Bible Prophecy and You: Jesus Christ—The Greatest Prophet

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Jesus Christ—The Greatest Prophet

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Bible Prophecy and You: Jesus Christ—The Greatest Prophet

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Welcome to the seventh lesson in the “Bible Prophecy and You” series.

Bible prophecy centers on Jesus Christ. The last lesson in this series pointed to the Old Testament prophecies that foretold many, many details of His first coming—of His birth, life, death and resurrection. The next lesson will focus on prophecies of His second coming, which will be the grand climax of world history!

But this lesson focuses on Jesus Himself being the greatest prophet who ever lived. A prophet is one whom God has sent to speak for Him—declaring His will and judgment in the present and what is yet to come. Jesus proclaimed both.

First of all, He is the member of the God family who directly inspired all the prophecies we find in the Bible. We could call the apostle John a prophet because he wrote the book of Revelation, but the book is actually “the revelation of Jesus Christ,” given to Him by God the Father, which John merely recorded (Revelation 1:1 Revelation 1:1The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to show to his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel to his servant John:
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).

In addition, Jesus during His earthly ministry personally proclaimed approximately 100 prophecies—amazing, as most people today don’t even think of Jesus as a prophet. A great many of His teachings were prophetic! And His startling prophecies clarify many other Bible prophecies, especially those of the end time.

The Prophet in Moses’ place

Jesus of Nazareth was in fact the great “Prophet” earlier foretold by Moses.

After being delivered from slavery in Egypt and wandering in the wilderness for nearly 40 years, the Israelites were ready to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land. On this occasion, God inspired Moses to summarize what they had experienced and what God had taught them. That summary is the book of Deuteronomy.

Moses reminded the Israelites that God was not permitting him to go into the Promised Land because he had impetuously not followed God’s specific instructions in dealing with the nation on a particular occasion (Numbers 20:7-12 Numbers 20:7-12 7 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 8 Take the rod, and gather you the assembly together, you, and Aaron your brother, and speak you to the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and you shall bring forth to them water out of the rock: so you shall give the congregation and their beasts drink. 9 And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him. 10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said to them, Hear now, you rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? 11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. 12 And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, Because you believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.
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; Deuteronomy 3:23-28 Deuteronomy 3:23-28 23 And I sought the LORD at that time, saying, 24 O Lord GOD, you have begun to show your servant your greatness, and your mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to your works, and according to your might? 25 I pray you, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon. 26 But the LORD was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the LORD said to me, Let it suffice you; speak no more to me of this matter. 27 Get you up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up your eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and behold it with your eyes: for you shall not go over this Jordan. 28 But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you shall see.
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).

The Israelites must have felt pretty nervous at the idea of facing many new challenges and dangers without Moses, who had led them for 40 years. To reassure them, God did three things. First, He reminded everyone that He, the Lord, was in charge and that He personally would lead and protect them (Deuteronomy 31:8 Deuteronomy 31:8And the LORD, he it is that does go before you; he will be with you, he will not fail you, neither forsake you: fear not, neither be dismayed.
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).

Second, He inaugurated Joshua to take Moses’ place and said, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you” (Numbers 27:18-20 Numbers 27:18-20 18 And the LORD said to Moses, Take you Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand on him; 19 And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. 20 And you shall put some of your honor on him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.
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; Joshua 1:5 Joshua 1:5There shall not any man be able to stand before you all the days of your life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with you: I will not fail you, nor forsake you.
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).

Third, God gave Moses and the nation a prophecy that someday there would be another prophet like Moses. God said, “I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him” (Deuteronomy 18:18 Deuteronomy 18:18I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brothers, like to you, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him.
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At times during the ministry of Jesus, people guessed that He was the promised “Prophet” (John 6:14 John 6:14Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.
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; John 7:40 John 7:40Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet.
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). After Jesus’ resurrection, Peter and Stephen both declared that Jesus was indeed “the Prophet” foretold through Moses (Acts 3:20-23 Acts 3:20-23 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached to you: 21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. 22 For Moses truly said to the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up to you of your brothers, like to me; him shall you hear in all things whatever he shall say to you. 23 And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.
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; Acts 7:37 Acts 7:37This is that Moses, which said to the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up to you of your brothers, like to me; him shall you hear.
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).

