By Irvin Baxter
What would it take to convince you that Jesus will return to earth during your lifetime? Would three fulfilled prophecies do it? Would five? Seven? Nine? How many?
Please indulge me for a few minutes while I briefly explain why I am absolutely convinced that Jesus will return to this earth during our generation.
There is no greater prophetic fulfillment. The nation of Israel was driven from her land in 70 AD. For almost 2,000 years, the Jewish people existed without a homeland; yet, while being sifted through the nations, they retained their identity.
The low point came between 1940 and 1944. Hitler was determined to implement his “final solution.” When Allied soldiers entered the Nazi concentration camps, they were horrified by what they discovered. Six million Jews had been gassed, shot, tortured and cremated.
In 1944, if you would have told the soldiers that opened these camps that the Jewish people would have their own nation and would become the premier military power in the Middle East by 1967, they would have thought you were crazy. But that is exactly what happened.
The most amazing thing about all of this is that it was prophesied over 2,500 years ago. The prophecy of Ezekiel 37 is called Ezekiel’s bone yard. Verse 12 states: “Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.”
The last part of this prophecy states that it will come to pass in the latter days, just before the Battle of Armageddon. It is at Armageddon that Jesus returns to earth.
The prophecy of Revelation 16:12 has lain quietly for almost 2,000 years, virtually defying fulfillment. It declares that the mighty Euphrates River will be dried up at the time of the Battle of Armageddon. But who is kidding whom? The Euphrates is the principal water source of the entire Middle East. This is like prophesying that the Mississippi River will be dried up! This Euphrates prophecy just appeared to be impossible.
At least it did until the shocking headline appeared on the front page of the Indianapolis Star, January 13, 1990. It read, “Flow of Euphrates To Be Stopped for 30 Days.”
The article explained that Turkey had built the huge Ataturk Dam. Thirty days would be required to fill up the newly constructed reservoir. So the Euphrates was temporarily stopped.
The river is flowing again now. However, as of 1990, the mechanism is in place that can stop the flow of the Euphrates at will. The prophecy states that, at the time of Armageddon, the flow of the Euphrates will be dried up to facilitate the invasion of Israel. It will really be very simple. Just push the button, raise the dam, and the Euphrates stops. But remember, it’s only been possible since 1990!
Revelation 13:17: “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”
The prophecy simply states that, during the endtime, everyone will need a mark or a number in order to participate in the economy. How could such a system possibly be implemented?
Until recently, it couldn’t. Only since the invention of the computer and the advent of the Internet, has the fulfillment of this ancient prophecy been remotely possible.
Now it is becoming commonplace to see articles proposing a cashless society. Who hasn’t been prevented from using a credit card because of forgetting a PIN number (personal identification number)? Experiments are already being conducted with using eye scans, face scans and fingerprints for proof of identity. Positive ID has become so necessary in a world that increasingly does business “online.”
The new money of Europe, the euro, has been in use for over two years. Millions of euros are traded every day. And yet to this point, physical euros do not exist. All transactions have been electronic – cashless! Euro notes and coins will be introduced in January 2002. Can a cashless society work? Europe has proven that it can.
Between online transactions and the use of smart cards, the technology presently exists to set up a cashless society. The only blockade is public acceptance. How long will it be before society is able to get used to it?
The Bible is crystal clear that the prophesied economic system will be implemented during the final three and one-half years before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Never possible before…totally possible now!
Most of the prophecies of the Bible are written in symbols. Only four or five give the literal name of a person or a place. Two of these special prophecies appear to have come to pass during the last fifteen years.
In Revelation 8:10-11, John saw what he described as a star falling from heaven. He said the name of the star was called Wormwood.
On April 26, 1986, the world’s worst ever nuclear explosion occurred. The Chernobyl nuclear power plant located in the Ukraine malfunctioned, releasing ten times as much radioactivity into the air as was released at the bombing of Hiroshima in World War II. So far, 125,000 have died as a result of the accident.
The nuclear cloud created by the Chernobyl explosion was carried by the winds into Europe. The resulting nuclear rains filled the rivers of Europe with the nuclide Cesium 137. People who drank the water or ate food touched by the water ingested the deadly nuclide. Doctors and scientists estimate that over 2 million people are presently infected by Cesium 137, which ultimately results in cancer.
The Ukrainian word for wormwood is chernobyl. If we were reading a Ukrainian Bible, the passage would say, “the name of the star is called Chernobyl.”
Revelation 9:1-11 prophesies a time when smoke will come out of the bottomless pit. The sun and the air will be darkened by the smoke.
