Are we in the end times? The Church has a role. Do you know what it is?
Pastor's Pen

Are We in the End Times?

Welcome to this first edition of “From the Pastor’s Desk.” Our church is in a transitional time both as an assembly and in the pastorate. At the time of this writing, we are actively searching for a new pastor, the person God is calling for this assembly. As an assembly though, we are continuing on a pathway of a closer walk with the Lord. Therefore, during this time, I will be writing as God leads me but I will also be asking others to be guest writers at times. Let me start this first post with thoughts about the end times.

Are we in the end times that Jesus and Daniel spoke in the Bible?

Havoc in the Political Realm

As I write this post, I am hearing of major destruction from tornados in the United States. The debris was so bad in one State that they had to activate their snowplows in order to clear the mess. In British Columbia, Canada, we are already worried about forest fires even as High Level, Alberta, is battling an enormous fire. This means that on the northeastern border of BC, there are air quality advisories due to the smoke. And this is only May!

Worldwide, we see the forces of nature wreaking havoc all over the place but that pales under the havoc that is occurring in the political realm.

In the Middle East, a conflict is brewing between Iran and the USA, as American warships, including aircraft carriers and submarines, enter the area. Iran, on the other hand, has activated their proxy armies advising them to be prepared for a major conflict.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are seeing an almost daily attack from inbound missiles. Russia has a strong presence in Syria and there has been conflict between Russia and Syria against Israel.

President Trump has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and then just recently recognized the Golan Heights as belonging to Israel. In fact, the armies mentioned in Ezekiel 38 are all aligning in the region. Not to say we are necessarily at that set point but things are happening today that truly are a fulfillment of Biblical prophecies.

Jesus Spoke of the End Times

Jesus talks about the end days in Matthew 24. He says the wars and rumors of war, famines and earthquakes are just the start of the end times. We know it as the birth pains.

We often think of the end days as a short event, some would even reduce it to a seven-year period but in actuality, the end days or the end of this age started when Jesus rose from the grave.

Today though, we see a shortening of the time that leads to the end and an increase in the frequency of prophetic fulfillment.

When Daniel wrote about the history of Israel, he mentions 70 weeks, Daniel 9:24-27.

History has shown the first 69 weeks ended with the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ but there is still one week to come. A week is recognized as seven years and in that last seven years, the Jewish Temple has to be in place and Israel needs to be a nation.

Israel, God’s Holy City

Israel, of course, became a nation in 1948, which started with the Balfour Declaration in Britain in 1918. Jerusalem came fully under Israel’s control in 1967. The Temple has an issue right now as the third most holy site of Islam is located on the Temple Mount. Yet, there is a group in Israel who is pressing for this third Temple, after Solomon’s and the one built after the exile.

The first temple was destroyed by the Babylonians and the second by the Romans. This group of people already have all the instruments made and the priests have been selected and trained. They need a “red heifer” that meets the Jewish standard. I have read that they now have one.

Daniel mentions there will be a covenant for seven years but the agreement will be broken halfway through. Daniel 9:27 tells us “In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”

So, there needs to be a Temple in order for this prophecy to be fulfilled since the last Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Romans. (Read Daniel 9-12 to read about the end times as he saw them.) The one breaking the covenant and being the “abomination “ will be the Anti-Christ, the Beast mentioned in Revelation 13.

The Last “Week” in the End Times

The last “week” represents the last seven years of Israel and at the end, when it looks like Israel is to be destroyed, Messiah comes and rescues them.

Zechariah 12:10 talks about the “House of David” in other words, Israel, looking on the one they pierced and mourned. Revelation 1:7 says that all the people of the earth will witness Christ returning, even those who pierced him.

Paul also says that all of Israel will be saved. Romans 11:25-26 says “Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved.”

The greatest sign we have had so far is that Israel has become a nation again and that Jerusalem is its capital. When President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel it just solidified the fact that it is.

Where does the Church fit into this Picture?

There are a number of “end time” positions with the different sects of the Church. The last seven years are known as “the tribulation” or “great tribulation” or even “Jacob’s Trouble.” There are many different ideas that deal with the end times.

One of the beliefs is that the Church will be “Raptured,” that is, taken out of the world. This comes from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 where we are told we will meet the Lord in the air as He returns.

The three main beliefs that surround the idea of a rapture are that the present day believers will be

  • raptured prior to the tribulation (pre-tribulation),
  • will be removed half way through (mid-tribulation)
  • or will go through the tribulation and then will be raptured, (post tribulation).

I personally believe the Church will go through the birth pains and then be raptured (pre-tribulation). 1 Thessalonians 5:9 says, “God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I, however, am not God, or even a god. It will be Him who determines when the Church is called home.

The Time of the Gentiles

Earlier, Romans 11:25-26 was quoted and in this passage Paul mentions Israel will have their hearts hardened until “the full number of Gentiles has come in.” Jesus makes an interesting statement in Luke 21:24 “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” The “number of Gentiles” can only come in during the “times of the Gentiles”.

Daniel’s prophecy relates to the people of Israel, not to the Gentiles. Jerusalem was “trampled” by the Gentiles until Israel captured the full city in 1967.

It is interesting to note that half of Jerusalem at that time was controlled by Jordan, including the Temple Mount. During the Six Day War in 1967, Israel told Jordan to stay out of the battle but instead, they listened to their Muslim neighbors and joined in the war. As a result, Israel attacked them and captured the Temple Mount.

The “time of the Gentiles” started coming to a close upon the capture of Jerusalem. Jesus said the Gospel would be preached to the whole world before He came back and this is now done. There are two things that need to be done before those times are completely ended.

The first is the “full number of Gentiles.” This speaks of a mighty end-time revival and us seeing many souls coming into the Kingdom of God.

The second is the removal of the Force that is keeping the Anti-Christ from stepping into world-wide power.

“The Force” is the Holy Spirit. God is always present; that is one of His attributes but the representation of God on earth right now is the Spirit-filled and led Church. It is this aspect of the Holy Spirit that needs to be removed … the Spirit-filled Church!

2 Thessalonians 2 talks about the “man of lawlessness” with verses 6-7 saying, “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.”

The Role of the Church in the End Times.

The Role of the Church in the End Times

So, this is the role of the Church today:

  • To see a greater fulfillment of Joel where the Holy Spirit is poured out upon His Church,
  • where His Church proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ so loudly in power that we see a mighty ingathering of souls into His Kingdom.

Once the “full number of Gentiles” are gathered then we will see the Church raptured and the restraining force in this world will be removed.

Further on in Matthew 24, Jesus says, “ 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 night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. … It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.”

So we, the Church, are expected to keep working for the Kingdom. Read further in Chapter 24 and you’ll see the parable of the ten virgins which tells us that not only are we to keep working but we are to ensure that we stay filled with the Holy Spirit.

These are exciting times for the Church. If we’re paying attention, we’ll see that prophecy is being fulfilled on almost a weekly basis and is all over the news.

This is not the time for us to slumber or to become complacent. Now is the time for all who are part of the family of God to put on our full armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) and get engaged in this end time battle but we need to do so in the fullness of Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Blessings,

Pastor Dave Field