Exploring 2018 In Bible Prophecy - By Bill Salus -
As we turn the page on a mostly unstable 2017, we shift our attention toward what will likely be an explosive year in 2018. This article will peer into the prophetic future to preview what could be coming in the new year. However, before exploring the potential fulfillment of future Bible prophecies that could happen soon, let's review a few that have already happened in modern history.
This year marks the 70-year anniversary of the rebirth of the nation of Israel. Restored as a nation on May 14, 1948, the Jewish state is now home to nearly 6.5 million Jews, more than any other nation for the first time in modern history. Relocating these displaced peoples back into their ancient homeland was no easy undertaking. Their ancestors had been displaced throughout the nations for almost 2,000 years.
There appears to be no other ethnicity found in history that has survived that long of a worldwide diaspora, nor two entire desolations of, and complete dispersions from, their historic homeland. The first desolation and dispersion lasted for 70 years beginning around 586 BC during the reign of the Babylonian Empire. The second spanned from 70 AD, when the Roman Empire destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the second Jewish Temple, until the rebirth of the nation on May 14, 1948.
Some suggest that the existence of Israel today is a modern-day miracle, but if so, to what or whom, should the credit for this unprecedented wonder be given? Does the glory go to the United Nations, which legislated the existence of Israel through its resolution 181 on November 29, 1947?
Certainly, after the horrific Jewish genocidal campaign of the Nazi's during the Holocaust, the surviving Jews deserved international sympathy and compassion. However, was it the UN or the sovereign God working through the UN that caused the creation of the Jewish state?
The Lord has worked through Gentile nations in the past to accomplish His sovereign purposes concerning the Jews in relationship to their homeland of Israel. The Babylonians were used as a tool to separate the Jews from their land as part of a divine disciplinary act according to Jeremiah 25:8-11. After the completion of this historic dispersion, the Lord utilized the Persians with their infamous King Cyrus to restore the Jews to their land of Israel as per Ezra 1:1-6.
If the acclaim goes to the UN, then why has this international body tarnished this trophy by passing more negative actions against the Jewish state than any other world nation? Hundreds of Anti-Semitic UN Resolutions concerning Israel have been passed since the initial UN Resolution 181.
Or, should the marvel of Israel's existence be accredited to the God of the Bible? The answer to this question is YES! This is understood by the fact that the Jewish state today fulfills multiple ancient biblical predictions. These are foretelling's that were penned thousands of years ago on the ancient parchments of both the Old and New Testaments. Below is a list of some of these prophecies.
Israel; A Modern-Day Miracle That Fulfills Many Bible Prophecies
Hosea 3:4-5 - The Israelites would be many days without a sacrifice, but would return to their ancestral homeland in the last days. The Jewish sacrificial system essentially ended around 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed their second Jewish temple. To date, they still anticipate the day that they can rebuild their temple and reinstate their animal sacrifices.
Isaiah 66:8 - Predicts that Israel would be restored as a nation in "one day." This coming May 14, 2017, will mark the 70-year anniversary of the fulfillment of that miraculous "one day" prophecy.
Ezekiel 38:8 - This verse also prophesies that the regathering of the Jewish people would happen in the latter years.
Ezekiel 20:34 and 36:24 - Informs the Jewish regathering would be a worldwide phenomenon.
Ezekiel 37:11-12 - Declares that the Jews will be restored after experiencing a horrific holocaust. Just prior to their regathering they will say, "Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!"
Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, 'Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!' Therefore prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God: "Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. (Ezekiel 37:11-12)
Isaiah 11:11 - Foretells that this regathering will be a second and final time that the Jews will be restored to their Promised Land. The consensus among some Bible prophecy teachers is that the first return was from Babylon around 539 BC and the second time correlates with this present regathering.
Zephaniah 3:9 - Proclaims that a single language will be implemented, which will enable the Jews and Gentiles to call upon the Lord together in the same tongue.
Matthew 24:15-22 - Predicts that in the future, the Antichrist will enter a future Jewish Temple and commit an abominable act. Jesus warned the Jews living in Israel at the time that when they witness this event to flee immediately because a time of Jewish persecution and great tribulation will ensue. When conditions in Jerusalem will allow for it, the Jews are prepared to construct this very temple that Jesus alluded to in this prophecy. The point is that Israel had to be restored as a nation for this prediction to find a future fulfillment. That Israel exists today!
One of the most convincing prophecies, which evidences that the existence of Israel today has God's conspicuous fingerprints upon it, is quoted twice in the book of Jeremiah.
"Therefore behold, the days are coming," says the Lord, "that it shall no more be said, 'The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,' but, 'The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.' For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers. (Jeremiah 16:14-15)
"Therefore, behold, the days are coming," says the Lord, "that they shall no longer say, 'As the Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,' but, 'As the Lord lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries where I had driven them.' And they shall dwell in their own land." (Jeremiah 23:7-8)
Although these two verses appear repetitive, it is important to note an important distinction. Jeremiah 16:15 relating to Jeremiah 23:8 clarifies that the Promised Land given to the Jewish patriarchs, Abraham in Genesis 15:18, Isaac in Gen. 26:3 and Jacob in Gen. 35:12, whom are referred to as "their fathers," belongs to the Jews today as part of their God-given inheritance. If the international community recognized this historical fact and Israel's Arab enemies accepted this biblical truth, then Mideast peace might be attained.
