Opening the Seals
In the book of Daniel, the prophet is told 4 times to seal the book (khotem חותם) and 3 times to shut it (sotem סותם). This is a symbolic gesture meaning both to preserve the writings (like the Dead Sea Scrolls), and also to indicate that the meaning and the fulfillment of the prophecies would be in the distant future.
That future has to come at some point. The book of Revelation opens the scrolls and sounds the trumpet (shofar שופר). With each day we are entering more and more into that end times period. While the apocalyptic prophecies are still only partial, their partial fulfillment is getting more “full” all the time.
We are in the beginning of that season now (Matthew 24:8). Although so many have felt disillusioned, I believe the Lord is using this situation as a lever in order to transition us into the present season or stage of prophetic revelation. Let’s not look backward but forward, and upward (Philippians 3:13-14).
Prophesy to Nations
Much of the book of Revelation describes the end times. There are prophecies that will be relevant to that period. Prophecy continues to grow and develop, just as the kingdom of God grows and develops in stages (Mark 4:26-29).
Prophecy declares the coming of the kingdom. Just as the ancient prophets declared the government of the king in their generation, prophetic ministry today is to declare the coming of Yeshua’s eternal kingdom.
In Revelation 10:11, John is told that he must prophecy again to many more peoples, nations, tongues and kings. This is not politics; it is declaring kingdom authority to nations and governments.
Was this mandate only to John personally and in his lifetime? That doesn’t seem biblical or logical. The prophecies are written in the Bible for all to read and proclaim. The Ecclesia is a prophetic community with the Spirit of God living in us, under the reign of King Yeshua. He is coming soon. It is incumbent on all of us to proclaim the good news of His kingdom (Matthew 24:14).
The Ultimate Prophecy
Each stage of prophecy reveals a new stage of the plan of God that was not known fully before. Before it is known, it is a mystery; when it is made known; it is a revelation. The Bible tells us in Revelation 10:7, that the last stage of revelation of God’s plan, the last mystery, will be totally unveiled at the sounding of the 7th shofar.
All the mysteries are already written in the Bible. However, at the right timing, God allows us to have a NOW understanding of what was written. The graphos (written word of God) becomes rhema (revealed word of God). The chronos (universal standard time) becomes the kairos (present timing coming to pass).
So, what is the content of that last stage right before Yeshua comes back? It is the most pertinent and appropriate prophecy for that moment: The kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom of God and His Messiah King – Revelation 11:15.
While this is not politics per se, it may be considered as the end of politics. The governments and their government leaders will submit to the Divine King.
Fear of God
The end of history also represents the coming of judgment day, when every human being will have to give an account of his life before God, both good and bad (II Corinthians 5:10). The prospect of eternal reward and eternal punishment is the basis of our fear of God. It is the basis of morality, of repentance, of the need for forgiveness, and of the urgency of salvation.
As we near the Day of Judgment, so will the fear of God become stronger and stronger in our prophetic messages.
Prophecy and Judgment
In the end times there will be much tribulation. Tribulation is part of the judgment of God. There are two dimensions to judgment: a dimension in this lifetime and an eternal dimension. The most gracious thing that could happen to anyone is to be more judged in this lifetime instead of being judged or damned eternally.
Our faith in Yeshua is that He took the judgment we deserve, upon Himself. Through His atonement, we are given pardon before the throne of God. That is the essence of grace.
Yet there are also judgments in this lifetime. Discerning those judgments is an essential part of prophecy. By its very nature, judgment has both good and bad in it: the wicked are punished and the righteous are rewarded.
When judgment comes to this world, it must involve “bad” events. That trouble or tribulation will get more and more intense as we approach the time of eternal judgment.
Let this not confuse us. In every judgment there is good and bad. Judgment involves intense difficulty. Yet the difficulty causes sinners to repent and the righteous to be refined. If we want to have prophetic discernment in these end times, we must recognize the “two-edged sword” aspects of God’s righteous judgments.
Prophecy proclaims God’s judgments and praises Him for them. May God give us wisdom to walk in that truth.