2 Timothy 3:1 Describes these days as “perilous times”, and for good reason, as described in the following article.
A good twenty-five percent of the Bible is prophecy and much of it concerns the End Times. So it would make complete sense when Jesus commanded us to watch for Him, to be alert for His Trumpet Call as our Blessed Hope and not be discouraged because of the times we are living in. Jesus said to the Pharisees, "[Ye] hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?" (Luke 12:56) Meaning that the Pharisees should have been discerning about the times they were living in and watching those signs. And notice He called them "hypocrites" because they had their eyes and focus on the wrong things. Here we are in the 21st Century world, but most people who should be watching for their Lord are fast asleep instead of awake! There are signs (prophecies being fulfilled) everywhere you look if you know what to look for and why you are looking there, that indicate the Lord is really near. Prophecies from Scripture are being fulfilled DAILY which are unmistakable in their implications, and these are what we should be watching for as we study our Bibles. The first "sign" that officially marked the End Times was the re-gathering of the nation of Israel back into her land in 1948, after 2500 years in exile. (Matt. 24:32, 33) This was a sure prophecy that surely had to be fulfilled! Since then, there have been many more "signs" or prophecies that have been fulfilled, that are being fulfilled now, and that still need to be fulfilled. Matthew Chapter 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, Daniel 12, 2 Tim. 3, 2 Pet. 3, 1 Cor. 15, 1 Thess. 5, Joel 3, Obadiah 15-18, Zeph. 2, Zech. 12, etc., all point to the times we are living in. These are milestones that are bringing us closer and closer to that appointed day when the Rapture takes place and by all means we really are close to it at this time! A day gone is another day closer.
The times we are now living in, known as the End Times, can be broken down into several areas.
(1) Spiritual and Moral Bankruptcy (2 Tim. 3:1-5)
Tim. 3:2-5 declares, "For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." These verses certainly describe the characteristics of our present day very accurately. This is all part of the general cultural decline that has infiltrated our population on every level. What used to be a clear-cut taboo and forbidden not too long ago is now out of the closet and accepted with open arms more and more. Homosexuality, "coming out" celebrations, adultery, bestiality, porn, violence, broken families, decadence, polygamy, foul language, "heavy metal" music, etc., are reported in the news regularly and these things are presented and/or supported in films, schools, the workplace, and even in some churches. They are even being celebrated as "normal", okay behavior. It is so much so that our society is rapidly becoming immune and hardened to these bad behaviors. People are no longer concerned as they once were that these behaviors are because of SIN and as such, they carry serious consequences. Pop psychology writes them off as the result of chemical or social imbalances with no personal responsibility for bad choices and actions. Post-modern liberal society is godless and mocking of Christian values. In short, our godly values that we once held so dear, have all but dried up in today's culture. The Church, which is supposed to be the "salt and light" of the world in remaining separate from worldliness, is sadly diminishing in these times of "tolerance", is strangely silent on these issues and is becoming more cozy with the world due to widespread deception, indifference and lack of discernment.
(2) Anti-Semitism (Gen. 12:3)
Anti-Semitism is on the rise on many fronts: many "mainline" churches have decided to eliminate and replace Israel with the Church, which is called Replacement Theology. This false teaching is fast becoming a popular belief among a number of denominations. Churches like the Presbyterian Church are promoting divestment from companies that have had business relationships with Israel, and have come to think in terms of "Israeli occupation" of their own lands! What this does is support Arab terror against Israel. What does the Bible say about this issue? Genesis 12:3 states, "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curses thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. " Which is to say, that because of God's promises to Abraham in giving him and his descendants the land of Canaan, those who would honor these promises and support Israel would be blessed; and those who come against Israel in dividing her land, or otherwise dishonoring these promises, would be cursed. Anti-Semitism has reared its ugly head in a number of places: in U.S. schools, where the curriculum is fast incorporating Middle East studies in favor of the Arab cause vs. Israel; moral and spiritual values in schools are becoming more and more ungodly as people who live their Christian values are forced underground; recently in the UK, someone was "disciplined" for opposing Anti-Semitism; there is a rise of the hatred of Jews throughout Europe which is out of control; the President of Iran recently made statements that "Israel should be wiped off the map"; "Israel should move to Europe", "The holocaust never happened", etc., while developing their nuclear weapons (which they intend to use); Muslim children are taught in their schoolbooks and culture that the Jews and Christians especially, are the Enemy and they need to be killed. These children are trained in their Muslim upbringing to hate all Jews (and other infidels), who all deserve death based on their twisted thinking. The Islamists will not stop until the entire world adopts their allegiance to Allah or dies. Many people have already been kidnapped, beheaded, tortured, or persecuted. There is a lot of violence going on, and it's getting worse. So Christians, beware of trying times! This is a major problem in these days.
