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 “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 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.”
We know that the 1st migration of Jews to Palestine of course occurred during the Jewish exodus from Egypt led by Moses and Joshua predicted in Genesis 15.5-7 “Then God led Abram outside and said, “Look at the sky. There are so many stars you cannot count them. Your descendants also will be too many to count.” Abram believed the LORD. And the LORD accepted Abram’s faith, and that faith made him right with God. God said to Abram, “I am the LORD who led you out of Ur of Babylonia so that I could give you this land to own.”
The 2nd migration back to the land was fulfilled in Jeremiah 29:10 where Israel would return from Babylon after 70 years. This is what the LORD says: “Babylon will be powerful for 70 years. After that time I will come to you, and I will keep my promise to bring you back to Jerusalem. I say this because I know what I am planning for you,” says the LORD. “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future. Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will search for me. And when you search for me with all your heart, you will find me! I will let you find me,” says the LORD. “And I will bring you back from your captivity. I forced you to leave this place, but I will gather you from all the nations, from the places I have sent you as captives,” says the LORD. “And I will bring you back to this place.”