throne of Satan. He will also cause an image of the first beast to be made – that can also speak. If people refuse to worship this image, they will be killed:

 

- (Rev 13:11,12,14,15) And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon.

12 And he excercises all the power of the first beast before him, and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

14 And deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

15 And he had power to give life to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

 

He will do great wonders. The third feature worth noting, a feature the Bible connects with the false prophet, are great miracles. According to the Bible, he will do so great wonders so that even fire will come down from heaven to earth, as what Elijah did in the Old Covenant:

 

- (Rev 13:13,14) And he does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

14 And deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

 

As to miracles, it is well-advised to know that Satan can imitate the works of God (pharaoh’s magicians during the time of Moses, for example), and this will certainly take place especially now, in the last days. When Jesus spoke of the events of the last days, he expressly mentioned false christs and false prophets who would perform miracles. His words indicate that miracles alone do not prove that the action is from God, because Satan can also imitate them (Kurt Koch speaks in his book Voitto on sittenkin meidän, p. 22, of a shaman who was even able to raise people from the dead without God; this person, however, turned to God later and was saved). So when these miracles coming from the wrong source happen, we should not go astray with them. Paul wrote that many will perish just because they refuse to love the truth in order to be saved:

 

- (Matt 24:24,25) For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

25 Behold, I have told you before.

 

- (2 Thess 2:7-10) For the mystery of iniquity does already work: only he who now lets will let, until he be taken out of the way.

8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

10 And with all delusion of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

 

THE MARK OF THE BEAST. One of the issues the Bible connects with the coming society of the Antichrist is the so-called mark of the beast, which is also one of the actions of the false prophet. It seems that he will persuade people to receive this mark, being such an excellent speaker, as the following verses indicate. One special feature is that this mark will be put on people's right hand or on their forehead:

 

- (Rev 13:16-18) And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

18 Here is wisdom. Let him that has understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred three score and six.

 

If we think about the significance of this mark in the future, the Bible mentions two issues relating to it, issues that have to do with the daily lives of people. These two are the relation of the mark to the worship of the Antichrist, and the fact that no one can buy or sell without having the mark:

 

Connected with the worship of the Antichrist. Firstly, we must note that nothing in the present time can be the mark of the beast, because this will only appear in the society of the Antichrist when it will be brought into use. Speaking of it before and speculating what it may be are just speculation because we have not got any precise information about it yet. The significance will become apparent only when the issue is topical.

  However, we may observe in the Bible that when this prophecy is fulfilled, it will clearly be connected with the worship of the coming leader, the Antichrist, or the worship of his image. This mark most probably cannot be received by accident or inadvertently and it will not be forced upon us, but it will be a pledge of obedience to the future leader and his worship. It will actually be a way to check who is on his side and who is not, and who recognizes his claim about his divinity and who does not. That is why the Bible warns people not to take this mark, because in so doing they will also reject the real God who is in Heaven:

 

- (Rev 14:9-11) And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

11 And the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.

 

It is connected with buying and selling. By looking at the Bible, we can also say that the mark of the beast will be related to buying and selling. If someone refuses to receive this mark, they will not be able to buy any food or anything else and cannot be a storekeeper or a seller. They will be completely shut out from these important, everyday activities and will be forced to be an outsider to society – the society that seems to be totalitarian and similar to the big brother system, of which George Orwell wrote in his book decades ago.

   As we come back to the matter of how the so-called mark of the beast is put into practical effect, an alternative that has been presented is microchip technology: a microchip would be placed inside a person in which all credit information and other important data about his or her life would be included. This technology already exists because an electrical identity card with a microchip has been developed and the microchip has already been installed in domestic animals and people in some countries. It is also a method by which the antichrist could watch and supervise people. (In some orphanages in America and Australia, microchips have already been installed into small children: their lives can be supervised all the time.) This has been defended by saying that it can overcome and prevent crime, and it may be a reality in a few decades. For example, the Philadelphia Inquirer referred to this on 21 January 1996:

 

In thirty years, microchips including credit card, passport, driving license, and other personal data will be installed under our skin. (48)

 

Some interesting observations have been made – observations that are connected to the power source of a microchip and what would be the best place for it. These observations are:

 

- Firstly, when the best power source for the microchips under the skin has been searched for, it has been noticed that the best one is a lithium battery, which recharges itself solely by the variation of temperature. The advantage of this power source would be that no other power source would be needed and it could work permanently with one installation.

 

- The second observation is that according to research the two places in the human body where the temperature variation is the greatest – relating to the efficiency of the lithium battery – are the forehead just below the hairline and the back of the hand; the same places that the Bible connects with the mark of the beast.

  This similarity can, of course, be a coincidence and we cannot say anything for sure yet. We can only note that the technology for this kind of trading (a microchip being placed inside a person) already exists and it can be used in the future.

 

 

9. Battle for the land and city

 

One of the most essential features of the events before the coming of Jesus Christ is the conflict around Israel and especially around Jerusalem, because this area and the Middle East will be the main stage in the last days. This geographical area has also been in the media and in the headlines probably more than any other issue over the last decades and often in a negative way. It is probably due to the fact that this country has continuously been a target of attacks from the outside and from the inside – it has experienced three large wars and numerous suicide attacks – which has sustained the interest of the media.

  So, according to the Bible, the Middle East will play an important role in the events of the last days. We can understand from many parts of the Scriptures that the present dispute around Israel will finally culminate in several nations gathering around Israel to destroy it. Current events and the negative attitudes of nations are not a separate matter or a mere coincidence; they are, most probably, just the initial stage of an attack by numerous nations that will occur at the end of this age. Current events are connected to prophecies written centuries ago that will surely be fulfilled.

   Next, we are going to bring out some points that are connected with this subject. These include the resistance against Israel, Jerusalem being the main issue of the dispute, and the impact of Islam on this area.

 

THE RESISTANCE AGAINST ISRAEL. If we think about the possibility that Israel will be attacked at the end of this age, certainly the first requirement is that the nations express a negative attitude towards Israel. They must show hostility towards this nation before prophecies in the Bible can come true.

  It is interesting to observe that signs of hostility have appeared since the date of Israel’s independence, and are still evident. These signs include the following:

 

Wars. Wars already fought against Israel are one example of the opposition this country faces. It is remarkable that even though there are no large natural reserves in Israel, such as large oil reserves, and the surface area is also insignificant when compared to the surrounding Arab states, it has been involved in wars and has been attacked many times. Many nations, especially the surrounding Arab states, have wanted to deny Israel as a state and have already attacked it several times, especially in 1948, 1967, and 1973. In all those wars, the existence of the nation of Israel was greatly threatened. Miraculously, it has been preserved. The next quote discusses the war of 1973:

 

The outcome of the War of Six Days in 1967 is deemed a wonder, but it was nothing compared to the war of Yom Kippur. And when we see the whole truth in the coming years we will see that Israel's salvation from destruction absolutely went against all reason.

  (…) The attacks at both fronts were large-scale and terrifying. At the Syrian front, there were more tanks than in the German attack of the Soviet Union in 1941 when there were 1,000 tanks on a frontline of 300 kilometers. At the Syrian front on the hills of Golan, there were 1,200 tanks along a line of 33 kilometers. And later at Sinai the largest tank battle in history was fought, which was more massive than the fight of El Alamein during the Second World War.

  We Englishmen are inclined towards imperialist attitudes because we have regarded Syria as an insignificant, small and petty state of the Middle East, which can be destroyed in one attack. However, Syria had more tanks in its initial attack than England and France had on the front line altogether. (49)

 

A common way of thinking – particularly in Western states – is that if Israel would simply agree to give up more land, the Middle East could reach peace and stability.

    People think that a Palestine state would be the answer to this problem. People fail to notice that all these areas, including Jerusalem, used to be part of the state of Israel. People also fail to notice the Balfour Declaration (1917) – approved by the League of Nations – according to which the currently disputed areas of Judea and Samaria (= the West Bank), Jerusalem and Gaza should be included in the Jewish state.

   The problem lies deeper, however, and the problem is the existence of the state of Israel. Mere giving up of certain land areas is no solution to this problem because the Arabs refuse to recognise the existence of Israel and want to destroy it. Between 1948 and 1967 the West Bank, Gaza and Eastern Jerusalem were managed by the Arabs (the West bank and Eastern Jerusalem by Jordania and Gaza by Egypt) but this did not bring peace, because the Arabs wanted it all. There was no talk of establishing a Palestine state at that time even though establishing such a state would have been easy at that point. Instead, their plan was to destroy the entire state of Israel. This has been the ultimate reason for the problems in the Middle East

 

Arabs do fight against Arabs in the Middle East, and Muslims kill other Muslims all around the world because of differences relating to doctrine, but there is a shared enemy equally hated by the Sunni and the Shia. There is one enemy both fundamentalists and secularists hate. This enemy is Israel.

   Even though it is true that the “Palestine issue” is a mere smoke screen – a mere excuse to hate the Jews and Israel and try to turn the world against them – it is also true that the radical Islamic world will never approve the existence of a Jewish state; no matter what kind of concessions it makes to achieve peace. In the Arab world, meetings and peace negotiations are only held as secondary battlefields in a war whose ultimate goal is destroying the people of Israel. (50)

 

Psalm 83 seems to describe the current situation when Israel is harassed and despised by neighbouring countries. Many Arabs today have a similar attitude – an anti-Israel attitude -- which becomes apparent in their speeches and propaganda. This Psalm is also like a description of the Charter of the PLO because it has had a similar statute regarding the state of Israel:

 

- (Ps 83:1-5) Keep not you silence, O God: hold not your peace, and be not still, O God.

