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Will Jesus Christ return tonight? Will He return in a thousand years? For nearly 2,000 years, people have wondered when Jesus will return. Some cynics say He will never return. What does your Bible say? You need to know!
Prophesied end-time events are beginning to occur with increasing speed! The world you see around you is changing with greater rapidity than it has ever done in human history. Your personal "world"—your job, your family and friends, and the society around you—will be quite different within the next 10 to 15 years or less.
Because the Creator, Who gives us life and breath, has specifically predicted that this "age"—this human society as we know it—will come to an end with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ as King of kings. Your Bible describes a series of "trumpet plagues" that will occur before this present age ends with the famous sounding of the "last trump." We read: "Then the seventh angel sounded: and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!'" (Revelation 11:15).
Jesus Christ described that the time of His Second Coming would be a time of sin and of rebellion against God—"as the days of Noah were" (Matthew 24:37). And the Bible clearly describes those "days of Noah" as a time when the rapacious lusts of God-rejecting men will cause them to pervert the marriage bond, to become involved in continual violence and bloodshed and to corrupt their entire "way" on the earth (Genesis 6:5–13).
More and more millions of American, British, Canadian and Australian citizens are turning completely away from God, as they corrupt themselves through their rampant fornication—"living together" without any commitment in marriage. Many political and even religious leaders condone same-sex "marriage," and as violence increases all over the earth with more and more ethnic wars, religious wars and the growing threat of human annihilation because even "outlaw" nations increasingly gain possession of atomic weapons, we can truly say that the "handwriting is on the wall." As Jesus said, "When you see all these things, know that it is near, at the doors" (Matthew 24:33).
A recent 60 Minutes segment, entitled "Day of Reckoning," described how the United States is in dire straits financially—and how many of its states and cities are on the edge of bankruptcy. The interviewer first talked with California's then-governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who acknowledged that his state's financial situation was extremely serious and almost beyond resolution. For California faces a $19 billion budget deficit and has a credit rating approaching "junk" status. It spends more money on public employee pensions than on its entire state university system. Many thousands of Californians employed by the state and its cities will undoubtedly lose their jobs within the next very few years!
Similarly, the state of Arizona is in such dire straits that it sold off its state capitol, its Supreme Court building and its legislative chambers to a group of investors. It now leases these buildings from the new owners!
During the 60 Minutes segment, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey acknowledged his state's very desperate financial condition. He lamented having to stop construction on a long-planned tunnel into Manhattan that would have provided about 6,000 jobs. The governor stated, "The bottom line is I don't have the money. And you know what? I can't pay people for those jobs if I don't have the money to pay them. Where am I getting the money? I don't have it. I literally don't have it…. The day of reckoning has arrived. That's it. And it's gonna arrive everywhere. Timing will vary a little bit, depending upon which state you're in, but it's coming."
Yes, as Governor Christie put it: "The day of reckoning has arrived!"
My friends, as more tens of millions of men and women in our Western, professing "Christian" nations turn away from God and blaspheme His name in word or in deed, Almighty God will respond. He will increasingly chasten the American and British-descended peoples because of their egregious sins. As your Bible says, God rebukes and chastens every son He loves (Hebrews 12:6). The Bible clearly indicates that as He humbles the modern descendants of ancient Israel, "The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail" (Deuteronomy 28:43–44).
His early-stage chastisements are already underway! Many of you who read this magazine realize that. God is already beginning to break the "pride of power" of the U.S. and British-descended nations (Leviticus 26:19). This is all preparatory to the return of Jesus Christ to bring genuine peace at last through the right kind of government. For the Eternal God of the Bible is real. He will send His Son, Jesus Christ, back to this earth as King of kings (Revelation 11:15) within this present generation. Our "day of reckoning" is very near!
After describing a detailed series of events that will occur just before His Second Coming, Jesus said, "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near…. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away" (Luke 21:28, 31–33).
If you really believe what Christ says, you will know what will transpire just before He returns. And you will know and believe that when these events are under way, mankind will indeed be in the "last generation" of human civilization, as we have known it. And you will know that there is no way that Christ's return could be as far as a thousand years off!
Also, though this may shock some of you, nevertheless you also need to understand that there is no way that Christ's return could be tonight or tomorrow night or even next year! How dare I say that? Because God's inspired word tells us that "heaven and earth [may] pass away," but that Jesus' description of this entire series of events will not pass away! Certain prophesied events must occur, in the sequence Jesus described, before He will return. But indeed, though He will not return in 2011 or 2012, we know He will return soon—and that we truly are in the "last days."
Yes, there are literally dozens of indications that we are in the prophesied "last days." Let me give you just a few.
One clear indication that we are in the "end times" is found in Matthew 24:21–22. Jesus had been asked, "What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" (v. 3). After describing a series of events, Jesus stated: "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened." Here, Jesus predicted the most awful and enormous national punishment in history and the possibility of cosmocide—if God were not to supernaturally intervene.
