October 3, 2015 – Understanding Our Times

end-timesWayne Gretzky really understood hockey. He once said, “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” And the Bible also makes reference to people with understanding, speaking of “…the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do…” They understood the times in which they lived. And so should we understand the times in which we live today.

The rapid progress of the world in the last generation has given rise to widespread expectation that civilization, as we know it, is headed for some sort of climax. The world is changing as rapidly in one year as it formerly did in 100 years. The advent of rapid transportation, fearful weapons of mass destruction, the population explosion and the wide spread dissemination of information and radically new ideas, have left the entire world in a state of uncertainty. This has resulted in increased interest in prophecy, and what the Bible says about the return of Christ to earth. One in every 25 verses in the New Testament includes a mention of His return. This world may well witness history’s most dramatic event in the lifetime of some living today. So let’s take a look at three of the startling and surprising events that have taken place or are now taking place before our very eyes.

FIRST- the revival of Israel. This small nation is at the hub of three major continents, Europe, Asia and Africa. Genesis records, “The Lord appeared to Abraham and said, to your descendants I will give this land.” This was in reference to Palestine. For many years Israel as a nation did not exist. Her people were in captivity. During this time, the Old Testament Prophet Amos was inspired to write, “…I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them, and they shall plant vineyards…they shall also make gardens…” In 1900, not one single Jewish village existed in Palestine. The total population was 25,000.. By 1939 it had grown to 400,000. Then dramatically, on May 14, 1948 a direct fulfillment of prophecy took place when the State of Israel was proclaimed. Today there are more than eight million Jews living in the land, just as God had promised. This is the biggest movement of the nation since the Exodus from Egypt, over 3500 years ago. God’s clock is ticking.

SECOND- The rise of Russia to a place of international power and importance is another factor in the contemporary situation, in which the stage is being set for the final drama at the end of the age. At the end of World War II, Russia was a broken nation with its cities destroyed. Today Russia produces more oil than anyone else on the planet, is the number two oil exporter in the world, produces more natural gas than anyone else and supplies more than 30 percent of Europe’s natural gas needs. (This probably explains why Russia was able to get away with invading the Ukraine with very little European intervention) Why has this happened? To fulfill prophecy. The Book of Ezekiel prophesied that after Israel is back in their own land again, a country to the north will invade her in the last days. Never has Israel been threatened by a country from the north, and Russia is clearly the only country north of Israel capable, or likely to do so, and clearly has never been a friend to Israel God’s clock is ticking.

THIRD-One of the most significant developments of our time affecting everyone of us is the rising power of Eastern countries, such as China, Japan and India. With millions of souls, and a large geographical area, the potential for economic and political development is obvious. Daniel makes reference to this, in the eleventh chapter of his book. He speaks of troubling “news from the east and the north”, and explains that a great army will come from the East and, along with an army from the North, participate in the final war-the battle of Armageddon. God’s clock is ticking.

Dr. Gary Gilley, a brilliant student of prophecy makes reference to these events, saying, “While it may be argued that none of these taken alone proves anything, when the evidences relating to the end of the age are considered together and summed up- the revival of Israel, the rise of Russia and the growing power of the Orient …they contain an impressive list of events and situations which are undoubtedly major signs that the end of the present age may be very near. “

When Christ returns to earth, will He find you ready and expectant? While nobody knows when that will be, the wise will recognize that God’s clock is ticking, and take steps to be prepared. We need to admit that each one of us is a sinner, by nature and by choice, and that we can’t prepare ourselves for the next life. Only by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ can we be ready, Thankfully, when we do, we will find the Saviour waiting with open arms to forgive and welcome us into His family. ”Whosever will may come.” But the choice is ours.

Pastor Alex Rockwell