7 Signs of the End Times

Thursday, August 26, 2010

By Britt Gillette

End Times Bible Prophecy

What are the signs of the end times?

It's important to know so we can explain to others why Christians believe what we believe.

As Peter says:

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." 1 Peter 3:15 (NLT)

Unfortunately, too many Christians are unable to explain why they believe we're in the last days when the opportunity presents itself.

One argument in particular seems to catch today's Christians off guard.

Peter forewarned us of this argument:

"Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, 'What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.'" 2 Peter 3:3-4 (NLT)

The particular version I hear most often is, "Sure, you think Jesus is coming, but so have previous generations."

The implication is that our generation will pass without the Second Coming just as those previous generations passed without His Coming.

Aside from being illogical, this assertion flies in the face of plain observation as well as mountains of irrefutable evidence.

A Sign of the End?

Is the prevalence of Peter's end time skeptic argument in-and-of itself a sign of the end times?


But let's take a second look at what he said:

"They will say, 'What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.'" 2 Peter 3:4 (NLT)
Sound familiar?

How many times have you heard someone say, "It's the same now as it's always been" or at least something along those lines?

Probably a lot.

But is it?

Is it really the same?

When non-believers tell you there are no signs of the end times which are unique to our time, you need to be prepared to set the record straight.

Below are at least seven signs of the end times.

Commit them to memory, and as Peter says, "be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."

Clear Signs of the End Times

Below is a list of seven clear signs of the end times, which highlight the nearness of Christ's return. In fact, He's so close He's knocking on the door:

1) The Holocaust and the Re-Emergence of Israel

One of the preeminent signs of the end times is the Jewish survival of the Holocaust and the re-emergence of the nation of Israel as a Jewish state.

Over 2,600 years ago, the prophet Ezekiel foretold these events:

"Then he said to me, 'Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, 'We have become old, dry bones - all hope is gone.' Now give them this message from the Sovereign Lord: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the Lord." Ezekiel 37:11-13 (NLT)

As God says, the bones in Ezekiel 37 represent the people of Israel - otherwise known as the Jews.

Following the first century Roman conquest of the Holy Land, the Jews were banished from the land of Israel. The Romans renamed the area Palestine, and exiled its people to the farthest corners of the Roman Empire.

Yet, in Ezekiel 37, God promised to bring the Jews out of exile. He promised to bring them back into the land of Israel.

Not only did He promise to restore their nation, but God promised to do so by opening their "graves" at a time when the Jews feel that "all hope is gone."

The aftermath of Hitler's Holocaust of the Jewish people created these very conditions, nearly destroying an entire race of people and draining the hope of countless survivors.

But out of the Holocaust, God brought the Jewish people back into the land of Israel, just as He had promised.

On May 14, 1948, the nation of Israel reappeared in fulfillment of not just Ezekiel 37:11-13, but countless Old Testament prophecies.

Of all the signs of the end times, the re-establishment of Israel as an independent nation is the clearest and most unmistakable sign that we are in the last of the last days.

2) Jerusalem Is a Burden to the World

Another visible sign of the end times is the world diplomatic struggle over Jerusalem.

The prophet Zechariah foresaw this event centuries ago:

"I will make Jerusalem and Judah like an intoxicating drink to all the nearby nations that send their armies to besiege Jerusalem. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone, a burden for the world. None of the nations who try to lift it will escape unscathed." Zechariah 12:2-3 (NLT)
Since 1967 when the Israelis retook Jerusalem in the Six Day War, the division of Jerusalem and ownership of the Temple Mount in particular, have been a source of countless U.N. resolutions, diplomatic crises, and calls for war.

The struggle over the "Peace Process" in the Middle East is the stated number one priority of world diplomats, and Jerusalem resides at the center of discussions about "land for peace."

With the threat of World War III casting a shadow over every decision to rebuild Jewish settlements or expand Israeli society, the City of Jerusalem is no doubt "a burden for the world."

Is this "the way it's always been?"


Until this generation, Jerusalem was not "a burden for the world." In fact, prior to 1948, world diplomatic leaders rarely mentioned it.

3) The Dramatic Increase in Travel and Knowledge

One of the signs of the end times that anyone can easily recognize is the recent explosive increase in travel and knowledge.

In a vision, God revealed to Daniel that in "the time of the end," travel and knowledge will increase:

"But you, Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal up the book until the time of the end. Many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase." Daniel 12:4 (NLT)

According to the book of Daniel, two things will increase in "the time of the end" - travel and knowledge.

Is this the case now?


At the time the Book of Daniel was written, horses were the world's the fastest mode of transportation.

In fact, horses remained the world's fastest mode of transportation for over 2,000 years until the Industrial Revolution spawned such innovations as the steam boat, the locomotive, and the horseless carriage.

Prior to the 20th Century, most people rarely traveled more than 30 miles from where they were born. Today, people routinely travel from one continent to another within the same day.

Today's world is definitely not "the way it's always been."

Frequency and speed of travel have markedly increased!

What about knowledge?

In Daniel's time, few people received a formal education. In fact, basic literacy was a foreign concept to all but an elite minority of the world until the past 100 to 150 years.

