Fear.

These are trying times for everyone. We can’t see the future and feel powerless over the COVID-19 virus. We are used to having some control over our lives and that seems to be gone. Most of us have lives of trying to cope with problems without the virus; with the virus, life can feel overwhelming.

I am taking care of my 92-year-old mother. The doctor recently prescribed morphine for her because her constant angina wasn’t letting her sleep for more than an hour or two at a time. I’ve been trying one pill, then two pills. If she doesn’t have enough food in her stomach before taking the pill, she gets nauseated and sometimes vomits. I’ve found the solution in giving her a bowl of cereal before she goes to bed; that seems to work the best with one pill at night.

My heart overturns sometimes when I look at my mom. She is so weak and fragile and feels yucky a lot of the time. I wish none of this was happening to her, but I am powerless over her illness.

Each day I pray for God’s strength and he always gives it to me. But last night I watched a video online that showed a woman in her 90s who got the virus and lived through it. I’m so glad she did, but what she described was truly awful and painful. I began to feel deep fear about getting the virus. I’m not afraid of death, but I am afraid of pain.

As I was praying later that night, I was reminded of the many people in the Bible who were close to God and suffered greatly. It felt like the Lord was telling me I shouldn’t expect a life with no suffering; he never promises that.  Jesus said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

When I think of how David was running and hiding from King Saul for 20 years, I can understand why he wrote Psalms of sorrow and fear. When I think of Daniel and his friends being taken away from their homes and families in Jerusalem and made to be slaves for the king of Babylon, I think of the long journey there. They were forced to walk for miles and miles before they arrived. Perhaps they saw their parents and siblings killed when Jerusalem fell. Their faith in God was surely tested.

Jeremiah and Isaiah both suffered greatly because they spoke out for God. They did what God asked them to do yet were jailed. Jewish history says Isaiah was sawn in half by King Manasseh. Jeremiah was hunted down and hated by the rulers of Jerusalem. It is only because of the king’s mercy that he stayed alive until the city fell.

In the New Testament, the disciples of Jesus were persecuted and all died from murder except John. Paul writes about the Thessalonians who had all their property taken away because they became Christians. Thousands lost their lives to different emperors of Rome.

These are some of the sufferings of Paul that he wrote about in 2 Corinthians:

In my frequent journeys, I have been in danger from rivers and from bandits, in danger from my countrymen and from the Gentiles, in danger in the city and in the country, in danger on the sea and among false brothers, in labor and toil and often without sleep, in hunger and thirst and often without food, in cold and exposure. Verses 26,27

…in harder labor, in more imprisonments, in worse beatings, in frequent danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day in the open sea. Verses, 23-25

For myself I can say, I don’t really know what it is to suffer like Paul. Still, I have my own sufferings and I know God sympathizes with me; he walks with me through my sufferings; he gives me strength to bear up under them but he doesn’t always take them away.

I believe Jesus is returning very soon. If that is so, the COVID-19 virus is only the beginning of suffering at this time. I was reading Isaiah chapter 24 this morning and came across the condition of the world at the time of the end:  4-6  

The earth mourns and withers;
the world languishes and withers;
the highest people of the earth languish.


The earth lies defiled (polluted)
under its inhabitants;
for they have transgressed the laws,
violated the statutes,
broken the everlasting covenant.

Therefore, a curse devours the earth,
and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt;
therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched,
and few men are left.

Jesus said in Matthew 24:21-26 For at that time there will be great tribulation, unmatched from the beginning of the world until now, and never to be seen again. If those days had not been cut short, nobody would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, those days will be cut short.

At that time, if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders that would deceive even the elect, if that were possible. See, I have told you in advance. )

So if they tell you, ‘There He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

In Daniel 12:1-4, it says “At that time Michael, the great prince who stands watch over your people, will rise up. There will be a time of trouble, the likes of which will not have occurred from the beginning of nations until that time. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered.

