Over the last few weeks we have shared with you the opinions of 13 Bible prophecy experts concerning various questions related to the book of Revelation. Our panel will continue to answer the eleventh and final question put to them:
#11. Why do you believe we are living in the season of the Lord's return?
Ed Hindson, World Prophetic Ministry
I think the Bible always leaves you with the impression that Jesus could come back at any moment at any time. The whole Church Age is actually described at times as part of the last days in which God is fulfilling His final purpose that He promised Abraham. "I would make you through your seed a blessing to all nations." That is happening through the preaching of the Gospel through the Church in the very age in which we live.
Do I personally think that we are coming down to the time of the end of the end so to speak? Yes, I do. I don't think we dare set any dates. The older I get the longer I realize the grace of God moves effectively while the judgment of God moves slowly. God continues to give people an opportunity to come to Christ.
Still, there are five things going on now that get my attention.
Firstly, Israel is already back in the land. Every end times prophecy indicates they have to be back in the land in the last days for other end time prophecies to be fulfilled. They're there.
Secondly, there's a crisis in the Middle East. Biblical prophecies of the last days imply these nations will be coming against Israel at the time of the end. The fact that there is so much hostility in the Middle East today against Israel ought to tell us we're moving very close to seeing that fulfilled.
Thirdly, the predictions of a global economy in the end times that the Antichrist will eventually control are being realized. We already have a global economy. It already exists! Fifty years ago that would have been unheard of. Actually, critics of Bible prophecy back then said, "How could one person control the economies of the whole world?" Well, now it's very obvious how through computer technology.
Fourthly, the thing that gets my attention is the development of weapons of mass destruction. If the prophecies in the book of Revelation of trees burning up and the grass burning up are to be taken literally, then the very weapons that can accomplish that have already been invented.
The fifth thing is the rise of apostasy in the last days. We are seeing it today worse than ever before. It's one thing for a person to say, "I don't believe the Bible. I don't believe its message. I don't believe it's inspired. I don't believe that Jesus is the Son of God. I don't believe the plan of salvation. I reject the whole thing out of hand." But, it's another thing for people to stand up and say, "Oh, I believe the Bible. I even believe it's the inspired Word of God. I even believe it's inerrant in what it intends to say to us spiritually. But, I don't believe that Jesus really meant what He said, or that Jesus really claimed to be divine, or that the promise of salvation is really an eternal promise." We are seeing a denunciation of the basic fundamental principles of Christianity today within the Church that claims to be evangelical. It still claims they believe in Jesus and preach the Gospel of Jesus and yet they're denying the very essential elements of that Gospel.
So, Israel is back in the land. The Middle East is in a crisis. The global economy already exists. Weapons of mass destruction have already been invented. And, the Church today is almost on a toboggan slide toward apostasy and unbelief. All of those to me are like flashing red lights that yell, "Hey! You're running out of time. You'd better be ready. He's coming soon!"
Don McGee, Crown and Sickle Ministries
Yes, I believe we are living in the season of the Lord's return. My reason for believing this is rooted in the relatively recent yet unquestionably literal fulfillment of God's promise to bring the Jewish people, dead as a nation for almost 2,000 years, back to life as a reborn nation in their own homeland. Yet, what it so mind boggling is that though mostly all Christians have some level of familiarity with these Scriptures and though they can plainly see that what is happening perfectly fits with those Scriptures, they vehemently deny that it has anything to do with end time prophecy.
The signs listed by Jesus in Matthew 24 are those events that immediately precede Jesus' Second Coming. We are witnessing the appearance of many of those signs today. And, since the Rapture of the Church precedes the Second Coming by seven years, then the only conclusion that makes any sense at all is that the coming of Jesus for His Church is imminent.
David Reagan, Lamb & Lion Ministries
I believe with all my heart that we are living on borrowed time. I believe Jesus is at the very gates of Heaven waiting for His Father's command to step out on a cloud and return to gather His Church from this world. My belief is based on the end times signs revealed in the Bible. These signs that are all around us today literally shouting that Jesus is coming soon.
What are the signs that point to the fact that we are on the threshold of the Tribulation with the Second Coming on the horizon, and the Rapture just right around the corner? Well, there are so many that it is really difficult to get a handle on them. I might hasten to point out that this is a rather recent phenomenon; this fact that there are so many signs. Back in the early 90's I had the opportunity to speak at a prophecy conference that was held in Orlando, Florida. There I met a man I had heard about all my life but I never had met personally. He was a great man of God by the name of Albert Peak from Abilene, Texas. He's gone on to be with the Lord now. He was 80 years old at that time and his topic was on the signs of the times. I'll never forget what he said. He got up and the very first thing he said was this, "Sixty years ago when I started preaching you had to scratch around like a chicken to find two signs pointing to the soon return of Jesus. Not so anymore." Then he said something I will never forget, "I am no longer looking for signs. I am listening for a sound; the sound of a trumpet." I wanted to say, "Amen! That is what I'm doing, I'm listening for that sound."
Do you realize that 100 years ago there was not one objective, tangible, measurable, identifiable sign that Jesus Christ was about to return. There was not even one 100 years ago. We are a unique generation. The very first tangible measurable sign that you could get your hands on that came on the world scene was the Balfour Declaration made on November 2, 1917. It was prompted by the fact that during World War I the Ottoman Empire became an ally of the Germans, and therefore when the Germans lost World War I the Ottoman Empire also lost World War I. Just as the German Empire was carved up, the Ottoman Empire was also carved up. Part of that Ottoman Empire was an area known as Palestine, which today constitutes modern day Israel and Jordan. But, in that day, it was called Palestine. Nobody argues with that. That particular piece of territory was given to the British and they were to become the tutors of the people there to lead them toward self-government. What happened was that the British issued the Balfour Declaration and it said, "His Majesty government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."
As a result of World War I, God then prepared a land for the Jewish people. The British said they were going to make it a homeland for the Jewish people. The leading evangelical of that time a man by the name of F.B. Meyer whom many are probably familiar with him from reading his books on prayer. He was the leading evangelical in London at that time. Immediately recognizing the significance of the Balfour Declaration, Meyer sent out a letter to all of the Evangelical pastors of England. In that letter he made this statement, "The signs of the times point toward the close of the times of the Gentiles and the return of Jesus who can be expected at any moment." He called for them to come to London for a meeting in late December, and they did come. They formed an organization called the Witness Movement International which still exists to this day. It sends out people all over the world to preach the soon return of Jesus, because they recognized the significance of the Balfour Declaration.
Before the Witness Movement International could have their first meeting, another momentous event occurred. That was the liberation of Jerusalem on December the 11th of 1917 when General Allenby took the city without firing a shot. Israel is back in the land to stay, and so we the generation that has witnessed this amazing miracle will also witness the miracle of the Rapture of the Church.