signs of the coming of the master
The signs in the political heavens are very important to us until the Master returns. Once he has come there will be no more necessity for them. Whilst we eagerly wait for him they reassure us that “The Most High ruleth in the kingdoms of men and that very soon our Master will return. So until that day dawn we do well to take heed to that “sure word of prophecy” “as a light that shineth in a dark place”.
There have been a number of notable signs in 2010:
The instability of the EU:
In Daniel 2 we read of the image seen by king Nebuchadnezzar in his dream which represents the European Union with its Babylonish or papal head. But it is like chaff and will disappear when the Lord Jesus Christ, the stone power of the dream, returns. We are seeing now how unstable this world power is, for the image stands on feet of iron and clay. It has been described therefore as the “European Disunion” (D.T. 23.05.10). It is corrupt from top to bottom. Under the headline, “We must put a stop to the EU budget scandal”, were the words:
“The spectacle of the “president” of the European Union, Herman Van Rompuy, travelling by official motorcade with his family from Brussels to Paris to catch a holiday flight is the latest manifestation of the other-worldliness of the EU bureaucracy”. The collective deficit this year of the 27 member states is about £8oo billion. Yet while domestic governments slash their spending, the European Commission has proposed a 5.8 per cent increase in the EU budget for next year, taking it to £115 billion. ( DT 15.10.10).
The leader continues:
“The whole process is scandalous. The Commission maintains that it tries to achieve value for money, yet every year the EU’s auditors refuse to sign off its accounts”.
There was another headline in the November Telegraph, which is self-explanatory:
“EU watchdogs find errors in 90pc of Brussels budget”.
Another which goes back to March:
“More cracks in the eurozone despite likely deal for Greece– deep- rooted divisions resurface as leaders prepare to give their backing to bail-out for Athens”.
Now Portugal is in financial crisis and is requesting a bail-out. Yet EU refuses to cut MEP salaries and perks (DT 11.04.11).
These events reveal the unwieldiness of the EU resting on feet of iron and clay.
Corruption and Violence in the Earth
These days are like the days of Noah. We see the corruption in the papacy, highlighted in the visit of the pope to this country, welcomed by the Queen, Elizabeth 2nd at the Holyrood Palace in Scotland. He may have been right in describing this country as a secular society but the papacy itself has a legacy of paedophilia amongst its priests which was particularly bad in the former Diocese of the pope in Munich. Also there is corruption in the church of England, manifested in their approval of “gay marriages”, supported by the Labour governments “Equality for all” bill.
The welcoming of the pope is a complete contrast with the time of the Reformation, when England became Protestant in the time of Elizabeth 1st. England would never have welcomed the pope at that time. In fact Philip 11 of Spain attempted to invade this country with the Spanish Armada to depose Elizabeth and re-establish Catholicism, but despite the smallness of the British craft, the Armada was providentially destroyed by a storm, which swept the fleet up to Scotland and destroyed many ships.
There is corruption among the leaders of the churches and corruption in the EU, combined with the financial crisis shown by the headline, “Is Europe heading for a meltdown”. Because the EU is having to bail out these countries in financial crisis she is clawing back money from the common people to support her unwieldy finances, so this is leading to violence. There was violence in Greece because of the austerity cuts. There has been violence in Ireland for the same reason and there has been violence in France, as can be seen from these headlines:
“French resistance grows to the spirit of ‘68”.
“France in chaos as strikes turn violent”.
“Europe on strike as protesters rage at austerity cuts”. (D.T. 30.09.10, 17.10.10, 19.10.10).
Moreover recently there has been student violence in this country, protesting about University fees. These events therefore are a significant sign to us of the nearness of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The EU flexing its muscles against USA
But there is another aspect. At the end of the 1939-45 war the countries of Europe were subject to the great power of America and to Britain. But now the tables are turned. She considers herself to be a greater power than the US. Moreover the EU is pro-Palestinian. This goes back to 2004. Under the headline, “Jewish state fears world isolation” we read:
“Foreign ministry officials are concerned that the pendulum may swing against Israel as the EU pushes to become a global player at the expense of America, Israel’s main ally. The fear is that in the light of continuing criticism of its policies a more powerful Europe could weaken Israel’s position”.
The report also raises the prospect of a rise of a new form of anti-Semitism in Europe, which would question Israel’s legitimacy as a sovereign Jewish state” (DT 15.10.04).
