“Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once? As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her sons.” (Isa 66:8)
“Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” (Mat 24:32-34)
It has been on my heart for a while, to share some thoughts about the second coming of Jesus Christ, and of the end of the Church-age as we know it. However, there is something I need to say upfront. This is not about setting a date. Only a fool would set about to declare the hour or the date of Christ’s return.
Keeping that in mind, it is important to take note that the Lord gave us ample evidence and instructions to consider with regard to the season of His return. The season of His return is what I seek to discuss in this blog entry.
Let me begin with some general questions that I was recently asked by a dear sister. She asked me, “Do you think Obama plays a role in the end times? Now that America economy is down, are we ripe for a take over? Will Russia take over Israel and will America Stand in the way of letting this happen? Are we closer to the end, what should we be doing? Thank you Buddy for all you do.”
The box to the right is the simple response that I gave her.
Now for the sake of other things, let’s talk about …
The Time Clock
I believe that Israel became God’s time clock, on May 14, 1948. That is when a nation and a land was born in one day. (Fulfilling Isaiah 66:8)
Israel had to once again become a nation among nations to fulfill prophecy. This is why the apostles asked the Lord, “Is it at this time you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” (Act 1:6)
Keep in mind that Jesus had appeared to the disciples over a period of forty days. He was, “Speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.”
It is highly unlikely that the disciples would have asked the question about Israel, had not Jesus shared this with them. Keep in mind that Israel ceased to be a viable nation on the earth in 70 a.d. There was no nation of Israel until May 14, 1948. Therefore to fulfill prophecy, a nation called Israel had to reappear in a moment of time. And so it did!
Now we can consider what the apostle Paul said about Israel’s nationhood. Listen:
“For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery–so that you will not be wise in your own estimation–that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written,
“‘THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.’ THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.” (Rom 11:25-27)
Finally, we need to recall what Jesus said about Israel -
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!
“Behold, your house is left to you desolate; and I say to you, you will not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’” (Luk 13:34-35)
Do you see it? There had to be a house of Israel in place, for this statement to be fulfilled.
My advice to certain prophecy teachers, ‘Don’t make Isaiah 66:8, fit the church. The church is not a land, nor is it a nation. Jesus Himself said that His kingdom WAS NOT of this world. Only a nation called Israel can fulfill the Isaiah prophecy.’
Another clue to the second coming of Jesus, could very much involve the time frame of …
The Seventy Years
If May 14, 1948, is God’s time clock, is it possible that a seventy-year prophetic pattern can have any relevance to the second coming of Jesus?
Consider the pattern -
- When Judah was taken captive to Babylon, God said to Jeremiah, “This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Then it will be when the seventy years are completed I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation…” (Jer25:11,12)
- Seventy years later the Lord brought Daniel’s attention to the prophecy of Jeremiah: “ … in the first year of his reign [Darius], I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophey for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.” (Dan9:2)
- Daniel is given a series of visions that have to do with God’s Messiah and the time frames for varied nations. Again we hear: “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end to sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to set up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.” (Dan9:24)
- Where do we see the seventy-year time frame again? Think about the destruction of Israel. Seventy years after the birth of Christ Jesus, Jerusalem lay smoldering in flames, in 70 a.d.
Now let’s consider if the seventy year prophetic emphasis could have any relevance with Israel today.
This brings us to…
May 14, 1948, Plus Seventy Years
It doesn’t take much to apply a seventy year time frame to Israel. 1948 plus 70 years brings us to 2018. But there is something else we must consider. Daniel provides a final seven-year period that has to do with what is called, ‘the time of Jacob’s troubles.’
The seven years is often accounted as the time of the tribulation. For all who believe in a rapture of the church, there are two things to consider. Some believe the rapture takes place at the very beginning of the tribulation period. In this time frame, the rapture would have occurred in 2011 thereabouts.
Those who believe in what is called the ‘mid-trib’ rapture, then the rapture would occur thereabouts in 2015.
For those who don’t believe in a rapture, the point at hand does not change. If the seventy-year prophetic rendering can be applied to Israel, it goes to reason that we are living in the very time-frame of the Lord’s second coming.
Does this bring me back to setting a date for the coming of the Lord? Far from it. I am merely speaking of the season for His coming. The Lord Himself, and the prophets, and the apostles, all gave signs to consider with regard to the coming of the Lord.
Keep in mind what the Lord said to the religious leaders of His day -
“The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven.
“But He replied to them, ‘When it is evening, you say, “It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.” ‘And in the morning, “There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.”‘
“Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?” (Mat 16:1-3)
The Pharisees and Sadducees were demanding that Jesus give them a miracle sign that He was the Messiah. He merely responded to their wicked hearts in why they were asking for a miracle sign. He then pointed to the one sign that they would be responsible for accepting.
