Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Signs of the Times Prophetic Forum

Bill Salus

What Lamb & Lion Means To Me

Bill Salus: Congratulations go out whole-heartedly to Lamb & Lion Ministries on their 1000th article. Dr. David Reagan, Nathan Jones and the entire Lamb & Lion team have been one of the greatest sources of teaching, encouragement, and prayer that I have ever known. Prophecy Depot Ministries looks up to Lamb & Lion Ministries as our role model ministry. The Lord has greatly blessed Dr. Reagan with humility, wisdom, and love and it has been an extreme honor, and inspiration to share speaking platforms with him in the past. I look forward to many more quality articles from Lamb & Lion until the Lord returns to Rapture us.

Guest Article: "Signs of the Times Prophetic Forum"

Recently Dr. David Reagan, the founder of Lamb & Lion Ministries, released an excellent Bible prophecy book called The Man of Lawlessness, The Antichrist in the Tribulation. In his book, Dr. Reagan interviewed a panel of 22 respected end-time's experts. The general consensus of this who's who of Bible prophecy panel was that the Antichrist is alive today, but won't be revealed until after the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, and he won't be a Jew or a Muslim, but rather he will be a Gentile that comes out of the revived Roman Empire, probably the European Union of today.

Dr. David Reagan is now writing another follow up book, and like the one above, will include answers from a panel of experts. Again, he has asked me to be on the panel. Below you can preview the 11 questions he is asking, and my responses to them.

1) Do you believe we are living in the season of the Lord's return, and if so, why?

Yes, I believe we sit squarely in the season of the Lord's return. Increased natural disasters, heightened rumors of Middle East wars, and collapsing global economies all pave the way for the rise of the Antichrist, and ultimately the return of the Lord to end his tyrannical rule. In fact presently, every weapon is fashioned, technology developed, empire-revived, and confederate-alliance-formed, enabling all end time's prophecies to be fulfilled.

Concerning "the Lord's return," it is important to point out that Christ actually return's twice; first in the Rapture of the believers, (1 Corinthians 15:51-52, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18) and subsequently in His glorious second coming in judgment (Matthew 24:30), which is followed by the establishment of His 1000 year messianic kingdom (Revelation 20:4). Concerning the Rapture, the apostle Paul taught the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 4:15, 17) that it was an imminent event that could occur even during his lifetime. Thus, now we are approximately 2000 years closer to the fulfillment of this prophecy that could happen in any twinkling of an eye moment.

Unlike the Rapture, the second coming is not an imminent event, but happens about seven years after the Antichrist confirms a covenant with Israel. (Daniel 9:27, Isaiah 28:15, 18). This means the nation of Israel had to be rebirthed prior. This prerequisite condition was fulfilled on May 14, 1948. Moreover, Christ's Second Advent comes approximately three and-a-half years after the Antichrist enters into a future Jewish Temple and commits the abomination of desolation prophesied by the prophet Daniel. (Matthew 24:15, Daniel 9:27, 12:11). A tell-tale sign that the Second Coming draws near is that the Jews are hoping to construct this temple soon. The fact that Israel captured East Jerusalem, the location of the first and second temples, in June, 1967 makes the construction of a third temple feasible.

2) What do you consider to be the single most important sign of the times, and why?

The super-sign of the end times is the existence of the nation of Israel, and this was pointed out by Christ in Matthew 24:32-34 in the parable of the fig tree. Through the parable He taught that some future generation would be able to claim that the long list of prophecies predicted in Matthew 24 had found fulfillment. By instructing His disciples to "learn" the parable, which identified Israel through a familiar Old Testament typology of the fig tree, Christ elevated this prophecy to the forefront of all the last day's prophecies He discussed.

3) What do you consider to be the second most important sign, and why?

There are many other secondary signs to choose from including the existence of the IDF in preparation to fulfill the prophecies of Ezekiel 25:14, 37:10, Obadiah 1:18, the rekindled "Ancient Arab Hatred" of the Jews in Ezekiel 25:15, and 35:5, the inseparable national relations of Russia and Iran as predicted in Ezekiel 38:1-5. But, topping the list from my viewpoint has to be the "Luke Warm" condition of the Christian Church today.

Christ warned in the letter to Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-22 that the last day's condition of the Church would be nauseating. In fact He said in Revelation 3:17 that it would be wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. In this apostate condition the Church would treat Christ as a stranger rather than acknowledge Him as the Savior. He portrayed Himself standing outside the doors of the unrepentant Church knocking to get back in (Revelation 3:20).