When Saddam Hussein was forced to withdraw from Kuwait in 1991, he wreaked his vengeance by setting 700 of the world’s richest oil wells on fire. As a result, the sun was not seen in the area for the next three months. At noon, it was as dark as at midnight.
In this apocalyptic vision, John saw what he described as locusts coming out of the smoke. Only these were not ordinary locusts. He said that the locusts had breastplates of iron, the faces of men, and their stings were in their tails. John heard the sound of these “locusts.” He said, “the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.”
Does this sound like a description of the modern helicopter to you? It does to me! Remember that John had never seen a helicopter. He was merely attempting to record what he saw in his vision.
The most incredible part of this prophecy is verse 11, “And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. Both Abaddon and Apollyon mean “the destroyer.” Many translations of the Bible literally say—They had a king over them whose name is the destroyer.
Why is this so important? When Saddam Hussein was born, his mother decided to name him Saddam because the name means “the destroyer.” She did this because her pregnancy had been so terribly painful.
The one who was over the darkening of the sun and the helicopters participating in that war, is called “the destroyer.”
Coincidence? You really think so?!
In summary, the prophecy says that an army of 200 million will trigger a war that will kill one-third of the world’s population—two billion people.
Of all the prophecies, this one is by far the most ominous! No matter how we twist and turn its message, it still states that one-third of the world will be destroyed.
But who will ignite this horrible prophesied holocaust? The Bible describes an army of 200 million. Has there ever been an army of 200 million on the face of the earth? Most nations don’t even have a population of 200 million—let alone an army!
The alarming news is that a nation has made the boast that it can field an army of 200 million. The late leader of China, Mao Tse Tung, bragged that he could field an army of 200 million soldiers. The 1999 World Factbook, put out by the CIA, stated that China had 198 million men of military age (15-49). That number went over the 200 million mark as of the year 2000.
A prophecy that could never before have been fulfilled can now come to pass at any time. Since the Saddam Hussein prophecy happened at the sounding of the 5th Trumpet and the China War will occur at the 6th Trumpet, it is obvious that this terrible event is the next major item on God’s prophetic calendar.
Knowing this, we realize how very dangerous the present conflict between China and the United States actually is!
Zechariah 14:2 states that all nations will come against Jerusalem to battle at the time of Armageddon. Throughout the 2,000 years since this prophecy was given, people have wondered how all nations would be able to gather at Jerusalem.
Only in recent times has it become apparent how this prophecy will be fulfilled. Beginning with the Gulf War in 1990-1991, the world’s trouble spots have been dealt with by the forces of the World Community. When conflict arises somewhere on the globe, the United Nations passes a resolution to solve the problem. Any faction that does not bow the knee to the decisions of the World Community runs the risk of invasion by the International Forces. So we understand that every single nation on earth may not be present at Armageddon, but the forces of the World Community representing the United Nations will be there.
Within the last month, the UN Security Council voted on a resolution to send soldiers into Israel to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Only a veto from the United States stopped the UN from moving against Israel.
This failed vote was a precursor to one that will succeed. Whether the United States will decide to allow international intervention in the Middle East or whether UN reforms result in abolishment of the veto power, we don’t yet know. But somehow a UN resolution against Israel will be allowed to pass. Result—Armageddon and the Second Coming.
As Judy and I stepped onto the bulletproof bus at Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station, the prophecy of Matthew 24:15-21 kept running through my mind. Jesus had said that those living in Judea would suffer great tribulation during the times immediately before His Second Coming. Bus #170 would take us out to Beit El (Bethel) in Judea, referred to as the West Bank by the media.
During the one-hour ride north of Jerusalem, we circled around Ramallah where the brutal lynching took place. I couldn’t help but look at the thick double glass covering the bus’ windows, wondering if it really would stop a sniper’s bullet.
But the thought foremost in my mind was the prophecy. Two-thousand years ago, Jesus had prophesied about this time and the danger that would engulf this specific area. Here we were, in 2001, traveling through the area only because we were shielded by the bulletproof bus. And to think that the worst is yet to come! An article recently reported that a plan already exists for the Palestinians to overrun the Judean settlements when the time is right.
I came away from this unique experience, knowing that I had glimpsed a preview of the Great Tribulation, and it wasn’t pretty!
Another compelling sign that we are living in the endtime!
Taken alone, most of these prophetic fulfillments might be able to be explained away as coincidental. However, there is a question that sincere, thinking people must ask themselves…At what point does coincidence end and divine providence begin?