--Final Exam Time for Christians--
in red. editor.]
Good morning. You
can turn in your Bibles to Mark chapter 13. A group of us, I'm not sure how many, somewhere
between 35 and 40 of us just got back from a Harvest Crusade. Last night we did, and just a unique blessing,
especially to see so many folks come to Christ. I was thinking about it on the way back, we
drove 8 hours each way, 16 hours.
Took longer because we stopped every hour at a bathroom,
there a few folks that wanted to stop about every hour J. And all to go down to a one and a half hour crusade. So we did all this driving to go see a crusade.
But there's a blessing. I hope that all come back have a greater vision
for what God can do.
today we're in Mark chapter 13.
As I was thinking about this text we are in I was
reminded of when I was in college.
There was an experience that I had that--and if you've
heard this story before, be patient with me--but I was with
my friends. We were
studying these engineering courses and with our degrees,
we were allowed to take certain courses each semester outside
of our degree. And
what we determined to do as students is we determined to
take classes that were easy.
You know, whenever I had an elective to take, I took
the easy classes, whatever I heard was easy, that's the
class I took. That
was my determining factor.
Wasn't necessarily an interesting class, it was easy.
If it was an elective, one of those classes I had
an option in, I took the easy one. Well,
they usually were easy because they were the first level
for different degrees. So one particular semester I was told by some
of my room-mates, 'Hey, take psychology 101, which was psychology,
the first class. I'm
sure it gets harder from that point, but they said "Hey,
we took psych 101 and it was easy, you should take it.
You'll do well in it.
It will help your G.P.A." The engineering classes that we were taking,
especially that semester, tended to hurt your G.P.A. Well anyway, I took psych. 101 and as the semester went on I did
what I did with some of the classes like that, I never went
to them. It was an early morning class and I had never
been a single time. And
it was getting towards the middle of the year, in the middle
of the semester. And I knew by the little syllabus that I was
given when I signed up for the course that there was a mid-term
and there was a final, so I was figuring, well, we're getting
towards mid-term time, I ought to consider going to class
and determining when the mid-term is going to be. I know if I cram a night or two before the
mid-term I'm going to do OK, but I better go find out when
it's going to be. And
I didn't even know the professor or the name of the professor,
never seen the professor, never seen anybody in class.
So finally this one day I decided it's probably time
to go. So I went
and was sitting in class, and you know, a class that's been
meeting for awhile generally people will start to get friendly
with each other and start to chit-chat before class.
But this seemed like the first day of class as I
sat down. It was
very quiet. And
the professor wasn't there yet and nobody was talking, instead
people seemed to be serious and flipping through their books.
So I turned to this girl who was sitting a couple
seats from me. I said, "Hey, what's going on today, anyway?
It's kind of quiet around here."
And she says, "What, you mean today?
You mean the test?"
I said, "What test!?"
She said, "You mean the mid-term?"
I said, "The mid-term today???" Now
I don't think I had purchased the book.
I had no idea. And
here it was supposed to be an easy class.
You know, I could have taken a Japanese class at
that moment, test, I would have done better. I had no idea what was going to be on that
exam. So of course
you can imagine, you know what happened to my blood pressure
and my fears for a moment--I can't believe this.
By God's abundant grace, God has always been so gracious
with me, it turns out it must have been one of the nicest
professors in all of the college.
I went to talk to him later and he graciously--well
I was going to lie to him, my room-mates were trying to
get me to make up this story about a flat tire kind of deal
and the car, couldn't get back from the weekend, whatever--but
I told the truth and actually I didn't have to say anything. I said "Professor, I got a problem."
He said, "What?
You miss the test?" I said, "Well, yeah, I did." He says, "Well, when do you want to take
it?" I said,
"Well, OK.(gave myself a couple of weeks to study,
and he let me). And anyway, I was not prepared for the test,
so I would have done very poorly, obviously.
And as I consider the Scripture today and I consider
life in general we're told in Scripture that there's tests
that come into our lives. And we have a choice whether or not to be prepared
for those tests. Or
whether to be like this one student, myself, and come to
this test and not be prepared and really struggle through
the test. In fact
the Psalmist said, "This is my comfort in my affliction,
for your Word has given me life."
'I came to the test, I came to the point of affliction
and I found comfort because your Word gave me life.'
As we look at today's text, we're told in Scripture,
that there's tests that we go through, but specifically
we're exhorted to be prepared for 'the last days' that are going to come, a test upon the entire nation
and the entire world. And
there will be events that lead up to that.
And we're told to be prepared for that.
In fact, Luke, in Luke chapter 21, Jesus was recorded
during the same dissertation that we're going to study today,
he is recorded as saying, "Take heed to yourselves,
lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness
and cares of this life, and that day come upon you unexpectedly." He said, "Take heed." Maybe take heed because you've got caught up
into the cares of life so much that that day is going to
come and you're not going to be prepared.
But we're told to be prepared.
And that's where we're headed today.
So let's say a prayer together and we'll begin Mark
I do pray, as we read your Word again, that we would understand
that you desire for us to be prepared.
And I pray even as we read these words that they
would further prepare us. And that these words of life, that as we read
them, that we would experience that life.
That even the smaller tests that come our way, the
tests maybe even nearer into the future, we'd be prepared
for and have that life and that strength.
But I thank you for your Word Lord.
Please lead us. I pray that the power of your Holy Spirit would
be upon each one of us.
I pray this in Jesus name, Amen."
begin in chapter 13. Mark
13:1-2, "Then as he went out of the temple one of his
disciples said to him, 'Teacher, see what manner of stones
and what buildings are here.' And Jesus answered and said to him, 'Do you
see these great buildings?
Not one stone shall be left upon another that shall
not be thrown down.'" Last week they were in the temple, Jesus
was sharing, performed some miracles, was confronted again
with the religious leaders.
Now at this point, chapter 13, they're leaving the
temple. And upon
leaving the temple some of the disciples point out to Jesus,
'Look at this tremendous building, the temple.
Look at it, Jesus.
Isn't it beautiful?' Some of the other gospels, they evidently point
out some of the precious stones and things. The temple was built by Herod.
In fact, this temple took about fifty years to build. At this point in time it's 46, 47 years into
the building process, so it's just about done.
And this particular temple, Herod was just a little
guy, and I guess maybe to make up for his shortness of height
he wanted to be known as a big guy, so he built a lot of
big things. He was
known as being a tremendous builder and architect. But this temple of Herod, this Jewish temple,
was one of the ancient wonders of the world. In fact, Josephus, the ancient historian, writes about the temple.
He says this, he says, "The exterior of the
building wanted nothing that could astound either eye or
mind. For being
covered on all sides with massive plates of gold, the sun
was no sooner up then it radiated so fiery a flash that
a person straining to look at it was compelled to avert
his eyes, as from the solar rays."
He said you couldn't even look at the temple when
the sun came up because of the, just all the stones and
gold especially, it was hard to look at. "To approaching strangers it appeared
from a distance like a snow-clad mountain, for all that
was not overlaid with gold was of purest white.
Some of the stones in the building were 45 cubits
in length, 5 cubits in length (high), and 6 in breadth."
If you convert that to 18" a cubit as I did,
that's about 67 feet long, 8 feet high, 9 feet wide, some
of the stones were that large, like a freight car on a train
or something. That's
the size of some of the stones that they used to build this
temple. Just tremendous, tremendous structure, one of the ancient wonders
of the world at that time.
Now they point that out, and Jesus responds interestingly
to them in verse 2. He says, 'See this great building?--truly a
tremendous building? Not
one stone is going to be left upon another, it's all going
to be thrown down.' Of course, the disciples hearing this are like,
'Wow! Look at these
freight-car stones, look at this structure.
You're telling me it's going to be dismantled?'
And they get together with Jesus a little bit later,
and they speak to him about it.
But as we've referred to in the last few weeks, General
Titus does come in, just a short time (39 years later) and
just completely levels the city.
When he came into the city he told the soldiers,
this beautiful temple, don't touch that.
Destroy these Israelites (the Jews) and destroy this
nation, but don't touch the temple, it's so beautiful, let's
spare this temple. But
as the battle waged on, evidently, some accounts I've read,
there were some Jews that were hiding in the temple, as
it was the strongest structure in the city, and were hiding
in the temple, and one of the Roman soldiers threw a torch
into the temple, it caught fire.
Some of the things in the temple caught fire, evidently
it was just a mass of fire, the entire temple.
