Monday, November 19, 2012

Is the Rapture Near?


Hamas Launches Rockets from Gaza City

Israel May Declare War 

America Reaches Fiscal Cliff

Syria in Civil War 

Iran Expands Nuclear Program

Today’s headlines are just the kind we would expect to see in the last days (Matt. 24:4-8; 2 Timothy 3:1-9). The rapture may be near, but we shouldn't set dates or pack our bags just yet. 

The fact is, the rapture could be today. It could be this year. Or it could still be 500 years from now. This would not be the first time Christians thought “This is it!” 

Here's part of an article written by John Walvoord in 1999, showing how current events point toward a rapture that could occur very soon - and how we should respond. It sums up well what I believe... 
Undoubtedly [in the 21st century] there will be changes in the Holy Land, where now the Israelites and the Palestinians are in tension over the possession of the land. Any fair assessment of the situation reveals immediately that the Palestinians are not going to be content until they possess all the land, not just part of it. Palestinians believe, based on the Quran, that Abraham gave the land to Ishmael, Abraham’s son by the Egyptian handmaid Hagar, and that the land belongs to them, not to Isaac and the children of Israel. The fact that the promise to Isaac was written 1, 500 years before Christ and that the Quran did not appear until hundreds of years after Christ does not deter them from accepting its legitimacy… 

…With this evidence before us it is obvious that, if the Rapture occurs soon, there is an unparalleled opportunity at the present time for aggressive evangelism, using all the modern means that are available for dissemination of the truth. While evangelist Dwight L. Moody could only reach twenty thousand people because this was the limit of the human voice unaided by electronic means, today millions of people have heard the gospel at one time. 

In my own experience of responding to questions regarding Armageddon at the time of the Gulf War, I either appeared in person or was discussed on television stations reaching a hundred million people, and I was able under that circumstance at least to affirm that Christ is coming and that the world should get ready. Such a widespread publication of the facts of the coming of Christ was impossible in many generations. Obviously we should do what we can to get the gospel out, and the many means that are being used today—radio, television, Internet, and the printed page—all need to combine to accomplish this task. 

The present prophetic situation also puts emphasis on the necessity of Christians walking in the light (1 John 1:7), that is, walking in the will of God and bearing a testimony to the transformed life that follows a new birth. Too often Christians have clouded their testimony by being identified more with the world than with the church, and this of course hinders the winning of people to faith. 

In my own experience of teaching prophecy more than sixty years and seeing the development that has occurred in that period, I find there is every reason to be excited and to believe that the coming of Christ could be very soon. One of these days, without further waiting, the Rapture will occur, and everyone who belongs to Christ will be caught up together to meet Him in the air to go to heaven. What a tremendous event that is, and now each day, as the light of day comes upon us, we naturally raise the question, “Could it be today?” The fact is that it could be.

(Emphasis added. Source: "Signs of the Times," Journal of Ministry & Theology Vol. 3:2, p. 16).
 Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net

3 comments:

  1. “Could it be today?” The fact is that it could be.

    Don't Temple sacrifices have to begin before the rapture?

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  2. Temple sacrifices will eventually re-commence, but not necessarily before the rapture.

    Paul Benware explains...

    "When the Tribulation begins, Israel is back in their ancient land. Ezekiel, along with other prophets, saw that in the end times the nation would be restored to their land by the Lord Himself (e.g. Deut. 30:4-5; Ezek. 20:40-44; 34:11-13; 36:22-36; 37:1-14). When the nation returns, however, it will not be as a nation of believers. Ezekiel indicates that Israel will first come back to their land, then they will come back to the Lord...

    "...Apparently many in the nation will return to their ancient worship system, which was centered in the Jerusalem temple and which involved animal sacrifices. The temple must, therefore, be rebuilt, though not necessarily before the start of the Tribulation. How the Jewish people will be able to do this (in light of the Muslim holy places that are located on the temple mount) and when they will rebuild the temple are not revealed. The Scriptures simply inform us that at the midpoint of the Tribulation the temple exists and the levitical sacrificial system is in place (cf. Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15), but it does not tell us how long it has been going on"

    Earlier, Benware lists a number of passages that point toward an imminent rapture:

    *James 5:7-9
    *1 Thess. 1:10
    *1 Cor. 1:7
    *Phil. 3:20-21
    *1 Thess. 4:15
    *Titus 2:13
    *1 Cor. 16:22
    *Rom 13:11-14
    *1 Cor 15:51-53
    *Phil 4:5
    *1 Jn. 2:28-3:3

    On the other hand, the second coming of Christ at the end of the Tribulation will be a time of judgment preceded by numerous signs and events:

    *Joel 3:12-16
    *Rev. 19:11-21
    *Zech 14:1-5
    *Matt 24:29-31

    I know you hold a much different view on this, so I appreciate your inquisitive spirit and willingness to hear the other side briefly. I'm thankful we share a love for Christ and can say together, "Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus!"

    ReplyDelete
  3. That quote, by the way, was from Benware's book Understanding End Times Prophecy: A Comprehensive Approach, p. 255.

    ReplyDelete