by Howard Green
In the last article: Is Bible Prophecy Relevant? Part 1, we looked in the word of God and reaffirmed what many of us already know. Not only is Bible prophecy relevant, it points directly to the centrality of Jesus, the gospel, and the urgency of the great commission. http://concerningthetimes.com/bible-prophecy-relevant/
In part 2 we will think about living in light of Bible prophecy and what that looks like in our daily Christian walk. We will finish by taking a realistic look at present conditions and ask an all important question. Now let’s look together at: Is Bible Prophecy Relevant? Part 2.
As believers we know that Jesus is coming back soon. In the last article, we noted that Jesus told us this very thing 3 times in Revelation 22. Knowing that the Lord may come back at any moment has been a reality check for the church for centuries now. One look at the newspapers and the point becomes clear: things cannot go on this way much longer.
Even among many non-Christians, there is a sense that some perilous times are just ahead. Now there are some who scoff at the notion that God is going to judge the world. After all, they view Him as far off, out of touch, and perhaps a bit antiquated. That is because they don’t know Him and in following their heart, they are taking God’s loving mercy for granted, not realizing….righteous judgement will fall just as He said it would.
2 Peter 3:3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
The Bible is brimming with exhortation on how to live in light of the Lord’s soon return. In the same chapter, Peter makes it clear how we should conduct our lives:
2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
As born again Christians, our eternity is secure because the atoning blood of the savior has been applied to our sins and we are declared not guilty by the Father. We believed, confessed, repented, and now we are on this walk many have taken before us called the Christian life. The story doesn’t end at our conversion. We aren’t to simply declare: “I’m in!” and wander aimlessly until we get to heaven. This new reality is made crystal clear through Bible prophecy and biblically sound end time teaching. God saved us because he loves us and sent His own Son to bridge the gap between our sin and His holiness. He saved us and now we can bring glory to Him. How can we do this? One great way is to live among this cold dark world as salt and light. We can do this in many ways. One way is by our conduct in this life: Look at the last few verses in 2 Peter we noted above. We are to live lives of holiness and godliness because we are waiting for the coming of the day of God.
Jesus told many parables and among those are several which warn us to be ready. He may come back at any moment to take the church home. That’s not fantasy, wishful thinking, or escapism….it’s a sobering reality. Knowing the Lord can return at any moment should move us to action. In Luke 12:35, Jesus commands His servants to be watching and waiting. We are to be awake and ready.
Luke 12:35 “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks.Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
Luke 12:47 And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
We are commanded throughout the New Testament to watch, be ready, and stay awake. Why? Because the Lord will return and what we do in this life counts for eternity. When? No one knows the day or the hour, but as believers we can read what the prophets and apostles wrote. We can look at the decaying world around us, deteriorating geopolitical conditions, and even increasing apostate behavior among some churches and know that we are indeed in the last days.
This is where our next point comes into focus. We have looked at how we should live as believers in light of the Lord’s return, now let’s look at a few key signs of it’s nearness.
First: we need only to look around and know that there is a different gospel being taught. It is a fact that this has been with us since the 1st century, but now apostates aren’t sneaking into back doors, rather….they are boldly proclaiming it before thousands.
Some spread the gospel of prosperity, others the gospel of social justice, and still others…the gospel of the goodness of humanity. Friends, any so called ‘gospel’ that departs from the centrality of the atoning work of Jesus on the cross and that alone for salvation……is a false gospel.
Second: Geopolitical conditions and natural disasters are accelerating and intensifying. I covered this in depth in an earlier article called…Birth Pains are Increasing. But I want to reiterate what many of us are already discerning in the world today. War, famine, pestilence, and earthquakes make the headlines daily, not just weekly or monthly anymore.
I want to key in on war for just a moment. People will rightly mention that war has always been with us and even point to the last century with it’s two world wars. Why is war different now? The sad reality is that Rwanda, the Balkans, and even ISIS show us that humanity……without God is bent on evil. The difference now is that it’s only in the last 40 years we have acquired the capability of wiping out most if not all of humanity. I believe that fact alone along with the threat from rogue nations, extremists, and despots getting their hands on such weaponry are another clear sign that Jesus is coming soon.
Third: May 14th 1948 was the fulfillment of ancient prophecy in Ezekiel, Isaiah, and others heralding the beginning of the end. Bible prophecy which dealt with Israel being back in her land and the Lord’s judgement of the invading nations bent on it’s destruction could not possibly be fulfilled until the Jewish people were restored back in their ancient homeland. When we look at the miracle that is modern Israel after 1,900 years of diaspora, along with current global conditions, and a growing defection from the true gospel of Christ’s atonement alone………we must conclude that our time to work here is short.
Luke 14:16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”
You and I are walking through this life as Christians to the glory of God. We are alert, awake, watchful, and obedient. While this world is living one way…….we are living for the world to come. The world is watching how we live. People at work, school, neighbors, and perhaps unsaved spouses and children. A life marked by godliness, purity, and a crushed heart for the lost. There is a consensus among many respected Bible teachers and prophecy scholars that we are nearing the time of the Lord’s return. As I mentioned before, solid biblical teaching doesn’t include date setting. We can discern the times we live in through the clear lens of scripture. in thinking about the nearness of Jesus’ return, doesn’t it make you want to tell everyone? What do we risk if we take a stand and tell others about the gospel and coming judgement? Do we risk ridicule, gossip, undermining, job demotion, being ‘cool’, a relationship, or any number of other ways the world will deal with a true Christian?
What has it cost you to share the gospel and what has it cost me? Whatever it costs pales in comparison to the joy and amazing things the Lord has in store for us. We will live in His presence forever…..this life is just a fleeting moment in the scope of eternity. Not only that, heaven and hell are the only available options for a person when they die. That is my final point. Jesus may come back at any moment or 10 years from now…..we don’t know.
What we do know is everyone is facing eternity right now. People are one heartbeat away from eternity and death can come at any moment. In all probability….very few if any people reading this article will be here in 90 years if Jesus tarries. So it’s fair to say that no one is far from eternity and coming judgement. Knowing this, let’s tell everyone possible about the reality of heaven, hell, judgement, repentance, forgiveness, and a new life in Christ.
1 Peter 3:15 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
Before we finish this article I want to address those of you who aren’t sure where you will spend eternity. When you look at the growing darkness in the world and see perilous times are coming….do you worry about the future? I was worried at one time and many of our readers were fearful about where they would spend eternity as well. The question every person needs to ask themselves is: Am I ready to stand before Jesus? He is coming as savior and judge. He is the savior of all who make Him their Lord, but He is also the coming judge to those who have rejected His free gift of salvation. Are you ready to meet Him? If you don’t know Jesus….His invitation to become your Lord is still open right now.
The Bible says that today is the day of salvation. Friend, if you found this article I don’t believe it’s by mistake. God loves you, He is pursuing you, and sent Jesus to take the punishment for your sin upon Himself on the cross. Please take a moment and consider asking Jesus to be your Lord. If you want to take that step, visit the:
Are you saved page. http://concerningthetimes.com/are-you-saved/
Jesus is coming soon, time is short, and there are many people who need to know Him. Is Bible Prophecy Relevant? We can answer yes with boldness.