The End of Days 1

Speaker: Pastor Darin Browne

I have had many people suggest that I preach on end times. It is a rich and complex subject, but I wanted to step back and in two short messages, give you a bird’s eye overview of what is to happen before Christ returns. This week I will talk about what signs we should be looking for, and next week the series of events as I believe the Bible lays them out.

Most of us have no real idea of what the Bible says concerning the end of time. We are pan tribulationists…hoping it will all pan out in the end, mainly because it is too complex and controversial to study. But as we watch news unfold on our televisions or screens many believers feel fear, despair, anxiety, and confusion. But if we learn the truth of the Bible, we have nothing to fear in the news!

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT THE END TIMES

Matthew 24:3-8 (ESV)
As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

Matthew 24:11-13 (ESV)
And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

DIFFERENT IDEAS TO FIGHT ABOUT

Many who get interested in and study end times become aggressively zealous for their point of view. As we examine this material, I am taking the traditional church view of premillennialism. This is the main view held by early church fathers, and most of the church today, and most Christians believe in a pretribulation rapture. Perhaps you don’t agree with me. Frankly I don’t care, because one day we will find out who is right and who was wrong. At the end of time some of us will have a righteous “Told you so!”

Some believe in post trib, where God makes believers suffer through the tribulation. A few split the difference and go mid trib. Some are amillennialists, who claim we are currently in the Millennial reign of Christ, and it is spiritual and figurative (unlike what is described in Revelation 20), and that the church age reflects this. I’m not a fan, firstly because if this is the millennium, I want my money back, because from where I sit, Christ is not ruling in peace and harmony. And secondly, the millennium has already been two millennia, which rather negates the whole argument.

ISRAEL TAKES CENTRE STAGE

Key to all end time prophetic teaching is the nation of Israel. Why is a tiny nation one third the size of Tasmania, with a population of around seven million, the main topic of conversation at every news bulletin? Why is it that most of the world is anti-Semitic (even here)!

Some Christians believe that the church has replaced Israel in prophecy, so that only the church receives the blessings and prophecies, and Israel is redundant. I don’t agree, because I believe we are grafted into Israel, not replacing Israel, but sharing the Blessing with them. Like it or not, whether you believe Israel is a secular state or not (and certainly it is a secular, Zionist state right now), they have always been and are currently at the centre of God’s thoughts. They are centre stage from Genesis to Revelation.

Ezekiel 39:28 (ESV)
Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore.

On May 14, 1948, Israel was restored as a nation after 2,000 years of being dispersed among nations. Slowly over the years Jews have been returning to their homeland. In 2006 it became the largest concentration of Jews in the world, surpassing New York. However, Israel faces the unique situation in that it is a democratic republic surrounded by twenty-two hostile Islamic dictatorships that are 640 times her size and sixty times her population.

Israel’s very existence is a miracle, and a necessary step towards the return of the King. So, what other signs should we be looking for?

SIGNS OF THE TIMES

Jesus said…

Matthew 16:2-3 (ESV)
“When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.

Jesus said there will be signs of the times leading up to His return. Most of these signs we clearly see today, but they will be amplified a hundredfold during what is called the tribulation. I am going to talk about the rapture, tribulation, and millennium next week, but today I want to focus on the signs that Jesus said will lead up to the end of time. So, what can we expect leading up to Christ’s return?