2 For, see, your enemies make a tumult: and they that hate you have lifted up the head.

3 They have taken crafty counsel against your people, and consulted against your hidden ones.

4 They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.

5 For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against you:

 

The statements of Arab leaders. The same issue, the desire to annihilate the state of Israel, can be clearly found in the speeches of Arab leaders. The following is an example, a statement by a leader of the Hamas movement. Many representatives of these extreme groups do not accept Israel as a state; they want everything for themselves. This is the reason behind several armed attacks they made in Israeli territory. The same attacks also cause damage to themselves because Israel tries to track down these attackers. These attacks are one reason behind Israel’s recent construction of a protective wall. (“Israel has 46,000 guards protecting the country from extremist attacks, and many of them may now lose their jobs because of the wall.” / Newspaper Etelä-Suomen Sanomat, 24 June 2004.) When the situation and attitudes are like this, it is difficult to speak of peace. Peace is quite impossible to achieve in the current climate.

 

Leader of Hamas Not Agreeing to Cease-fire

Goal Still Destruction of Israel

 

The Palestinian organization Hamas does not plan a cease-fire with Israel, said the leader of organization Mahmoud al-Zahar on Sunday. According to him, the organization still aims at destroying the state of Israel.

  - A cease-fire is not being discussed. Our strategy is to release all Palestinian areas, he said, referring to the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel itself.

  The statement given by Al-Zahar to the press in Gaza annulled the conciliatory statement of another leader of the Hamas. The leader of extreme organization of the West Bank, Hassan Jussef, said on Friday that the extreme organisation could accept the establishment of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and to Gaza and a cease-fire with Israel.

  Hundreds of Israelites have died in the suicide attacks and armed attacks arranged by the Hamas. The Palestinian administration fears that the continuation of violence may disrupt the election of the successor of president Jasser Arafat in January. (Newspaper Etelä-Suomen Sanomat 6 December 2004)

 

The same issue and same attitude in the Arab countries is clearly illustrated in a short quote from the article Uusi antisemitismin aalto arabimaissa ("A new wave of anti-Semitism in Arab countries”, Etelä-Suomen Sanomat, 28 September 2003). The article’s writer states the following about the present situation and general developments in Arab countries:

 

What is hiding behind the definition of new anti-Semitism and how widespread is it? Unlike in the classical anti-Semitism, which was targeted against the Jews as individuals and as a nation, the target of new anti-Semitism is also the Jewish state Israel. In extreme cases, new anti-Semitism questions Israel's right to exist. New anti-Semitism has indeed gained more and more momentum in the Islamic world and Arab countries.

 

THE DISPUTE OVER JERUSALEM. The dispute over Israel becomes apparent in the statements of Arab leaders. We mentioned above that the central issue of the last dispute would be Jerusalem and it is completely consistent with the present situation in the world, sessions of the UN, and with statements by Arab leaders. If we were to ask an expert's opinion about the most likely target of multinational military groups, he would probably suggest Jerusalem. He would certainly base his opinion, in part, on the current political situation. This city, even though there are thousands of other cities in the world, has become the central point of dispute and ‘a cup of drunkenness’ and a ‘very heavy rock for all nations’, as Zechariah prophesied.

 

- (Zec 12:1-3) The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, said the LORD, which stretches forth the heavens, and lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him.

2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.

3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.

 

The following quote refers to the same matter. It refers to Yasser Arafat's statements over the years that were related to Israel and Jerusalem. The second-to-last of the statements was given to his supporters in the mosque of Johannesburg only eight months after signing a peace treaty with Israel, which resulted in him receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. He promised in his speech to carry on fighting despite the peace treaty. It indicates that the information we get in Western countries is often quite different from what leaders say to their own supporters behind closed doors.

  However, these statements by Arafat are not exceptional in any way; similar statements have repeatedly been made by other Arab leaders and confirmed during international conferences. These leaders do not accept the fact that the city of Jerusalem is in Jewish possession. (Underlining added.)

 

- March 1970. The Washington Post. "The final goal of our resistance is the end of Israel and it cannot be compromised."

- February 1980. Caracas Venezuela, newspaper El Mundo. "The word peace, to us, means the destruction of Israel."

- May 1994. Johannesburg, South Africa. "This treaty (Oslo) does not mean to me any more than what Al-Hudaybiyah's agreement with the Qurayshs meant to Muhammad. Jihad – the holy war – will continue. You must understand that the goal of our battle is Jerusalem. It is not their capital but ours."

- September 1995. Jerusalem Post. "I swear by the name of Allah that the Palestinians are ready to sacrifice their last sons and daughters until the Palestinian flag waves above the walls, mosques, and churches of Jerusalem." (51)

 

The Bible describes these statements and attitudes. If we look at the Books of Zechariah, Revelation and Joel, we can find references to attacks on Jerusalem by the nations, and to Gentiles’ trampling of Jerusalem until the time of Gentiles is fulfilled (Jesus' words describing the day of the Gentiles have not yet been fulfilled wholly. Read Luke 21:24).

  An observation that we can make from the last of these Bible passages (Joel 3) is the reference to a ‘holy war’ (in the Finnish version, Joel 3:9), which is completely in accordance with the Muslim way of thinking. This reference may well refer to Muslims because they often use this expression and because the Islamic world is already now very anti-Israel. In the same verses there are also references to Jerusalem, the Diaspora of the nation, and the Sun and Moon being darkened, which might refer to a nuclear war:

 

- (Rev 11:1,2) And there was given me a reed like to a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given to the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

 

- (Zec 13:8-14:3,16) And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, said the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.

9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

1 Behold, the day of the LORD comes, and your spoil shall be divided in the middle of you.

2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.

16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.

 

- (Joel 3:1,2, 9-16) For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,

2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.

9 Proclaim you this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up:

10 Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.

11 Assemble yourselves, and come, all you heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause your mighty ones to come down, O LORD.

12 Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about.

13 Put you in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.

14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.

15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.

16 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel."

 

ISLAM AND ISRAEL. One influence on anti-Israel attitude is Islam. Muslims often feel deep anger towards this country. Muslims do not believe in the Bible but in the victory of Islam and they are almost unanimous in their negative attitude towards Israel. It is impossible for them to bless this country and the citizens of Israel (Num 6:22 27, Gen 12:3). If Israel were a Muslim state there would be no such problem – as things are, there is a problem. Muslims believe that if an area has once been ruled by Islam (Dar ul salaam = a land/area of peace), it is always the property of Islam and must thus be reconquered. This explains why Israel has always been a major insult to Muslim states.

   Many Muslims are raised to hate Israel. Maybe the best evidence that children and young people are being led astray is found in the fact that suicide attacks are idealized. They are told as little children that dying in the holy war on behalf of Allah -- exploding themselves along with a few others -- is heroic and admirable. That is certainly a lie of the devil (John 8:44). However, they are provoked to do this with the promise of a better place in heaven where 72 dark-eyed lovely virgins and other pleasures of paradise await every martyr. The prerequisite is that they must also take others to death. As taught by Islam, if they die alone they will lose these virgins.

  There is not much hope for peace in such circumstances. As long as Islam controls Arabs and their way of thinking, it is completely impossible because they cannot accept Israel as a state and cannot accept its existence. So they will never give up the idea that this area should be under Islamic control. Only when they are faced with God's love in Jesus Christ and a change occurs within their hearts can this perverted attitude leave their hearts. The following quote indicates the common attitude among the Muslims:

 

Perhaps it is time now to listen to what the main actors on the Middle Eastern stage have to say and believe their words for real. Hashemi Rafsanjani, who has sometimes been called a ‘moderate’ leader of Iran, compressed the causes of the crisis into a few sentences: "All the problems of our region are caused by only one reason; the infidel Jews and imperialistic Westerners penetrating Dar al Islam. Each political dispute, every border conflict and all internal conflicts arise from UMMA's inability to faithfully begin a successful Jihad. The everlasting battle between Ishmael and Isaac cannot come to an end before one or the other has been perfectly destroyed." (52)

 

However, it is interesting to note that the Koran, the holy book of Islam, teaches that the Holy Land belongs to Israel, and that they are elected. Thus, many Muslims deny their own holy book:

 

Moses said unto his nation: "My nation, remember the mercy, which God showed you when he set prophets among you, made kings from you and gave for you such, what he has not given to anybody else. My nation, go to the holy land, which God has regulated for you, don't turn away, that you wouldn't be ruined." (5:20,21)

 

We led the Israelites over the sea, and pharaoh with his troops followed them because of his wickedness and his hostility, until he was engulfed by the waves. Then he said: "I believe that there is no other god other than the one whom the Israelites believe in, and I too submit to him."... We led the Israelites to live in the blessed land and we fed them with all good, but they began arguing when they found out. God will solve their dispute on the day of the resurrection. (10:90 93)

 

After that, we said to the Israelites: "Settle down to live in this land, and when the last moment comes, we will bring you all together before us." (17:104)

 

This took place, for we wanted to let the Israelites inherit the land. (26:59)

 

Israelites, remember my mercy that I showed you, when I chose you from among the nations. (2:47)

 

We gave the Israelites the Book, wisdom and prophecy, we fed them with all good, we chose them from among all people (45:16)

 

WHO WILL TAKE PART IN THE WAR OF GOG? Above we discussed the negative attitude of bordering Arab states towards Israel and how it will finally lead to a war in which several nations will take part. The Six Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973 were only prologues to this event. We also noted that Jerusalem and the Middle East are at the center of today’s events as evidenced by newspaper headlines. 80-100 years ago many people might have laughed at this thought because the Middle East was a distant and insignificant part of the world that could never take a central position. Now, it is absolutely possible. So, if we were to ask an expert's opinion about the most likely target of multinational military groups, he would probably suggest Jerusalem. He would certainly base his opinion, in part, on the current political situation.

  Another event to occur during the last days as described in the Bible is the so-called war of Gog, which was foretold by Ezekiel and still seems to be in our future. It is uncertain whether it will be an entirely separate battle or a part of a larger war going on around Israel and Jerusalem during the last days. Generally, it has been regarded as a separate war but there is no consensus.

  Noteworthy in this attack envisioned by Ezekiel millenniums ago are at least three points: the time of the attack, the exile preceding it, and the number of attackers:

 

The time of the attack: It will take place after many days, in the latter years, and in the latter days. All the passages refer to the fact that the war in question will take place just before the coming of Jesus and before the end of the present age.