And many who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to everlasting life, but others to shame and everlasting contempt. Then the wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever and ever.

But you, Daniel, shut up these words and seal the book until the time of the end. Many will roam to and fro and knowledge will increase.”

One of the best things Jesus said was, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have itself to think about. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6:34

I heard something online today that made me smile. It was, “I am not a strong rock, but I stand on one.” Amen to that.

Fear and Faith.

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Photo by: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Karemin1094&action=edit&redlink=1

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;  though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

Psalm 46:1-3

 Psalm 46 brings comfort to me. There are beautiful, as well as fearful thoughts here. Verses 1-3 remind me of what Jesus said to the disciples in the midst of a terrible storm, when they were in danger of capsizing and drowning. He asks them, “Why are you afraid? Where is your faith?”

Jesus was explaining to them that no matter how frightening a situation is, we must have faith (trust) in God. If God allows us to drown, that is fine. If God decides to save us from drowning, that is fine. This is total trust in God’s wisdom and power. The disciples had not learned this kind of trust yet.

In these three verses, the Psalm describes the world in convulsions. Some commentators say these represent the anger of the nations. Some say they represent actual physical events. Some say they represent the storms of life. Some say they represent all three.

Because of the later verses in this chapter, I believe they represent the physical condition of the earth right before Jesus returns. Verses 6-9 say this:

“Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

“Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.”

About the last plague to come upon mankind, the Book of Revelation says this:

“Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.” And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done!”  

“And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake.”

“The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath.   And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.”

Revelation 16:15-20

What is so beautiful in this Psalm are the verses that give us hope, peace and courage:

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.”

“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

“The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

As these days draw near, let us pray for God’s courage, faith and peace.

 

Revelation: Armageddon, the Seventh Plague.

I am posting chapters from my sister’s book, “The End is near. End Time Bible Prophecy Anyone Can Understand.” E.A. James. Available at lulu.com

Continued from previous post..

Armageddon

And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon (Satan) and out of the mouth of the beast (Catholicism, Pope) and out of the mouth of the false prophet (apostate Protestant leader), three unclean spirits like frogs; for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.  And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon.  Rev. 16:13, 14, 16

          The plain of Megiddo was often the site of major battles in Old Testament times.  (See Judges 5:19 and 2 Kin. 23:29)  It is located in modern day Israel and here, Revelation says, will be the site of the final great battle of this world.

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As the threat rises from those kings from the east, the image of the beast (the beast, the false prophet, the political powers backing them up) will convince all the nations to rally together and send armies to fight.  The stage will be set in the Middle East for the climactic battle between radical Islam and Christianity, with the Jewish nation of Israel caught in the middle.

Seventh Bowl of Wrath:  The End of the World.

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Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, “It is done.” 

And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty.  The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell.  Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.  And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.  And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, and because its plague was extremely severe.  Rev. 16:17-21

We learned that Babylon the great, the mother of harlots… (Rev. 17:5) is Jezebel, the false church (Catholicism) and as the mother of harlots we see she is joined with apostate Protestant churches.  (See Chapter 7)

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Those having the mark of the beast cry and lament as they see their world crashing down (Rev. 18:9-19).  But those of us bearing the seal of God will rejoice (Rev. 18:20).

 

 

Revelation: The Seven Last Plagues.

I am posting chapters from my sister’s book, “The End is near. End Time Bible Prophecy Anyone Can Understand.” E.A. James. Available at lulu.com

Continued from previous post:

(This is Belle writing right now. I just want to say that I believe the seven last plagues are situations we bring upon ourselves. God has held back the devastation that global warming can bring to us but there will come a day when he can protect us no longer. The “wrath” of God is a “turning away and letting those who have rejected him have their way.” Paul speaks of this in Romans where he says, “God gave them up..”   I think the plagues are the result of global warming and also the result of wickedness and hatred of nations against one another.)

The Seven Last Plagues.

            Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angles, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”  Rev. 16:1

First Bowl of Wrath:  Sores

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So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth; and it became a loathsome and malignant sore on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image.  Rev. 16:2

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Second Bowl of Wrath:  Sea Becomes Blood.

The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died.  Rev. 16:3

          The second trumpet heralded one third of the sea becoming blood and one third of the life in the seas dying, but here were see the completion of that disaster with all of the seas becoming blood and all of the life in the seas dying.

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Third Bowl of Wrath:  Fresh Water Becomes Blood.

Then the third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters; and they became blood.  Rev. 16:4

          The third trumpet heralded one third of fresh water becoming bitter, but here we see all of it becoming blood.  The death of all fish in fresh water would certainly cause it to turn to blood.

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Fourth Bowl of Wrath:  Sun Scorches.

The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was given to it to scorch men with fire.  Men were scorched with fierce heat…  Rev. 16:8, 9

            Here we see that the sun shines with such intensity that it scorches.

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Fifth Bowl of Wrath:  Sky Darkened.

Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain, and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores…  Rev. 16:10, 11

          The fourth trumpet heralded the loss of one third of the light during both day and night, the sun’s and the night sky’s time to shine.  Here the fifth bowl completes the darkening of the sky.

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Sixth Bowl of Wrath: The Euphrates River Dries Up.

The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east.  Rev. 16:12

          Up to this point the bowl judgments have been literal and there is no reason to think that the sixth bowl is suddenly figurative and takes on prophetic language.  Therefore we have to look at the sixth bowl as referring to the real Euphrates River in Iraq.  There are many reasons the Euphrates could dry up.  The first trumpet heralds one third of the earth burned and the fourth bowl brings the scorching of the sun, so waters may easily dry up from what are seen as natural disasters.  The Euphrates could be dried up due to man-made interference such as the erection of a dam.  Or it could be caused by a direct act of God:  It is I who says to the depth of the sea, ‘Be dried up!’  And I will make your rivers dry.  Is. 44: 27

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Revelation: The Seventh Trumpet.

I am posting chapters from my sister’s book, “The End is near. End Time Bible Prophecy Anyone Can Understand.” by E.A. James. Available at lulu.com

Continued from previous post..

Seventh Trumpet, Third Woe:  The Seven Last Plagues, The End of the World.

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Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”  And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened…and there were flashes of lightening and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.  Rev. 11:15, 19

          The seventh trumpet has sounded and Jesus is preparing to claim the world as his kingdom.

          Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels who had seven plagues, which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished.  …the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven was opened, and the seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the temple…Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever.  And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.  Rev. 15:1, 5, 6-8

          We saw in the last chapter of this book that the Holy Spirit has left this world and Jesus no longer ministers in the temple in heaven because probation is closed.  Here we see why Jesus cannot minister for us – the temple is inaccessible.  The seven last plagues, or the seven bowl judgments, are about to fall on the earth as a whole but we who bear the seal of God will be protected.  The plagues are going to fall in rapid succession, taking about one year to occur.  …in one day her plagues will come…  Rev. 18:8  (See Appendix 2)

 

 

Part 7: The End of World Empires.

Now we move on to the legs of iron portion of the prophecy:  Rome.  Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that the fourth kingdom would be as strong as iron and would crush and shatter all that came before it.  This is a good description of the Roman Empire.

There are debates as to the exact beginning of the Roman Empire.  This is due to the fact that the rise of Rome seems to be almost accidental.  Rome did not start out with a conscience plan to conquer other nations and begin its own empire; it actually started to expand through reactionary events.  When it perceived a threat of any kind by an outside force, Rome would rally the troops and march into battle.  In the middle of the second century BCE Rome squashed a threat from Macedonia and it became the first of the Greek provinces divided after Alexander’s death to come under the rule of the Roman Empire.