[My guess, the temple probably had huge vats of olive oil in
it for the candelabra and torches for lighting, and that
this oil caught fire somehow.]
And all the gold that was on it, all those gold plates
just melted into the crevices and pores of the stone.
Titus then seeing the destruction after the battle
told the soldiers, 'Hey, this place is ruined, let's just
completely level it.' So
they began to take it apart, stone by stone, especially
the temple, because of the gold that had gotten into the
crevices. They wanted
to get the gold. And
you can go to Israel and see some of the stones they cast
off the Temple Mount, laying in the valley.
You can go into, as we will do in February, as you
go along the western wall, there's one tunnel about a mile.
You can see stones that are just charred black.
This tunnel goes down to the time of Christ, onto
that level. And you can see stones that are just charred black from the fire
that just burnt during this time.
And Jesus said, 'Look at these stones, loot at the
temple, tremendous, but it's going to be taken apart.'
And it really was, just a short time later, completely
disassembled, as he prophecied. Hard for the disciples to even comprehend that
such a thing could take place.
You know, as I read that, I think of you and I as
people, as Americans, we really do take comfort in our successes
and our accomplishments. And sometimes we can rest in our accomplishments,
rest in our abilities, rest in the different things that
we've done or having around us.
And that can present maybe a false sense of security.
When I was in the hotel room, you know, we went to
this Harvest Crusade, and the guy that set up this Crusade,
well he did a great job organizing, and really got us a
nice hotel, right near the city of Philadelphia. Got it very inexpensively and it turns out
the lady that works in the hotel was a Christian that went
to Calvary Chapel. It
was the first time I walked into a hotel and got a hug from
somebody that worked there. I was like, 'What's going on?' This lady came up and hugged us. But she was a neat lady, real happy about attending
Joe Focht's church. But
because the one guy from our church was doing all the organizing,
she decided to bless him and his wife and gave them a really
nice hotel room. Well, without realizing it he decided when
he realized that, he kind of changed things around and ended
up giving the room to my wife and I.
And later we discovered that and tried to debate
with him about that, but we couldn't do it.
So we ended up staying in this really nice room on
the 17th floor.
And the room faced Philadelphia and there was the
skyline just a few miles away.
There you could look upon this tremendous accomplishment
of Americans, and the city skylines, one of the great cities
of America, Philadelphia.
And of course I've got this text on my mind because
I've been reading about it, thinking about this temple and
this vast building, and looking at Philadelphia, considering
America, you know. We're
like that, we're just this great civilization, and Americans
just rest in their accomplishment.
We look around and say, 'Look at America, look at
how great we are', forgetting chapters of Revelation, like
the latter chapters, that talk about this great nation,
Babylon [the resurrected Holy Roman
Empire--Rev. 17-18] that's going to just be consumed
in a day, in the latter days.
And we just, as men, rest in our successes and our
really it's a false sense of security. Because the Bible tells us otherwise. The Bible tells us to be prepared--study the Book--know what's in
the Book, be prepared--because things will change. And we're coming towards those days. In fact, I was thinking further along those lines as we were driving
back along the Merit Parkway yesterday in Connecticut. And as you do sometimes on road trips, we came
to an accident. It
was one of those accidents you'd just as soon not see, you
know. Of course we began to pray in our van that, getting there before
the rescue workers got there, although we were a little
bit back there as far as in line with the cars.
But, you know, we got there, we stopped and we see
this van that's--I guess it's a van, that's demolished,
and people have gotten out of the cars and they're trying
to help, bodies there lying in the road, and just one of
those types of accidents. And then not long after we got there the rescue
vehicles came, so we proceeded on.
And they were covering people, and you just kind
of wonder about the situation.
But as I left I was thinking about the phone calls
that then were going to transpire, to family members and
just what was going to go on at the hospital.
We saw one guy sitting next to the guardrail. And just thinking about the rest of the day for these folks that
were just involved with this car accident.
And of course, they were just driving down the road,
and then things changed that quickly.
And that's life.
And that is going to be, I think, life for America
in general, things are going to change pretty quickly. And we're told in Scripture to take heed and
to be prepared, to know what's in the Book, not to be ignorant
of it. Because we're not going to be prepared if we
don't know what's in it.
Also, as Christians we're told not to get overly
confident in ourselves, and I learned that lesson early
on as a Christian. One
young Christian learned it recently. You can really start getting confident just in your own spirituality,
you know. 'Hey,
I got off drugs, I got off of alcohol, I'm doing OK, kind
of like this white temple, you know, and then find out not
long later that the flesh is pretty powerful if you're not
fighting in the Spirit.
[And anyone who's really addicted to drugs or alcohol, and not
just giving them up for "church", knows it's not
by their own power that they've been able to walk away from
them--ask any real alcoholic that Jesus has healed.]
You'll lose out if your not fighting in the Spirit.
You'll lose out if you're not fighting in the Spirit
for sure. I learned that early on in my Christian walk,
after I thought I was doing alright and then I found myself
on my face. We're
told that in Scripture, we're told "therefore let him
who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall."
We're never to be so confident in ourselves, it's
always by God's grace, it's always in the Spirit by His
power. That's why
we're told to pray "Lead me not into temptation, but
deliver me from evil [the evil one]."
'God, help me, I'm not going to get there unless
you help me. Lead me not into temptation, deliver me from
evil. Help me Lord. I need your help.' But in the Spirit I know I can stand. But on my own I'm not going to.
In humility David cried the same, he said, "Cleanse
me, God, from my secret faults."
"Keep back your servant from presumptuous sins.
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless, I'll be innocent of great
transgression." He said, 'Lord, keep me.' A number of times he said, 'Guard my mouth,
keep me, protect me, from my own self, really.' So I consider this, looking upon this temple, this beautiful temple,
and we tend to be like that, have a false sense of security,
but we're exhorted to be prepared--prepared in the Spirit,
prepared in the Word.
3, "Now as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the
temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately." You know, as you come away from the temple, you go through the
Kidron Valley, you go up the Mount of Olives. You've probably seen pictures of the Old City of Jerusalem, where
you're kind of looking down on it, you've got the Dome of
the Rock, just a beautiful picture--I've got a poster at
home on my wall. But it's taken from the Mount of Olives.
As you go up the Mount of Olives you can just see
down upon the city, it's very breath-taking, the view. And that, evidently, is where they are. It says they've gone up the Mount of Olives,
it's a very steep hill, so they've probably stopped to take
a breath, take a rest for a moment.
And it's at that point now that Peter, James and
John confront Jesus, they say, "Tell us, when will
all these things be? And
what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?"
(Verse 4). 'Tell
us Jesus, you know, you mentioned about that coming apart,
and here we're looking down on it. When is this going to happen? What does this all mean? Tell us a little bit about the latter times.
Verses 5-6, "And Jesus answering them began
to say, 'Take heed that no one deceives you, for many will
come in my name saying I am he, and will deceive many." He starts right off, very first thing he says. Tell us about these latter times, the very
first thing he says is in the latter times there's going
to be false teachers, and it's going to abound.
We know that in Scripture.
More and more false teachers and false apostles,
and people coming in the name of Christ, people even saying
they are the Messiah, they are
the Christ. I thought
about that, I've never heard of a story, maybe you have,
where somebody's come and said, 'Hey, I'm Buddha' or 'I'm
Mohammed', I've never heard anybody say that before, that
they've come back as Mohammed re-incarnated or something. But people do come, many have come, and said
that they're Christ, they're the Christ, the Messiah, they're
Jesus, many have done that.
That's the first thing he warns them, 'Take heed,
because false teachers are coming, and are going to deceive
and take heed that you're not deceived. And of course, the way you're not going to be deceived is by being
in the Book, knowing the questions, knowing the answers. If you know them, you're not going to be deceived.
Sunday morning, if you rely on Sunday morning to learn all
the questions and answers, you're not going to get it all. If you're relying on 960AM or WEZE you'll get
more, but you're still not going to get it all. It's got to be personal time in the Word where you're studying,
putting it together so you know, so you won't be deceived. And people come, false teachers come, and the
reason why they deceive is because they're so convincing. And they're 'angels of light', they just look
so good. [2
Corinthians ll:3-4, 13-15, "But I fear, lest by any
means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty,
so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that
is in Christ. For
if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have
not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye
have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not
accepted, ye might bear with me.For such are false apostles,
deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles
of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed
into an angel of light.
Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also
be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose
end shall be according to their works."]
They just look so good.
And they know the Bible so well.
