In a recent Australian census it was noticed that the fastest growing religion is “no religion” but this does not mean the population have suddenly all become avowed atheists. A survey by the Pew Report in the USA found that while many no longer maintain a connection with traditional religion they still hold a belief in a Creator or Supreme Being. In many places in the west Evangelical Christianity is growing while the old established religions are failing. In China Christianity is the fastest growing religion, to the extent that in a few years China will become the world’s largest Christian nation.
Despite the push against religion by globalists, leftists, atheists and those who maintain that science precludes religion Christianity continues to survive and even grow. What can it be that makes rational people follow these ancient teachings and place such significance in them? To answer this we should look at the difference between the failing denominations and the growing ones. Those that are observing ancient rituals and practices are falling behind but the newer more vibrant religious groups who concentrate on Bible study are those that are expanding and growing.
It appears that Bible study is the difference which raises the question, how can a book written thousands of years ago have such an influence today? The thing that gives the Bible so much authority is the prophecies that have been fulfilled. Those who have studied the Bible and history are often surprised at how many predictions have already been fulfilled. A good example of an accurate prophecy is the one about Tyre; the population of Tyre did not place much credence on the prediction of destruction made by Ezekiel, because their city was protected by an island fortress where the whole population could take refuge. The prophecy warned that the city would be destroyed and thrown into the sea where fishermen would cast their nets over the ruins.
When Alexander the Great arrived and called for them to surrender they refused and so Alexander had his army tear down the city and throw it into the sea to build a causeway. The invaders then used the causeway to attack the island fort and once they breached the walls slaughtered the entire population, the example that Alexander made of Tyre convinced many other city states to surrender without challenge. Today fishermen cast their nets over the remains of ancient Tyre; just as predicted by Ezekiel.
Prophecies warned that the population of ancient Israel would be “dispersed among the nations” but also claimed that they would one day be returned to their ancient homeland “in the days of the end”. Following the Bar Kochbah revolt in 132 CE the Romans forced all Jews out of Jerusalem and renamed the region Palestine. The re-establishment of Israel in 1947 stunned the world, the Jewish people after two thousand years of dispersal had returned, despite the efforts of Nazis and many others to eliminate them. The fulfilling of this prophecy is an indication that we have now reached the predicted “end times” and the religions prepared to discuss this are the ones to which people are attracted.
Once we believed that the universe was eternal, permanent and static; it was only the Bible that claimed the universe had a beginning. Scientists Wilson and Penzias discovered evidence supporting the Bible view in 1964 and we have since known that the universe began with what we call the “big bang”. If the Bible was right about the beginning the odds are in favour of it being right about it having an end, a concept that does not sit easily with many people.
It is not only Biblical prophets who predict an end times Nostradamus predicted that, “The dead will come out of their graves”; obviously a vision of the Biblical resurrection. Nostradamus even gave an indication of a possible date; he said at “the time of the great games of slaughter, not far from the great millennium”. There were no games in Nostradamus’ time but the modern Olympics began in 1896 almost 400 years after Nostradamus’ birth, which makes this a pretty good prediction because the original Olympics were opened with the slaughter of 1,000 bullocks. Nostradamus obviously expected the resurrection of the dead to occur during an Olympic Games.
There are other prophets who predict that this “end time” is imminent; the Irish priest and prophet St Malachy in 1139 predicted 112 Popes from his time until the Messiah, the current Pope is the 112th and last. St Malachy’s titles and descriptions have been remarkably accurate 112 times in identifying the popes it is possible that he may be right that this current one is the last Pope.
A pre-Biblical prophet whose writings imply that we are in the final days is Enoch who lived before Noah. Enoch accompanied angels who showed him the whole history of the world from creation to judgement. In Chapters 89 and 90 of his book he describes fifty-eight “shepherds” or leaders in Judea before the Messiah comes to rule all mankind. Following Solomon the Israelites separated into two kingdoms, ten tribes becoming Israel in the North and two tribes became Judah in the South – ruled by the king in Jerusalem.
Enoch divided these kings or shepherds into early shepherds of which he said there would be 35 and 23 later shepherds. Beginning with Rehoboam there were twenty Kings of Judah until Zedekiah, then from Judah Macabee to Antigonus there were ten Hasmonean Kings, four Herodian Kings followed Herod and then Simon Bar Kochbah; making a total of 35 early shepherds. There were no leaders in Israel following the Bar Kochbah revolution in 132 CE, until 1947 when the UN partitioned the land and the modern state of Israel was proclaimed. Modern Israel has had 23 Prime Ministers including Benjamin Netanyahu, so if Enoch’s prophecies are on track Israel has its final leader in power. An interesting aside here is that America’s President Trump is the forty-fifth president but as a number of presidents have served more than one term there have been fifty-eight inaugurations; the USA is also under its fifty-eighth shepherd. This may mean that President Trump will be the final US president.
In the book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar dreamt of a statue which Daniel was able to interpret as a prediction of all the empires that would arise from his time until the end times. The prophecy has proved remarkably accurate and our times are described as being an empire partly of iron and part clay which cannot cleave together, Daniel described a great rock from Heaven which will shatter this empire. Few today could deny that our civilisation could be described as fractured and as unable to unite as iron and clay. The Bible also predicted that the Earth would be destroyed by the actions of its inhabitants, it is not our carbon emissions that are destroying the world but our inability to get along.
The world may be destroyed by war or by the wrath of the Creator the Bible seems to be predicting a combination of the two. The Almighty said, “I will wipe you from the face of the Earth, two thirds will die but one third will be saved. That third I will bring through the fire and refine them like fine gold.” There are several other prophecies that are expected to occur prior to the end of the world. The Bible says these will, “come as a flood” in other words all happen very quickly; vast destruction and life on Earth will only be spared by the rotation of the Earth being changed from twenty-four hours to only sixteen hours. An “angel” or “messenger” will come from the East, Nostradamus also predicts this messenger and says, “Long awaited in Europe he will come from the deepest part of Asia. He will rise to become the most powerful of Kings in the Orient”.
The deepest part of Asia is the area known as Australasia and includes New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand, but there is no one in that area today who could be described as “the most powerful king in the Orient” no matter how some politicians might view themselves. Both Enoch and Daniel describe a white haired bearded man who assembles the pardoned and then hands authority to the arriving Messiah. The Bible also says that Elijah will return prior to the Messiah’s arrival and Jewish tradition refers to the “Messiah Ben Yusaf” or messiah from the house of Joseph who precedes the Messiah from the house of David who will be given authority over all mankind.
The next few years promise to be very interesting and may culminate in the final proof of the accuracy of Biblical prophecy.