By Ronald Graham
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28. It is my sincere hope and my fervent prayer that my brethren are all in the same frame of mind and that they are all, metaphorically speaking that is, looking up right now. We are so close to the return of Jesus Christ that many believers have moved into the position of being watchmen on the wall. The Israelites had their watchmen to sound the alarm when danger approached and the Christians today have their watchmen who are sounding alarms. Listen to the voices of those who are telling you to get ready for there is no doubt that we are on the very precipice of the Rapture of Christ’s Church.
Letters from my brethren are continually flowing in concerning the Rapture, and folks are now becoming concerned with the lateness of the hour. Obviously many are now seeing the signs which are beginning to make a real impression on us. Jesus spoke of signs as future history as He sat with His disciples. He fully explained the end times scenarios which were to unfold. We can read all about them in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. As we read those chapters the light begins to shine on us. What do those chapters say to those who are watching and waiting? Read them and at the same time read current world events and you’ll come away thinking the Bible was written yesterday.
The signs Jesus addressed would begin gradually, and increasingly those very same signs would appear to be even more severe, ultimately bringing their frequency and severity to a raging crescendo of catastrophes. And what do we currently see unfolding before our very eyes? The beginning signs Jesus told us to watch and be mindful of. Remember, Jesus said that when they begin to appear “look up”.
Right now, and each day from here until the Rapture, the signs Jesus spoke about will become so numerous and intense that it will be impossible to keep up with these events as they rapidly unfold. We can see that we are currently standing just this side of the seven year tribulation period.
Speaking for myself, I can hardly wait to get up in the morning to see what has transpired overnight with my country and world events. I know the signs are emerging exactly as Jesus foretold. I’m not frightened by those signs, no, not at all. Instead I’m encouraged and even excited with each sign that unfolds. We, that is those who follow Jesus Christ, were given our history lesson in advance for one reason, so we would know how very close His return is and put forth a definitive cry of warning to those who are still lost.
As we watch world history unfold around us we are to prepare ourselves for the inevitable, “…then look up, and lift up your heads…” Luke 21:28. But more importantly we are to spread the Gospel of Christ as never before. We who are believers in Christ must not allow ourselves to be muted, but clearly and concisely speak the truth to all who are perishing.
So, what are the signs Jesus spoke about? Let’s take a look at a few of them, sign by sign. First of all we read “Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.” Luke 21:8. We’ve seen the damage wrought by those who’ve falsely declared that they are the Christ, and through their deceptive ways many have been led astray. Clearly not everyone has heeded Jesus’ words. We aren’t going to stop these deceptions from occurring but we need to be on guard, ever watchful, and ready to confront deceptions.
Secondly, we read “But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.” Luke 21:9. Jesus basically tells us that these are non-signs. Not to get all worked up over rumors of wars and even full blown wars when they take place because they are ever constant and somewhat predicable, they’ve always been numerous as well as frequent, so essentially they’re non-signs.
In three of the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus lays out a scenario that pretty much details the future of humankind. “Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.” Luke 21:10-12. Surely we’ve all witnessed, either by reading about them or being there firsthand, great earthquakes in many different (divers) places. They are increasing in intensity and frequency, and apparently, according to many scientists, we haven’t seen anything yet.
All of the above mentioned signs Jesus prophesied are going to open up for many to behold in the last days, but for the believer in Christ we will only see the beginnings of these signs “And when these things begin to come to pass…” Luke 21:28. “Begin” is the key word here; believers won’t be on earth for the brunt of the action.
Nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom, this too is currently in the making and can be somewhat unnerving as we read about all the saber rattling. And Israel is constantly being blamed for every little skirmish. One of these days, and very soon I’m afraid, either North Korea or Iran will push the rest of the world into another world war.
Certainly, we are currently witnessing around the globe and within the boundaries of many nations, turmoil, nation against nation, their own citizenry rebelling and fighting in the streets, many are being slain and many more are being injured, and for what? Because their governments, in many cases, have cut back on the handouts people were accustomed to receiving. It takes money and lots of it to withstand the turmoil besetting the world, and this world’s economy is very much at risk of failing.
The unrest now surrounding Israel due to the flotilla incident is a worldwide phenomenon; the hatred is obvious in practically every nation. We are seeing the stage being set for the prophetic war of Psalm 83. This unrest will continue and worsen as the days progress. Most of Israel ‘s enemy’s are arming themselves to the hilt. They have one purpose in mind, one agenda, and that is the annihilation of Israel . Their only reason for living is to eliminate Zionism from the face of this planet. God says in His word to pray for the peace of Israel and we should be doing so daily. But we also know that God’s hand is upon Israel and He will not allow the annihilation of His chosen people no matter how many come against her.
“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem . And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” Zechariah 12:2, 3. The scriptures are clear, and they point out that every nation will come against Israel and that God will destroy them. Seemingly, since all nations wish to curse Israel and to do so without fear of God’s retribution, believers should be keenly aware of just what’s around the corner. Every nation is going to be in that mindset of destroying Israel ; clearly those who faithfully follow the Savior of the world should be looking up.
Earthquakes, pestilences, fearful sights, great signs from heaven will only be as a prelude for those of us who are in Christ to be witness to. But for those folks who remain on earth after the Rapture, they will witness the full force of all those prophetic catastrophes.
Besides all the news on the national and world fronts which clearly indicate the last days are upon us and that we should be “looking up”, there’s a strange spiritual, supernatural side unraveling before us. Jesus also tells us of a great apostasy (falling away from the faith) in the last days. This phenomenon is quite pervasive. How do I know? By the many letters I receive concerning the inability of many believers to find a Christ centered, Bible believing congregation where they can attend worship services. I can tell you all, that the apostasy Jesus speaks about has now infiltrated many a Christian Church worldwide.
When these things begin to come to pass? My brethren, they’ve begun. Interestingly, an unthinkable event occurs in the 8th chapter of the book of Revelation which may give us reason to pause and reflect as we read “And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.” Revelation 8:8-9.
At any rate our days on planet earth are clearly numbered. As such, those of us who are diligently following our Lord Jesus Christ and His commandments should be in the midst of the unsaved sharing the Gospel of Christ with them, praying for the ones we’ve spoken to who are fence setting, and looking up intently as our “redemption draweth” so very close.
God bless you all,
All scripture is from the KJV