 

After the exile. The war of Gog will take place after the nation has been assembled from amongst the many nations and the land has been desolate for a long time. This, too, refers to the present time when the old ruins have – after centuries – been inhabited and people have gathered from amongst many nations. These passages do not fit well with, for example, the captivity of Babel because it did not last for a long time and because people at that time were in exile in one region only.

 

Several attackers. Ezekiel mentions several nations and names – Gog, Magog, Rosh, Meshech, Tubal, etc – that will take part in the attack. These names may sound strange to people today. However, during Ezekiel's time these names were in common use and most of them were included in what is called the table of nations recorded in the Book of Genesis (Gen. 10:1-6: Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and to them were sons born after the flood. The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah. And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations. And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan.) We will take a look at these names and what is included in them a little later.

 

- (Eze 38:1-17) And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

2 Son of man, set your face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,

3 And say, Thus said the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:

4 And I will turn you back, and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you forth, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armor, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:

5 Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:

6 Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with you.

7 Be you prepared, and prepare for yourself, you, and all your company that are assembled to you, and be you a guard to them.

8 After many days you shall be visited: in the latter years you shall come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.

9 You shall ascend and come like a storm, you shall be like a cloud to cover the land, you, and all your bands, and many people with you.

10 Thus said the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into your mind, and you shall think an evil thought:

11 And you shall say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates,

12 To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn your hand on the desolate places that are now inhabited, and on the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the middle of the land.

13 Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say to you, Are you come to take a spoil? have you gathered your company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?

14 Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog, Thus said the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwells safely, shall you not know it?

15 And you shall come from your place out of the north parts, you, and many people with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company, and a mighty army:

16 And you shall come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring you against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in you, O Gog, before their eyes.

17 Thus said the Lord GOD; Are you he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring you against them?

 

Gog, from the land of Magog. When we look at the names of the attackers appearing in Ezekiel, we can see first the mysterious Gog, a name that appears in Ezekiel 38 and 39 altogether 11 times, more often than any other named attacker.

  This special word is usually connected with the symbolic name of a national leader; so it must be a military leader or person who will play an important role in the attack upon Israel during the end of time. This word may also, however, mean “great, supreme and highest” or “a high mountain”, but in this reference it refers to a person, not a place, because Gog is described as the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, coming from the land of Magog and because he is referred to in the "you" word form: 

 

- (Eze 39:1-7) Therefore, you son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus said the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:

2 And I will turn you back, and leave but the sixth part of you, and will cause you to come up from the north parts, and will bring you on the mountains of Israel:

3 And I will smite your bow out of your left hand, and will cause your arrows to fall out of your right hand.

4 You shall fall on the mountains of Israel, you, and all your bands, and the people that is with you: I will give you to the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.

5 You shall fall on the open field: for I have spoken it, said the Lord GOD.

6 And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles: and they shall know that I am the LORD.

7 So will I make my holy name known in the middle of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.

 

There is enough information to study the origin of the word Magog. This name which appears in the table of nations in the Book of Genesis (Gen 10:1-6) has generally been connected with the Scythians, the nation of which Paul spoke (Col 3:11: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.) The historian Josephus stated:

 

"Magog was the ancestor of the Magogians, who were named after him. However, the Greeks called this nation Scythians."

 

Likewise, the Roman author Plinius referred to the connection of Magog and the Scythians by saying:

 

"Hierapol, which the Scythians took into their possession, was later called Magog."

 

If we think about where the Scythians lived and where their kingdom was situated, they have always been situated to the north from Israel's point of view. To put it more accurately, they have been located north of the Black Sea and beyond the Caucasus. However, the Scythians, whom the Greeks regarded as the northernmost nation of the world had spread over vast areas, from the north of the Black Sea and from Ukraine all the way to the borders of China. They may be referred to in the Bible by the expression ‘from the far north.’ The area of the Caspian Sea, Lake Aral, and the southern side of Lake Balhash were a part of it. Nowadays, this area consists of parts of Russia and former southern Soviet Republics, such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kirghish, Turkmenistan, Tadzhikistan, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. The prophecy of Ezekiel can be said to refer to the tribes in these areas.

 

In a restricted sense, the Scythians were tribes that lived in the area which Herodotus defined as Scythia (the area north of the Black Sea) and who spoke the Scythian language. (…) In the broader sense, the word Scythian can mean some of the other tribes in the vast steppes of Russia that extend from Ukraine in the west to Siberia in the east. (53)

 

Russia. As to the alternative that Russia constitutes a part of the groups taking part in Gog's war, we cannot regard this alternative as completely impossible. Even though Russia's predecessor, the Soviet Union, supported the independence of Israel, the same country was taking sides with the Arab countries at a later stage when they attacked Israel. This support became evident during the wars in 1967 and 1973 when the Soviet Union strongly assisted the Arab countries in bordering Israel and supplied them with weapons. The Soviet Union itself did not take part in operations but acted behind the scenes of conflict.

  Thinking about the situation in Russia now, it seems that nationalism and enmity towards foreigners is increasing. Because the democratic development that began in the country almost thirty years ago has not brought health and work to everyone, nationalism and enmity towards foreigners are more evident.

  Behind this increasing nationalism is the fact that many Russians long for the return of those glorious days of the former Soviet Union, even though the Russian Federation is still the largest country in the world, and its arsenal of weapons of mass destruction is vast. Many people may feel left out and unwanted in the development of Europe because former Eastern block nations have drifted into the Western camp one by one. This development and the feeling of being left out can stimulate anger and strengthen nationalism.

  It is also worth noting that the current situation very much resembles the times of the World Wars in Germany. Germany was humiliated by its defeat, which ended the First World War. Many Germans felt then the same way as Russians do today. It led to consequences that are well known. It was topped off by the gigantic inflation rate that enabled the increase in Nazism and nationalism. It is very possible that in the present situation in Russia, which resembles the historic Germany, the situation may similarly escalate. This may be possible if economic conditions all go wrong:

 

A wave of foreigner-hatred is trying Russia

 

 (…) "Foreigner-hatred and nationalism have increased to colossal dimensions in Russia in a few years. Fascism and racist crimes are the tip of the iceberg of this phenomenon," says Vladimir Ljushenko, an older scholar in the Russian science academy.

  He regards the Russian duma, chosen in December, as good evidence for this phenomenon of foreigner-hatred because the voters abolished all liberal parties from the duma.  The socialistic party Native Country rose to replace it and the extreme nationalist Liberal Democrat party tripled its support. These nationalist populist parties received altogether a fifth of the votes.

   "A large nationalist reserve that remains in check only because of the economic growth has been created in our society. They are ready to blame others if things start to go wrong. In this situation, the political consequences of a collapse in the price of oil could be destructive from Russia's point of view," the professor wrote.

  (…) A national survey regarding foreigner-hatred among 16- to 26 year-old Russians that was initiated by the University of St. Petersburg was published in March. According to the survey, four out of ten young Russians support the extremist nationalistic groups and every tenth 16- to19 year-old is ready to assault foreigners for payment.

  "Two-thirds of Russians think that Russia belongs to the Russians. At the same time nationalism is opposed only by a fifth of the population. The public opinion in Russia is beginning to resemble that in Germany after the First World War," Iljushenko warns.

  According to him, a 10 percent change for the worse has occurred in the past five years. (Helsingin Sanomat 9 May 2004)

 

The former southern Soviet Republics. The second area where the ancient Scythians lived is that of the former southern Soviet Republics, which are Muslim states – Kirgisia, Turkmenistan, Tadzhikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaidjan, except Armenia, Ukraine, and Georgia. They are all located in the ancient Scythian area, in the area of ancient Magog, and many of them also have a vast arsenal of weapons that originally came from the Soviet Union.

  The part that these countries will play in the so-called attack of Gog can probably be explained by Islam. Many other countries that will take part in the attack are Islamic states such as Iran, Turkey, Libya, and Sudan (we will examine this later), and it can be the common factor connecting the preceding countries to the other Muslim countries. What is significant is that two of these countries, Iran and Turkey, have already tried to establish economic, religious, and military connections with these countries; in addition to the fact that they already had something in common besides Islam: a common linguistic and ethnic background. An indication of this increasing cooperation between them is the economic unions (in 1992 Turkmenistan, Tadzhikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kirgisia joined with Iran, Turkey, and Pakistan to form the Islamic Common Market), but also the fact that the former Soviet states have sold weapons to Iran. This was in 1990 when Iran could purchase weapons from Kazakhstan.

 

The facts that are known from Iran's usual weaponry are almost as alarming. According to Gates, Iran annually uses at least 2 billion dollars for arms. Iran is modernizing its navy, air forces, and land forces. It has bought Russian submarines and sent submarine crews for training in Russian naval bases. Iran wishes to be able to get modern weapons at the lowest possible prices and therefore, it has created close relationships with the Muslim states of the former Soviet Union. (Jerusalem Post, 30 May 1992: Russia-Iran)

 

Rosh. Concerning the word Rosh that is mentioned in the list in Ezekiel, there have been two ways of using it. Often it is simply translated as prince and ruler – the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal – because in Hebrew it means ‘head’, ‘peak’, ‘chief’, ‘ruler’ and ‘prince’. Many Bible translations favor this solution.

  However, using the word ‘Rosh’ as a proper name is also justified. This practice is favored by several Bible translations. It should be noted that the Greek translation of the Bible, the Septuagint, favors this alternative, i.e. the Hebrew-lingual word "Rosh" has been translated into the proper name "Ros".  What is significant with the Septuagint is that it was completed only about 300 years after the writing of the Book of Ezekiel; quite close to the time of Ezekiel. That is why it is justifiable to regard the word ‘Rosh’ as a proper name.

   The word ‘Rosh’ has usually been connected with the Sarmatians, about whom we also know something. They were a nation, which lived in almost the same areas as the Scythians, i.e., in the vicinity of the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea and in the steppes of Southern Russia. They could, of course, have migrated to other larger areas:

 

“From this we can see that the ancient Magog were the Scythians, who came from Middle Asia and spread out to South Russia in about 700 B.C. We see also that the ancient Rosh were the Sarmatians who populated the surrounding area of the Caspian Sea in the 10th century B.C. They pushed to South Russia and beat the Scythians about 200 B.C." (54)


Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, and Togarmah.
Some names mentioned in Ezekiel are connected with the present area of Turkey.

