Matthew 24 and Luke 21: Jesus is telling His disciples about the signs of the times to look for when He is to return:
False Christs: No new ones that I'm aware of but there's always the Imam Mahdi expected by Muslims, and there's always the Pope, the main Antichrist of them all, currently Pope Francis who is frequently in the news these days
Wars and rumors of war: North Korea, Iran
Earthquakes in diverse places: Japan and Ecuador in the last couple of days.
Pestilences: Ebola and now Zika
Persecutions of Christians and other nonMuslims: All over the world wherever Islam dominates
"I extend the word Israel to all the people of God, according to this meaning, When the Gentiles shall come in, the Jews also shall return from their defection to the obedience of faith; and thus shall be completed the salvation of the whole Israel of God, which must be gathered from both; and yet in such a way that the Jews shall obtain the first place, being as it were the first born in God's family.
...as Jews are the firstborn, what the Prophet declares must be fulfilled, especially in them: for that scripture calls all the people of God Israelites, it is to be ascribed to the pre-eminence of that nation, who God had preferred to all other nations...God distinctly claims for himself a certain seed, so that his redemption may be effectual in his elect and peculiar nation...God was not unmindful of the covenant which he had made with their fathers, and by which he testified that according to his eternal purpose he loved that nation: and this he confirms by this remarkable declaration, that the grace of the divine calling cannot be made void."
(see Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. XIX, Epistle to the Romans, Baker Book House, 1981, p. 434-440.)
======================================= Jonathan Edwards
"Jewish infidelity shall be overthrown...the Jews in all their dispersions shall cast away their old infidelity, and shall have their hearts wonderfully changed, and abhor themselves for their past unbelief and obstinacy. They shall flow together to the blessed Jesus, penitently, humbly, and joyfully owning him as their glorious King and only Savior, and shall with all their hearts, as one heart and voice, declare his praises unto other nations...Nothing is more certainly foretold than this national conversion of the Jews in Rom. xi.
Besides the prophecies of the calling of the Jews, we have a remarkable providential seal of the fulfillment of this great event, by a kind of continual miracle, viz. their being preserved a distinct nation...the world affords nothing else like it. There is undoubtedly a remarkable hand of providence in it. When they shall be called, that ancient people, who alone were so long God's people for so long a time, shall be his people again, never to be rejected more. They shall be gathered together into one fold, together with the Gentiles...."
(The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume 1, Banner of Truth Trust, 1976, page 607.)
I did some posts some time ago on occultic symbols such as the symbol at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul that had some kind of strange effect on me from just seeing it, also the Triquetra which has a similarly strange effect, and also the Star of David, which interestingly does not have that kind of effect on me although I understood at the time that it has a similarly occultic origin. The lack of such an effect on me is interesting -- to my mind anyway -- since it turns out it may not have an occultic origin after all. (I'm sure others think my having any kind of identifiable feeling in response to a mere symbol is crazy or evidence of theological error, but oh well. I'm just reporting on my experience for whatever it's worth. I think it could be the supernatural gift of discerning of spirits, but I realize that such gifts are not supposed to be given to us these days and for the most part I've accepted that idea.)
Now today Chris Pinto on today's radio show has uncovered another way of understanding the Star of David that is far more satisfying (since I'd really rather not think of Israel as flying a flag with an occultic symbol on it).
This explanation goes back to Prague in the year 1648 when they came up with the symbol as a way of honoring the Jewish people for their service to the nation in fending off an attack by the Swedes. It was Jesuits whose research established the symbol and it's based on the Hebrew letter "D" for "David" which was in its archaic form a triangle. It's made up of two "D"s for the first and last letter of the name David. It was originally called the Shield of David, rather than the Star of David, and when and how it became the Star of David is apparently unknown. All this is according to the research of historian Israel Shahak.
This makes a lot of sense it seems to me and is simply a lot more satisfying explanation than the notion that it had an occultic origin.
I can't keep up with this stuff. I've had to let many of Chris Pinto's recent programs go by without comment because I'm focused elsewhere. But I have to make at least a brief mention of today's program. It's titled Fox News and the Vatican, but it also covers developments in Greece as their neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party has been gaining power there.
The story about a Fox News consultant's being hired by the Vatican to improve their public relations is certainly interesting too, but as Chris Pinto points out, the rise of the Greek Golden Dawn party is an echo of Nazi Germany that isn't getting the attention it deserves.
The depressed economic situation in Greece is unfortunately similar to Germany's position after the first World War, a pretty desperate situation in which people have been committing suicide. Such a situation in Germany laid the groundwork for Hitler's rise as their savior. The Golden Dawn party in Greece is violent, much like Hitler's thuggish brown shirts. Recent stories include the fact that 50% of the Greek police voted for the Golden Dawn, and that a Golden Dawn elected official physically attacked a woman who represents the Left -- on a TV program.
The Golden Dawn also has occultic/satanic roots, as did Hitler's government.
More specifically, the Golden Dawn uses a swastika symbol, promotes Hitler's Mein Kampf, and denies the Holocaust.
