Non-Christian media produce and broadcast hour after hour of programming on the end of days, as they term doomsday prophecy. Paradoxically, the church that names the name of Jesus Christ for the most part either maintains a strange silence on the subject or scoffs at prophecy as having any literal relevance to our time. It seems the very people who should be aware of the portentous days in which we live better fit the description given by the apostle Peter than do unbelievers: “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:3-4).
Despite the fact that the secular news media views any deity there might be as existential at best, it increasingly demonstrates through programming that it senses an almost supernatural cataclysm looming in the gloomy murkiness of things to come. The Christian church (those who have accepted Christ as their Savior through His sacrifice for the sins of man upon the cross at Calvary) sadly, on the other hand, doesn’t give much indication that its members worry, or even care about, what might lurk around the next corner of human history. This, even though their Lord Jesus Christ, the very Word of God (John 1:1), knows the end from the beginning and has given through Bible prophecy much about what will unfold while His second coming draws near.
Jesus tells the believer what to do in response to witnessing the end-times signals He and the Old and New Testament prophets gave through the spoken and written Word. He said, after giving many signs of the times for the generation alive at the time of His second coming, “And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch” (Mark 13:37). Again, Jesus gave a profound commandment to believers: “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).
So many things of biblically prophetic significance are convulsing today’s world that it requires book-length examination to look at all matters involved. We will, with this series, however, attempt to cover—at least in summary—the most relevant prophecies from God’s Word and apply these to the examination of the more pertinent issues and events that we see unfolding.
Setting the Prophetic Stage
Prophecies have and are currently being fulfilled, in my view, including the reality that Israel is back in the center of the land God promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I cannot emphasize strongly enough that God’s mighty hand can be seen moving prophetically in virtually every facet of the human condition at this present moment.
The Lord of heaven, who alone knows the end from the beginning—and who has revealed much about future things in His written Word—can be likened to a producer and director setting the stage for a great production. He is letting us look behind the curtain to see the setting of the stage for the end-times play that is about to begin.
The ominous title chosen here for the play that is written by the awesome finger of God—“Prophecies of Doom”—is ours, the producers of this volume. The title is intended to provide a to-the-point description of the phenomenally dramatic theme that this earth is passing away in preparation for the coming thousand-year reign of the King of kings and Lord of Lords. God himself promises that there will be nothing gloomy or frightening about that future glorious era of the planet called earth. Getting to that time of Christ’s reign, however, will require billions of this fallen sphere’s inhabitants having to go through hell on earth.
We will look at God’s end-times play, for the sake of making matters involved more easily understood, in three acts. Act 1 will examine the church age, or age of grace; Act 2 will unveil the Tribulation; and Act 3 will give a brief overview of the millennial, or 1,000-year, reign of Christ upon earth.
Act 1–Age of Grace
Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection somewhere around 33-36 A.D. initiated the age of grace, also known as the church age. This is the era in which you and I are living today. The age of grace designation revolves around the fact that God sent His only Son, Jesus the Christ, to die for the sin of fallen man. It is the grace of God—the giving of God’s Son, the only sinless person ever to have been born in the flesh, as the sacrificial Lamb who takes away the sin of the world—that can bring each and every person into reconciliation with God the Father. God did this unfathomable act of supreme love without any of His creation called man having any worthiness whatever to be saved from sin that brings eternal death. Redemption through God’s grace is the only way to go to heaven.
Jesus made this clear. “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no [person] cometh to the father but by me” (John 14:6)
The Church Age
This age of grace is also known as the church age. This is the era when Jesus’ words to Peter and His other disciples began to be fulfilled: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
From the moment God’s grace plan was implemented, Christ’s church began building. This means that one individual human being at a time is being added to the church through his or her individual acceptance of Christ as Savior. This is done through God’s grace gift, as described above. The process of being added to Christ’s church is wrapped up in the following words from the Bible: “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9).
Many pretribulation prophetic indicators are given in the Bible that will be prevalent in the age of grace. However, there is only one prophecy that God’s Word tells us for sure will be fulfilled during this dispensation (distinct era on God’s timeline). Other prophecies yet future might be fulfilled in this present church age, but the possibility of those instances is very limited, as we will see.
Church Age Indicators Pointing to Coming Tribulation Era
Jesus forewarned of indicators to look for in the times leading up to His second advent. I’m aware that some Bible prophecy students will argue the point, and there isn’t sufficient space to confute those arguments that Jesus prophesied in the Olivet Discourse (see Matthew 24; Mark 13; and Luke 21) only about the Tribulation dispensation, Daniel’s seventieth week, the last seven years of human history before Christ’s return. I will simply say that I’m of the conviction that the Lord spoke partly about the church age, partly about the Tribulation, and, in some instances, about both dispensations at the same time while discoursing with His disciples atop Mt. Moriah that day.
