EVIDENCE FOR GOD

Is there any evidence for the existence of God? It’s not “cool” or politically correct to ask such questions in our age, but I say “Ask”! And here I offer some (but not all) answers to the secret seeker…

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Consider first that there are three possibilities as to how we all got here. 1, We were created by a Creator; 2, We evolved; 3, We aren’t really here, we just think we are. Other evolution-related concepts such as “Pan-Spermia” (life evolved somewhere else in the universe and was then seeded on earth) are not really alternatives, since all life, wherever it came from originally, either evolved or was created .

I have no time for the third option: I’m here, and so are you. That leaves two possibilities. I’m convinced that if you’re in the evolution-from-nothing camp, you’re determined to be there, against all the available evidence to the contrary.

DESIGN

I see incredible design in all of nature. Out of the thousands of examples I could give, one of my favorites is a moth I saw late one night near where I live, under a bright light. It was on the ground with its wings fully open on the ground. It had a five-inch wingspan (12.5 cm), and on the back of each wing it had a large fake fearsome eye, so that you seem to be looking at a formidable, intimidating five-inch wide face. Presumably the moth has these “eyes” as self-defense to avoid being eaten. I asked myself how a moth would “evolve” those “eyes” for itself, even given millions of years. Why didn’t all its progenitors get eaten, and if they didn’t, why did it need the eyes?

When we look around at our world we see beauty everywhere, and things which fit and have meaning and purpose. We live, love and exist in a world of wonder, not a world of chaos. Science is not evidence against God, it’s evidence that God is The master scientist.

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INFORMATION

One strand of DNA, invisible to the naked eye, contained in each of the trillions of cells in our body, is packed with more information than a huge library of books. Where did that information come from? So called “simple” life forms are really incredibly complex: how did that first information arise out of nothing, or out of inanimate matter? Information has never been observed to come from nothing or from chaos, and so to believe it did is blind faith, not science. Researchers scan the skies for a radio message from space which, they are convinced, would confirm intelligent life out there, yet ignore the incredible message in plain view within life on earth, as seen in our DNA, in our brains, and in all of life.

 

O is for ORDER. The universe operates in a very orderly, lawful way, as does our own solar system and our own planet. The laws of nature hold all things together and allow us to exist and function. Sir Isaac Newton, whose laws of motion and gravity are still employable and were used to land man on the moon, attributed that orderliness to a Creator.

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ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE

This principle, dismissed as mere “coincidence” by the evolutionist, demonstrates clearly that Earth is uniquely placed and equipped for life in our galaxy and in our solar system. It benefits from many hundreds-thousands-of extremely fortuitous conditions. As an example, if earth were tilted any more or less in relation to the sun, its temperature ranges would be too extreme to support life. If we didn’t have our moon, or if the moon were not at just the right distance from us and at just the right relative size with just the right orbital pattern, we would have no tides to keep the oceans alive and fresh, and there would be no life on earth. Earth’s magnetic field protects us from the harmful power of the sun’s radiation. Water is unique in many of its properties, enabling life to exist and continue.

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ORIGINS

Even famous evolutionists admit that they don’t know for sure how life evolved from non-life, and they’ve never seen it happen. Millions of people are convinced that life has been made, or almost made, in the laboratory: this is not the case. The Miller experiments made a few amino acids only. When the proverbial first living cell miraculously produced itself according to evolution theory, defying multitudes of natural obstacles, who did it mate with and what did it eat? I can much more easily believe in an intelligent creator than in a rock producing all the complexity we see.

There’s plenty of scientifically supportable reason to believe in the Biblical view of origins. Try http://www.icr.org for a start, or http://www.answersingenesis.org

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HUMAN HUNGER FOR GOD

Man has an inbuilt hunger for the spiritual, which explains the existence of many religions throughout history and in every culture. Religion is not always a product of superstition: perhaps superstition is born of  a natural longing for God, and the realization that there’s something much greater than us.

