It seems that every generation has those who predict the end is near. What makes the days in which we are now living different from other times in history? What are the signs which tell us the end of this age is near?
I've had so many people ask me about some of the events taking place in the Mideast that I thought it might be good to just cover that whole scenario and what's going on and what to look forward to in the future. Are we seeing the signs of the end times as we observe world events today? Every generation that has come along has had its prophets, seers who proclaim the end of the world and the return of Jesus Christ. In fact today in the Chattanooga Times there was an article about those who believe in the rapture. And they have an index of events that are taking place in the world, how they measure, whether they think the rapture is about to happen. Anything under eighty-five, according to their scale, very little chance anything over a hundred and forty-five, great chance, and this event that's taking place in the Mideast right now, they rate it a hundred and fifty something. So they're anxiously looking for the rapture. Is there going to be a rapture? Is there any such thing as a rapture?
Where are we in the flow of prophecy? Out of the many generations, and it seems like every generation that comes along predicts that the end of the world is near. And when you look back at some of the holocausts that have taken place, some of the events such as in the Middle Ages when a third of the people in Europe died from the bubonic plague, you know, these type of things. Are we any different today? Are world events any worse today than they've been at other times? Or are we just one of many generations that come and go, and, you know, there'll be dozens of generations after us, and nothing is going to change.
What makes our age different from other ages? Is anything that makes us stand out and different from the other ages? It was nearly two thousand years ago that the prophet John was given visions of Jesus Christ's return in the book of Revelation. Generations have come and gone; humanity still survives. God's kingdom isn't here on the earth yet. And Biblical skeptics like to point out that the signs of the end as foretold by Jesus Christ have been occurring for the last 2000 years. They just sort of keep repeating themselves.
So they say, you know, how can we tell that we are near the end time? If you'll remember in 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?
American King James Version×, Jesus Christ described some of these events as He said on the Mount of olives,
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?
American King James Version×- ". . .the disciples came to Him privately, saying, 'Tell us, when will these things be? (And) what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?'
Verse 4 - "And Jesus answered and said to them: 'Take heed that no one deceives you.'" So He talked about spiritual deception.
Verse 5 - "'For many will come in My name, saying, that I am the Christ, and will deceive many.
Verse 6 - "'And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you be (are)not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.'" Notice.
Verse 7 - "'For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.'" Well, we've certainly seen that in the 20th century, have we not? Two world wars. "'. . .And there will be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in various places
Verse 8 - "'All these are the beginning of sorrows.'" So what makes our age any different from other ages? Why are we any different from other ages?
Well if you remember in Matthew 24, that the Olivet prophecy dealt with the destruction of the Temple Mount because:
Matthew 24:1 Matthew 24:1And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple.
American King James Version×- "(Then) Jesus went out, and departed from the temple, and His disciples came to Him and they showed Him all of the buildings of the temple compound,
Matthew 24:2 Matthew 24:2And 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.
American King James Version×- "And Jesus said (to them), 'Do you not see (all) these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone (shall) will be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.'"
Now one could argue that there are still stones there. I mean there's the wailing wall that's still there. There's part of that temple compound that one could argue might be there. But the disciples wanted to know three things. Notice:
Verse 3 - ". . .Tell us, when will these things be?" When's all this going to happen? So there is a "when" question. And what. . ." So there's a "what" question. "What will be the sign of Your coming. " When and what. ". . .and what will be the sign of the end of the age?"
So, there are three things here: When is it going to happen? What's going to be the sign of Your coming and that we are in the end of the age? Now isn't that what all of us like to know? And be assured of?
In Matthew 24:21 Matthew 24:21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
American King James Version×and 22, you find that the Bible predicted there would come a time of unparalleled trouble. A time when life could be destroyed off the face of the earth. Let's read it here:
Verse 21: - "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be." Now did that occur in the first century with the destruction of Jerusalem? I say, "no." Actually, Josephus says there were over a million Jews killed, 97,000 taken captive during that siege. And yet we know that Stalin had twenty million of his own people killed. Fifty million people died in the second world war. So if there's coming a time of unparalleled destruction, it's going to be more than fifty million people. Actually there's going to come a time that our minds cannot even begin to fathom.
Verse 22 - "And unless those days were shortened. . ." Unless something happens to shorten those days. . . ". . .no flesh would be saved alive:" And the implication is no flesh would be saved alive, or would be saved. Actually I added - alive. "No flesh would be saved alive," meaning all flesh would be destroyed. "But for the elect's sake those days will be shortened."
Now I wonder if you realize how important you are. The Bible says, ". . . for the elect's sake," for those who truly understand, who have been called by God, who have His Spirit, who are willing to serve Him. Because of those people, God will intervene to cut everything short and so that all life will not be destroyed.
Now this could not have happened in the first century. It could not have happened five hundred years ago. It could not even have happened fifty, let's say a hundred years ago. But with the advent of the atomic bomb it is now possible for all life to be destroyed.
With the advent of chemical warfare, biological warfare there are all kinds of different ways that mankind today is capable of obliterating and destroying all life off of the face of the planet. It was not possible until our day, today for all life to be destroyed from the earth.
You could not do it with axes and spears, with clubs. You could not do it with a Gatling gun or a Colt 45. It took the advent of some of the modern inventions to be able to destroy all life. And the one thing that we have learned, we have already learned this, any weapon that man has devised, he has always used. He's already used chemical warfare, biological warfare; he has already used nuclear warfare. It's just a matter of how much more will be used in the future.
