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"I Will Come Again"

I Will Come Again


Come Quickly, 
Lord Jesus

 Means "Presence"

I Will Come Again

I.   “I Will Come Again” 
II.  Signs of Christ’s Presence 
III. Establishing the “Secret Presence” Concept 
IV. “Caught Up Together With Him” 
V.   “Every Eye Shall See Him” 
VI.  The Man of Sin 
Appendix A 
Appendix B 
Appendix C 
Appendix D 
Appendix E 
Scripture Index


I Will Come Again


Chapter Two

Signs of Christ's Presence

In considering the signs of Christ’s presence, it is important to recognize three scriptural points. 

(1) Since, as established in the previous chapter, the Greek word parousia means “presence” and not “coming,” then the signs that many accept as evidence of Christ’s imminent coming actually prove that he is already present. 

(2) Luke 17:26-27, Matthew 24:37-38 and many other scriptures reveal that Christ is present before the tribulation period. 

Luke 17:26-27 — “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.” 

The point of comparison is not between the arrival of Noah and the arrival of our Lord. It is not even between the coming of the flood and the coming of our Lord. The comparison is between the days of Noah before the flood and the days of the presence of our Lord before the tribulation with which this Gospel Age ends. In both periods, the people were in ignorance of the coming trouble. The days of the Son of man are the days of his parousia, presence—invisible and unknown to the world. Therefore, we should expect to see signs of Christ’s presence before the tribulation.


(3) These signs are to be recognized by alert Christians as a proof that Christ is present. This precludes an instantaneous gathering of the living church at Christ’s return. The dead in Christ are raised “first” when Christ returns, but those “living in Christ” remain on earth for a period of time after his return and see signs [9] of his thief-like presence. The scriptural teaching of the living saints being “caught up together” with the returned Lord will be considered in detail in a later chapter.

There are many proofs of Christ’s presence, some of which are here considered.

Israel Restored

Matthew 24:32 — “…the fig tree; when his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves.” 

The “fig tree” is generally accepted by students of prophecy as a symbol of the nation of Israel. (Jeremiah 24) In Matthew 21:19, Jesus cursed the fig tree because he found no fruit on it and it withered away. Shortly thereafter, he proclaimed judgment on the nation of Israel, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate,” because they had not borne fruitage to God. (Matthew 23:38) 

Israel was subsequently scattered and persecuted. Historians agree that Israel’s rebirth is a miracle of history. Never before has a nation been destroyed, its people dispersed to the ends of the earth, and then, nearly 2,000 years later, regathered to their homeland and re-established as a nation. The fig tree coming back to life, putting forth leaves, represents Israel coming to life as a nation and receiving God’s favor increasingly.

Matthew 24:32, Mark 13:28 and Luke 21:29 all say when “the fig tree putteth forth leaves ye know that summer is nigh.” Matthew and Mark follow this by saying, “so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things know ye that it is near, even at the doors.” Some claim that the word “it” in Matthew 24:33 and Mark 13:29 should be translated “he” and feel the verse means that when Israel (the fig tree) brings forth leaves, then not “it,” but “he” (Christ) is near at hand. This is not correct. The “it” refers back to the “summer” in the previous verse. When the fig tree shoots forth leaves, then “summer is nigh.”

“Summer” is the kingdom time of favor on earth that follows the destruction of the present social order by Christ. Christ is already here when the fig tree returns to life. His presence brings about the restoration of Israel and the destruction of our present [10]  evil world to make room for his kingdom that will rule from the rivers to the ends of the earth.

How can we be certain that the “it” refers to the kingdom and not to Christ? It is wonderful how the Bible is its own interpreter. Again, the Bible interprets a key word by means of a parallel account.

Luke 21:31 replaces the word “it” of Matthew and Mark with the phrase “kingdom of God.” Compare Luke 21:29-31 with Matthew 24:32-33 and Mark 13:28-29.

Luke 21: 29-31 — “And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.” 

Many Christians will agree that the fig tree, Israel restored, is the greatest sign of our Lord’s prophecy. Actually, Israel’s reappearance is a proof that Christ is present.

Jerusalem No Longer Trodden Down

Luke 21:24 — “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” 

Jerusalem, in this passage, has been generally interpreted two ways. 

