ISRAEL IS IN THE FIRST WAR IN 50 YEARS. ARE WE LIVING IN THE END TIMES? TODAY I WANT TO ADDRESS THE QUESTION BIBLICALLY AND GIVE YOU MY ASSESSMENT AND OPINION REGARDING OUR BEING IN END TIMES, TRIBULATION-OR IF WE ARE IN THE FORTH AND FINAL TURNING-OR STAGE OF A NEW WORLD ORDER BEFORE GOD DOES SOMETHING DIFFERENT WITH THE CHURCH.
Israel is in the first all out war in 50 years. This is a big one, but is it the End Times and Tribulation Period? It depends on what you mean by End Times. We are definitely getting closer to the "Return of Christ" for sure, but in my estimation, I don’t that we are in the official or literal “End Times” meaning the “Tribulation”. Why do I believe that?
FIRST: We cannot be “IN” in Tribulation due to the fact that the church has not been Raptured. SECONDLY: as Thomas D. Ice, at Liberty University wrote in an article entitled, “WHY THE BIBLE STILL PROHIBITS DATE SETTING” published May of 2009, he writes that throughout church history there has been an amazing amount of date-setting. About every two years there is usually someone who makes headlines proclaiming that they know the date of the Second Coming or the Rapture. This often comes from an AMILLENNIAL COVENANT theology framework.
Amillennialism is one of four views of the end times regarding the 1,000-year reign of Christ. Each of the four views differs in the placement, or the timing, of the 1,000-year reign mentioned in Revelation 20. In a nutshell, an amillennialist sees the 1,000 years as spiritual and non-literal, as opposed to a physical understanding of history. The millennium as “realized,” or better explained as “millennium now.” To simplify, amillennialism sees the first coming of Christ as the inauguration of the kingdom, and His return as the consummation of the kingdom. John’s mention of 1,000 years thus points to all things that would happen in the church age. Furthermore, the amil position sees the book of Revelation as having numerous “camera angle” approaches. For instance, chapter 19 ends with Christ returning to destroy His enemies, making chapter 20 difficult to understand in that enemies arise to attack Him again (what enemies are these, if they’ve already been destroyed?). However, if we see chapter 20 as a different “angle” for the end of the age, then the 1,000-year reign isn’t necessarily physical/earthly history, but symbolic. It speaks of the spiritual realm. John is giving a “replay” of what he saw.
Thomas Ice wrote that there are at least SIX PASSAGES (eight if parallel passages are included) specially warning believers against date-setting. Yet down through the ages, Christians are still fascinated by trying to predict the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The Verses Ice notes are: Matthew 24:36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father Alone. Other verses include (Mark 13:32, Matthew 24:42; 44, Matthew 25:13, Mark 13:33-37, Acts 1:7 and 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2).
APPLICATION: All this being said, I believe there are a number of things we CAN and SHOULD do for Israel. We can and should pray for them, support them, and ask God for a hedge of protection for them while using this to lead the Jewish nation to Christ. That will for sure signal the End Times. Today, I want to focus on two simple things we ought not do in light of Israel and the war:
FIRST: Let’s not get wrapped up in trying to figure out when Jesus will return. The Bible tells us this is a distraction for what He called us to do “today” in Matthew 28. We are to be leading people to Christ, making disciples throughout the entire earth. We certainly can use this tragedy for the good in Christ to the lost world, including sharing Christ with our Jewish friends. If we are calling the events of old times like a ball-game, we are using our limited time and resources in efficiently-if not wrongly. Let’s focus our efforts and energy on leading others (especially our Jewish friends) to Christ and making Christ centered disciples instead of worrying about what God tell’s we cannot know.
SECOND: Let’s not get so gripped by fear and afraid that we become paralyzed. It’s just life in the temporal and this war is will also one day come to an end. As for when the official “End Times” are in motion and Jesus is ready to return, that’s the Father’s business. I don’t see us as believers in Christ living in or through the End Times from a biblical perspective at all. The preterits do this. What is Preterism? Full preterism teaches that ALL biblical prophecy has been fulfilled, including: The second coming of Christ, Satan and the Antichrist being thrown into the lake of fire, the resurrection of the dead, and the full arrival of the kingdom of God.
Many folks who get overly wrapped up in the effort of calling End Times risk becoming “partial preterists”. Some are even OK with that. This means they believe that either most if not all biblical prophesy has been fulfilled and that we are actually “at the start point” if not the “early stages” of the End Times. Let’s avoid being that and focus more on doing what God has called us to do in the present and leave the End Times to God. Christendom is in the condition it’s in today due to the fact that so many of us in America and the West have gotten off track with other distractions. We tend to gravitate towards distractions I believe because they keep us from God’s Word and commands-and we all know where those distractions come from.
WRAPPING UP: Ice writes that while date-setting is prohibited in God’s Word, he believes that it is valid to realize that God is setting the stage for His great end-time program. The RAPTURE is a sign less event, thus it is impossible to identify any signs that include the nearness of the Rapture. This is the reason as to why all attempts to date the Raptures have had to wrongly resort to an application of passages relating to God’s plan for Israel to the church. An example of a misuse of Scripture would be those who say Israel’s feasts (i.e. Rosy HaShannah) relate to dating the Rapture. However, since the Bible outlines a clear scenario of players, events and nations involved in the end-time tribulation, we can see God’s preparation for the final seven years of Daniel’s seventy weeks of Israel.
In the end, we cannot know for certain that we are the last generation before the Raptures since God may choose to “stage set” for another 100 years or longer. Dr. John F. Walvoord correctly says, “THERE IS NO SCRIPTURAL GROUND FOR SETTING DATES FOR THE LORD’S RETURN OR TEH END OF THE WORLD…AS STUDENTS OF TEH BIBLE OBSERVE PROPER INTERPRETATION PRINCIPLES, THEY ARE BECOMING INCREASING AWARE OF A REMARKABLE CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THE OBVIOUS TREND OF WORLD EVENTS AND WHAT THE BIBLE PREDICTED CENTURIES AGO” (He wrote that in his book, “ARMAGEDDON, Oil and the Middle Eat Crisis, by Zondervan, last printed 1990, pages 21-22.
IN CONCLUSION: TODAY, you and I can and should pray for and support Israel. We should be asking God for a hedge of protection for Israel while using this opportunity to help us lead our Jewish friends and the Jewish nation in whole to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. That will for sure signal the End Times. WHERE CAN YOU AND START? Let’s stay in God’s Word TODAY and seek His will daily, and leave the End Times up to Him. Let’s remember er the words of Matthew 6:34 which says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”. You have a mission to do for the Kingdom of God. I challenge you to focus on getting that mission completed and leave the Return of Christ and Great Tribulation timing to God.