Tom: You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him.
We are concluding our discussions of Dave Hunt’s book, When Will Jesus Come? Compelling Evidence for the Soon Return of Christ. The title of the last chapter is, “How Close Are We?” And the answer, as we discussed last week, Dave, depends upon which coming of Jesus a person is considering: His return for true believers in Him in an event called the Rapture, or His return to the earth to rescue Israel from annihilation at Armageddon.
So, Dave, how close are we to either event?
Dave: Well, we’re seven years closer to the Rapture than to the Second Coming. We can say that, I think, quite definitely, although some people disagree. Tom, I think time is running out for planet Earth for, at least, man’s rule over this planet in rebellion against God, and that will be taken care of at Armageddon. There are no signs, as we’ve reminded our listeners, for the Rapture. That could come at any time. We call that imminency, and we’ve been over that. They can get the past programs.
Jesus said, “Be ready. Watch. Let your loins be girded about, your lights burning, like those who are watching for their Lord to return.”
Paul said, “Looking for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God our Savior,” and many other verses that we could give.
“Unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin at the salvation.” That’s Hebrews 9.
So obviously, if we are supposed to be looking and waiting and watching and expecting, then there couldn’t be anything else that would intervene. Okay?
There are signs, however. Jesus was asked what would be the signs of these things, you know—the destruction of the temple…
Tom: Mm-hmm, Matthew 24.
Dave: Right! “Your coming, the end of the age…” and He gave many signs. Now, these are for the Second Coming, when He comes to rescue Israel at Armageddon. And those signs, they have been accumulating over the decades in our day. I think we’re in the last days, and this would be one indication. And they have really mounted to…almost a mountain of evidence that we are very, very close.
The main topic of prophecy is Israel. Israel is really the indicator of how close we are, and Israel is back in her land, which she had to be. Now, of course, had the Rapture occurred before, then God could have brought Israel back into her land very quickly. But as a matter of fact, she’s been coming there gradually. More than a million Russian immigrants have come just from up to the north there where the Bible talks about, “I will say to the North, Give them up, and they will come.” And not too long ago, maybe 20 years ago, Russia would not let any of them come, and now they have been coming just in a flood. Millions have come into Israel from more than a hundred nations, and I think we looked at Jeremiah:23:7, where God says to His prophet Jeremiah: “The day is coming when they will no longer…” The big news will no longer be how the Lord brought His people out of Egypt into the land, but how He brought them back from all the nations where He had scattered them, back into their own land. That was an amazing prophecy, and that was in Jeremiah. That was when Jerusalem was being destroyed, and yet God said, “The day is coming when Jerusalem will be rebuilt, and I will bring multitudes of Jews back from all the nations where they have been scattered.”
I think we looked at Zechariah 12, where it says that, in the last days, God says, “I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all those round about.” And He talks about when they are in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem, Zechariah:12:2—well, that’s an amazing prophecy, because the neighbors, Israel’s immediate neighbors, never were united! They had different gods, they had different religions, they fought one another down through history. Today, first time in history, they are all united, united against Israel, and what unites them? Islam!
We notice that verse 3 says—God says, “I will make Jerusalem a burden to all nations.” Now, to be a burden to all nations—we’re talking about world-wide—there would have to be some kind of an organization of all nations. Amazing! The United Nations has sprung up, and is Israel a burden to them? Well, this little nation with one-one thousandth of the earth’s population, they have spent—the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council—have spent one-third of their time. Isn’t that some fulfillment of prophecy!
So we are living in this day now. These things have begun to be fulfilled in an accelerated manner one after the other.
Then I think we talked about Joel:3:2, where God says, “In the last days I am going to gather all nations back to Jerusalem, the Valley of Jehoshaphat. I am going to plead with them there [it means, “I am going to punish them”] for what they have done to my people.” And two specific things are mentioned.
Number one: They have scattered them everywhere. That’s anti-Semitism. You can still see in your mind from Holocaust films the Jews scurrying, trying to get out of Poland, trying to get out of Germany, going from one place to another with their wheelbarrows and belongings on their backs, and so forth. They have been chased all over this world, but that’s been going on for centuries.
The second thing God says He will punish the nations for, “They have scattered My people, but they have also divided My land!” Never happened in history! Israel was conquered by many nations down through the centuries. Never did a conqueror divide Israel! A conqueror doesn’t divide the land, he keeps it for himself. Today in our time, for the first time in history, Israel has been divided, and we went into some detail about that. Britain divided Israel. They had the mandate to see that this place called “Palestine” was opened up to the Jewish people scattered world-wide, bring them back to their homeland, and instead Britain betrayed the Jews. They kept the Jews out, even Holocaust survivors. They let the Arabs in, and they lost their empire for doing this. They betrayed Israel, they betrayed God, they defied the God of Israel who promised this land to them, and they gave two-thirds of the land to make the nation of Jordan. That belonged to the three-and-a-half tribes on the East Bank. You hear about the West Bank of Jordan, you don’t hear about the East Bank. And then, UN Resolution 181, November 29, 1947, the nations of this world joined together to make what they thought would be a final division of the land of Israel. UN Resolution 181 is in fact called the “Partition of the Land,” and all the nations of this world joined together through the UN to divide that land, exactly as God said. And every peace proposal since, including President Bush’s “Roadmap to Peace”—what is the basis of it? “Israel, give them more land, give them more land, give them more land!”
