Biblegateway Verse of the Day

Understanding the Signs and the Times

By Benjamin H. Liles

          The possibility of prophecy actually, and quite literally, being fulfilled at this moment are truly ripe. Here's the thing, my wife and I believe in the Jewish Messiah, and we both descend from gentile families. Now, don't misunderstand me here because where I'm going with this isn't just about how gentile believers in the Jewish Messiah as well as those within the Jewish populace who also believe in Messiah coming is that this man is fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth.

          For the last couple of years, even before I finally gave my heart fully to Christ Jesus, I have believed in the Old Testament scriptures declaring God would send His own who would redeem not just mankind, overall, but His people of Israel. There are two articles I have seen that show there's an increase in God's hand moving forward with His plans: Nations invited to consecration of altar for 3rd Temple and Is Jerusalem's Third Temple foreseen in the Bible? both talk about a possible third temple being built within Jerusalem. Considering Donald Trump declared Jerusalem to be Israel's capital as well as putting a US embassy within the city means he sees Jerusalem as being "off the table" (Donald Trump says recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital ‘was a wonderful thing').

          So, what exactly does this mean in a prophetic sense? "At that time Michael, the great prince who stands watch over your people, will rise up. There will be a time of distress such as never has occurred from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. And many who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to everlasting life, but others to shame and everlasting contempt. Then the wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up these words and seal the book until the time of the end. Many will roam to and fro, and knowledge will increase" (Daniel 12:1-4, italics for emphasis).

         Think about how much we have access to things considering what we can look up online. With a quick snap of fingertips on the keyboard and you have access to a lot of information. Never before in this world's history has knowledge been in more abundance. Yet so many people are still living in the twilight of their lives. Let us think for one second on John's gospel: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. and the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it" (John 1:1-3, New King James). 

           If we take into consideration Jesus said, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them" (Matthew 5:17, Berean Study), we get the idea that Jesus is the word of God John speaks of at the beginning of his gospel account. "[Jesus Christ] shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend [Him]" (John 1:3). Can someone who lives in sin or in the blinding agent of deception see or take hold of the things of God? I know I couldn't for a long time, but I can now due to the fact His Spirit resides in me. It is the fact I came to repentance; I saw my need for a Savior, not because I deserved Him, but because His gift of life sets me free from sin and death.

          Yet this is about unfolding events showcasing God's strong hand in the affairs of people. Many atheists claim that God cannot be known or even that He is so far off He could care less for the hearts and thoughts of man; kind of like, in that world view, "God was created by man." In actuality, and from the text of Genesis we're told by God, He created us in His image. So, if anything God has everything under control. Getting back to world events pushing us into God's hands we see a few things going on.

1) With the fact of Trump's declaration Jerusalem is Israel's capital and that he was going to put our embassy within Jerusalem, it means that our ambassadors will be able to do their part in supporting interests in Israel; supposedly. 

          Taking this into context and the fact that a consecration of the third temple's cornerstone has taken place things are moving into a place where the Temple can be rebuilt. But it also means this: 

2) "The people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate" (Daniel 9:26-27). 

          The part on that is we don't know who the Antichrist is in the least bit. I would be careless if I said that this man is Donald Trump, but who knows but God alone? What I can say is we need to keep watch on world events and see how things play out. But also we need to be reminded--

3) The temple and it's court will be under gentile control, and there will be two witnesses who prophesy. We're told, "I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, 'Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth'" (Revelation 11:1-3). 

          these forty-two months, also known as one thousand two hundred and sixty days are so equal in length in terms of time frame that they boil down to three and a half years. I wonder what God's word says about this: 

4) The Messiah will not return until the falling away has come, that the man of perdition (or sin) has been revealed, desecrating the temple of God. "Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God" (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4). 

          For some time it has been said we're already within the time frame known as Revelation, but I disagree so very much with that assessment. If we were then considering Barack Obama is no longer in office as President of  America and the third temple is still yet to be built why isn't the Church that Christ built still on this earth? I think it's because Jesus said this, "Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened" (Matthew 24:15-22, italics for emphasis). 

          Has anyone noticed the days are slowly getting shorter, including the summer months? How can we be in Revelation without a third temple built? More than that, if the Antichrist is here then why has the temple yet to be made desolate by the desecration? Also, let's add this last argument as well--as it's already been three and a half years since Obama was in office! The argument of Obama being the Antichrist are so far-fetched it's ridiculous! So, in that regard prophecy is still yet to play out. Friend, there is still time to see sin as it is; exceedingly sinful and to change our minds about living within it.

          God's wrath still remains on those who remain sinful and entrenched in sin. Paul describes sinners in these words, not my words: "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envydrunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and GodStrive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:5; Hebrews 12:14). 

          It is up to us as followers of Jesus the Messiah to remain held fast in His care. For without Him and His Spirit residing in us we are as just as susceptible to deception as the world is. We must stand firm in our faith, in the fact He came to rescue us from sin, death, and the wrath of God. He came to die in our place, not as such we deserved it, but it is God's gift so we may have eternal life in and with Him. We are at this juncture in time as God deems fit. In the end, before He returns Jerusalem will see destruction, and that has yet to truly happen, as Jerusalem is yet to be in Gentile hands, and not as if by Roman hands (I refer to 70 A.D.). So, I use the words which Luke was told, "At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to happen, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near" (Luke 21:27, Berean Study).

          Friend, this has been on my heart today as my wife told me about the article WND published recently, the one with the title Nations invited to consecration of altar for 3rd Temple. I have been thinking on this for the biggest part of today because I'm with Peter, the apostle, "The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some understand slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). In light of recent world events I'm inclined to see God's hand in restoring both Israel as His people and His Church through Jesus Christ as being close to coming out of this world into His kingdom of Heaven. I encourage you all to see this as it is, God's patience with mankind is slowly wearing thin. He will keep His word even though some say He isn't there. With that said, I pray this tells you everything you need to know and encourages you to lift your eyes to the One who loves you: Jesus the Messiah. It is in Jesus's name I pray, Amen.

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