Antecedent Signs of Christ’s Return

By: Enoch Ofori Jnr.
GCR RADIO, Kumsi, Ghana

That Christ will come to earth the second time to judge the world and receive the saints into glory is not a message many take seriously. Like the latter-day mockers described in 2 Pet. 3:3-4, people tease, ‘”where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, ail things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation,”

Here’s man’s sceptism versus God’s sure word of truth. But as the scripture says, let God be true and everyone a liar (Rom. 3:4). None of His words shall fail – Isai. 34:16; John 10:35. The Lord Jesus will surely return, so we had better get prepared to meet him in holiness and righteousness — Amos 4:12.

His return will foe preceded and attested to foy certain specific signs given in the scriptures. The majority of people, however, fail to discern the tunes and carry on as usual, as though they own tomorrow — Luke 12:54-56/Matt. 16:2-3; Prov, 27:1, These are the people the day of the Lord shall overtake as a thief-1 Thess. 5:2-5, But believers are not the children of darkness that the day should catch them unawares (vs 5).

We have the light of Bible prophecy to help us discern the times, so we might know how closer our redemption draweth – 2 Pet 1:19 – 21; Luke 2130-31.

And indeed from the look of things—given how the end-time prophecies are racing to fulfillment—the day of the Lord is “near, and hasteth greatly” as the prophet Zephaniah says-Zeph. 1:14.

Prophecy is not something we can afford to ignore or esteem lightly. Among all the attributes of God, it’s that which reveals His Unique Status as the only true God among the gods of the heathen – Jsai. 41:22-23; Dan. 2:28; Isai, 46:10; 42:9, To Yahweh alone belongs accurate foretelling!

He opened before Cyrus of Persia the two-leaved gates of Babylon (then world empire) in prophecy, long before the armies of Medes and Persia overthrew Babylon – Isai. 45:1-13.

By dream to King Nebuchadnezzar (which Daniel interpreted), He foretold the rise and fall of four gentile world kingdoms that would dominate the affairs of mankind before. His Eternal Kingdom is set up. In this, history has proved a worthy witness, verifying the truth of Bible prophecy. The line-up of world empires given in the dream concurs with the secular historical account and in the order given. After Babylon, symbolized by the golden head of Nebuchadnezzar’s image, came Medo-Persia, represented by breast and arms of silver, Greece, represented by belly and thighs of brass, and Rome, represented by legs of iron (with feet partly iron and clay) — Dan.2:31-34.

Now we are at the feet of the image of Nebuchadnezzar, made of partly iron and clay— i.e. in the final days of the fourth kingdom of Rome which fragmented into 10 nations in 476 AD, but with most of its ideas still intact (calendar, customs, traditions, etc).

History testifies that after Rome has come no other major world empire exercising rule over all nations. Over the course of history, men of ambition have tried to establish world empires of their own but to no success. Napoleon Bonaparte of France tried but met his Waterloo in 1815; Hitler and Mussolini tried, but both were defeated in the WWII by the Allies (UK & USA) in 1945.

The fifth Kingdom will be Christ’s—’Ihe stone cut out without hands” – Dan. 2:34; 44.

Some would say the 20th century has largely been an American century (Pax Americana), and they will not be entirely wrong. With the fall of the USSR in the late ’80s, one can only be strengthened in this view. But if you take a critical look at current geopolitical trends (never mind a so-called unipolar world and the absence of Russian counterbalance), the centre of global power is shifting elsewhere—to Europe. Rome is on its final revival with the number 666! This is even being felt on the currency market where the US dollar (once the preferred international reserve currency) continues to drop steadily against the Euro.

Now, how do we know we are at the feet of Nebuchadnezzar’s image? The clue is Dan, 2:43: “And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they [the descendants of Rome, the iron] shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay,”

How accurately this captures our world today! The leading nations of Europe and America now mingle freely with the weaker peoples of the world (such as Africa which they once colonized) in the UN General Assembly and other international fora. But for all the facade and talk of equality of nations, the leading powers of the ‘north’ do not relate to the poor/weak nations of the ‘south’ on equal terms. They still call the shots (e.g. 5 permanent UN Security Council Members), dictate commodity prices, have the lion’s share of the world’s resources and generally pursue their own interests at the expense of the weak–“even as iron is not mixed with clay”.

In the meantime, God’s Church-Kingdom has been set up “in the days of these [gentile] kings” awaiting the coming of the Stone (Christ’s Kingdom proper) that shall break in pieces (overthrow) all worldly kingdoms (Rev. 11:15).

