As a son of the prophets, I feel it a duty to keep my eyes and ears open to what the Spirit of the Lord is doing and saying. Keeping one’s spiritual senses open can have the unwanted consequence of giving the feeling that we are on the very brink of the end of the world.
Where are we in Bible prophesy? It is clear to me that we are in Revelation Chapter Six, the ride of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. What verse? It is equally clear that we have survived the first three riders, and the fourth is riding out. That places us in verse 8. How long has it been since the first rider rode out? 600 years.
How long before the opening of the fifth seal? My teachers did not know, and I don’t either. The prophets are silent on when future prophesy will occur, even as they speak out boldly about events taking place right now. Jesus told us only his Father knows things like the days and hours of future things.
I know this makes me sound like a madman, but if it bothers you, take a look through my posts on this subject over the last year or two. I’m not the only one saying this. I have lived long enough, and looked at history deeply enough to recognize that the world has nearly always been on the brink of destruction, ever since the fall of Adam and Eve.
There have been a few brief periods of relative peace, prosperity, and stability. Even then, they have only been relatively peaceful, relatively prosperous, and relatively stable. There was Babel and Egypt, Babylon and Persia. There was the golden age of Israel during the reign of Solomon. There was the golden age of Greece, the golden age of Rome, the golden age of the Umayyad Empire – the Arabian Nights era. There were the golden ages of Austria, Germany, France, and the British Empires. The USA has had its turn as the world’s Promised Land, although it is sadly receding from us.
Every generation of believers since Adam and Eve has felt the coming of Messiah is eminent. Eve named each of her sons with names indicating her hope that the next son would be him.
John’s first epistle tells us many things that demonstrate what true believers are like. Believers have the Spirit of God. Believers repent and walk in light. Believers are waiting for Jesus to return at any moment. Believers love, and more especially, we love other believers. Believers do not need to be taught, because the Spirit of God leads us. Believers are bold in the day of judgment. Believers overcome the world. Believers know they will have the things they ask for in prayer. First John is like a survival kit for a world on the brink.
Peter, Andrew, James, and John took Jesus aside and pressed him for details about his return. His answer was not what they expected. It is both sooner than they thought, and yet not as soon as they wanted it. When does Jesus come? Well, that depends. He already came for me when I believed. I am living in the kingdom age now, even while the world and my flesh are being destroyed day by day. My end is near, but I already have eternal life. The truth of the gospel defies reason.
Jesus told them that the world would be in turmoil. Wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, tsunamis, they would be put to death, but not to worry because those are non-signs. He told them plainly that when the sun goes dark, the moon turns to blood, and the stars fall, those are the signs of his return.
How much longer? Can’t say, but if the first three horsemen of the apocalypse took 600 years, you can do the math. It may not be in our lifetimes, maybe not in the lifetimes of our children.
Even so, we watch – we keep our spiritual eyes and ears open – and we urgently pass the baton to the next generation, so that they also watch.