Just How Near to the End Are We?
Revived Roman Empire . . . Islamic Alliance . . . The Mark of the Beast . . .
The Sixth Seal . . . The Ten Horns . . . Gog and Magog . . . The Twelfth Imam . . . The Antichrist . . . The Abomination of Desolation . . . The New World Order . . . 666 . . .
Does all of this confuse you?
If it does, you’re not alone. End-Time prophecy is a virtual bubbling caldron of strange symbols, odd numbers, mystical concepts, and hidden revelation—all of which can be very confusing.
And while all of these various subjects merit careful study and observation, they can also potentially divert us from what is most important: First, to cultivate a relationship of intimacy with the Lord and learn to hear His voice, and Second, to share our faith with those who need to hear the Gospel. And although we at Jewish Voice inform and educate God’s people to understand the times in which we live, our primary mission is and always has been to reach the world with the Gospel of Messiah . . . to the Jew first, and also to the nations (Romans 1:16).
Global Trends and Developments
While no one can predict exactly when the End will come and the hour of Yeshua’s return, we are exhorted to watch, pray, and discern the times. God doesn’t want us to be in the dark about what’s in store for planet Earth. With that in mind, I want to point out five global trends and events that I believe tie into Last Days’ prophecy:
1. Worldwide Financial Instability and Social Chaos
Struggling economies marked by soaring unemployment rates throughout Europe (12% vs. 7.7% in the United States)—and bailouts or near bailouts of numerous European countries with the worst so far being Cyprus and Greece—are causing a weakened global financial scenario and growing economic instability. In addition, new post-Cyprus “austerity measures” have resulted in worldwide unrest and protests in Greece and Spain . . . and removal of power in Italy and Portugal, as the Eurozone slouches toward double-dip recession.
Jack Smith, author of Islam, the Cloak of Antichrist, conjectures that the rapid rise of the Muslim power base in Europe will fill the huge void left by the impending financial collapse of the EU. Smith writes: “The strength of democracy will become the Achilles Heel of Europe and the Muhammadans will rise, claim the seats of power, and by that power fulfill the prophecy of Muhammad that one day ‘Islam will rule the world.’”
The world’s most powerful nation is now the most indebted nation. In 2012, the U.S. national debt reached $16 trillion—more than America’s annual economic output as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP). A procession of so-called debt ceilings, pay-as-you-go rules, and balanced budget proposals have severely beleaguered our economy—helped along by divisive political maneuvers that are plagued by an infectious spending virus. Can we sustain such out-of-control spending and a runaway deficit? It is clear we cannot continue to “print our way” out of this mess. As large as the U.S. federal government is, something eventually has to give.
Other economic powerhouses, like Japan, are following suit. In fact, all three of the world’s major central banks have committed themselves to open-ended, cash-pumping programs to stimulate economies and protect financial stability.
The problem is, money is like any other commodity—the more of it there is, the less it is worth. As a result, this deluge of cash could create a tsunami of inflation. I see an eventual worldwide economic meltdown and the social chaos that most certainly will follow as a development moving us toward the End-Time landscape.
2. Worldwide Rise of Anti-Semitism
Who is to blame for the emerging global financial crisis? According to a recent bestselling book in China, the answer is clear: The Jews. Thousands of blog posts and commentaries populating the web seem to underscore this new face of an old hatred. And this is nothing new. The Jewish People have always been blamed in times of economic woes. Post World War I hyper-inflation in Germany was blamed on the Jews. Hitler did not invent anything new. He simply capitalized on the mass anti-Semitism that was already rampant throughout Europe.
If you think these negative attitudes toward Jewish People are confined to fringe lunatic politics or anti-Zion hate rhetoric, think again. Highly recognizable and “respectable” world leaders are now echoing the same sentiment: “Jews are greedy global capitalists; Jews are wealthy secret communists; Jews are cheapskates; and Jews control the media with their money to unduly influence society.”
