Famous Failures of Prophetic Interpretation

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Daniel 8, Personally

[This is the text to the second half of the “Some Say the Antichrist Has Come” video. The full video can be seen here.]

I mentioned before how that I was an atheist, till I was nearly 21. But a series of events, and my search for the truth, brought me to the God of Abraham. Months later I came to know Jesus. Afterwards for me, there was only one choice: that was to live the truths and teachings of the first Christians as a full time disciple of Jesus. Witnessing scene 2 for blog postAnd, with other like-minded young people, I soon became a rather zealous activist for that cause.

At times, I would go out with others to share the message of God’s love with strangers. You get some mixed responses.Witnessing scene 3 for blog post But sometimes you meet people who are just overjoyed that you’ve told them something they were searching for all their lives.

I’d become a passionate student of the Bible. But I still had (and have) a lot to learn, especially in the way of growing up spiritually, probably like all of us. One day I met a young man around my age who was also a serious student of the Bible. I was eager to share my new faith and even to sort of “debate”. I hate to admit this, but I might have wanted to get the best of him in a religious argument, God forgive me.

Witnessing scene 4 for blog postHe knew the Bible well but much of it was more in his head and had not been accepted so much by his heart. Back then I’d not met many who knew so much but had not mixed faith with all their knowledge.

Witnessing scene 5 for blog postSo we began to sort of “duel”. I’d share some truth with him. He’d counter with, “Yes, but this proves that’s not really true!” I’d swoosh, go forward! He’d back up, strike back and …in some ways wound me. I should have just seen that it had become a useless religious argument. So finally, he hadn’t convinced me and I hadn’t convinced him.Witnessing scene 6-for blog post

He left. But I wasn’t doing so good. I had a feeling that I hadn’t really been doing what I should have. And, afterwards, it was almost like I was cut and bleeding in my heart and mind through all his doubts and skepticism.Witnessing scene 7-for blog post

One of his big doubts was about prophecy. He shared what he’d learned from some theological circles that Daniel 8 and other chapters are all just “the past”, prophecies now all totally fulfilled. I sure didn’t think so. But his words had wounded me and afterwards I was battling heavily with doubts, wondering if maybe he was right.

That night I took some time to really pray and cry out to the Lord about all this. Daniel 8 17 for blog postAnd I felt led to read again this chapter we’ve just been studying, Daniel 8. Is it really already all fulfilled? Then I read Daniel 8:17 where the angel Gabriel told Daniel, “Understand, oh son of man, for at the time of the end shall be the vision.

Daniel 8 19 for blog postAnd then two verses later the angel said, “Behold, I will make you know what shall be in the last end of the indignation; for at the time appointed the end shall be.

Three times in two verses the angel uses the same words. “The End”. Was that time, 160 BC, “The End”? No. I believe that perhaps the angel even repeated himself here because God knew, in advance, that questions like this would arise as to how all this would be interpreted in the future.

The 4th beast, the 10 horns & "the little horn"

The 10 horns & “the little horn”

The wonderful thing for me in this experience was to have the power of God’s Word working in my heart to give me answers in the face of these strong doubts that came against me that day.

AC for Daniel 8 Personally blog postMy faith was restored through simply accepting, at face value, what the original words of the prophecy said, that these prophecies in Daniel 8 are predicting the same horn we saw in Daniel 7: the evil endtime leader, talked about later in the New Testament by Paul and in the book of Revelations.

You might say to all this, “Well of course, it’s all obvious!” And if you do, that’s great. But let me just warn you, there are those who doubt the truths we’ve read in these chapters. And you might run into some of those doubts, or doubters, sometime. For me this chapter will always be something personal. Through it, God spoke to me individually and rescued me from doubt that tried to snuff out my faith.

And I hope for you, in all we’re reading, that it won’t just be a matter of knowledge of future events to come, no matter how important or real. I hope you’ve found how the living power and presence of God’s Word can reach and change the deepest places in your heart, giving you joy and peace and that divine touch He has for each of His children. God bless you!

[The text to the first half of the “Some Say the Antichrist Has Come” video can be seen here.]

The “Some Say the Antichrist Has Come” video

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For the last 6 months I’ve worked on 3 supplementary videos to Daniel chapter 8. And now this third one is complete, “Some Say the Antichrist Has Come”. If someone studies the book of Daniel and doesn’t have faith in God, they’ll often come up with some rather strange ideas about it. And sadly, those misunderstandings have been printed and published pretty far. For example, the footnotes in the margins of many Bibles today teach that the book of Daniel was not written when it says it was. Or that prophecies in the book of Daniel, speaking of End Time events, were fulfilled thousands of years ago. This and many other things have misled millions of sincere seekers to misunderstand the Word that God gave Daniel through Gabriel the angel. Or just to dismiss it as irrelevant to our times.

This is not only heartbreaking, it is a very serious misrepresentation of God’s holy Word and it has left so many modern students of the Bible to be uninformed and even bedarkened through what must be called plainly false teaching.

This became personal for me as a young Christian and I’m very glad that it’s worked out to put these things into this 10 minute video.

