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Eschatology - The End Times

Eschatology - The End Times

 

We may have heard the prediction of Harold Camping that the world would end on May 21st 2011.  Yesterday came and went and today is the 22nd!  Next everyone will get back to obsessing about the other end of the world predicted by the Mayans, December 21st, 2012.  But how do we answer those who make such predictions or how do we answer those who may make fun of Christians who make foolish announcements without scriptural warrant before the eyes of the world of unbelievers.  Many laughed about this prediction but there is a day when our Lord will return and it won’t be a laughing matter for the unbeliever.   Therefore we do need to share what we do know and avoid the adding to scripture where it does not speak!

 

1 Thessalonians 5:21

“But examine everything carefully;

hold fast to that which is good!”

 

When we hear teachings we are to examine them carefully and hold fast to those which are good or true!

 

Matthew 25:13

Be on the alert then,

for you do not know the day nor the hour.”

 

This is the closing verse of the parable of the Ten virgins that teaches us we must be ready for our Lord’s return!  Therefore we are to be on the alert because we do not know the day or hour our Lord is returning.

 

Mark 13:32

“But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.”

 

This scripture shows us the extent of those who don’t know the day of our Lord’s return.  No one but the Father God knows the date, hour and minute of our Lord’s return.  The Son did not know in His incarnate state, that is while Jesus walked the earth!  Jesus emptied Himself in a way that He was fully God and fully man that we don’t totally understand but scripture shows us this in…

Philippians 2:6-8

Although He (Jesus) existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, (while on earth)

7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.

8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

 

So we need to understand if God is the only one who knows the date of the return or Second Coming, how can anyone of us set a date unless we are saying we are God Himself because only He knows the date and hour!  This is a pretty good answer for us to share with those who think they can tell us the actual date of our Lord’s return! 

 

This morning we are going to look at some scripture to help us see that there is no reason for the believer to worry or that predictions can’t come true because they are not from God but men!  God clearly revealed all that He wanted us to know about the end times and the date of His coming is not one of the revelations He has given us!  If God wanted us to know we would already know from scripture but the date is veiled so we always will be ready in every generation until His return!

 

1 Thessalonians 4:13-15

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep (died), so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.  14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep (died) in Jesus.  15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.

Many of us know loved ones who have died and are with the Lord in Spirit and look forward to the day when they like us will be transformed when our bodies will meet our Lord at the Second Coming!

 

1 Thessalonians 4:16

16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

 

The Order of Our Lord’s Return

  1. The Descending                                                                   

16a For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven

  1. The Loud Event

16b with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

  1. Catching Up in the Air  In the days of our Lord when the King would come everyone would come to meet outside the city and return with him as he came into their town with him because they honored and revered him.

 

17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

 

These are meant to be comforting words.  The King would come and all those who died beforehand came out of their graves to meet King Jesus in the air and we who are alive will also join in the coming event of our Lord’s second coming!

 

Now turn to 2 Thessalonians with me…

2 Thessalonians 2:1-4

1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,

2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

 

So we see that even in the days of Paul they dealt with rumors and writings by uninspired writers.  As Paul dealt with the false predictions we still do!  God has given us scriptures that were written to give us peace and understanding about the end times.  As we just read we should not be shaken or disturbed by some message that says Jesus came.  Or in our case there are many who predict His coming.  The Bible does give us details about His return…

 

The Coming does not come until the Apostasy comes first.

3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,  4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 

 

Now here we have a revelation of what will happen before the Second Coming of Jesus happens.

  1. Apostasy comes first!  What does that mean?

Lawlessness comes first!  We always have lawlessness but this is a spiritual lawlessness of the culture, a point where a man can set himself up as God! 

  1. Man of lawlessness is revealed! We have seen leaders who have thought much of themselves but this is a bigger display of religious leadership than has been seen before.  Many of the 15-16th century writers saw this as the pope but this is greater than any pope we have seen.  This is a demonic leader who has the world captive and under his spell so to speak.
  2. Exalts himself as god!  God of the Bible is not known and one sets himself up as god to a culture blind of the true God!  This is apostasy and demonic leadership wrapped up together in the culture of the day of our Lord’s return.

