Do you think that it is possible that Judgement Day is near because many
of the signs are happening such as earthquakes famines and
pestilences? Also, it is now possible to have battles of 200,000,000 men
as described in Revelation.


I think it is possible that Judgement Day is near, but I do not think that
things happening today, such as earthquakes and famines are a sign, in
particular, that the Day is at hand. I am assuming that your question is
an allusion to Luke 21:10,11. In this passage, Jesus says, “Nation will
rise against nation, and kinigdom against kingdom. There will be great
earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events
and great signs from heaven.” The first question we should ask is what
event is Jesus prophesying about in this passage? If I pass down to Luke
21:20, Jesus says, “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, you will
know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to
the mountains, le tthose in the city get out, and let those in the country
not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of
all that has been written.” Jesus continues from there. My conclusion is
that in the context, Jesus is almost certainly talking about the
destruction of Jerusalem which occurred in AD 70 when the Roman armies
under Titus surrounded the city. At that time, historians tell us that
the Christians left Jerusalem, escaping the destruction of the Jews.

If this is true, then the earthquakes, famines and pestilences Jesus
refers to in Luke 21:10,11 are most likely not even a reference to the end
of the world or the second coming of Jesus. I will admit that this
conclusion is not absolutely certain because it seems to me as I read the
entire passage that Jesus actually passes from a description of the
destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 (Luke 21:12-33) to a discussion of the
final end times, especially in the version in Matthew (Matthew 24:30-51).
Therefore I can say that probably the earthquakes, famines and pestilences
are given as a sign of events which happened almost two thousand years
ago, but I would not be dogmatic about this.

Let us imagine, just for a moment, that the pestilences, famines and
earthquakes in Luke 21:10,11 are, in fact, given as a sign of the second
coming of Jesus. I do not agree with this interpretation, but let us
allow for this possibility. Under this assumption, would Luke 21:10,11 be
a prophecy of today’s events? I say probably no. I know of no evidence
at all that we are having any more earthquakes today than at any other
time. There were no more earthquakes in the past few years than at other
times, so there is no reason to see in earthquakes today a reason to
expect they portend the second coming. As for famines and pestilences, we
have not seen these things disappear, but I believe it would be fair to
say that there are less famines and pestilences today than there were at
many other times in the past. Famine is relatively rare today, although
hunger is not. Pestilences have not disappeared, but modern medicine has
reduced their prevalence. So I do not see any reason at all, based on
current events, to think that our current situation lends itself toward
being the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jesus in Luke 21:10,11. It is
worth noting that Jesus said in regard to the time of his return, “No one
knows about the day or the hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the
Son, but only the Father.” Jesus seems to be discouraging speculation
about the time of his return. I believe we would do well to heed his
advice. Anyone who claims to know when Jesus is coming back is almost
certainly mistaken. You would do well to ignore such a teacher. The
attitude of Jesus toward such matters is that we should be ready at any
time for him to come back. That is the meaning of the Parable of the
Virgins in Matthew chapter 25.

So, I am afraid that there is no specific evidence I can see that
Judgement Day is near. It may be, and we had better be ready, but there
is not evidence today to assume it is near.

Now, about the two hundred million men you refer to in Revelation,
I assume you have Revelation 9:16 in mind. Let me say a few things about
this. First of all, the apostle John made it very clear that the visions
he saw were about events which were “soon to take place.” (Revelation
1:1). I believe that these visions were principally about the spiritual
battle which raged during John’s life and soon after, when the Romans
persecuted the church. The great majority of the book of Revelation is
not about the future, but about the past. As for the two hundred million
mounted troops, these are almost certainly used as a symbolic number. It
is a big mistake to take the visions in Revelation literally. Apocalyptic
language, such as that in Revelation, as well as Zechariah, Joel, parts of
Ezekiel and so forth, is intended to be taken symbolically, not
literally. If you take the two hundred million horsemen literally in
Revelation nine, then it certianly cannot be about today. Cavalry are
virtually non-existent today. I am very comfident that there are not two
hundred million horses alive on the earth at this time. Any attempt to
interpret Revelation chapter nine literally is sure to fail. In modern
religious circles, it is popular to hear and read about present-day
fulfillments of the visions in Revelation. Most of this material is of no
value. It is popular, but it is false interpretation.

Even if it were true that Revelation chapter nine, with its visions of the
angels, were about the present day, which I believe is not possible, it
still would not connect with Luke 21:10,11. There is nothing in the
prophecy in Luke 21 which would lead us to believe that it is a reference
to the events portrayed in Revelation nine. The details have nothing in
common. Anyone who draws a parallel between these prophecies is most
likely the victim of an overactive imagination.

In conclusion, there is no reason whatsoever to see current events to be a
fulfillment of Matthew 24 or Luke 21. There is also no reason to form a
connection between these passages and the two hundred million horsemen of
Revelation chapter nine. Our best response to both passages is to be
aware that God is in control, and to do our absolute best to be prepared
for Jesus to return, because none of us knows the day or the hour of his
return. I pray that this is how you are living your life today.

John Oakes

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