The professing Church has been on a downward slide for about a century, but the relatively recent emergence of the "Emergent Church," is the tombstone of the dead church. Merging Christianity with New Age mysticism, Islam, and ancient Eastern religions, the Emergent Church epitomizes the warnings issued to Laodicea.

4) How do you interpret Matthew 24:32-35?

Many respected Bible prophecy experts believe that these verses imply that the final world generation exists when Israel becomes reestablished as a nation. Generally, they tag 70-years, or 100-years on to May of 1948 when Israel was rebirthed, or June of 1967 when East Jerusalem was recaptured by the IDF, and suggest that's when the world ends.

Unwittingly, this type of teaching date sets a Pretribulation Rapture. For instance, adding 70-years to May, 1948 means that May, 2018 could be the end of the world. But herein is the problem with this idea; the world as we know it can't end until the Rapture occurs, and is sometime thereafter followed by 7-years of Tribulation. If May, 2018 was the drop-dead date for the end of the world, then the Rapture should have occurred before May, 2011 and the Tribulation should have already commenced. Since this commentary is being composed on May, 2012, and since the 7-years of tribulation have not yet begun, the end of the world won't be in May, 2018.

This same example applies in every instance whether 1948 or 1967 is used as a start date. Pick any date for the end of the world by adding a biblical generation to 1948 or 1967 and move backward from that date 7-years. If there is a Pretribulation Rapture it must occur on or before that hypothesized date.

Conversely, I don't believe these passages date set when a final generation exists; rather they simply inform us that a final generation will exist. After drawing attention to Israel as the super-sign of the end times in Matthew 24:32, Christ says in verse 34, "Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place."

This beckons the question of "What things was the Messiah alluding to?" Certainly the main thing Christ alluded to was the nation of Israel as the parable of the fig tree, but the Lord didn't say "When you see that sole thing, the final generation exists." Christ alluded to everything that He had predicted throughout Matthew 24:2-29, 32.

The point I believe the Lord was making, is that some generation will be able to say, "Yes, everything that Jesus Christ predicted in the Olivet Discourse has found fulfillment with 100% accuracy." That generation will be the Tribulation Generation that can say all the prophecies can be read about in the history books.

The final generation will be able to declare that "the Jewish temple was destroyed in 70 AD fulfilling Matthew 24:2, and it was rebuilt again and subsequently desecrated by the Antichrist fulfilling Matthew 24:15. Furthermore there were false Christ's, rumors of war, World Wars (nation against nation), Middle East wars (kingdom against kingdom), and an abundance of earthquakes worldwide."

The generation that can declare that all the Matthew 24:2-29, 32 prophecies have found final fulfillment will be able to say there is only one more main prophecy that we await, and that is the glorious Second Coming of Christ (Matthew 24:30). That final generation will have nothing else to watch for, or hope in, but the return of the Lord to remedy the heinous condition of mankind; and indeed He Comes!

5) How do you interpret Daniel 12:4?

When interpreting Daniel 12:4, I find it helpful to split the verse into two sections as follows;

"But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; (Daniel 12:4a) many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase." (Daniel 12:4b)

Daniel 12:4a informs that the prophetic information of Daniel 12:1-3 would find fulfillment in a future generation, rather than his. Daniel 12:1-3 contained both good and bad news. The bad news was that Daniel's people, the Jews, would experience an unprecedented period of travail as a nation. The good news was that through that tribulation a faithful remnant of Jews would emerge. Moreover, Daniel 12:2-3 informed of a future resurrection of the dead that would be followed by a divine judgment. The resurrected righteous would be rewarded with everlasting life, but the unrighteous would be escorted to everlasting shame and contempt.

The instruction issued to Daniel in 12:4a to "shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end," essentially orders him to let these specific prophetic matters rest, because there full discernment would be accomplished by a future generation, which is identified in Daniel 12:4b.

Daniel 12:4b provided comforting news to Daniel by informing him that some generation would greatly glean from his prophecies. Those discerning his prophecies and benefiting from them in the time of the end, would be traveling to and fro, and knowledge would be readily available to them.

Today's eschatologists have the advantage of understanding the intended ramifications of Daniel 12:4b. With the advent of planes, trains, and automobiles prophecy buffs can get to any teaching venue they desire expeditiously. Moreover, present technologies enable the flow of information via a plethora of media sources, including the Internet, and TV. Knowledge began to increase with the invention of Gutenberg's printing press around 1439. This enabled the Bible and other related readings to reach the masses.

