The Climax of History

I

t is quite quite fascinating that every year for the last 2,000 years most Westerners, and many Easterners, on the same day, December 25, have celebrated the birth of the child, Jesus, who was born to lowly parents in a stable and laid in a manger in a little town called Bethlehem—and celebrate his crucifixion, death and resurrection every Easter.

When this child grew up, he claimed to be the Son of God. And the world was impressed sufficiently to date our calendar according to his birth.

No informed person would deny that Jesus Christ lived 2,000 years ago, any more than they would that Julius Caesar lived. It is interesting to note that the Encyclopedia Britannica actually gives more space to the life of Jesus than it does to many of the world's great leaders combined. The famed historian Josephus, who lived in and wrote about civilization in Bible times, also verified the historical Jesus.

The vital question is, "Will Jesus Christ, who specifically stated he would return to earth, come again before we destroy ourselves through overpopulation, pollution, chemical warfare, or nuclear holocaust?"

Let's look at what the Bible claims.

First, there is the promise that Christ will come again. According to Bible scholars, every prophet in the Bible's Old Testament (except Jonah) makes reference to the end of the world and/or Christ's return to earth.

Christ himself promised he would return to earth at the end of the world. "But don't worry," he told his disciples, "trust God and trust me. In heaven there are many places. … I am going there to prepare one for you. And if I go I will come again to take you back there with me."1

Angels reinforced this promise. When Christ returned to heaven, he ascended from the Mount of Olives. This was witnessed by many of his followers. Imagine their amazement when two angels appeared and said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.2

Furthermore, in the New Testament alone there are some 308 references about Christ's return. God repeatedly gives us this promise from the first book in the Bible to the last page. Its closing message simply states, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus."3

Second, there is considerable evidence to support the validity of Christ's promise, one of which is seen in the many Bible prophecies already fulfilled.

For instance, the nation Israel's entire history is one continual story of God keeping his promises and fulfilling his prophecies. God said through Moses 3,600 years ago, that Israel would disobey him and be driven from their homeland and scattered among the nations.4

When this child grew up, he claimed to be the Son of God. And the world was impressed sufficiently to date our calendar according to his birth.

The signs of the end times are
now all standing up at once.

It took 900 years to happen, but it did! In 721 BC, northern Israel was taken captive by Assyria. In 586 BC, southern Israel was taken to Babylon. Seventy years later, a small remnant of 40,000 returned to rebuild Israel. But in 70 AD, Jerusalem was again destroyed, this time by the Romans, and those who survived were scattered among the nations—where most Jews still live today.

A thousand years after Moses, God said through Ezekiel: "I will gather you (Israel) from all the countries and bring you back into your own land."5

God also predicted that Israel would once again "blossom as the rose,"6 and that he would "gather the scattered Israelites from the ends of the earth."7

Through Amos, God added, "I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and live in them."8

Israel's survival against incredible and overwhelming odds, and its present restoration as a nation on May 14, 1948, could very well be the restoration that God said would take place preceding Christ's return.

There are also many fulfilled promises and prophecies concerning Christ's first coming.

Fifteen hundred years before he came, Moses stated that Christ would come to Israel through the tribe of Judah.9 Five hundred years later, Samuel said Christ would come through the family of David,10 and in 700 BC, Micah wrote that Christ would be born in Bethlehem.11 At the same time, Isaiah prophesied that Christ would be born of a virgin.12 A hundred years later, Daniel predicted the very time of Christ's coming.13 All happened exactly as the Bible predicted.

David and Isaiah both foretold in detail the sufferings of Christ, the manner of his death ("they pierced my hands and my feet"), his resurrection, and his ascension into heaven, hundreds of years before it all took place.14

The exact fulfillment of all these prophecies is sufficient evidence to ensure that God will fulfill all his remaining promises regarding Christ's second coming and the end of the world as we know it.

Continued on Page Two


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5. All articles on the ACTS International website are by Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise noted.

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