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SIGNS OF THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
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Signs of the Second Coming of Christ (27th June 2015)
Bible reading – Acts: 1-9-11
This morning I would like us to look at the Second Coming of Christ and the signs that must occur before he eventually returns to reclaim this world as his own! We read in our scripture reading - Acts 1:9-11, what Paul had to say about this. Now let us turn to another scripture:
“Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in me. In my fathers house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also”. - John 14:1-3,
and John also recorded Jesus’ words in Revelation 22:7:
“ behold I come quickly! blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book”.
And in verse 12 he says:
“and behold, I am coming quickly and my reward is with me, to give to everyone according to his work. And again in verse 20 he says:
“he who testifies to these things says. “surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so come Lord Jesus Christ.”
Luke also records Jesus return in Luke 21: 27-28:
“Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory”,
But Luke adds: “now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
Matthew confirms the same event in Matt 24:30:
“and then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the Earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory”.
And Paul also confirms the disciples belief that Jesus would return to this Earth in 1 Thess 4:16:
“for the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.”
Paul makes an important point when he says: “the dead in Christ shall rise first.” For many Christians there is a belief that when they die, they go either straight to Heaven or down to Hell. The question is, if the dead that are raised from their grave first at Christ’s return, how is it possible for them to have been in heaven with Christ before His return to Earth? We will continue with this theme later on in my sermon.
Peter said in acts 3:19-21:
“repent and be converted that your sins may be blotted out, when the time of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached to you; whom the heavens must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”
Here Peter is confirming that Jesus would come from God again to this earth.
I have already mentioned that John the Apostle wrote the words of Jesus in the book of Revelation, which is called ‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ’. He did so when he was a prisoner for the Lord on the Island of Patmos. He also said in Revelation 1:7:
‘behold, He comes with clouds and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindred’s of the Earth shall wail because of Him.”
John is informing those who read his words that everyone who is alive on earth will see Jesus come back, even those who pierced him at his crucifixion. How will that be? Everyone that is alive at Christ’s return will see him come in the sky. Those that pierced him when he went to the cross will be raised from their graves at His return. They will see Him in the clouds; they will watch as the risen saints are taking up into heaven and they will weep and wail because they did not believe Jesus was the person He said He was, whilst on earth in Jerusalem.
As the earthquakes and tidal waves engulf those left alive on the Earth, those who pierced him will go back to their graves with the rest of humanity who rejected Christ throughout their lives. They will remain asleep in their graves for a thousand years, after which they will rise for the final time to see the New Jerusalem descend from heaven with Christ and the saints, for the final judgment of the wicked. Revelation 20: 12-15
James – the brother of Jesus wrote in James 5:7,8:
“be patient therefore brethren unto the coming of the Lord. Behold the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and has long patience’s for it, until he receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient, establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draws near.”
And as we read in our scripture reading, even the angels declared Jesus would come back again in the same way he went.
Let’s read it again - acts 1:9-11:
“and when He (Jesus) had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up: and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, ye men of galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.”
Well it can’t be any clearer than that can it? The disciples, apostles and angels all confirm that Jesus will be coming back to this Earth at sometime in the not too distant future. Not only will he come back, He will come back in exactly the same way as He left – on a cloud.
Of course this is probably not a cloud as we know it, which are just condensed water vapor - although I am sure God could make them solid for Jesus to stand on, however it is more likely that the cloud referred to is a host of angels. The whole angelic host will come to claim the redeemed with Jesus.
They will be so dense in number they would probably look like a bright white cloud in the sky, just like the ones who took Him up into heaven.
Today there are many Atheists and Non-Christians who laugh at the existence of an omnipotent God or even a final judgment. They chastise the Christian because of their belief in a literal creator. Their speech is evil towards those who believe the scriptures. They are willfully ignorant of the immortal God who will come to judge the Earth with righteousness and the people with his truth. Psalm 96:13.
The Bible to them is just a lot of stories – no better than a Charles Dickens novel! But you and I know that they will be in for a great shock when all their beliefs are shattered at the events that take place on the earth prior to the return of Christ.
Lets continue by looking at some of those signs; some of which have already taken place.
Turn with me to Luke 21 and versus 25-27:
“and there shall be signs in the Sun and in the Moon, and in the Stars; upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the Earth for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then they shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
Haven’t we seen roaring seas lately with huge Tsunamis killing thousands? Isn’t there an air of fear in the hearts and minds of people who are preoccupied with the problems caused by events out of their control around the earth?
When the Pharisees and Sadducees asked Jesus for a sign from heaven, he answered and said to them:
“when it is evening, you say, it will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today; for the sky is red and lowering. O you hypocrites, you can discern the face of the sky; but you cannot discern the signs of the times” Matt: 16-1-3. If they could not discern the sign of the times, how were they to know when Christ was due to come in glory?
We are told in Matt 24:29, that the darkening of the Sun and Moon and the falling stars, mentioned also by Luke, would happen in the latter days close to Christ coming. We know that we are now in those latter days and that the darkening of the Sun and Moon (which had the appearance of blood) occurred on May 19, 1780. It was called ‘The Great Dark Day.’
The poet John Greenleaf Whittier, who was an influential American Quaker poet, wrote of this memorable day:
“Twas on a May day of the far old year
Seventeen hundred eighty, that there fell
over the bloom and sweet life of the spring,
over the fresh Earth, and the heaven of noon,
a horror of great darkness.”
“men prayed, and women wept; all ears grew sharp to hear the doom-blast of the trumpet shatter the black sky.”
The BBC news magazine ran an article on the 18th May 2012, which said:
“Three centuries ago in parts of North America, a strange event turned morning to night it remains wreathed in mystery - so what caused the dark day? Halfway through the morning the sky turns yellow. Animals run for cover and darkness descends, causing people to light candles and start to pray. By lunchtime night has fallen. Is it the end of the world? The dark day, as it's become known, took place on May 19, 1780 in New England and parts of Eastern Canada. For the past 232 years historians and scientists have argued over the origins of this strange event. Today there are many theories. Was it the result of volcanic eruption, fire, meteor strike - or something more sinister?”
May 19, 1780 stands in history as: “The Great Dark Day”. Since the time of Moses, no period of darkness of equal density, extent and duration has ever been recorded. The description of this event as given by the poet and the historian, is but an echo of the words of the Lord recorded by the prophet Joel, 2500 years previous to their fulfillment:
“the Sun shall be turned into darkness and the Moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.” Joel 2:31
Of course many Non-Christians have tried to put this down to a natural phenomenon, such as thick black smoke from forest fires, but this could be discounted because of the vast area of darkness covered in the easterly regions of New England, Westward to the farthest parts of Connecticut and Albany, New York, to the South it was recorded that the darkness was all along the sea coast and the North as far as the American settlements extended and probably far exceeded the known boundaries at that time. It continued to be black as pitch in the neighborhood of Boston for 14 to 15 hours. The day had started off okay but gradually got darker and darker until around noon there was total blackness. When the Moon rose that evening it had the appearance of blood in colour.
Then there was the falling of the stars from heaven. This occurred on Nov 13th 1833, when a vast meteor shower could be seen across the whole Northern sky. Fulfilling the prophecy in Revelation 6:13
Wars and Rumours of Wars
Another sign that we are close to the end of time is the prediction that there would be Wars and Rumours of Wars:
“and you shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that you are not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”
Since the Second World War this world has experienced more wars and rumors of wars across the globe than in any other century. The following are just some of those wars, which America in particular has been involved in. Of course were the US goes the UK usually have some involvement!
