Summary: End time events ahead, signs of their nearness to occurring, and what we should do now, knowing what we know.
Series: "Pursuing Answers"
Message #9: "Apocalypse Soon"
Walk into any bookstore in America, secular or Christian, and you will find rows and rows of books on prophecy, the end times.
Turn on the radio or Christian television, and within minutes you’ll be able to hear some radio preacher or television evangelist pronouncing that today’s political event or activity in the Middle East, some new technological advancement or the latest statistics involving crime, the increasing opposition to Christian doctrine or to Christians in general, or some other factor...is a sure sign that we’re living in the last days.
In fact, some of these "teachers" have gone so far as to declare the identity of the antichrist. Others declare the U.N. to be a demonic tool. Some predict a coming world conflict on a scale never experienced before. Others speak of being raptured, snatched away into the clouds to meet Jesus. Still others, however, believe the world will get better and better until the Lord appears, and we will evolve into a great "heaven on earth" existence.
Today we’ll examine what the Bible tells us about the events still ahead, and the clues it gives us for recognizing how near those events are from happening.
I invite you to open a Bible and once again turn to the book of Matthew, chapter 24.
*ILL> Scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Center recently reported that one of the largest stars in our galaxy is about to self destruct. Eta Cannae, one hundred times larger than our sin, is giving signs that its life is about over. Researchers say it could become a supernova (and exploding star) within the next 10,000 years. However, since it takes light over 9,000 years to reach the eart, the actual explosion has most likely already occurred.
It is similar in nature to Biblical prophecy. The predictions in Revelation 8 and other places are often written in past tense. Even though the prophet is clearly writing of future events, he’s already "seen" it happen, and in the mind of God the events have already happened.
Today we’ll be looking at the Events, the Signs, and What We Should Do Now knowing what we know.
Understand, there are differences in interpretation, there are a variety of ideas on whether some of these events will happen, have happened, are happening, etc., and the real truth is we’ll only know fully the answers to the questions many have asked about the end times AFTER the end times occur.
However, I believe the Bible foretells EIGHT EVENTS STILL AHEAD...
1) The rapture of the church.
--1 Thessalonians 4:17 - "Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air…"
This is not the second coming of Jesus.
This is not when He will touch down on the earth.
--Instead, we will rise ("fly away") to meet Him in the air.
This is not when every eye will see Him, but instead will be the time His coming is like a thief in the night.
This will be a time of celebration for believers, but a time of trauma and fear for non-believers, as every believer, every child under the age of accountability, and many believe (including me) every unborn child of every pregnant lady in the world at that time will leave this earth, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and we’ll go to be with the Lord from that time forward.
2) The Great Tribulation.
--Matthew 24:21 -- "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will."
This will be God’s final "dealings" with the chosen nation of Israel.
This will also be the time when Satan will reveal his open anti-Semitism, his hatred for the Jewish people because he knows the Messiah would come from the Jews.
During the Tribulation, many people will receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, especially many Jews. However, most of the world will still reject the claims of Christianity, being unwilling to suffer the consequences that will come their way if they should decide to place their faith in Christ, or by being deceived. They will opt to follow the antichrist, believe the words and "signs" performed by the false prophet, and end up joining Satan in being separated forever from the Lord and outside of heaven.
The Tribulation will be a tale of two very different halves...
---A period of false peace under a "disguised" leader, the antichrist.
---As the world tries to recover from the rapture’s loss of human beings from the earth, after every Christian, millions of them, have "disappeared" in a split second.
---Nations will "unite" around this case, promote a New World Order, and elect a "leader" who will appear to be a great man of peace.