“‘An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.’ And He left them and went away.” (Mat 16:4)
The sign of Jonah spoke to the death, burial, and resurrection of the Son of God, that there would be no salvation aside from believing in that sign.
But why would Jesus call attention to the signs of the times?
The reason is the time of Messiah had already been laid out in the writings of the prophets, including the writings of Moses. In another place the Lord said to them, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.” (John 5:46)
Thus we have ‘signs of the times’ to consider for the second coming of Jesus. God did not leave us with nothing to consider with regard to the second coming.
In speaking of the given signs of His second coming, Jesus said,
“But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.
“Then He told them a parable:
“‘Behold the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near.’” (Luk 21:28-31) - The fig tree parable has relation to Israel.
Then we have this to understand…
It Ends in Jerusalem
The Bible defines the spirit of antichrist as denying that Jesus is the Son of God. John wrote:
“Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.” (1Jn 2:22-23)
Many are little aware that the religion of Islam is antichrist in its core beliefs. Listen to one of several statements found in the Qur’an, about Jesus is not the Son of God.
- Those who say: ‘The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,’ preach a monstrous falsehood, at which the very heavens might crack, the earth break asunder, and the mountains crumble to dust. That they should ascribe a son to the Merciful, when it does not become the Lord of Mercy to beget one! —Qur’an 19:88
Is it any wonder that the radical Islamic religion by in large, hates both Christians and the nation of Israel. America is called, ‘the great satan‘, and Israel is noted as, ‘the little satan’.
Also pay close attention to the world scene today, and especially the middle eastern nations. The entire middle east is caught in a struggle with group pitted against group. And yet in all this, everything continues towards Jerusalem.
Special Note: It needs to be said that Muslims by the untold numbers are turning to Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior. Perhaps this is what the Lord meant, when He said, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues.” (Rev18:4) — The ‘her’ is the mystery religion of Babylon. And remember that ancient Babylon included both Iran and Iraq, and much of the surrounding Muslim nations.
According to a Muslim cleric (Imam), Muslims by the millions in Africa are becoming Christian. There are even Muslim mosques that are becoming Christian mosques. The Lord is appearing to Muslims in dreams and in personal visitations.
The greatest help that a Muslim can get is to have a Christian Bible placed in his or her hands. This is happening. Former Muslims are now preaching the gospel over television, by radio, and by the internet. Muslims are crying out for Bibles.
There is so much to be said about the alignment of the nations in the last days.
Without laboring this too much, take time for these Scriptures –
“Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.” (Zec 12:2-3)
“And in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.” (Zec 12:9-10)
“In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.” (Zec 14:2-4)
Calling For the Watchman
What about it Watchman? Can you proclaim the good news of happiness for God’s children, and all the while help to prepare them for the things to come?
Several years ago I was confronted by a minister in that I was out of step with the message for today. I had just taught on the second coming of Jesus Christ. He let me know that I should be preaching on the prosperity message among other things.
Yes, I spoke with Him about our call as gospel ministers, that we are not to neglect to preach and teach the fullness of the gospel, which includes both the second coming and the judgments to follow.
Listen to the charge that the apostle Paul gave to Timothy. It pretty much says it all -
“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
“But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2Ti 4:1-5)
The minister I mentioned actually presents a sad picture.
Yes, I am afraid the time has come when the gospel message is being distorted beyond measure. I see a larger part of the nominal church digressing morally and spiritually.
Homosexual preachers being ordained to the pulpit. Homosexual marriages taking the forefront. A love for pleasure is quickly replacing a love for godliness. Young people awash in a world of drugs and rebellion. Marriages are crumbling at an astonishing rate, while recreational sex is flooding the airwaves by way of television, movies, and computers.
Need I go on?
Did not the Lord say that His coming again would be just like it was in the judgment in the days of Noah?
“God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. Then God said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.
“‘Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch.’” (Gen 6:12-14)
As a final thought, let me address one more thing. It has to do with …
The Lord’s Promise to His People
Just as God had Noah prepare an ark for the salvation of his family, even so, the Lord Jesus is God’s ark of safety for all true believers.
I use the word ‘true‘ for the sake of understanding that not all people who call themselves Christian are true Christians. Just a look at the church world will confirm that issue.
What then is the promise to the people of the Lord? His promise is that not one single person who truly trusts in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savor, will ever be lost.
Jesus explains the will of the heavenly Father, about all believers -
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of ALL that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.
“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” (Joh 6:38-40)
I pray this study will be an encouragement to my readers.
Why not take time for this song, titled, ‘So Close, I Believe.’
Your Friend in Christ,