Over the last few issues, we have noted many of the signs Jesus and the apostles spoke of which would lead inevitably to the second coming of the Lord. We have seen that, unless one had fallen asleep on the job of watching and praying that Jesus warned about, all of the signs are now converging and accelerating in the same way as birth pangs do.
But there is one major sign which shows us very clearly that He is ‘at the door.’ This sign has to do with the nation of Israel.
In 1948, Israel was finally recognised by the United Nations as a sovereign, independent country and government. Israel had never had this status since well before AD 70 when the Romans demolished the temple, Israel’s centre of worship, and later set to flight most of the Jewish population.
About two thousand years previously, God had promised Abraham that his descendants would have an ‘everlasting possession’ in what was then the land of Canaan. Through the prophet Ezekiel God also spoke of a time when He would bring back to life the Jewish presence as well as its physical and spiritual entity, and Israel as a nation in its own land is extremely important for the end times prophecies of Daniel to be fulfilled. At the present time the population of Israel (mainly Jewish) is over 7 million, and growing rapidly.
In other words, the signs Jesus and apostles spoke about could have been fulfilled at any time, but never could they have been so clearly significant before 1948. With the other signs all happening now, never could our focus on the return of Christ have been so important to the world until the period after 1948. Never before 1948 could Jerusalem have been regarded as a ‘burdensome stone’ for the whole world, as prophesied by Zechariah. Only now could this small city create such political tensions with world-wide ramifications.
The scene has almost been set for the revealing of the ultimate rebellion of antichrist, the great tribulation and the Battle of Armageddon where Jesus defeats the forces of evil. Christians are not going to have to endure God’s wrath, but we are certainly not immune from growing persecution as we have seen in the earlier signs.
But before the judgments of the final tribulation there is a lot of evidence in the Bible that we will be delivered, or forcibly removed and protected at the rapture. While there may be no direct signs warning us of the rapture, there are plenty to remind us of what season we are now in – that’s why Jesus told His disciples to ‘watch and pray.’ That’s why all the previous signs we have examined all seem to be peaking in this period since 1948. We should expect His coming for us at any time. But we should not speculate about whether it will be days, months or years away.
Paul said we should ‘encourage one another’ as we see the time approaching, and this is good advice. Even though the world is getting darker and the inhabitants becoming more evil, even though everything around us is growing more anti-Christian, this is the time to be positively looking forward to our ‘glorious hope’, the appearance and ultimate salvation of the Lord.