A Sign of the End

I don’t know if it is true and honest to claim that famines, pestilences, earthquakes, wars & rumors of wars and false doctrines are rapidly increasing in our generation. I’m not aware of anyone else aside from end-times preachers who believes that. Historical statistics seem to record a different story.

But even if it is true (even if earthquakes, famines & wars are currently reaching record high levels) we still cannot claim on that basis alone that ours is the final generation – because all of those things must have already reached record highs at some other time in history only to be surpassed in a subsequent generation. So we can’t compare current incidences of these phenomena with future incidences – we can only compare current levels with past levels. Therefore any increase in such phenomena, even if it can be proved, does nothing in itself to confirm that ours must be the last generation that must see the return of the Lord.

Even in the unlikely event that a North American Union is formed; even if the global economy collapses; even if America should cease to exist – none of these things in themselves would necessarily have any automatic prophetic significance as far as Biblical eschatology goes. The world has survived similar things in the past and can do so again if God wills. Perhaps it’s hard to imagine there was a time when the world actually survived before America was Federated. Therefore we should avoid interpreting current events and Scriptural prophecy with ethno-centric, America-centric, our-generation-centric blinkers on which cause us to forget that worse calamities occurred in previous generations.

AN ENDURING SIGN

However one sure and enduring sign that this is the last day is the sign of the destruction of the Temple and city of Jerusalem and the deportation of the Jews all over the world, beginning circa AD70. From that day to this, the Church has been rightly preaching that it is the last hour.

The fall of Jerusalem was preceded by the signs of famines, pestilences, earthquakes, wars and false Christs (antichrists) – but these were only “the beginning of sorrows”. During that time “this Gospel was preached to every creature under heaven”. Then the city was besieged by that abominable instrument of Jerusalem’s desolation – the Gentile armies – just as Daniel mentioned. This was the sign that let the disciples know it was time to flee the city. They’d been praying it wouldn’t be in winter because they knew it would be a difficult time for anyone who was pregnant – therefore God had to cut the days short for the elect’s sake. They hadn’t even finished going throughout all the towns of Judea preaching the Gospel, just as Jesus had predicted. It came to pass that not one stone of the Temple was left standing on top of another. And from that time on it was time to “look up for your redemption draweth nigh”.

The state of Jerusalem over the past 1,938 years (since AD70) is a sign that “Behold, the judge standeth at the door”. This was “great tribulation”, “the days of vengeance”, “the beginning of Jacob’s trouble”, when “the blood of all the prophets shed since Abel to Zechariah will be required of this generation”, “Jerusalem is in bondage with her children”, because “desolations are determined until the consummation”.

And for how long will Jerusalem remain trodden underfoot by Gentiles? “Until the times [years] of the Gentiles are fulfilled,” said Jesus. Or as Paul said, “Until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in”. No-one knows how long it will be, only the Father. Not even the Son of Man was able to tell how long – He was able only to describe the state of Jerusalem during these years, that she would be trodden underfoot by Gentiles. But He couldn’t say how long. What a true description of Jerusalem’s subsequent history! and how shocking to the disciples’ ears when first they heard it. O Jerusalem! Jerusalem!

During each subsequent century as Jerusalem has remained trodden underfoot by Gentiles, it has rightly been the message of the Church that THE TRUMPET CAN NOW SOUND AT ANY TIME, then He that shall come shall come and will not delay.

Irrespective of what else may or may not have to happen in the future, Jerusalem’s fall continues to be a sign – a type – of the coming judgment, and a sign that intrinsically these are the last days. If He spared not the natural branches (Jews), neither will He spare you which against nature were grafted in (Gentiles) if you continue not in faith. But if they (the Jews) continue not in unbelief then God is able to graft them in again.

Brethren, now is our salvation nearer than when we believed, now it is the last hour.

What do YOU think?

