Thursday, June 30, 2005


TIME IS RUNNING OUT.ARE YOU READY? Posted by Hello

NOW PLAYING:BACK TO THE FUTURE

Now Playing: “Back To The Future!”
1 THESSALONIANS 4:13-18; MATTHEW 24:42-44; 25:13



1 Thes. 4:13-18
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage each other with these words.
Matthew 24:42-44
"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Matthew 25:13
"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

Did you ever read signs and get amused at how they are worded at times? Sometimes the simple can become so complex and yet humorous. Here’s a sampling of some sayings or words that were sent to me recently:

SILLY SIGNS

• Bargain basement upstairs.
• Would the person who took the step ladder yesterday please bring it back or further steps will be taken.
• After tea break staff should empty the teapot and stand upside down on the draining board.
• This is the gate of heaven. enter ye all by this door. (This door is kept locked because of the draft. Please use side door.)
• We exchange anything - bicycles, washing machines etc. Why not bring your wife along and get a wonderful bargain?
• The town hall is closed until opening. It will remain closed after being opened. Open tomorrow.
• Out to lunch: if not back by five, out for dinner also.
• Slow cattle crossing. no overtaking for the next 100 yrs.
• Due to increasing problems with letter louts and vandals we must ask anyone with relatives buried in the graveyard to do their best to keep them in order.
• Anyone leaving their garments here for more than 30 days will be disposed of.
• Elephants please stay in your car.
• For anyone who has children and doesn’t know it, there is a day care on the first floor.
• The farmer allows walkers to cross the field for free, but the bull charges.
• If you cannot read, this leaflet will tell you how to get lessons.
• We can repair anything. (Please knock hard on the door - the bell doesn’t work)
• Beware! I shoot every tenth trespasser and the ninth one has just left.
• Tattoos while you wait.

They, too, were looking for a sign. They were just like you and me. The followers of Jesus Christ were sitting with Jesus one day on the Mount of Olives and they asked some very important questions:

“Tell us, when will this happen (end of age) and what will be sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

I read sometime ago about the President of a large corporation who was dismissed by the Board of Directors with the following explanation:

“He was so involved with detail that he missed the big picture. He could see today, but not tomorrow.”

Could that happen to us? I think so! We can become so involved and harried over life’s daily grind that we lost sight of the big picture. I think this especially true regarding the future. Is the Future a thing of the Past, even to Christians? Could it be that we are so busy that we could miss the next greatest event on God’s calendar?

I read recently about a university professor who was riding in his ca and saw a bumper sticker that said, ’Jesus is coming. Look busy!’"
When we examine the Scriptures and compare them with what is happening in our world today, we cannot help but think of the Future. What will the future hold? Where are we headed? Will this be the dawning of the day when Jesus returns?

The June 2002 issue of Time Magazine was most revealing to say the least. Who would ever think that such a nationally known magazine would have this unique subject on its cover page and inside?


“The Bible & the Apocalypse! Why more Americans are reading and talking about THE END OF THE WORLD!” Nancy Gibbs authored the article entitlted: Apocalypse Now.

“What do you watch for, when you are watching the news? Signs that interest rates might be climbing; maybe it’s time to refinance. Signs of global warming, maybe forget that new SUV. Signs of new terrorist activity, maybe twice about that flight to Chicago. OR SIGNS THAT THE WORLD MAY BE COMING TO AN END, AND THE LAST BATTLE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL IS ABOUT TO UNFOLD? . . . We seem to be born with an instinct that the end is out there somewhere. We have a cultural impulse to imagine it – and keep it at bay.”

For many years the Church and Bible scholars have used the word “Apocalypse” and even said we live in such an age. The word actually means in Greek: “Revelation or Lifting of the veil.”

Time Magazine writer (Nancy Gibbs) says, “In an apocalyptic age, people feel that the veil of normal, secular reality is lifting, and we can see behind the scenes, see where God and the devil, good and evil are fighting to control the future.”
The article continues by pointing out that even the pre-Christian is thinking about the future. Recent polls suggest that 35% of Americans say they are paying closer attention to news events and how they relate to the coming of the world since the terrorist attacks of September 11th. 17% of Americans believe the end of the world will happen in their lifetime. 36% of Americans believe that the Bible is the Word of God and is to be taken literally. 59% believe the prophecies in the Book of Revelation will come true.
If you have followed the book market you will note that the “Left Behind” Series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins are some of the best sellers. They have written 10 boys in the series and have sold approximately 36 million copies.

While I do not know when Jesus Christ will return, I do know this: the Bible says that He will. And in light of what is happening today, it is time for us to do some serious thinking about the Future.
When we look at Jesus’ life and ministry, we see that He spent considerable time talking about the future events. Even the disciples had many questions regarding the future. The Apostles in their writings, especially Paul, spent considerable time speaking about the future events. While the Book of Revelation speaks of the seven Churches of Asia Minor, its main emphasis is on the future.
Jesus reminds us in this passage of Scripture (Matthew 24, 25 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) that we are to “watch” and “be ready.” He emphatically states it over and over. One cannot read these words without feeling a sense of urgency and expectancy today. As someone has written:

“The improbable happens just often enough to make life either disturbing or delightful.”

Growing up as a teenager, I heard a lot about the future. I think more then than I do now. Our prayer meetings and Sunday evening services were noted for messages and studies on “prophecy.” What will happen in the future was the topic over and over.
Revival meetings resounded with message about the Future and the end of the age. What has happened? Whatever happened to the guy who walked up and down the streets carrying signs warning “The End Is Near?” What has become of teaching and preaching on the Second Coming of Christ? Has this Biblical message fallen into one of those recurring sinkholes of history that gobble up truth when we aren’t looking? Could it be that we have become pessimist? That the Good News is no longer the Good News? Could it be that we lost our perspective?

We need God’s help! Paul Harvey tells the story of an 8 year old boy leading His Sunday School Class in prayer.

“God bless our mothers and father and our teachers and our brothers and sisters - and please God take care of yourself; if anything happens to you, we’re stuck.”

I. WHY IS THERE A RENEWED INTEREST IN THE END OF THE WORLD?
A. Catastrophic Events have gotten our attention.
We were as “snug as a bug in a rug” before September 11, 2001. Since then we hardly know what normal is and most of us believe we’ll never know it again. The downing of aircrafts in New York, Washington, DC and a barren field in Pennsylvania all got our attention. Then came the anthrax scares and loss of life.
B. Continuing events keep us watching and looking!

• Unrest in the Middle East – the war between Israel and Palestine has been a long war. Hal Lindsey in the 70’s wrote about such unrest. He said years ago, “The Muslim terrorists are going to strike the U.S. again and strike us so hard that we cease to be one of the world’s greatest powers.” Suicide bombers have no conscience and see their role vital to lifting their message and glorying in becoming a martyr for the cause.
• Continual attack on our freedoms – the Pledge to the Flag declared unconstitutional by a Circuit Court in California that has a bearing on 9 other states.
• Loss of security in a wealthy land! When consumer confidence falls, we begin to look at what’s happening in us and around us! It’s more than a “bull” market, I believe it’s characteristic of what Jesus said would happen in the last days.

C. Cultural Changes rivet our attention.
Who would have ever thought that technology would have come as far as it has? I read recently that when television was invented it took 38 years to find its way into many household. It took the Internet only 7 years to find its way into our homes. Through the use of satellites we can now know the movements of troops thousands of miles away.

Billy Graham in his book, Storm Warnings, says:

Our world remains restless and uncertain. Storms of plaques of many kinds: Aids, alcoholism, and drug addiction. We see the results of unrestrained greed, corruption and manipulation on Wall Street, financial mismanagement in the Halls of government, fraud and perversion at the highest levels of both Church and State. We have lost our foundational values . . the world is spinning faster and faster . . . most people have a pessimistic view of the future . . .

Corrie Ten Boom used to say, “The Worst can happen, but the best remains.”

III. WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT THE END TIMES?
A. Things are going to get worst, not better.
2 Tim. 3:1-9
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
6They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. 8Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth--men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

Matthew 24:4-14
Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, ’I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

B. The Good News of the Gospel will be preached in the whole world.
C. Jesus will be as faithful as He has ever been! He does not change! He will be forever faithful! In the midst of increasing sin and tragedies, God will continue to walk on our turf and seek to keep us looking up!
D. Time is important! Every day is important and every tick of the clock brings us closer to eternity.

III. THE CHRISTIANS’ RESPONSE IN LIGHT OF THE FUTURE!
A. Don’t be deceived.
B. Don’t be troubled.
C. Don’t be careless - be watchful.

“God is Lord Almighty, Omnipotent King, Lion of Judah, Rock of Ages, Prince of Peace, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Provider, Protector, Paternal, Leader, ruling Lord and reigning King of all the universe. He is Father, Helper, Guardian and God.
He is the First and Last, the Beginning and the End. He is the Keeper of Creation and the Creator of all He keeps. He is the Architect of the
universe and the Manager of all times.
He always was, always is and always will be. He is unmoved, unchanged, undefeated and never undone. He was bruised and bought healing. He was pierced and eased pain. He was persecuted and bought freedom. He was dead and bought life. He is risen and brings power. He reigns and brings peace.
The world can’t understand Him; armies can’t defeat Him; schools can’t explain Him; and leaders can’t ignore Him. Herod couldn’t kill Him; the Pharisees couldn’t confuse Him and the people couldn’t hold Him! Nero couldn’t crush Him; Hitler couldn’t silence Him; New Age can’t replace Him and you can’t explain Him away!
He is light, love, longevity, and Lord. He is goodness, kindness, gentleness and God. He is holy, righteous, mighty, powerful and pure. His ways are right; His Word is eternal; His will is unchanging and His mind is on me! God is in control. I am on His side and all is well with my soul.”