And they teach this or that, and they pull out the
Scripture, and then they've got the smile, and the nice
flowery words and seemingly humble appearance to back it
up. And they deceive multitudes. And we're told, Jesus says right off to his
disciples, he was concerned about it, many times we're warned
in Scripture--be careful man, there's teachers coming that
are going to be empowered by demons, even we're told, that
are going to deceive. Of
course, the best defense is to know the Word, and to know
Verses 7-8, he says, "But when you hear of wars
and rumours of wars do not be troubled, for such things
must happen, the end is not yet.
For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against
kingdom, and there will be earthquakes in various places,
and there will be famines and sorrows. These are the beginning of sorrows."
He says, 'Well, to start with
there's going to be this preparation time.'
You know, my wife has had two children, so I've seen
the birth process a little bit, but you know, I've been
there that hour when she starts moving around a little discomforted
and says, 'You know, there's something going on in my body.
I think maybe I'm having labor pains.'
And then things begin to happen, and you get the
stopwatch out, timing the contractions. And of course, it's started. But there is this process before, and eventually
it was show-time. He
says, these things are going to begin to happen too, there's
going to be these discomforts, kind of like labor pains,
sorrows, early sorrows, telling you that the time is coming,
preparing for that time, but it isn't show-time yet. That's what he says there as we read those
verses. He says
there's going to be wars, nation rising against nation,
rumours of wars, all kinds of battles. As I left church last Sunday I heard Robbie
Zacharius on the radio.
I wasn't able to listen to the tape I wanted to for
this week. But he talked about the last century, one of the most peaceful centuries
(the 1800s) in all history.
Yet there was a guy, he wasn't even a Christian,
that was looking at some of the decisions that were being
made, some of the new philosophies, and he said, 'You know,
this is the most peaceful century, but next century is going
to be a bloodbath.' Then
Robbie Zacharius went on to say that the 20th
century by far, just the amount of blood that has been shed,
is just tremendous. According to the Club of Rome in the War Atlas
there's not been a single day of peace on the planet since
World War II, not one day, not one day where guns haven't
been firing and bombs haven't been going off.
Since World War II there's been a war going on continuously.
According to the Club of Rome there's presently,
and this is a little old, there are 32 million soldiers
worldwide. But there's
570 million in reserve.
I think there's even more than that if you look at
China, there's about a billion maybe, soldiers prepared
to do battle. That's a lot of people. 50
percent of all scientists today are working on weapons,
all the money that's going into research, 40 percent of
that is spent on developing newer weapons.
Just, we're in a time of battle and war.
And obviously you guys watch the news and see the
things that are going on. [Just an observation: There have always
been wars since the time of Jesus, but we've entered a time
of kingdom warring against kingdom.
Napoleon was the first major kingdom verses kingdom
warfare, then World War I, and then World War II (where
Mussolini was actually declared the Holy Roman Emperor by
the ruling pope in 1935).
This period of World War, the cycle of World Wars
began in the 1800s (if you count Napoleon's kingdom waging
war against other European nations and Russian) and has
continued on into the middle of the 20th century,
then the Korean war where the United Nations fought against
the Communist nations of North Korea and China, then national
wars raged onward until the end of the century in various
places around the world.]
And then he says, 'There will
be nation against nation, rumours of wars, but then there
will be earthquakes in various places.
Of course we're all reading in the newspapers right
now and reading about what happened in Turkey.
One newspaper I read last week, I don't know what
the latest statistics are, said that potentially 35,000
people have been buried.
That's a lot of people.
And they say that's one of the worst earthquakes
of this century. And
you've seen some of the photographs. Well he said there's going to be battles, and there's going to be
you study earthquakes, the phenomena of earthquakes, the
frequency of earthquakes has certainly dramatically increased
over the last century.
Maybe you've heard studies on that.
But in 1976, the U.S. Geological Survey team determined
that there's been an interesting change that's happened
to the earth's tectonic plates upon which the present world
sits. And they're
now shifting in such a way as to drastically increase the
frequency and intensity of earthquakes.
It says more and more earthquakes that are taking
place, as we've even read recently. So he says, 'Wars and rumors of wars, there's
going to be earthquakes.'
He says there's going to be famines in various places. And some of this is foreign to us, living in New England, but you
go around the world, it's not foreign at all.
According to the United Nations over 100 million
children in the 3rd world go to bed hungry every
night, 100 million. That's about half the population of the United States, a little
bit less. That many
folks, children, that many children go to bed hungry every
night, children alone. [In Somalia over 300,000
died in the civil-war related starvation that occurred in
this poor part of Africa.
Rent and watch the movie Blackhawk Down.] As
many as fifty million people die each year of things that
stem ultimately from malnutrition.
That's like four times the state of, four states
of Massachusetts every year from things related to starvation.
Scientists tell us that the deserts are increasing
in size at an alarming rate, there's millions of square
miles that are added each year to the deserts of the world. They just keep getting bigger and bigger.
The U.S., furthermore, is now down to just a few
inches of topsoil, as opposed to not long ago there was
10 feet. Canada
still has about 10 feet of topsoil, but evidently according
to the data I was given, there's only a few inches of topsoil
in our country alone [and we're
one of the major bread-basket countries of the world--we
go down agriculturally, half the poorer nations go down
with us]. And that's just, there's a lot of things happening. We all know that. You can talk to anybody and they would agree that there's things
going on. But Jesus
says, 'This is the beginning of sorrows, this isn't it.
This is just this thing that's letting you know that
we're getting there. And
the real heavy birth pains are going to come, and the delivery,
that's coming. But this (these signs) are to let you know we're well on our way,
the process has begun.
[One theologian observed that the process had really begun when
we, the US, exploded two nuclear warheads on Hiroshima and
Nagasaki--and then along with the Soviet Union, developed
a stockpile of easily deliverable weapons of mass destruction
that could erase all life from the planet multiple times
over. And don't
think for one tiny moment that weapons development has stopped
just because the Soviet Union doesn't exist any more.
Russia is still very "worried" about Communist
China on her border, and so continues to develop her nuclear
submarine capabilities and re-armaments with newer and better
weapons, yes, of mass destruction--sincerely not meant for
us, but so what.]
Verses 9-13, "But watch out
for yourselves, for they will deliver you to the counsels
and you'll be beaten in synagogues.
You'll be brought before rulers and kings for my
sake, for a testimony to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all
nations [King James Bible has "published
among all nations"].
But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not
worry before hand or premeditate what you will speak, for
whatever is given you in that hour speak that, for it is
not you who speaks but the Holy Spirit.
Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father
his child, and children will rise up against parents and
cause them to be put to death, and you will be hated by
all for my name's sake.
But he who endures to the end shall be saved."
'But watch out for yourselves.'
No doubt, the beginning of the process is around
us. We just see it as we read
the statistics and you guys all realized that we're well
on our way to the events that Jesus is going to describe
in a moment. The birth process, in this world has begun. But he says to them, he says, 'But you watch
out for yourselves, be prepared, be in the Book,
know what's going on, and understand that there's going
to be a day that you're going to be delivered up, there's
going to be persecution.
And you're going to be delivered up and have to stand
before different people.
And the persecution is going to be used as an opportunity
to witness. [Sort of makes me wonder
if God's going to use this opportunity to get us to do what
we haven't been so willing to do on our own--witness.
Good question. Hmmm.]
Now as you read the book of Acts we see that
this was certainly fulfilled in the disciples.
You know, Paul, he was arrested, and all the things
that went on, he was able to speak before Herod and maybe
even Caesar we believe. So these things took place. [But I might add, the
birth pain signs Jesus points out (wars, earthquakes, famines)
come before this persecution mentioned, in time order (in
Mark 13). So this persecution is for the time we're heading
into. But these
are also the same four things represented by the Four Horsemen
of Revelation 6. These sorrows have obviously begun, but each
one culminates in a much larger and final version of what
each represents--world wars ending up with the final World
War III, the real war to end all wars; famines, ending up
with the major famines that kill one quarter of the earths
population; pestilence, which usually follow war and famine,
etc. Some think a really big persecution will take
place where many Christians die, Christians who had been
sleeping spiritually. Revelation
mentions this martyrdom.
Some think this persecution Jesus is mentioning in
Matthew 24 and Mark 13 is a general persecution that all
Christians will go through before the actual tribulation
gets going, and not the martyrdom mentioned in Revelation.
I'm inclined to believe that's correct, but that's
my personal belief. Have to wait and see.] He says, 'Persecution is going to be used as
an opportunity to be a witness before others'.