United States Intervention in Greek Election, 1947-1949
Operation Pbfortune, Guatemala, 1952
Operation Aja - US overthrow of Iranian Government, 1953
Operation Pbsuccess, Guatemala, 1954
Bay of Pigs invasion, Cuba, 1961
Operation Powerpack, Dominican Republic, 1965 - 1966
Korean War, 1950 - 1953
United States overthrow of Guatemalan Government, 1907-1933
Operation Blue Bat, Lebanon, 1958
United States intervention at Panama Canal, 1958
Vietnam War, 1962 - 1973
United States occupation of Laos, 1962 - 1973
United States intervention at Panama Canal, 1964
Cambodian civil war, 1969 - 1970
United States overthrow of Chilean Government, 1964
Turkish invasion of Cyprus, 1974
Operation Eagle Claw - Iran hostage crisis, 1980
First Gulf of Sidra incident, Libya, 1981
Contra war, El Salvador, 1981-1990
Occupation of Beirut, Lebanon, 1982-1984
Invasion of Grenada, 1983-1984
Operation El Dorado Canyon, Libya, 1986
Iran-Iraq war, 1987 - 1989
Operation Just Cause, Panama 1989 - 1990
Second Gulf of Sidra incident, Libya, 1989
Persian Gulf war, Iraq, 1991
Operation Desert Shield, 1991
Operation Desert Storm, 1991
Somali civil war, 1992 - 1994
Operation Provide Relief, 1992
Operation Restore Hope, 1992 - 1994
Yugoslav wars, 1994 - 1999
Bosnian conflict, 1994 - 1995
Kosovo conflict, 1997 - 1999
War on Terrorism, 2001 - present
Waziristan war, 2004 - present
War in Somalia, 2006 - present
and of course Iraq, Afghanistan, Falklands, Syria, Libya,
Threats are also coming from North Korea. Terrorism is a global threat and rumors of impending destruction are fed to us daily on the news. As well as these we are told there will be Earthquakes, Pestilences, and Storms. Because of wars where Nation is fighting Nation and Kingdom against Kingdom (Matt 24:7), famines and diseases are occurring. We have seen the recent spread of Ibola. Bird flu was supposed to be endemic, HIV, Mad cow disease and an explosion in cancers. The upsurge in the number of young people getting cancer has a probable cause – the intake of unnatural and toxic food and drink. Manufacturers, with the blessing of the Food Standards Agency, are adding toxic preservatives, stabilizers, oils, sugars, salt and many other ingredients to extend the shelf life of food for maximum profit. Soon all foods on our shelves will have been genetically modified. The long-term effects of these modifications are not yet known. However, corporate businesses are not concerned about how healthy their food is, as long as it brings in a profit for them. Our immune system is not used to fighting a daily battle with the food and drink we consume, consequently the good cells in our body are overrun with toxins and start to turn into bad cells, which in time can grow into cancers.
We may not have food shortages in developed countries, but as has been said, famines are occurring in war torn countries and many are dying of starvation. Droughts are occurring in some countries where crops cannot grow. When trying to flee war many are dying in the sea. Earthquakes are occurring more frequently. Nepal was devastated recently and thousands killed. Even Kent, in the UK, suffered a minor quake in May 2015. San Francisco is expecting a large Earthquake along the San Andreas Fault in the not too distant future. Film producers in Hollywood know this Earthquake will happen one day and have made (yet another), disaster movie about the impending Earthquake.
Luke also tells us that there will be fearful sights and great signs shall be in the heavens. Luke 21:11. Yes there is more to come before Jesus returns. The Prophet Joel says:
“and I will show wonders in the heavens and in the Earth….. Joel 2:30
Then there is Climate Change! We are told we are destroying the planet and that we as humans are largely responsible for the change in the global climate? The Pope has just completed a Climate Change Encyclical. We wait to see what effect it will have on those in the European Parliament. I suspect they will want more money from our pockets to try and save the world from climate disasters?
Are we as humans fully responsible for causing climate change? According to one source, humans account for 0.02% of greenhouse gases, however, John the apostle in Revelation 11:18 says: “God will destroy those who destroy the earth.”
Of course we are contributing to lots of the changes in our weather through major deforestation, which upsets the natural ecological cycle and we are depleting the earth’s natural resources without putting anything back. Human greed takes and does not give so God will destroy those humans who destroy all that is good about our home planet. However no matter how much the European Union (or President Obama), throws money at this problem, they will never stop the Earths impending destruction! Even if everyone goes Green. Why? Because when Jesus returns the whole Earth, as we know it will be destroyed with every building and man made monument brought to the ground and the world will be left uninhabited for a 1000 years, except for Satan and his angels (but that’s for another sermon).