No two scholars can agree on what exactly caused the end of the Roman Empire, and that is probably because no one thing is to blame.  Delete ‘Here is a list of’ Some of the theories given for its fall: an undisciplined army, civil wars, barbarian invasions, over extension, political infighting, laziness, etc.  What matters to us is the fact that the Roman Empire had collapse add ‘d’ by the end of the fifth century CE and is no more. 

This leads us to the feet part of the statue where iron is mixed with clay, or where nations are no longer ruled by one World Empire but are a mixture of strong and weak nations.  Never again would a human world empire exist.  That does not mean people have stopped trying.  Napoleon tried to create a French Empire but failed, and Hitler tried to create a Third Reich that would last a thousand years, but he too failed.

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People have even tried to unite countries through marriage.  A One royal from a one country would marry a another royal from another country in an attempt to unify, but it always failed.  As late as World War I we saw the failure of these intermarriage attempts in that the Russian, German and British monarchies were all related but were at war anyway.  God told Daniel there would not be a human world empire after Rome and no matter how hard people have tried, this prophecy has held true.

The rock that pulverized the statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream smashes first into the feet of the statue, signifying the establishment of Jesus’ kingdom will occur sometime after world empires have ceased to exist and the world is divided into different nations.  It is fitting that God used a rock to signify his kingdom as the Bible has often referred to God as a Rock of Salvation (Deut. 32:15), an everlasting Rock (Is. 26:4), a Rock, a fortress and a deliverer (Ps. 18:2), a Rock and a Redeemer (Ps. 19:14), etc.

 “’…Is there any God besides Me?

Or is there any other Rock?

I know of none’ “  Is. 44: 8

This timeline of world history was so important that God repeated it three times and in each of them God added a little more detail.  In Daniel Chapter 7, while Daniel was still living under the Babylonian Empire, God gave him a dream. 

 

 

Part 3: The Rise of Atheism.

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Continued from previous post:

“…in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, …saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?  For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”” 2 Peter 3: 3, 4

Mockers mocking?  What exactly does that mean?  The Webster’s New World College Dictionary (4th ed) defines the word mock as, “1 to hold up to scorn or contempt; ridicule,” so we know that a mocker mocking is someone who is contemptuous of, and ridicules something. (10)  This verse makes it clear that the subject the mockers are attacking is the advent of Christ, and their argument is that the world has gone on for centuries without change and that it will continue to do so.  Our job is to find out who is mocking the second coming of Christ at the end of the world, and what argument they are using.

Proponents of different religions have argued, belittled, and even persecuted each other throughout history.  There seems to be nothing new about one “religious person” mocking another, so I think we can dismiss this as applying to the end times.  Then we must look around and see if there is a new group attacking the return of Christ.

Atheists do not believe in the existence of God or a supreme being of any kind.  Atheists and their denial of God are not to be confused with Agnostics, or those who have doubts about the existence of God and are searching/waiting for proof of God’s existence.  No, true atheists are adamant, unrelenting, steadfast deniers of God.  Now, there have always been people who have doubted or denied the existence of God, but only in the last few hundred years has there been anything resembling a ‘movement’, an organized resistance, against God and religion. 

Modern atheism is a product of two developments:  the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century where philosophy, science and reason were promoted over religion and tradition; and the adoption by many countries of the idea of separating religion and politics. (11)

In fact, one of the many reasons for the French Revolution was the “…intellectual ferment of the Age of Enlightenment…”, and one of the results of the revolution was a drafting of a constitution that put “Severe restrictions on the power of the Roman Catholic Church…” (12)

But what do atheists say about the second coming of Christ?