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth;for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away,and the sea was no more.REVELATION 21:1 Posted by Hello

WHO WILL BE LEFT BEHIND

I. What is the rapture?

Jesus hinted to His disciples about the rapture in John 14:1-3.

1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

The disciples were troubled. Jesus was going to leave the. He would soon be crucified, and then He would rise from the grave and a few days after that, He would ascend into heaven.

Jesus spoke these words to comfort these men and to comfort us as well as we go through the trials of life. In these verses Jesus shared with His disciples four facts to ease their worries.

1. “In my Father’s house are many mansions.”

2. “I go to prepare a place for you.”

3. “I will come again.”

4. “That where I am, there ye may be also.”

When Jesus said, “I will come again,” He spoke of the rapture of the church. There is coming a day when Jesus will come for His church and take her back to heaven.

Many predictions of the past have ended up sounding completely ridiculous:

British surgeon Sir John Eric Erickson said in 1873, “The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon.”

Ken Olson, president, chairman, and founder of Digital Equipment Corp. stated in 1977, “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”

Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology said in 1872, “Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.”

If so many predictions have failed, why should we put any trust in the prediction of the rapture? Because Jesus said it would happen.

The greatest passage on the rapture is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

13 But I would not have you to be ignorant [uninformed], brethren, concerning them which are asleep [When the Apostle Paul mentions those who are asleep he is referring to Christians who have died.], that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope [While there is sadness when a Christian loved one passes away, we shouldn’t despair. We’ll see why in the verses to come.].
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent [precede] them which are asleep.

In the next three verse we see five components of the rapture:

1. The return of Christ: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God” (v. 16a).

The Lord Himself will return for His people, accompanied by all the grandeur His presence deserves. There will be a shout of command (whether uttered by the Lord or an archangel is not stated), and the trumpet of God will summon the dead in Christ to their resurrection as well as sounding a warning to those who have rejected Him and thus have missed the Rapture.

2. A resurrection: “and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (v. 16b).

The dead in Christ will be raised just before the living are changed. Now why are the dead raised first? Well, the Bible doesn’t say, but it’s are custom to bury bodies in the ground, and they have a little farther to go.

3. A rapture: “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds” (v. 17a).

Strictly speaking, only living believers are raptured. The word “rapture” comes from a Latin word which means to be carried away in spirit or in body. Both the believer’s spirit and body will be carried away at the rapture. We will be “caught up . . . to meet the Lord in the air.”

Several years ago, a church in Rome, Ga., was building a new Church and they put a sign out where they were building. The sign announced the name of the Church and also on the sign were the words: "Rapture Preparation Center. Get right for flight."

So when Christ comes for His church, there will first be a resurrection and then a rapture. However, we use the term “rapture” to describe the entire event.

Keep your finger in 1 Thessalonians 4 and turn back to 1 Corinthians 15.

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery [What Paul is going to share is something that was never revealed before. It was a mystery, and here is the mystery . . .]; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

Someone asked me this week if believers who are raptured will die in the process. Well, here’s the answer: “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” The Bible tells of only two other people who ever went to heaven without dying: Enoch and Elijah. But when Christ comes, there will be an entire generation of Christians that will never know physical death.

52 In a moment [flash; the entire procedure will be instantaneous, not gradual], in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trump shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

At the rapture, every Christian will receive a new immortal body. The dead in Christ will receive theirs through resurrection, and the living will receive theirs through rapture.

As I look at you now, you all look pretty good . . . . But if you think you look good now, you will look 100 times better in you new body!

4. A reunion: “to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (v. 17b).

The reunion will be with the Lord and with loved ones who have died.

5. A reassurance: “Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (v. 18).

II. When will the rapture happen?

Every year it seems like someone is predicting a date for the coming of Christ.

On April 3, 1843, all over the U.S. Northeast, half a million Adventists—disciples of New York evangelist William Miller—awaited the end of the world. Journalists had a field day. Reportedly some disciples were on mountaintops, hoping for a head start to heaven. Others were in graveyards, planning to ascend in union with their departed loved ones. Some high society ladies clustered together outside town to avoid entering God’s holy kingdom amid the common folk. When April 4 dawned, as usual, the Millerites were disillusioned, but they took heart. Their leader had predicted a range of dates for the end—dates that have also come and gone.

We don’t know the date of Christ’s coming, and we are not to predict dates. One thing we do know about the time of the rapture, though, is that it will occur before the Tribulation Period.

Let me share with you three reasons why the rapture will occur before the Tribulation (John Walvoord in his book The Rapture Question gives 50 reasons.).

1. The church is not appointed to wrath.

In Revelation 6:17 the coming Tribulation Period is described as a day of wrath.

Paul states in 1 Thessalonians 3:10 that Christ has “delivered us from the wrath to come.”

“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:9).

“. . . we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Rom. 5:9).

2. Jesus mentioned the possibility of a believer escaping the Tribulation.

“Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:36).

3. No Scripture passages on the Tribulation mention the church.

In Revelation 4-18 the church is never mentioned.

III. Why did God tell us about the rapture?

What good does it do us to know about the rapture?

1.It is an encouraging hope.

We read John 14:3 earlier: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” It’s encouraging to know that no matter how discouraging things may get down here, Christ is going to take us to heaven one day.

2. It is a comforting hope.

After Paul described the rapture he wrote these words: “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

There was a little, five-year-old girl who was watching her brother die of a very, very painful disease. He was much older than she and she loved him a lot. And after he died and the funeral was over she said to her mother, “Mommy, where...where did brother go?” To which her mother replied, “Well, he went to heaven to be with Jesus.” She said, “Oh.” And that satisfied her little mind.

Not long after that she heard her mother having a conversation with a friend and her mother was weeping and saying, “I’ve lost my son...I’ve lost my son...I’ve lost my son.” Later in the day the little five-year-old went to her mother and said, “Mommy, is somebody lost when we know where they are?”

Well the answer to that question is no, nobody is lost when we know where they are. We don’t grieve as those who have no hope. Those who have died in Christ, their spirit is in His presence, their body is asleep and they will not miss the great event of the gathering together of the church when Jesus comes. That is the promise of Scripture.

3. It is a purifying hope.

In 1 John 3:2-3 we read these words, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope purifieth himself even as he is pure.”

J. Dwight Pentecost in his book Will Man Survive? shares the following story. “At the conclusion of [one of my messages] a woman said, ‘In the light of your study, it seems to me that the coming of the Lord Jesus may be very, very near. I have some dirty closets at home that I must clean out, for I would not want the Lord to come and take me home to Himself and have somebody come in and find the closets the way they are now.’ That is the practical effect of prophecy on daily life. For not only in our homes but in our lives are many dirty, crowded nooks and crannies that need to be cleaned out.”

I’m sure many Christians will be caught in an embarrassing situation when Christ comes.

4.It is a motivating hope.

Following Paul’s words on the rapture in 1 Corinthians 15, he writes in verses 57 and 58, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

Our labor isn’t fruitless. We should be steadfast in commitment to Christ and diligent in service for Christ.

While on a South Pole expedition, British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton left a few men on Elephant Island, promising that he would return. Later, when he tried to go back, huge icebergs blocked the way. But suddenly, as if by miracle, an avenue opened in the ice and Shackleton was able to get through. His men, ready and waiting, quickly scrambled aboard. No sooner had the ship cleared the island than the ice crashed together behind the m. Contemplating their narrow escape, the explorer said to his men, “It was fortunate you were all packed and ready to go!” They replied, “We never gave up hope. Whenever the sea was clear of ice, we rolled up our sleeping bags and reminded each other, ‘The boss may come today’.”

Are you ready to meet the Lord in the air? Or are you unsure you will get off the ground?

You are either on the road to glory, or you are on the road to Armageddon.

You either have a wonderful hope in Christ, or you don’t have any hope at all.

Charles Gabriel wrote:

O that will be glory for me,
Glory for me, glory for me;
When by His grace,
I shall look on His face,
That will be glory, be glory for me.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Do thou,O Lord,protect us,guard us ever from this generation.On every side the wicked prowl,as vileness is exalted among the sons of men.PSALMS12:7-8 Posted by Hello

MORE SIGNS OF THE TIMES

MORE SIGNS OF THE TIMES
Matthew 24:1-14


INTRODUCTION

Quite some time ago, Mt. Saint Helens became the object of concern as it started sending puffs of smoke hundreds of feet into the Washington sky. - Every piece of scientific evidence collected in the labs and on the field predicted the volcano would soon explode with a fury. “WARNING!” blared loud speakers on patrol cars and helicopters. “WARNING!’ blinked battery-powered signs at every nearby major intersection. “WARNING” pleaded radio and television announcers. Lakeside villages, tourist camps and hiking trails emptied as people heard the warnings and fled for their lives. Nevertheless, a man by the name of Harry refused to leave. He was the caretaker of a recreation lodge on Spirit Lake, five miles north of Mt. Saint Helen’s smoke-enshrouded peak. The rangers warned Harry of the danger. Neighbors begged him
to join them and leave.