Does this mean that we should do nothing? Not at all! We can do what we think will help but even if our government reaches its annual CO2 reduction target, it will take just one Earth shattering event, such as another massive volcanic eruption or major Earthquake to wipe out all the reductions in CO2 emissions we have made in the last 10 years.
Human Moral Decline
Now let us look at another sign we are getting close to the return of Jesus. Turn to 2 Tim 3:1-5 – here we can read of the moral decline of society, which is getting worse by the day. For anyone who was astonished at the Irish (a catholic country) referendum results on gay marriage recently, let me read what timothy has to say:
“this know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. for men shall be lovers of their own selves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to their parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self control (natural affection). (See also Isaiah 66:17), brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, false accusers, incontinent, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of god; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away.”
Just recently in the UK we heard about two men who targeted a pregnant woman, beat her up and knowing she was pregnant kicked her in the stomach several times killing the baby. There was also the brutal murder of a young boy stabbed to death. And what about the racist killing of 9 black church members by a 21-year-old white boy?
Every day someone is beaten up, robbed or murdered for senseless reasons. Even radical Islam is killing in the name of their God.
In Math 24:12, we are told that because of the lawlessness that abounds in the last days, the love of many will grow cold. Satan is trying to destroy as many humans as possible because he knows his time is short. It was because of this same lawlessness that God destroyed the earth with water.
Luke tells in his gospel, chapter 17:26:30:
“and as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it also be in the days of the son of man: they ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.”
Luke continues telling us that this was also the case at the time of Lot when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed with fire and brimstone.
The pattern is there – lawlessness reaches a peak and God must act. In Gen 6:5 and 11 it says:
“then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the Earth and that every intent of the thoughts of the heart was only evil continually….” so the Lord said: “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the Earth, both man and beast, creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them”.
God gave mankind freedom to either choose to follow Him or not to follow Him. He sent his Prophets to warn us of the danger of leaving His path and following our own. Because humanity has chosen to ignore God’s continual warnings and even to reject Him completely as the omnipotent God and Creator - the human race is sealing its own fate.
As we continually lower our moral standards and replace God with human reason and so called science, we willingly forget that we are alive today only because we have God’s breath in us. It is by his grace we have life and that life is in his son who gave his life for us.
Love One Another
Today many liberal theologians and others are calling for a greater emphasis on loving one another. Doctrine they say is divisive therefore we must ignore the written Word of God and just love one another. We must put our differences behind us for the sake of harmony. To continue to disagree over spiritual matters, they say is unproductive. We should accept that there are differences of opinion about many things so we should remain silent where there is discord so that harmony may prevail.
Growth in understanding about the Will of God has never been through silence. If we remain silent on important issues or to defend the Word of God, then we cannot be true soldiers of God. A prime example, which I have already mentioned is the subject of gay marriage. God’s word on this subject is very clear. He calls the act of those men and women who chose physical sex with their own sex, an abomination. Lev 18:22. Those who practice this unnatural act will also be denied a place in the kingdom of God. 1 Cor 6:9. Jesus told us to love one another. We are commanded to love God and to love our neighbour as ourselves. Does loving someone mean that we have to accept his or her morality without question or dissent? A man can love a man! A woman can love a woman. There is nothing wrong in that but when their love for one another becomes physical lust there is a difference in the love they have for one another.
Whatever the sin, we must call it sin. It is our duty to show from the Scripture why this type of lifestyle is ungodly, but we must do so in a loving and tactful way. We must never browbeat, abuse or give destructive criticism to anyone who is a homosexual or lesbian. Our duty, as a Christian is not to do the Holy Spirits work – we are but messengers. We should show from scripture why God cannot accept sin again into His Kingdom.
As Christian’s we cannot discard what God has given to us in his Word. His Word does not change. It is forever truth, so to ignore it will lead to eternal death.