Cosmocide—the annihilation of all flesh—was not possible even during World War II. For although two atomic bombs were dropped to end the war with Japan, there were no more bombs available until months or years later. According to many authorities, it was not until about 1957 that—between the U.S. and the Soviet Union—enough atomic weapons existed to annihilate all humanity.
So, with the return of many of the Jews to Israel in 1948, and the degree of atomic weapons proliferation in 1957, we certainly entered the "time of the end" by then—if not even before then.
Also, in Daniel 12:4, God told Daniel, "But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase." Note that massive use of transportation facilities would mark the end-time, and a vast increase in man's knowledge would occur—indeed, since World War II, we have come to take for granted the tens of millions of people hurtling through the air in our modern airplanes and jumbo jets. In almost every corner of the earth, men are now driving automobiles to and fro and are traveling around in a manner that would have been unthinkable before the 20th century began. In addition, the advent of radio, television and especially now, the widespread use of computers, have contributed to a virtual explosion in human knowledge when compared to past ages.
So, Christ will undoubtedly return within the lifetimes of the young people growing up today—and many of us older folks may also live to witness this awesome event.
Sad to say, many prognosticators and interpreters of Bible prophecy will read a passage of Scripture and then imagine what it is all about! Of course, the correct way to understand the Bible is to honestly and thoroughly put together all the scriptures dealing with any subject—including prophecy—and then through careful study and heartfelt prayer come to understand the whole picture.
For instance, when you carefully compare the prophecies of Daniel, Revelation and Jesus' Olivet Prophecy as recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, a pretty clear picture emerges as to when and how Christ will return.
Notice Revelation 1:1: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John." Here we find that this is Christ's revelation—not the Apostle John's! We also read that the stated purpose is to reveal things or events that would shortly "take place."
In Revelation 2 and 3, we find an inspired description of the eras or ages of God's true Church. The final church era, Laodicea, is characterized as being "lukewarm." So even the majority of the true people of God in the end-times are apparently overcome by a degree of worldliness and are influenced by our fun-seeking "me" generation. Revelation 4 and 5 describe the transcendent glory of God. Then chapter 5 describes how Christ only is found worthy to open the seals of Revelation and begin this revealing of end-time events.
Revelation 6, then, describes in order the events of the first six seals. Study it carefully and compare especially with Matthew 24:3–9. First, we find the description of the "white horse." This is clearly identified in Matthew 24:5 as a wave of false prophets sent out to use Christ's name and yet deceive the masses! (see also Revelation 12:9). Next in Revelation 6, we read of the "red horse" sent out to "take peace from the earth." Matthew 24:6–7 enlarges on this and shows that this will include not only war, but also world war. The third seal, the "black horse" of Revelation 6 describes tiny bits of food being carefully weighed—obviously a time of famine. Matthew 24:7 describes this next event as "famine."
Then the fourth seal is a "pale horse"—a sickly looking horse—which brings death and the grave. And Jesus concurs in Matthew 24:7 that the next prophesied event in this series of events leading up to His Second Coming is indeed pestilence—a major disease epidemic of unprecedented proportions. For after describing these four major events, the inspired John tells us, "power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth" (Revelation 6:8). And Matthew 24:7 adds that earthquakes will also be a significant factor during this time period.
A "fourth" of the earth to perish? Most scholars acknowledge that this is not talking about one-fourth of the earth's surface—which is mostly ocean, mountains and desert anyway. It is speaking of one-fourth of the entire population of this earth! Without any increase in the earth's present population (now about 6.8 billion), one-fourth would represent about 1.7 billion people to be destroyed by these first four "horsemen."
Yet this inspired description of great suffering is scarcely a foretaste of the major events that will come soon afterward!
The fifth seal of Revelation is, in fact, describing the Great Tribulation. The emphasis here is on the Church aspect—upon the fact that many of the people in God's true Church will be persecuted, martyred, as they were in past ages (Revelation 6:9–11). But other scriptures—including Matthew 24:21–22, Luke 21:22–24 and Jeremiah 30:4–7—tell us that this horrifying Tribulation will be not just upon the true Church but also on the physical nations of Israel and Judah—including the United States and British-descended nations of the world. For biblical and historical proof of this, write or call us today and ask us for a copy of our booklet, The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy. It will be sent to you absolutely free upon your request.
The Great Tribulation involves a massive national punishment upon the physical nations of Israel who have failed to honor their covenant with God and have turned aside into gross immorality and hedonism. They have a "form" of religion—even of Christianity—but deny the power and authority of the Creator God! (2 Timothy 3:5). Professing Christians of our day will no doubt challenge God's right to punish His people. God answers, "Why do you cry about your affliction? Your sorrow is incurable. Because of the multitude of your iniquities, because your sins have increased, I have done these things to you" (Jeremiah 30:15).
Immediately after the Great Tribulation comes the sixth seal, the "heavenly signs" (Revelation 6:12–16). Again, Matthew 24 corroborates this perfectly, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken" (v. 29).