But Harry ignored the warnings. Interviewed on television, Harry grinned and said, “Nobody knows more about this mountain than Harry and it doesn’t dare blow up on him….” On May 18, 1980 as the boiling gases beneath the mountain’s surface bulged and buckled the landscape to its final limits, Harry was cooking his breakfast. At 8:31 A.M. the mountain exploded. Concussive waves of heat traveling faster than the speed of sound, flattened him and everything else for 150 square miles. There were signs that something was going to happen but Harry ignored the warnings and he paid a price for his neglect.

Scores today are doing the same thing when it comes to God’s warnings. God is warning all of us through the signs of the times. He is warning us that He is sovereign and that life as we now know it is not going to continue on forever. There is coming a day when all will give account of themselves.

There is going to be a day of judgment. Most people, however, prefer not to think about this aspect of God’s character. They much prefer to reflect upon and talk about God’s love. Fortunately, God is loving.
His love is evident in the forgiveness He offers us through the Savior. As sinners, God in His great love for us, sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross,
paying the penalty of our sin. When we receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and trust in Him for forgiveness we are forgiven and given the gift of eternal life Indeed, God is love and in His love he
has provided for us beyond our earthly pilgrimage.
We need to focus in on God’s unconditional love but in the process we mustnot forget that because He is holy and just He must judge sin and sinners.

God is also absolutely just and holy as Scripture makes very clear. As a result, He cannot overlook sin.
The just penalty for sin must be paid. There is, therefore, going to be a time of reckoning. A time when God will judge unforgiven sinners. A time when He will eradicate sin. A time when God will make all things right. He will do this at the return of Christ.
Matthew 25:31 and 32 tells us that “WHEN THE SON OF MAN COMES HIS GLORY…..ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE GATHERED BEFORE HIM, AND HE WILL SEPARATE THE PEOPLE ONE FROM ANOTHER…..”

In the eternal and immutable plan of God there is coming a Day of Judgment. Jude 1:14 & 15 inform us that…THE LORD IS COMING….TO JUDGE EVERYONE……” A holy
and just God must judge sin if He is to remain true to Himself.

Make no mistake about it, God is holy and just and sovereign. In spite of the prevalence of sin and evil, He is in control. “…YOU ARE RULER OF ALL THINGS. IN YOUR HANDS ARE STRENGTH POWER…” declares 1 Chronicles 29:12. God has a plan to deal with sin and it will be fulfilled with the return of Christ. Through the prophet Isaiah (46:10) God has said, “I MAKE
KNOWN THE END FROM THE BEGINNING, FROM ANCIENT TIME, WHAT IS STILL TO COME…..MY PURPOSE WILL STAND, AND I WILL DO ALL THAT I PLEASE” Throughout Scripture God has repeatedly promised that Christ would come back to
this earth to usher in His righteous Kingdom in all of its fullness and power. 1 Thessalonians 4 declares that someday “THE LORD HIMSELF WILL COMEDOWN FROM HEAVEN….WITH THE TRUMPET SOUND OF GOD….AND WE WILL BE CAUGHT UP INTO THE CLOUDS….AND SO SHALL WE EVER BE WITH THE LORD.” Many, however, doubt this promise. They think the return of Christ is myth.

Nevertheless, Christ will someday return to this earth for a Day of Judgment. Scripture proclaims that at that time, “EVERY EYE SHALL SEE HIM AND KNEEE SHALL BOW…AND EVERY TONGUE CONFESS THAT HE IS LORD." Many signs support the biblical claim that Christ will return to this earth.These fulfilled prophesies give credence to Christ’s promise to come back. Fulfilled prophecy should make the skeptic think twice and it
should reassure believer.As we see these things occurring we can know that the day of the Lord
draws near.

Last week we looked at the prophecies regarding the nation Israel as well as the persecution of believers.This week we will look at two other signs of the times. Things that God’s Word says must
occur before the Lord returns.



In Matthew 24 we have one of Jesus’ most comprehensive statements about the future. He reveals some events that will precede His second coming. While Jesus was on the Mount of Olives, He was approached by His disciples who said, “TELL US, WHAT WILL BE THE SIGN OF YOUR COMING AND OF THE END OF THE AGE?”(vs.3)Beginning in verse 6 He answered them by revealing some signs. The cumulative effect of these signs is, indeed, convincing. The first one He mentions is false leaders and teachers.

FALSE TEACHERS

Jesus responded to His disciples question by saying, in vs.4,- “WATCH OUT THAT NO ONE DECEIVES YOU.” Then in verse 11 He says, “FOR MANY FALSE PROPHETS WILL
APPEAR AND DECEIVE MANY….”

One of the definite signs of Christ’s coming is that in the last days there will be more and more false teachers..These false teachers will propagate their own version of the truth rather than the truth as revealed in Christ. Taking advantage of people they will use their teachings to control others and to enrich themselves.

Foolishly accepting their teachings, many will be led astray. They will be easily deceived. Confused and abused by false teaches they will find themselves alienated from their families, separated from their possessions and out of favor with God.


False teachers certainly abound today. Within and without the church they seem to be proliferating at an alarming rate. There once was a time, not so long ago, when it was uncommon to find an ordained minister who didn’t believe and preach the basic tenants of the faith. Nowadays, however, the church has more than its share of leaders who, influenced by rationalism and pressured by society, stand for nothing.

Paul speaks of this when in 2 Timothy 4:3 he warned,“THE TIME WILL COME WHEN MEN WILL NOT
PUT UP WITH DOCTRINE. INSTEAD, TO SUIT THEIR OWN
DESIRES, THEY WILL GATHER AROUND THEM A GREAT NUMBER OF TEACHERS WHO WILL WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR.”

Consequently, scores of religious leaders now teach that what once was morally wrong is now right. Anything goes; everything is acceptable.That is what people want to hear. False teachers proclaim that heaven can be gained by good works.“Live a good life,” they say, “and do the best you can and you will make it.” All roads lead to heaven.That is what people want to hear.

The only problem is that it is not true.

Jesus declared in John 14:6, “I AM THE WAY, THE TRUH AND THE LIFE. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT
THROUGH ME.”

We gain forgiveness and heaven by trusting Christ as our Savior. Scripture says that in the last days, many false teachers and prophets will tell us otherwise, deceiving many.

FALLING AWAY

Jesus speaks of another sign of the times in verses 10 and 11. He said, “…MANY WILL TURN AWAY FROM THE FAITH….AND BECAUSE OF THE INCREASE OF WICKEDNESS, THE LOVE OF MANY WILL GROW COLD..” Apostasy or a falling away from the faith will occur with greater frequency
as the day of Christ’s promised return draws near. People, churches and institutions will, in ever increasing numbers,fall away from the faith.

We certainly have witnessed this in large numbers of
mainline churches that have drifted away from the truth. Ashamed of Christ and His shed blood many
churches are more interested in the ever-changing ideas and philosophies of the world than in the unchanging truths of the gospel. Scores of churches have become little more than social clubs or religious fraternities. These churches have, as Jesus prophesied, “TURNED AWAY FROM THE FAITH.”

Jesus said that this falling away would also happen to individuals. Some will fall away, as verse 10 indicates, because of the trials and testings of life. Unable to answer “why” specific injustices, tragedies and suffering occurs, many will “turn away from the faith.” Religious persecution will cause still others to fall away. Some will fall away because iniquity abounds and they desire to do whatever they please even if it is out of the will of God. Jesus said in verse 12 that “BECAUSE OF THE INCREASE OF WICKEDNESS, THE LOVE OF MANY (FOR THE LORD) WILL GROW COLD.”
Enamored with the sinful pleasures of the world, many people who once professed faith have been lured away from the Lord and they are no longer living for him.Love for the alluring but passing things of this world has definitely caused the love that many once had for the Lord to grow cold. Christ has been pushed to the periphery of their lives. 1 Timothy 4:1 refers to this falling away when it declares that “IN THE LAST DAYS SOME WILL DEPART FROM THE FAITH.” This is a sign that is increasingly
being fulfilled today.

This ever increasing apostasy of which our Lord spoke can certainly be seen in the institutions of our day.
- Did you know that the very first college in America, Harvard, was established for “Christ and His Church?”
In his large bequest to the school, John Harvard said,
“Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well the main ends of his life and his studies: to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life.(#249) Let everyone seriously set himself by prayer….to see Christ as Lord and Master.” Eighty-eight of the first one hundred colleges founded in America were organized to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ.(#246) Listen to the words of advice given to
the class of 1814 by a past president of an Ivy League school: “Christ is the only, the true, the living way of access to our God. Give yourself,
therefore, up to Him.”(#251)

Our institutions of higher learning have fallen away from this most basic and essential truth of life. They have become a place where our young people have their faith destroyed. Such is a sign pointing to Christ’s return.

