August 2015 Posts

Prophecy: Jesus

Prophecy

We see prophetic glimpses of Jesus all the way back in Genesis 3:15, where God promised a singular man in the future who would deal a deathblow to Satan once and for all. Throughout the prophets of the Old Testament period we see pictures of a Messiah, the Promised One, of whom Isaiah makes these predictions:

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this. – Isaiah 9:6–7 (NASB)

Just over 2000 years ago, that child was born (Luke 2:11). This Messiah, the man Jesus, is a wise counselor and teacher, a King of an endless kingdom, the very God and eternal Father Himself.

The prophecies of Jesus do not stop there. More promises concerning Jesus are clear in the Scriptures. Mainly, He is coming again. But when and how will He come? What will He do?

Jesus made a promise to His disciples with these words:

Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 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. – John 14:1–3 (NASB)

As we study the rest of the New Testament, we see two “comings” of Jesus. One is when church saints, believers, go up to meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1). This is referred to as the rapture (“caught up”) of the church. Jesus is going to come and take His church to be with Him one day, both living and those who have died before this rapture.

But there is another “coming” of Jesus. He is coming to the earth and will establish Himself as that Prince of Peace who will build a kingdom here. We see this beginning and developing in Revelation 19:11-20:6.  As seen in this passage, Satan and his demons will be removed from the earth until the very end of the 1000 years. This will be a time to fulfill promises of a kingdom to Israel, including dead Old Testament saints who will rise to enjoy this kingdom under the perfect rule of Jesus, just as Isaiah predicted in Isaiah 9:3-7.

After this 1000-year period is complete, there is yet more that is predicted about Jesus. See these words of John as he describes the new heaven and earth that will be refashioned, indwelt only by those who had trusted in God and His promises, and particularly in the new Jerusalem that will come down out of heaven:

I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb (that’s Jesus) are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb (Jesus again). The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. – Revelation 21:22–24 (NASB, parentheses added by author)

Jesus has come, and is presently the Lord of His church, as predicted.

But He is coming again to rapture His church, to establish and reign over an earthly kingdom for a thousand years, and to be the Light of the World.

Lord, come quickly!

Prophecy: The Antichrist

Prophecy-The_Antichrist

Ever since Satan declared, “I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:12-14, NASB), he has been about the business of accomplishing that goal. One of the ways he plans to attempt to supplant God and make himself greater is to trick the world into believing that he is “like God.” (See this described in a dramatic form in Revelation 12.)

In yet to be fulfilled prophecy, one of those planned deceptions is to raise up a counterfeit Christ. We see quite a bit about this antichrist in Scripture. For instance, we are told in Daniel what happens after the true Messiah is cut off and killed:

…the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary (Temple). And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. And he (this substitute prince who is to come) will make a firm covenant with the many for one week (7 years), but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate (this antichrist is destroyed). – Daniel 9:26-27 (NASB, parentheses added)

Most of the Jewish people who are part of the nation of Israel today are looking for the Messiah to come as a political, military figure who will rescue them from those who would destroy them. There are about 6-7 million Jews in Israel today surrounded by more than 50 million Muslims, many of whom want to see Israel destroyed. Satan will one day provide a substitute messiah who will come as a political, military leader, offer peace and sign a 7-year treaty with the nation of Israel. Many will undoubtedly embrace him as their promised messiah.

But after 3½ years this fake messiah will turn on the nation of Israel, and destroy Jerusalem and the Temple, until his own predicted demise at the hands of the true Messiah, who is coming again.

This antichrist will be a leader from the western part of the world, related to but not the same as the Old Roman Empire. Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 mention the 4 (plus 1) kingdoms that are to come. They are described in unmistakable detail: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and another kingdom that is related to Rome but weaker and not under one ruler – yet. This last kingdom is detailed even further in Revelation 17-18.

And it is in The Revelation to John the Apostle that we see even more details of this antichrist. For instance, we get a glimpse of him in Revelation 6:2 where he is described as having a crown (a national leader). He will go out from his own nation to conquer others, and he will be successful.

In Revelation 13 we see this antichrist dramatically described as a beast that came out of the sea (or from across the sea?). He will be able to move fast militarily and will be overwhelmingly powerful. Satan will give this beast, the antichrist, his own power, a throne to rule from and great authority. He will be Satan’s puppet king on the earth.

This antichrist is described as being one who spoke and was listened to as he will make great promises, and will speak against God for the last 3½ years of the Great Tribulation. He will become a whole world ruler (Revelation 13:7) and he will work to bring about the demise of all who call on the name of the one true God. And many in the world will worship him instead of God.

