Stage-setting in Overdrive
By Terry James
From my perspective of Bible prophecy in the stage-setting process for the wind-up of the age, three factors leap from current news.
These are in addition to the tremendous developments taking place in the socioeconomic dynamics brought on by the sudden appearance of the COVID-19 pandemic. That virus, coming out of the demonic world, it seems to me, was in itself enough to point to the nearness of the end of this dispensation.
The dire prospects for recovery from the effects of the coronavirus are, if one hasn’t faith in God’s complete control, at the very least emotionally debilitating.
Now, three additional developments bring into sharper focus exactly how near we are to the time when Christ calls for His Bride, the Church. This fact—that Jesus Christ is, for all born-again believers, soon to break through all the depressing news to take His own into Heaven—should excite us.
The first of the factors I see as profoundly setting the stage for the Tribulation era, thus for the Rapture of the Church, involves China’s sudden emergence to prominence on the geopolitical scene.
For centuries, China was a building giant that seemingly chose to stay sequestered behind the Great Wall. It had little major influence. Then the communist takeover gave the vast nation a presence that represented a threat, but one that could be controlled by the greater powers of the West—and even, to some extent, by a Soviet regime that didn’t want Mao Tse-tung to get too far out of line.
China has emerged, as we all know, to become an economic force that, in conjunction with its military presence, some say can nearly rival that of the US. It has become the great, hegemonic power of all of Asia. It is even building entire islands in the South China Sea just to establish a military presence to challenge anyone who dares to enter those waters.
America, it is sad to say, has provided much of the funding for that military burgeoning through insane trade deals of the past. And now, the communist leadership of China is beginning to assert its ever-increasing power. We see some of this through the following:
U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr warned of a range of threats from China including propaganda efforts surrounding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and efforts to interfere in U.S. elections. In an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham, Barr described Chinese efforts as a ‘full-court blitzkrieg’ across multiple fronts, which he said includes meddling in US elections, exercising control over key supply chains and promoting disinformation about the coronavirus. (“AG Barr Says China in ‘full-court blitzkrieg’ to Undermine US Elections and Institutions,” Fox News, Rapture Ready News, April 10, 2020)
Many students of Bible prophecy have long viewed China as a leading part of the “kings of the east” army foretold to invade the Occidental world across a dried-up Euphrates River. This is prophetically scheduled to take place during the Tribulation era (see Revelation chapters 9 and 16).
I have termed China “the king of the kings of the east.” Certainly they are swiftly moving into position to fulfill this role.
The second element in the news today that I believe is setting the stage for the coming Tribulation involves Iran.
That nation, which occupies much of the territory of the ancient Persian Empire, is scheduled prophetically to attack Israel in “the latter days,” meaning, I take it, in the post-Rapture era.
Ezekiel the prophet, in chapters 38 and 39, calls it the “Gog-Magog” force, consisting, we believe, of Russia, Iran, and Turkey, along with lesser nations. The following brings to light Iran’s preparation for that assault:
The national security and foreign policy committee for the Islamic Republic of Iran’s parliament declared that Tehran will move forward with its uranium enrichment process, triggering sharp criticism from the US State Department on Thursday. (“Iran Defies EU, Declaring Continued Nuclear Uranium Enrichment,” by Benjamin Weinthal, Jerusalem Post, Rapture Ready News, April 10, 2020)
Iran’s defiance of demands by the US president, the European Union, and especially by Israel for that nation dismantle its nuclear weapons facilities puts the region on track for a prophetic fulfillment. The very mountains that reportedly house these facilities are foretold to suffer catastrophic destruction. Many of us believe it will be Israel that destroys the nuclear capability of its chief nemesis.
The third current new items that I believe shows the nearness of the Tribulation is seen in the following:
In light of the growing demand by the Israeli public, several major Israeli rabbis ruled on the subject and for the first time ruled that it was now permissible to begin the Passover Temple service. As a result of that ruling, the rabbis sent a letter to the Prime Minister requesting that he allow the korban Pesach to take place.
The Sanhedrin emphasized that the plan to bring the altar to the Temple Mount was entirely consistent with President Trump’s recently released Deal of the Century which recognized Israel’s full sovereignty over the site. (“Historic First: Israel’s Top Rabbis Call on Netanyahu to Allow Temple Service to Begin on Temple Mount,” Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz, Breaking Israel News, Rapture Ready News, April 10, 2020)
The request was rejected because of feared ramifications of probable conflict with Muslim forces and complications presented by the coronavirus.
However, the demands by the Jews in the area that Temple worship be allowed are growing. The almost completed plans for rebuilding the Temple and the already-prepared instruments of worship assure that the prophecies concerning the Tribulation Temple is nearing fulfillment.
With prophetic stage-setting for the Tribulation in overdrive, the nearness of the Rapture of the Church can’t be overemphasized.