There are lots of news
reports, articles, and even books devoted to the deteriorating state of
America and speculating on the likely outcome. Reading them has brought
several things to my mind.
an example, I remembered something Hal Lindsey said 20 years ago about the
then current world situation. He said he had been wondering how God was
going to fulfill end times prophecy while the Soviet Union was standing in
the way of the revived Roman Empire taking its prophesied place in the end
The term “revived Roman Empire” comes from Daniel’s
interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream as a prophecy of “Gentile
Dominion”, the time during which Gentile Empires would rule the world. (Daniel 2:31-43).
In the dream Nebuchadnezzar saw a large
poly-metallic statue, and Daniel interpreted it to represent four Kingdoms.
Many scholars believe the head of gold stood for Babylon, the chest and arms
of silver symbolized Media Persia, who conquered Babylon. The belly and
thighs of bronze pointed to Greece who defeated the Persians. The legs of
iron represented Rome who replaced the Greeks.
Finally came the feet and toes, part of the legs and
made partly of iron like the legs, but different in that they were also
composed partly of baked clay. Daniel called them a divided kingdom, partly
strong and partly weak (Daniel
The Roman Empire was never completely conquered.
Instead it split into eastern and western legs, versions of which have
always been visible on the world scene. Since the feet and toes are the last
phase of Gentile Dominion before the God of Heaven will set up a Kingdom of
His own (Daniel 2:44) and since the statue
only represents four kingdoms, scholars call them the revived Roman Empire.
How Will This Happen?
OK. Let’s go back to Hal’s question. Remember,
before its fall in the early 1990s all of Eastern Europe including half of
Germany was under Soviet control. This was a significant portion of the old
Roman Empire. He wondered how the USSR would be defeated so the end times
version of the Roman Empire could emerge.
Then we all received the answer loud and clear when
for all intents and purposes the Soviet Union suddenly ceased to exist. It
wasn’t defeated by an external enemy, but crumbled from within under a
crippling burden of debt. The debt was the result of a combination of
problems, including a disastrous war in Afghanistan, an unsustainable arms
race with the US, and the inability to support the resulting increase in
government spending in a declining Soviet economy.
Remembering Hal’s comment made me think how similar
the world situation is today, only now it’s the US standing in the way of
end times prophecy. Israel can’t experience the utter abandonment that will
leave God as its only hope against powerful, hate filled enemies until the
US has been neutralized. Like the Soviet Union, we could crumble from within
for the same reasons they did. A catastrophic natural disaster, a
coordinated series of terrorist attacks, or the rapture of the Church would
also get the US out of God’s way. But something will have to happen to clear
the way for the next phase of the end times, because just as the USSR was
not part of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue, neither is the USA.
We’re All In This Together
Another thing that struck me was the
“inter-dependency” of the world today. For example, news reports abound on
the extent to which Europe’s economic difficulties are hindering America’s
recovery. And now we’re being told that China’s exports are dropping at an
alarming rate due to the world wide lack of demand. China is the world’s
number one exporter and currently new orders are not sufficient to sustain
its massive manufacturing capacity. Some experts are warning that China’s
economy could be in the early stages of implosion. If so this could also
carry world wide implications. And China is one of America’s major
creditors. How would the decline of their economy affect the US? Oil prices
also fluctuate in response to changing world wide demand. It seems like all
the world’s economies depend to a growing extent on each other. These and
other trends make me wonder how God would go about healing America without
also healing the rest of the world.
In the days of Ruth and Boaz, escape from the famine
in Bethlehem was as simple as walking across the Jordan River valley into
Moab. And Nineveh was powerful during a time when nations could exist
independently, and where God treated them individually. Remember, He
only had Jonah warn Nineveh of the coming judgment. No other city was warned
because the judgment was against Nineveh alone. Even within the last century
isolationism was considered to be a viable strategy for the US. But we now
live in an age where nations are interdependent and where God is in the
process of bringing judgment upon the whole world. It’s a whole different
set of conditions.