(1) “Jerusalem” is the literal city. Therefore, the maximum extension of fulfillment would be 1967 when the old city, Biblical Jerusalem, was captured and became a part of the modern State of Israel.

(2) “Jerusalem” is symbolic of the Jewish people. The incipient fulfillment began when World War I resulted in the guarantee of a national homeland for the Jews.

Jerusalem’s ceasing to be trodden down of the Gentiles was given by Jesus as a sign of his parousia. Since parousia means presence, not coming, whichever application we place on “Jerusalem,” Christ must now be present because Jerusalem is no longer trodden down by the Gentiles. [11]

Other New Nations

Luke 21:29-30 — “Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth….” 

If the “fig tree” is symbolic of the new nation of Israel, then it is logical to conclude that all the other trees shooting forth leaves picture the birth of other new nations. Israel and all the new nations are signs of Christ’s presence. Since 1948, over 130 new nations have joined the United Nations. The birth of so many new nations is further proof that Christ has returned.

“Many Shall Run To and Fro and 
Knowledge Shall be Increased.” Daniel 12:4

The events of Daniel 12:4 occur when Michael the archangel stands up in the Time of the End. (Daniel 12:1; Jude 9) First Thessalonians 4:16 shows that Christ’s return is accompanied by the symbolism of “the voice of the archangel.” Therefore, the events that follow Michael’s (“the archangel”) standing up in Daniel 12 are proofs that the Lord is present.

“Many run to and fro.” Through increased and numerous modes of transportation millions are crossing and recrossing each other’s paths around the world. 

Selden’s first automobile in 1877 marked the leap forward in transportation. The world’s car population has grown five times as fast as the human population over the last 50 years. In 1950, there were 53 million cars. Today, there are over 600 million cars.

In the past 100 years, man has increased his travel from 30 mph to the fastest escape velocity from Earth at 36,250 mph, achieved by the NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft in 2006 enroute to the planet Pluto.

“Knowledge Shall Increase”

Information Explosion. The capabilities of science and technology have advanced at sensational rates. Cloning, genetic engineering, information technology, communications, precision mapping of the world, and routine flights in outer space have become common. [12]

More information has been produced in the last 20 years than the previous 5,000. If the increase of knowledge from the dawn of history to the 1800s is given a value of one, then knowledge has doubled 16 times within the last 10 years. Today, the amount of information and knowledge in the world is doubling every 18 months.

Literacy. One hundred years ago, 90 percent of the world’s population could not read or write.

Today, the literacy rate of youths ages 14 to 24 is 100 percent in developed countries and 85 percent in developing countries. The literacy rate of adults over age 15 is 99 percent in developed countries and 74 percent in developing countries. By 2003, 85% of American adults completed high school and 27 percent of adults age 25 and over held college degrees.

Communications. Sophistication in communications allows man to see and hear throughout the world instantly. 

Telephones/Cell Phones. Between 1997 and 2002 the number of telephone lines grew by 40%, and the number of cell phone users grew by 547%. For the first time, mobile phones outnumbered fixed-line phone connections by 1.05 billion. By 2005, 2,168,433,600 cellular telephones were in use worldwide, with over 690 mobile networks across 213 countries.

Computers. Computer usage and the amount of information transmitted through them have increased phenomenally. Host computers increased 16.5% in 2002 to 1,716 million, drawing more than 600 million people online regularly. 

In 1991 there were 4.4 million Internet users worldwide. By 2005 there were over 1 billion. Today, it is estimated that there are more than 38 million websites, and the number of emails is in the trillions every month. In 2000, the Internet was processing 600 million domain requests per day. By 2003, over 9 billion per day were being processed. In 2004, Google got only 138 requests a minute. By 2007 Google search engines were receiving about 1 billion requests a day in 90 languages.

Optical fiber technology has made a 400-fold increase in speed. In 1991, data was transmitted through optical fiber at 32 billion bits per second. The world’s fastest supercomputer is Japan’s Earth Simulator. It simulates weather and earthquake [13] patterns. It performs 35 trillion calculations a second. It is almost twice as fast as the next fastest computer.

Inventions. Ninety percent of all scientists who have ever lived are alive today. Fifty percent of the world’s inventions have been created in the last decade.

