End Times Prophecy Sermon: Part Three
God bless. The Lord is coming soon.
God is in Control
The second coming of Jesus Christ isn’t an event that will happen “whenever.” Nor will it be the product of chance or fluke, nor will it simply just “come out of the blue.” The second coming of God’s Son is a pre-planned event by God Himself.
God is in control.
Jesus said, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36)
Right there we see that God has a date set for His Son to return to the earth. God also has a series of dates set when individual prophecies will be fulfilled. We are on His clock and on His time. These things will all come to pass when He says so.
But does that mean that, when Jesus was on Earth and He didn’t know the day or hour of His return, that this event will happen “whenever”?
The answer is no.
The Bible contains a calendar that outlines the whole of history, right from Day One of creation straight through to the other end of the line when Eternity begins.
If you read the Bible and put together the little bits shared about this calendar here and there, you will discover that it teaches there will be a “week” of history, starting from creation to when eternity begins, with each “day” of the “week” equaling 1000 thousand years.
In short, there will be 6 1000-year “days” until Christ physically returns, then 1 final 1000-year “day”—which is when Christ establishes His millennial Kingdom here on Earth at His coming, a “Sabbath” of rest—before all history concludes and all believers are ushered into Eternity with God and unbelievers are cast into the place of torment, which is the Lake of Fire.
Look at what Irenaeus of Lyons, a disciple of Polycarp (who was John’s disciple) said in Book V of his treatise, Against Heresies: “For in as many days as this world was made, in so many thousand years shall it be concluded. And for this reason the Scripture says: ‘Thus the heaven and the earth were finished, and all their adornment. And God brought to a conclusion upon the sixth day the works that He had made; and God rested upon the seventh day from all His works.’ This is an account of the things formerly created, as also it is a prophecy of what is to come. For the day of the Lord is as a thousand years; and in six days created things were completed: it is evident, therefore, that they will come to an end at the sixth thousand year...”
Human history, prior to Christ’s Second Coming, will be 6000 years long.
Now, let’s look at something interesting and which, given the climate we live in, fits quite nicely with the age we find ourselves living in.
At present, the Jewish calendar says the year is 5768 (that is, it’s been 5768 years since the day of creation). The rest of the world uses the Gregorian calendar, which is why we call our year 2007.
The problem is, the Hebrew Jewish calendar is very difficult to understand (just look it up on Wikipedia sometime when you have a minute) so the above number is a “ballpark” figure. And by “ballpark,” I mean it could be off by a few years.
What’s interesting about the above number, however, is this:
Since the Jews do not believe Jesus is Messiah, they have deliberately left out 240 years out of their calendar. If they included those years, it would prove—based on Daniel’s prophecy about Messiah being “cut off,” as we read last week—that Jesus is indeed the Messiah, the Savior of the human race.
There are a few other factors as to why their calendar was adjusted, but to go into them in detail will take up the next hour, which we don’t have time for.
In the end, the Jews know that at the end of the 6000 years of human history, Messiah will come to establish His Millennial Kingdom.
But, as mentioned, and as the Bible attests, they are blind to the fact that Jesus was and is Messiah.
In actuality, using the above numbers, we find ourselves (you and me) closing in on that 6000th year, which is very important to keep in mind for our study today and why what is about to be revealed to you should have significance.
Signs of the End
My wife makes me Sinigang now and then.
However, if she one day told me she’d make me some, then went into the kitchen and came back only with a pot full of water, I’d tell her, “That’s not Sinigang.”
If she went back into the kitchen and added some vegetables and bok choy, then came back and presented it to me, it still wouldn’t be Sinigang.
Even if she returned to the kitchen a third time and added the Tamarind soup base and the brought the pot out to me, it still wouldn’t be Sinigang.
However, if she went to the kitchen one more time, put the pot on the stove and boiled and cooked it, then, and only then, will it become Sinigang.
The soup needed to be made a certain way and it needed two things: the right ingredients and the right conditions (heat) for those ingredients to become soup.
The same is true for Jesus’s Second Coming.
Technically, the last days started right after Jesus ascended into Heaven, and since that time, a few “ingredients” have shown up, but none have lasted, nor were they combined with the other prophetic ingredients nor were those events happening under the right conditions that the Bible says they must in order to be the fulfillment of the prophecies.
Recipe for Doomsday
Matthew 24: 3-31
3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
4Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
15“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. 18Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. 19How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 22If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. 25See, I have told you ahead of time.
26“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29“Immediately after the distress of those days
“ ‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
30“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other."