   Meshech and Tubal usually appear together in the Bible and are the sons of Japheth as are Gomer and Magog (Gen 10:1,2). The historians Herodotus and Josephus both wrote about the ancient history of these nations. Herodotus wrote in the fifth century before Christ that these tribes were in the Pontos province in northern Turkey (Histories, III, 94; VI, 78). Josephus placed these nations in the same area as Turkey, but said that the old names Meshech and Tubal had changed into Mesen and Teobeliathe by his time (Antiquities, I, 124,125).

  As to Gomer, it is known that people of this nation lived in eastern Asia Minor near Armenia, i.e., in the eastern parts of modern-day Turkey. They moved on from there to the middle and northern areas of modern Turkey, even though some were thought to have also moved to the area of present-day Eastern Europe. Josephus the historian connected Gomer with the Galatians who lived in the central parts of Turkey. He says that the nation that the Greeks called Galatians, were Gomers (Antiquities, 1. Part, VI, I).

  As to Togarmah, it is known that it, too, was in the area of present-day Turkey. It is usually connected with eastern Cappadocia, i.e., the northeastern part of modern Turkey. Josephus held a different view: he called the people of Togarmah, who lived mainly in the western parts of modern Turkey, “Phrygians”.

  Concerning Turkey's part in Ezekiel's prophecy it is not impossible. Turkey currently has a passable relationship with Israel, but changes have taken place within Turkey. There was a coup attempt in Turkey that failed and as a result of which President Erdogan, who is strongly Islamist, has strengthened his power. He has carried out cleansing operations against the entrepreneurs of the coup.

    Another interesting point is that, although Turkey is a member of NATO, its relations with this organization have cooled. Instead, Turkey and Russia have recently begun to heat up their near-frozen relations. Iran, which is mentioned as one of the attackers, has also been in the same conversations.

 

Persia. When we continue studying the names that appear in chapters 38 and 39 of Ezekiel, we see that one of them is Persia, which is certainly the same as the present-day Iran because the name of the country used to be Persia and because Farsi or the Persian language is still spoken there. So it will be one of the attacking countries that constitute the troops of Gog.

  It certainly cannot be regarded as a surprise that Iran would join the attack against Israel. One of the official goals of the country ever since the Islamic revolution (in 1979) has been to destroy Israel and conquer Jerusalem; an objective that which still has not been given up. The country is also known for supporting organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas, and for the country itself trying to become the spiritual leader of the Muslim world.

  The activity and objectives of Iran are serious because ever since the war in Iraq in 1988, the country has increased its armament. It has bought arms from Russia and China including submarines, tanks, and fighter planes. This armament and the possible presence of nuclear weapons development makes Iran the most powerful Muslim state in terms of military power.

 

Demonstrators in Iran demand the destruction for Israel

 

Tens of thousands of demonstrators proclaimed their support to the Palestinians in the capital of Iran, Teheran, on Friday. The demonstrators shouted slogans like ‘death to Israel’ and ‘death to the United States’.

  Iran's president Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who just a few days ago publicly demanded Israel to ‘be wiped off the map’, was supported in the demonstration.

  Demonstrations were arranged also elsewhere in Iran. The radical Muslims arranged the marches on the so-called Day of Jerusalem which in Iran is celebrated on the last Friday of the Muslims' month of fasting, Ramadan.

  In Iran's opinion, Israel does not have the right to exist. The government of Teheran still denies American accusations that Iran supports armed Muslim groups who oppose the peace between the Arabs and Israel. Iran says that it gives these groups moral support only.

  The demonstrators who marched in Teheran trampled flags of both Israel and the United States. Most of the leaders of Iran, including President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, took part in the march.

  The statements of the leaders of Iran were immediately condemned by the European Union, the United States, and Russia. Israel demanded dismissing of Iran from the United Nations.

  "Ahmadinejad speaks on behalf of all Iranians. We are all ready to die for Palestine,” said 25-year-old Mohammad Mirzayi, who is a member of organization Basiji that enforces social regulations such as the dressing code for women.

  The support for the Palestinians is one of the foundations of Iran’s foreign policy. (Helsingin Sanomat, 29 October 2005)

 

Sudan. When we continue to study the list in Ezekiel, another name we see is Ethiopia, which literally means Cush. It is not a question of the present Ethiopia, but it refers to a state that was located directly south of Egypt (Eze 29:10: Behold, therefore I am against you, and against your rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from the tower of Syene even to the border of Ethiopia.) Its southern part reached all the way to present-day Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. Nowadays, this area is Sudan, the largest state in Africa. The conclusion is that it must also be a factor in the troops of Gog.

  Sudan becoming a part of this war is not a surprise. The country is ruled by an extremist Islam government and it has been a powerful opponent of Israel, and thus it is realistic to expect it to play a part in the troops of Gog. Sudan’s good relationship with Iran is also significant. Iran has supplied Sudan with weapons, oil, military experts, and other assistance. These two countries that will both attack Israel already work in close cooperation. We will examine the issue in light of the following newspaper article:

 

Sudan stirs up the flame of extremist Islam

 

   (…) The position of the head of state of Sudan is currently been held by general Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who usurped power from the government of Sadig al-Mahdi in 1989.

  The de facto ruler is considered to be sheikh Hassan Turab, even though he is not a member of the government.

  Doctor Turabi who completed his jurisprudential studies in the Universities of London and Sorbonne, is the leader of the National Islamic Front, NIF, Sudan's only permitted party. He is also the secretary general of the Arab-Islamic Conference whose founder he is.

  Turabi supports strict Islamic values. Over the years, he has created connections with the Muslim fraternities in various Arab countries.

  According to Turabi, the earthly Arab governments are collapsing. Arab nationalism is coming to its end and is being replaced by the Islamic spirit, believes Turabi who happens to be considered as one of the leading thinkers of Islamic nationalism.

 Turabi is sure about the victory of the new form of Islam, because ‘Allah and history are on his side’.

  The progress of fundamentalism is, according to Turabi, unavoidable: It will fill the vacuum that Western socialism and Arab nationalism have created.

  According to Turabi, Islam is the only thing that inspires young people, gets them on the move and gives them new viewpoints.

  (…) Sudan's closest ally is Iran, despite the fact that the Iranians are Shiah and the Sudanese Sunni Muslims. Iran is trying to get a foothold in Africa through Sudan.

  (…) In the West, Sudan is regarded as a nest of international terrorism. In 1993 the United States put Sudan on the black list for supporting international terrorism because of the evidence the USA had gathered against Sudan.

  It is known that there are several training camps of extremist Islamic organizations in Sudan. The Hezbollah of Lebanon, the FIS of Algeria (on the Islamic rescue front) the Palestinian Jihad, Hamas and Abu Nidal groups, such as Gama al-Islam of Egypt, all have bases in Sudan.

  Sudan has denied accusations of terrorism as ‘a conspiracy of the West that is colonialist and willing to expand and which tries to keep Islam in check’.

  According to Sudan's interpretation, those who fight against Israel are not terrorists but freedom fighters. (Etelä Suomen Sanomat, 16 August 1995)

 

Libya or Put. The last name mentioned in Ezekiel's list is Libya (in some translations Put) that can also include a wider area in North Africa (Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Mauritania). The fact, that both Josephus and Plinius spoke of Libya as the first dwelling place of the Put tribe is used as an explanation for the connection between the two names. It is also significant that the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, made a few centuries after Ezekiel’s prophecy, uses the word Libya for Put. This gives us reason to believe that Put actually means the present-day Libya.

   Concerning the idea that Libya would be involved in the forthcoming attack on Israel, it cannot be considered impossible. Since the country has been known as Israel's opponent for a long time, and its objective has been to Destroy the Jewish state, it cannot be a surprise that it will also be a part of the troops of Gog. A relatively recent newspaper article (Helsingin sanomat 20 January 2017) also refers to Russia's rapprochement with Libya. The title of the article is: Russia already targets to Libya. The article also explains how Russia, Turkey and Iran have convened a Syrian peace conference in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. All of these states are mentioned as participating in Google’s forces.

  Libya's role in supporting coups, disorder, and terrorism is also known. It has been included among the top three supporters of various terrorist groups and activities; sometimes it has held even the top place. Libya is also a strongly Islamic state, as are several other countries that will constitute the troops of Gog. It seems as if the one common factor connecting these states is Islam, even though – from Israel's point of view – they will come from different directions.

 

 

 

10. When is the rapture?

  

The rapture of the church is one thing that is related to the events of the last days and the second coming of Jesus. The Bible indicates that one generation of the church will not experience a normal death but these people will be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, and they will receive a new and incorruptible resurrection body. At that moment, according to Paul, the saying that is written will be fulfilled: "Death is swallowed up in victory":

 

- (1 Cor 15:51-54) Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

 

But when exactly will the rapture take place? Generally, it has been connected with the period before the beginning of the time of tribulation, seven years before the glorious return of Jesus.

   However, a question arises: “Is it really true that the rapture will take place a few years before the public coming?” If we examine this matter in light of various Bible passages, it seems that they indicate just the opposite, i.e., that the rapture will take place at the same time as the public coming of Jesus, not before it.

   The following points refer to this issue, which is not, however, the most important issue in the world:

 

THE RESURRECTION, RAPTURE AND SECOND COMING. When we begin to consider the time of the rapture, it is good to be clear about three important issues related to the resurrection, rapture, and the second coming of Jesus:

 

1. Will the resurrection and rapture occur simultaneously?

 

2. Will the resurrection/rapture occur at the same time that Jesus returns?

 

3. If the resurrection and rapture take place at the same time as the coming of Jesus, what is the nature of His coming? Does Jesus come in all His glory and power, or does He come secretly?