When Jesus wrote with his finger in the ground – “he who is without sin, let him cast the first stone” (John 8:7) Mary Magdalene’s accusers left one by one, dropping their stones to the ground. Jesus, with tender love in His heart did not condemn Mary for her adultery, He said to her: “Go and sin no more.” Mary had broken the 7th commandment many times and even though a law breaker, Jesus showed the love He has for all of us by giving us an example of how we should treat those who continue to live in sin. We are not to condemn them but we should encourage them to put away their sinful habits and ‘sin no more’. Mary could have left Jesus’ side and gone back to her old way of life but she heeded His words and left her life of sin to start a new life in Christ and she showed her new life in anointing Jesus feet before His crucifixion. Anyone who denies the written Scripture on the subject of homosexuality and continues practicing what God has condemned, is personally responsible for sealing their own eternal fate.
In 2 Tim 3:1-5, we read that many will have the form of godliness but deny its power. What this means is that many of those who are professing a godly faith are not showing it in their actions. Consequently they practice a mere form of religion but continue with their worldly pleasures and desires. A few weeks ago I spoke to my neighbour, who is an elderly lady and a Roman Catholic. We were speaking about the state of the world. To encourage her I said to her that she should read the book of Daniel and in particular Chapter 2, which as we all know is about the Kingdoms of the world and what will happen to then before Jesus returns. Her reply was: “I don’t read the Bible, you can interpret it any way you want. I just go to church.” There are many ‘Church attending’ people who have never read the Bible for themselves. They know some of the stories but they have never made an indepth study to find out who Jesus was/is! These will be the most difficult to get the message of the Gospel through to. Why? Because they are comfortable Christian’s. They are set in their ways and beliefs and it will take great patience (or even a miracle), to loosen their feet from the shackles they have made for themselves. But with the Holy Spirits assistance we are to try. Nevertheless at the end of time, if these people have not changed their ways Jesus will say of them, even if they went to church all their lives, that He never knew them!
Another of the signs that we are close to the end of time is economic trouble. We are living in austere times. The UK is somewhere in the region of 1.5 trillion pounds in debt and rising. Wages have been reduce in real terms over the past 5 years by more than £1600 per year per person, yet bankers pay, politicians pay and the rich have seen an increase in their income. Even today all MP’s are set for another 10% pay rise (they had an 11% pay rise last year (2014)), whilst the average working person will either get no pay rise or maybe just 1%. Is this fair? Are we all in austerity together? Not according to the facts.
The government is telling us that things can only get better under their leadership but what does the bible say?
Turn with me to James 5:1-16:
“Go to now you rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted and your garments are moth eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered (diseased) and the rust of them shall be a witness against you and shall eat your flesh as if with fire. You have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down you fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, cries, and the cries of them, which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of the Sabbath. You have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; you have nourished your ears as in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and killed the just; and he does not resist you.”
Bankers pay themselves great bonuses from the money we put into their banks and charge us large sums for small overdrafts. Government Ministers pay themselves high salaries and even greater allowances without a thought for the welfare of the needy. They legally steal from us by finding ways of increasing our taxes. They build their barns so they can have a comfortable secure and wealthy retirement. Little do they know that they will have to account for every penny they have kept from those who have worked for them.
The Theory of Evolution
Another great sign is the spread of the Theory of Evolution.
Many Christian Churches embrace the evolution theory as though it is a fact. They argue that science has made great strides in the last 100 years, therefore they must be correct about the evolution of matter. The bible warned us that this was going to happen:
Turn to 2 Peter: 3:3-17:
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts and saying, where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation (a belief in uniformitarianism)- my quote). For this they willingly are ignorant of that by the Word of God the heavens were of old and the Earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that perished: but the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto the fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
The Theory of Evolution is not a science, however scientists would have you believe that it is. Why can it not be a science? All theories must be tested and proven beyond doubt in a laboratory. To become a fact, a scientist must test it by known scientific methods. As nobody was around when God created the Earth, those that believe in evolution as a fact can only do so by faith. Faith in the assumptions or hypothesis of those, so called evolutionary scientists. There is not one bit of credible evidence to show that our universe, planet or life evolved by pure chance. We have such a diverse Eco system, which is so finely and mathematically tuned that any intelligent person must conclude there was a designer. However, the Bible says these men would be willingly ignorant - that is they choose not to see what is in front of their eyes. They discard reasonable argument and use personal detrimental comments to decry anyone who contradicts their hypothesis, which they call fact. Even our schools teach Evolution to our children and will not teach Creation because they say Creation cannot be proven but Evolution can!
