Quartet: US-led Mideast talks 'irreversible'; Things to look for in the future of Bible prophecy
"The refurbished Saudi peace plan - or ultimatum - offers 100 years of dhimmitude, the term for the protected but inferior and vulnerable status of non-Moslem religious and ethnic groupings in Islamic society. It purports to offer normal diplomatic and political relations between Israel and the entire Islamic world if Israel goes back to its 1948 borders and accepts the principle of repatriation of the Palestinian refugees. If Israel does not accept these terms, the subtext is quite clear: The Islamic world retains the option of remaining hostile to our existence. " Israel Insider
"The Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators said on Monday there was no turning back from US-led talks between the Israelis and Palestinians even though they have failed so far to produce a peace agreement." Ynet News
As Christian's, we know where this peace agreement is leading, and it's not peace! For years, prophecy experts have declared that Israel would be forced into a peace agreement that the world would impose upon them. The November of 2007 Annapolis conference was just the first stage of this process.
US President-elect Obama has offered an umbrella of security for Israel against an Iranian nuclear attack in an attempt to persuade Israeli citizens their security will be guaranteed. The Palestinian government is embarking upon a public relations scheme (billboards) to persuade Israelis that peace in exchange for land is a good thing.
There is no question in my mind that peace is coming very soon. It may not be the Arab peace plan, which most Israelis oppose, but when the Antichrist comes forward, they will accept his plan...although with skepticism.
As we head toward the new year, and the ascension of a number of possible new leaders, here are a few things that we should keep our eyes on:
Rapture of the church: The rapture could happen at any moment. I say this in the same spirit that the Bible teaches it...Christians need to live dedicated Christian lives with this in mind, and those who don't know the Lord, your time is running out. From time to time I will get e-mails from individuals who claim that the pre-tribulation rapture is not Biblical and is of the devil. They claim that this belief will catch Christians unaware and cause many to fall away. Unfortunately, they do not understand the power of the Holy Spirit that lives within every Christian. There is absolutely no historical record of mass defections of Christians under persecution. In fact, just the opposite is true. Christianity has proven to flourish during times of persecution. That won't change during the tribulation period where virtually hundreds of millions of people will come to know the Lord through the preaching of the 144,000 witnesses. The only way that a so-called (professing only) Christian will fall away during the tribulation is if they do not have the Holy Spirit residing within them. If that's the case, they are absolutely not a Christian...and never were! I'm sorry, but the Bible is clear that not everyone who professes or claims to be a Christian is (Matthew 7:21).
Who will win Israel's prime minister election: A new Israeli prime minister will be elected in early 2009 (February). The front runners at this time are Foreign Minister and Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni and former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Livni would be the internationally preferred choice since she is pro-peace and already involved in the process. Netanyahu, on the other hand, has in the past been a hardliner who has opposed land for peace deals due to their ineffectiveness. Frankly, I'm not sure it matters which one becomes prime minister since the world has no intention of letting ME peace pass them by. Many believe if peace between the Palestinians and Israelis were achieved it would bring peace to the entire Islamic world...and in the long run... bring world peace.
US President Barack Obama will take office in January 2009: We can only speculate what role President Obama will play in end times prophecy but you can bet it will be significant. Some have gone so far as to say he will turn out to be the Antichrist. Although I hold another view, I certainly cannot count him out. In the little time that we have known Mr. Obama, he has been called a messiah figure, garnered massive crowds at home and abroad, is being looked to to lead the world out of economic disaster and bring peace to the Middle East, and has offered Israel guaranteed protection from attacks by their enemies. He definitely bears keeping an eye on.
French President Nicholas Sarkozy ends his EU rotating presidency December 31, 2008: Here is another individual that you need to keep your eye on. Although he has not received the level of international publicity Mr. Obama has experienced, he fits many criteria for the Antichrist. If you are one that believes that the Antichrist must be Jewish...he is. In a visit to Israel in early 2008, where incidentally they love him, he volunteered his services as a serious peacemaker. Since then, he has proven himself to be the go to guy when it comes to international diplomacy. In recent international news, there have been rumblings that the US will give way to the European Union in 2009 to play a lead role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Don't look for Mr. Sarkozy to go away...he could be the first permanent European Union President and bring peace to the Middle East. Many Bible scholars believe that the Antichrist will rise up out of the European Union (Daniel 9:27).
The Global Economy: "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come." (II Timothy 3:1) There is no question in my mind that we are living in a very turbulent and dangerous time globally. The world is ripe for accepting a messiah figure unlike any other time in history. One who will lead this world out of a perceived eventual nuclear holocaust and a downward spiraling global economy. It is only under the conditions of Israel returning as a nation (Ezekiel 37:10-14; Amos 9:14-15; Isaiah 43:5-6) and regaining Jerusalem (Zechariah 8:7-8), which has become a sticking point to peace (Zechariah 12:3), that this global turbulence has significance. The Great Depression nor World War II could not have been viewed as signs of the beginning of the tribulation period since Israel was not yet a nation. There are many more signs that are now present that were not so prior to Israel's rebirth (see signs video).
What does the Bible say about the economy during the last days? The Bible does not directly key upon the state of the economy other than to say that just before the end it would be like the days of Noah where "they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark". (Matthew 24:38) This leads me to believe that the economy, although it may spiral out of control, will recover to a manageable level at some point. Also, if you remember, Revelation 14, 17 & 18 speaks of the fall of a last days economic giant called Mystery Babylon. The Bible says that this wealthy nation was responsible for making the whole world rich (Revelation 18). The description of this nation alone leads me to believe that at least the early stages of the tribulation period will be economically sound. But toward the middle of the tribulation, Mystery Babylon will be destroyed likely being the catalyst that plunges the world into economic ruin. But weep not for this nation for its destruction will be God ordained (Revelation 17:15-18). It should also be noted, when the two witnesses are killed, the whole world will give presents to each other in celebration (Revelation 11:8-10). Again, not a sign of economic ruin to this point.
Personally, I believe the Bible supports that the Antichrist will come on the scene during a time of great peril (terrorism) and economic instability (global recession bordering upon depression) when Israel is in the process of making peace with its Islamic enemies. When the rapture takes place, this major global event will send an already downward spiraling world to a new level. Global markets will further descend to new lows and world leaders will be at a loss for answers...all but one. It will be during this time of uncertainty that this mystery man will be born. He will, through the demonic power of Satan, lead the world out of what will be seen as certain chaos and back to a sense of normalcy...for a short while that is.
The Holy Spirit: When the rapture takes place, the true church will be taken from the world along with the Holy Spirit. This will be the first time in church history that the Holy Spirit will not be here protecting the world from Satan (II Thessalonians 2:3-9). This is why it is very difficult to determine what will happen or the swiftness for which events will takes place following the rapture. One thing is for sure, we have never lived in or experienced a world absent of the protecting power of the Holy Spirit. This is why I believe that things and events will dramatically change following the rapture of the church leading up to the start of the tribulation period. Even though you may not think that we are at this point ready to except the changes necessary to lead us into the tribulation period, when Christians are taken, Satan will do everything in his God ordained power to quickly bring about his kingdom. And yes, the Holy Spirit will return during the tribulation period starting with the preaching of the two witnesses.
Are you ready to meet the Lord? If not, your time is running out!
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