Updated: Jul 1, 2021
I am quite reluctant to post this particular blog for a number of reasons. At first glance the content is not contemplative at all. Secondly it addresses something that, over the years, resulted in unjustified predictions and interpretations that made the topic a pariah. In my experience it also led to irresponsible escapism.
Yet, I cannot get away from the fact that that which I experienced and heard is an in-my-face reality that I dare not ignore. On a personal level it has influenced and continues to influence so much of my thinking. I don’t want to arrive at intransigent positions, but I am processing it as wisely as I can. There is no way in which I can gloss over it. If I don’t share it I will be dishonest about my own journey and that which has a significant influence on it.
So I offer it to you for whatever it may be worth.
During September 2012 my wife and I were on a holiday at one of our most loved holiday spots. It was a very special time for many reasons. Not only did we have a wonderful rest in one of our favourite areas of South Africa, but also because I had an amazing spiritual experience.
For the first time that I can remember I had a 24/7 experience of the immediate presence of the Holy Spirit that lasted for about two weeks. I was keenly aware of His presence with me wherever I was and whatever I was doing – swimming in the sea, watching movies, taking a number of day trips etc. It was not as though He wanted me to go into a monastic mode and take time out from my holiday activities to spend time with Him. He was spending time with me right in the middle of all that we were doing. He was chilling with me. Him being our Comforter took on a new meaning for me. His detailed care for and deep commitment to us, wanting to share God’s insights with us and prepare us for that which is ahead was very evident and also very comforting.
In the midst of all of this I woke up one morning being reminded of the Day of Atonement as God gave it to the nation of Israel. This awareness came out of the blue and it stayed with me throughout the day. I had studied the typology behind the feasts some years back and was greatly blessed by the truths it contained, so I mulled over it again. As I was doing so I felt the Holy Spirit saying to me there is something of great significance happening in the spiritual realm right now that will affect the whole world. Its result will only be visible in the years ahead. It is not visible right now, but something has been set in motion. Somehow I had the impression that whatever was set in motion would be manifested 7 years from then, i.e. before the end of 2019.
I only realised later that all of this was taking place on the literal Day of Atonement that year, which made my earlier awareness of the Day so much more significant. What I did not know, but only found out a few weeks later, was that a world leader gave a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on that very Day of Atonement. The speech was given by President Ahmadinejad of Iran and he did so on the most visible and central stage of world government.
At that time he was the political leader of a country that was not one of the super powers in the world, but the one thing that made his presence there as the president of Iran very significant was the fact that his country is the modern day Persia. Persia is the country who invaded and took over the rule of Babylon and Babylon in turn is often understood to be a typological picture of the world system in which we find ourselves. He has also been branded as a bit of a religious fanatic with some very marginal views that should be taken with a pinch of salt. That may be so, but the fact still remains that he gave the speech in his capacity as the president of “Babylon” and that is what makes it significant.
The following is a transcribed extract from Pres Ahmadinejad’s speech on that important day:
Mr. President, Friends and Dear Colleagues,
Creating peace and lasting security with decent life for all, although a great and a historic mission can be accomplished. The Almighty God has not left us alone in this mission and has said that it will surely happen.
God Almighty has promised us a man of kindness, a man who loves people and loves absolute justice, a man who is a perfect human being and is named Imam A1-Mahdi, a man who will come in the company of Jesus Christ (PBUH) and the righteous. By using the inherent potential of all the worthy men and women of all nations and I repeat, the inherent potential of "all the worthy men and women of all nations" he will lead humanity into achieving its glorious and eternal ideals.
· The arrival of the Ultimate Savior will mark a new beginning, a rebirth and a resurrection. It will be the beginning of peace, lasting security and genuine life.
· His arrival will be the end of oppression, immorality, poverty, discrimination and the beginning of justice, love and empathy.
· He will come and he will cut through ignorance, superstition, prejudice by opening the gates of science and knowledge. He will establish a world brimful of prudence and he will prepare the ground for the collective, active and constructive participation of all in the global management.
· He will come to grant kindness, hope, freedom and dignity to all humanity as a girl.(I don’t know what he meant by that!)
· He will come so mankind will taste the pleasure of being human and being in the company of other humans.