And that whole principle can even be applied in a
more general sense to our lives.
But no doubt, persecution, I think what the church
in America needs is persecution. There's certainly good that comes out of persecution.
There's a lot of bad, obviously.
But I think the church in America, a little persecution
would be good for the church in America as far as witness.
It would certainly really empower the witness of
the church. We wouldn't
be so complacent and laxidasicle, there would be a real
fervency in our message.
But also God will use events in
my life to set the stage for some sort of ministry, and
sometimes that's just an important point to realize.
You're going in your day-to-day activities and week-to-week
activities and sometimes things begin to happen.
There's a job lay-off or you have to sell your home
or apartment you're in, suddenly the landlord wants to kick
you out because he's selling it or something. These things happen in your life. You ask, 'What's going on? This is disturbing.' But in some cases, in many cases [if you're a real Christian], God is staging events for
opportunities to minister.
And I have learned that a number of years ago, and
I try to remember that. Sometimes I don't, but I remember one particular
time. My wife and
I left her sister's in California, we were heading home
and we got ten or fifteen minutes down the road before we
realized that we had forgotten something. So what you do in those cases is you turn around
and you drive 10 or 15 minutes back to the place and you
go into the house, and say 'Hey, we're back,' and you go
find the thing you forgot and you get back in the car and
you set out again. We
did that, and this time we got 10 or 15 minutes down the
road and realized that we forgot something else.
It was another important item, we could not continue
on the road, so we had to turn around, go back to her house,
'Hey, we're back again,' and go find whatever it was and get back in
the car. I think
we had to go to work the next day, it was late, and we just
wanted to get going, you know, and now a considerable amount
of time had passed. So
we get in the car, start driving 10 or 15 minutes down the
road, get on another highway, and there's a car broken down
on the median. And my wife, as we pass by, says 'Hey, there's
a lady there and I think she's crying.' And I said 'Really?' ('Come
on, we need to get going here.')
So I said, 'Alright.'
As we realized all along maybe God has a purpose
in this, so we go to the next exit, turn around, came all
the way back, got to that point, pulled over, and the lady
in the car was still there.
Well I got out of the car and I walked over, and
I started to talk to this lady. And she was Caucasian and maybe had blond or
brown hair, but she had taken Asian hair, maybe an Asian
person sold her hair, and had it intertwined with her hair,
I don't know what you call that, but she had really long
extensions, I think they're called extensions. She had these extensions that nearly went to
the ground, of Asian hair.
This girl was unique, she had this really long Asian
hair. But she was Caucasian. And
she had an interesting dress on, and I could just tell she
probably could use the gospel for sure.
I started to talk to her a little bit, but it wasn't
comfortable, so I went back to the car and I said to my
wife, 'I think you need to go talk to this lady.'
So my wife got up, I was praying in the car, she
went over and started to talk to her.
And it wasn't really getting anywhere, but she tried,
but this lady says she doesn't need any help so she starts
to get ready to go back to the car, but as she did this
lady pulled out a sweatshirt and put it on, and it said
something like 'Heritage Christian High School' on it.
Turns out this girl had gone to a Christian High
School earlier, but she was on her way to go strip in Tijuana,
she was a stripper. So
she had gotten way from, far away from her heritage--evidently
grown up in a Christian home and had Christian parents and
I don't know what happened, but now she was not only stripping,
which is really scary, but Tijuana of all places, that's
a scary place to visit even as a tourist.
Well, my wife was able to share with her, she got
in the car, the two of us prayed with her and shared with
her and there was even some communication that continued
on after that day. But
I learned that sometimes God is doing that in your life. That's the thing to consider when things seem
to be going wrong or not the way you planned. Sometimes things are kind of getting a little messed up on you and
you're like 'Awh, I got to get to point B', but God is just
staging events for you to minister to someone.
And you and I can relax (in that knowledge) more
than we do, you know, just go with the flow.
Let God just work it out, rather than getting all
uptight like we do sometimes.
And persecution can definitely--we're promised in
the Bible--can lead to opportunity to testify.
Well, he says this to the disciples, "And
the gospel must first be preached to all to all nations."
That's a verse that's been debated.
[The word "preached" is "published" in the
king James Bible for Mark 13:10 and is "preached"
in Matthew 24:14, but the word in the Greek used in both
Matthew 24:14 and Mark 13:10 is "karusso: to herald:
preach, publish", so it can and does, by extension,
mean both.] There
is a verse in Scripture in the book of Acts that maybe it
happened early on, you know, the gospel spread quickly early
this does not take the verse in context with the section
of Scripture it is found in, clearly end-time prophecy,
just before and leading into the tribulation--World War
III. Also, if one follows mainline popular Christian
dogma, if people die unsaved, they go to hell, right? Thinking along those lines, I would think God
would want each generation of Christians to preach and/or
publish the gospel around the world of his or her times.
So a verse like those two can apply to then and now. But it is most certainly found in context with
end-time prophecies leading up to the tribulation, just
to be accurate about it.]
And there's a verse that all the world has heard
about Jesus [that world back then].
Obviously many churches today say "it hasn't
happened yet," and "What exactly is Jesus saying?" But there's definitely a push today to get
the gospel out in
every language in every part of the world [and
this push is being accomplished by many varied ministries
of differing denominations and non-denominational groups--obviously
the Holy Spirit is inspiring and saying something here (log
to get a grasp of this subject)]. I was encouraged at the Harvest Crusade to see so many young people
get saved, and one of the folks to go with us just to see
what happens, it's amazing, and I was reminded, I sat there
looking at thousands of people, thinking, 'the harvest is
you get into the grind for awhile, and God is maybe preparing
you and you begin to lose that vision, but the harvest really
is plentiful. And
to see for fifteen minutes these kids just continue to come
forward, and in the Philadelphia Spectrum to see the entire
floor filled, the entire floor with kids. It was really neat to see. And the gospel, man, preached to all nations,
the North County, every community.
He says, verse 11, 'When you're arrested, get in
those situations if life', he says this specifically to
the disciples, 'don't worry about what you're going to say,
but let the Holy Spirit speak through you.' [Again, even though
this is being spoken to the apostles, it's context is end-time,
so they wrote it down for those of us who'd live into the
end times.] I'll confess to you, that is a challenge sometimes.
Even on a Sunday morning, if I'm prepared up and
prayed up, I feel like I can get up here and just let it
fly, I'm ready to roll, I'm prepared to give the Word of
God. The weeks that I'm not prepared, I'm like--scary
experience, to have to get up before people and give a Bible
study for an hour. But
what you and I need to learn to do is just yield to the
Holy Spirit. And
yielding is yielding. Yielding
is just putting yourself down and letting God work through
you, yielding your control.
Maybe there's a fear in a situation with a certain
person about sharing with them, you're intimidated or whatever
it might be, so you're trying to control, but to just let
go and say 'Holy Spirit, just work through me.' I heard a great message by Alistair Begg. He was really drilled by a pastor once. Early on he was ministering, somewhere in Scotland,
and it did not go very well, and there were some people
from society in this one congregation he was sharing with,
had a lot of money, and even some theologians and things,
so he was intimidated.
And it just didn't go very well, and when he got
down from the pulpit he walked out.
And as he walked out, he said, I noticed that there
was this elderly man that had come up next to me.
And this guy was sitting up in the front rows and
never took his eye off me the whole time. And not only was he next to me, but he put
his arm around me. So
as I came off the pulpit I wanted to run and hide, but this
guy came next to me and put his arm around me, and started
to walk me, even kind of force me to a certain corner behind
the bookstore. And
then he says when he got me behind the bookstore, he let
me have it, just let me have it.
And I guess in his [Alistair's] message he kept making excuses, and he [this guy, pastor] says, "You're never
to do that." He
says, "Realize, it's appointed, God appointed you
to be there. It's
by Divine appointment, realize that.
It's not by accident that you got up there.
It wasn't that somebody else was supposed to be there,
God put you there. So be faithful in delivering the Word."
And he says, "If it's mince or it's steak, give
it." And he
explained that "mince" in Scotland is like ground
hamburger with a lot of fat.
He said "Maybe that's all you've got for a meal,
give it." Maybe
it's tenderloin. When
it's tenderloin it's easy to give a Bible study.
But when it's ground steak it's like, people don't
like this, it's all fatty.
He says, "Just give it."
