Monday, September 28, 2009

Why Hasn't Jesus Come Yet?

Sometimes, after a big event that awakens our interest in prophecy, people are very excited about the return of Jesus to take believers out of this world. It happened in the ‘50’s after Israel had become a nation against all odds, and in direct fulfillment of the predictions of Ezekiel chapters 36 and 37.

It happened again in the ‘70’s when Calvary Chapel led the way in the “Jesus People” movement from the hippie culture to mature Christianity. We remember the bumper stickers of that era that said “In case of Rapture, this car will be unmanned!”

Once again, interest was high from the beginning of the new millennium until a few months after the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington D.C.

Unfortunately, as time goes on, and Jesus has not yet returned, many people lose interest in prophecy. They often ask one another, “Why hasn’t Jesus come yet?”

The Apostle Peter addressed this same question in the First Century. Christians from every age have had this “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13), and some have become skeptical. He wrote:

First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation."
-2 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV)

Peter reminded his readers about a similar situation thousands of years earlier, in the days of Noah.

But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
2 Peter 3:5-7

Noah had spent about 100 years building the Ark, and all that time he was a “preacher of righteousness” calling his generation to repentance (2 Peter 2:5). But the longer the project took, the more disinterested the people became.

Peter then explained that we can never know God’s timing, but we can be sure He will keep his promise as He always has! After all, the Lord is showing His goodness to wait until the very last person who would believe has had that opportunity.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:8-9

Personally, I am just as excited about the Rapture as I was when I first learned about it as a teenager. We can’t know the date He will return, but one thing is certain: It is a lot closer now than it was when we first believed!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Magog Gang on the Streets of New York

Forget about the normal home-grown threat of street gangs. Thanks to the United Nations’ annual plenary meeting, international hoodlums have gathered to shout insults to one another and call for action by an organization that is famous for too many promises and too little progress.

One gang is making more noise than the rest. Let’s call it the “Magog Gang,” because the three key players of Ezekiel 38 and 39 are all causing trouble right now on the streets of New York.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is spreading the misconception that Israel will not defend itself against Iran’s growing nuclear threat. Israeli authorities still insist that all options, including a preemptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, are still on the table.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, still spewing hateful threats to wipe Israel off the map, denying that the holocaust ever happened, and calling the U.S. “The Great Satan,” has been barred from any decent place to stay in New York.

Moammar Gaddafi of Libya is also persona non grata in the United States for a long history of encouraging terrorism. Just last month he insulted all peace-loving people by his warm reception of al-Megrahi, the Libyan imprisoned in Scotland for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

But at least the three of them have each other’s backs in this gang warfare. Russia supplies the weapons and protection. The other two do most of the dirty work.

With one eye on the Bible, and the other on the Internet news feeds, I can’t help but wonder how much time is left before this great war of Gog and Magog will begin. The prevailing view among Bible prophecy students is that Magog is Russia. Her key allies are Persia (Iran) and Put (Libya). Together with other Islamic allies, they will attack Israel at a time of peace. So far, Israel has never enjoyed a peace treaty with her neighbors, but that is another strong possibility in the coming days.

1 Thessalonians 5:3

While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

Check out the Scripture references and news summaries in the “Gog and Magog” Section at Prophecy Central.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Islamic Prayer Event on Capitol Hill

A prayer event has been organized to gather upwards of 50,000 Muslims to conclude Ramadan on Capitol Hill this Friday, Sept. 25th. Their purpose is to “express and illustrate the wonderful diversity of Islam” and “manifest Islam's majestic spiritual principals.”

Meanwhile terrorism is unabated around the world, and here in America a young lady is pleading for her life, not to be returned to her parents since her father has threatened to kill her for becoming a Christian!

Every American group should have the right to a peaceful gathering in the Capitol, especially when the purpose of the event is to pray.

The stated objectives of the gathering are not objectionable, but we should be watching this event carefully to find answers to some very important related questions.

How will they pray?

Will they repent for the evil actions of radical Islamists who have caused so much pain and death in recent years? Will they ask their god to restrain Iran’s president Ahmadinejad who recently restated his denial of the Holocaust, and is making a spectacle of himself once again before the United Nations while continuing to create nuclear weapons? Will they plead for peace and unity in America?

Will their speakers denounce the violent Jihadists who have been responsible for horrendous attacks? Will they distance themselves from terrorist cells like the one that was just uncovered in Colorado and New York?

