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The End of Days is Upon Us
Aroostook County snow
Do you see the signs of the times?
The end of days is upon us. Even a casual person senses something is about to happen and has an angst that cannot be explained. It is not a favorite saying if you have children, grandchildren, girlfriend, good job or a million other reasons for the signs of the times emerging. I sincerely believe we are fast coming to a close as a civilization.
Signs of His coming are everywhere and numerous. Jesus in His letter that John took down warned to be aware, listen, and study the Bible. More on this later. Let me ask a rhetorical question. Is it possible to overemphasize the importance of the Olivet Discourse in its relationship to the Revelation of Jesus Christ? I think not, and His discourse featured in this essay.
Eschatology – What does it hold for the future?
Eschatology. A significant word used in academics to indicate the study of the end times. In this case, it refers to a period of seven to ten years or so that will occur shortly. The gap between the Rapture and the Tribulation is not known. I suspect it will be a short period, but that becomes conjecture on my part.
A preposterous event that is sure to come. So antithetical to our connected society.The Rapture ends the Church age and keys the beginning of the Tribulation that begins with the signing of a covenant between the Antichrist and Israel according to Daniel 9.27 and Daniel 13. The length of the gap between the Rapture and the start of God's wrath against those that do not believe according to scholars is as short as a matter of days all the way up to fifty years.
For our discussion, we can shorten the period between the Rapture and the start of Tribulation to a period of one to three years in view of the numerous new signs that have come to light in just our lifetime. The economic impact alone has to be considered in the start of Tribulation.
The Tribulation – God’s wrath
Israel in the land that is the single biggest of the major events that the Bible called for after 1,878 years period. This event alone calmed many skeptics about the truth of the Bible’s prophecies. Here are some of the terms in the Bible used to describe the end times.
1. The last days
2. The end of time
3. The end of the world
4. The end of the age.
The seven-year period of the Tribulation, or the wrath of God, is an event against those that did believe the Gospel. The last three-and-half year period of God’s wrath marks the end of the age as we know it. I believe it is preceded by the Rapture and followed by Jesus Christ glorious appearance to end Tribulation and then the start of the Millennium.
The last three-and-half year period of God's wrath is to show those who do not believe that God is real. It will be the most terrifying three years in the history of the world. There is no indication that any godless Gentile will make it through the last three-and-half year period, If I did not believe in God I would consider this extensively. And by the way, save your caustic unrationing comments. Squelch that belch.
Hermeneutics – How you interpret the Bible
Let’s review what the Bible has to say about the controversial subject of hermeneutics, another term of academians which simply means how one interprets the Bible when read. I choose to read it literally where it calls for it, and otherwise where it is appropriate. After all, there are over 200 rhetorical devices have been cataloged!
Paul made a statement that myself and many others believe shows prediction as a type versus just prediction and then fulfillment. He said, "Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Corinthians 10.11).
Abraham offering of Isaac is a "type" in Genesis 22. Missler quotes, "Known as the Akedah, this pivotal event was, in many ways, the archetype of them all. Abraham is in the role of the father; Isaac, his son. Abraham apparently realized this was an anticipatory enactment of a prophecy since he named the site, “In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen” (Gen. 22:14). In fact, it was his confidence that Isaac would be resurrected that is noted in the New Testament (Heb. 11:19).What Abraham may not have realized is that 2,000 years later, another Father would offer His Son as an offering for sin on that very spot!"
A further example occurred as God told Moses to put a brass serpent on a pole on a hill as a remedy for an incursion of venomous snakes He sent (Numbers. 21,4). The symbolism of this strange episode remains obscure until, in the New Testament, Jesus explains it to Nicodemus:
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:14)
It becomes obvious that God’s instructions to Moses in Numbers 21 deliberately anticipated the Cross of Christ. In fact, this even gave rise to the most well-known verse in the entire Bible, John 3:16.
Choose Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ warns our generation. Are you listening?
A warning from the Lord Jesus Christ
It was our Lord Jesus Christ who warned His followers gladly that He would have to leave them to go to His Father’s house in heaven. However, in doing so He said He would “come again and receive you to Myself, that where I AM, there you may be also.” (John 14.3) Christians today have asked the same question that his inner core asked him over 2,000 years ago.
