Why are there so many end time’s scenario movies and TV shows? People have an inherent fascination with the future, and in particular, apocalyptic themes. And the box office receipts are confirmation of this. In this episode Jeff and Todd explain why this may be the case from a Biblical standpoint.
Learn more about Jeff, Todd, and their books here.
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Todd: Welcome once again to the Prophecy Pros Podcast. Jeff, what are we talking about today?
Jeff: Man, we’re talking about Hollywood’s obsession with the apocalypse. I mean, isn’t that crazy. There are so many movies that have been produced that have come out about the end times, but apocalyptic events, past, present and future that what’s the deal with that? I mean is there something there we can talk about? A couple of years ago I wrote a book called As It Was in the Days of Noah and just talking about prophecy and how Jesus said the end times will mirror the days of Noah.
Jeff: One of the reasons I wrote that book, Todd, was because they were coming out with this movie called Noah with Russell Crowe, and if we know one thing about Hollywood and the Bible is they typically get it wrong and of course it was a swing and a miss as well, but it really kind of heightened people’s awareness of the end times, apocalyptic events and that type of thing and it really brings up the question as, are we now living in a time where we’re [inaudible] history is sort of converging into this biblical intersection that’s been prophesied thousands of years ago and we see these things that are happening in our world and people are asking… the Christians are asking are these signs of the times? Because I read recently a recent Pew Research poll said that some 41% of Americans adults believe we are living in the end times.
Jeff: And when you ask that question to church churchgoers, about 77% believe we’re living in the end times, but I think it’s very important to consider the fact that we’re not just looking at the world, looking at the headlines, looking at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram feed, and then getting our theology and our beliefs based on that. We want to make sure the Bible is our GPS on this thing and make sure that what scripture says is what we follow, but even with that, there are a lot of ways I think that people kind of miss how to approach this whole idea of prophecy and just a few minutes I want you to really get into some of the signs that are happening in the world today but I think one question that people ask me a lot is that Jeff, how can I know, how can I understand Bible prophecy?
Jeff: And so there’s a couple of things that… principals I think we need to talk about and one of them is the fact that prophecies are kind of like road signs sometimes. You see a road sign and you want to kind of know what’s the road sign telling me to do. And part of the nature of Bible prophecy is that some prophecy is revealed over time. It’s almost like a pixelated photograph that you can’t really understand it. Is not really defined, colors and that kind of thing but over time it kind of comes into view, comes into focus if you will and some Bible prophecy is like that, and so as you read the Bible and as you see some of these things that may be a little blurry even those prophets in the Old Testament the Bible tells us that they look forward to seeing these prophecies unfolded and yet they couldn’t see how they would all together. They all had different parts of it and that leads me to the second principle of prophecies is that some of them contain like missing pieces.
Jeff: In other words, not every Old Testament prophet was given the whole picture of the coming Messiah. This guy had one part of it, this guy had another part of it and it sort of like Wheel of Fortune. The consonants are there but the vowels are not there so you’re trying to solve the puzzle without having all the puzzle pieces together and what the Bible does over time is fill in those pieces of the puzzle. Some people make prophecy and they mistake certain things for Bible prophecy.
Jeff: People say things like, oh, you know, well there was an earthquake here, there was a tornado, a typhoon here, and they try to directly tie that into Bible prophecy, and I think that’s one of the obstacles or the pitfalls rather that we have to avoid is authoritatively saying that this event is definitely prophesied in the Bible. There’s not a verse for that that it’s really hard to kind of make that fit. Although it may be a part of something general that’s happening, at the same time we have to be real careful about mistaking prophecy for something else or misidentifying prophecy.
Jeff: By the same token, Todd as you know, I mean sometimes it’s just plain as it can be. I mean, it’s like the Bible says it. Boom, this happened and you’re going to talk about one of those today. I’m excited to hear about that. One final thing I would say just to kind of setting this whole thing up, is that some prophetic signs that we see are discernible. I mean, you can actually discern it, but you can’t tell where it is. You can’t tell where on the timeline it is. It’s like we used to drive to El Paso across Texas. It would take us like years to get across Texas. Ridiculous state.
Todd: It’s a country to itself.
Jeff: Yeah. Exactly. It’s like going where no man has gone before and we would go to El Paso and we drive like 15 hours and the way you know you’re getting close to El Paso is you see this range of mountains called the Franklin Mountains and when you see the Franklin Mountains, you’re like, man dude, there’s hope in the future. We’re going to make it kind of thing, but it’s like you keep driving and the Franklin Mountains don’t seem to get any closer. You know they’re there but you just don’t know when you’re going to get to them because of the depth perception problem there as you’re driving.