Okay with all of this as a background, let's look at some of the trends that we see occurring today, some of the things that are going on. How close are we to the end time? What is the flow of prophecy according to the Scriptures? What are the significance of the events occurring in the Mideast today?
Let me give you a little background to the present crisis that we see happening right now in Israel, Lebanon, because our lives are going to eventually be affected by it, everyone of us sitting here. It's not just something going on over there. It is going to effect us.
The focus of the political world, the U.N, seemingly most nations today is on the tiny little nation of Lebanon. It's more of a victim nation and this is not the first time for battles over issues that are not its own to take place. Practically speaking, Lebanon has been more of a vassal state for the last thirty years than it has to rule its own. Syria has been there until recently. Hezbollah has been there for the last six years. And what you find is they do not have the strength, apparently, to resist these nations.
The current crisis was sparked in southern Israel when Hamass forces dug a tunnel into Israel, attacked an outpost, captured an Israeli soldier, and for almost a year Hamass has been firing rockets from the Gaza Strip over into Israel. Now every time Israel gives back a piece of land to the Arabs, that land is used to attack them. That's why they had that strip to provide a buffer zone.
It widened to Lebanon when Hezbollah fighters launched a rocket attack across the border, killed eight Israeli soldiers, kidnapping two others. Then Israel retaliated, and Hezbollah began to indiscriminately fire rockets that hit Haifa and other cities in the North of the country.
Now as always when Israel came in with superior firepower, a bigger army, more tanks, guns and so on, there was the usual call for cease fire, peacekeeping force from the U.N. Actually the U.N. has had a peacekeeping force there for twenty years, two thousand; they haven't done a thing because, you know, they haven't had the authority.
And Israel has been roundly condemned for this. European nations were furious at Israel, especially just as they were in the '80s when Israel first invaded Lebanon. And what you find they don't want to create any animosity between them and the Arabs. Why? Because they are so dependent upon the Arab world for oil. And, you know, they don't have huge supplies of oil. Russia is not. Russia is independent. They produce their own oil so they are not worried about it, but the Europeans are.
They're hoping, and as you woke up this morning you know that there has been a peace proposal that has been put forward, the U.N. has agreed to it, however there's no timetable. And had CNN news, not CNN, had Fox news on actually this morning right before we left, and the Israelis have three times as many troops in Lebanon overnight. They've landed troops down by the river, and they're fighting their way back, and they're going to try to clean everything out between them in the river, about an eighteen-mile stretch here. There's still fighting going on; the Lebanese cabinet is considering it today. The Israeli cabinet will consider it tomorrow.
Now Israel said they will not pull out until the U.N. peacekeeping force is on the ground and replaces them. That could take eight to ten days. Hezbollah has said they will not stop fighting until the last Israeli is off of the Lebanon ground. So, I mean, how do you resolve that? And so what you find is fighting continues.
Lebanon has been used as a base to attack Israel for the last thirty-five years. Israel, if you remember, agreed to withdraw troops from Lebanon in May, 2000. And so they withdrew. And the power vacuum that was created in the southern part of Lebanon, the Iranians supported, Hezbollah moved in. Hezbollah means - the party of God. So they moved in and essentially set up a state within a state. And what you find it is they were armed to the teeth by Syria and Iran. Israel when the rockets began to fall and when they began to see that Hezbollah had an arsenal of ten thousand rockets, they decided enough was enough, and they started hitting them back.
As of this morning Hezbollah has fired three thousand six hundred rockets. So that means they have over six thousand left. They've fired three thousand six hundred out of ten thousand. So they've got over six thousand rockets left to fire. The state of Israel, as always, is fighting for its survival, and it's very difficult to fight some of these individuals and as we are finding in Iraq also, because they hide among the civilians. They take over people's homes. They put their rockets on top of people's houses. They use churches to put all of their supplies in so when you come, and you blow up a mosque or if you destroy somebody's house, then you're injuring civilians and then there's this great outcry that - you know, why are you doing this. And so you get into what we see today.
Israel, as I said, wants a buffer zone. And supposedly according to this U.N. resolution there'll be fifteen thousand troops Lebanese, fifteen thousand from the U.N. Well, the Lebanese don't have the power to stop Hezbollah, and the French are going to head up the U.N. peacekeeping force. Now we can all sort of smile over that, but we'll see how that works out.
Eventually the Bible indicates that Jerusalem is going to be surrounded by armies. And here we find the attention of the world, again, focused on this area. We find troops coming into this area. I don't believe that we're quite at that point yet that the Bible predicts is going to happen. But the way is being paved for sanctioned troops to come into the Mideast. Here you have the United Nations going to send troops into this area. What if eventually because of the fighting that continues to take place in Jerusalem, what if the U.N. says, "Well, we need to have troops around Jerusalem?" Or what if Europe eventually sends troops there?
Let's notice a prophecy, Luke 21:20 Luke 21:20And when you shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is near.
American King James Version×. You'll remember Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, all of these are the Olivet prophecies written by different authors. You'll find here that Luke provides a little more information. And in verse 20 we read this:
Luke 21:20 Luke 21:20And when you shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is near.
American King James Version×- "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near." Okay, now that happened in 67 A. D., and Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A. D. by Titus and the Roman armies. But that was only a forerunner; it was only a type of what is going to happen at the end; that there's going to come a time when Jerusalem will be surrounded by armies, and it will become desolate.
Verse 22 - "For these are the days of vengeance, (that) when all things which are written may be fulfilled." All things that were written here were not fulfilled in the first century. I'll guarantee you not even in this chapter - Chapter 21. But there's going to come a time when all things will be fulfilled.
