We live in very serious times as we see the developments of potential wars and danger around us almost daily. Our entire world is like a boiling pot that could easily bubble-up and overflow its container. We see the horrendous killing of innocent life in Syria as many were recently gassed in appalling ways.

So much of our world is like a chess board where the pieces move and counter-moves are enacted, almost daily. Occasionally we watch as prominent pieces capture a bishop or a rook, and we are quick to pronounce that World War III. is beginning. And one can easily fall into this type of thinking because our world is in such a state of fluidity and chaos.

In ancient times there were men who knew the times and seasons that were happening around them. They had been given spiritual insight, and had developed these senses in understanding the world’s events with God's time table.

And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment. 1 Chron. 12:32

We need to be in tune with the Spirit of God in such a way that we can discern the times we are living in as these men had seen. But it’s so easy to jump the gun and declare that we are now entering into a World War III, or fulfilling prophecy according to how various countries seem to have their puzzle pieces fit together. We are bombarded with these types of assessments daily, and the images and verbiage can at first glance appear to be convincing.

One can easily lift out a portion of scripture and conclude that certain events that are unfolding¸ fulfill a particular prophecy from Ezekiel or Zechariah, or others.

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

Indeed, we are living in the last days, and probably some of the events leading up to the fulfillment of many of these prophecies is certainly approaching. But some things still need to happen until we are suddenly propelled into those events. We know from reading Matthew 24 that some of the details are now falling into place.

We can see that the human race would have the ability to exterminate itself. More and more nations are in a position of stock-piling hydrogen bombs that could exterminate great sections of the globe.

Jesus said in reference to this when He said, 'if that time of troubles were not cut short, no living thing could survive; but for the sake of God’s chosen it will be cut short.'Matt. 24:22

A Jewish homeland had to be reestablished in the Middle East. The end time focus is upon Jerusalem that is referred to as the Holy land.

'But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near . . . For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled' (Luke 21:20-22).

Jerusalem has been fought over many times over the centuries, and for a period of time in the 16th century, there was a period of time that peace was seen during the Ottoman Empire. They lived as a minority under Turkish rule, but this changed during the 20th century. Many have thought that these prophecies were fulfilled, and yet they still point to a future time:
In Zechariah 12:2-3 God says: 'Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah [the Jews inhabiting the land of Israel] and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.'

In Zechariah 12:9 He adds, 'It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.'

Many speculate about Ezekiel 38 and 39 in reference to Gog and Magog, and how Russia and Iran will form a military alliance and attack Israel from the north. We also read in Isaiah 17:1-3.
"’See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins. The cities of Aroer will be deserted and left to flocks, which will lie down, with no one to make them afraid. The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim, and royal power from Damascus; the remnant of Aram will be like the glory of the Israelites,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”

We see how Damascus has certainly had continuous bombing and horrendous air strikes that have killed many, and one has seen where once there were buildings and homes, now reduced to ruins and dust. We can see from history that Damascus was destroyed by the Assyrians even as early as 732 B.C. And yet, the continuous bombing and destruction of the city would cause one to conclude that this indeed, is a fulfillment of prophecy.

'Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.' (Matthew 24:7)
Our world has been involved in wars for thousands of years and yet, over the last 100 years or less, we have seen an intensification of these events unfolding in front of our eyes.

There are so many other references I could cite, and many others have written much more extensively on this subject than I have. And yet, there are other examples that speak of how relationships would change in society. We see this as outlined in 2 Timothy 3:1-5
But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, 3 having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, 4 betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, 5 having an appearance of godliness but proving false to its power; and from these turn away.

The events that lead up to these last days that we are now living in are of a result of a spiritual condition that has allowed darkness to replace the light that was shed abroad by God’s Son. Surely, these events will take place and nothing that we do can prevent them from coming. They are engrained in God’s prophetic time table, and an intensification of these things will come as surely as each day dawns upon us.

Matthew 24:24 states that even many of God's people could easily become deceived because of false prophets and/or teachers who come upon the scene. We have seen some of them already, and yet even some who conclude that this prophecy has been fulfilled or that one, can certainly become a subtle deceit.

For there shall arise false christs and false prophets and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

But even with the horrendous events that we see vividly portrayed in the media, and even in front of us at times, those who put their faith and hope in the Lord, will find safety amid these things. Let us be aware just as the men of Issachar were who knew of the times in which they lived, but let us not jump so quickly, that we conclude that we are now in another chapter, before we have read each other page first.

Stephen A. Hanson