As of late, I’ve been wrestling with and pondering on, a number of topics pertaining to issues surrounding where we are in the last days. These are in no particular order.
First Thought: There is an idea that one can be both a sincere believer in Jesus Christ, as well as sincerely not interested in the Lord’s return. Now, most of these believers wouldn’t come out and say they aren’t interested in the Lord’s return, but they absolutely live that statement. To me, at least, this seems like two diametrically opposed belief systems that a) one could swear fealty and love toward someone, and b) also not looking forward for them to return. Seems crazy right?
Let’s put this into an example. I liken it to someone who claims to be a fan of a particular football team. Judging by their outward appearances, you would think they are a fan because they wear all their merchandise. They always manage to carve out time of their busy schedules to watch the games. They follow that up by either watching the sports channels or listening to the sports analysis on the radio. When at social gatherings, you can always find them talking about it with their friends. They might even be part of a “fantasy football” league. Imagine you have a friend like that.
Now imagine, as much as you think this person loves that team when given the opportunity to go to the game and sit front row at the fifty-yard line, as well as getting to meet the team afterward, this friend suddenly refuses to go. They can’t really say why they don’t want to go, they just feel really uncomfortable going. Now, knowing all this, would you say they were really a fan, or not?
Believe it or not, there are a lot of people in churches who are like this. Except I was far more generous in the description. In reality, it is more like said imaginary friend loves to wear the merchandise, but couldn’t care less about the game (or the team). Many in the church today love the thought of going to heaven someday, but they are in no hurry to get there.
Second Thought: Churches who refuse to promote conservative politics from the pulpit. I know a lot of churches today who refuse to address the issues of our day from the pulpit. For them, that is completely taboo. Now, typically, the churches who refuse to tackle the systemic issues average Christians have to deal with every day, like tax-payer funded abortion, LGBT agendas in entertainment and in the schools, political corruption, national debt, open borders, etc., seem to have no issues promoting socialist-progressive talking points.
They generally have no issues speaking out for making Christianity more diverse and inclusive, promoting some variation of critical race theory, and man-made climate change. But why is that? I mean, I know why they do those things (they want to remain culturally relevant and accepted), but why do they think they are doing God’s good work when the Bible clearly speaks out against those things. If I could parrot one of Dave Chappelle’s skits, it would be like a black man joining the Ku Klux Klan…it seems both counterintuitive and counterproductive.
However, when you ask any of these progressive pastors and preachers, they seem offended that you had the gall to call them on it. Why not speak out against government tyranny? The Black Robe Regiment did it and is largely why we live in a country called the United States of America today. Imagine if every God-fearing pastor/church pulled a John MacArthur and refused to shut down? Now, I know that we are at the end and the Laodicean Church is becoming the new normal, but I suppose, I just didn’t expect the churches to just roll over as quickly as they did.
Third Thought: The Apostle Paul’s calling. I find it interesting (and somewhat ironical) that one of, if not, the most prolific Bible expositor and Apostle of all time, was also a former Jewish Pharisee. Not only was Saul taught by the best (Gamaliel), but he was steeped in all things Jewish, so much so, he persecuted the fledgling church with great zealousness.
Now, this is the one whom Christ singled out on the road to Damascus and then designated to become Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles. Why Paul though? Why not one of the lesser-known disciples? I think about Paul (the subject matter expert on all things Jewish) going to some pagan enclave like Thessalonika, or Corinth, and teaching a bunch of recent Greek and Roman converts to Christianity (who knew next to nothing about the intricacies of Judaism) how Christ fulfilled the Old Testament perfectly.
On the flip side, I can see why and how Paul was such an effective warrior against Judaizers who were trying to mix the law with grace. I think his true passion was reaching his lost Jewish brothers and sisters (Romans 9-11). This passion of course then had to combat the damning legalism of Judaism, which is why we see this in his epistles to the Galatians and Hebrews (yes, Paul wrote Hebrews). On a side note, the reason I believe he wrote Hebrews anonymously, is that he had such a heart for saving his Jewish brethren, he didn’t want to taint the message by attaching his name to it (for fear many Jews would automatically have a personal bias against it from the outset).
Fourth Thought: Why we are the generation to see the Rapture. A lot of writers and teachers have given their lists as to why they think the Rapture is soon. I don’t want to rehash the long list of the signs of our time, but I want to focus on two verses.
1. Hosea 6:1-3
Come, and let us return to the Lord;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth.
We all know the passages that refer to the reality that to God, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is a day (Psalm 90:4, 2 Peter 3:8). In other words, God exists outside of time therefore time is (as a construct) irrelevant to Him. Just like a multi-billionaire is not constrained by money, God is not constrained by time. However, from this passage, we get two specific numbers- two days, and the third day.
Historically, we know that Israel spent nearly two thousand years in diaspora (70AD-1948AD), and was brought back near the end of that second, thousand years. Now, if we added 2,000 years to the year Jerusalem was sacked (AD70), we would come to the year 2070 (49 years from now). I can already hear some of you groaning at the thought of that!
