THE GOOD NEWS MINISTRY AND MISSIONS OUTREACH PROCLAIMING THE GOOD NEWS OF THE SOON RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST!
REVEALING JUST HOW CLOSE WE ARE TO THE END!
Do you know that the questions most frequently asked any prophecy teacher are: How close is the end? How much time is left? So, when do you think Jesus is coming? Unfortunately, the greatest danger for pastors and prophecy teachers is fear and reluctance to answer such questions. This reluctence has the tremendous consequence of leaving our congregations totaly unprepared and unready for Christ's imminent return.
Therefore, we must always remind ourselves that we really don't have all that much time Left on God's timetable.
There are certain events predicted in biblical prophecy that appear to be in the process of being fulfilled today. But there are other events that still appear to be a long way from their final fulfillment. How do we reconcile these with a belief in the imminent return of Christ to rapture the church? Let me suggest several considerations:
1. There is no predicted event that must be fulfilled before the rapture takes place.
Jesus could come at any time to call His bride home to heaven. Our Lord's commands to "keep watching" and "be ready" (Matthew 24:42-44) still apply.
2. There are, however, certain events that may yet unfold before the rapture.
There is no biblical limitation on such possibilities as nuclear war, international terrorism, isolated wars in Europe or the Middle East, or the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple. These may not happen prior to the rapture, but we cannot exclude that possibility on the basis of Scripture alone.
3. As time marches on, the prophetic picture continues to become more clear.
We can only look ahead from our current perspective. But already we can see that some things that still seemed vague twenty or thirty years ago are now clearer, such as the development of a global economy and the revival of the Old Roman Empire in the guise of the European Union.
4. We cannot project the future based on current events alone.
Our only clear guide to the future is biblical truth. Everything else is little more than an "educated guess." World leaders will come and go. Soon there will be a whole new set of players giving rise to new speculations about their possible roles in the end-times drama.
5. The Bible itself is the only clear guide to understanding the future.
God has given us "great and precious promises" and the "word of the prophets" to give us a certainty about the future (2 Peter 1:4, 19). True biblical prophecies are not of human origin or private interpretation. They are truths expressed by the Holy Spirit, who moved divinely inspired writers to present the future as God sees it.
WHAT WE CAN EXPECT
Speculating about the future beyond what the Bible itself predicts is a dangerous game. Psychics make hundreds of predictions every year that never come true. But a gullible general public doesn't seem to care. People quickly run out to buy the list of predictions for next year.
Bible prophecy, however, does not work that way. The prophets sent by God made many predictions thousands of years ago about the first and second comings of Christ.
Their Prophecies have stood the test of time and many have been fulfilled and there are more prophecies about certain future events that are inevitable:
The spread of the True Gospel and the growth of the True Church through the world-wide evangelism of all nations (Matthew 24:14);
The rise of Counterfeit Christianity and religious apostasy in the last days, leading to widespread sin and lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:3);
The rapture of the True Church (true believers) are taken to heaven prior to the great tribulation judgements (Revelation 3: 1 0);
The rise of the antichrist and the false prophet to control the "new world order" of the end times (Revelation.13:1-4; 11-18);
The tribulation period on the earth with widespread ecological destruction, war, and famine (Matthew 24:21-22);
The triumphal return of Christ with His True Church to overthrow the antichrist and bind Satan for 1,000 years (Revelation 19:11-16; 20:1-2);
The millennial kingdom of Christ on earth for 1,000 years of peace and prosperity (Revelation 20:4-6).
Beyond these key events, we can only speculate about what will happen. The Bible seems to predict an age of unparalleled selfism in the last days (2 Timothy 3:1-6).
It seems to indicate an age of skepticism and unbelief -- a time when people will scoff at the idea of Christ's return. (2 Peter 3:3-4).
It also appears that this age will be marked by global wealth and prosperity. (Revelation 18:11-19).
This generation could well be the last one on earth. Social issues like poverty, prejudice, and racial hatred continue to plague our world. The riots in our nation's cities only serve to underscore the depth of racial tension in our own country.
In the meantime, racial, ethnic, and religious conflicts threaten to tear apart Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States that made up the former Soviet Union.
All indications are that the years ahead will be marked by the widespread production of nuclear bombs, chemical and biological weapons by developing nations, some of which are led by trigger-happy, egotistical military dictators. All of this is taking place in the midst of continued deterioration of the earth's atmosphere and environment.