 

1. WILL THE RESURRECTION AND RAPTURE TAKE PLACE AT THE SAME TIME?

 

The first thing to check when studying the time of the rapture is the relationship between the rapture and the resurrection. Will they take place at the same time or at different times? The following passages in the Bible – which indicate that they will be simultaneous events – give us a clear answer to the question:

 

1 Cor 15:51- 54

 

Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible (=the resurrection of the dead), and we shall be changed (=the rapture of still living people).

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

 

Firstly, 1 Cor. 15 indicates that the resurrection from the dead (‘the dead shall be raised incorruptible) and the rapture of the people on the Earth (‘We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed) will take place simultaneously and together in one moment. They will take place at the sounding of the last trumpet at which time both of these groups will experience a change.

 

1 Thess 4:13-18

 

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Why comfort one another with these words.

 

The verses above indicate that the resurrection and the rapture will be either simultaneous events or will immediately follow each other. According to Paul's words, the dead saints in Christ will rise first, and immediately afterwards the rapture of the living will take place.

 

2. Will the resurrection/rapture occur at the same time as the coming of Jesus?

 

We noted above that the resurrection and the rapture will take place simultaneously and in the twinkling of an eye.

   However, we can also find verses that indicate that the resurrection and rapture will take place at the same time as the coming of Jesus, such as the following verses:

 

1 Thess 4:15-17

 

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

 

1 Thess 4:15-17 indicates how the coming of Jesus will take place at the same time as the resurrection and the rapture. These verses tell us that we will stay here until the coming of the Lord and that at that time, the resurrection from the dead and the rapture of the living will take place.

 

1 Cor 15:20-23,51,52

 

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.

21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

23 But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

 

From the verses in 1 Cor 15 it becomes apparent how those who are Christ's will be made alive – i.e., how their resurrection will take place – in connection with the coming of Christ.

   In addition, we noted earlier that the rapture will happen at the same time as the resurrection (see also verse 52), so the resurrection and the rapture must take place at the same time as the coming of Christ.

 

2 Thess 2:1-3

 

Now we beseech you, brothers, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together to him,

2 That you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

         

Paul indicated in 1 Cor 15 that the rapture and the resurrection will take place in connection with the coming of Christ, and he refers to the same matter in 2. Thessalonians. He indicates that the rapture, ‘our gathering together to him’ will be simultaneous with the coming of Christ.

 

Matt 24:30,31

 

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

 

Matt 24:31 indicates that the gathering of the chosen ones, the rapture, will take place in connection with the coming of Jesus. It is significant that the root of the word ‘gather’ in this verse in Mathew is exactly the same as in 2 Thessalonians (2:1: "our gathering together to him")

 

The elect / chosen-word. Concerning the word ‘elect’ (chosen), which appears in the verses in Matt 24:22, 31, it is occasionally said that it only concerns the Jews.

   However, the use of this word in the New Testament always refers to all believers who can be either Jews or Gentiles, and actually the same word usually appears in the letters that were sent to believers who are Gentiles by birth. It is mentioned in the next passages:

- Luke 18:7, Romans 8:33, Col 3:12, 2 Tim 2:10, Tit 1:1, 1 Peter 1:2, 2 Thess 2:13, 1 Cor 1:27, Eph 1:4, 1 Peter 2:9.

 

3. If the resurrection and rapture take place simultaneously with the coming of Jesus, does this refer to Jesus' coming in His glory and power or some secret coming?

 

We stated earlier that the resurrection and the rapture will take place in association with the coming of Jesus and so our next task is to find out whether the coming in question refers to the public coming of Jesus in His glory and power, or some secret coming seven years earlier, for example.

   The following verses seem to indicate that the resurrection and the rapture will expressly take place in connection with the public coming of Jesus, when He comes in His glory and in His power. This can be seen in fairly many Bible passages:

 

Matt 24:15,21,22, 29-31

 

When you therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoever reads, let him understand:)

21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

 

The abomination of desolation mentioned in Matthew 24 will most probably be caused by the Antichrist. After that the great tribulation is described, and then Matthew 24 indicates that the public appearance of Jesus will take place only after these times of tribulation – at the same time as the gathering of the elect and the rapture will take place.

   So if we draw a conclusion from these verses, it seems that the rapture will clearly occur in connection with Jesus' public coming, not before that. It will occur only after the tribulation and the Antichrist and when Jesus arrives in His glory and power.

 

The word trumpet. The fact that the rapture will occur in association with the coming of Jesus is made clear by the word ‘trumpet’ which appears in Matt 24:31, 1 Cor 15:52, and 1 Thess 4:16. Especially Matt 24:31 clearly indicates that this trumpet will sound at the coming of Jesus, when the elect will be gathered to Him. The simultaneous occurrence of the trumpet and the coming are discussed in other passages as well:

 

- (Matt 24:29-31) Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

 

- (1 Cor 15:22,23,51,52) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

23 But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

 

- (1 Thess 4:15-17) For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

 

2 Thess 2:1-3, 8

 

Now we beseech you, brothers, by the coming (parusia) of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together to him,

2 That you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming(parusia)

 

When studying 2 Thess 2, firstly the simultaneous occurrence of Jesus' return and the rapture – ‘our gathering together to him’ – become apparent. These two things occur at the same time.

   Secondly, the word ‘coming’ (the Greek word in both is ‘parusia’) in verses 1 and 8 refers to the public coming of Jesus, because then, according to verse 8, He will destroy the Antichrist. So according to this, the rapture must take place in connection with the public arrival of Jesus and the destruction of the Antichrist's power.

      There is also another point referring to the rapture occurring at the time of the public arrival of Jesus. According to verses 2 and 3, the falling away and the Antichrist must appear before ‘the day of Christ’ (an issue that clearly refers to the coming of Jesus and our being gathered to Him in verse 1). So in the light of these verses, it is clear that the rapture cannot take place before the public arrival of Jesus and when the Antichrist has appeared before that.

 

The day of the Lord (in some translations)

As to the expression ‘the day of the Lord’ in 2 Thess 2:2, some people may say that it means a time other than the arrival of Jesus, perhaps it is some kind of Antichrist-related time of tribulation at the end of the world.

   However, when we look at original language, the words ‘the day of the Lord’ in this verse actually mean ‘Hëmera tü Khristü’ or ‘the day of Christ the Lord ‘, and so it must certainly be a reference to the coming of Jesus and the rapture to which verse 1 refers. C. Skovgaard-Petersen wrote about the same issue. He refers to how the day of the Lord in this chapter indeed means the coming of Jesus in His glory and power. We cannot place it in any other connection:

 

I do not understand why this passage has not resolved the viewpoint of all those who believe in the Bible because it has clearly been said that first (before the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him) there must be the great apostasy and the Antichrist.

   Of course I know why people are trying to get rid of this passage. People try to regard ‘the day of the Lord’ as something completely separate from the coming of Jesus. The day of the Lord would supposedly be the day of judgment at the end of the world. Hence it is seen to mean that before the day of judgment comes, the apostasy and the Antichrist must come first, but according to this interpretation it does not mean that the Antichrist will come before the coming of Jesus Christ and our gathering to Him.

   But this is quite an arbitrary and foolish view. ‘The day of the Lord’ (the day when the Lord reveals Himself in a special way) is in itself quite an indefinite expression, which gets its more detailed meaning from the context where it appears. Therefore ‘the day of the Lord’ can, where the context is dealing with the appearance (1:7) and coming (2:1) of the Lord, mean only the same as the coming of the Lord. Besides, Paul uses these two expressions in his first letter to the Thessalonians in the exact same meaning. In the end of the fourth chapter, he speaks of ‘the coming of the Lord’ (4:15) and then he continues: "But of the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need that I write to you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night." (5:1). It is quite certain that the day of the Lord in this context means the same as the coming of the Lord; it really cannot be understood in any other way. Indeed, what would be the point for the Apostle to use in the first letter to the Thessalonians ‘the coming of the Lord ‘ and ‘the day of the Lord’ in the same meaning and then in his second letter to the same church to use the same two expressions meaning two quite different things? This kind of confusion cannot be connected with a great apostle of the Lord. (55)

 

In addition, when we look at the use of ‘the day of the Lord’ in the New Testament, it almost always refers to the coming of the Lord. These passages speak of, for example, how ‘the day of the Lord’ or the coming of Jesus will come like a thief in the night, and likewise, there are similar references to this important day, the day of Jesus:

 

- (1 Thess 4:15-5:2) For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Why comfort one another with these words.

1 But of the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need that I write to you.

2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.

 

- (Matt 24:30,42,43 [cmp. Rev 16:15]) And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

42 Watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord does come.

43 But know this, that if the manager of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.

 

- (1 Cor 1:8) Who shall also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

- (2 Cor 1:14) As also you have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as you also are our’s in the day of the Lord Jesus.

 

- (Phil 2:16) Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain.

 

- (1 Thess 5:23) And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

2 Thess 1:7-10

 

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

 

Another issue certainly related to the rapture is the above-mentioned glorification, which must refer to the glorification of the body, i.e., resurrection (and of course rapture which we earlier established to take place at the same time as the resurrection) that will take place when Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels. At the same time or in connection with the public coming of Jesus in His glory and power, the believers will receive rest.

 

1 John 3:2

 

- (1 John 3:2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

 

1 John 3:2 indicates that our changing (= the rapture / resurrection) will take place in connection with the coming of Jesus. The verb used here, ‘apokalypto’ appears in, for example, 2 Thess. 1:7 referring to Jesus' public coming.

 

Phil 3:20,21

 

- (Phil 3:20 21) For our conversation is in heaven; from where also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:

21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like to his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things to himself.

 

The third chapter of the letter to the Philippians indicates how the coming of Jesus and our changing (=rapture / resurrection) will be simultaneous. This must also refer to Jesus' public coming.

 

Col 3:4

 

- (Col 3:4) When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.

 

In the third chapter of the letter to the Colossians, our changing and glorification (the resurrection / rapture) are connected with the second coming of Christ.

 

Rev 20:4-6

 

And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

6 Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

 

Revelation 20 mentions that the first resurrection will occur before the millennium but not during the present world time; this resurrection must be related to the coming of Jesus because it will take place between these two events.

