In January 2017 members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board announced they were moving the Doomsday Clock thirty seconds closer to midnight. This clock has been maintained since 1947 by members of this group and represents the likelihood they feel exists for a man-made global catastrophe. By their calculation that puts us at 2 ½ minutes to midnight.
Their estimation and statement results in fear and panic in some as they consider the fate of the world. Too often the information does not lead us to consider where that should point us if they are accurate. If true, it would seem logical to repent and turn to the Lord to “set our houses in order.” The problem is that none of us naturally repents and obeys. We would prefer to suppress and deny the truth. It is too easy to vacillate between two poles: “I’m not that bad” or “I am such a mess, so terrible.” We can also dismiss current events and point to other times in history when everything appeared dire.
I am not so concerned about the Doomsday Clock, but it causes me to consider the biblical scriptural possibility that we are moving toward what we call “the end times” at an accelerated pace. For those of us who believe, scripture has never been more current and relevant to where the world is in the present day. From the beginning of God’s Word of the many things he tells us, He points to the future and what we can expect. He used the prophets inspired by His Spirit over and over again and as we trek through the Old Testament we see more than a little evidence of the truth of their fulfillment.
We should not be surprised! God is a loving Heavenly Father who desires that none of us be separated from Him. He wants us to be prepared for Him, turn to Him, and be watching with anticipation for what He will do.
More and more Bible theologians and writers are encouraging us to read Ezekiel 38 and 39. Much of what we are seeing in Russia and Iran are setting the stage for Ezekiel 38 and 39.
The headlines that disturb us become our focus. I wonder if we have forgotten that God is at work behind the scenes ruling and overruling the affairs of mankind. That should give us a sense of anticipation even though we do not know the day or the hour that something is coming, Someone is coming.
In Mark Hitchcock’s newest book, Russia Rising, he senses the clock is ticking and counting down.
“Never before have so many signs converged so quickly in such a short span of time that correspond to the matrix of end-times events predicted in Scripture. The pieces are moving.”
In Clash of Kingdoms: What Does the Bible Say about Russia, ISIS, Iran, and the End Times, Charles Dyer and Mark Tobey refer to the Ezekiel chapters and wrote:
“The parallels between Ezekiel’s prophecy and events today are compelling, almost frighteningly so.”
Of all the “signs of the times” that mark “the beginning of the end”, the establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948 and the return of the Jews is considered to be a “super sign” that sets many gears in motion. Mark Hitchcock says, “Israel is God’s timepiece – his clock. When we want to know where we are on God’s prophetic timetable, the first place we need to look is Israel.”
A. W. Tozer has said:
“The point of Bible prophecy is not to alarm us but to alert us to the circumstances leading up to the Lord’s return. This alertness is to spur us on to be ready; and the Bible says a lot about how we can be ready for His return.”
Our responsibility is to be ready and to not only be waiting, but to be watching. In Mark Hitchcock’s newest book, he shares a story that shifted my focus beyond the headlines and lifted my heart to where I sense we should all be. I want to share it in full as I finish this post. I hope it will encourage your heart and fill you with excited anticipation.
“I like the story about a bunch of sailors who were returning from a long voyage away from home. As the boat approached shore, the men were all looking eagerly for their wives and girlfriends on the dock. As the men scanned the crowd of women lining the railing, the air of excitement and expectancy grew. One man, however, was all alone as he watched all the other men find their wives and girlfriends, and they all embraced. But his wife was nowhere to be found. Worried, he hurried home and found a light on in his house. As he entered he was relieved to see his wife. She quickly turned and said, “Honey, I’ve been waiting for you.” His response displayed his deep disappointment. “The other men’s wives and girlfriends were watching for them!”
Are we just waiting for Jesus, or are we watching for him? Are we watching closely?
The clock is ticking.