According to a recent poll of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), anti-Semitism is at an all-time high since World War II. Incidents of Jewish cemeteries being desecrated, Jewish school and synagogue bombings, and other Jewish hate crimes are increasing at an alarming rate throughout the world. Anti-Zionism, which is really nothing more than a repackaging of age old anti-Semitism, has become the normative attitude throughout Europe as Islam spreads its Israel-despising venom.
Sadly, America is not exempt from this trend. College and university campuses across the United States are now breeding grounds for anti-Israel propaganda, and a nation that for the last 65 years since Israel’s inception has been an unwavering friend and ally is now shifting. We are moving toward the time spoken of in Zechariah when all the nations of the earth will turn against the tiny Land and people of Israel (see Zechariah 14:2), a definite sign that the End of the Age is near.
3. Growing Unrest in the Middle East
Not America, but Israel and the Middle East are at the center of Last Days' prophecy, and are now at center stage of world media focus. At the forefront is Iran. The world waits for them to finish building their nuclear weapon. Why has it taken so long? I’ll tell you: cyber-terrorism. On at least two occasions that we know of, Israel and the United States have attacked Iran’s centrifuges . . . first through a cyber-bug called “Stuxnet,” followed by a musical virus that turned on lab computers at night and blasted AC/DC’s 1990s song “Thunderstruck.” My prediction? If and when Iran completes a nuclear weapon, Israel will attack. And they will likely be on their own. What could follow may catapult us into utter chaos.
I could go on and talk about Syria, Turkey, Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, and a Hezbollah armed to the teeth, but space does not allow. To better understand this volatile landscape and whether there can ever be real peace, I encourage you to get my small book Is Peace Possible: Understanding the Current Middle East Crisis (see page 16).
4. The Gospel to Every Nation
In 1960, there were an estimated 50 million evangelical Christians in the West, and 25 million in the rest of the world. Today there are an estimated 75 million in the West, and a staggering 325 million living in rest of the world. Most of these “new evangelicals” reside in China, South Korea, India, Africa, and Latin America. Ironically, they are now sending “reverse missionaries” to Europe and the United States!
Although the fastest growing rate of Christianity is taking place in China (60-80 million people and between 10,000-25,000 coming to faith every day), one of the most surprising revival movements is taking place in none other than the Muslim world. While Islamic extremists shout “death to the infidels” (Jews and Christians), a growing number of former Muslims are embracing those “infidels” as long-lost brothers.
Mission researchers estimate that more Muslims have committed their lives to Jesus in the last ten years than in the last fifteen centuries of Islam. Amazingly, most of these Muslims are coming to know the Lord through dreams and visions.
Jesus Himself declared that the Gospel of the Kingdom would be proclaimed to every ethnos (people group or nation) before the End would come. That is happening today and will be a growing trend as we move toward the Last Days and the Lord’s return.
5. All Israel Shall Be Saved
Both the physical restoration of Israel and Jerusalem in 1948 and 1967 respectively as well as the spiritual restoration of Israel (the Jewish People) back to their God are perhaps the most significant events to occur before the Messiah returns.
Jews are returning to their Homeland in record numbers. The prophets declared that in the End of Days, God would “regather the scattered outcasts of Israel” from the north, south, east, and west (see Isaiah 11:11; Jeremiah 16:14-16; Zephaniah 3:10; Deuteronomy 30). Amazingly, this is happening before our very eyes and is largely under the radar of most Christians. More than a million Jews have emigrated from the Former Soviet Union in the north since the fall of Communism. Some 100,000 Ethiopian Jews have emigrated from the south.
Since 1967, Messianic Judaism (Jews who have accepted Jesus as their Messiah) has become the fastest growing stream of religious Jewish life—with an estimated 100,000+ Messianic Jews in the United States and more than 250,000 worldwide. They are still a small minority in Israel (just 16,000-20,000) but rapidly growing.
Yet while the numbers of Messianic Believers in Israel and worldwide may be relatively small now, the Bible tells us the day will come when all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:26). I see this awakening of Israel to their Messiah as the greatest single event preceding the return of Yeshua, and it is happening today.
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