Another sign that we are close to Jesus return is the upsurge in spiritualism. According to the Bible the dead do not know anything about what the living are doing. Ecc 9:5-6. Throughout the Bible we are told that we should never attempt to consult those who have died. Turn to 1 Tim 4:1-3:
“Now the spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats, (meats is a translation for foods), which God has created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”
In the majority of Christian churches today, there is a belief in the immortality of the soul. It is because of this belief that many Christians believe that when a loved one dies they go straight to heaven. (I’ve already spoken of this earlier). Rarely if at all does a presiding Minister; Priest or Vicar at a funeral, say of the person that has died, he or she is burning in hell! Everyone wants to believe his or her beloved departed is now sitting next to Jesus in heaven. We indoctrinate our children into believing that death is an immediate porthole to another life beyond this one! Is it any wonder that some have chosen to take their own life, hoping for a better one after death?
In Lev 19:3, God commands us not to regard them that have familiar spirits, nor to seek after wizards, to be defiled by them. We have to be on our guard because Satan and his angels will try to convince us that Christ has come in the flesh again.
We can read in Matt 24:23,24:
“Then if anyone says to you, look here is the Christ! Or there, do not believe it. For false Christ’s and false prophets will arise and show great sings and wonders so as to deceive if possible even the elect.”
Why would Christ command us not to speak to spirits? Because he knows that these are not departed human beings, they are the angels who left heaven with Lucifer (Satan) and are hid in the 4th dimension where we humans cannot see them, unless they want us to see them and that is when they impersonating our dead loved ones. Satan and his angels know us everyone of us. They have been with us since the day we are born. They see into our secret chambers, they hear our prayers and confessions. They know our habits, hates and loves. They know our superstitions and will play upon these for their gain. They can speak in any language, accent and dialect and sound and look exactly like a dead loved one. To the person who does not know the Bible or follow Christ – Satan and his angels are a great threat because he can use them to further his work in this Earth. Christ is our only defense against the devil. It has always been Satan’s goal to confuse and to lie to those who do not read their scripture. He has been telling us from the beginning that we do not have to listen to God. We can do as we please because ‘we will not die’. That was his first lie to Eve in the Garden of Eden when he said to her: “had God said you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Eve replied that she was forbidden to eat of the tree in the midst of the garden, which was the tree of the knowledge of evil. Contradicting God, Satan said to Eve: “you shall not surely die”. Gen 3:1-4. Today he tells us that we have immortal souls and therefore we cannot die. But God did not give humanity an immortal soul. Immortality belongs to God alone. 1 Tim 6:15-16. We can only receive immortality if we believe in our Lord Jesus Christ and follow him. For those who do, immortality will be given to them at the resurrection.
Great apostasy is here with us today. We have already read 2 Tim 3:1-4, which informed us of the perilous times we live in and the evil condition of many. Millions deny Christ. Some are even changing their faith to another, which denies the divinity of Jesus. They shackle themselves with the rules of their new faith, which does not have a Savior but allows them to think that the works that they do and the rules they follow will assure them a place in paradise. All other religious faiths, which do not believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ, must instruct their followers of the rules they must follow and the works they must do to secure a place in the next life. This is salvation by works, not by faith.
Increase in Knowledge
These last days have seen a great increase in knowledge predicted by the angel Gabriel speaking to Daniel who said:
“but thou, o Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge will increase Dan 12:4
In the last hundred years from the late 1900’s until today, we have seen a technological revolution. Telegraph; Trains, Airplanes; Cars; Rockets; Telephones; Radio; Television; and in the past 30 years Computers; Mobile (Cell) phones; Tablets and of course the World Wide Web Internet. This has allowed us to shrink the world and communicate instantly with others around the globe or travel to far distant countries with great speed. We also have a greater understanding of the prophecies of the Bible. We are privileged today to have more knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures than did even stalwarts of truth such as Luther, Tyndale, Wycliffe, Knox etc.