ATHEISM

The condition of atheistic societies to date has not been impressive or endearing. Atheistic philosophy has been the cause of far more evil in our world than any religion has. Hitler, in his book “Mein Kampf” expressed the need to “cleanse” the human race for the sake of “Mother Nature” and healthy human evolution. Also refer to the regimes of such men as Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot. Once man sees no God to answer to, and no  fixed, objective standards of right and wrong, tyranny is the likely outcome, along with the degradation of the value of human life. We can see this at work in our world now. Please note I am not saying that every atheist is a “bad” person: they are usually no more evil than anyone else. Instead I’m demonstrating  that having a God-less society is not the answer to our problems.

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EMOTION

Most of our emotions would be superfluous and even detrimental if we were only here to contend with other life forms so as to emerge the winner (as we have, if we evolved). The God of the Bible made us in his image, and is himself a feeling, emotional being.

LOVE

Real love produces commitment, caring, empathy, loyalty, faithfulness and truthfulness. Where does love come from if not from a loving, faithful designer? How could chemical reaction and interaction alone-born of rock-produce love? When your significant other asks if you love her or him, do you reply that yes, you are currently experiencing some chemical and hormonal interactions, and as long as they occur you will stick around and refrain from killing and eating him or her? Love in today’s popular definition is a reductionist ploy with the aim of reducing our relationships to good vibes and temporary mutual use while the going is good. Godly love, as found in the Bible, is that which produces stable relationships, happy kids, and successful societies.

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JUSTICE

Our sense of justice is evidence that we were made by a just, moral God. If we “evolved” a sense of justice, why do we still have crime, war and murder, at every level of every society, no matter how many new laws and regulations are created? And why would or should we care anyway? The fact is that we recognize naturally in our hearts that there is such a thing as evil at large in our world, and that it needs to be controlled. This recognition was given to us by a God of justice.

AESTHETIC SENSE

We have an inbuilt appreciation for beauty and for all of creation, and not merely for our mate when we’re having sex, or for the food on our plate. We desire to be creative, to entertain, and to express ourselves, and we appreciate those who do so skillfully. We love art, music, literature, and all forms of recreation and creation. We imagine-often without any practical reason but the pleasure of it. We philosophize and think deeply (some of us do anyway).

SIN and EVIL

The Bible is right about human nature: just look around. You probably need look no further than the mirror, or your own family and friends.  Those who claim that people only abuse each other when they’re impoverished are often the same people who berate the ultra-rich for abusing the rest of us. If poverty were the cause of crime and terrorism, half of India and Africa would be in absolute turmoil. And if we evolved, why shouldn’t the rich abuse the rest of us, since life is all about the “survival of the fittest”?

EXPERIENCE

In the years I’ve been a Christian I’ve experienced God in many ways. This includes an acute awareness of His presence, a feeling of indescribable completeness at times, an inner peace and joy, and answered prayers. It’s important for me to remember those experiences and continuous states of mind, and not to let them be dismissed as mere superstition, hormonal balance or positive thinking. I’ve seen the difference made by the Spirit of God in people’s lives, in homes, and in areas of society where God has been allowed or invited in.

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WHY ARE WE HERE?

I was listening to a song* by my favorite prog-rock band, “Yes”. The founding lead-vocalist and lyricist, Jon Anderson, is a super-talented man in my opinion, but in his attempt to address the reason for our existence, his view of life and eternity, which has been based on a New-Age style of thought, fell short of answering the question. Instead he sang that at some far-off future time (I’m paraphrasing) the reason for our existence will be made clear.

Ahem, Jon, excuse me, but the answer to our vital question, and the one which is all-too politically incorrect to ask these days, has already been made clear, and there’s no need to wait for another one. We weren’t made so that we could ultimately be gods or ascended masters, or so that we could find fulfillment for ourselves-although that certainly is an outcome of our willing submission-but to bring glory and pleasure to our creator:

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being” (Revelation 4:11)”

When we accept our correct role in the grand scheme of things, and begin to live lives pleasing to our God, then and only then will we find fulfillment and meaning in our existence.

*The closing section of “Gates of Delirium”, on the album “Relayer”.

WHO MADE GOD?

To me, the idea that the universe created itself and ended up producing Beethoven’s Sonata NO.14 in C is the most ridiculous, preposterous idea that could be imagined. But a common question which believers in such ideas ask, in order to stump Christians, is “Who made God? Where did he come from?”

