In Revelation 16:15 Jesus says, “Behold I come…” Although there are some chapters to go, and we have yet to read the full, glorious description of his coming (in chapter 19), here we have an important reminder that He is coming! Now… this may surprise you but this could (one interpretation) be the actual moment and timing of His second coming! Let’s weigh up…
In verse 14 the ‘frogs’ begun calling and gathering the nations to “that Great Day” and in verse 16 we see the nations are now gathered and ready for the conflict of all conflicts. Whatever and wherever this battle of Armageddon is, what we see is that the coming of Jesus is certainly connected with it in some manner.
If this is the moment of His return, then the following chapters (17 & 18), which speak of the final judgement of the impostor, antichrist system (aka: the beast, false prophet, whore, etc.) therefore must occur after Jesus is on the earth. He will deliver the final eviction notice himself, personally, as He rids the earth of this whorish murderess and reveals to the world his pure bride. Or, maybe things will run differently? We are now beginning to walk on the untrodden path so we must be very cautious.
We’ve reached a very critical juncture on our journey at this point. For those with enquiring minds we of course want to know: What is happening in our day and age? What will happen next? When will Jesus come again? And what will things be like after that momentous day? However, it is necessary that we pause for a moment first and consider a few aspects of the nature of biblical prophecy. First, let’s please consider something Jesus said to His disciples…
“And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.”
Note here that a vital principle of God telling us things in advance is so that AFTER they occur we will believe. Although we may possess some information in advance, one reason for advanced notice is so that we may understand and be strengthened in our faith FOLLOWING the event. In the light of historicist interpretation we can now look back on the past two millennia of history – in relation to God’s people – and see a clear path that has been trodden. We have, as it were, left burning torches planted along the path. Or perhaps more correctly we should say, these torches have been planted there by our brothers and sisters who have gone before us. But as we stand and survey the immediate ground around us and in front of us we should bear this in mind…
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
I very often suspect that when people quote the above verse they are envisaging a great and powerful spotlight, like a car with full beam headlights, shining brightly and unmistakably, lighting up the way ahead, but this would be a misinterpretation. The “lamp” in this instance is a small, simple, humble, oil lamp. A little hand-sized bowl with a measure of olive oil in it, a short wick, partially submerged in the oil and slightly overhanging the edge of the bowl. A gentle, glowing flame flickers and just enough light is emitted by which we can discern the approximate nature of our surroundings. It is sufficient, if held out in front of us, to show us the outline of the next step and little more beyond. Now let us also consider the words of the apostle Paul on the subject of prophecy…
“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”
And so it is. In fact, so it ever was. The people of Jesus’ day, among them, masters of the Scriptures, had some idea, or varying ideas about the time, place, life and nature of the work of the Messiah but none of them, from the rabidly religious, to the most pure and sincere, had all the facts sewn up. And so it is today. We have some light. We have, “a sure word of prophecy.” We have some wonderful promises and EVERYONE agrees that the final end will be a wonder of wonders for those who love Him (and a terror to others) but the absolute fine detail of it all will only be fully understood AFTER it unfolds.
With all of the above in mind, let us continue our journey with humility and caution. There is only one thing that I am personally absolutely convinced about concerning the finer particulars ahead and that is that no commentator from the past or present emphatically knows how every last detail will work out. That said, the broader picture, of ultimate justice and God’s goodness to come in some kind of ‘new world’ is unanimously agreed 🙂