Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Chronology of Apocalypse: The First Half of Tribulation

The further we proceed into the prophetic future, the more speculative are my interpretations. Generally, after doing some double checking, I go with whatever strikes "my gut" after reading the descriptions in the text. I am satisfied that I am at least in the ballpark concerning what these things mean. They weren't meant to be all that mysterious after all.

Either just before or just after the Rapture, the Antichrist, as leader of the 10 nations, will seal a treaty between his alliance and Israel. Although the details of the pact are not known at this time, it will have a treaty period of seven years, and it can be inferred that it will allow Israel to rebuild the Temple and attempt to reinstate the OT sacrificial system. This will signal the advent of Daniel's 70th week and the concluding of God's promises to him concerning the people of Israel and Jerusalem. The seventh seal has been broken.

At that time, Enoch and Elijah will begin prophesying in Jerusalem, speaking a message that must be antagonistic toward the world, toward unbelief in Israel, and toward the Antichrist. Though no one in the world appreciates their message, no one can do anything to stop them. While they are prophesying, 144,000 sealed and protected Messianic Jews are present (probably in Israel) having whatever redemptive affect they may have on the Jewish people.

Shortly thereafter, fiery hail will fall upon the earth (probably the aftereffect of the volcanic cataclysm which was the sixth seal) and a third of earth's vegetation will be lost. The first trumpet has sounded.

Then, an asteroid will strike one of earth's oceans, polluting a third of the seas, killing a third of the life therein, and sinking a third of the ships sailing the seas (perhaps as a result of tsunamis). The second trumpet has sounded.

On the heels of that asteroid strike, another will fall, maybe in a lake (like the Great Lakes) or upon land, but definitely not in the ocean, and its aftereffect will be the pollution of a third of the fresh water on Earth. Note: I do not see the megastar presented as the proximate cause of this catastrophe as necessarily an angel, even though specified stars in the Apocalypse generally are. The third trumpet has sounded.

Probably as a result of the ejecta of these asteroid strikes, a third of the light of the sun, moon and stars will be darkened. The fourth trumpet has sounded.

Then a tremendously annoying but not deadly disease will spread throughout the earth. Its tortuous symptoms will last five months. I doubt the inhabitants of the earth will suspect the demonic origin of the epidemic, anymore than they suspect that kind of thing in disease now. The fifth trumpet has sounded and the demons have been loosed upon earth.

Not long afterward (nothing could be since we're only dealing with a total of 3 1/2 years in this entire section), a third of the human race alive at that time will be overcome by what appears to be pyroclastic flows or the volcanic aftereffects of the cataclysm of seal six and/or the asteroids of trumpets two and three. Ground Zero for this event will be the Euphrates River, but the spread of the effect is not detailed (although I speculate it would be easterly toward the populations of India and China). As with trumpet five, I doubt the inhabitants of the earth will suspect the demonic origin of the catastrophe. The sixth trumpet has sounded.

For whatever reason (having undergone what is described above may be reason enough), Egypt will rebel against the Antichrist and his alliance. The Antichrist will lead a response of such cold-blooded, lethal and overwhelming force that the heart of any other potential rebel will find itself without resolve. Whether through biological, chemical, or nuclear means, the wound of Egypt's (one of the seven heads) rebellion is staunched, the Antichrist is strengthened, and the world amazed and awe-struck. Egypt will suffer the aftereffects for a generation into the reign of Christ.

As the Antichrist turns back toward his base in Turkey, he will pass through Israel and stop at Jerusalem. There he kills Enoch and Elijah and leaves their bodies dead in the street, though God raises them back to life and then to heaven. The 144,000 appear to go to heaven with them. A strong earthquake will rock the city, but won't stop the Antichrist from confiscating the Temple, putting an end to Israeli plans to reinstate the OT sacrificial system.

Nothing is left for the inhabitants of earth at that time but the duress of God's wrath.