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When I was eight years old my fourteen year-old brother, who had a mechanic’s mind and not a scientist’s, asked me what I thought was at the end of the universe, and what was on the other side. If there was a brick wall, he said (jokingly) what would you see if you looked over it? We came up with some funny ideas, not knowing the current scientific understanding that there is no outside to the universe. There is no outside! Beyond the boundaries of our universe, there’s no space, no matter, and no time. There’s not even a McDonald’s restaurant!

The secular view until the 20th century was that our universe was eternal. The advent of the Big Bang theory brought a beginning, but it still sounded a little too much like creation, and with the knowledge that conditions had to be more than perfect in a multitude of ways to create life, multiverses have been invented. But not only is there no evidence of them, this isn’t even science, because a scientific fact is something which must be observable and which can be reproduced by experiment. This is philosophy; hypothesis; faith; hope; speculation. We can’t even see to the end of our own universe, let alone see outside of it, and we certainly can’t create a universe in the lab.

However, even if we imagine a multiverse scenario where a multitude of universes exist simultaneously, outside of those there’s nothing-not even space. So we might ask just how far this “nothing” goes on, and the strange answer is that it doesn’t go on, because nothing cannot go on. We can’t conceive this: surely even nothing is something, if only emptiness! And how far does that nothing go on-and what’s at the boundary of that? Does it go on endlessly? Considering an end to all material things; a boundary or a beginning, is a little like asking where God came from. We’re all up against….well…a brick wall.

If we imagine that there is an infinite number of universes, we should perhaps ask ourselves the question, “Where did the infinite number of universes come from?” If they were born from each other, where did the first one come from?  We’re now back to square one, wondering how that first universe came into being, and where it came from. Into what did it come to be, if there was nothing at all, not even emptiness? What exactly became our universe: nothing? Really? I can barely pick up one large rock, and that came from nothing? Surely, there must always have been something there, wherever “there” was.

We’re faced, then, with the fact that it’s no more logical to our minds to have a natural beginning to all things than it is to declare the following:

God is infinite, and never had a beginning! Nobody made God!

As limited as we are in our concept of infinity, we cannot escape it. Descartes, the famous French philosopher reasoned that we must have an innate; a built-in sense of infinity, because we do not experience it in our limited world.

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Humans have become very clever in many ways, but no matter how clever we become, there will always be some things we don’t know. If we did know everything, we would be God. Then, believing in evolution from nothing, we would have to declare that God came from nothing…! There’s the answer for you determined atheists out there!

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To the atheist, the universe created itself and expanded to its current size and shape. X billion years later, here we all are wondering where we came from (hence the multitude of religions, including evolutionism) composing symphonies, producing babies with billions of functional brain cells, and killing each other.

The first verse of the Bible states that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. In that one verse, written many centuries before Hubble and Einstein, we can see time, space and matter having a beginning. This God obviously had to be outside of space and time, and therefore infinite. This is the claim of Scripture: God had no beginning, and will have no end. It’s no more difficult to accept that than to accept that there was once nothing existing-or rather not existing-for ever.

The Bible also declares in many places that God “stretches out the heavens”. The Bible, which claims to be the word of God, was well ahead of the big-bang theory.

People have asked me, “Who made God?” or “Where did God come from?” in such a way as to expect me to drop my jaw in speechless consternation, and to proclaim in contrite submission that there must not be a God after all, we must have all evolved from nothing. However, the atheist is no nearer to understanding the origin of all things than I am to understanding the origin of an eternal God. Both atheist and theist alike are stuck with the twin questions of eternity and a first cause.

When I’m asked “Who made God?”, I first acknowledge that eternity is one thing I do not understand, and an eternal being is out of my league entirely. I don’t really understand where I came from, let alone an eternal God. He has not attempted to give an account of Himself to me, and He has no obligation to do so. If God tried to explain himself to me, I would not understand.

