We are fast approaching the end of the allotted time for our existence – the end is near. That is a hackneyed saying, yet the closer that we come to the deadline that will signal the Lord Jesus’ return, the fewer are the people that seem to notice its approach! Our society seems to be cascading into a whirlpool of sin, and yet the justifications pour forward so that we may stray from and excuse what we all know to be right and true and just.
The most recent set of political machinations that promise to fulfill Biblical prophecy is the news that the Vatican is involved in negotiations with Israel. At this time, the discussions supposedly center on a piece of real estate that may be not only the Tomb of King David, but also the site of The Last Supper (aka The Cenacle). Although no-one is totally sure archeologically speaking of the authenticity of either location, the Vatican would like to obtain formal control over and the right to use the site. Nothing to be alarmed of about these discussions, whether or not they are successful. At least not if they are limited to the control of a single piece of property in Jerusalem.
The cause for concern is rather the larger issues may lay behind such a deal. Apparently it has been suggested, mostly behind the scenes, for several years now that the Vatican might help along the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations by taking control of the entire city of Jerusalem. The idea being that they would then declare the following;
- 1) Jerusalem is an open city to all faiths.
- 2) It would then be acknowledged by all nations as the capitol of Israel and of Palestine.
- 3) the United Nations would be the final overseer of the city, but it would leave the day-to-day control to the Pope and his Roman Catholic church empire.
This news should set alarm bells ringing in the minds of students of biblical prophecy. All the way back in 539 BC, Daniel was shown just such a situation where a “prince who was to come” would sign a treaty between Israel and “many nations” for a period of 7 years. His prophecy also specifies that this prince would be a later representative of the empire that would destroy Jerusalem and its Temple in 70 AD. Who was it that crushed Israel and murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews almost 2,000 years ago? It was the Roman Empire. And the Roman Catholic church is still the living representative of that empire today.
If the Vatican was to engineer such an arrangement with Israel to take control of Jerusalem, and simultaneously announce a 7 year peace treaty between Israel and the U.N., the Pope would then have fulfilled the requirements of be the prince mentioned in Daniel. Now, who could complain about such a set of developments – peace in the Middle East and Jerusalem as an open city for all to worship in? No-one is his or her right mind, surely.
Yet this is the very scenario that the Bible warns us of quite specifically. In other places in the Bible, this prince who is to come is described with many other more unflattering names. He’s also called the “man of sin”, “the son of perdition”, “the beast” and “the AntiChrist”. He’s a person that we should all steer well clear of, and especially of his famous mark – the one that will be required by all in order to buy or sell in the end days. How could it be that a man as highly esteemed in the world as Pope Francis will wind up fulfilling the role of a universal dictator and the most evil man ever to exist? I can’t claim to know. In fact, I wish that the whole set of events that I’ve described above would never happen.
The final 7 years of mankind’s existence as described in the Book of Revelation are terrible to consider and even worse to think that they might be about become reality. I have read and studied the Bible’s description of the great tribulation many times. No-one in their right mind would ever hope or wish that those times might be near us under any circumstances.
And yet, for a born-again Christian like myself, the idea that those times might be near us, contain a wonderful promise. That promise is that the final 7 years called The Great Tribulation will be preceded by the return of the Lord Jesus, the Messiah of Israel and the Saviour of the World, to take His bride from this Earth into heaven. In a way, it doesn’t seem fair that a person like myself who can lay no claim to being any better than any other human being, will be taken out of the world into paradise, while all the poor remaining souls suffer here in tormentous times.
I am less worthy to avoid those times than many others, perhaps even than most. But for one critical, vital fact, I should face those 7 years myself. And that fact is this; I have accepted in my heart that the Lord Jesus stood in my place when He went to the cross at Calvary 2,000 years ago, that He shed His blood to save me, a sinner, by far an imperfect person. He still holds His heart open today to you. He stands at the door to your heart and knocks. If you invite Him in, He will enter and dine and stay within you forever.