Above all, I believe that Daniel 12:4b teaches that his prophecies would be discerned at the appropriate time; when they made sense, and were needed to inform and equip the final generation. What was important for Daniel to know was not that people would be able to scoot around all over the world, or be able to get information at the touch of a button, but that his prophecies would be understood and applied at the necessary time. Presently, Bible prophecy teachers like Dr. David Reagan, Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Nathan Jones, and a host of others are discerning Daniel's important prophecies, and at just the right time, in the time of the end.

6) How do you interpret Daniel 12:8-9?

Daniel 12:8-9 needs to be understood contextually with all of Daniel 12:5-13. Subsequent to his instructions in Daniel 12:4 to "shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end," Daniel overheard more troubling details about when the power of his people would be shattered. The period of travail described in Daniel 12:1 would occur within the abbreviated timespan of three and-a-half years. (Daniel 12:5-7). This news must have deeply disturbed Daniel, which in turn prompted him to ask in verse 8, "My lord, what shall be the end of these things?" Daniel is reminded in verse 9, like he had been in verse 4, that this information was intended for a future generation, rather than his.

Daniel 12:9-12 informs that the final three and-a-half years of his seventieth week identified in Daniel 9:27, will be started when the Antichrist goes into the third Jewish temple and commits the abomination of desolation that Christ forewarned about in Matthew 24:15. In Daniel 12:10, the prophet is reminded of his words to Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2:21b, which is that "He (the Lord) gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding." This was a good news reminder to Daniel that his prophecies would be appropriately discerned by the wise in the time of the end.

In summary, Daniel 12:13 below describes the Lord's benevolent plan for Daniel, which adequately explains why the Hebrew prophet was to simply "shut up the words, and seal the book" in verse 4, and peacefully "Go your way" in verse 9. "But you, (Daniel) go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days." (Daniel 12:13, nkjv).

7) Do you believe God is speaking today through signs of nature? Explain your answer.

Yes, I do believe another tell-tale sign of the end times is evident in what is taking place in nature. Christ warned about earthquakes in various places in Matthew 24:7, and great earthquakes in Luke 21:11. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), "It is estimated that there are 500,000 detectable earthquakes in the world each year. 100,000 of those can be felt, and 100 of them cause damage."

Increased earthquakes are only one sign of the end times within nature. An additional interesting anomaly that suggests another end time's prophecy is stage-setting is the birds of prey phenomena occurring in Israel. Griffon Vultures and many other types of birds that normally migrated through Israel have begun to nest and settle in the Jewish state as of recent. Gary Fisher of Lion of Judah Ministry has been studying this phenomenon, and believes that this bizarre bird phenomenon could mean that the birds of prey are gathering in preparation for the sacrificial meal of Ezekiel 39:4, 17. Many eschatologists believe that the Ezekiel 38 and 39 Gog of Magog invasion of Israel is nearing fulfillment.

8) What do you consider to be the most important technological development from an end time prophetic viewpoint? And why?

The Internet would be my top candidate for the most important technological development from an end time prophetic viewpoint. Via the Internet, news streams can be seen worldwide, information can be collected and transferred swiftly, and email and social networks can communicate targeted messages to intended recipients.

Through the Internet all of mankind can watch the lifeless bodies of the two witnesses of Revelation 11:3-11, lie dead in the streets of Jerusalem for three and-a-half days. Moreover, the Antichrist can conduct his cashless society of Revelation 13:16-17 through Internet related GPS tracking methods. Most importantly, the Internet enables the word of God, and Christian commentaries to be transmitted exponentially throughout the world to interested parties, which appears to partially fulfill Daniel 12:4b, (the increase of knowledge).

9) Do you believe the development of the European Union is a fulfillment of end time prophecy?

Yes, I believe the existence of the E.U. today sets the stage for the final fulfillment of the prophecies of Daniel 2:40-44, 7:7-8, 23-24, 9:26-27, Revelation 17:11, and elsewhere that called for a fourth Gentile Empire to be revived in the last days. The four Gentile Empires were Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Thus, the revival of the fourth Gentile Empire applies to ancient Roman Empire, which finds its closest association with today's EU.

Daniel 7:23-24 predicted that a global government would form out of the fourth Gentile Empire, and that it would ultimately morph into a ten-division state. There exists differing views as to the composition of the ten-division state. Some believe Europe is ultimately divided into ten nations, while others believe the world is split into ten regions. I embrace the latter view, but recommend the following books for further information on this subject.

God's Plan For The Ages, by Dr. David Reagan, pages 81-85 of the "Empires in Prophecy" chapter. And, The Footsteps of the Messiah, by Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, pages 125-129 of "The Sequence of Pretribulational Events" chapter.