Here is a quote from a website called Daylight Atheism.  The person who wrote the article states that, while reading an Associated Press poll of Americans, s/he “…noticed the following bizarre statistic: 25% anticipate the second coming of Christ.”  The author goes on to say, “It is depressing how many people still believe this will happen during their own lifetimes, considering how many previous generations have also lived and died expecting it and turned out to be absolutely and completely wrong.” (13) 

Here is another quote from a different source.  “Christians believe that Christ will return to Earth, gather up the faithful, condemn the unfaithful, destroy life as we know it and create a paradise on Earth – the second coming, the end times…For two thousand years they (Christians) have believed the second coming would happen at any moment…Through the years literally hundreds of apocalyptic predictions have been documented. And yet people still believe this nonsense!” (14)

These are only two examples of the ridicule heaped upon the Christian belief of the end of the world and the second coming of Christ.  Mockers mocking.

In this chapter we have seen some of the verses in the Bible that have pointed to signs marking the end times, and we have been able to show that events occurring around us today fulfill the signs given to us centuries ago.  We could go on and look at other topics such as the rise in violence, our polluted environment, and the political and religious machinations of recent history, but all of that will be covered in coming chapters.  Our goal in this first chapter was to show where we are now in the course of human and Biblical events.  In the next chapter we will begin to find out how we got to where we are now, and once again prove the accuracy of Bible prophecy when looked at from an historical perspective.  In other words:  we know where we are, but how did we get here?  Right now we have part of the story, now it is time to add to it. 

Part 2 – The Book of Daniel and the End Times.

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Continued from previous post:

But Jesus said that famine, earthquakes and the escalation of war was not yet the end, it was only the beginning of the birth pangs.  Birth pangs?  What does a woman in labor have to do with anything?
Labor can be long and painful; just ask any mother and she will tell you that the beginning of labor pains is only the start of the birthing process.  Jesus used this familiar analogy to make the point that famines, earthquakes, and the escalation of war in the end time were only the first signs; this is only the start of the painful end to the world.

We have looked at only one quote from the Bible describing what will happen as the world begins to enter the closing chapters of its long saga.  Here is another. 

“… until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.”  

Daniel 12:2

When you think of someone going ‘back and forth’, you imagine someone going to one place, then to another, then back to the first place, then back to the other.  Or perhaps you think of two people having a conversation about something where one person speaks, then the other, then the first speaks again, and then the other. 

But why is this ‘back and forth’ significant to the end of time?  People have always traveled and communicated so what is different at the end of time as compared to the rest of history?  Speed!  We do not have to walk or ride a horse to get from here to there; we can now drive or fly and get to our destination quickly.  And we are not limited to writing a letter or traveling long distances to speak face to face, we can use the telephone or email and communicate instantly.

The last part of the verse we are looking at talks about knowledge increasing.  Well, the fact is that the past century has seen more advances in science and technology than all the advances made in the previous two thousand years.  Here is something Robert Brown, a dean at the University of North Carolina, said: “It’s estimated that medical knowledge, for example, doubles every seven years, and scientific knowledge doubles every twenty years. The total written knowledge in the world is said to have doubled between 1450 and 1750, and then to have doubled again between 1750 and 1900. Between 1900 and 1950, human knowledge doubled once more, and then again from 1950 to 1975. Now, it is believed to double every 900 days. By the year 2020, global knowledge is predicted to double every 72 days!” (7)

Since the beginning of the Iron Age, knowledge grew slowly and

there was little change in speed of travel and communication…In the past 100 years knowledge, and the speed of travel and communication, has exploded…

Here is another verse.

“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”  Matt. 24: 14

What this verse is saying is that once the entire world has heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, we need to perk up and pay attention because the end of the world is right around the corner.  So, how close are we to getting the word out to everyone on this planet?  About 17 years ago The Almanac of the Christian World said there were Christians and churches in every country of the world: 4 billion of the 6.5 billion people in the world had heard the gospel, and 50 million Bibles and 80 million New Testaments were being distributed every year. (8)

In 1995 it was estimated that at least parts of the Bible had been translated into 2,092 different languages, and that the Bible or parts of it are available to roughly 98% of the world’s population. (9)  I would say we are getting close to seeing that verse fulfilled.

The Book of Daniel Explained.