Well, later on in his ministry, years later, another
situation, he was teaching, and as he got down, it was a
'bad one' again. He
just wanted go and hide, he came running down the stairs,
said 'I was making a bolt for my car' and I ran into this
elderly guy who just stopped me and gave me a big bear hug
and he whispered in my ear, "Alistair, was it mince
or was it steak?"
And Alistair said, "I don't know.
It doesn't matter, just give it, give it whatever
you've got." And
that really spoke to me.
But it's about yielding to the Holy Spirit.
And sometimes you're thinking 'I'm not prepared,
this person knows more that I do.'
It doesn't make a difference.
When you share with somebody from another cult or
another religious group and you think you've got to be able
to work something on them, you've got the Holy Spirit, let
the Holy Spirit do His work.
And you have to yield to him and just let Him work
through you. And that is a challenge to learn. It's just a thing of humility, saying, 'God, Jesus, take over.
You do the work.'
He said, continuing in verse
12 and 13, "Now brother will betray brother and a father
(which is unbelievable) will betray his child, and children
will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to
you know you read that 100 years ago, you know, you'd be
like "Wow!" Today
I think I can see that happening.
I see moms and dads who have blown off their kids,
people are like, 'What do we do with these kids, mom and
dad don't want anything to do with them. But this, all the more, is in the name of the gospel, when somebody
maybe becomes a Christian and the family members say 'I
don't want anything to do with them, they're Christian',
and they turn against them. That's what Jesus is referring to. [This to a lesser degree
applies now, but more so later as people will really be
put to death for their beliefs.
The early Pilgrims of Plymouth Plantation endured
such persecution facing jail, death at the gallows and stake
in England for their beliefs.
It's always wise to look in history to find a similar
event that is prophecied, as this gives a clear picture
of what to expect. Santayana the historian said, "Those who
fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to relive
it." A similar time is coming, Jesus says. In India and the Muslim countries family members
will try to kill a member who becomes a Christian, and sometimes
they succeed. To
read a good historic account of the Pilgrims of Plymouth
Plantation while they were being persecuted in England log
onto: http://www.UNITYINCHRIST.COM/history/saga.htm and read the first
three chapters of that historic account.
That's about what we can expect.
For the unconverted world going into and through
the tribulation (World War III), it will be far worse.
But this is a picture of our "exam time". It's hard to imagine it getting that bad in America, but if Scripture,
the Word of God, is true, it will yet happen--this period
of persecution will come, full force.] That is tremendous,
if you just consider that statement. And we're on our way, for sure.
It's going to be like the days of Noah, and I don't
believe it's far away.
And we're going to experience what Noah experienced.
He says, "You will be hated of all nations
for my name's sake." You're going to be hated by everybody. Not only the liberal groups, you're going to
be hated by all your co-workers, you're going to be hated
by the school system, you're going to be hated by the community,
you're going to be hated by your family members--if you're
a Christian that's what he's saying. The day is coming when you're a Christian you're
going to be hated, I mean hated.
I mean, nobody likes to be hated, I don't know about
you, I don't like to be hated by anybody.
I mean, it's hard when you know people hate you.
It says you're going to be hated by everybody, hated
for 'My name's sake', just utterly loathed.
Reading that, really tells me that I need to be prepared.
You and I need to be in the Book, man.
The Psalmist said, "In my affliction
I found comfort in the Word that gives life."
And we need to be prepared.
And the day is not far away.
Somebody mentioned to me last week and I did some
research in the local newspaper, some of you saw the article,
I was talking to other folks, the "Jews for Jesus"
article, where the Jews for Jesus were running an
ad that was saying that 'Jesus Christ was the Messiah'
on the Internet and this one Internet company, people complained
and they shut them down. They wouldn't let them air the ad anymore,
because in this ad they were saying 'Jesus Christ was the
Messiah', and people were offended by it.
Now, I also heard that the pornographic sites on
the Internet have so much volume of people visiting those
sites that you and I would be utterly stunned if you and
I knew how many people go to those sites.
And there's all types of trash, you can't even get
an Internet server today without getting bombarded with
trash. But yet somebody
complains, the [Jewish] Anti-Defamation
League complains because there's an ad that says Jesus is
the Messiah--that's what it said, and they were shut down.
[Here's an appropriate Scripture about this "Final Exam":
1 Corinthians 3:10-15, "According to the grace of God
which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have
laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon.
But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
For other foundation can no man lay than that is
laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver,
precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man's work shall
be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because
it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every
man's work of what sort it is.
If any abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall
receive a reward. If
any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but
he himself shall be saved; yet so by fire."]
That's amazing, isn't it?
This is what Jesus said would take place.
Eventually the day is coming where everyone
will hate you if you are a Christian, just utterly despise
you. At the Harvest
Crusade, Greg Laurie, this was the Youth Night, he started
his message with a video from Columbine, and it was a tremendous
video, really was. But
they had taken in this video and put together all sorts
of segments of the news and you saw some of the news, all
those kids running around there on the campus, jumping out
windows. And they
had other footage I've never seen, so it was kind of hard
to watch. And here's two young boys just shooting up other kids, you guys
know the story. But the video was predominantly focussing on
one student that we've heard a lot about, Casey Burnal,
this young girl that had recently re-dedicated her life
to the Lord. In the video that had footage where just two days before she was
sitting in front of a camera, somebody was interviewing
her, some friend or someone, she was just talking about
her love for the Lord and how she just wanted to lay it
down for God. So
it was really powerful for these young people to watch this. This girl, we know, was shot because they went
up to her and said "Do you believe in God?" Her response was "Jesus is Lord."
So they shot her. Then there was also Rachel Scott, and Greg
Laurie shared her story about her, she was in the library
and one of those guys went up and shot her in the leg.
With a hole in her leg he says "Do you believe
in God?" She says "I do", and then they shot
her, and she was killed.
With a hole in her leg, still, 'I'm not going to
deny Jesus is my Lord.' But, now that's the next generation that's
very violent. Those
are teenagers that are going to be in their twenties five
or six years from now. They're going to be voting. And that's where we're going. He says 'The day is coming where everyone will
hate you. So if
you are in the Christian thing because you think that it's
popular, you're not going to be in the Christian thing very
long, because it's becoming less and less popular.
[A parallel set of verses
which show this period of persecution is found in Matthew
24:9-13, which states, "Then shall they deliver you
up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be
hated of all nations for my name's sake.
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray
one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall
deceive many. And
the love of many shall wax cold.
But he that shall endure to the end, the
same shall be saved." In verse 12 it states, "And the love
of many shall wax cold."
If the final exam period of time for Christians is
this time of persecution, then Jesus in Matthew 24:12 has
given us an answer to a question some of us may have, and
that is, "Will some people, Christians, fail this final
gave us a clear answer in verse 12.
The key is the word love, their love
waxes cold. The
Greek word for love in verse 12 is Strong's
# 25, Agapao, another version of the word
Agape, the word used in the New Testament
for God's love which he bestows in believers through the
indwelling Holy Spirit.
It is clearly saying, in Jesus' own words that "the
Agapao of many shall wax cold."
God's Holy Spirit love will wax cold in many
Christians, is what Jesus is telling us in this verse.
Why? Because they didn't prepare for the final exam period. How do you prepare? By being in the Book, in the Word of God, making
it your companion, and by developing a relationship with
Jesus Christ in prayer and application of his Word.
Preparing is not, as some would have you believe,
accomplished by doing massive studies in the prophetic parts
of God's Word, and then pouring over current events.
If you're a military analyst, and a Christian as
well, then that might be part of your job description.
What prevents your love from waxing cold
is simply getting into God's Word, particularly the spiritual
growth sections, and applying what you read, study and meditate
on, and by making prayer a part of your life.
The sections on Prayer, Ephesians, 1 Corinthians,
along with this section on the gospel of Mark isn't a bad
place to start. When Corrie Ten Boom ended up in a Nazi concentration
camp, did she stop being a Christian?. This is a troubling passage. But
some answers to this question are given in the section on
Ephesians 1:15-23; 2:1-5, relating to "once saved always
saved" verses "he who endures to the end will be saved"
that may help clear up the question.]
But you're also going to be deceived
and you're going to be shipwrecked if you do not know the
Word of God--if you're not just getting in tune with the
Lord to find comfort, to find strength in the days ahead.
Last year a few
of us went up to seek the Lord for a night. The main thing that I walked away with, impressed with, is that
not long into the future and, life is going to change. [The pastor here, goes
into Y2K, here, which didn't amount to a hill of beans as
far as being an event that would change our lives (so I
deleted it), but keep in mind, something did happen that
changed every American's life, the events of September 11th,
2001, when three hijacked airliners flown by Arab terrorists--Al-Qaida
terrorists--crashed into the Twin Trade Towers in New York
City. The Twin Towers
collapsed killing and/or incinerating 3,000 innocent Americans.