· He will come so that hands will be joined, hearts will be filled with love and thoughts will be purified to be at service of security, welfare and happiness for all.
· He will come to return all children of Adam irrespective of their skin colors to their innate origin after a long history of separation and division linking them to eternal happiness.
· The arrival of the Ultimate Savior, Jesus Christ and the Righteous will bring about an eternally bright future for mankind, not by force or waging wars but through thought awakening and developing kindness in everyone. Their arrival will breathe a new life in the cold and frozen body of the world. He will bless humanity with a spring that puts an end to our winter of ignorance, poverty and war with the tidings of a season of blooming.
· Now we can sense the sweet scent and the soulful breeze of the spring, a spring that has just begun and doesn't belong to a specific race, ethnicity, nation or a region, a spring that will soon reach all the territories in Asia, Europe, Africa and the US.
· He will be the spring of all the justice-seekers, freedom-lovers and the followers of heavenly prophets. He will be the spring of humanity and the greenery of all ages.
· Let us join hands and clear the way for his eventual arrival with empathy and cooperation, in harmony and unity. Let us march on this path to salvation for the thirsty souls of humanity to taste immortal joy and grace.
What we are witnessing right now is a world that has taken a serious punch. While COVID19 has caused, and is continuing to cause, unimaginable trauma with disease, death and fear there is also very real potential collateral damage that has the capacity to radically change the world as we know it.
Once again, from a very personal perspective, it is significant that WHO’s first public notice about COVID was posted on 31 December 2019, seven years after my experience.
It is anybody’s guess what we will be faced with in the future. This situation can possibly create a global leadership vacuum, if not now then surely up ahead. We will need a redeemer and he will either be a man made one or the One whom God has already enthroned. Mr Ahmadinejad’s speech acknowledges this and calls us to get ready for, expect and make room for the man made one.
There is absolutely nothing wrong at all with the values and goals of the man made one; they are in fact identical in many ways to that which God’s redeemer manifested for us and redeemed us unto. The only difference is of course found in the fact that Mr Ahmadinejad’s redeemer eliminates the practical and daily application of the cross and resurrection of Jesus. There is so much that needs to be said about this because it is the definitive fulcrum of all truth.
I believe that we are living in one of the most prophetically significant times in human history. There are a few things that are important to me with regard to this:
I do not want to make irresponsible prophetic utterances, give timelines and identify potential anti-Christs, we have experienced too much of that. If anything such proclamations have discredited the very valid and scriptural truth of end-times and the return of Jesus.
While I obviously cannot say that we will see the fulfilment of all final things in our lifetime, there is no doubt in my mind that there is an acceleration in world events that will lead us into end-time realities. Ignoring this is not wise. We must not throw the baby out with the dirty bathwater.
This kind of message has the potential to stir up fear and cause Christians to develop a great escape mentality – let us get out of here because the world is coming to an end. That is a highly irresponsible position to take and I am not into it at all. Eugene Peterson calls this bastard apocalyptic, apocalyptic that has no parentage in biblical sources or gospel commitments, (that promotes) a progeny of irresponsibility, but the real thing, the conceived-in-holy-wedlock apocalyptic develops communities that are passionately patient, courageously committed to witness and work in the kingdom of God no matter how long it takes, or how much it costs.
I truly believe that our response should be diametrically opposed to this great escape mentality. We should live deeper into the love of God, join the dance of the Trinity and be merchants of hope to a fearful society. In the midst of the confusion and insecurity we have an opportunity such as never before to be manifestors of God’s life in the same way that Jesus was during His time on earth. We have to be willing to confess our innate self-centredness, connect to and live intimately as sons and daughters of the same Father as Jesus did and ask the same Holy Spirit that empowered Him to bear the fruit of love for one another in us.
We must be willing to develop true pilgrim hearts.
I have always felt that the unfolding story of humanity is like a tale of two cites – spiritual Babylon and the heavenly Jerusalem. Both of these cities reach their culmination in the book of Revelation. Babylon (the world system in which we find ourselves) utterly falls to the dismay of those who put their security in it. Jerusalem on the other hand is revealed as the bride of Christ, i.e. those who learnt to surrender to the bridal love of Jesus, living in intimate surrender with Him.