Jeff: I think prophecy is like that sometimes. We can see things in the Bible that are specifically been prophesied but God hasn’t put a timetable on that. We always have to be careful about putting a date, you know, an hour on different prophecies. I mean, that’s way… a lot of people sensationalize prophecy today and so we have to be real careful about that kind of thing but yet we can still see the prophecy that’s actually going to happen.
Jeff: And again what we mentioned last time is that the Bible has a 100% accuracy record with regards to things that are going to happen in the future, so we don’t have to be afraid. God’s got this thing in control but we have to use some principles of interpretation and say what the Bible says and not try to go beyond that in an authoritative manner. With that in mind, let’s talk about Hollywood for a second. Again, what are some of the other Hollywood blockbusters that have come out about the end times, apocalypse that kind of thing.
Todd: Well, I mean, of course the big famous ones you can think of, Armageddon and zombie ones, all kinds of… but even recently, like original programming on Netflix and some of the others, there’s been things that are [inaudible] straight up, no holds barred right about the end times. It’s a topic that’s on everybody’s mind. Honestly, even I think a lot of the global warming stuff is people sensing that this world is winding down. Jesus called them birth pains and said there was all kinds of natural things, calamities that would take place in increasing measure like birth pains as we got close to the time of the end but anyway, yeah, Hollywood just… it’s the elephant in the room. Everybody knows there’s something broken, there’s something… it’s winding down. This can’t go on forever the way it is. Certain things are just getting worse and worse.
Todd: I just read a article the other day from CNBC, completely secular newscast and it says almost 40% of the world’s countries will witness civil unrest in 2020. I mean that speaks volumes. That’s not cyclical. That’s not… I mean, yes, there has always been civil unrest but it’s at a different level now and… so it’s the elephant in the room that everybody knows is there or the 800 pound gorilla that we got to stare in the eyes but the beauty is we have hope, we know the answers and like you said, Bible prophecy does have the answers and it is kind of giving one puzzle piece at a time, which is why you really need to study all of scripture, but there are some simple ways to put handles on that. Like I often tell people who are new to Bible prophecy, study Daniel, the Olivet discourse and the book of Revelation.
Todd: Daniel’s kind of the Revelation of the Old Testament, so to speak. It kind of… it’s the framework that everything else fits into and the Olivet discourse was Jesus is second longest teaching and it was about the end times. It was all about end time events and that fits into Daniel and then of course John with Revelation gives us a lot more of the details of the tribulation period and whereas in Daniel, he was told seal up the book, it’s not time yet. John was told it’s unsealed, it’s revealed. It’s all right here. It’s definitely… I guess what I’m saying is it’s definitely something God wanted us to know. It’s not super easy to figure out, it takes a little bit of work but if you use logic and if you start with the premise that God’s word is ordained by God, it’s God-breathed. That the Holy Spirit, just like it says in Peter, that the Holy Spirit breathed it into existence and that every single word is there on purpose, then you can be confident when you kind of put those puzzle pieces together.
Todd: And as you do, a picture will emerge that gives you some really concrete things.
Jeff: That’s a great point though you made about Daniel. Daniel says… God says seal it up. Okay. Then you get to Matthew and Jesus in the Olivet discourse and they said, Jesus, “What’s going to be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
Jeff: And Jesus didn’t say, guys, we don’t talk about the end times. It’s like… no, you’re not supposed to… No he told them. I mean he spent this long discourse telling them all these-
Todd: That’s right.
Jeff: …specific things that we read about in Revelation and then of course Revelation. I mean the word revelation, the great word is apokalypsis, which we get our word apocalypse from, but it literally means the revealing. It means to reveal something. God does want to kind of fold that thing and we see sort of with… like you were saying the headlines and the things that are going on in the world today, whether it be with the climate change, or the threat of nuclear war or with countries that are imploding economically or whatever, collapsing. All these things that are getting people’s attention. Certain nations that are making threats against Israel and potential World War III but on the other hand you’ve got Hollywood doing all these other things, you know, giant meteor’s going to come destroy the world or aliens are going to come.
Todd: That’s right.
Jeff: Like world wars kind of thing. World War Z like you mentioned, all that stuff. Well we know when we leave the movies, we don’t leave the movies really scared. We just go, wow, that was entertaining but then we look at the real world we go, well this is not entertaining.
Todd: That’s right.