When will these things happen and what will be the signs of your coming, and of the end of the age? Do you realize that when they asked these questions He did NOT rebuke them? That indicates clearly to me that He approved of the disciples being ready for His imminent return. You may recall that Daniel asked similar questions about the events of the end times in Daniel chapter 12.
If you review Christian literature from the first century right up to our very own many Bible believing Christians have been interested in “when” and “what are the signs.” There have been many wild conjectures and conclusions that have been proven wrong by the passage of time. Some have even set ill-advised dates.
The prophetic highway is littered with the predictions of the Millerites in 1844 right up to the present day. Date setting is not what the Lord was referring to when He gave specific signs to watch and be ready to happen. One point He makes is imminence encourages each of us to live more holy lives in a very unholy age. It also gives one the impression we should be more evangelistic and missionary minded.
Keep in mind also that there were over 318 promises of Jesus Christ return which makes up some 28 percent of the prophecies in the Bible. This simple fact encourages me to study them more diligently. I do not believe one can say with any confidence that the Church of today is imminently ready for His return.
Where history shows that the Church was living as if Christ could return at any moment, that body of believers was energetically evangelizing the lost. Let me issue a word of caution at the time. Paul had some good advice when he told the Philippians, “Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.”
That is a sobering Scripture if there ever was one. When studying the “signs of the times” and “the end of the age,” and even the return of Christ one must take this study with a degree of restraint. All date setters are to be ignored, or even better if known personally to be rebuked as a false teacher.
Matthew 24.36 says succinctly, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” Jesus Christ just before His ascension told His followers, “It is not for you to know times and epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority.” (Acts 1.7) These verses alone tells us not to set days or times for His return. But, that does not mean we cannot look for the signs of his return.
There are many road signs we see on a daily basis. We heed those or we pay the consequence for not doing so. Jesus talked to his believers and used one of the many rhetorical words when speaking to them they immediately recognized as a road sign. He stated in a parable of the fig tree, Israel in Scripture, we can and should know the general time of His return.
Jesus explains the Fig Tree as a major sign of the times.
Jesus Christ and the Fig Tree
Jesus Christ said, "Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." (Matthew 24:32-34)
That tells me that we are more than likely the generation that will see Him return. The verse saying Israel is in the land and a key that must be used for the generation of His return. It is easy to see that Israel is beautifully blooming and hated by millions of people just as the Bible says because He chose them.
The coming of Christ will come quickly and billions will not be ready for Him. However, Christians who know their Bible will know to be ready for His imminent return in very probably this generation. I am not suggesting a season or date for His return. But not one thing has to happen for the Rapture to occur.
Another sign is that God has essentially failed to directly intervene in the affairs of mankind recently. Many millions of miracles have occurred of course during that time largely confined to His believers. What more does He have to do? There is creation, His Son’s life, death, and resurrection, and the enduring Bible containing the Words of God!.
We are coming to a climatic end as we enter the “time of the end.” The most preposterous event in history, the disappearance of billions, in the Rapture will start things off. After this, God will begin to visibly interact in the affairs of unbelieving mankind. This is what Tribulation is all about. His wrath against unbelievers.
To end Tribulation there will be a glorious return of Jesus Christ physically to the earth to set up the Millennial reign of His kingdom. After this, eternity awaits all, either heaven or hell. All Christians need to dust off their Bible if necessary and become familiar with the prophetic Scriptures.
Then be prepared to help others to know of His impending return and how to be born-again. Can you imagine the economic impact of over 2 billion Christians taken out of contributing to the economy? It is going to take a financial genius powered by Satan to save the world from financial ruin. No generation has seen more signs of Christ’s return than the present one.
We are discussing legitimate signs as opposed to inferred or imaginary signs. The signs are clearly spelled out in Scripture and it is these we are talking about. Keep in mind that no Scripture links any specific leader to a peace treaty until the Antichrist signs a seven-year peace accord with Israel. The assignation of any world leader, no matter how tragic, is not associated with the end times.
Signs are very much like your alarm and time clocks. Many current scientists have indicated “the end of history” because of global warming, pollution, overpopulation, or a nuclear holocaust which are beyond a world leaders abilities to resolve. The biggest sign, as previously mentioned, is Israel in the land on 14 May 1948. Two of Daniel’s signs are clearly evident in the increase of travel and the massive increase in knowledge. The two interrelated signs cannot be separated for obvious reasons and should be clearly seen by all.
