Trend: Iconic Last Days & False Images—Part II
with all the rapid transformations that have impacted the world this past
century—particularly those changes that have either coincided with or
accelerated after the refounding of Israel—literal Bible believers are wise to
ponder the last day significance of these trends. As such, in Part I of this
series we posed this question: In the cosmological timeline of the world, just
why should it be that the technology of “images” should play such a prominent
surely has much to say about images and visions (i.e. false images, graven
images) and their interplay with our eyes (i.e. … “The eye is the lamp of the
body”—Matthew 6:22). We have only scratched the surface and are specifically
focusing on the communication revolution involving images in these last days. In
this respect we noted that a unique development of our time is the proliferation
of images, whether in the form of icons, pictures or the video. These images are
an inextricable part of our culture and have had an enormous effect upon the
concluded that our generation is being prepared to be deceived by images—and
ultimately by the image of the beast (Revelation 13:15). Yet, at the same time,
God allowed it to be so in order that our intensely “image conscious” generation
would also be ideally equipped to understand endtime prophecy.
with the investigation of our iconic age—the endtime era of “communicating
Visions Specifically Selected
Not all prophecies given to the Old Testament prophets were recorded in the
Bible. For example, it is mentioned that in the latter times of Eli—up until
Samuel came on the scene—that there were not many visions.
Says the Bible, “In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not
many visions” (1 Samuel 3:1).
Even though there were not many, we know that few as they were, they were not
Also, consider “the visions of Iddo” mentioned in 2 Chronicles 9:29. We do not
know their content since they are not recorded in the Bible. Why were not all
visions given to the prophets preserved for our benefit in written form these
thousands of years later? For one reason or another, they were not necessary for
us to study.
Obviously, all recorded prophecies in Scripture were meant for the future, and
therefore mostly future generations. We also know that some prophecies were not
to be fully comprehended until the latter times. For example, recall that Daniel
was told that the meanings of his visions would not be fully deciphered by the
Jews until a much later period. After asking for further clarification because
he did not understand, he was told, “the
words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end”
This indicates that some of Daniel’s visions were intended for different
generations. Also, on various occasions, prophets were told that their
prophecies applied to the distant future
(see Daniel 8:26 and Ezekiel 12:27). Such prophecies would have been of
little practical interest to people living at the time of their utterance.
We can conclude then that the prophecies recorded in the Bible may serve
different purposes for different generations. To be sure, all Scripture is
profitable for teaching (2 Timothy 3:16). From our era, looking back, fulfilled
prophecies testify to their veracity, proving that “God
is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his
mind” (Numbers 23:19).
We can therefore be certain that all prophecies recorded in Scripture that are
yet unfulfilled, will yet occur.
But what of all the prophecies that did speak of the far future—namely the last
days … the very last days? Here, we make two interesting observations. A high
proportion of prophecies that apply to the latter days (we are referring here to
the Great Tribulation) and that provide the greater volume of detail about this
period were given in the form of graphic, symbolic visions. By comparison,
earlier prophecies were more likely to be in the form of “the Word of the Lord”
or acted out symbolically. Here we think of Ezekiel lying on his right side for
390 days (Ezekiel 4:9) or the prophet Ahijah rending Jeroboam’s cloak into 12
pieces (1 Kings 11:30).
But why should God have chosen to primarily communicate to later generations
(such as ours) in visions which are rich in symbols and imagery? In Part I we
reasoned that it is likely no coincidence that God aligned the form of
prophecies to allow our “image-conscious” generation to better understand their
meaning and form of communication.
To see this connection, let’s examine a few prophetic issues as might a modern,
media-savvy, video-watching individual.
How to Produce
More than a few times in my profession I have fancied the notion of being able
to see into the future. As a global investment strategist and economist, I would
certainly be successful if I could. However, even if a blue genie popped out of
a lamp and offered me the wish of “picture-perfect” future vision, just how
would I request to receive it? This is a very important question, one that could
make all the difference in how I would be able to interpret the future.
Putting yourself in that position, just how would you request the future to be
disclosed? Would you like to be able to view the future from the present time
point? Or, would you wish to astro-travel into the future and view things as
they are at that time. This is a critical difference. You would be writing down
this vision with a very different reference point. For example, John the
Revelator spoke of some of the events taking place in Revelation as if he was
seeing them from that future time point. In order to more correctly understand
his vision, we would need to know the reference time point.
Also, just what effects would be used to produce the vision? For example, how
many time points in the future would you want to observe … in other words, how
many picture frames and at what speed? Would you request a single non-moving
picture (a still-frame), or a time machine and make a stop at various times
points, perhaps every week, year or 50-year period? The problem with any of
these approaches is that some very significant details could be missed. It would
be dangerous to act on any vision with incomplete information.
On the other hand, would a prophet be enabled to watch a continuous video
(vision) of the future? Of course, if that were possible, they wouldn’t really
be seeing into the future. In a sense, one would be living in real time at that
future point, just as we are in real time at this very moment. Once the vision
was completed, it would be a case of Rip van Winkle waking up, back to his own
world, at a much older age … or already dead. Therefore, when receiving visions,
prophets will want to see them at fast-forward speed and not miss any of the
All of the foregoing description serves to point out the technical problems in
the viewing of the future. It would be foolhardy to rely upon just any vision …
let alone, imagination. Now we can understand a bit better the vital role of the
Holy Spirit had in ensuring that the interpretations of the Old Testament
prophets were accurate and true. Whatever
the graphic form of the visions, the Holy Spirit played a role in communicating
the specific words of prophecy to the prophets.
For the Bible
says, “For prophecy
never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were
carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).
The prophets then wrote them down for future generations to read and interpret.
