Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Talk of Apocalypse reaches from US President down

Raiders News Network

Talk of Apocalypse reaches from
US President down
Hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, and the threat of a deadly flu pandemic: Are global events unfolding something bigger?


"And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring" (Like 21:25).

Several years of epic events have witnessed a growing number of the world's population wondering if something prophetic is transpiring.

First came 9/11 and the beginning of the war on terror. Then a tsunami in Asia killed approximately 250,000 people. Hurricanes Katrina, Wilma, and an earthquake In South Asia followed, which claimed tens of thousands more lives. 2006 witnessed leaders of countries referencing terms like "Apocalypse" and "Armageddon" to describe the uneasy times. 2007 has started out with record snowfalls in parts of the US, the national weather service is predicting even more blizzards, and experts warn that a deadly avian flu virus could pass over to the human population at any time in a full-blown pandemic, potentially bringing global markets to their knees.

It's enough to make anybody wonder what in the world is going on.

For many folk, these are the signs of the End Times.

Over at RaptureReady.com, a popular website that serves as a kind of Dow Jones Industrial Average of end time activity, the "Rapture Index" is hovering at 160, a rating meant to indicate when loyal Christians will disappear from earth just before the beginning of the Great Tribulation. The website keeps tally of a wide variety of world events based on reflection to Bible prophecy, and anything above a score of 145 means "Fasten your seatbelt" for departure. The website's owner, Terry James, has a new book called The Rapture Dialogues that is endorsed by Dr. Tim LaHaye, co-author of the Left Behind series of books. Rapture Dialogues envisions an imminent "great deception" in which "aliens" deceive the world following the Rapture of the Church. A sequel to the book is planned for later this year.

Another book due out this month purports to explain current global events as the fulfillment of ancient prophecy. Published by Anomalos Publishing, Apocalypse Soon: The Beginning of the End documents recent history in light of the books of Revelation, Ezekiel, and Daniel, and concludes that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have started their destructive ride. The book is already the subject of two made for television documentaries.

So close is the correlation between recent events and end times prophecy, that even President George W. Bush was asked last year following a speech on the War on Terror whether he believed the war in Iraq and the rise of terrorism were signs of the Apocalypse. Bush said he hadn't thought of it that way, but author Bob Woodward noted in his book Bush at War, that just three days after 9/11, the president during the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance at the National Cathedral in Washington seemed to act as if he had found himself within a fantastic cosmic scheme, declaring that the nation’s responsibility to history was already clear: "to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil" (1).

By taking up the language of "good vs. evil," Woodward said, the president was "casting his vision and that of the country in the grand vision of God’s master plan" (2).

According to Woodward, the prophetic context for war in the very land associated with future Armageddon (and against Saddam Hussein, no less, the man who claimed to be the reincarnated Nebuchadnezzar) held for Bush the Manichean language necessary to play out a "divine mission" while earning him admiration from certain supporters who saw the reconstruction efforts of Babylon under Saddam Hussein -- followed by the War on Terror -- as signs pointing to the Apocalypse.

Biblical scholar Bruce Lincoln’s examination of a speech delivered by Bush to the nation on October 7, 2001, announcing the U.S. attack on Afghanistan (3) produced redundant references from Apocalyptic books of the Bible concerning the End Times. Lincoln's research seemed to support Woodward's claims, that the president's word craft was a strategy "of double coding" to secretly appeal to people who saw Bush as a devout Christian standing up to the enemies of God in an unfolding event in the Middle East, which they believed was foretold in the books of Revelation, Isaiah, et al.

Of course George W. was not the first American president to use language associated with end times prophecy. Who can forget Ronald Reagan’s view of the Soviet Union as the "Evil Empire" and his feeling that war in the Middle East might draw "Gog" into nuclear war and fulfill biblical prophecy. In his 1984 debate with Walter Mondale, Reagan admitted, "No one knows whether those prophecies mean that Armageddon is a thousand years away or the day after tomorrow."

Democrats too have been known to employ language that could be seen as "coded" to appeal to the beliefs of devout persons or patriots. When Rep. Nancy Pelosi on January 4, 2007 assumed her roll as speaker of the House at the opening of the 110th Congress, she stated that the founding fathers were so confident in "the America they were advancing, they put on the seal, the great seal of the United States, ‘novus ordo seclorum’—a new order for the centuries."