(3) Christian Persecution (1 Thess. 2:15)
Christians are increasingly being jailed, murdered, tortured, and persecuted by many countries and peoples across the globe by the rise of Islam and a liberal society. In addition, as the Bible and Christian values are being treated with contempt, Christians are being attacked and Christianity is being "squeezed out" of society as unacceptable by the "politically correct" crowd. Christians can no longer pray in Jesus' Name or voice their Christian beliefs without serious consequences or being accused of "intolerance"; however, people who follow other religions can pray in the name of Allah, the Dali Lama, or whatever. Pastors are being jailed or persecuted for preaching that homosexuality is a sin according to the Bible. Recently it was reported there was a new NBC film called "The Book of Daniel" depicting a dysfunctional Christian family. The movie script was written by a homosexual which held a contemptuous slant on Christianity. The American Family Association set up an online petition against this film; and last news I heard on the story, it was cancelled because of the protest from the Christian community. Praise God! According to an article published in January 2006 on Eritrea that, "Eritrea dramatically accelerated its imprisonment and torture of Christians even as the U.S. State Department designated it as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) for the second consecutive year. By October the number of Eritrean Christians confirmed to be jailed for their religious beliefs had shot up to a total of 1,778, nearly double the documented count in April. At least 26 full-time Protestant pastors and Orthodox clergy were jailed and their personal bank accounts frozen by government order, causing severe suffering for their families. The regime of President Isaias Afwerki stripped Eritrean Orthodox Patriarch Abune Antonios of his ecclesiastical authority on August 7, and the country’s only Anglican priest, the Rev. Nelson Fernandez, was abruptly ordered out of the country in early October. Since May 2002, the Eritrean government has outlawed all Christian meetings for worship except those of the officially registered Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical Lutheran churches – but the regime began jailing and harassing key leaders of even the legally recognized churches this year. On September 23, Eritrea became the first nation ever sanctioned by the U.S. State Department under the 1998 Religious Freedom Act for failure to address severe violations of religious freedom."
(4) Natural Disasters (Luke 21:25)
There is so much happening in this area that it's hard to know where to even begin and I can only barely scratch the surface. We have had a RECORD year in 2005 for tropical weather and hurricanes, not only in numbers, but intensity. A few of these hurricanes peaked at 175 mph winds! Chances are we will have these severe hurricanes for some time. Also, a tsunami hit in the Indian Ocean in Dec. 2004. Since that time, scientific discovery missions have concluded that not only can another tsunami hit in the same region, but other regions are ripe for a tsunami as well; and they are not all the result of an earthquake…some can happen because of landslides or other phenomena. Scientists say we are overdue for these disasters. Another notable happening are volcanoes. There are more and more reports coming out on news shows of many volcanoes waking up and spewing ash. Some of these volcanoes are triggered by earthquakes or vice versa. There is a reported land bulge in Oregon by "Nature" in September, 2005. And what about Oklahoma and Texas with all the fires? The fires may not all be because of high winds and dry temperatures. Reports from "The Enid News and Eagle, Dec. 13, 2005" are saying there are gas pockets inside the fires that keep the fires going and are contributing to land deformation. Where are these gas pockets coming from? A possible leak from underground magma that's rising to the surface from Yellowstone or another source? Who knows, but I find it interesting. Also, the number and intensity of earthquakes is very common these days, and there is concern for activity in the New Madrid Fault line that runs in the middle of the US. Sun spot and solar flare activity in 2005 was noteworthy as it caused numerous disruptions in communication on planet Earth. What can we expect in 2006? Tornadoes were also unusual and severe in 2005, causing billions in damage and many deaths. Tornadoes that typically form in the spring and summer are now forming in the Fall and even Winter. NOAA reported 44 tornadoes for January, 2006 alone.This past summer, we saw record heat in many places such as Alaska impacting the glaciers, and likewise, in the winter we've seen a lot of cold. Europe and Asia has had severe cold and snow this winter. We have numerous news reports of many glaciers melting, according to the National Weather Service. This is due to warming of global temperatures as well as all the volcanic activity under the earth, which is very hot and can cause massive flooding.
