My Thoughts. . .
The event called World War I caused Bible believers to think that conflict was described by the book of Revelation. The events of John’s prophecy did not happen, even though one religious leader still wrote that Jesus would return in 1925. That date passed without fulfillment. That leader had his subjects gathering up his “prophecy” for destruction. His successors would later continue to give dates of Jesus’ return and have the same results.
In 1939 world events began to create war clouds that overshadowed what had transpired in 1914 to 1918. It was identified as World War II. The expression “allies” vs “axis” identified the two foes. The war touched the entire globe. The USA attempted to remain aloof of events in Europe in 1939 and 1940. When the USA fleet in Hawaii was crippled by the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941, the expression “World War II” became prominent. The winner of that war was in doubt during the first half as both Germany and Japan successfully began their world conquest.
The European struggle ended on May 8, 1945, identified as VE Day. On September 2, 1945, the Japanese surrender was identified as VJ Day. It took the devastation of two atomic bombs to end that struggle. That conflict ended with 23,967,900 military deaths and 38,968,000 approximate civilian demises. The USA lost 388,933 service personal. That conflict affected every area of the United States. It also reignited some Bible readers to announce that this struggle was the beginning of the end of the world. The announcement was made that the book of Revelation was being fulfilled.
When the Jewish State was created in Palestine on May 14, 1948, Bible students again thought prophecy was being fulfilled that would result in Jesus’ return. Forty-seven years later a book, The Late Great Planet Earth suggested 1995 might be the time when Jesus’ glorious return would take place. The only successful results was that the author led his readers to accept his assumptions. There were some who sold everything and patiently waited for disappointment.
One lesson came out of all those expectations. Some decided to never get into the guessing game again and their future prophecies were silenced. Yet, though the expectation had been rewarded negatively, it still burned within the souls of those who looked for it in their lifetime. One may admire the faith exhibited by those who continue to look for Jesus’ return, but the failure of past lessons should be an eye opener.
Some interpret the return of Jesus in Revelation to set up his 1,000-year kingdom on earth as a “near” future event. If that interpretation is correct, I will be among those who rejoice at Jesus’ return. However, 2,000 years stretches John’s “at hand,” “shortly be done,” “soon,” “time is near,” “time is at hand,” or “quickly” from different English versions Revelation 1:1, 3; 22:6, 7, 10, 12, 20. John was writing to the first century churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Those words should be directly applied to them, rather than ignore and skip over them to make the 2021 church the recipient. With modern happenings grabbing the news, and an awakening of renewed interest in Jesus return, the book of Revelation is once more being spotlighted. Prophecies are being aligned with modern events to harmonize with the Covid-19 pandemic. An imminent return of Jesus is exciting hearts again as some believer’s rush to read Revelation’s passages to confirm their belief of that return in our lifetime. If Charles Taze Russell, Joseph Franklin Rutherford, or perhaps Hal Lindsey could speak up, they would advise today’s excited to be more cautious than they were.