Verse 23 - "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." So the Israelis in Jerusalem, Palestine will have a great deal of wrath against them.
Verse 24 - "And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. . . " Just like it occurred in the first century. ". . .And Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles are fulfilled."
The time of the Gentiles apparently is the three and a half year period at the end time when the Gentiles hold sway, hold sway in, you know, that area of the world, and the Jews and the descendants of Jacob go into captivity. I'm talking about the U.S., Britain, and the other peoples who are descendants of Jacob.
Revelation 11, notice a parallel scripture that goes along with this. Revelation 11:1 Revelation 11:1And there was given me a reed like to a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
American King James Version×. Here we read that Jerusalem will be trodden down until the time of the Gentiles is over. Well notice here:
Revelation 11:1 Revelation 11:1And there was given me a reed like to a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.
American King James Version×- "Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, 'Rise (and) measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there.
Verse 2 - " 'But leave out the outer court which is outside the temple, (and) do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. . ." We're talking here about Jerusalem. ". . .And they will tread the holy city. . ." That's Jerusalem. ". . .underfoot (for) forty-two months." That's three and one-half years.
Verse 3 - "And I'll give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days. . .'" That's forty-two months, or three and a half years, likewise.
In Zechariah 12 - Go back to the Book of Zechariah. Zechariah of all of the minor prophets, as they're referred to, has more to say about what is going to happen in Jerusalem and that environment than almost any of the other minor prophets. Zechariah 12:2 Zechariah 12:2Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
American King James Version×& 3.
Zechariah 12:2 Zechariah 12:2Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
American King James Version×- "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples. . ." So all those people who surround Jerusalem, you've got the Palestinians, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, you know, and Egypt, all of these people. "...when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem." So there's going to come a time when there will be a siege of this country.
Verse 3 - "And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all people(s). . .;" You know, be a burden for all nations. ". . . and all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it."
So eventually all nations will be down there. And we find in the book of Revelation that all nations will gather in Armageddon, and they will fight in this whole area. And there'll be a final climactic battle for control of the world. Notice Zechariah 14.
Zechariah 14:1 Zechariah 14:1Behold, the day of the LORD comes, and your spoil shall be divided in the middle of you.
American King James Version×- "Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, (and)your spoil will be divided in your midst.
Verse 2 - "And (For)I will gather all (the) nations. . ." Again, all, every one of them. . . ". . .to battle against Jerusalem. (The city) Cities shall be taken, the houses rifled, (and) the women ravished. Half (of) the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
Verse 3 - "Then the Lord will go (forth) and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. "And so you find, again, that all nations will fight, and Jerusalem will be taken.
What you find happening, brethren, is, as we realize, there is a great deal of hatred in this world against Israel. There's a great deal of hatred against the United States. The war in Iraq and Afghanistan has tended to galvanize the terrorists together, the Arabs, and to divide this country, and weaken us in the eyes of the world; weaken us in the minds of the Arabs and especially, the terrorists.
If you'll just take note at some of the recent events that have been taking place politically in this country, does the name Ned Lamont strike anybody? Have you heard his name recently? He defeated Joe Lieberman in Connecticut in the Democratic primary demonstrating, I think, how narrow politics has become in this country.
Leiberman is a Democrat, in fact he was on the presidential ticket if you'll remember as vice president. His one sin in the eyes of some in his own party was he supported the president when it came to Iraq. So therefore Lamont comes along, and he's against the war, and, you know, he elected. Consequently the message that is being sent is that any Democrat who supports the president will be targeted for nonsupport. And so therefore this political division instead of us as a country really working together, come up with solutions to how can we resolve this? You find that the chasm becomes deeper and deeper because in politics it's a matter of who's in power right now. And so if you're not in power, you'll do everything you can to get in power, and vice versa. It doesn't matter which one of the parties that applies to.
What you find today, sad to say, our leaders, our politicians lack backbone. We're a nation of wimps! Absolutely! You find that people don't have the courage to stand up and say, "Look, you know, this is what we need to do." And to do something. Now God prophesied that this is what would happen to the nations, the peoples of Israel, Judah a long time ago. Isaiah 1:2-7 Isaiah 1:2-7  Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD has spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.  The ox knows his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel does not know, my people does not consider.  Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger, they are gone away backward.  Why should you be stricken any more? you will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.  From the sole of the foot even to the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.  Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.
American King James Version×. Notice.
Isaiah 1:2 Isaiah 1:2Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD has spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.
American King James Version×- "Hear, O heavens, and hear, and give ear, O earth! For the Lord has spoken: 'I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me;
Verse 3 - "'The Ox knows its owner and the donkey its master's crib; but Israel does not know, My people do not consider.'" God says we've forgotten who He is. And then he describes our nation. He says:
Verse 4 - "'(Alas) Ah, sinful people," or sinful nation. "A people laden with iniquity. A brood of evildoers, children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the Lord. . .'" And so you'll find today that religion, anybody who "is religious" is sort of labeled radicals, they're over here on the right, and they're radicals, and so therefore God says: "'. . . They have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked to anger the Holy One of Israel, they've (they have) turned away backward.'" Then God says:
Verse 5 - "'Why should you be stricken...'" Why are you going to all these problems?
"'You will revolt more and more. The whole head is sick. . .'" When God looks at our leaders, He doesn't have much to say that's good. "'. . .The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faints.'" So God says we faint. We don't have the courage, the backbone.