Also on the same note, the West Coast of the US has seen a lot of rain in recent days and they have had numerous floods and landslides. The December, 2005 issue of "Nature" reported Earth's Magnetic Pole Drifting. It said in part, "Earth's north magnetic pole is drifting away from North America and toward Siberia at such a clip that Alaska might lose its spectacular Northern Lights in the next 50 years, scientists said Thursday. Despite accelerated movement over the past century, the possibility that Earth's modestly fading magnetic field will collapse is remote. But the shift could mean Alaska may no longer see the sky lights known as auroras, which might then be more visible in more southerly areas of Siberia and Europe." MSNBC reported in 2004 that scientists found 150 dead zones in the world's oceans, resulting from imbalance of chemicals causing oxygen deprivation or suffocation of the fish. It is also because of acid rain from fossil fuels, fertilizer run-off and industrial waste. Because of this culture's consumer-driven lifestyle, we produce a whole lot of waste. Some would argue that "natural disasters" have always been around since Biblical times, so these things can be chalked up to simply being cyclical in nature. These people do not see any supernatural connection between many of the events that are occurring, they simply say it's "global warming", a "man-made conspiracy theory" or something like that, rather than to look at the reality and magnitude of these events as a "global warning" from God which is increasing with time. Because of SIN, God's patience is wearing thin with man and He is trying to get our attention with these phenomena when we are disobedient in some way. I could go on and on because there is so much going on that constitutes a potential threat. Let's just say that Luke 21:25, 26 sums it up nicely: "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken."
(5) Disease and Pestilence (Rev. 6:8; Matt. 24:7)
Bird Flu H5N1: The biggest threat of disease we have now is the Avian (Bird) Flu. The WHO (World Health Organization) says this virus could become pandemic if it mutates into human to human contact, and they warn this is an imminent threat that is a 100% certainty. The WHO is also stating that around 30% of the world's population will become infected (7 billion people x 30% = 2,100,000,000). The medical experts are saying it is taking after the 1918 Spanish Flu (which killed hundreds of millions), and they have developed a vaccine against it which they are using on birds. The trouble is, there is currently not enough vaccine to protect everyone, and these birds that are infected have the capacity to migrate to other countries as well as reproduce, etc. Therefore, Bird Flu has been spreading among birds in Asia, Europe, Canada and many other places. People have contracted it from contact with infected birds, and some have died from the disease already. The experts say it's only a matter of time until this disease explodes into a worldwide epidemic or plague, once it mutates. The UN Food and Agriculture Agency in Rome (FAO) currently warns that Turkey could have a widespread endemic problem with bird flu and surrounding countries should be on high alert.
They also say this threat could spread to the west and that the virus could be spreading despite efforts to contain it. All any of us can say to this is WOW! AIDS: In 2005, 5 million people were reportedly infected with AIDS in India alone. Despite efforts to contain the virus, new cases keep coming to the surface and the epidemic is continuing to outstrip any containment efforts. Ignorance and poverty is still the root cause in many third world countries along with limited medical resources. Also, we are living in times where homosexuality and casual sex is being accepted as the "norm" in society. Our thinking and sense of responsibility have gone down the tubes. Instead of good morals, monogamous marriage and abstinence, we have free sex in our society and we have been paying the price since 1981. And part of that price is the disease of AIDS and other STD's. It's part of the last days problems and it keeps getting worse because we are not learning anything from our actions. There is still no cure despite heroic efforts by the medical community to find one; yet those irresponsible, lusty people who enjoy their sinful activities complain because the disease is spreading.
