This question was actually taken (with permission) from a conversation I had with a friend on Facebook. But since several friends have been asking me lately about similar questions, which always led me back to reading this to them, I thought it might benefit others by posting it on here.
Question: Hi Pastor Andy, I know you must be overwhelmed with the question lately, "Is this the beginning of the end?" But I am curious about what is your Bible-based opinion on the recent mass of animal deaths? I'm ready whenever Jesus calls on me! Thanks Andy for your time. I just love hearing what you have to say!
Thank you. I always enjoy your comments, for they challenge me to do the research for your answers.
I'm not familiar with massive animal deaths, unless you're talking about the birds that just fell from the sky, and yeah, that was weird! But there are some other elements from Revelation that I think you'll find interesting:
Now first of all, I believe I mentioned it before, but I strongly believe that Jesus will return in my lifetime (I'm 38 now). I honestly believe that Jesus has revealed this to me, but just didn't say when. But I'm encouraged by His words that He'll come like a thief in the night.
So I looked into some passages in Revelation, and found something interesting (blew me away when I read it, actually): Take a look at Revelation 16.
Verse 3: Now, some translations say that "the seas turned black". If you Google "seas turned black", you'll find a lot of suggestions, as well as a page that talks about a native tribe's prophesies about this. But if you look at some other translations, as well as the Greek, they don't actually say "black". The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead person, and every living thing in the sea died." When I looked up the color of blood of a dead person, most pages were just about how a body decomposes. The best pages were actually about period-spotting and miscarriages, and an answer on Yahoo Answers. They all said that old blood was a dark brown, or even a black color.
So if we look at the color of dead blood as black, we can actually compare it to the BP oil spill last year. Fortunately though, not EVERY living thing died, but many did, which could be a sign to it (although, we've had other oil spills in the past, and I believe Amoco's in the 70s was said to be worse than BP's).
Verse 8: "The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire. 9 They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him."
I'm just taking a stab here, for in a desperate comparison, we may be able to look at this as the Ozone issue we've got going on now. And instead of repenting and glorifying God (accepting Jesus?), people curse it off and call it "global warming".
Verses 12-14 are the ones that blew me away though:
"The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty."
This blew me away because:
12- "The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East." --- for the past 3 years, the Euphrates HAS been drying up (click on link). And if you'll look at the map, you'll see that the Euphrates River is in Iraq, and the people from the East is Iran. And yes, such are at war with Israel (still, again, and to come). And to get there, they'd have to cross this river.
13- "Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet."
I don't know who the 3 frogs are, but they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
I believe Muhammad is a false prophet. And when I see this, I can see how it was also foreseen as such, for Iran, Iraq, and the countries around the Euphrates are all Muslim countries, at war with Jews.
So maybe, THE false prophet is Muhammad, the beast is Bin Laden (or al queda), and the dragon is Satan...or Al Queda is the dragon, and Bin Laden is the beast. Either way, I believe that Muhammad is the false prophet.
And (14) "They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty."
19- "God remembered Babylon the Great (Iraq) and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath."
20 "Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found." (We're seeing news of many of these tsunamis, earthquakes, sinking islands)
21 "From the sky huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds, fell on people. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible." (It's snowed in Atlanta & Phoenix, both cities that doesn't get snow, and Chicago just beat its record in snow fall.)
Back to verse 15 = “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.”
When Paul & Simon (Peter) talk of casting off sin, they talk of it as throwing off your coat as if it's on fire. Also, the early church recognized the renewal of the person in baptism by stripping off their clothes on the way in, and being clothed with new, white robes, upon returning to the land. Also, when Adam & Eve sinned, their eyes were opened and they suddenly recognized themselves as being naked. So in that sense, to be naked is to have our focus' off God.
Also, to be awake is to work for the Lord. To be asleep is as one who's dead or idle.
Therefore, to remain awake & clothed is to not be idle or spiritually dead, but to keep our focus on Jesus, to remain in Him, and to not be idle in our faith/ministry. But many have become very literal in their faith, even deadened to the world's culture. I can see this as being naked, not awake (or dead), and shamefully exposed.
I also just heard on HLN news that due to the economic debt, the price of food may go up. This hits on with Revelation 6:6 - “Two (pounds) of wheat for a day’s wages, and six (pounds) of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!”
I agree with you that whenever Jesus comes is cool with me. It just blows me away each time I see something happen in the news that He said would happen near the end. It's like, I know it's supposed to happen, but wow, it's happening! :)