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Imagine attempting to explain to an ant how Einstein’s relativity works, or how an F-18 can fly at twice the speed of sound, or what inspired and enabled Beethoven to compose his Sonata No.14 in C. The ant, as far as we can tell, would probably not understand the answer, or even notice that we’re trying to tell him something, as he busily tugs on a twig or a grain of dirt. Our thoughts, words and activities are entirely beyond his little world. Similarly, there are things we humans just can’t comprehend, whether we like it or not. Eternity is one of those things. Perhaps that little ant would not be any more interested in what we’re trying to tell him, than we are interested in what God is already trying to tell us now…

Imagine also how the first century Jews felt when Jesus Christ said,

“Before Abraham was born, I AM…” (John’s gospel chapter 8).

 

(This post is a greatly edited version of the original, published February 4th 2011).

CREATION AND THE NARROW WAY

Have you been intimidated into thinking that if you were to confess to believing that God created, you would be the odd one out, and the object of universal scorn and derision?

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A Gallup poll conducted In May of 2012 found that in the United States forty-six percent of Americans hold the view that God created humans in their present form at some time within the last 10,000 years. About a third of Americans believe that humans evolved, but with God’s guidance; 15% say humans evolved, but that God had no part in the process. More broadly, some 78% of Americans today believe that God had a hand in the development of humans in some way, just slightly less than the percentage who felt this way 30 years ago http://www.gallup.com/poll/155003/Hold-Creationist-View-Human-Origins.aspx

I’M PROUD TO BE A WACKO

In the UK, my country of origin, it’s a commonly held view that too many Americans are “religious”, and that the US is the home of the Christian Fundamentalist wacko. It’s therefore not surprising to Brits that so many Americans are, in their view, “ignorant of the facts”, as represented in the Gallup poll. I’ll put it a different way: the United States as a whole has not abandoned its faith in the Biblical God while much of Europe has.

Despite all the determined efforts of evolutionists, atheists, the media and many in the education establishment to indoctrinate everyone into the ways of naturalism, many Americans have a lot more savvy and independence of thought when it comes to faith, and aren’t so easily swayed or brainwashed by those determined to get rid of the Christian God. On top of this, freedom-of-speech laws allow creationists and intelligent design ministries to thrive in the US, whereas in Western Europe there’s far more legal and political opposition to such ministries.

The common and caustic charge that creationists are ignorant and stupid is just a smoke screen-an obfuscation (my new favorite word) designed to hide the facts. While they’re fewer in number (because there’s resistance to their hiring and because they don’t get massive government funding and secular media backing as the priests of Darwin do) creationists are in many cases at least as well educated, credentialed and informed as evolutionists. It’s a matter of world-view, not one of who’s most intelligent.

Neither does a majority of scientists in a position of influence prove right: it only helps to dictate who will have the upper hand in public exposure and debate. Ultimately one with God is a majority. The earth belongs to God and not to his deniers, who are, after all, only tenants.

There’s a culture war going on: a spiritual battle for individual hearts and minds. It seems sometimes like the “nays” have it when it comes to God and creation, and that’s intimidating to many people. But those of us who’ve chosen to follow the clear evidence in nature, in scripture, and in empirical science (rather than philosophy without evidence posing as science) see it God’s way. We recognize that Jesus Christ said:

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13,14 ESV).

 

 

 

RAPTURE PART 4: IS JESUS A THIEF?

For twenty-eight years I was a believer in and fierce defender of the “pre-tribulation” rapture: not any more. If you find yourself in that camp, I sincerely hope you can open your mind a little to the idea that the pre-tribulation rapture theory has some serious flaws, and that the consequences for us as believers are very considerable…

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This post is a part of chapter three of my book* It’s rather lengthy, but you can scroll down and get the gist of it if you want.

WILL THE SECOND COMING BE IN TWO STAGES?

Experts see the second coming of Jesus Christ happening in two stages. In pre-tribulation theory, these two stages are separated by a time period of at least seven years. The first stage of Christ’s second coming, say the experts, will be in secret, like a thief in the night, in the air, to ‘catch up’ the Church into heaven (Revelation 16:15; 2 Peter 3:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:2; Matthew 24:43; 1 Thessalonians 4:17). The second stage, it’s believed, will be for all the world to see, and to bring judgment on those who were left behind by the rapture and who didn’t repent during the tribulation (Revelation 19:11-16; Matthew 24:30; Zechariah 12:10).