ABC News Online reports on January 9, 2006, "Farmers in north central Victoria are being urged to prepare for a new generation of plague locusts. Hatchings have started at big egg beds at Boort, Gunbower Island, Laanecoorie, Bridgewater and Inglewood. The Department of Primary Industries' principal scientist, Malcolm Campbell, says the new generation could be far bigger than the first which decimated many pastures. He says farmers will have to wait a few weeks before they spray insecticide. "We need to wait for a couple of weeks, at the moment they are a millimeter long and far too small to find very easily and they haven't all hatched, so what they need to do is wait until a good proportion of them hatch and they have become a little bit bigger so they can be easily found," he said." Also, National Geographic Channel on TV had a documentary of the continent of Africa having a plague of locusts, so much so that it is contributing to starvation of those who live there. These people do not have the means to eradicate the locust problem from their crops and living areas. It reminds me of the plague of locusts in Egypt (Ex. 10:12-14).
How many more outbreaks of these insects are going to be in our future? We'll see, but again, with the weather patterns and other conditions, may have contributed to prolific hatching of these pests. SARS (Bird Flu renamed, PR News Now, May, 2005): SARS originated in China, same area as Bird Flu, in 2004. The SARS symptoms originate in the respiratory area of the body, like Bird Flu. Could it be the current rage over Bird Flu is really SARS that evolved? West Nile Virus: Science Daily reports, "A genetic mutation that protects against HIV increases the risk of developing clinical West Nile Virus infection, according to a new study appearing online on January 9th in The Journal of Experimental Medicine this disease has spread rapidly since 1999 across the North American continent. The CDC in Atlanta is reporting that since then, 15,000 people have become infected with this mosquito-borne virus, and over 500 have died. In order to eradicate this disease, mosquito breeding would have to be brought under control by minimizing or eliminating standing water. Unfortunately, due to recent weather patterns being very wet and humid in many places (due to climatic changes), it creates an environment for mosquitoes to breed profusely to infect both animals and humans.
Many other diseases that have made news in recent times: Mad Cow Disease, Ebola Virus, and more. We might soon be seeing bio-terrorism play a role here, and a new term, “Agri-terror”; that is, the deliberate infection of livestock with deadly plagues both to animals and humans. Apocalypse soon? I can hear the hoof beats of the four horsemen, can you? Famine: Although there is enough food to feed the world's population despite a 70% increase over the last 30 years, the problem is 1) lack of income to purchase food, 2) lack of land to produce it, 3) uncertain weather problems causing periods of drought, flooding, or other conditions plus many other factors such as uneven distribution, etc. Right now, there are 11 million people in the Horn of Africa on the brink of starvation, according to the Associated Press. The reasons are conflict and drought as well as insect control. The World Food Program is now feeding 1.2 million drought victims but fears this figure could more than double to 2.5 million. Africa needs to do more for its own infrastructure in order to solve this problem. However, it would probably take education, money, medicine and many other things to bring this situation under control. So, lacking that, it's liable to get worse as poverty contributes to hunger and hunger contributes to poverty as well as many diseases. Worldwide, over the last ten years, the rate of hunger has significantly increased due to trends in weather, malnourishment of expectant mothers passing it on to their children, lack of education and employment opportunities, etc. Each year, 11 million children die before their fifth birthday due to poverty and hunger, which brings on disease. That is very sad!
(6) The European Union and the “Quartet” (Dan. 9:27)
The EU is godless at the core, which agreed on a godless constitution in 2005. It is primarily responsible for dividing or carving Israel's lands by forcing the Road Map to nowhere. (Joel 3:2) The result is Islamist infiltration of terrorism into Israel and chaos in Gaza and elsewhere that is currently going on. Recently the European Union became involved in border operations with Gaza and its neighbors, in order to achieve "peace". The biggest issue from the European Union and the Quartet of Nations (Russia, US, UN) is that they are currently working together on a Peace Agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The end result is this is opening the door for the Antichrist to walk through, and he is the key player who will confirm peace with many (Dan. 9:27). The Antichrist is one of Roman descent who will arise out of the European Union. The spirit of the European Union is "many tongues and one voice". The other thing they are concerned with is creating the New world Order (see below).