   There can be no other resurrections before the first resurrection that is mentioned here – at least we cannot find such references in the Revelation because this issue is not really clearly discussed anywhere else in this book.

   The fact that the first and second resurrections are separated in chapter 20 is consistent with John 5:28,29 and Acts 24:15, for example, where the resurrections of the righteous and wicked are also separated. There are only these two resurrections. The first resurrection, of the righteous, will take place close to the coming of Jesus as indicated in 1 Cor 15:22,23: (For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.) The second one will take place later.

 

Dan 12:1,2

 

And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of your people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

 

We can find a reference to the resurrection in the Book of Daniel. According to Daniel, it will take place after a great tribulation, so does this not have to refer to the manifested coming of Jesus because it will finish this period?

 

John 6:39,40

 

And this is the Father’s will which has sent me, that of all which he has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which sees the Son, and believes on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

 

Jesus taught in the Gospel of John about raising up those who believe in Him at the last day, and this surely cannot refer to the time seven years before His coming – as has often been suggested – but it refers instead to His manifested coming at the end of the present age.

 

The marriage of the Lamb

 

- (Rev 19:7,9,11) Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready.

9 And he said to me, Write, Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me, These are the true sayings of God.

11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he does judge and make war.

 

The rapture and the resurrection will occur when Jesus returns, according to information provided in Revelation. Read the reference to the marriage (wedding) of the Lamb. According to this chapter, the marriage will start in connection with the public coming of Jesus, not before. If the marriage had started in Chapter 4 of the Revelation, at the meeting of Christ and the church in heaven, it certainly would have been mentioned there and not until in Chapter 19 referring to the triumphant return of Jesus.

   Again, if we assume that the marriage were to begin seven years before the return of Jesus, it would mean that a part of the bride or the church would celebrate the marriage already in heaven, while another part of the bride (the saints mentioned in Revelation are ordinary people believing in Christ, part of His bride) would suffer the worst persecutions in the history of the Earth. This is very difficult to understand when thinking of a marriage because a bride cannot be divided so that part of her would be on the Earth, away from the marriage, and a part in Heaven celebrating the marriage.

 

Oriental weddings. Oriental weddings are conducted in three stages. Chapter 19 of Revelation, which talks about the marriage of the Lamb, is in some ways similar to Oriental weddings:

 

Engagement. The first stage is when the fiancé leaves his father's home to go to the home of his intended bride and pay the price for his bride. This stage is called engagement. We have, in the same way, been engaged to Christ:

 

- (2 Cor 11:2) For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

 

Living apart. The second stage is when the fiancé returns to his home and lives apart from his bride for about a year. During this time, he prepares room for his bride and himself in his father’s home.

 

Bringing the bride and the wedding celebration. The last stage is bringing the bride and the beginning of the wedding celebration. The wedding celebration and various wedding dinners can last from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. Chapter 19 of the Revelation seems to describe this final stage of the wedding with its wedding dinners. The church will experience resurrection, which is referred to in Rev. 20:4-6, and the millennial kingdom will start after that.

 

The coming of Jesus and rewarding the believers. In several verses, believers are encouraged to expect their reward when Jesus returns publicly, not at some point in time before it. When Jesus returns publicly, they will be rewarded according to their deeds and the resurrection of the righteous must take place at the same time (see especially verses Matt 16:27 and Luke 14:14).

   In addition, several of these verses specifically describe the glorious appearance of Christ. Many of these verses also use either the verb ‘epifaino’ (e) which refers to a visible stepping forward or the verb ‘apokalypto’ (a) which refers to the Lord coming out into the open part of the universe as He is hidden now. Both verbs must specifically refer to the Lord’s public coming. All these verses indicate that the reward of believers and the resurrection/ rapture will take place in connection with the glorious second coming of Jesus: 

 

- (Matt 16:27) For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

 

- (Luke 14:14) And you shall be blessed; for they cannot recompense you: for you shall be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

 

- (Matt 25:14,19) For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered to them his goods.

19 After a long time the lord of those servants comes, and reckons with them.

 

- (Rev 22:12) And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

 

- (1 Cor 4:5) Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

 

- (1 Peter 1:7 a) That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ

 

- (1 Peter 4:12,13 a) Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you:

13 But rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy.

 

- (1 Peter 5:4 e) And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive a crown of glory that fades not away.

 

- (2 Tim 4:8 e) From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but to all them also that love his appearing.

 

- (1 John 2:28 e) And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

 

- (Phil 2:16) Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain.

 

- (Phil 1:6,10) Being confident of this very thing, that he which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

10 That you may approve things that are excellent; that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.

 

- (1 Thess 2:19,20) For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

20 For you are our glory and joy.

 

- (1 Thess 3:13) To the end he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

 

- (1 Thess 5:23) And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

- (1 Tim 6:14 e) That you keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:

 

- (1 Cor 1:7,8 a) So that you come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

8 Who shall also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

- (Tiit 2:13 e) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;

 

- (1 Peter 1:13 a) Why gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

 

Does the Bible teach about a secret coming? A slightly different interpretation is occasionally presented: that there will be two comings in the last days: one secret arrival when Jesus comes for His Church at the time of the rapture, and another when the world can see Him come in all His glory and power.

   But is this a true interpretation? Is it really true that during the last days there will be two comings, a secret one and a public one? If we consider this interpretation in the light of the following verses, we can see that His return will be absolutely visible. The public nature of his appearance receives special emphasis. Actually, Jesus warned us about a delusion that He had already come in some secret way without being noticed. He explained that His coming would occur in such a glorious way that everyone would know it had happened:

 

- (Matt 24:26,27) Why if they shall say to you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.

27 For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

 

- (Matt 24:30,31) And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

 

- (Matt 23:39) For I say to you, You shall not see me from now on, till you shall say, Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.

 

- (Matt 25:31) When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory

 

- (2 Thess 1:6-9) Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;

7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

 

- (Rev 1:7) Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

 

POINTS THAT HAVE BEEN USED TO TRY TO DEFEND THE SECRET COMING. Various approaches have been used to prove that the rapture will occur some time before the second coming, with a secret coming. Some argue that the church is not being mentioned in Revelation Chapters 6 through19; or they remind us of the days of Noah and Lot and argue that God will save us from the coming wrath, for example.  

   We will examine these theories and see whether they stand on solid ground. We will explore whether it is justified to believe in the occurrence of a secret rapture some years before the second coming of Jesus in His glory and power.

 

Revelation 4:1 and Chapters 6 through 19. One point used to support the idea that the Church will not remain here during the tribulation is the fact that the Church is not mentioned at all in Chapters 6 through 19 of Revelation, whereas it is mentioned several times in Chapters 2 and 3. Some believe that the rapture will occur during the times described in Revelation 4:1.

   However, Rev. 4:1 only tells that John was temporarily taken into Heaven and shown events that would happen in the future. It is hard to see any reference to the rapture of the church in this passage.

   On the other hand, there is an indication that the Church will be on the Earth for the duration of the last days. For example, Jesus said: "for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened" (Matt 24:22). (In the New Testament, the word “elect” always refers to ordinary Jewish and Gentile believers.)

   In Revelation there are also several references to saints who will have to suffer because of their faith. Does not the church consist of saints? Is this not the ordinary name given to both Jewish and Gentile believers in the NT? (Acts 9:32, Romans 1:7, Romans 8:27, Romans 16:15 1 Cor 14:33, Eph 4:12, Col 3:12). Therefore, Revelation clearly teaches that the Church will remain on the Earth for the whole time:

 

- (Matt 24:21,22) For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

 

- (Rev 6:9) And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

 

- (Rev 7:14) And I said to him, Sir, you know. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

 

- (Rev 13:7,8) And it was given to him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

8 And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

 

- (Rev 17:6) And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

 

- (Rev 20:4) And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

 

What prevents. Another justification that has been used is that what will prevent the appearance of the Antichrist will be the Church and when it has been taken away through the rapture, the Antichrist can appear. This is mentioned in 2 Thess. 2:

 

- (2 Thess 2:3-8) Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

4 Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

5 Remember you not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

6 And now you know what withholds that he might be revealed in his time.

7 For the mystery of iniquity does already work: only he who now lets will let, until he be taken out of the way.

8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

 

However, the following arguments might be made. They indicate that the church cannot be the holding power after all:

 

- Firstly, as was noted about the same chapter, the rapture of the Church, or “our gathering together to him” (verse 1), will not take place until the second coming of Jesus. This was established in verses 1 and 8 where the word ”parusia” or ”coming” is used. It refers to the fully visible return of Christ because at that time according to verse 8, He will destroy the Antichrist.

   Secondly, as to the ‘day of Christ’ mentioned in verses 1-3 – when according to verse 1 the coming of Jesus and the rapture of the church will take place – this day of rapture and the coming of Jesus will not come until the apostasy and appearance of the Antichrist. In this light it is absolutely impossible for the Church to be the power that prevents the appearance of the Antichrist, because the rapture (“our gathering together to him”) will take place just after the appearance of this person, not before that.

 

- The idea that the Church could hold back the Antichrist or any other dictators is inconsistent with history. During the history of the Church, there were several dictators (for example, in the 1900s Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc.) despite the presence of the Church, and they have ruled a large part of the world and persecuted Christians. Therefore, when the evil of the world increases it is ever more possible for history to repeat itself.

 

- The church cannot be the restraining force according to the original language either. The word used for church/bride in the original language is feminine but the power that restrains in verse 7 is the masculine form ‘ho katekhoon’ and in verse 6 the neutral form ‘to kãtekhon’. Therefore, verses 6-7 do not refer to the church, at least not directly.

   On the other hand, if the restraining power really were the Church or the Holy Spirit acting through it, we must consider that the Revelation refers, at least, to the saints or the Church, and the deeds of the Holy Spirit. These verses require that the Church and the Holy Spirit are present all the time.

