Comments and Questions Regarding Signs of Our Times
I was sent this link outlining the debate between Joel Richardson and Dr.Thomas Ice of the Pre-Tribulation Research Center and asked for my response.
Here is my response:
"Many thanks for that link! As you will see from my DVD, I think that Richardson is right in his assertion that Antichrist comes from an Islamic part of the Roman Empire. I held that view from the early 1990's and came to that conclusion quite independently of any recent developments politically or theologically.
However, I believe Richardson is wrong in asserting that Gog in Ezekiel 38 is not Russia for reasons stated in my DVD. Richardson implies that Gog comes from the region associated with Turkey. That is denied by the LXX of Ezekiel 38:13 which states that the "merchants of Chalcedon" enquire what Gog is going to do. The present day Bible versions state "Tarshish" which came from the Masoretic text about 100 AD and is confusing. It leaves the question open. However, Chalcedon was the ancient name for the commercial center of what became Constantinople and is now Istanbul. So Turkey is NOT involved in the war of Ezekiel 38. So I tend to side more with Dr. Ice on that question.
I also side with Dr. Ice in saying that the Rapture comes before the tribulation. I list a number of verses which indicate that on the DVD. Finally Dr Ice's assertion that the Antichrist must be from Europe, creates problems with Daniel 8 and 11. I fully believe that Antichrist comes from part of the Roman Empire, but it is that part which was common to the other 3 empires before it, namely Turkey, the eastern Mediterranean, Egypt and North Africa. Importantly, those empires all controlled Israel, so it might be expected that the final empire of 10 nations also will include Israel. The EU has never done that, but the Mediterranean Union already does.
It is interesting that some of my Christian friends in Europe have always claimed that Antichrist could not come from Europe; they see that view as a uniquely American phenomenon. In fact they blame Hal Lindsey for promoting the idea and then maintaining it against all the evidence when the EU became the much expanded entity that it is today. Those Europeans actually regard Hal as some kind of "false prophet" and wonder why he is still consistently accepted at prophetic seminars.
Many thanks for your last email; it is appreciated. Thank you also for the comments made in 1217 AD by Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel of Germany in a dream about the Jubilees. They have been proven to be historically correct to this point. His comment that the Muslim Turks would hold Jerusalem for eight Jubilees is correct. They gained Jerusalem in 1517 AD and held it until General Allenby walked in in 1917. His comment that Jerusalem would be in "no-man's land" for one Jubilee was also correct. The British mandate ensured that Jerusalem was in Gentile hands, and in fact it remained so from 1917 until 1967. His comment that the Messianic era would begin before the end of the next Jubilee, which will close in 2017 also seems to fit in with a lot of other data. This seems to indicate that we are heading towards a key time in God's plan for Israel, the Church and the world.
In addition, there certainly seem to be a lot of events culminating in September this year from the link which you gave, as well as our own observations. The comments of Isaac Newton, that there would be 49 years from the regaining of Jerusalem to the Coming, tend to reinforce that, along with the prophecy of the Wall of Jerusalem.
However, let me caution you that, with this Wall prophecy, we are not certain that it is good exegesis to apply what is said there in Daniel 9 to the second coming as well as the first. It is certainly true that it was fulfilled to the very day the first time. From Gabriel's comments, it seems likely that it might be so for the second time.
However, I do not want anyone to lose their faith or their trust in the Lord and His word because of this. If Christ does not come for the Christians in September, or there is not some key Scriptural event fulfilled, please be aware that His coming is still very close.The Wall prophecy itself has the potential to run until 2018 which closes the timeline from the time when the building of the wall itself was finished. The September date refers specifically to the Lions Gate which commemorates the Monarch's dream that initiated the project.
On the DVD Signs of Our Times, I made the point that the Lord's return can happen anytime in the next 10 years. There is a reason for that statement which is entirely scriptural as the DVD outlines. So I do not want anyone to turn aside from this expectancy and allow theses things to slip away from them.
In His parables, Jesus gave encouragement to be ready at any time, but also to be aware that the time may be longer in coming than some would appreciate. Nevertheless, He also said you are hypocrites if you cannot discern the signs of the times. He also likened his coming to a woman about to have a baby; all the signs are there that the event is imminent, but the exact moment of delivery still comes as a surprise. So we are definitely right in that time-range. Some key events will certainly happen soon as so many things are fitting in with this scenario.. But do not be disappointed if it is not September.
