Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).First of all, let me begin by saying thank you to all who prayed for my family and me during my brush with death last November and my subsequent recovery. I am doing well and I continue to grow stronger each day. I am thankful for God’s grace in my life. He is good and all things really do work together for good in the lives of His elect.
Anyway, it’s been awhile since I’ve written on the subject of Bible prophecy. The reasons for my neglecting to keep you up-to-date are two-fold. I have been so busy serving my family and Airmen. I have also found it challenging to keep up with everything going on in the world today. When it comes to the return of Christ it seems the stage setting for the end-time has prophetic scenario found in the Bible is on steroids. Things are occurring at a fascinating speed. And, it is consistent with a proper understanding of Bible prophecy to conclude things will be in place when God’s plan for Israel resumes in the Seventieth Week of Daniel.
I believe we are nearing the end of the church age. The rapture of the church is imminent. It is the next great thing! The late John Walvoord has noted, “In the present world scene there are many indications pointing to the conclusion that the end of the age may soon be upon us. Never before in the history of the world has there been a confluence of major evidences of preparation for the end.” Interestingly, Dr. Walvoord wrote these words in 1962. The confluence of major evidences of preparation for the end he noted has only increased.
I am careful to use the words stage setting when it comes to the prophetic preparation for the end of the present age. The present church age is not a time in which Bible prophecy is being fulfilled. God is, however, preparing the world for a major shift in His dealings with the world. Paul reminds us God’s attention will one day turn from the church to Israel. He writes, “For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Romans 11:25). God has not replaced Israel with the church. He will fulfill all of His covenant promises to Abraham and the other Patriarchs, “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29).
God has given us enough insight in the Bible that we are able to discern a detailed and progressive outline of what is coming in the near future. I am presently teaching through Revelation on Wednesday evenings. I have stressed to my students Revelation provides an excellent context through which we can gain a good grasp of the hundreds of other biblical passages that relate to Bible prophecy pointing to God’s attention one day turning back to Israel and the subsequent return of Christ to this earth. This understanding, I believe, is crucial. Tommy Ice agrees, noting, “Just as there was a transition in the early church away from Israel as God’s mediatorial instrument to the church, so it appears that there will be a transition at the end of the church age as God sets the stage to resume His unfinished plan with Israel after the rapture.”
This transition fits perfectly with the understanding of Bible prophecy as being more pattern focused than prediction focused. The church age commenced on the Day of Pentecost. Forty years later, in A.D. 70, the Jewish Temple was destroyed. This historically fulfilled the last specific prophecy God has fulfilled related to Israel and was, I believe, the final fulfillment as God transitioned from Israel to the church. This provides a pattern for us to watch for in order to discern the times in which we live. Galatians 4, noted at the beginning of this article, reminds us Jesus came to this earth the first time after God had set the stage, so to speak, in preparation for that coming. If we understand prophecy as more pattern than prediction we rightly conclude God will set the stage again in preparation for Jesus’ return to this earth.
While the world continues its advance towards globalism, morally it is moving backwards. Paul’s words to Timothy ring true: “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come” (2 Timothy 3:1). He then goes on to describe what this apostasy will look like. The United States was certainly helped along under the previous administration. In fact, many of the developments we witnessed under President Obama were not only immoral but far beyond anything our Founders could have imagined. One would have to be totally ignorant of these and other developments within the world of our day to not admit that something supernatural is going on. It is certainly something to think about.
The end-times alignment of nations described by several of the Old Testament prophets, especially Ezekiel and Daniel, is coming sharply into focus. Even the election of Donald Trump to the presidency is likely to move things along supersonically. He certainly appears to be a friend of Israel and that friendship may result in some remarkable things in the days ahead. So keep your eyes on Israel but also study to gain an understanding of the prophetic scenario concerning the alignment of nations in the last days. Such an understanding will help you discern where we are on God’s timetable. If His focus is about to shift back to Israel then His return for His church is close—mind-bogglingly close!
Multiple signs of the time, all of which indicate that we are likely nearing the time of the start of Daniel’s Seventieth Week—also known as The Tribulation—are converging at a rapid pace. Many others could be noted save for space and time. Suffice it to say, however, it is clear that we are witnessing the major end-time players being prepared and the stage being set in our own day for what is coming. But before the curtain rises on the final stage of world history, “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
For me personally, I am looking less for signs of the time and more for my coming Savior. He is coming for His Bride—the church. He could come at any moment. Are you ready? I am. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
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Striving to glorify God by becoming more like Jesus.
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