 

The days of Noah and Lot. The days of Noah and Lot have been used to justify the argument for the rapture occurring before the tribulation. It has been proposed that God will allow the judgment and the Antichrist to come only after the Church is taken away:

 

- (Matt 24:36-42) But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

42 Watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord does come.

 

These examples indicate that when Noah and Lot were saved, the time of grace for the surrounding world immediately ceased and people no longer had the chance for salvation. Therefore, these examples fit the public return of Jesus better: people have no time of grace left and Jesus will appear in His glory and condemn the world (2 Thess 1:6-10).

   Besides, these verses speak about the coming of Jesus and how it will be a surprise to people (“…and knew not”). This coming will also be public because these verses are only a continuation of the earlier verses (for example, 27,30,31) which refer to the coming of Jesus in His glory and that all people will see it. In this light, the days of Noah and Lot do not support the idea of the rapture before tribulation, but instead refer to His triumphant return when each and every eye will see Him.

 

The ten virgins – Matt 25:1-13. The parable of the ten virgins has also been used as an example of the rapture occurring before the manifested coming of Jesus.

   However, if we look at this parable and the verses around it, they seem to refer to Jesus' public coming and not to a secret coming.

   Firstly, the beginning of the parable – “Then...” – is a continuation of the end of the previous chapter, Matt 24, which refers to the public coming of Jesus. Also, at the end of Matt 24 the destiny of a person who does not keep watch is damnation and no possibility of salvation (Matt 24:47 51, cf. 2 Thess 1:6 10), and this refers also to the end of the present age and the coming of Jesus in His glory, as does the following virgin-parable.

   As we move on to Matt. 25, we see several references (verses 14,19, 30, 31, for example) to the manifested coming of Jesus when He will come in His glory and will settle accounts with people. Thus, the story of the ten virgins in Matt. 25 is closely connected to Matt. 24, which fully refers to the return of Jesus in His glory.

   This chapter also refers to the marriage – and this is certainly a reference to the marriage of the Lamb, which has been proven to take place only when Christ arrives in His honor and glory (Rev 19:7,8,11). Therefore, the parable of the ten virgins must describe this same point of time.

 

Rev 3:10. A seemingly good justification for the rapture of the church before the tribulation is Rev 3:10, whose meaning in the original language has been discussed at great length:

 

- (Rev 3:10) Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come on all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth.

 

However, the message of this verse was directed at the Philadelphian congregation of the time, and it was meant as an accurate description of its condition at that particular time. Therefore, we may ask was this church taken away at that time – in the days of John – off the Earth and from the hour of trial by some rapture, or did it ever take place? Or does the message of this verse mean something else altogether?

   On the other hand, if this congregation was given a promise, how can we say for sure whether it referred to all congregations in the last days? It is impossible to be sure.

   Also, if we hold to the common view (which may very well be true) that the congregations in Revelation 2-3 are in chronological order, i.e., they stand for different periods of the church in history, it is clear on this ground as well that the Philadelphian church does not have to experience “the hour of trial”. If Philadelphia describes churches in the 1700-1800s – as has been suggested – and Laodicea describes the very latest church before the coming of Christ, it seems clear that the church in the 1700’s and 1800’s cannot experience ‘the hour of trial’. This should be quite logical.

 

God will save us from the coming wrath. It has been proposed that God will save us from the coming wrath by means of rapture. It is supported by the following verses:

 

- (1 Thess 1:10) And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

 

- (1 Thess 5:8,9) But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

9 For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

 

The fact that these verses speak about wrath may well mean that through Christ's sacrificial offering man is no longer condemned to face the wrath of God. Such a person has received forgiveness for his sins, and he does not have to face the wrath of God anymore. This is one of the most common lessons in the Bible, and several verses refer to it:

 

- (Rom 8:1) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

 

- (Rom 5:9,10) Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

 

- (Matt 3:7) But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said to them, O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

 

- (John 3:36) He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God stays on him.

 

- (John 5:24) Truly, truly, I say to you, He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death to life.

 

- (Rom 12:19) Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place to wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, said the Lord.

 

- (Rom 1:18) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

 

The problem with the interpretation that man will be rescued from some special period of wrath is that the Revelation refers several times to believers “during the wrath”. How can they be on the Earth because they, too, are Christ's own and have been saved? This contradicts the previous view.

 

Coming secretly. One justification for this view has been that Christ will “come as a thief in the night.” It is argued that this cannot refer to His public coming but it must refer to Him coming secretly through the air and taking the Church with Him. The following verses have been used as support:

 

- (Matt 24:42,43) Watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord does come.

43 But know this, that if the manager of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.

 

- (Rev 16:15) Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

 

However, the coming as a thief in the night does not have to mean coming secretly through the air; it can mean the speed of the coming and be encouragement to watching and praying. We can understand from many passages that if a man's relationship with God is good and he keeps watch on his spiritual condition, the coming of Jesus does not need to be a surprise to him. Man can even wait for it and it will not come as a surprise:

 

- (1 Thess 5:1-6) But of the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need that I write to you.

2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.

3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes on them, as travail on a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

5 You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

 

- (Hebr 10:25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.

 

- (Rev 3:3) Remember therefore how you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore you shall not watch, I will come on you as a thief, and you shall not know what hour I will come on you.

 

The Lord comes with His saints. It has also been suggested that the rapture must occur some years before the public coming of Jesus because the Lord Jesus will come with His saints only at the triumphal return. This view has been justified with the following verses, among others:

 

- (1 Thess 3:13) To the end he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

 

- (Jude 1:14,15) And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his saints,

15 To execute judgment on all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

 

However, we may ask if these holy ones might not be saints who died in faith, who at this very moment are in the presence of God in some kind of temporary spirit body? Several verses do teach that some saints will go straight to Heaven after they die (e.g., Phil 1:23, 2 Cor 5:8, Luke 16:19- 31). Only when Jesus comes in His glory and power will they receive an incorruptible resurrection body.

   1 Thess. 4 also refers to this. It describes how God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him. Jesus will come with His saints, and at the same time those who are on the Earth will experience rapture:

 

- (1 Thess 4:13,14,17) But I would not have you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

 

 

 

11. The coming kingdom

 

- (Luke 21:28-31) And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near.

29 And he spoke to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;

30 When they now shoot forth, you see and know of your own selves that summer is now near at hand.

31 So likewise you, when you see these things come to pass, know you that the kingdom of God is near at hand.

 

We may become depressed because of the worsening conditions in the world and the uncertainty of future events. They can easily make us turn all our attention to these problems and the evil in the world, which by no means is the point.

   Instead of grieving over these matters – over matters that we cannot change – it is much more reasonable to fix our attention on the future kingdom of which Jesus spoke and to which the verses above refer. He taught that when things in the world start getting worse at the end of time, it is in fact a sign of the approaching kingdom of God. So, the end of the present age only means a beginning of a new age, a new dawn:

 

Then I noticed a human figure walking along the shore towards me. I could see from far that he was carrying a torch. It radiated light that was the color of the sky. I immediately knew that it was the Lord. I could tell from the way He walked: purposefully but not urgently. He is never in a hurry because time is subject to Him. As he approached, I could see that He was dressed in a white cloak, which had been tied from the front with a golden rope. There was golden embroidery at the hem of His cloak and on the sleeves.

   "It is both the sunset and the sunrise," He said. "A sunrise in one place and a sunset in another. You live in an evening of one age and in the dawn of another. You are here so that you may learn more of the end of your own time and of the beginning of the new time which is just dawning." (56)

 

From the Bible we can see that the present world is just a temporary stage and it will eventually disappear. We can see this from rather many verses in the Bible:

 

- (Matt 24:35) Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

 

- (Matt 5:18) For truly I say to you, Till heaven and earth pass, one stroke or one pronunciation mark shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

 

- (Hebr 1:10,11) And, You, Lord, in the beginning have laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of your hands:

11 They shall perish; but you remain; and they all shall wax old as does a garment;

 

- (Rev 20:11) And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

 

A whole new kingdom, the kingdom of God and a new Heaven and a new Earth, will come to replace it. This is in fact the central idea of the whole Gospel: that we can enter this kingdom through the grace of God. In addition, there is nothing incomplete in this kingdom. There is no more sin, illness, death, damnation, or night; the former things have passed away. The presence of God is also characteristic of this kingdom:

 

- (Isa 65:17-18) For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

18 But be you glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.

 

- (2 Peter 3:13) Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.

 

- (Rev 21:1-7) And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

5 And he that sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.  And he said to me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

6 And he said to me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to him that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely.

7 He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

 

- (Rev 21:9,10,18-27) And there came to me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come here, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.

10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,

18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like to clear glass.

19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;

20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.

21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it.

25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

26 And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it.

27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defiles, neither whatever works abomination, or makes a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

 

- (Rev 22:1-5) And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

2 In the middle of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bore twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.

5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

 

The same kingdom is also eternal. Many things – also good ones – are only temporary, but several verses refer to eternity when addressing the kingdom of God. It has no end and its characteristic features are joy and freedom from all anxieties that people may have. Furthermore, all short-term pleasures that we can get from sin are like a fleeting glimpse or the flight of a bird. Let’s see some verses in the Bible relating to this issue:

 

- (John 6:27) Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give to you: for him has God the Father sealed.

 

- (Dan 7:13,14) "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

 

- (Luke 1:32,33) He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give to him the throne of his father David:

33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

 

- (2 Cor 5:1) For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

 

- (1 Tim 6:12) Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto you are also called, and have professed a good profession before many witnesses.

 

- (Tit 1:2) In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began

 

- (Hebr 12:28) Why we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

 

- (2 Peter 1:10,11) Why the rather, brothers, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall:

11 For so an entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

- (1 John 2:25) And this is the promise that he has promised us, even eternal life.

 

ACCESS TO THE KINGDOM. As the eternal life, Heaven, and God's kingdom exist, it is good to find out how to gain access to this kingdom.

   The answer to this question is that God has already done for us what we could never do. We do not need to try and merit an access into Heaven and the eternal kingdom: everything has already been prepared for us. So if you personally want to be saved and be a partaker of all of this, it would be wise for you to carefully read the following lines. They indicate how you can become a partaker of eternal life.

