Questions On Bible Prophecy – 1

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*Pastor’s Note: As I mentioned some time ago, I have been doing a lot of study on Bible prophecy and I have started to become familiar with the writings of several great teachers who specialize in Biblical prophecy.

Over the next few weeks, as part of my Prophetic Words category, I’m going to share one or two questions, in no particular order from the excellent book by Mark Hitchcock entitled, The Complete Book of Bible Prophecy. My hope and prayer is that it will give some insight into much of the end-times prophecy the Bible speaks of and hopefully alleviates some of the fears and confusion people have about studying prophecy.

Bible prophecy ALWAYS points to God and His plans for this world that He created through Christ Jesus. Therefore, for true Christians, it is meant to be a comfort that God continues as always to have everything under control despite what it might appear to the average person.

Mr. Hitchcock’s teachings are informative and enlightening as well as inspirational and any book you can get for yourself from his writings will most definitely be well-worth it. I hope you are blessed AND informed and some of these questions and answers will give you a greater strength to walk in confidence and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The following is the first question I present to you from his book:

How Close Are We to the End?

At every prophecy conference I have ever attended, someone always asks this question. After all, this is the big question, isn’t it? How close are we to the end? How much longer will it be until Jesus comes back?

This question reminds me of the man who was sitting downstairs late one night reading, while his wife had already retired to bed. He heard the grandfather clock begin to chime in the hallway and started counting the chimes to see what time it was. The clock chimed nine, ten, eleven, twelve—then thirteen! Upon hearing the thirteenth bell, he got up, ran up the stairs, bolted into the bedroom to wake up his wife, and said, “Honey, wake up, it’s later than it’s ever been!”

That’s the one sure answer to this question I can give. We are closer to the end than we’ve ever been. However, the ultimate answer to this question is, no one knows for sure how close we are to the end except the Lord. We can point to various signs the Lord has given us, such as the regathering of Israel to her land, the European Community as the possible reuniting of the Roman Empire, the continued heightening of tensions in the Middle East, the unstable conditions in Russia, and the development of a one-world economy that the Antichrist could easily control. And it does appear that these signs point to the imminent return of Christ. So the Rapture must be even nearer. But how near? We really don’t know. These signs indicate that the general time of the Second Coming is near. But we still must confess that we don’t know the specific day or the hour of his coming for his church. We can confidently say that “Jesus may come today,” but we must also admit that he may not come in the next decade. He may not come in my lifetime or yours.

One passage often used to pinpoint the coming of Christ is Matthew 24:34: “‘I assure you, this generation will not pass from the scene before all these things take place.'” Some use this verse to prove that once the signs of the last days begin, Christ will return within one generation, which is usually calculated to be about forty years. However, this verse probably means that the generation that personally witnesses the signs in Matthew 24:4–30—that is, the Tribulation period—will not pass away before Christ returns. Thus, Christ could return sixty, seventy, eighty, or more years after these signs begin. Therefore, this verse should not be used to establish a date for the coming of Christ.

For those of us today who see the storm clouds of some of these signs gathering on the horizon, all we can say is that we believe we are in the end times in a general sense.

My grandfather was a pastor who loved the prophetic Scriptures. When Israel became a nation in 1948, he recognized the prophetic significance of this event. My father has told me that my grandfather commented on numerous occasions that he believed Jesus would come in his lifetime. He lived his life believing the end was near and looking for the Rapture. However, the Lord called my grandfather home in 1963 at the age of sixty-three. Was my grandfather wrong? No, he wasn’t wrong. He didn’t miss the Rapture. He is presently with the Lord, and at the Rapture he will be resurrected to join the Lord and his saints in the air. The precious hope of the Rapture added unspeakable joy to his life. The point of prophecy in Scripture is that we are to live as if Christ could come at any moment. That’s all we can do. We must leave the timing of this event with the Lord.

All I can say when people ask me how close we are to the end is that I earnestly believe that Jesus could come today, and I pray that he will. That’s close enough for me!

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Mark Hitchcock, The Complete Book of Bible Prophecy (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1999)
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About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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