(7) Israel and the Palestinians (Joel 3:2)
Palestine: the only goal of the Palestinians is complete annihilation of Israel. In their reality and according to their culture, there is no such thing as "peace and living side by side with Israel". The Road Map will never work! Israel is the avowed enemy and the Palestinians (as well as the rest of the Muslim world) are determined to wipe them off the map at any cost. The first step in the "disengagement" process was Gaza. The end result of that was anarchy. Since the Palestinians have taken over Gaza, there has been terrorist activities and bombings in Israel, causing a lot of death. The Palestinians vow they will not stop their attacks until they take over the whole land of Israel, as their belief is that Israel is in "occupied" territories that belong to the Palestinians.
Jerusalem is the biggest cause of contention, and there's a lot of talk about dividing the city. Therefore, the prophecy is true that says, "And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it." (Zech. 12:3) Why is this going on? The bottom line is: the terrorists are being coddled by the European Union and the Quartet, and they simply believe terrorism works so they continue it. The whole, so-called "Palestinian" group is a fantasy in a fantasy land. They consist of Jordanian, Syrian and other Arabs who have no right to take over Israel's covenant lands! This whole "disengagement" thing that has been pushed on Israel by the EU and the Quartet is a tragedy. If they have their way, Israel will be forced to give up all her land and her country over the next few years. That can't happen! The Lord will need to move to stop the evil plans of man at sometime in the near future. At the present time, Ariel Sharon is incapacitated due to a recent stroke, and Ehud Olmert is standing in for him. He is planning to keep on the same path of "disengagement" as did Ariel Sharon.
In the meantime, there are other threats in the offing such as nuclear war from Iran. They intend to be fully nuclear and able to use a bomb by March, 2006! And it looks as though their target countries are Israel and the U.S. The effect of EMP (electromagnetic pulse) with nuclear blasts will render the affected country powerless, because it will shut down electrical power due to melted transistors. What will ensue is chaos, which will invoke the Patriot Act or a Police State as the government will want to take over population control in order to restore order. All these events could cause America to cave in as a nation. Could nukes directed at us be why America is not mentioned in end-times Bible prophecy? We'll have to see. But God makes it very clear that those who curse Israel will be cursed, and those who carve up Israel's covenant lands will be judged. (Joel 3:2, 3) That includes the US, along with the EU, who has spearheaded the so-called "Roadmap" plan to nowhere and caused the separation of Gaza (Zeph. 2:4). On a different note, in October 2005, the Jewish Sanhedrin was reestablished for the rebuilding of the Temple after 1600 years. The Rededication was held in Tiberias, which was the location of the last meeting 1600 years ago! After the Tribulation gets under way under the Antichrist, the Temple will be rebuilt on or near the dome of the Rock, the sight of the previous Temple. I'm not currently sure how that will happen (again, nukes?), but it will happen. The components of the Temple are currently in existence, so it will not take long to complete the actual building.
(8) New World Order (Dan. 7:23)
The UN and the Group of Eight Summit meetings have been working together to bring about a future single world government. We are heading in that direction as meetings are ongoing and decisions are made. The one world government (as well as the next World War, which promises to be brief) is what will produce the Antichrist who will confirm seven years of "peace" with Israel and the Palestinians. By that time, true Born-Again Christians will be in heaven with their Lord and the seven years of Tribulation will begin. In recent years, world leaders such as George Bush, Sr., Jr., and Popes John Paul II and Benedict have all made mention in their speeches about a coming New World Order, which is significant in light of the times we are living in. Technologies are being developed to control the population and create a cashless society. These technologies involve scanning and internal chip devices to make the daily activities of people convenient and easy, as well as for tracking purposes. However, it also means a major invasion of privacy because things like medical records, bank information, private conversations on telephones, or even what you do in your own home will be known to the authorities and can probably be accessed easily by others clever enough to beat the system. The recent Patriot Act will give the government the authority to arrest anyone they feel is suspicious…even if you're perfectly innocent! All in the interest of tracking terrorists, now everyone will be lumped into the same category. This is the scary stuff of totalitarianism, for anyone but especially for Evangelical Christians because Christians are a target group as they are considered "fundamentalists".