The third airliner was flown into the Pentagon in
Washington, D.C., killing more people.
The War on Terrorism began.
If this isn't a wake-up call to American's, I don't
know what is. This was the equivalent of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December
7th, 1941, but a little over a year later many
Americans are sleeping again, incredibly.
But the world has changed. Terrorism
and bombings in the Israeli nation are a daily event now,
and these events are also like the preliminary birth pains
that will continue onward until the tribulation starts.
Don't believe me?--Log onto: http://www.UNITYINCHRIST.COM/preevangelism/2ndcoming2.htm
and read it for yourself.]..Y2K is maybe just to wake-up
some folks, because not long later, you know, the temple
looks good now, it's got the gold, it's got the white.
And who would ever imagine that less than 40 years
later--I mean, that thing [the way it was constructed] was going to be around for
millenniums--was going to be not only broken to a point
where it could be repaired, but disassembled, every stone.
And that's why I believe, in America life is going
to change quickly. Who
knows when, but it's not far from now.
The writing's on the wall, it's on the wall, it's
right there before us.and that's even what God's Word says,
the birth pangs have begun.
You and I need to be in the Book and prepared, near
the Lord, finding our strength in Him.
You're not going to find it anywhere else.
You know, it says, 'But he who
endures to the end shall be saved.
That's the end of verse 13.
The Christian walk is a thing of perseverance, a
marathon, it's not a sprint. And that can be discouraging
to see. You see
folks just fall to the side sometimes.
They get all excited about Jesus [like
the parable of the sower, "some seed fell on rocky
ground"]. A year or two later in the ministry, they don't
have any interest in the Lord.
It says, 'he who endures to the end', perseveres,
it's a marathon. And you can argue that those who persevere
are really Christians.
I mean, I find it hard to believe that you could
ever lose your salvation [once saved, always saved doctrine most Christian denominations
believe, some dogmatically], but that's what Scripture
says, it says 'those who endure to the end, those who endure
to the end will be saved.'
We do find that there are people that were with Billy
Graham that aren't enduring anymore. Guys on Chuck Smith's staff, out teaching that
Jesus isn't even God anymore, isn't the Messiah--but he
was on Chuck Smith's staff.
It says, he who endures to the end.
You know, Ted Turner went to seminary.
Shirley McLain was a Bible student for many years.
He says, 'Those who endure to the end will be saved.'
The Christian experience is abiding in Christ. Paul wrote specifically this in 1 Timothy 4, he says, "Now
the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some
will depart from the faith" (1 Timothy 4:1).
That's what it says, it says, "in the latter
times, some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving
spirits and doctrines of demons" (1 Timothy 4:1-2).
That's why Jesus starts this whole thing, 'Take heed
guys, that you're not deceived, take heed that you're not
seduced in another doctrine.
Know the Word. Know
it, because the demons will come and seduce people into
false teaching. [Now this interpretation
appears to be somewhat of a departure of Calvary Chapel
from the "once saved, always saved" doctrine they
held. They are a relatively new denomination, now
learning from time and experience, combining that with the
Word of God and growing in grace and knowledge.
This is a healthy sign of spiritual doctrinal growth.
Some denominations strictly believe and teach (dogmatically)
the "once saved, always saved" doctrine. Others
teach what has just been presented here. It's not a major
doctrine of salvation, but an interpretation of Scripture.
Some make a doctrinal mountain out of a spiritual
mole-hill. All these
differences in interpretation throughout the Bible will
be cleared up when Jesus returns.
The WCG used to teach this as well.
These are the words of Jesus, directly quoted, so
I tend to take them at face value and go with the interpretation
presented above. The editor.]
Verses 14-23, "So when you
see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet
Daniel standing where it ought not (let the reader understand),
then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
Let him who is on the housetop not go down into the
house nor enter to take anything out of his house.
Let him who is in the field not go back to get his
clothes. But woe
to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies
in those days. And
pray that your flight be not in winter for in those days
there will be tribulation such has not been since the beginning
of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever
shall be. Unless
the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved
[alive], but for the elect's sake whom he chose, he shortened
the days. And if
anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ,' or 'Look,
there he is', do not believe it, for false Christs and false
prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive
if possible even the elect.
But take heed, see I've told you things beforehand." He says, 'I told you all this beforehand so you guys
can know and be prepared and be ready.'
This chapter, along with Matthew 24, and Luke 21
can be difficult. Some theologians argue that no one's ever totally
figured out how this whole puzzle comes together.[This website takes the Classic or Historic Pre-Millennialist stance in
interpretation of Bible prophecy.
This pastor giving this sermon and the denomination
he hails from takes the Dispensational Pre-Millennialist
interpretation to 2nd coming Bible prophecy.
The truth of how these prophecies all come together
may lie with one or the other or even somewhere inbetween
the two sub-divisions of Pre-Millennialist interpretation
of Bible prophecy. It's
not really all that important, although theologians on both
sides of the fence, and pastors as well, can sometimes get
very dogmatic and assertive that their interpretation
is the correct one. I've
found that such dogmatism is a destroyer of unity in the
body of Christ. What is far more important is the lesson this
pastor has been bringing out throughout this study, and
that is that we as Christians be spiritually ready, in the
Book, the Word of God, growing in the grace and knowledge
of our Lord Jesus Christ.
To pursue that growth that leads to being ready,
be sure to click on the section on Ephesians on this website
and study carefully through each study.
Paul really gets into the meat of spiritual growth
in Ephesians.] But now he's speaking to Jewish people [or
maybe Messianic Jewish Christians living in Israel--as many
of them do right now!] He's
speaking to the disciples, obviously, they're not going
to be here because they're Christians obviously.
But he is referring now, this message is especially
to those that are there in [or at
the very beginning of the] tribulation, those that
didn't know Christ. [Here's
where Classic Pre-Millennialists differ from Dispensational
Classics believe worthy Christians, perhaps those living
in Israel (I say Messianics), are being told here that when
they see the abomination standing in the temple, that they're
to flee--fast! Where? Historically, it has been believed to the city
of Petra, in Jordan, about 50 miles from Jerusalem as the
crow flies. But before this whole scenario of the 'abomination
that makes desolate standing in the temple' can take place,
the Jews have got to rebuild the temple or at least rebuild
a Mosaic Tabernacle and re-institute the evening and morning
sacrifices. The Jews are currently preparing to do this very thing. Both Classic and Dispensational Pre-Millennialists
believe the temple has to be set up to fulfill this prophecy. Few people have considered what the ramifications
will be of having a temple set up and operating with the
Levitical Priesthood sacrificing lambs daily.
Let's consider this.
The Torah specifies that tithes cannot be officially
levied of the Jews except by the Levitical Priesthood, which
hasn't existed since 70AD. When this temple worship is re-established,
re-instated, this Levitical Priesthood will have the authority--straight
from the Torah--to levy tithes of all Orthodox Jews worldwide. This will fill the temple treasury with money,
huge amounts of money.
Money buys political power.
A major shift in Israeli politics to the religious
right can be expected--a huge polarization to the religious
Orthodox right in the Israeli nation. Such a shift will bring about a corresponding
shift and polarization in Arab and Palestinian politics
and policies, to an anti-Israeli extreme-probably accompanied
by a united Muslim response across national lines. Why would
a resurrected Holy Roman Emperor-type person, marshalling
Europe's military might, want to come into this temple and
cut off these "evening and morning sacrifices",
as Daniel says they will be?--initiating the opening salvo's
of World War III?--Why? To prevent a major blow-up of the Middle East
between Arab nations and Israel--perhaps even a nuclear
blow-up. Also Arab anger would more than likely cause a
shutdown of all Middle East oil production. From this point
onward, from the time this "abomination that makes
desolate" appears in the temple onward--both Classic
and Dispensational Pre-Millennialists tend to agree, that
the actual 2nd coming of Jesus Christ is just
3 1/2 years away. The Dispensationalists believe Jesus "Raptures" away believers,
Christians, to heaven 3 1/2 years before this temple takeover
scene by the "abomination", making the whole tribulation
period 7 years long, and at the end of that 7 years, Jesus
comes back with all the resurrected immortal saints, the
raptured Christians and all other Christians who have ever
lived. Classic Pre-Millennialists,
on the other hand, believe the whole tribulation period
is only 3 1/2 years long, and begins when
this temple-takeover occurs, and then lasts for 3 1/2 years.
