As our world becomes increasingly chaotic by the day, it’s no wonder that more and more Christians are becoming increasingly antsy about Christ’s second coming. When will He come? How will we know when He comes? What should we look out for? Will the rapture happen first, followed by the tribulation? Will we have to live through the tribulation? Are we already in the tribulation? What happens after that?
The questions can go on and on, and as scholars dig deeper into the Bible for answers and, at the same time, make observations of the events taking place today, many of them are reevaluating the very views that they have been teaching for decades. Christians are flocking to churches to hear different end times teachers talk about different theories and signs that are very, very probable and convincing—yet there is no way to confirm or refute these theories.
This begs the question, “So what?” So what if we’re living in the end times? So what if Jesus comes in the next month or year or fifty years or a hundred years? How do these things affect me, and my faith in God? By invitation of the Melaka Pastors’ Fellowship, Rev. Dr. John Tay came to Straits Baptist Church Melaka on Saturday to give a talk on the end times.
As modern day Christians, we tend to read the Bible and assume that everything in there refers directly to us, forgetting that the majority of the Bible was actually addressed to the Jews. It’s almost a little strange, isn’t it? When we take a step back and realize that we’re the gentiles?
We are the ones that the Jews hated for the longest time. However, does this realization give us cause to hate the Jews in return? Certainly not! As a matter of fact, we owe a lot to the Jews. And because of that, we also have a responsibility toward the Jews as we draw closer to Jesus’ coming.
In Romans 11:25-26, Paul writes: “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: 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.” In other words, until and unless that “full number of Gentiles” have been reached with the Gospel, Israel will continue to face hardships and suffering.
God has not forsaken Israel; neither has God replaced Israel with the Church. Israel is still very much in the center of God’s plan for all of us. Because of their rebellion against God, they are now the “enemy” of the Gospel, but in God’s sight, they are still His chosen people.
We see, from the accounts throughout history, that although Israel has suffered greatly as a nation, it has also prospered greatly. The covenant that God made with Abraham way back in Genesis 12:2-3 still stands. God tells Abraham:
“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
How then is this relevant to us? Well for starters, we need to be fully aware of what goes on with Israel, and how we can play our part in reaching as many people as possible with the Gospel of Christ.
Whether they are Jew or Gentile, the most important thing is that they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. When we reach the Gentiles, we bring Israel closer to their salvation. When we reach the Jews, the impact of the Gospel will be so much greater, as Paul writes in Romans 11:15, “For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?”
Talk of end times and the book of Revelation can become confusing and too theoretical sometimes, that we lose our focus on the reason for knowing these things in the first place. It is important to be aware of all the different views and interpretations, but not necessary to engrave one specific viewpoint into stone. Revelation 1:3 says: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”
“We need to know what’s going on around us so that we do not miss out on what God is doing!” Rev. Dr. John Tay said. “Study the Bible yourself and forget about all the theories out there.” Therefore, go back to the Word of God and allow the Spirit to speak to you before jumping to conclusions concerning signs and theories of the second coming. Meanwhile, stay alert, prayerful, and faithful in bringing the gospel to the lost.
- “Full number of Gentiles” – There are many interpretations on what this means, depending on which theological bend you prefer to take. This article leaves room for interpretation to that phrase, but we know for certain that at the end of all the debates and discussion, only God knows what that truly refers to.
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