Two Prophetic Trends You Shouldn’t Ignore
Today’s news displays a world that is edging closer to how the Bible describes the end times. Here are two key prophetic trends we need to be aware of.
Almost 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ gave this command to His disciples in the context of explaining prophetic signs of the end time. The rest of His statement was: “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36; see also Matthew 24:42; 25:13; Mark 13:35).
Students of the Bible understand this imperative. About one-third of the Bible is prophecy—history written in advance. Large portions of both the Old Testament and New Testament are dedicated to describing what will happen in the future. The Bible prophesies that before the return of Jesus Christ, the whole world will experience a great time of trial—the most destructive and violent years this world will have ever seen (Matthew 24:21-22).
Life, Hope & Truth is committed to watching and reporting the signs of this coming time.Life, Hope & Truth is committed to watching and reporting the signs of this coming time. We believe that Christ’s command in Luke 21:36 is a crucial part of our responsibility.
Recent news has displayed two key prophetic trends that are coalescing right before our eyes.
1. Surprising developments in the Middle East
Since last summer, the world’s attention has been fixated on the rapid rise of ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), which rapidly conquered large portions of Syria and Iraq. Under ISIS rule, a strict interpretation of Islamic law has been imposed, accompanied by brutal violence against all it considers enemies.
In March The Atlantic published an article by Graeme Wood titled “What ISIS Really Wants,” which brought up many points that have shocked the Western world. Two major points were:
- ISIS desires to restore an Islamic caliphate. This is what distinguishes ISIS from its predecessor, al-Qaeda. Osama Bin Laden’s organization did not try to conquer and rule territory as an Islamic caliphate. Instead, it saw itself as hastening the coming of a future caliphate. ISIS, on the other hand, believes that it must establish a caliphate that fully enforces its interpretation of Islamic law. This is what puts ISIS in conflict with the present governments ruling Islamic countries—the lack of enforcement of strict Islamic law. Instead of being a rogue terrorist group with cells hiding in deserts and caves, ISIS is now ruling territory and is threatening other governments.
- ISIS desires to hasten an end-time apocalypse. The article describes the ISIS vision “that the armies of Rome will mass to meet the armies of Islam in northern Syria; and that Islam’s final showdown with an anti-Messiah will occur in Jerusalem after a period of renewed Islamic conquest.” ISIS believes it is preparing the region for this coming “apocalyptic bloodbath.”
Students of Bible prophecy understand that this “vision” has overtones of the final conflict between the king of the North and the king of the South in Daniel 11:40-43. Though Daniel 11 does not provide many details of the king of the South, prophecy does not indicate it will be brought together by a terrorist organization like ISIS.
The Bible indicates that the king of the South will be a “confederacy” of nations (Psalm 83:5), likely led by Egypt (Daniel 11:42-43). It is very unlikely that ISIS has the capability to conquer enough land to fulfill this prophecy. A more likely scenario would be Muslim nations uniting for political and religious reasons—possibly to fight groups like ISIS and also to challenge the Western world.
Read our article “The King of the South” to learn more about these prophecies.
2. Growing European unity and strength
Another major trend that has dominated the news for the past two years has been a resurgent Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin. But this point isn’t about Russia. Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine has highlighted the weakness of Europe. The European nations, even Angela Merkel’s Germany, have been able to do little more than condemn the action and urge Putin to back down. Europe has passively supported sanctions on Russia—but the sanctions have not been severe enough to cause Putin to seriously reconsider his behavior.
Simply put, Europe has been far too weak to pose any sort of military threat to Russia and is too dependent on Russian oil and gas. A continent that has launched multiple invasions of Russia throughout history now seems too weak and intimidated to physically check Russia’s hybrid war in Ukraine.
The significance of this is not Europe’s present weakness. Instead, this situation has showed Europe that it needs to strengthen itself. The Ukraine crisis has led to the recent news that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is calling for “the creation of a European army to face up to Russia and other threats [that would] restore the European Union’s foreign policy standing and show it is serious about defending its values” (“We Need a European Army, Says Jean-Claude Juncker,” BBC, March 9, 2015).
Europe is also facing pressure from the south, as millions of Muslim and African immigrants are pouring into Europe. As we reported in our blog post “Terror in Paris,” anti-immigration political groups are gaining popularity in prominent European nations such as Germany, France and Sweden.
Some Europeans also feel a European army would be important to end European dependence on the United States. Of course, today Europe’s primary military protection comes through the NATO alliance, which is dominated by its most powerful member, the United States. A European army would allow Europe to act independently. It should be no surprise that the majority of support for this idea has come from Germany (Europe’s most powerful nation) and the majority of disagreement has come from the United Kingdom (America’s closest ally).
The Bible prophesies a time when 10 European nations (or groups of nations) will “give their power [sovereignty]” to a political leader called “the beast”—temporarily reviving the Holy Roman Empire (Revelation 17:13). This power will dominate the world for a short time and will replace the United States and Britain (which will not be a part of it) as the world’s dominant Western power. It will provoke a climactic war against a confederation of Muslim nations and later an alliance of Asiatic nations—likely including China and Russia (Daniel 11:40-43; Revelation 9:16; 16:12).
Why watch world news?
Some may wonder why Life, Hope & Truth reports on world news and emphasizes prophecy. We believe that since prophecy is such a prominent portion of the Bible, God intends it to be understood and taught. This blog post just highlighted two of the many trends that we are to watch based on Bible prophecy.
But it goes far deeper than that!
The Bible shows you can escape the approaching time of trouble by genuinely turning to God in repentance and obedience (Luke 21:36; Acts 3:19). Our earnest hope and prayer is that learning about these prophecies will help our readers better understand our world and the future—and ultimately turn to God as their protector and refuge.
We have produced a number of resources to help you understand prophecy and change your life. Here are a few that can be helpful:
- “What Is Babylon?”
- The articles in the section “End Times: What You Need to Know About the Last Days”
- Change Your Life!
Photo: Wikipedia (public domain); European Parliament/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0