When it comes to discerning the times, we have been given a watch that serves as an indicator of where we are on God’s prophetic timeline. In this analogy we find that the world is the watch face, Israel is the hour hand, and Jerusalem is the minute hand (and some may assert that the Temple Mount is the second hand).
With that in mind, here are the top five categories I’m personally keeping an eye on in 2018. As you scan through these, be sure to read the conclusion regarding something that is far more important than all five of these! Also, note that I’ve used 100% mainstream secular sources to back up my analysis.
#1 Creation’s Groaning
(See Olivet Discourse: Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, Luke 21)
Even secular news sources and mainstream media recognize the unprecedented number and severity of natural disasters the world experienced in 2017 (see first link below). I won’t recap them here, but the article is well worth reading. Scripture teaches that natural disasters will serve as birth pains—increasing in frequency and severity—and these convulsions of nature provide a major sign of the end-times and the nearness of the rapture and the tribulation period.
I suspect that 2018 will continue this pattern with more record-breaking natural disasters (and already has with the Bomb Cyclone that hit the Northeast and the terrible mudslides in Southern California—and we’re only 10 days into the year).
#2 The Three Amigos (Russia, Iran, Turkey Alliance)
(See Ezekiel 38)
The “key three” continue to tighten up their partnership to deepen their influence in the Middle East. Russia, Iran, and Turkey have fallen like consecutive dominos into the alliance foretold in Ezekiel 38. The recent riots in Iran and reports of thousands of Iranians becoming Christians makes it seem there is a time-stamp on current conditions. The partnership as it stands now has a shelf life, so to speak. This early tribulation-period war casts its shadow ahead of itself as these three unlikely partner countries continue to take their end-time positions.
(See Ezekiel 38-39)
Based on Ezekiel 38, it seems that the US, England, and Saudi Arabia will have been weakened (unable to do more than protest the attack) by the time of the Ezekiel 38 war. It’s interesting that just as of last year Israel, the US, and Saudi Arabia have formed an alliance against the Iranian Axis’s chess moves in the region. I believe the US will be crippled primarily by the event of the rapture itself (and not an earlier financial collapse).
(See Matthew 24:37-39)
Scripture also indicates that the world economy will be surging at the time of the rapture, but at the same time—it will be one global disaster away from collapse. Ten years ago this would have seemed contradictory, but it is the exact condition we see today. The world’s super power has an economy that is surging with no signs of letting up. At the same time, its debt has never been higher. The economy of the world super power continues to break records, as does its debt—tracking perfectly with the end-time conditions that are forecasted in Scripture.
#4 Seventieth Anniversary of Israel’s Rebirth
This May, Israel will celebrate her 70th birthday as a reborn nation. 70 is a highly prophetic Biblical number and also happens to coincide with many prophetic implications that are ramping up as of late.
In Matthew 24 it’s indicated that the generation that sees Israel become a nation again will be the generation that sees the Lord’s return. Psalm 90:10 gives us the best indication for the duration of a generation as 70 (“or if by strength 80”*). This is a somewhat mysterious and veiled reference (and not all prophecy experts agree), but I believe it has prophetic merit. And it is quite amazing to me that every related end-time sign (Ezekiel 38 alignment, activity in and around Damascus, Israel thriving, etc.) is converging at this time. The next year and/or the next decade promises to be quite amazing in terms of fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.
*a Biblical generation could also be 100 years (Genesis 15:13-16), or possibly even 120 years (Genesis 6:3).
#5 The World Community Fixated on Tiny Jerusalem
Jerusalem is a mere 48.3 square miles and is of no natural, globally impactful consequence (such as NY, DC, LA, London, Beijing, or Moscow), yet the whole world seems fixated on dividing Jerusalem and making it a focal point of world politics.
On January 15, 2017, 70 nations stood against Israel in the Paris Peace Conference. Then to round out the year, on December 1st, the UN approved six resolutions disavowing Israeli ties to Jerusalem, and then another one after President Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The resolution rejecting Trump’s declaration had only nine countries of the world vote against it. Interestingly, just a few days later, yet another archeological discovery demonstrated the reality that Jerusalem is tied to the Jewish people in factual history.
In Zechariah 12:2-3 we read, “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.”
The world nations may not realize why they are lining up against this tiny country, but Zechariah 12 gives us the clear answer. Keep a close eye on this in 2018 as the wheels were clearly set in motion throughout 2017. Again, the 70th anniversary will be a key factor, I believe.
This prophecy will find its ultimate fulfillment in the Armageddon campaign at the end of the tribulation period, but the stage is being set before our eyes as tribulation events cast their shadows ahead of them.
In 2017, there were also key developments regarding the Jewish preparation and desire to build a 3rd temple in Jerusalem (something that prophecy tells us must occur by the mid-point of the tribulation period). It’s as if everyone is on the starting line waiting for the gun to signal the start of the race!
BUT ABOVE ALL—KEEP YOUR EYES ON THIS
Above all of these prophetic indicators, I’m keeping my eyes on Jesus. I’m keeping my spiritual eyes on him daily as I deepen my walk with the Savior. I’m also keeping my eyes up, anticipating the rapture in obedience to the following scripture:
Luke 21:28 “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
As I’ve demonstrated above, “these things” have all begun to take place. Look up, but don’t stop working. We don’t know the day or hour, but we are instructed to watch and pray, and we are expected to know what season we are in. We are also told explicitly that we can “see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).
It could be that the Lord delays (and every day that he does, thousands of people in the world’s darkest corners are being saved—see links below), and we must live like he’s coming today while we plan like he’s not coming in our lifetime. It’s the healthiest, most Biblically-correct way to live.
Let me know what else you are keeping your eyes on in 2018. I love hearing the perspective of other believers who are watching and praying for the Lord’s return!
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