"But I am convinced that it is He and not I. That it is His work, and not my work.
I am only at His disposal. Without Him I can do nothing.
But even God could do nothing for someone already full.
You have to be completely empty to let Him in to do what He will."
Sr. Teresa of Calcutta(1)
(aka Mother Teresa, and now also accorded the title of Saint Teresa.)
This chapter has three sections - section A lists those Signs for which there is a specific Bible Prophecy, in section B are Signs which have some Bible reference to them, and in section C are given two Signs concerning which there is no known (to the writer) Scripture.
(Note: Three Prophecies that come within this category are not shown here - they have already been covered in chapter 1. These are the End-Time increases to be expected in travel, education and population. [The first two of these being prophesied in the Book of Daniel - to re-visit them activate this link; the third being foretold in Isaiah - activate this link to see.])
2. Idolatry: The scriptural warnings to stay away from idols seem rather unimportant these days. Perhaps because imitation gods in the form of statues seem to be the main target there and we don't worship statues anymore. However, the first reference to idols in the Bible is put in more general terms:
"Do not turn aside to idols, nor make molten gods for yourselves.
I, the LORD, am your God."
Leviticus 19:4 (NAB)
If we combine this thought with that of the item above on the use of oil, then we have to acknowledge that people today are often less concerned about the Lord than about their Ford! (or Nissan, BMW, etc).
And End-Time Prophecy hints at this:
But the men left alive after these plagues ...Also, certain men and women have been idolized - pop stars like Elvis Presley; more dangerously, dictators like Adolf Hitler. How many times must we learn the lesson? God is the only One Whom we can trust with our lives, our happiness. Anyone less worthy is bound to let us down.
would not renounce ... their idols ...
Revelation 9:20 (TLB)
3. Pollution of land, oceans, rivers, air: These quotes would seem to apply.
Land - "And a third part of the earth was burned up ..."
Oceans - "... a third of the living creatures in the sea perished ..."
Rivers - "A third part of the waters was changed into wormwood,
and many people died from using the water ..."
Air - "... the sun and the atmosphere were darkened by the smoke from the long shaft."
Revelation 8:7, 9, 11, and ch. 9:2 (Amp.)
It's been said that the Bible is more up-to-date than your newspaper, and these verses are certainly a case in point. They foretell about how we would have chimneystacks belching pollution into the air; they describe the poison in our rivers and seas; they start by pointing out that the land would not escape the damage that the Industrial Age would unleash.
To recall briefly the history of pollution:
^ Again God's wonderful grasp of future situations fills us with a sense of awe. (And still other verses hint at the raising of sea levels: now this is being predicted by many scientists as part of the "greenhouse effect." Revelation 16:20 [TLB] refers to a future event in which "islands vanished.")
The ultimate polluter would of course be the nuclear bomb, and the above Scriptures seem to indicate the scale of the carnage among earth's creatures as a result of a nuclear holocaust. However, we should realize that the present slow poisoning - with whole species becoming extinct left, right, and center - could in the long run be almost as disastrous.
For then there will be great tribulation ...Many Christian observers are warning us about an antiChrist who is expected to emerge in the End-Time's closing years - those years that lead up to Christ's Return. And this is helpful teaching. But a plain reading of the above passage - which refers to "false Christs" in the plural - suggests that we should also look throughout the End-Time for these characters. In this writer's view, if we want to see the full picture, we should be looking at the history of much of the last century. (Please see chapter 4 - Section B, 10. Late Recognition.) And this approach is also encouraging to us. Because if we find an antiChrist/s in the past, at least we know that whatever terrible devastation he/they caused then, it is safely in the past.
If anyone says to you then, Lo, here is the Christ ... do not believe it.
For false Christs and false prophets will arise, and they will show great signs and wonders so as to deceive and lead astray,
if possible, even the elect ...
Matthew 24:21, 23-24 (Amp.)