CONCLUSION

God has warned us that “there will be a day of reckoning when he will close His books on time and judge every creature, living and dead.” Scripture is filled with references to a final judgment. God cannot tolerate sin and He cannot overlook it.“All through history there have been days of judgment. Before the storm of judgment came, God always warned the
people. What happened in Noah’s day will be repeated at the end of history. We have the word of Jesus who said, ‘AS IT WAS IN THE DAYS OF NOAH, SO IT WILL BE AT THE COMING OF THE LORD’ (Matthew 24:37) The two experiences will run parallel in many important aspects, not only in the vast extent of lawlessness and the universality of catastrophe, but also in the earnestness of warning and the provision of a way of
escape. At God’s bidding, Noah preached warning the people to repent of their sins and turn to God.” (206/814/Graham)

God’s Word warns us that Christ is coming back to judge the living and the dead. God is in control.
Their will be a time of giving account. Fortunately, God has provided for us in Christ. Forgiveness is available. We need not fear; we can look forward to His coming.In light of this, 2 peter 3:11 & 12 asks,
“WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE OUGHT YOU TO BE?

YOU OUGHT TO BE LIVING HOLY AND GODLY LIVES AS YOU LOOK FORWARD TO CHRIST’S COMING.”

Is Christ you Savior and Lord?

Are you living for Him?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,and thy dominion endures throughout all generations.PSALMS145:13 Posted by Hello

Monday, June 20, 2005

THE ANTICHRIST

2 Thessalonians 2:1-17
The Lawless Man––the Antichrist

When I was a child I enjoyed the radio dramas. I think that is where I developed vivid imaginative skills and word pictures. Television has made the mind lazy. One of my favorite programs began with the lines, "Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of man? The Shadow knows! ––– ha, ha, ha!"

Little did know back then that the very source of the mysterious power to become invisible and lurk in the shadows of this imaginative figure was evil.

In Second Thessalonians chapter two we are introduced to a mysterious man who is the very incarnate of evil. His very spirit pervades our world system. One day he will make his appearance and all hell will break loose on the earth.

Warren Wiersbe said, “The purpose of Bible prophecy is not for us to make a calendar, but to build character. . . Our Lord warned us not to set dates for His coming (Matt. 24:36, 42). Date–setters are usually upsetters, and that is exactly what happened in the Thessalonian assembly.” On another occasion Wiersbe said, "I am on the welcome committee, not the program committee."

A quick review of the literature on Second Thessalonians chapter two will reveal that Bible scholars differ widely in their understanding of this passage. However, we all love God’s Word and want to live in view of His glorious coming, the blessed hope. Our prayer is that of the apostle John on Patmos, “Come, quickly Lord Jesus. Even so, come.”
DISTURBANCE OVER A FALSE RUMOR (2:1-2)

Paul waits until after his greetings and prayer in chapter one to introduce the purpose of writing this second letter to the Thessalonians. He states the purpose in the opening verses of chapter two. Now let me get to the point he says in verse one, “With regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to Him.”

“Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come” (vv. 1–2).
The second coming of Christ is a certainty

He has already discussed the Parousia of Christ in 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17.

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

Here he is relating the “coming” or Parousia of the Lord to “our gathering together to Him” (v. 1). The word the apostle Paul uses, parousia, means “presence,” and “lays emphasis on the presence of the Lord with his people.” It is frequently translated “coming.” It is referring to a whole series of events during the whole of which Christ is present. A. T. Robertson says, “Paul is referring to the rapture, mentioned in I Thess. 4:15–17, and the being forever with the Lord thereafter. Cf. also Matt. 24:31=Mark 13:27.” At what point will we be with Jesus? When will be our gathering together with Christ?
It hasn’t happened yet

Paul’s concern is that someone was upsetting the believers and they had lost their composure (v. 2). Someone was disturbing the church at Thessalonica with false doctrine. As a result of someone’s teaching they had lost their composure, literally “mind.” They were “shaken out of your mind.” They were at their wits end, “shaken” and “disturbed.” He describes them as in a continuing state of deep agitation and disturbance. The word means to cause to move to and fro, to be shaken. They have become frightened, disturbed following a definite shock and were jumpy.

Paul is not talking about excitement about the coming of the Lord. They were scared out of mind because they thought they had been left out. They had lost their peace of mind thinking that the terrible “day of the Lord” had already begun. They were thinking they were already going through it because of the intense persecution they were suffering. Someone led them to believe their current persecution and affliction was the beginning of the great judgment of God he described in his first letter. The day of the Lord will be a time when God will intervene and will deal directly with human sin. It will be culminated in the judgment at the great white throne before God. It is an extended time, not just a twenty-four hour day. It will be a terrible day of destruction, with no escape like a woman ready to give birth. Because of the fire of persecution they easily believed that what they were experiencing was that terrible day. Old Testament prophets described it as a day of distress and ruin for the unbeliever and a day of salvation for the righteous. It will be a day of judgment for the unbeliever (1:6, 8-9), and it will also be a day of rest for the believer (1:7, 10).

W. E. Vine in his book on Thessalonians page 245 gives an interesting contrast and comparison between the Day of the Lord and the Parousia.

q Whereas the Day of the Lord is a subject of O.T. prophecy the Parousia is not.

q The scene of the Day of the Lord is the earth; the scene of the Parousia is the air.

q The Day of the Lord, since it is a period of judgment and punishment, is to be anticipated with dread; the Parousia, since it is a period of rest and reward, is to be anticipated with joy.

q From the Day of the Lord believers are to be delivered, saved; in the Parousia they are to meet the Lord and to be with Him.

q Angels are prominent in connection with the Day of the Lord; they are not mentioned in connection with the Parousia.

q The aim of the Apostle here is to clear away the confusion existing in the minds of the converts by further defining the circumstances attending the Day of the Lord; these are different from the circumstances of the Parousia.

Who upset you? Paul scratches his head and wonders what has caused the confusion. It came by way of “a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come” (v. 2). It may have been someone in the church had uttered a prophecy or interpreted an Old Testament Scripture to the effect that the day of the Lord had already come. Paul even suggests that they had received a letter purportedly written by him saying the day had arrived. It may have been they misunderstood his first letter. An enemy of Paul, a Judaizer may have sent a forged letter claiming to be from Paul and was misleading them.

“Let no one in any way deceive you” the day of the Lord hasn’t come yet for the Thessalonians. There are some other things that must first take place. He tries to settle them down and restore their peace of mind.

What is it that has them so troubled? Someone was teaching them, “The day of the Lord has already begun.” Paul says, it is not true, but how do we know this for sure?
THE MAN OF LAWLESSNESS (2:3-5)

“Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction” (v. 3). The necessary prelude to the coming day of the Lord is "the rebellion." Paul has already discussed with them "the rebellion."
Apostasy comes first (v, 3a)

The word “apostasy” is translated “a falling away” in the KJV. We know in the last days there will be a “falling away” (2 Tim. 3:13; 4:3-4). However this turning away from truth is just the beginning of apostasy. It is not just a falling away from the faith. It is more than that because the word means “rebellion” or "revolt." Apostasia denotes either political rebellion or religious defection. The context in our passage is a "world-wide rebellion against divine authority at the end of the age, the ideas of political revolt and religious apostasy are combined. . . . It is, in fact, the whole concept of divine authority over the world that is set at defiance in 'the rebellion' par excellence" (Bruce, pp. 166-67). In the Greek Old testament apostasia is used of "rebellion against God." Leon Morris says, "Paul's thought is that in the last times there will be an outstanding manifestation of the powers of evil arrayed against God. Cf. Mt. 24:10ff; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:1-9; 4:3f; Rev. 12:7ff). It is as though Satan were throwing all his forces into one last despairing effort" (Thessalonians, p. 126).
The man of lawlessness is revealed (v. 3b)

A feature of the rebellion at the end of the age is the appearance of the "man of lawlessness." He will manifest himself as the essence of sin. He is in rebellion against God. He will not be revealed until the end is near. The man of lawlessness, the son of destruction and the antichrist are referring to the same person. He is not Satan, but Satan's instrument who is "imbued with Satan's spirit."

Paul tells us the unmistakable sign that the day of the Lord has begun is that the “Man of lawlessness” or “the Man of sin, ” “the son of destruction” has been revealed, and the great worldwide apostasy that he will lead has started. But keep in mind this man of sin is destined to be destroyed. The leader of the great rebellion is "the man of lawlessness" who is destined for destruction. He is doomed because his opposition to the LORD God characterizes him. He is as Bruce calls him "a rival messiah" (1 John 2:18)." This is the Antichrist who is coming.
The title describes his character (v. 4)

His very life is characterized by blasphemy and evil rebellion toward God. He is a man over whom sin will have absolute dominion. He will be a willing instrument of sin and he will lead others into sin. He “who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God” (v. 4). He makes himself out to be god and sets himself above every so-called god or object of worship. He becomes a false god. He will be such a charismatic powerful appealing leader that people will worship him. He attempts to dethrone God, and draw all worship away from the true God to himself.

Before long in the history of Rome the emperors set themselves up as deity. In order to hold the empire together the emperor became the embodiment of the Roman "spirit." Once a year the inhabitants of the empire had to go to an official shrine and cast a piece of incense upon a throne and say, "Caesar is lord!" The interesting thing about this passage is the antichrist sets himself up above all gods and deities. At lest with the old Roman emperor worship the people could go out and worship whatever god they so desired after paying homage to Caesar. Of course that is just what the true believers in Christ refused to do. Christ alone is Lord!