Who Are You Looking For?
Then I realized how our view of the end times
affects our view of current events. If you’re one of those scoffers who
laugh when people talk about the end times and think that everything will go
on as it has since the beginning of creation (2
Peter 3:3-4) then I can understand why you want to pray for
God to protect your way of life. It’s the natural thing to do. In Matt.
spoke about the time just before His coming. In effect, He said even then
people would be trying their best to live a normal life, thinking the
terrible times would have to end sooner or later and things would go back to
being the way they’ve always been. They will have no idea that the world as
they know it is about to end.
But if you believe we’re the generation that will
see the Lord’s return for His Church then you see the decline of the US as a
major sign that God is bringing things to a close, just as the fall of the
Soviet Union was a major sign 20 years ago, and the re-birth of Israel was a
major sign before that. And although that means things could get even more
uncomfortable soon, you long for the Lord’s appearing, since you know the
Lord has promised to rescue us from the coming wrath (1
Thes. 1:10) and will award a crown to all who’ve been
longing for Him to do so (2
Personally, I believe the signs that show we’re well
into the End times are becoming almost impossible to ignore. Israel is back
in the land. The Middle East is a tinder box one spark away from erupting in
flames, and all the participants in Psalm
83, Isaiah 17, and Ezekiel
38 are now in
place. The weather is unpredictable and becoming more extreme. Natural
disasters are on the rise. The economic problems we face are world wide in
scope and require the kind of solutions only a one world government can
implement and enforce. This means a leader will have to be found who can
quickly gain world wide popularity. The quote attributed to Paul
Henri-Spaak, former Prime minister of Belgium, is becoming more timely by
the hour. “What we want is a man of sufficient stature to hold the alliances
of all people and to lift us out of the economic morass into which we are
sinking. Send us such a man, and be he god or devil, we will receive him.”
Thy Kingdom Come
It doesn’t matter whether you favor the western leg
of the Old Roman Empire or the eastern leg, they’re both in the advanced
stages of preparation to become the last Gentile empire before the Lord
comes to establish His Kingdom. This is an urgent sign because the revived
Roman Empire will have a short duration, perhaps as little as 7 years, and
then the Lord will come to establish a kingdom that will never be destroyed
or given to another (Daniel
As has been the case in the past, this kingdom will
exist in three components, Jews, Gentiles and the Church. The main
difference, at least at the outset, is that all will be believers. The Jews
will dwell with God in Israel, which will be expanded to include all the
land He originally gave to Abraham. Believing Gentiles who survive the Great
Tribulation will repopulate the rest of Earth, and the Church will inhabit
the New Jerusalem.
Most of what the Bible contains in relation to the
Kingdom Age on Earth is found in the Old Testament and is limited to
descriptions of Israel, which will be the headquarters of the Kingdom on
Earth. From them we can see glimpses of a creation liberated from it’s
bondage to decay (Romans 8:18-21), with fields so
fertile the farmer can barely complete the harvest of one crop before it’s
time to plant the next one (Amos
9:13), of people living in peace and joy to an age well
beyond what man currently experiences (Isaiah
65:20), of children no longer doomed to misfortune playing
safely in the streets while the elderly look on happily (Zech.
We can only assume that life in the nations will
also be a much improved version of what we currently experience, but it
seems clear to me that Israel will be the most favored nation on Earth.
Life in the New Jerusalem is even more sparingly
described. But what is there is mostly contained in Rev.
21. From there we can see obvious differences. There’s no
mention of fields, crops, or other earthly endeavors because after the
rapture the Church will consist of immortals of the royal class, and royals
don’t work in the sense that you and I do.
John 3:2 says, “Dear
friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been
made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we
shall see him as he is.”
John’s statement means it’s impossible to know in any detail the kind of
life we’ll be living after the rapture. All we know for sure is that it’s
beyond our imagining. Paul said, “No
eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has conceived what God has
prepared for those who love Him” (