I have to wonder why God wants to spend seven years punishing the world, when he’s going to be judging each and every individual when he returns anyway. Does he have a mean streak? Is he sadistic? Does he want to prolong the suffering of the lost on earth before he sends them into the lake of fire? No, Jesus is not sadistic: the tribulation time is a time of division. It is the last opportunity for man to repent , or to be eternally lost.

The phrase ‘thief in the night’, taken from 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4, is used by prophecy experts to conjure up visions of Jesus secretly snatching away his Church before any tribulation starts, taking everyone by surprise, leaving traffic-jams with empty cars and pilot-less planes to fall from the sky. All sorts of scenarios have been imagined to explain the sudden disappearance of millions of people around the world, including a mass alien cleansing of the earth before the aliens come to straighten planet earth out.

As a new believer I was terrified that I may do, say or think something which would jeopardize my rapture status, leaving me behind in a hostile world devoid of the Holy Spirit and other Christians, to deal with the mark of the beast and persecution. Beside fearfulness, this kind of thinking can produce a class mentality: a world in which you have the good rapture candidates, and those who aren’t going to make it. They aren’t committed enough, or they aren’t spiritual enough, or they’ve had a sip of alcoholic drink and failed the test.

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IS JESUS A THIEF?

Are we to see Jesus as a “thief”? Will he “steal” his people from the world when nobody is expecting him to? Jesus did say, a few times, that he would come “like a thief”. The first such simile in the book of Revelation is found in his letter to the first-century church at Sardis:

If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I come against you” (Revelation 3:3 ESV).

Without doubt Jesus is likening his coming to that of a thief. However, he is here threatening to come against the church in judgment or discipline, not to rapture it away. He’s not promising to “snatch up” all the compliant faithful congregants leaving the rest behind. He’s not preparing the church for rapture.

As far as I know no pre-tribulation teachers suggest that the church in Sardis directly represents the last-days Church universal, though some do say that all the letters to the churches of Revelation speak of it in some way, directly or indirectly. Certainly the weaknesses of man are universal, and Jesus did say repeatedly, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 3:6). We do all need to learn from their failures and their successes, and from the direction of the word of God.

The second time in Revelation that Jesus said he would come like a thief is in chapter 16:

Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake…” (Revelation 16:15).

The timing of this statement must be significant. It’s just after…and not before…six of the seven bowl judgments-final judgments-very possibly concurrent or synonymous to the seven trumpet judgments, in which the sea has been turned to blood, and several other terrible plagues have take place. It’s also just before the beast and the kings of the earth are gathered together in the place called Armageddon, where Jesus Christ will engage them upon his glorious return in power and glory. Remember that we found that after the sixth trumpet the kings of the earth realize God’s wrath has come (Revelation 6:12-17). Incredibly, the final gathering of armies is a last-gasp and futile human effort to prevent Jesus Christ returning (19:19).

The seven trumpet judgments of wrath are arguably contemporaneous with the seven bowls of God’s wrath (16:1b). One reason for believing this is that they both are said to fulfill the wrath of God:

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There will be no more delay! But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished” (Revelation 10:6-7).

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ…’” (Revelation 11:15).

(BOWLS)

I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven last plagues-last, because with them God’s wrath is completed” (Revelation 15:1).

The significance of the above facts is that on both occasions in Revelation in which Jesus says that he will come like a thief, the topic is judgment and wrath. Someone is about to be judged-not raptured!

Jesus also spoke of his coming as being “like a thief” in his Olivet Discourse. Warning his disciples not to become complacent and fall into sin, he gave the example of Noah and the flood, in which all the wicked were judged. He told them to keep watch, just as a house owner would keep watch over his house if he knew a thief was about (Matthew 24: 36-44). More on Jesus’ example of Noah later.

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WHAT IS A THIEF?

Think about what a thief is. A thief is someone who does something no-one likes: he takes what is NOT his. But Jesus Christ’s Church is his property, his bride. Is he really calling himself a thief in the above passages? Should he be thought of as a thief, or that he wanted to be known as a thief?

Jesus didn’t actually say, “I am a thief”, or “I will be a thief”. Instead he said “I come like a thief”. Jesus does not steal what is not his. Instead he comes in the manner of a thief: suddenly; unexpected; without warning; unannounced; uninvited.