 

God sent Jesus. The first thing you should note is that God sent Jesus to save you and every person so that we all could enter this kingdom. The initiator was and is God Himself, and His motive was His love for all of us because He does not want us to perish, that is He does not want us to go to damnation. (Damnation is an issue of which Jesus spoke even more than about Heaven and therefore, there is reason to take His words seriously. However, He said that He has come to the world so that no one would need to go there; Luke 19:10). He wanted us to be saved and that is why He sent Jesus:

 

- (John 3:16,17) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."

 

- (1 John 4:9,10) In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

 

- (1 Tim 2:3,4) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;

4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

 

Everything as a gift. God has already done everything for us in Jesus, and another issue that needs to be understood is that salvation can now be received as a gift and from grace. Salvation and access to the kingdom of God do not depend upon our goodness and ourselves, as we may often think, but everything is given by mercy and as a gift, which also you can immediately receive. All this takes place through Jesus because He has already become the way and door to the kingdom of God:

 

- (Eph 2:8,9) For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

 

- (Rom 3:24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus

 

- (Rev 21:6) And he said to me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to him that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely.

 

- (Rev 22:17) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

 

- (John 14:1-6) Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me.

2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.

5 Thomas said to him, Lord, we know not where you go; and how can we know the way?

6 Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.

 

- (John 10:9) I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

 

Answering the call. Since eternal life, Heaven and the kingdom of God exist, now you personally must answer the call to this kingdom. Everything is ready on God's side, and He is calling us to come to the wedding of His Son and the Church, and to receive the water of life as a gift, and it is not worth your while to reject this invitation. This means that you should not turn your back on His Son Jesus, who is the way to this kingdom. Through Him we can all enter:

 

- (John 5:40) And you will not come to me, that you might have life.

 

- (Matt 22:2,3) The kingdom of heaven is like to a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,

3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.

 

- (Luke 14:15-17) And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said to him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.

16 Then said he to him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:

17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.

 

- (Rev 22:17) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

 

THE PRAYER OF SALVATION: Lord, Jesus, I turn to You. I confess that I have sinned against You and I have not lived according to Your will. However, I want to turn from my sins and follow You with all my heart. I also believe that my sins have been forgiven by Your atonement work and I have received eternal life through You. I thank You for the salvation You have given me. Amen.

 

 

 

REFERENCES:

 

1. David Wilkerson, Näky (THE VISION), p. 41.47.

3. Matti Joensuu, Avoliitto, avioliitto ja perhe, p. 12-14.

3. Arthur Lyons, The Second Coming, Satanism in America (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co. , 1970).

4. Hal Lindsey, Saatana elää ja voi hyvin maaplaneetalla (SATAN IS ALIVE AND WELL ON PLANET EARTH), p. 136

5. David Wilkerson, Näky (THE VISION), s. 48.

6. Pasi Turunen, Homoseksualismi, rakkautta ja rajoja, p. 34,35

7. Dave Hunt, America: The Sorcerer’s New Apprentice, p. 10

8. Information from the book, Hal Lindsey, 1948 Vuosi, jolloin loppu alkoi

9. Rick Joyner, Viimeisten päivien taistelu (Overcoming Evil in the Last Days, p. 36,37

10. Pat Pulling, "Noidankehässä", p. 79

11. Nicky Cruz, David Wilkersonin viimeinen varoitus (A FINAL WARNING), p. 50

12. Nicky Cruz, David Wilkersonin viimeinen varoitus (A FINAL WARNING), p. 26

13. James W. Sire: Missä maailmassa? Maailmankatsomusten perusteet puntarissa (The Universe Next Door, A Basic World View Catalog) p. 19

14. Thoralf Gilbrant, Ennustukset toteutuvat 2. (TIDENS TEGN 2), p. 150

15. Hal Lindsey, Saatana elää ja voi hyvin maaplaneetalla (SATAN IS ALIVE AND WELL ON PLANET EARTH), p. 7

16. Citation from the book, Teijo-Kalevi Lusa, Lopunajan salaiset kansiot, p. 92

17. Citation from the book, Hal Lindsey, 1948 Vuosi, jolloin loppu alkoi, p. 47

18. Citation from the book: Hal Lindsey, 1948 Vuosi, jolloin loppu alkoi, p. 40

19. Erling Ström, Atomipommit Raamatun valossa (A-H-K BOMBENE I BIBELENS LYS), p. 39,40

20. Thoralf Gilbrant, Ennustukset toteutuvat 1 (TIDENS TEGN 1), p. 165,166

21. Thoralf Gilbrant, Ennustukset toteutuvat 1 (TIDENS TEGN 1), p. 167.

22. Josephus Wars of the Jews, 6.4.8.581.

23. Josephus Wars of the Jews, 5.13.6.570.

24. Josephus Wars of the Jews, 5.9.4.563.

25. Josephus Wars of the Jews, 6.2.1.574.

26. Josephus Wars of the Jews

27. Citation from the book "100 merkkiä Jeesuksen tulemuksesta", Ensio Lehtonen / Gordon Lindsay, p. 111

28. Citation from the book "Israel polttopisteessä", Jukka Riippa, p. 35

29. Citation from the book." Maa entinen suuri planeetta" (THE LATE GREAT PLANET EARTH), Hal Lindsey, s. 59

30. Citation from the book. "Maa entinen suuri planeetta" (THE LATE GREAT PLANET EARTH), Hal Lindsey, s. 59

31. Lance Lambert, Israel, rakas maa (The Uniqueness of Israel), p. 69

32. Joh. De Heer, Kansojen viimeinen ahdinko, p. 129,130

33. Vilho Rantanen, Israel ajan merkkinä, p. 13

34. Derek Prince, Lopullinen sana Lähi-Idästä (THE LAST WORD IN THE MIDDLE EAST), p. 81

35. Derek Prince, Lopullinen sana Lähi-Idästä (THE LAST WORD IN THE MIDDLE EAST), p. 96,97

36. Corrie Ten Boom, Huomispäivän kätköpaikka, p. 30,31

37. Alice Bailey (Djwhal Khul), Education in the new age / Although citation from the book: "Uhattu uusi sukupolvi" (RAVAGED BY THE NEW AGE), Texe Marrs, p. 17-20

38. John R. Keel: "UFOs: operation Trojan horse", s. 220. Although citation from the book: "Rajan taakse ja takaisin" (TO HELL AND BACK), Maurice Rawlings, p. 203

39. Alice Bailey (Djwhal Khul), Education in the new age / Although citation from the book: "Uhattu uusi sukupolvi" (RAVAGED BY THE NEW AGE), Texe Marrs, p. 17-20

40. Edwin Louis Cole, Miehuuden haaste (MAXIMIZED MANHOOD), p. 104

41. H. Kent Geiger, The Family in Soviet Russia. Cambridge, Mass., 1968.

42. Matti Joensuu, Avoliitto, avioliitto ja perhe, p. 85-91

43. Alice Bailey (Djwhal Khul), Education in the new age / Although citation from the book: "Uhattu uusi sukupolvi" (RAVAGED BY THE NEW AGE), Texe Marrs, p. 17-20

44. Rabindranath R. Maharaj, Gurun kuolema (DEATH OF A GURU), p. 190

45. H.A. Baker, Näkyjä verhon takaa (VISIONS BEYOND THE VEIL), p. 62

46. Hal Lindsey, Maa entinen suuri planeetta (THE LATE GREAT PLANET EARTH), p. 132

47. Citation from the book, "UFO", Bob Larson, s. 233 – Finnish edition

48. Citation from the book, "Ilmestyskirja nyt" (ACPOCALYPSE CODE), Hal Lindsey, p. 179

49. Lance Lambert, Taistelu Israelista (BATTLE FOR ISRAEL), p. 9,13

50. Hal Lindsey: Tule Herra Jeesus (The Final Battle by Hal Lindsey), s. 51,52

51. Citation from the book, "Harmagedon", Pekka Sartola, p. 155

52. Citation from the book, "Tule Herra Jeesus", Hal Lindsey, p. 53

53. Edwin M. Yamauchi, Foes from the Northern Frontier. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House. 1982, p. 64

54. Mark Hitchcock, Varo Israel karhu tulee (AFTER THE EMPIRE), p. 39

55. C. Skovgaard-Petersen, Viimeisten aikojen merkit, p. 18,19

56. Rick Joyner, Soihtu ja Miekka (THE TORCH AND THE SWORD), p. 30

 

 

More on this topic:

Nazism did not suddenly arise out of nowhere, but development moved in the same direction for more than a century. The same development is possible today

The evil spirit world influenced in the background of Nazism and World War II. The same thing emerges in the background of today’s societies

 

The worldview and goals of modern value liberals are very similar to those of the early communists and Nazis

 

Read how  people defend injustice, one's own selfish lifestyle and increase children's suffering in the name of equality and human rights

 

Statistics show an increase in child nausea all the time. The reason is the selfishness of adults in the area of sexuality and the changed morality of society

 

Society’s morals and people’s worldviews are constantly changing. What is the position of the Christian faith in the midst of everything

 

There is a lot of talk these days about tolerance, but is it just a question that the line between right and wrong has been shifted all the time?

 

The generation of Noah and the city of Sodom experienced judgment because of their continuing wickedness. Is the same possible in modern times?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life

 

 

  

 

Grap to eternal life!

 

More on this topic:

Nazism did not suddenly arise out of nowhere, but development moved in the same direction for more than a century. The same development is possible today

The evil spirit world influenced in the background of Nazism and World War II. The same thing emerges in the background of today’s societies

 

The worldview and goals of modern value liberals are very similar to those of the early communists and Nazis

 

Read how  people defend injustice, one's own selfish lifestyle and increase children's suffering in the name of equality and human rights

 

Statistics show an increase in child nausea all the time. The reason is the selfishness of adults in the area of sexuality and the changed morality of society

 

Society’s morals and people’s worldviews are constantly changing. What is the position of the Christian faith in the midst of everything

 

There is a lot of talk these days about tolerance, but is it just a question that the line between right and wrong has been shifted all the time?

 

The generation of Noah and the city of Sodom experienced judgment because of their continuing wickedness. Is the same possible in modern times?