I had the privilege of celebrating a birthday this past weekend. It seems like the older I get, the more contemplative I become around my birthday. Mostly, I look ahead, things I want to accomplish, talking to the Lord about what He would have me to do. Making sure my goals line up with His.
I also look backward. Kicking myself for not getting things done I believe God wanted me to do, confessing my sin of disregarding His will and promising Him of a job better done this year.
Another large part of my birthday contemplation is thankfulness to God for all the blessings He has bestowed upon me. To think that He was willing to die for me; if salvation were the only blessing God ever gave me, it would be more than enough, but He loves me and showers me with blessings every day. My family, the people of Countryside Baptist (my church), other Christian friends I fellowship with, the community in which I live, the privilege and responsibility that comes from preaching and writing this column, the people who read the column and listen to the sermons online. The list goes on, but there is more to be thankful for than allotted room to write. I’ve thanked the Lord for all these things and more, so He knows the complete list, and that is most important.
God does tell us to consider our “latter end” (Deuteronomy 32:29), and as I get older, I do think of the end of my days much more than I used to. When I was younger, I always thought my life on this earth would end at the rapture (the rapture is when Jesus calls all the Christians home to heaven – 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, 1 Corinthians 15:51-58). It is still my heart’s desire to be alive when the rapture occurs. However as the pages fall off the calendar, I understand the probability of my death before the rapture increases.
Jesus told us no one knows when the rapture will take place (Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32). But Christ did say to “watch” for His return; in fact, in speaking of His return and the times of the end, He tells us four times within five verses to “watch” (Mark 13:33-37).
Israel and more specifically Jerusalem will be the center of end time events. The treaty that begins the future seven-year tribulation period is a treaty concerning Jerusalem (Daniel 9:24-27). The rapture happens before this agreement is signed (compare the timing of Revelation 4:1 and Revelation 6).
With all that said, it is important to watch for the development of yet to be fulfilled Biblical prophecies concerning Israel and Jerusalem.
The Bible does not specifically give a prophecy about the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, but several prophecies take place in the Temple (example – the Antichrist will stand in the Holy Place – Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14) therefore, we know the Temple will be rebuilt. News events concerning the Temple Mount are important to watch.
There are two future invasions of Israel. The first one found in Psalm 83 and Amos 1-2. The attack comes from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Gaza. The government of Israel is destroyed (Amos 2:5), but Israel defeats the invaders (Psalm 83:9-18). With Israel and the nations that border her in ruins, this is probably the event that makes the treaty spoken of earlier necessary. This invasion makes the relationships between Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and the Palestinians important news to watch.
After this attack and the signing of the treaty, Israel suffers a second invasion (This attack’s description is in Ezekiel 38-39). This second attack comes from a coalition of nations headed by Russia, Iran, and Turkey. Just in the last couple of months, the ties between these three countries has grown stronger. These three are not the only nations in the invasion party, in fact, The Ukraine is also involved. The growing friendship between Russia, Turkey, and Iran along with Russia’s involvement in The Ukraine are things on the watchlist for end time events.
People’s hearts will also grow more and more self-centered as we inch toward the rapture and end times (2 Timothy 3:1-6). True, not everyone is like this, but as I grow older, I can see that the percentage of selfish people is increasing. The heart of society is another thing to watch.
Another birthday has gone by; it may be my last, I may have fifty more, but if I go through death or the rapture, I am thankful to be living in these days.
As Jesus said, “And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” – Mark 13:37.
Preacher Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County Indiana. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.preacherjohnson.com. E-book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TUJTV2A If you email, inform me where you have seen Preacher’s Point. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.