La Profecía Bíblica de la Historia

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-Daniel Chapter 9-a “The 69 Weeks”

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Daniel Chapter 8

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Daniel Chapter 7

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Daniel Chapter 2

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Introducing Prophecy in History

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Hearing from God, like your life depended on it

danger is near flatLast month I was in a situation where it was desperately important that I heard from God right then. My friend and I were driving the next morning to visit a school in Reyhanli, Turkey, about 200 meters from the border with Syria. I wrote about this visit in my blog post “Visiting Syria part 1”.

But we were realistic enough to know that real danger was possible. We’d phoned ahead to several ones who knew the situation and were involved and they all said that it was safe to make the trip. But in the final analysis, as believers in God and in Jesus, the most important guidance and green light, or red, needed to come from Him.

So we really prayed. And for both of us we just kept getting the witness of the Spirit in our hearts and Bible verses that it was His Will that we go, verses like “When He puts forth His sheep, He goes before them”. (John 10:4) And “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14)

Reyhanli mapWe took these from the Lord and we made the trip. Of course we were aware that the radical religionists right across the border in Syria would gladly pay a very large bounty for someone to kidnap us and turn us over to them. So we were keeping a good watch out on our way there for any funny business. But it all went really well and there was miraculous protection and blessing.

It reminds me of another situation, almost exactly 10 years earlier, when I was in Jakarta, Indonesia, immediately after one of the worst natural disasters of the last hundred years when the Asia Tsunami swept across the Indian Ocean.

The city that suffered the worst was Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province on the northern tip of Sumatra. The friends who I was working with at the time in Jakarta knew immediately that some of us would have to go there to help. And I knew strongly in my heart that one of the first ones who needed to go was me.

me&AcehKids-2 cropped

Teaching kids at a refugee camp in Aceh, 2005

But this was again a place where very serious, life and death prayer was a necessity. Probably there was more danger in this recent trip to the Syrian border. But in going to Banda Aceh, we were going to be faced with over 150,000 dead who were still left to be found, bagged up and carried off to mass burial grounds.

The infrastructure of the city of 450,000 was virtually gone. The fact that it was one of the strictest Muslim parts of Indonesia didn’t seem to be as big a deal as just the overall danger of aftershocks, extreme living conditions and would we be able to live with the shock to our emotions that all the devastation had wrought? It was a time when we needed to be certain we were in the will of God; otherwise it would be extremely unwise to go there.

But also in that situation the Lord came through clearly and blessed our time there immensely. Here’s a newsletter I sent to friends while I was in Banda Aceh 10 years ago, called  “With Muslims in Tragedy“. God hears all our prayers, including the simple little ones that we often pray throughout the day. But at times we must be desperate and get answers from Him, sometimes as a matter of life and death.

which way-aI’m thinking about this a lot currently as I’m at something of a personal crossroads. I’m facing some decisions involved with possibly pulling up roots and going to a new country I’ve very seldom ever been in before, more or less starting out from scratch in what would be a major change of direction and a completely new chapter in my life.

common sense flatI really need to know what God’s will is. Like Paul said, “Be not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesian 5:17) Common sense doesn’t help a lot in these situations. Common sense would not have agreed with the trip to Reyhanli, Turkey or the time spent in Banda Aceh. But the life of faith and following the directions from God almost always goes contrary to common sense. “By faith Moses forsook Egypt”. (Hebrews 11:27) “Abraham went out not knowing whether he went”. (Hebrews 11:8)

For me it’s a time I need to know  that I’m on the right track, moving with the flow of His Spirit, having no will of my own and that my thoughts and leadings are of Him. Otherwise it could be a real disaster. Thanks for your prayers for me in these decisions at this time.

Why study the book of Daniel?

Daniel Night for blog post With the way the world is in these times, more and more people have at least some curiosity about Bible prophecy and the future it tells us of. But once you start searching around, you can really find some different, even opposing ideas about it all. So much of it can even engender fear or confusion.

Often folks just give up trying to grasp any constants or absolutes that can be found about the subject of Bible prophecy. Some have even said, “Hasn’t the book of Daniel already been fulfilled? Isn’t it only written for Jewish people?” That’s what some say.

Recently I was meeting with a group of people who are studying the subject of prophecy in the Bible. The main thing we were reading was from the book of Ezekiel. It’s  being taught in this group that Ezekiel chapter 38 is in the  process of being fulfilled right now in currents events playing out in the Middle East, as a precursor to the final events leading up to the coming of God’s kingdom on earth. Then I have other friends talk to me about verses in Isaiah which they say predict a soon coming atomic annihilation the city of Damascus, Syria. Others in recent times have come to see Psalm 83 (written by King David as a prayer against the nations he was battling with in 900 BC) as being a specific endtime prophecy which is about to be fulfilled in current events in the Middle East

Before I read Daniel flatSo, why am I doing a series on the book of Daniel? Shouldn’t we be studying Ezekiel or Isaiah? Or Psalm 83? Here’s why. If you’re looking for authority in the Bible, there’s no greater than Jesus Himself. Did He talk about the future, the time before His return and His coming Kingdom?  Absolutely. The two main chapters where He talked about this were Matthew 24 and Mark 13. He’s quoted as saying this in both chapters but I’ll quote from Matthew 24:15. “When you shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand).”

