Sometimes, it is helpful to step back and take a look at the Big Picture when looking at the events of our day and the prophecies of Scripture for the last days in order to get a handle on where we are now and how we got here.
In the last days, the Bible divides the world into four spheres of global influence. The prophet Daniel identifies the antichrist as being a prince of the people who would destroy Daniel's 'city and sanctuary' (9:26) [Jerusalem and the Temple].
It is the antichrist who confirms a peace covenant between Israel and her surrounding enemies during Daniel's 70th Week -- what we call the Tribulation.
Daniel's prophecy of the destruction was fulfilled about six hundred years later, when the legions of Rome, under the command of Titus, a future emperor, destroyed the city, the Temple and exiled the Jews from the Holy Land.
Rome's history was described in Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Daniel described Rome as 'strong as iron' and would subdue all things but also said it would be 'divided'. (Daniel 2:40)
The Roman Empire was the most powerful in world history. It grew so large that it split into an Eastern Empire ruled from Constantinople and a Western Empire ruled from Rome.
Daniel interpreted the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar's image as a final version of the Empire, a fractured and fractious alliance of ten 'kings' who are eventually united under an 'eleventh' leader (Daniel 7:20).
"And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay." (Daniel 2:43)
The prophet Ezekiel outlines the rise of a second sphere of global influence in the last days, cryptically known as the Gog-Magog Alliance. 'Gog-Magog' is more or less universally accepted as referring to modern Russia and her traditional Slavic allies.
'Gog' allies itself with the Islamic world, principally Persia [Iran] and launches an all out assault on Israel. Ezekiel describes Israel as a 'land of unwalled villages'. (Ezekiel 38)
[Israel is currently in the process of constructing a 'wall' along its entire border]
Daniel refers to another global sphere of influence, the 'king of the south' or Islamic North Africa.
Finally, the Apostle John refers to the 'Kings of the east' identifying them by their numbers. John said they would field an impossible army of two hundred million men -- almost half the population of the earth in John's day.
Today, the CIA World Factbook estimates two hundred million as the total military strength of the People's Republic of China.
There is no mention of any fifth sphere of global influence that resembles the United States in Scripture during the Tribulation Period.
The ancient Hebrew prophets all made reference to Israel being the center of global attention in the last days.
Zechariah predicted Jerusalem would be a 'cup of trembling' in the last days and that the whole world would gather together against Israel over possession of the Holy City. (Zechariah 12)
It is against the mountains of ISRAEL that Gog throws himself, according to Ezekiel, at a time when Israel is a land of 'unwalled villages'.
Daniel said the leader of Revived Rome would kick off the Tribulation Period by concluding a peace treaty between Israel and her enemies.
On March 17, 1948, the Benelux Treaty was signed in Brussels, creating what eventually became the Alliance of the Western European Union, and eventually the EU.
The WEU is Europe's security alliance, which consists of ten full member states. Other members are either 'associates' or 'observers'. The EU and the WEU are both led by the same man, Javier Solana.
The decision to combine both offices was in response to a document entitled WEU Recommendation 666.
On May 15, 1948, the state of Israel was established, creating the first homeland for the Jews since they were exiled by Rome in AD 70. It was the first independent state called 'Israel' to exist since the Northern Kingdom of Israel was destroyed by Sargon II in 702 BC.
The prophets who wrote of last days' 'Israel' were writing of an entity which had not existed, in their time, for more than a century.
What remained of Israel, Judah, had been destroyed and its people taken into captivity. There was no natural reason for them to expect Judah to escape the fate of the Israelites.
But the prophets confidently described the existence of a Jewish state called 'Israel' in the last days.
It was the 1948 War of Independence that created the radical Islamic terrorism that now threatens the entire Middle East and has polarized the world against Israel and 'Christian Crusader' America.
Since 1948, radical anti-Israeli Islam has spread throughout the Middle East and Islamic North Africa.
In June, 1948, America faced off against Stalin's Soviet Union over Stalin's blockade of Berlin. The Berlin Airlift kicked off the Cold War -- which reshaped the world until it ultimately produced the exact geopolitical alliances foretold by the prophets for the last generation.
In 1948, Mao Tse Tung's Communists chased Chiang Kai Shek's nationalists off the mainland to the Island of Formosa and renamed itself Taiwan, and declared itself the legitimate government of China.
The conflict between the two Chinas further rearranged regional political alliances until they fit the alignment foretold by the prophets. It is today a flashpoint that could plunge the region into war.
The Bible says all this will take place under the auspices of a global government that will be controlled by revived Rome.
By virtue of the lopsided Security Council arrangement the EU already has two of its five permanent seats, [and two of its five vetoes] and is pushing for an all-European sixth permanent seat.
According to the Bible, this will coincide with the rise of a global economy so tightly regulated that, under the government of the antichrist, 'no man could buy or sell' without being part of his system.
Prior to the 1948 invention of the transistor by Bell Labs, such an integrated and regulated global economic system was impossible.
But the transistor kicked off the Computer Age, and today, one can't buy a new car without being part of some economic 'system'. (Plunk down two hundred thousand grand in cash at your car dealership for a new car and see what happens.)
In the last days, the Bible says there will develop a global religious system, having a form of godliness that denies the power thereof, as Paul describes it. There are dozens of major religious systems -- the one thing they share in common is their opposition to Biblical Christianity. 'Fundamentalist Christian' is the semantic equivalent to 'whacko fanatic'.
Consider the effects of a pre-trib Rapture. Imagine the world-wide chaos as millions of people suddenly disappear. The US will have no explanation -- indeed, it will be among the hardest 'hit' by the sudden 'catastrophe'.
On the other hand, Europe will remain largely intact and uniquely positioned to step into the political vacuum created by the decimation of the United States.
Looking at the Big Picture for the last days, then, we find 1948 to be a pivotal year. One can trace most of the major events prophesied for the last days to that single point in history.
Since 1948, events have conspired together to reshape the world to fit the overall outline of history for the last days.
I've only touched on the high points in the Big Picture, but the pattern is unmistakable. Events foretold to take place in a single generation, somewhere in time -- events that can only happen once -- are coming together -- all at once and in THIS generation. (A generation rapidly drawing to a close).
"Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is NEAR, EVEN AT THE DOORS. Verily I say unto you, This generation SHALL NOT PASS, till ALL these things be fulfilled." (Matthew 24:34)
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