We just chased them out of Gaza. Now Condoleezza Rice says, “Now, what about the West Bank? We’re going to throw them out of there. We’re going to squeeze them back.” In fact, Olmert has just conceded…and I think it’s suicide; I don’t think the Israeli people will allow it, and they would have a—not a riot…they would have a revolution, a civil war. He said, “We’re going to go back to the pre-1967 boundaries.” Well, but the Arabs did not accept those! The six Arab nations immediately attacked Israel when the UN gave them this tiny little bit of indefensible territory, and Israel, for its own survival, had to fight back and gain some more ground. He says, “We’re even going to give back the Golan if the Arabs will promise peace!” Well, they promise peace; it doesn’t mean a thing. We know it’s in their religion: Israel must be destroyed! Ahmadinejad of Iran has said it many times, okay?
So we’re here. Israel is back in its land, all of these things happening around them are happening exactly as the Bible said. Now, this is leading up to Armageddon, but the Rapture comes seven years before.
So let me just call our attention to a passage here—Isaiah 66, amazing prophecy! Verse 8: “Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once?” Wow, a nation was born! May 14, 1948, the nation of Israel reborn, you could say. It had been thrown on the trash heap for more than 2,000 years. That happened, and then, “…for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” Wow, that’s an amazing prophecy! You couldn’t think of a greater travail for Zion than the Holocaust! She lost 6 million of her sons and daughters.
Had it not been for the Holocaust, Tom, as you know (maybe some of our listeners haven’t thought of it), Israel would not exist today. It was a momentary twinge of conscience, belatedly, that caused the nations of this world to say, “Oh, wait a minute, maybe we should have done something about the Holocaust.”
Israel was left alone; the Jews were abandoned. America—Britain, specifically—got together their leaders, State Department of the Foreign Office, and said, “We are not going to press Hitler about the Holocaust because he would disgorge them on us, and we don’t want them.”
Britain, 1944—500,000 Hungarian Jews, untouched by the Nazis: Hitler offered to sell them for $2 a piece, and Britain said, “No room in Palestine for them.” Okay?
But now it’s happened: 6 million in the ovens of Hitler, and the world has a momentary twinge of conscience. And they vote Israel—partition, you know; it’s a tiny bit, 13 percent of what they have been promised. Nevertheless, they vote them into the UN as a nation, acknowledged by the other nations of the world. “As soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children, and a nation was born in a day.”
Now, verse 9: “Shall I bring to the birth [because this is something God did] and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord: Shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.”
Now Tom, you’ve had five children; your wife brought them to birth. We have four children, but we know a little bit about this process, and we know that the birthing process… “Oh, well, I think I’m getting some birth pains…” And then they begin to come more frequently and with more intensity. It is a process. Israel is in the process of being birthed to what God promised them, and it’s very painful, and God says, “Once I have started this process, am I going to shut it up now? I’m going to shut the womb? No.” The implication is, I think, very strong: “This is going to continue to its fruition.”
So, Tom, I think that is a very powerful passage of scripture. Everything is in place now: Israel is back in its land, surrounded by enemies that are united against her. They’re determined to destroy her; she is a burden to the world, the world hates her. The land has been divided, and it’s being divided even more. So much is in place, and we talked last week about the prosperity that we have. Wow, it makes me nervous! It’s based upon debt—how much longer can it go?
Tom: Yeah, but, Dave, you wrote a book back in the ‘80s called, Peace, Prosperity and the Coming Holocaust, so why are you getting nervous now?
Dave: Well, because that book proved to be prophetic, remember? I should have gone into the stock market business. I think the Dow was about 700, and they were all predicting a crash!
Tom: Like the “death of the dollar” was the big…
Dave: Yeah, the international financial collapse of the dollar, and the invasion of the Soviets into Israel. And I said, “Based on the Bible, I don’t think it’s going to happen that way. It’s going in the opposite direction.” And here we are—what is it?—over 12,000 now on the Dow. But it’s built upon credit, and the US is losing money (I don’t know how many millions a day) in foreign exchange. The euro now has been going up, up, up. I think it was in the 90s, as opposed to the dollar—98 cents on the euro, or something like that…maybe even less!
Tom: Well, I was just there—a dollar…or the euro was $1.26 to the dollar.