The Olivet Discourse
The Olivet Discourse and Signs of the Times
The Olivet Discourse and Signs of His Coming - Important
The Lord’s Olivet discourse is super important to read and understand. (Matthew 24 and 25) The second part of Mark 13 and all of Luke 21 are abbreviated versions of the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24 and 25. The Olivet discourse is the most important prophecy of future events and provides a jumping off point for all other prophetic sections in the New Testament. If it were conveyer belt, all other prophecies would hang off it.
A. It’s Unique Historical Context – While the Olivet discourse provides an extraordinary view of future events, it also gives a unique hindsight of historical context which gives us a unique sense of the great events it describes which are quickly about to happen. The portion we are going to examine first reads:
Now as Jesus was going out of the temple courts and walking away, his disciples came to show him the temple buildings. And he said to them, “Do you see all these things? I tell you the truth, not one stone will be left on another. All will be torn down!”As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, his disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered them, “Watch out that no one misleads you. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these things are the beginning of birth pains. (Matthew 24.1-8)
B. Literal or Symbolic Hermeneutic – I guess the first question we need to discuss is whether we can take this verse literally? Literal meaning to read it as Jesus Christ spoke it. Or symbolically, making it say what the reader interprets it to say in his/her own words. With the symbolical method if two hundred read it we will have some two hundred different versions of the same text. I believe Jesus Christ answers the question for us in verses One and Two. The disciples are proudly showing off the temple buildings to the Lord. Perhaps they expected Him to adore the buildings as they obviously did. But the Lord knowing all things is not impressed. Instead, He says “Do you see all these things?” Then the Lord speaks of the future, “I tell you the Truth, not one stone will be left on another. All will be torn down.” Here we have a test case. He states not only will the temple be destroyed, but it will be disassembled so completely that not even one stone will be standing on another. It being fulfilled in 70 A.D. when Titus Flavius Vespasianus troops were commanded to burn Jerusalem wiping it off the face of the earth. Titus made it a practice to gather all the silver and gold from a structure before destroying the structure. But the flames raged through the city so fast and hot that the temple was burned before treasures could be removed. The fire so hot that the gold and silver were melted running to the lowest point settling in the crevices of the brick so that they had to take what remained and remove the gold and silver brick by brick. This was just as Jesus had prophesied some thirty-eight years earlier. Many years after this some of these same bricks were used to reconstruct the Wailing Wall we see in Jerusalem today. This gives us a gigantic hint about the literalness of the Olivet discourse by the Lord Jesus Christ.
C. We are eternally indebted to the disciples for asking Jesus the crucial question, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” First, Jesus Christ issues what seems to be a strange warning. But of course, He being part of the Trinity or God in a human body, we know He never lied. He said:
a. “Watch out that no one misleads you. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many. ”
b. “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars.”
D. The signs of the deception are next. We know from Jesus Christ description the end times will be filled with deception and false deceivers. Let us review the six warnings from Lord.
- · “Watch out that no one misleads you.” (Matthew 24.4)
- · “For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many. ” (Matthew 24.5)
- · “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.” (Matthew 24.11)
- “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him.” (Matthew 24.23)
- “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” (Matthew 24.24)
- “Remember, I have told you ahead of time. So then, if someone says to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe him.” (Matthew 24.25-26)
History is littered with many false teachers which are Satan’s way of distorting the truths of God and throwing people off the real path. Jesus calls Satan a deceiver and a liar. It is my belief that if Satan cannot get people to believe in him outright, he will get them involved in false doctrine to lead them astray. This has been going on for nearly two thousand years. There is no doubt that almost anywhere we observe we find deception growing stronger and more widespread. A popular Biblical teacher in the fifties and sixties Dr. M. R. DeHaan stated, “Never before in all history have there been such divisions in Christendom. There is today over three hundred fifty denominations, sects, and cults in Protestantism in America alone. All of these claim to be right and that other denomination are necessarily wrong.” (Dehaan p. 49) Dehaan’s book was published over forty years ago. I shutter to think what he would say today with the spiritualist, factions of a new age movement, and occult groups that spring up almost daily.
