Christ prophesied that terrible times are ahead for humanity. Why did He give this warning? What should you do?
[Darris McNeely] Christ is saying to His Church that His Body, His spiritual army, would be engaged in proclaiming the announcement of the coming Kingdom of God, the family of God, to this earth.
The disciples of Jesus Christ came to Him on the Mount of Olives one day and they had a statement and a question and it’s the same kind of question that you and I have. They wanted to know the signs of His coming and of the end of the age. Tell us, they said, what these will be. Now it’s a well-known request that the disciples made that day. Christ had made a number of statements about the coming Kingdom of God that was the initial thrust of His entire message in His physical ministry. And they wondered if it was going to happen in their lifetime. And they wanted to know the signs and so do we.
Have you ever speculated, have you ever listened to speculation about the signs and what it will be that will lead up to the coming of Jesus Christ, what is called the second coming? When Jesus gave the answer to the question that was put to him that day by the disciples He mentioned several factors, He mentioned false religion, He mentioned war, He mentioned famine and pestilence. Now these are known as the four horsemen of Revelation, they correspond with that particular setting in revelation chapter 6 as well and it’s a very important part of the Scripture. But Christ gave other signs as well of what would be the signs of His coming. And so today we’re going to look at three specific events that Christ referred to that lead up to His return so that you and I can understand where we are at this point in our life and the modern setting leading up to that time of Jesus Christ’s return. There are more than three but we only have time to go into three here today.
In the book of Matthew chapter 24 we find where Christ began to answer this question and He responded to them, the question that was put to Him by the disciples, and when we look at where we are today we can look to these signs and we ourselves can gain an understanding of the trends that will lead to the coming of Christ and His intervention in world events.
Now understand this. This question will inform us as to what will be called the end of the age. This is really what the disciples asked about. What will be the signs of your coming and of the end of the age? It’s not the end of the world. As people talk about end time events a common technical phrase for that is called eschatology but people worry about the world coming to an end. That’s not what Jesus was talking about. He was talking about the end of the age and really it is a transition to a new age and it will be an age of the Kingdom of God on this earth. A completely different time than what we study in history and what we are living through right now. So it’s not the end of the world but it is a transition to another age, a the time of God’s Kingdom being brought to this earth.
Now why do we share the same interest that the disciples had about those signs? Well the reason is because today you and I live in very difficult times. And we want and we need to really understand what is happening in our world today. It comes down to you and I making sense of this chaotic confusing world that we see at times spinning out of control. A time of chaos. We see a different world than what many of us grew up in and we’ve seen dramatic changes just in recent years. So we have to make sense of our own time and where we live.
So let’s look at what Christ said in the Olivet prophecy and let’s look at three signs that I think can really relate to where we are today and what we need to understand. The three signs we’re going to talk about are this. We’re going to talk about nations rising against nation, a statement Jesus made about no flesh being saved unless there was an intervention, and also the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God being preached.
So let’s look at that first one which is mentioned in Matthew 24 and verse 7. Let me read it to you. He said that “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.”
1. Nation that will rise against nation.
That word that is translated nation for us here in the English version of our bibles, the word is ethnos and from that we get the word ethnic which is essentially what we are all a part of in this world.
Every one of us comes from some ethnic group. An ethnic group can be based upon race, upon culture, upon religion or language, some other cultural connection and we all have our ethnicities and it is those ethnicities that form the larger groupings that we call nations or national groupings. When we look at our world today we see large nations like France or Belgium or Russia and all of them contain multiple ethnic groups that have been brought together to form the nation. As long as everyone gets along under a rule of law, under an agreed upon set of standards and principles and values everyone can work together and the nation can function. But when that breaks down then peace disappears. Those conditions have to always be in place. History does show us that within nations and among various groupings of people within nations peace can break down and different ethnic groups will war against other groups and kill each other all because they have differences of skin color, of race, of religion, of culture and of certain values. And when we look at our world today that very statement Jesus made about nation or ethnos rising against ethnos or other groupings of people is happening in our headlines. It’s happening in our world today.
