Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Daniel, Chapter 8: 2012 is NOT the End!

Now that we’re living in the supposed last year on earth, the suspense is mounting – and Hollywood is having a heyday, making money hand over fist, playing on the fears of tons of people. But the Bible has good news – they’re all wrong!

Bible prophecy has plodded along for several thousand years, giving the same basic message with increasingly new insights and details – God wants to have a loving relationship with each person on the planet and will go to extraordinary lengths to make that happen, at least from His end. The problem is that most of us reject Him in one way or another – and that has been true since the beginning. But He still keeps trying – and one way is through His prophets.

The prophet Daniel gave us perhaps the most detailed accounts of future world history until the end. Yes, an end is coming, but not the way we expect it, and not in 2012. Jesus added even more details in Matthew 24-25 and Luke 21, all of which culminate in the Book of Revelation. Great news! – The end is fantastic! – But only after the world is judged.

Even as we watch, we are seeing some of these prophecies coming true today – but many more are to come, including a 7-year-long judgment of the evil on earth. During this time, a terrible leader, powered by Satan himself, will rule the earth. Then Jesus will come back to earth in power and glory, and will restore the earth to a new beauty. He will reign in His kingdom for 1,000 years. The earth will NOT be destroyed as some predict, but it will be completely changed.

Most of this has not happened yet, so we can rest assured that our world will not blow up in 2012.

However… it’s possible that it could change, as we know it, in 2012. As we see prophecy being fulfilled in our daily headlines, things are changing rapidly – and not for the better. If we want to get through this without losing our minds, this would be a good time to grab your Bible, dust it off, and watch the words in it – and yourself – come alive as you read it.

In Chapter 8, Daniel gives us a precursor of the Antichrist who is expected to burst on the scene to save the world from the mess we’ve created. I’d say we’re getting pretty close, wouldn’t you? He’ll show up as a brilliant peacemaker, and the world will love him – just like Germany during the rise of Aldolf Hitler – but then his true Satanic character will show itself, and he will bring us hell on earth. He could show up in 2012, but we will still have 7 years before Jesus returns.

The precursor, or prototype, of Antichrist was Antiochus IV (catch the similarity in their names?), a Greek king who took over Jerusalem, desecrated the Jewish temple, and killed Jews by the thousands until a successful rebellion defeated him. We celebrate the rededication of the temple at Hanukkah every year.

The coming Antichrist will do basically the same thing as Antiochus – he will establish a phony peace treaty with Israel but will break it after 3-1/2 years and set himself up as God in the new Jewish temple (which is ready to be built any time now). That will mark the second half of the 7 years of his reign, called the Great Tribulation, before Jesus returns to utterly destroy the Antichrist and his cronies.

It’s during this second 3-1/2 years that he will force all human beings to worship him, and those who do will be given the infamous number 666 that will allow them to perform all financial transactions, like buying food and everything else we need to live.

Those who don’t will not be able to perform any financial transactions and will be killed. However, there’s a bigger price for those who take the number – they will be barred from heaven forever. I think I’d opt for heaven. After all, we will all die anyway, so why not get it over with, get out of the hell on earth, and live where your heart yearns to live – in heaven? We’ve spent millennia trying to create heaven on earth, but that hasn’t worked so well, has it.

How and why do we come out victorious for not taking the number? Those who refuse the number are people who have chosen to believe the Bible and believe in Jesus – who He said He was in the Bible. The Bible actually says that they go directly to heaven while the people on earth continue to suffer under the terrible things that happen during the Great Tribulation. And they still have a bleak future to look forward to after it’s all over.

There were over 300 prophecies that Jesus fulfilled at His first coming. These, along with many other amazing prophecies fulfilled throughout the Bible, convinced me. What about you? Do you want to find out for yourself, or do you want to be led by someone else’s opinion, including mine? They just might be wrong.

One of the great benefits of knowing Jesus now is knowing where you’ll end up, rather than hoping or wondering. He assures us of that through His Word, the Bible. This will get you through everything. And there’s nothing in this world like knowing Him.