How will President Obama respond?

If he participates or endorses this event, Christians will be frustrated by the fact that he refused last May to let the White House participate in the National Day of Prayer, which had become a firm tradition for many years.

The President has made many troubling concessions to the Islamic world since his inauguration, including hosting a Ramadan dinner at the White House a few weeks ago. If he ignores this event he will alienate Muslims worldwide.

What should Christians do?

We must support the right for public prayer by any group in this “land of the free.” At the same time, we should realize that there is a great spiritual battle raging with eternal consequences for people all over the world. Let’s be wise observers about what actually happens on Friday.

Above all, let us pray for revival in the United States! If they are going to pray for America, how much more should we? I urge you to join me in observing Lou Engle’s call for “Five Days of Concerted Prayer.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Rapture Drill

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish spiritual new year, begins at sundown this
Friday, Sept. 18, 2009. We don’t believe in setting dates for the Lord’s return, but it has been our practice for many years to observe this festival by conducting our personal “Rapture Drill.”

Rosh Hashanah is also known as “The Feast of Trumpets.” The sounding of the trumpet is a key element of the prophecy of the Rapture of the Church in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, and 1 Corinthians 15:52. It is also noteworthy that the Feasts of Israel are symbolic of major future events in Christianity.

The first of the seven holidays prescribed in Leviticus is Passover, the observance of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. The Last Supper was actually the observance of Passover, and Jesus’ death is associated with this event because He is our sacrificial lamb.

Another holiday, three days after Passover, is the Feast of Firstfruits, and Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day. He is the firstfruits of the Resurrection.

Then comes The Feast of Weeks, or Shavuot. It is also called "Pentecost.” The Holy Spirit was first given to the Church on this holiday.

Rosh Hashanah is the first of three annual fall holidays that remain. It is the beginning of 10 days of self examination. It features the blowing of the shofar, the trumpet made of a rams’ horn. Since the next big event in Christianity will be the Rapture of the Church, Pentecost is a good symbolic possibility for this great event.

Yom Kippur, the “Day of Atonement” comes at the end of the 10 days of self examination. It could very well be symbolic of the Tribulation Period that Christians expect after the Rapture of the Church.

Finally, Sukkot, The “Feast of Tabernacles” is observed. This event reminds people that God dwells with them. This would be especially appropriate as a symbol of Christ’s Return to the Earth as King of Kings at the end of the Tribulation Period.

So, will the Rapture take place on Rosh Hashanah? Jesus said plainly that we could not know exactly when He will return, and that it will be at a time that we don’t think it will happen. (Matthew 24:42-44,
Matthew 25:13.)

Again, we simply do not set dates! But we should expect Jesus’ return every day, shouldn’t we? So what would be a better reminder than this Jewish holiday to consciously do the things we would want to be doing just before the Rapture.

What would we do during this exercise? We would be spiritually ready and active – living for the Lord instead of for our own selfish interests. We would share the Gospel with everyone in our family and close circle of friends, neighbors and associates. And we would leave behind some helpful information so that those who would be left behind would know how to accept Christ. If you decide to do your own “Rapture Drill,” you will surely think of other things that should be done before you suddenly leave this earth.

Monday, September 14, 2009

My First Official Blog

This is my first official blog on Prophecy Central. True, I have written commentaries from time to time, but usually we just provide the raw information about prophecy and encourage people to draw their own conclusions. Relevant Scripture passages are given for about 100 prophecy sub-topics, and current news events are cited on a daily basis. For more than 12 years we have followed that simple format to help equip Bible students and teachers, and it has been very well received. The site has been listed near the top of search engine results (“prophecy” and “Bible prophecy”) for most of those years.

The decision to finally add this feature to the site was inspired by a stimulating “Christian Web Conference” I attended last week at Biola University. I realized more than ever that the opinions of individual Christians, published on the Internet, are a powerful force in the world today. I am grateful to Biola, my alma mater, for leading the way, not only in technology, but also in apologetics. I’m also blessed to have met a new friend at the conference, Dr. Michael G. Davis, who helps others, like myself plunge into the world of Blogging. He maintains a number of websites including and “Answers For The Faith”.

So, as often as time permits, I will give brief comments about the things that are happening in these “last days.”

Check back tomorrow for suggestions about why you might want to do a “Rapture Drill” this week.