We see the world right now dividing down into various groups based on race, based on gender, based on religion or even ideas, ideologies that people have. What do we hear? We hear statements like build the wall, build the wall while someone else will say let them in. Let everyone in. Break down all the national barriers, create one world. We see radical religion that creates violence around the world as it seeks to expand its influence and its particular world view. We see politics dividing people against their government. We see sexual identity politics. It’s a rather chaotic world. That’s what I mean by the world that we look out our windows and we view today and it has changed so much in my own lifetime and I would think for you to consider that you would agree with me as well. And it’s changing almost season by season and it’s probably going to get worse before it gets any better.
We’ve been living in a world in recent decades called a global world. Globalization. It’s a big term, it’s an important term, because it has meant a great deal to the current world order. It has created a level of prosperity for so many of us. Technology and financially and economically and otherwise it’s a remarkable world. We can travel the world we can go across borders in various nations especially in Europe because of global ideas and global tendencies but we’ve also seen that that globalization right now is stuttering. It’s failing in certain areas because of this nation rising against nation and it appears that the warring factions that we have could if it were to continue turn back all the efforts to create a truly global one world whatever that one world might be according to whichever political idea, religion or philosophy might prevail at any given time.
But let me tell you something, globalization and mankind’s march toward one world is not going to fail at least in the long term. Bible prophecy does show us that the world is going to come together in one final push. A global superpower built upon the very idea that we read about in the early chapters of the book of Genesis where all mankind was as one seeking one particular goal, is going to finally happen. And that power will impose its economic and political and religious will upon the nations for a brief period of time. That’s what Bible prophecy shows us will precipitate, bring about a crisis at the close of the age. And it will be some yet unseen event and crisis that will trigger what the Bible does talk about.
What could it be? Well we’ll have to watch, we’ll have to seek to understand but there’s one very critical factor that we can watch right now and that’s exactly what Christ said and that’s people, nations. They are on the move today. War breaks out in the Middle East and cannot be stopped and people as a result of that push out of their borders because they are in danger and they want a better world and you see scenes like this of people with their children crossing borders seeking a better life. They’ve pushed it out and into Europe in recent years and that has significantly changed European politics dramatically upending the plans of well laid and ordered plans of governments there in that global part of the world.
African nations cannot support their masses. I’ve been to Africa several times. I’ve worked there and you see people. You see a lot of people. You see people walking, walking the roads going where you wonder at times. You see people trying to eke out a living pounding the dirt trying to grow something to live to get by. And yet people from these African nations are going north seeking asylum. They get on rickety boats and they cross the treacherous Mediterranean Sea seeking a better life. That’s what they, they want a safe life. I recognize there can be the other terrorist tendencies that will mix in with those crowds but by and large people are moving like that because they seek a better life.
We look at America and we see thousands of people coming into this country every year from Latin America. They walk to the American border wanting to come in. They cross over. At great danger seeking safety seeking to cross that barrier and to get to a point where they themselves as well have a better life because they are a part of a failed government wherever they come from that cannot provide for them. They cannot provide economically, they cannot provide for their safety and they come to America because they feel that they can get that better chance, that better opportunity here in America. When people migrate, fill in for whether a shrinking native population like Europe and America where the birthrate has been declining and they don’t assimilate into the culture through language and other means it becomes a powder keg just waiting to be ignited. And anger and frustration agitate to create tension and turmoil. The consequence of all of this is the rise of tribalism or what’s called ethno nationalism and a search for identity and community with one’s own people. No loyalty to family, tribe, neighborhood, culture and country appear paramount and they rise above intellectual and political alignment at times and despite social engineering and wishful politically correct thinking it does not change a fundamental aspect of human nature and who we really are. We’re white, we’re black, we’re Asian, we’re Polish, we’re Italian and it all makes an inescapable difference. It really comes down to it and today we are seeing nation rise against nation and we will see more of this until someday some incident some crisis of such magnitude occurs that it forces the world to react to keep events from spinning out of control.
