He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand.“[Daniel 12:9-10]
The popular movement of modern-day “prophets” is suspect at best in my estimation, as men and women who supposedly possess the prophetic gift make bold predictions that rarely come to pass. The Biblical warning to those who speak presumptuously for the LORD is indeed sobering, yet many of these so-called prophets of today seem to disregard the gravity of their claims.
‘But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ 21And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’— 22when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.[Deuteronomy 18:20-22]
Now I am not saying that the prophetic gift of the Holy Spirit has ceased completely. I believe that all the gifts of the Spirit are still viable to operate in and through God’s people in accordance with God’s word, even though the “sign” gifts of tongues, healings, miracles, and prophecy have been grossly abused by charlatans in the church [see Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12–14].
I have never claimed to possess the prophetic gift myself — inasmuch as that gift includes the ability to foresee the future — and therefore I will not presume to speak a word from the LORD other than what has been revealed in the written, prophetic word — which is quite sufficient.
So for my final post of 2020, I will not be attempting to predict the future or prophesy over 2021 with specific details. However, in a general sense, there are many things we can and should expect in 2021 that the Bible unequivocally reveals. Furthermore, the mission and purpose of the church never changes until Jesus Himself rends the heavens and comes down to reign as King of kings. Until that Day comes, our job remains the same.
These are my top 5 predictions that we need to prepare for and that we are sure to see in 2021.
#1 — The True Remnant of Believers will be further Set Apart from the World
I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.[John 17:14-15]
The call to follow Christ is the call to be set apart — separate from the evil world system that dominates this present age. God is calling His people to “come out” of Babylon before she falls — forsaking her immoralities and vain pleasures. The darker the days become and the more wicked this generation grows, the cost to follow Christ will be more than most are willing to pay.
As those faithful to Jesus Christ become more resolute in their love and devotion to God, the world around us will grow increasingly more hostile. The spirit of antichrist will always manifest in merciless hostility and hatred for the LORD and His Messiah, resulting in all forms of persecution and tribulation for the faithful.
Of course, we live in a day when Christians are being persecuted at an unprecedented rate — especially in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia. But it will not stop there.
No matter how intense the opposition, God’s remnant always remains. The Lord always preserves for Himself a faithful remnant who only bow the knee to the Lord Jesus. What believers may lose in numbers, we gain in our resolve and strength in the Spirit to endure and overcome in the end, never denying our Lord Jesus Christ!
All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, and as the world presses down harder on us, many will not be willing to pay the high price of following Jesus Christ and will depart from the faith. In an attempt to gain the world and save their lives, many will forfeit their very own souls.
Apostasy and compromise are nothing new in the scope of redemptive history, but the Scriptures are clear that in the latter days, there will be a mass defection from the true faith, leaving only a remnant of God’s children on earth. As the fires of persecution burn hotter, God’s remnant will pass through the flames only to be presented as a pure, white bride, shining brighter than the stars of heaven.
Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13But the one who endures to the end will be saved.[Matthew 24:9-13]
2021 will further separate the wheat from the tares [Matthew 13] and the sheep from the goats [Matthew 25], as we approach the final harvest at the end of the age.
#2 — Mass Spiritual Deception will Increase
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,2through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared.[1 Timothy 4:1-2]
I have written extensively this year about the coming spiritual deception and the manipulation of the masses by the spirt of this age that is at work in the sons of disobedience. Only those who are sealed with the Holy Spirit and possess the mind of Christ will survive the coming deception. Only those who possess the divine wisdom of the Holy Scriptures will be able to identify falsehood and contend for the true faith.
Everyone else will be led astray to exchange the truth of God for a lie and become blinded by by god of this world. Confusion and chaos will continue to cloud the minds of unbelievers, while God’s children will possess divine wisdom to see things as they truly are.
By simply taking a brief inventory of how the majority of the world receives and processes information, it is inevitable that the principalities and powers of evil in the heavenly places have a monopoly on the masses, deceiving the whole world. Consider what dominates and controls the minds of our present age.
False religions and cults, heretical church movements, biased public education systems and liberal universities, the godless scientific community and it’s religion of evolution, fake news from the mainstream media, corrupt career politicians and big government, Hollywood entertainment and television programs, music media and radio programs, superficial social media platforms and big tech companies, including the GoogleAppleAmazon monster itself.
The only remaining beacon of light in this world comes from the remnant of true believers in Jesus Christ who are bold enough to preach and teach the truth of the gospel and stand on the authority of God’s holy Word.
They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.[1 John 4:5-6]
#3 — Significant Geopolitical Changes in Israel and Middle East
Israel is God’s chosen land and people for a reason. The promises the LORD has made to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be fulfilled. This means that Israel serves as God’s prophetic timepiece and the key piece in God’s prophetic puzzle.