What do we find when we look back in this way? Well, sadly, there is one man whose name springs to mind - Adolf Hitler. Was he not insane enough to lead the way into more End-Time ruin than we have seen before or since? He has at least one rival though, for Joseph Stalin actually carried out more genocide than Hitler. (And in Stalin's case, this was done to his fellow-Soviets at that.) Also, there was a grievous toll taken among the Chinese during the years in which Mao Zedung (Tse-tung) ruled that country.
Consider the following Prophecy about the antiChrist:
And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth ...What a strange way this antiChrist is to be killed! For just a moment we see the true Christ pictured as a dragon. Clearly, the Scripture doesn't mean that. But what does it mean? Isaiah writes of the coming Messiah in terms very similar to the above:
II Thessalonians 2:8 (NAS 1975)
... He shall smite the earth and the oppressor with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.What is being said, surely, is that the Prince of Peace is a Prince of non-violence. While the most wicked use the most violence to get their way, our Lord will achieve His purpose simply by the power of His word. He will speak to the antiChrist (but using devastating arguments) and the antiChrist will duly be devastated.
Isaiah 11:4 (Amp.)
So why doesn't the Scripture say something like, "The Lord is too decent to lay one of His fingers on the antiChrist in punishment; the Lord's Retribution will come in the form of words"? Is it because the above Prophecy is giving us a Hint? Saying that there would indeed be lethal "breath" - it would come in the form of the poison gas used to such horrible effect by Hitler's regime in the Holocaust. Hinting that the most infamous of the antiChrists would employ that awful means of slaughter?
^ We might then, agree that Hitler was one arch-antiChrist figure. But before we declare that our search is over, we ought to ask, How many antiChrists is it that we're looking for? The following Scripture points to the idea that, in the End-Time, we would be able to make out three such figures:
And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs ... which go out to the kings of the whole world ...Surely the suggestion here is that there would be three leaders ("kings") whose words will have an evil effect. To be leaders, they would have the gift of rhetoric, they would sway people with their speeches. But the holy John, who witnessed this vision, "saw" that the real spirit proceeding from them would be as cold and repellent as frogs.
Revelation 16:13-14 (NAS 1975)
Which End-Time leaders can we recognize from these unflattering descriptions? Let us start with Hitler: he fired the people of Germany with hope, but it was a false hope. So the label of "false prophet" could fairly be attached to him. Cold War Russia was usually portrayed as the bear. As you may be aware, at least 20 million people perished under Stalin's murderous rule(2-1). The title of "beast" for this ruthless ruler of the "bear" would seem to fit, therefore. That leaves the "dragon." Earlier in Revelation (12:3), the dragon is said to be a "great red dragon" (NAS 1975). Could this then be a Chinese Communist dragon, maybe? Mao Zedung was another leader who deceived a whole nation: he wanted them to think Maoism was the only answer to China's problems. But the cold-hearted godlessness of his regime led to such evils as compulsory abortion(2-2) - enforced until recently when couples in China have had their first child (please see Revelation 12:4).
So here is some good news. Good for Jews, Poles, Slavs, Gypsies, Russians, Chinese, and the rest of us (bad news for Fascism, Communism, and any other "-ism" that tries to exclude God from the picture). It's largely over. Those three main antiChrist figures - Hitler, Stalin, Mao - diabolical in their destructiveness, are safely out of the way. (Their wicked traits disappeared in the Refiner's Fire - another kind of "breath" - which purged these poor men, while God redeemed them from the evil they had fallen into. Praise the Lord for saving even these "worst examples"!)
We should not forget though, many Christians have pointed out that the last few years of the End-Time will see an antiChrist [or antiChrists] at work. And events like 9-11 give us strong indications that this is the case.
5. Prophecies: "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy ..." Acts 2:17 (KJV).
In 1853, an 11 year-old Armenian boy (Efim Gerasemovitch Klubinken) was told by God that there would be a devastating threat to his country(3). The only answer would be to escape, he learned, and that's what he told his people. By 1900, the Boy Prophet (as they called him) was 58 years of age. Shortly after this, he announced that the time had come for the Prophecy to be fulfilled. His Pentecostal friends believed him! Many families duly left Armenia for the West coast of the United States. And so they were rescued; because in 1914 the Turks swept the land of Armenia, and a great many people lost their earthly lives in a wave of genocide.
