Have you noticed what’s going on in the world the past few days? While evangelical Christians met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, signaling an ever-growing relationship between Egypt and the West, Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Tehran for key meetings with the Ayatollah Khamenei and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
While discussions in Egypt centered around developing a peaceful coalition, honoring the human and religious rights of nations with very different spiritual viewpoints, talks in Iran centered on isolating America and waging war against Israel. A study in contrasts!
Meanwhile, US Vice President Mike Pence is on his way to Israel in early-December to discuss advancement of religious freedom and solidarity against persecution of Christians in the Middle East. (This morning’s post highlighted how many Christians are in the Middle East.) Yet, in Syria, Iran continues to build weapon factories and other facilities to press on in their attempt to set up forward military positions on Israel’s borders…and Israel has been forced to take action to prevent Iran from doing so.
And, if that’s not enough, the UN discovered a terror tunnel under one of its schools in the Gaza Strip and Israel destroyed a second terrorist tunnel that crossed the Israeli border to surface near a Jewish community.
Terror attacks continue in the US, with the latest attack coming in NYC just days ago. We’ve also gotten wind of a drill simulating an EMP attack (thought most likely to come from North Korea).
Sounds a lot like “wars and rumors of wars” and “kingdom rising against kingdom.” In the words of Jesus, those are signs of the end of the age. The time is likened to birth pangs. (Matthew 24) Later in the chapter, Jesus identifies those perilous times as the time of “abomination of desolation” and fleeing to the mountains. Those are references to the tribulation!
Furthermore, He told a parable of the fig tree…that when its branches become tender and begin to put forth leaves, you know that summer is near. That fig tree is Israel, and Israel is now alive again (as of May 14, 1948 when the nation of Israel was re-born). He refers to the scenario as the coming of the Son of Man. That is the Second Coming, or Jesus’s Glorious Appearing, at the end of the tribulation.
Then, chapter 24 of Matthew ends with the admonition to be ready for His coming.
Dear friends, Jesus was teaching His followers about a time FOLLOWING the tribulation in which He will come again. That is the Jews’ “finish line” in terms of life as we know it on this earth. But for the Christian, the “finish line” comes sooner! 1 Corinthians 15:51-56 and 1 Thessalonians 5 teach us that a trumpet is going to sound, signaling the coming of our Bridegroom, and in the twinkling of an eye, we will be caught up in the air to meet Him. The time will come like a thief in the night, when people are talking about peace and safety, and while people are going about their business, giving no thought to the Lord’s coming.
I am burdened for our world today, including Christians involved in churches. Are we living with the expectation that Jesus is coming soon to take us to be with Him? Or are we “playing church” and living as though we don’t know He’s coming? (Matthew 25:1-13) We must be about our Father’s business! Let’s be servants the Father finds faithful when Jesus comes for us! (Matthew 25:14-29)