The Prophetic Video Camera
Other aspects of modern video technology may help our understanding of Bible
prophecy. For example, consider the surveillance camera. Normally, these devices
point at a fixed view; others move in a regular or random arc. Yet, they remain
attached to one mounting spot. So it is with the Bible’s perspective of prophecy
and historical events. It takes the view of a camera that is installed as if
This camera of the Old Testament focused upon the live action in this general
Middle Eastern area, swinging its angle of view as far east as Susa in Elam,
north to Assyria and Babylon, and south-west to Egypt.
The world’s major successive powers of those times, such as the Assyrians and
the Romans, are only caught on this surveillance camera as they trample across Israel and Judah. They are bit actors, not even
deserving their own camera installation.
Later, in the New Testament, the arc of the camera widens somewhat, but not
much, roving as far as Rome and more northern
parts of Asia Minor. In our time today, this camera would still not
have captured long glimpses of America on its footage. At best,
this nation would only make few and fleeting cameo appearances—minor
interventions over the past century, and more recently, the incursion into Iraq.
Yet today, the video camera of Bible prophecy still remains fixed to its
pedestal above Israel, limiting
its arc of view to the general surrounding area. It has not moved from its spot.
This perspective is often overlooked by Bible readers, given that the majority
of the world’s Christians (also the greater world populations and economies) lie
outside the line of this camera’s view. Given this dominance, we might therefore
think that most of the important action in the world is in America, in China,
Europe or perhaps other wealthy or populous
countries. But where do we see these
countries in our prophetic video tape?
The Bible at best only gives mention to these countries as either “islands of
the seas”; the “kings of the east”; or Gog from the far north (Ezekiel 38)
without even turning its camera in their direction. Imagine this insult to the
developed, high-income countries supposedly running the world order of today.
They hardly even merit mention in the final credits.
The Deluge of False Visions
Fitting our iconic times, false visions full of symbolic images abound today. An
epidemic of vain imaginations seem to be expressed today in the form of
self-professed visions. In them Jesus is supposedly seen in various sizes and
ages (from 900 feet tall to the form of a
little baby). Also, what are claimed to be angels are making regular
appearances, bearing new revelations and “new and improved” enlightenment that
directly contradicts Scripture. The apostles anticipated that this would happen,
“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the
one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!” (Galatians 1:8).
Despite this clear warning and the fact that angels never speak messages
of their own, people still flock to various new revelatory gurus — whether
claimed as Christian or otherwise — without ever thinking to check out what the
Various new movements amongst supposedly Christian sects rely heavily on the
visions of their new modern-day prophets. To have received a vision from an
angel (however defined) is taken as a badge of a “higher level” Christian.
Anyone opposing these false prophets, even with Scripture, is charged as
“hindering the Spirit.” Again, Apostle Paul knew this would happen, saying, “Do
not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels
disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he
has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost
connection with the Head […]” (Colossians 2:18-19)
And, as the Head is also the Word, these
people will also have lost connection with Scripture.
It is perhaps
significant that both Ezekiel and Jeremiah, who were contemporaries, both warned
against false visions and prophets. It was that time just before
was conquered by the Babylonians and the “time of the Gentiles” began. Today, in
our blurred time of icons, the world is again at an endpoint and is being
besieged with false visions and dreams.
“They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the
delusions of their own minds” (Jeremiah 14:14).
Our post-modern world is open to these visions. And why not? After all, they are
no less believable than many movie plots.
In the not too distant future, the world’s news cameras will show the very
scenes prophesied. The world will see graphic images of the “signs and wonders”
that the False Prophet will perform and will gaze upon the dead bodies of the
Two Witnesses lying dead in Jerusalem.[i]
Given the globally-linked news networks today, such distant scenes will not be
surprising to the world. Today, only 3 major news agencies are the source of
over 80 percent of news feeds. And, interestingly, there are now more reporters
per capita in Israel
than anywhere else in the world.
God’s goodness has allowed that the wiles of our enemy, though devastating to
the unwary, can also have a parallel positive effect. As such, even as the
volume of both information and images has exploded today, serving to distract
and clutter our minds (See Midnight Call
magazine, “The Business of Snatching Minds,” November 2004) at the same time
important information for the discerning and seeking person is more accessible
than ever before. Though much of humanity is deadened by the drivel of trivia
and amusement, at the same time there can be no excuse for not knowing the Truth
… the Gospel. It is at our fingertips as never before … if we seek it.
So it is with the age of images. Even as the eyes of the world are distracted by
the appeals and beckonings of a kaleidoscope of moving images, our conditioning
to this medium at the same time may help open up the images of prophecy. Yet,
all along the world is being conditioned to become vulnerable to the “image of
the beast.” This phrase is mentioned exactly 10 times in the Bible, a number
that frequently coincides with the meaning of systemic and planned completeness.
We trust the images given to the prophets through visions imparted by the
“Spirit of Jesus” that are recorded in Scripture. It would be safest to ignore
entirely all that claims to be new prophetic visions today.
visions are false and their divinations a lie. They say, "The LORD declares,"
when the LORD has not sent them; yet they expect their words to be fulfilled.
Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, "The
LORD declares," though I have not spoken?” (Ezekiel 13:6-7).
The world may be totally inundated with what is seen today, being under the
intense gaze of billions of cameras. However, we gaze in another direction: “[…]
we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is
temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). Says the Bible
with respect to the existence of Jesus Christ and His offer of salvation, “[…]
blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29).
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About the Author:
Wilfred J. Hahn
is a global economist/strategist.
Formerly a top-ranked global analyst and chairman of the country’s largest
global investment operation his writings focus on the endtime roles of money,
economics and globalization. He has
been quoted around the world and his writings reproduced in numerous other
publications and languages. His
most recent book is The Endtime Money Snare: How to live free.