Matthew 24 15-d for blog post

Matthew 24:15

When asked about the future, Jesus didn’t refer to Ezekiel, or Isaiah, or any other book in the Bible. But He did refer specifically to the book of Daniel and even to a specific passage of Scripture in that book. Then He went on to say, Whoever reads, let him understand.” Jesus both emphases that book and made it unusually clear, highlighting the importance of understanding that particular passage.

Admittedly, that verse, Matthew 24:15, is not very easy to understand at first glance. That’s one of the reasons why, in my series on Daniel, I start with the first prophetic chapter in Daniel and then build on it. The series begins with Daniel chapter 2, then goes on to chapters 7 and 8, before we are really ready to look at this emphasized statement that Jesus made about certain passages in what turns out to be Daniel 9 and 11.

Then, if we look at what is considered the most specifically prophetic book in the New Testament, Revelation, it is full of material that refers back to characters and events  first introduced in Daniel’s visions and prophecies some 600 or more years earlier than the date of Revelation.

Daniel foundation flat-1It reminds me of what Paul said, “I as a wise master builder have laid the foundation and another builds thereupon. But let every man take heed how he builds thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid.” (I Corinthians 3:10) Paul was not speaking here about Bible prophecy and the book of Daniel. But what he said can very much apply to the foundation of endtime prophecy that the Lord revealed to Daniel and which Jesus pointed us toward. It just seems like so many today are busy building edifices of endtime prophetic interpretation on little, if any, solid foundation. Simply finding some passage in the Old Testament that seems conveniently to match some aspect of today’s world and then proclaiming that as our major insight into current events and the future is a pretty shaky way to portray the events of the future according to prophetic Scripture.

With so much being wondered about nowadays having to do with fulfilled prophecy and possible events to come, I’m convinced that an understanding of Daniel’s prophecies offers the best hope of establishing a foundation for understanding future certainties. And no, definitely it’s not all been fulfilled. Numerous things that are first clearly spoken of in Daniel, and further clarified in Revelation, just haven’t happened yet. And it seems Jesus Himself pointed us to this beginning point when He referred to specifics in Daniel yet to be fulfilled and said, “Whoever reads, let him understand.”

“Fleeing into the wilderness”… in Bulgaria

Bulgarian town scene-aDuring my recent trip, an intriguing verse came to mind about where I was in Bulgaria and it’s possible place in the future, especially related to the events prophesied to come before the return of Jesus. A few of you know this verse well but probably most will have little or no idea what it means. It’s Revelation 12:6 “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there one thousand, two hundred and sixty days.

You may ask, “How in the world could that verse have anything to do with southern Bulgaria where you were?”

Let’s see if I can simplify this to where most everyone can get the idea. According to Scripture and His Own words, Jesus will return to earth at some future time to establish His rule in our world. But, again according to Scripture, there are a number of things we’re told will happen in the time very near to this return of the Lord. And things get particularly specific about the last 3½ years, leading up to His return.

Some of you know all this like the back of your hand but the vast majority of folks don’t. So, speaking to that vast majority, I can tell you that Jesus called that last 3½ years before His return a time of “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world”. (Matthew 24:21) Not good news at all, it seems. But at least we’ve been informed about it and can prepare in the ways we can, as He leads.

And that verse which came to my mind in Bulgaria, Revelation 12:6, is actually talking about that last 3½ year period. The “1260 days”, spoken of in Revelation 12:6, when divided by 360 days (the length a year was considered to be in ancient times) comes out to 3½ years. So who is “the woman” who is “fleeing into the wilderness” during that final 3½ years before the return of Jesus?

can we stay- flatA large group of people who study these things feel that “the woman in the wilderness” is the Christian “body of Christ”, the believers and receivers of Him and His love who will be persecuted like never before during that last 3½ years. The Bible calls God’s people His Bride, both in the Old and New Testaments. (Isiah 62:5, Revelation 19:7) This woman fleeing into the wilderness represents what we could call the collective church and overall congregation of believers throughout the earth.

“Mark, why would the Christians be ‘fleeing into the wilderness’ during that last 3½ years?”

One major reason will be that, by that time, a world-wide economic system will be in place, according to Revelation 13, where each participating citizen will be required to have some kind of “mark in their hand or forehead.Mark of the Beast(Revelation 13:16 & 17) This is what I was talking about the with the Kurdish women on my trip that I wrote about in “Tea and Endtime with the Kurds.” In my visit with them, they were telling me that they could see how they would have to flee out to their villages in order to escape the bestial totalitarian Anti-God, Anti-Christ government and its Satanic leader. So even those Muslim women could see a time where “the woman fled into the wilderness” would be the best path for them in this time to come.

