Final Hours?

     How much time do we have left until Jesus Christ returns from heaven to take us out at the rapture?  Although, we cannot know the exact date of His return, the signs are so abundant about us that we know that we must be near.

     Certainly, there is an abundance of verses that tell us that we should be watching and alert to the signs of His Coming.  The Scriptures clearly teach that the Day of the LORD (tribulation period and millennium) should not catch us believers by surprise.  “But ye brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief (I Thessalonians 5:4).”  Because we have the Scriptures and God has set down so many things to look for, we should be fully aware of the nearness of His Coming.

     Let's speculate a little.  Let's say that the Lord were to return (His Second Coming) in the year 2007.  If that were the case, then the rapture would occur in the year 2000.  That would mean that we, as believers, would only have two years left on the planet earth.  Let's say that the Lord would return (His Second Coming) in the year 2010.  That would mean that the rapture would occur in the year 2003.  In that case, we would have five years left on this planet before we are caught out at the rapture!

     Is it wrong to speculate as long as we don't set a date for the Lord's return?  I don't believe so!  God tells us in His Word,  “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom (Psalms 90:12).”  As we look at the signs of the times and then speculate, we realize that we may not have much time left.

     Forgetting the Lord's soon return, James 4:14 warns us about boasting that we even have a tomorrow!  None of us have a guarantee that we will live even another day.  Have you considered your days so you might apply your heart to wisdom?

     We need to pay attention to the signs.  AIDS is one obvious sign.  Matt 24:7 says. “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences (incurable diseases and plagues), and earthquakes, in divers places.”  The plagues of the dark ages in Europe killed 25 million plus, but those numbers are nowhere near the projected figures of the deaths that will be caused by AIDS.

     Now to have balance, I believe the old saying, “Live as though Jesus were coming today, but plan as though Jesus were not coming for a hundred years.”  But there are far too many who are planning as though the Lord was coming in one hundred years and living that way too!  The Lord wants us to have a sense of urgency.  A Sense of “The night is far spent, the day is at hand (Romans 13:12).”  We need to be looking, watching and living for the Savior who could return at any moment!  Because we do not know the day, we need to be planning as though Jesus were coming in a hundred years.

     When Jesus said, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be (Matthew 24:21).”  He must have been talking about a time like this.  AIDS will kill many times more than the plagues of all past ages.  When Jesus mentioned pestilence's in Matthew 24:4-8 perhaps He was talking about some of the incurable diseases that have just recently gained world attention.

     The big unmistakable sign of His Coming is the return of the Jewish people to the State of Israel.  On May 14, 1948, Israel became a state again for the first time in nearly 2,000 years.  There are two fascinating prophecies that Jesus gave us related to Israel: One has been fulfilled, the other is about to be fulfilled. The first prophecy is found in Matthew 23:35,36 “That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias whom ye slew between the temple and the alter.  Verily I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation.”

     Forty years (a generation) into this dispensation in AD 70 the Romans slaughtered millions of Jews and dispersed them among the nations.  There is another forty-year (a generation) prophecy at the end of this dispensation.  Jesus spoke of the resurrection of Israel, as the Jews would become a nation again, in the parable of the fig tree.  He says, “…Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, til all these things be fulfilled (Matthew 24:32-34).”

     A period of forty years at each end of the church age: Forty years after Pentecost and forty years before the rapture.