This is part 3 of our Rapture Watch Series titled Articles of Interest. In this series past and present news items from our archives are briefly expounded upon as to their biblical relevance at the start of this 21st century.
In part 2 of this series we shared a great deal of information on how the technology required to fulfill the prophecy of Revelation 13:16-17 was advancing. The prophecy foretells that in these last days every person living will be forced to receive a mark on their bodies which will allow complete control over their ability to buy and sell.
We pointed out how Universal Product Codes are only marks that represent information and how the development of computers, laser scanners and bio-metric identification technology can easily fulfill Revelation 13.
The May 17, 2004 Denver Post article which headlined, Smart tags next wave for inventories? reported that the new antenna fitted radio frequency identification micro-chips, which can be affixed to items or even implanted in livestock, is expected eventually to supplant present bar codes with an already developed, 96-bit product code capable of identifying 268 million manufacturers and an infinite number of products.
It is prophesied in Acts 2:19 that in the last days there will be wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth.
On Aug. 1, 2001 the Los Angeles Times Earthwatch reported that, Many residents of southwestern Germany are being irritated by a strange, nighttime buzzing sound that is baffling experts. During the past two years, some who experienced the phenomenon have complained that it is causing their heart to race, and that they have feelings that alternate between fatigue and excitation. Complaints of muscle spasms and insomnia have also been received from Lake Constance to Heidelberg. Authorities have contracted physicist Heinrich Menages to investigate the nocturnal buzzing. He has dismissed theories that the sounds come from U.S. Military experiments such as the HAARP project based in Alaska.
For those who are unaware, the HAARP project deals with manipulating the electro-magnetic forces which produce the northern lights. Another possibility for the sound not mentioned is the military exploitation of scalar waves.
On Feb. 24, 03 Earthwatch reported on another unusual phenomenon, this time at the fringe of outer space: Not to cause mass panic or anything, but mysterious electric blue clouds are hovering over the Earth, and scientists dont know why.
During a recent NASA TV broadcast, international space station astronaut Don Pettit reported outstanding views of the mysterious clouds over the Southern Hemisphere.
Theyre called noctilucent, or night-shining, clouds and they float on the outermost fringes of Earths atmosphere in a layer called the mesosphere.
Theyre sometimes visible from Earth after sunset, but the view is better from space.
The clouds are made up of tiny ice crystals about the size of particles in cigarette smoke.
The crystals cling to particles in the air.
The mystery is how ice crystals form in the mesosphere, which is one hundred million times more dry than air in the Sahara desert.
From the earth below to the edge of outer space we are witnessing strange happenings that may or may not have a relationship to the signs that will overwhelm the earth during the 7 year Tribulation Period, but our next two articles from Reuters on Apr. 28, 04 and the Denver Post on May 13, 04, when considering the lying wonders of the Anti-Christ prophesied of in II Thessalonians 2:9, are in our opinion of the greatest of significance.
Looking at the atmospheric heaven located between heaven and earth we quote from the following two articles titled, Flying Saucer Fever Grips Iran... and ...Military Film Proves Flying Saucers Exist.
Is Iran about to be invaded by little green men or are the Americans racing through the night sky in spaceships to spy on the Islamic Republic? Flying saucer fever has gripped Iran after dozens of sightings in the last few days. Fanciful cartoons of alien spacecraft have adorned the front pages.
State television on Wednesday showed a sparkling white disc it said was filmed over Tehran on Tuesday night.
More colorful Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) have been spotted beaming out green, red, blue and purple rays over the northern cities of Tabriz and Ardebil and in the Caspian Sea province of Golestan, the official IRNA news agency reported.
Newspapers and agencies reported people rushing out into the streets in eight towns on Tuesday night to watch a bright extraterrestrial light dipping in and out of the clouds.
An air force officer in the Revolutionary Guards was quoted in the reformist Vagha-ye Etefaghiyeh daily saying Irans Supreme National Security Council should investigate whether these visitors from afar had hostile intent.
But Sadollah Nasiri-Qeydari, head of the Astronomical Society of Iran, told Reuters the stories were unfounded.
In my opinion, flying saucers do not exist, he said, insisting his telescopes would have picked up invaders from outer space. The people who have seen these things are not experts - farmers, villagers and pilots, he added.
Next we have, Video shot by Mexican air force pilots of 11 bright, rapidly moving flying objects proves the existence of flying saucers, an expert says. But defense officials said Wednesday no conclusions had been reached about the objects origins.
A videotape aired Monday on national television showed a series of objects flying at more than 11,480 feet over southern Campeche state. The tape was filmed March 5th by air force pilots using a video camera equipped with an infrared lens.
The objects appear to accelerate rapidly and change course suddenly. At least one crew member testified in a videotaped interview that the objects encircled the military jet at a distance of at least 2 miles.
The pilots spotted the objects while on a routine drug-surveillance mission.
