A Review of 2014 :: by Matt Ward

If you take a pan of boiling water and place a frog into the pan the frog will immediately jump out. However, place the frog in a pan filled with cold water and then begin gradually heating it up, the frog will remain standing in that water until it reaches a temperature that kills. It doesn’t detect the subtle changes in water temperature until it is too late. And then it dies.

Looking back on 2014, I feel like we in our society are that frog in that pan. The temperature is rising. In fact it has been rising for a number of years. It is now reaching critical levels of heat, levels that are really dangerous…and nobody seems to be aware. Nobody but a few seem to care.

We see and hear a Pope who has stated clearly that it is his mission to bring people of various faiths together, back to  “…the Mother Church.” To that end he has begun a process of tightening relations with the Eastern Orthodox Church, a church in schism from the Catholics for almost a thousand years. He has also spent significant energy courting his Muslim friends too, to the same end.

This same Pope also talked openly in 2014 of his genuine belief that even atheists would go to heaven, if they had lived “…good and fulfilling lives.” And his open acceptance and reaching out to those living alternative lifestyles, which are in direct contradiction to biblically acceptable standards of behavior—indicate that we are far, far down the road of both apostasy and ecumenism.

In 2015, I expect the Catholic Church and the Pope in particular to continue marginalizing Jesus Christ, and under emphasizing the substitutionary atonement of Jesus for sins, and instead reemphasize Marian worship and how it is in fact Mary who links many faiths together, (especially Catholicism to Islam).

In 2014, Israel continued to be a major focus of international attention and vilification in 2014. With a short but brutal war fought against Hamas in the Gaza Strip we witnessed the warping of truth by international news organizations openly intimidated by Hamas. Worldwide public opinion at times seemed to openly bay for the Jewish state’s blood.

The knock on effect from this has been a substantial rise in anti-Semitism in Europe—with many, many synagogues burnt to the ground in 2014, and random attacks on Jews increasing significantly. This, in the countries who seventy years ago were not overcome by Nazi tyranny. How short their memories are, much to their shame.

Israel currently sits surrounded by some of the most well equipped rocket arsenals in the world, with Hezbollah to the north in Lebanon boasting openly of a number of “…hundred(s) of rockets…” aimed at Israel. All these rockets are capable of hitting all of Israel, and all rockets are supplied by Iran. Iran’s second proxy organization, Hamas, in Gaza are currently revamping their arsenal and rapidly rebuilding their tunnels in expectancy of the next imminent round of hostilities. To Israel’s east lies the ruin that once was Syria and Isaiah speaks quite plainly of what the fate of its capital city Damascus, (Isaiah 17). This is a possibility that could occur at any time.

President Obama continues to disparage and marginalize Israel with each opportunity he gets. In the latest news he is apparently discussing the possibility of his administration imposing sanctions on a state which has been and remains it’s most loyal and trusted ally. Genesis 12:3 is and remains, God’s only foreign policy. And heaven help America if these sanctions are applied.

Worldwide the dominos are starting to fall regarding the dividing of Israel’s land and a succession of states, one after the other, have voted to recognize the existence of a Palestinian State, either in non-binding resolutions such as Britain or in formal recognition as Sweden has done. This is something that will continue and speed up through and beyond 2015.

Israel is rapidly becoming the pariah state of the entire world, with ridiculous notions of “apartheid” banded around unchallenged in 2014 by the majority of media organizations and pundits to be repeated verbatim by poorly informed populaces in western countries. This despite the fact that all of the 1.5 million Arab Muslims who live in the Middle East and have the right to vote all live in a Jewish state—Israel.

This despite the fact that the number of Jews living in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Saudi Arabia all amazingly equate to the same exact number: zero. Israel is home to 1.5 million Arab Muslims out of a total population of between 8.2 million people. Yet Israel is labeled “apartheid.” Ridiculous. Evil. Disgraceful.

This in turn has led to a deepening and rising popularity of the BDS, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. This movement has become a rallying call for all anti-Semites and is in 2014 the reasonable face of anti-Semitism.

The world is insistent on burdening itself with Jerusalem and it is truly becoming, “…a cup of trembling” with the beginning of a new intifada on the horizon over the Temple Mount and al-Aqsa Mosque.

Iran, those ancient Persians who developed and mastered the game of chess millennia ago are proving how adept and sophisticated they are, running rings around and manipulating the P5+1 group of nations whose only successes seem to be in achieving an “extension to the negotiations.”

Be under no illusion, Iran will stall and stall until they provide themselves with the necessary time and space to complete their nuclear weapons program. Then the game will change irrevocably. Iran are an existential threat to the existence of Israel and in the future Israel will be forced, probably alone, to engage Iran directly to nullify their nuclear weapons systems.

Then all hell will break loose.

