The Tectonic Shift of Today's Prophetic Teachings
End-times prophecy is undergoing a tectonic shift these days. Of that, I am certain. After two millennia of looking at the end times focused on Europe, present history is forcing us to consider a more-biblical view. This kind of certainty, however, requires that we remain tentative about the details. It is something like opening a Christmas present. As you tear at the wrappings, you can tell it is not an X-Box but is some sort of stuffed toy. As yet, however, you cannot determine the species of stuffed animal, but you are certain it is a stuffed animal.
As God unveils specific Bible passages, certainty grows but precision remains elusive. As a student of prophecy, you find it maddening. How do you explain it? Paul Simon was right, the nearer the destination, the more it’s slip-sliding away. In the last decade, prophecy scholars have come closer to the trees and have been losing sight of the forest.
How do we explain this puzzlement? As you get nearer an object, it should become clearer with more details revealed. Here is my modest interpretation of the dilemma.
First of all, end-times prophecy has been a sealed book since the days of the prophet Daniel. We at the end of this age understand more about the book of Daniel than Daniel.
8 Although I heard, I did not understand. Then I said, "My lord, what shall be the end of these things?"
9 And he said, "Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 10 Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.
God has sealed the keys to the end-times prophecies until near the day of their fulfilment. As we get closer, those sealed prophecies will be unveiled, but not until they are needed. Prophetic passages unfold so that the people living in those days will know how to respond. Prophetic preachers and writers, usually with laudable motives, are feeling around the edges of the darkness ahead. An example is found in First Peter 1:10-12, in which the Old Testament prophets searched out the coming of Messiah.
Second, end-times prophecies are likened to a woman in childbirth, an insidious event that lulls a woman into complacency after the first few days of false labor (note: Isaiah 13:6-8). False-labor pains has husband and wife racing to the hospital time and again only to be sent home. The same is true of teachers of Bible prophecy: We tend to go down the wrong rabbit holes in our search for truth.
Although there are other reasons, let us finish with this last one: We are so close that we can no longer see the forest for the trees. We see many more details and these details tend to confuse us as we attempt to track the big picture. The tectonic shift I spoke of at the beginning is a movement from a Euro-centric end-times events to a Jerusalem/Middle East-centric stage. The important nations are Middle Eastern nations and not Western nations. Our difficulty is putting all the players in their various categories and identifying the parts they will play as God brings down the curtain on the rebellion of the nations.
More needs to be said, such as a comparison of biblical and Islamic eschatology, and the roles of ISIS and other terrorist organizations. The great players are the modern state of Israel, its neighbors, Muslim Africa, and the Islamic Realm throughout the 10/40 Window. But that is for another day.