Prophecy didn't end with the Bible, as you see - it's still going on today. Believe it or not, here and there, concerning little things and big, God is revealing the future.
^ 6. Miracles in Answer to Prayer: "And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath ..." Acts 2:19 (KJV).
When the Jewish leaders asked Jesus for a "sign," they were looking for a great Miracle to prove that He was the Messiah. (He had already given many such signs, by means of the Healings bestowed through Him.)
Today many people can testify about answers they have received to prayer: of loved ones healed from cancer and other "incurable" conditions, for example. The writer has personally witnessed a number of Healings and other works of God - sufficient to convince him that no problem we can have is too large for God.
We are told to expect Jesus to heal us:
"But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings."God's Providence can be seen at work today. Praise God.
Malachi 4:2 (TLB)
1. The Events of 1917: A number of momentous things happened in 1917 - 3 to 3½ years from the start of WWI. On November 7 of that year the Communist movement took control in Russia. On December 9 Jerusalem gained a kind of liberation. But already, on May 13, there had been a great blessing - three young children in Portugal first saw our Lady of Fatima.
Is it possible that these three events are, in a way, linked?
Suddenly a red Dragon appeared ...
His tail drew along behind him a third of the stars,
which he plunged to the earth ...
... he persecuted the woman who had given birth to the child.
... she was ... to fly into the wilderness ...
where she was cared for and protected from the Serpent,
the Dragon, for three and a half years.
Revelation 12:3-4,13-14 (TLB)
^ The Russian revolution was the "Red" Revolution. Can we see this violent upheaval as marking the birth of "a red Dragon," in this case Communism as a whole? Not only does the period of time - onset of WWI to Communist rule - match the above Prophecy, but so too does the extent of that system. For as we all know, Communism spread. It was at its peak around 1980, when 16 countries were officially classing themselves as Communist.
What proportion of earth's population did the people then living in these 16 countries comprise? One third.(4, 5)
And finally, the most populous of those 16 nations is China - the "Land of the Dragon."
(Can we attune our spiritual ears to these wonderful signs? Because God is telling us things we need to know.)
By taking property out of private hands, Communists hoped to promote equality among their people. Equality is a noble ideal, surely one that every decent heart the world over warms to. Communist regimes however, gave themselves a bad name in past decades by ruling heavyhandedly. (We don't need to get self-righteous about this - excessive force was not confined to Marxist/Maoist countries. But perhaps we can see at least something of the "red Dragon's" influence in their tyrannical leanings?)
Remembering that "true disciples" of Karl Marx tend to reject Christianity, does this not suggest that the problem is with the atheism that underlies Communism?
The chapter quoted from above begins as follows:
And a great sign was seen in heaven,One interpretation of the mysterious "woman" of Revelation chapter 12 is that she stands for Israel. For Israel to be reborn as a state, a key first step was the freeing of the city of Jerusalem from the Turks - in 1917. Can we see a hint in later verses of chapter 12 about this rebirth? For it says that the woman "gave birth" to a "male child" in verses 5 and 13 (NIV) - two references to a birth. Verses 7-8 could be hinting at the removal of an enemy from Jerusalem - they speak of a war in which "the dragon's" forces are defeated, and - "... neither was a place found for them any longer ..." (NWT).
a woman arrayed with the sun ...
Revelation 12:1 (NWT)
The liberation of Jerusalem (December 9, 1917) gave concrete form to Jewish hopes. (These hopes were already underpinned by the Balfour Declaration of the previous month, which spoke of "a national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine.) Once Jerusalem was opened up, the Zionists' goal of a mass return of Jews to the Land was clearly in view.