Yet to Come... the second half of the Tibulation

Monday, November 22, 2010

Turkey: Big Brother to the Middle East

A somewhat interesting article (linked in the title) points to the growing influence of Turkey in the Levant. Expect more tangible evidence (much more than bad movies anyhow) of such to become apparent as we move toward the end of time.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Chronology of Apocalypse: The Rapture

At some point in the near future a series of events will unfold which will wind up the current age. Some of the sequence and detail is uncertain in my mind, and very debatable, most is reasonably clear. With that disclaimer in view, let's give this a shot...

At some time in the near future, a politician will arise, likely in Turkey, and begin to gain prominence. He will find a way to take control of where he arises and form a ten nation alliance including Turkey, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Greece, Macedonia, and Albania. In the process, he will extend his personal rule over Syria and Iraq (or vice versa if he arises in Iraq or Syria instead of Turkey), reviving the long dead Seleucid Empire (the King of the North).

At some time in the near future, a tremendous cataclysm will come upon the earth. I think it will be volcanic, perhaps several large eruptions occurring concurrently, even if they don't all start off in unison. Perhaps it could be a supervolcanic eruption; e.g., Yellowstone, Long Valley, or Toba. Regardless, it will be the sixth seal breaking and will herald the coming of God's wrath, signal that the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and indicate that God's redemptive efforts are being turned from Gentile to Jew.

As that cataclysm occurs, or just before it, some big personnel changes will occur:
    Yet to Come... the Tribulation

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Isn't That A Prostitute?

    What an awesome quote...
    'I came across a quote attributed most often to Rev. Sam Pascoe. It is a short version of the history of Christianity, and it goes like this: "Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise." Some of the students were only 18 or 19 years old--barely out of diapers--and I wanted them to understand and appreciate the import of the last line, so I clarified it by adding, “An enterprise. That’s a business.” After a few moments Martha, the youngest student in the class, raised her hand. I could not imagine what her question might be. I thought the little vignette was self-explanatory, and that I had performed it brilliantly. Nevertheless, I acknowledged Martha’s raised hand, “Yes, Martha.” She asked such a simple question, “A business? But isn’t it supposed to be a body?” I could not envision where this line of questioning was going, and the only response I could think of was, “Yes.” She continued, “But when a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?”'
    HT: Onesimus; thanks to David Ryser

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Chronology of Apocalypse: Historical

    One of my congregants thought an itemized chronology of the end times would be helpful. Maybe it would, so here it goes, starting with those things prophesied which have already occurred (not enough to make me a partial preterist, however).

    30 CE - Jesus ascends to the throne room of God bearing the sacrifice of his own blood, and receives all authority and dominion from his heavenly Father.

    30 CE - Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to endue his followers with power and turns them lose on their global mission to spread the Gospel to every nation. The rider on the white horse sets out to overcome.

    70 CE - The Temple in Jerusalem in destroyed, signifying the end of the Mosaic Covenant and the transition to the Age of the Gentiles. From that time to the time (which has not yet occurred) the Temple is reestablished, God's redemptive work is focused on Gentiles, with a mere trickle of Jews coming to Christ.

    95 CE - The last handpicked witness of Christ sets forth the last Apostolic testimony concerning Christ. His vision mirrored, although is much more extensive than, that of Daniel who was the last prophet who saw the glory of the Davidic Kingdom.

    192 CE - The Emperor Commodus rises to the throne and destroys the reality of the Pax Romana. Never again will Roman realms be as peaceful or the empire as coherent as they were before his rule. Never again would the world know such a golden age. The second seal was broken.

    313 CE - Constantine issues the Edict of Milan that made it legal to be a Christian in the Roman Empire. In 316 he intervenes in the Donatist controversy and calls the Council of Nicea in 325. A marriage of church and state began to be apparent, but no doubt was left in 380 by the enactments of the edicts of Theodosius. The Whore of Babylon had settled in Rome.

    1315 CE - The Little Ice Age starts, bringing recurring cycles of famine and death to the temperate zones (particularly of Christendom) which were dependent on cereal grains. The third seal had been broken.

    1347 CE - Someplace in the East, a disease became particularly pestilent and was carried by vermin across the civilized globe. Truly an epidemic of biblical proportions, within just a few years the Black Death had taken at least a quarter of the world's population. The fourth seal had been broken.