The noted historian Barbara Tuchman has observed, “Man entered the Nineteenth Century using only his own and animal power, supplemented by that of wind and water, much as he had entered the Thirteenth or, for that matter, the First. He entered the Twentieth with his capacities in transportation, communication, production, manufacture, and weaponry multiplied a thousand-fold by the energy of machines.” (The Proud Tower, foreword, xvi) 

Unprecedented travel and increase of knowledge mark the presence of Christ.

Evils are Exposed as Never Before

1 Corinthians 4:5 — “Therefore, judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts…” 

Never in all the annals of history have ecclesiastics, statesmen, men in government, heads of industry, labor leaders, and the rich been so cross-questioned, criticized, and exposed as now at the bar of public judgment. Notwithstanding their determined effort to avoid the examination, they are obliged to go to trial. Watergate, Irangate, Enron, corporate scandals, insider-trading, and exposed manipulations by multi-national oil interests are but a few examples.

The most significant thing about these frauds is not that they took place (corruption is as old as human history), but that they could not be covered up. Why? We are living in the time when the “hidden things of darkness” will be made “manifest.” Even totalitarian states like the former Soviet Union and the Eastern European Communist Block nations were powerless to prevent the exposure of political and economic corruption that resulted in the overthrow of the communist empire. These worldwide exposures of corruption are another proof that we are at the time of our Lord’s return and the end of the world. [14]

Little Faith on the Earth

Luke 18:8 — “…When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” 

2 Timothy 4:1-4 — “…his appearing…the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine…and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 

Infidelity is rampant from university to pulpit. In the professed church of Christ the Word of God is no longer the standard of faith, the guide of life. Human philosophies and theories are taking its place. Even heathen vagaries are flourishing in places formerly beyond their pale.

A survey taken among delegates to the National Council of Churches revealed:

Over 33% could not state they had a firm belief in God; 31% could not say there is life after death; 62% did not believe miracles happened as the Bible says they did; 77% did not believe the devil actually exists; and 87% percent rejected the Bible concept of inherited sin. 

Our day is in such marked contrast with the past that church historians speak of it as the post-Christian era. This worldwide scarcity of faith means the Son of man has come.

Many denying the “invisible presence” is a 
SIGN of Christ’s presence. 2 Peter 3:3-4

Vs. 3 — Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,”

Vs. 4 — And saying, Where is the promise of his coming (parousiapresence)? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. [That is, there are no signs of his presence.] [15]

2 Peter 3:4 proves parousia does not mean visible presence. In fact, it proves that Jesus would be present while some would be scoffing — “Where is the promise of his presence?” This proves Christ is invisibly present while some are saying he cannot be present because there are no signs of his presence. It is literally impossible to have scoffers denying that a visibly present person is not present.

During the “end times” in which we live, some have denied that the Lord is present. 2 Peter 3:4 predicted this would happen. Therefore, Christians’ denial of the Lord’s invisible presence is one of the strongest proofs or signs that the Lord is present.

“Last Days” Signs of Christ’s Presence

The foregoing proves that the “last days” referred to in 2 Peter 3:3-4 are a part of the period of Christ’s parousia or presence. Consequently, the signs of the “last days” in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 are, in reality, signs of Christ’s presence.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 — “In the last days will come time of troubles. Men will love nothing but money and self  [affluence and materialism]; no gratitude, no piety…implacable in their hatreds, scandalmongers, intemperate and fierce [drug addiction and senseless violence], despisers of those that are good, traitors…lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, men who hold an outward form of religion, but are a standing denial of its reality.” (N.E.B., K.J.V.)

These verses read like Twenty-first Century headlines. A further word about one of these signs:

“Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” This has been remarkably fulfilled in a prevalent philosophy of today. “Hedonism,” the philosophy that the end and object of life is pleasure, is not new. But today, for the first time, it has received general acceptance throughout the world. The various conditions predicted in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 are further proof that we are in the “last days” of this “present evil world.” [16]

Today is the age of leisure. For sinful man, leisure breeds pleasure. Pleasure breeds immorality. In rich countries, working hours are shorter—vacations and holidays, longer. The average middle-class household is filled with televisions, video and DVD players, music systems, magazines, newspapers, books, and personal computers, as well as paraphernalia for hobbies and sports. Never have so many people had so much time for wholesome or for degrading activities.