10) Do you believe there are signs of the times that are unique to our day?

Yes, most definitely I believe that many signs are end times specific. For instance, Russian and Iranian national relations have never been stronger. This sets the stage for the fulfillment of the prophecies in Ezekiel 38 and 39. Also, the fact that Israel has nuclear weapons makes the destruction of Damascus predicted in Isaiah 17:1 entirely possible. Isaiah 17:9 suggests that Israel is responsible for this destruction, and Isaiah 17:14 foretells the destruction occurs swiftly, seemingly overnight.

Additionally, On July 26, 2006 a thousand-year-old Book of Psalms was discovered by a construction worker in a bog in Ireland. The book was found opened ominously to Psalm 83, which contains a prophecy concerning an Arab confederacy that wants to wipe Israel off of the map. This could be a tell-tale sign that the Psalm 83 Arab — Israel war is about to happen because the find, which was heralded as the "Irish Dead Sea Scroll discovery" at the time, occurred when the 34-day Hezbollah conflict with Israel was occurring. Hezbollah, represented by the "inhabitants of Tyre," seems to be described in the Psalm. I believe this miraculous occurrence was providential rather than coincidental.

There is no shortage of specific signs that are unique to our day and the list above only covers three of them. As stated earlier, one of the most telling signs of the end time's is the "Luke Warm" condition of the Christian Church. Throughout varying intervals of Church history there have been indications of apostasy occurring, but what we witness today with the sanctioning of Lesbian ministers and gay bishops, and the push to embrace Chrislam, and the Emergent Church, is clear evidence that we are uniquely residing at the end of the end times.

11) The Bible speaks of spiritual signs of the end times, both positive and negative in nature. Which do you consider to be the most important and why?

By far and away, I believe the rebirth of the nation Israel is the most positive sign of them all. The survival of the Jews after repeated persecution and genocidal attempts, coupled with the fact that they again exist in the Promised Land today, undeniably demonstrates that the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a promise-keeper. The Lord made an unconditional promise to Abraham in Genesis 15 and elsewhere that he would have descendants and a homeland forever. As of May 14, 1948 this is the case.

The fact that Israel exists today should remind Christians that they worship a promise keeping God. This is important for them to recognize because the assurance of their eternal salvation hangs on the premise of a gift of grace promised by the God of Abraham in Ephesians 2:8-9 below.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (nkjv).

Christians are not saved of themselves according to these verses, but need the Lord to apply the gift of His grace for the fulfillment of their salvation. If God was finished with the Jew, as replacement theologians teach, then that would mean he broke an unconditional covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If God was done with the Jew, then what stops Him from being done with you?

Fortunately, the Lord is not done with the Jew or you, if you're a born again Christian, which leads to the next positive sign of the end times, and that's the imminent return of Christ in the Rapture for us. Ultimately, this will surpass the reestablishment of the nation Israel as the super-sign of the end times. Are you ready to be Raptured?


Unknown said...

Eleven questions that I'd like to see the answers to from my own pastor and some other "big names" in evangelicalism. Thanks for all the good articles.

David Ward said...

I agree with Anonymous. Too many church leaders shy away from talking about the end times. Maranatha!

Anonymous said...

Love the question & answer article but I feel led to say: I'm getting tired of "Bible Folk" using the term "prediction" or "predicted" regarding the prophesies of God. Predictions often do not come true.
I prefer the word "foretold" because THAT is what Jesus did. He foretold us of certanties, He did not make predictions. We need to get it through our tiny human heads: This stuff is happening and is going to continue unabated until all the things FORETOLD by our Savior come to pass. My 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

Come Lord Jesus! Excellent article. I passed it on to my husband.

Jacob George said...

Hi Nathan

I am an avid follower of your website.I do have a question...the rebirth of the Roman Empire ..maybe today under the flagship of EU ..but there is an issue here..where would be the capital ...Rome seems out of question ...and humanism is not aggressive as something of a faith like Islam..how would the AntiChrist unite his followers..is it through a blend of humanism and New Age?

Thankyou and keep up the good work


Nathan Jones said...

Thank you for those encouraging words, Jax! So good to hear the website's been a blessing to you.

That's where the Great Prostitute of Revelation 17. We don't know exactly what that one-world end times religion that will exist during the first half of the Tribulation will comprise, but here are some theories.

Anonymous said...

thanks for such an informative succinct article that is clear and laid out in an orderly manner. We pray that it will happen right directly.