THIEF IN THE NIGHT

The “thief in the night” phrase is today taken out of its proper context. It doesn’t refer in scripture to the rapture at all, as believed by millions of Christians. According to Paul it’s “the day of the Lord” which will come like a thief in the night-not the rapture:

“…for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2).

So what exactly is the day of the Lord? Paul described the day of the Lord not as the “snatching up of the Church”, but as the time of destruction of the unsaved:

While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety’, destruction will come on them suddenly…(verse 3).

The truth will dawn on the unbelieving world, though they had been thinking that their own great leader had everything under control-that is, the man and the kingdom about whom Daniel says:

When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power (Daniel 8:25).

And John tells us that the people of earth, in admiration of him, will say:

“Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?” (Revelation 13:4).

The God they had insisted didn’t exist will suddenly be knocking very loudly on their door. It will be the ultimate shocking realization for them.

Those in rebellion against God will for a time think they have the world to themselves (they do now!). Instead they’re going to get a severe shock when the day of the Lord comes upon them, “like a thief in the night”.

Peter also likened the day of the Lord, not Jesus or the rapture, to a thief:

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire…(2 Peter 3:10).

Luke’s account of Jesus’ parable concerning the master who appears and takes his servants by surprise also uses the “thief” metaphor, but Jesus wasn’t using it in positive terms. In fact, he said that a wise house owner “would not have let his house be broken into” (Luke 12:39). This imagery would be conflicting with the pre-tribulation understanding of the “thief in the night” if it were true, suggesting that the wise house owner would not let Jesus-the thief-inside to rapture him.

Picture Jesus as the thief coming to rapture you, and you locking the door so he couldn’t get in! Surely that analogy does not make sense as rapture talk.

*THIS POST IS AN EXCERPT FROM MY BOOK, “ALL LEFT BEHIND: THE CASE AGAINST THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE”, BY NICHOLAS FISHER, AVAILABLE ON AMAZON IN PAPER-BACK AND E-BOOK. PART 5 WILL APPEAR SOON

SETTING DATES FOR THE FULFILLMENT OF BIBLE PROPHECY

Here’s the article which many ministries-benefiting from your desire to know, and living an exciting life on your money and their speculation-aren’t giving you…

THE WESTERN WALL

One of the worst things a student or teacher of Bible prophecy can do is to set dates for its fulfillment. Having said that, I think there’s a place for asking if what we’ve been believing about end-times events is really true. This question, I think, affords and even requires a little ball-park speculation on the matter of timing. Yes-I’m going to set some dates! This article has few Bible references. I’ve listed relevant references elsewhere, and will do so again soon.

When we think about the possibility that we’re near the time of the return of Jesus Christ, the most compelling reason to believe that we are is the modern state of Israel. No, I’m not one of those fooled by replacement theology.

In 70 AD the legions of Rome destroyed Judea and Jerusalem, and expelled any Jews they didn’t kill from the ancient homeland. Against all odds and with no conscious intent to fulfill prophecy, but only to avoid another holocaust, the modern state of Israel was established officially in 1948. In 1967 Israelis regained control over all Jerusalem. Mirroring Bible prophecy, Israel since 1948 has very quickly grown and prospered. Its population has increased, with Jews immigrating there from all corners of the world. Its determination to hold on to the capital against the will of the world has been successful.

REMAINS OF THE SECOND JEWISH TEMPLE, WITH ISLAMIC DOME OF THE ROCK BEHIND IT

Also in line with prophecy the foretold enemies of the nation have been claiming the land belongs to them and not to Jews. Only the election of Donald Trump has temporarily halted the world’s schemes to remove Israelis, or at least professing Jews, from their ancient capital. Once he’s gone from power, for whatever reason, you can expect the pressure from all sides-including and perhaps especially the U.S., to continue apace, eventually culminating in a military assault as predicted in such Bible books as Zechariah.

Some commentators have mistakenly had the opinion that the current regathering of Israel cannot be the predicted one because, they assert, the Bible says Israel must be spiritually cleansed and holy as a prerequisite to restoration. To the careful reader, the Bible tells a different story: cleansing will not take place until the Messiah shows up to defend the nation at a time of extreme crisis.