Pleasure is big business. 16% of the world’s people buy 80% of all consumables. International tourism generated an estimated $682 billion in 2005. Hollywood movie costs are enormous—with an average film budget of $200 million. Sports television broadcasting of the 2002 World Cup amounted to 41,000 viewing hours. Major sports stars are paid above $10 million a year for those at the top. 

Worldwide revenues for the pornographic industry in 2006 were $97 billion, with revenues in the U.S. at $13.3 billion. Every second $3,075.64 is spent on pornography, and 28,258 Internet users view pornography. Pornography accounts for 20% to 30% of all Internet traffic. 

Revolution and Anarchy

Zephaniah 1:7-9 — “For the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests. And it shall come to pass in the day of the Lord’s sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king’s children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel. In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit.” 

The terms “princes,” “king’s children,” and “masters” refer symbolically to the old establishment before the “Lord’s day,” which was controlled by an alliance of the wealthy, government leaders, and church prelates who dominated the masses especially prior to the 20th century.

This Scripture shows not only that there will be a great overthrow of wealth and power in the day of the Lord’s presence but, [17] also, that the trouble will involve all classes. The revolutionary masses involved in breaking down the present systems will also be punished for their equally unjust and unrighteous course. 

Throughout the Christian Age, economically speaking, there have been basically two classes: the “haves” and the “have-nots.” A large middle class is a peculiarity of our era and locates us in the Day of the Lord. For centuries, the wealthy have been aligned with church and state in the exploitation of the masses.

But now we are in the “Day of the Lord” spoken of by Zephaniah. To recompense the exploitations of the past, the returned Lord has prepared a “sacrifice” from the avaricious accumulations of the wealthy. And the “guests” (masses) have been invited to share. This economic leveling has resulted in the large middle class of our day. The masses of the 20th century have enjoyed unprecedented economical and social advantages.

Third World Nations Are Demanding 
Their Piece of the Economic Pie.

Demonstrations, riots, and struggles between capital and labor, racial majorities and minorities, and wealthy and poor nations will progressively get worse in the day of the Lord’s presence until they end in complete anarchy. Already, anarchy is just below the surface—ready to burst forth at the slightest provocation.

The Lord is balancing the scales of justice for past wrongs. The exploited classes with their unjustified demands and violence have nothing better to offer. Because their ideologies are honeycombed with selfishness, they will accomplish but one thing: the destruction of the present social order.

The events that Zephaniah foretells take place during the Day of the Lord. The magnitude of the prophecy rules out a 24-hour day—or a shorter period of time. The masses are invited to share the economic excess of the wealthy, and time is required to reveal the deceit and violence of the exploited as they revolt against the status quo.

The last century has been characterized by revolutions in every area—political, social, cultural, industrial, and economic. [18] The 21st century will witness increased economic upheavals until the “present evil world” or social order collapses.

Some revolutions have been characterized by violence. In the 20th century 26 principle monarchies were abolished, 35 democracies were established, 31 democracies were overthrown in military coups, and over 32 principle single party states were established.

Other revolutions have been accomplished by ballot, defending the rights of exploited men, women, children, and animals. The whole revolutionary trend of our day, with its periodic violent eruptions, is another sign that the Lord has returned and will replace the ruins of our social order with his Kingdom.

The Wealthy Are Fighting Back. Never has there been greater wealth, but now poverty is becoming widespread and the gap between the richest and poorest is once again widening. Of all high-income nations, the U.S. has the most unequal distribution of income. The top 1% now own more than the bottom 90%. Consequently, 45 million people in the U.S. are living in poverty.

Global Disparity. In spite of economic leveling, the average inhabitant of the world’s richest country is over 100 times wealthier than the average inhabitant of the poorest. Between 1960 and 1995, the disparity in per capita income between the world’s 20 richest and 20 poorest nations more than doubled from 18 to 1 to 37 to 1. 

The top fifth (20%) of the world’s people who live in the highest income countries have access to 86% of world gross domestic product (GDP). The bottom fifth, in the poorest countries racked with starvation, has about 1%. Worldwide anarchy will follow.

