Peeking Behind the Curtain: What’s the Danger?
Vol: 103 Issue: 26 Monday, April 26, 2010
In the famous prophecy of the 70 Weeks, the Prophet Daniel views the future history of the Jews from the rebuilding of the Temple to the Crucifixion of the Messiah.
“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” (Daniel 9:26)
Notice the colon following the word, “Himself” in the verse. That colon represents a jump in time forward from the Cross, skipping completely over the Church Age and picking up again at the beginning of the Tribulation Period.
This illustration by Clarence Larkin demonstrates the ‘twin peaks of prophecy’ with this chart from “Dispensational Truth.”
The “people of the prince” were the Romans that sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple in AD 70.
“And he [the ‘prince’] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: [7 years] and in the midst of the week [3 ½ years) he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, [indicating active Temple worship] and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, [fulfillment of prophecy at the 2nd Coming] and that determined [judgment] shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Daniel 9:27 italics mine)
The ‘prince’ of whom Daniel is speaking is a prince of the political entity that destroyed Jerusalem and ended Temple worship in AD 70. At the end of the age, that “prince” restores it by confirming a covenant between Daniel’s people [the Jews] and “the many” different peoples that surround it.
So there are number of prerequisites that must first be in place before Daniel’s 70th week can begin.
First, there must be a recognizable nation of the Jews, situated in Jerusalem and in possession of the Temple Mount. The State of Israel captured West Jerusalem in 1948 during the War of Independence against her Arab neighbors following its recognition by the UN. It has fought five separate wars and lived in a state of constant hostility ever since.
Secondly, there must be a revived form of the empire that initially destroyed the Temple in existence during this same period in history.
According to Nebuchadnezzar’s image, the final form of this empire will be the ten toes of iron and miry clay, led by ten ‘kings’ who share power and empower an eleventh, the diplomatic ‘prince’ who ultimately negotiates a settlement with the Arabs that restores Temple worship.
In 1948 the six nations that served as WWII’s main Western battlefield, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, West Germany and the Netherlands came together to form the “European Coal and Steel Community” which became the forerunner of the Western European Union, or WEU.
In 1973, Denmark, Ireland and the UK officially signed on to the EEC. And then there were nine. In 1981, the Greeks joined the EEC. And then there were ten. Prophecy teachers began making bold predictions about the return of Christ in 1988. Then, in 1986, Portugal and Spain signed on.
Jack Van Impe made a valiant attempt to reconcile this with prophecy, arguing the next member would subdue three of them, leaving them with ten kings and one ‘prince’.
But 1988 came and went and the Church remained. And efforts towards full unification seemed hopelessly deadlocked.
Then, in late 1990 the 1st Gulf War unfolded live and on television, showcasing American military technology in what came to be known in some circles as “the Nintendo War”.
Saddam Hussein’s military was battle-hardened, well trained and well-supplied with the latest in Soviet weapons technology. It was considered the fifth-most powerful military force in the world at that time.
The buildup of military forces in Saudi Arabia began in August under the code-name Operation Desert Shield. On November 30, Operation Desert Shield became Operation Desert Storm as the first wave of bombings began.
By February, following a 100 hour ground campaign, the much-vaunted Iraqi military was surrounded, shattered and forced to surrender. The Soviet Union, shocked at the ease with which America destroyed the cream of its military technology on the battlefield, dissolved before year’s end.
The Europeans, equally shocked at the raw display of American power, set aside most of their differences and formalized their new Union, with the signing of the Maastricht Treaty the following year.
The Maastricht Treaty created the European Union and set into motion the mechanisms necessary for the creation of the single European currency, the euro.
The European superstate was born. But it had too many heads.
In 1995, the ten original members of the WEU; France, Germany, Italy, UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and Greece agreed to form the core of the European Common Foreign and Security Policy, responsible for Europe’s collective self defense.
In June 2000 the EU and WEU agreed to consolidate their respective ‘kingdoms’ under one subordinate ‘prince’ under the ponderous title of “High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, and Secretary-General of both the Council of European Union, and the Western European Union.”
That position was created by a recommendation of the WEU Assembly, article 12, Recommendation 666.
Recommendation 666 had much the same effect as did Greece’s entry into the EEC in 1981. Everybody declared the EEC the fulfillment of Daniel 2:44, concluding that the Lord would return in 1988.
