The best way to approach this is to build upon all that God is giving, a little at a time, and by doing so, we can construct a better foundation on which to build. We are living in exciting times, although they are very trying times as well. Yet it is within such an environment that we have been able to make some of the greatest spiritual growth, especially in the area of living by faith.
Herbert W. Armstrong would often refer to the fact that a third of the Bible is prophecy and that ninety percent of that concerns the end-time. It is rather fascinating when you take that another step further. Since the time of the Apostasy, we have come to see that a large amount of that ninety percent concerns the Church.
The first five seals of Revelation are solely about the Church. That is incredible, and the remnant has lived it. Those first five seals include much of the prophecy written about things the Church has experienced, including that which concerns the last two eras. We also see that even when the other seals were opened, the Church and God’s servants are still at the forefront of all that is mentioned.
We now understand that many of Christ’s prophecies, as well as many in the Old Testament have been about the Church. Much of the Book of Ezekiel is far more about the Church than it is about ancient Israel, yet there is also a duality that runs throughout that book that applies to modern physical Israel, as well as spiritual Israel—the Church.
Prophecy actually reveals the power and glory of God to fulfill His word, but it also reveals much about Him. We will be able to come to see that more clearly the further we go into this end-time and in the things that will be given to us over the next several months.
It was stated in the last post, “God has many ways to fulfill prophecy.” Prophecy was not recorded so that people could study it and then come to understand what it is saying. It wasn’t given so that mankind could try to figure it out. It doesn’t work that way. God has shown the Church that the only way a prophecy can become understood is if God reveals it through His prophets, or sometimes, even to apostles. This is simply the way God chooses to work with mankind and also His Church.
For many, there is something unique about prophecy that seems to spark great curiosity, along with a strong desire to know what God has written. It can be a very natural thing to want to know what is recorded that is prophetic, but it can also be spiritually unhealthy if one pursues such a thing with too much persistence or if one begins drawing their own conclusions. A person needs to use wisdom when dealing with things concerning prophecy. Wisdom cries out that there is no point whatsoever to pursue meaning that has not yet been revealed.
When God reveals the meaning of specific prophecy then it is good to strive to learn and understand the meaning that has been given, but not to go beyond that. This would be similar in seeking to grasp and better understand a new truth when it is given, but it is not wise to go beyond that to come up with new truth on our own.
In all candor, the Church has not necessarily handled this well in times past, but instead, has tended to delve into much speculation. A little speculation can then become more widespread and can begin to be taken as the truth. So we do need to exercise wisdom when dealing with what is only in God’s control to reveal when He so chooses.
These things are being stated because the Church is going to begin being given much more knowledge and understanding of end-time prophetic events and how God uses prophecy. This post and perhaps some that are coming will begin to give some basic building blocks that will help establish an ability to far more easily grasp that which God is now giving to His Church. Yet it will come in its time, when God determines it, and that will not happen right away. It will take several months before we work through this process. The timing is, as it always is—in God’s timing.
How It Is Revealed
Prophecy is one of those things that people often wrestle with as they try to work out what it means, how it will become fulfilled, or with whom it is about. Often, something stated about prophecy is taken by people to mean that it cannot change in any fashion or must happen in only one specific way. That is not true. God has many ways in which He can fulfill His own word, and again, the only way to know what any prophecy means, or is saying, is by what God reveals through His own prophets.
Although I find prophecy exciting, over time I have learned that unless it is God’s time to reveal something, I simply will not be able to know it. So I haven’t worried nor focused much at all on areas of prophecy that God simply has not drawn me to or is revealing. I have learned that in His time, if it is needful, He will give what is needed. So in many areas, I simply stay away because it is futile to delve into them unless God just gives it. Just because I am a prophet does not mean I understand prophecies. I can only know those prophecies that God gives to me to know, and absolutely no more.
Many prophecies are never even revealed until after they have been fulfilled. In this manner, God is glorified when we are later shown what He had written so long ago, and then how He brought it to pass. This is how many of the prophecies concerning Christ were revealed. The disciples came to see them later, after they had already been fulfilled. They did not know at the time, unless Christ specifically told them.
