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2008 In Review

The Year In Prophecy- Part 1

By Ron Graff

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2 Peter 3:3-4

First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation."
- 2 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV)

Matt. 24:36-37

The Rapture

The Early Church expected Jesus to return soon, and so do we, two thousand years later! Skeptics have always had this same question. Jesus Himself warned believers that they could not know the date of His return to Earth (Matthew 24:36-37). But He did say it was right to be watching for the fulfillment of prophecy.

Matt. 16:2-3

He replied, "When evening comes, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,' and in the morning, 'Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.
- Matthew 16:2-3 (NIV)

The Olivet Discourse

Matthew 24-25

What would the world look like if end-time prophecies were about to be fulfilled? First, according to Jesus’ Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25), there would be a period of unrest, leading up to the Tribulation which would follow. Jesus said it would be characterized by wars and rumors of wars, famines, plagues, false Christs, terrors in the heavens and other signs of the times

New World Order


During this time there will be worsening conditions, like those we now see – all pointing to the need for a global government, and the hope of a great leader who could deliver the world from its many problems.

Our review this year will look at the Top 10 Prophecy Stories of the year. We will first consider “Wars and Rumors of Wars,” then “Global Government”, and finally, “Other Signs of The Times.”

Documentation for every aspect of this report may be found on the corresponding topic pages in Prophecy Central. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version

Wars and Rumors of War



At the end of 2008, GlobalSecurity.org listed 42 armed conflicts in the world, including 15 "major wars" (inflicting 1,000 or more battlefield deaths per year).

1 - Elusive Peace in the Middle East

Mid-east Conflict

The whole world is eager for peace to finally be established between Israel and the Palestinian people. Ever since Israel became a nation in 1948, there has been tension because the Palestinian people did not have a state of their own.

Many efforts have been made to solve this problem, but to date, there is still no agreement about how it can be done. The latest attempt was established by a summit meeting at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis in November of 2007. It used the “Roadmap” plan proposed by the so-called Quartet – the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia. Forty-seven countries attended, including most Arab nations. A joint statement by the attendees called for a permanent two-state solution, hopefully by the end of 2008.

Considerable progress was made toward the accomplishment of the peace plan during 2008, but there were serious set-backs during the year.

The most controversial aspect of the peace plan itself is the proposal to divide Jerusalem and even the Temple Mount in order to give Palestinians the ability to establish their capital there. According to the proposal, the Palestinian Authority could have a mayor and a police force for their side of the city. After five years, if everything is going well, the PA would be granted full sovereignty over the area.

Another sticking point is the continued growth of Jewish settlements in areas that will presumably be given to the Palestinians in the final agreement.

External antagonism against Israel by her neighbors has also impeded the peace process.

War of Gog and Magog

Iranian President Ahmadinejad has been a constant source of anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli rhetoric. He predicts that Israel will cease to exist. He has supported the Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon. In the meanwhile, Iran is racing toward the development of nuclear power, and presumably nuclear weapons. This has drawn threats from Israel that they would attack Iran’s nuclear sites, and counter-threats from Iran if Israel does attack them.

Syria and Israel have had separate peace talks about the possibility of Israel returning the Golan Heights, which was captured in the 1967 war. However, Syria is also supportive of Hezbollah. During the year, Israel destroyed a secret site in Syria where work had started on a nuclear facility. Syrians have the capability of deploying the Iranian ZelZal missile with a 250 km range and the sophistication to reach specific targets in Israel, such as airports, ports and factories.

Mid-east Conflict

Toward the end of the year, an Israeli politician said that Egypt may be planning to attack Israel and place troops in the Sinai Peninsula in violation of their peace agreement with Israel.

On Dec. 15th the United Nations Security Council passed its first resolution on Middle East Peace in 5 years. It endorsed the Annapolis peace process that was started by President Bush a year ago, and encouraged its implementation by the next US Presidency.



President-elect Obama has shown strong support for Israel in his campaign promises, the choice of Rahm Emanuel as White House Chief of Staff, Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, and Colin Powell in a newly created role as Special Envoy to the Middle East.

1 Thess. 5:3

Analysts say that the result of the Israeli elections early next year will also have a bearing on the outcome of the peace process.

A peace agreement might be just another phase in the age-old struggle between these nations, or it could be the false peace mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 5:3. While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (NIV)


War of Gog and Magog

Ezekiel 38

Revelation 6:3


2 - Threat of Nuclear Iran

When Israel finally is at peace, it will be the first time since they became a nation in 1948 that they have enjoyed such security. This could cause them to lower their guard, which would set the scene for yet another war. The next great war is predicted by Ezekiel (Chapters 38 & 39). Many prophecy scholars call this “The War of Gog and Magog” and relate it to the Second Seal of Revelation 6:3-4. The Seven Seals are developments during the future seven-year “Tribulation” period. The First Seal is the introduction of a world leader (Antichrist). The second seal is a great war. According to Ezekiel 38:1-2, the leader of this offensive is “Gog,” the head of the land of “Magog.” The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him.”

Magog has been identified since before the rise of the Soviet Union as the area of Russia and the countries nearby. Magog and his allies are nations that have developed from some of Noah’s close relatives in Genesis 10. They include other lands north of Israel, but also Persia, which is modern Iran; Cush, the ancient name for Ethiopia; and Put, which is Libya.


War of Gog and Magog

New Cold War


After the dissolution of the old Soviet Union, Russia pretended to be a model citizen of the world. But little by little, Russia has become less friendly and more threatening to her neighbors. Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent served the maximum term allowed as President of Russia. Then, in order to maintain his control over the country, he hand-picked the new president, Dmitry Medvedev. Medvedev, in turn, appointed Putin as Prime Minister of Russia. From this new position he has continued their massive military buildup, started a new cold war with the United States, supported the nuclear ambitions of Iran, and developed close ties with other Islamic nations.

