Vital Keys to Understanding Prophecy | Tomorrow's World

Vital Keys to Understanding Prophecy

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More than a quarter of your Bible is prophecy. Do you know how to make sense of it? There are principles that can illuminate God's word for you, and help you know the truth about your future—and the future of the whole world!

America is now at a turning point in its history. Respect for the United States is quickly declining all around the world. Even in the U.S., respect for its own President is at an all-time low. Internationally, the value of the U.S. dollar is declining and the nation is in danger of a financial catastrophe if it does not get its economic house in order. The nation's military forces are stretched very thin because of increasing commitments all over the world.

Meanwhile, a powerful China is challenging the U.S. on many fronts—economically, politically and militarily (see article on page 22). As swarms of Chinese diplomats and businessmen descend on South America, Africa and the Middle East, the strength of U.S. diplomatic and financial influence in these areas is waning. As the Associated Press recently reported: "China is rapidly extending its military reach, buying more long-range aircraft and weapons that will allow it to compete with the United States and potentially pose a threat to other countries in the region, a Pentagon report said Tuesday. The pace and scope of China's progress in modernizing its military suggests it is looking beyond Taiwan, according to the annual study" (Charlotte Observer, May 24, 2006).

Also, as we have reported for many years, a full-scale "United States of Europe" is quietly being put together right under our noses! Eventually, as Bible prophecy clearly indicates, this is the power that ultimately poses the greatest threat to the U.S., Canada and Britain. What most Americans do not realize is that much of this European empire-building is being done by "stealth." Leading members of the British Parliament have expressed deep concern. As reported in the London Daily Telegraph: "The European Commission has drawn up plans to set up a European coastguard, which critics fear is a back-door attempt by Brussels to create an EU navy with its own powers to stop and search shipping…. Lloyd's List, the daily newspaper which covers the maritime industry, accused the commission of attempting to build up a navy by stealth in a leading article last week. 'The concept of a European coastguard has a federalist charm about it that causes eyes to brighten instantly among gatherings of Europhiles, tired of endless discussions about fish or agriculture,' the newspaper said. 'In a way, it is a European navy, by the back door.' Julian Brazier, the shadow shipping minister, said: 'This is very worrying news. It seems the empire building ambitions of Brussels know no bounds. The drift towards an EU navy must be stopped'" (May 25, 2006). A "stealth" European Empire with a stealth navy?

Please note that just before Jesus Christ's second coming, a group of ten "kings" (leaders) will give their power and authority to a charismatic dictator called the "Beast." These leaders and their people will be so deceived that they will end up directly making war with the returning Jesus Christ (Revelation 17:11–14)!


Why have many of you never heard that before? Because most of you have heard very little about the one-fourth of the Bible that is inspired prophecy! You have heard mainly sentimentalities about the "little Lord Jesus," or about "giving your heart to the Lord," or about "floating off to heaven" when you die and then apparently sitting around for untold billions of years with virtually nothing to do!

The exciting prophecies of your Bible have been mainly ignored or misunderstood. Most have neglected the enormously important message of the soon-coming Kingdom or government of God. That government will be set up on this earth, where the true saints of God will assist Jesus Christ in ruling the nations (1 Corinthians 6:2–3; Revelation 2:26–27; 5:9–10). "Mainstream Christian" churches have neglected or ridiculed this truth, though it is what your Bible plainly teaches. This is why you probably do not really understand Bible prophecy, and why you can easily be misled about it.

In this article, I will give you several basic keys to understanding Bible prophecy. I challenge you to prove these keys' validity by using them in your study of the Bible and in your study of world news. Remember that after outlining several end-time prophetic events, Jesus Christ taught us: "Watch, therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36).

Our National Identity

After describing how He has set the sun, moon and stars in their places, God said, "'If those ordinances depart from before Me, says the Lord, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever.' Thus says the Lord: 'If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done,' says the Lord'" (Jeremiah 31:36–37).

That is a very dramatic statement by our Creator! But is God just talking about the tiny remnant of the Jewish people, as so many assume? No way!

