Are we in the last days? Learn to understand Bible prophecy in this video, as Richard Ames explains signs of the end times and Bible symbols in the prophecies of Daniel, Isaiah, Matthew 24, and the book of Revelation.
[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]
Is the end of the world coming soon? Will Russia’s military aggression—in Ukraine, lead to World War III? Will China’s powerful increase in military strength set the stage for Armageddon? My friends, Bible prophecy reveals the future of the world. You can know the answers to these questions, IF you understand Bible prophecy!
Bible prophecy’s many amazing messages from God’s prophets can be challenging even to Bible scholars.
What is symbolized by the grand image described by the prophet Daniel? What meaning can we learn from the beasts and the harlot of Revelation—and other mysterious symbols?
Proven principles of Bible prophecy will open your understanding to the ultimate future of the world, of humanity, and of the glorious Kingdom to come.
Between 25 and 30 percent of your Bible is prophecy. If you understand Bible prophecy, you can find hope for the future, and for your own life. You need to know the keys to understanding Bible prophecy!
Bible prophecy reveals the future of the world, and frankly, the future of the universe. Your Bible has proven the power of prophecy.
I hope you’ve seen our telecast “Amazing Prophecies Fulfilled!” From Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a statue in the Old Testament book of Daniel, to John’s New Testament visions in the book of Revelation, your Bible reveals major end-time events, with mysterious prophetic symbols such as the Beast of Revelation 13 with seven heads and ten horns rising up out of the sea; and the harlot woman of Revelation 17 sitting on scarlet beast with seven heads and ten horns.
How can you understand the meaning of these symbols?
On today’s program, we’ll discuss seven keys to understanding Bible prophecy. My friends, these seven keys to understanding prophecy will help you understand the most amazing future and events that relatively few people on earth even come close to understanding. Key Number One to Understanding Bible Prophecy is: Learn God’s Prophetic Framework.
Some have wrong ideas about prophecy because they wrongly believe that Jesus Christ will return AFTER the prophesied Millennium. But your Bible shows clearly that Christ will return to set up a literal kingdom here on earth for a literal period of one thousand years.
The book of Revelation describes a period of 3 and a half years leading up to the return of Christ. The fifth seal of Revelation, described in chapter six, covers a period of two-and-a-half years of the Great Tribulation Jesus spoke about in Matthew 24. The SIXTH seal is the heavenly signs, which puts whole world will be put on notice announcing the final one year “Day of the Lord.”
Let’s read about that sixth seal in Revelation 6:12:
“I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, [Listen to this] and every mountain and island was moved out of its place” (Revelation 6:12–14).
The whole world will be shocked and terrorized. The world will then realize that the time of God’s judgment has come as Jesus returns to establish God’s Kingdom here on the earth, a new world order ruled by the King of kings, Jesus Christ.
Key Number One to Understanding Bible Prophecy is: Learn God’s Prophetic Framework.
Key Number Two to Understanding Bible Prophecy is: The Bible Interprets Its Own Symbols. The book of Revelation contains symbolic language which confuses many casual readers. If you have your Bible, turn to Jeremiah 51:24 for one example. Your Bible probably has a heading to chapter 51 such as “God’s judgment (or vengeance) upon Babylon.” God is declaring his punishment on the great empire of Babylon.
“‘And I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea for all the evil they have done in Zion in your sight,’ says the LORD. ‘Behold, I am against you, O DESTROYING MOUNTAIN, who destroys all the earth,’ says the LORD. ‘And I will stretch out My hand against you, roll you down from the rocks, and make you a burnt MOUNTAIN’” (Jeremiah 51:24–25).
Yes, God will judge rebellious nations, symbolized here as mountains. What mountain or kingdom will rule the whole earth? As so many prophecies explain, that Kingdom will be the Kingdom of God ruled by the King of kings, the Savior, Jesus Christ! Bible students are familiar with the prophecy in Isaiah 2.
“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:2–4).
A mountain in Bible prophecy can symbolize a Kingdom, empire, or nation. Here we see the good news of God’s Kingdom, which will establish world peace! We’ve explored an example of prophetic symbolism: a mountain can be symbolic of a kingdom or a government. So, Key Number Two to Understanding Bible Prophecy is The Bible Interprets Its Own Symbols.
