Summary: Deals with what the Christian should do to be prepared for Christ’s coming
“What I Know About the End Times”
“As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples came along and wanted to take him on a tour of the various Temple buildings. But he told them, "All these buildings will be knocked down, with not one stone left on top of another!" "When will this happen?" the disciples asked him later, as he sat on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. "What events will signal your return and the end of the world?" Jesus told them, "Don’t let anyone fool you. For many will come claiming to be the Messiah and will lead many astray. When you hear of wars beginning, this does not signal my return; these must come, but the end is not yet. The nations and kingdoms of the earth will rise against each other, and there will be famines and earthquakes in many places. But all this will be only the beginning of the horrors to come. "Then you will be tortured and killed and hated all over the world because you are mine, and many of you shall fall back into sin and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and lead many astray. Sin will be rampant everywhere and will cool the love of many. But those enduring to the end shall be saved. "And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it, and then, finally, the end will come.
"So, when you see the horrible thing (told about by Daniel the prophet) standing in a holy place (Note to the reader: You know what is meant!), then those in Judea must flee into the Judean hills. Those on their porches must not even go inside to pack before they flee. Those in the fields should not return to their homes for their clothes. "And woe to pregnant women and to those with babies in those days. And pray that your flight will not be in winter, or on the Sabbath. For there will be persecution such as the world has never before seen in all its history and will never see again. "In fact, unless those days are shortened, all mankind will perish. But they will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen people. "Then if anyone tells you, ’The Messiah has arrived at such and such a place, or has appeared here or there,’ don’t believe it. For false Christs shall arise, and false prophets, and will do wonderful miracles so that if it were possible, even God’s chosen ones would be deceived. See, I have warned you.”
Matt 24:1-25 (Living)
As I was praying about what to share with you this morning, for some reason I felt like God wanted me to talk about the end times. I don’t preach much on the end times because there is so much that is open to interpretation and so many people have such different ideas. And that’s okay. You can be a good Nazarene and believe Jesus is coming before the tribulation, after the tribulation, in the middle of the tribulation or some other time. What we can agree on and what our manual says is this:
XV. Second Coming of Christ
19. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ will come again; that we who are alive at His coming shall not precede them that are asleep in Christ Jesus; but that, if we are abiding in Him, we shall be caught up with the rising saints to meet the Lord in the air, so that we shall ever be with the Lord.
I think we can all agree with that, can’t we. We are free to disagree on many ideas about the second coming of the Lord, but we can agree on that.
Through the years I have read a number of books on the second coming from Hal Linsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” to “Christians will go through the Tribulation : and How to Prepare for it” by James M. McKeever, and consequently I have held most of the popular views at one time or another. I lean toward Christians going through the tribulation and preparing for it – but I pray I’m wrong and we will all be gloriously raptured before the 7 years of tribulation. As I study the Scripture I can’t quite believe that – but I hope I’m wrong.
Many people believe we are in the end times right now. Some quote the Mayan and Hopi Indian calendar which has the end of time on 12-21-2012. Nostradamus had the end coming October 23rd 2005. Jesus said,
"Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When her branch is tender and the leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is almost here. Just so, when you see all these things beginning to happen, you can know that my return is near, even at the doors. Then at last this age will come to its close. "Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words remain forever. But no one knows the date and hour when the end will be--not even the angels. No, nor even God’s Son. Only the Father knows.” Matt 24:32-36 (Living)