A Caution on Prophecy

It has become fashionable in many fundamental, denominational circles to describe the return of Israel to its ancient homeland, and its remarkable survival since, as fulfillment of prophecy. This opinion often seeps into the minds of assembly believers. Joined at the hip to this idea is the belief that, since the Jewish people will be there in the end times, they cannot be driven out of their land now. But is this so?

I vividly recall the late Mr. Hector Alves cautioning us: “Do not look for the ‘signs of the times’ because we are not in the times of the signs.” His sage advice was never more needed than now. It may be that we are close to the coming of the Lord for His Bride (at the Rapture). It may be that Israelis are back in their land, never to be evicted, because they will need to be there during the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy. It may be that the growing belligerence and militarism of Russia is preparatory to the massive assault outlined in Ezekiel 38 and 39. It may be that restive conditions in Europe will lead to the confederacy outlined by Daniel and John. All of this may be, (and how much I hope we are, in fact, nearing the events that will lead to the exaltation of our glorious Lord and His triumphal entry into the ancient City of David!), but what we must remember is that if tomorrow morning the nation of Israel were “driven into the sea,” not one word of prophecy will have failed because we are not watching prophecy being fulfilled. There is a vast difference between noticing intriguing scenarios and witnessing prophetic fulfillment.

It is thrilling to note how many things seem to be falling into place. There are very few military alliances, attitudes, or world conditions that are not exactly as we would expect them to be in the days just prior to the Rapture. The Bible’s accuracy and precision is unparalleled and miraculous. But we must guard against thinking or insisting that it says things it does not say. For example, the author Hal Lindsey believed that “this generation” (Matt 24:34) referred to the generation of people who saw the formation of the modern Jewish State (1948). As an extension of this (incorrect) interpretation, he taught that the Lord must return to earth before the end of the 20th century. History is littered with the discredited pronouncements of would-be prophets, prognosticators, and predictors. Their name is legion. No assembly believer need apply.

We have every reason to believe that the coming of our blessed Lord is very near. It should spur us to increased devotion, renewed service, and a deepened exercise. “He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” But till He come – however long or short that might be – let us “hold fast” (Rev 2:25), “occupy” (Luke 19:13), and “follow” (John 21:22). World conditions may suggest much, but we have His Word, something far “more sure,” and something which shines like a lamp in a dark world (2Pe 1:19).