Christ’s Imminent Return

February 14, 2024
Gary McBride

A Glance at Current Events

As we look at the world around us, many believers feel that the return of the Lord Jesus is near at hand. Only the Father knows the day of Christ’s return and we have no way of predicting when it may occur. We refer to the “imminent return” which means “any time” as in there are no signs or prophecies to be fulfilled before the rapture of the Church. However, there are some changes that are evident in our time which were not visible or even possible in the 1900’s.

Militarily and Politically

The world is changing quickly, and some things are starting to strikingly align with prophetic passages. By way of example consider Ezekiel 38 and 39, the war against Israel involving armies from the north. There is debate as to when this battle takes place. Some put it before the Tribulation period, some at the start, some in the middle, while others equate it with the Battle of Armageddon at the end of the Tribulation. Still others see it as the final battle at the end of the Millennial Kingdom.

The context and content suggest it occurs during the Tribulation period and is one of the events that cause the Jewish people to look to God as described in Ezekiel 39:21-29. The setting indicates that the Jewish people must be in the land and prospering with great wealth. This is certainly true today in a remarkable way, with agriculture, oil and gas, and other assets. Humanly speaking, this is one of the greatest achievements of all time. The fact that the Jewish people were out of Israel for 1800 years and are now back and prospering in the land is a modern miracle.

However, the situation in Ezekiel 38:8, where Israel is said to “dwell safely” is not true today. Depending on the outcome of the current conflict, this may become even more evident. The nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38:5 and that are known to us today, are aligned against her. The first on the list is Persia (Iran). Before the revolution this would not have been considered possible but today Iran is committed to the destruction of Israel. Ethiopia is likely today’s South Sudan, and Libya we know. All are militant Muslim states.

It is possible that the house of Togarmah in verse 6 includes Turkey and the Muslim states to the east that came out of Soviet Russia. Turkey is presently part of NATO but the current events in Israel and Gaza seem to be moving that country toward Iran. The moderate Arab states have had dialogue with Israel and are not antagonistic. In Ezekiel 39:2, Gog is said to be from the far north which would be indicative of Russia’s position. After the war with Ukraine, Russia may indeed be in dire economic straits and in need of plunder. In Ezekiel 38:13, the Western nations make a statement but remain on the sidelines. This would have been inconceivable prior to the current conflict in Ukraine.

James Allen in his commentary on Daniel, “Daniel Reconsidered,” suggests a distinctive view of Daniel 7. Most commentators see this chapter containing the same message as chapter 2 – the progression of Empires. However, chapter 7 has a couple of distinctive differences, one being that in verse 2 the four beasts come out of the sea at the same time. Also, in verse 12, three of the beasts are still there after the fourth beast is destroyed. Considering these three beasts, the lion with eagle’s wings reminds us of a British and American union, the Bear of Russia, and the Leopard of China. The fourth beast would depict Europe and the rise of a world leader we refer to as the Antichrist. Never has the world been divided as it is today with a division so visible as it is in our time.

Morally and Spiritually

Our world is changing fast regarding standards and the issues of right and wrong. Second Timothy 3 describes the moral state of the “last days.” Characteristics such as proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, are certainly now visible all around us. Jude describes men and women as ones who walk according to their own ungodly lusts. One of the hallmarks of the Tribulation period will be a mass apostasy or falling away from anything to do with Christianity. Even today this is strikingly visible with the secularization of Christmas and Easter. It is not hard to imagine these holidays disappearing altogether.


One of the Lord’s statements about the end of the Tribulation is that the “gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world” (Matt. 24:13). Even today in this present age, the gospel is going around the world thanks to the internet as well as television and radio broadcasts. In Revelation 11 the death of two witnesses who function during the Tribulation is described. The text indicates that people all around the world will view this and rejoice, a scenario that is possible in our days but would have been impossible a generation ago. Also, in Revelation 7 there is a great multitude that comes out of the Tribulation from “all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues,” which is certainly a possibility with the availability of the internet.


As stated, no one knows the day or hour of the Lord’s return, but if in fact current events point to the Tribulation period, we should surely take note. Philippians 3:20 speaks to the fact that regardless of the conditions around us, we should be eagerly waiting for the return of Christ. 1 John 2:28 tells us to abide in Him, “that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” The dominant thought for believers should be, “even so come, Lord Jesus.”


Are you and I living in the hope and expectation of His return? Am I abiding in fellowship with my Savior and anticipating being with Him in glory? May our desire match those of the hymn writer H. L. Turner:

It may be at morn, when the day is awaking, when sunlight through darkness and shadow is breaking, that Jesus will come in the fullness of glory, to receive from the world His own.

O Lord Jesus, how long, how long ere we shout the glad song? Christ returneth! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Amen. Hallelujah! Amen.