Then comes the "Day of the Lord"—the time of God's full wrath upon all the rebellious nations of the earth (Revelation 6:17). After a large number of both Israelite and Gentile peoples are "sealed" and are protected from God's final wrath (Revelation 7), then the "trumpet plagues" begin.
The first plague scorches one-third of the trees and all the green grass on the earth (Revelation 8:7). In quick succession, the following plagues turn a third of the sea into blood, destroy one-third of the fish and one-third of all ships, poison one-third of the springs and rivers of water and blot out much of the light from the sun, moon and stars (vv. 7–12).
The fifth and sixth plagues describe what may be a totally sophisticated, gargantuan "Star Wars" type of attack by the European Beast Power upon its enemies. Then, a powerful counter-attack by a massive army of 200 million warriors—probably composed of millions of Russians, Mongolians and Chinese troops who have not submitted to the arrogant European dictator called the "Beast."
Finally, after a momentous three-and-one-half-year period of time—which will see tribulation and captivity for the peoples of Israel, powerful prophesying and "warning" to the Beast Power by the "two witnesses," and protection for the truly faithful people in God's Church (see Revelation 11:3; 12:14)—Christ will return in magnificent glory at the seventh trump! (11:15).
Meanwhile, just before the Great Tribulation, a powerful Arab combine will get together and threaten and provoke the coming European Beast Power (Daniel 11:40–45). Notice that this is at the "time of the end." The more heavily armed and sophisticated Beast Power will swoop down on this "king of the south" like a "whirlwind."
The forces of the Beast Power will also conquer the Jewish state of Israel and take over much of the Middle East—no doubt to gain control of the Arab oil reserves to fuel their war machine! Another "end-time" event is the attack upon the "house of Israel" (Jeremiah 30)—the Great Tribulation. This will absolutely be a "time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation" (Daniel 12:1). Soon after this massive Tribulation and Day of the Lord, Christ will return, "and many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake" (v. 2) in the resurrection from the dead at Christ's Second Coming!
Also, just before the Tribulation, the seventh "revival" of the Holy Roman Empire will take place, and a final great dictator will win the support of ten national or regional leaders in Europe, whose ten territories together will make up the final, prophesied Beast Power (Revelation 17:8–12). Foolishly, the leaders of this awesome, military power think their sophisticated weaponry will somehow prevail even against Christ! They try to do battle even as the returning Christ and the armies of heaven descend in power, "These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful" (v. 14). All this clearly shows the degree of deception and spiritual blindness, which will have come over the leading men of the earth at that time. Indeed, the "god of this age" has absolutely "blinded [those] who do not believe" (2 Corinthians 4:4). Please remember that, until Jesus Christ returns to this earth, this is Satan's world!
Remember also that this coming Beast Power is not only a military and political power. It is a "tool" that will be used by the great harlot described in Revelation 17. For, as these scriptures clearly tell us, the woman rides the Beast! (vv. 3, 7, 9).
The term "woman" is used in a number of scriptures in God's word to symbolize a church. In 2 Corinthians 11:2, the Apostle Paul is inspired to describe the true Church as a "chaste virgin" to Christ. In Ephesians 5, Paul describes the Church as being in the role of a woman with Christ as husband (vv. 23–25). In Revelation 12:6 and 12:14, the Church is pictured as a woman fleeing to a place of safety in the "wilderness."
However, in Revelation 17, God is describing a great fallen church, "The mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth" (v. 5). John was inspired to tell us: "I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement. But the angel said to me, 'Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns'" (vv. 6–7). So this spiritually drunken church is also a great persecuting church. And it will be sitting on and guiding the Beast, the final revival of the Holy Roman Empire.
As this foul religio-political system comes together in Europe, and as a great False Prophet arises "according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders" (2 Thessalonians 2:9), untold millions of Americans, Canadians, Britons and Europeans will be tempted and will even be pressured to become part of this rotten system. Many of you reading this now may be tempted to "join," to lend support or at least "go along"!
Do not be deceived by this system!
For God Himself directly warns against Christians' participation in this evil system: "Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities" (Revelation 18:4–5). Indeed, the direct plagues of God are going to fall upon this system and all those who are part of it! (see Revelation 16).
I tell you most sincerely that Jesus Christ will not return to this earth until we have experienced the most spine-tingling, earthshaking, dire, and colossal events since human beings have inhabited this planet. Professing Christian ministers who say, "Christ could come tonight," are so out of touch with the truths of the Bible that it is almost unbelievable! On the other hand, for those true Christians who die before Christ's return, He really could "come tonight." For none of us knows exactly how many days or years we each may have left in our present lives.
In any case, remember that God Himself clearly reveals in His inspired word an entire series of events to occur before Christ's coming. If you are willing to genuinely surrender your life to God and to let the living Christ rule your life, you may indeed become part of that "little flock" of God, part of that true Church that will be taken to a place of safety on this very earth during the soon-coming Great Tribu-lation (Revelation 12:14).
Speaking of these events, Jesus Christ commands us all: "So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:31–36).