As a kid, I used to be into word games and puzzles. One of those puzzles was the ever-popular Connect the Dots, the game where you were given a sequence of numbered dots to connect in order to solve the puzzle and reveal a previously indistinguishable image. The temptation was always to guess at what the end picture would reveal, but sometimes in fact, the completed solution would reveal something completely different than your expectations.
As a student of Bible prophecy for thirty one years now (thanks Hal Lindsey and The Late Great Planet Earth!), I’ve come to find myself─as well as others─playing a game, if you will, in trying to connect the dots in a reverse fashion to arrive at what the Bible foretells about future events. For instance, we know that in the book of Ezekiel in chapters 38 and 39 that the author is given a prophecy about a future invasion of Israel by most likely Russia and the surrounding Islamic foes of the Jewish nation: Turkey, Iran, as well as some select countries in Africa. We also know that a future leader will arise from most likely western Europe, who will be the one referred to as the Beast and/or the Antichrist.
The question becomes: how do we get to the point of the Gog/Magog invasion described in Ezekiel 38 and 39? How does the Antichrist arrive onto the scene? How will the destruction of Damascus be instigated as foretold in Isaiah 17? What will lead to the tiny nation of Israel being hated by ALL nations? And for Christians, when will the Lord return for His church?
So: As students of Bible prophecy, we have the final picture in view (to an extent) of what the future holds for the world: the nation of Israel, the emergence of a future leader and the snatching away of the Bride of Christ. The exercise then becomes one of looking at those results and working backwards to try to figure out the chain of events that will lead up to those conclusions. In my estimation, even for those of us who have been Christians for quite a while and have some level of spiritual discernment, thanks to the presence of the Holy Spirit who indwells believers in Jesus Christ. Most of our attempts to connect the dots prematurely or incorrectly lead to a futility of speculation. Of course we see things on the horizon that could lead up to one or some of the prophesied events, but jumping to an early conclusion of what an event might lead to can cause us to miss the mark completely.
Another game I enjoyed back in grade school was the Word Search puzzles: the puzzle where the words were hidden in a group of letters. The words could be placed in proper fashion left to right, or backwards right to left, up or down, or even diagonally (correct order or even reverse order). Again for the students of Bible prophecy, we know that we have to search the entire Bible for all that is foretold about future events and to get a more complete picture of what lies ahead. We search for verses in Revelation, the book of Daniel, the books of Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Joel, and the passages in Matthew 24 as well as others─to get a better picture of how all Bible prophecy will play out. It takes a lot of mining of Scriptures to find the hidden gems of biblical truth and how it relates to end time events.
As I briefly mentioned above, I’ve been a student of Bible prophecy ever since I got my hands on and read Hal Lindsey’s, The Late Great Planet Earth. His book really piqued my interest in foretold events and current world affairs and how things were lining-up prophetically. I became a voracious reader and couldn’t get my hands on enough books that dealt with this subject matter. I found Bible prophecy to be extremely interesting, inspirational and motivating. It eventually led me from just being a church member to a Bible believing Christian. For all those out there who are involved in Bible prophecy and are motivated to spread the word and who have availed themselves to the Holy Spirit to rightly divide the Word and to warn others, may God richly bless you and use you mightily in these last remaining days of the Church Age. Our voices get drowned out by the din of the world and the myriad diversions in this present age, but the message must get out in these closing hours of the age of grace, and the very soon onset of the Tribulation period.
But back to the point above in connecting dots. In my fascination and enthusiasm with the subject of Bible prophecy─and that of other people as well, I’ve noticed sometimes the tendency for all of us to jump ahead in order to finish the picture maybe too quickly to see the end result, only to look back and see that we’ve skipped a few dots. We see an event transpiring on the world scene and try to make it fit prematurely in order to solve the puzzle, but then realize that our preconceived path did not led to where we thought it would. So with our trusty pink eraser affixed to the end-tip of our “thought-to-be reliable” number 2 pencil we erase that path and try another.
As an example, right now we see Israel being threatened by Iran and the prospect of them acquiring nuclear weapons. The mullahs and the leader of Iran have not minced their words in their desire to rid the world of Israel. Obviously, the idea of Iran getting their hands on nukes is not one that the Israeli leadership can live with. Iran has to be stopped in their tracks of nuclear weapons development and since the current situation of just implementing tougher sanctions on Iran does not appear to be slowing down their progress toward that end, an Israeli strike on those facilities is looking more and more imminent. The USA will probably not take any action before the November elections, and even after that, may not take military action. Could an Israeli strike lead up to the Ezekiel 38 and 39 war, is that how the connection will be made?
Or, will it come about eventually through another avenue: that of a war with Syria? Bashar Al Assad is in for the fight of his ruling life, as the rebels─in whatever form they are comprised of─freedom fighters, outside forces like Al Qaeda, or groups put in place from other countries are intent on driving out Assad and the battle has raged on now for over a year and a half, with upwards of 20,000 people being killed. Assad has threatened to use chemical and/or biological weapons on outside countries that might think to intervene─namely Israel and he has even hinted that these weapons may be used on fellow countrymen fighting against his own army.
Isaiah 17 foretells of a time in the future when Damascus will be destroyed. This could come about very quickly if Syria decides to lob WMDs at Israel, in a last ditch effort for Assad to keep his grip on the reins of power by an attempt to garner Arab support for his regime by getting the Jewish nation involved in a misconceived war. Any action taken by Assad in launching chemical or biological weapons on Israel and affecting a large number of Israeli casualties, will be met with severe repercussions and could quickly spell the demise of the Syrian capital. Could this lead directly to the Gog/Magog war?
America isn’t found by name in Bible prophecy. What is the reason for that? What connections need to be met to bring about our loss as a superpower status and no mention of our once great nation? A pencil line over to: economic bankruptcy? A diagonal line to: destruction from outside forces? A quick graphite path to: moral depravity? A connection to the: Rapture of the church─the sudden disappearance of a large number of our population?
And it appears the dots leading up to the emergence of the Antichrist are all lining up. The world economy, and especially that of Europe, is in dire straits. They are well beyond the point now where someone needs to step forward with a plan to save them. They, like America, are leaderless and have no idea of how to solve the economic woes that are present. Something has to be done and someone needs to step forward very soon to save what is left of the Euro zone and the economies of a number of the member states.
With Europe being in the shape that it is and the soon action of Israel either on the Iranian front or the threatened use of WMDs by Syria and Israel’s response to that engagement, a leader will have to step up to solve Europe’s mess AND bring about a quick peace in the Middle East to prevent an all out war in the region.