Jesus described such a person and event in Matthew 24:15-21. He spoke of the "abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel" and ended by saying, "Then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall" (v. 24). It will be an unprecedented time of judgment and wrath upon the earth.

The person Paul is presenting is the long expected antichrist, the false Messiah, “the son of perdition.” The only other person called by that name, by the way, was Judas who betrayed Jesus. The “man of lawlessness” opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship. It is not only against the LORD God that he opposes but every object of worship in the world. He takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself as God.

Religion of every form will fall under the ban of the Antichrist. The implication is he will occupy the world-stage and exert a worldwide rebellious influence over all mankind.

"He takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God" (v. 4). This man of lawlessness elevates himself above the true and living God. Bruce observes, "the picture here is of a material shrine. The naos is the sanctuary proper, the holiest part of the temple complex, the dwelling place of the deity. The inner sanctuary of the Jerusalem temple, the Holy of Holies, was the throne room of the invisible presence of the god of Israel. . . . The man of lawlessness is pictured as enthroning himself there in the place of God, in the spirit of the king of Babylon who is portrayed in Isa. 14:13, 14 as aspiring to 'ascend to heaven' in rivalry to the Most High. The attempt of the Emperor Gaius (Caligula) in A. D. 40 to have his statue set up in the Jerusalem temple, in assertion of his claims to divinity which the Jews refused to acknowledge . . ., provided a foretaste of what the final antichrist was expected to do" (p. 168). "

Which sanctuary is actually meant in this passage? Is it the apostate church or the temple in Jerusalem? "The material temple in Jerusalem has much to be said in its favor," says F. F. Bruce (p. 169). Then he adds, "It may be best to conclude that the Jerusalem sanctuary is meant here by Paul and his companions, but meant in a metaphorical sense." The evil intent of the antichrist is to usurp the authority of God. "He demands not only the obedience but also the worship due to God alone." The day of the Lord will bring to an end the rebellion led by the Antichrist.

We should bear in mind that many Bible scholars believe a Temple will be rebuilt on the existing grounds of the ancient Temple built by Solomon and it is this new Temple the Antichrist will occupy. On the whole, it was the Temple at Jerusalem that was in the mind of Paul (Dan. 11:31; 12:4; Matt. 24:15).

Verse nine tells us he is under the effective power and control of Satan. How does he achieve his evil schemes? (v. 9). The “activity of Satan” is the effective power of Satan by which he achieves his aim and purpose. He is always active in his pursuit of evil and deception of God’s people.

Paul reminds them of his teaching while he was with them (vv. 5-6, cf. 1 Thess. 3:4). The only problem is for us today because it is like listening to only one side of a very agitated and heated conversation. We only hear this end of the phone exchange. We don't have the faintest idea what was being referred to.

The apostle Paul reminds the church at Thessalonica that the day of the Lord cannot come until the man of lawlessness is revealed. But this man of lawlessness cannot be revealed until some restraining power is taken out of the way. What is that restraining power? Paul’s answer to the Thessalonians was you know who or what it is because we talked about it when I was with you. There was no reason for him to tell them again! The only problem is it leaves us in the dark. Who is this restrainer that keeps the "man of lawlessness" in check until the proper time of revelation? What is the obstacle that must be removed before the Day of the Lord could come?
THE RESTRAINER (2:6-8)

Many explanations have been offered in the history of interpretation of this passage. Of the dozens of suggestions as to the question of who or what the restraining one is two stand above the others. All suggestions have pros and cons. No one suggestion is without questions in interpretation. Our job is to determine what the apostle Paul meant when he wrote these words and what the recipients of the letter understood him to say. In the present situation a strong curb was placed on the forces of lawlessness. The outburst of worldwide rebellion is held in check even though there is a mysterious hidden principle or spirit of lawlessness at work beneath the surface. When the restrainer is removed, and not before then, this evil one will explode on the horizon and bring revolution on the earth. Now, what was this restrainer?
Civil government checks revolt

A. T. Robertson says, “So Paul recalls their memory of his words and leaves us without the clue to his idea. We know that one of the charges against him was that Jesus was another king, a rival to Caesar (Acts 17:7). That leads one to wonder how far Paul went when there in contrasting the kingdom of the world of which Rome was ruler and the kingdom of God of which Christ is king." What puzzles scholars is Paul’s abrupt question here “with an unfinished sentence behind him” (verses 3f.), even “with a trace of impatience.”

This hesitancy leads a number of competent well-respected scholars to conclude it was the civil government of Rome and succeeding governments ordained of God until the present time. "This can best be explained if more explicit language was liable to cause trouble should the letter fall into the wrong hands" (Bruce).

F. F. Bruce writes: "With the removal of their restraint, the incarnation of lawlessness would dominate the scene, captivating the minds of the unthinking masses and leading a large–scale revolt against the authority of God. This revolt would be put down by the glorious Advent of Jesus. . . . When the secular power in any form continues to discharge its divinely ordained commission, it restrains evil and prevents the outburst of anarchy" (World Bible Commentary, Thessalonians, p. 177, 88).

However, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Edi Amine give us vivid examples of what happens when the civil government goes array and the righteous suffer. Paul's concern is not with these evil workers in government, but "the most infamous of all, who will appear in the last days" (Morris). "He does not use the term Antichrist, but it is Antichrist that he has in mind; and this being will not be revealed until the end is near. He is not Satan, for he is distinguished from him (v. 9); but he is Satan's instrument, imbued with Satan's spirit. . . . It is clear that an important feature of the resurgence of evil in the last days will be the attempt to dethrone God" (p. 127, 128). Leon Morris concludes: "It is better to see in the restraining power a reference to the principle of law and government which was illustrated in the Roman empire, but which still continues in other states" (p. 129).

If the government was in Paul’s mind, the wisdom of indefiniteness is obvious. It is not wise to poke around in a bed of rattlesnakes on a hot day.

Since Paul tells us this evil one will be "revealed" "in his time" "God is thought of as in complete charge of the whole process. When this time has come, and not till then, the 'man of lawlessness' will make his appearance; and Paul clearly thinks of the time as being in the Father's hand" (p. 130). But remember there will be a strong, rigid government under the Antichrist. It will be a government that will support the Antichrist’s evil blasphemous goals.
The Holy Spirit working through the church

Many modern Bible scholars think Paul is referring to the Holy Spirit’s work in the church. There is already a mystery of lawlessness at work in the world. It is the mystery of universal evil that reigns all over the universe. Even humanists are puzzled by it because education, social programs, economic and political reforms haven’t solved human wickedness. The problem is much graver. It is a spiritual problem. Why is human nature so depraved? It is this mystery of lawlessness the strange secret of evil in our society. The only way you can change our society is to change man one person at a time.

Scholars place emphasis on the word oido meaning “to know by insight, by inner information.” What is it that restrains evil in your life? A change has taken place in your life since you became a Christian. What is the cause of that change? Is it not the Holy Spirit who has come in to dwell in you? God has taken up residence in your life through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Paul tells us in Galatians 5:16, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” That is the only way you can overcome the spiritual war between the desire of the Spirit and the lust of the flesh that are in opposition to one another. Romans 8:4 reminds us that we “do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

There is a mighty power at work that restrains evil in our hearts and who through believers restrains evil in the world. Jesus said we are salt in a decaying and corrupt world (Matt. 5:13). If you think it is bad now have you ever thought about what it will be like when the Lord Jesus removes the church whose influence under the power of the Holy Spirit restrains evil? Many believe the Spirit–indwelt church is the restraining force today. When Christ comes and removes the church, as revealed in the passages we read earlier, “then the lawless one will be revealed . . .”

Paul says, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way” (v. 7). Christ will come and suddenly we will be removed “out of the midst.” When the church through whom the Holy Spirit works to restrain the lawless one is removed then begins the work of the man of lawlessness. The Holy Spirit is not removed, but the restraining instrument the church is. In the light of this supernatural character of the one holding back the man of lawlessness I think it is best to understand "the restrainer" as the Holy Spirit. The church under the superintending influence and power of the Holy Spirit keeps evil in check. Can you imagine what it would be like to suddenly remove all born again believers and the sudden impact it would have on your community, your government and the world at large?

Can you imagine what Washington, Moscow, London, Little Rock, will be like when all restraint is removed and evil reigns supreme? When the restraint is removed the “man of lawlessness” will be fully revealed and all hell will break loose in the universe.

God is the One who ultimately restrains and He may use various means. Yes, He may use the governments which maintain a level of law and order today. In this age of grace it is the Holy Spirit who protects the believer and the church. When the Spirit–controlled church is removed the man of trespasses will lead the world into sin and rebellion against God like has never been known before.

Can you imagine agnostics, atheists, immoral and unethical people running world governments, United Nations and large international corporations? No love, no grace, no mercy, ethics or compassion. The mystery of iniquity will run its course. Satan’s man will be promoted to the role of a superman statesman. His power will come from Satan who will enable him to perform lying wonders and signs.