The new speaker did not go into detail as to why the phrase "Novus Ordo Seclorum" was important dialectic during the momentous changeover of the control of congress. Nor did she explain why "Novus Ordo Seclorum" exists beneath the unfinished pyramid and the All Seeing Eye in the Great Seal of the United States. Her reference may have been a simple coincidence, but the origins of the motto "Novus Ordo Seclorum" and the use of it in this historic speech was interesting in light of possible prophetic events happening around the world.

The term "Novus Ordo Seclorum" (A New Order of the Ages) was adapted by Charles Thomson in 1782 when he was designing the Great Seal of the United States. According to the official record, Thomson created the phrase from inspiration he found in a line in Virgil’s Eclogue IV: "Magnus ab integro seclorum nascitur ordo" [Virgil's Eclogue IV (line 5)], the interpretation of the original Latin being, "and the majestic roll of circling centuries begins anew."

Ironically, Christians since the middle ages have held that the Cumaean Sibyl of Virgil’s Ecologue IV prophesied the birth of Jesus Christ and that it was this arrival of the Savior that gave rise to "the majestic roll of circling centuries begins anew," or New Order of the Ages. Virgil himself was believed to be a prophet in this regard, and that is why Dante Alighieri selected him as his guide through the underworld in The Divine Comedy. The Cumaean Sibyl is also prominently featured alongside the Old Testament prophets in Michelangelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel. Some say this fact played a role in Thomson’s "inspiration" for "Novus Ordo Seclorum" taken from Virgil’s Ecologue IV.

Yet upon reading Virgil’s text, the divine son that comes of the Sibyl’s prophecy is a savior unknown to Biblical theology. "He" is to be spawned of "a new breed of men sent down from heaven" who receive "the life of gods, and see Heroes with gods commingling." According to the Sibyl’s prediction, this "messiah" would be the son of Jupiter and come when the Roman god Saturn returned to reign over the earth in a new golden age (the Novus Ordo Seclorum), when Apollo rises again through mystical "life" power given to him from the gods.

From the beginning of the poem we read (4):

"Now the last age by Cumae's Sibyl sung Has come and gone, and the majestic roll of circling centuries begins anew: Justice returns, returns old Saturn's reign, With a new breed of men sent down from heaven. Only do thou, at the boy's birth in whom the iron shall cease, the golden race arise, Befriend him, chaste Lucina; 'tis thine own Apollo reigns. …

"He shall receive the life of gods, and see Heroes with gods commingling, and himself Be seen of them, and with his father's worth Reign o'er a world…

"Assume thy greatness, for the time draws nigh, Dear child of gods, great progeny of Jove! See how it totters- the world's orbed might, Earth, and wide ocean, and the vault profound, All, see, enraptured of the coming time! Ah! might such length of days to me be given, And breath suffice me to rehearse thy deeds, Nor Thracian Orpheus should out-sing me then, Nor Linus, though his mother this, and that His sire should aid- Orpheus Calliope, And Linus fair Apollo. Nay, though Pan, With Arcady for judge, my claim contest, With Arcady for judge great Pan himself Should own him foiled, and from the field retire. Begin to greet thy mother with a smile, O baby-boy! ten months of weariness For thee she bore: O baby-boy, begin! For him, on whom his parents have not smiled, Gods deem not worthy of their board or bed."

Therefore according to the Sibyl, the New Order of the Ages occurs when a special "son" is born on earth, a new messiah who comes of "a new breed of men sent down from heaven" when "heroes" and "gods" are blended together. This sounds eerily similar to what the Watchers did during the creation of Nephilim; to what scientists are doing this century through the creation of transgenic human-animal chimeras, and to what the Bible actually describes as the Antichrist being the "son" of perdition" (2 Th 2:3, Apoleia, from which we make Apollyon, the demon destroyer). Note the similarity of the names Apollo and Apollyon.

Patrick Heron believes the pagan Sibyl may actually have pointed to a false Christ who appears during the end times Apocalypse, and that the Novus Ordo Seclorum prophecy of a coming special "son" who leads mankind to a New World Order could be fulfilled anytime. According to scripture, Heron says, the near future will produce a man of superior intelligence, wit, charm, and diplomacy who will emerge on the world scene as a savior. He will seemingly possess transcendent wisdom that enables him to solve problems and to offer solutions to many of today’s most perplexing issues. One of his most important accomplishments at the very outset will be to broker a peace treaty between the Jews and Palestinians. He will also lead the charge in rebuilding the long awaited Jewish Temple. This is especially interesting given that, just this month, an Israeli archaeologist and Hebrew professor claims to have pinpointed the exact location of the original Jewish Temple, a potentially important step toward the fulfillment of the Temple reconstruction prophecy.

