Preparing for the Return of Messiah - Page 2

In Sync With God's Plan
But it's not just Christians who are curious about signs of the last days of history. Throughout the world, people are increasingly anxious, believing something cataclysmic is coming, says New York Times best-selling author Joel Rosenberg, a former communications adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In Israel-the centerpiece of God's prophetic plan-Orthodox Jews are debating how soon the Messiah will come, the Sanhedrin has reconvened and the movement to rebuild the Temple is gaining momentum.

In Iran and other Islamic nations, Muslim religious leaders are predicting the coming of the Islamic Messiah, the 12th Imam. They believe the way to hasten his coming is to "annihilate Israel and the U.S.," Rosenberg says.

At the same time-in a development prophecy experts connect to Jesus' warnings about false prophets and doctrines in the last days-New Age believers are intrigued by a Mayan prophecy predicting a global cataclysm on December 21, 2012. Tapping into the zeitgeist of cultural fascination with the end of days, Hollywood is releasing a blockbuster movie about the prophecy-2012-featuring John Cusack on November 13.

Rosenberg, who wrote the nonfiction books Inside the Revolution and Epicenter, says the world is in a "post-Left Behind moment" in which interest in the end times is being driven not by books but by specific world events.

"The first are actual geopolitical events and trends," Rosenberg says. "The second is the president of Iran. Specifically, you've got the leader of arguably the most dangerous country on the planet talking about his belief that the end of the world is at hand, the Islamic messiah will soon return to Earth ... and he is feverishly trying to acquire weaponry capable of bringing about the end of Judeo-Christian civilization as we know it."

In his new book The Late Great State of Israel, World Net Daily Jerusalem bureau chief and Jewish Press columnist Aaron Klein warns that Israel faces unprecedented danger. As President Obama pressures Israel to accept a two-state peace plan, Iran is quickly developing nuclear capability.

"I think a big war is coming to the Middle East, and all sides seem to be preparing for it," Klein says.

Rosenberg says the prophet Ezekiel foresaw the end-times war of "Gog and Magog," a reference interpreted as an alliance between Russia, Iran and other nations to attack Israel (see Ezek. 38-39).

"In the 2,500 years since he wrote that prophecy, Russia and Iran have never had the type of alliance he describes," Rosenberg says. "But in the last few years, these two countries, along with the others Ezekiel mentioned, are steadily developing a military alliance and a deep and outspoken hatred for the people of Israel. Russia is selling billions of dollars of weapons to Iran. Russia is helping Iran build its nuclear facilities, and Russia is training thousands of Iranian scientists and technicians."

Demonstrating the importance God places on prophecy, eschatological experts say 28 percent of the Bible-including more than 150 chapters with most of the text focused on end-times themes-involves predictions about the future. The Bible contains nearly twice as many chapters describing Jesus' second coming as it does His first coming.

Of these predictions, 87 percent have been fulfilled, Calvary Chapel Chino Hills pastor Jack Hibbs told 7,000 people gathered at the recent Southern California Prophecy Conference. Of the remaining 13 percent, 98 percent will be fulfilled during the Great Tribulation (a seven-year period of worldwide disaster), Hibbs says.

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