“And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” – Jesus Christ as recorded in Mark 13:37.
The year in review programs are impressive. There is always something I had forgotten from earlier in the year, and there is the list of celebrities who have passed away. It seems the only resolution people can keep is a resolution not to make resolutions. As far as the tabloid predictions, well, California still has not fallen into the Pacific, Elvis has yet to emerge from hiding and we have yet to have public contact with the beings inside the flying saucers.
There is a difference between predictions and prophecy. I have predicted my beloved Cleveland Indians will win the World Series every year since I was 5 years old. I have been wrong more than 50 consecutive times. Oh well.
Biblical prophecy, however, is always reliable. Isaiah 44:28 and 45:1 mentions king Cyrus by name more than 100 years before he was born. Many Old Testament prophecies of Christ came true – being born in Bethlehem, growing up in Nazareth, coming to Israel from Egypt, even the fact that He would receive vinegar to drink (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:23; Hosea 11:1; Psalm 69:21) to name just a few.
The verse from Mark 13 above is the very end of an answer to a question Jesus takes nearly all of the chapter to answer. “Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?” The Apostles, like us, were curious of future events. As I mentioned, many Biblical prophecies have come to pass, but there are also many that remain unfulfilled. We should be watching the people, nations and societal and natural conditions involved in Biblical prophecies to gain an understanding of what is going on in the world.
When watching the nations comparing Bible maps with a modern globe is essential. A few countries still have the same names as they did in Bible times, but most have changed over the centuries. Persia, for example, changed its name to Iran less than 100 years ago in 1935. Also as an example, Libya, Ethiopia and Egypt are still Libya, Ethiopia and Egypt.
I am not saying that any of the prophecies below will happen in 2018. I am only saying as Jesus did – watch. We should pay close attention to the relationships of these nations and situations as they develop with Israel because the events will happen someday.
Psalm 83 – The invasion of Israel by Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. The passage does tell us the invaders are destroyed “as the fire burneth a wood” (Psalm 83:14). Amos chapters 1-2 also tell of these invaders being destroyed by fire. Amos, however, also tells us in Amos 2:5, “but I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem.” It appears the government of Israel will take a significant hit.
Watch the events of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Somehow, someway, the Jewish Temple will be rebuilt. There is no specific prophecy about rebuilding the Temple, but there are prophecies of the future world leader, the Antichrist, desecrating the Temple (Daniel 9:27). Jesus Himself spoke of this in the Olivet discourse (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14). In Revelation 11:1-2, John is given orders to measure the Temple, but he is told not to measure the outer court because “it is given unto the Gentiles.” Some believe a compromise will come concerning the rebuilding of the Temple; by building it without the outer court, therefore leaving room for the Dome of the Rock, which is currently on the Mount. However it happens, the Temple will be rebuilt; the Antichrist cannot desecrate something that is not there.
Concerning the Antichrist, because of the visions in Daniel 2, 7 and 8, most scholars believe he will come from somewhere within a revived Roman Empire. Isaiah and Micah call him “the Assyrian” (Isaiah 10:24-25, 14:25-26; Micah 5:3-6). He will rule from Babylon, which is modern day Iraq (Isaiah 14, Revelation 18). The visions of Daniel mentioned above tell us of the four world empires throughout history, Babylon, Media and Persia, Greece and Rome. The modern-day nations conquered by all four kingdoms were Israel, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, parts of Turkey and parts of Egypt.
Watch for a leader rising out of the Middle East or Europe. You might think this is vague or contradictory, but I will remind you of the prophecies concerning Christ – born in Bethlehem, called a Nazarene and coming out of Egypt. Before Bethlehem, Nazareth and Egypt happened there were many that did not understand how all three could be correct.
“And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” – Jesus Christ.
Preacher Tim Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. Email him at [email protected] Sermons and archived Preacher’s Points can be found at preacherspoint.wordpress.com.