Crimean Crisis = “This Is The End”?

map of UkraineI lived in eastern Ukraine for 18 wonderful months in 2008 and 2009, in Dnepropetrovsk. So the Ukrainian crisis has been personal for me and I’ve kept in close contact with friends there. But many who follow “the signs of the times” (Mark 16:3) are really wondering if this is the beginning of the battle of “Gog and Magog” (Ezekiel 38:2). Gog and Magog are considered by many to be the ancient land area of modern Russia, spoken of in Ezekiel 38 and 39, considered an integral part of the endtime picture leading up the final events foretold in the book of Revelation.

Europe and Ukraine mapOthers of a more secular viewpoint simply wonder if this could be the leading edge of a new “Cold War” as Russia seems to be stretching its muscles in what some would say is a time of American weariness with foreign adventures and “wars of choice”.

I’ve received no dream or revelation about this and I’m not really seeking for one. But simply from a geopolitical and strategic view, I don’t personally see this going much further than it has already. If a referendum had been held in Crimea a year ago or 5 years ago, all those folks would have voted about the same way they did recently. On March 16, over 90% of the Crimean people voted for unity with Russia. It’s always been a strongly Russian enclave, more than anywhere else in Ukraine.

But Mark, what about all those Russian speaking folks in the eastern half of Ukraine?

That’s who I lived and worked with, who I had Bible classes with and who became my good friends. I didn’t meet a single one in 18 months who said anything about wanting to break away from Ukraine and be joined with modern Russia.

I was talking to my best Ukrainian friend there, a man in his 30’s with a wife and 2 kids. I asked him one time, “So how do you see yourself?”, expecting him to say either say that he was Ukrainian or Russian. He paused thoughtfully and said, “I’m Slavic.”

There’s no way to explain what that means to English speakers that I know of. People from Montenegro on the Adriatic to Vladivostok on the Pacific coast of Russia are all ethnically Slavic. My friend meant that he didn’t have a really strongly rooted national identity, like almost everyone else in the world does, which they just take for granted. Ukraine is like that; it would be strange to say it’s a “bi-polar” nation but maybe that’s an easy way to express a difficult condition and history.

But Mark, is this it? Will Russia keep biting off huge chunks of Ukrainian territory and other places in that part of the world?

Putin has said publicly that they have no intention of doing that. On the other hand, he’s said he will defend Russian nationals in other countries. If for any reason, Russia moves against Donetsk or Kharkov, that’ll be a bad sign. Those are the two large industrial centers in the far northeast and southeast of Ukraine. I don’t expect that. But if that happens, it’ll be bad. The same can be said for any Russian move towards the ethnic Russian area of Trans-Dniestr, in eastern Moldova, on the southwest border of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen what the new government in Kiev will do. Will they initiate a battle with Russian troops? Certainty all the leaders of Nato will strongly discourage them from doing that, whether or not that will have any influence.

What’s going to happen? It’s going to blow over is my guess. There’ll be anger, there’ll be sanctions, and there’ll be recriminations. But that most likely will be it.

Will this bring on World War III and/or God and Magog?

I don’t think so. On the other hand, for those who study prophecy and feel that we’re living in a time prior to the final events spoken of in Revelation, most of us feel that something (we don’t know what) is going to be the little match that lights the inferno of the future. Yes, this could be it.

"Wolf, Wolf!" he cried.

“Wolf, Wolf!” he cried.

But, let’s face it, so many people of faith have been somewhat jerked around by “Wolf, Wolf!” cries from alarmists and Cassandras for many years now and often we naively fall into another round of fear and confusion.

That’s one of the reasons I’ve been working on this series of videos on the book of Daniel. In that book, and others in the Bible, there are some very certain signs that will precede the final events in the book of Revelation.

So would you like to really know what to watch out for? The Third Temple. Maybe you’ve heard of that but there are plans made and movements afoot to rebuild the third temple in the history of the Jewish people. Right now that’s hindered by the Mosque of Omar on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Mosque of Omar, Jerusalem

The Mosque of Omar, Jerusalem

But if you hear about things changing so that the building of that Jewish temple is going forward, you’d do well to really pay attention to that. And if that one slips you by but you hear about animal sacrifices being started again in Israel, that’s another very powerful signpost of the Last Days.

Meanwhile, I’m certainly not speaking prophetically here but I feel that the Crimea thing will blow over. If it doesn’t and Russia keeps up its appropriation of the territory of other nations, then we’ll definitely want to see if that develops into things that Bible prophecy has foretold.

Where’s That Plane?

Malaysian AirI don’t usually write about current events. But the story of the missing Malaysian Airlines flight 370 which vanished 4 days ago has a number of things to it that I really wonder about. First, this is not going to be about alien abductions and the New World Order. Well, maybe a little about the New World Order but not the way it’s regularly presented.

Malaysian Airlines flight 370 took off from Kuala Lumpur airport on March 8,  12:40 AM local time and was due in Peking 6 hours later. With 227 on board and a crew of 12, it was just another of the 10’s of thousands of planes in the sky each day around the world. But an hour into the flight it disappeared off of commercial radar. A search was started and all available avenues of inquiry have been made since then. There really are a lot of questions, including the ones that are not being mentioned on mainstream media but which can be asked in a post like this.

