A critical fact no one mentions on New Year’s Eve
“And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”
– Acts 3:20-21
It’s a funny thing about the way the entire world tracks time.
Every person in every nation knows what year it is right now. They’re all, like it or not, to one degree or another, on the same calendar.
Something very dramatic and life-changing must have happened about 2,019 years ago that made people take notice. It had to have been rather spectacular and amazing for all nations and all people to adopt this new calendar.
Not surprisingly, there have been some feeble protests against keeping time this way.
When the bloody French Revolution took place, its leadership declared 1792 to be “Year One,” overriding the Christian calendar.
North Korea, an isolated, totalitarian country led by a series of madmen who rule like “gods,” build weapons of mass destruction and starve their people, have on various occasions tried to persuade the rest of the world that time really began when the first of its dynasty of rulers, Kim Il-sung, was born April 15, 1912.
When the bloodthirsty communist revolutionary Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia in 1975, murdering millions in the process, the leadership declared it to be “Year Zero,” much as the French revolutionary leaders had done in 1792.
Let’s just say such efforts have been … in vain.
If you are reading this today, you undoubtedly know why, in a few days, most of the world will be marking the beginning of a new year – 2019. But don’t take for granted that the world knows why – and whose birth is responsible.
That “something” that happened about that time was that Jesus was born. The Savior of the world, the Messiah, the Son of God, came into the world – and life was never the same again.
He came as a baby born of a virgin, fulfilling hundreds of Hebrew prophecies about the coming Redeemer. He lived approximately 33 years in Israel and never traveled beyond Egypt and what we call Syria, Lebanon and Jordan today. He taught that the Hebrew Scriptures were God-breathed, true and valid.
He healed the sick, raised the dead, was crucified, rose on the third day and foretold that He would come again as a conquering King of kings, establishing an everlasting Kingdom of pure justice, righteousness and peace.
Since then, there have been efforts to portray Him as:
- simply a great teacher who told magnificent parables;
- a lunatic who happened to be at the right place at the right time to captivate billions of followers;
- the leader of a group of “Bronze Age peasants in a backwater called Israel”;
- a magician or sorcerer;
- a misunderstood socialist and advocate for the poor and downtrodden;
- a revolutionary zealot;
- merely another in a long line of Hebrew prophets.
A few even insist, despite the overwhelming and well-documented historical record, that He never even existed.
Despite efforts to conceal the nature of his unique, world-changing and calendar-changing life, such as the use of terms like C.E. (common era) and B.C.E. (before the common era), almost every educated person knows it was Jesus who reset mankind’s clock. The original terms used to divide time were A.D. (abbreviating the Latin “Anno Domini” or “in the year of our Lord”) and B.C. (“Before Christ” – “Christ” being Greek for the Messiah).
It’s worth noting how seldom this simple fact is mentioned.
When the lighted ball drops in Times Square every New Year’s Eve at midnight, there’s always a lot of chatter. Yet in all the years I have watched that spectacle, I have yet to hear even one celebrity, not one participant braving the cold night air in Manhattan, not one musical guest, not one news commentator, not one host, ever reference what happened so long ago to change our concept of time.
In fact, in the 64 years I have been alive, I’ve never seen anyone in public life make the point I am attempting to drive home today – that Jesus, or Yeshua, as He was known to his Hebrew brethren, is the one and only life in the history of mankind that changed everything – even the way we count the years going by.
Not only that, we also use His earthly life to count the years before He came. We simply do it backwards.
We take all this for granted – followers of Jesus and non-believers alike. In short, I don’t think we do enough to remind the world just how much it’s all about Jesus.
He is, after all, the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior of the world, the King of kings, the Lion of Judah, the Lord, God with Us, The Alpha and the Omega, the Word, the Lamb of God, the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Nor do we talk much about the fact that He is coming back and what that will mean to the world.
But, as a journalist, I can’t ignore hard evidence – no matter where it may lead me. And the more I study the prophetic Scriptures of the Holy Bible and look at the condition of our world today, the more convinced I become that we are nearing that time. In fact, I think we are very close.
For just as Jesus’ virgin birth in Bethlehem was foretold by the Hebrew prophets hundreds of years earlier, so, too, was His return to Earth clearly and explicitly predicted. The only question is when.
When would it come?
The most dramatic evidence for His imminent return that our generation has already witnessed was the rebirth of the nation of Israel in 1948. The Jews, God’s chosen people, were, as prophesied, scattered over the whole earth for nearly two millennia beginning shortly after Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection.
Since Jesus’ world-changing return was prophesied to take place in a reborn state of Israel, it could not have happened until the last 70 years.
What will it be like?
The same Bible that predicted His first coming tells us His second coming will mean a glorious period of 1,000 years in which justice, mercy, truth, peace, love and goodwill among people dominates the Earth.
It will be a return to the way God intended men, women and all creation to live in the world. It will be, as the Apostle Peter called it, “the times of restitution of all things.”
The Bible gives us many hints of what this period of time will be like, from many different angles and perspectives. It’s the subject of my book “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age.”
In fact, it is, as Peter suggests, the good news that all of the prophets spoke about since the world began.
Think about that. There’s a common denominator in what all the prophets spoke about. Obviously, they all foreshadow a Savior, a Redeemer, a Messiah. But they also point to a period of time, a global Kingdom to come, in which truth, light, justice and peace prevail.
But where’s the excitement, the anticipation, the hope?
As the clock ticks toward 2019, it’s worth consideration.
His Kingdom is very near. Jesus is coming to rule and reign from Jerusalem over the entire world.
Proclaim it. Believe it. Pray it just like Jesus did in His most famous instruction of the Bible in Matthew 6:9-13: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
This week, as Christians celebrate Jesus’ birth, pray for His Kingdom to come.
What will it be like?
Here are some glimpses:
- Isaiah 51:3: “For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.”
- Ezekiel 36:35: “And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.”
- Isaiah 9:7: “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”