The books of Revelation and Daniel tell us this lawlessness will last for three and one-half years. It will end with the appearing of Christ in His glory (v. 8). Paul writes, “Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming.” It is that unveiling that destroys the antichrist. Our Lord utters a work and the man of lawlessness is destroyed. It is “the appearance of His presence” that destroys the antichrist. The restrainer will be removed, the antichrist will be revealed and then Jesus Christ will come to "abolish, to bring to naught, to put out of commission" the man of lawlessness by His glorious appearance. It will be a manifestation of great striking splendor when Christ comes to defeat the Antichrist.

I think Revelation 19:20-21 gives us more insight into this person and his demise. Who destroys the evil one? It is the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, whose is called Faithful and True, who in righteousness judges and wages war and from His mouth comes a sharp sword "so that with it He may smite nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty" (vv. 11-16). "And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh."

However, before his demise the “man of lawlessness” will deceive unbelievers. He will come as a substitute Christ and those who resist Jesus Christ will flock to this Antichrist.
THE DECEIVED PEOPLE (2:9-12)

Paul gives us more information on the methods of this evil personage in verses 9-12. Don’t forget Paul has already told us in verse seven “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.” But when the lawless one is revealed it will take on world–wide scale. His furry will be unleashed.
Satan is working behind the scenes (v. 9)

Did you notice the antichrist also has his parousia? Paul uses the same word for this antichrist who has his appearing. But his coming is “in accord with the activity of Satan.” Our war is a spiritual one. “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers and wicked spirits in high places, the rulers of the darkness of this world” (Eph. 6:12). He is the master of all evil, including his tool the antichrist. It is the “activity of Satan” that achieves his aims and purpose.
Satan uses counterfeit miracles

Many of the miraculous signs and wonders in our day are counterfeit. Paul wrote, “the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders.” They are demonically inspired. We need the gift of spiritual discernment as never before. How odd that the evil incarnate "will at many points counterfeit the Christ. He will be working in the power of Satan as Christ was of God, and he will perform miracles of various kinds as did the Lord," but this man of evil "will embody the power of Satan" (Morris, p. 132).
Satan uses deception (v. 10)

Satan uses every form of deception of wickedness to accomplish his goals. He achieves his purposes “with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.”

He is always perverting good things to his evil purposes. He makes it look tantalizingly wonderful. Pornography, internet chat lines, adulterous affairs, gambling, perverted sexuality, drugs, etc. all end is destruction to the individual, his family and society. Please don’t try to visualize what it will be like when the man of lawlessness is set loose on the world. We get a steady stream of it on prime time TV every night. It will be something far worse when all restraints are removed!
Satan makes his appeal to those who are lost

“With all (every) deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.” They perish because they refuse to listen to and obey God’s truth. They want to be deceived and the man of lawlessness takes advantage of that evil bent.
God gives them up (v. 11–12)

They will believe “the lie.” Paul writes, “For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false.” They will believe what is literally, “the lie.” It reminds us of the worship of man that began in the Garden of Eden and continues to this very day. We decorate “the lie” with the sanitized word, “humanism.” But in reality it is the same old lie of Satan. You want to be like God? Here is a cheap and easy way, no pain, no struggle, no cross, no submission to the LORD God. Here take and eat and you shall become like God. You can have it your own way, right now, today, and it is instant gratification. You can run your own life the way you want it. You can have anything you want––all the thrills and frills in the world are yours. Go ahead Eve take eat! That is the lie. That is what secular humanism sells you every day in the media. It is the spirit of the antichrist that is at work in our world system. It will continue and one day it will be unleashed with all its ungodly, evil furry on a deceived world.

God gave them up “in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness” (v. 12). “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). Three times Paul says, “God gave them over to . . . “ (vv. 24, 26, 28). “Therefore you are without excuse . . . “ (2:1-2). Romans 1:21-28; Revelation 13:8; 2 Cor. 4:4 make a good commentary on these verses.
THE ETERNAL CONSEQUENCES (2:13–17)

Please remember, the day of the Lord has not yet come. This is still the age of grace. There is also another pleading in the heart today and that is the work of the Holy Spirit. Today is the day of salvation. All who "if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation" (Romans 10:9-10). That is all you need to do today to be saved.
God chose you from the beginning (v. 13–14)

But you who know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior are not like those who are deceived by Satan. We can break forth with thanksgiving always for you. You are divinely loved ones by the Lord. We know this "because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth" (v. 13). Blessed thought, "God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation." He has set you apart by the Holy Spirit in faith and truth. What a glorious salvation and a wonderful Savior!

I glory in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ who died for me and rose from the dead. With a deep sense of humility I can thank God for all Jesus has done for me. "And it was for this he called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (v. 14).
Stand firm (v. 15)

Take your stand as a soldier at his post and "hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us" (v. 15). Dig you feet into the ground where you stand, call to mind the great doctrines you have studied in God's Word. "Stand firm, "hold" to the great New testament teachings. Don't be blown in every direction by every wind of theological fad that comes to town. The religious fads come and go. There is a steady stream that came comes to town. Many of them deal with what we have studied in this scripture passage today. From the second coming to sanctification they come. Will you make a commitment to yourself to search the Scriptures? Will you ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and a spirit of discernment to give you insight into truth? Don't make the mistake of the Thessalonians who were blown to and fro by false rumors of Christ's coming. Get into God's word. Study it, eat it, meditate on it, and digest it. Let it become a part of your daily life and thinking. Don't be afraid of the word "traditions" as Paul uses it here. They did not have the New Testament at this early date and Paul is telling the Thessalonians to stick to what they have been taught by the apostle. If he were with us today he would say "stand firm" and "hold to the traditions which you were taught" from God's Word.
Enjoy your security in Christ (vv. 16–17)

The underlying note in this entire chapter is God's unchallenged sovereignty. The revelation of the lawless one is so the sovereign God can destroy him. God is completely in charge of the whole process. Even the time of the appearing of the Antichrist is in the Father's hands. When the time is ripe, the hour will come and the man with it. It will be according to God’s perfect timing. The Lord God reigns! What a benediction salvation brings to us. "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word." Amen.

Sunday, June 19, 2005


BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD Posted by Hello

The Fig Tree&The End-Times

THE PARABLE OF THE FIG TREE

BIBLICAL REFERENCE: Matthew 24:32-34; Mark 13:28-30

The Fig tree is Israel. the Lord always used the fig tree when speaking of the Nation of Israel. Now learn a parable (or lesson) of the fig tree; when his branch is yet tender (or begins to sprout), and putteth forth leaves (and leaves appear), ye know that summer is nigh (or approaching): so likewise ye (or in the same way), when ye shall see all these things, (you are to)
know that it (the time) is near, even at the doors. verily I say unto you (the truth), this generation shall not pass (away), till all these things be fulfilled (or happen).

Now learn a parable (or this lesson) of the fig tree; when her branch is yet tender (or begins to sprout), and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near (or approaching): so ye in like manner (or in the same way), when ye shall see these things come to pass, (you are to) know that it is nigh (or near), even (right) at the doors. "Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass (away), till all these things be done." (or have happened).

Jesus had just given a list of things to look for culminating with his return. Then he continued, "And when these things "begin" (or start) to come to pass (or happen),then look (or stand) up, and lift up your heads (high); for your redemption draweth nigh." (you are about to be liberated (John 6). "And he spake to them a parable; behold (look at) the fig tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth (or as soon
as they sprout leaves (John 7), ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh (or near) at hand. so likewise (or even so) ye when ye see these things come to pass, know ye (you are to know) that the
kingdom of God is nigh (or near) at hand." "Verily I say unto you, this generation (or people) shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled." (or all these things have happened.(Luke 21:28-32).

Is Israel The Fig Tree?
-----------------------
The word "fig" is mentioned in the scriptures sixty-four times. thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel; like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good (Jeremiah 24:5). We see the word "figs," being used to represent the Jews that are carried away.

The Lord showed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs...one basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad. Then said the Lord unto me, what seest thou, Jeremiah? and I said, figs; the good figs, very good; and the evil, very evil, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil. Again the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel; like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their
good. For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up. and I will give them a heart to
know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart. And as the evil figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil (Jeremiah
24:1-8). the word "figs" is used here eight times denoting the Jews.

Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. and when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, let no fruit grow on thee
henceforward for ever. and presently the fig tree withered away (Matthew 21:18,19; Mark 11:12-14,20,21). the fig tree withered away, as it was producing no fruit. it may be noted that the word "fig" here represents Israel, and the word "tree" represents nation.

The nation of Israel did wither and was destRomansyed. Nevertheless, the nation of Israel was reborn and will fulfill God’s mission during the Tribulation. Therefore his height was exalted above all the trees of the field (or nations).the cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees were not like his boughs, and the chestnut trees were not
like his branches; nor any tree in the garden of God was like unto him in his beauty. I have made him fair by the multitude of his branches: so that all the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied him. And strangers, the terrible of the nations have cut him off, and have left him. To the end that none of all the trees (or nations) by the waters exalt themselves for their height. And I caused Lebanon to mourn for him, and all the trees of the field fainted for him. I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall (Ezekiel 31:5,8,9,12,14-16).It may be noted, the word "tree" is often used as a symbol for a nation.

