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Summary: The revelation of the Antichrist will be the final sign before Christ returns

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The Final Sign

Matthew 24:15-28

Series: Early Edition

February 1, 2009

Morning Service

Introduction

The Danakil Depression has a rare claim to fame throughout the world. It is the most desolate place on earth. The depression is an incredible geological feature that lies within the west Africa. The region lies partially in Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti. The region is only 79 miles from the southern tip of the Red Sea. Some of the unusual features that are common to the area are the lowest point in all Africa at 500 feet below sea level, the hottest place on earth with a dry season temperature of 118 degrees and an average of 4 to 7 inches of rain per year.

The region is also plagued by frequent volcanic activity that brakes through the earths crust to form lava flows. Due to the unstable nature of the crust and forming of fissures the area also suffers from frequent earthquakes.

Due to the extreme conditions of Danakil, little to no vegetation is able to survive in the extreme climates and only a few animals in habit the area. The Danakil is indeed the most desolate place on earth.

The word desolate means to suffer devastation or ruin, to endure grief, sadness, or loneliness. There are large numbers of people who suffer from a type of spiritual desolation. Their spiritual life is as dead and dry as the landscapes of the Danakil Depression. Their lives are plagued with instability and insecurity. This description will also fit one of the final periods of earth’s history.

Turn with me to Matthew 24:15-28 as we continue exploring the reality of the End Times.

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-- 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again. 22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!’ or, `There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible. 25 See, 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. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

So when you see standing in the holy place “the abomination that causes desolation” spoken of through the prophet Daniel – let the reader understand

When we read, Biblical prophecy there is often a dual understanding and a dual fulfillment. Clearly, with Daniel this is the case. A previous fulfillment that has already passed and there is a future fulfillment that is still yet to come.

When was Daniel’s prophecy fulfilled?

Around 170 BC Antiochus Epiphanes, the king of Syria conquered Jerusalem. Antiochus wanted to destroy every aspect of Jewish religion and did one of the most horrific acts in the history of the Temple. Antichus did three things to dedicate the Temple to Zeus.

1.) Antichus turned the altar of burnt offering into an altar for Zeus

2.) Antichus sacrificed pigs on the altar. Pigs were considered unclear and desecrated the entire Temple

3.) He turned the inner courts of the Temple into a house of prostitution

Future Fulfillment

Jesus predicts the events of both the destruction of the Temple and the events of the End Time. Jesus is answering two primary questions

1.) When will this happen? When will the Temple be destroyed?

2.) What would be the signs of Christ’s return?

What is Jesus saying here?

Jesus is saying there will be a repeat of what Antichus did in Jerusalem. There was an aspect of this desolation that took place in 70 AD. The Temple and Jerusalem was totally destroyed by the Romans. Remember was answering the question about the Temple and the End Times.

Both Jesus and Daniel seem to refer to a division of time with the abomination that causes desolation. Jesus clarifies what Daniel has prophesied for a future fulfillment. The abomination will be a launch point for the worst period of tribulation of the church ever known. We have seen incredible persecution of the church in the past 100 years but nothing will compare to what is yet to come.

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