I became a Christian in 1981 largely through the unexpected realization that the Bible was true. This realization in my life came through predictive Bible prophesy made vivid in the books of Hal Lindsey, mainly his book The Late Great Planet Earth, what the New York Times called the “no. 1 non-fiction bestseller of the decade.” (1970s).
Read here the Barnes & Noble Overview of the book:
The impact of The Late Great Planet Earth cannot be overstated. The New York Times called it the “no. 1 non-fiction bestseller of the decade.” For Christians and non-Christians of the 1970s, Hal Lindsey’s blockbuster served as a wake-up call on events soon to come and events already unfolding — all leading up to the greatest event of all: the return of Jesus Christ. The years since have confirmed Lindsey’s insights into what biblical prophecy says about the times we live in. Whether you’re a church-going believer or someone who wouldn’t darken the door of a Christian institution, the Bible has much to tell you about the imminent future of this planet. In the midst of an out-of-control generation, it reveals a grand design that’s unfolding exactly according to plan. The rebirth of Israel. The threat of war in the Middle East. An increase in natural catastrophes. The revival of Satanism and witchcraft. These and other signs, foreseen by prophets from Moses to Jesus, portend the coming of an antichrist . . . of a war which will bring humanity to the brink of destruction . . . and of incredible deliverance for a desperate, dying planet.
And here we are, decades later. Has that scare gone away? Are the events Lindsey talked about no longer of interest? Can we go on with our lives and no longer worry about such earth-shattering events and now concentrate our worry on Global Warming?
Well no … the events and players in and around Israel are still in play, and perhaps even more relevant than in the 1970s when Lindsey wrote.
Even a casual, uninformed and uninterested person must have at least a passing interest and knowledge of events in the Middle East … and this describes me in those many years ago in my Atheist past.
So let me bring you up to date on what some are saying here in the much more enlightened year of 2016.
The following article is by Greg Laurie from the January issue of Decision magazine:
The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 3 that in the last days, things will go from bad to worse. We could compare events in the last days to dominoes that are closely stacked together. Once the first domino goes, the others will fall in rapid succession.
That is how it will be with world events in the last days, beginning with the emergence of the Antichrist. Then there is the Tribulation period. Then there is the Battle of Armageddon. Then there is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Then there is the Millennium. These events are closely stacked together. And once the first one starts, the others will follow in rapid succession. Events in our world today are getting very close to that. I think I can safely say that we have never been closer to the return of Jesus than we are right now.
In October 2014, at the Aspen Institute’s Washington Ideas Forum, former U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was quoted as saying, “I think we are living through one of these historic, defining times. I think we are seeing a new world order.”
Hagel went on to say, “What we’re seeing in the Middle East with [ISIS] is going to require a steady, long-term effort. It’s going to require coalitions of common interests, which we are forming.”
We have shifting and change in global powers right now. A new world order will emerge. And I believe there are things happening right now that we have never seen before in human history. It is a reminder that Christ is coming.
Ezekiel 38 says that a large nation to the north of Israel’s newly established homeland, along with a number of allies, will invade Israel from every direction.
Get out a map of the world and find the little sliver of land in the Middle East known as Israel. Now look to Israel’s north. What do you find? You find Russia. Is Russia actually the force known as Magog, which the Bible says will march against Israel in the last days? No one can say with absolute certainty, but I think we can make a pretty good case for it.
Magog was the second son of Japheth (see Genesis 10:2), whose descendants, according to the Jewish historian Josephus, settled north of the Black Sea. The descendants of Tubal and Meshech, Japheth’s fifth and sixth sons, settled south of the Black Sea. These tribes intermarried and became known as Magog, settling to the north of Israel. In Ezekiel 39, God says, “I am your enemy, O Gog, ruler of the nations of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around and drive you toward the mountains of Israel, bringing you from the distant north” (Ezekiel 39:1-2).
Then there are the allies that ultimately will march with Magog. In Ezekiel 38 God says to Gog, “Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya will join you, too, with all their weapons” (Ezekiel 38:5). Persia officially became known as Iran in 1935. In 1979, Iran became an Islamic republic.
If the Magog that Ezekiel is speaking of is indeed Russia, then it’s fascinating that Iran is identified as an ally of Magog’s. It is worth noting that for 2,500 years, Russia had no alliance with Persia (Iran). That is, until now. Today they are officially allies. An alliance prophesied 2,500 years ago has been formed now. It is indeed a sign of the times.
General Mohammad Naghdi, commander of Iran’s Basij forces, stated, “Our ideal is not [nuclear] centrifuges but the destruction of the White House and the annihilation of Zionism [Israel].”
Which brings us to ISIS. Initially dismissed as a junior varsity rebel group, they have proven to be a major player in terrorism. We were all horrified by the attack in Paris, where 130 people died. Now it has come to America’s doorstep. San Bernardino is now the site of the largest American terrorist attack since 9/11. Terrorists Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14, leaving another 21 wounded. Malik pledged her loyalty to ISIS on Facebook and ISIS has called the shooters “followers.” It appears that Malik radicalized Farook.
We have never faced a terrorist group like ISIS before. Sebastian Gorka, an expert on ISIS, works closely with the U.S. Army Special Operations Command and the intelligence community. He proposes that ISIS is far more dangerous than Al Qaeda.
Among his findings are the fact that ISIS is the richest group of its type in human history, with enough cash to level about 1,600 terrorist acts equivalent to 9/11. He describes their ability to recruit as mind-boggling; they have recruited 19,000 foreign fighters in the last nine months. They do this largely through social media, radicalizing people online who have no digital footprint. These people are not necessarily being monitored by authorities. They do not have to be authorized by ISIS or anyone else. They get radicalized and they act. There are links to training videos that show them how to create acts of terrorism. They use encrypted technologies that hinder the ability of authorities to intercept and analyze information. This was not even possible until the last 10 years.
All of this is done with the objective of producing a global caliphate, or Islamic government.
Jesus told us to be aware of the signs of His return. And when those signs get closer together and bigger and brighter, we know that His coming is near. In fact, it seems as though every time we turn around, there is a new sign. That is what Jesus said it would be like before His return. These events will be happening closer and closer together, and we certainly are seeing that today.
As I see world events unfolding, I wonder if perhaps the Lord isn’t waiting for that last person to believe before He calls His church home. In fact, that person may be walking around on Earth somewhere today.
I believe the only hope for America is a nationwide revival.
I can understand your reluctance and hesitance – even your welled up anger at some religious Jesus Freak “trying to push his religion down my throat.” I’ve been there … I understand.
Don’t believe me … don’t believe Hal Lindsey … don’t believe Greg Laurie.
Do your own homework, your own research … don’t trust me … don’t go to church (yet) … read authors like Lindsey, Laurie and others and ask yourself perfectly reasonable questions: “are these guys nuts?” “are these guys extremist religious weirdos … and how dangerous are they?”
Then check out what they are saying against history and current events. Are they just liars out to make a buck on the gullible?
And finally … check out what they are saying against what’s actually written in the Bible. This may take some amount of courage … to actually open and read the Bible.
But ultimately what you do with it is totally up to you alone. You must decide for yourself what is truth in these matters.
This is not a matter of trying to win an argument.
Don Johnson – February 2016