Wars and War Preparations

Joel 3:9-11 — “Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears; let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come…gather yourselves together round about…”

Joel 3:1 identifies the events of this chapter as occurring during the regathering of [19] Israel. As already seen, the regathering of Israel is a proof of Christ’s presence. Therefore, in the days of Israel’s return, the wars and intensified war preparations are further signs of Christ’s presence. (Joel 3:1) 

A phenomenon of our era is the two World Wars affecting every corner of the globe. From 1990 to 1995, 70 states were involved in 93 wars killing 5.5 million people

Sociologist Andreski, the noted expert on wars, noted, “Our own century has so far been much more warlike than its predecessor.” Concurring, Time magazine observes that 100,000,000 have died in wars since the beginning of the 20th century, while only 3,845,000 died in the 19th century. (Time, March 9, 1970) 

Natural Resource Wars. Resource-related conflicts during the 1990s killed more than 5 million people and displaced 17 to 21 million. The population explosion and industrialization of Third World nations accentuate the oil crunch. Nations will go to war for oil and other resources. 

War Preparations. The premium is on nuclear armaments. Many Third World nations have the poor man’s bomb—chemical warfare—and are working on actual nuclear warheads. Such volatile weaponry in the hands of these regimes spells trouble.

The U.S. is now the world’s sole military colossus, accounting for 40 percent of all military spending, or $322 billion. The next ten highest military spenders combined total $314 billion. The rest of the world’s military spending combined total $188 billion. 

World military expenditures in 2001 were conservatively estimated at $839 billion—or $2.3 billion each day—almost $100 million every hour. More than 75% of the total is spent by just 15 countries.

Wars and intensified war preparations are another proof of the return of Christ.

Let the Weak Say I Am Strong

The previous scripture in Joel 3:10 reveals that during the intensity of war and war preparations, the weak nations say, “I am strong.” For centuries the weaker nations placated and satisfied the whims of the stronger nations in fear of the consequences. This has changed in our day. In the U.N., the weaker powers [20] stand up to the great powers, verbally assailing and influencing them as never before. The court of world opinion and power politics limits the harassment of weaker nations by major powers.

The greatest power in the world today, the U.S., has bitterly experienced the “weak” saying, “I am strong.” In the war against North Korea and again in the conflict with North Vietnam, the U.S. was unable to wage total war for fear of the consequences of world opinion. With hat in hand, the U.S. gradually withdrew from Vietnam, hoping not to lose too much face in an impossible situation. The stranglehold of the small oil-rich nations on the economies of great world powers is another fulfillment of this sign. 

Terrorism has been a tool the “weak” have used to control the “strong.” Since 9/11 especially, an extreme minority of Islamic fundamentalists have terrorized the super giants like the U.S., Russia, England, etc. Over 1,700 terrorist incidents were reported in 2002, leaving over 1,500 dead and almost 3,800 injured.

The weak nations saying, “I am strong,” is still another proof that Christ has returned.

“Peace and Safety”

In “The Day of the Lord” “… when they shall say Peace and Safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child….” 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3

“The Day of the Lord” is marked by fearful nations crying for peace in conferences, but to no avail. The trouble comes upon them in spasms as “travail upon a woman with child.”

In 1907 a world court was set up at The Hague, Netherlands, to arbitrate international disputes. War was outlawed! “Peace and safety” were assured. Then World War I shook the world with an impact unprecedented in history as a whole world order began to crumble. In 1938 Neville Chamberlain “appeased” Hitler with part of Czechoslovakia and returned to England pronouncing “Peace in our times.” Shortly after, the nations were embroiled in World War II.

No previous generation has witnessed such a frenzy of peace-efforts, both on the United Nations level and nation-to-nation negotiations. [21]

Yet, 54% of the peace agreements break down within 5 years of signature. Expenditures for U.N. peacekeeping increased from $2.6 billion in 2002 to roughly $5 billion in 2005. Contrast this with military expenditures worldwide, which increased from $839 billion in 2001 to $1.1 trillion in 2005.

In spite of these peacekeeping missions, war and sudden destruction continue to erupt as in Korea, Vietnam, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, etc. The Cold War ended with the fall of the Soviet Union. No longer was there rivalry between two super-powers, the United States and the Soviet Union. Seemingly, the world would now have peace. Then, small wars like Desert Storm and the Yugoslavian ethnic wars broke out. The U.S. war on terrorism has thus far included Afghanistan and Iraq. The Scriptures also indicate that Russia will again become a power to reckon with. N. Korea and Iran remain continual threats. The unprecedented peace efforts of our time prove the presence of Christ.