Jesus Christ’s words are relevant to the headlines of our world today that we deal with every single day. Nation is rising against nation at this time and it is creating difficulties. This is just one sign, nation rising against nation. We have a booklet that we are going to be offering and want our audience at home to make a request for. “Seven Prophetic Signs Before Jesus Christ Returns.” This is a free booklet that we want those of you watching at home to write for. The address and telephone number is on the screen below you and you can write and get a copy of this. It goes into a lot more detail than what I’m able to get into today in this short program. I’m covering only 3 and there are 7 others in this booklet that speak to the signs for us to understand regarding the very coming of Jesus Christ.
Now let’s go on to the second sign that we can cover here today. It’s in Matthew 24 again and it’s in verse 22 and let’s read it. Christ made the statement after talking about some of these terrible matters that could come about of famine and pestilence and war and false teaching and He makes the statement in verse 22 of Matthew 24 that unless those days were shortened no flesh would be saved but for the elect’s sake those days those days will be shortened.
2. No flesh would be saved.
Unless those days would be shortened no flesh would be saved. But flesh will be saved. Mankind will not annihilate himself.
All flesh, all life forms on the planet that this is talking about we know today could vanish because of the threat of nuclear war that has been with us since 1945 between nations. You know the fear of such a war that has hung over the world for more than 40 years after the dropping of bombs upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki which brought an end to WW2, that fear has can we say faded just a little bit? Oh it’s still with us and we talk about it but I’ve noticed something about the way it is described today. We don’t go through drills like this when I was a kid. We don’t have civil defense shelters. We think we’ve even created certain treaties that would prevent nuclear war from taking place but let’s understand that the threat is still as great today as it ever has been. Some say it’s even greater. But there is no sense of urgency. Why is that?
Well the world has changed in many ways and as we have turned inward upon ourselves and been more concerned about even some of the identity politics and matters that my first point today actually referred to, we’ve lost the sight I think of a lot of things that are taking place in the world and the imminent danger that is there. Let me remind us of something that some here might remember. Back in 1982 there was a movie that was aired on American television. The name of the movie was called “The Day After.”
I watched it, I remember it quite well, it was very dramatic. The last hour of that movie was commercial free. It was watched by millions of people in its day and it’s still one of the highest rated television programs ever to air in America. But it was a movie about a nuclear bomb going off and the impact upon one particular city in Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, as a result of a nuclear war. And it got down to the detail of people’s lives and by the time it ended most of the people you had come to know in the movie were either dead or dying.
America watched that. The world watched it. And it had an interesting effect. The President of the United States at that time was Ronald Reagan. President Reagan viewed that and he had a long concern about nuclear war and stopping the threat. That movie depressed President Reagan so much to the point that he re-doubled his already strenuous efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons. At the time he was engaged in conferences and meetings with the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. They had several high summits to seek to limit nuclear weapons and there was one very dramatic one in Reykjavik Iceland, I well remember as well, where they nearly came to a point of eliminating all nuclear weapons.
Something happened and the meeting blew up and President Reagan left rather grim faced from that particular meeting. I was thinking about what could have happened. Well they kept meeting and eventually in 1987 they did sign between Russia and America, Mr. Gorbachev and President Reagan, a treaty that limited certain small range nuclear weapons. It was called an INF Treaty and those Treaties are still in effect. It banned a class of short range nuclear weapons and at the time it was a huge step toward peace yet today the treaties that these two men signed could be ended by today’s leaders of Russia and the United States. And there could be another huge step taken towards nuclear arms buildup and what is called modernization as new techniques and new forms of nuclear weapons have now come online and have replaced those of 30 or more years ago.
In addition there is a new threat besides nuclear war. It’s called cyber warfare. Because of our dependence upon the Internet a hostile nation could come into another country’s Internet structure create a hack and an attack that could create unimaginable disruption. Miscalculation that could then lead to a nuclear war not to speak of just completely bringing to a standstill modern society that is based upon the Internet.
Enough nuclear weapons exist today to destroy this world several times over. In just as recent as 2018 there was a nuclear alert that went off in the Pacific over Hawaii which did cause a great deal of fear momentarily among some who thought nuclear war had indeed begun. Someone had pushed a button and launched a missile. It was an alert Russian officer who took the steps to halt it at the time and nothing happened.
