Summary: what will happen at the second coming of Christ and hwo to respond
October 13, 2002 Sermon Series on the End Times - 5
The little boy just received a great big ice cream cone from his mom. His eyes were wide open with excitement. On a hot day like it was, this was going to be a special treat! Quickly he took one bite, then another - life couldn’t get much better than this! That was, until the sun started beating down on his ice cream cone! He couldn’t eat it fast enough, and before he knew it, the cream was melting over his hands and down on the floor! This was horrible! What could he do? His hands were getting all messy, and he wasn’t able to keep up with the melting! In a panic he started crying and saying to his mom, “Mom, my ice cream’s melting!” “Don’t worry about it!”, said his mom. “But mom,” the boy said, “I can’t keep it from melting!” “Just quit your crying and eat your cone. It’s not the end of the world.”
It’s not the end of the world. How many of you have been told that, or told yourself that? Such statements are meant to minimize the seriousness of what is happening - insinuating that “things could be worse.” Yet such statements also come with the implication that there IS an end to this world. My friends, there WILL BE an end to this world. It’s not a matter of if, but when, as God’s Word declares. Is it something we should panic over, or not even think about? How will it happen? That’s what we’re here to look at this morning as we consider the theme -
Have No Fear, the End is Near
Back in the 1970’s a movie came out called “The Planet of the Apes,” which was also recently remade in a modern version. Throughout the movie, an astronaut lands on a strange planet after having been in space. When he arrives, however, he finds a planet that is run by barbaric apes who rule over neanderthal like humans. After he escapes captivity, as he is walking along the beach, he finds the statue of liberty sticking out of the sand from the head up. Come to find out, he had been on the planet earth. Somehow he had entered a time warp and come back to earth hundreds of years later, only to find that humans had destroyed it through nuclear war. Through time, the apes took over in place of the humans. This movie, as intriguing and popular as it was, seems to have had a political agenda - to promote a nuclear disarmament and also the theory of evolution. The idea was that man could and would bring an end to the world as we know it. This was a popular idea, even in my day - that some how Ronald Reagan and the Russians would “push the button” and end the world. Others think that with global warming, the ice from the north pole will melt and cover the earth. Could these things really happen? Many in the world think they can.
What about modern day religions? What do they think will happen at the end of the world? It seems that they believe portions of predictions of Judgment Day - but not all of it. For instance, the Left Behind comic series pictures unbelievers trying to dodge the fireballs from heaven. They teach that the “end” won’t really be complete, but will become worse and worse over time. During the final millennium, fireballs will come from heaven, the sea will turn to blood, and other things will happen to the unbelievers who aren’t raptured. During this time unbelievers will still have a chance to escape and come to faith AFTER Jesus’ second coming. This is an actual note written on Raptureready.com. It’s titled “Oops, I Guess I Wasn’t Ready” :
Depending on how early you read this article, you may have heard people say, "Because we’ve missed the rapture, we are lost forever." That assumption is totally wrong! The only way you can find yourself eternally lost is by receiving the Mark of the Beast on your right hand or forehead. Barring that, as long as you have breath in your lungs, you can gain salvation by trusting in Jesus Christ as your Savior.
Others teach that when Christ comes, he will set up kingdoms at specific locations on our earth. Many believe this is in Jerusalem. I thought this was an interesting quote from Mormon doctrine -
The tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh will be gathered to the land of America. The tribe of Judah will return to the city of Jerusalem and the area surrounding it. When the Church was first established, the Saints were instructed to gather in Ohio, then Missouri, and then the Salt Lake Valley. Today, however, modern prophets have taught that Church members are to build up the kingdom of God in their own lands. There will be two capitals in the world, one in Jerusalem, the other in America.