JESUS IS COMING
Are you ready for His Appearing?
(A Synopsis of Biblical prophecy)
By Henry Jaegers
“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you also must be ready; for the son of man is coming at an hour when you do not think he will.” (Matthew 24:42-44 NASB)
These verses are quoted from the most detailed passage of scripture concerning Christ’s second coming. Matthew chapter 24 is called the Olivet discourse and it centers on the teaching of Jesus concerning His coming again. These events are not historical but prophetical. That means that they pertain to the future. But they are future from the perspective of Jesus and they will be fulfilled. One of the problems in studying prophecy is to keep thinking they are future and have no relationship to what is happening in my life today. As I have mentioned previously in other articles, the twofold purpose of prophecy is first to instruct and second to prepare. No matter when Christ shall appear, we are urged throughout Scripture to live as though His coming were today. In Hebrews chapter 9:28, we are told “So Christ also was once offered to bear the sins of many, and unto them who look for him shall he appear a second time without sin unto salvation.”
The fact is, Jesus is coming and those who are eagerly believing and awaiting that return will not be surprised when He comes. To these, His coming will truly be “The Blessed hope.” To those who are unprepared it will be a time of tragedy and great sorrow. (Revelation 1:7) Our lives are to be in continual readiness for the Lord’s return. How simple can we make it? Jesus is coming, are you ready? These are the questions that every Christian ought to be asking himself and to be telling others. Revelation 1:7 clearly shows us that this is going to be one event that will affect the whole world. Every eye shall see him both Christian and non-Christian alike. The world needs to know that Jesus is coming and we are his ambassadors to proclaim that message to everyone.
Do not be surprised if the world thinks you are crazy because you told them that Jesus is coming. Think about Noah. He told the people in his day that the flood was coming, and God gave the skeptics of that time 120 years to think about it and change their minds. Sadly, we are told that when they were not expecting it, the flood came and took them all away. Jesus says that is what his coming will be like. Those unsaved friends will be taken in judgment and even if they will not hear we still need to tell them because “Jesus is coming” is a fact. If we believe that then we must proclaim it
I am writing this discourse to give understanding of how the prophecies concerning Christ’s return apply to us today, 2000 years removed from the time when Jesus first spoke them to his disciples.
A PROPHETICAL SYNOPSIS
Since this is a synopsis of biblical prophecy, that means we will not go into great detail and try to interpret all the various symbols and their meanings. We are touching the basic simple essentials that Christians need to understand. The first thing we need to do is start from the very beginning. In Genesis chapter 3 verse 15, God spoke these words to Satan after man ate the forbidden fruit. Man has already fallen, now this verse describes the fall of Satan. This is a very important verse because it describes several things that will help us to understand more difficult passages later on. Here is what God said to Satan: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.”
The fulfillment of this verse is found many times throughout Scripture and I will not go into detail on all of them. First, this prophecy is the prophecy concerning the future. The hostility between the seed of Satan and the seed of God will take place immediately during the life of Adam when we find that hostility manifested in Adam’s first two sons. We find first the godly seed, the seed of the woman in Abel and the seed of Satan in Cain who slew his brother. As we journey through Scripture we find these two forces in effect up until the time of Noah where things got so bad God had to destroy the world. The seed of the woman not only refers to the godly seed but It refers to another seed that would come yet future. This one who would come would be called “The Seed of the Woman”
. The significance of this is that in the natural course of things, those who were born to woman are the seed of men but in the case of Jesus, he is truly the only one who was called “The Seed of the Woman” because he had no physical father. This is one of the many evidences that Jesus is more than just a man, He is God manifested in human flesh. He was the man born of the woman, who was without the stain of sin in his being. This perfect man is significant because God required a perfect sacrifice for man’s sin. Jesus, the seed of the woman, was the only man in history who was qualified to meet the requirements of a holy God and He became our substitute. That means He took the judgment upon himself that we deserved. This is something that we need to remember because the good news of eternal life centers on this fact. God provided a perfect sacrifice in order for man to meet the requirements of a holy God. Only Christ did that; none of us are worthy.
The next thing prophesied is, though Satan would succeed in destroying Christ, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead would be the final victory over Satan and indeed Satan’s head would be bruised. Simply put, although Satan is very much active, his end is a determined fact and Jesus shall reign. We come now to a very significant portion of Scripture which provokes a lot of controversy due to differences of interpretation. One of the problems in studying prophecy is studying them with preconceived ideas. The best commentary on Scripture is Scripture itself. Sometimes men invent theories in order to make understanding easier but these theories are men’s opinions and not always substantiated by the word of God. They are men’s interpretations of what God says.
UNDERSTANDING REVELATION CHAPTER 12
The message of chapter 12 follows immediately the events in Chapter 11 that describe the appearing of the two witnesses, their successful preaching experience, the reaction of the world to them (through death) and the resurrection to heaven. The rest of the events in Chapter 11 describe the sounding of the seventh trumpet. This relates to the events contained in chapters 12, 13, and 14. In chapter 11 as the trumpet is sounding the words they proclaim are: “the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ; and he will reign for ever and ever. And the 24 elders who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God,” the rest of the verses in Chapter 11 contain the words of praise to God. And in verse 19 of Chapter 11 we have these words that introduced the information in chapter 12 “And the Temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the Ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and the great hailstorm” And now the introductory words to Revelation 12. “A great sign appeared in heaven:”
In the first four versus of chapter 12, we are introduced to the woman, and the Dragon. The woman of course refers to she who will bring forth a seed who will later role with a rod of iron. She is described as glorious. This speaks of her standing before God as privileged and blessed. This blessing centers on the child she shall bring forth. Here again we see the woman and her seed and we must not forget that relationship to Genesis 3:15. This speaks of the woman and her son in verse two. In verses three and four we see a description of the Dragon. This Dragon is symbolic of Satan and his seed. This is the one whose intent is to destroy the seed of the woman. Of course if he succeeds in that, he would make God out to be a liar. Satan knows that this is not true and the coming of the seed of the woman will be his final destruction so he is eager to keep that from happening. So in these verses we see Satan and the woman representing the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent (called the Dragon). So far everything is clear.
Next we are told that the woman gives birth to a son, a child who will rule the nations with a rod of iron and the child was caught up to heaven. The woman then, fled into the wilderness where she was protected by God. This portion is difficult to interpret. Some say that the woman represents the nation of Israel. There is some truth to that in this way. The woman, from whom this seed comes, later becomes the nation of Israel (God’s chosen people at that time) who will be attacked by Satan. Satan knows that the nation of Israel would be that nation from which the Messiah would come,( the seed of the woman). So the woman could be in this sense, the nation of Israel whom Satan tries to destroy. This has been the history of the nation of Israel. But the significance is that the destruction of Israel was purposed to keep the seed of the woman from appearing. That seems to be the simplest interpretation of this passage. As we continue studying this chapter we will find that act would have reference to the church rather than the nation of Israel. The remaining verses in the chapter verses 7- 17 would have clear reference to the church.
Now in verses seven through the end of the chapter we see a picture of events that are yet to happen. In the first six verses they were both prophetical and historical. But these verses before us now are prophetical. It is not the scene in heaven where Satan was cast out historically. Satan now rules in heavenly places. That is where Satan is right now but there is a time future, just prior to the tribulation, when Satan will be cast out of heaven. The war between Satan and Michael will take place and the outcome will be the removal of Satan from his heavenly sphere where he now works. We know that this will be at the beginning of the tribulation. Because we have these words:” Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath knowing that he has only a short time. And when the Dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. Satan now goes after the woman who is the representation of the church. Satan does not need to go after the nation of Israel, he already has them. The church is the true offspring of the woman and that’s where the battle is. Notice next that Satan goes after the woman and in his attempt he faces failure because the woman is protected by God. We may go a step further and say that this woman represents faithful Christians who believe God’s word and took the necessary precautions given by Christ to flee the scene when the signs appear. The woman represents those, then, who took the word of God seriously and acted upon them. Finally, not being able to destroy the woman, Satan now turns to her offspring and goes after them. Now the question arises who are these? That remains a question. We cannot be certain because God has not given us specific information as to who she is. I would like to give my interpretation and state that a similar situation is found in Matthew 25 concerning the five foolish virgins. These were uninformed, unconcerned, unaware, and because of this were certainly unprepared for the coming of the Lord. What about those Christians that had been careless in their commitment to Christ? Are they going to have the same privilege as those who are faithful? It is my belief that these offspring that are unprotected will be those Christians were like the foolish virgins who did not take the coming of the Lord seriously and as a result needed to be refined through the tribulation that lay ahead. There seems to be some indication that these were Christians who needed to have their false securities removed. Jesus himself said immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the son of man appear. That is quite conclusive and something to which we could latch our faith.
THE PERIOD OF TRIBULATION
In these chapters we see many of the signs that will occur prior to Christ’s return. Christ’s return is mentioned in chapter 19 of Revelation, so these events will take place before then. That is certain. Other things mentioned throughout the Scriptures, do not give us a clear picture as to the chronology or timing of these events. We know that they follow the prophecy mentioned in chapter 12 and we know that they take place prior to the arrival of the bridegroom for his perfected bride in chapter 19.
In chapter 13 we have the picture of the arrival of Antichrist. A brief description is given of him in this chapter and there also will arrive with him the false prophet. He will cause the world to worship the antichrist or the beast. Great wonders will be performed, we call them lying wonders that would cause the whole world to believe a delusion and receive a mark placed upon them. In second Thessalonians chapter 2 we have a further description of what will happen. Because men refused to believe the truth, God will send a great delusion upon them so so that they will believe the lie fostered by the antichrist, or the Man of sin as he is called. Again it is a matter of interpretation but these two men, the beast and the false prophet could represent the merging of politics and religion together. Later on the woman and the beast symbolizes that so it’s not too far removed to interpret the arrival of these two characters as political and religious. There may be other viable interpretations, but thinking of the times in which we live it makes sense. So we see through chapter 13 the arrival of the beast and the false prophet causing a great mark be placed on men forcing them to receive this mark in order to survive. That is scary and serious, but God has told us that this is going to happen. We do not know what the mark of the beast will be. There are many possibilities and we as christians need to be discerning and understanding of the prophetical Scripture’s.