“But Mark, it says, that the womanhas a place prepared of God that they should feed her there 1260 days from the face of the serpent.’ God has some place prepared and ‘they’ shall feed her there?”

time to flee- flat-1That was what I was seeing and feeling in those towns in rural Bulgaria [Here’s a link to a blog post that tells more about the details of my recent trip to there.] They were already almost totally self-sustained and self-sufficient economically. From where I was, it was close to a three hour drive through the mountains to even get to a city of 100,000. In the final endtime, the Antichrist world government will aim to control every nation and every city they can.

But they won’t be omnipotent. The eleventh chapter of Daniel speaks of a number of wars the Antichrist and his forces will be having, even during the last 3½ years. I believe God will lead multitudes of Christians to flee into the wildernesses of their nations where they’ll be helped by the simple, Godly people who so often live in places like that. “They” shall “feed her there” during this last horrific time in the history of mankind before the return of the Lord when “the cities of the nations fell” (Revelation 16:19) and then His Millennial rule will begin. It’s like the verse “the people that were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness.” (Jeremiah 31:2)

Bulgarian town scene-2God always cares for His own. Even during this future time of great tribulation, when so many Christians will be uprooted from the comfortable surroundings they live in now. They still will be helped, through God’s pre-vision, by the simple, Godly rural peoples around the world to whom we will flee for help and shelter during that time.

 

Tea & Endtime with the Kurds

My friend and I were sitting in the office of a Kurdish business women. We were over in her neck of the woods, not in the West. And my friend had told me that in his conversations with her at other times, quite often the subject had turned to the events of the endtime, predicted in prophecy. By the way, the picture here is one I found on line of Kurdish women, not of the ones we met.

“So, Mark, the Kurdish woman was an evangelical Christian?”

No, she wasn’t. In fact when we first got there, we had to wait for her as she was having prayer, something many Muslims do 5 times a day.

“Were she and her friends covered from head to toe in black and all you could see of her was where there was a slit for her eyes?”

No, actually they were all dressed completely casually and looked like everyday folks from northern Italy.

“Mark, that doesn’t make sense! How could she be someone that carries on a conversation about the endtime if she was a Muslim?!”

My friend who took me to her office said that all she knows about the prophetic endtime is what she’s learned about it from the Koran and what my friend has shared with her. Yes, there’s plenty about the future to come in the Koran that has some definite parallels to the same narrative we find in the Old and New Testament, and quite a few Muslims know about this.

I spoke about this in my video on Daniel chapter 7, how that Muslims know specifically about “the dejjal”, the name in the Koran for the Antichrist, spoken of as a demonic world leader who will arise in the final years before the return of Jesus. AC figure-2This is also explained in the Koran. That may be surprising news to some who read this. Here’s the text and illustrations to the Daniel 7 class if you’re interested in knowing more about this.

So while drinking tea with her and her friends, one of the things we talked about was “the mark of the beast”, predicted in Revelation 13:16 & 17 as being a part of the world economic system of the final days. We talked about how this type of thing was not really possible for 2000 years. But now in our times virtually every product has a bar code. And we shared with our friend how that it would be just as easy to implant some kind of chip in each individual so that he could be scanned for each economic transaction and kept up with electronically in an almost complete way. We told her that this was prophesied many centuries ago as a sign of the final years at the time of the “great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21), before the return of Jesus.Mark of the Beast

This was not the first time my friend had talked with this Kurdish business woman and her friends about this. But it was a way to share with her the vision of the future from the Bible which she already knew a good deal about, from her study of the Koran. She said, as we discussed the overall endtime picture of possibly needing to draw back from the large cities if a world government took over, that she felt she could be safe in some of the smaller villages she knows where Kurds are the majority. And that’s a similar conclusion to what many in the West have come see as a way to survive if an Antichrist world rule comes in our lifetime. Some may need to “flee into the wilderness” (Revelation 12:14), as the Bible says some will.

Another of my friends later told me that this is one of the easiest ways to enter into conversations with Islamic people, by talking about the vision of the future to come and what the prophets and writers of the Old and New Testament were shown by the God of Abraham about that time. So it was a wonderful day, sharing faith and truth that I’ve learned with someone hungry and receptive to the same truth.

By the way, you might wonder why I’m not being more specific and detailed about the name of the woman, her city and things like that. The reason is that in some parts of the world, a “Christian” way of looking at God, Jesus and the Bible is pretty controversial and even outright dangerous.

In some countries you can be thrown out of them if you’re known to be sharing your faith in that way. In other countries, it can get much worse, not always from the governments but just from local people who “take the law into their own hands” or who are motivated by ancient animosities to see you as an enemy of their society. In those circumstances you learn quickly to be a good deal less specific when sharing news of what the Lord has done, both for your own sake but also for the sake of your friends.

But it’s a wonderful life. It’s a wonderful and thrilling to have a conversation with people like my friend and I spoke with today, ones who have such a genuine hunger for the things of the Lord and such believing hearts to grasp and retain what we shared with them.

So I’d encourage you to not be afraid to step out and share your faith and what you know with your friends who might have an Islamic background. You might find it a very interesting and rewarding conversation, just like we did, even if you have to wait till they finish praying.