God's vs. Trump's Mideast Peace Plan
Presently, US President Donald Trump is preparing a Middle East peace plan. It is likely that it will be introduced sometime in 2018. It is highly likely that it will not achieve its desired goal of resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict in general and the Palestinian-Israeli dilemma more specifically.
This can be safely precluded because it probably won't line up with God's Mideast Peace Plan, rather it will follow the same failed footsteps of US President's Clinton, Bush and Obama. The biblical formula for achieving peace in the Middle East is provided in an ancient prophecy by Jeremiah. Unless Trump's Mideast peace proposal aligns with Jeremiah's, it is doomed from the start.
God's Mideast Peace Plan
Thus says the LORD: "Against all My evil neighbors who touch the inheritance which I have caused My people Israel to inherit--behold, I will pluck them [the Arabs] out of their [the Jews] land [Israel] and pluck out the house of Judah from among them [the surrounding Arab nations]. Then it shall be, after I have plucked them out, that I will return and have compassion on them and bring them back, everyone to his heritage and everyone [Jew and Arab] to his [respective] land. And it shall be, if they [the resettled Arabs] will learn carefully the ways of My people, to swear by My name, 'As the LORD lives,' as they taught My people to swear by Baal, then they shall be established in the midst of My people. But if they do not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation," says the LORD. (Jeremiah 12:14-17, NKJV)
This Jeremiah prophecy contains the perfect political solution to the present Arab-Israeli conflict. Anticipating the demographic complications that would arise with the return of the Jews into the Holy Land, it wisely incorporated provisions for a territorial resettling process.
The Lord, Who knows the end from the beginning according to Isaiah 46:9-10, thoroughly realized that the ancient Arab hatred of the Jews would not subside during the centuries of Jewish Diaspora, but would still exist at the time of their regathering into their homeland of Israel. That's why Jeremiah used negative and forceful words like "evil neighbors" and "plucked out."
Regardless of what the Lord recognized would be the future case, He still had Jeremiah prescribe the prophetic remedy for all world leaders to adhere to. Unfortunately, the international community is thoroughly incognizant of, and apparently uninterested in, the Lord's benevolent plan for Mideast peace. However, that has not prevented the Lord from paving the way for peace.
With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War 1, the Lord's resettlement process was enabled. As the Turkish empire lost its control over the Mideast region, the Arabs and Persians regained their statehoods. (Persia was renamed Iran in 1935).
Then, in 1948, Israel became a reality in fulfillment of the afore mentioned biblical prophecies. God's plan is effectively in place. Apart from the displaced Palestinian refugees, the evil Arab neighbors, as was predicted, have been restored, "everyone to his heritage and everyone to his land." However now, the evil neighbors must comply with the rest of Jeremiah's prophecy, which is;
"And it shall be, if they will learn carefully the ways of My people, to swear by My name, 'As the LORD lives,' as they taught My people to swear by Baal, then they shall be established in the midst of My people." (Jeremiah 12:16)
This WILL NOT HAPPEN! Jeremiah instructs those "plucked out" "evil neighbors" to swear by the God of the Bible. This is their only obligation as part of God's compassionate peace plan. The Lord has held up His part of the bargain, He restored the Arab states, but the evil neighbors have not complied by swearing their allegiance to Jehovah. They worship Allah and rather than embrace their Jewish neighbors, they have attempted to destroy them. As such, they will soon face their punishment, which is;
"But if they do not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation," says the LORD." (Jeremiah 12:17)
But how? And when? Could 2018 be the year that the Lord levies the boom upon the evil Arab neighbors?
What Does the Future Hold For 2018?
There are several prophecies that are ready to roll off their ancient parchments and pound down upon the pavement. These are powerful globally impacting predictions that will have an adverse effect, even upon Americans. These foretelling's lack preconditions, which means they could happen at the present time. In my book and related DVD entitled, The Now Prophecies, they are explored and explained. Below is a list of some of them.
The NOW Prophecies include, but are not limited to, the following globally impacting events. They are the;
* Disaster in Iran - (Jeremiah 49:34-39),
* Destruction of Damascus - (Isaiah 17, Jer. 49:23-27),
* Toppling of Jordan - (Jer. 49:1-6, Zephaniah 2:8-10, Ezekiel 25:14),
* Terrorization of Egypt - (Isaiah 19:1-18),
* Final Arab-Israeli War- (Psalm 83),
* Decline of America (Ezekiel 38:13), (America is identified as the young lions of Tarshish)
* Expansion of Israel - (Obadiah 1:19-20, Jer. 49:2, Zephaniah 2:9, Isaiah 19:18),
* Vanishing of the Christians - (1 Corinthians 15:51-52, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18)
Apart from the Vanishing of the Christians, which alludes to the "Rapture of the Church," these prophecies are sequenced in the way that I suggest that they could happen. This represents my best guess of their order of fulfillment. This is not to say that any of these will happen in 2018, but one or more of them could. Also, the Rapture is an imminent event, which means that it could happen prior, during or after any one of the above events.
