For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. (1 Thessalonians 5:2)
As you look at the world around you, what do you see? Everywhere, people are going about their activities, rushing to and fro, seemingly with ant-like singleness of purpose. From a higher vantage point, perhaps that’s even what we look like, ants darting around. And while we hear stories on the news and have at least a casual awareness of international events, we seldom give them much thought, at least not enough to truly affect our plans. Wars, terrorist attacks, earthquakes, tsunamis, economic collapses, people dying of starvation or suffering persecution at the hands of oppressive regimes, and so many more things are happening all around the world but life goes on and those things fade into background noise as we focus on executing our own plans. We go forward with every expectation of living our lives to their fullest extent.
But it’s all coming to a climax. We don’t like to think about it, we don’t know much about it, and we mostly try to deny or dismiss it, but despite our ant-like bustling around, way deep down inside each of us knows that there has to be a day of reckoning; that this growing global chaos cannot continue forever; something has to give. Perhaps as evidence of a burgeoning concern for our collective future, attendance at the fall Prophecy conference put on by Jan Markell and her Olive Tree Ministries last October was double expected levels. More than 6000 people attended, some waiting in traffic for more than an hour to get inside for this event. Indeed, it seems people are becoming at least more curious about what is to come.
But we don’t have to wonder too hard. God has made it clear in the Bible that the end will come and Jesus will return as he promised. The question really is: when? And Jesus answered that question in Matthew 24:36-44: “No one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left. So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”
Of course, probably every generation since Jesus ascended to heaven has thought the end was near. So are there any signs right now that signal us we might be truly getting close to the end? Well, certainly the reestablishment of Israel as a nation in 1948 is a unique event of epic proportions and a signal we should not ignore. But a little closer look at the world today reveals certain situations that fit with Biblical prophecy as signs of the times. Space here doesn’t allow an exhaustive list, but let’s take a cursory look at some of them.
We’ll start with unrest and lawlessness in Europe. Greece’s fall into near financial ruin and the well-publicized Brexit vote both signal dissension and economic instability in the European union. Meanwhile in Switzerland, the Opening Ceremony for the Gotthard Base Tunnel showcased a bizarre and tasteless opening ceremony that featured a dancing goatman, which is often symbolic for Satan, with other dancers bowing down in what appears to be an act of mock satanic worship. And more open borders and mass refugee immigration from troubled areas of the world have led to increased terrorist activity leaving citizens and governments alike on edge. Many prophecy experts believe the Antichrist will arise from Europe and the current unrest there certainly seems to be the perfect breeding ground for such a thing to happen.
And we have wars and rumors of wars seemingly in every direction we turn. One country threatens another, terrorists seem to operate everywhere, and North Korea is stirring the pot in the biggest of ways. Rogue nations dabble in nuclear programs while the people of the world watch powerlessly. On December 23, 2016 the UN voted against Israel while Israel’s greatest ally, the United States, abstained from the vote. This seems to align with prophecy in Zechariah 12:3, which speaks of countries aligning against Israel. And, rather obviously, this only adds to the tension in the middle east.
And people are falling away from sound Christian teaching in large numbers. Just as the Apostle Paul prophesied in his second letter to Timothy: “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4) This is evident in so many ways all across the globe. Even some churches have become nothing more than social and political outreaches, promoting lifestyles and politics completely inconsistent with sound Biblical doctrine.
So we see that there are, indeed, many signs that the end could truly be much closer than any of us care to think. We are called to be watchmen on the wall, praying day and night and sounding the warning, and there seems to be plenty to warn the people about, for indeed, if that day draws near, and it sure looks like it does, then the time to get right with God is now. Right now.
To learn more about prophecy and eschatology, we are proud to recommend these resources to you:
Olive Tree Ministries
Pastor Mark Hitchcock
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