We also see in Revelation 13 and elsewhere that this antichrist will have a high priest accomplice. And when the antichrist receives a death blow (Revelation 17:8), this false prophet will raise him from the dead. Remember, Satan is trying to make himself like the Most High, and God raised His Son from the dead.

This false prophet, along with the antichrist, will establish not only a worldwide empire, but also a one-world religion (Revelation 17:1-6, 15). The antichrist will be the god figure of this worldwide religion (Revelation 13:15) that will be gaudy, elaborate, brazen and ornate (Revelation 17:4). It will be a religious system that is bloodthirsty for all who profess faith in Christ (Revelation 17:5-6).

The antichrist will move from this short-lived seventh kingdom of the west. The first 7 great empires described are Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome, followed by this yet future seventh that will be this coalition of 10 (plus 1) nations who are either part of or related to the Old Roman Empire. Daniel 2:40-43 speaks of the establishment of this eighth empire, a worldwide kingdom that will be headquartered back where it all began: Babylon in south central Iraq (Revelation 17:9-13).

In Genesis 11:1-9 we see all the peoples of the earth, repopulated after the flood, gathered in this same area, where they built a tower into the heavens. This was a ziggurat built much like a pyramid, only with clay bricks. The very top of this ziggurat was a throne room that was uninhabited. Remember, Satan said:

“I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne above the stars of God,
And I will sit on the mount of assembly
In the recesses of the north.
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.” – Isaiah 14:13-14 (NASB)

This ziggurat was the Tower of Babel, where the eventual city of Babylon would be built, and it still exists today. Most likely, the people of the earth were gathering to build a throne room for Satan into the heavens, and that is why God confounded their languages, as a means to separate them into diverse nations so they couldn’t fulfill Satan’s desires. This same place will be rebuilt into grand fashion by the antichrist and will serve as the capital of his worldwide kingdom and religion. Satan is and will be working to bring the entire world of nations together once again, to follow and worship him.

The antichrist will be a bigger than life personality that will promise peace to Israel and the world, but instead he will use his power to turn the world over to Satan.

Eventually, God will thwart Satan’s and the antichrist’s plot, and in an unimaginable battle, defeat the antichrist, the false prophet, the gathered armies of the world and Satan at the battle fought in the Valley of Megiddo (Revelation 17:15-19:21). In the end, God wins!

 

Prophecy: An Incredible 45 Days

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Sometimes little things turn out to be quite powerful. There is intense interest in both the Great Tribulation and the Millennium. However, there is a fascinating passage in Daniel 12:11-12 indicating there will be a 45-day period after the Great Tribulation but before the Millennium. What has God planned for those 45 days?

The prophet Joel indicates part of what will take place during this period. In Joel 2:12-17 God is described as calling the nation of Israel, all 12 tribes, back to Himself. After that happens, God will bless the land that He promised to the nation and restore the people to their land (Joel 2:18-27). Some have stated they believe this will take place at the beginning of the Great Tribulation. But I find that hard to believe, since He also promises three times over, “Then My people will never be put to shame.” During the last 3½ years of the Great Tribulation, Israel will be running and hiding to save their lives.

There is going to be a complete national repentance of the nation of Israel, and God is going to restore them to their land and bless the land. They will never be put to shame again. But that’s not all.

Joel paints a prophetic picture of all the people of the nation of Israel receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, and all of them will speak the message of hope through Christ to those of other nations in their own language (Joel 2:28-32). He says even Jewish boys and girls will be doing this. The purpose of this great outpouring of God’s message to the world is to give all those yet living the opportunity to repent and call on the name of Christ, not curse at Him. It will be one of the greatest evangelism periods in human history.

Jesus also gives us a picture of something that will take place during this 45-day period. In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus speaks of coming again, sitting on a throne and bringing judgment to those yet living at the end of the Great Tribulation. This is often referred to as the judgment of the sheep and goats, because the section begins like this:

But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and goats on the left. – Matthew 25:31-33

He goes on to say those on His right, the sheep, will enter into the Kingdom, the Millennium Kingdom. But those on the left, the goats, will be cast into the lake of fire, which we often hear labeled as hell.

So during this 45-day gap between the Great Tribulation and the Millennium, three primary things are going to happen: The entire nation of Israel is going to turn to Christ and repent, leading to God’s blessing on them and their land, and they will never again be put to shame. They will be evangelists for Christ to all the nations. And after the entire living world of people have this last chance to respond to Christ, He will come and bring judgment on all the living people in the world. Some will enter into the coming Millennium Kingdom. Others will be cast out, waiting for their final sentencing at The Great White Throne Judgment, after which they will be cast into the eternal lake of fire.

It is going to be one power-packed little 45-day period.