Some in this Classic Pre-Millennialist group also
believe all worthy Christians left alive (after the persecution
Jesus talks of here) somehow accompany these Jewish believers
to a "place of safety", i.e. Petra.
Many doctrinal mountains have been built on both
Classic and Dispensation sides of the fence, out of these
differing spiritual mole-hills--and both sides get quite
dogmatic about their own interpretations, hurting overall
unity in the body of Christ.
I and this site lean to the Classic side because
I believe it has the best arguments for accuracy, but I
don't claim to have all the answers and am not dogmatic
about it. To read
a good study of these events in the Classic Pre-Millennial
interpretation, click on http://www.UNITYINCHRIST.COM/prophecies/2ndcoming.htm But I don't believe we ought to be too dogmatic
in our interpretations.
If we live into this scary time, we'll see firsthand
who's right and who isn't. Jesus, may just Rapture worthy Christians to
a place of safety, confounding both Classic and Dispensationals. Who knows?
But I do know one thing.
He told us to occupy until he comes.
In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus explained how he wanted
us to occupy.] Jesus is coming to purify the earth, to judge the earth, but also
to redeem again, to set aside the nation of Israel according
to his promises that he made to David and to Abraham.
So he says, 'When you see the abomination". Now some believe that's already taken place,
according to Maccabees, a book that we don't have in our
Bibles that is in the Catholic Bible.
It's a great book of history but not necessarily
inspired by the Holy Spirit. But we have this account of this Salucid king,
Antiuchus Ephiphanes who conquered Jerusalem and then he
attempted to Hellenize the people, the Greek culture. He forbid them to circumcise their children and also forbid them
to offer Levitical sacrifices.
This is in 1st Maccabees.
And then he forced them to sacrifice swine.
Obviously, to the Jewish people that would be detestable,
desecrating the temple.
Then according to Maccabees he erected a desecrating
sacrilege upon the altar of the burnt offering, it is believed
to have been a statue of Zeus, maybe even an image of himself,
Antiuchus. And then
he set the temple use to be like a brothel, just completely
desecrating the place. And of course in response, the Jews left [for awhile, and then ended up overthrowing Antiuchus in a rebellion,
which Judas Maccabee was the leader of, hence the name of
the book]. So you have abomination and then you have desolation,
empty house. Now
Jesus is speaking about the event now, so Daniel 9, this
thing with Antiuchus did not fulfill Daniel 9, because Jesus
is saying that was like a good picture of what's going to
happen, but Daniel 9 will take place later. Daniel 9, we studied recently, the first 69
weeks [prophetic weeks, a prophetic
day = one year, a year for a day principle, so one week
= seven years], we talked about then there's this
break, the church age, then the last week [the 70th
week], the 7 years, which will be the tribulation, where
God really just works and judges this world.
[Here's where Classic and Dispensational Pre-Millennialists
differ. The Classic
Pre-Millennialists believe that Jesus's three and a half
year ministry fulfilled half of this prophetic 70th
week, three and a half days of this prophetic seven days,
so the tribulation is only three and a half years long. I think the prophecy in Daniel even says or
has the words in it "he was cut off in the middle of
the week", referring the death of Christ and end of
his earthly ministry. With my thorough knowledge of the six years
of World War II and knowing about our modern weaponry and
weapons of mass destruction, I personally hope the tribulation
is only three and a half years long.
But who knows who's right? We'll have to wait and see. I'm not taking sides or saying the Dispensationals
are wrong and I'm right.
I'm a Classic Pre-Millennialist.
But either interpretation could be right, or partially
correct and the truth being somewhere in the middle--who
knows but Jesus.] And in the middle of it, [here's where I said that Dispensationals believe the temple
service is cut off after three and a half years of the tribulation
with three and a half years to go now] Jesus refers,
to, when you see this event take place, when you see the
abomination of desolation, that means the anti-christ, specifically
as you understand Revelation, has gone in and set up an
altar for himself, an image.
This image, we read in Revelation will actually speak,
the false prophet will give it power [through
Satan obviously] and it will begin to speak and talk.
And actually those that won't worship it, fire will
actually come out and consume those that won't worship it.
Pretty radical abomination in the temple.
And it's going to bring desolation of course.
But he says 'When you see that, hit the road, don't
waste any time. If you're pregnant, pray that you're not pregnant.
It'll slow you up, you don't have any time.
If you have children, pray that you don't have small
children because it will be very difficult. He says in Matthew (24) if it's on the Sabbath,
again referring to Israel, he says 'pray it's not on the
Sabbath', just pray, because when this takes place there's
going to be judgment, there's going to be just complete
wrath upon this world like there's never been. The days of Noah don't even compare. And we studied that not long ago in Revelation.
[Why would Jesus warn about
fleeing on the Sabbath when 95 percent of the Israeli nation
is highly secular right now?
This would indicate that the Israeli nation had turned
ultra-Orthodox and wrathful Orthodox Jews would hinder your
flight because you were "desecrating" the Sabbath
by running. This could indicate that this is being addressed to Christians,
maybe Messianic Jewish Christians living in Israel at this
time.] Now, Jesus said this obviously around 32AD [or 31AD by some people's reckoning], Coligula was emperor
in 40 AD if I remember the story correctly, and theologians
if you know better please forgive me, but if I recall, Coligula
put an image, he thought he was God, he was insane, he put
image of himself in a boat and had it set sail for the temple,
purposed to put this image of himself in the temple. And that would have obviously fulfilled this
too, but that ship evidently sunk before it got to Israel. It wasn't God's time. The anti-christ will be even worse than Coligula
when he begins to fulfill his role.
He's going to do a similar thing, and get the whole
world to worship him. But he says, 'Hit the road when you
see that.' "Let those who are in Judea flee to the mountaintops".
Zechariah tells us that about one third of the Jews
will make it to the mountains during this time.
Some believe he's referring to the city of Petra.
It's a city that the Ediomites obviously dwelt in.
It's down in the ground, it's a crater in the side
of a mountain. There's a very narrow entrance 12 feet wide
where you can get into this cavern sort of thing inside
of a mountain. And it's a large cavern because it was a city
there, Petra. It
held about a million people there when it was inhabited.
[So Dispensational Pre-Millennialists think one third of the
Jewish population of Israel will flee to Petra or the mountaintops
of Israel when the temple is desecrated.
Classic Pre-Millennialists believe that this is a
warning given by Jesus to all Christians living in Israel
to flee, and that they'd end up in Petra. Like I said, we just don't know. I'm a Classic Pre-Millennialist myself, we
just have to wait and see what happens.
I'm not going to take a dogmatic stand on this. Jesus wants us growing spiritually and getting
the gospel of salvation out to the world right now, not
going crazy over this stuff, worrying about how we're going
to "save our hides".] And then Petra was lost, people didn't know where it was out there.but this guy, Burduck
in 1812 kept poking around and he finally found a little
nomad of some sort and paid him money to take him to this
place Petra, and he actually went in to discover the city
of Petra. So W.
E. Blackstone was so convinced after that discovery, that
this was it, this is where one-third of these Jews are going
to go, that he bought hundreds of thousands of Hebrew New
Testaments, highlighted Matthew 24 which is a parallel text
to this one, and Revelation 12, and he put them in earthen
jars, and I don't know if they're still there.
But when the Jews get there [or
the Messianic Jewish Christians and/or Christians, who knows?]
they're going to be able to read, 'Hey, Jesus said, and
read about Jesus, the Christ, he's going to be coming back
to earth in just a couple years now, with the Christians.'
Well, that's that. And he says, 'Pray it won't be in winter, this
tribulation is going to be more than there's ever been,
in fact the Lord is going to have to shorten those days.
If he didn't, man would basically destroy himself. [A careful study of
prophecy shows that only about one tenth of the world's
population survives this World War III--tribulation--very
scary.] But he's going to shorten the days for the elect's sake. The elect referring to the people of Israel,
who now realize that Jesus is the Christ. [Again,
Classic's believe "the elect" refers to Christians. Doesn't really matter. We'll find out later.] 'But if anyone says to you, 'Look here or there,
there's the Christ', ignore that, false prophets, even those
that show signs, especially the anti-christ, ignore that. I've warned you beforehand. Know
Verses 24-27, "But in those
days after the tribulation the sun shall be darkened and
the moon will not give her light.
