The title of this week’s column is: 2017?
I hope the reason for the question mark is apparent; no one knows what will happen this year. We may have plans for the upcoming year — wedding dates, expecting a child, anticipating a new location or job, graduation, and the list goes on – but no one knows for sure what the next hour will bring with 100 percent accuracy. We may be right much of the time, but we never know for sure until the event is history.
People will also differ in their opinion of the future. In light of our recent elections some people believe America will be smoking in ruins by the end of 2017, while others think everyone will see prosperity and the nation will be near utopia status. Odds are it will be someplace in the middle, but again, that is a third opinion.
Biblical prophecy is similar, yet with a significant difference. The Bible does tell us what will happen. However, it does not say when it will happen. Even Jesus is not sure when prophetic events will take place. The Apostles asked Jesus of His coming and the end of the world. His answer takes up two chapters of the Bible (Matthew 24-25). In the middle of His response, He says, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36).
Most Bible students and prophecy teachers agree on the major events coming our way, but often the order of events is in dispute.
You may be thinking, “This guy is writing about 2017, and he tells us he has no idea what will happen.” Well, sort of. I, nor any Bible teacher worth his salt, can say 2017 will be the year of the rapture, the rise of the Antichrist, the war of Psalm 83 or any other yet to be fulfilled Biblical Prophecy. Here is the thing, we know all three of these events will happen, but we do not know when. All three of these prophecies and others can take place in 2017; we just cannot say they will with any amount of certainty.
The Bible does give us signs that the end time prophecies are coming. Preachers, books, and movies well document some of the most commonly known signs — earthquakes, famines, wars and the rumors thereof.
The Bible also compares these signs to a pregnant woman (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3). The closer to the birth of the child, the “travail” of labor, will increase.
Think of pregnancy. At first, there is almost no indication whatsoever. After awhile, the belly is a little larger than before. As time goes on the belly grows, cravings for weird things to eat, mom may get more irritable than normal. As the pregnancy continues the back aches more every day, it becomes harder to get in and out of a chair. As birth is eminent and, contractions begin, sometimes there will be false contractions; momma rushes to the hospital only to return home a few hours later still waiting for the young one arrive. However, eventually, the day comes when the contractions are real. The contractions start slow, hardly noticeable, then increase in intensity and the time between them grows shorter. Then after much pain and travail Junior is here.
The signs leading up to Jesus’ return are the same way. At first, there was no indication whatsoever, then over the centuries they became more intense and noticeable. We did not have a world war until just over a hundred years ago (1914). We have since had a second, and there have been rumors of a third coming and going since the 1950s. Wars and rumors of wars.
What signs can we see increasing in intensity during 2017? Again, hard to tell, but there is a list of signs in the Bible that have been increasing every year for several years and there is no indication of a turnaround any time soon.
2 Timothy 3:1-4, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;”
With each passing generation and with each passing day that last phrase, “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” is more and more true in America. It seems like the primary goal of life with many people is to seek better ways to be entertained.
Scoffers will say all this stuff has been going on since time immortal, but the Bible even tells us this will be people’s response (2 Peter 3:3-4).
Will the rapture come in 2017? Will we see other Biblical prophecies come to pass this year? I sure do hope so.