When the Church experienced the Apostasy, all that the Church had known and all that was taught, was that it was coming. We knew it was going to happen in the end-time, but we did not have a clue what it meant and how really destructive it would be. We didn’t have the slightest inkling of what this would mean for the Church. No one remotely conceived of the scattering and decimation it would bring upon the Church. Then once it happened, how many recognized it for what it was? Nobody! Absolutely nobody! The scattered body to this day still will not acknowledge that what the Church experienced was that prophesied Apostasy. Their leaders have not told them because they cannot “see” it.
The Church that was scattered did not grasp nor ever acknowledge what had been prophesied about Laodicea, that the Church at the end-time would be fully spewed out of God’s mouth and that the Church would be separated from Him spiritually. We only came to know that later, as God revealed to us what had happened to all.
Even after nearly 150,000 people experienced this Apostasy, how many understood that the stones of the temple Christ spoke of in Matthew 24 in which not one was left on another had now been fulfilled? The Church was shaken throughout and all were cast down, but they did not know this had been fulfilled. Who proclaimed the man of sin, the son of perdition, had been revealed? No one! Who knew that Matthew 25 was a prophecy that pertained to all the Church and that all (all ten virgins) would be caught spiritually asleep? No one! Why? There were no prophets.
Concerning the first five seals, who knew these were about the Church and not the world? No one until God later revealed it to His Church! These things simply go to show that much of prophecy is not really fully understood until it has already happened, and then God reveals what it is that He fulfilled. Even after many things are fulfilled, it is not obvious to others. It is still not understood until God reveals it, and does so through His prophets.
When God has recorded prophecy in scripture, He has recorded things that He will bring to pass. How He does so is not always set. There is not one way for doing it, although many believe otherwise.
Some Are Set and Others Can Change
There are some things written in prophecy that are set and cannot be changed, and there are other things that are not set and can change.
During Noah’s day, God gave people 100 years in which they could choose to listen to Him if they wanted to do so. God already knew their minds had become so corrupted that no one would listen, yet they did have the choice. They chose not to listen. God told Noah that he was going to bring a great flood upon the earth because of the evil of mankind, and Noah told this to others. This prophecy God gave through Noah was set and the flood was going to happen. Since God already knew their minds had become so corrupted that they would not listen, this prophecy was set and it could not be changed. It became a matter of a set judgment from God.
All the prophecies concerning Jesus Christ were set and God fulfilled them in explicit detail, without any change or variation.
Prophecy concerning the seven revivals of Europe is set and the fact that ten nations will emerge out of the seventh revival is set and cannot be changed. But who those ten nations are have not yet been set, except for one, and that is Germany.
The prophecy concerning WWIII is set, and the extent of the destruction that will be caused by mankind is set. God is going to allow mankind to use the weapons it has made so that people will have to come to acknowledge that if He did not intervene mankind would destroy itself. Mankind must come to see the extent of the destruction that has come as a result of his own ways. Over 2.3 billion people will die as a result. That is set, and if God did not intervene when He did, nothing would be left alive. The level of this destruction covered by the Sixth Trumpet prophecy will not change.
The Seven Trumpets of Revelation are set, and the United States of America will collapse as a result of the first four trumpet prophecies. That will not change. The extent of the destruction from these can change, and now may even become worse, yet this can all change also. This is an example of where one of the greatest factors for change can occur, and that is fully dependent upon who and how many will listen to God and then begin to change. If that occurs, there is great room for change within a prophecy.
There is more that will come out later about much of this, but these are some of the beginning building blocks for being able to come to greater understanding of how God works within the structure He has established through what He has had recorded in prophecy and has inspired to be written about it in these end-times.
Everyone is familiar with Jonah who was a prophet of God, whom God had sent to Nineveh with a prophetic message that within a specific period of time He was going to completely destroy them because of their evil. That great city-state listened and began to repent. The king had sent out a decree that all people and animals should not eat or drink, but that they should fast before God, and that they should turn from their evil way and the violence in their hands.
The king concluded by saying, “Who can know if perhaps God will turn from His fierce anger so that we do not perish?”
If people will begin to listen to God, and to turn from their evil ways, then God’s will above all things, is that specific prophecy directed against them can be changed. If it is known that there is a “great potential” to bring people to listen to God and repent, then God may well alter parts of prophecy to allow for change.