Verse 6 - "'From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it. . .'" When God looks at the bottom to the top of our country, there's no soundness here anymore. "'But The wounds and bruises and putrefying sores, and they have not been dosed or bound up, or soothed with ointment.
Verse 7 - "'Your country is desolate. . ." This is what is eventually what's going to happen. "'Your cities are burned with fire; strangers devour your land in your presence. . .'" And think about the immigration situation we've been trying to handle. ". . .And it is desolate, (as) and overthrown by the strangers.'"
Now I'd like to quote to you, we could spend all day talking, reading from, you know, some of the newspapers and columnists, but there was a column written recently by Cal Thomas. I think it came out on the eighth of this month. And He was talking about some of the events that had taken place, testimony before Congress he said, "Opponents of President Bush and his Iraqi policy have jumped on the comments last week of General John Abizaid, Commander of the U.S. Central Command before the Senate Armed Services committee.
He said, "I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I've seen it in Baghdad in particular, and if it's not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move towards civil war." So these were the head lines, "Iraq - Civil War," you know, that were played up. And ignored in most of the media coverage was what General Peter Pace said. Now he's the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
He said, "I believe that we do have the possibility of that evolving into a civil war, but that does not have to be a fact," he says. He went on to say, "Our enemy knows that they cannot defeat us in a battle. They know they can't beat us that way. They do believe, however, they can wear down our will as a nation." And that's exactly what is happening.
They are undermining our will, our determination, our courage to do what is right. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, reminded the panel that we are in a global struggle against violent extremists. And the problem is having the staying power. Do we have the ability to stay the course?
Taking note of the difference between the way the United States and the terrorists fight, Rumsfeld said, "One side puts their men and women at risk in uniform; they obey all the laws of war, while the other side uses them against us. And we've seen that in the world's reaction to Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Terrorists use torture, murder, no court of public opinion or judicial entity holds them accountable. The rare instance of abuse by American soldiers is punished.
He said, "Look at the difference between the two sides. One side does all it can to avoid civilian casualties, while the other side uses civilians as shields, and then skillfully orchestrates a public outcry when the other side accidentally kills civilians in their midst. One side is held to exacting standards of near perfection. The other side is held to no standards and no accountability at all.
He says, "The enemy uses our media to undermine the American resolve." And I believe that's exactly what we see happening, and here this past week, we found out that Reuters News Agency doctored pictures coming out of the Mideast. And, you know, doctored them up to be more severe, and they were not truthful, and they had to back down, and they had to apologize on the fact that they were putting things out that were fake.
This is the age; this the society that we live in. We live the time where people say we shouldn't be judgmental of others, where if you come out with strong views, you are considered to be intolerant or a bigot. And so therefore it's the age, the society that we live in.
All you have to do, Rumsfeld made mention, I'll just quote one last statement from him. "The enemy has called Iraq the central front in the war on terrorism, because they know if they can weaken our will there, we like a puppy dog, stick our tail between our legs, and we leave the country. And we leave them to their own devices. Then the rest of the Arab world is going to say, "All we've got to do is keep fighting, and they'll quit." And we will not be able to hold our head up anywhere in the world. And the terrorists instead of placating them and appeasing them will come after us with a vengeance.
Look at the recent headlines. Got up Thursday morning; what did we find? Where there was a plot in the U.K. to blow up ten American Airlines, and to commit mass murder. I've been on some of those airlines; they hold up to four hundred people; you could blow ten of those out of the sky, kill three to four thousand people very easily.
They were planning to use explosive devices in hand-held luggage, liquids, gels, common peroxide, what is it, the fingernail solution, acetate, I guess it is, acetain. Okay, mix those two together, and, you know, detonate these. If you're up forty thousand feet, thirty thousand feet in the air, blow a hole in the side of a plane, all at once suck all the oxygen out, you're in trouble. So, you know, these are the type of things that are being planned.
You'll find the book of Revelation gives an outline of prophetic events that will occur in the future. We have many prophecies in what are called the major prophets, the minor prophets that apply to the end time, but the difficulty we have is knowing the sequence, where did they fit in prophecy? It wasn't until the book of Revelation was written that we got a skeleton of prophecy. It talks about seven seals, seven trumpets, seven last plagues. And so you can begin to see when you go back and read Isaiah, or Jeremiah, or Ezekiel where some of the things they predicted are going to happen because now you have a framework to go by.
Many times there's been a former fulfillment, and there's to be a latter fulfillment as we all know, prophecy is duel. Sometimes there are three or four fulfillments of prophecies. Jesus Christ did say that there would be false prophets, wars and rumors of wars, famines, pestilence, earthquakes, all of these types of things. But I want you to notice in Revelation 6 that there is to also be a duality. Matthew 24, we've already read, where Christ predicted all of these things were going to come to pass. Matthew 24, Christ explains the four horsemen of the apocalypse as they're called here.
And you'll notice here in Revelation 6:1 Revelation 6:1And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
American King James Version×:
Revelation 6:1 Revelation 6:1And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
American King James Version×- "(Now) I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a loud voice (like thunder) and thunder, 'Come and see.'" Now it's interesting to note that Jesus Christ is the One who opens these seals. He's the One who opens them as far as opening the seals so that we can read and understand, but He also is the One who pours them out on society.
Verse 2 - "And I looked, and behold, a white horse. And he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer." This is talking about false prophets.