Yet, in the past century alone, human knowledge of science, biology, technology, and countless fields of endeavor has exploded. And the advent of the Internet has created a worldwide archive of human knowledge that far exceeds even the wildest dreams of the great ancient civilizations.

Is humanity's knowledge base today "the same as previous generations?"

Absolutely not. Human knowledge has also markedly increased.

Given that all this can be ascertained from mere observation, how can anyone say with a straight face that "things today are the same as they've always been?"

4) Exponential Growth Marks the Times

If a marked increase in travel and knowledge constitute one of the most clearly observable signs of the end times, then the two are merely components of a much larger sign of the end times - exponential growth.

Jesus pointed to exponential growth as a sign of His Coming:

"Later, Jesus sat on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and asked, 'When will all this take place? And will there be any sign ahead of time to signal your return and the end of the world?' Jesus told them, 'Don't let anyone mislead you. For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Messiah.' They will lead many astray. And wars will break out near and far, but don't panic. Yes, these things must come, but the end won't follow immediately. The nations and kingdoms will proclaim war against each other, and there will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this will be only the beginning of the horrors to come.'" Matthew 24:3-8 (NLT)

This translation fails to communicate an important revelation from Jesus - that the end times will be analogous to the birthing process.

According to Strong's Concordance, the word "horrors" as translated above comes from the word "odin" which is best translated as "the pain of childbirth" or "birth pangs."

This means that, much like birth pangs, signs of the end times will appear with greater frequency and intensity as Christ's return draws near. This is why Jesus mentioned this sign first when answering his disciples' questions "When will all this take place? And will there be any sign ahead of time to signal your return and the end of the world?"

According to Jesus, three things in particular will increase in frequency and intensity as the world draws closer to His return:


Have we seen these three things increase in frequency and intensity in the recent past?


Let's take a brief look at wars, famines, and earthquakes over the past 500 years.

Wars - A Sign of the End Times

According to a Wikipedia list of wars, the past 500 years have witnessed an increase in the frequency of wars:

•15th Century - 29 wars
•16th Century - 59 wars
•17th Century - 75 wars
•18th Century - 69 wars
•19th Century - 294 wars
•20th Century - 278 wars

The first decade of the 21st Century has already witnessed 55 wars, putting humanity on course for 550 wars over the next one hundred year period.

Have these wars increased in intensity?


For most of human history, wars were fought through individual hand-to-hand combat. But the past few hundred years have witnessed the ascension of more accurate guns, machine guns, and aerial bombing. Today, a single weapon of mass destruction can kill hundreds of thousands of people.

Famines - A Sign of the End Times

According to a Wikipedia list of famines, the past 500 years have also witnessed an increase in the frequency of famines:
•15th Century - 6 famines
•16th Century - 10 famines
•17th Century - 24 famines
•18th Century - 28 famines
•19th Century - 30 famines
•20th Century - 44 famines

The first decade of the 21st Century alone has already witnessed 12 famines, putting humanity on course for 120 famines over the next one hundred year period.

Have these famines increased in intensity and severity?


As the population of the world has grown, famines have caused more and more death and destruction in their wake.

In fact, while the Roman Empire's entire population at the time of Jesus is estimated to have been approximately 55 million people, the first half of the 20th Century alone witnessed these famines:
•The 1921 famine in Russia (5 million+ dead)
•The 1928-1929 famine in China (3 million+ dead)
•The 1932-1933 famine in Ukraine (2.6 and 10 million+ dead)
•The 1932-1933 famine in Kazakhstan (1.2 and 1.5 million+ dead)
•The 1936 famine in China (5 million+ dead)
•The 1942-1943 famine in China (1 million+ dead)
•The 1946-1947 famine in the Soviet Union (1 million+ dead)
That's an estimated 18.8 to 26.5 million who perished from famine just from these seven famines alone!

And from 1959 to 1961, the Great Chinese Famine is estimated to have killed more than 36 million people.

Famines have dramatically increased in both frequency and intensity since Jesus first answered His disciples' questions.

Earthquakes - Another Sign of the End Times

According to a Wikipedia list of earthquakes, the past 500 years have witnessed the following number of earthquakes described as a magnitude 7.0 or greater:

•15th Century - 2 earthquakes
•16th Century - 3 earthquakes
•17th Century - 7 earthquakes
•18th Century - 13 earthquakes
•19th Century - 29 earthquakes
•20th Century - 123 earthquakes

The first decade of the 21st Century has already witnessed 144 earthquakes with a magnitude of 7.0 or greater, putting humanity on course for 1,440 such earthquakes over the next one hundred year period!

The dramatic increase in devastating wars, famines, and earthquakes from the time of Jesus until today is one of clearest signs of the end times.

5) Rise of the Gog/Magog Alliance

Yet another sign of the end times is the current rise of the Gog/Magog Alliance.