According to some, this Antichrist will appear at first to be a man of distinguished character, but will ultimately become "a king of fierce countenance" (Dan. 8:23). With imperious decree he will facilitate a one-world government, a universal religion, and global socialism. Those who refuse his New World Order will inevitably be imprisoned or destroyed, until at last he exalts himself "above all that is called God, or that is worshiped, so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God" (2 Thess. 2:4).

When asked why he believes prophetic signs at this point in history could be pointing to the Antichrist and the end of times, Patrick Heron says, "I believe God is warning people, giving them one last chance to believe before the judgments of God, as revealed in the Book of Revelation, begin to fall on earth."

Grizzly Adams Productions, a well known producer of family-friendly television shows who has created original programming for Discovery, PAX, NBC, CBS, the Learning Channel and other networks, found the insights presented in Heron's new book, Apocalypse Soon: The Beginning of the End engaging enough that in 2006 they acquired the worldwide television and DVD rights to the work. Their first documentary based on the book was titled, "End Times: How Close Are We" and was broadcast nationwide during sweeps weeks in 2006. The show connected with viewers, and the DVD has become the all-time bestseller at such places as WorldNetDaily.com. A second documentary based on the book -- "Apocalypse and the End Times" -- aired in October and has done equally well.

"Throughout human history, cultures from the Hopi Indians to biblical prophets have shared stories about the end of the world," notes David W. Balsiger, a producer on the "Apocalypse and the End Times" special. "We sought to examine these legends and look to modern scientific findings to get to the truth behind current events and these ancient stories."
Even the mainstream press picked up the "Apocalypse" theme in 2006. CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Times, BBC and others ran feature stories on the US presence in the Middle East, focusing on the possibility that it signaled the End Times Armageddon spoken of in scripture. CNN devoted several entire news segments with Paula Zahn concerning the possibility that the biblical Apocalypse might actually be here (Watch Media Matters Video).

More recently, however, language of the Apocalypse was raised again when the Doomsday Clock was pushed forward at The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists by two minutes, marking 11:55 before midnight, five minutes before the figurative end of civilization.

Like Judaism and Christianity, Shiite Islam also gives credence to an end times event involving the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam. Devout believers in Iran assume the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam will occur when he emerges from a well at the Jamkaran mosque. Iran's president, Ahmadinejad gave $17 million of government funds to support the shrine and has said that the mission of the Islamic Revolution is to pave the way for the coming of the Twelfth Imam. Some believe Iran is on the verge of obtaining nuclear weapons and that Ahmadinejad has little inhibition about using them to start Armageddon. President Bush has reaffirmed his commitment to keeping Iran from possessing nuclear weapons, and he has not ruled out using force to accomplish this goal. Students of prophecy see this as potentially more than saber rattling between the two countries. They believe it could trigger the final Apocalypse.

As for Dr. Heron, he begins in Apocalypse Soon by focusing on scientific evidence showing a sharp increase in bizarre weather patterns including a 500 percent increase in tornadoes last year, record-setting earthquake activity, the threat of a worldwide bird flu pandemic, growing famine, disease, and the exponentially higher risk of all-out nuclear war involving lands identified in the Bible as central to End Times prophecies.

In the middle of his book, he analyzes this data and determines that it aligns perfectly with the ancient prophecies, which he believes points to the imminent appearing of the great man of sin, the Antichrist.

Finally, Heron concludes with America and Europe in prophecy. He looks at the famous dream of the ancient king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, who saw what many believe to be the final global kingdom -- a revived Roman Empire. But "a careful examination of the prophecies relating to this future government specifically state that it will be a global confederacy," Heron says. "It is not confined to one geographic area. It will be a club of ten members ruled by ten kings who will serve the interests of the Antichrist. I have no doubt that Europe and the USA will play prominent roles in these future alignments."

Apocalypse Soon: The Beginning of the End
End Times: How Close Are We
Apocalypse and the End Times
The Rapture Dialogues


(1) President's Remarks at National Day of Prayer and Remembrance, Office of the Press Secretary, September 14, 2001 http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010914-2.html

(2) Bob Woodward, Bush at War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002), p. 67

3. Bruce Lincoln, Holy Terrors (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), pp 30-32

4. Translation by John Dryden, as published by Georgetown University, http://www.georgetown.edu/faculty/irvinem/gendersextexts/texts/eclog4.html



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