(9) Technology & Other Advances (Dan. 12:1-4)
In addition to the technologies already mentioned, we live in an age of Computers, the Internet, scientific discoveries, advances in medicine, and knowledge explosion in every area. Because of this advance in various technologies, we have the ability to communicate instantly, travel around the globe in record time, launch rockets into space, rely on many modern electronics devices for convenience or entertainment, and we have the capacity to produce many products and services quickly which makes modern life easy. Compare the way we live today with the way it was even twenty, fifty or a hundred years ago, and you know what I mean.
(10) Islam and The Middle East (Rom. 9:13)
The Arab world of the Middle East is ruled by Islam. Islam is an inherently violent religion, it is certainly not a "religion of peace". Are all Muslims violent? Of course not: there are many who would be considered part of the "Sunni" Muslims who want nothing to do with the ongoing violent activities of several of the radical, Shiite Islamist groups. Those groups consist mainly of Fatah, Hamas, Al-Jaida, and Hezbollah, and they are dangerous. They are extremist in their practice and are fundamental in their application of the Koran. There are literally hundreds of verses in the Koran directing Islamists to practice violence and death against those they deem "infidels". The spirit of these Islamists is one of utter hatred towards everybody outside their little group. They intend to wage war with the world using nuclear weapons, which will bring about World War Three or the Gog-Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39. The Islamic world is predominantly one of poverty, although some of the leaders are very wealthy. Everywhere you go, these extremists live in filthy conditions and in poverty. The once beautiful Gaza strip is now a hell-hole of poverty and anarchy since the Islamists moved in only a few months ago. Sad indeed! They have squandered and spend the resources the U.S. and other countries have given them on more bombs, guns and terror instead of building a decent infrastructure for their people. Yet, we don't learn from this and keep on feeding this idea of creating a Nation of Palestine!
(11) The Threat of War (Matt. 24:6; Mark 13:7)
Since World War II, there have been 250 wars in 100 nations. This will only continue to increase as we near the time of the Tribulation. Modern society, through the advances in technologies, has been developing a new type of weapon called Directed Energy Warfare. This is a weapon super-powered by laser, microwaves and particle beams, and it is fast approaching the time when it will be used by the military for ground, air, sea and space. After more than two decades of research, the United States is on the verge of deploying a new generation of weapons that discharge beams of energy, such as the Airborne Laser, the Active Denial System, as well as the Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL). War is looming on the horizon because of Iran's nuclear program. The new President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, hates Israel so much that he has said Israel "should be wiped off the map", "the holocaust never happened, it is myth", and that "Israel should be relocated to Germany or Austria", among other things. They intend to direct their nuclear weapons at Israel, and these weapons will be ready to use in just a few months. It remains to be seen, however, if this will really happen and when it will happen -- whether it will be now or further into the future. Time will tell and we will have to see how things unfold. Russia has played a big role in supplying Iran with the capabilities to develop nuclear weapons and supports its use of these weapons. China is also building up its nuclear forces in order to target the U.S. and many other countries, according to the Washington Times (July 29, 2005). Could this lead to the Gog-Magog War of Ezek. 38-39 when all nations come against Israel? Again, we'll have to watch and see how these events unfold. But in light of these recent news items, I find this very interesting in light of Bible Prophecy. World Net Daily from January 13, 2006, states the following: "The new government of acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also wants the mullah government in the Islamic republic to understand that the incapacitation of Ariel Sharon will not leave Israel in any less state of military readiness", G2 Bulletin sources say. So, Israel knows what Iran is up to and is prepared to confront them should a nuclear strike happen. How is tiny Israel in a position to strike and win against Iran? It is planning preemptive strikes against key cities in Iran by March, 2006. What the outcome of this will be is something to watch; but in any case, tiny Israel has the God of Hosts on her side and she will win, regardless of whether she is in a state of unbelief in the Messiah at the moment. "Defense sources in Israel believe the end of March to be the "point of no return," after which Iran will have the technical expertise to enrich uranium in sufficient quantities to build a nuclear warhead in two to four years." (probably much sooner, emphasis mine) "Israel — and not only Israel — cannot accept a nuclear Iran," Sharon warned recently. "We have the ability to deal with this and we’re making all the necessary preparations to be ready for such a situation." (World Net Daily, Dec. 11, 2005)
