|The Convergence Series Parts 1 Thru 5 by Pastor Burford|
As I celebrate my 59th birthday, I am extremely blessed to have witnessed and experienced what God and life have afforded me. As I look back over events that have occurred in my lifetime through my Christian and engineering backgrounds, I am confident that history, both Biblical and secular, and current events are on a rapid pathway to a convergence with Biblical prophecies of the last days.
I do not claim to be some great writer and really do not like to read long books. So my goal to share with you why I believe we are in the last days of the last day. Days that are rapidly converging to the final events of this age. Let me also be perfectly clear that I, like no one else, know the day or hour that the Lord Jesus will return. But, since he called me to preach the Revelation, I am confident that it is within our lifetime. The frequency and impact of Biblically-related events that are taking place before our very eyes should be enough to cause even the most casual observer to think, even if just for a moment, that something isn’t quite right. It feels like something is about to take place.
In this series, I will combine my Biblical and engineering backgrounds to share with you, the Convergence. Please be aware that all references to Scripture will come from the Kings James Version of the Bible.
I pray that you will be blessed, enlightened and be more fervent for the Lord Jesus after reading this series.
May God ever bless and keep you.
Carlton L. Burford
Let’s not waste any time. What does convergence mean? It simply means things are coming together to a point, a region or, in this case, a series of events. It occurs in mathematics (the Limit Function), engineering systems and in life itself. For all that we do in life, it is really converging to an event called death or the Rapture. In either, you need to have made the appropriate preparations by accepting Jesus Christ into your life as both Lord and Savior. By accepting His Blood that was shed at Calvary for the remission of our sins, what we call death will become just a conduit to eternal life. Jesus said in John 11:25-26, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”
As it relates to this series, I will be using the following illustration to walk you through the Convergence of Biblical Prophecies and Current Events to the end of this age.
The Convergence Defined
In the world of mathematics, there are many concepts that helps us to define our world.
In this series, the two relevant concepts are convergence and divergence. As you may tell, the two concepts are inverses of each other.
Divergence refers to events, objects and motions moving away from each other. They may seem to have come from the same locus or location but over time it is evident that they are all moving away from each other. One example is that our universe, according to science is expanding, thus diverging from some central area of space.
This is opposite to the concept of convergence, where events, object and motions would be moving in toward each other. It would be like a crowd of people who have surrounded a person or object and starts to move in toward that person or object simultaneously. That person or object in the middle would definitely feel like they were being closed in upon. The crowd would be converging on the person/object in the middle.
In this series I will dealing with various biblical prophecies and fulfillments that are occurring more often and more intense in our world that all seem to be closing in on the end of this age.
Various signs are given in the Bible. If they were taking place on an isolated basis and low intensity, the level of concern would not be that great. However, what the world is actually experiencing is all of the Biblical Signs happening simultaneously with more intensity. It gives the feeling that something is about to happen. The events in our world are converging to some central conclusion - the conclusion that is referred to in the scripture as the end of this age.
Notice, I say the end of this age, not the end of the world. These are 2 distinct events or periods in the prophetical future timeline.
Just to reiterate, I believe the events that are happening in the world today are converging on the end of this age (The Church Age or otherwise known as the Age of Grace).
This age started at the Resurrection of Christ and was confirmed on the Day of Pentecost. The previous age was, "The Law" and the next age, after Grace, is the Tribulation.
That being said, please stay tuned to the next posting as the attached diagram is explained.
May God bless you.
The diagram above is what was etched into my mind when the concept of the Convergence was given to me. The arrows around the outer ring refer to the various prophecies leading up to the end of the age (the Rapture) and some come to complete fulfillment after the rapture in the period best known as the Tribulation.
The arrows (prophecies) around the ring are in no particular spiritual order. The number of arrows are simply what was used in the Bible Study Series. There are other prophecies that can be added. For the sake of explanation I will list the prophecies starting from the 12:00 position and moving clockwise.
These signs will be explained in future posts, along with other relevant information. In the next post I will deal with the question of “Why Now?”
Until the next post. May the Lord Jesus be with you.
If you are not saved and desire to accept Jesus Christ into your life and be born again, please see the attached Plan of Salvation.
Why Now – Part 1
Often when I am teaching on eschatology (the doctrine of the last times) and the Book of Revelation, I am asked the question why are the end-time events more likely to occur in our lifetime. Why could they not occur 1000 years ago; or 500 years ago; or 1000 years from now? All are good questions that I intend to answer, as I have answered others in the past. The answers will come in 3 parts, “The Greatest Sign”, “A Dispensational Perspective”, and “The Church History Perspective”. I believe that after considering these 3 perspectives, you will have a greater appreciation on why I believe that the Age of Grace is rapidly winding down in our lifetime.