Mahathir MohamedFirst, just to illuminate a few things, Malaysia is no slouch of a country. I’ve been there a few times and flown in and out of that airport. It’s a very modern state-of-the-art place. And if you’ve ever heard of Mahathir Mohamed, you may know that his strong, almost autocratic rule in Malaysia for years brought very robust gains virtually across the board in Malaysian economic growth and material advancement. This  has been known and respected in Asia for years.

Another point to make: they are not just being nice people by trying to find that plane. Ever heard of Pan Am flight 103? That’s the one that was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. Pan Am flightAnd if you’re younger than me, you may have never even heard of Pan Am airlines. That’s because the airline was sued out of existence in the aftermath of the disaster by relatives of the ones on that flight. Airlines don’t want to have unsolved airline disasters, not because they love you but because the lawsuits can literally cause them to go bankrupt, like with Pan Am.

A similar disaster happened in 2009  when an Air France flight 447 crashed in the ocean between Rio and Paris. The authorities moved heaven and earth for many months to find the wreckage of that flight at a depth of 13,000 feet in the Atlantic in order to establish exactly what happened so the information could be used in court and that changes could be made to planes so it won’t happen again.

But what about Malaysian Airlines flight 370? Why am I writing something about a recent disaster that may all be figured out and forgotten about a week from now by most of the world? It’s a tragic loss of life and the anguish of the families and loved ones is something that all of us who travel always pray won’t happen to us.

big brother2But here’s an angle in all this that has surprised me. In 1948, George Orwell wrote a book called “1984”. It was a futuristic look at a time when surveillance would be so complete that cameras would be everywhere, including in every room in your house. Society would be ruled by “Big Brother”, presented as a benevolent father figure who is basically all-present and all-knowing through the means of technology.

We didn’t quite make the timetable of “1984”. But now, in 2014, just about anyone in the Western World or the economically advanced world, east, west, north or south just takes it for granted that “every move you make, every breath you take, I’ll be watching you”, as the song by The Police said.

cell phoneThere may be no central figure of “Big Brother” (at least not yet). But don’t all of you reading this more or less take it for granted that every email and text message you send and every call you make is most likely accessible to someone, somewhere, if they want to pick up on it? You have a cell phone, right? And you know that even if it’s turned off, you can be tracked by others through your phone. And, so I’m told, even if your phone is off, your conversations can be picked up by some if they need to.

Mark of the BeastThere are satellites in the sky that can read your license plate as you drive down the street. Your computer can be accessed with ease. And for many of us, we see this as an obvious harbinger of the time the Bible predicts when “No man might buy or sell unless he has the mark of the beast in his hand or in his forehead” (Revelation 13:17). Predicted nearly 2000 years ago, the final world economic system is now technologically ready and could go into effect in many places if the societies themselves are brought around to willing acceptance.

So, How. In. The. World. With all this incredible technology, can they lose an aircraft and still not find it after 5 days? Perhaps they’re not as clever as we think they are? Are there cracks in the smothering, all-knowing technological envelope that’s engulfed our earth? If some of us enter into the very last days predicted in Daniel and Revelation, will ineptitude and technical failures at times make it so that, even if the future world government seems so utterly on top of everything so that they can see and know all of us everywhere, perhaps they’ll be unable to find the people of faith?

If these guys can’t even find a huge airplane with every bit of technology that can be mustered worldwide, then perhaps if “The women fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there (for 3½ years) from the face of the Serpent” (Revelation 12:6 & 14) , science and technology may not be quite as able to hunt us down as we may now fear? Perhaps we won’t be found by all the ultra high tech gadgetry that we can be afraid of now as we think of how it will be for some in the last days before the coming of the Lord. I personally, honestly have been surprised. I really didn’t think that, in this day and time, the advanced governments of the world would not be able to get this all figured out and cleared up pretty quick.

The book of Revelations talks about a final “Big Brother”, called the Antichrist in the Bible. In the last 3½ years before the return of Jesus, this Antichrist “Will make war with the saints and overcome them, and power will be given him over all kindred’s, tongues and nations.” (Revelation 13:7) But both Satan himself and the final Antichrist are not, and will not be, omnipotent and omniscient. The Bible says that the Antichrist will fight a number of wars during his final reign. And perhaps, if they can’t even find a giant airliner with all their technology, some of us may also be able to hide out, stay underground and keep our candles of faith burning to the very end and the coming of the Lord.

This isn’t the view and conclusions you’ll be hearing on most mainstream sites or media outlets. And again, the tragedy and anguish of those who’ve lost loved ones is something that we all should grieve for, as well as pray it never happens to any of us. But for me, it’s been a genuine surprise to find that “almighty technology”, infinite in wisdom,  evidently has some serious flaws. For those of us who see a future as renegades against the atheist anti-Christian government prophesied to be here in the final days, it raises a glimmer of hope that they’re not as omnipotent as we have thought. “To the woman were given two great wings of an eagle, that she might fly into her place, where she is nourished for 1260 days from the face of the Serpent.” (Revelation 12:6 & 14)