And the clock is ticking!

When shall these things be?”

The curiosity of believers of all times was satisfied when Jesus, in response to a request from His disciples for the sign of His coming and of the end of the world, gave the famous Mount Olivet prophecy.

In it, He laid out the end-time events that would herald His second coming: massive deception, wars and rumours of wars, disasters in various places and disease epidemics (Matt, 24:3-7). And, indeed, studies have shown that, within just a period of twenty years, the number of natural disasters nave more than quadrupled with as much as 254 million people affected per year. In the 1980s, natural disasters averaged 120 per year; today the figure is about 500 per year. Meanwhile, “floods and wind-storms have increased from 60 events in 1980 to 240 last year, with flooding itself up six-fold”. (Source: “Natural disasters have quadrupled in two decades: study” Yahoo! News, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2007).

Despite the Telentless intensity in the outbreak of natural disasters as an end-time sign, skeptics will still remain unconvinced. They will try to explain them away as regular fare; a routine. But not two companion signs given by Christ in the same prophetic breath! They are the “abomination of desolation” in Jerusalem and the unprecedented great tribulation which shall be shortened for the elect’s sake (verses 15, 21-22), these two stand out as some of the last incontrovertible signs of Christ’s sure, imminent return!

The former has a dual fulfillment, even a forerunner fulfillment by Antioehus Epiphanes, a Greek ruler, who defiled the Temple in Jerusalem with the abominable sacrifice of pork and on top erected the statute of Jupiter on the altar of the Temple (Dan. 8:11, 11:31). The second partial fulfillment of the prophecy occurred in 70 AD when Roman soldiers led by Titus captured Jerusalem, plundered the Temple and in desecrating it set up an idol on the altar (Luke 21:20,24), Earlier, Jesus had warned the Jews they faced impending national doom for rejecting His Messiaship and message (Luke 19:43-44).

But there is yet a future fulfillment of the ‘abomination of desolation’ prophecy. “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles” again.

Rev, 11:2 reports, “and the holy city shall they [the Gentiles] tread underfoot for forty and two months”. This takes place during the 31/2 year reign of the antichrist. At the time (a period immediately following the work of the two witnesses who will have been murdered), abominations, especially homosexuality, will have so overran Jerusalem that “the city where also our Lord was crucified will spiritually be called Sodom and Egypt” (verse 8).

Now what do we see and hear? In advance of the full fulfillment of this end-time prophecy, the vile spirit of Sodom (i.e. sodomy) has gripped Jerusalem. Since 2001, Jerusalem has year after year hosted so-called “gay pride parades” organized by the city’s thriving homosexual community, despite protests and opposition from numerous quarters. And not only Jerusalem,

Today, the homosexual contagion, raging like bushfire, has infected the whole world including the apostate Church. (“Except The LORD had left us a remnant…” – Isai. 1:9; Rom. 1:26 – ‘just reward’ for homosexual folly, e,g. AIDS and other STDs).

But the unbridled practice or homosexuality in Jerusalem in the very last days (leading up to Christ’s return) will not be the height of the abomination of desolation that will be visited on the holy city. The 3rd Temple of Jerusalem will have been built by then, and the antichrist, representing the final form of the abomination that makes desolate, will sit in the temple of God making himself out to be God – 2 Thess. 2:3-4.

Beloved, if you think this to be far-fetched, realize that the strenuous efforts now being made to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians is so, that the 3rd Temple can be rebuilt. The ultimate objective of the antichrists is to make Jerusalem the international spiritual centre of their one-world religious system. (Refer Michel Smiely’s 666 Masterpiece’, aka “the spiritual centre of apostate] Christianity”).

Today, in Israel, several organizations of leading personalities have emerged (the Temple Institute being a notable example) demanding the restoration of the temple. The 71-member Jewish Sanhedrin has even been reconstituted with all the temple accoutrements reportedly ready. Only political obstacles remain.

The many peace conferences between Israel and the ‘Palestinians’ all aim at one goal: Peace in Jerusalem in preparation for the temple and eventual relocation of the seat of the antichrist there. The latest Middle East peace conference took place in the US city of Annapolis in Maryland under the aegis of the US government.

But so far Jerusalem is proving to be the greatest impediment to peace in the Holy Land, Neither side is willing to cede its interest in the eily as its (future) capital. The only practical solution, then, in the eyes of the world powers supervising the peace talks, is to divide the city between the two parties, thus reversing the 1%7 reunification of Jerusalem in the six-day war.