Hence the recent headline in the Telegraph, “Europe’s threat to recognise Palestine”, under which we read:
“Europe’s foreign ministers have threatened to recognise an independent Palestinian state to punish Israel’s refusal to halt “illegal” Jewish settlements” (DT 14.12.10).
This is what God’s word points to. The EU will be part of the Gogian host which will come down into the land of Israel “To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations” (Ezekiel 38:12).
Break between Israel and USA
But to add to Israel’s isolation, we have witnessed this year, since Barak Obama has become president of America, a deterioration in her relations with the US, mainly because of her defiance in continuing to build settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank . A cartoon in the Telegraph shows Obama at one end of a table and Netanyahu at the other and the table split down the middle (DT 06.07.10). So, even her friend the United States is finding Israel a burdensome stone (Zechariah 12:2-3).
The Tarshish Power
But let us now look at the Tarshish power, which is to confront the Gogian host when it comes down into the Middle East. Since the era of Tony Blair, and since Barak Obama has come to power in the US, Britain’s relations with America have deteriorated . Although on first name terms, the Telegraph questioned whether it will be a “special relationship”. This was the heading at the top of a photograph of David Cameron and Barak Obama meeting in the White House (DT 21.07.10).
The Eastern Tarshish
What is of great significance as far as the latter days are concerned is that after this meeting David Cameron with a very large retinue made his trip to India with a view to developing a “special relationship” with India. India since she became independent in 1947, has become a very rich and prosperous country with a fast growing economy. So in a leading article in the Telegraph, the headline reads, “UK stalks India’s economic tiger” with the words, “One of the most remarkable trade missions in British history is aiming to secure a slice of the subcontinent’s growth”. In this, surely we are seeing the development of the Eastern Tarshish. Moreover India has been a friend of Israel for many years and the two countries have worked together in many ways. Brother Thomas foresaw the development of the Eastern Tarshish in “Elpis Israel”. Referring to Solomon’s import of “gold and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks”, he wrote:
“These products point to India as the Eastern Tarshish-a country which has always conferred maritime ascendancy on the power which has possessed its trade and been its carrier to the nations”.
He is of course referring to the British East India Company, in existence in his days, but nevertheless his conclusions are very relevant in view of what is happening to-day (Elpis Israel p.434-435).
What is of also noteworthy is both Britain’s and America’s relations with the Arab states. Some years ago brother Don Pearce drew our attention in “Milestones 2007” to the fact that whereas the Arab states have always regarded Israel as the enemy, in recent years because of their fear of Iran, and since the Lebanon war, they have seen Israel as a bulwark against Hizbollah and Iran. They are therefore willing to make “a marriage of convenience” with Israel against the common enemy. Moreover most of the southern Arabs are Sunni Muslims, whereas Iran is of the Shi-ite sect. In passing, it is noteworthy that the Queen visited the Middle East in 1979, at the time of the revolution in Iran, when the Shah was deposed. Her itinerary was then changed so that she did not visit Iran, but only visited the southern Arab states. Now America has agreed a £40bn arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Under the headline “Gulf arms race fear as US agrees £40bn deal with Saudis” (see cuttings), we read:
“The United states is selling $60bn (£40bn) worth of aircraft to Saudi Arabia in a huge deal that will increase unease about a gathering arms race in the Middle East” (DT 14.09.10).
Moreover there is a change in British policy towards the southern Arabs as we see from this article, where we read, “British policy will change to reflect Arab concerns”. This was marked, firstly by the visit of the Emir of Qatar to this country and a state banquet at the palace and then by the visit of the Queen and the duke to the UAE.
President Obama, then, also made a trade visit to India, again in an effort to boost the US economy, another manifestation of the development of the Eastern Tarshish.
Britain Cutting Down on Defence
But one of the outcomes of the economic cuts in Britain has been a cutting down of the navy army and air force, at a time when there is a threat from Argentine in the Falkland Islands. The Falkland war took place in 1989. Britain’s power had gone down since the Suez fiasco in the time of Anthony Eden, but in the Falklands war she again rose to power showing her naval and army prowess and defeated Argentina. There is now concern about the ability of this country as a global power.
The Tarshish power has to challenge the Gogian host when it comes down into the land of Israel, so one would expect a change in this policy of cutbacks in the armed forces, navy and airforce. But, there is another aspect to this. The secret of the Tarshish power is in the young lions of its Commonwealth, which we are seeing developing. India has a navy, operating unmanned air vehicle squadrons in conjunction with Israel (Milestones Snippets IN-IS;110121;928-Jan-11).
