"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15
It’s the FINAL COUNTDOWN!
Okay folks, I am sure many of you have begun to think about everything that is happening in the Middle East. I certainly have. Really how could you not. We are feeling the impact in our pocket books from rising gas prices! But there is something else happening here. On Sunday my Pastor offered a brief comment followed by a call to prayer for our nation. Basically, a lot of things are beginning to unravel or have the appearances of unraveling. Of course, these comments get the wheels turning. In December we had dead fish and birds…many thought that this was a sign. While, I highly doubt that this was a sign…The things happening in the Middle East most certainly could be a precursor to the second coming.
Let me say this before I continue. No one knows the time or the place of when Christ will return. Least of all me. However, the Bible does seem to offer indications of when the time is near, and certain events that take place just before the tribulation. These are the signs that we should be looking for as Christians. But folks, if you have friends that have not come to Christ…this would be a good time to begin share your faith with them. The end may not come in our life time, but their end will most certainly come. Whether it be from tribulation, old age, or a random accident…the truth is that 100% of us die. I believe that God is very interested in whether or not we have fulfilled the Great Commission and we will most certainly hear about it as we stand before him. The clock is ticking…what are you waiting for?
Before we get back to the Middle East let me take another quick detour. Look at Galatians 4:4. Paul says that Christ came when the fullness of time came. Christ came into a world that was prepared and ready for Him, and the spread of the Gospel. The time had to be just right in order for Christ to preach his word, be rejected and crucified, and for the Apostles to be able to go forth with the good news. Now many things were needed to make this happen. Here is a small list… Roman roads, Roman postal system , Israel returning to the promised land, and relative peace. Overall it took about 500 years for the social, political and architectural circumstances to be prepared for what took place in the New Testament. Without any one of the factors above… the fullness of time is incomplete. And so it is today.
When we look at the events taking place throughout the world and ask the question “Are we near the end?”, I believe that we have to look at it through the same prism. Is the world in a place where the events depicted in the apocalypse can happen in a relatively short amount of time? In short, it appears that the answer is yes. There is a lot of speculation surrounding the timing around the tribulation, rapture and second coming. The only thing we know for sure about the timing is that the Bible says he will come like a thief in the night and that people will be caught off guard. This would lead many (including myself, after some convincing from KB) that the world will be caught off guard by the end of times. However, there are some clues in scripture that allow us to know that certain parts of Revelation are possible NOW that haven’t been before.
To be fair, many in the past (dating all the way back to the Thessalonians) have thought the end of the world was near. They have never been right. Why? Because certain events depicted in Revelation would require (by our interpretation) certain technologies to easily occur. This is not to say that God cannot make it happen simply because he wants it to, it is to say that God has made it happen through “invention inspiration”. Here is an example to consider: Revelation 11:1-14 talks about two witnesses with whom the whole world is familiar and over whom everyone gloats when they are martyred. How is it possible that everyone will see their dead bodies and gloat? Before the invention of satellite communications and global media this was not literally possible. However, consider that there is now no delay in news (such as what is happening in the Middle East) being delivered to your television, radio, computer or smart-phone. We are able to see the events unfold in real time – no delay, making the prophecy in Revelation 11 a literal possibility.
If you look specifically at the current situation in the Middle East, you see some very interesting socio-political events playing out. To be more direct… do the events taking place in the Middle East set the stage for the tribulation? I would argue/speculate, yes. The situation we are looking for are circumstances that would lead to a need for a treaty with Israel. When you look at a country like Egypt (which has been at relative peace with Israel) there is now a sudden power vacuum that has been created. Much like post WWI Germany, many are positioning themselves to have the controlling interest of Egypt and Libya. Some of these groups are openly hostile towards Israel.
There is no doubt that the end is nearer now than it has ever been. That is not to say that it is next year, or 5 years from now…but I believe these events are setting the table for a soon coming end. This, of course, is speculation…I cannot definitively prove it beyond doubt. Anyone that tells you that they happen to know the date and time is kidding themselves or straight up lying to you. But as I stated before, start sharing Christ’s love with your lost friends right now. Even if the end doesn’t happen in our life time…our death is certain. We will all perish. Tell them about the good news. Tell them the reason for your hope!