For the sake of time and keeping these posts as compact as I can, let’s get into the “Greatest Sign” given to us as to when the end of the age could even begin.
The greatest sign given to us is the Rebirth of the Nation Israel.
20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
As Jesus was delivering the Olivet Discourse, talking to the disciples about “End Time Events”, He gave 2 prophetic utterances regarding the Nation of Israel.
Jesus uttered these prophecies around 30-32 AD. About 40 years later (in 70 AD) the 1st part of the prophecy came true (verses 20 thru 24c). Under the Roman Empire, Israel was conquered, ceased to be a nation and the Jews were dispersed among the nations.
They were dispersed and were no longer a nation for thousands of years. No one could even imagine that the Nation of Israel would ever come back into existence, but Jesus had already prophesized this.
So it came to pass in the late-19th century that persecution of Jews, particularly in Europe, led to the creation of the Zionist movement. Following the British conquest of Syria, the Balfour Declaration in World War I and the formation of the Mandate of Palestine (allowing Jewish immigration to the Land of Palestine) the movement of Israel’s rebirth was underway. And on May 14, 1948 Israel declared their independence thus reforming the Nation of Israel. Though Israel was back as a nation, the city of Jerusalem was not under Jewish control. But after the 6 Day War in June 1967, Jerusalem was captured and placed back into the hand of the Jews thus giving them access to the Temple (only the western wall remains).
Never has a people been removed and dispersed among the nations for as long as they were and yet returned to the same geographical location, speaking the same language, practicing the same religion (although no Temple) as though nothing had happened. The Nation of Israel can be considered a modern-day miracle in and of itself.
So let’s briefly review:
So why are the end time events more likely to occur now? Because the Greatest Sign (Israel) has come to pass in our lifetime – not 1000 years ago or 500 years ago - but not even 70 years ago. Jesus goes on to utter the following words in the Olivet Discourse:
31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
The Greatest sign has come to pass – the Rebirth of Israel
May God bless you.
Stay tuned to “Why Now” Part 2 of the Convergence Series.
Why Now – Part 2
Last week in answering the question of “Why Now” we dealt with the Greatest Sign – Israel. This week I want to consider an answer to the same question from a “Dispensational Perspective”.
The Nelson Bible Dictionary defines DISPENSATION as follows:
A period of time under which mankind is answerable to God for how it has obeyed the revelation of God which it has received. The term dispensation is found twice in the NKJV: "The dispensation of the fullness of the times" (Eph 1:10) and "the dispensation of the grace of God" (Eph 3:2). The KJV uses the term four times (1 Cor 9:17; Eph 1:10; 3:2; Col 1:25).
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
The attached Chart shows 8 dispensations which are as follows:
The chart also shows the events that started and ended each dispensation along with their approximate dates. The length of each dispensation and their ranking (from longest to the briefest) are also noted in the chart.
We are currently in the dispensation of GRACE. The Tribulation and the Millennium are still futuristic and as you can see consists of 1007 years combined. That’s why I don’t refer to looking for the end of the world but rather the end of the age. The end of the “World” doesn’t occur until 1007 years after the end of the “Age” (Grace).
There are a couple of points I want you to get from looking at the chart that will help answer the question of “Why Now?”
Even though we do not know the exact day nor hour, I believe we the signs of the times are pointing to a close to this Age very soon. I know many people, even Christians, would rather that this current dispensation continue for a very long period of time. We want to achieve certain goals; want to make a large sum of money; want to see your kids grow up; want to retire from your career; still want to travel the world and the list goes on. Unfortunately, like it or not, ready or not, this dispensation will come to an end just like the previous ones.
The event that will end this dispensation is the rapture (snatching away) of the Church. We , the saved, get to go home to be with the Lord. This will not be a disappointing event for the Church but rather a glorious one. Once we are in heaven with the Lord and discover how great it will be, I believe the question many of us will be asking is “What took you so long?” We could have been enjoying all of the blessings of heaven a long time ago.
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:9
9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
Why now? The greatest sign “Israel” has come back in our lifetime and we are living in the longest dispensation ever that will, per the Scripture, come to an end.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 says,
13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Corinthians 15:51-55 says,
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
I believe the signs of the times are converging on the end of this Age – the Age of Grace. Don’t get scared, get ready. Get actively involved in your local Church; fulfill the ministry the Lord has called you to; live as the Lord would have you to live; do the work the Lord has given you to do; be and behave like the Christian the Lord wants you to be; Learn from your past, Live in the present, and Look toward the future…
In the next post I will answer the question of “Why Now’ from a Church History Perspective. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be an historian to understand it. However, knowing history will certainly help.
If you are wondering who am I to be writing information as such – I am just a voice of one crying in the wilderness – Prepare …..
May the Lord Jesus bless and keep you.
Until the next posting.
Inner Peace Baptist Church Incorporated - May 2006 Organized - June 2006