The THIRD key to understanding biblical prophecy is the proof of fulfilled prophecy.
Dozens of Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in the New Testament in the person of Jesus Christ. Another example of fulfilled prophecy, and there are many, is the dream God gave ancient king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Turn to the Book of Daniel, chapter two. Here the prophet Daniel tells the king his dream.
Nebuchadnezzar’s famous image reveals four world-ruling empires. King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that troubled him. Daniel was called before the king, and proceeded to describe the great image in the king’s dream.
“You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces” (Daniel 2:31–34).
Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar that he was the head of gold represented in the image. Daniel said in verse 38, “YOU are this head of gold.” History CONFIRMS Daniel’s prophecy of the subsequent empires symbolized by the statue. What world ruling empires followed after Nebuchadnezzar?
The head of gold represented the Babylonian Empire from 625 to 539 BC. It was replaced by the Medo-Persian Empire from 558 to 330 BC, represented by the chest and arms of silver. The belly and thighs of bronze represented the Greco-Macedonian Empire of Alexander the Great from 333 to 31 BC. The two legs of Iron represent the Roman Empire from 31 BC to 476 AD. And, finally, the ten toes on two feet of Iron mixed with ceramic clay represent a future revival of the Roman Empire.
The prophecies of Daniel are genuine. The predictions of these four empires did come to pass.
Key Number THREE to Understanding Bible Prophecy was: The Proof of Fulfilled Prophecy. Key Number FOUR to Understanding Bible Prophecy is: Understand Prophetic Time Gaps. Let’s look at Luke 4:16. Jesus was visiting his hometown of Nazareth and was invited to read from the scriptures on the Sabbath. He was given the scroll of Isaiah.
“So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah [Luke 4:17]. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.’ [Now notice this] Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing’” (Luke 4:16–21).
Yes, the Messiah had come to preach the gospel to the poor, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD. Jesus told them that this very prophecy of Isaiah was now being fulfilled through Him. But was that ALL of the prophecy? Turn back to the prophecy Jesus read. Notice the two mission statements here, in Isaiah 61:2: “To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God.” Jesus closed the book He was reading, right in the middle of a verse. He omitted the second part of the verse referring to the day of vengeance. Why? Because the remainder of Isaiah’s prophecy applies to Jesus’ SECOND COMING—when the Day of the Lord, the day of God’s vengeance and wrath, takes place. There is a TIME GAP of about 2,000 years between the fulfillment of the first part of the verse and the second part of the verse.
Key Number FOUR to Understanding Bible Prophecy is: Understand Prophetic Time Gaps. Key Number FIVE to Understanding Bible Prophecy is: Recognize Prophetic Duality.
Turn in your Bible to 1 Corinthians 15:45, for example. “And so it is written, ‘The FIRST man Adam became a living being.’ The LAST Adam became a life-giving spirit.” Who was the last Adam? Verse 47 gives us the answer, “The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven.” Yes, the second Adam was Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ Olivet prophecy in Matthew 24 is also an example of duality. Some of the terrible conditions Jesus described DID take place when Jerusalem was destroyed. But that was just a type or forerunner of the final climactic fulfillment. Jesus warned us in Matthew 24:21,
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21–22).
Yes, prophecy is dual—and we ought to learn the lessons of history. The destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies in 70 AD was just a type of the Great Tribulation that lies just ahead. Key Number FIVE to Understanding Bible Prophecy is: Recognize Prophetic Duality.
The simple knowledge of the origin of nations in the Bible gives us a clearer understanding of Bible prophecy. We call the next key, the MASTER Key to understanding prophecy. Key Number SIX to Understanding Bible Prophecy is: Know the Biblical Origins of Nations.