The only real hope for planet earth is the return of Christ. Ecologists, naturalists, environmentalists and conservationists will never save this planet. Military Strategists will not save this planet. New Age politicians with global aspirations will not save this globe. Antinuclear demonstrators will not save the earth. A "Social Gospel", preached by apostate ministers, will not save the earth. The Bible tells us that "the creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed" when Jesus Christ returns (Romans 8:19).
When Jesus returns with His raptured church, the deterioration of the planet will cease. The devastation that resulted from the war of the tribulation period will be reversed. The earth will blossom under the peaceful rule of the Prince of peace.
Jesus indicated that He would be gone "a long time" (Matthew 25:19). However, He gave no indication of how much time would pass until He returned. In fact, He deliberately left the impression that He could return when least expected (Matthew 24:50).
The basic timing passages in the New Testament suggest the following sequence:
1. No one knows the time of His coming (Matthew 24:36).
2. We are to evangelize the whole world until He returns (Matthew 24:14; 28:18-20).
3. He will be gone "a long time" (Matthew 25:19).
4. A False Gospel will be preached by False teachers to False Christians. (Apostate/False Christianity) (2Peter 2:1-2) (Matt. 24:4-5:11-12)
5. Unbelievers will scoff at the idea of His return (2 Peter 3:3-34).
6. Believers are to "watch" and "be ready" for Him to come at any moment (Matt. 24:42-44).
7. He will return when least expected (Matthew 24:50).
8. He will come suddenly (Revelation 22:7, 12).
The only other significant biblical passages referring to the timing of Jesus' coming have to do with the "end of the age" (Matthew 24:3).
Our Lord reminds us that the coming of wars, famines, and earthquakes are "the beginning of birth pains," but they themselves do not mean that "the end" has come (Matthew 24:6-8).
In other words, just because the end is near doesn't mean the end is here! Jesus said "the end" would not come until the "gospel of the kingdom" was preached "in the whole world as a testimony to all nations"
This same idea is emphasized in the Great Commission when Jesus commanded His disciples to "GO therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:1820).
People sometimes use the phrase "if the Lord tarries," referring to the length of time before He returns. However, the Bible says: "He who is coming will come and will not delay" (Hebrews 10:37, which quotes Habakkuk 2:3).
The context implies that even if the fulfillment of the prophecy seems to be delayed, wait patiently because the One who is coming will come on time.
Peter makes a similar reference to the patience of God in dealing with us (2 Peter 3:8-15).
God is patient, not wanting any to perish, this patience cannot be viewed as a delay of action on His part.
In fact, Peter tells us to five "holy and godly lives" in view of His coming "as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming" (2 Peter 3:11-12).
This raises the question of whether the time of the end is fluid or fixed. Jesus said, "If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened" (Matthew 24:22).
At the same time, Jesus said, "No one knows about that day or hour ... but only the Father' (Matthew 24:36).
Here our Lord indicates that the time is fixed by the sovereign will and purpose of God the Father.
Jesus also referred to the days ahead as the "times of the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24).
Stanley Ellisen says, "The 'times of the Gentiles' is that period of time in which the Gentiles have dominion over Israel, especially Jerusalem .... Therefore, this period began when Jerusalem was captured by Nebuchadnezzar in 605 B.C., and will be completed when Christ comes to set up His Everlasting Kingdom on earth."
By this reckoning, Israel was under the "times of the Gentiles" . The Church Age is part of that time period but is not synonymous with it.
The "times of the Gentiles" started ending when the Israeli army re-captured the city of Jerusalem during the six day war of 1967. Jerusalem came back under Jewish control for the first time in over two-thousand years. This event marked a major prophetic turning point in the affairs of mankind.
From a biblical standpoint, several things are clear about the timing of God's prophecies:
1. Jesus has already been gone "a long time."
2. Israel is already back in her ancient land. ( Rebirth of the nation of Israel 1948) hadn't happened for 2000 years.
3. Jerusalem coming back under Jewish control. (The Six Day war of 1967)
4. The world scene looks a great deal like the one pictured in Bible prophecy.
All outward indications seem to point to the fact that Jesus may return at any time. Most of the biblical prophecies of the end times have either been fulfilled, are in the process of being fulfilled, or could easily be fulfilled in the immediate future. There are no major prophetic events that could prohibit the rapture from taking place at any moment. Therefore, we need to be ready all the time! AMEN!
Let Us Pray Together--
PRAY: "God be merciful to me a sinner. Receive me now for Christ's sake. Cleanse me from my sin by your precious blood, shed on the cross for me; lead me to be Baptized and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Teach me to pray each day; to read Your will for my life from your word, the Bible; and help me to worship and serve You in the fellowship of your church. I thank you Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN!