Summary: A sermon that shows many signs that we are sooner rather than later going to see the Second Advent of Jesus Christ
Are We Really Living in the End Times?
Preached at Immanuel Baptist Church of Elgin, Illinois on November 25, 2001 By Pastor John Stensrud
Last week, I promised to get into the nitty-gritty of biblical prophecy. And so I shall. But first, I think that if I took a poll of everyone here and asked you what your main question about biblical prophecy was, it would probably be “Are we living in the end times right now?”
The answer to these questions are . . . well, look at the bible, history and current events for yourself and then you decide. There have been many well-meaning teachers, pastors, and bible students who have taught that in their generation the Second Coming of Christ would occur. I have no problem with these people – it is good and biblical to be vigilant.
However, there are others that have erroneously predicted the actual day of His Second Coming. Steer clear of these people. These are the nut cases, the "lunatic fringers" and the biblically ignorant.
The bible is crystal clear about setting dates. In Matthew 24:36 Jesus says "… of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”
Still there are people that continue in their vain attempt to be modern day prophets. Edgar Whisenant sold 4.3 million copies of his book detailing why Christ would come in 1988. December 31, 1988 came and went and no Messiah. The next year he sold 30,000 copies of a book he wrote detailing why Christ would come in 1989. December 31, 1989 came and went and no Messiah. If you don’t get it the first time, try and try again, right? After missing it twice, the retired NASA engineer who lived in a one-room shack outside of Little Rock, Arkansas said he could, “Stand in front of the Lord and say I gave it my best shot.” It would have been far better for Whisenant to shoot for reading the bible first before making a nitwit of himself.
Acts 1:6 is another text warning us not to set dates or times. The disciples asked Jesus after He was resurrected: "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" 7 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority.”
Did you hear that? Not even Jesus Christ Himself knows when the Father is sending Him.
It’s similar to what the military does before deployment. I have experienced it myself. The sergeant in charge of the duty roster calls you at home and tells you to get to the base ASAP. He tells you to bring all your gear minus your field jacket and sleeping bag and tells you to kiss your wife and kids goodbye for awhile. You have just 2 hours to get your affairs in order. The clock starts ticking. You can’t find your jungle boots. He just hinted that you are going somewhere warm. If you are not there in less than 120 minutes ready to go to the staging area, you will be considered AWOL. You can’t find your bug spray either. “Laura, where’s my bug juice? as if she really knew?” Finally, you find the missing items, and the wife and kids take you into battalion. You wonder if this is really it. It is. You ask the 1st Sgt., “where are we going, top?” He says, “You’ll know when you get there. It’s not for you to know right now.”
In the same way, for some reason that only God the Father knows Himself, He doesn’t even tell His only begotten Son when His time will be to return in glory to the earth. Don’t try to figure out why this is so. We have to be content with the fact that there are some things we will never know until we arrive in glory. But when that duty sergeant called and told me not to bring cold weather gear, he did give a hint as to where we were going.
Our heavenly Father has done the same for us. Since we are all in God’s army, we must be prepared at all times for the inevitable. As certain as the prophets of old were that Jesus would come the first time – and He did. We are 5 times as sure that He will come the second time because the Second Coming is predicted 5 times as often as the First Advent.
Let’s look at some of the hints that the Father has given us.
In Daniel 12:4 Daniel is commanded “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase."