We are living in the End Times! The Internet is full of related information, it is what everyone seems to be interested in! Or is it? I found that if I search for information on say, black spotted flies, soon articles and adverts start appearing on Facebook, YouTube, and even BestBuy. So it is not surprising that the return of Jesus is all over the Internet – because of what I have searching for? Well, I am certainly guilty of that But try it for yourself and search for “end times” in YouTube.
In the early days after Jesus death all the people spoke about then was that Jesus was anointed to be king, so much so that they were called the “anointeds”, or “christians” in greek. But he was killed wasn’t he? Yes, but he promised he would come back.
Over time, the good news that the kingdom was at hand, got replaced by a pseudo good message that we are all sinners and Jesus died on a Roman-style cross to pay for our sins. Sounds good, doesn’t it; and it is mostly true. Hard to believe but this is another example of how brilliant the enemy is! This pseudo good message now became “the gospel” to be preached and God’s good news that he had anointed his son to be the king of his kingdom, faded into the background and was soon forgotten and no one thought or talked about Jesus coming back. It was lost.
Soon it will be Rosh Hashanah. That is one of those Jewish festivals, right? Not quite, even if it is often called that. But:
“The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed festivals, the appointed festivals of the Lord, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.” (Lev 23:1)
God stresses that they are his feasts that he has appointed. There are 7 festivals, 3 in the spring, and 3 in the fall, with the feast of weeks acting as the fulcrum in the middle. The festivals include holy days, like sabbaths, on which you are not to do regular work – opportunities to reflect on what God is doing.
God, as always, put deliberate thought when he chose these names and dates. They are significant. While most Jewish people kept these festivals over the centuries without knowing their significance, the rest of society took little notice of them, they had just become Jewish feasts. Then Jesus was born. He started preaching, and was killed, and his followers were given holy spirit in a spectacular way. Then some people started reflecting on all these events and figured out that Jesus was the passover lamb, that was easy because John the Babtist had said “behold the lamb of God” (John 1:29). The disciples received holy spirit on Pentecost. Slowly the penny dropped. These events took place in sync with God’s festivals! If the spring festivals were fulfilled exactly, then probably the fall festivals must be significant also. It is concluded that the festival of trumpets represents the return of Jesus, the festival of tabernacles the millennial rule and the last great day the great white throne judgement.
I don’t think one would have been able to predict the birth and crucifixion of Jesus based only on the knowledge of the festivals but looked after the fact, it seemed to fit. I found out about this fascinating understanding of the festivals when I started attending the Worldwide Church of God.
I believe it started in the 1800’s when people like EG White, a founder of the SDA churc, looked at the time periods mentioned in the books of Daniel and Revelation, then took one day in prophecy to represent one thousand actual years, and that brought them to Jesus coming again in their lifetime, and 1857 was the date they came up with.
Suddenly there was excitement and people started talking again about Jesus coming back. The date came and went, as did several other dates as people refined their calculations. But in spite of these date disappointments, somehow the interest in Jesus coming back remained.
We Cannot Know…
The disciples were keen to know too, but Jesus had said:
But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Mat 24:36)
Timothy McHyde had an interesting approach: if one cannot know the day or the hour, one could at least know the year? Taking the concept of God’s festivals, and understanding that Jesus comes back at the festival of trumpets, and taking into account that every 7th year the land had to lie fallow (as was the case this year in Israel), you could say which year Jesus could not come – Tim wrote a fascinating book explaining all this.
Why would one want to know? So that you can have some “fun” and still have time to repent? No I don’t that is why we would like to know. It is human nature to be curious.
However, if you have believed the true gospel, then you know your imperfect track record is no longer an issue. You are excited about Jesus coming back and that is sufficient. In the mean time we keep our hand on the plough which was the metaphor Jesus used.
What to look for?
We have already looked at what society will look like (days of Noah). There will many things happening at the end time, many not so pleasant. But Jesus gives us one thing to look for specifically:
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Mat 24:14
But you say the gospel has been going out to all nations for centuries. Jesus is talking about the true gospel. If it had actually been going into all the world already, it would not be something to notice as a sign?