For, in this same inspired passage of scripture, God also said: "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people" (Jeremiah 31:31–33).

Here, in plain language, the God of the Bible clearly described two different parts of His people "Israel." For God said His covenant will be with "the house of Israel and with the house of Judah." Yet most people have been led to believe that "Jew" means Israel and that "Israel" means Jew!

Although they may not have told you, all knowledgeable theologians recognize that the "house of Israel" split off from Judah (the "Jews") and became a separate nation. The Bible often describes "Israel" as warring against the "Jews!" In fact, in the King James Version, the very first time the word "Jew" is even mentioned is when the kings of Syria and Israel were fighting the "Jews" (2 Kings 16:5–6).

Where IS the House of Israel?

So, where is the house of Israel today? After Solomon's son Rehoboam became king of Judah, he cracked down on the ten tribes of Israel. Those tribes then split off from Judah, saying: "To your tents, O Israel! Now, see to your own house, O David!" (1 Kings 12:16). The author of 1 Kings then concludes, "So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day" (v. 19). After this followed a period of some two centuries of alternating peace and warfare between the house of Israel and the house of Judah (the Jews)—two separate nations. Eventually, around 721bc, Assyria took the ten-tribed house of Israel into captivity, and "Israel" seemingly disappeared. Modern historians sometimes write of the "Lost Ten Tribes" of Israel.


But what about God's solemn promise that He would never allow the people of Israel to "cease from being a nation?" (Jeremiah 31:36). Has God's promise failed?


For, in Genesis 49, we find an inspiring prophecy about the state of each of the twelve tribes of Israel in the "last days" (v. 1). Judah was to retain the "scepter" and produce the Messiah—the ultimate King over the earth (v. 10). The other nations proceeding from Jacob's (Israel's) sons were described very briefly—except Joseph. Only Joseph—whom God used powerfully to save Egypt's grain and produce and feed much of the world in a time of drought—is described in very lengthy and glowing terms. In the "last days," Joseph was to be mightily blessed: "By the God of your father who will help you, and by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. The blessings of your father have excelled the blessings of my ancestors, up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers" (Genesis 49:25–26).

In our day, it should be obvious that no other peoples have received blessings of worldwide power comparable to what the U.S. and British-descended peoples have shared! Together, these nations won every major war for about two centuries. These two nations have sent more food, medical supplies and financial aid to beleaguered countries than all the other nations on earth combined! They have, together, certainly acted like "brothers!"

Are they brothers?

Yes! Although Americans often speak of their British "cousins," the Bible shows that these two nations are much more than that! Just before the description of the awesome blessings "Joseph" would receive in the "last days," the Bible describes how Israel (Jacob) laid his hands on Joseph's sons—Ephraim and Manasseh—and predicted that these two grandsons of Israel would bear his name. He said, "Let my name be named upon them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth" (Genesis 48:16).

Joseph tried to cause his father Jacob to give the greater blessing to Manasseh, the older son. "But his father refused and said, 'I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.' So he blessed them that day, saying, 'By you Israel will bless, saying, 'May God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh!' And thus he set Ephraim before Manasseh" (vv. 19–20).

The younger brother, Ephraim, became the British people who controlled, until recently, the greatest empire in world history. At its height, Britain controlled Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, much of Africa and many other areas of the world. Except for the Panama Canal, Britain controlled virtually all of the world's major "sea gates." For God had specifically promised that Abraham's descendants would "possess the gate of their enemies" (Genesis 22:17). God extended this awesome promise through Abraham's son, Isaac, whose wife was prophetically blessed in this way, "May your descendants possess the gates of those who hate them" (Genesis 24:60).

In this way, Almighty God directly guided world affairs so that the sons of Jacob, whose name was changed to "Israel," were to become the greatest nations on earth. The U.S. became the one "great" nation in the last days, with younger brother Ephraim becoming the great "company" or commonwealth of nations—the British empire! For God stated: "Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name.' So He called his name Israel. Also God said to him: 'I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body" (Genesis 35:10–11).

