The new year, 2017, may prove to be an ex­citing year from a prophetic point of view. The reason for saying this is that God often works in cycles of 50 years.

When we look at the chart below we can see that there are a remarkable number of anniversaries that are going to occur this year in relation to Russia, Britain and the Middle East.

50/70/100 yearsEvent
January 1917Lawrence of Arabia begins to work with Arab Revolt to overthrow the Ottomans. Britain enters Palestine
March, October 1917Russian Revolution; removal of Tsar; Bolsheviks take over
5–10 June 1967Six Day war; Seizure of Jerusalem
31 October 1917Australian Light Horse; Fall of Beersheba
2 November 1917Balfour Declaration
29 November 1947UN vote legitimising the state of Israel
8 December 1917General Allenby takes Jerusalem; drives Turks out of Palestine

In addition to this we can add 120th anni­versary of the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland and 170th anniversary of the baptism of Brother Thomas. Interestingly also, 1260 years ago in Europe Pepin (the father of Charlemagne) had recently been crowned by the Pope and was busy consolidating his power in the Frankish kingdom, paving the way for Charlemagne to take over at his death.

So with this in mind we shall be running a series of articles during the course of the year, God willing, which will describe the events that unfolded many years ago; hopefully catching a sense of wonder and awe as we see the hand of God providentially outworking His purpose amongst the nations.

What will the year bring prophetically? Who can say? Perhaps we will see a further development of Russian power in the Middle East, or a signifi­cant alliance of the Papacy with the European beast; or more importantly the return of our Lord and our calling away to give account of our steward­ship. As the philoso­phies and the im­morality of the world press heavily upon the brotherhood, we yearn for release from the bondage of corruption that we all experience (Rom 8:19–23).

What a great day that day of release will be! But are we ready for that day? Are our garments unspotted from the world? Are we stand­ing fast, watching and praying? Are we serving one another in love? Are we remaining faithful to the end? The new year will no doubt bring upon us a time of re­flection and introspection. So, how is the race going? With the finishing line almost upon us, now is not the time to give up or to pull out. Now is the time to sharpen our vision of the coming day of glory. Now is the time to lift up our heads and look for the Lord’s appearing. Now is the time to gird up the loins of our mind, to be sober and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:13).

Through the labours of faithful brethren in times past we are privileged to understand the overall movement of the nations in accordance with the prophetic Word. We know where we stand in rela­tion to the Divine schedule. We know that we are living in the final moments of the time of the end; the closing epoch of the latter days. And yet is our commitment to the ways of God stronger? Are we giving diligence to make our calling and election sure (2 Pet 1:10)? Notice the phrase Peter uses: “give diligence.” In the Greek it is spoudazo, which means to make haste, to be prompt or to be earnest. He uses the same word in 2 Peter 3:14: “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things [ie the coming kingdom of God], be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blame­less”. This is what is expected of us in response to His offer of everlasting life. It describes a believer who is attentive to the Word and conscientious in godly service.

Whatever the new year brings for us individu­ally or ecclesially, may we emulate the same spirit as David in Psalm 27:4: “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.”