Time is ticking. We’re living in the last days. Could it actually be the last hours…or the last minutes?
As we see world events line up with Bible prophecy, we have to wonder just how close we are the the return of our Lord Jesus. I don’t know the day or the hour of His coming, but we certainly seem to be in the season.
He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
Let’s take a quick look at current news to determine whether or not we see things that correlate to what we read in Scripture.
First, Russian President Vladimir Putin has outlawed evangelism in Russia. By that he means, “sharing faith in homes, online, or anywhere but recognized church buildings.” As of July 20, citizens wishing to share their faith must obtain a government-issued permit. (Not likely to happen!)
Years ago, a very good friend of mine spent several years in Russia ministering in children homes and helping to plant churches in a very “open” Russian society at the time. However, I recall his urgency to grow up native believers in Christ because he knew the window of opportunity for missionaries and those willing to share their faith would be limited. That time indeed came as Vladimir Putin rose to power and began to close the evangelical window. In a few days (July 20), it will officially slam shut.
By trampling human rights, Putin works toward centralizing government and power to himself. The Gog-like ruler continues to rise in the land to the north of Israel. While growing as an enemy to Christ, he desperately wishes to make Russia the most powerful military force on the planet, and he continues to bolster the relationship with Iran.
Signs of Ezekiel 38-39?
Iran is also in the news. President Hassan Rouhani is scheduled to meet with Vladimir Putin in August, and recently stated that “Iran is completely ready to restore elements of its nuclear program if world powers were to violate any of the agreements made as part of the nuclear deal,” warning that any violation would be “detrimental to all.” Certainly, Iran is looking for any reason to justify resuming its nuclear program. Though Rouhani claims that Iran has not once violated the nuclear agreement or any UN resolutions, it is a known fact that Iran has continued to develop and test ballistic missiles, clearly violating both UN resolutions and the nuclear deal. (Examples: October 11, 2015; November 21, 2015; March 9, 2016)
When Iran’s President Rouhani meets with Russia’s President Putin soon, what will be the topic of conversation? The “North-South Transport Corridor and regional cooperation in Syria.” Hmmmm…”How can we make transportation between us more efficient…and oh, by the way, let’s cooperate on the Syrian front!” Sound fishy to you? Me too! The “linking” of ambitions and cooperative efforts of Russia and Iran are a hallmark of Ezekiel 38-39!
So, what about Syria? Well, we all know what’s going on there. Various groups of people…the Assad regime, Syrian rebels, ISIS, and others…are all involved in a major skirmish in a nation where almost 500,000 Syrian citizens have been caught in the crossfire and killed. More than 4.5 million (including millions of children) have fled Syria in search of safety.
What is the fighting over? It is a fairly well-documented fact that weapons of mass destruction have been found and confirmed in Syria (many sent there by Saddam Hussein in his bid to prove he didn’t have them in the early-2000’s). Now it is a race to see which radical group takes control of them. Imagine WMD’s in the hands of ISIS…or in the hands of Bashar Al-Assad, for that matter! Both have proved they will use whatever means available to further their cause.
Now, let’s put the picture together which leads me to believe we could be in the final hours. First, Ezekiel 38-39 tells us that a large invading force, led by Russia and Iran will come down out of the north in hopes of destroying Israel. That stage is being set.
Secondly, Isaiah 17 describes the utter destruction of Damascus Syria. It is not far-fetched to believe that, if a militant group gets their hands on WMD’s in Damascus, or if Israel senses danger and conducts a pre-emptive strike, Damascus (and indeed, most if not all of Syria) could be wiped out in short order.
Thirdly, Russia has set up air bases in Syria and is pressing ahead with its own agenda…controlling Syrian seaports so that when they capture Israeli oil, they will have a means of transporting it to Europe, where it will be sold to greatly increase Russia’s economy…and their military machine.
One problem with that equation. Ezekiel 38 does indeed indicate that Russia and its partners will invade Israel to plunder and take what they can. Many think the “plunder” could be the oil and gas reserves recently found in Israel (and Israeli waters off the Mediterranean Coast). However, Scripture tells us that God will come to the defense of His land and His people! Russia and the invading nations don’t have a chance of victory!
So friends, whether we are in the proverbial last minutes, hours or days, we are living in the season! Let’s not take our literal days for granted. We must be about our Father’s business, and we must diligently keep looking for the Blessed Hope!
I can almost hear the trumpet sound…how about you?
Maranatha…Lord come quickly!