In May of that same year, Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta were shepherding their parents' sheep near Fatima, Portugal. They received a vision of the Mother of Jesus(7). In this and five more Visits (May 13 to October 13), our Lady affirmed Her Son as our Lord and Savior, warned them of the trouble the world was in, and urged that they (and we) should pray. On the final visit, there were some 70,000 other witnesses at the scene. They too were given a vision: the sun (or what they took to be the sun) was seen to "dance in the heavens." Of course, not all believed, but many did. If we open our hearts and minds, doesn't this remind us of the wording of Revelation 12:1, quoted above?
^ So we had a revolution in "Mother Russia," freedom in the Holy Land's mother city, and credible reports from Fatima of a visit by the Mother of Jesus. All in 1917, all close to the 3½ year prophetic period spent by the "woman" in the "wilderness" of WWI. Something to think about?
And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings ... a second, like to a bear ... and it had three ribs in its mouth ...Before going any further, we should note that, millennia ago, there was a fulfillment of this "four beast" Prophecy(8). But we are concerned here to see if there is an End-Time fulfillment.
Daniel 7:3-5 (JPS)
Please consider the following points: The emblem of the USA is the eagle, while Russia, as we said above, was seen as the bear. Both creatures were part of Daniel's dream. And the lion? Well as "king of the beasts," it would denote that America is now in the No.1 position. At the same time the British emblem of the lion reminds us that the USA has colonial origins and also has an underlying faith (the Lion of Judah being one of the Messiah's titles).
As for the three ribs in the mouth of the bear, in 1940 Russia took over three of her small neighbors: Under the cover of WWII, the countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were taken into the USSR. These days we do well not to underrate her influence, recalling that in terms of size Russia alone is the largest territory in the world.
In third place should we not put China - with the greatest population on earth, and having a great industrial base?
And the third beast?
China also consists of four main ethnic strands (plus some 6-7 million Mongolians and other races), and the languages spoken by the Chinese peoples come from four different groups. (Peoples = Han, Tibetan, Uigur, and Zhuang. Language groups = Sino-Tibetan, Altaic, Indo-European, and Austro-Asiatic. See Wikipedia: Languages of Asia.)
Finally, one "flying creature" that has four wings is the dragonfly, whose name has us thinking of the well-loved Chinese dragon.
^ This is all fitting together, isn't it? And the last beast?
... a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible ... and it had great iron teeth ... and it had ten horns.With the wisdom of hindsight, is it not possible to identify the seat of the aggression that brought WWI and WWII - is it not here in this iron-toothed beast? Europe was at the center of these world wars. And although Europe at the beginning of the 20th century was just a collection of separate countries, that is no longer the case.
Daniel 7:7 (JPS)
This vision of Daniel, surely, is looking forward to a future unity in Europe? (This has not been fully realized, and the reader may like or even dislike the fact, but a growing unity did seem to prevail in the 20th century.) The ten horns would match the European Economic Community (as the EC was then known) in the years 1981 to 1986. Then the EEC consisted of these 10 nations: Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland, the UK, and West Germany. (Noted later, in 2017 - it looks like this unity may have peaked, with Britain currently negotiating to exit the European Union, as the alliance became known.)
So there we have the fourth element in Daniel's dream. And Daniel was told (in verses 17-27 of chapter 7) that these beasts represented four world powers; the timing is given at the end of this passage: it is prior to the establishment of God's government on earth.
Isn't it amazing that the four greatest powers on the world scene today can be found in a 2,600 year-old Scripture?
"Well," you may say, "there is surely a fifth member that should not be excluded from any list of outstanding world powers? Namely the economic miracle that is Japan?"
Right. And if you look elsewhere in the Book of Daniel, you will find Japan. Back in chapter 2, there's a five part statue that also represents world powers - the first four could be seen to fit the above list.
As for that image, its head was of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of brass,Again the "iron" could be seen as a reference to Europe, and in WWII Germany had a major ally in Japan. Could Japan be the "clay" in this figure? Archeologists tell us that Japan has some of the earliest known sites of pottery making - remains found there suggest that Japan was using clay as early as 10,000 BCE or so(9).
its legs of iron, its feet part of iron, and part of clay.
America, the USSR, China, Europe, and Japan. Four political powers and a fifth economic power - there in Scripture, complete in every detail. Praise God!
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