In chapters 14 and 15 there is discussion of those who are faithful and the blessedness that is theirs. It also describes the tragedy of those who are unfaithful. There is a great contrast between the two and there is an admonition by God for us to be associated with those who are the faithful ones before the presence of God. In chapter 16 we see the final series of judgments that that follow those of the trumpets. Chapter 15 concludes with those events that are associated with the seventh trumpet which is a partial judgment upon one third of the earth. Now in chapter 16 we come to the seven bowl judgments. These are the final judgments and they will affect two thirds of the earth. The pouring out of these judgments takes place after the final trumpet sounds. We do not know the chronology of these. My guess is that the trumpets and the bowls will take place toward the end of the tribulation prior to the Lord’s return.
In chapter 17 and 18, there seems to be a parenthesis here. Chapter 17 will happen toward the middle or end of the tribulation.. It describes the woman riding on the beast. That further describes events taking place during the tribulation. The events in chapter 18 happen at the very end of the tribulation just prior to the Lord’s return. That seems to be clear since chapter 19 speaks of the arrival of the bridegroom for his bride.
A brief description of chapter 17 shows a woman riding upon a beast. The woman has been given great power and influence and all the kings of the earth have benefited by her prosperity. We are not sure whether she represents false religion or politics. I believe both could be true. We know the beast she is riding on represents satanic influence who had given her power. She is not given a very good name. She is called “MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Instead of being a woman, the term can be symbolic as well for a nation of influence. One that has become great and her greatness has affected the rest of the earth. Now as the chapter continues we find that the political forces that she has entertained will eventually destroy her and her greatness will be lost. During the time of her greatness, the man of sin or the antichrist, will rule and effect the destruction of this great woman.
Now we come to chapter 18. This chapter describes in great detail the fall of the great economy that has affected the whole world. Mystery Babylon has fallen and her fall will be the fall of those who trusted in her and leaned on her for their sustenance. The whole world is seen wailing because of the fall of Mystery Babylon. This is a chapter that no one pays attention to or understands. But as we look at the fall of the economy of one great nation in particular we anticipate the effect of that fall upon others. This fallen economy would be another one of the signs prior to the coming of the Lord. We must listen and understand what God has to say about the future of our world. He holds the world in his hands and he holds prophecy in his hands as well. We cannot ignore prophecy and the signs which God has given to us of His soon return.
We cannot ignore what the Scripture says. It is going to happen because God said so. Refusing to believe the Scripture will not keep God from doing what he says he will do.
THE LITTLE HORN
IN DANIEL CHAPTERS 7-11
In Daniel chapters 7 to 11 the Little Horn is described in all of these chapters. The little horn is the word used to describe the future antichrist. All students of prophecy agree with that. In chapter 11 a greater detail is given about what this little horn will be like. A future king called Antiochus Epiphanies II will arrive as the king of the North (which is Syria today) and he will battle continually with the King of the South which is Egypt. That battle took place a long time ago and we have it recorded in history. Most people think that Antiochus Epiphanies was the little horn. That again is partially true. The fact of his history confirms the truth of prophecy. What is that truth of prophecy? Jesus tells us in Matthew 24”Remember the abomination of desolation spoken by Daniel the prophet. ” When Jesus spoke these words he spoke them in relationship to the signs of the times that would take place prior to His return. He is calling attention to this event in history to tell his followers that someday that history will be repeated during the time of the tribulation.(Read the context) those characteristics displayed by the little horn in Daniel 11 will characterize the future man of sin before the coming of Christ.
why am I writing this paper? I am very concerned that few people even those claiming to be Christians and even pastors for that matter, know very little about biblical prophecy. They are afraid to study prophecy because of the various contradictions of the teachers. They depend on their teachers to speak the truth but what they are given is not biblical truth but interpretations that they had been taught by others. The word of God is the only truth that matters/. All of the truth must be measured by what God has said. God has spoken clearly that Jesus is coming again and we are to be faithful in anticipating his return. We are to tell others and warn them of the lies and hypocrisy that abound and speak the truth of God’s word to them. I am also concerned about people who hold to the position that we don’t have to worry about the tribulation because we will not be going through it. That is a popular interpretation of Scripture that has no biblical base but had its origin by a woman in the 1830’s who had a dream. That dream has caused a lot of confusion throughout the ages and caused a great many well-meaning Bible teachers and pastors to present an un-biblical theory.
JESUS IS COMING
He hasn’t come yet and there is much work to do and people to tell. We pray”thy kingdom come.” Are we being faithful in sharing it with others?