How to Understand the Signs of the Times
I gave my life to Jesus Christ in 1967. For six years, without fellowship, growth in my life could only be measured by the things I was not doing. The sixties were a time of great upheaval and rebellion. All the values of the past generation, evil as every age is, were reasonable compared to those who would throw them all away.
In some Christian circles, people want to believe that all sin is the same and all generations are alike. However, what do the scriptures say? "But it came about, when the judge died, that they would turn back and act more corruptly than their fathers..." Judges 2:19
What should we say about the phrase "act more corruptly" in verse 19? Does it not mean acting more corruptly? We are speaking about the human heart born with corruption within, with its ability to worsen over time. As the writer to the Hebrews tells us, "Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts..." Hebrews 3:7, 8.
In the sixties and seventies, preaching included much on Christ's return. Then it faded away like a morning fog. The fact remains that Christ will return; no being can stop Him; He will keep His promise as He always has and always will. Indeed, no man knows when He will return; however, when He came the first time, He criticized that generation for not reading the signs of the times. Will He do the same for the age of His return?
The Signs of the Times
In 1947 Israel became a nation-state. Prophecy always revolves around God's chosen people Israel. If you think they will never be restored, you have been led astray concerning the prophets, Romans 9-11, the meaning of a Jew, and for the matter a Gentile, and The Great Falling away of the Church in 2 Thessalonians 2. Furthermore, Israel has a prominent role in the book of Revelation. Daniel 12:1 says, "Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands [guard] over the sons of your people, will arise (take his stand)." When Daniel received the vision, "your people" could only have meant Israel.
In the following verse, I am fully aware that Peter is not being prophetic, "But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day." 2 Peter 3:8. However, is it not possible that what Peter meant to be hyperbole (exaggeration for effect), God intended to be prophetic also.
Follow me for a moment. The Bible prophesies in Revelation of a thousand years as the completion of the world as we now know it. According to the genealogical records of the Bible, the world is 6,000 years old. After Adam fell into sin in the Garden of Eden, all his descendants lived sinful lives bringing God's curse on the earth, which was fully realized after the flood. Each generation has labored in sin and sorrow because of this wickedness of the human heart. Therefore, by God's accounting 6,000 years is six days of labor and 1,000 years is one day holy to the Lord.
"For six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the LORD your God; on it, you shall not do any work ...For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and everything that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day; for that reason, the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy." Exodus 20:9-11
There is a coming millennium wherein God will reign with His people as rulers, the devil and his demons will be stored in chains, and there will be a holy rest on the earth.
The historical and climatic fulfillment of Jesus' promise will be fulfilled during the Day/Millennium soon to come. "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30
The final chapter of Daniel is divided into two parts. The first is looking ahead to the end time of distress with this note, " such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time." I'm thinking that must be the future and like nothing recorded before. The first part concludes with these words, "many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase." We have been to the moon and, in 140 years, going from a world without a light bulb to exponential advancement.
The second part concludes by saying, "From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, [there will be] 1,290 days." Therefore, three and a half years is the period set before many written in the book are rescued and rise to eternal life. This note follows it, "How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!" Why blessed? Forty-five days after the earth is restored and prepared for Christ's millennial reign, His wedding is finished, His bride and all Old Testament saints reign with Him. The final sentence reads, "But as for you, go [your way] to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise [again] for your allotted portion at the end of the age." Daniel is to rise for his portion during the millennial kingdom.