What Jesus foretold

By some counts, Jesus Christ gave approximately 100 recorded prophecies of the future during His ministry. Many were about His eventual return to the earth and other end-time events.

Many others were about what would happen soon after He spoke—His arrest, trial, suffering, death and resurrection. In part, He was trying to prepare His disciples for all that would come. But more than that, His prophecies combined with their exact fulfillments constitute further proof that He was exactly who He claimed to be.

Let’s now take note of several important prophecies Christ gave and their fulfillments.

Did Jesus prophesy specific things about His disciples?

“Now as they were eating, He said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.’ And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say to Him, ‘Lord, is it I?’ He answered and said, ‘He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me. The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.’

“Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, ‘Rabbi, is it I?’ He said to him, ‘You have said it.’ …

“Then Jesus said to them, ‘All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.” But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.’

“Peter answered and said to Him, ‘Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times’” (Matthew 26:21-25 Matthew 26:21-25 21 And as they did eat, he said, Truly I say to you, that one of you shall betray me. 22 And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say to him, Lord, is it I? 23 And he answered and said, He that dips his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. 24 The Son of man goes as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. 25 Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said to him, You have said.
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; Matthew 26:31-34 Matthew 26:31-34 31 Then said Jesus to them, All you shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. 32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. 33 Peter answered and said to him, Though all men shall be offended because of you, yet will I never be offended. 34 Jesus said to him, Truly I say to you, That this night, before the cock crow, you shall deny me thrice.
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).

Here Jesus foretold that Judas Iscariot would betray Him, that all His disciples would scatter and that Peter would deny Him three times. These were all fulfilled exactly (Matthew 26:47-50 Matthew 26:47-50 47 And while he yet spoke, see, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. 48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. 49 And immediately he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. 50 And Jesus said to him, Friend, why are you come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus and took him.
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, 56, 69-75).

Jesus pronounced “woe” on three cities of His day. What happened to them?

“Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: ‘Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.

“‘And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades [that is, into the ground]; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you’” (Matthew 11:20-24 Matthew 11:20-24 20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: 21 Woe to you, Chorazin! woe to you, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say to you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, which are exalted to heaven, shall be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in you, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say to you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.
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).

Jesus preached in and did mighty miracles in three towns where almost everyone reacted with disbelief. Then Jesus “began to rebuke the cities,” saying, “Woe to you … !”

Today, almost nothing remains of those three towns. Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament says: “This has been strictly fulfilled. In the wars between the Jews and the Romans, Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum, etc., were so completely desolated that it is difficult to determine their former situation” (note on verse 23).

The people who lived in those towns will someday have their opportunity to repent and receive salvation, but the fate of those towns is testimony to the accuracy of Jesus’ pronouncement.

Did Jesus foresee the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem?

“Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down’” (Matthew 24:1-2 Matthew 24:1-2 1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said to them, See you not all these things? truly I say to you, There shall not be left here one stone on another, that shall not be thrown down.
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).

“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:20-24 Luke 21:20-24 20 And when you shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is near. 21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the middle 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 to 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 on 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.
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; compare Luke 23:27-31 Luke 23:27-31 27 And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him. 28 But Jesus turning to them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. 29 For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts which never gave suck. 30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. 31 For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?
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).

The destruction of the temple and Jerusalem in A.D. 70 by the Roman army under Titus was a first fulfillment of this prophecy. Another destruction will take place in the future, as the Olivet Prophecy is primarily about the “end of the age” (Matthew 24:3 Matthew 24:3And as he sat on the mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the world?
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).

Did Jesus foretell He would die and be raised to life in three days?

“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ Then the Jews said, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’ But He was speaking of the temple of His body” (John 2:19-21 John 2:19-21 19 Jesus answered and said to them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and will you raise it up in three days? 21 But he spoke of the temple of his body.
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).

“We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands’” (Mark 14:58 Mark 14:58We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.
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).

“And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31 Mark 8:31And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
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).