    1535 CE - Although persecution and martyrdom was not unknown from the earliest days of the church (e.g. James, Stephen, Peter, Paul, the Roman persecutions under Decius and Diocletian), nor in the Middle Ages (e.g. the Waldenses, the Lollards, the Hussites), it was the scale of death of true believers initiated with the Huguenot Persecutions that warrants an emphasis on martyrdom. The influx of martyred souls into the presence of God in the 1500's signifies the fifth seal being broken.

    1917 CE - Anticipating the British occupation of Palestine during WWI, the Balfour Declaration officially undoes almost 1800 years of Roman policy excluding the Jews from Palestine. It is the signal event that revealed the end of the end times was upon us.

    1933 CE - Hitler rises to power, the seventh king in the Antichrist Scheme. In 1938 he stepped up his campaign against the Jews to wholesale physical violence, confiscation of property, imprisonment, and death. Ultimately, two-thirds of the Jews within his reach were killed.

    1948 CE - The State of Israel declares its independence and a nation is born in a day.

    1967 CE - Israel captures East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai in the Six Day War. Israel was well on the way to capturing Cairo and Damascus in the Yom Kippur War which followed in 1973. In both wars, against overwhelming odds, Israel all but miraculously defeated all her enemies. She has since signed formal peace treaties with Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994), but as yet has to sign a covenant with many which would give her unfettered access to the Temple Mount.

    Yet To Come... the Rapture

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    My Dispensationalesque Eschatology Defines Anti-semitism

    In light of a discussion I had with a friend and a comment on an earlier post, it dawns on me that an exploration of what I consider devilish and anti-semitic due to my eschatological view could be helpful. In my "dispensationalesque" approach to eschatology, I have said that the primary characteristic of the Devil's Antichrist Scheme throughout history has been anti-semitism. Not that the Devil merely dislikes Jews, but that he cold-bloodedly works to dispossess them of Canaan or to destroy them as a people, or both at the same time.

    It is my contention that either aspect betrays an influence from the Devil on the people who share such goals with him. For instance, Palestinians (whether Christian or Muslim) who seek to kick the Jews out of Canaan evidence a devilish influence whether they are aware of it or not. Similarly, anyone who tries to obliterate the Jews existence as a particular people, whether by assimilation into other cultures or by actual death, betrays a devilish influence as well. The law may have ceased being a measure of rightness with God for Jew or Gentile, but that doesn't mean that a Jew is not a Jew (or should cease considering himself one) because he accepts the righteousness of Christ by faith.

    I think the reasons for the Devil's approach are obvious: to dispossess the Jews of the Promised Land or to destroy them as a particular people undercuts the Abrahamic Covenant and affords the Devil the opportunity to put forward his shill in the place of the Promised One. Ultimately, the Devil's aim is to raise up an Antichrist. To do this, the source for the real one has to be obfuscated or even obliterated. Even now, after the fact of Christ Jesus' incarnation, to pull the old switcheroo the Devil will still have to undercut foundation of Jesus, the Jewish Messiah.

    Replacement Theology is not an option for dealing with the question of the Jews' status with God, in my mind, because such a belief does irreconcilable damage to Romans 11 and Daniel 9, not to mention the Abrahamic Covenant. Even though the church represents a fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham regarding the blessing to come to all peoples, the existence of the church has not displaced the specific promises of God to Abraham regarding his physical descendants through Isaac nor the land apportioned unto them in perpetuity. If anything, the church is added on to the reality of such blessing rather than replacing the beneficiaries of it.

    So to be clear, it is not anti-semitic for one to question Israeli policy regarding the human rights of Palestinians (Gentiles), or even Messianic Jews, living under the governance of Israel. It is not anti-semitic to seek accommodation between Jew and Gentile living within the hegemony of the State of Israel. It is not anti-semitic to say Jews are not right with God by following the Tanach or by merely being Jewish. It is anti-semitic with a devilish flair to assert the Jews have no claim to Canaan, or that "Jewishness" has no point or purpose with God.