One must never forget the Guyana cult of Jim Jones, David Koresh and the Branch Davidians of Texas, and the Heaven’s Gate group of Southern California. The tragic stories of these extremists included bizarre false teachings that resulted costing the lives of hundreds of deceived followers. The loss of lives is one way Satan is a form of end-time deception. Another form of end-time deception is the killing of Biblical faith. Jesus Christ had another sobering Scripture, “Do not fear those that kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10.28) As tragic is the loss of human life, it is catastrophic to lose one’s soul. In a study of false teachers, one of their tools is to use drugs as a way of opening the disciples minds to new thought. Paul warned of the following:
“The arrival of the lawless one will be by Satan’s working with all kinds of miracles and signs and false wonders, and with every kind of evil deception directed against those who are perishing because they found no place in their hearts for the truth so as to be saved.” (2nd Thessalonians 2.9-10)
As momentous is the deception of today, it pales in comparison with the deception of the Tribulation. I suspect that people will be lead astray by the millions. The second 3 and a half years of Tribulation is a period where the contrast between God and Satan, light and darkness vie for the souls of mankind like never before. Satan goes all out with his working of all kinds of miracles and signs and false wonders which will deceive millions. After all, if these days were not cut short even “the very elect” might have been deceived. Another chilling thought is that Satan has to have his false teachers and deceivers in place even today because he does not the date or time. A great saying is “future events cast their shadow before them!”
Deception will continue to increase. It is commanding that the people of God are ready to remain strong against the wiles of the devil which are increasing. The Bible is a roadmap of what God has planned for His body of believers and well as what the enemies of God are going to do to win souls.
What Must a Christian Do in light of the sign of the times?
What must a Christian do?
1. Know your Bible! Jesus Christ said it all when He said: “the Truth will make you free.” (John 8.32) The Bible contains the very Words of God Almighty which is Truth. Knowing who you are in Christ Jesus better prepares one to withstand Satan’s deceptive attacks. A daily reading of the Scriptures, especially the New Testament is a must read daily for anyone who wants to know the truth. Study Biblical prophecy, both in the Scriptures and a prophecy scholar that one trusts.
2. Test the spirits! (1st John 4.1) Every teaching you submit yourself should be accepted on the basis that it agrees with the Scriptures. This is another reason one should study the Bible regularly so one can test any new teaching by the Scripture. It is important to know what one believes about the Lord Jesus Christ. He is and was God in human flesh. This is not negotiable. Never trust any teacher that does not believe:
a. The virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.
b. Jesus Christ’s sinless life.
c. His sacrificial death in our stead.
d. Jesus Christ’s bodily resurrection.
e. His promise to physically come again to His earth.
Every teaching must glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. (John 16.13-14) Again, the place a teacher gives the Lord Jesus Christ is the key. The most dangerous kind of teacher speaks well of Him but fails to exalt Him by recognizing Him as our special object of worship, love, and service.
3. Seek God with all your heart, mind, and soul in life and teaching! (Proverbs 3.6) As a natural father the Lord wants to guide and direct His children. If led by God He will lead one into all truth.
4. Avoid immorality! Immorality clouds the mind and creates separation between mankind and God.
5. Be bold. Share your faith aggressively with others! Our world is religiously confused like never before. Sharing with others increases your own faith and aggressively your own convictions about sharing with others.
6. Walk in life through the Spirit! (Ephesians 5.17-21) Christians should walk in the Spirit of God. After all, it is “the will of the Lord” from Ephesians 5.17. As the Spirit fills and uses your life He will give you sensitivity to both truth and error in your life.
Remember, rotten fruit always has a root of rotten thinking or rotten anger about anything. When we speak of empirical truth versus unbridled godlessness it paints a clear message of the difference between the two. One of the clearest messages in the Bible is the danger of pride. We clearly see it when a man places their own finite minds above the knowledge of the revelation of God and depends on their finite minds to determine the infinite truth are something which God hates. The pride you will recall was the original sin. God places pride on His hate list of Proverbs 1.16-19. King Soloman states Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16.18) James says that “God resists the proud in all their endeavors.” (James 4.6)