At times, Jesus said He would rise “in three days” or “within three days,” which means no more than three days. At other times, He said “after three days,” which means no less than three days. Taken together, these statements show that it would occur right at three days.

Did Jesus announce that His body would be in the tomb for “three days and three nights”?

“Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, ‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.’ But He answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth’” (Matthew 12:38-40 Matthew 12:38-40 38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from you. 39 But he answered and said to them, An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
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).

Jesus had performed many public miracles, and yet the hostile Pharisees still asked for another “sign.” At that point, Jesus did not entertain them with another miracle, but He gave them the ultimate sign and proof that He was who He said He was—the Messiah and Son of God. He said that after He died, He would be “three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

The popular idea of a Friday afternoon crucifixion and Sunday morning resurrection does not add up to three days and three nights! The truth is that Jesus died and was entombed on a Wednesday afternoon and was resurrected on the following Sabbath (Saturday) afternoon. For a full explanation and proof of this, search for “Good Friday—Easter Sunday” in the search box above.

Did Jesus promise that He would come to earth a second time?

“… I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3 John 14:2-3 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
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).

“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38 Mark 8:38Whoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
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).

“Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Luke 12:40 Luke 12:40Be you therefore ready also: for the Son of man comes at an hour when you think not.
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“Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27 Luke 21:27And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
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Jesus repeatedly referred to His second coming in His statements and parables. As earlier mentioned, the next lesson will focus on prophecies of Christ’s second coming.

Did Jesus prophesy terrible deception in the future, especially in the end time?

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying [that] I am Christ; and shall deceive many’ (Matthew 24:4-5 Matthew 24:4-5 4 And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
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, King James Version).

“Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many” (Matthew 24:11 Matthew 24:11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
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).

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it” (Matthew 24:23-26 Matthew 24:23-26 23 Then if any man shall say to you, See, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25 Behold, I have told you before. 26 Why if they shall say to you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
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).

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:15-23 Matthew 7:15-23 15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Why by their fruits you shall know them. 21 Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.
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).

Jesus began His Olivet Prophecy about the end time with the words, “Take heed that no one deceives you,” and then repeatedly warns of deceivers. Some deception is done in His name, by those calling Him Lord and claiming to be Christian and yet teaching against the Bible. What does Christ think of those who masquerade as His followers while preaching and living contrary to the truth? At the time of judgment, He will say to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:23 Matthew 7:23And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.
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).

Did Jesus indicate that many in the end time will be saying that this is the end time?

“And He said: Take heed that ye be not led astray: for many shall come in my name, saying [that] I am he; and, The time is at hand: go ye not after them’” (Luke 21:8 Luke 21:8And he said, Take heed that you be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draws near: go you not therefore after them.
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, American Standard Version).

Jesus warned that a seemingly endless variety of individuals will claim that He is the Christ, but they won’t be teaching the truth. Today we see religious and secular leaders saying that we are approaching the end of the world as we know it, but with widely divergent messages about what we should do. Could this be Satan’s way of creating so many counterfeit messages that it becomes difficult for most listeners to tell who is teaching the truth of the Bible?

Did Jesus promise that He would build His Church?

“… On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades [the grave] shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18 Matthew 16:18And I say also to you, That you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
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Jesus promised He would build His Church, and He did. He also promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 Hebrews 13:5Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.
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). The Church began with power from God, as described in Acts 2. It has continued on in spite of incredible opposition from Satan and many other enemies. Even with periodic persecution and martyrdom of true Christians, the Church has survived and continues to do God’s work of preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God and teaching and caring for those God has called. We will cover much more about the Church in other lessons.

Apply now

Read the very important 24th chapter of Matthew, Jesus’ Olivet Prophecy—though it actually continues through chapter 25 with three prophetic parables. This is an extended prophecy of the major trends and events leading up to the second coming of Christ. Plus it is very spiritually sobering and instructive.

Write down the things Christ asks us to do as we prepare for the times of trouble and the wonderful Kingdom of God Christ will bring when He returns. And read our free study guide Are We Living in the Time of the End? for a thorough explanation of this prophecy.