Well what we find, brethren, there had been false prophets from the get-go in the first century. But there's going to be as we will see a final fulfillment of all of these. And the final fulfillment is there is going to be coming on the world scene a final false prophet. We'll call him that. He is a super false prophet. Revelation 13, hold your place here. We'll be right back to Revelation 6. But in Revelation 13 we find two beasts described. The second beast here is a description of a religious power.
Revelaton 13:11 - "(Then) I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and (he) it had two horns like a lamb. . ." So it looked Christian. It looked like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon.
Verse 12 - "But (And) he (exercises) exercised all the authority of the first beast. . ." The first beast is a political power. Now here you find he speaks like a dragon; Satan is a dragon, Revelation 12:9 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
American King James Version×. Notice Verse 13:
Verse 13 - "He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.
Verse 14 - "And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived." So here we find a great false prophet who arises at the end time, who's given by Satan, the devil, supernatural powers by which millions of people will be deceived.
Revelation 19 describes his ultimate fate.
Revelation 19:20 Revelation 19:20And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that worked miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
American King James Version×- "(Then) the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence. . ." So here we find who this is. ". . .by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who had worshiped his image. (These two) And they were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone."
Okay, let's go back to Revelation 6. So at the end time you find, yes there will be religious deception, but there will be a final false prophet who will come on the scene, whom Satan will give great supernatural powers.
Revelation 6:3 Revelation 6:3And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.
American King James Version×- Then you find the second horse, "(When) He opened the second seal, and I heard the second living creature saying, 'Come and see.'
Verse 4 - "And another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword." So warfare. Okay, what we find this describing is not only just warfare, but warfare that is so bad, as we read in Matthew 24:22 Matthew 24:22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
American King James Version×, that no flesh would be saved. That God will have to intervene, or man would commit cosmicide, destroy all life off the face of the earth. Notice in Revelation 9, just give you one example. Many examples of this that we could read here in the book of Revelation.
Revelation 9:15 Revelation 9:15And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.
American King James Version×- "(So) the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour (and) the day (and) the month (and) the year, were released. . ." And notice. . . ". . .to kill a third of mankind." So this one plague here is going to kill a third of mankind, that I will say left alive at this point.
Verse 16 - "Now the number of the army of the horsemen (was) were two hundred million; and I heard the number of them.
Verse 17 - "(And) thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, (and) sulfur yellow; (and the) heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke (and) brimstone.
Verse 18 - "And by these three plagues a third of mankind was killed. . ." What is this talking about? Well it's describing planes, rockets, gunfire. It's describing bombs being dropped.
Verse 19 - It says they have ". . .tails like a serpent(s) that sting and hurt and kill." Well John's trying to describe modern warfare in terms that he's never seen these type of things before. And so, you know, he's seen modern warfare taking place, but the point I want to bring out is that one third of mankind is killed in this war and its aftermath.
We have over seven billion people on the face of the earth today. It is possible that only one-tenth of mankind might be left alive. There are going to be in the coming warfares that take place hundreds of millions of people who will die. Hundreds of millions who will die, upwards into the billions. And this is how bad it's going to get. There will be a final fulfillment of these prophecies.
Now back in Revelation 6:5 Revelation 6:5And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and see a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.
American King James Version×& 6: The third horseman of the Apocalypse:
Revelation 6:5 Revelation 6:5And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and see a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.
American King James Version×- "When He had opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, 'Come and see.' (So) And I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand.
Verse 6 - "And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, 'A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not (harm) hurt the oil (and) or the wine." Again, famine. Describing famine.
We certainly see the forerunner of that taking place today. We have millions who are dying from famine conditions in this world. You look at Africa, and you look at some of the nations there and you see the tens of thousands of people, especially children who are dying daily. Eventually most of the world will suffer famine. You don't drop hydrogen bombs, chemical warfare and biological agents on people without destroying their country, without destroying their economic system, destroying their highways, destroying their mass distribution of foods and food stuff. And farmers no longer able to get grain, no longer able to get fuel to grow food on the large farms in this country. What happens to a country when those large farms are no longer able to produce crops? And most people by the millions live in cities. Where do they go to get food? They're not going to be able to go down to the local store to buy it, so they start killing each other. And they go, mobs go house to house looking for food.
There's going to come a time when people are displaced by the millions, and they go into captivity, upset weather, destruction, the ecosystem will be totally out of balance. Rivers turning to blood, as the Bible talks about, the air being polluted. Soil contaminated, and millions of people will die with famine, and then finally, we read here, the fourth seal:
Verse 7 - "When He had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, "Come and see.'
Verse 8 - "(So) And I looked, and behold, (a) the pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades or the grave followed with him. And power was given (to) them over a fourth of the earth. . ." Notice: ". . . to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth."
What happens when the beasts of the earth begin to multiply and, you know, they're not held in check. Well now you've got wild animals running around. You've got rats spreading the bubonic plague. You've got all kinds of critters, bats, and so on, out here who are spreading diseases. As verse 8 goes on to say, This, then, is what Christ said, "These are the beginning of sorrows."
Verse 9 - "When He had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they (held) heard." So what we find, there's going to come a time of tribulation. And this time of tribulation is going to be especially, as the Bible describes it, the time of Jacob's trouble. Jeremiah 30: 6 & 7. The time when Jacob, the peoples of Israel, are going to be hated. The Jews will be hated, and they are hated today.
In October, 2005, Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinjad, said this in a conference titled "The World without Zionism." "Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nations' fury. While any Islamic ruler who recognizes the Zionist reign means he's acknowledging the surrender and defeat of the Islamic world."