While the current Israeli government appears disposed to accept a divided Jerusalem, the majority of the Israeli public abhor the very idea of it. Similarly, the Palestinians are not known to be wholly in support.

If the solution does not lie with a divided Jerusalem, the next best thing, the world powers reckon, is to internationalize Jerusalem—making it neither Israeli nor Palestinian, Jewish nor Arab but placed under international jurisdiction. At the Annapolis Conference, the parties agreed to make the future of Jerusalem part of the “final status” talks which seek to create a Palestinian State alongside Israel by the end of 2008, with possibly East Jerusalem as ils capital. One city two capitals!

Just as now, the antichrist and his people will woo Israel with assurances of peace until with their takeover of the city and the temple, war breaks out. Finally, what peace negotiations failed to do, military action will be initialed to forcibly achieve it, namely the division of Jerusalem!

The antichrist will gather all gentile nations against Israel (Zech, 12:2-3). By now, the stage will have been set for Jesus” return. He will appear in the sky and swoop on Israel’s enemies in the nick of time—when half the city (possibly Hast Jerusalem) had been taken:

“Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle.

“And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west.,,” (See also Joel 3:2).

Events in the Middle East are not happening at random; they should be seen in the context of end-lime Bible prophecy pointing to the imminent return of Yeshua, the Messiah.

Another end-time prophecy steadily being fulfilled is the notorious ‘mark of the beast1 without which no man can buy or sell. Thanks to the miracle of modern technology, this prophecy can now sec the light of day—unlike at any other time in history!

Today, it’s wholly possible to buy or sell electronically without ever handling money; cashless payment systems like the credit and debit card and biometric payment systems (soon to be introduced in Ghana) allow commercial transactions that do not involve the use of cash.

If technology had not advanced to this stage, bow else could the prophecy of the mark of the beast (which replaces cash as a medium of exchange) be fulfilled?

The elimination of cash is the desired objective of the antichrist so that he can create a controlled economy in which only those with his mark shall be able to buy or sell. To this end, a subtle campaign to give cash a bad name has commenced, namely that cash attracts thieves, complicates commercial transactions, too bulky to carry around and incurs additional expenditure in the form of reprinting costs, etc

Even so, the use of smart cards is not the best it can get, for they can get lost or be manipulated by another The ultimate solution is to get the microchip in the smart card inserted beneath the skin—and nowhere else than in the forehead or the right hand as predicted in the Bible (Rev. 13-16-18).

The use of subcutaneous microchips to buy and sell has since been piloted in a number of elite clubs around the world.

Eventually, the whole world will be forced to receive the 666 microchip mark of the beast, or none will be able to buy or sell. Only in our time there exists the appropriate technology to bring about a cashless economy.

And not just a cashless economy, but a one-world cashless economy with the ‘mark’ as the sole medium of exchange. To facilitate the envisaged global cashless economy, many world regions are now coming together to form economic blocs on the model of the European Union, While Africa’s AU (formerly O.A.U) has been around for sometime now, newer groupings continue to be formed. The US, Canada and Mexico are said to be planning a North American Union with a common regional currency (called Amero) on the cards. The recently formed Security and Prosperity Partnership bet wean the US, Canada and Mexico is suspected to be the spearhead of the intended union.

In Asia, there’s talk of a need for a EU-style regional economic grouping. Not to be outdone, six Gulf States recently formed the ”Gulf Co-operation Council States” to give them a stronger negotiating position internationally (“Gulf Stales form common market”

Meanwhile, French President Nicholas Sarkozy on a visit to Algeria in early December 2007 called for the formation of a Mediterranean Union, to he made up of nations in southern Europe and North Africa (“Sarkozy wants France, Algeria to form axis of Mediterranean Union”

All the end-time prophecies an; fast being fulfilled, and now is the hour of preparation to meet the Lord or never! (Amos 4:12). Indeed, “the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1 Pel. 4:7).

The Bible was inspired and written under the direction of the Almighty; none of its words (as Apostle Kanok Ofori always emphasized) shall fail -Isai, 34:16. Our redemption is close at hand; all the end-time signs have appeared (Luke 24:28, 30)

May He give us the strength to stand in His Truth and endure to the end – Luke 24:36; Matt. 24:13.
Says the Faithful One:

“Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be*1 (Rev. 22:12). Amen!