Defense Secretary Gen. Ricardo Vega Garcia gave the videotape to UFO specialist Jaime Maussan, who has spent 10 years studying unidentified flying objects.
Maussan claimed Tuesday the videotape proves that flying saucers exist. The video is especially significant since it was provided by the military, he said.
This is historic news, Maussan said. Hundreds of videos (of UFOs) exist, but none had the backing of the armed forces of any country.
While focused on our atmosphere we should consider a May 13, 04 New York Times article titled, Sunshine reduction a puzzler.
The article reported that, In the second half of the 20th century, the world became, quite literally, a darker place.
Defying expectation and easy explanation, hundreds of instruments around the world recorded a drop in sunshine reaching Earths surface, as much as 10 percent from the late 1950s to the early 1990s, or 2 percent to 3 percent per decade.
In some areas, including Asia, the United States and Europe, the drop was even steeper. Hong Kong saw a 37 percent decrease in its sunlight.
No one is predicting that it may soon be night all day...Still, the dimming trend - noticed by a handful of scientists two decades ago but dismissed at the time as unbelievable - is now attracting wide attention. Satellite measurements show that the sun remains as bright as ever , but less and less sunlight has been making it through the atmosphere to the ground.
Pollution dims sunlight in two ways, scientists believe. Some of the light bounces off soot particles in the air and back into outer space.
Pollution also causes more water droplets to condense out of air, leading to thicker, darker clouds that also block more light.
But the dynamics and effects of global dimming are not completely understood. For example, Antarctica, which would be expected to have clean air, has also dimmed.
In general, we dont really understand this thing thats going on, said Dr. Shabtai Cohen, a scientist in the Israeli Agriculture Ministry who has studied the dimming phenomenon for a decade. And we dont have the whole story.
Where the article stated that, no one is predicting that it may soon be night all day, we must disagree. This is not really an accurate statement if one takes in account the Word of God found in the Holy Bible.
In Revelation 8:12 we are told that during the Tribulation Period the suns light will be reduced by a third and not only the sun will be darkened by a third, but also the light from the moon and the stars.
Then we are told by Jesus in Matthew 24:29 that, Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And in Zechariah 14:6 it is prophesied of that time that, It shall come to pass in that day that there will be no light; the lights will diminish.
During that day of sunless skies we are told in Zechariah 12:3 & 10 that, all the nations of the earth will gather against Israels capitol of Jerusalem and that the remnant of Israel will have the spirit of grace and supplication poured out upon them by God as they look upon the Lord Jesus Christ whom they had pierced upon the cross and they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.
On Mar. 19, 02 the Associated Press reported in an article which headlined, U.N. chief lashes out at Sharon that U.N. Secretary - General Kofi Annan called for Israel to obey the U.N. Security Councils demand for an immediate cease-fire, to end their occupation of what has been declared to be Palestinian territory and for the first time with U.S. support endorsed the establishment of a Palestinian state. Annan then declared that the whole world was united in these demands against Israel.
On Apr. 24, 04 the Rocky Mountain News reported in an article which headlined, U.N. diplomat labels Israel as region poison that a top envoy of the U.N., Lakhdar Brahimi, described Israel as the great poison in the Middle East.
As events preparing the entire world to turn against Israel become increasingly evident in these last days, so too do we find the Jews wrestling with the question of Jesus being their Messiah as departing members of their ranks claim Jesus as Lord.
Quoting from the Feb. 22, 03 Houston Chronicle article which headlined, Jews for Jesus campaign arouses ire we read, ...From a handful of Jewish youths in 1973, Jews for Jesus has grown to 212 missionaries and full-time staffers in 11 countries, including Israel, with an annual budget of $14 million.
We believe in biblical Judaism that says Jesus is the Messiah, said Gordon, one of three Jews for Jesus missionaries based in Los Angeles. We dont turn into Gentiles just because we accept Jesus as our Messiah. For us it is a fulfillment. It is like a homecoming....But accepting Christianity is still regarded as a betrayal by the Jewish community, Gordon acknowledged...Jewish leaders oppose missionaries infusing Christian meaning into Jewish rituals. They reject the notion that Jews who accept Jesus as the Messiah are still Jewish.
Perlman estimates the number of Messianic Jews at 35,000 to 75,000. She has seen estimates as high as 250,000.
It is significant that Jewish leaders reject the notion that Jews who accept Jesus as the Messiah are still Jewish, since according to the Word of God found in Scripture, they are correct in their understanding.
Once a person puts their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation they become a corporate member of the Church without any spiritual distinction between nationality, class or even gender in the eyes of God.
Quoting from Galatians 3:27-29 we read, For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christs then you are Abrahams seed and heirs according to the promise, (that is children of faith according to what is written of Abraham in Romans 4:9-13).
