by Todd Strandberg
One of the most repeated arguments against Bible prophecy is that people have been saying we're living in the last days for years. How do we know whether we really are living in the last days? One method I have found useful is to compare prophetic commentary made in the past with events occurring today.
Observations made in the past vs. ones made today
- Then: The study of Scripture numerology, or "Bible math", was big in the late 1880s. One key mathematical theory stated that the time of man will last 6,000 years. The starting point was around 4004 BC. The end of time would be around 2000 AD.
Today: Men who lived over 100 years ago forecasted Christ's return in our lifetime, not theirs. Also ironic is that now, when the time has come near, most prophetic ministries shy away from promoting this theory.
- Then: One author commented about the prophesied rebirth of Israel
by saying that nearly 20,000 Jews live in the Holy Land.
Today: Israel is now a reality, with a Jewish population of more than 5 million.
- Then: Most of the destruction on earth during the tribulation
was seen as coming from God.
Today: With the proliferation of nuclear forces, man himself has
the power to destroy life on earth.
- Then: The idea of a revived Roman Empire had men writing about
the city of Rome itself. One talked of all the new construction in the
city of Rome as a sign of the revival of the Roman Empire.
Today: The fact that Europe is reforming into the beast about which Daniel and John wrote is unmistakable. The European Union is the driving force behind this reconstitution.
- Then: In 1897, the first Zionist movement was held in Switzerland.
The birth of this movement caused a stir among prophecy writers.
Today: The Jews have returned to Israel from countries in which they have lived for centuries. Most of this relocating has occurred within the past few years.
- Then: : In the mid-1930s, one author noted that girls in pajama suits dancing bare foot before a Sunday evening congregation were a sign of the end times. The author noted that no one in attendance was unfavorably impressed.
Today: If those dancing girls set themselves ablaze, the fire marshal might be the only one who would care.
- Then: Moral decay was evident at beaches, where the costumes that bathers wore made one author speculate whether nude beaches might be on the way.
Today: Nude beaches did come, and the bathing suits that some bathers wear make one wonder whether all beaches might be classified as nude.
- Then: Modernism was considered "the apostasy" spoken of in the Bible. This modernism lacked leadership and had a general focus.
focus to it.
Today: Modernism has become the norm and has branched out in many directions. Higher forms of apostasy are now making inroads. The men of the last century couldn't have foreseen that pagan gods would share equal billing with Jesus, all religions would be moving towards unity, and even God himself would be pronounced dead.
- Then: Modern music was a sure sign of lawlessness. Swing music was cited as appealing to the worst in human nature and for causing people to lose all semblance of self control.
Today: The music of our day has changed a great deal since the turn of the 20th century. We went from Elvis, “the Pelvis", to Madonna and Michael Jackson grabbing themselves on stage. Some singers use certain four-letter words so repeatedly that one would think they were stutterers. The “Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll” has run the gamut and its musicians have left no stone unturned in their pursuit of filth.
The moral problems of long ago seem comical when compared to the ones of today. We almost have to smile as we read them. They would be funny if they didn't point out how corrupt our society has become. It is unlikely that 100 years from now, people will be comparing how evil their generation has grown since our time. I am convinced that man has exhausted his imagination when it comes to the invention of new evil deeds. Any comparisons made with us, future tense, would certainly show how values have improved or stayed the same.
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