The details of this future military alliance against Israel are found in the Book of Ezekiel, Chapters 38 and 39:

"This is another message that came to me from the Lord: 'Son of man, prophesy against Gog of the land of Magog, the prince who rules over the nations of Meshech and Tubal. Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord: Gog, I am your enemy! I will turn you around and put hooks into your jaws to lead you out to your destruction. I will mobilize your troops and cavalry and make you a vast and mighty horde, all fully armed. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya will join you, too, with all their weapons. Gomer and all its hordes will also join you, along with the armies of Beth-togarmah from the distant north and many others.'" Ezekiel 38:1-6 (NLT)

The nations cited in the verses above are associated with their Old Testament predecessors, but they all represent nations that exist today.

Below is a list of those nations, each followed by its modern day equivalent:
•Magog, Meshech, and Tubal = Russia
•Persia = Iran
•Cush = Ethiopia
•Put = Libya
•Gomer = Turkey
•Beth-togarmah = Turkey, Armenia, and the Turkish-speaking people of Asia Minor

According to God, Russia will mobilize a coalition that includes these nations in the last days.

Throughout human history, there's never been a cooperative military alliance between the nations of Russia and Iran - at least until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Since then, a cooperative diplomatic and military alliance between Iran and Russia has formed and slowly expanded, ultimately leading to Russia's assistance in providing Iran with the necessary support to make the Bushehr nuclear power plant operational in 2010.

So when does the Bible tell us this alliance will form?

It definitely says, "in the last days":

"Get ready; be prepared! Keep all the armies around you mobilized, and take command of them. A long time from now you will be called into action. In the distant future you will swoop down on the land of Israel, which will be lying in peace after her recovery from war and after the return of her people from many lands. You and all your allies - a vast and awesome horde - will roll down on them like a storm and cover the land like a cloud." Ezekiel 38:7-9 (NLT)

According to Strong's Concordance, "in the distant future" is better translated as "achariyth shaneh" which means "end years."

6) The Rise of Global Government

Another sign of the end times is the current trend toward globalization.

According to the Book of Revelation, globalization involves more than just multinational corporations and global commerce. One day, a single man will rule all the people and nations on the earth:

"And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation." Revelation 13:7 (NLT)

With each passing day more and more nations are ceding their sovereignty to larger institutions such as the European Union, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Court.

Given the current global financial crisis and the potential catastrophe of a global war, more and more diplomatic leaders and world politicians are calling for global government.

And as human technology continues to advance and mature, we're quickly reaching a point where global totalitarian rule will be possible.

7) The Good News Preached Throughout the World

Jesus revealed the following sign of the end times to His disciples in response to their questions about the end of the age and the sign of His coming:

"And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come." Matthew 24:14 (NLT)

According to Christ, His Coming is preceded by the preaching of the Gospel "throughout the whole world."

This idea is reiterated in the Book of Revelation.

"And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to this world - to every nation, tribe, language, and people. 'Fear God,' he shouted. 'Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water.'" Revelation 14:6-7 (NLT)

In the time of Jesus, the Gospel was confined to a relatively small number of people in and around Israel. And much of the earth's land mass was completely unknown to the disciples of Jesus, so the odds of the disciples preaching the Gospel of Christ "throughout the whole world" in their own time was quite remote.

Yet, 2,000 years later, the Gospel is preached in every nation, the Bible is translated in hundreds of languages, and the Gospel of Christ is delivered through thousands of ministries via radio, cable TV, satellite, and the Internet.

Is this "the way it's always been?"


The truth is our generation is closer to preaching the Gospel "throughout the whole world" than any preceding generation.

Signs of the End Times

These are just seven signs of the end times, but they aren't the only signs.

The Bible has much to say about the last days and the time of the end, and as followers of Christ, we are warned to recognize the signs of the times.
"Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near." Matthew 24:28 (NLT)

Because if we acknowledge the signs of the end times as well as our Lord's command to stay awake and alert, we will be driven to live Godly lives. Paul emphasized this in his letter to the Romans: "Another reason for right living is that you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for the coming of our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed." Romans 13:11 (NLT)

Remember, all prophecy exists to give a clear witness for Christ:
"For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus." Revelation 19:10 (NLT)

And prophecy is telling us that Christ is coming.
"In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door." Matthew 24:33 (NLT)

Why Jews Have Trouble Accepting Jesus

by Lance Wonders

The Real Jesus? Jewish people have been presented with a "Gentilized" version of New Testament faith.

Generally, there are seven main reasons why Jews have difficulty in accepting Jesus as their Messiah.

1. Misrepresented History

The history of early Judaism has been misrepresented to them by standard Jewish literature and/or by their rabbis.

Most rabbinic literature has mischaracterized first century Judaism as being almost totally pharisaical, rather than admitting that the religious situation was one of great flux, in which six or seven different groups were struggling for ascendancy within the Israeli Jewish community, most of which were represented on the Council (Sanhedrin) but which frequently could not come to agreement even on essential matters. That diverse representation initially included the so-called "Nazarenes" or followers of Jesus of Nazareth (e.g., Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, who was an uncle or older cousin of Jesus).

