Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation’” (2 Peter 3:3-4). Each and every day we are nearing the Rapture of the Church and the fulfillment of Daniel’s 70th Week. Living to see these events, and to witness God’s Word fulfilled in our own lifetime, is a desire that many Christians have had throughout the history of the church. In fact, many Christians over the course of the last 2000 years fully anticipated that Christ would indeed return in their own lifetimes. However, this perpetual expectation of Christ’s return has exhausted the hope of many Christians throughout the ages. In addition, a large number of false prophets have set dates which led to initial excitement and to eventual disillusionment. It is no surprise that today, even Christians are asking the question, “Where is the promise of His coming?” The promise of His coming is found all throughout Scripture. Jesus promised He would one day return for His church, conclude His program for Israel, and establish His Kingdom on earth. We know this will happen because of the Bible’s track record concerning fulfilled prophecy. There are over 1000 predictive verses in the Bible concerning around 737 separate matters. Over half of these predictive verses have been literally fulfilled in history. This gives us tremendous confidence the rest will be fulfilled just as literally and completely as the others! The prophecies concerning the Second Coming will not occur in a vacuum. This means God will set the stage for the fulfillment of all end-times prophecy. As we review 2008, I want to share five primary trends that I believe are strong indicators that the hour of Christ’s coming for His church is near—“right at the door” (Matt. 24:33).
The first trend began well over 100 years ago. It is known as Aliyah, and refers to Jewish re-gathering to the Land of Israel. It began prior to the rebirth of Israel and has accelerated since Israel became a nation—the fulfillment of millennia-old prophecy (see Isaiah 66:8). Born on May 14, 1948, the modern nation of Israel remains an enigma to the world. The Jewish people's successful struggle for nationhood against all odds was seen as a miracle by the nations, and a fulfillment of ancient prophecies to students of the Holy Bible. Despite this, there are many today who teach the modern reality of the nation of Israel is nothing more than an accident of history and has no bearing on Bible prophecy. Many of these teachers are in the church! The amazing thing to me is that they ignore huge portions of Scripture to arrive at their position. Even more amazing is that they would continue in their foolishness even after seeing the sovereign fulfillment of Bible prophecy on May 14, 1948 and its continuation to this day as Jews return en mass to the Holy Land, thus fulfilling Aliyah! Furthermore, the re-establishment of Israel as a nation is a prerequisite to the fulfillment of end-times prophecy. Without an Israel, no end-times prophecy could be fulfilled and Jesus could not come back.
The second trend began unfolding with World War I but has accelerated in recent years. This trend is known as Alignment. It refers to the alignment of nations predicted in Scripture for the last days. World War I resulted in the collapse of the Ottoman Empire which had ruled the Middle East for centuries. World War II resulted in the realization of the nation of Israel and those nations surrounding Israel we know today to be intense enemies of Israel, denying her very right to exist as a nation. Since 1948 and especially in the last 15 to 20 years we have seen the collapse of the former Soviet Union which is giving rise to the Russia prophesied in Ezekiel as a major end-times player. We are seeing the reunification of Europe and the nations surrounding the Mediterranean rising to form a union that looks exactly like the ancient Roman Empire—a major last days prophecy! We see Russia entering into military and economic agreements with nations named in Ezekiel 38-39, a 2600 year-old prophecy that calls for an Iranian led, Russian armed confederacy of six nations that will come against Israel to try to destroy her in the last days. We have never seen anything like this in recorded history—until now. This is indeed astonishing!
The third trend is known as Anticipation. By this, I mean the anticipation for a comprehensive Middle East peace. It seems this one trend is in the news more and more these days. Even as 2008 concluded and a new year dawned, there were “wars and rumors of wars” raging in the Middle East with Israel’s offensive against the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza. A recent news headline captured the world’s quest of an elusive Middle East peace: “Obama Inherits Century-old Headache in Mideast.” The problem with the quest for Middle East peace is that God has promised this land to the Jews in an everlasting covenant. Any attempts to divide God’s covenant land, especially the city of Jerusalem, will incur God’s ire (see Zech. 12). A pseudo-peace is coming and will be brokered by a world leader the Bible describes as “the prince”. He will guarantee a 7 year covenant of peace with Israel that he will break midway through (see Dan. 9:27). The quest for peace in the Middle East today indicates the lateness of the prophetic hour. Jesus is coming soon!
The fourth trend is known as Arrangements. The Jews are making arrangements for and are ready to rebuild the Temple! The Bible clearly calls for a third Temple in the last days. Daniel, Jesus, Paul, and John all prophesied a third Temple. They were looking specifically to the fulfillment of Daniel’s 70th Week (see Dan. 9:24-27). Jesus, Paul, and John all looked back to Daniel’s prophecy on this as the key to understanding end-times events. Each indicated the Temple would be in full operation by the middle of Daniel’s 70th Week, also known as the Tribulation. Did you know that sixty-three of the 103 implements used in Temple worship have been completed? Furthermore, in 2005, the Israeli rabbinical council involved with the re-establishment of the Sanhedrin called upon all groups involved in Temple Mount research to prepare detailed architectural plans for the reconstruction of the Jewish Holy Temple. They are closer than ever to laying the cornerstone and initiating construction. Something major will need to happen before this becomes a reality and I am convinced God has “something major” on the horizon! The question I have is will true Christians be here to witness it?
A fifth and final trend, and probably the most frightening, is that of Apostasy. This is referring specifically to the professing Christian church. Paul wrote, “It will not come unless the apostasy comes first” (2 Thess. 2:3). This is a trend I thought I would never see in my lifetime but it has begun unfolding in recent years and 2008 saw a dramatic increase. There is a movement known as the Emerging (or Emergent) Church Movement that is clearly an apostate movement. It is a movement that questions or outright denies the very foundational doctrines of the Christian faith. It is a movement that is incorporating Medieval and New Age pagan practices that they refer to as “Vintage Christianity”. I, along with others who are watching this movement, often refer to it as “the Road to Rome.” It is so named because it is a resurgence of religion in world affairs, the growing influence of the Roman Catholic Church, and the movement of other professing Christian churches back towards Rome. This resurgence is attracting people who are primarily looking for an experience—and it is deceiving untold millions! I cannot help but think about the words of Paul: “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work…the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved” (2 Thess. 2:7-10). The world has already begun experiencing what these “signs and false wonders” will be like. We see this deception in the so called “Mary Apparitions” such as the Fatima appearances in Portugal in 1917 and others of recent years—appearances that contradict Scripture in more ways than one! We saw it during the Presidential Campaign when millions of professing Christians were deceived into voting for “the one”. Furthermore, this apostasy is nothing more than a substitute for the true gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ—salvation by “grace through faith” (Eph. 2:8).
As we look through the lens of Scripture back over the events of 2008, we see clearly that God is setting the stage for the final fulfillment of all prophecy. These trends, along with other world events, such as the political and financial upheaval we are witnessing, natural disasters, and the worldwide spread of the gospel, tell us the return of Christ for His church is very close. I believe He will return at any moment. The “mockers” keep asking, “Where is the promise of His coming?” Well, based upon the signs of the times and the ever increasing mocking, I would have to say that “the promise” is near—“right at the door” (Matt. 24:33). So the real question is, “Are you ready to meet the Lord in the air?” Have you been saved? Have you repented of your sins, believed and obeyed the true gospel of our Lord and on Savior, Jesus Christ: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
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