Introduction to this Series
For those of you who have been following this blog, I want to let you know that I will be attempting to post two of these each week now! The response to this on-line Bible teaching ministry has been phenomenal, and I want to thank you for your interest in these articles, and passing the web address on to others so they can benefit from these studies also.
So, let me tell you where we are going the next five weeks. A few years ago I preached a series of messages listing 10 reasons why I believe Christ is coming soon. These are exciting days to be alive! We are seeing prophecy come to life right before our eyes. If I am able to cover two of my reasons each week, I project this "Signs of the Times" series of studies will last for the next 5 weeks. Hang on for the ride. When we are done, I think you'll be will convinced, as I am, that the Second Coming of Jesus is right around the corner.
In John 14:3 Jesus made a promise that He would come again. But the big question is WHEN? For centuries Christians have claimed that promise, and thought that the Lord's return might be in their lifetime. Their belief was sincere, yet they never saw the fulfillment of our Savior's promise. They hoped to be the generation of Christians that saw the upper-taker, not the undertaker. So what right do we have to say Christ's coming is soon, if it has not happened now for over 20 centuries of history? That, dear friends, is a good question. And I am so glad you asked.
According to II Pet. 3:2, "In the last days scoffers will come, walking according to their own lusts, and saying 'Where is the promise of his coming? For since our fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation". In other words, unbelievers will mock those of us who preach the coming of the Lord. They will say we are chasing a pipe dream. All this time and nothing is changed. This whole idea of looking for the return of Christ (in their opinion) is silly.
Reason #1: How can we know for sure we are living in the "last days"?
Here is what is different about TODAY, as opposed to even a hundred years ago. THE REGATHERING OF ISRAEL TO THEIR HOMELAND! The national regathering of Israel from all over the world to their own land is a key component of Bible prophecy. It is prophesied in Isa. 43:5-7; Jer. 24:6-7; Ezek. 28:25; Amos 9:14; Zeph. 3:20; and Zech. 10:9-10. Look up all those verses! After 2000 years of dispersion, a miracle has occurred--namely the rebirth of the nation of Israel. 1948 was a landmark year for Bible prophecy. It was the year Israel was granted statehood, and persecuted Jews from around the world began to make their way back to their beloved homeland! (It was also the year I was born, so it truly was a banner year!)
What difference does that make?
Well, so what if Israel is a nation again, you might say. How does that tie in with the return of Christ? Simple logic. If Jesus is coming back to be King of Israel, there has to be an Israel! You see, all other Bible prophecies are dependent upon this fact--the regathering and establishment of the modern state of Israel as a sovereign nation. Allow me to give you two important verses:
Jesus' words make sense now
In Matt. 24:15 (Christ's Olivet Discourse), He said this: the abomination of desolation (which is a term from Daniel 9:27 referring to the Anti-Christ) will stand in the Holy Place and blaspheme God, and then proceed to hunt down Jews starting right there in Jerusalem. Without a nation of Israel, there can be no Holy Place in Jerusalem, no blasphemy, no betrayal of the Jewish people by Anti-Christ---nothing. None of it makes any sense apart from what happened in 1948. Furthermore, the Apostle John, in Rev. 19:11-19, describes the second coming of Christ in great detail, including the very spot on earth to which Jesus will return--the Mt. of Olives in Jerusalem (same exact place He left at His ascension). Again, why would Jesus come back to a place in Israel if it is no longer a place in Israel?
Start Looking Up
Jesus said, "when all these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near" (Luke 21:28). Ever since 1948, a turning point in Bible prophecy, Christians would do well to start looking up.