However, with the Roman siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. (which the Nazarenes escaped, having been prophetically forewarned to re-locate to Pella in the Decapolis area before it occurred), only the lead-Pharisee, Rabbi Jochanan ben Zacchai, was able to fake his own death, be removed alive from the city during the siege, and re-organize the Sanhedrin in Jamnia (Yavneh) on strictly pharisaical grounds. His later successor, Rabbi Gamaliel (II), circa 90 A.D., in order to drive the Nazarenes out of the synagogues (they were numbering approximately 20-25,000 by that time in the region), added the "curse against the minim" (heretics) to the Eighteen Benedictions recited at every "authorized" synagogue, and closed the canon of Scripture not only against the apocryphal books, but also against New Covenant (New Testament) Scriptures referring to Jesus as Messiah that were being accepted by the Nazarene Jews.

Finally, in the 130's, Rabbi Akiva attempted to close the door altogether by:gathering all available talmudic commentary for the definition of "proper" Judaism, doing so in a way that was prejudicial against the claims of the Nazarenes;promoting a new (non-Septuagint) translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, with the elimination of key words in favorite texts that the Nazarenes used in their apologetics for Jesus as the prophesied Messiah; and altering of known Persian history, contracting it so that Akiva's own preferred candidate for Messiah-Bar Kochba-would fit within the parameters of the 483 (or 490) years prophesied by Daniel, chapter 9, verses 24-27, during which Messiah must appear (and remove the defilement of the Temple by rebuilding it, after first overthrowing Roman rule). (This alteration of Persian /Jewish history still exists today, reflected in the standard Seder Olam, that overall throws Jewish chronology off by some 150 years. No secular, Persian, or Christian scholars accept the shortened version of Persian history, and many Jewish scholars also now dispute it.)

Pharisaical (now called "talmudic" or just "rabbinic") tradition's prejudice against the Nazarene segment of the first century Jewish community was thus so strong as to deliberately and systematically attempt to disenfranchise all believers in Jesus from out of the circles of accepted Jewish faith and practice-even, apparently, to the point of being deceptive about early first century diversity within Judaism, Jewish Christianity's pervasiveness within that region initially, and the imperialistic tactics of Ben Zacchai, Gamaliel II, and Akiva to re-define Judaism in such a way as to exclude Jesus (and His Jewish followers, the Nazarenes) from their ranks without discussion. The issue, however, is, if Jesus really was the Jewish Messiah, then his Apostles became the proper successors to the previous jerusalem Sanhedrin, and all of Ben Zacchai's, Gamaliel II's, and Akiva's efforts to overthrow Nazarene Judaism (Jewish Christianity) were completely illegitimate.

The New Testament Scriptures-not the Talmud-thus becomes the proper completion of the Hebrew Scriptures, and Jesus continues to make claims upon the Jewish people as their long-prophesied Messiah. At the very least, then, thinking Jews need to examine for themselves whether or not Jesus is "their" Messiah, and not let the rabbis (successors of the pharisaic Sanhedrin after the destruction of the Temple) automatically decide things for them. The Dead Sea Scrolls prove the key contention, that other groups existed in first century Judaism, and many of them were, apparently, looking for their Messiah in that time frame. The issue is an open one once again, after all of these centuries; and the Jewish community owes it to themselves to find out for themelves the truth of the matter in this crucial area of God's ways with His people. Believers in Jesus, meanwhile, for our part, need to be aware of the facts of the matter, so as to be able to supplement what many Jews today simply are not aware of, in terms of their own history.

2. "Gentilized" New Testament Faith

Most Jews have been presented with a "Gentilized" Jesus and a "Gentilized" extrapolation of New Testament faith and life, such that the original continuity between their own roots in Old Testament history and the Hebrew Scriptures and the fruit of Messianic fulfillment and lifestyle in the world has been obscured. The Jewish community therefore needs to see living examples of so-called "Jewish Christianity" that do not follow the "Gentilized" approaches, in order to see for themselves how at least one version (Messianic Judaism) today does continue their original Jewish roots, regardless of Gentile distortions that may well have developed historically.

3. Historical Christian Anti-Semitism

Most Jews struggle with the centuries of rejection by the (basically Gentile) Christian Church of anything Jewish, and grieve over the mistreatment of Jews everywhere by such acts as the ongoing pogroms in Russia and Poland, the Crusades, Inquisition, and Spanish Expulsion of the Middle Ages, and the Holocaust during World War II in recent times. They do not understand this anti-Semitism, and, as a result, are astonished when told that the "Christian" Jesus is actually for them and is their Messiah in a way that runs prior to any inclusion of Gentile believers as well. Only if significant numbers of Gentile Christians repent of those historic sins and mistreatment can Jews even think about re-examining Jesus, not as their enemy, but as their Messiah and Redeemer after all.

4. Unawareness of Messianic Tradition

Many Jews are unaware of the teachings of the Hebrew Scriptures, and so have no real context for understanding the need for, or expectation of, a divinely-sent Messiah at all. Groups that want to reach out to inquiring Jews must then offer courses in the Hebrew Scriptures, that demonstrate the growing Messianic tradition within even the Old Covenant books and history, so that the climax of the New Testament does not seem to appear out of nothing or without a clear salvation-historical context of prayer and expectation.

