Jesus Is Coming “Very, Very Soon”
Recently someone sent me a newspaper article with the above title. The article begins by saying, “The evidence for the soon return of Jesus Christ is overwhelming.” I am not sure if the sender was trying to convince me, or if they wanted me to comment on the article. Either way, I will offer a few thoughts.
History is full of such predictions. And every one has been wrong…except the first century when Jesus himself said He was to return before all of His contemporaries died (Matthew 16:27-28; 24:29-34; 26:64). Jesus either kept His word, He lied, or He failed. The choices are limited and inescapable. The failure of Bible students to honor Jesus’ prediction has propagated the continuing history of failed predictions. Now to the evidence offered by the article.
Reason #1-The Rebirth of Israel. The article maintains that “Israel was miraculously reborn” in 1948, and this is the #1 sign of Jesus’ imminent return.
The view that 1948 was a sign of Christ’s coming is based on Matthew 24:32f. Jesus said “Learn the parable of the fig tree, when its branch has already become tender and shoots forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these thing know that it is near, at the very door.” It is contended that the fig tree is Israel, thus, per this view, Jesus was saying, “When you see Israel putting forth its leaves (restored) then know that it (Christ’s coming) is near.” In verse 34 Jesus said, “This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled.” So the view is that the generation that would witness the restoration of Israel would be the generation to see Christ’s parousia (coming).
First, it must be realized that Israel was not restored in 1948. Modern “Israel” is not the Israel that existed before the fall of Jerusalem in A.D.70. The Israel of the Bible has disappeared forever. Even the Encyclopedia Judaica Jerusalem (1971, Vol. 3, p. 50) acknowledges that there is no longer such a thing as the Jewish race. The events of 1948 have nothing whatsoever to do with Biblical prophecy and the coming of Jesus. See my book Israel 1948: Countdown To No Where, for fuller documentation. The book is available from this website.
Second, if the fig tree represents the restoration of Israel then “all the trees” (see Luke 21:29) must mean that in 1948 “all the nations” were restored as well! Interestingly, those who insist that the fig tree in Matthew 24 must be Israel, completely ignore the reference to “all the trees” in the parallel text in Luke 21:29. This is inconsistent. If the fig tree represents Israel in 1948 then consistency demands that “all the trees” represents the restoration of all other nations.
Third, if the restoration of “Israel” in 1948 was the sign of Christ’s coming, then the clock has already run out. Hal Lindsey (correctly) calculated that a generation in scripture is approximately 40 years. (see Matthew 1; Hebrews 3:7-19). Of course, when he wrote that he was predicting the coming of Christ for 1988!! When that failed he went back to the calculator and invented a new definition for generation, 100-125 years! That is completely false, yet he managed to convince a lot of sincere people nonetheless.
The point is that 1988 has come and gone. The forty year period that should have, according to modern theory, produced the Great Tribulation, the Great Apostasy, the Man of Sin, the Antichrist, the Mark of the Beast, and all of the other horrific events of the last days, did not, in fact, produce a single one of the signs necessary for the coming of Christ. The reason is simple, all of the signs that were predicted to occur prior to Christ’s coming appeared in the first century, just like Jesus said.