January 2015 Prophetic Observer
For a printable version, click here.
Next Major War Looming
by Dr. Bob Glaze
In Matthew 24, Jesus answered His disciples with signs they could expect to see as the end of the world approached. In verse 3, the disciples asked this question, “Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming?” In the following verses He spoke of the coming wars and how all the nations of the world would be in conflict. We have been in this mode for some time now. The following is taken from an article in the Wall Street Journal (12/4/14, p. A13). Like a soon approaching storm, the article describes that the thunder is booming and the fury is looming. This secular article, entitled “Ancient Elements Point to Large War Looming,” unknowingly perhaps gives us a blow-by-blow description of why and where we are today in relation to the end of the age described in Matthew 24.”
In the Book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon portrays the idea that we humans are in a circular rut that is perpetual; that we are not in control in managing our own destiny. In other words, if it has happened before, then we can depend on it coming back around at some point in time. In Ecclesiastes 1:9, he states, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Certainly he is speaking of his own labor, not that of the Lord. For there has never been a “Rapture,” nor has there ever been a “seven-year Tribulation period.” But, the world is about to experience some new events. The point is that we never learn from history and that wars have always been the status quo to solve our differences.
What the article is pointing out is that we have come full circle again and are in for another great war, which may be the Battle of Armageddon. If that is the case, we know as pre-Tribulational saints that this war is at least seven years away. We have the same old stage but with different players. Are our leaders ignoring or just ignorant of what is happening to initiate this future war. The article states, “The world is changing and becoming even more dangerous—in a way we’ve seen before.” Paul himself refers to this in 2 Timothy 3:1, “This know also that in the last days perilous times shall come.”
The article continues, “In the decade before World War I, the near-hundred-year European peace that followed the fall of Napoleon was taken for granted. Yet it abruptly imploded in 1914. Prior little wars in the Balkans which had seemed to predict a much larger one on the horizon were ignored.” Other examples included:
- The Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires were unable to control nationalist movements.
- The British Empire faded while czarist Russia was involved with rebellion.
- Imperial Germany was rising, giving them the likely opportunity of taking advantage.
And there are many other examples of rumbling that did not seem to be important or too remote to be dangerous.
Those and many more are examples of the past history have led to major wars. Today we are experiencing like signs that will not go away until they are met with force and determination. America is looked upon as the only power that can meet these problems. The question is, Are we a product of the past and simply ignoring the thunder, or just ignorant of the warring factions? Like previous generations, it is quite evident that a major war is looming in the not-so-distant future.
North Korea has a war-mongering ideology that is passed off as representing a little man’s phobia. Iran is developing a nuclear bomb and has promised to destroy Israel and neutralize the United States. And don't forget Russia’s provocative invasion of the national boundaries of Ukraine, as well as provoking NATO and the United States by entering their international boundaries in the air and sea. Russia’s economy is imploding as its people desperately exchange the ruble for any other currency. China is preparing for universal recognition as “the” major superpower by quickly building an offensive navy and air force.
Linked to that, OPEC and other oil-producing nations are becoming very nervous about falling oil prices that threaten their defensive posture. Saudi Arabia has been lied to concerning their guarantee of continued sovereignty for their support of the United States dollar as the world petro dollar. They, as well as many other countries, are seeking another currency as the world petro dollar. It is now possible for other countries such as tiny North Korea to successfully threaten the dollar and have the power to cause Sony to step down in their presentation of the film The Interview.
All the right ingredients for another Pearl Harbor are present for the next major war. The question is, Will this war be before or at the end of the Tribulation Period? Ezekiel’s battle of Gog and Magog presents a list of specific countries that will be involved in that war. In Revelation 19:19, the Battle of Armageddon includes all of the enemies of Christ, “And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.”
Also, the final Battle of Gog and Magog mentioned in Revelation 20:8, concerning Satan’s release after the Millennium, cannot be the next war. Satan shall be released, “and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” This final battle is at least 1,007 years into the future.
The Scriptures give us the correct answer. We may have another major war prior to the Rapture of the Church. If so, it can most certainly be the war noted in Ezekiel 38-39. The world will not be ready for this war, and it will come as a surprise to those not looking, even though all the signs are now here. When a secular organization recognizes that the signs of future prophecy are present, then we had better beware.