TIME LIMITS, TIME CLUES

However, there are two potential problems with the entire Israel regathering “scenario” (to use a prophetic cliche). Perhaps they aren’t problems at all-perhaps they are in fact further indication that the time of fulfillment is very near.

1: THE “SECOND” RETURN FROM EXILE

The first problem concerns a Biblical limit to the number of returns of the nation from total exile. Isaiah wrote:

In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people…he will assemble the scattered people of Judah
    from the four quarters of the earth (Isaiah 11:11-12).

In the Bible only two returns are allowed from total exile. The first occurred when ancient Israel and then Judah were invaded and carried off by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. The second return began officially in 1948.

The idea that the current return is bogus and the real one is yet future just doesn’t make sense. If the miraculous events of the past several decades and the struggles between Israel and their neighbors and the world are not those prophesied, they are an incredibly realistic dress-rehearsal. Also, believing that the real return is yet future, we would have to expect the current inhabitants of the land to be driven out by some huge war or other disaster. The land would have to be invaded and claimed by enemies again, and then left empty and waste for a long period of time. Israelis there now would once again have to be dispersed to all corners of the earth for a long period of time.

West_Bank_&_Gaza_Map_2007_(Settlements)
WEST BANK AND GAZA

How many times in the course of human history can the incredible set of events prophesied actually play out, in such an amazing series of what would have to be “coincidences”, as they have over the last several decades? It seems to me that either the 20th C restoration of Israel-the current one-must be the second regathering spoken of in Isaiah, or we would have to accept that the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel and others were wrong, and therefore didn’t speak the word of God at all. In that case, no Biblical scripture could be trusted.

Also, when you consider other conditions in our world at this time in relation to Biblical prophesies, it’s clear that there’s much more than just coincidence at work here.

2: THE INVASION OF A LAND RECENTLY REGATHERED

The second time-issue concerns a Biblical limit on the time which can transpire between the regathering of Jews to the land and the judgment of the nations. Prophecies in Ezekiel foretell an international assault on Israel and the Middle-East in general ending in God’s clear and decisive intervention, after which the whole world will know there is a God who is still the Protector of Israel. This assault is said to come:

…against a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate (Ezekiel 38:8).

This and other passages indicate that Israel will be invaded by nations who recognize that its regathering is recent. So the vital question is, just how long a time period, scripturally-speaking, could be considered “recent”? Here’s my theory.

First, Israel, says the prophecy, would boom in population and in economic success. This would naturally take some time, but it has happened in just a few decades.

Israel, (that is, Jews and those from the northern tribes who had joined with Judah) were expelled from the land for seventy years (Ezra 1:1). God had told Isaiah many centuries BC that Ephraim was “about to” be judged by Assyria (Isaiah 8:7 NIV). That “about to” period was sixty-five years (7:8). We Bible students know that to the Lord “a thousand years is as a day”, so using that scale of what time seems like to God the “recent” period from the regathering of Israel to the invasion could be many thousands of years.

However, those two terms-“recent” and “thousands of years” don’t fit together well to us mortals, and the invading force of end-times certainly wouldn’t see an event thousands of years previous as being “recent”. God’s words, “sixty-five years” were just about meaningful as a short time period to Isaiah. The “recent” time period in Ezekiel must be seen as being truly recent to humans.

I’m not setting dates by saying that sixty-five years is the time period we must look for, but it seems logical that it’s a “ball-park” number. It could actually be fifty, or seventy, eighty, or more. At what point would the regathering of Israel not be considered by its invaders to be “recent” any more? And when exactly would the “prophetic clock” start ticking: 1948? 1967? Perhaps it would start when the majority of Jews had returned from the nations-perhaps the year 1990, or 2000, or 2010.

We could create a maximum time of fulfillment so that, say, seventy-five years from the dwindling of returnees to the land from the nations would take us to the year 2085. This would be the very latest date we could reasonably expect the prophecies of Ezekiel to be fulfilled. Alternatively, If we add sixty-five years to 1967, the year Israelis regained their ancient capital which figures so highly in last-days prophecy, we get the year 2032…only thirteen years from now.