Oct 1, 2012
The Red Line's Connection to Bible Prophecy
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in several interviews that the world faces a red line in stopping Iran before it can build a nuclear bomb. To drive his point home, he flashed a diagram of a cartoon-like bomb in a speech he made before the UN General Assembly. He used the crude diagram to show the progress Iran has made, and where Israeli would likely be forced to act.
Netanyahu focused on the two stages that Iran has reached in the purification of uranium. The first stage is the 70-percent level, which they have achieved. The second stage is the 90-percent level, which is the purity rate needed to make a nuclear bomb. The Israeli prime minister said this is a stage that Iran cannot be allowed to cross, because once they have bomb-grade uranium it would impossible to stop them from assembling a bomb.
"By next spring, at most by next summer at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move on to the final stage," he said. "From there, it's only a few months, possibly a few weeks before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb."
One quote from Benjamin Netanyahu that leaped out at me was his claim, "I started speaking about the Iranian threat 16 years ago." The concern over Iran's nuclear program has been so prolonged, it's hard to stay mindful of the danger. The average Israeli
citizen has become immune to Iran's calls for Israel's annihilation. Even Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, talking about his invisible doomsday friend, "the 12th Imam," hardly rises an eyebrow these days.
The Iranian threat is not going to go away if you stop thinking about it. I remember the days when we wondered if Iran would have an atomic bomb in three to five years. The timeline eventually shortened to one to two years. Now, we are only speculating about how many months it will before Iran goes nuclear.
The standoff with the Iranian nuclear program is not the only red line the world faces. Every major financial system on earth seems to be marching towards a point where they will be engulfed by an economic meltdown. Since the crisis started in 2008, central banks have been putting one band-aid after another on a system that only becomes more perilous.
Another situation facing a red line is global food production. For the past several years, I've noticed a relentless assault on world grain reserves by a series of negative weather events. The drought of 2012 in the U.S. has put us dangerously close to a level where food will have to be rationed.
Terry and I have noticed a common theme with world events: We are constantly teetering at the point where we could plunge into chaos. What makes these observations all the more fascinating is that the threat never goes away; it only grows larger in scope.
We are at the point where the only conclusion we can make is that the rapture is a common factor preventing us from going past the point of no return. Either events are on hold until the rapture takes place, or the occurrence of something like the bombing of Iran's nuclear facilities will target a countdown that will lead to the rapture.
The rapture is certainly a red line when it comes to the tribulation hour. The church will not be around to see the Antichrist sign the peace treaty with Israel that starts the Tribulation.
The Bible's restriction against there being a clear sign that the rapture is about to take place would seem to imply that the church's removal from planet earth will happen well in advance of a point where the game plan of end-time event becomes obvious.
It seems to me that we have long since stepped over that red line. The world has become so wicked that every Christian needs to adopt an end-time mindset. It is a very valid question to ask yourself: What would you be doing today, if the Lord Jesus was coming tomorrow--because someday tomorrow will be today?
"And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is. And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass. 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 12:54-56).
Crises and Antichrist
While doing my own version of athletic endeavor–walk-jogging on a treadmill—I finally had enough. Not of the jog-walk on the treadmill, but of talk about the apparently most pressing crisis of our time.
“Please, let’s listen to something else," I pleaded with the exercise physiologist who runs the heart clinic’s cardiovascular workout center. I said, “Let’s listen" because I’m blind and can’t “watch” the TV while we workout. I was sick of hearing ESPN pundits saying over and over, in as many ways as it could be said, that the replacement referees for the National Football League (NFL) are destroying the game.
When our EP, Zach, acquiesced to my plea and began going through the channels, there it was again, wherever he turned. Pundits were practically in tears, agonizing over the blown calls from the previous Sunday and Monday that were just beyond all calamities. This was a crisis of monumental magnitude, and someone–maybe President Obama—needed to step in and resolve the union referees vs the NFL and get some sanity back into pro football.
But, on two of the channels that weren’t hosting meltdowns over the referee crisis, the television audio blared mostly two other matters, specifically. Alas, Mr. Obama was taking care of more important business, speaking with the intellectual titans of societal voyeurism in America–the ladies of The View. He was preoccupied with that and addressing the United Nations General Assembly on other sorts of crises. However, thankfully, this, the number-one crisis in the nation–and apparently the universe— has since been resolved.