(12) Apostasy and Decline of the Church (2 Thess. 2:3)
The underlying problem in current apostasy that is spreading like wildfire, is the unwillingness to confront sin and to truly repent. The popular "purpose driven" and "seeker sensitive" mentality that pervades our churches today is preaching a "feel good" gospel that is a counterfeit and a watered-down version of true Salvation through Christ's atoning blood. In addition, we are now encountering a fleshly-driven "ME" agenda that is being pushed in many churches; namely, MY prosperity, MY health, MY rights, MY wants, MY needs, MY happiness, etc. It is pure selfishness and is totally void of the message of Christ. It's all about "me, myself, and I". The Word of Faith movement, which is a "name it and claim it" belief, is a common example. Just believe that Ferrari into your driveway. You want it and you deserve it, and you demand it. Let God enable all your selfish little wants and needs with no thought of His Gospel or what His Son came to the earth for. Yeah, right. Is that in the Bible? Also, we see that many different cults are springing up and growing, making the Word of God more none effective. There are about 2,500 to 3,000 cults of varying types in the world today! Another big item we are confused about is in eschatology. There are so many false doctrines that are prevalent today: Kingdom Now, Replacement Theology (the Church has replaced Israel), Amillennialism, Postmillennialism, Pre-wrath, Post-Trib., Preterism, etc. We are confused because proper eschatology is not taught or studied. People view it as "gloom and doom" instead of our Blessed Hope and therefore dismiss it, leading to lukewarmness in the church and in Christian life. Thus the gross ignorance, superstition and fear of the Lord's return; rather than looking forward to it with great anticipation as our Blessed Hope and the Lord Jesus as our True Bridegroom.
There is also a big problem with many of our pastors who are not being taught properly in Seminary. Some churches are accepting homosexuality and ordaining those who practice it; some preachers don't accept the Virgin Birth of Christ or other basic doctrines of the Bible, others are living and accepting immoral lifestyles, "extra-biblical revelations", etc. These should be huge red flags to us for those of us who know and love our Bible and its divine message. We buy into this stuff because we lack discernment and wisdom. How many of us read and study our Bibles every day and seek to find out what God has to say to us? How many of us go to God for advice via prayer and/or meditation? How many of us search in earnest for a Bible-believing church and leadership we can trust? How many of us associate and fellowship with other Bible-believing Christians? Folks, there is SO MUCH spiritual deception out there, it is scary. And we can get fed that deception right from our television screens, the computer or the wrong books. Many of these television "ministries" use influential means to bilk enormous amounts of money from deceived Christians for their phony causes. These so-called "ministers" end up extremely wealthy with mansions, private jets, expensive clothes, you name it. And those they deceive end up in severe financial trouble. My advice is: stay away from it and focus on the true Jesus. You can find Him in the pages of the Bible. The true purpose of the Church is to tell the world about the true Jesus from the Bible and to be "salt and light" to those around us who don't know the Lord.
If your church or ministry is spouting any of the above nonsense, then GET OUT quickly! This sort of apostasy is in reality, opening the door for the Antichrist to enter. At this point, he is not far away as all the players are already in place to play out the last scene of the end times. All of the above are indicative of a soon return of our Lord and Savior, and there are probably many more “signs” that were not even touched on. When you look around, you see the signs are really everywhere and you don’t have to look very far to see them.
Many prophecies from thousands of years ago are being fulfilled before our eyes. Knowing this, it should motivate each one of us to be watchful for the Lord's trumpet call, to endeavor to be “salt and light” to those around us and to continue our witness to those who do not know our Lord.
If you have been spiritually asleep, groggy, or not paying attention to the Lord’s soon return or the times we are living in, NOW IS THE TIME TO BE ON THE ALERT because His call for us can come at any time. We do not know when that day will be, because it is an unknown day. It therefore makes no sense to try to tie the date of the Rapture to a Jewish Feast day or other holiday, a month, or even a season of the year; because in doing so you will be wrong in your guess and also it is misleading as well as discouraging to others. It is simply unknown, as Jesus told us that we do not know the day or the hour of His return, not even Him, but His Father only. (Matt. 25:13; Matt. 24:36; Mark 13:32). But, on the other hand, all the current events and conditions of our present world as outlined above that continue to unfold every day while increasing in volume and intensity, are definite indications of a soon return.
