The TV news in recent memory has
constantly had a focus on the Middle
East — war in Iraq
(the Old Testament Babylon),
war between Israel
and its border countries ("Palestinians" comes from
the Old Testament Philistines
who lived in the Gaza
strip), and potential war with Iran
(the Old Testament Persia).
With the modern news sounding like you are reading your Bible,
how close are we to the Biblical "end times", the great
translation of the believers (the rapture), the final battle of
and the physical return of Jesus? And what should we do about
First of all, Jesus said that in
the end times, there would be wars and rumors of war. The full
text of what Jesus said in Matthew
24:6-14 is important (my commentary inserted in italics).
"And you will hear of wars
and rumors of wars (24 hours a day from television
news). See that you are not
troubled (for fear is a major temptation
we need to overcome in these days);
for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
And there will be famines (in Africa, India,
flu, etc.), and earthquakes
(underwater causing a tsunami)
in various places. All these
are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to
tribulation and kill you (which made more
in Russia, China, etc. in the last 100 years than all of previous
history), and you will be hated
by all nations for My name's sake (like "Christian"
America is hated right now).
And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will
hate one another (causing "hate laws"
to be created). Then many false
prophets will rise up and deceive many (through
false religions). And because
lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold
(resulting in a 50% divorce
rate). But he who endures to
the end shall be saved (which causes one
to reconsider once-saved-always-saved
theology). And this gospel
of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness
to all the nations (which is the main way
to know when the end is here),
and then the end will come."
Jesus said we will have wars and
rumors of wars. With modern "push-button" technology,
it has never been easier in the history of the world for any people
group to initiate some form of harm on another group of people.
This kind of "power" is very tempting to unsaved mankind
who sees no valid reason to refrain, so it makes perfect sense
that there will be more wars more often — especially in
the Middle East. So expect skirmishes, small wars, cease-fire
agreements to be broken, United
Nations efforts to fail, and Israel to be hated by nearly
every country. It may make you nervous to keep hearing of another
war breaking out in the region. And the new long-term tactic of
choice is "terrorism" rather than massing a uniformed
army which just makes a great target for long-range weapons of
destruction. But the Bible makes it clear that Israel will survive
through to the very end.
chapters 38 & 39 tell us that this cycle of wars will
eventually unite Russia with Iran and some northern neighbors
of Israel. Russia (Magog)
will send a huge army to the Middle East, probably due to oil
shortages, and Russia will make a play to try to get ownership
of the Middle East (initially by attacking Israel, which will
appease the Muslim neighbors to allow Russia into the region).
But Russia's goal will certainly not be just Israel, but really
all of the Middle East oil reserves.
"The merchants of
Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee,
Art thou come to take a spoil (oil)?"
38:13, with the word oil added). The wealthy merchants of
(Spain) refers to western civilization. Columbus
sailed from Spain, and the "young lions" are nations
younger which were produced thereof (America). Chances are good
that the "rapture" of believers will have already taken
place before the Ezekiel
38 & 39 attack on Israel from Russia. This great translation
of believers from the earth would decimate the American economy
and war machine, emboldening Russia to strike out for the Middle
of man, prophesy and say to Gog (the leader of Magog
— Russia), 'Thus says the Lord GOD...you will
come from your place out of the far north, you and many peoples
with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a
mighty army." (Ezekiel
38:14-15). But God has always seen that a remnant of Israel
remains as according to prophecy. So Russia will have made a very
bad military decision. This is not the battle of Armageddon, and
Israel will win this war with its military means.
The outcome is recorded in Ezekiel
39:6, "And I will send fire on Magog."
Many scholars believe this will be a nuclear response by Israel.
38:19-22 prescribes what will occur: a great "earthquake",
every wall will fall to the ground, and a huge rain of "fire
and brimstone." It sounds like a documentary of the atomic
blast at Hiroshima.
It has been known that Israel has had nuclear weapons for decades.
of the Atomic Scientists states that Israel's nuclear arsenal
includes perhaps 200 (to 400) atomic weapons. Israel has at least
50 to 100 land based Jericho II missiles which have the capability
to reach Russia. These are stored at the missile base at Zechariah
(which in Hebrew means "God remembers with vengeance").
Israel operates 3 German-built submarines with the capability
of launching cruise missiles with a range of almost 1,000 miles.
Israel also has air-to-ground nuclear bombs and purchased at least
25 American F-15 aircraft which have a nuclear role in the US
Air Force. In Israel, these planes are called Ra'am (Thunder)
and are stationed at the Hatzerim air base in Squadron 69 (called
the "Hammers" Squadron — a clear reference to
Judah "the Hammer" Maccabee who once delivered Israel
from the Syrians).
Dead bodies contaminated by nuclear
radiation would explain the narrative in Ezekiel
39:12-15, "For seven months the house of
Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land... They
will set apart men regularly employed, with the help of a search
party, to pass through the land and bury those bodies remaining
on the ground, in order to cleanse it... whenever anyone sees
a man's bone, he shall set up a marker by it, till the buriers
have buried it in the Valley of Hamon Gog."
The world will be in shock at the
re-emergence of actual nuclear war. This is what will set the
stage for the world to be willing for the man known in the Bible
as the Antichrist to rise to leadership and control that part
of the world. The Bible indicates he will be the head of the "revived
Roman empire" (Dan.
7 & 8, Rev.
13) so he will certainly control what we know as the European
Union and probably many other countries who sign-on in the
years to come. That side of the world uniting against Israel (under
the Antichrist) is what will result 7 years later in the battle
of Armageddon where a 200 million man army (Rev.
from the east (China) will march on Israel (and the remaining
Middle East oil reserves). This is when the Bible records that
Jesus will physically return and personally destroy this enormous
army and be the deliverer of Israel the Jews have always looked
for. Jesus will begin His 1,000 year reign on earth, and we will
experience life on this earth the way God intends it to be.
So how soon will this all happen?
The world’s known oil production has been projected to begin
depleting around the year 2020 to 2065 and running out around
2100, depending on which assumptions are used (www.trendlines.ca).
However, the most scriptural trigger is when "this
gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world... and
then the end will come." We are getting
closer, but we are not there yet. Another clue comes from Matt.
24:32-34 where Jesus said the generation that sees "the
fig tree" put forth leaves would experience these events.
Most theologians believe this is either Israel becoming a nation
again (1948) or when Israel re-took Jerusalem during the 6 day
war (1967). A Biblical generation can be up to 100 years (Gen.
15:13-16), so this would imply the end could be as far out
as 2048 or 2067. No one but the Father knows for sure (Acts
1:7). And all our human assumptions "look through a glass
Cor. 13:12). So the best plan is to live and give for Jesus
while we can. We do not know when the rapture may occur, or even
our own death, so we should "work
the works of Him...while it is day: the night cometh, when no
man can work" (John
Working while it is day,
Dale & Judi Leander