Once Israel returned to the land and the nation was reestablished in 1948, the prophetic clock began ticking again for the first time in nearly 1,900 years.
Now that the Trump Administration has initiated the Abraham Accords — normalizing relations between Israel and many of her surrounding Muslim neighbors — the geopolitical landscape is quickly changing for the first time in 70 years. These new accords are significant in laying the ground work for a new Middle East.
On the flip side, perennial powers like Turkey and Iran continue to loom over the region as ominous clouds of darkness. Iraq, Syria and Kurdistan have become a political vacuum that inevitably will be filled. It is just a matter of time before there is regional conflict in the Middle East, and Israel will be squarely in the middle of it all.
O God, do not keep silence;[Psalm 83:1-8]
do not hold your peace or be still, O God!
2For behold, your enemies make an uproar;
those who hate you have raised their heads.
3They lay crafty plans against your people;
they consult together against your treasured ones.
4They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation;
let the name of Israel be remembered no more!”
5For they conspire with one accord;
against you they make a covenant—
6the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites,
Moab and the Hagrites,
7Gebal and Ammon and Amalek,
Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;
8Asshur also has joined them;
they are the strong arm of the children of Lot. Selah
#4 — Labor Pains will Intensify
And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.[Matthew 24:4-8]
I shared earlier this year that the COVID-19 crises if anything represents one of the initial birth pains of the last days — perhaps a “Braxton Hicks” contraction — that God is using to get our attention. After nearly a year of the “new normal,” I stand by this assessment and believe that the disruption and confusion and government overreaction to this virus has set a precedent that will only get worse in the future.
Will we be faced with more viruses in the future? Certainly. Will world government leaders continue to use their power to overreach and dictate the lives of the people? Absolutely. Could global economic collapse be the next shoe to drop? Probably.
Based on what we learned in 2020, any of these scenarios are not only possible but probable. Furthermore, we must take into account the potential for more insurrections, revolutions, and wars to emerge out of the chaos. If we then incorporate the potential for famines and food shortages worldwide, it is easy to see a future that is plagued by these coming labor pains.
All we know about the analogy that Jesus provides is that once labor begins, it is irreversible. The contractions will grow more painful, more frequent and more intense as time draws near. And although the coming labor pains are daunting and even disheartening, we must never forget what they are leading to.
The coming of the Son! The return of the Lord Jesus!
Jesus reminds us of the joy we will have on that Day when He comes again — mighty to save!
Aware that they wanted to question Him, Jesus said to them, “Are you asking one another why I said, ‘In a little while you will not see Me, and then after a little while you will see Me’? 20Truly, truly, I tell you, you will weep and wail while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21A woman has pain in childbirth because her time has come; but when she brings forth her child, she forgets her anguish because of her joy that a child has been born into the world.22So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.[John 16:19-22]
#5 — Endless Opportunities for Evangelism will Emerge
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”[Acts 1:6-8]
So my predictions for 2021 can be viewed in a negative light but there is always a silver lining in the coming storm.
Yes, 2021 will further identify and separate God’s faithful remnant from religious pretenders.
Yes, 2021 will further advance the satanic agenda of spiritual deception and manipulation of the masses.
Yes, 2021 will further reveal the new political alignments in the Middle East and set the stage for the time of Jacob’s trouble.
Yes, 2021 will further demonstrate the growing intensity and frequency of the labor pains leading to the great tribulation and triumphant return of Jesus.
Yet in light of all of this, 2021 will also lend itself as one of the greatest opportunities in our lifetime to be witnesses of Jesus Christ and proclaim the gospel to the whole world.
Even though billions are blinded to the truth, they still have a strong sense of fear and trepidation that something is happening on a global scale. Even those who have no knowledge of God and the gospel still understand the concept of the end of the age and the great apocalyptic ending of human history. Even those who deny Christ will not be able to deny the intensity of the labor pains and the fragility of this life.
This is our greatest hour as God’s children to use the prophetic events of our day as natural bridges into gospel conversations. When the world is afraid and uncertain about tomorrow, we have the opportunity to give them hope and peace in Jesus Christ. When the world is confused and in darkness, we have the chance to bring them into the light of Christ and the truth of His gospel. When the world only hears the bad news from every outlet, we have good news to give!
Prophetic evangelism will continue to be one of our most powerful tools in witnessing to this generation. We must continue to pray for opportunities and divine appointments to shed the light of the gospel on a dark world.
This is our time to rise up and be bold witnesses for Christ yet full of compassion and grace toward those around us.
If there is anything I can predict about 2021, it is that we will continue to have opportunities to bring as many into the kingdom as possible, and it is up to us to be obedient to the Great Commission to the very end of the age!
At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— 4that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.[Colossians 4:3-6]
Let us take advantage of 2021 and make the best use of the time for the days are evil. This may be our last chance to see Christ change the world before it is too late!