And as the Emud Ayatollah Khamenei said, "Israel must be wiped off the map." So, you know, that's what the Iranians feel.
Hezbollah leader, you heard from him today; he spoke out just before we came about the peace accord. Sheik Nassan Nasrallah, is his name, echoed the same general sentiments back on April 9, 2000, "The Jews invented the legend of the Nazi atrocities." That's just a legend. They invented that. "Anyone who reads the Koran and the holy writings of the monotheistic religion sees what they did to their prophets, what acts of madness and slaughter the Jews carried out through history. Anyone who reads these texts can not think of coexisting with them, a peace with them, or about accepting their presence, not only in Palestine of 1948, but even in a small village in Palestine." Not even one village in Palestine. "…because they are a cancer that is liable to spread again at any moment." So the avowed attempt of the Arab world is the destruction of Israel, and they will not be content until they see that.
The descendants of Jacob, or Israel, will be hated. We are hated around the world, and there are various reasons, our culture, our military might and power. We're hated by some nations because they're not the dominant power; we are. And so, you know, they. . . What does the Bible say? They will dance in the streets when we go under. There will be dancing in the streets. And brethren, the church will be hated.
You have to realize that as we get closer to the time of the end and the message concerning the kingdom of God is proclaimed in greater power, there's going to come a time when true Christians are not going to be that popular. You won't be the most popular kid on the block at that time. Notice Luke 21:12 Luke 21:12But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.
American King James Version×. It says:
Luke 21:12 Luke 21:12But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.
American King James Version×- "But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you. . ." So, notice, we'll be persecuted. ". . deliver(ing) you up to the synagogues and prisons. And you'll ( You will) be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake.
Verse 13 - "(But) And it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.
Verse 14 - "Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer;
Verse 15 - "for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all of your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.
Verse 16 - "And you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, and relatives and friends; and they will (put) send some of you to your death.
Verse 17 - "And you will be hated by all for My name's sake." So there's going to come a time where God's church and work will be hated.
Matthew 24, let's go back there. Matthew 24:8 Matthew 24:8All these are the beginning of sorrows.
American King James Version×, pick up the story, a few extra details here. It says:
Matthew 24:8 Matthew 24:8All these are the beginning of sorrows.
American King James Version×- "All these are the beginning of sorrows." So, brethren, what I'm saying is all of these events that I've described to you, the first four seals, these things are going to begin to increase with greater intensity at the end time. And they're going to lead up to a period of time known as the tribulation where all of these then come to a crescendo during the last three and a half years. Notice:
Verse 9 - "Then they will delivery you up to tribulation (and) they'll kill you, (and you will) you'll be hated by all nations for My name's sake.
Verse 10 - "And then many will be offended. . ." So you and I are going to have to have staying power, too. We're going to have to have faith and courage. ". . . and will betray one another, and will hate one another." So, brother, Christian against Christian.
Verse 11 - "Then many false prophets will rise up and (deceive many) deceivers.
Verse 12 - "And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
Verse 13 - "But he who endures to the end (shall) will be saved." So you and I, brethren, must endure to the end. Now verse 15:
Verse 15 - "Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand),
Verse 16 - "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains." Get out of there.
Verse 17 - "(And) let him who is on the housetop not (go) come down to take anything out of his house.
Verse 18 - "And let him who is in the field not go back to get (his) clothes.
Verse 19 - "(But) woe to those who are pregnant and (to) those who are nursing. . .
Verse 20 - "(And) pray that your flight (may not be) be not in the winter or on the Sabbath.
Verse 21 - "For then (there) will be great tribulation, such as (has) not been since the beginning of the world until this time. . ." Well, the second World War won't compare with this period of time.
So, brethren, I want you to notice there is coming a time in the future when the abomination of desolation will once again be set up in the holy place. Notice what is going to occur when that takes place.
In order for this to occur there has to be some type of a holy place, temple, religious edifice put up. It's also talking about then, the reinstitution of sacrifices in the environments of Jerusalem. Those who are in Judea are told to flee when the abomination of desolation comes. This leads up to the tribulation period. What is the abomination of desolation?
Jesus said, "Remember what Daniel said." Well, let's go back to Daniel, quickly: Daniel 11:31 Daniel 11:31And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that makes desolate.
American King James Version×, Daniel 12:11 Daniel 12:11And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that makes desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.
American King James Version×. We could give a whole sermon on the abomination of desolation, but let's just notice quickly a couple verses here.
Daniel 11:31 Daniel 11:31And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that makes desolate.
American King James Version×-"And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifice(s), and place there the abomination of desolation in its place."
Daniel 12:11 Daniel 12:11And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that makes desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.
American King James Version×-"And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.
Verse 12 -"Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days." Okay, we're not going to get into the 1260/1290/1335. You know, that's for another time.
The thing that we want to look at again here is to look at what Christ said - He said, "Remember what Daniel wrote." Well, what you find, there's actually been two historical fulfillments of this prophecy, and there is to be yet a futuristic fulfillment. That's the one that you and I need to be cognizant of, and aware of.
In Daniel 11:31 Daniel 11:31And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that makes desolate.
American King James Version×was the first partial fulfillment of this prophecy, and that was by Antiochus Epiphanes. Antiochus Epiphanes came in, took over the temple; he offered swine's flesh and set up a statue to Jupiter Olympus.
Notice what the historical book, it's not a biblical book, but a historical book, of I Macabees, says about this, about what Antiochus Ephiphanes did. "The king then issued a proclamation to his whole kingdom that all were to become a single people. Each nation renounce its particular customs. The king also sent edicts my messengers to Jerusalem and the towns of Judah directing men to adopt customs foreign to the country.