Much in the way that the church–all born- again believers in Jesus Christ for salvation—are apathetic about the spiritual condition of America and the world and are doing anything and everything except looking for “the blessed hope” (Titus 2:13), the American populace for the most part is caught up in such cataclysmic problems as the aforementioned replacement referee situation, and doesn’t, as a whole, have the slightest clue of the apocalyptic crises lurking just beyond the present hour.
It will be crises that will bring the great humanistic savior to the stage of world history. We might just be almost there, because no matter which way one looks on the geopolitical horizon, there is crisis, as we continually bring to your attention through these commentaries and through our news/article forums.
It is one thing to point the finger of blame at the apathetic American people in general. However, such condemnation of God’s people is something far more profound to contemplate. This "think not" generation that comprises the church, when considered alongside Jesus’ prophecy about the very end of the age, must almost certainly be that generation to which He was referring:
“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 24:42-44).
Jesus gave in-depth forewarnings of the crises that would usher in the time of the beast of Revelation chapter 13. And, it was Jesus who told John the revelator of the coming judgment of rebellious, humanistic endeavor and of this man of sin, as is pointed out in the very first chapter of that, the greatest of all prophetic books of the Bible.
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw” (Revelation 1:1-2).
This same Jesus told John–and us—of the two beasts who will appear at the time when God’s judgment will fall upon mankind (read Revelation chapter 13). The one called “the prince that shall come” by Daniel the prophet (Daniel 9:26-27), “the son of perdition” by the apostle Paul (2 Thessalonians 2:3), and “the beast" and “Antichrist” (2 John 2:18) by John will come to power at a time of unprecedented crises upon planet earth.
War looms in the Middle East, more portentous than at any time in history, because of the threat of igniting World War III. Every nation of earth faces coming economic collapse that experts say will be the worst ever experienced on the planet. Breakdown of culture and society at every level threatens civilization. Even nature is feared to be on a course that will bring world-rending catastrophe, while humankind moves deliberately as far from their Creator as they can get.
Jesus said it would be just this way as the time of His intervention into history draws near. He said that His people are to “watch” (Mark 13:37) and to “look up” when these things begin to come to pass (Luke 21:28), because He is on His way to rescue them.
The launching pad for the one called Antichrist continues to be constructed for the time that world crises reach the point of imploding the building bubble of impending doom we are currently witnessing. When Jesus calls His church to be with Him (John 14:1—3; Revelation 4:1-2), the beast will step forward with answers that people will be duped into believing will resolve their problems and bring peace and prosperity.
That Reviving Roman Empire launching pad is front and center in the news–news that the church and the world ignore in favor of, for instance, news of the NFL referee crisis. Greece and Spain are in crisis over threatened austerity cuts to welfare and bureaucratic retirement programs, with rioting building daily. Greece threatens to pull out of the European Union (EU) if funds to rescue the country’s imploding economy aren't forthcoming. The EU itself is in dramatic flux that is of great concern to economists who worry about preservation of western democracies and world financial stability.
The new push for a European Union federation, complete with its own head of state and army, is the "final phase" of the destruction of democracy and the nation state, the president of the Czech Republic has warned.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Václav Klaus warns that "two-faced" politicians, including the Conservatives, have opened the door to an EU superstate by giving up on democracy, in a flight from accountability and responsibility to their voters.
"We need to think about how to restore our statehood and our sovereignty. That is impossible in a federation. The EU should move in an opposite direction," he said.
Last week, Germany, France and nine other of Europe's largest countries called for an end to national vetoes over defense policy as Guido Westerwelle, the German foreign minister, urged the creation of a directly elected EU president "who personally appoints the members of his European government" (Bruno Waterfield, "Václav Klaus Warns that the Destruction of Europe's Democracy May Be in its Final Phase," Prague, 9/24/12).
Once again, the swiftly approaching, ultimate crisis for planet earth impresses my spirit. For the Christian, it will be not crises, but Christ, that will instantaneously be in view: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).