The Disaster in Iran (Jeremiah 49:34-39)
The prophecy of Ancient Elam in Jeremiah 49:34-39 could be the next biblical prediction to find fulfillment. I identify and explain this prophecy in the books and DVD's entitled, "The Now Prophecies" and "Nuclear Showdown in Iran, Revealing the Ancient Prophecy of Elam."
Presently, the Trump administration is attempting to corral the mutual enmity of Israel and the Sunni Muslim Arab states, namely Saudi Arabia, that has manifested towards Iran. In keeping with the age old saying in the Middle East that, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend," President Trump is encouraging an alignment between these strange national bedfellows.
Oddly, Saudi Arabia won't tolerate a Jew to visit their holy Islamic city of Mecca, but they might allow Israeli Jets to fly over Saudi airspace if they are on route to striking Iran. One of the most strategic targets in Iran is the Bushehr nuclear reactor in the ancient territory of Elam.
Elam is the subject of Jeremiah 49:34-39. The Bushehr reactor is a nuclear disaster waiting to happen and that appears to be what Jeremiah's prophecy describes. Modern-day Iran is the subject of two end time's Bible prophecies. About 596 BC, Jeremiah prophesied about Elam and about a decade later his contemporary, the prophet Ezekiel issued a prediction concerning Persia. These appear to be two different events and Jeremiah's prophecy seems to happen first.
For the sake of abbreviating this article, I defer your attention to the books already mentioned for more information about the details of both Jeremiah 49 and Ezekiel 38.
The Destruction of Damascus (Isaiah 17)
If Iran is attacked by Israel, Saudi Arabia or America, it is possible that it could result in a conflict that fulfills Jeremiah 39:34-39. If so, then there is a high degree of probability that Iran's proxies of Hezbollah and Syria could also become involved in the confrontation. If this happens, then the destruction of the Syrian capital of Damascus could occur in fulfillment of Isaiah 17. Isaiah 17:1 predicts that Damascus will cease from being a city. Isaiah 17:9 predicts that Israel is responsible for the elimination of the city. Isaiah 17:14 specifies that the city is destroyed overnight.
One thing could lead to another and then the other Now Prophecies listed above could follow in the aftermath. Once the Mideast genie comes out of the bottle, the lid likewise comes off Pandora's prophetic box. When the world witnesses the fulfillment of the next Bible prophecy, whichever one it may be, circumstances will likely spiral out of everyone's, including President Donald Trump's, control.
Conclusion: Let 2018 Be Your Wake-Up Call
Will 2018 be the year that sees the fulfillment of the next Bible prophecy? Could it be the one that triggers many more to follow soon afterwards? According to what we see developing in current Middle East events, this is well within the realm of possibilities.
Will Israel celebrate its 70th anniversary at peace in the Mideast, or will 2018 see a Jewish generation engage in a massive war with its evil neighbors? If so, might 2018 be the year that the Lord, "will utterly pluck up and destroy that (evil neighbor) nation," in fulfillment of Jeremiah 12:17?
Consider the following correlations that may make 2018, the 70th anniversary of Israel, prophetically significant.
1. The land of Israel experienced peace throughout the seventy years that the Jews were held captive by the Babylonians.
And those [Jews] who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her [peaceful] Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years. (2 Chronicles 36:20-21)
2. In contrast to the rest that the land of Israel enjoyed during the Babylonian captivity, that same land has had no peace over the past seventy years because of the evil neighbors spoken of in Jeremiah 12:14-17.
3. The evil neighbors had influenced the Jews to turn their worship away from the true God of the Bible and instead taught them to swear by the pagan god named Baal. This was one of the main reasons that the Lord gave the Jews over to the seventy years of Babylonian captivity.
"Because they have forsaken Me and made this an alien place, because they have burned incense in it to other gods whom neither they, their fathers, nor the kings of Judah have known, and have filled this place with the blood of the innocents (they have also built the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or speak, nor did it come into My mind), therefore behold, the days are coming," says the Lord, "that this place shall no more be called Tophet or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. (Jeremiah 19:4-6) Read also: Jeremiah 7:9, 11:17 and 23:13
4. Jeremiah 12:16 clearly instructs the evil Arab neighbors to swear by the name of Jehovah, like they taught the Jews during Jeremiah's time to swear by the pagan god Baal.
Do these past and present parallels above provide us with some prophetic clues about what might happen in the Middle East during 2018? Will God reverse the curse from Jewish worship of Baal in former times, to Arab adoration of Jehovah in modern times? Could this involve one or more of the evil neighbors being utterly plucked up and destroyed so that the land of Israel can experience some peace, at least for an interim period?
It won't be long until the answers to these prophetic questions will be known. But, if 2018 turns out to be the year that the next Bible prophecy finds fulfillment, how will that effect you and your family? Are you all prepared? Have you come to grips with the fact that the God of the Bible is the one true God? Does the existence of Israel in fulfillment of biblical prophecies satisfy your concerns about this important question?