Summary: A sermon incorporting current events, history and the Word of God suggesting that the Second Advent of Christ is very near
The Role of Israel in the Last Days
A sermon delivered at Immanuel Baptist Church of Elgin, Illinois on December 9, 2001 by Pastor John Stensrud
Matthew 24:32-39 (quickview)  “Learn a lesson from the fig tree: When its branches become green and soft and new leaves appear, you know summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things happening, you will know that the time is near, ready to come. I tell you the truth, all these things will happen while the people of this time are still living. Earth and sky will be destroyed, but the words I have said will never be destroyed. When Will Jesus Come Again? “No one knows when that day or time will be, not the angels in heaven, not even the Son. Only the Father knows. When the Son of Man comes, it will be like what happened during Noah’s time. In those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving their children to be married, until the day Noah entered the boat. They knew nothing about what was happening until the flood came and destroyed them. It will be the same when the Son of Man comes.
Last week we learned that the bible teaches that the end of the age will involve 3 plans:
1. God’s plan for the church,
2. God’s plan for Israel
3. And finally God’s plan for the Gentiles or non-Jews.
Regarding the church, there will be 3 important events that must precede the Second Advent of the Lord:
A. The establishment of a Universal Worldwide Counterfeit Church
B. Widespread doctrinal and moral apostasy or falling away, or defection from the Christian faith
C. The preaching of the Gospel to all nations.
We also looked briefly at God’s Plan for the Gentiles or Non-Jews. Daniel chapters 2 and 7 reveal that in God’s plan there were to be 4 Gentile world empires to be succeeded by a 5 empire which would be the Kingdom of God upon the earth. The first 3 of these empires named in Daniel are Babylon, Media Persia, and Greece. The 4th empire, although unnamed, seems clearly to be identified with the Roman Empire.
The last stage of this empire, however, as portrayed in Daniel, was never fulfilled, and I believe that it will be fulfilled in the period just preceding Christ’s second coming. It’s described in its earlier stages as the revival of the ancient Roman Empire, but according to Revelation 13:7 (quickview)  8 it becomes an empire which sweeps the entire world in its power in the last few years just before Christ’s return to establish His Kingdom.
The stage is set for the time of the end in that the revived Roman Empire is foreshadowed in the establishment of the European Union.
Finally we talked about the three stage migration of Jews to the land of Palestine. This is the most important aspect of biblical prophecy.
John Walvoord, who was probably the finest scholar of biblical prophecy that ever lived has said, and I paraphrase his words since they are a bit academic: “Of the many events that have to do with biblical prophecy in our generation, few of them can claim the importance of the return of Israel to the land. It is a key sign in preparation for the end of the age, the setting for the coming of the Lord for His church, and the fulfillment of Israel’s destiny as predicted by God’s Word. The restoration of Israel is God’s “super-sign” of the end times, is a clear indicator that the time is short.”