5. Non-Exposure to Accurate Representation of Jesus

Many Jews have never been exposed to the actual records or teachings of the New Testament Scriptures, and so have no clear idea of who Jesus was, what He did, what He taught, how He impacted the first century Jewish community, how He Himself lived out-and to some extent re-interpreted-the Judaism of His day, etc. Thus, if they reject Jesus, it often is not the real Jesus that they are rejecting, not having really encountered Him in the first place. Obviously, then, part of the task of those who would introduce Jews today to the real Jesus must make the New Testament available to them, in a translation that makes sense to Jews.

6. Secular World View

A large number of Jews are unopen to looking at Jesus, the Bible, or even the concept of a Messiah because the worldview that they have been brought up with is so secularized and naturalistic/humanistic as to make little or no room for a supernatural Creator/Redeemer God, miracles, an after-life, a final judgment, a coming resurrection Kingdom, real angels and a satan/devil, etc. Apart from experiences of divine intervention, revelation, unearned forgiveness, supernatural healing, or the like, such Jews are often intellectually incapable of the kind of paradigm-shift necessary for re-thinking life and faith-with or without Jesus-and they therefore need experience with God Himself, and not just rational or historical apologetics, in order to take a second look at Jesus. This means that groups majoring on Jewish outreach must also be groups very open to the working of the Holy Spirit, so as to provide raw material for such personal experience with God.

7. Non-Exposure to True Christians

Finally, many Jews are unopen to Jesus simply because they have never met a "real" Christian: someone who acts like Jesus, in terms of intimacy with God, love for others, refusal to partner with the powers-that-oppress, unswerving compassion for the hurt and discarded and broken of society, zeal for the truth no matter what the consequences, etc. A "real" Christian cannot prove the truthfulness of so-called "Christianity": but only real Christians can convince their Jewish audience that, indeed, there is something there worth investigating-something that could earn their respect and allegiance as Jews, if it did prove (on other grounds) to be seemingly "true" after all.

If all of the above criteria are met, there is no "guarantee" that the Jewish community will "change its mind" about Jesus; but at least there will be an opportunity. May God grant that we would make the most of it, and effectively present our Lord's claims until He comes again! Amen.

The Miraculous Restoration of Israel


Online Table of Contents:
Why Christians need to change their thinking about Bible prophecy
What Gentiles need to know about the biblical restoration of Israel
How Messiah will reveal Himself to the Jews in the Holy Land
What the Gentile Church can do to assist God's plan for Israel

"But you, O Lord, will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her; the appointed time has come...For the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory. He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea. Let this be written for a future (latter day) generation that a people not yet created may praise the Lord (Ps. 102:12-18).

Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled... When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near (Luke 21:24, 28). I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved" (Rom. 11:25, 26).

As the 20th century draws to a close, the church, spiritually speaking, is in much the same condition as were the apostles of Jesus immediately following His resurrection. We all have wondered how it was possible for them not to have anticipated His resurrection for He had told them many times that this was going to happen. The problem was: they heard the words He spoke but lacked divine revelation even as Luke records, "The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about" (Luke 18:34). However, during the forty days prior to His ascension, Jesus opened unto them all of the Old Testament Scriptures concerning Himself and suddenly it all made sense. Like the Emmaus disciples, their hearts no doubt burned within them as they saw God's master plan through the eyes of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:25-32).

This spiritual phenomenon has been called a "prophetic paradigm shift." Defined more succinctly, it is a radical change in our doctrine and practice as the Holy Spirit corrects and/or expands our faulty understanding of Scripture prophecies as they are being fulfilled in our day and time. I dare say, this took place in the 1st century with the apostles "understanding of Jesus" first coming and is occurring today regarding the church's perception of the restoration of Israel as a prophetic sign on the nearness of His second coming.

He who has ears, let him hear! May the Holy Spirit enable all believers everywhere to embrace this "prophetic paradigm shift" principle to the end so that we may not only see what God is doing in the earth today but also agree with it and get in step with it. Many Evangelicals hold "the doctrine of imminence," that is, that Jesus could return at any moment. We do not believe the Bible teaches this except as it applies to the fact that the day of our death may be imminent. Before the Lord returns two significant events must first occur: (1. the restoration of the nation of Israel in the land of promise (Luke 21:24-28) and (2. the emergence of the Antichrist (II Thess. 2:1-4). Israel has been back in its homeland since 1948 and has been in control of Jerusalem since 1967. The Antichrist is yet to appear but may soon do so in association with the European Union (the restored Roman Empire prophesied in Daniel 2:36-45).

I. Why the Gentile Church Needs a Prophetic Paradign Shift Regarding the Endtime Restoration of Israel

A. The misbelief that God's purposes for the nation of Israel ended with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Approximately a generation after Jesus ascended to heaven, the Romans under Titus violently quashed a Jewish rebellion. Just as Jesus had predicted in Luke 21:20-24, the temple with its sacrificial service was destroyed, tens of thousands of people were put to the sword and the rest sold as slaves and carried off to the various nations of the world. Since Jesus had come in the flesh and had fulfilled His redemptive mission as Messiah, the church from Constantine onward believed that Israel's identity as a nation had outgrown its usefulness. If Jews were to be saved through the gospel message, they could be reached in whatever countries to which they had been banished. [Let us not forget that the Jews were scattered over the earth at least three different times: (1) in 721 BC when the Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom of Israel, (2) in 606 BC when the Babylonians over-ran the southern kingdom of Judah, and (3) in 70 AD when the Romans subdued Judah and Jerusalem.]