 

We don’t know all the details here and we don’t know if everyone will know all the details or hear about all the details but they will happen before our Lord returns!

 

Read with me and notice some important details in…

Matthew 24:1-51

1 Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him.  2 And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”(70AD)

3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”  (Three Questions)

4 And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.  5 “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.  6 “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.

 

  • There will be those who will mislead!

 

7 “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 8 “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.  (signs of the coming pain)

 

  • There will be nations fighting, famines and earthquakes!  These are only signs like when a mother is pregnant and is having contractions telling her the baby is coming!

 

9 “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.

10 “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.

 

  • Those who follow Christ Jesus will be persecuted and even killed because of their allegiance to Christ Jesus!  Many will fall away or those who weren’t really believers will run and turn in those who are Christians.

 

11 “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.

 

  • False Prophets will come and mislead many!

 

12 “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.  13 “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.  14 “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

 

  • While all this is going on and lawlessness is increasing tremendously, those who persevere will be saved.  The Gospel will continue to be spread throughout the world.  The great commission does not end!

 

15 “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),

16 then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.

17 “Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house.18 “Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak.

19 “But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!  20 “But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath.

21 “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.  22 “Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.

 

  • Notice the elect are still present and the anti-christ is setting himself up as god!  It will be a terrible time of tribulation.  This tribulation will be the greatest tribulation that has ever happened or ever will happen before our Lord returns.  Somehow the days will be cut short so the elect/believers can endure this trial.

 

23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him.  24 “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.  25 “Behold, I have told you in advance.

26 “So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them.

 

  • The false Christ will be so convincing with his schemes and tricks with signs and wonders that IF POSSIBLE, even the elect would be caught up by the false christs!

 

How Will The Return of Jesus look?

27 “For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.

28 “Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

 

  • Here we get a picture of our Lords Second Coming being a visually can’t miss event!  As lightning, as a vulture circles its prey that can’t be missed!  Our Lord’s return will be obvious!

 

29 “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

30 “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.  (Acts 1:9-11)

 

  • The sky events will happen after the tribulation!  Our Lord’s Return is after the tribulation of those days! “then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 

 

This is how the Return of our Lord, The Second Coming will happen…

31 “And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

 

  • Everything we hear about our Lord return is Amazing!  This extra ordinary loud event that will be noticed by all and happens by our Lord with His angels and trumpet sounds gathering God’s elect from all over the world instantaneously!

 

32 “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near;

33 so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.

 

  • What we just read will happen and when we start seeing the birth pains or events happening our Lord is right at the door of His coming!

 

34 “Truly I say to you, this generation (who see the signs) will not pass away until all these things take place.

 

  • The generation that sees these signs will see our Lord’s return!

 

35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

 

  • A reminder that what God says will happen!

 

36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.

 

  • We looked at this earlier but let me emphasis again No one knows when these things will take place until the signs as revealed in scripture happen first.  This does not mean we become complacent and say we don’t see the signs.  An example of this is in the example our Lord gives of Noah’s day!

 

37 “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.  38 “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,  39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.

 

  • So as in Noah’s day when the water came then they stopped laughing and making fun of Noah!  Reality hit hard when the water came pouring down on Noah’s generation.  Same with our Lord’s return many will not recognize the signs or hear the warnings, but when our Lord returns it will be too late for the unbelievers!

 

40 “Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.  41 “Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left.

42 Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.

 

  • Again be on the alert it can start or happen at any time!

 

43 “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.  44 “For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.

 

45 “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?  46 “Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.

 

  • When our Lord returns will He find us busy in the Lord’s work?

 

47 “Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.  48 “But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’ 

 

  • This is how many think today!  Oh we have plenty of time.  Oh, I’ll follow the Lord Jesus after I have a LONG SEASON OF FLESHLY PLEASURE!

 

49 and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards;

50 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know,

51 and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 

There is a whole lot in Matthew 24 to look at but the obvious is…

  • We all must be ready!
  • We all must be busy in the Lord’s work!
  • NOBODY knows the day or the time our LORD WILL RETURN EXEPT GOD HIMSELF!

 

LET US PRAY THAT WE ARE READY!