In August Russia invaded Georgia, a former member of the Soviet Union, over the issue of control of the break-away regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. World leaders protested loudly, but Russia took its time withdrawing troops, and left behind controls over Georgia’s activities. Georgia is vital to Russia’s success in any attack to the South because it largely controls the Caucasus Mountain passes and has coasts on the Black Sea. It is possible that Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia came from the name “Tubal” in Ezekiel 38:2. The suffix “isi” means “land of.” The first four letters, “Tbil” could easily be a later form of “Tubal.”

War of Gog and Magog

Persia – Iran

Iran is on the verge of obtaining nuclear weapons and its radical president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wants to eliminate Israel completely. In fact, he considers it his destiny to prepare the way for the imminent return of the Islamic Messiah, The Mahdi. Shiite Muslims believe that before the Mahdi returns there must be global chaos, and Ahmadinejad is willing to be the one who creates the chaos.

Russia has supplied the materials and know-how for the development of Iran’s nuclear facilities. Russia supposedly agrees with Iran’s claims that their nuclear plants will only provide power, not weapons. But experts say that by late January, 2009, Iran will have accumulated enough low-grade enriched uranium for its “break-out” to weapons grade material within a short time. In February, they can move on to start building their first nuclear bomb.

In December Russia shipped weapons to Iran, presumably including their sophisticated long-range S-300 missiles that could be used to protect its first nuclear power plant now under construction at Bushehr by Russian contractors.


Mid-east Conflict

War of Gog and Magog

Israel –

The target of the War of Gog and Magog is little Israel, miraculously re-established as a nation in the last days (Read Ezekiel 36 and 37). Israel is portrayed as a nation at peace when this attack begins.

This Great War could be a nuclear attack, or it could be another supernatural event like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire and brimstone.

The cause of this war could easily be the fact that Israel is simply not willing to allow Iran to have nuclear weapons. They have said so repeatedly, and the U.S. has echoed the sentiment. On the other hand, Iran’s leaders have a deep hatred for Israel and the United States.

Both Israel and Iran conducted massive war games during the past few months to demonstrate their readiness for war over the issue. Israel deployed more than 100 jets to participate in exercises over the eastern Mediterranean Sea and Greece during the first week of June. Their planes flew a distance of about 900 miles, similar to the distance between Israel and the uranium enrichment facilities in Iran. Israel’s F-16I Sufa (“Storm”) fighter planes are considered the most sophisticated fighter bomber in the world today. They are specially equipped with aerodynamically designed external fuel tanks for added range. Israel also purchased two more Dolphin submarines from Germany able to fire nuclear-armed warheads. They already had three similar submarines.

In December Iran activated its 60-ship armada covering 50,000 square miles of the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz.


Daniel 9:27

European leaders say war should not be considered.

In December an unnamed source said that U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's administration will offer Israel a "nuclear umbrella" against the threat of a nuclear attack by Iran. This means that an attack on Israel by Tehran would result in a devastating U.S. nuclear response against Iran.

The dramatic end of this great war of the 2nd Seal could produce the treaty predicted in Daniel 9:27, which many prophecy scholars identify as the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation period

Iraq War



3 - Terrorism

Terrorism has had its ups and downs in 2008. Europe and the U.S. had periodic threats, but no serious attacks.

Iraq had the greatest number of casualties. The non-governmental organization, Iraq Body Count, said the number of deaths was between 8,315 and 9,028, or an average of 25 deaths per day. The good news is that this figure is down by two thirds from the previous year. Iraq became a safer place in June with the arrival of 30,000 additional U.S. troops in Iraq. This operation, known as “The Surge,” launched an offensive against Al Qaeda northeast of Baghdad. The troops were accompanied by attack helicopters, Strykers and Bradley Fighting Vehicles.



Suicide bombing was down considerably in Israel, due in part to cease-fire agreements with Hamas. But incessant rocket attacks by Hamas toward the end of the year caused much fear in Israel and resulted in a large-scale bombing campaign by Israel against military targets in the Gaza Strip. There have been hundreds of casualties in the ongoing battle.

The focus in the war on terrorism shifted this year from Iraq to South Asia. Terrorist attacks across South Asia have been linked to Pakistan. At the same time, security is deteriorating in Afghanistan. The November terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India were apparently planned in Pakistan. India almost attacked Pakistan in retaliation, but was held back by U.S. and British diplomacy

Wars and Rumors of Wars


In September North Korea reversed its commitment to disable its nuclear reactor because the U.S. had not yet removed their country from its list of terrorism sponsors.

Two reports in December predict rough times ahead because of terrorism. "Global Trends 2025 - a Transformed World” was released by the National Intelligence Council (US). It warned that by 2025 the world will be tense and unstable, and shadowed by war. There will be conflict over scarce resources, including food and water, and will be haunted by the persistence of rogue states and terrorist groups with greater access to nuclear weapons.

The government also published a report called "Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism." It warned that the U.S. is in danger of an attack by weapons of mass destruction by 2013, and predicts that such an attack could originate in Pakistan. It said that terrorists would be more likely to use a biological weapon than a nuclear one.

Part 2 - Part 3

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Last Updated: 1/13/09

Documentation, Scriptural references and illustrations
may be found in the various sections of
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“A World of Information About Bible Prophecy.”
Copyright © 2008 by Ron Graff.
Permission granted to use in churches or post on other websites as long it is printed or posted in its entirety.