Now learn a parable (or a lesson) of the fig tree (of the Israeli nation). (note, The Israeli nation had to be reborn. without this key event being in place, no other prophecy of the latter days meant anything). When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves (the branch on the tree becomes tender after the long, cold winter. when Israel is yet tender and puts forth leaves - this indicates the spring time), ye know that summer is nigh. (When one would see the Israeli nation come forth, and his branches tender, and leaves coming forth, you would know summer is near or you would know that certain things are near.) so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things (The list of things that Jesus just gave in the previous verses), know that it is near, even at the doors. (Again, we see the command to know that certain
events are at the doors and are going to happen almost immediately.

Verily I say unto you, this generation (The generation of the fig tree, the generation of the Israeli nation) shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. "All these things" includes the rebirth of Israel, the Tribulation, the Battle of Armageddon, the return of Jesus Christ, and the gathering together of the elect. All these things would happen during the period of this generation.(Matthew 24:32-34; Mark 13:28-30.)

The verses, in Luke 21:28-32, can be broken down into four parts. First, your redemption drawing near is referring to the rapture. It is then followed by the second part, which is seeing and knowing certain things
such as the times we are in, when the nation of Israel and other nations shoot forth. (It is interesting to note that the rapture and the nations shooting forth are both referred to.) All of this is prior to the
Tribulation. These nations have now come forth.

The third part is when you see certain other things come to pass to know that the kingdom of God is at hand. The fourth part is showing that the generation of the fig tree shall not pass till all the things Jesus told us about are fulfilled. "And when these things begin to come to pass (we are to see or look for certain things to come to pass), then look up,
and lift up your heads; for your redemption (or the rapture) draweth nigh."

And he spake to them a parable (or a lesson); behold the fig tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth. (behold the Israeli nation and all the nations that were to shoot forth.) thus, the rebirth of the
nation of Israel had to take place. In addition, other nations had to also be in place. The primary list of other nations are listed in Ezekiel chapter 38, but there are also others such as Isaiah, chapters 17-19. these nations would include Russia, Iran, Ethiopia, Libya, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, and other nations. Every tree (or nation) is now in place. "Ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand." in other words, when you see the Israeli nation and the other nations come forth, you know summer is at hand. you should know the times we are in. There should be no doubt. note, first the Rapture is mentioned (your redemption), which is
connected with the Israeli nation and the other nations shooting forth. By this, know the times we are in, know the rapture is at hand, and know the next events will follow, which include the Tribulation. We are also reminded when these things "begin" to come to pass. Thus, we can look for some of the events of the Tribulation to begin to come to pass, even as birth pangs of a women.

Then there is the next category of two parts. This includes the list of events Jesus gave, which consists of the Tribulation and His second coming. The gathering of the elect is omitted. and when these come to pass, you know that the kingdom of God is near at hand. Matthew 24 and Mark 13, include the elect being gathered, but the kingdom of God is omitted. In Luke 21, the gathering of the elect is omitted, but the
kingdom of God is included. The elect are gathered during the time that is referred to as "the kingdom of God is nigh at hand."

So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass (these things are including the long list Jesus had given prior to this parable), know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. (Jesus shall reign on the
earth.) Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass away (the generation of the fig tree, the Israeli nation), till all be fulfilled (which includes the Tribulation and the Second Coming of Jesus).

Biblical Generation
---------------------
"Forty years" is mentioned in the Bible forty times. The number "forty" is mentioned in the Bible one hundred and forty-six times. And the Lord’s anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the Lord, was consumed (Numbers 32:13). It may be noted that "forty years" and "the generation" is mentioned. forty years long
was I grieved with this generation (Psalms 95:10). Again, it may be noted, "forty years" and "this generation." harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. wherefore I was grieved with that generation (Hebrews 3:8-10).

Again, it can be noted, "forty years" and "that generation." for David, after he had served his own generation (note the word "generation") by the will of God, fell on sleep (Acts 13:36). How long did David serve? it is written, thus David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel. and the time that he (David) reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 29:26,27). and the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty
and three years reigned he in Jerusalem (1 kings 2:11). Many times we are seeing the term "generation" being associated with "forty years."

After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even four generations(Job 42:16). This verse would figure out to thirty-five years. We might consider that a generation is
forty years, yet may be as little as thirty-five years. "Verily I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation. Behold, your house is left unto you desolate (Matthew 23:36,38). And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, see ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." (Matthew 24:1,2).

The words "this generation," as appear in Matthew 23:36, are the same words that appear in "this generation," in Matthew 24:34; Mark 13:30; and Luke 21:32. Tt is written, "Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled". Jesus had said, "These things shall come upon this generation." One of the things was the
temple would be destroyed. The question arises,"Was the temple destroyed within forty years?" The answer is yes. The temple was thrown down approximately 70 a.d. Jesus was crucified approximately forty years
earlier. Clearly, we can see that a "Bible generation" is forty years.

A Biblical Generation 2
------------------------
A biblical generation can (in some cases) be from the age of twenty to sixty a generation, as outlined in the scriptures, was from the age of twenty years old and upward. add forty years, and we come to sixty years
old. from the age of twenty to sixty was considered as a generation. Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward (Numbers 14:29). Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the Lord
(Exodus 30:14). From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel (Numbers 1:3). Surely none of the men that came up out of egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the
land which I swear unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me (Numbers 32:11). A biblical generation has been shown to be forty years. It can (in some cases) also be from the age of twenty years to sixty years. It is written and thy estimation shall be of the male from twenty years old even unto sixty years old(Leviticus 27:3).

The Parable Of The Fig Tree and The Generation (Scripture)
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"The fig tree; when his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors." "Verily I say unto
you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." (Matthew 24:32-34; Mark 13:28-30).

And when these things "begin" to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. And he spake to them a parable; behold the fig tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot
forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. "Verily I say unto you, this
generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled." (Luke 21:28-32).

In Matthew 24:4 to 24:28, events of the Tribulation are described. In Matthew 24:29-31, Jesus Christ returns immediately after the Tribulation of those days, and the elect are gathered. The very next verse (32), Then gives us the following, now learn (this comes forth as a command, "learn"). The next words tell us what to learn, a parable of the fig tree (or the Israeli nation),Thus, the Israeli nation had to be reborn.

This rebirth of the fig tree is outlined in Isaiah 66:8,9. When his branch is yet tender (a new branch, a tender branch, a branch that has just come forth, a branch that has just sprung forth in tenderness after
the winter), and putteth forth leaves (springs to life, people multiply, leaves come forth on the branches), ye know (note the word "know") that summer is nigh. You know certain things are going to happen. You know and recognize the times. You know that summer is near. So likewise ye (in other words or in the same way), when ye shall see all these things. We may ask, "all what things?" The answer is, all the things that have just been described, which cover from Israel’s rebirth to the Tribulation, the return of Jesus to the earth, and the gathering of the elect. Know (again, we see the command to "know," or to recognize, or to be aware) that it is near, even at the doors (Matthew 24:33). Then in verse 34, it concludes with this, "Verily I say unto you, this
generation". One may ask, "What generation has Jesus just been talking about?" The answer is: "The generation that would begin with the rebirth of Israel and see all these signs". "this generation" shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

In Luke 21:8-27, God has given a picture of the Tribulation and the second coming of Jesus Christ. Then, in Luke 21:28-32, it is written, and when these things begin (note the word "begin") to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. These things are coming to pass. Tatch and be ready. "And he (Jesus) spake to them a parable; behold the fig tree", (behold, Israel as a nation, behold Israel’s rebirth, which is outlined in Isaiah 66:8,9), and all the trees (and all the nations) (these were covered previously);
when they now shoot forth (when Israel and the other nations shoot forth), ye see and know (note "we know") of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand (you know that certain things lie ahead or you know
the times). "So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass (when you see all the events that have been outlined come to pass), know ye (a command to know) that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand" (know that the millennium is near at hand).

As mentioned previously, there are two sets of events to look for.

1. When these things begin to come to pass, we
are to know that the rapture is about to take
place.
2. When these things have taken place then the
followers of Jesus,

Which got saved during the Tribulation and survived, are commanded to know that the kingdom of God is near at hand. In verse 32, "verily I say unto you, this generation (What generation? The generation of "behold
the fig tree" that will see all these events.); this generation shall not pass away till all be fulfilled. The last thing to be fulfilled is the gathering of the elect right after the Battle of Armageddon. Based
on these verses, some bring forth a question, "is it possible the Lord has given us a time period to consider?"

Some Bible prophecy scholars do believe the last generation began with Israel’s rebirth on, May 14, l948. The question then needs to be asked, "Does this mean we should expect the return of Jesus Christ to this earth not later than some time by 2008, or possibly before?" The differences between the Jewish calendar and the one used by most countries today also needs to be considered. the length of the Tribulation is acknowledged by most to be seven years, the seventieth week of Daniel. Some, however, believe that part of it may have been shortened in some manner. A few might then say, the rapture could be expected to happen at any time, from right now up to as late as 2006 to 2008, on the feast of trumpets. Remember no man knows the hour or the day of His return; but based on Biblical Prophesy we can summize the approximate time of Christ’s return. The 70th week Prophesy od Daniel along with other Biblical prophesies concerning the end-times are all clues to the approximate time of Christ’s return. The signs in the Heavens, The forces of nature, the rumors of war and etc are also our clues.

