I grew up in a church that talked a lot about prophecy. My pastor loved to preach, and teach about end times. He loved Israel. He loved God’s covenant. And he was excited about the imminent return of our Savior, to rapture the church. You could say I “cut my spiritual teeth” on prophecy – that’s how much it was taught at my childhood church! My daughter made a statement recently that reminded me of how I felt as a teenager when listening to the warnings that Jesus was coming soon, and we should be ready. I was a believer, and I wanted to go to heaven, but I also wanted to experience life. I can remember praying (more than once), “Jesus, I want You to come back, but first I want to grow up and go to college…and get married…and have children…” At each stage of life, in my spirit I was ready to meet Jesus, but I had a good life, and I wanted to see it through.
Those are natural feelings, for God is good to us, and He gave us family and work and brothers and sisters in Christ to enjoy. We love the beauty in the world He created for us, and we worship Him in gratitude for all of the blessings of our life here on earth. He even gives us the most beautiful and amazing grandchildren who cause our hearts to explode every time we hear them coo. (And of course, I’m completely objective!) But I believe He is telling us we are really, really close to “time to go home.”
I’m not a prophet, but I love prophecy. And if you’re somewhat interested in what’s happening in the world of eschatology (that’s the study of end times), you know there are a lot of things out there in the news and on the internet that surely seem to indicate that His return is very close! I’ve read lots of blogs and watched a lot of Youtube videos (and I’ll post some interesting links below). And as I listen and read, I’m checking their scripture references, and asking God for understanding. I certainly don’t have it all figured out, but I have come to be hopefully optimistic that the rapture of the church might actually be on God’s calendar before the end of 2017.
Wow. I really said that out loud! Does that make me a date-setter? No, it does not! I cannot see into the mind of God, and only He knows when He will tell the Son to come and get His bride. But this I do know about our God from Scripture: the date was already set before the beginning of time. God is Sovereign, and He has a specific plan and timeline for the history of mankind. He has been unfolding this plan for the last 6,000 years, and the 6th millennium, according to Bible scholars, is ending. And I believe He is telling us He is coming in many, many ways.
Because there are people who are far more intelligent and well-spoken, and have done the research, I’m going to just share a few links for you. Don’t take my word for it. But I encourage you not to ignore it, either. Why? Because Jesus told us to pay attention to the signs of the end times. Scripture, from beginning to end, gives us clues to the mystery of His return, and I find it fascinating and exciting to contemplate that it could happen very soon.
There’s another side to my hopeful optimism, however. It’s the bittersweet. There are billions of people who are not ready. They aren’t looking for Him. They might not know about Him, or they may have heard and have turned away in unbelief. For those who will not hear the trumpet call for the bride, Scripture tells us there is a seven-year period of tribulation coming, that is unlike anything the world has ever seen. I don’t want anyone to go through it. I want you to be enjoying a marriage feast with our Savior…not running from the wrath of God against sin.
Today, I feel a bit differently than I did as a young woman wanting to enjoy the life God gave me before heading off to heaven. My soul longs for Jesus’ return. I’m ready to go home. But I grieve for you if you’re so enamored with the brief and temporary pleasures of this world that you scoff at what Scripture says. Jesus is coming for His bride, and He’s invited you. Won’t you accept His invitation?
Psalm 19:1-6 – The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; it rejoices as a strong man to run his course. Its rising is from one end of the heavens, and its circuit to the other end of them; and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
Links to check out are listed here (just a few to whet your appetite). Do your homework and check everything against scripture. But don’t let your human skepticism keep you from believing what God might be saying!
Check out Scott Clarke’s website and Youtube channel for a lot of information.
This statement of Jesus, “No one knows the day nor the hour” has been taken out of context many times. Why would God give us so many details about the end times, if He did not want us to think about when it would happen? Scott Clarke has a great video on this topic as well.
One thing all Bible scholars agree on is that Israel will rebuild the temple at the beginning of the Tribulation. We know that with Muslim control of the Temple Mount, there would be another world war should the Jews dare to build on it at this time. But check out this article. Could there be another site acceptable to the Jews for the building of the temple that is already in their possession? Something to think about.
One last one that is really crazy to think about!