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Ticking Toward ‘Doomsday’: Is The Secular World Counting Down To The Tribulation?

Jonathan Brentner

As a lifelong student of Bible prophecy and a close observer of current events, I’m surprised that the Rapture has not yet happened. So many signs point to the nearness of the Tribulation and conditions described in Revelation 6:1-8 with the release of the riders of the apocalypse. However, we still wait for the time when we will meet Jesus in the air.

Even a secular organization, which goes by the name of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, recognizes the nearness of the catastrophic events of the Day of the Lord. On January 23, 2024, they reset their “Doomsday Clock” at ninety seconds to midnight.

As a young child, I loved watching rockets take off, carrying their occupants to outer space. I remember the disappointment I felt when the countdown paused or even stopped to another day.

I believe that from our limited perspective, the countdown to the Day of the Lord has paused. In spite of the myriad of signs pointing to the start of the seven-year Tribulation, it seems as though time stands still for those of us excitedly awaiting Jesus’ appearing.

For the world, the seconds on the “Doomsday Clock” remain fixed at ninety seconds.

As we wait, it’s important to keep in mind at least a couple of things:

1 — The Restrainer

With each passing month, the words of 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 become increasingly relevant to our day: “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.”

The Restrainer is the Holy Spirit, and His presence within true believers is currently holding back the full expression of evil and lawlessness, which will happen when the antichrist appears on the world scene. This doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit will cease to be active on the earth after the Rapture, only that His current work of restraining the “man of lawlessness” will end.

For the past several decades, world leaders have expressed their earnest desire to establish a two-state solution to the turmoil in the Middle East. Past U.S. presidents have promoted the faulty notion that giving the Palestinians a nation of their own will establish peace. Currently, rumors abound that the Biden administration might seek a UN resolution to force such a solution upon Israel.

Other world leaders have also offered similar proposals, but there’s never been a time when both sides have agreed to any resolution, and does it seem likely to happen any time soon?

Why have all these attempts failed? 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 gives us the answer. The ultimate peace accord cannot happen until after the Rapture and the antichrist brokers the deal. Daniel 9:27 tells us that he will succeed in establishing peace for Israel, albeit for a brief time.

I suspect that Israel’s current war, which shows no sign of ending, may later play a role in Israel’s willingness to accept the covenant offered by the man of lawlessness. Perhaps he will allow the rebuilding of the third temple to make his offer all the more alluring. The Bible tells us that Israel will have this temple by the midpoint of the Tribulation period.

Although at times I am tempted to think that things cannot get any worse, the Bible reveals that conditions on the earth will rapidly deteriorate after the Rapture.

2 — The Lord’s Patient Warnings Regarding the Future

A realistic examination of how the Old Testament prophets described the Day of the Lord, along with the judgments described by the Apostle John in the book of Revelation, tells us that the Tribulation period will be far more horrifying than anything the world has ever seen.

Because of the many terrors that lie ahead for planet Earth, God is giving people more time to heed the warnings of what’s coming (see 2 Peter 3:8-10). Despite the tragic silence in most pulpits, the Lord is not silent today regarding the terrors that lie on the horizon for those who don’t know Him as their Savior.

I believe God intends for the symbolism behind the April 8, 2024, solar eclipse completing an X upon the U.S. to alert America to the nearness of His judgment not only upon America but the entire world. The fact that it will pass over seven U.S. cities named Nineveh only adds to the drama unfolding this Spring.

The coming solar eclipse does not tell us when God’s wrath will arrive, but it points to the dire consequences that surely lie ahead if America continues on its current path.

From the Father’s perspective, the clock is still ticking toward the time when He sends Jesus to take His children out of the world. He knows the very moment when He will send His Son to bring us up to glory.

Our reality, however, resembles the “Doomsday Clock” that remains paused at ninety seconds. We know that once the second hand on this clock starts moving, it will be too late for the world. Although they don’t believe the Bible, the “doomsday” that the atomic scientists have in mind eerily resembles the Day of the Lord’s wrath described in Scripture.

For now, we wait in eager anticipation of His appearing to take us home (John 14:1-3; Philippians 3:20-21), knowing that the Lord is currently restraining the appearing of the antichrist as He gives more time for people to heed the warnings of doom that abound all around us.


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