Dave: I think today it’s $1.32 to the euro, but why is this? Well, because our international debt, our balance of payments, just keeps going up, up, up into the trillions. As we mentioned last week, China practically owns us now. They’re going to have to keep us afloat, because we’re their biggest customer.
Tom: Sure, try and find something in any department store—I mean, even in some of the best shops—that wasn’t made in China.
Dave: It’s a new world, Tom. What we used to talk about, the one-world government, and so forth, we have a one-world economy now. They used to try to manipulate and worry about it, but no, it has happened. Multinational corporations have united this world in a way we didn’t quite anticipate. We thought the Antichrist would do it by threats and power. No, it’s already there! Everything is in place for the Antichrist.
All I’m saying is all the players are in place. Some of them are just behind the curtain waiting for the curtain to go up and, Tom, I don’t think it can continue like this much longer.
Tom: Yeah. Dave, we’ve got about six minutes left, so I want to just shift back to the Rapture for a minute, for believers.
Dave, first of all, you say the date of the Rapture must remain unknown. Well, many people have tried to set a date. Why must it remain unknown?
Dave: Because that’s what the Bible says: “That day and that hour no man knows.” So it’s what the Bible says. God is not giving us any advance notice. Although He’s giving us advance notice of the Second Coming, but not of the Rapture, because He says, “At such an hour as you think not, the Son of man cometh.”
Tom: Yeah, but in terms of somebody’s life, for example (and this is really where I want to go with this), it has a purifying effect. If I knew the date, wouldn’t that kind of pull the rug out from under my expectation? And as we pointed out last week, and maybe we don’t think about this, but it’s the expectation that’s a major part of the Rapture, not just the timing of it.
Dave: Absolutely, Tom, that’s a very good point. Had the first century Christians, or second or third or fourth, known that, “No, the Rapture wouldn’t occur until the 21st century, 2006 or 2007,” I don’t know, it could have changed a great deal.
Tom: Sure, the “blessed hope” is gone!
Dave: Right, they wouldn’t have had a hope of the Rapture, they would be confined to those people who would be here at that date. So we all have the advantage.
I remember my father (I probably mentioned several times), he said, “I’m not looking for the undertaker, I’m looking for the upper-taker!” Well, the undertaker got him. Nevertheless, he lived in the anticipation and the hope of the Rapture.
Tom: Dave, you say, and let me quote this, and this is really where I want to end if we’re going to… You know, we’re finishing up the book, When Will Jesus Come? How Close Are We? and we’re on to another book next week. But this is what you write: “The awesome reality of suddenly at any moment being caught up to meet Christ in the air has not affected many Christians lives. Instead, the Rapture is like a tale that has been told, something they believe in theoretically, but which they have little, if any, expectation of experiencing in their life-time.” And this has consequences.
Dave: Tom, let the listeners, and you, and me, and our crew recording, think that over carefully. Let me ask each one of us: Did you think of the Lord’s return today? Were you looking for the Rapture today? Is that your expectation day by day? I mean, we can know these things theoretically, but it’s like, did you tell the Lord you love Him today? How many times do you tell Him you love Him each day? Do you really mean it? Do you thank Him for dying for your sins, for paying the penalty?
Tom, we can tend to go on through life without even thinking of this. It’s like Jeremiah 2, where God says: “My people have forgotten me days without number.” So that’s something we need to take very seriously as we close this phase of our program and move on to something else.
But, Tom, another thought—I think the book ends this way—if it doesn’t it should: How close do you want this to be?
Tom: That’s the question you ask, Dave, in the last chapter.
Dave: How close do you want it to be? Well, you know—and Christ gives a parable. The ruler who made a supper, invited many, they RSVP’d, said, “We’ll be there,” but when the supper was ready, that’s when they began to make their excuses. “Well, I married a wife, you know, I can’t come. I bought some land.”
I’m afraid the Rapture would interfere…it would interrupt many plans. Where is my heart? Where is my life? “Oh, well, I’m just about to retire. Lord, we just got that camper, and we’re going to take a little tour. We’ve got bicycles on the back there, you know, and trail bikes. And, Lord, we’re getting married next week—couldn’t we at least have our honeymoon?”
Tom, if I dare say, you remember the young boy—how many times have I told this story—the preacher asked, “How many people want to go to heaven?” Everybody raised their hand except one little boy in the front row, so the preacher sat down next to him after the service. “Don’t you want to go to heaven?”
“Oh, yes, sir!”
“Well, I asked for those who want to go to heaven raise their hand, and you didn’t raise your hand.”
“Oh, sir, I thought you meant right now!”
Heaven is the place where every Christian wants to go—not too many of them want to go right now. We’ve got other things that are more important.
Tom: Dave, you make that point—you say, “The choice for true believers is not between heaven and hell, it’s between heaven and earth.”
Well, let’s close with Revelation—we’ve got about 30 seconds here. Revelation:22:17,20: “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” And verse 20: “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”