Unprecedented Trouble

Matthew 24:21-22 — “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved…” 

Remember, in Matthew 24:3 this unprecedented trouble is a sign that Christ is present, parousia (presence, not coming). Watchful Christians discern Christ is invisibly present during this “great tribulation.” Therefore, it cannot apply to a seven-year period between “a secret rapture” and his visible return. (See a detailed discussion on the “seven-year tribulation” theory, Appendix E.)

Historians agree we are in just such an era of unprecedented trouble. For example:

Looking back from the vantage point of the present, we see that the outbreak of World War I ushered in a twentieth-century ‘Time of Troubles’…from which our civilization has by no means yet emerged. Directly or indirectly all the convulsions of the last half century stem back to 1914 and [22] Sarajevo: the two World Wars, the Bolshevik Revolution, the rise and fall of Hitler, the continuing turmoil in the Far and Near East, the power-struggle between the Communist world and our own… —Edmond Taylor, The Fall of the Dynasties, Doubleday, N.Y., 1963, p. 16.

Yet, “in the toll from Democide [the murder of any people by a political system that habitually and systematically murders large numbers of its own citizens], possibly even more than 350,000,000 were killed at the high end of the range, we have experienced in this century the equivalent of nuclear war.” (R.J. Rummel, The Wall Street Journal, July 7, 1986)

In his book Out of Control, Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor and professor of American Foreign Policy at John Hopkins University, notes that the 20th century began amid great hope and promise, but became the century of insanity. In elaborating on his observation of 175 millions slaughtered in the name of the “politics of organized insanity,” he says:

Contrary to its promise, the 20th century became mankind’s most bloody and hateful century of hallucinatory politics and of monstrous killings. Cruelty was institutionalized to an unprecedented degree, lethality was organized on a mass production basis. The contrast between the scientific potential for good and the political evil that was actually unleashed is shocking. Never before in history was killing so globally pervasive, never before did it consume so many lives, never before was human annihilation pursued with such concentration of sustained effort on behalf of such arrogantly irrational goals.

Additionally, the population explosion, hunger, AIDS, pollution, global warming, crime, violence, drugs, and financial crises have all contributed toward making our time the “great tribulation” of Matthew 24:21. Unprecedented tribulation as a result of [23] Christ’s presence is everywhere. It has never been so widespread and intense.

Nations On The Run—Another Remarkable Prophecy

Amos 5:18-20 — “Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! To what end is it for you? The day of the LORD is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a [1] lion, and a [2] bear met him; or went into the [3] house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a [4] serpent bit him.” 

In Amos’ prophecy the fleeing man represents the world’s experiences in this dark “time of trouble.” At the beginning of the 20th century, Great Britain ruled the most expansive empire on earth. The [1] lion in this prophecy, Britain’s national symbol, appropriately illustrated the mighty nation that devoured (colonized) weaker nations. Colonialism’s suffocating grasping led to the world’s fleeing to another form of government.

The man in Amos 5:20 escaped the lion only to meet the bear—a form of government diametrically opposed to the grasping greed of colonialism—Communism! [2] The former Soviet Union, the “bear” of Amos’ prophecy, offered man another hope for safety in this time of trouble. Communism’s failure to rescue man was underscored by its precipitous fall. The nations are now seeking another hope of security—nationalism. The Soviet Union broke up into fourteen independent nations. The seven satellite countries of Eastern Europe declared their autonomy as nations.

Entering the “house” of nationalism has been anything but comfortable for the nations of the world. Ethnic hatred fractured Yugoslavia into six new nations: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, the Republic of Macedonia, Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro. Western nations are still paying the consequences. First Afghanistan, now Chechnian nationalism is terrorizing Russia. Ethnic nationalism has exploded into the killing fields of Africa—Yemen, Nigeria, Congo, Rwanda, Zambia, etc. [24]

While the people put their “hand on the wall” seeking support of nationalism, they are bitten by the serpent, “…that old Serpent, which is the Devil and Satan….” Rev. 20:2. Another deception will yet follow—perhaps Babylon’s short-lived rise to power.

Twentieth century history—a remarkable fulfillment of Amos 5—is proof that the Day of the LORD is here. These are not signs of the imminent coming of Christ. Rather, they are signs of Christ’s parousia—presence. Christ has returned. [25]