However, Scripture says, "He who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night..." Only if these decrees vanish from my sight, declares the Lord, will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me" (Jer. 31:35,36). Consider also this promise, "So, then, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when people will no longer say, 'As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,' but they will say, 'As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.' Then they will live in their own land" (Jer. 23:7,8). And remember Jesus Himself prophesied that the Jews would once again rule Jerusalem when the times of the Gentiles would come to an end. This was fulfilled in 1967 when Jerusalem was reunited under Israeli control during the Six Day War the first time in 2,500 years! This event was not mere happenstance but divine providence!

B. The propagation of anti-Semitism within the church both Protestant and Roman Catholic.

Bad enough that the national identity of the Jews was denied but, even worse, the Gentile church began to persecute them as "Christ killers." Many notable post-apostolic church fathers were anti-Semitic, men such as Justin Martyr, Ignatius, Tertullian, Origen and John Chrysostom. Jerome, who translated the Scriptures into Latin, claimed that the Jews were incapable of understanding the Bible and should be severely persecuted until they confessed the "true faith." What is not common knowledge to most lay persons is that Martin Luther also had strong anti-Semitic biases and wrote against the Jews. Unfortunately, Hitler used Luther's anti-Semitic teachings to justify the Holocaust while most German Lutherans watched passively in silence. One might ask: How could this be? Didn't the Gentile church leaders know from Scripture itself that while the Jews had a part in Christ's suffering and death, every human being on the planet has an equal share in the blame? The New Testament is clear: "He (Jesus) died for all...He tasted death for every man...God made Christ to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him... The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes; first for the Jew, then for the Gentile," Rom. 1:16.

C. The development of "Replacement Theology."

A logical consequence of teaching anti-Semitism and the end of the Jewish nation is the belief, firmly held in most Gentile churches, that the church has replaced Israel in the mind and plan of God. This conviction requires an allegorical method, i.e., a symbolic representation, of interpreting and applying Old Testament Scriptures that speak of Israel. Any endtime prophecy referring to Israel must automatically mean the church. Again, this is what is being taught in seminaries. However, with a knowledge not based on denominational biases of the Scriptures, we should see that the latter day regathering of the Jews to the promised land is predicted in the Bible and that God is not finished with Israel as a nation. We should now be convinced that we have a responsibility as Gentile believers to love the Jews and help them return to the land and to find the Messiah (Rom. 11:31).

The cumulative effect of the aforementioned negative realities in the Gentile church for the past 1600 years has been a bitter resistance to Jesus by the Jews. Since the cross has been used as a sword to kill Jews for centuries, why should we expect them to be open to the gospel? Could this be one of the reasons the Lord is going to deal uniquely with them as a nation regathered to the land God promised them forever (Gen. 13:15)? Very likely. In any case, it is long overdue for the Gentile church to repent to God and to the Jewish people for the atrocities we have committed toward them over the centuries. If the bride of Christ is going to be an elect company of Jews and Gentiles united in love, we had better get started tearing down the walls and reaching out to Abraham's seed after the flesh! (Eph. 2:11-18).

II. What the Gentile Church Needs to Understand from the Prophetic Scriptures to Get In Step with God's Endtime Restoration of Israel
God has a sovereign plan for the world and all of its inhabitants which will be fulfilled (Is. 46:9,10). Just as all the prophecies concerning Jesus' first coming were fulfilled to the letter, so all the prophecies pertaining to His second coming will also come to pass including the restoration of the nation of Israel. Thus, it is incumbent upon the church to diligently pray for divine revelation so that we might accurately discern the outworking of God's sovereign will especially in these last days (Eph. 1:17-19, John 16:12-16, Rev. 1:1-3).

A. The times of the Gentiles are quickly coming to a close.

Jesus said that Jerusalem would be restored to the Jews when the times of the Gentiles would be fulfilled (Luke 21-24). This means that since 1967 God has shifted prophetic gears. It implies that the ingathering of souls from among Gentile nations is coming to a close even as Paul states in Romans 11:25, 26, "I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers... Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved." For nearly 2,000 years, the Jews have experienced a hardening against the gospel (by divine design) so that the Gentile nations would hear and believe the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. But at the close of this grace period for the Gentile nations, the Lord will lift the veil from the eyes of the Jews (II Cor. 3:15,16) and bring in the elect of Israel, chiefly in the land of Israel. This is what Paul means when he says, "And so all Israel will be saved" (Rom. 11:26). The Holy Spirit is telling the Gentile church today that the full number of the elect Gentiles has nearly been harvested from among all the nations of the earth (Matt. 24:14). In short, God's mission focus has been steadily changing from the Gentiles to the Jews since 1967 when the Jews gained control of the city of Jerusalem if we have ears to hear.

