I saw a very interesting article on the BBC News that whispered into my spiritual ears. Please click on the following PDF as I share it:
Within the month of December 2014, I wrote 2 posts trying to capture the heartbeat of where we are when Jesus told us we would know the season and generation but not the exact day and hour of His Second Coming. Those two articles are:
People may shrug off the idea that Jesus is coming back in this present generation, so I would like to point out a few facts rather than feelings about this. First, Ezekiel 36-39 is prophesied to the hills of Israel and that they would be occupied once again in the ‘End Times’. This did not begin to happen until 1947. Not until 1967 was Jerusalem re-gained by the Jews. The Jewish Dispersion from Jerusalem began in 70AD when Jerusalem was defeated. This lasted until 1967 when the Jews pushed back enemy forces that tried to annihilate them and were able to enter the city triumphantly, which many consider miraculously because they were greatly outnumbered by enemy forces. Second, Daniel points out in chapter 12 that there will be an incredible increase in travel and knowledge just before the ‘End’. Third, Jesus and Paul clearly tell those who live in the light that we will know the approximate time of the ‘Second Coming’, but not the exact day and hour.
So the stage has been set since 1967. Two years later we traveled to the moon in an almost unbelievable leap forward for mankind. This brings us to the present day where we have become a ‘Google’ world with a great portion of mankind having access to almost unlimited knowledge.
Now to share a dilemma I used to have. When I turned to the Word of God, I noticed that the end times seemed to be displayed quite differently between Jesus’ ‘Olivet Discourse’ and Paul’s ‘Rapture Discourse’. One talks about great perplexities while the other talks about peace and safety:
Jesus’ Olivet Discourse
“For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (extracred from Matthew 24, Luke 21, and Mark 13 NKJV)
Paul’s Rapture Discourse
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. 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. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. (I Thessalonians 4:15 to 5:6 NKJV)
I believe the answer to why the ‘End Times’ seem to be displayed quite differently between the two is this: They are in reference to two different audiences. Christians sense things much differently than the world does. Christians pick up what is happening in the world parallel with what Jesus had to warn us of in Matthew 24, Luke 21, and Mark 13. Christians hear the ‘groanings’ that are getting louder and louder. Whereas the world always looks at prosperity as its number one priority. The earth can be shaking under the feet of non-Christians and they don’t care as long as prosperity continues. As long as the stock markets are up and money keeps flowing in, it is easy for the world to say, “Peace and safety!”. That is why the ancient Roman Empire recognized that they must keep the people in what is known as ‘Bread and Circus’. Keep the masses fed and occupied so that they think they are prosperous!
On a closer look at the ‘Olivet Discourse’ and the ‘Rapture Discourse’, I notice two common factors. The first factor is that they both refer to a steady increase in frequency and intensity of the impending doom (pregnant woman’s labor pains). The second factor is that these things will come suddenly like a thief (but only to those living in darkness – as in the days of Noah).
I see how there is a progression and intensifying of the perplexities that come upon the earth as outlined in the ‘Olivet Discourse’. Then when I read in the ‘Rapture Discourse’, even though the world believes there is a false peace and safety, God says, “Disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape.” This also tells me that there will be an intensifying because a woman’s labor pains come closer and closer and the pain increases until the birth occurs.
The world believes it can solve all of its problems without the Lord God who created it. The time we live in is very much like the time of the Tower of Babel where man tried to reach into the heavens and be like God. There is a false perspective to the world’s situation (as you can see in the BBC article I had you read about 2014) and man believes he can find the answers by himself to everything. Please see this previous post:
The world shrugs off all of the intensifying perplexities. It is optomistic for a prosperous new year. Whereas we as Christians look up and realize that the ‘Second Coming’ can be upon us at any moment. Our optimism is entirely different than the world’s optimism. Our prosperity does not rest alone in this world like those living in darkness. Our prosperity ultimately rests in our Lord Jesus Christ who is the true light of the world. It is our job to point the lost in this world to that light while there is still time!