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We come across two extremes in Christendom today with regard to the subject of Bible prophecy. 

One approach ignores it altogether, deeming prophecy irrelevant to modern life as a Christian. The other overemphasizes it, to the point where more fundamental doctrines are forgotten and prophetic timelines play an outsized importance in all discussions.

Neither represent the mindset of believers in the New Testament churches.

I can’t open YouTube without yet another video announcing the impending Gog-Magog war. It’s almost as if a group of believers think that merely by stoking feverish interest, the second coming of Christ will be expedited. As if God the Father would determine the best time for his Son to re-enter history, this time as Judge and Avenger, blazing with glory and power, based on the sum total of views, likes and shares. Conspiracy theorists vie to come out with startling pronouncements. The title of their videos are pure click-bait, too often suspensefuly unveiling the name of the antichrist and the exact date of his return. The variety of positions is staggering, ranging not only from the traditional camps of pre-tribulation vs post-tribulation rapture, but to several devious offshoots with zero Biblical grounding, such as the so-called ‘blood moons theory’.

Recently, the self-proclaimed doomsday prophets went into overdrive, after the July 2017 attacks on Israeli policemen on the temple mount in Jerusalem. Several theorists heralded the coming of Christ, as an imminent occurrence. They proclaimed that the building blocks of the third Jewish temple were being laid, even as the video was buffering.

This is certainly not to say that these aren’t fascinating times to live in, especially for believing Christians awaiting the return of their Lord and Savior. We do seem to be hurtling toward the fulfilment of several Old and New Testament prophecies.

Ever since the creation of an independent state of Israel for the Jewish people on May 14, 1948 – events have seemed to occur at a rapid pace. The prophet Isaiah proclaimed Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children”.

After nearly 2000 years, God gathered his people, the Jews, and brought them back to their homeland in Palestine. He kept His promise. It took a long time coming, but it wasn’t a moment late. That event was a linchpin for a build-up of tensions around the world, and particularly in the Middle East.

On the other end of the spectrum, is a dangerously foolish disregard for God’s prophetic calendar. Several mega churches do not teach prophecy from the pulpit; others like Rick Warren have branded it a distraction. This egregious error lulls Christians into a naïve sense of well-being, content to believe that God’s entire agenda is to prosper them on this earth. Another unbiblical teaching within certain Charismatic churches, is the Kingdom Now theology, which promulgates that God’s kingdom and His control will be re-established here on earth through His reliance on a special group of believers. They deny that the rapture of believers will occur. They adopt an activist stance toward the problems of this world, seek to overrun social and governmental institutions, and oppose separation between church and state.

In this context, it is indeed right to ask if there is a balance that can be struck between expecting the world to burst into flames at any moment, and a wilful ignorance of the abundance of prophecies in the Bible, and taught by Christ to His disciples.

Yes, the world is a tinderbox, ready to ignite violently at the flaring provocations among nations.

Yes, the stage is being set for a new world order, and people are looking for a persuasive deliverer to usher in peace.

But no –  Christians do not need a hard-line stance on times, dates and hours. 

They do not need to be militant in defending their view of the rapture and the second coming of Christ, when the Bible is not explicit about the sequence of several events and their time-frames.

They do however, need to be vigilant, and with sanctified wisdom rightly search the Scriptures and interpret the signs of the times. Jesus implored his disciples to learn this lesson from the fig tree – As soon as its branches become tender and sprout leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that He is near, right at the door”

We should be active in good works, prompt in repentance, and alert as we prepare ourselves for the persecution that surely lies ahead.

God has indeed appointed individual believers and His church, to act as the preservative to societal decay, the salve for hardened eyes, and the balm for aching souls. 

Even as we stand ready to shed blood, sweat and tears in the service of our servant Leader, it’s important to be assured of this truth – this world is never going to know real peace, until the Prince of peace returns.