  • A Time of Deception“Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many” (Matthew 24:5). JWs, Mormons, Eastern religions, L Ron Hubbard, Jim Jones. Even some YouTube preachers! In an age of information overload, people will believe anything on Facebook or YouTube!
  • A Time of Dissension – “You will hear of wars and rumours of wars…Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matthew 24:6–7). We have seen more war in the last century than ever before, with an estimated 187 million people killed. The book of Revelation tells us to expect a period of ceaseless, unending, and terrible war. It appears that we are already preparing for this time, as fifty percent of all research scientists today are involved in arms development and there is at least one military weapon and four thousand pounds of explosives for every man, woman, and child on earth.
  • A Time of Devastation“There will be famines…” (Matthew 24:7). Experts suggest seventy to one hundred and twenty million people died of famine in the twentieth century.
  • A Time of Disease“…pestilences…” (Matthew 24:7). New and remerging infectious diseases are occurring. Need we mention AIDS or COVID?
  • A Time of Disasters“…and earthquakes in various places” (Matthew 24:7). Almost two thousand significant earthquakes occurred in the twentieth century, the deadliest being the 2004 Indian earthquake and tsunami which resulted in almost 230,000 fatalities. The frequency and magnitude of earthquakes is increasing! There’s a whole lot of shaking going on!
  • A Time of Death“They will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake” (Matthew 24:9). According to Deseret News, one Christian is murdered for their faith every five minutes. People are turning against Christians even in Australia like never before!
  • A Time of Disloyalty“Many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another” (Matthew 24:10). Doesn’t that look like today, where people are constantly offended by everything! Check out Facebook sometime!
  • A Time of Delusion“Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many” (Matthew 24:11). It should also be noted that part of the delusion in end times will be an increase in drug use. One of the characteristics of the end times’ false religion will be what the book of Revelation calls “sorceries” (Rev 9:21), PHARMAKIA in Greek, from which we get the word pharmacy. It is an ancient reference to people using mind-altering substances in association with false religions.
  • A Time of Defection“Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). People will turn away from God, and only the faithful remnant will remain. It is estimated that half of the professed believers on the Sunshine Coast do not regularly attend church.
  • A Time of Declaration“This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations” (Matthew 24:14). This has not happened yet but must happen before Jesus returns.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

All these signs sound pretty bad, but Jesus described these as the beginnings of the birth pains. There is far more to come, greater pain, devastation, and fear. Watch the news and be comforted that things can only get worse!

David Jeremiah writes, “As bad as it is today in our world, it could (and will) get worse. A restraining influence in our world holds this this dark satanic tide of perversion and lawlessness in check. Who has the power to restrain Satan? Only God. And it is God the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, who draws the line today and keeps the ocean of evil at bay.”

Does this kind of talk depress you? Does it fill you with hopelessness? It shouldn’t, because our hope is in Jesus, and His Word. Paul writes…

1 Thessalonians 4:13 (ESV)
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.

Don’t get worried and fearful when you see what’s happening in the news. We don’t know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future! Next week we will talk about the rapture, the great tribulation, the millennial reign of Christ, the eternal destruction of evil and the New Heaven and New Earth. But for now, we are already seeing signs of the end of time all around us, so the take home message is this; we need to get serious about serving Jesus.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN FOR US?

We should study these things to give us hope. Jesus has promised to return, and we will be with Him forever. So, what should studying this do for us today?

STAND FAST

This is not the time for country club Christianity or to go chasing new ideas or doctrines. We must stand firm on the truths we know and be unshakable.

2 Thessalonians 2:15 (ESV)
So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

KEEP LOVING, NOT JUDGING

1 Corinthians 4:5 (ESV)
Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart.

It’s so easy to judge those who sin differently to us (We all sin). Gay people, transgenders, adulterers, single mums, alcoholics, drug addicts. We are called to judge their actions, but we are not called to judge and reject these people, we are called to love them. You don’t have to agree with them, you must not condone what they do, but you are called to love them, with the unconditional love of God.

KEEP MEETING TOGETHER

Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

So many think they can stay home and watch Joyce Meyer and be a Christian. You can do this, but you will be a disobedient Christian, because Jesus knows the value of us meeting together, fellowshipping, worshipping, serving, outreaching together. You can watch teaching online, but TD Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Bill Johnson, John Macarthur, whom ever else you follow, none of them know who you are! That’s not church! So, either here of somewhere else, find a church community you can grow in and serve in.

KEEP SHARING THE GOSPEL

2 Timothy 4:1-2 (ESV)
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season;

Now is not the time to have a nice life and cruise into heaven. Spurgeon said, “Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself, be sure of that!” We should be maximising our impact on this doomed world!

SET OUR MINDS ON HEAVEN

Colossians 3:2 (ESV)
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

This world is not our home, and Jesus is coming soon, and the writing is clearly on the wall. So, get encouraged and get busy devoting yourselves to serving the Lord, as the time draws near.

Matthew 24:44 (ESV)
Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Luke 18:8 (ESV)
When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Jesus could come for us at any time, and when He does, He’s coming to take us home, to be with Him. So, when he returns, let’s be busy about the master’s business. And His business is saving souls!

Think of one or two people close to you who don’t know the Lord, and let’s pray and believe for them to come to Christ.

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