5 Things That Will Happen Before Christ Returns
Everywhere we look we find people with concerns about the future. While we live in a world where knowledge is exploding, world events and growing uncertainty about tomorrow entice many who do not know God to pursue extraordinary and unusual means to do evil. Unable to find the answers that only God can give about tomorrow, they turn to psychics and those who make merchandise of their “insight” into the future. The Word of God promises, however, that believers can look toward tomorrow with expectation and excitement.
Many of the answers we seek regarding future events are revealed in Bible prophecy. The Word of God declares: “Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it? Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:6-7). Only God knows what tomorrow holds. But the Scriptures provide a glimpse into what lies ahead for those who know God Almighty. As we study His written Word and seek Him with our whole heart, He will reveal the secrets of tomorrow: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36).
We are told to be watchful: “But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:43-44).
We are also cautioned to be aware of the times and seasons:
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-4)
As I consider world events and look at what is happening in the Holy Land, we must be aware of these perilous times as Bible prophecy rapidly unfolds before our eyes. We are living in a historic hour foretold by the prophets of old.
As we study the Word of God, we discover five prophetic events that must occur before the coming of the Lord.
Number 1: The Restoration of the State of Israel
The Bible recognizes this restoration as the first event that must take place before the coming of the Lord:
Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.” (Jeremiah 16:14-15)
On May 14, 1948, Israel declared independence and proclaimed itself the State of Israel. Today, Jewish people from nations all over the world continue to return to their homeland.
Bible prophecy also states that when the people return to their land, they will go back speaking the same language they spoke when they left: “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; As yet they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity; The LORD bless thee, O habitation of justice, and mountain of holiness” (Jeremiah 31:23). The nation of Israel had been scattered for 2,000 years. During those two centuries, the Jewish people retained their native tongue, even though they did not live in their land. With the restoration of Israel came the restoration of a people that were nearly eliminated from the face of the earth. But God Almighty said it is impossible to destroy them, for if you could destroy them, you would have to destroy the heavens first (Jeremiah. 31:35, 37).
The restoration of Israel will bring about the fulfillment of all end-time prophecy, for Israel is God’s time clock. Whatever happens in Israel affects the world. “When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel” (Deuteronomy 32:8).
Number 2: The Rise of Russia
The area now known as Russia is mentioned often in prophecy:
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. (Ezekiel 38:1-4)
Gog is the man; Magog is his land. Meshech is the ancient name of Moscow. The ancient name of Tubalsk represents present-day Russia. The country is told, “I will turn thee back.” God says I will empower you again. I will renew you.
Ezekiel 37 talks about the restoration of Israel, and in Ezekiel 38, the rise of Russia is predicted. Russia is a power again. This invasion of Israel, discussed in Ezekiel 37, will not happen until Israel is at peace with all its neighbors. The result of peace will be incredible prosperity. Israel currently spends 60 percent of its resources on defense. When peace comes and those resources are redirected, Israel will experience great prosperity and blessing. And Russia will desire that same prosperity for its people as it continues to rise to the forefront.
Number 3: Europe and the Antichrist
The third thing to happen before the coming of the Lord is the rise of a new superpower. The Word of God states that the Roman Empire (once a European kingdom) will be reborn one day:
After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.” (Daniel 7:7)
Residue means “former empires,” and the ten horns are symbolic of its authority and power in that day:
I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.” (Daniel 7:8)
Among them means “from within that power and authority.” While no one can say decisively what will happen, we do know that according to verse 8, a powerful individual will come out of this renewed empire. The antichrist will come out of a resurrected kingdom.
This individual will appear in the end of time:
And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. (Daniel 8:23-24)
Number 4: The Rise of Worldwide Lawlessness
Before the return of Jesus Christ, there will also be an intensified increase of lawlessness that has not been seen since the days of Sodom and Gomorrah:
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, trucebreakers [break agreements], false accusers, incontinent [can’t control appetite], fierce [wild and savage], despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded [proud], lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
The Word of God reminds us repeatedly that we are going to see these things come to earth. Even many of those who call themselves Christians will be totally lawless and defiled.
In fact, scoffers will openly defy the promise of Christ’s Second Coming, for we read in Scripture:
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:3-4).
The rise of lawlessness will separate the godly from the wicked:
“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
Number 5: The Greatest Revival in History
I don’t believe in a “doom and gloom” Gospel. We can read the end of the Book and know the victory that is coming, which is the fifth major thing that will happen before the return of Jesus Christ.
We are going to see the greatest revival since Pentecost. Acts 3 clearly talks about this incredible event:
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:19-21)
The greatest prophetic sign of our wonderful Lord’s eminent return will be an unparalleled outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s revival fires upon the world:
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. (Isaiah 60:1-3)
We are seeing this happen before our eyes! God is opening doors that we never dreamed possible. And as the time of His return approaches, the cry of heaven for souls continues to intensify.
As we arise, shine, and allow the glory of the Lord to touch and transform our lives, His attributes, His presence, and His person will shine through us. As this incredible revival is happening in the church, great darkness will cover the earth. The Bible speaks of “gross darkness,” darkness so thick that it is almost tangible. While gross darkness covers the earth, God’s divine presence and glory will increase and totally saturate, sanctify, and invade the life of the believer: “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20).
The Lord’s Victorious Return
Bible prophecy is being fulfilled! The Eastern Gate, in the old city of Jerusalem, has been sealed for centuries. According to prophecy, it will be reopened one day as Jesus Christ, the King of Glory, returns. Man has failed repeatedly in his attempts to interfere with prophecy through natural means in order to prevent the Lord’s victorious return. For example, history records that plans were in place at one time to open this historic spot during a war. However, when the war ended abruptly in victory, the plans were discarded.
Historically, man has tried to interfere through tradition by burying the dead just inches from the Eastern Gate, for tradition forbids stepping on a grave. The strategically placed graves were intended to keep anyone from approaching the spot and ultimately entering the city through the sealed gate, but absolutely nothing can hold back the return of our wonderful Lord Jesus! Nothing can hinder that glorious day! Prophecy has foretold it, and the signs are everywhere: Jesus is coming soon!
What we do for Him, we must do quickly.
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