The Gospel—Is There A Need?
by Larry Spargimino
Prophets are not to be originators of the message, but simply the bearers of the message. We are not to be creative, but obedient. God told Jonah, “Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee” (Jonah 3:2).
False prophets thrive because people crave good news. Life can often be hard and disappointing. People need encouragement. There is nothing wrong with wanting encouragement. The Gospel of Jesus Christ does give us encouragement; but it is encouragement from God’s Gospel, sealed in the blood of the Lamb, and applied to hearts by the Holy Spirit. It’s Good News that we can count on.
In Jeremiah 27:3-4 we read that several dignitaries from Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon had come to Jerusalem to visit with King Zedekiah. They were drawing up plans to mount a counterattack against the Babylonians. But God tells these dignitaries that their strategy will not deliver them. All the nations round about, for the time being, will be oppressed by Nebuchadnezzar; and then when this phase of God’s plan is finished, many nations will turn on Nebuchadnezzar and subjugate him (vs. 7).
As a picture of Judah’s subjugation to Babylon God told Jeremiah to make a wooden yoke and wear it. Hananiah, however, broke Jeremiah’s wooden yoke as a symbolic action to encourage the people. It was a symbolic way of saying, “Jeremiah, you lie.” “Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke from off the prophet Jeremiah’s neck, and brake it. And Hananiah spake in the presence of all the people, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years” (Jer. 28:10-11).
Hananiah’s rosy claim sounded wonderful. There was no need for humility, confession, or repentance. What made it really attractive was that all of the Temple treasures stolen by Nebuchadnezzar would also be returned (Jer. 28:3).
That was not true. God would clear up this lie. God spoke to Jeremiah: “Go and tell Hananiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Thou hast broken the yokes of wood; but thou shall make for them yokes of iron” (Jer. 28:13).
Yokes are not all bad, and there is one yoke that we do not want to break. In Matthew 11:28-29 Jesus warmly invited His listeners to “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my YOKE upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find REST unto your souls.”
The yoke was a device for labor designed to team up two or more animals to work together. And yet the Lord promises “rest.” What is Jesus talking about? Resting while working. He is offering a working bond with Him to make life one of fruitful labor. The rest Christ offers is not a rest from work, but a rest in work.
More Than Morality
Acts 10 tells us of a very moral man who was not satisfied with his morality. His name was Cornelius.
This Roman centurion—a ranking officer who had 100 men under his authority—was an amazing individual. The Bible tells us that he and his whole family were devout and God-fearing. He gave to the needy and had a regular prayer life (vss. 1-2). We are even told that his prayers and generous giving to the poor had been noted by the Lord (vs. 4). Obviously, Cornelius was a very good man. We even know that one of his soldiers was devout (vs. 7).
One day about 3 p.m. Cornelius had a vision in which he saw an angel of God who instructed him to send men to Joppa to get a man named Peter, who had an important message. Peter “shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved” (Acts 11:14). Here was a moral man for whom morality was not enough. It never is.
The Macedonian Vision
Acts 16 tells us of how the Apostle came to preach the Gospel in Macedonia—that northerly area of Greece. The Scripture says: “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us” (vs. 9).
Here was a call for help. What kind of “help” could the Macedonians possibly need? Today we might conclude that they needed food and medicine, and maybe protection from bandits and terrorists. Maybe even a well-stocked bunker. No doubt, there are threats to life and limb today. Paul’s response, however, is revealing. “And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the GOSPEL unto them” (vs. 10).
It would be foolish and misleading to deny the many dangers that we as a nation face today. We must appreciate all those ministries, and certainly ours, who are “Watchmen on the Wall.” Yet, let’s never forget the Gospel and those who are proclaiming it all over this sin-cursed planet.
Let Them Eat Bark
by David Schnittger
“Let them eat cake” is the traditional translation of the French phrase Qu’ils mangent de la brioche, supposedly spoken by French queen Marie Antoinette upon learning that the peasants did not have bread to eat. This phrase has come to symbolize the kind of snobbery and disdain the wealthy are often accused of having toward the poor.