Iran will activate its proxy organizations of Hezbollah and Hamas and perhaps Bashir al-Assad of Syria too, who they directly finance along with Russia. Could this then lead to the fulfillment of Isaiah 17 and the burden of Damascus? Could this then lead to Iran looking to Russia, who are building and manning many of these nuclear systems, for support against this “Zionist enemy?”

Could they then move freely against Israel through the vast swathes of land cut open by ISIS?  In an area were borders used to stand, but have now have open corridors of territory where entire large military forces can pass through unhindered right to the borders of Israel?

In terms of Ezekiel 38 and 39 for the first time in history all the players are in place, and more. They aren’t just in place, they are also in alliance correctly for the first time ever with countries like Turkey, led by the increasingly anti-Semitic and power hungry President Recap Erdogan, openly hostile towards Israel.

Erdogan’s vision of himself is as the natural Caliph of the new Islamic State, replacing its current leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Erdogan wants to re-establish the Turkish Ottoman Empire with Turkey at its head in much the same way Putin wants to re-establish the USSR with Russia at its head. Both of their aspirations are merging into a common set of goals that is truly terrifying. For both these nations and both these leaders Israel is at the very centre of their bulls-eye.

Ebola has ravaged entire populations in a way never seen before in 2014. Bird Flu has seen a re-emergence, as has SARS and the mysterious MERS, Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome, which has risen to headline grabbing attention. Public health systems are at breaking point in most western nations and the rise of antibiotic resistant superbugs has prompted some experts to say in the last few days that they expect 50 million people a year to die of superbugs by 2050. We know prophetically that this may happen sooner than they think.

2014 has revealed an unimaginable level of government spying and snooping. If you have a social media account of any description, then the NSA and GCHQ in Britain have a file on you. They know what you write, they know who you are in contact with, and they know where you shop and which websites you frequent.

They know your bank account details and how you spend your money. They know everything about you. George Orwell’s 1984 has arrived, even if it is a little late. The technology employed by the Beast doesn’t need development. It is already here.

There isn’t room or scope to discuss in detail the atomic accident in Fukishima or the huge amount of radioactively contaminated water that is destroying life, which on its way to America’s coast lands. Under reported and widely unknown is this: That disaster is actually poisoning and killing life the entire Pacific Ocean.

Apostasy continues in the church unabated with the horrors of Replacement Theology having a wider affect than ever, especially amongst evangelicals, robbing Israel of what was once a staunch pillar of support.

2014 has seen the once great United States of America continue its decline, just replaced by China as the number one economy in the world. Beset by deep issues of racial and social unrest America has a president who wastes no opportunity to fan the flames rather than ease the tensions.

Ferguson is a microcosm of America more generally and many respected commentators believe the next two years in America will be the most dangerous since the Civil War era. The southern border is porous and Barak Obama is ruling by decree via Executive Order rather than through the systems and procedures laid out by the U.S. Constitution.

And the debt of the United States is and will continue to be simply staggering.

Beheadings have now become commonplace in 2014, thanks to ISIS, taking an archaic method of execution synonymous with the Tribulation period and bringing it right into our modern culture. Evil has expanded exponentially. They are terrorizing Christians all over the Middle East, even placing the heads of children as young as four on spikes because they will not abandon Jesus Christ in favor of Muhammad. May God bless them for their courage.

The numbers of people killed or injured in terrorism in 2014 has risen by 61% from the previous year, 2013, and natural disasters have displaced more people than war over the same period. The worldwide economy continues to teeter on the brink of the financial abyss, North Korea is agitating for war on the Korea peninsula, China is exerting itself in the South China Sea directly threatening American hegemony, and tensions over the Ukraine between Russia and the United States led Nato organization—are openly talked of as potentially spilling over into some form of “hot” war.

Believe it or not this really is only a brief summary.

So what will 2015 bring? The only thing we can say with certainty is two things.

First, like birth pangs the frequency and intensity of these events will increase the closer we get to the return of our Lord Jesus (Matthew 24:8).

Second,  we have hope in Jesus Christ. Our hope is not in clever diplomats bringing people together or in ingenious scientists finding solutions to issues such as global warming. Our hope is in Jesus alone. There has never been a more urgent time to reach out to those within your own sphere of influence on the Lord’s behalf. There has never been a more pressing need for prayer on their behalf.

If you are reading this and have never taken the Lord Jesus as your Savior, please do so now. Repent and give your life to Him while you still can.

“Lord Jesus, I believe that you are the Son of God. I believe that you died for my sins on the Cross 2000 year ago. I believe that you rose from the dead. I ask you this day to save me from my sins and to become my only Lord and my only Savior. I place all my hopes in you and you alone. Thank you, Lord. Amen”

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)

Time really is running out.