B. God has a specific plan to gather in the elect of Israel.

According to the prophetic word recorded in Psalm 102:12-18, there will come a latter day generation of Jews when "the Lord will arise and favor Zion, an appointed time when He will rebuild Israel and appear in his glory." This special season of divine grace began in the late nineteenth century with the birth of the Zionist movement in Europe, which gave rise to the establishment of the nation of Israel on May 14, 1948, by a mandate of the United Nations. Sadly, many Gentile believers fifty years later still regard this unusual event as a quirk of secular history which has no biblical or spiritual significance.

Anyone with such a mindset would do well to view a compelling video entitled "Israel In Bible Prophecy" which was prepared by Dr. David Reagan from McKinney, Texas. It deals with the following aspects of the miraculous restoration of God's chosen people in their land: (1) the regathering of the Jewish people, (2) the re-establishment of the state of Israel, (3) the reclamation of the land of Israel, (4) the revival of the Hebrew language, (5) the resurgence of the Israeli military, (6) the refocusing of world politics on Israel and (7) the reoccupation of the city of Jerusalem by the Jews. This thrilling story was filmed entirely on location in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Write Lion of Judah Ministries, P.O. Box 681505, Franklin, TN 37068-1505 and enclose a check for $21.24, which includes postage and handling. Seeing this film will help you grasp what a prophetic miracle modern-day Israel's restoration is and continuous to be!

According to prophecy experts, there are at least two phases to God's plan to rebuild Zion.

The regathering stage

Over the past fifty or more years, roughly 5 million Jews have immigrated to the land God promised Abraham and his seed. Ten million Jews yet remain in Gentile nations 6 million in America alone. Still, the Lord is calling all Jews to make "Aliyah" (return to Israel). Even now the Interior Ministry in Israel is preparing for a population of 12 million Jews. This suggests that God in His providence will soon be motivating the American Jews to return to their ancestral homeland.

Here are some Old Testament prophecies that speak of this great endtime ingathering:

"The Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you" (Deut. 30:3,4).

"Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back!' Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth" (Is. 43:5,6).

See also: Is. 11:12, Jer. 24:6,7; 31:10 and Ez. 11:16-20; 37:11-14; 39:27,28.

The redeeming stage

Most of us think that before the Lord would regather the Jews, they would first be required to repent and accept Jesus as Messiah (I Kings 8:46-53). However, many Scriptures teach otherwise, that after the Jews return to the land, the Lord will then redeem them by calling them back to Himself. Consider the following texts:

"For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean...I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh" (Ez. 36:24-28).

"And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look upon Me whom they have pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn son" (Zech. 12:10).

See also: Jer. 32:37-41, Ez. 39:27-29 and Rom. 11:25,26.

III. How the Lord is Going to Reveal Himself as Messiah to the Jews in the Holy Land

A. The pressure of international isolation and rejection.

Anti-Semitism is on the rise all around the world today. Why is this? The primary cause is the devil's hatred of the Jews for their role in bringing salvation to the human race through Jesus, the "Seed of Abraham" (Gal. 3:16). Indirectly, God is using this to drive the Jews back to their homeland. Even the U.S. State Department is pro-Arab as are many of the European Union nations. The day will come, and it may not be far off, when Israel will stand alone. How else will the Scriptures be fulfilled that say, "I will gather all nations to Jerusalem to fight against it... Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle" (Zech. 14:2:3).

In their desperation, the Jews will cry out to God to help them. This has already occurred in past battles with Arab League nations since Israel was birthed in 1948. Stories are told of how God fought with them in supernatural ways, which enabled them to emerge victorious time and again. It is reminiscent of Joshua's conquest of Canaan where God sent "the hornet" ahead of them) perhaps warring angels) and rained down hailstones to drive out the enemy (Josh. 10:11; 24:12). What is the bottom line? The Lord will increasingly show Himself powerful on the Jews' behalf in the days to come!

B. The love and support of Gentile Christians from around the world.

In Romans 11:30,31, Paul prophesies how the Gentile church will be called on by God to befriend the Jews at the close of the age when all nations will have turned against them: "Just as you (Gentile believers) who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their (the Jews') disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God's mercy to you (Gentile believers)."

This has been happening increasingly since Israel became a nation. For years the Christian Embassy has been hosting an annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration in Jerusalem where thousands of Gentile believers from most nations of the world gather to befriend the Jews with singing, dancing, parades and intercession for Israel and its leaders. Beyond this significant display of love and good will, many Gentile Christians are actively working to assist Jews in Eastern Europe and elsewhere to come to the Promised Land. This ministry involves contacting would-be immigrants, arranging their transportation and providing funds to make "Aliyah" and to get settled in Israel. Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when He said, "Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, you have done it unto Me" (Matt. 25:40).