God’s message is to receive Jesus Christ by faith. After believing on Jesus Christ and repenting, obey God’s command to be baptized by full immersion. Study your Bible to see if these things be so. Watch and be
ready. A few consider this could be God’s timetable that began with Israel’s rebirth/40 years. There are others that believe the forty year generation began when Israel regained Jerusalem in l967. In either case,
the expected time for Jesus to return would be nearly the same. Could there be another explanation? As we look at scripture and world events unfolding, we should know and understand more deeply as the end draws
closer and closer. Some believe a generation may be 70 years. We are "not" attempting to set any exact year, because we all know that only the Father in heaven knows. But clearly, we are in the generation of the
fig tree: the generation that will see all these things come to pass.

6Some ways the Bible gives us to know the times we are now in is
1.By the rebirth of the fig tree, Israel.
2.By all the signs Jesus gave us in Matthew 24; Mark
13; and Luke 21.
3.By the many signs given throughout the scriptures.

There are over 300 things God gave us to look for regarding the birth of Christ. All of them fulfilled to the Letter! there are 20 times that concerning the end-times and all of them have been fulfilled up to this point in time. From the time of Israel’s rebirth to the time that the Tribulation is expected to begin
we have just a few more to be fulfilled.

4.By the time period of Jesus’ birth to now. many
consider that from the creation of adam to the
first coming of Jesus was 4000 years.

5.From the first coming of Jesus until he comes the
second time, 2000 years.

From the second coming of Jesus to the end of the millennium, 1000 years. Shortly after the millennium, the heavens and the earth pass away, and there will come forth a new heaven and a new earth. The total
time, from the creation to the time the earth passes away, should be 7000 years. This signifies the seven days, each day for 1000 years. God tells us of the six days of creation, and the seventh day he rested. (Exodus 20:11). The seventh day represents the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ (The Millennium),a time of rest (Hebrews 4:1-11; 2 Thes 1:7). Satan is chained for 1000 years, so he can deceive the nations no longer.

There are various understandings of Luke 13:32. I do cures to day and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. Some consider Jesus is telling us there will be a two thousand year period (today and tomorrow), and the third day Jesus will reign. It is written, but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away (1 Cor 13:10). Also, it is written, after two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight (Hosea 6:2). Some consider that this verse is talking about two time periods that would come to pass, and then Israel would be restored for the millennium. Others consider this could be talking about a two thousand year period that would come to pass from the birth of Jesus to the millennium. All four methods coincide, which God gave to help us know the times we are now in. All four testify that Jesus will soon return.

The Tribulation length the seventieth week of Daniel (which is also called the Tribulation) is clearly outlined as being seven years long. This can be further broken down, through other verses, into 84 months or 2520 days. it is further portrayed as being split into parts. the dividing point is when the sacrifices at the temple are stopped. this is
defined by Daniel 9:27, as the "midst" of the Tribulation. since seven years consist of 84 months, it can be assumed that each part of the Tribulation will be 3 1/2 years, or 42 months, or 1260 days. Nevertheless, let us not forget, that God’s calendar (which has already been covered) should be used.

The Lord shortened those days: what does this mean? in Mark 13:6-19, events of the Tribulation are described.
Then in verse 20, Jesus spoke these words, and except that the Lord had shortened (or limited the duration of, or cut short) those days (of the trouble), no flesh should be saved (no one would survive): but for
the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened (or limited) the days.

Jesus describes the Tribulation and then makes the statement, "shortened those days." What does this mean? Did he shorten it from more than seven
years down to seven years? Will the 7 x 360 day periods be shortened to less than this? Will it be shortened only a few hours? It may be noted that Jesus said, "shortened those days." days is plural, which may
denote more than one. Could the days represent years? Could He have shortened the years or number of years? It may be noted with interest that every time the scriptures refer to how many days, months, or years
are in either part of the Tribulation, It always seems to be the second part. The second part is 1260 days.

The second part is 42 months. The second part is 3 1/2 years. Many times in the scriptures we are told the length of the second part. We never seem to be told the exact length of the first part. (note, Some Bible
scholars may not agree with the alignment of events; thus, they might disagree with this statement.) In Daniel, the Bible indicates seven years or seven time periods. Then the words "in the midst" are used,
indicating the middle. From this point on, we are told over and over that it will be 42 months, or 1260 days, or 3 1/2 years. Why do the scriptures never come out and say the length of the first part? Since we know the second part is 1260 days and we know the scriptures tell us, in Daniel 9:27, "in the midst of the week," we automatically take it for granted that the first part of the Tribulation will be the exact length as the second part: 1260 days, which equals a total of 2520 days, or 7 x 360 day periods or years. Yet we are still faced with the situation that
the Bible does not seem to actually say 1260 days for the first part.

Then we are faced with the words "had shortened those days" and "he hath shortened the days" (Mark 13:20). There seems to be no doubt that, in some way, "the Lord had shortened (or limited the duration of, or cut
short). Those days." "those days" being referred to here are the Tribulation. but how does he do this, and by how much? We might conclude that the shortening could actually come from the first part of the
Tribulation, rather than the second part. This might be further substantiated in the fact that the scriptures tell us, but when ye shall see the abomination of desolation...flee to the mountains (Mark 13:14).

Why didn’t Jesus just say to count 1260 days from the beginning of the Tribulation, which was the confirming of the covenant? (Daniel 9:27).It certainly would seem much simpler to do it this way. When 1260 days
approach, then flee. Yet Jesus did not do this. He said, when ye shall see the abomination...flee. This indicates that the abomination will not come at the time we might expect, that is, 1260 days into the
Tribulation. If this is true, could it be because the first part of the Tribulation has been shortened? In such a case, the "elect" would have to look for this event. They could not calculate, in number of days,
exactly when the abomination would happen. This event may occur after a much shorter time than 1260 days from the beginning of the Tribulation (if the first part of the Tribulation is shortened).

We are not saying this is the way it will be, but simply asking the question, is this possible, even probable? Again, we see, in the gospel according to Matthew, the words, when ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet...flee (Matthew 24:15,16). Once more, no mention is made of 1260 days, or 42 months, or 3 1/2 years. Thus, we ask, is it possible according to the scriptures, that the seventieth week of Daniel will be
shortened? Will the part that will actually be shortened be the first part (which we presume to be 1260 days, yet is never actually stated as being thus)?

the following verses show clearly that the length of the second part of the Tribulation is 1260 days, or 42 months, or 3 1/2 years. We see throughout the Book of Daniel, he speaks of the seventh week or the seventh day according to God’s Time There are verses that relate to the specifics of the Time of Tribulation and how long it will last. (7:25)"and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. this is the second part of the Tribulation, 3 1/2 years. the antiChrist shall make war with the saints, and they shall be given into his hand." (12:7) "That it shall be for a time, times, and an half, and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished."

Again this is talking about the second part of the Tribulation, 3 1/2 years. the antiChrist shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people. In Revelation 12:14, it says, " where she is nourished
for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent." Once more we see the length of the second part of the Tribulation is 3 1/2 years. Israel is told to flee, when they see the abomination of
desolation, to a place where God will take care of them. In Revelation 11:2 when the Apostle John was told to measure the temple, the Lord told him to measure all "but the court that is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the Holy City shall they tread under foot forty and two months". again, we see the length of the second part of the Tribulation. It is 42 months. This is the same as the 3 1/2 years already mentioned. The court without the temple is given to the Gentiles. (Revelation 13:5) "And power was given
unto him (unto the antiChrist) to continue forty and two months."

Once again, we note that the second part of the Tribulation is 42 months. (Revelation 11:3) and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days. This 1260 days relates to the length of time that
the two prophets of God shall prophesy. Again we note, what appears to be the length of the second part of the Tribulation. (Revelation 12:6) "And the woman (Israel) fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days." This verse goes with Revelation 12:14. This is Israel fleeing when they see the abomination of desolation. Once more, we see the length of the second part of the Tribulation is 1260 days. Over and over the scriptures give us the length of the second part of the Tribulation. Is it possible that the exact length of the first part may not be given, as it will be shortened? Is it possible this is why the Jews must look for the abomination of desolation to happen, rather than being able to simply count 1260 days from the beginning of the Tribulation?

Does God give us another verse to back up the verse, "he hath shortened the days"? It is written, Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, though
the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: for he will finish the work (the Tribulation), and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work (the Tribulation)
will the Lord make upon the earth. Note the words, "cut it short"(Romans 9:27,28). And as Esaias said before, except the Lord of sabaoth (or Lord almighty) had left us a seed, we had been as sodom, and been made like unto Gomorrahh (Romans 9:29). Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant (or some survivors), we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah (Isaiah 1:9).

This is very much in harmony with Mark 13:20, which has told us that the days had been shortened for the elect’s sake. if those days had not been shortened, no flesh should be saved. In Romans 9:27, we read, a remnant shall be saved.Does God give us a third verse to back this all up? It is written, (Matthew 24:22) and except those days should be shortened (or if the length of this time had not been limited (John,8 or cut short), there should no flesh be saved (no one would survive): but for the elect’s sake, (Those who have been chosen (John 9) those days shall be
shortened).In view of all these scriptures, it might be asked, "how much has the days been shortened?" The scriptures appear to give us no way to know.