In the 1640s, James Ussher, Archbishop of the Church of Ireland, proposed a chronology, based upon his research of Bible chronology, which placed the creation of the earth in 4004 BC. Some believe Ussher’s specific choice of starting year may have been influenced by the then-widely-
Fundamentalist theologians accept the premillennial position which holds that the Second Coming of Christ comes before a literal thousand year reign of Christ described in Revelation 20 and Zechariah 14:8. Many prophecy scholars who take the Bible literally, believe the next event in the prophetic calendar is the Rapture of the church. While this event resembles the Second Coming of Christ, pre-tribulationists distinguish the Rapture from the Second Coming. In the Rapture, Christ will return in the air for the entire Christian church. All that unbelievers will know is that suddenly every Christian in the world will have disappeared. The Rapture will not only mark the end of what is called the church age, it will also usher in the most terrible period of time the world has ever known: the great tribulation. Thus, this scenarios is called the pre-tribulation Rapture.
A biblical doctrine based upon one interpretation of one scripture verse, would be speculative at best. A sound doctrine should have two or more sound verses to support it. One method used to confirm the last days is Zionism. Some Christian Zionist believe that the return of Jews to Israel is a prerequisite for the Second Coming of Jesus. The prophet Daniel gave the framework for the Diaspora, the return of the Jews, and the Tribulation era in Daniel 9. Daniel predicted that from the decree by Artaxerxes Longimanus of Persia, to restore and rebuild the city of Jerusalem, until the Messiah would be 483 Biblical years. He predicted the Messiah would be killed, and Israel would be overrun. He then predicted in the last days the Jews would return to the land, and make a seven year treaty with a coming world leader, the Antichrist, and then after seven years of tribulation, the Messiah would come again. In the Law, the Prophets, the teachings of the Apostles, and Jesus Christ, it is stated clearly the Jews would be disbursed around the world, but would return in the last days. (Ezekiel 38:8). In 1948, Israel became unique as a nation, by being reestablished, after almost 2000 years of non-existence as a nation. It is projected that by the year 2030, for the first time in modern history, the majority of the world population of Jews will be back in the land of Israel.
Another method used to determine the world is in the last days is to see the seven churches in Asia Minor, described in Revelation 2 & 3, as not only literal churches during the time of the Apostle John, but also a preview of Church history. Theologians Seiss, Scofield, Larkin, Lindsey, and LaHaye all see these churches as a prophetic consecutive outline of the Church Age, or the gap between the death of Christ in 33 AD and the Rapture of the Church and the seven year tribulation, as described in Revelation chapters 4 through 18.
The Scofield Reference Bible states the following, “The messages to the seven churches…go beyond the local assemblies mentioned, and show a preview of church history to come.” In the book, “When Is Judgment Day”, by Stephen Johnston, there is a chart which shows these seven churches on a historical bell curve with the last church, Laodicea ending in 2033-2040, assuming the curve remains smooth. If the church ended in 2033, Christ would return in 2040. The Jews would be back in the land, and the earth would be 6,000 years old.
In Matthew 24:36 Jesus states, “But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” This was speaking of Christ’s second coming. The word know, in the Greek language, was written in the present active indicative, and means know one knew at that time. However, since that time God the Father revealed (apocalypse)
Many prophecy teachers contradict themselves when they say the rapture has always been imminent, but we are in the “end-time”
In Matthew 23:37 & 38 Jesus tells the Jews in Jerusalem he will destroy their city. He also says, “…you shall see Me no more till you say, ’Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”. Jesus said he will not return until the Jews in Israel call for Him, they can not call for Him unless they are in Israel.
It appears from Bible prophecy we are in the last days. According to a Time/CNN poll, since the attacks of September 11, 2001, 17 percent of Americans believe the end of the world will happened in their lifetime. 59 percent believe the prophecies of the Book of Revelation will come true. However, God is the arbiter of truth, not public polls.
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Stephen Johnston, “When Is Judgment Day?”