And again we read in Colossians 3:9-11, ...since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, Barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
This point in itself is most significant for determining whether the Church will be Raptured to heaven before, during or at the end of the 7 year Tribulation Period that closes out this age; for we see by Scripture passages such as Revelation 7:2-8 that God once again recognizes the unique, spiritual heritage of the Jews as they come to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior during the Tribulation Period.
A study of verses 24-27 of Chapter 9 in the Book of Daniel confirms that the final 7 year Tribulation Period is designated for the people of Daniel, which are the Jews.
The critical question which needs to be answered is, What significant event will have taken place to have God suddenly switch from not acknowledging Jews as separate Jewish believers within the Church before the 7 years of Tribulation, to acknowledging their unique, spiritual identity as Jews after the 7 years begin?
The answer can only be that the Church Age, which had begun on a Pentecost almost 2,000 years ago, had come to its close in the fullness of time on another appointed day of God and her members were caught up to heaven prior to the start of the 7 years as is prophesied in I Thessalonians 4:15-18 and I Corinthians 15:50-55.
The Apostle Paul assured us that he did not want us to remain ignorant of this great mystery when he wrote in Romans 11:25-26, ...hardening in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved...
As we celebrate the wondrous birth of the Church on the day of Pentecost each year we are reminded that there is another part to this glorious Feast of Ingathering in store once the fullness of the Gentiles have filled her ranks. The ingathering when all the dead and living believers that make up the assembly of the Church, will be retrieved forever by her Redeemer Jesus Christ.
In our closing item from the Rocky Mountain News titled, Christian Eclipse we find that in step with the growing turmoil in the Middle East in this 21st century, the presence of Christians has been dwindling. It is as if God is previewing for the world the eventual departure of a priceless, restraining influence upon evil.
We quote, In another decade or so, given present trends, there will be few if any Christians living in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus. The same is true of Nazareth, where Jesus grew up, and even of Jerusalem, where nearly 600 historic churches still stand.
Christians in the Palestinian territories have dropped from 15 percent of the Arab population in 1950 to just 2 percent today. Both Bethlehem and Nazareth, which had been overwhelmingly Christian towns, now have strong Muslim majorities. Today three-fourths of all Bethlehem Christians live abroad, and more Jerusalem Christians live in Sydney, Australia, than in the place of their birth. Indeed, Christians now comprise just 2.5 percent of Jerusalem, although those remaining still include a few born in the Old City when Christians there still constituted a majority.
And it is not only the Holy Land from which many native Christians have fled. Throughout the entire Middle East, once significant Christian communities have shrunk to a minuscule portion of their former robust selves. In 50 years they may well be extinct.
What happened? Why has there been a great - and little reported - Christian exodus from the Middle East, with some 2 million fleeing in the past 20 years alone? Why have perhaps fully half of all Iraqi Christians clandestinely emigrated in the last 10 years? Why have hundreds of thousands of Egyptian Copts left their homeland, with the famous Antioch community collapsing from 15,000 Christians a couple of decades ago to a mere handful today?
The single greatest cause of this emigration is pressure from radical Islam.
To be sure, there have been other reasons for the exodus. Educated Middle Eastern Christians sometimes emigrate for economic reasons. Some have left to avoid the endless procession of violent conflicts. Their lower birth rate and compatibility with the Christian West has reinforced these tendencies.
But an entire group does not cavalierly abandon a homeland in which its ancestors have lived for nearly 2,000 years simply because of the allures of a more prosperous society. Such people have to be pushed out too. And that is precisely what radical Islamists are managing to do.
Very soon the Church will be completely gone from not only the Middle east, but from off of the face of the entire earth. God will then restore His Spirit to Israel as they find new life in their Messiah Jesus Christ. After 3 ½ years of gradual reawakening by the two prophets of Revelation 11, the sealing by God of 144,000 of the faithful of Israel will set in motion such a revival in Christ upon the earth that God has immortalized the countless Tribulation martyrs who will defy the Anti-Christ in Rev. 7:4-15.
Quoting from Rev. 7:9 & 14 and 12:11 we read, After these things (that is the trials that had been coming upon the earth and the sealing of the 144,000 of Israel) I (that is John) looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes with palm branches in their hands...these are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
For those who teach that the Rapture of the Church will happen at this mid-point of the Tribulation or those who say it will happen at the close, it should be noted that there is no evidence of any Rapture taking place for these Tribulation saints, nor is there any hope or promise given to them that the Rapture is forthcoming. This is because the Rapture will have already taken place 3 ½ years earlier and this event along with the death and resurrection of the two prophets of Rev. 11:3-12, and the witness of the 144,000 will strengthen them in their faith that to die in Christ is of eternal worth.
Today is the day to believe in the Risen Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and to receive His free gift of everlasting life that He purchased for us with His own precious blood.
What I have been sharing are not fancy stories designed to
titillate, but are the realities which are about to take place