Jeff: This stuff that’s really happening, so it’s kind of like we have the fantasy on the one hand. We have the fear on the other hand but now here comes the faith.
Jeff: Now what does the Bible say? What are some of the… sort of the big Mount Everest prophecies that the Bible predicts for the end times?
Todd: I mentioned, I like teaching people who have never engaged with Bible prophecy before and so I try to find simple ways to put handles on it for them. I’ll often point people to just one big section of scripture. I’ll say, read Ezekiel 36 through 39. You’ve got the valley of the dry bones in 36 and it’s… a lot of times I’ll hear people equate that to God reviving us or salvation, like New Testament stuff but really it’s all about the nation of Israel becoming a nation again and I mentioned in the last podcast that every single Old Testament prophet except for Jonah predicted the return that Israel would come into his land again after a long period of time when its people were dispersed all over the world and harassed everywhere.
Todd: I mean it couldn’t be more specific about what scripture says and then followed up right by that… right after that. After the rebirth of Israel is what’s called the war of Gog and Magog and that’s in Ezekiel 38 and 39 but primarily 38. It talks about… and we don’t have time to kind of unpack why these are the countries but you can do research whether it’s with Josephus, the old historian of the time and other extra biblical references, but basically the nations that are described are the three primary ones, are Russia, Iran and Turkey and they are partnered now for the first time in history. They’ve been enemies. I mean it just… it made no sense even 20 years ago, even 10 years ago.
Todd: It made no sense for them to be allied and even the secondary countries that scripture says in Ezekiel 30 are going to be with them. They’re now forming partnerships with, and what I tell people too is before Israel became a country like in the 1600s, early 1700s the Puritans were among first and some other people saying that, but the Bible says Israel is going to be a nation again. They’re going to become a literal physical nation again and people said, you all are crazy. Well, it happened. Just like scripture says. Every detail of the condition that led up to it and even how they had to fight for their existence after it.
Todd: Even the fact that before they are in their land, it was a desolate wasteland. Now they export fruit to Europe and actually now this lines up with Ezekiel 38, they just discovered the biggest oil and gas fields in the Mid East right off the coast of Israel and some areas on land to where now they’re actually just last week or a couple of weeks ago they partnered with, or they signed an agreement with Greece and Cyprus. They’re going to be piping oil and gas to Europe. Basically they’re cutting into Russia’s only means of really sustaining their military, which again, this is a lot of details I’m throwing at you, but it all ties if you read Ezekiel 38 it all ties in perfectly and the reason I bring that up, the Puritans was… they used to say they were crazy 10, 20, 30 years ago. Prophecy teachers that were saying Iran, Russia and Turkey are going to ally together to the North of Israel in Syria, which isn’t even really a country anymore.
Todd: People told them you’re crazy. Look at it. The landscape don’t look anything like that. Well now in real time right before our eyes, this is happening.
Jeff: That’s a great example of how we can see what the Bible says first and then look at what’s happening in the world.
Todd: That’s right.
Jeff: …instead of just seeing what’s happening in the world and making some wild predictions or doomsday scenario, whatever. You mentioned Israel becoming a nation again. I mean, the Jews are the only people group in world history, in the history of mankind that have been enslaved, been in captivity, and then been dispersed for 20 centuries to 70 different nations and all of a sudden… and their language had died, their language is gone. Somehow, some way they retain their identity and they began… really beginning in the 1800s, 19th century, really flooding back to the holy land and like you said, God began to bless the land again as they came back.
Jeff: Now today as we speak, more Jews are living in Israel than in any time since the first century, since they were scattered in 70AD and they… like I said, God is blessing that land but also they’re still pouring in. They’re just pouring in day after day after day and on May 14th which is oddly enough, my birthday.
Jeff: 1948, not my birth year okay. I want to make that very clear. Okay. Israel became a nation again officially and if you were to… read some of the prophecies about like you said, the dry bones of Israel being rebirthed and that type of thing, before that date, I mean a lot of people would have said, no, you’re crazy man. There’s no way they can do it. I don’t know how you can interpret those Old Testament passages any other way now that Israel has become a nation again and in fact, as you know, Todd, the book of Revelation, many of the events in Revelation cannot take place unless Israel is living in the land.
Jeff: Well guess what folks, they’re in the land right now and they retaken possession of land. That to me as you were talking about, is one of those mountain peaks that is just like staring people in the face. It’s undeniable.
Todd: And Jeff in one of your books, I’m blanking on which one it is at the moment, but you use the analogy of an airplane crash at the top of a mountain and how you all went looking for it because it was so big that the Air Force just never recovered it. They just left it up there and for a while you were wondering man are we even on the right mountain peak? But then the closer you got to the actual crash site you saw a bolt here, a spring there. You started finding pieces and then generally the closer you got to the crash site, the more that you saw and that’s the same… I love that analogy by the way and that’s the same thing we see with the super sign.
Todd: Once Israel was a nation again, all the other signs that Jesus talked about in the Olivet discourse like birth pains are ramping up big. All this other stuff that we’ll get into in future podcasts fell into place after Israel became a nation again and I just want to challenge listeners to really analyze that. Really digest that like is there any way any of that’s coincidence? If not, the Bible is true and we need to really pay attention to it and again, we just tried to hit on this all the time. That stunning Bible prophecy is a topic that just brings the entire Bible to life in a real practical way in real time.
Jeff: It really does and I’m reminded of what John wrote in 1 John chapter two. I believe is verse 18 where he says, children, it is the last hour. People say, are we living in the last days? Well, guess what? According to scripture, the last days began with the New Testament church. With the first century and so the real question is, are we living in the last of the last days?
Todd: That’s right.
Jeff: And I think as we look at these Bible prophecies like Israel being fulfilled again, it’s like God… he paused the prophetic clock for like 2000 years and now he started that clock again. It’s like the old hourglass turned upside down. The sand has started coming down. Now we don’t know how long that’s going to take-
Todd: That’s right.
Jeff: But it does tell us that something is going on and I like to quote my friend Mark Hitchcock says. He says when you’re in the grocery store and you hear Christmas music plan and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, you know that Thanksgiving is near because Christmas music is playing already, and when we hear the music of prophecy being played in the world as it were through some of these fulfilled signs that tells us that we are nearer than we’ve ever been before.
Todd: That’s right.
Jeff: …and in fact very near because those signs are being fulfilled. I would say like you said, Israel is that miracle sign. It’s been called the miracle in the Mediterranean. It’s sort of like the super sign of the end times and so we cannot avoid Israel and we cannot avoid the fact that she’s become a nation again and that leads us to other Bible prophecies, doesn’t it?
Todd: It really does. From the way culture is now. Is it first or second Timothy that talks about the coarseness of culture that men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of pleasure, lovers of money, rude… having the form of godliness but denying its power. I mean, every descriptor there lines up with our day. I mean you can tell a lot by a culture from its art. If you look at our musicians are… and I’m not trying to be crotchety old man saying no kids no music today, but just really when you look at the way music it is, I mean it’s always been edgy, but if you look at it now, I was actually… a couple of years ago when one of my kids was in middle school and then went to a roller rink in our area and it was a kid’s day.
Todd: I mean it was middle schoolers and down. There were birthday parties whole nine yards and they were playing some of the most, and again, I’m not… approve by any means, but they were playing some of the most vulgar stuff on this giant video screen in the middle of the roller skating rink and literally, I remember seeing this little girl, I get choked up when I think about it, when I think about it.
Todd: This little girl was looking up at it, taking it in, and you could see the concern on her face. Number one, her innocence was being lost. You could just see like, I’ve never seen that before to where I went to the manager and I said, dude, do you all really have to play this? And he was like, we got to give the people what they want and I said a couple of other things to him. Just said I wouldn’t be coming back. My kids wouldn’t be coming back and that it was kind of ridiculous but anyway, culture is coarsening. There are spiritual signs whether it’s revival in Iran and some of the darkest areas of the world to… we’re in a post Christian culture now. The people are leaving churches in droves and there’s all kinds of apostasy creeping in. Those and many other signs are all occurring in our day.
Jeff: They are, I mean, church attendance is on decline, on a huge decline. The largest “religious group” today in America, according to [Barna] is what he calls the [NANS 00:19:39].
Todd: The NANS.
Jeff: Yeah. Those who have no religious affiliation of whatsoever and I know that many of our listeners who are listening to us right now they’re thinking [inaudible] church really ain’t that big of a deal anymore to a lot of people and it’s kind of one of those things where maybe the church has not shown its relevance to your life and that type of thing and you’ve got churches that are kind of pendulum swinging everywhere from being full on entertainment venues to people that are just preaching with loud voices and you’re like, gosh, I don’t really fit in either one of those places, just give me something for my life and I want to know God better.
