“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And
the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There
will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the
throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it
with justice and righteousness. From then on and forevermore. …”
— Isaiah 9:6-7 (NASB)
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth this week and prepare
for 2000 next week, I can’t help but think about how close we must be to
the Second Coming — when the Lord will return for His church and
personally rule over the Earth for 1,000 years.
Oh, I know, some of you don’t believe in such things. You think it’s
just a bunch of silly superstition. You prefer I stick to writing about
news events of the physical world rather than arcane spiritual matters.
But, as a journalist and as a Christian, I can’t ignore hard evidence
— no matter where it may lead me. And the more I study the prophetic
scriptures of the Holy Bible and look at the condition of our world
today, the more convinced I become that we are nearing that time. In
fact, I think we are very close.
For just as Jesus’ virgin birth in Bethlehem was foretold by the
Hebrew prophets hundreds of years earlier, so, too, was His return to
Earth predicted. The only question is when.
The most dramatic evidence for His imminent return our generation has
witnessed was the rebirth of the nation of Israel about 50 years ago.
The Jews, God’s chosen people, were, as prophesied, scattered over the
whole earth for nearly two millennia beginning shortly after Jesus’
death on the cross. Yet, the scriptures leave no doubt that the Jewish
state would exist once again before He returned.
Interestingly, Orthodox Jews have long taught that the world would
last for 6,000 years before the Messiah would come and usher in a
1,000-year period of restful human history. Since God created the world
in six days, according
to Genesis 1:31, and rested on the seventh day, according to Genesis
2:1, they reasoned the world’s history would climax the same way. They
cite Psalm 90:4, which says: “For a thousand years in Thy sight are like
yesterday when it passes by.”
Likewise, Christians have looked to II Peter 3:8: “But do not let
this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is
as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
The early church understood this “six-day theory” of world history.
It was widely accepted teaching for the first three centuries of the
church. From the time of Adam, we’ve got genealogical records to show
that 4,000 years passed until the time of Christ. From Jesus’ time until
the present age represents another 2,000 years for a total of 6,000
years or six days.
There’s also a three-day theory: Jesus rose on the third day. Would
the beginning of the third millennium — or thousand-year period — not
be the likely time for His return to earth? There is even strong
scriptural evidence for such a theory provided in Hosea 6:2: “After two
days will he revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we
shall live in His sight.” Note that this prophecy is not about the
Resurrection of Jesus, it’s either about the resurrection of Israel
after 2,000 years of dispersal or the physical return of the Lord.
In 1772, Edward Gibbon published “The Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire,” in which he cites early documents suggesting the Christian
disciples of the first century were taught that Jesus would return after
2000 years. We’ll soon find out if they were right.
For many reasons, I believe Jesus is returning soon — if not in the
year 2000, certainly thereabouts. I’m especially drawn to II Timothy
3:1-5, which describes the state of the world in the “last days.” Tell
me if this doesn’t sound like our world: “But realize this, that in the
last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self,
lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents,
ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without
self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited,
lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of
godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as
Christmas represents a time of great hope for Christians. Of course,
we’re grateful that Jesus came 2,000 years ago and died for our sins.
Now we should be hopeful and expectant of His imminent return.
Merry Christmas. And happy birthday, Jesus.