So my question to you all is: “Now that we know we are close to the end of time, what should we do?”
Luke tells in his gospel Chapter 21 v 28, 31
“and when these things begin to come to pass, look up and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near. Verse 3: so likewise when you see these things come to pass, know that the Kingdom of God is near at hand”.
Jesus tells us in Matt 24:36 that we do not know the day or the hour God will claim this world:
“but of that day and hour no man knows, no not the angels of heaven but my father only.”
Does this mean that Jesus did not know the day and the hour? Whilst He was upon the earth the Father may have hidden it from Him, but as Jesus and God are One, He knew it he told them they would not be able to handle such a knowledge. Think what it would be like to know the exact day and hour you were going to die? Wouldn’t it play on your mind day after day, month after month knowing you were nearing your time of death? To know the day and hour Christ would return would do exactly the same to us and we may even become discouraged if we knew it was not in our lifetime.
We are all familiar with the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation. We know that that before we can enjoy supper with our Lord in heaven, there must be tribulation on this earth. All the kingdoms of the world were explained by Daniel to king Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 2:31). A great image of gold, silver, bronze, iron and clay, showing the kingdoms to come after Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom. He was the head of gold followed by the Medes and Persians then came Greece followed by Rome and its breakup into ten kingdoms in which time we now live.
Those worldly powers that would come on the World stage would try to make one United World Order. Many have tried through war or intermarriage of Kings and Queens but none have succeeded. Today the European Union is trying to do the same. Germany and France have drawn up plans for even closer ties with all member countries. They want a European Army, a European Central World Bank and a One World Religion where there is no division of faith. As they seek to implement this, many freedoms will be taken from the people. Our freedom is now being eroded because of the threat (and recent acts) of terrorism but these are only the tip of the iceberg. Many in Europe and in America are calling out for a law, which respects Sunday as a day of rest. The Pope as recently as 2014 called for this, as did the Lord’s Day Observance Society in America. He will shortly be giving a speech to the US Senate and this will include a reference to the sanctity of Sunday. Soon the Earthly powers will be able to implement their wishes, fulfilling prophecy so that the Mark of the Beast, where no person can buy or sell goods except those who have the mark, will be enforced. (Rev 14:9). Anyone who opposes authority or denies the Sunday as a day of worship, which they call the Sabbath, will be deemed to be anti-establishment and considered a criminal. Those that enforce these laws will believe in their hearts that they are doing no wrong. We have an example of forced religious faith by ISIS, where any dissention against their form of religion is quickly dealt with by the death of the dissenter.
We know that God is calling his people to come out of Babylon. (That is those Churches, which do not follow the doctrine of Christ). True believers are to proclaim the gospel message given by the 3 angels of Rev 14:6-8, and through to verse 12. We must sound the trumpet to let everyone know that Judgment of the World is now going on in heaven. Those who do not follow God at this time will receive eternal damnation, so there is an urgency to proclaim this message. We are to be our brother’s keeper. It is our duty to share our message by whatever means we can. We have to throw a lifeline to everyone or they will sink to their death without knowing the one true God and His Son Jesus Christ. We must proclaim that God made the heavens and the Earth, the Seas and the Springs of Water, which flies in the face of Evolutionists. We must continue to preach the good news until and if we are alive during the seven last plagues written by John in Rev 16.
Many of those waiting for Christ’s return that do not use scripture as their sure foundation will be convinced that he has come when Satan impersonates him on Earth. Satan will uphold Sunday as the day he changed and he will condemn 7th day Sabbath keepers. But we are not to be discouraged. We are to keep running the race until we either sleep in death until Christ resurrects us or we rise to meet him in the air at His coming- and He will surely come
Christ Returns in the Clouds.
“so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Heb 9:28
“and it shall be said in that day, lo, this is our god: we have waited for him and he will save us: this is the lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” Isa 25:9
So if we are waiting for him how should we live?
“for the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:11-13,
Yes Jesus is coming again and from the condition of this Earth it does not look like it is going to be too far into the future. Maybe just maybe, you and I will still be alive when He returns?
It is my prayer we will all live as God instructs us to do until he comes.
Ralph E Jackson - 2015
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