I'm spending much of my study time as of late preparing for the series "Timeless" that begins this Sunday. The messages look at the past, present and future through God's eternal eyes. It's not really a study in prophecy, although prophecy is a part of it. So the study got me to thinking about the events that are before us as believers. Here are some of my thoughts:
The Pentateuch, first five books of the Bible for you Gentiles, predicts that the Messiah will return after the Jewish people return to the land after being disbursed around the world. (Deut. 30:1 - 3) Jewish people began returning in mass after Israel was reborn as a nation on May 14, 1948. Jesus concurred in His teaching when He declared that in the last days Jewish people in Jerusalem would be surrounded by their enemies. (Luke 21:20)
If we are to understand a generation to be 70 to 80 years in duration (Psalm 98:10) then the statement by Jesus in Matthew 24:34 must make us stop and think.
Matthew 24:34 (NKJV)
34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.
He was referring to the generation that would experience the restoration of the Jewish state. The time would be near if we began the dating to the re-establishment of Israel in 1948 or even the control of Jerusalem by Israel which took place in 1967. The first date would place the Lord's return from 2 to 12 years in the future. The second date would place His return as early as 21 years down the road. If you believe as many believe that 7 years of tribulation occurs before His return then His return could be very near indeed.
We know that no one can predict the time of the Lord's return. He warned His disciples of setting dates:
Mark 13:32 (NKJV)
32 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Future events are better understood once they become past events. The birth and death of Jesus are classic examples. However, the Bible did foretell both happenings. The Bible has more to say about the next appearance of Christ than all other events combined. Certainly we will not know the moment but we are encouraged to be ready when it occurs. So it would serve us all well to heed Christ's words:
Mark 13:35-37 (NKJV)
35 Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming--in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning-- 36 lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!"