By Todd Strandberg
Last week, Terry and I traveled to Dallas to attend the 2008 Pre-Trib Study Group, a conference made up of prophecy scholars who gather to present papers that mostly defend the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine. Joel Rosenberg was this year’s special speaker, and despite the economic hardship this year, we had a record crowd.
Because the material is of a very academic nature, I spend most of my time meeting with other members and doing three video interviews with people involved in other end-time ministries. During the two-and-a-half-day meeting, I only attended one two-hour lecture. That was one more than my partner Terry.
There is one part of the gathering that I always attend, however: the briefing on current events that's given by four speakers on the second night of each year's conference. Since I first joined the conference back in the late '90s, I’ve never heard a current events presentation with such a dark outlook on the future.
What makes 2009 such an ominous year are all the potential flash points. I've never seen a time marked by so much activity related to Bible prophecy. Here is a list of the main ones:
- The threat of a major terrorist attack
- The social impact of the worldwide economic meltdown
- The drive towards the establishment of the global government
- Russia becoming more like the old Soviet Union
- Iran trying to develop an atomic bomb
- Israel being threatened by several of its neighbors
- America making a sharp political turn to the left
With so much activity taking place today, you would think that prophecy-minded believers would be very busy getting ready for the Lord's return. I've noticed that the abundance of prophetic activity has had the opposite effect on Christians: Most seem to be doing nothing. It’s rather ironic that apathy is so prevalent; Jesus said that it would be a major sign of the end times.
"Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Mat. 24:44).
Right now, everyone seems to be watching for something big to happen. We might soon witness a major war in the Middle East, or the occurrence of some other calamity. Because the rapture could easily be the next event on God’s calendar, I would hate to have it occur while I was doing nothing.
There is no guarantee that Christians will be able to stand by as passive spectators. If our Lord tarries, hardship could be ahead as the current economic recession turns into a depression. As the world becomes more wicked, we may also find our religious freedoms soon coming under pressure.
Rather than just waiting around to see what happens, all Christians have the opportunity to take an active role in hastening our Lord's advent. Jesus Christ specifically told us to pray for His return. "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Mat. 6:9, 10).
Now that 2000 years have passed and all the signs point to the nearness of the last days, our prayers have the power to be more meaningful, more important, and more necessary than ever. God is still in control the prophetic time clock, but He will certainly listen to the voices of His children if they join together to call on Him.
I don't know why any believer wouldn't be crying out in prayer to "hasten the coming of the day of God" (2 Pet. 3:12). For many years, I've felt like a stranger in this land. Lately, I feel like Lot must have felt as he lived amongst the Sodomites. Many non-believers email each day, wishing I would indeed be raptured away, so my hope is that they soon get their wish.
I ask every child of God reading this week's Nearing Midnight Update to spend sometime this week praying for the Lord's soon return. At this late hour, the triggering point for the blessed hope may just require a few more Christians to say “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).