But in addition we’ve had North Korea’s threat to the current order which has brought the world even closer to Armageddon, closer than any other event in recent times. That and the fear of what Iran might bring on if they develop or when they would develop a nuclear weapon.
What is interesting as we watch all of this and the concerns about it is the changes taken place especially in the United States today that has created divisions and a bitter spirit that rips the very core of the strengths and the blessings by which this nation has helped avoid a world nuclear disaster in the last 70 years.
America has changed and the political debate and the discourse and the discussions that take place have broken down so much of the relationships at the cultural civic level of America that this particular matter of nuclear war and avoiding it has got to be a problem.
America’s role in the world has changed. It has become more divided at virtually every critical circle of society. Social, moral, and political and this is not a good turn of events.
So where is the nuclear Doomsday Clock? Well it’s just a few minutes before midnight. When scientists make those adjustments from time to time we should take note.
We’ve covered two signs: nation against nation and the possible end of all life. Let’s cover one more here in the time that is remaining. In Matthew 24 and verse 14 Christ gave a third sign that we can look at here today and it is an interesting sign that impacts exactly what we are doing here on Beyond Today on this program. In verse 14 Christ said “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
3. The gospel of the Kingdom will be preached.
This gospel of the Kingdom. What is the gospel? It is one of the signs that He gave that would be heralding His coming. Well the gospel is this. It is an announcement of the coming reign on earth of Jesus Christ as the King of kings. It’s the announcement that Jesus Himself brought with His ministry. When He came preaching and saying “Repent, the kingdom is at hand.” Believe the gospel. The gospel is an all-encompassing message about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s combined with the hope of His coming in the glory of eternity to bring peace to all the nations and to end all the strife that the other signs talk about here.
The gospel of the Kingdom is an urgent call to each of us to respond to God with open hearts. It is a call for us to say to God “Father, take me in. Be merciful, please.” It’s a call to acknowledge God as Savior, as King, as Ruler in your life and in mine.
The gospel of the Kingdom is the most important message to hear and the most important message to understand. We’re hearing it on this program. Those of you who are watching Beyond Today and accessing all of our printed material and our web material, you are hearing that gospel. The global reach of the Internet makes this possible today. It’s difficult to suppress this information even though dictatorial nations would suppress this message of freedom because it is a rather dangerous message. Beyond Today is carried to all parts of the world. This work is a part then of the fulfillment of Christ’s statement. You are watching prophecy being fulfilled with Beyond Today and accessing all that we provide.
We are a part of the story and Christ is saying to His Church that His Body, His Spiritual army would be engaged in proclaiming the announcement of the coming Kingdom of God, the family of God, to this earth. That is one of the signs that He gave.
So what will we do? When we think about the impact of Christ’s intervention on this earth it is a rather remarkable and dramatic moment that we anticipate. In Revelation chapter 11 and verse 15 there is the opening of one of the seals, the seventh seal of a series. A statement is made out of heaven that the kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ and He shall reign forever and ever. That is what that Kingdom means. That is what Christ’s own statements saying that this gospel would be preached into all of the world as a witness. That’s what it means.
As we are a part of it, as we respond to it, as we support it, as we believe it, and as we live it we are actually a part of the very statements of a prophetic sign that Jesus Christ made about His second coming.
Now we’ve covered three signs in this program. There are many more that will, again, not only help us to understand the signs of Christ’s coming but there are others that will also help us to even discern better our world. We cover them in this booklet “Seven Prophetic Signs Before Jesus Returns.”
Now again those of you that are watching at home listening to this later on, we want you to write to the address that is on your screen. Call the number or access this on our website and get your free copy of this booklet to help you to discern and to understand exactly where we are in the world today.
Nation will rise against nation. The possibility of all flesh coming to an end and the gospel being preached. Three signs of Christ’s coming, but there’s more. What does it mean? Well it means exactly what Jesus said. In Matthew 24 and again in verse 34 Jesus said that the generation who sees these signs begin to come to pass will not pass away until all of these things take place. And so it means that now is the time for us to understand and to read these signs and to take action. Now is the time to focus on the soon coming Kingdom of God and to pray Thy Kingdom come.
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