Tuesday, June 14, 2011

End Times?

More than ever, believers and unbelievers alike are thinking about the end of the world. A major catalyst for this wave of interest in the End Times is one of the most prophetic signposts to date: The rebirth of Israel as a nation in 1948 and the return of Jerusalem to Israeli control in 1967. These two events are significant. The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. was the main reason those in the early church stopped believing Jesus would return in their generation. Correspondingly, its rebirth has re-established a context for Jesus’ return and has sparked a revival of the study of end time prophecy.

So many Old Testament prophetic passages would be irrelevant if there were no nation of Israel, no gathering place on earth for Jewish people. When Israel came back into existence a few decades ago, a context was reestablished for numerous specific and literal end-of-the-age prophecies. These prophecies involve a specific place and a specific people.

The City of David, Jerusalem, was chosen as the capital by its ancient namesake because David knew that the location was special to God. God cares deeply about the strategic little plot of land, and has great plans for it. The return of Jews to the land of promise is a major signal to the church of a change in season. It is the beginning of the sequence of signs and events, which will culminate in the birthing of another age. That age is called the kingdom age.

Jesus listed the signs that will indicate the End Times are near in Matthew 24:4-8. He called the signs “the beginning of sorrows.” These signs will include deceptive leaders, wars, ethnic conflicts, famines, plagues, earthquakes, and a significant increase in the persecution of believers. These dramatic events will mark the turning point of human history, as mankind embarks on a descent into trouble and judgment. This will lead the world into a time of “great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of time, no, nor shall ever be.” (Matthew 24:21)

To the believer Jesus reminded us in Luke 21:28 “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads: for your redemption draweth nigh.”

- Pastor Virgil Amundson