Summary: Examining the Scripture to expose the signs of the Day of the Lord
"THE WRATH OF GOD-HOW CAN WE KNOW IT IS NEAR ?"
The Lord Jesus Christ in His Matthew 24 discourse on the end times gave many indicators of when He would return the second time to rapture the church, to rescue the elect from the present onslaught of the Antichrist in that day and deliver them from the impending wrath of God/Day of the Lord. The Lord’s chronological unfolding of events starting at the beginning of Daniel’s Seventieth Week in (v.4) to the start of the wrath of God/Day of the Lord (v.29) is unmistakable when Scripture is compared to Scripture as discussed in the last message.
However, there are also many other things that must occur, according to the Word of God, before the wrath of God/Day of the Lord begins, that are not specifically mentioned by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 24. In this message we will cover some of these prominent signs, events or activities. Although this list is not exhaustive, it will provide those who are looking for the Lord’s return and the end of the age with additional insight for determining God’s timetable and encouragement to live holy lives and witness for Him.
Daniel’s Seventieth Week, this seven year period will be initiated by the Antichrist confirming "the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate". (Daniel 9:27) This verse defines the seven year period "one week" and also reveals the "abomination of desolation" that Jesus later spoke of in Matthew 24:15 which occurs at the mid-point of the 70th Week which is 3-1/2 years later.
However, prior to the Seventieth Week, the Antichrist will be slowly but surely rising to power. He will head up an all powerful three nation confederacy formulated from the east-European area described in Daniel 7:8 as "three first horns" and more specifically in Ezekiel 38:2,3 as "Gog (Antichrist), the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal".
Genesis 10:2 confirms these three to be from the lineage of Japheth, Noah’s son whose descendants populated the east-European region or "north parts" (Ezekiel 38:15). This gathering of nations from the same general area where the last two world wars were initiated should be no surprise to the student of history. The present-day fighting and upheaval in this very land region should hold the interest of every student of Bible prophecy!
Another significant event is God’s Sending of Elijah recorded in Malachi 4:5,6: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful Day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."
Just as John the Baptist was the first Elijah-like person heralding the Lord’s first coming, Jesus said "Elijah truly shall first come" (Matthew 17:11) indicating there will be a second Elijah-like person sent by Godto herald His second coming.
This event might not be openly evident in the beginning of this Elijah-like person’s ministry, for then he will minister in a manner similar to John the Baptist not unlike a revivalist/evangelist.
This portion of his ministry could well occur during the first 3-1/2 years of Daniel’s Seventieth Week, for we believe this same man will later be recognized as one of the ’two witnesses’ of Revelation 11 which will occur at the mid-point of Daniel’s Seventieth Week at the start of the Great Tribulation.
During this time period, the last 3-1/2 years of Daniel’s Seventieth Week, his ministry will be one of powerful judgment like, miracle working and warfare "with the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit" as described in Revelation 11:5:6. The ’two witnesses’ also are characterized as an inseparable pair, a two man team if you will, during these years of fierce and intensive Spiritual warfare with the Satanically energized beast, there again pointing to the possibility that this Elijah-like individual’s revivalist/evangelist ministry to the believers will most likely take place during the first half of Daniel’s Seventieth Week.
Although the specific time frame for his ministry as described in Malachi 4:5,6 is not mentioned, it would seem this type of positive preaching ministry to God’s people would not fit into the surroundings of the Great Tribulation when the believers are scattered, being warned by the Lord Jesus to "flee into the mountains" during the horrendous persecution of the Antichrist.
Elijah’s ministry to "restore all things" (Matthew 17:11; Mark 9:12) fits into Malachi’s more specific description of turning hearts in the same manner that John the Baptist, the first Elijah-like forerunner, called Israel to repentance just prior to the Lord’s first appearance/coming.