The events described here are events that will take place leading up to the End. In verse 8, Jesus described them as birth pains. Most here know that when a woman goes into labor, at first the contractions are far a part. But the closer she gets to delivery time, the closer and closer the contractions come, the stronger they are, and, ultimately, they happen one right after another with ferocious intensity.
And so it is with the coming of the Lord.
The signs started off slow, but as we draw nearer and nearer to His arrival, they are happening closer and closer together and happening on a larger scale.
The Bible covers numerous, numerous signs for the end, so in the interest of time, let’s take a look at the major ones, keeping in mind that these sign posts won’t just come out of the blue or happen over night. We’ll see the foreshadowing of them first.
Signs of the End
“Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.”
Already there are several false “christs” in the world, some alive, some have died.
David Koresh, who is now dead.
Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, who claims to have in him the same spirit that dwelt within Jesus. Now he refers to himself as the Antichrist. The guys has thousands of followers.
Sathya Sai Baba, who has millions of followers. This guy has worked miracles and has conjured up things out of thin air. What’s interesting is when he was a baby, a cobra was found in the bedclothes. Some of his followers call him the “Lord of the Serpents.” Does this sound like the real Jesus to you?
There are a host of others, too many to list here.
Remember what we read last week: when Jesus’s disciples watched as He ascended into Heaven, two men appeared beside them and said that Jesus would return to Earth the same way they had seen Him go—in the clouds. Jesus reminds us in Matthew 24: 23-27: “23At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. 25See, I have told you ahead of time.
26“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”
When Jesus comes back, everyone will see Him. Not just some people.
And there is only one Messiah, Jesus, who will come as one Person, not in the form of hundreds of people over time. Regardless of what supernatural feats these false messiahs can do, none of them are Jesus.
“6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars...”
More wars have been fought this century than at any other time in history combined. Just turn on the evening news, read the paper, and somewhere someone is either fighting someone or planning to fight someone. Wars and rumors of wars. There hasn’t been a single time that I can think of since Israel’s rebirth that the world has been at total peace.
“There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.”
We’ve seen an increase in famines and earthquakes.
Some famine statistics for you:
- every year, 15 million children die of hunger
- in the US, 1 out of every 8 children under the age of 12 go to bed hungry every night
- every 3.6 seconds, someone dies of hunger
- it’s estimated that around 800 million people in the world suffer from either hunger or malnutrition
(Facts from http://library.thinkquest.org/C002291/high/present/stats.htm)
As per the US Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center, total number of earthquakes worldwide, ranging from no magnitude all the way to the highest magnitude of 9.9, as of July 11, 2007, are:
In 2000: there were 22256 earthquakes
In 2001: there were 23534 earthquakes
In 2002: there were 27454 earthquakes
In 2003: there were 31419 earthquakes
In 2004: there were 31194 earthquakes
In 2005: there were 30478 earthquakes
In 2006: there were 29534 earthquakes
In 2007: there have been 13717 earthquakes so far
If one thing is clear, it’s that since 2000 we’ve seen a marked increase in earthquake activity. Not a decrease, but an increase, just like the Bible said.
9“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.”
I don’t know need to tell you that Christians are the most hated group of people worldwide. Jesus even told us that the world will hate us, but also to remember that it hated Him first.
Already there are places in the world where it’s illegal to be a Christian.
From the Voice of the Martyrs website:
“Around the world today Christians are being persecuted for their faith. More than 70 million Christians have been martyred for their faith since 33 AD. This year an estimated 160,000 believers will die at the hands of their oppressors and over 200 million will be persecuted, arrested, tortured, beaten or jailed. In many nations it is illegal to own a Bible, share your faith, change your faith or allow children under 18 to attend a religious service.”
Some nations where there is frequent and brutal persecution for being a Christian are:
Afghanistan, Egypt, North Korea, Pakistan, Cuba, China, Iran, Iraw, Turkey, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Nepal and a ton of others.
There world is becoming an increasingly dark place for Christians.
Right now there are 194 countries in the world. There are 48 dangerous places listed on the Voice of the Martyrs website for Christians to be in. That’s roughly 25% of all countries.
We here in North America pride ourselves on the idea that we are free, that we can practice our religion publicly without fear of being arrested, locked up or even killed.
Look at this:
At an article at World Net Daily says: “Christians have been arrested recently at ‘gay’ festivals for nothing more than having a protest sign that is ‘wider than their torso,’ but now police have gone even further, targeting Bible-carrying ministers for praying on public property and for standing on a public sidewalk near a ‘gay’ festival.”
The article then goes on to say that seven Christians were arrested for praying at a public park during the festival. The Christians didn’t talk to anybody and still they were arrested.