Thanks to Chris Pinto I'm now convinced of at least some elements of an end-times system called Historicism, as opposed to Premillennialism, Amillennialism, etc. etc. I haven't studied it yet and all I really know is that he and others -- ex-Catholic priest Richard Bennett for instance -- have shown that the Catholic Church was recognized by true Christians from very early on as the Harlot Church described in the Book of Revelation.
That means that at least some of the scripture verses that these days are often taken to refer to future events have already been fulfilled, most of them having to do with the Antichrist and the false church of Rome. That doesn't mean that there can't be yet a future fulfillment of all these things as well since the Catholic Church is hardly a thing of the past.
I haven't yet embraced Historicism as a system, all I know is that I've been learning a great deal about church history lately, things today's churches don't seem to know anything about, that don't fit into any of the other end times systems.
It still seems to me that the seventieth week of Daniel is awaiting future fulfillment. It may be that some events today's churches often think of as yet future and belonging to that future period of seven years have already been fulfilled, but that doesn't eliminate the possibility of their also having a future fulfillment as well. But there can only be one fulfillment of Daniel's 70th week, and that must be future.
In light of what I've been learning it's rather depressing to hear Christian ministries, even watchmen/discernment type ministries, talk about the Roman Church as if it were a Christian Church, such as Jan Markell's ministry Understanding the Times where today she was interviewing Ray Comfort about the Holocaust and neither of them seemed to have a clue to the dominating role of Rome in that event, and in fact the modeling of the Holocaust on the Inquisition. Such as the yellow star to identify the Jews, which goes back to the Inquisition.
And here the European Union is shaping up to be the Fourth Reich or Holy Roman Empire and few have any idea. Great Tribulation (insofar as there is yet to come a future expression of this) = revived Inquisition, new Holocaust?
Chris Pinto just goes on talking in his calm matter-of-fact way knocking the wind out of me with his revelations. This guy reads, that's why he knows so much. He has the instincts of a real scholar, a real historian. He can back up what he says with convincing evidence because he really does know what he's talking about.
I've lost trust in some other Christian watchmen who rely only on a few current sources, have no sense of context, no sense of history, no "time" to read and therefore behave like a loose cannon shooting everything in sight without discrimination. It's appalling, for instance, to hear the great men of Christian history and even today's church denounced as "devils" because this ignorant Christian teacher knows nothing about them other than a few quotes he's picked up from some source he doesn't question. Calvin, Luther, "devils?" I've read a great deal in both of them and it is clear from their writings that they were able to bring about the Reformation because they saw through the evils of Roman Catholicism and put Protestantism on the solid rock of the Bible. You can make anybody out to be a devil if you know only a little about some mistakes they made.
But it's also possible you are trusting in lying propaganda about them and not knowing it. In this world things are NOT as they seem, and after listening to Chris Pinto for a while and seeing his films I'm more convinced of that than ever.
On the subject of the Protestant Reformers, he did aseries of radio shows in September of last year showing how they've been seriously and irresponsibly misrepresented by some writers today, including Dave Hunt who is otherwise often a good teacher. [the link isn't exact, you have to find the September shows yourself]. Pinto, who does not identify himself as a Calvinist, nevertheless recognizes that what Calvin taught about predestination and free will that is so often vilified these days is in fact Biblical. In fact some of us who do identify ourselves as Calvinist do so only because we also recognize that fact -- our real authority is not Calvin at all but the Bible. I HIGHLY recommend this series of radio shows, some six or eight on this subject.
And don't dismiss out of hand the possibility that some of this anti-Reformation propaganda is being engineered by Rome. I've never been much into conspiracy interpretations of history -- usually encountered as wild assertions with little actual proof -- but the evidence Pinto musters for a complex network of interwoven conspiracies that all ultimately derive from Rome through the Jesuits is staggeringly convincing. Although I view Rome as the seat of the Antichrist as did the Reformers, and working constantly to spread their influence in the world, I don't usually think of this as operating on so many levels and with such organized intent as Pinto shows is the case. Influencing the minds of Bible-believing Christians is a constant objective for instance, of course under cover, without revealing the Jesuitical source. They are master propagandists. Undermining the Protestant Reformation was the original aim of the Jesuit order on its formation.
Almost everything Pinto discusses comes back to Rome eventually. All the wars, Hitler and Nazism, Vietnam, waterboarding. Fox News. Apostate movements in the Protestant churches. The Masons the mule carriers for Rome? The American Revolution a Roman conspiracy? Along with carefully constructed lies to deny such involvements including recent denials of the Inquisition as ever having existed. I can't even absorb all this. I keep having to listen over and over just to get the basics into my head.
When the final Antichrist comes he'll have the Roman Church behind him just as Hitler did, of course with a lot of disinformation and decoys to keep this from being clearly recognized, and a huge huge network of interlocking conspiracies going back centuries and tunneling from the Vatican like a dizzying maze of gopher burrows.
Don't take my word for it. I can barely keep all this stuff straight. Just go hear Chris Pinto.