"Banning burnt offerings, sacrifices and libations upon the sanctuary, or from the sanctuary, profaning the Sabbath and Feasts, defiling the sanctuary and everything holy, building altars, shrines and temples for idols. And so that they should forget the law and revoke all observance of it, anyone not obeying the kings command was put to death." That's I Macabees 1 beginning in verse 41.
Punishment was swift and brutal. Any women who had had their sons circumcised during this period of time were killed, their babies were hung around their necks and they were laid out. Verses 60, 61. Anyone who was faithful and tried to obey God was executed. Not content merely to stop the sacrifices, Antiochus Ephiphanes desecrated the temple.
A bearded image of the pagan deity, Jupiter Olympus, was set up upon the temple altar. The Jews popularly spoke of this as the abomination of desolation. Greek soldiers and their paramours performed licentious heathen rites in the very temple courts. Swine were sacrificed upon the altar. Antiochus Ephiphanes desecrated the temple and halted sacrifices in 167 B. C.; Judas Macabees resumed the sacrifice in 164 B. C., approximately twelve hundred and sixty days, or ninety days, whichever one it was, after cleansing and rededicating the temple. These events are commemorated by the Jewish community today by the service of Hanukkah, or the festival of Hanukkah that they keep.
Now there was a second partial fulfillment of this, and this was during the first century. This is what Christ spoke of in Matthew 24, a partial fulfillment. In 62 A. D., Jerusalem and Judea were getting in an uproar. The emperor Nero was slaughtering Christians around Rome. Rumors of war became a reality in 66 A. D. when Roman soldiers killed thousands of people in Jerusalem. The Jews revolted and the Romans sent troops to quell the rebellion. In 67, Vespasian invaded Judea with a Roman army. Part of Jesus' Olivet prophecy was fulfilled, and what you find, there was a war that took place, as you know, and in 70 A. D. Titus captured the city of Jerusalem, erected an idol on the devastated temple altar, and again, Josephus claims one point one million Jews were slaughtered at this time.
Now what you find, Jesus Christ's Olivet prophecy is primarily, though, for our day. Remember what the disciples asked? When are these things going to happen? What's going to be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age? So they were concerned about when Christ was going to come back and the end of the age. So even though Christ forecast things that were to happen in the first century, that was only a type, a duality, a partial fulfillment of what is to transpire here at the end time. There is to be a future abomination of desolation.
Paul tells us there's going to be a major religious figure that will arise at the end time. And you find that since there was a fulfillment, the first two go's around of the sacrifices ceasing, and some type of an abomination being set up in the temple or on the altar, it's very likely that that will happen again. Let's notice, II Thessalonians 2:4. Well, let's go back to verse 3:
II Thessalonians 2:3 - "(Let no one) Don't let anyone deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, destruction,
Verse 4 - "who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." So here comes a man, a religious leader, the false prophet at the end time who performs all of these signs and wonders by the power of Satan, the devil. And he's going to sit in the very temple of God.
Well what you find, this man will be an abomination, as far as God is concerned. I don't know if he will do other things in the temple, but certainly if the Jews start sacrificing again, this man would not have any right to go into the temple, only the priest would. Notice verse 8:
Verse 8 - "(And then) the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth. . ." So here it's absolute proof that this is talking about an end time prophecy when Christ comes back. Christ will destroy this man. ". . .with the brightness of His coming.
Verse 9 - " And the coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders." So you see where he gets his power from. And he will deceive the nations and millions of people into following him because they will think that he is the great power of God, and so they will follow him. Brethren, we find back here in Daniel 11, let's go there quickly.
Daniel 11:40 Daniel 11:40And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
American King James Version×- A prophecy for the end time. Daniel 11 is the longest prophecy in the Bible, a whole chapter, and you find it describes what happens with the fall of Greece, of Alexander, his generals right down to the very end time. In Daniel 11:40 Daniel 11:40And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
American King James Version×, we find though this said:
Daniel 11:40 Daniel 11:40And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
American King James Version×- "At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him. . ." Okay at this time the two powers that are being talked about here, there's the king of the North, north of Jerusalem, king of the South, south of Jerusalem. So ". . . the king of the South shall attack him. . ." "him"is the king of the North. ". . .And the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, (and) with many ships; (and) he shall enter into the countries, and overwhelm them, and pass through."
Now there was a former fulfillment of this, you know, in Ethiopia, but there is to be a latter day fulfillment. The king of the South is an amalgamation of Arab nations who in some way are going to push against at the king of the North. The king of the North resides in the area we call Europe today, a powerful group of nations who are going to unite together called "the Beast," in the book of Revelation. King of the South, as it says here, will attack, or as it says, "will push" against him. What kind of an attack or push could it be?
Presently the European nations don't want to upset the Arab world. So how will they push? Could it be oil? Would they cut oil off from Europe? Or could there be continual terrorist activities in some of the major cities of Europe? And finally they say, "Enough is enough." And, you know, they eat their spinach and go down and decide to invade the Mideast. Well what happens, it says here, that they will enter, and over. . .pass through, pass over and overwhelm a number of these countries.
Verse 41 - "And he shall also enter the Glorious Land. . ." That's Palestine; that's Jerusalem; that's this area we're talking about today. ". . .and many countries shall be overthrown;" when this takes place. ". . .but these shall escape from his hand; Edom. . ." Now Edom, we think, the modern descendants, or the Turks, or the Turkey, ". . .Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon." That would be Jordan.
