Storms and natural cataclysms are multiplying. Rumors of war are increasing — in Europe, in the Middle East and the Far East. Christianity is declining in the West and expanding in formerly hostile nations. Israel is increasingly threatened and isolated.
For anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear, the signs of the times are crying out that the end is near. The cacophony is growing day by day.
It would be easy to become preoccupied with the signs themselves. Some watch the political trends and want to respond politically. Others perceive the inherent threats in emerging technologies and want to unplug from the world. While the Lord motivates different individuals to serve in different capacities (applying their gifts to be salt and light in different spheres), suffice it to say that a balanced approach is probably wise. Even as we discern meaning from the signs, the question remains: Am I consuming the news or is the news consuming me?
The Urgency of Our Core Message
The primary mission of Lamb & Lion Ministries is to proclaim the soon return of Jesus Christ. That has been our guiding purpose for 42 years. If anything, the timely importance of our core message has only grown more urgent.
We believe that Jesus is at the gates of heaven, waiting for His Father to say, “Go, and get Your Bride.” When that happens, a trumpet will sound and He will burst forth to gather His elect from the four corners of the earth. In the twinkling of an eye, we will be caught up to meet Him in the air. Our mortal bodies will instantly be changed into glorified, imperishable bodies just like Jesus had after His resurrection. And we will return to heaven with our Bridegroom to enjoy the marriage feast of the Lamb.
It’s one thing to intellectually accept the truth of those promises. But it’s another thing to have the anticipation of their fulfillment overflow our heart and mind and spirit.
A Lineage of Faithful Expectation
The signs themselves are important, but only as they advise us of what lies ahead. So, we don’t want to fixate on the signs themselves instead of focusing on the event — or the Person — they point to. Alternatively, we can get so caught up in the rut of daily living that we don’t even recognize the multiplying signs.
I think there is value in looking back in time to understand how previous generations of Christians perceived the signs pointing to Jesus’ return. We know that almost 2,000 years ago, the writers of the New Testament shared the expectation that Jesus could come back very soon. Their anticipation did not distract them from the commission to preach the Gospel, or to spread it to tribes and nations far from Israel. As a matter of fact, their urgent hope actually served to motivate their dedicated service. That is why Paul traveled throughout Asia Minor and desired to go to Rome. It is why doubting Thomas went east to India to proclaim the Good News there.
Followers of Christ who obtained and read the Scriptures for themselves throughout the Dark Ages (when private Bible ownership was banned and translation was deemed a capital offense) realized that the promise of Jesus’ return is intrinsically linked to the Gospel message. Anyone who believes the Bible’s consistent testimony — “reading and heeding” in the words of Revelation — understands that He is coming soon.
Over the past few years, I’ve begun collecting books and tracts from the turn of the last century. Just over 100 years ago, faithful Christians were excited about what they understood would come to pass relatively soon in human history. Prior to World War I and II, Christian authors sensed that prophetic signs were multiplying.
At the turn of the past century, many Christian writers testified to a growing anticipation of God’s age-old promises being fulfilled. Several expressed a belief that God would somehow motivate the Jewish people to return to their ancient homeland. Although the Jews were dispersed around the world and integrated in places like France, Germany, Poland, and Russia, they foresaw a time when the Jewish Diaspora would clamor to go home — because that is what Ezekiel foretold. Their faith was not dampened by the implausibility of resurrecting a Jewish state in the middle of a hostile Muslim world — or the possession of the Holy Land by a Turkish-based caliphate. They simply accepted the Word of the Lord and looked for the ultimate fulfillment of all its promises.
In his booklet, The Coming Dictator and Is Jesus Coming Back? (published in 1934), William Edward Biederwolf described the coming antichrist and his anticipation of Jesus’ soon return. He cited Henry Alford, renowned Greek scholar at Cambridge University and Dean of Canterbury, who wrote, “The majority both in number and in learning and research adopt the pre-millennial advent, following, as it seems to me, the plain and undeniable sense of the sacred text of the Bible itself.”
R.I. Humberd was another prolific writer who discerned that he was living on the cusp of prophetic events long anticipated by faithful Christians. His 1934 booklet, God’s Man and Satan’s Man in Final Conflict, contains this word of testimony: “If we are living in the latter times (and I am convinced that we are) then soon we can expect the Jews to return to [the Promised Land] and ‘dwell safely all of them.'”
Humberd went on to offer another insight: “Kings may argue, write letters and send notes, but the last thing they do, before the battle, is to recall their ambassadors. For many centuries, God has had His ambassadors on Earth, calling men to ‘Be ye reconciled to God’ (2 Corinthians 5:20). But just before the strife come out into the open, God will call His ambassadors home.”
What a wonderful illustration! We are certainly called to serve as ambassadors — what are still called ministers in diplomatic parlance — here in the world. But our soon-returning King will come to bring us home before His wrath is poured out on the earth. Until then, we should be about His business day by day.
The past few years demonstrate that the threat of a coming dictator Bidderwolf foresaw in 1934 is looming again. Without chasing down the rabbit trail of Covid protocols and heavy-handed government control, the undeniable reality is that many would trade their liberties for the perceived security offered by a central authority. Be that political or scientific or medical, we’ve learned that benevolence in such exalted authorities is rare, and short-lived even when it can be found.
There is nothing new under the sun.
In the second part, we’ll explore just what has changed.