It is like the labor pains of a woman about to give birth: when her pains become very frequent and intense as the baby moves into position, everyone knows she is very close to delivery (even though it is not known exactly at what moment the baby will be born until it is born). In the meantime, this world continues to deteriorate at an alarming rate on every level and is headed for sure self-destruction, which will lead into the period of the seven year Tribulation for those who are left behind. The Bible has foretold about these things for thousands of years, so it is in our best interest to take each one of them seriously in order to be prepared for the future. If you are reading this article and have not yet made Jesus Christ your personal Savior, I strongly urge you to do so TODAY. There is no guarantee in this life: a misfortune can happen to us at any time, causing our untimely death. (1Pet. 1:24; Psm. 39:4) Without Christ as your Savior who cleanses you from all sin, you will definitely be in hell if that were to happen. (Heb. 9:27; Matt. 25:46; Luke 16:19-31) That would be a true tragedy, because it is an everlasting punishment but it would be your own choice to go there as you failed to respond to the call of the Gospel when you had the chance. (Psm. 9:17; Psm. 55:15; Psm. 101:4; Matt. 7:23) Likewise, even by the Grace of God, if we don’t die and continue to live, Jesus can call us out of this world at any time via the Rapture. If you don’t belong to Him, you will be left behind to endure very horrific, wrathful judgments from God that will go on for seven years in order to cleanse the earth of mankind’s grievous sins. On the day the Rapture happens, it will appear to be another ordinary day and most people will be coming and going, pursuing their daily activities. (Matt. 24:37, 38; Luke 17:26, 27) They will be caught completely unawares and once it happens "in a twinkling of an eye" and people find themselves left behind, it will be too late. (1Thess. 5:3; Matt. 25:1-13) If you are still foolish enough to be in a lost state at that time, you can still trust in the Lord and be saved; however, you will be forced to endure the wrath of the Tribulation anyhow because the Age of Grace as we know it today will be over. So consider this a fair warning ahead of time! The good news is that the Lord doesn’t want anyone to either die and go to hell and/or experience the Tribulation to come. (2 Pet. 3:9) He created each one of us to love and to have a relationship with, but the one thing that barricades us from that relationship is the issue of SIN. This is due to the holy, pure and righteous nature of God, who cannot look upon sin and cannot allow anything sinful into His presence. (Ex. 20:5; Acts 17:30) To solve that very big problem, God sent His ONLY BEGOTTEN SON from heaven whom He loves so dearly to come to this earth to be our Savior, to die in our place and atone for us. (Rom. 6:10) What a Gift of Grace! (Eph. 2:5, 8) When we trust in the Lord for salvation, he forgives us of all sin and comes to live within us and start a new relationship. (1Cor. 6:11) That is called the Rebirth, and now we have eternal life with Him. (Rom 8:15-17) It is only when we have a true relationship with God by trusting in the Lord to atone for us can we say we are really prepared for the future. No other method, tradition or system devised by puny man will count a whit for salvation, nor will following after some earthly guru who cannot possibly save your soul. Jesus Christ is the ONLY WAY to heaven! (John 14:6) Here are the simple steps you need to take to ensure your future with God:
1 Recognize that you are a sinner in dire need of God’s help, and that only He can help you with your sin problem. Man is completely helpless to solve this problem on his own, he needs a real miracle from heaven: Jesus Christ.
2 Humbly come before God and recognize Him as the great God of the Universe and the Godhead, who came down from heaven in the form of a Man to be your Savior.
3 Humbly and contritely ask His forgiveness by acknowledging His great sacrifice on the Cross as your Substitute, knowing that His pure blood which He shed for you has the power to forgive all sin.
4 By surrendering your life to Him and renouncing the world and the lifestyle of sin, you become a new creation in Christ and the Holy Spirit now indwells you.
5 Walk in newness of life with Christ, sharing your witness with others and obeying God’s commands with the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
NOW IS THE TIME to get your life in order, because these are clearly the "Days of Noah" (Matt. 24) and the future is looking very ominous indeed! The future is either wonderfully glorious and the Rapture and heaven is our Blessed Hope with Christ our Bridegroom; or it is terribly bleak with wrathful judgments ahead for this earth. Which is it for you? (2016)