There is a basic structure that God has given for the fulfillment of prophetic events. God will bring that to pass, similar to following a blueprint in the construction of a building. The primary structure that is to be built can be set, while yet allowing for many other details that can be changed within it. Most all of that allowance is directly connected to whether people will listen to God or not. Obviously, mankind’s track record for listening is quite poor, but even in this, if there is a means whereby people can be moved to listen and repent, then God will pursue that if it is possible. He is a God of mercy.
The example of Nineveh is a good one when looking at this very thing. God’s purpose all along was to show mercy and not to destroy Nineveh. Yet the evil had become so great that God would have destroyed them if they had not responded. God knew that there was potential to turn Nineveh from their violent and evil ways. How God worked with Nineveh to deliver to them the prophecy about their destruction is what stirred them to respond so that they actually were moved to believe what Jonah told them.
You know what the record of mankind is like concerning whether or not they will listen to God. It has been quite dismal. During more than 50 years of Herbert W. Armstrong warning mankind, no one listened and began to make changes except those whom God specifically called to become part of His Church. Many world leaders liked him and heard what he had to say, but they didn’t listen to God. God has clearly revealed the bull-headedness of mankind, which resists and refuses to listen to Him. Only at a time when mankind brings great destruction upon itself, or when God intervenes to chasten mankind, will it show signs of a willingness to listen to Him. However, even then, many simply will not, no matter how bad things get.
The basic structure given in the prophecies about this end-time have a detailed outline describing them. There are Seven Seals, and at the opening of the Sixth Seal, the First Thunder of the Seven Thunders sounded. The Seventh Seal is divided into Seven Trumpets, and then the Seventh Trumpet is divided into the Seven Last Plagues.
This is a very specific structure that God gave for a final countdown of end-time events that would lead to His Son returning as King of kings. Although this is a very strongly structured outline of prophetic events for the end-time, some of the details to occur within this structure have changed and they may change a few times more the closer we are to Christ actually standing once again on the Mount of Olives.
A Rapidly Changing World
There is one very important area that God is now revealing where great change can occur, and it is in those things that will be fulfilled concerning the Fifth Trumpet. The Church has already experienced some of the fulfillment that was spiritual in nature that was revealed to be part of this trumpet sounding. However, there is much change that can now occur in how and what is fulfilled in the remaining details of this trumpet. God is now working to give many more greater “potential” to now be saved through this period in order to live on into the Millennium. Some of this involves things that are much like what happened to Nineveh and how they were prepared to listen to God’s prophecy against them.
However, even though God works to give mankind greater ability to become motivated to listen, through unique means geared to humble them so that they might start turning from their evil ways, that does not mean that they will so. People always have free choice, and as long as they do, the outcome of things cannot be fully known.
A lot has changed in this world since 2008. Mostly, the world has become more corrupted. During this period of the past seven years, the United States has accelerated its corruption the most, and at an alarming pace. But beyond this, its pride has accelerated even more. This has had a great impact on the way prophecy will now be fulfilled against it, as compared to what would have happened in the 3½ years before Pentecost of 2012.
It is coming, but for now, it is important to know that through the first half of 2008, God was moving forward with His plan to have Christ return on Pentecost of 2012. What happened and why is an awesomely inspiring story about God’s greatness and His power to fulfill His prophetic word. By mid-2008, God made a judgment to alter certain prophetic details within the overall structure of prophecy concerning when His Son would become established as King of kings. God’s prophecies are not limited nor constrained by time nor are they closed to matters pertaining to mercy.
As a result of how rapidly the United States has become so much more deeply corrupted and filling in pride over seven years, the attitude of other nations toward it has also accelerated in such a fashion that details concerning prophetic events that would have been fulfilled to humble it and overthrow it have been changing. There is actually far, far greater potential for other nations to now listen and repent compared to that of the United States.
All that is coming and will be allowed to happen during great tribulation on this earth is about humbling the world to a point that when Jesus Christ once again stands upon the Mount of Olives they will be ready to listen.
All that was going to transpire before Pentecost of 2012 was a direct result of more specific judgment that had come upon the world, and specifically the United States above all others. That which is transpiring now is a matter of God working with the world in a different manner than He was before 2012, when an execution of judgment was simply going to be poured out. Now, similar in purpose of design in what God did with Nineveh, He is now working to provide a far greater potential for many more people throughout the world to become motivated to truly listen to Him.