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Comments

  1. You are right, but along with this, will be the sign in which the Gospel of the kingdom of God will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14). See also Isaiah 66:18-21. Truly, the end will not come until all the nations and tongues (each and every living soul) will know about our living God and the salvation which comes through Him. Our God is just and merciful to us all. He loves us equally so He won’t hide His words of Grace and Salvation from the people who are still in ignorance. So that many those who say they are first shall be last and the last shall come to be first (Mark 10:31). Judgement will be same for everyone.

    • Jesus said in Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations…”

      But keep in mind that Paul said in Colossians 1:23, “…the gospel, which ye have heard, and which WAS PREACHED TO EVERY CREATURE WHICH IS UNDER HEAVEN; whereof I Paul am made a minister”. That happened in the first century!

      So is it possible that Jesus may have meant “ALL the world” in the same sense that Paul meant “EVERY creature which is under heaven”?

      In the Bible’s own terms therefore, the Gospel was already preached to “every creature” under the “whole heaven” in “all the world” WITHIN the first century – and therefore the message of the Church in each successive generation has rightly been that the Son of Man can now come truly at ANY TIME.

      Even a LITRAL understanding of Paul’s statement cannot be ruled-out. Ancient people were seafaring people and, besides – many people now believe that the migration of mankind around the globe was a far more RECENT phenomenon than many have previously thought. Perhaps therefore the possibility cannot be ruled-out that every existing nation of Paul’s day indeed heard the Gospel.

      Consider statements of Paul’s like the following in Colossians 1:5-6, “…the word of the truth of the gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in ALL THE WORLD; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you”.

      Paul said of the Roman believers in Jesus, “…your faith is spoken of throughout the WHOLE WORLD…” (Romans 1:8).

      In Acts 19:10 we are told “…and ALL THEY WHICH DWELT IN ASIA heard the word of the Lord Jesus…” This was achieved within a few short years through the ministry of one individual – so imagine how much MORE may also have been achieved through the combined efforts of each of the other apostles and members of the wider Body of Christ.

      Paul says in II Timothy 2:15, “…ALL they which are in Asia be turned away from me…” There was ample time within the first century for ALL Asia to hear the Gospel, and then to turn away as well.

      But it’s also likely that Paul and the rest of the New Testament used the words “all the world” in a certain literary style rather than strictly literally.

      For example in Luke 2:1 we are told, “…there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that ALL THE WORLD should be taxed”;

      And in Acts 11:28 a prophet signified by the Spirit “…that there should be great dearth throughout ALL THE WORLD”.

      Notice the words “all the world” were the same words used by Jesus when He said “all the world”.

      So be consistent with how you apply the meaning of that phrase.

      If it is true that the Son of Man cannot morally come and judge the world UNTIL every last living individual has heard the Gospel, then morally how can He judge the dead who never heard the Gospel? No, Romans chapter one tells us that God can judge BOTH those who received the Law and those who did not.

      Today the Gospel continues to be preached in all the world – but that doesn’t give us a basis for asserting that the Son of Man DOES NOT YET ALREADY HAVE sufficient warrant to return. We cannot cite contemporary world-events – good or bad – as the the basis for the assertion that ours MUST be the final generation before Christ returns. No man knows the day nor the hour!

      BUT what we DO know is that the Bible-signs are already with us that the CHURCH AGE is THE LAST TIME (starting on the Day of Pentecost until the present).

      Jesus is coming!

    • John Edwards says:

      But just exactly what do we mean when we assert that “the end will come” after the Gospel has been preached to all nations? As far as I know, there isn’t any nation in the world where the Gospel has not been preached already. That has already been the case for quite some time now. Or do we mean every language-group? What if the Gospel has already been preached to a particular language-group, but there are many individuals within that language-group who still have not heard the Gospel? What about ‘Western’ nations – there could be lots of people in Western nations who have never had anyone personally witness to them about Christ. Some Western countries may have had a higher proportion of Christians in past generations than they have now. Can Christ still come under these circumstances? Or do we mean that Christ won’t come until there isn’t anyone living at the time who hasn’t heard the Gospel?

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