There are so many pastors out there – not just Christians but pastors – that can look at the evidence of the times in which we are living, and the words of the Old Testament prophets and Jesus Himself, that will still say there is nothing to this whole End Times prophetic phenomenon. They compare it to Y2K or to those deluded souls who have predicted the days of the rapture. But to those who study it, it is nothing of the sort. These are the words of God, the words of Jesus – and they are lifting a curtain on the days we live in. The nations are forming up the way it was said. Israel is back in the land. The technology is now in place that makes the ‘mark of the beast’ possible. The Church is suffering the doubts of apostasy – just as the Bible said it would. In scripture, God has given us the evidence of just what the world would look like before the return of Christ. The evidence is mounting. The returns are coming in. There is an overriding reality emerging. As we concluded last time: JESUS CHRIST IS LIKELY GOING TO RETURN IN THIS GENERATION.
Did you get that? It’s a reality I can hardly get my head around. The Man who did those miracles, and calmed the sea, and walked on water, and raised up Lazarus, – is likely coming back in my natural lifetime. The very Word that spoke the cosmos into existence, – and sustains it with His word, – will be arriving soon! The God / Man who died and rose to pay for my sin is on the doorstep!! All Scripture points to Him, Old and New Testaments. His first coming defined history and gave it meaning. His second coming will put an end to history and establish His Kingdom.
Now it is said that the Bible is 70% history, – a record of exact fulfillments in everything that has come to pass. That portion of Scripture that pointed toward His first coming gave His generation more than ample reason to believe. It revealed His pedigree; – a Son of David, from the tribe of Judah, born in Bethlehem, spent time in Egypt. Isaiah 53 reveals His character and career and temperament and sufferings and details of His suffering and a mode of death that was unknown and not invented, when that passage was written hundreds of years before Christ. Zechariah 11:13 called the price paid for His betrayal so exactly and the circumstances and purposes so perfectly accurately, when it prophesied Christ’s betrayal. “And the LORD said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter’—that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD for the potter.”
So here’s the truth of the matter. His generation should have expected Him. And the fact is: They did. As the capper, God used the Prophet Daniel, to even give them the exact timing, – if they could see it, – of the coming into His Kingdom. Now God just didn’t have Daniel prophecy something. He proved the man first. When King Nebuchadnezzar demanded that his wise men, (or Magi), not only interpret a dream for him, – but do so without being told the dream, – on the pain of death; – It was Daniel, with God’s help that was able to do it. Daniel prophesied the fall of kingdoms, and he told the king that he would be crazy for 7 years, before coming to his senses and worshiping the true God. He laid out in advance the coming of Alexander the Great and detailed the breakup of his kingdom into four parts. Daniel was a certified prophet. He was the real deal. And so when God used him to reveal the prophecy of the 70 weeks and the arrival of the Messiah, the Pharisees and scholars took him seriously. Now when was the last time you went up to somebody in the mall and asked them: ‘Are you the Messiah’? Didn’t happen, did it? But the Jews of Christ’s day expected Him. They were looking for their Messiah in the 1st century. They inquired of John the Baptist if he was the Messiah. The Essenes, – that monastic group that gave us the Dead Sea Scrolls that have confirmed the accuracy of Scripture, – were waiting and expecting the Messiah. The Pharisees expected Him.
It is because of that that Jesus held them responsible. We too are called to that standard. And that expectation has implications. Because He’s expected again; – since He’ll likely return in our lifetime: HE HOLDS US RESPONSIBLE too. As Peter described it, we may live in an age of scoffers, – yet were are called on to know the season; – to understand the reality that overtakes us. We are to look at the times in which we live and understand the parable of the fig tree, – and see “all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!”
Now I know that some will say that there have always been people saying it is the Last Days, there has always been trouble and famines and pestilences and earthquakes and wars. That is true. Yet the Bible has been very specific in laying out the characteristics of these last days. Here’s just a quick review of some of the prophecies fulfilled already or in the process of being fulfilled. As foretold by so many Scriptures, Israel is back in the land, the nation is reborn. The frequency and magnitude of earthquakes occurring in diverse places is increasing exponentially. Hardly a week goes by without a major temblor. The weather is getting more volatile. Wars and rumors and terror are everyday occurrences. Mark of the Beast technology is in place to institute the totally controlled economy spoken of in Revelation. The EU is assuming the shape of the old Roman Empire. An exact alignment of nations – [with the ancient peoples clearly named] – is taking form to fulfill the prophecies of Psalm 83, (the war of the inner ring of Arab states) and Ezekiel 38, (the Gog-Magog invasion with Iran, the outer tier of Islamic states and possibly Russia). Even nuclear war is described in Zechariah 14:12. “And this shall be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, Their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, And their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths.”
Recall from last time, the words of Jesus as He entered Jerusalem. It was a prophecy for His generation but also established a spiritual principle. “Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, ‘If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.’” (Luke 19:41-44)
The Bible is specific and exact. And because we have this very specific information, – revealed to us by God in His word, – WE ARE RESPONSIBLE TO KNOW THE TIME OF OUR VISITAITON. And because we have this great revelation, we can know how God deals with nations in rebellion. It’s a serious thing.