Jeff: Part of what we’re seeing happen, as you say, in the end times, the Bible predicts a falling away from the faith, which we’re seeing whole denominations depart from the Bible. Just recently, the Methodist Church has completely split of the homosexual issue, that type of thing but also you think about some of these other things related to Israel. The Bible says that there’s going to be a temple, there’s going to be rebuilt, the Jewish temple. I believe it’s going to be built on the Temple Mount and that’s where the sacrifices will be re-instituted again. We hear about that in Daniel chapter nine. We hear about it in Revelation chapter 11 and you say, okay, so the Bible says the temple’s going to be rebuilt, so what?
Jeff: Well, here’s the so what. In 1987 the Temple Institute was founded and there are group of Jewish believers that are committed to the reinstitution of the Jewish priesthood and the rebuilding of the temple and just recently, all three Israeli candidates for their leadership in the whole country of Israel, they’re all pro-temple. They all say we want to build it during our administration. The other thing too is that you can go on the templeinstitute.org and find these things, their blueprints they’ve drawn up for the temple. They are training priests by the dozens. They are even instituting sacrifices. Does that tell us when it’s going to happen? No it doesn’t but it does tell us that God is renewing that interest and that passion in the Jewish people and they’re ready and as we know anything about the Jews, we know that when they put their minds to do something, it’s probably going to happen but in this case, God’s going to make it happen through prophecy.
Jeff: The third temple that’s going to be rebuilt in Jerusalem is a highly significant event and location and happening in end times prophecy.
Todd: You and I talked about in episode one how we both came from unchurch backgrounds and I was a teenager and I remember one of the things that tripped me up was like that the Bible said they would re-institute sacrifices in the end times and I was like, that don’t even make sense. Like who does that? Who’s got a passion or a drive to even do that anymore? That’s just so old school and here it is happening in our day. You cannot make this stuff up. Everything that even I thought was crazy is now happening and three other sign categories came to mind as you were talking.
Todd: One of them is just globalism versus nationalism and a lot of people don’t realize even the division in our country. They see it as left and right. Democrats versus Republicans but really when you look at like Brexit, the impeachment and Israel going for an unprecedented third round of elections, it’s really globalism versus nationalism. It’s really… and the reason that’s biblical and prophetic is that we learn from scripture that in the end times it will be a global government run by one guy and associated with that is another category and that’s technology. The technology that is needed for the things in Revelation and Daniel to happen have never been in existence until our day. I mean, we could do a whole podcast on that but from weaponry to artificial intelligence to surveillance technology, I mean there’s so many things.
Todd: Even simple things like Revelation says that the two witnesses being killed in Jerusalem will be seen by the entire world. Well, that wasn’t even possible until recent times. I mean, why would John write such an insane thing that obviously was not possible at that time. And then a third category is Jesus does talk about in the Olivet discourse that earthquakes would increase, and obviously we see that all kinds of world catechisms are increasing every time something happens, whether it’s a typhoon or flood or earthquake, it’s unprecedented. It’s once in a thousand year flood. It’s birth pains and one of the most compelling things that I saw, and I used it in a Bible study I taught a couple months ago, was I found a video that was made from a secular source, but it was using USGS earthquake data from 1900 until current times and literally you… and it’s all condensed.
Todd: It’s about a minute and a half long and you can see as time goes along, especially once Israel was in the land again, all of a sudden earthquakes just started lighting up everywhere and by the end you’re just like, they’re just all over the place. That sign definitely is another one that… like you said, when one big nature thing happens, you can run into dangerous territory saying this means that but when you look at the overall data and the overall thing that lines up with what Jesus said, it’s another one that should get our attention.
Jeff: Just another prophecy coincidence, right?
Todd: Exactly. It’s accidental.
Jeff: Well, and really leading into our next episode. I think this is important because you mentioned globalism, you mentioned the fact that really the world kind of becoming one and something has to trigger that. Something has to help cause that to happen. We’re going to talk about that-
Todd: I can’t wait.
Jeff: …in the next Prophecy Pros Podcast, what is the triggering event that’s going to launch us into… launch the world rather into this final age. So that’s next time.
Todd: Absolutely. We can’t wait to share that with you. Any information you want to find out about us, just go to prophecyprospodcast.com and also again, we just want to reiterate this. If you have questions or there’s things you want to know about, things you want us to talk about, please let us know. We want this to be a conversation and we want to make sure that we’re hitting the mark with what you guys are listening to. Again, just go to prophecyprospodcast.com.
Jeff: Look forward to it.
Todd: And for more resources and show notes, how to contact us, how to ask questions, go to prophecyprospodcast.com. Hey, we’ll see you next episode or maybe not. Maybe we’ll see you in the air.