 

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This book was written by my sister, Elizabeth James. It was published in 2008. I am going to post her book here on my blog, a bit at a time, in the hope that whoever reads it will be warned of what is to come in the closing days of Earth’s history.  

I know there are many interpretations of the book of Daniel and Revelation. The way to know which one is true is to watch and see if the world events unfold according to the interpretation. Liz starts with the Book of Daniel and ends with Revelation.

Chapter 1

 A few years ago I saw a bumper sticker that made me laugh out loud, and every time I think about it I laugh again.  It says, “Where am I going, and why am I in this hand basket?”  This pretty much sums up the state of this world today; it seems to be going to hell in a hand basket. 

But is this true?  Well, for millions of us alive today, especially those of us living in industrialized nations, our standard of living and our quality of life is better than at any time in history.  

Medicine has made advances at an exponential rate over the past century, finding cures for much of what used to contribute to shorter life spans. We can communicate with each other instantly by telephone or email, and visually through satellite feeds or from our homes via the Internet.  And we can get from place to place faster than ever.

So why do many of us often feel as though the world is doomed?  Could it be because it IS doomed and we know it?  Or are we simply running around like Chicken Little, screaming that the sky is falling? 

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The Bible has a lot to say about the end time of this world, so perhaps we should find out if we are living in the end time or if we are just worrying for no reason.

“You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars.  See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.  But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.”  Matt. 24:6-8

Most Bible scholars agree that what Jesus said here in Matthew Chapter 24 applies both to what happened on a small scale – the fall of the city of Jerusalem in the year 70 CE (see Appendix 1) – and what will happen on a large scale to the world at the end time.  So let’s look at how this applies to our world today.

There have always been wars, so what is so special about stating the obvious?  Well, yes, there have always been wars, but not on the scale we have seen in the past century.

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In the past, wars were not global events involving millions of people.  Both World War I and World War II are so named because much of the world was involved.  That had never happened before in history, and yet it happened twice in less than 30 years.  In World War II alone, about 93 million soldiers were fighting on both sides and about 22 million of them were killed.  But amazingly, over 30 million civilians died during that war! (1)  Some estimates put the total death count from World War II at over 60 million! 

And wars have continued around the globe.  In 1993, the Associated Press reported that another 23 million plus people have died in various wars since 1945. (2)

In part of that verse we looked at in Matthew 24, Jesus also said there would be famines and earthquakes.  There have always been famines and earthquakes so that is not such a big prophetic remark, is it?  Well, we have seen that the world has become involved in bigger and bloodier wars lately, so have there been more and worse famines and earthquakes lately as well?

In 1996 it was reported that 800 million people go hungry every day, and that “Some 40,000 hunger-related deaths occur every day…” (3)  Did you know that 2000 years ago, when Jesus was walking the Earth, there were only about 300 million people alive on the whole planet? (4)  This means that even if every person on the planet in Jesus’ time were hungry, it still would not come close to the problem we have today.

Okay, famines are worse nowadays.  What about earthquakes?  Between the years 1000 and 1800 there were only 21 major earthquakes. Eight hundred years and only 21 major earthquakes does not seem so bad.  But between 1800 and 1900 there were 18…almost as many earthquakes but in only one-eighth the time span.  Between 1900 and 1950 the number grew to 33.  Thirty-three major earthquakes in only 50 years?  Ouch!  And then there were 93 major earthquakes between the years 1950 and 1991. (5)  Wow!  More and more major earthquakes are occurring all the time. 

But what about right now?  What has happened in the past 15 years or so?  Well, according to the United States Geological Survey, the world has seen 15 monster earthquakes measuring over 8.0 on the Richter scale (see Appendix 1) between 1991 and 2006!  In that same time period there have been 240 earthquakes measuring between 7.0 and 7.9 on the Richter scale. (6)  I would say that Jesus is 3 for 3 on his prophecy about wars, famines and earthquakes.