False Christs/False Prophets /False Teacher
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many (Matthew 24:3-5, 11).
Prophecies of doom begin with the Lord, the Creator of all things, the very Word of God (John 1:1). Jesus forewarned that the doom of fallen mankind begins with being deceived by the claims of those who falsely say that they come in His name, or who claim to actually be Him. All such claims are wrapped up in the denial that Jesus has come in the flesh as the only payment for sin God the Father recognizes. The spirit of Antichrist is at the heart of denial that Jesus came for the purpose described above in this chapter.
John the apostle and prophet wrote: “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time” (1 John 2:18).
The prophet wrote further: “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world” (1 John 4:3).
Twenty-first century religiosity has brought about an onslaught of the deceivers about whom Jesus and the old apostle forewarned. While the first decade of the third millennium since Christ’s birth moves swiftly towards its end, the Antichrist spirit is alive and well–and gathering millions of the deluded within its deadly cloud of deception.
The insidious methodologies Satan has used to bring about the delusion is amazing. And most of Christianity—those people who should be alert to the serpent’s ways—has been lulled into spiritual lethargy that sedates them to what is unfolding around them and to what is bringing on those prophecies of doom that we consider at the moment.
Prosperity Preaching Paves the Way to Perdition
It only takes a quick click through the channels with the TV remote to discover that most of Christian television today is about the prosperity gospel, which some call the name-it-and-claim-it gospel.
The preachers and the promoters ministries sometimes hire to act as hucksters to bring in contributions dwell almost exclusively on encouraging an inward turning of the people in their audiences.
Their message is, rather than the all-important truth that Jesus is the only way to salvation, the lie that God wants all of His people to be financially prosperous. The way to get this prosperity is to give money—preferably to them. When the TV viewers “plant a seed” with the particular ministry doing the huckstering, they are promised great, overflowing abundance in return.
While there is a God-prescribed way to give to the Lord’s work, the give-to-get inward turning is egregiously detrimental to the cause of Christ and the salvation message. These are teachers of a gospel other than the gospel of Jesus Christ, as Paul forewarned: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9).
This false teaching has within the past few decades brought about a falling away from the very heart of God’s Word—the redemption and reconciliation of mankind to the Heavenly Father, who is not willing that any should perish, but that all should receive everlasting life (read John 3:16).
Antichrist Spirit Rampant
Name-it-and-claim-it prosperity purveyors have opened the floodgates for another gospel and for the Antichrist spirit about which the apostle John forewarned. Christians who are now desensitized to this false teaching and preaching have become dull to truth about the very heart of Jesus’ purpose for coming in the flesh as the perfect God-man–the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Millions, in large part due to false teaching and preaching, will go into that last seven years of horror on earth, the Tribulation. They will take the mark of the Beast of Revelation 13:16-18 because they believe the lie that there are many ways, not one way (John 14:6), to salvation: “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).
The deluded, dulled-down church has to a considerable extent been responsible for the sin that separates lost men, women, and children from salvation, which can come only through the Lord Jesus Christ. The church has gone, without giving much prayer or thought to matters involved, into the fold of false shepherds who teach and preach that there must be unity in the world to save it.
The “intolerant” message that there is only one way to God and heaven, these sheep in wolves clothing incessantly put forth, is the holdup to true world peace. One pastor even has his own “PEACE” plan—a social gospel of inclusiveness of all religious belief systems. Salvation will come, his theology basically implies, once the social ills are cured and people are able to then concentrate on receiving salvation, their various appetites having been satisfied.
Jesus went about offering salvation precisely the opposite way. He sought out and saved the souls of the poorest of the people. He never promised prosperity, or even unity, on this earth. As a matter of fact, Jesus said that He came to divide believers from unbelievers. He said He was hated by the world, not loved by it, for His message. The gurus of the present ecumenical effort to bring all to unity and love through another gospel indeed hate the “intolerant” message that Jesus Christ is the Way—the only Way—to God the Father and heaven.
Jesus said to His followers—including those who would be His disciples down through the centuries to this present day—“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:18-19).
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Church Age Rage
So, there is world rage during this dispensation called the church age, or age of grace. Satan is at the heart of the rage against Christ and all who are His disciples. From this luciferian, insane, white-hot anger flows and spins all of the prophecies of doom found in God’s Word.