Verse 42 - "And he shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape.
Verse 43 - "He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; (also) and the Libyans and (Ethiopians) Ethiopia shall follow at his heels." So you find here that they conquer North Africa.
Now we find, though, in verse 44, that while they're doing this, in other words, Europe pushes into the Mideast, and whatever precipitates this, they go in with enough power that they start taking over countries. Now what are the other Arab nations going to do while North Africa and Ethiopia, Libya, Egypt, all of these nations are conquered? Well, verse 44:
Verse 44 - " (But) news from the east. . ." East of there. ". . .and from the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and to annihilate many.
Verse 45 - "And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; and yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him." So the king of the North, then, will hear rumors of an invading army coming from the East, and coming from the North. Now what does the Bible say? Well, we've already read back in Zechariah that all nations will come down to this area. So, once Europe moves into this area, then the other Arab nations could very possibly come in.
There is going to be an army of two hundred million to come across the Euphrates, as the book of Revelation shows, and they will fight at this time. This will be the final battle for control of the world. Everything will be used at this point. This is the final climactic battle.
Now in the past, we always thought this would probably be mainly political, Communism versus Europe, but as geopolitics is showing, it's not just the Communists who are the main culprits today. This is likely to be a religious and a political battle. Two totally different cultures; Islamic as well as - could be called Christianity.
This is the time the false prophet moves to Jerusalem. This is where Europe pulls out all stops, and this is the time that the Islam says, "It's our time." And they're going to come down, and this is going to be the struggle for the end of the world. The Communists will also probably be involved. Well, it says "all nations" will gather there. Now you and I are told in Matthew 24:42 Matthew 24:42Watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord does come.
American King James Version×to watch.
Matthew 24:43 Matthew 24:43But know this, that if the manager of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
American King James Version×- "But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.
Verse 44 - "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him." See, Christ is going to come back when those who do not expect him.
So what should we be watching for, brethren? Let me give you a quick list:
-Moves to reintroduce the daily sacrifices. You need to watch that.
-The rise of the man of lawlessness - a religious figure who will claim to speak for God, and perhaps have some beginning of supernatural powers.
-Geopolitical events that will lead to armies to mass around Israel and will prepare that.
-Hatred of United States abroad.
-More terrorist attacks.
-Loss of power and prestige by the nations of Israel, especially Ephraim and Manasseh.
-More compromising taking place within our government.
We have a strong leader now, but he can't be re-elected, so what you find is that we could have less than a strong leader in the future.
-Christianity being belittled, put down, made fun of, ridiculed, especially in the U.S.
-A stronger Europe with a strong leader.
Now right now, you find the European Union has dozens of nations, but eventually there are to be ten. And is there going to be an organization within an organization, one being a trading organization, the other being more of a political, religious unity. And there's going to be a development of a strong military in Europe.
Now I mentioned to you about this article I read about the rapture. Well, they think that Christ could come back tonight. Well, I'm here to tell you that Christ will not come back tonight. He'll not come back next week, next month, or next year. Now how can I know that? Well, there are major events that must take place first, and those events have not taken place.
There is to be a great religious and political leader arise in Europe. There is to be a stronger Europe that will come together. Sacrifices will begin in the environment of Jerusalem. United States, Britain and other Israelite nations will probably go into captivity. Jerusalem will be taken and trodden down for three and a half years before Christ comes back. The two witnesses will prophesy for three and a half years. Church will be protected for three and a half years.
Those things have not taken place, so we're at least three and a half years away from Christ setting foot on the earth. The false prophet will perform many signs and wonders, sacrifices will cease. The horsemen of the apocalypse will ride again. The tribulation and heavenly signs, hundreds of millions of people dying. Destruction of the earth, the globe, the grass, the trees, the vegetation, the seas. Heavenly signs and wonders. None of these have occurred yet, and yet all of these will occur before Jesus Christ comes back. Now you and I are told in Luke 21:32 Luke 21:32Truly I say to you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
American King James Version×
Luke 21:32 Luke 21:32Truly I say to you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
American King James Version×- ". . . that this generation. . ." Notice it. "(Assuredly,) Surely, I say to you that this generation. . ." Which generation? The generation of Christ? No. They've come and gone, a thousand years ago, five hundred years ago, no: "' I say . . . this generation will by no means pass away till all is fulfilled (things take place)." I say that the generation this is talking about is the generation in which it's possible for all life to be destroyed off the face of the earth. What makes our generation unique from all of those that have come before? They never lived in a time when it's possible, in many ways, to destroy all life off of the face of the earth. And notice what it says when that occurs, that generation, there's some generation He's talking about, ". . . all these things (take place) will be fulfilled." They are going to happen.
Verse 34 - "(But) take heed to yourselves. . ." Now here's the warning for us. " . . .Take heed. . ." That's us. ". . . lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.
Verse 35 - "For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the (whole) earth.
Verse 36 - "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that (will) shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."
Brethren, it's easy for us to get bogged down in the cares of this world, and, you know, just day-to-day living. It's easy for us, if we're not careful to compromise not to be aware of the world trends and events that are taking place. We live in a time and an age when all these things will be fulfilled. We need to pray for discernment, pray for understanding, pray for God's mercy, God's protection, God's intervention and that God will help us to do His work that He wants done before the end. We need to pray, "Thy kingdom come," as Christ said, not just for our sake but for the sake of suffering humanity. Remember, "THY KINGDOM COME."