When the time is right

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Sometimes things happen just because we are in the right place at the right time. Or, if it is something bad that happens, because we were in the wrong place at that very time.

What if we had been born at a different time in the world’s history? If you had been born in the Middle Ages, just reading this website (had it been around at the time!) could have cost you your life. Many people were executed just because they wanted to read the Bible for themselves. At that time the Church held the monopoly of Bible teaching and you had to believe what they said, or else!

Times and Seasons

We have plenty of reasons to be grateful that we happen to be living in the 21st century and not at a much earlier time. Inventions and discoveries have made life much easier in some respects. We don’t have to work quite as hard as our forebears. We have the advantage of electricity and technology, even if we take them for granted most of the time. And most of us have complete freedom of religious belief and expression, which is a real blessing. But the time we were born wasn’t something we had any control over. We happened along when it happened; it was nothing to do with us. We had no say in the matter.

It was like that with the Lord Jesus too. When the time was right, God sent forth His Son having told Mary that she was to bear a child by the power of the Holy Spirit:

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“When the fulness of the time had come, God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4,5).

The time was indeed right for, long before, God had indicated exactly when His Son was to be born. The prophet Daniel prayed earnestly for deliverance and salvation and God had given him a detailed timescale of when the Saviour and Redeemer would come, and what would happen to him. Daniel lived at the time of the Persian Empire and was told that from the time that a command was given for the rebuilding of Jerusalem (and that happened in 457 BC) it would be 69 x 7 years until the coming of Messiah.

If you work that out, it comes to 483 years, and to 27AD, the very time when Jesus announced the start of his ministry in Israel. Then, the angel said, “Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined” (Daniel 9:26).

So, even the death of the Lord Jesus was forecast hundreds of years before it happened, and so was his Second Coming, in power and great glory.

When, when, when?

From the very first, when Jesus was teaching and doing wonderful works in Israel, people wanted to know when he would come as a Conqueror, just as the Old Testament promised.  

Jesus gave a very clear programme of events as to what had to happen first. He spoke of wars, famines, earthquakes, nations in distress, people worrying about the future, not knowing which way to turn, and the spread of false Christianity and false religion (see Matthew chapter 24; Mark 14 and Luke 21 for the full details). But he also said that nobody knew the precise day and hour of his  Return; nobody except God Himself:

“Of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36).

To this day nobody knows precisely when Jesus will come, except that it will happen when the time is right. For God controls everything: all human history and earthly government is under His command (see Daniel 4:17). But Jesus gave one key indicator, which has now been fulfilled after almost 2000 years. He said that the Jews would eventually return to Jerusalem (see Luke 21:24), something that only happened 40 years ago, in 1967, when the city came under Jewish control after the Six Days War.

The Time is Right

That’s a huge bonus for us, and one we could have done nothing to arrange. All previous generations of believers, watching and waiting for the Coming of Jesus had to focus their attention on the possibility of the Jews returning to the land their forefathers once occupied. As recently as the beginning of the 20th Century that seemed unlikely, for the land was under Turkish control and resident Jews were not even allowed to own land there.

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But, step by step, all that has changed. In May 1948 − less than 60 years ago − the nation of Israel was established, albeit in circumstances that suggested it could be a shortlived political experiment; for they were at war at the time against stronger local opposition. Their survival and increase was foreordained, however, in the purpose of God and today the nation of Israel is a force to be reckoned with, and things that happen there frequently lead in news bulletins around the world.

Any time now the Lord Jesus Christ is returning and we need to be ready. For, when the time is right, Jesus will come; and his coming will transform the world. God’s Kingdom is to be established once again on earth. The desert will bloom; peace will abound; and at last the earth will begin to give Almighty God the glory that is His due.