I have two children who are looking to get married this year, each day that passes is another day nearer to that wonderful event that will mark the beginning of the rest of their lives. Each day marks yet another point closer in proximity to “The Big Day”, how exiting!
There are certainly some nerves about it, thoughts of things that can go wrong and difficulties along the way, but in general there is an excitement about it all. The more they get closer to the event, the more sequential items need to get done and ticked off the list. The order of each item being completed is like yet another indicator that the big day is close at hand.
With regard to the things we look forward to happening, things that we are confident to enjoy, each day closer becomes the proximity marker to that event, just ask any child about Christmas or any teenager about getting their Drivers Licence.
But there are also proximity markers that are designed to warn of danger, some cars and trucks have proximity warning sounds when they are reversing, or parking…. you get the point.
Well, the Bible also is a soundboard that tells of events yet future, some of us are really looking forward to THE BIG DAY, but some…not so much. To those who have believed on Jesus Christ, the day they look forward to most on the Bible calendar is when they are caught up to be with him. But those who have rejected him until that time, will be dealing with events in the world that will unfold very rapidly and will be very, very frightening.
The word is almost considered a swear word among even Christians today, a taboo subject none dare venture to enter. But prophecy is not that difficult to discern and much confusion needlessly exists about it.
It has long been recognised that God proves the Bible true by having a great deal of events written in its pages well before they occur, these writings are called Prophecies. For God to prove them true they must be simple enough for most people to understand, they need to be written literally and follow basic and standard historical and grammatical rules in the writing of them. Make sense?
If I was to tell you that tomorrow I will be found at the BP Service station at 10am driving a Ford Utility, you should be able to witness that literal event occurring to prove my statements correct. Thats how the Bible works when it comes to prophecy, God has had written events yet future for which clear reflection can determine. Things that are yet future to us, must be evidentially coming to pass especially if they are BIG DEAL events….like the “Mark of the beast” as an example.
Some of the events God had written however where to deal with individuals at the very time the prophecy was given; the account of King Jeroboam comes to mind when the man of God confirmed his words to the king through the breaking and spilling of an alter before him (1 Kings 13:2-5).
Many so called “scholars” have argued to and fro whether or not these things happened rather as history and not prophecy, most arguments are false but still widely believed today. Nevertheless, when it comes to events that are in our own memory and occurring well after we know the Bible was completed, this is a very different matter.
the day of the lord
Two extremes can be considered when it comes to Biblical Prophecy today. To the one the belief is that the Day of the Lord is so close an event that they are sure it will happen within the next few years if not sooner. To the other, well, “where is the promise of his coming?…all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation” (2 Pet 3:4). In other words, to the other, there is no future event to speak of, believed not because it is not clearly written of, but because it has not yet been fulfilled. Another strange sect are those that think all future events are allegorical, even though past events were fulfilled precisely literally.
signs of the times
We have been given assurance from the Lord that there are signs of the times we can consider as we relate that which is occurring in the world historically to that which the Bible speaks of (Matt 16:3). In fact, Jesus goes on to teach that we should all be watching, even though no man can know the day nor the hour ‘the Son of man cometh’ (Matt 25:13). All this our Lord told his disciples in answer to their questions concerning “what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matt 24:3). The followers of Christ were expecting historical evidence through which they may be able to discern the times in which they lived. This needs be our perspective also, as well as our desire.
But to set a precise time is not our task. We are not to consider the signs of the times to determine THE time the Son of man cometh, Jesus made this also very clear saying, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mrk 13:32).
a scary time cometh
Our Lord makes similar mention in Mathew’s gospel account after he has given his disciples some of the signs pertaining to his return, but follows up with this statement saying;
“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matt 24:37-39).
The days of Noah were not good days, there ultimate end was judgement from God for the sin of that world. But notice the complacency! They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, no concern at all of what was coming even though a crazy old man was building a ship for an event that had never occurred in history till then, RAIN! They knew nothing even though we are told Noah was a “preacher of righteous” while building his ship for one hundred and twenty years (2 Pet 2:5), until the flood came and took them all away. Elsewhere Jesus warns of the unexpected suddenness of impending danger simply because people WILL NOT WATCH, “When they shall say peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them” (1 Thess 5:3).
Jesus rebukes the Pharisees and the Sadducees in scripture because they did not watch for his first coming when they asked him personally to show a sign, “He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. 3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” (Matt 16:2-3).
The Lord goes on to encourage and charge his disciples concerning his second coming, comparing himself to the master of the house who has gone on a long journey; “Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. 34 For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. 35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: 36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. (Mrk 13:33-37).
What we can determine from all of these passages is clear, Jesus both demonstrates to us that Prophetic events the Bible referred to should be evidentially recognized as they occur in history, but also that they are not specific enough to warrant any precise measurement of the actual time of the end. But more than this, Jesus actually commands that we are to watch for them and not be complacent, we should be expecting these things to come to pass and watch for the proximity indicators as they appear.
So, as this is certainly the case;
- That we are charged to watch for the coming of the Lord, and
- That we cannot know the day nor the hour of his coming.
And all this particularly in light of the encouragement of the Rapture of the Church prior to the second coming of Christ, we should ask the question, Why? Why did the Lord say to the disciples and unto all to watch? Could it be for the purpose of encouragement?
Certainly it is to those who are saved by his grace, all this is to encourage them and all the more as we see the day approaching (Heb 10:25).
But knowing that the second coming of the Lord is not to be as the first (Jesus will not return as a lamb pierced for the transgressions of the World, this he did once and the world has had opportunity to accept his gift of eternal life for almost two thousand years), no this time Christ will come as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, this time he will come in judgement and those who aligned with the beast will be destroyed with the brightness of his coming (2 Thess 2:8).
The time immediately preceding the Lords return shall be seven years of the greatest horror experienced by man, so much so that scripture says That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness (Zeph 1:15) known also as “the great and terrible day of the Lord” by Joel 2:31 it is “the day of vengeance” spoken of by Isaiah 61:2.
This is not a time you want to be experiencing. There will certainly be hope of salvation in that day, but from what we read in the Bible, there does not seem to be many that will take advantage of it, and most of those that do are killed for the privilege. (Rev 6:11)
But to those who wait, the prophetic understanding is an encouragement that comes in two parts, the first is to know that all those persecuted by the evil in the world will be avenged by the Lord and comforted (Isa 61:2) but for those of us who are caught up before that day, there is another purpose.
Confirming the bible true
In each case, in the context of the Lord commanding all to watch for his coming in the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark and Luke, the Lord makes this emphatic statement; “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Mt 24:35, Mrk 13:31 & Lk 21:33). Could the purpose also be that we are to be trusting his words absolutely? Might the Lord reveal to each of us the absolute veracity of his words during those days of utmost confusion?
Of all the days in which the words of the Lord should be held to closely, the days just prior to his second coming certainly are the most necessary.
Therefore, each time we see events in history prove the Bible true, we should hold more tightly to that book and rejoice in the comfort it brings.
These are the days where we can certainly see the simple truth of God’s word coming to light in the most profound ways. And I look forward to sharing more with you in the weeks to come, as I begin to expound one passage in the Bible that stands out above many in these incredible days, these days before the most anticipated event in the last two thousand years, the Second Coming of Christ.
Pr Edi Giudetti.