Why Now? Why should we think the end-times are near, that the return of the Lord to claim His bride is imminent; that the time of Jacob’s trouble is at hand and that the ‘Battle of Armageddon’ lies just over the horizon? Because we are told, in Matthew 13: 29-30 “So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.”
At the time the apostle John was given the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the idea of a ‘world’ ruler was an accepted fact because the Roman Empire, which was all the ‘world’ known to him at that time, was under the control of one man. He was, in effect, a ‘world ruler’. However, with the fall of the Roman Empire, the countries of which the Empire was composed went their separate ways and the concept of a ‘world’ ruler became unacceptable. When the western hemisphere was ‘discovered’, was ‘invaded’ and, eventually, developed into the nations of the United States, Canada, Mexico, etc., etc. the possibility of a ‘world’ ruler became even more ludicrous and any attempt to interpret biblical prophecies, relating to the return of Our Lord, on a literal basis, were considered foolish. However, following World War I, the League of Nations was formed and, following World War II, the nation of Israel was ‘reborn’ and the League of Nations became the United Nations. Then, in 1967, Israel won the six day war that returned Jerusalem to them.
More recently, a number of the nations who were, originally, part of the old Roman Empire have formed the European Union. The United States, Canada and Mexico are not a part of this Union, per se, but the majority of their citizens are direct descendants of families from countries which were part of the old Roman Empire and blood is thicker than water. This makes it possible for us to think, seriously, about an eighth ‘ world’ empire which will be a resurgence of the old Roman Empire. Suddenly, in less than 100 years, the thoughts of a ‘world’ ruler are no longer ludicrous and literal interpretations of the prophecies relative to the second coming are not foolishness.
The Nation Israel
In 70 AD, a quarter of a century before John was on the Isle of Patmos, the Roman Army destroyed Jerusalem and the Jews were forced to flee. This put an end to the daily sacrifice and, without a daily sacrifice, the prophecy, in Daniel, regarding the ‘taking away of the daily sacrifice’ was incomprehensible. Further, the destruction of Israel, as a nation, made it impossible for the prophecies regarding a peace pact, etc. to be fulfilled and it was reasoned such prophecies should not be understood literally, they were not factual but fictional, and on the basis of this conclusion, a myriad of fictional interpretations were proposed and published. To-day, however, Israel is a nation once more; plans for the rebuilding of the temple are ready and, when God decrees, it will be rebuilt and the daily sacrifice will be re-instituted so the prophecies can be fulfilled, as a fact, not fiction.
It is generally agreed that all the books of our New Testament were written before the year 100 AD and it is thought the Revelation of Jesus Christ was given to John about the year 95 AD. By that time, as we know from other New Testament scriptures, there was division in the church and the first four messages to angels, or messengers, of the churches at Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos and Thyatira, where John tells the things that are, indicate the depth of the division. The next three messages, to the angels of the churches at Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea, tell us the things that will be hereafter, regarding the churches. During succeeding generations, there would be churches, such as the church at Sardis, who would have a name, who would say they live but who are dead and, there would be churches, such as the church at Philadelphia, which would have little strength but who keep the word of The Lord and do not deny His name. This, I think, is the situation today.
Finally, following the departure of the bride of Christ, the ‘church’ will be as the church at Laodecia, which was neither hot nor cold, to whom the Lord says, “I will spue you out of my mouth.” It must be borne in mind these messages are to the angels of the seven churches. These are messengers of God. When Satan saw that he could not destroy Christianity by persecuting true believers, he tried to lure them away from the true church by establishing pseudo churches. These are not included in the messages, above. All the churches who worship idols along, with the ‘churches’ of Islam, Buddha, etc., are under the control of Satan and, since he is a master copy-cat, he probably has some of his fallen angels assigned to them.
The Thessalonians expected to the Lord would come to claim His bride in their day but world conditions and the state of Israel were not right. To-day they are and, because they are, it is realistic to think the rapture could occur, at any time, in our day.
Why Now? Because the scriptures tell us it is even at the doors. Praise the Lord!