Nevertheless the power of Tarshish is to be broken (Psalm 48:7). Moreover Britain will be the first power to submit to Christ (Psalm 72:10). Then, in some way, Britain’s vessels which remain will be used to carry God’s scattered people back to the land (Isaiah 18). Vessels of bulrushes may be symbolic. As Moses was saved in a vessel of bulrushes, this could be symbolic of the saving of his people in the latter days. Britain has many cruise liners which could be used for this. Although Israel is to be isolated, it is this power who will challenge her enemies.
Iran and Israel
Ahmidinejad of Iran has recently visited Lebanon. One headline read, “Israel is mortal, says Iranian leader” (DT 25.10.10). It is his intention to wipe Israel off the face of the map, but he will never achieve this. His hatred of Israel is spoken of in Psalm 83: 1-5:
“Keep not thou silence, O God; For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee (Yahweh)”.
An amusing aside is an article in the Telegraph “The First Strike by Computer?”, followed by the words: “Iran’s nuclear programme has been threatened by a powerful virus distributed through the internet. Richard Spencer reports on a new age of cyber warfare” (DT 04.10.10). It is suspected that Israel was responsible for this virus!
The world shaking events of 2011
2011 has now been marked by world shaking events in the Arab nations’ uprisings and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It is noteworthy that significant world events occur when the world is engrossed in the celebration of Christmas. It was at this time that Russia invaded Afghanistan many years ago. The revolution of the Soviet satellites took place at this time and on 2nd December 1989 Gorbachev made his historic visit the pope and I think diplomatic relations with the papacy were restored. It was in December 1999 that Boris Yeltsin resigned and Vladimir Putin became acting president of Russia and Yeltsin then spent the orthodox Christmas in Jerusalem. The tsunami in the Indian Ocean took place on Boxing Day 2004 when 230,000 people lost their lives and it was on December 18th 2010 that the Middle East revolutions began, firstly in Tunisia, followed then in Egypt, then Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan, The Ivory Coast and now in Syria. In Egypt president Mubarak has been replaced by a military government. We expect at the time of the end that Egypt will be invaded by the king of the north (Dan. 11:42-43), but they will eventually submit to the Lord Jesus Christ (Isa. 19:19-25). At the time of the end Libya will be with the Gogian host (Ezek. 38:5) along with Persia, so we may see Gaddafi moving away from the west towards Russia, who has stood on the sidelines in the present conflict and criticised the air strikes on Libya by the west. Yemen is in the area of ancient Sheba. Will she turn to be with the west at the time of the end? (Ezek. 38:13) Syria up to now has been an ally of Iran, but it has become evident in the current uprising that it is predominantly Sunni, which is seen as a threat to Iran who is Shi’ite. In these uprisings we are seeing a change in the Arab world, but we know that at the time of the end “all the people of the earth” will be gathered together against Jerusalem (Zech. 12:3).
The words from Psalm 83 which we quoted earlier are relevant, for we read in verse3, “They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones”, for the hidden ones apply to the saints, to us brethren and sisters. The words hidden ones is rendered laid up in Psalm 31:19 and keep them secretly in verse 20 as follows:
“Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust thee before the sons of men! Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues”.
So in Ahmidinejad defying Israel and wanting to wipe them off the face of the Map and calling a nation mortal which has just been resurrected (Ezek. 37), he is defying Yahweh. Moreover his words are spoken against us also who are spiritual Israel. David was fearless before Goliath. Israel is also fearless before Iran. May we be fearless also; may we “trust thee before the sons of men”. How important it is brethren and sisters, that we think carefully about where we stand in relation to the world, particularly the religious world dominated by the Catholic church, for if we are found worthy, when the Master returns we shall help him, “To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; . . . To execute upon them the judgements written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye Yahweh” (Ps. 149:5-9).
The very hatred of Iran for Israel is a striking sign of the nearness of the return of Christ.
But the earthquake and tsunami in Japan is a warning to the world and a wake up warning to us of the great shaking that will take place at the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, which we read of in Ezekiel 38:19-20:
“For in my jealousy and the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely, in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; . . . and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places (towers) shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground”.
This is surely telling us that the earthquake which will take place with its epicentre in Jerusalem will extend throughout the earth and all the great skyscrapers, the pride of man will fall to the ground and those nations which speak against Israel will be judged.
“O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind. . . So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm. Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O Yahweh. Let them be put to shame, and perish: That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Yahweh, are the most high over all the earth”(Ps. 83:13-18).