And the stars of heaven will fall and the powers
in the heaven will be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming
in the clouds with great power and glory. And then he'll send his angels, and shall gather together his elect
from the four winds, from the uttermost part of earth to
the uttermost part of heaven..."
He says that's going to be the
curtain opening for My return.
Verse 28, "Now learn this
parable from the fig tree.
When its branch has already become tender and it
puts forth leaves you know that the summer is near."
So you look at the fig tree, leaves
are coming out, man, summer is near.
You know that. When
you see the leaves you expect that.
Also, when you see these things happening know
that it's near, even at the doors" (verse 29).
April, the buds are there, you know summer is
30, "Assuredly I say to you, this generation shall
no mans pass away until all these things take place.
Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will
by no means pass away." Is he referring to the people before him?
Obviously he's not, when he says "generation".
He says the generation that see these early signs,
sees these events taking place, will certainly be here when
all this is fulfilled.
Now I believe this fig tree, people debate this,
but many theologians believe this, I'll share it with you
because I believe it. The fig tree represents Israel as the vine
represents Israel. Different
parts of the Old Testament refer to a fig tree as God relates
to the nation of Israel, and if you take that symbolically
then, the fig tree putting on its leaves, is Israel being
re-birthed again. May
18th, 1948 Israel became a nation, which is an
amazing thing. Also interestingly, in May of 1948 the European
Federation was formed.
Obviously they're going to be a big player, that's
[going to become] the reformed Roman Empire that Daniel
speaks of--the ten toes of clay and iron. And also in May of 1948 the World Counsel of Churches was started
in the Netherlands--and that counsel intends to bring all
religions under one umbrella, all preparing for the anti-christ
of the last days, all took place in May of 1948.
And I believe that's the fig tree, the green leaves
starting to come out. And the world has never been the same since some of these events
took place. And
we're definitely in the birth pains and things are unraveling
before us.but he said to them, he says, 'heaven and earth
is going to pass away, but my words won't pass away.' Where God is eternal he will continue.
Verses 32-37, "But of that
day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven
nor the Son, but only the Father.
Take heed, watch and pray, for you do not know when
the time is. It's
like a man going to a far country who left his house and
gave authority to his servants and to each his work and
commanded the door-keepers to keep watch.
Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master
of the house is coming, in the evening, at midnight, at
the crowing of the rooster in the morning. Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
And what I say to you I say to all.
Watch." He says, 'with all that, no one knows the day or the
hour, not even the Son, with all that he says, take heed. Watch and pray.' Be prepared, be in the Book. Don't
be like some students that just kind of show up in class
and the test comes and you have no idea what you're going
to do. He says, "Be prepared." Luke again says, 'Take heed to yourselves,
don't be caught up in the cares of this life, lest that
day comes upon you unexpectedly.'
You know, today, interestingly, statistically, they
say in America, a recent study, 59 percent of the people,
folks, in America, believe that the world will end, 6 out
of 10. 35 percent
believe it will end within two decades.
One third of Americans believe the world is going
to end in less than 20 years. You would never believe that looking at what's going on with people
in their day-to-day lives.
But supposedly one out of every three Americans think
there's less than twenty years to go.
One in two, 49 percent of Americans believe that
the anti-christ will be a literal person. That's from some recent studies. Americans supposedly believe a lot of these
things. But you
look around, it's certainly hard to tell, isn't it?--that
we believe these things. John said that, in 1 John 3:2-3 we read that
John said, "Beloved now we are children of God. And it is not yet revealed what we shall be,
but we know that when he is revealed (appears), we shall
be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
[John actually saw Jesus as he is, sometime later, and described
that in Revelation 1:13-18, this is what we'll look like
in the resurrection!] And
everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself just
as he is pure." He says, 'If you really believe it, and
you really believe Jesus is coming back, it's going to cause
you to live differently.
It's going to cause you to study the Book, it's going
to cause you to live a life that's more and more like the
life of Christ. William
Barkley, this meeting took place, it's kind of a story he
came up with, that Satan and his demons were strategizing
together how they're going to trick people on earth to go
to hell, get them tricked into believing something else
so that they go to hell.
But one demon said in the meeting, 'Let's whisper
in people's ears that there's no God.' 'No' said Satan, 'Creation declares the existence
of God, people are too smart to deny his existence. A few idiots might get sucked into that, but
the not the masses.' The
second demon said, 'I've got it, we'll say 'There's no hell.' 'No' said Satan, 'People understand the need for judgment, people
won't buy that.' A
third demon said, 'Let me suggest how we might trick people.
Instead of saying there's no God or no hell, we'll
just say 'No hurry.' Satan
exclaimed 'That's it!',
which he in turn ordered his demons to go and do.'
Don't tell 'em there's no God, tell 'em there's no
no hurry, no hurry, kick back', and that'll trick people
and they'll end up going right down that broad road, going
right to hell. Jesus says, 'Watch therefore,'.Matthew 24,
Jesus said there, "Who then is a faithful and wise
servant whom his master gave rule over his household to
give them food in due season?" Who's a faithful servant?--he said. "Blessed is that servant whom his master
when he comes will find so doing."
[Appendix A: To read a parallel
study of this subject in Luke 21, log onto http://www.UNITYINCHRIST.COM/preevangelism/2ndcoming.htm
Appendix B: Again, for an in-depth
study of prophetic events leading up to the 2nd
coming of Jesus Christ, log onto http://www.UNITYINCHRIST.COM/prophecies/2ndcoming.htm
Appendix C: To see what may be
part of the birth pangs which may have already started in
Israel log onto http://www.UNITYINCHRIST.COM/preevangelism/2ndcoming2.htm
Appendix D: To see the historic
parallel to this time of persecution, log onto http://www.UNITYINCHRIST.COM/history/saga.htm
and read the first three chapters.]
[I feel I must give a reason why I feel the Classic
Pre-Millennial interpretation may be more accurate in some
areas of eschatology (not all).
In the major account of the 2nd coming
given by Jesus himself, recorded by three separate gospel
writers (Mark, Luke and Matthew), the "Rapture"
is nowhere to be found in the major chronological order
of events given by Jesus, which are:
Wars, nation against nation and then kingdom against kingdom--Earthquakes
around the world--Famines around the world;
Time for Christians: Persecution and witnessing of the gospel;
by the abomination (where Jesus says the tribulation starts--and
the "elect" are told to flee).
(Also, a spiritual/historic precedent has been set
for this "fleeing" when the members of the early
Jerusalem congregation were told by a loud booming voice
heard in the temple in 69 or 70AD, to "Get thee hence!",
and the Jerusalem congregation fled to Pela, escaping just
in time from the encirclement of Jerusalem by Vespasian's
Roman Army and the subsequent destruction of Jerusalem.
Those who fled were Christians.
Even though they were Jews by race, they were Messianic
I earnestly think it is time for the Christian leaders
and theologians on both sides of the Pre-Millennial fence
to hold a prophecy conference, and in godly humility,
filled with the Holy Spirit, come together
and determine where the truth lies, for the sake of unity
and strength in the body, preparing us for the final witnessing
we will all have to do.
That's my personal take on the situation. I've mentioned the differences between these two interpretations
to foster understanding, and as well hopefully show the
leaders of these two groups just where we need to come together
on this one. The outside world, just like children, can
spot disunity a mile away.
Satan loves disunity in the body.
Do you? Some parts of the Dispensational belief system,
in my opinion, are very accurate--like their firm belief
that the nation of Israel has a definite role in the kingdom
age to come (backed up and based on a literal interpretation
of many, many Old Testament prophecies which are yet unfulfilled)--other
parts may not be. Their belief that the nation of Israel
and the Jews will play a major national and international
role in the coming Kingdom of God which will rule over all
nations from Jerusalem for a thousand years is solidly based
on almost all the Old Testament prophecies when interpreted
literally--not in the amillennial figurative way. Classic Pre-Millennialists don't specifically
teach this or emphasize this about the future role for Jews
or the nation of Israel in the future.
I believe they are 100 percent correct in this.
Paul's letter to the Galatians has been taken out
of context with Romans 11 to fuel "replacement theology"
which has contributed to 1700 years of anti-Semitism, a
stain on Christians everywhere. Proper combination of Scripture would show the future Israeli nation
becomes converted at the 2nd coming, and then
qualifies to be recipients of the Abrahamic promises again,
simple as that. And as for Amillennialism, I don't even want
to get into that. I
describe my feelings on that in the introduction section
of the Prophecies of Jesus Christ's 2nd Coming
said. The editor.]