In the Twinkling of an Eye
by: Tim & Sue King
This letter is a sequel to the first one. In the first one I tried to explain, with brevity but simple continuity, Biblical truths concerning man's sin and God's work in the world with his chosen people Israel and those of us who have embraced Jesus Christ as our Lord. In this message I will try to bring to light some of the events that the future holds according to His Word. The following contains many astounding pieces of scripture but it's only the tip of the iceberg. The Bible is the work of many inspired writers from thousands of years past and contains the spectrum of God's will & plan for his creation. It's impossible to do it complete justice in but a few short pages, but it's my hope that the reader will have his curiosity aroused enough to search out the full meaning of the Lord's precious promises. Therefore, let me invite you to read on with an open mind and heart.
The words of St. Paul: "I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed - in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:50-53)"
"Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a load command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore, encourage each other with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)"
The words of St. Peter: "First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, 'Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on since the beginning of creation.' But they deliberately forgot that long ago by God's own word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and with water. By water also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed (flood of Noah's time). By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. (2 Peter 3: 3-10)"
Words of Jesus: "For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking , marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them away. This is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and not have let his house be broken into. So you must also be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24: 38-44)
These are some very intriguing yet sobering revelations about future events that are to take place in the world. Jesus, and later his apostles, spoke on many occasions concerning the kingdom of God and the suddenness of his appearing. Jesus likened his coming to that of a thief in the night leading one to believe that He is going to come someday with astonishing speed and surprise and at a time the world least expects. In light of this, one may conclude that the only true way to be prepared for his coming is to continually live your life in peace with God by excepting Christ as your savior, repenting of sin and following his commands to love one another as he loved us. Even though Jesus pledged his second coming would be a sudden event and that the exact time and date is to be unknown to all except God the Father, it is still in accordance with a definite and prescribed set of conditions that are to occur prior to his coming. The apostle Paul in his second letter to the Thessalonians wrote:
The words of St. Paul: "Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophesy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He opposes and exalts himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, and even sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Don't you remember when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit signs and wonders, and every sort of evil that deceives those that are perishing. They perish because they refused to believe the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. (2 Thessalonians 2: 1-12)
The individual spoken of by Paul is a shadowy figure who will someday rule over a reunified form of the old Roman empire. The prophet Daniel and the Book of Revelation speak much about this evil individual and the general time period he would emerge to rule over his empire and prepare for the last great war.
There have been many Christians over the long centuries who have tried to set dates or general time periods for the fulfillment of Biblical history with the second coming of Christ. The most prominent piece to the prophetic puzzle was the restoration of Israel in 1948. This event is foretold in many areas of scripture but with particular detail in the book of Ezekiel, chapters 36 and 37. During the 1967 Arab/Israeli war, Israel recaptured the city of Jerusalem and that has been a huge source of contention and war ever since for the Arab world. Listen to the words of the prophet Zechariah:
The words of Zechariah: This is the word of the Lord concerning Israel. The Lord who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the spirit of a man within him, declares: "I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. On that day I will strike every horse with panic and every rider with madness," declares the Lord. (Zechariah 12: 1-6)
Such is Israel's history since 1948, when engaged in battle against huge opposing armies, particularly during both the '67 and '73 wars, they miraculously came out very victorious. Today, Israel is that immovable rock and cup that sends the surrounding nations reeling with hatred. As stated before, many of the surrounding nations would rejoice in seeing Israel annihilated. So what will be the outcome of all this and what is in store for those on earth during this time? The Bible teaches from the books of Daniel and Revelation that prior to the coming of the Lord to set up his kingdom on earth for 1000 years, the world will go through a seven year period called the Tribulation. At the beginning of this period, a powerful leader, known commonly as the anti-Christ, will rise out of the reconstructed old Roman empire (today's European Union). He will make a peace pact in the Mid-East which will allow the Jews to build their third temple on Jerusalem's Temple Mount and resume the practices of Old Testament Law of animal sacrifices. He will also be assisted by another individual called the False Prophet and there will be some sort of false world wide religion that will lead many astray by force. Listen to the word's of John, author of Revelation:
The words of St. John: Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb but spoke like a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and it's inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is a man's number. His number is 666. (Revelation 13: 11-18)
When a woman is very heavy from pregnancy, you might say, "That woman's going to give birth any time now." You may not be able to tell exactly what day or hour, but the obvious is obvious. Jesus likened his second coming to that of a birth and labor pains. The closer to his coming, the stronger and more frequent the pains. This last year has seen sweeping changes to the global community. The European Union adopted a unified currency called the Euro. The EU has also been very active in making new legislature for self governing as a unified national entity. It's seeking to make for itself a new military "peace keeping force" which it hopes to patrol such troubled areas as the Balkans. It also, in the past few weeks has admitted 10 new nations which will officially come on board in the next few years.
Technology and the radical upsurge in Fundamental Islamic terrorist activities have been responsible for placing our personal freedoms and liberties at risk and have been driving forward plans for a national ID card system. I also saw this last year on a segment of the CBS Evening News that a married couple somewhere out in the Eastern US became the first test subjects for the implanting of a bio-chip, an electronic device the size of a grain of rice. These bio-chips have been used for the past few years to track and control veterinary records on house pets. The little device can be injected under the skin where it's invisible and can be scanned and it's information read like an item in the grocery store. I've also heard that they are developing it to have Global Positioning (GPS) capabilities.
Then, weapons of mass destruction. Not only is the United Nations currently contending with how to assess Iraq's efforts to produce these weapons, now North Korea has booted out officials assigned to monitor it's nuclear energy program and it is re-starting reactors that will produce weapons grade plutonium in addition to selling SCUD missiles to Mid-East countries like Yemen. And now also very troubling is the recent announcement of a cloned baby by a rouge cult called the "Railiens" that attributes human existence to alien cloning of humans and planting us on our planet. All one can say is, "What next!?" There is really only one hope and that hope is in Christ. It's interesting to note that many of us in our daily activities will make certain to pay our life, home, car and whatever else insurance in it's due time to protect our material possessions but put off excepting the maximum insurance, premium paid once in full, for the salvation of our souls. This insurance was paid for with the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross so that we might cross over from death to life. Both the apostle Paul & John give us this assurance:
The words of St. Paul: Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal might be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (1Corinthians 5: 1-5)
The words of St. John: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people , and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." He said to me, "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But to the cowardly, the unbelieving, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars - their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." (Revelation 21: 1-10)
It's our sincerest hope this finds you looking toward our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for forgiveness and redemption. If you already are a believer, God bless you, and may you always seek the favor of the Lord in your daily living. Peace be with you.