The New Year is upon us! This time of year is when people make resolutions to lose weight, stop undesirable habits, spend more time with family, and many other things they wish to change about life. It is also the time of year when prognosticators predict what is coming for the upcoming year.
I am not a prophet, but my big prediction for 2023 is that 164,583,912 Americans will decide to change their eating habits and lose weight this year, but by Groundhog’s Day, 164,583,909 of them will be eating as they were on December 31, 2022. Congratulations to the three.
On a serious note, the Bible has unfulfilled prophecies that are coming someday. As we move into the New Year, we will look at these prophecies and how I believe they will occur in chronological order.
The rapture of the church.
Several passages talk of this event in the Scriptures, but 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 is the most vivid:
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
There is coming a day when God will resurrect the already deceased Christians and snatch away the living Christians from this world. Many people believe they are Christians but have placed their faith in something other than the blood of Christ – a religious ritual, like baptism, or the fact they are a good person. As millions of churchgoers are left behind, untrue explanations of the event will abound.
The Battle of Psalm 83.
Psalm 83 describes an invasion of Israel by Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and from within Israel – specifically, the areas of Gaza and the West Bank – where the Palestinians currently reside. The description of the battle’s outcome is devastating. Israel’s invaders will be as “stubble before the wind.” The land will be on fire (Psalm 83:13-14). In an apparent reference to the same battle, the first two chapters of the book of Amos list the invaders of Psalm 83, and all of them meet fiery destruction. However, Amos speaks of something else destroyed by fire not mentioned in Psalm 83, – “the palaces of Jerusalem.” Palaces would be a reference to governmental buildings. The government of Israel is destroyed.
One last thought on the Biblical narrative; I call this a battle, not a war, because it lasts less than twenty-four hours. Isaiah 17:14 tells us this battle will begin around sunset and ends before sunrise.
That is where the Bible leaves us. The following comments on Psalm 83 are my opinion.
The battle begins with conventional weapons. Israel is taking it on the chin. Once the government has fallen, someone, probably a general on the battlefield, will employ the “Samson Option.” The Samson Option is a tactic used when all hope is lost. If victory is something you can no longer achieve – kill as many of the enemy as possible – go out with a bang. When the Samson Option is employed, the nukes are launched. Thus, as the Bible says, the invading homelands are destroyed by fire.
The entire region lies in waste. The world is in an uproar. Some nations blame Israel for using nuclear weapons, while others blame the invaders because they started that day’s aggression. A diplomatic miracle is needed, which leads us to the next event.
The start of the Tribulation Period and the rise of the Antichrist.
Tens of millions are dead, and tens of millions are homeless and without the necessities of life. Nuclear fallout is spreading to lands beyond the battle zone. The world is a mess. A miracle man, the Antichrist, arises and quickly comes to a solution agreeable to nearly every nation on earth. Many countries sign a treaty brokered by the Antichrist (Daniel 9:27). When this covenant is signed, God’s clock starts a seven-year countdown, also known as the Seven-Year Tribulation Period. The Antichrist moves from obscurity to a household name and soon will rule the world and be worshiped by nearly everyone on the planet.
There is much more to come in Biblical prophecy, but the events discussed in this column could happen in 2023. Will they? God only knows. I believe these events are near, but I know they could be a long way off.
Some of you are left hanging here, wanting to know the seven-year tribulation’s events. I will go into those events next week unless the rapture comes in the few days remaining in 2022.
Preacher Tim Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. His weekly column “Preacher’s Point” may be found at: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com