Hal Lindsey has written another article, posted on WorldNetDaily.com, that I just have to comment on. It’s titled, “Zero hour approaches” and was posted on February 6 (just 4 days before the election in Israel).
Whoever bothers to actually read my blog (all three or four of you!) might be surprised to hear that I don’t disagree with Lindsey’s overall theme in this article. But my question is “Zero hour” to what?
He makes the case that current events in the Middle East—Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza, their minor conflicts with Hezbollah and Syria, and their parliamentary elections (taking place as I write this)—all point to the fact that we are living in the End Times. And I don’t really disagree with him on this. In fact, this is one of the points of agreement I have with Joel C. Rosenburg in his novels on the End Times and especially in his non-fiction book, Epicenter. But what exactly do we envision will happen in “The End”?
At the end of Lindsey’s article, he writes,
The Lord of the Universe is getting ready to judge the world. But before that, He will come for His own. Make sure you are one of them.
Ahhh… so by “Zero hour”, Hal Lindsey means the coming of Christ, invisibly, to whisk Christians away to Heaven. So it’s “Zero hour” for Christians, but not for the rest of the world. At least that’s what he seems to believe (a belief that Joel C. Rosenburg, Tim LaHaye, Jack VanImpe, and John MacArthur—to name a few—share with Mr. Lindsey).
Now I don’t think Hal Lindsey is right about his reference in this article to the sudden destruction of Damascus. He quotes Isaiah 17:1 to say that Damascus, the present capital of Syria, will be wiped out in a day in the near future. That could happen. But it’s not something that this particular prophecy predicts. Because Isaiah 17:1 was already fulfilled in the year 732 BC, when the Assyrian Empire destroyed Syria. But Lindsey’s main argument is that events in the Middle East seem to be building up to a big Crisis, a “Zero hour” (which I agree with) and the invisible, secret, coming of Christ to steal His people away to Heaven while Antichrist’s hellish reign is unleashed on the Earth (which I disagree with).
The big problem for this view is that it isn’t found in the Bible. Yes, the Bible does predict that nations (many of which are now Islamic) will align with Gog (possibly Russia) against Israel and “sweep through” the region of the Middle East finally to turn their attention on Israel to destroy her (Daniel 11:40-45; Ezekiel 38-39). But these same prophecies announce sudden destruction will come upon these enemies of Israel and seem to predict the personal, direct intervention of God on behalf of Israel at that time: personal and direct intervention that sounds a lot like the second coming of Christ visible and incarnate.
Ezekiel 39:3 3 Then I will strike your bow from your left hand, and will make your arrows drop out of your right hand.
Ezekiel 39:6-8 6 I will send fire on Magog and on those who dwell securely in the coastlands, and they shall know that I am the LORD. 7 “And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel. 8 Behold, it is coming and it will be brought about, declares the Lord GOD. That is the day of which I have spoken.
Ezekiel 39:13 …and it will bring them renown on the day that I show my glory, declares the Lord GOD.
Ezekiel 39:28-29 28 Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore. 29 And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD.”
Zechariah 12:10 10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.
Zechariah 13:9 They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'”
Zechariah 14:2-4 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. 4 On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east…
Zechariah 14:5-9 Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. 6 On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost. 7 And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the LORD, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light. 8 On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter. 9 And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one.
Daniel 12:1-2 “At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
Revelation 19:11-15 11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.
Revelation 19:19-21 19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. 20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.
So, since the very prophecies that Mr. Lindsey appeals to in making the case that we are living near to “Zero hour” actually include predictions that strongly suggest the personal, visible and public return of the incarnate Son of God to remain permanently with His people, then the Bible’s conception of “Zero hour” is fundamentally different from Hal Lindsey’s (et al) conception of “Zero hour”. Folks, it won’t be just “Zero hour” for Christians. It will be “Zero hour” for the whole world. There will be two sorts of people (and only two sorts) on that Day: those who are acceptable to God through faith in Jesus Christ and those who are crushed by the wrath of God in His holy fury. No second chances. No 3 ½ year mulligan. That’s it. Zero hour.