What's the problem with prophecy?
Prophecy primarily requires a pattern recognition or insightful strategy NOT an analytical strategy. Prophecy rarely gives names whether of empires or their rulers. Even the name of the Messiah - Yeshua -wasn't foretold. Instead, the focus of prophecy is on events and actions of the significant players in a prophetic structure. This requires an adaptive approach that can accommodate a best fit. The basic criteria for a fit is the sequence of the events and after that a fit determined by the significance of the event and the relationship of the actors.
End time prophecy requires a high tolerance for ambiguity. There is a temptation for an interpreter of prophecy to become seduced by their understanding, jumping to premature closure. A misidentification of a single event, or action can lead a person way off the track. Practical minds that have a strong executive capacity for action quickly lose patience and look for ways of dismissing prophecy as just wishful thinking - like seeing objects in cloud formations.
One type of premature closure is preterism. Preterists go for closure by simply saying all the prophecies have been fulfilled. Daniel’s prophecies are interpreted as being fulfilled during the time of the Maccabeans. Revelation was completely fulfilled in the succession of Roman emperors. If you are one of those impatient people that want to wrap everything up in a nice package so you don’t have to tolerate the tension of waiting for something to happen you probably have something else that is more important that you feel the need of accomplishing. There is no need for you to feel guilty as you proceed to some other thread.
Others who have gone through major life changes to accommodate some theoretical prophetic date decide they have wasted enough time on prophecy and the Bible. These may migrate to religions that don’t emphasize prophecy or become agnostics and even atheists. Many choose not to give up, but to stay alert to world conditions as you accumulate associations between the prophetic structure of events and actions that may fit the prophecy.
One cop out is to say that people have always felt the end of the world is near. That may be true of people’s wishful anticipation of deliverance but the actual facts show that we are living in the most serious time for human civilization. That’s why the doomsday clock appears on the cover of the Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists. The Bulletin started in 1947 with a clock set to 7minutes to midnight. Look up the timeline of the Bulletin http://thebulletin.org/timeline Since1947 the most optimistic estimate of time until doomsday was 17 minutes when the Soviet Union fell and the cold war was declared over.The Bulletin describes the situation in 1991: “With the Cold War officially over, the United States and Russia begin making deep cuts to their nuclear arsenals. The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty greatly reduces the number of strategic nuclearweapons deployed by the two former adversaries. Better still, a series of unilateral initiatives remove most of the intercontinental ballistic missiles and bombers in both countries from hair-trigger alert. "The illusion that tens of thousands of nuclear weapons are a guarantor of national security has been stripped away," the Bulletin declares”.
Just 4 years later the clock is moved up to 14 minutes to doomsday. Why? “1995: Hopes for a large post-Cold War peace dividend and a renouncing of nuclear weapons fade. Particularly in the United States, hard-liners seem reluctant to soften their rhetoric or actions, as they claim that a resurgent Russia could provide as much of a threat as the Soviet Union.”
- 1998 9 minutes
- 2002 7 minutes
- 2007 5 minutes
- 2010 6 minutes (the famous Russian reset)
- 2012 5 minutes (the reset didn’t work)
- 2015 3 minutes "The clock ticks now at just three minutes to midnight because internationalleaders are failing to perform their most important duty—ensuring and preserving the health and vitality of human civilization."
You can brush this off as mere opinion. But if you don’t believe in the Bible you aren’t going to find a more educated opinion of the world’s situation. The biggest players in this scenario are the United States and Russia. So, let’s look at end time prophecy to see if the USA and Russia really figure in.
The prophesies I will address briefly later in this thread are as follows:
- The immense image with the head of gold and feet of clay and iron.
- The four beast of Daniel 7
- The blasphemous horn that emerges from the last of the four beasts.
- The horn that arises after the Ram and Goat struggle
- The King of the North vs The King of the South.
- Revelation The Wild Beast vs. Babylon the Great.