There was another case in Wichita where Pastor Holick had gone with his team to witness to those at a gay pride event. The public park was closed to them. The public sidewalk next to the park was closed to them. They were told they had to stand across the street.
Jesus says, “10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other...”
Apostle Paul said in his letter to the Thessalonians in regards to the time leading up to the Day of the Lord: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first...”
The Greek term for “falling away” is “apostasia,” which means a “defection of the truth” or a “forsaking of the truth.” In other words, man will turn against God and fall away from Him.
We are living in an increasingly secular world. You hear it in people’s speech. You hear it in their tone when you tell them about Jesus. More and more people are walking away or even flat out rejecting our Lord.
- There’s a foundation out there called the Freedom from Religion Foundation which sells stickers to be put on Bibles. The stickers warn “Warning! Literal belief in this book may endanger your health and life!”
- Prayer has been taken out of public schools for some time now
- Just recently in the States a school raised a fuss over a little girl who wore a Jesus T-shirt to class
- A new Bible has been made for the gay community, one which condones homosexual behavior
- Churches are watering down their message and not preaching the Gospel
- California State University just sponsored a film called The God Who Wasn’t There
- According to ApostatsyAlert.org, some recent events to transpire have been:
• Counterfeit gifts, i.e. “The Toronto Blessing”; “Fake Faith Healers”; “Psychic Prophets”; “Apostle-Prophet Movement”
• New Age practices, i.e. labyrinths; contemplative prayer; self-realization; cold readings; automatic writing
• Feminist Infiltration, i.e. “Sophia Worship”; Gay Clergy; Matriarchal Leadership; “Gender-Neutral Bibles & Hymns”
• Ecumenical Movement (Catholic + Protestant) and Syncretistic Religion (Christian + World religions)
• Catholic Mysticism/Monasticism and a return to the use of “sacramentals” which equals superstition and idolatry
The list goes on and on.
“14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
The Great Commission as per Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20: “19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Between TV, Radio and the Internet, never mind the years and years and years of missionary work done for the Lord since He ascended, the Gospel has been preached to virtually everyone, something that wasn’t possible until our recent increase in communicative ability.
For this next part, I’m just going to list some points and whip through them because we don’t have the time to go into them all.
Future Events Yet to Occur/The Stage for Them is Being Set Now
Russia and Iran invade Israel (Ezekiel 38+39)
For the first time in history, Russia and Iran have a military alliance.
June 4, 2007, Israel National News:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said: “With Allah’s help, the countdown button to this regime’s [Israel’s] destruction has been pushed.”
Folks, Ahmadinejad has made it his mission to take out Israel. Fortunately, as per the prophecies, God will supernaturally save Israel and the whole world will know there is a God in Heaven on that day.
Damascus to be Destroyed (Isaiah 17)
“See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins.” Isaiah 17:1
Ynetnews.com on July 9, 2007 the headline read: “Syrian official threatens 'resistance' by September, warns Damascus preparing for large-scale conflict.”
Third Jewish Temple
Jesus said: 15“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”
Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 2: 4 in regards to the Antichrist: “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”
At this exact point in time, there is no Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The last one—the second in their history—was destroyed by the Romans in 70AD.
Look at this from Haaretz Daily Newspaper, an Israeli news source, on May 17, 2007:
Rabbi Zalman Melamed, the head of the Beit El Yeshiva and a leader among West Bank rabbis, said, “Next year we will all go up freely to the Temple, which will be built, with the ashes of the red heifer, without disagreement and without questions.”
According to the Rabbi, Jews will be able to go up to the temple in 2008. Already the Jews have the Sanhedrin—the politcal body that ruled in Christ’s day—operational for the first time in nearly 2000 years. Already they have priests trained in the Jewish in Levitical practices and all the required tools and implements needed. They just need a temple and according to this article, they’ll have it next year.
A Revived Roman Empire
The European Union.
Isn’t it interesting that history is coming full circle? That the world is beginning to look like it did back in Jesus’s day?
In Daniel 7, Daniel received a vision regarding the four major Gentile empires that would surface throughout the entire history of mankind. Three have already happened; the fourth is happening right now in the form of a revived Roman Empire.
Today we know it as the European Union.
In Daniel 9, it says in regards to the leader who will rise out of the revived Roman Empire that, “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”
Remember last week we learned that “seven” means “week” as in a “week of years” so “seven years.”
This leader, the Antichrist, will rise out of a ten-nation nation military alliance in the European Union (Daniel 7:7-8).
In 1995, a man rose to a strong position of power—we’ll call him Mr. Europe (However, fulfilledprophecy.com has some very good insights into this man and where he currently is at on the world stage—and signed a treaty with Israel. Two days later, a violent earthquake shook the land. It was a 7.2.
