My summary of “end times” Bible prophecy was initially intended to make some of the prophecies easily accessible for my two young sons, but now it’s also for anyone else who is interested. I’m going to publish a part of it every two or three days. This introduction is not a vital part of the summary: you can skip it if you wish, but it could help you to think more clearly about the whole subject.
The summary is written by a Bible believer, so you will find no skepticism, cynicism or agnosticism here: you can find plenty of that elsewhere if that’s what you want. It is written either for Christian believers, or for those who are searching, confused, or just curious. I haven’t always been a believer. In my B.C. days I wavered wildly between all kinds of conflicting beliefs, including atheism, and the notion that little green men had seeded the earth with life and then went away and left us to it.
In response to my summary of what is coming to planet earth you can get angry with me, or stick your head in the sand, or you can get prepared. Remember that I have nothing to gain from doing this. I don’t want any of your money, I would just like to help someone find hope and faith in this dark world. When I discovered that there is a Plan for planet earth, and that life is not meaningless or hopeless after all, I was liberated beyond anything I can describe.
What makes people like me believe that the return of Jesus Christ is very near? Answered simply, it is the apparent alignment of current world events with numerous prophecies in the Bible, which describe what will take place just before the return of Christ. These prophecies are not vague and mystical: most are very detailed and specific. What has happened in recent decades, and what is continuing to happen, so matches up with the prophecies that we can’t help but take notice. It’s not as if just one or two events look slightly suggestive of things foretold, but dozens of conditions are strikingly similar, and when considered together they cannot be just dismissed as coincidence: that would be stretching probability too far. Not only so, but these conditions, alignments, and alliances are continuing to develop along the same path towards convergence with the Bible prophecies. The most remarkable and relevant prophecies concern the nation of Israel, and others in the Middle-East. In fact, change is occurring so rapidly now that some of this summary may be out of date or unnecessary within a year or two.
Many people, even Christians, avoid considering last days propecies. One excuse given is that “nobody can understand it”. However, the book of Daniel says about prophecy that “None of the wicked will understand, but the wise will understand”. I would like to at least try to be among the wise, and to understand. The book of Revelation promises a special blessing to those who read it and take notice of what it says. Most of the first century Jews failed to recognize the first coming of Christ, because they did not have the faith or the will to look into their own scriptures, which were full of prophecies of His first coming. They ended up killing the One they were looking for.
John said that ‘When he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself’ (1 John 3:2, 3). Paul said that there will be a ‘crown of righteousness ‘for all who have longed for his appearing (2 Tim 4: 8). We look for His appearing because we long for Him to come and straighten this world out, and deliver us from the affects of sin.
There’s a lot of imagery and some difficult language in Bible prophecy. It’s not always easy to understand, but we can often use other scripture passages to interpret the hard parts. We only need to do a little digging. For example, parts of the book of Revelation can be understood by studying the prophecies of Daniel. There are common threads and reference points which provide clues and answers to those who are willing to look. Remember that any seemingly archaic language is there because prophets and readers of two and three thousand years ago would not have been able to comprehend many aspects of 21st century life. Most of the prophecies were written to people of all ages, not just ours.
Teachers give very different interpretations for some prophecies. This is sometimes seen as an excuse not to consider them, but it’s a poor one. The prophecies are there for a reason, and most of them can be understood with honest, open study and faith. Some interpretations are obviously wrong, and some are worthy of consideration or debate. They all need to be weighed up and checked for veracity. Also, our beliefs must be flexible enough to be corrected by a better understanding of scripture. In any case, any understanding of prophecy must be fixed by the trustworthiness of the Bible books. These books can be shown to be reliable in prophecies which have been fulfilled in the past. Only the Bible is the word of God, and one hundred percent reliable. We only need to compare what the Bible says about end times with daily news reports to see that it is vitally relevant, and distinct from any other literature on earth.
Bible books are not written in chronological order, like novels. Prophecies of end times are scattered throughout the Bible, but they can be gathered and put together like a jigsaw puzzle to produce a complete picture. The references I’ve chosen (which will bw included in subsequent posts) clearly relate to the end of days – the days just before the end of human rule over the earth. Some prophecies will only become clear, or clearer, near or at the time of their fulfillment. They were designed that way.
Another excuse for not bothering with Bible prophecy goes like this: ‘People have been saying for years that the End is coming, and nothing’s happened’. This is no more logical than saying that the soup on the stove hasn’t boiled yet, so it obviously never will. I first saw the relevance of prophecy to our time thirty years ago, and I know that the conditions which were arousing interest and alarm then have only developed. It’s a bit like the dawn bringing more and more light so that what you thought you saw is becoming clearer and easier to focus on. But not everyone is aware of what is developing: in fact, few people are. Jesus said that the Tribulation will come like a trap on the world. People not looking for Him will be suddenly caught up in the middle of a terrible time of testing for the whole world.
It’s the way of secular thinking to claim that if the Bible were true, then the educated “experts” with all the degrees, or the politicians or “important”religious leaders would tell us so. That’s probably what people said when they saw a ragged bunch of fishermen and tent makers preaching the gospel of Christ in the first century. But Jesus said ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure’ (Luke 10:21). God does not honor human standards of wisdom or importance.
So when will the end time events happen? I can’t answer that with dates, but when I compare prophecy with what’s happening now, particularly in relation to the nation of Israel and its enemies, it seems to me that it could all start happening at any time. The build up to Last Days events may drag on for a few more decades, but I believe that if I live a full life, I will see the return of Christ in my life time. In any case, I am sure that the longer we live, the clearer it will be that the Time is coming.
NEXT: What Bible Prophecy says about Israel and the end times.