C. The effective witness of Messianic Jews in Israel to their secular Jewish brethren.

In Israel today there are more than 50 Messianic congregations, all of which are experiencing dynamic growth. This is powerful evidence that the Spirit of the Lord is lifting the veil of unbelief from the Jewish people. The story is told of how a prominent military officer was sent home to die because there was no cure for his particular affliction. As he was riding home on a bus he met a Messianic Jewish couple who told him that they had been instructed by God in a vision to pray for a sick man they would encounter on the bus. The officer eagerly allowed them to lay hands on him and pray. Nothing seemed to happen but the next morning the man woke up completely healed. He has since become a believer in Jesus! This true story was covered in the Jerusalem Post. God is reaching Jews through Jews just the way the church began 2,000 years ago!

D. Sovereign revival where God takes the initiative in a supernatural way.

For years the Lord has instructed intercessors for Israel to pray for two things: (a. the return of the Jews to their land and (b. for a mighty revival throughout Israel. Old Testament prophecy clearly teaches that this will occur. Hear these words of Ezekiel 39:7, 8, 28, 29: "I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will not longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I am the Holy One of Israel. It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign Lord. This is the day I have spoken of... I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord."

IV. What the Gentile Church Can Do to Assist the Lord as He Gathers In the Elect of the Jews in Israel

Every Gentile believer needs to develop an relational witnessing mindset for loving the Jews that is in keeping with Paul's words in I Corinthians 9:19-20: "Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became as a Jew, to win the Jews." The Holy Spirit will have to reveal to each of us what this means in practical terms but here are some suggestions to seriously consider:

You can repent before God and the Jews for the unChrist-like treatment the Gentile church has given them for the past 1600 years.
You can ask the Lord to give us His heart and burden for the sons and daughters of Abraham after the flesh (Rom. 9:1-3; 10:1).
You can study the Scriptures which deal with God's plans to regather and redeem Israel in the latter days, especially Romans, chapters nine, ten and eleven.

You can intercede for the Jews to be stirred to return to the land of Israel, to be given grace to receive Jesus as their Messiah and to be protected from all the devil's ploys for their destruction.
You can go to Israel in September of each year and participate in the Christian Embassy's Feast of Tabernacles celebration. For information contact Sounds of the Trumpet, 8230 Birchglen, Houston, TX 77070.
You can contact Good News for Israel to obtain books and resources on how to minister the gospel to Jews in a winsome and biblical way. Invite us into your congregation or adult Bible study for your dose of Jewish Faith Roots!

V. Conclusion

It is not our intention to be a date-setter as concerns the second coming of Jesus. Nevertheless, the Bible says we will know the season but not the day or the hour. The Lord said that a generation would come that would witness His return. They would know this by certain signs that would appear, an unmistakable one being the restoration of Israel and the control of Jerusalem by the Jews (Luke 21:24 -33). This has occurred in our generation. Depending on what length we give to a generation (40 or 50 years), Jesus' return could be less than 20 years away. Are you and your family ready?

Quoting from "Famous Hebrew Christians," by Jacob Gartenhaus, regarding Benjamin Disraeli , the British Statesman, Author, Diplomat, and Prime Minister, (1804-1881):

"In all church discussions we are apt to forget the second Testament is avowedly only a supplement. Jesus came to complete the "law and the prophets." Christianity is completed Judaism, or it is nothing. Christianity is incomprehensible without Judaism, as Judaism is incomplete without Christianity.

The pupil of Moses may ask himself, whether all the princes of the house of David have done so much for the Jews as that prince who was crucified on Calvary. Had it not been for Him, the Jews would have been comparatively unknown or only as a high Oriental caste, which had lost its country. Has not He made their history the most famous in the world? Has not He hung up their laws in every temple? Has He not vindicated all their wrongs? Has not He avenged the victory of Titus and conquered the Caesars? What successes did they anticipate from their Messiah? The wildest dreams of their rabbis have been far exceeded... Christians may continue to persecute Jews (and by so doing misrepresent their Master) and Jews may persist in disbelieving Christians, but who can deny that Jesus of Nazareth, the Incarnate Son of God, is the eternal glory of the Jewish race?"

Disraeli anticipated the final conversion of the Jews and expresses the hope that "they will accept the whole of their religion instead on only the half of it, as they gradually grow more familiar with the true history and character of the New Testament."

Now a final quote from Reuven Doron's January 1999 newsletter:

"The nation of Israel had to be back in her land, having her national life built around God's altar and temple, in order to prepare for the first coming of the Savior. In the same way, Israel today is being called back to the land, and the House of the Lord is being built (with living stones this time)... By God's own wisdom and mercy He determined that Israel be carried toward her inevitable encounter with her Messiah leaning on Gentile hands, so that the ancient debt of love will be paid back at the close of this age. As we have said before, Israel gave birth to the church in the first century, and the church will now give birth to Israel in the last. Let God be glorified." Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Chris Heeb, Director
Good News for Israel.

Good News for Israel is a ministry of proclamation, education and reconciliation between the Jewish and Christian communities, founded in 1878 as the Zion Society for Israel, making us the oldest, continuous ministry of its kind in the country. For further information please call us at (952) 926-7369.

We would like to give special thanks to Brother Rodney Lensch for his 40 years of service to the Lord. His love for the Church and for the restoration of the Jewish people to their Messiah made it possible for this ministry to adapt his original article for its use and for the glory of God.

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