Catastrophes and biblical prophecy
by Clive Campbell
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Recently CNN interviewed Rev. Jerry Falwell and their religion reporter on the subject of whether all the recent natural disasters and pandemic threats indicate that we are in the end times. Falwell basically said that while he believes the natural disasters and pandemic threats are signs that we are the generation that will see the second coming of Christ, nobody knows the day and hour.
Of course that is what Jesus said too: "For ...there will be famines and earthquakes. ...But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone (Matthew 24:7,36)." But is that a figurative day and hour or a literal day and hour? Jesus went on to say, "Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming (24:42)." That suggests it was a literal day to which He referred. And there are other verses that do not decry date-setting, at least to the year. Here is but one: "If therefore you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you (Revelation 3:3)." It is those who are figuratively asleep that will not know the figurative hour of Christ's coming.
At least since the time of Elijah's school of the prophets, the ancient Jews believed, and the Christian Church Fathers too, that the Genesis creation account was a figure for God's work in six millennia, followed by a seventh millennium of His rest. Amazingly, this is exactly what biblical and historical chronology support: there have been spiritual "sunrises" every 1,000 years. In 3970 B.C. (after fourteen billion years, without evolution), it was God and Adam. In 2970 B.C., it was Lamech and Noah. In 1970 B.C., it was Terah and Abraham. In 970 B.C., it was David and Solomon. In 30 A.D., it was Jesus and the early Church. In 1030 A.D., it was the Cluniac reform. And in 2030 A.D., it will be Jesus again, the Second Coming.
Has there been fulfilled biblical prophecy that confirms this is the timeline God is on? Absolutely, and we are in for more. Firstly, there is the return of the Jews to Palestine. For example, in Ezekiel 38:8 God speaks of the future antichrist who will come against a secure Israel: "After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them."
Secondly, though most do not know it, the Bible also prophesied the Holocaust. Revelation's "third of the earth (8:7)"; "third of the trees (8:7)"; "third of the ships (8:9)"; "third of the stars (8:12; 12:4)"; and "third of mankind (9:15,18)"--destroyed--all figuratively refer to the six million of the eighteen million Jews who were annihilated in the Holocaust. The armies of 200 million (9:16) that accomplished this destruction are the armies of the two world wars.
Thirdly, though many also do not know it, the destruction of the World Trade Center towers and war on terror was prophesied in the Bible. Isaiah 30:25 ends with these ominous words: "...on the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall." The fall of the World Trade Center towers was a figure of the coming fall of Israel at the end of the sixth millennial "day," the very end of which will see a great slaughter of armies around Jerusalem. Isaiah 33:18 puts the terror and trade picture even more poetically: "Your heart will meditate on terror: Where is he who counts? Where is he who weighs? Where is he who counts the towers?"
What more fulfilled biblical prophecy is yet to come? Well, next on the horizon, from Ezekiel 47 and Amos 1 and 2, and they may come very soon, are the following: 1)Israel will viciously possess the East Bank and wrongly expand into Syria, past Damascus, and perhaps into southern Lebanon, including Tyre and Sidon (I am not clear on the boundaries there from Ezekiel 47); 2) Israel will wrongly deport the Palestinians to Jordan, bringing them into war with Jordan, in which the bones of King Abdullah II will be burned to lime (I hope that does not mean a nuclear attack on Amman).
After this, I believe the Bible prophesies a worldwide Christian revival, including many Jews and Christians emigrating to Israel and many Jews coming to faith in Christ. But the Orthodox Jews will have the two Muslim shrines on the temple mount removed and a third temple erected, completed about 2020, based on prophecies in Daniel. Approximately three years after that, will come the bodily raising and ascending to heaven of the dead of God's people (as Moses and Jesus were) and the bodily ascending to heaven of the living of God's people (as Enoch and Elijah were). Then will come a last seven years of tribulation, of judgment and destruction, centred around Jerusalem, with Moses and Elijah again on the scene, but also the antichrist and the false prophet. Christ will return to destroy His enemies and save His people and usher in the eternal state.
What most people do not understand is that they are under the just wrath of God (being fallen human beings), unless God chooses to have mercy on them, through the work He accomplished in Christ. And who am I to question God (Romans 9:20)? Jesus called us evil (Matthew 7:11) and equated unrighteous anger with murder, and sexual lust with adultery (Matthew 5). I am afraid that makes us all serial murderers and serial adulterers, deserving to die horribly and to be sent to hell. But graciously and mercifully, God will save some of us. Is He showing grace and mercy to you?
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