My friends, CAN YOU find the United States, Canada, Great Britain and the other English-speaking nations in Bible prophecy? If you can, you will understand major parts of VITAL prophecies that very few today can even begin to comprehend. The Bible mentions by name such nations as Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia. And it may surprise you that Assyria will eventually be one of the prominent nations in tomorrow’s world along with Egypt and Israel. You can read about that in Isaiah 19:23. Also read the 10th and 11th chapters of Isaiah. But who is modern Assyria? In our Tomorrow’s World magazine, we previously published a full article on this subject entitled, “A Fourth Reich?” Here is what Dr. Douglas Winnail wrote in the article: “While most historians are reluctant, or fail, to make any connection between the disappearance of the Assyrians and the appearance of the Germanic tribes, the fact remains that no other nation’s history and national character resembles Germany more than does that of Assyria.”
Key Number SIX to Understanding Bible Prophecy is: Know the Biblical Origins of Nations. So, can you find THE UNITED STATES in end-time prophecy? It’s there if you know where to look. To learn more about the identity of the United States and Britain in your Bible, please view our inspiring program, “Jeremiah’s Message for the British and American Peoples.” Just type that title in the search bar on [the] Tomorrow’s World website to view the program. Key Number SIX to Understanding Bible Prophecy is: Know the Biblical Origins of Nations.
Key Number SEVEN to Understanding Bible Prophecy is: Understand the Purposes for Bible Prophecy. My friends, Bible prophecy can sustain hope and inspire confidence. But it ALSO warns people and nations to REPENT. John the Baptist was baptizing massive crowds of people who were moved by his preaching. The Gospel writer Matthew describes what happened.
“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’” (Matthew 3:1–2).
Later, Jesus Christ preached the same message. You can read that in Mark 1:14–15. And what was the response to John’s preaching? Verse 5,
“Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins” (Matthew 3:5–6).
In the book of Revelation, Christ promises protection for those who repent and are faithful. In the letter to the Church at Philadelphia, the Apostle John records this message.
In the book of Revelation 3:10,
“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”
The hour of trial is that unique period of time in all history, called the Great Tribulation and leading into the Day of the Lord. God will protect His faithful people in the trying years ahead. In Verse 11, Christ gives us this instruction: “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown” (Revelation 3:11). Bible prophecy warns people to repent and avoid the great punishments to come!
Another purpose of prophecy is to give opportunity to those in future captivity to repent and come under God’s deliverance as God promises in Deuteronomy 4:27–31. My friends, are you preparing for the Second Coming of Christ? Understanding Bible prophecy and facing reality, will help you prepare! On the day of Pentecost, in 31 AD, the Apostle Peter exhorted the thousands in his audience to repent and be baptized. You can read that in Acts 2:38. Peter motivated the crowd to change their lives. He said in Acts 2:40, “‘Be saved from this perverse generation.’ Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them” (Acts 2:40–41). My friends, if you have studied biblical baptism, and if you have come to the place in your life where you have repented and have accepted Christ’s sacrifice and His authority over your life, we invite you to counsel with one of our ministers. We have representatives in many regions around the world.
Key Number SEVEN to Understanding Bible Prophecy is: Understand the Purposes for Bible Prophecy. Bible prophecy also demonstrates the awesome sovereignty of God as it tells us in Isaiah 46:9–10.
I hope you saw our recent program titled “Are You Saved or Lost?” Be sure to view it on our website if you missed it. Bible prophecy reveals the awesome future of your salvation. The framework of prophecy, as we discussed today, reveals the coming judgments on the nations during the Day of the Lord and the ultimate glory of the coming kingdom.
At the beginning of the program, I asked the question[s]: Is the end of the world coming soon? Will Russia’s aggression in Ukraine lead to World War III? Will China’s powerful increase in military strength set the stage for Armageddon? The framework for Bible prophecy answers those questions. But what will save the planet and all humanity from total extinction and annihilation? The greatest event in all human history is coming soon. The return of the Savior, Jesus Christ, will save planet earth and establish world peace.
You may know the awesome prophecy of Isaiah 9:6,
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6–7).
I hope you are praying as Jesus instructed in Matthew 6:10, “Your Kingdom come.” We all look forward to the good news announcement at the seventh trumpet in Revelation 11:15, “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’”
May God bless you as you prepare for the coming of the Savior Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God on earth.
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