However, if we added 2,000 years to the crucifixion year (30-33AD-wherever you think it falls), we come to the year 2030 (or 2031, 32, 33). Now because the passage prophetically uses the language “the third day,” and that's most famous connection with our Lord’s resurrection, I think we can safely assume we should start the countdown from the resurrection, not the sacking of Jerusalem.
So we have the promise given to the nation of Israel in Hosea that “after two days” He will revive us. If 2033 (for example) is the year that fulfills the two-day mandate, then after this year (2034+), will be the third day (or third thousand years since Christ’s crucifixion). Now, I’m not smart enough to figure out all the calendar discrepancies in all the changes between the Lunar, Jewish, Julian, and Gregorian calendars, but IF this is timed to the crucifixion, we can proceed with a great deal of confidence knowing that we are quickly approaching the two thousand year anniversary of our Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection.
Some of you might think I’m calling 2030-33 as the exact timing of the Lord’s Second Coming. I am not. I’m simply pointing out how that passage could be understood. Since I cannot see into the future and am limited to both the present and the past, we have to use what we have available to come to some reasonable conclusions. First of which, is historical precedence.
From Adam to Abraham, was roughly two thousand years.
From Abraham to Jesus, was roughly two thousand years.
From Jesus to today, is roughly two thousand years.
Is it a reasonable assumption to think that Christ would not return on or about the two-thousandth year anniversary? I think it is very reasonable, and it ties into my second portion of scripture.
2. 1 Thessalonians 5
Interestingly, there are several contradistinction ideas in this passage that need to be looked at more closely. For brevity’s sake, I am not posting the entire chapter here…just the part pertinent to the discussion.
But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.
First, Paul states here that he need not write to you (i.e., a very young Gentile Thessalonian church who most likely didn’t understand all the intricacies of the Jewish Holy Feast dates)…about the Day of the Lord because it would come like a thief in the night. But then he goes on to say this day (the day of the Lord) would NOT overtake them (us) as a thief, because they (and by extension, us) would see this day coming so as not to be overtaken as a thief (i.e., by surprise).
The day of the Lord phrase can mean both the general time of the 70th Week of Daniel, as well as the actual Day Christ returns at the Second Coming
So the Day of the Lord (i.e., the 70th Week), will come like a thief in the night upon the world- because they are not looking for it
We (watching believers) will not be surprised by this coming, because we will see this day (the Day of the Lord) coming from far off. Given the rise in interest in eschatology over the past many decades, I would say that qualifies
Thus the question remains; how exactly will we see this day coming?
Answer: I believe that the rebirth of Israel (see point #1) is the way we know we are in the season. The most famous season mentioned in the Bible is found in the Fig Tree Parable, in which Christ states in Matt. 24:32, “When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.” Well, what is summer? Summer is a season. Just as summer or winter approaches, we can see the signs around us telling us the season is getting ready to change.
But Paul also references the times, which through signs, will confirm the season through an intensifying series of rapid and painful transition points (birth pangs) ultimately escalating into a crescendo, which is the ‘fullness.’ In this passage, Paul refers to times, and we know there were four such times mentioned in the New Testament-
Times of ignorance: referring to the past before Christ came (Acts 17:30)
Times of the Gentiles: referring to the present order from Babel to today (Luke 21:24)
The fullness of the Gentiles: referring to the present, and culminating at a future point with the Rapture of the Church (Rom. 11:25)
Times of restoration: referring to the future millennial kingdom (Acts 3:21)
So we have seasons (presumably summer, given the background of the Fig Tree Parable). We can know we are in the season, by seeing Israel (the fig tree nation) back in her promised land, blossoming and thriving as she is in every possible way. This season is then confirmed by all the signs we see (i.e., technological, economic, societal, ecumenical, geopolitical, etc.) working to build up the coming antichrist kingdom for the seven-year Tribulation. I don’t know how much more needs to be built into it to reach this “fullness of the Gentiles,” but I think if the hammer dropped today, the antichrist could begin his reign soon after (between 1-3 years) with very little resistance.
Now the Antichrist’s kingdom (the Beast) is built upon three pillars: economic, governmental, and religious power. What resistance (roadblocks to a one-world government) the Antichrist would have meet governmentally and religiously, will be removed (off-planet) with the Rapture of the Church. What resistance the Antichrist will have meet geopolitically, will be dealt with through the Gog-Magog War (Ezekiel 38-39). This war effectively neutralizes the Gog-Magog coalition (Russia, Turkey, Iran, Libya, Sudan, and Stan-nations), as well as neuters Islam as a theological and political force. Just these two events alone (i.e., the Rapture and Gog-Magog War) will make it much easier to fold their populations into the coming global religious and political system.
So we are in the season, seeing the signs, and are watching the day (Heb. 10:25) approaching. In this manner of things, what sort of people should we be? Fearful and anxious, or bold and fearless? We are literally, on the cusp of the great, divine, reset, where God removes His own from the earth and allows the foreordained events to unfold just as God said they would. How much longer do we have? It’s difficult to say with specificity because we won’t know the exact moment, but we will see this Day approaching.
Even so, Maranatha!