Once you grasp this vital key to national identities, you can much more easily understand the dozens of end-time prophecies describing what will happen to "Israel." For—although some of these prophecies may include the Jewish people and the tiny Jewish state that calls itself Israel—these prophecies usually apply to all twelve nations descended from Israel. Also, when the Bible speaks prophetically of the house of Israel, it is always referring not only to "Judah" (the Jews), but also to the other nations proceeding from Jacob's sons. Since Israel's "name" was specifically placed on Ephraim and Manasseh, most of the major end-time prophecies concern the U.S. and British-descended peoples. That is vital to understand when considering end-time prophecies.

The FUTURE of the House of Israel

That is why the U.S. and the British peoples have become the great nation and company of nations. That is why they will bear the brunt of the soon-coming "Great Tribulation!" For, in spite of all the physical blessings they have received, they have turned away from the true God who gave these blessings. That is why the "time of Jacob's trouble" is, in fact, the coming Great Tribulation. For it is not merely a punishment on the tiny Jewish nation, but a massive tribulation coming upon the entire house of Israel, including especially the U.S. and British-descended peoples (Jeremiah 30:4–7).

Yet, when Jesus Christ returns, those nations will have been deeply humbled. Then, at the resurrection from the dead, God will raise up King David to once again rule over all twelve tribes of Israel (vv. 8–9). David will serve, of course, under Christ—who will be King of kings over the whole earth (Revelation 19:16). He will teach them to obey God's commandments and His laws! Notice: "David my servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them" (Ezekiel 37:24).

Ezekiel's inspiring prophecy reveals that, at that time, God will once again join all twelve nations of Israel together as one people (Ezekiel 37:16–26)! In that day, all the peoples of Britain and America will learn to love the Jews—for they will finally learn that they are one nationone people! "And I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again" (v. 22).

Once you understand the prophetic key to finding modern-day Israel in end-time prophecy, these prophecies will truly come alive to you. Your newspaper reading and your television news viewing will become an almost daily saga of what is happening now to the descendants of Israel, and what this means to you and your loved ones in the immediate future!

If you have not yet done so, be sure to call or write immediately and request an absolutely free copy of our eye-opening booklet, The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy! This booklet explains and spells out for you, in plain terms, the biblical and historical proofs of the national identity of the U.S. and British-descended peoples—and what this means to your future! Be sure to call or write and request and study this vital key to understanding what is going on around you in world news.

The Principle of DUALITY

Another vital key to understanding the Bible is to recognize that God often employed the principle of duality as He inspired the biblical authors. Certain prophecies have both an early fulfillment and a latter-day fulfillment.

Isaiah predicted that Babylon would be destroyed because of its many sorceries and sins (Isaiah 13). In our day, a modern "Babylon" is described as a religio-political system that will also be destroyed—this time at Christ's second coming (Revelation 18:1–4).

Jeremiah also predicted the fall of a modern "Babylon." He described that both Israel and Judah would be released from the slavery imposed by this modern dictatorship (Jeremiah 30:4–8) and would come back to seek God in a repentant attitude after Christ's return (Jeremiah 50:1–5). Many prophecies about the punishment of ancient Israel—as seen in their biblical context—clearly bridge over into a modern fulfillment just before or just after Jesus Christ's second coming.

Other examples include the prophecies of Hosea, Amos and Micah. Although these books are clearly addressed to the ancient house of Israel, time and again there are definite references to end-time punishments on modern "Israel" because of similar sins and situations in today's society. Throughout Hosea, God talks about the sins of adultery, drunkenness and false religion in ancient Israel. Then, suddenly, the writer describes the final re-gathering of Israel at Christ's second coming (Hosea 3:5).

As we realize that the Bible is the "mind of God" in print, it is also important to understand how God chooses to help us grasp His plan and His will by using duality throughout His inspired word.

The Bible Interprets Its Own Symbols

The Bible uses many symbols, especially in the prophetic books. Daniel uses different sets of symbols to describe the major Gentile empires. He describes, for example, a great "image" symbolizing the four great world-ruling kingdoms that would succeed one another right up until Christ returns (Daniel 2:32–34).

Without the Bible's own interpretation, we might wonder what this image symbolized. But Daniel tells King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, "You are this head of gold" (vv. 38–40). Nearly all Bible scholars and even interested historians agree that Daniel was clearly describing the then-current world-ruling kingdom, Babylon, as the "head of gold." They acknowledge that Daniel describes the following great kingdoms that would come on the world scene: the Medo-Persian Empire, the Greco-Macedonian Empire of Alexander the Great and, finally, the mighty Roman Empire that arose centuries after Daniel's death.

Finally, God inspired Daniel to describe the Kingdom of God typified by the "stone"—Jesus Christ—which will eventually crush all the warring, worldly kingdoms and "shall stand forever" (v. 44).

The book of Revelation pictures the living Jesus Christ—now seated at God's right hand in heaven—as in the middle of "seven lampstands" (Revelation 1:13), having in His right hand "seven stars" (v. 16). Again, without reading our own ideas into the Bible, we should let the Bible interpret itself. God's word explains: "The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches" (v. 20).

One important symbol to understand is that the word "woman" sometimes represents a church—either God's true Church or a great false church. The Apostle Paul wrote to Christians in Corinth: "For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:2). Here, the church is represented as a woman—the affianced "bride" of Christ.

In Ephesians 5:22–33, Paul repeatedly uses the analogy or symbolism of the Church as the wife of Jesus Christ: "Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything" (v. 24).

The Apostle John was inspired to use this same symbolism in describing the great false church—which will soon rise to its ultimate power and influence in our day. Note how this entire pagan system is described as a "woman"—though, in fact, a "fallen" woman—a great harlot. John was inspired to write, "And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns" (Revelation 17:3–6).

God describes this fallen church as a "great harlot who sits on many waters" (v. 1). John then reveals that "the waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues" (v. 15). This extremely powerful "woman" will be "sitting on a scarlet beast" and will have tremendous religious and political influence at the time of the end!

Revelation 12 describes an entirely different "woman\—God's true Church. This \woman" had to "flee into the wilderness" in times past to escape severe persecution. When Satan is cast down to the earth at the very end of this age, he will terribly persecute this "woman," who is led by God, "that she might fly into the wilderness to her place" where God will supernaturally protect her during the 3½ years of the Great Tribulation (vv. 12–14).

If you want to understand these prophecies genuinely—and be among those protected by God—do not let this world deceive you about what these verses mean! Pray for understanding! Pray for the strength to "come out" of modern Babylon (Revelation 18:4) and to be among those true saints who genuinely obey God's commandments: "Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" (Revelation 14:12).

Understanding Comes Through Obedience

God's true saints are those who "keep the commandments"—who also have the "faith of Jesus," not merely their human faith "in" Jesus! So—through the Holy Spirit—they are given the understanding and the courage to actually obey God. For God does not give the Holy Spirit to those who merely "believe" in Him or in Jesus. As James was inspired to tell us, "Even the demons believe—and tremble" (James 2:19).

God's word describes "the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him" (Acts 5:32). Over and over, the Bible makes it very clear that only those who are willing to obey God will be filled with His inflowing Spirit: "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him" (John 14:23). In this passage—as in many others—it is clear that God and Christ will live within the true saints and guide them through the Holy Spirit. John writes that the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father in Jesus' name, "will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you" (v. 26).

Our entire relationship with God and with the Holy Spirit—that gives us genuine understanding—is determined by our willingness to surrender genuinely and to obey our Maker. Near the very end of the apostolic age, Jesus' "beloved" apostle wrote: "He who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked" (1 John 2:4–6).

God's word also clearly states, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever" (Psalm 111:10).

So, to understand the Bible fully, the most vital key of all is to surrender one's heart, mind, will and life totally to obey the great God and to keep His commandments as a way of life! Then, and only then, will God open your mind to fully understand His word, His great plan and His inspired prophecies that are now swiftly beginning to come to pass. May God help you to begin to use these vital keys to understanding!


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