This discussion was originally posted in MennoDiscuss:
This thread is only for those of pre millenist persuasion. I'd like a discusion of how present day events are pointing to the second coming of Christ and the rapture of the church.
I am pre-mil, although not pre-trib and certainly not dispensational (sorry GC).
It seems that there are three topics in this thread and I want to comment on each:
I don't find this significant for Biblical prophecy because the state that calls itself Israel is not the Israel of promise, as some would have us believe. Just because there is a rebel group in Africa called the Kingdom of God, that doesn't mean that we should all rush out and join it. Even so, Israel the secular nation is not spoken of in Scripture and there are no promises concerning it. Just another historical blip. An interesting one, but still, just a blip.
2. The Antichrist
First of all, I don't like the term. It is only used in I John, and he was speaking of false prophets, not "the beast" as referred to in Rev. 13, or the "man of sin" as referred to in II Thess. 2.
The main characteristics of the "beast" seem to be-- he is a worldwide power, he persecutes all the people of God and kills many, he desecrates all that is holy to God on the earth, he expects people to worship him as a god.
This person hasn't arrived on the scene yet, although Antiochus Epiphanies, Domitian and Diocletian are all excellent examples of such a person. We will only know who this person is by their leadership in the world scene and in the persecution of God's people.
3. Coming up signs
I need to say that I don't believe in a multiplicity of signs. I think the period we are in is pretty distinct and that the next items Biblically would be pretty narrow. I don't believe that we should be looking for a rapture, a temple, a nation, an economic crisis, earthquakes, famines, wars or rumors of wars. The gospel spread to all ethnoi is a prossibility, but that prophecy seems to already be fulfilled.
Rather, the best indication that God is ready to wrap things up will be on the basis of the actions of the world (which includes much of the church). When there is an organized effort to rid the world of all people who believe in Jesus, especially when that effort is directed by a single world power (whether a nation, organization or a single person), then we should start looking for other signs.