When Javier Solana was named High Representative for both the EU and WEU under Recommendation 666, some prophecy watchers declared Javier Solana to be the antichrist.
I know of several formerly-staunch pre-tribulationist preachers who switched over to become advocates of a ‘pre-Wrath rapture’ to allow for the Church to be present during the Tribulation Period.
Javier Solana was promptly declared the antichrist by many. Type Javier Solana into Google. The first two entries are about Javier Solana the politician. The next two are about Javier Solana the antichrist.
Until Solana retired in 2009 and was replaced by Catharine Ashton. As a British baroness, she qualifies for High Commissioner and Secretary General. But she doesn’t qualify as the antichrist.
The antichrist will not be revealed on this side of the Tribulation. The Church will never know who he is. I have little doubt that the position created by WEU Recommendation 666 is the ‘prince’ position forecast by the Prophet Daniel, but that doesn’t mean the current office holder is automatically THE ‘prince.’
The EU isn’t ready. It has its requisite ten members, but not necessarily the ten that will emerge as the ten leading ‘kings’.
Greece seems highly unlikely to emerge as one of those leaders — its economic collapse threatens the entire economic Union. It’s more likely to be expelled than it is to survive to become one of the Final Ten.
Going back to the 1991 Gulf War, it seemed obvious to me that for Bible prophecy to play out, both the Soviet Union and the United States must decrease and some form of Europe must rise to supremacy.
That process is well underway, but it isn’t there yet. The EU is itself on the verge of economic and political collapse, but it cannot revert back into its former status as a collection of independent nations anymore than a pickle can revert back into a cucumber.
What must emerge, if a united Europe is to survive, is a leaner, smaller and more cohesive unit of like-minded states — what exists now is too fractured and fractious — it’s neither “old Europe” nor “new Europe” and until it becomes one or the other, it will remain neither.
This in no way suggests that the Tribulation (and the Rapture that precedes it) is somehow still years away. Two years ago, the United States appeared perfectly sound — today we’re already composing America’s eulogy.
The linchpin of Bible prophecy is still Israel. America has begun to distance itself from Israel, but it is still the principle peace broker between Israel and the Arab world.
For now. But with Barack Obama in the White House, that equation could change overnight.
What I want to highlight in this briefiing is the inherent danger that comes from filling in the blanks in Bible prophecy instead of letting God do it. There are some things God intended for us to know, so that we would know that it was near, even at the doors.
All the signs that point to this generation as the one that will see the fulfillment of all things are in evidence. God wanted us to know when it was near so we would be able to impart that sense of urgency to others.
But there are some things God has drawn a veil of secrecy around. Counterintuitvely, THOSE things are the ones that make all the headlines.
God has drawn a veil around the identity of the antichrist. We won’t know who he is because he can’t be revealed until after the Rapture. Mark ministries that claim they know who the antichrist is being in defiance of Scripture.
We won’t know when the Rapture will take place. Jesus said no man knows the day or the hour, not even the angels in heaven. He said we won’t even be able to guess — but that doesn’t stop people from trying.
Mark ministries that promise you the Rapture will take place on this day or that day because of some complicated numbering scheme or based on deep research into the Scriptures. They are certain to disappoint — no man knows the day or the hour.
Jesus not only said nobody could know when, He explained why. Salvation is by faith.
“But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.” (Matthew 24:43)
If we knew the date of the Rapture, then there’d be a world-wide revival the day before — a revival as sincere as an Obama campaign promise. We only know what we know because God wanted us to. We can’t know what He has concealed from us.
The real purpose behind identifying the antichrist or calculating the date of the Rapture is not to glorify God, but to glorify oneself. There are limits imposed by God. Seeking a way around those limits is an act of rebellion against His Word.
Bible prophecy is not given to us to be sensationalized into some kind of parlor trick to win converts to a ministry — it is given as a warning sign of His soon return to win converts to salvation.
Converts to a prophecy ministry often fall away when the minister’s prophetic interpretation is proved wrong. If their faith was in the interpreter, rather than the prophecy, then the foundation of their faith is destroyed. They won’t trust the next guy, even if he is giving them the real Gospel.
I’ve seen it happen a hundred times in the past. They gave their faith once, and had it trampled. They are unlikely to be that trusting again.
We are eyewitnesses to the unfolding of future history as it was written thousands of years in advance. That is more than ample testimony that these are the last days.
What can be more sensational than that?