Barry's response: I believe that the USA is mentioned in prophecy! It is in Isaiah 18. Note that in the original Hebrew, there was no chapter division between Isaiah 17 and 18 and the manuscript evidence suggests that Isaiah 17 and 18 are all part of the same prophecy. So Isaiah 18 will probably happen as a result of the wipe-out of Damascus (Isaiah 17:1-3). Israel wins but at a frightful cost - she comes back from that battle in twos and threes (Isaiah 17:4-6, 11). As a result, there is a rushing of nations against a decimated Israel to wipe her out (Isaiah 17:12-14). That is probably the Russian and Iranian confederacy of Ezekiel 38 which we see starting to form right now. So to now give you a perspective on Isaiah 18, I will run several different translations together to give you their combined effect. Here is what we have:
Verse 1: "Woe to the land which is overshadowed by rushing (buzzing) wings [aircraft] which lies beyond the rivers of Africa." [When you go to land beyond Africa, you are in the Americas].
Verse 2: "Which sends ambassadors by swift vessels, a nation tall and smooth of skin." [The USA sends its ambassadors around the world, and the tall clean-shaven American is known world-wide]. "A powerful nation, revered or feared from their beginning onward."
Verse 3: "When they lift up the banner and blow the trumpet for war, all the inhabitants of the world and the dwellers on earth take note of it." [The entry of the USA into a war has always aroused comment and fear around the world].
Verse 5: "God will cut off the flower, fruit, sprigs and branches (of that nation) with pruning hooks."
Verse 6: "And it will be left for the mountain birds of prey and for the beasts of the earth. And the birds of prey will summer on them and the beasts of the earth will winter on them." [The implication is that the nation will undergo devastation either through a natural or manmade disaster as a judgment from God, and be out of action for a time].
Verse 7: "And then a present will be brought to the Lord of Hosts, to the place of His name in Mount Zion (when He rules in Jerusalem), by the nation tall and smooth of skin, who had a powerful beginning." [In the Millennium the nation is back in operation and, along with many other nations, brings a present and pays homage to the Lord in Jerusalem every year for the Feast of Tabernacles - Zechariah 14:16-19].
I hope that give you an understanding of some of what is going to happen. If the Rapture occurs at the latest possible moment, it may well be at the height of the battle against the Russian-Iranian confederacy as God personally intervenes according to both Isaiah 17:14, Ezekiel 38:18-23, Zechariah 9:1 & 14 etc.That event destroys the Russian and Iranian armies. The USA has been neutralized. Turkey has not been involved as the LXX states that the Merchants of Chalcedon (old name for Istanbul or Constantinople) quiz the Russians as to why they are doing this. So with Iran out of the Mid East, and Russia out of Europe, and the USA out of action in NATO, that leaves Turkey the key player in NATO and Europe as well as the Mid East. It is then that the Turkish leader makes his pact with Israel for 7 years and begins to hold power over the whole earth.
So in answer to your question, the USA is not heading for a bright future. But the Rapture may occur before the judgment falls. It all shows that we are close to the time.
In response to a further question from this person:
As you read Isaiah 18, the impression is that the beasts of the field and the birds of the air are feeding on the results of the devastation. That devastation will probably include the wipe-out of many cities. We are told in Ezekiel 38 that there is a great earthquake so that every wall falls to the ground and that the fishes in the sea and the birds of the air shake at the Lord's presence. If we are talking about just earthquakes, such a quake in the mid-east would probably trigger the San Andreas in California and the Cascadia fault in the Pacific North-West. Coastal cities will be destroyed. The Eastern USA has their problems as well.
It also says that God will send "fire and brimstone" on the armies and on the islands and on other nations. That may be supernatural, but it may also be volcanic fire. If the earth is heating up that much, not only might all the Cascade range volcanoes blow, but, most importantly, so would the Yellowstone super caldera blow as it has been primed with magma for some time. When that goes, its ash cloud reaches almost to Portland and the whole central USA will be devastated.
But that is only the natural disasters. If human warfare is included, nuclear bombs and EMP attacks may also occur with other associated effects because of Russia, Iran and their allies, like North Korea. So with any of this happening, let alone if it all does, the USA will be "neutralized." We will be too concerned with our own survival to take any part in world activities for a few years. In that time Turkey will have become the leader, as she is the largest army in NATO next to the USA.