Almost 2,000 years ago, the apostle Peter prophesied that in the last days scoffers would appear, arguing against the possibility of Christ’s return.
The very argument he said they would use is today one of the most common among skeptics:
“Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, ‘What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.'”
2 Peter 3:3-4 (NLT)
In addition to ignoring Christ’s own promise to return, this argument is built upon a faulty premise: that “from before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.”
Is this really true?
In light of bible prophecy, simple observation would argue otherwise.
Things Continue Just As They Have For Nearly 2,000 Years
Just as the apostle Peter prophesied nearly 2,000 years ago, this is the most common argument put forth by the non-believing public. They argue that same signs of Christ’s return have appeared to previous generations – all of whom believed Jesus would return in their lifetime.
But is this true?
In making this argument, such people regard their proclamation that “everything has remained just the same since Jesus left” as some sort of self-evident truth. And, as we all know, things are pretty much the same now as they were in the first century.
Does anyone really believe this?
Or do they simply delude themselves into believing it?
This is such an absurd position that, in order to argue it, one must believe the following events are normal and not unprecedented as history would otherwise suggest:
1) The Gathering of the Jews in Israel
Numerous biblical prophecies foretold of the re-gathering of Israel as a nation.
Approximately 2,700 years ago, God revealed to the prophet Ezekiel a “Valley of Dry Bones” (Ezekiel Chapter 37). God spoke of these bones (the Jews) gathered together and covered with flesh and muscles (re-gathered from the nations) with life being breathed into them (a dead nation brought to life once again).
“Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones – all hope is gone.’ Now give them this message from the Sovereign Lord: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 37:11-13 (NLT)
Beginning in the late 19th Century, the birth of the Zionist movement culminated in the gradual emigration of Jews from all over the world to resettle the land of Israel. Each decade the number of returning Jews increased, until finally the nation of Israel came to life once again in 1948.
The claim that “everything has remained the same” since Christ first appeared doesn’t account for the nation of Israel. In 1948, Ezekiel’s prophecy was fulfilled right before the eyes of bible prophecy skeptics, and the world hasn’t been the same since.
2) Israel Becomes a Nation in a Single Day
In addition, the bible prophesied that when Israel became a nation again, it would do so in a single day:
“‘Who has ever seen or heard of anything as strange as this? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? But by the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin, the baby will be born; the nation will come forth. Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth and then not deliver it?’ asks the Lord. ‘No! I would never keep this nation from being born,’ says your God.” Isaiah 66:8-9 (NLT)
This event occurred in our generation on May 14, 1948. From the year A.D. 70 to A.D. 1948 – the overwhelming majority of the time since Christ first appeared – Israel did not exist as a nation.
The claim that “everything has remained the same” since Christ first appeared just doesn’t make sense. The nation of Israel exists once again, and just as the bible stated, it came into existence in a single day.
3) Jerusalem and Judah Will Become a Burden to the World
The bible prophesied that, in the last days, Jerusalem and Judah would become a burden to the world. In fact, they would become irresistible targets to neighboring nations who would send their armies to besiege and conquer:
“I will make Jerusalem and Judah like an intoxicating drink to all the nearby nations that send their armies to besiege Jerusalem. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone, a burden for the world. None of the nations who try to lift it will escape unscathed.” Zechariah 12:2-3 (NLT)
This prophecy is being fulfilled right before our eyes.
Since 1948, the nation of Israel has been besieged, at one time or another, by every neighboring nation in its geographic vicinity. Against great odds, the modern state of Israel has fought and survived four major wars – in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973 – as well as numerous violent conflicts.
Today, the City of Jerusalem, and Israel itself, are the epicenter of world attention. The Arab threat of war over Jewish possession of Israel and Jerusalem is a constant threat to world peace and international stability, making this geographic area a heavy burden on the world’s leaders.
The idea that this is simply “business as usual” or that “everything has remained the same” since Christ first appeared is utterly ridiculous. Despite its historical prominence, Jerusalem has never been “a burden for the world” until our generation.
4) The Rise of the Gog/Magog Alliance
The bible prophesies that, in the last days, Russia and a coalition of Muslim nations led by Iran will gather a horde of armies together in an effort to wipe Israel off the map. Israel will appear defenseless in the face of this massive invasion force with none of its worldly allies willing to come to its defense. However, God is Israel’s greatest ally, and He vows to make his presence known to the entire world by supernaturally destroying the armies allied against Israel:
“Therefore, son of man, prophesy against Gog. Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord: When my people are living in peace in their land, then you will rouse yourself. You will come from your homeland in the distant north with your vast cavalry and your mighty army, and you will cover the land like a cloud. This will happen in the distant future. I will bring you against my land as everyone watches, and my holiness will be displayed by what happens to you. Then all the nations will know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 38:14-16 (NLT)
Is this business as usual?
A coalition of these particular nations has never existed in history – at least until the present generation. Today, Russia and Iran are integral partners in a strategic anti-Western alliance. The other nations mentioned by Ezekiel are all anti-Western Muslim nations, and it’s not unreasonable to believe they would join Russia and Iran in a quest to destroy Israel.