Now this next part’s important:
On January 1, 2007, Mr. Europe confirmed this covenant with many for “seven years” It was called the “New European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument,” a tool designed to bring peace to the Middle East (and peace is one of the things Antichrist will succeed in, with Israel being involved).
Could this be the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy where a leader—and Mr. Europe is associated with the number 666 in several places, by the way—will confirm a previous existing covenant with “many” (the “many” including Israel) for a period of seven years? Have we already entered into the final seven years of human history?
The evidence suggests we have. And if we have, then what we should be seeing is a gradual peace gathering over the Middle East. Friends, this scenario is not far off as peace in the Middle East is a gigantic part of Mr. Europe’s platform.
Interestingly, Mr. Europe also fits the Bible’s description of the Antichrist, things like he won’t show regard for the religion of his ancestors (Daniel 11:37), he won’t believe in any god whatsoever (Daniel 11:37), his name will be connected to the number 666 (Rev 13:17-18).
We also learn from the book of Revelation that the Antichrist will have a helper, someone the Bible calls the “False Prophet.” This person will head up a false religious system which will, at some point, end up declaring Antichrist as god. The Bible says that Antichrist will be given permission to make war with the saints (Revelation 13:7).
The European Union has recently created something called the Alliance of Civilizations, which has the mandate to squash religious fundamentalism worldwide. Christians—true Christians—are called “fundamentalists” by the world because we claim to have sole ownership of the Truth. And what’s even more interesting, this Alliance of Civilizations is set to be in full operation halfway through this recently confirmed covenant with many in 2010.
Have we entered the End? Remember, last week it was said the church could very well enter the final seven years of human history, but be Raptured out before God pours out His wrath.
What of money? What of the infamous Mark of the Beast which Revelation says will be forced upon the whole world and that those who don’t take the mark cannot buy or sell.
The Bible says that this mark will be something that will be inserted into the skin. When referring to the mark, it uses the word “charagma,” which means something that will be etched or scratched into the skin as a badge of servitude. Understand that those who take this mark will have sealed their fate and will spend eternity in Hell (Revelation 14: 9-10).
Our world is heading toward an era of RFID technology. RFID means “Radio Frequency Identification.” It is a microchip smaller than a grain of rice. Already it is being used to track goods. Now hospitals are using it to tag patients because these tiny microchips can contain all information needed to be known about a person. Already beach clubs are using these chips so that folks can pay for drinks at the bar without having to carry around cash. RFID is growing, its popularity increasing.
It won’t be long until cash money will fade away and we’ll switch to “electronic” money by way of this chip. Already we’re heading that way, right? Debit cards, credit cards, Paypal—all electronic money.
Folks might argue that there’s no way the world will let itself be tracked by RFID. I still can’t help but wonder, “What if something huge happened? What if something threw the world into chaos and the economy was greatly effected? What if a few hundred million people suddenly went missing?” Perhaps the Rapture might have something to do with this.
Daniel 12:4 says that at the time of the end, there will be an increase in knowledge and travel.
Up until roughly the beginning of the 1900s, before the advent of the car, folks got around either on foot or by horse. Then the car came along. Then the airplane. What used to take a person days or months to travel to now only takes them a few hours. Every day millions are traveling to various parts of the globe. Airports are the busiest places on Earth. We travel more today than at any other point in history.
Look at how humanity has lived throughout the whole of history. Though there have been slight progressions with each generation, there hasn’t been such a dramatic shift in technological capability until recently. We now have computers. We have the internet. We can now cure diseases. We now know more about the human body (i.e. DNA) than we ever have before. We understand how the universe works in a way never before known to man. The list is endless. Our knowledge is increasing. Information is increasing.
It’s important when looking at these signs in the context of the whole of history, from day one in Eden straight through to the present. As outlined today, you can see that our stove is hot, that the conditions for preparing the recipe for Doomsday are perfect. These signs are all happening simultaneously. It’s not one here or there or a handful here or there. They’re happening like a flood, closer and closer together with greater intensity, just like Jesus said.
There are many more signs but already we taken up a lot of time covering the major ones above.
As a plea to you, please take this seriously.
Please don’t take the mentality of “Jesus will get here when He gets here.” As we saw in our first part of this series, we’re commanded to watch. Secondly, Peter warned in 2 Peter 3-4: 3 “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”
Are you scoffing?
The world is.
People don’t believe Jesus will come in this generation.
But He will. He has to. His Word says so and God isn’t a liar.
Are you ready?