Summary: This sermon concerns the two trumpet sounds at the Rapture and Second Coming and enumerates the 7 signs of the times from Matthew 24.
Many people in the Christian community have been caught up in Jerry Jenkins’ and Tim LaHay’s Left Behind series about the Tribulation period after the Rapture. I remind you that, even though they make interesting reading - and I have read all of them - these books are just the opinions of 2 writers about prophecy. I believe they are another way the Spirit is reminding us that Jesus is coming soon. But, we can also look at the signs of the times in the New Testament and see how everything is rapidly falling into place. Like a rewinding movie reel, the closer it gets to the end of the reel the faster it spins. The signs are spinning very fast today. I feel the Spirit urging the Bride to make herself ready and keep her eyes upon the Eastern Sky. I believe Gabriel is lickin’ his lips getting ready to sound that trumpet blast that will accompany Christ’s glorious return to earth.
Let’s look at 2 passages that will start our thinking on the Second Coming. Please follow as I read from Matthew 24:31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. I believe you’ll want to stand in reverence for God’s word.
I call this sermon "Gabriel is Lickin’ His Lips." I’m comparing it to a great oratorio of which God is both the Composer and Conductor and the whole universe responds to his directing. Therefore, I have 3 major points: The Trumpet Prelude, The Trumpet Voice, and The Trumpet Blast connected with the Second Coming of Jesus.
I. The Trumpet Prelude
In Matthew 24:3, the disciples asked Jesus, "What shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world?" Jesus gave them 7 bugle calls to prepare before the great trumpet sounds. You know what a bugle is, don’t you? It’s a trumpet picked while it’s still green! Let me quickly list those 7 signs of the times which will precede the coming of Christ and remind us how they are being fulfilled today. I’ll just give you the first references for those signs although other verses in Matthew 24 continue to describe them. You follow in Matthew 24.
1. THE MISLEADING SIGN mentioned in verses 4-5 predicts false prophets leading many people astray. For years preachers have warned Baptists not to follow the teachings of Joseph Smith and the Mormons or Judge Rutherford and his Jehovah’s Witnesses. We’ve preached against Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science religion and Rev. Sun Young Moon’s Unification Church of Moonies. We’ve warned of other cults including the Bahai’s, the Hari Krishnas, Scientology, Unitarians and Universalists, eastern gurus, and of world religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism.
A few years ago, evangelists were quick to point out how Jim Jones fulfilled this prophecy when he led almost 1,000 people to commit suicide in Guyana and how the leader of Heaven’s Gates invited 36 people to follow a comet to another galaxy. But, the explicit fulfillment of this sign today can be seen in the many radical followers of Mohammed believing they will be rewarded for killing Christians and others they call infidels. Now the Hindus have jumped on the band wagon. Those who will starve rather than kill a sacred cow; those who will not swat a mosquito for fear they will slap someone’s grandmother have now published a list of 34 approved ways to torture or kill Christians.
2. THE MILITARY SIGN is introduced in verses 6-7a. We have already had the 2 great wars Jesus predicted when he said, "You shall hear of wars (plural)." But, notice that he said, "You shall hear..." Today, because of satellite communications, we’re hearing of new wars and fightings every day.
Generations have feared World War 3; but, people, we’re already in it! It’s unlike any other war we’ve ever fought. It’s a war with no boundaries and with invisible foes who strike without warning anywhere. Since 9-11, this war is being waged on our own shores as well as around the world. It’s a war that doesn’t play by the rules and respect the red cross of medical help, or the white flag of peace, or the blue helmets of the United Nations. That’s because Satan is the enemy General!
3. THE MORAL SIGN is listed in verses 8-9. This sign is fulfilled in the breakdown of morals, not only in America, but all over the world. We’re sheltered here in the Bible Belt where the last bastions of decency and common sense still struggle to hold on. But, the statistics say we’re losing the battle in America:
Pornography now nets over $40 billion a year selling 400 porno magazines openly.
The 3rd largest grossing industry in the US is illegal drug sales.
15 million alcoholics cause over half of our traffic deaths, and that number increases by 1500 every day.