5) Calls for Global Government
The bible also prophesies that, in the last days, one man will rule the world via global government:
“And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation.” Revelation 13:7 (NLT)
Although this prophecy has yet to be fulfilled, our generation has been witness to unprecedented global cooperation and interdependence. Ours is the first generation in history that could seriously consider global government. In fact, given the current trend of technological development, global government will soon become a necessity.
As a result, the claim that “everything has remained the same” since Christ first appeared is just plain absurd. The prospect of a truly global government has never been realistic for any generation in human history. But for our generation, it remains a very real possibility.
6) The Increasing Power of Human Technology
Is human technology the same now as it was in past generations?
Prior to our generation, most students of bible prophecy found it extremely difficult to comprehend certain end times prophecies. However, with the development of advanced technologies, many students can now see how such prophecies could be fulfilled.
For instance, how could the whole world “stare at the bodies” of the two witnesses in Revelation 11?
“When they complete their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the bottomless pit will declare war against them. He will conquer them and kill them. And their bodies will lie in the main street of Jerusalem, the city which is called ‘Sodom’ and ‘Egypt,’ the city where their Lord was crucified. And for three and a half days, all peoples, tribes, languages, and nations will come to stare at their bodies. No one will be allowed to bury them. All the people who belong to this world will give presents to each other to celebrate the death of the two prophets who had tormented them.” Revelation 11:7-10 (NLT)
For the first time in history, this prophecy can be fulfilled through worldwide satellite coverage on cable news networks. As of now, the poorest people in the world don’t have access to cable news networks, but the cost of video technology is declining rapidly. As a result, it’s not difficult to imagine a day in the not too distant future when the entire world population has access to high-bandwidth video feeds via cell phones, PDAs, or other handheld devices, making it easy for them to view an unfolding event in real time.
The amazing increase in the power of human technology in our generation opens the door for the fulfillment of such prophecies as the world looking at the bodies of the two witnesses, the Antichrist controlling world commerce, and the Antichrist conquering the entire world in a short period of time. Therefore, with each passing day, the notion that “everything has remained the same” since Christ first appeared continues to lose its credibility.
7) A Dramatic Increase in Travel and Knowledge
Over 2,600 years ago, it was revealed to the prophet Daniel that the end times would be marked by a noticeable increase in human travel and knowledge:
“But you, Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal up the book until the time of the end. Many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase.”Daniel 12:4 (NLT)
According to the Book of Daniel, two things will markedly increase just prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ:
Not only have transportation and knowledge increased, but their power and widespread use have done so exponentially. Simple observation has clearly shown this to be the case in the centuries since Daniel first recorded this prophecy.
Knowledge and transportation are now widely available to both rich and poor now more than at any other time in human history. In generations past, most people never wandered more than a short distance from their childhood homes.
Today, people routinely fly to the other side of the globe and back. In generations past, the world’s collective knowledge could be summed up in few hundred books. Today, millions of books and billions of Internet documents illustrate the unprecedented explosion in human knowledge.
Given the clearly observable dramatic increase in humanity’s knowledge base and ability to travel, how can anyone buy into the notion that “everything has remained the same since before the times of our ancestors”?
The seven prominent events outlined above are not the only events unique to our generation, yet they serve as a clear signal to the human race that ours is the generation that will witness Christ’s return:
“Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near.” Matthew 24:28 (NLT)
Obviously, everything has not remained the same since Christ first appeared. Just look at the world around us. Yet for hundreds of years after Christ first appeared, the world wasrelatively unchanged. Today, there?s no denying it is significantly different.
Christ commanded us to be alert to this time – to be alert to the signs of His coming. In fact, He rebuked the Pharisees for not recognizing the signs of His first coming, for they had full knowledge of the Old Testament Messianic prophecies, yet still chose not to believe in Him:
“One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus’ claims by asking him to show them a miraculous sign from heaven. He replied, ‘You know the saying, ‘Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow, red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’ You are good at reading the weather signs in the sky, but you can’t read the obvious signs of the times!'” Matthew 16:1-3(NLT)
Jesus fully expected the world to be waiting and to recognize the time of His first coming. As we patiently await His second coming, he holds our generation to the same standard of accountability. We have full access to, and knowledge of, the prophecies of His second coming. The signs of His return are loud and clear. They are all around us. Israel is once again a nation. Travel and knowledge have increased exponentially. The Gog/Magog Alliance is forming, and scoffers are abundant.
People who argue Jesus isn’t coming back because “ever since His time things have remained exactly the same” regard themselves as clever and discerning. They view those of us who hold this hope as fools engaged in wishful thinking. Yet, it is their logic which is foolishness in the eyes of God. Simple observation forces their argument to collapse like a house of cards, and the folly of their unbelief will be exposed on the day of His return. For just as Peter prophesied that scoffers would use a faulty premise in arguing against Christ’s return, he also affirmed Christ’s promise that the day of Lord will certainly come:
“But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief.” 2 Peter 3:8-10 (NLT)
Jesus is coming soon. The wise person will take note and make preparations accordingly.
“See, I am coming soon, and my reward is with me, to repay all according to their deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Revelation 22:12-13 (NLT)