I was originally going to blog about starting the Daf Yomi cycle–the “page a day” reading of the Talmud, which takes seven years to complete–but frankly, that will wait another day or two. There’s just too much going on right now.
Let’s take a look at what our Great Rabbi predicted alongside the news of the day. As we do so, let’s keep in mind that I’m referring to these prophecies on a drash level. I’m not saying that any event we are seeing today is the final fulfillment of any prophecy. The question on the table is, to use the imagery of a birth, are the contractions speeding up and becoming more intense to indicate that we are in the last hour of the delivery instead of many days away.
And Yeshua answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and they will lead many astray. . . . And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. . . For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. (Mat. 24:4-5, 10-12, 24)
It’s not generally the mandate of this blog to keep track of heresies and false prophets within the Church. However, I have for the last year been concerned about the rise of the New Apostolic Reformation, a movement which claims to have the authority and the powers of the Biblical apostles. Those interested in learning more are encouraged to archive-binge over at the Herescope blog.
Another disturbing trend is the rise of the Santa Muerte (St. Death) cults in Mexico. Santa Muerte is especially popular in the drug trade which dominated Mexico, but has started to attract a very broad spectrum of followers and self-appointed priests. This Grim Reaper is believed to not only bring death, but to have the power to ward off death and misfortune–at a price that goes up over time. The cult has spread into the United States to the point where one can find Santa Muerte candles for sale in the local farmers’ markets.
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom . . . (Mat. 24:6-7)
Do I even have to elaborate this one?
And there will be famines . . . in various places. (Mat. 24:7)
Most of the world is no stranger to famine, but there are signs that it is coming quickly to the West. With one out of every three bites we eat being pollinated by honey bees, so-called Colony Collapse Disorder threatens our agricultural indepdence. Even more important to agriculture all over the world is phosphorus-based fertilizers. The problem is, we’re now running out of phosphorus. And sufficient sources of fresh water, which is already at the heart of turf-wars between Pakistan and India, India and China and Israel and Jordan.
And there will be . . . earthquakes in various places (Mat. 24:7), and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves (Luke 21:23).
By now, of course, just about everyone is aware of the record-breaking earthquake that hit northeastern Japan. The death-toll is likely over 10,000, and our hearts and prayers go out to everyone caught in it. It turns out that there has been a massive spike in destructive earthquakes in the last decade (thanks to the Redhawk 500 blog for providing the graph):
And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars . . . (Luke 21:23)
Like, for example, the mystery of the missing sunspots, which is already affecting our climate with a colder and wetter than usual winter. Or we might point to other “signs in the heavens,” like the increasing number of UFO sightings, including the very strange one over the Temple Mount. Even if one thinks that this UFO stuff is complete nonsense, they at the very least are causing changes in our culture which will, in my opinion and that of others, help to usher in the final deception.
Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. (Mat. 24:9)
From Britain basically declaring war on Christian values, to persecution driving Christian ethnic groups out of the Middle east, to Jews being murdered in their houses in Israel, persecution against both Jews and Christians is on the rise all over the world. Mark Steyn notes:
Today the delegitimization of Israel is all but universal: Indeed, these days Palestinian leaders pay more lip service to the “two-state solution” than Europeans. On Israel’s national day, prominent Britons of Jewish background write to The Guardian to deplore the existence of the Jewish state. And “Israeli Apartheid Week” is multiculti Toronto’s gift to the world.
And yet, there’s the good news:
And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Mat. 24:14)
The Good News of Messiah’s Kingdom has indeed been proclaimed in every nation that we can find on a globe, and we are fast approaching the day when it will have been proclaimed to every ethnic group as well. Small wonder the Adversary is getting desperate about his last few strongholds.
So when you see the abomination of desolation . . . then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. . . . Pray that your flight may not be . . . on a Sabbath. (Mat. 24:15, 16, 20)
There are actually three prophecies here: First, that Israel would be back in the Land, which has been fulfilled. Second, that the Temple would be rebuilt. This hasn’t happened yet, but the preparation work is almost complete. And third, that there would be Torah- (and Sabbath-) observant Jews in the region of Judea who would be followers of Yeshua and would heed His words. This blog is at least in part dedicated to chronicalling the fulfillment of that prophecy.
All of the above is just what I could quickly pull together over my lunch break, and is anything but exhaustive.
I should point out that it isn’t the “wars and rumors of wars” type of events that really convinces me that we are living in the time of the End. We’ve seen them come and go before. It is that this increasing tempo of chaos is coming at the same time as the Great Commission is nearing completion, which is coming at the same time that Israel is back in the Land, which is coming at the same time that Benjamin, the Messianic remnant, is once again being seen among his brothers.
In other words, it is not the tribulations of the world that convince me that the final judgment is near–it’s seeing so many fulfillments of Hashem’s promises right before my eyes.
For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Messiah will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1Th. 4:15-18)