The world of rebellious earth-dwellers who hate Jesus Christ and reject God’s only way of redemption and reconciliation for lost mankind is creating the perilous times of the present hour. They follow their father, the devil, down the broad way that leads to outer darkness and separation from God and heaven for eternity.
Jesus said: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
To those who reject Him for salvation, the Lord puts it bluntly: “Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).
Perilous Times the Result
Act 1—this age of grace—is a specific dispensation on God’s timeline. It is an era in which God’s grace plan is in place to save from their sins all who will believe in Christ for redemption and reconciliation. At the same time, Satan, who is the father of lies, is doing all he can to keep men, women, and children from accepting God’s grace gift, Jesus Christ.
Paul the apostle and prophet foretold that Satan’s evil work will also be in force during this dispensation, fomenting perilous times through rebellious activities and characteristics of sin-saturated mankind. These end-times human beings’ actions in rebellion to their Creator will ultimately bring prophecies of doom to fruition. Read these “perilous times” characteristics of end-times mankind in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. For now, we will go to Act 2 and the dispensation of Tribulation. We will look at specific prophecies that are scheduled for that last seven years immediately preceding Christ’s second coming to earth. Jesus said about that time: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).
Act 2–The Tribulation
Most every signal of that future seven-year period that will be so horrendous that Jesus said it will be the worst time of all human history thunders on the prophetic horizon in this generation. The student of Bible prophecy who adheres to the literalist point of view receives ever-increasing verification that indeed we are on the very cusp of end-times prophetic fulfillment. Let’s look at specifics to see if anything seems familiar.
Stage-setting for prophecies of future fulfillment leading to the Second Advent (the moment when Christ’s foot will touch down on the Mount of Olives after breaking through the clouds above Armageddon—see Revelation 19:11) can be seen in every direction the diligent student of Bible prophecy looks. Today’s newspaper headlines and news broadcast lead stories invariably include Israel, its neighbor antagonists, and the potential for war in the Middle East.
Jesus said this would be a key prophetic indicator of His soon return to this fallen planet. As a matter of fact, His forewarning of this precise situation was given right after His forewarning of false teachers, false Christs, and great deception, as we looked at above: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet” (Matthew 24:6).
Certainly, wars are breaking out involving Israel on a consistent basis.
This has been the case since its rebirth as a modern nation on May 14, 1948. War involving Israel and its terroristic enemies is raging even while I’m writing this chapter. Let us examine some of the specifics of things to come, according to God’s Word.
I, as many who study Bible prophecy, find one of the most profoundly interesting prophecies that likely awaits fulfillment just ahead to be that involving Damascus, Syria: “The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap” (Isaiah 17:1).
The fascination stems from the fact that every major Middle East Islamic terroristic organization is headquartered in Damascus. The Syrian government of Bashar Al-Assad looks the other way. He even gives perks to these fanatics, who in the name of Allah are blood-vowed to obliterate Israel, to sweep it and all Jews from the face of the earth. It is Damascus where the murderous plots to destroy God’s chosen nation are hatched. One prophecy of doom most easily observed in preparation for fulfillment is the doom of Damascus. Damascus’ destruction will happen; make no mistake.
Covenant with Death and Hell
The cry for peace in the world, and most specifically for peace in the Middle East, is growing by the hour. Iran’s nuclear program, which everyone knows is not in place for the peaceful development of energy to produce electricity in the area of ancient Persia, has diplomat councils in a collective dither. All focus , it seems to me at least, is not on forcing Iran to give up its nuclear weapons development, but on pressuring Israel to give up any idea of attacking those weapons development facilities. Israel is expected to let Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s many-times-stated intention to eradicate Israel just pass through one Israeli Defense Force ear and out the other without doing anything to eliminate those threats.
The Roadmap for Peace continues to circulate, with the Quartet (the United States, the United Nations, the European Union, and Russia) pressuring Israel in particular to accept the international community’s prescription for peace. That prescription, of course, calls for Israel to give up even more land, and for a two-state solution to the Palestinian question.
Daniel the prophet foretold a peace that would be approved and guaranteed by the one who will become Antichrist: “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Daniel 9:27).
The peace the “prince that shall come”—Antichrist—will make between Israel and its enemies will affect the entire world. It will be for the worse, not for the better. Isaiah the prophet tells of this prophecy of doom in quite frightening terminology: “Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves… And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it” (Isaiah 28:14-15, 18).
Watching the “peace” process in the Middle East is vital for the student of Bible prophecy in these troubling though exciting times.
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