Just some thoughts as I was reading Luke 13:6-9. Please read through to the end.
There are common unifying traits among the watchmen. One is that we long for the appearing of Christ. Secondly, we look for signs of Jesus' appearing. Thirdly, we tend to study patterns, parallels and prophecies that portend His appearing. Fourthly, we tell people.
I can't find one fault in these things, other than we do tend to allow our hopefulness to see Christ's appearing to make us overly susceptible to sometimes making errors. Granted, we all have the best intentions. I won't name all of our mistakes over the years. Our detractors will do that for us.
Relying on what we believe to be true, we can make certain value judgements that would pertain to many of us.
1. We believe to be absolutely true that we are living in the final generation and many of us will live to see Him coming.
2. Many, but not all, believe in the pretribulation rapture. Some believe in a prewrath, or midtribulation rapture. A few, such as myself, believe there will be two rapture events. For purposes of discussion, I will forgo dealing our differences or with the post-tribulation group of believers.
3. We believe the things that we do because we have lived to see the fulfillment of Bible prophecies such as the rebirth of Israel, the making of Jerusalem the capital, the return of the Jews to the promised land and a host of other events that were foretold by the Spirit filled prophets in the Old and New Testaments.
Insofar as we are 63 years from the rebirth of Israel, it is natural for us to believe that things will wrap up quickly. Afterall, how much longer can a generation be expected to live? I certainly don't expect to live to 120 years of age! Nor do I want to.
There are strong indicators that the pretribulation rapture could occur very, very soon. That being said, we know from studying the Bible that there are some unfulfilled prophecies that may come to fulfillment within the coming months (whether it is before the rapture, or shortly after it). Those are:
1. The destruction of Damascus.
2. The war of Gog and Magog.
From following the news, it is not hard to envision either of these two happening soon. Am I wrong in thinking they might be very soon?
At this point I feel like I have to crawl out on the limb that so far I didn't want to go out on. If the rapture doesn't happen within weeks, we might have to wait until next year. Possibly the Spring, Summer, or Fall of 2012. The Lord knows I don't want to wait and I hope you know that too. But I have to ask myself why the following scripture is in our Bibles.
Scripture: Luke 13:6-9
6 And he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 And he said to the vinedresser, `Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down; why should it use up the ground?' 8 And he answered him, `Let it alone, sir, this year also, till I dig about it and put on manure. 9 And if it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'
The fig tree mentioned in these verses should probably apply to the Jews of Israel. There are several Bible passages where Israel is compared to a fig tree. When Jesus spoke these words, He could have been applying them to the Jews who were living at that time. If so, we may not have to fear waiting another year.
I do not think that this short passage has anything at all to do with us. I honestly do not want to believe that it does. I do not think that I could bear it if I have to wait. But if I allow myself to drop any preconceived hopeful beliefs regarding the timing, these verses might have to be taken into consideration.
What would waiting another six months, or one more year mean to us? First of all, it would mean the two wars I mentioned earlier. I certainly don't think America would escape unscathed if they should happen. Secondly, we could go from a bad economy that is affecting some of us to a devastated economy that will affect all of us severely and brutally. That's not just my speculation. That's what many economist are speculating about next year (and I don't think they are taking anything into consideration other than their number columns). I don't think they were taking into account what war could bring. Thirdly, there is every good reason to expect a dramatic surge in natural disasters to underscore the labor pains analogy. This means more tornadoes, earthquakes, flooding, etc. and all of them further increasing in frequency and severity. Fourthly, signs in the heavens which frankly could mean a number of things. NASA is already warning that next year we should be on high alert for an increase in solar storms and I have already posted information on what that could bring. It could mean a "Carrington event" which could shutdown the power grid and burning out every electronic device with almost no warning (as short as 15 minutes to turn off every power system, satellite, computer and electronic appliance). What are the odds of that? Not much.
I have to stop right there. Speculating on if we have to wait any longer is just too troubling. I remind myself that it is better to hope that the rapture is a few weeks away. Considering the other options is just too gut wrenchingly awful to contemplate. So we wait and put our hope and trust in Jesus Christ. Nothing left to be said other than to ask your forgiveness for thinking about the alternatives.