The Obama Diet
A variant of this dismissive phrase comes to mind in the December 15, 2014, article by Kyle Olson entitled, “’It’s basically tree bark now: Students up complaints about Michelle O’s lunch menu” (www.eagnews.org).
“Students have no problem telling adults exactly what they think of the new 'healthy' school lunches championed by First Lady Michelle Obama. ‘It’s basically tree bark now,’ Parkway West High School senior Stone Ramatowski tells St. Louis Post-Dispatch. ‘That’s all you can eat.'
"Lunch lines used to be 'out the door' for sandwiches brought in from fast-food chains like Chick-fil-A or Arby’s, but now with the 'healthy' lunches, they’re only a few students deep. Parkways West has experienced a 20 percent drop in lunch sales since the rules were implemented. Statewide, Missouri schools have seen an 11 percent decline in sales since the 2009-2010 school year.”
The change in public school menus across America is the result of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, a bill passed in Congress in large part due to the very vocal support of First Lady Michelle Obama. This bill is forcing public schools to offer various low salt, low sugar, low taste menu items that few kids want to buy or eat. An example of the “Obama diet” would include a single hot dog without a bun, half an apple, and a carton of milk. Stories are accumulating from across the country of students on the “Obama diet” throwing up in disgust and nausea as well as fainting from hunger.
The “Obama diet” is such a disaster that many school districts are opting out and the School Nutrition Association is drafting a proposal to seek a recess from being required to serve the “Obama diet” to the nation’s youth. The “queen of the school lunchroom” has managed to screw things up almost as badly as her husband’s Obamacare has screwed up health insurance. I must temper my negative comments with grateful remembrance of how “Queen Michelle” granted an indulgence to the commoners a few years ago, giving us “royal permission” to eat pie on Thanksgiving!
The Obama Girl’s Diet
While America’s public school children are forced to eat the mush that meets the calorie guidelines of the “Obama diet,” “Queen Michelle’s” girls feast on gourmet meals at a posh private school in Washington. James Morrison provides the details in his December 11, 2014, article titled “Obama’s Daughters Enjoy Gourmet Lunches at Posh School” (www.newsmax.com).
“School kids have been moaning about the tasteless fare local governments adopt to comply with first lady Michelle Obama’s war on the waistline and posting photos of the mystery meals online. The Sidwell Friends School, the $36,000-a-year private academy attended by Malia and Sasha Obama, also posts its menus on the internet. ... Thursday’s lunch included: potato sausage soup, firecracker slaw, California chef’s salad, all natural Jamaican jerk chicken wings, sweet potato black-bean bake, sautéed local greens, gemelli alfredo, and slice pineapple.”
A Growing Gap
This is but one example of the growing gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots” in America, and another symptom of the fact that the U.S. is quickly becoming a “failed nation.” Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson co-wrote the book, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty. In their book, they summarize why nations fail: “[A nation] is poor precisely because it has been ruled by a narrow elite that has organized society for their own benefit at the expense of the vast mass of people. Political power has been narrowly concentrated, and has been used to create great wealth for those who possess it. …”
Charles Smith, in his October 17, 2014, article titled “Of Two Minds” gives statistical evidence that America is rapidly becoming a failed nation: The top 1% own 43% of the financial assets in the U.S. The next 4% own 29% of the financial assets in America. Thus, the top 5% of Americans own 72% of the nation’s wealth. This gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” is the largest in the developed world, and is growing larger with each passing year. In fact, since 2007 the only income group whose net worth has actually increased is the top 5%. The net worth for each income group that comprises the other 95% has declined. For example, the inflation adjusted net worth of middle income households has declined by over 40% since 2007.
A Coming Reckoning
The Bible tells us that there is coming a day of reckoning for those who attain their wealth through exploitation. James addresses such in 5:5-7: “Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.”
As American Christians, our hearts are vexed at the growing injustices and inequities in our country. Despite our best efforts to affect the political process, and restore a constitutional republic, we may not be successful in doing anything but slowing the descent into tyranny. But, there is coming a day of reckoning for the unjust and a day of rescue for the justified in Christ. I echo the admonition of James: "Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord!"