The End of Days 2

Speaker: Pastor Darin Browne

Last week we looked at the signs leading up to the end of time. Jesus told us to read the signs and be hopeful and expectant for His return. The signs in Matthew 24 included wars, famines, earthquakes, pestilences, and other fun things, but here’s the good news…

THINGS WILL 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.”

The “Great Tribulation” will come as the time for Christ’s return draws near, and at a time when evil is unrestrained, because God’s Spirit is removed. How can this happen? If every Christian was to disappear all at once, the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit who lives within us would also be removed. That’s the start of the Great Tribulation!

WE SHOULD BE IN RAPTURES OVER THIS!

I believe that the Bible teaches an event called the rapture so much, I often drive with the sunroof on my car open! I believe it is so imminent, I often eat dessert first. Why a pre-tribulation rapture, why not make us suffer? As Bill Newman says, Jesus doesn’t want to beat up His bride!

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (ESV)
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together (Greek HARPAZO, seized or snatched away) with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

There is often confusion about the rapture. The rapture is not the second coming of Christ. The word rapture itself is not used in Scripture, but the event is clearly described. In the rapture, the dead in Christ and true believers disappear from earth and are caught up into Heaven to be with Jesus forever. Some Christians don’t believe in it, and that’s fine because it is not a salvation issue. Whether you believe it or not, we can argue when we meet in the air! The removal of God’s people will open the door to the unrestrained evil of the tribulation.

ENTER THE TRIBULATION- UNRESTRAINED EVIL

In Revelation 11-18 the tribulation is described in detail, pain, plagues, wars, disasters, etc., but I haven’t time to go into that. What’s is interesting is that today in the world we can clearly see things shaping up for exactly what Bible prophecy describes.

Matthew 24:21-22 (ESV)
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved.

Let me lay out a thumbnail sketch of the sequence of events leading up to the end of time. This is from David Jeremiah, but most Christian theologians would agree with most of the points he makes. Once again, don’t be offended if this doesn’t agree with you, just push it to the side of the plate and eat the rest. So, after the rapture, assuming there is such a thing, here’s is a rough timeline for you to chew on…

It starts with A RESTORED ROMAN EMPIRE

Daniel saw a vision of a statue, which speaks of world empires…Babylon, Medes and Persians, Greece, Rome and a final, mixed clay, unstable Kingdom. Many believe this is a resurrection of a mixed Roman Empire…Roman Empire Mark 2 if you will, which most commentators feel is the European Union. Daniel writes…

Daniel 7:24 (ESV)
As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them;

And there will be a world leader who will arise from this multiethnic, mixed clay Kingdom,

{Daniel 7:24 (ESV)
He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.}

We are seeing this take shape before our very eyes. Europe has been the focal point for two world wars and dozens of smaller conflicts, yet strangely, even prophetically, it has morphed into a conglomeration of vastly different ethnic groups, like iron mixed with clay.

On 1 November 1993 at Maastricht in the Netherlands, the European Union was formed. The European Union today is primed and ready to go for the final battle, they just need a dominant leader.

ENTER THE ANTICHRIST

The Antichrist Spirit has been among us for centuries and has been expressed in various leaders like Hitler and Stalin. Towards the end of time there will arise a dominant leader identified as the Antichrist. He is the one ring to rule them all!

The Antichrist will be a charismatic, articulate, and attractive leader. He binds the precarious mix of nations that is Europe together, deceiving people worldwide.

2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 (ESV)
The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,

You might think this could never happen, but even today we see the start of such a strong delusion, where people will believe anything rather than Christ and the Bible.  Even now we can see how people will believe whatever the media feeds them, whether it’s climate change, vaccination or other mandates, gender issues, whatever. Peter Marshall said, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

THE ANTICHRIST

This Antichrist will be given absolute power, will have everybody in the palm of his hand, and will control everything, including commerce. His number, 666, the number of mankind opposing God, will be on everyone’s body (right wrists and foreheads) so they can buy goods. Previously this was thought to be fanciful, but today you can see the world system setting up for his entrance. Most of us don’t use cash, we don’t even use credit cards, we have it all in our hand.

So, the Antichrist appears, everyone loves and trusts him, especially when he ends centuries of conflict by bringing peace between Israel and her Islamic neighbours. He brokers a peace deal and becomes an instant favourite across the globe!

ISRAEL/ANTICHRIST ALLIANCE

Daniel 9:27 tells us that the Antichrist will make an alliance with Israel in an effort to end the Arab-Israeli conflict. This will be for a week (in prophetic terms seven years). Part way through he will break this alliance, and set the world up for the final battles to come. Now here it gets interesting!

Who is going to attack Israel? Ezekiel 38 and 39 predict a huge army arising against Israel from the north, centred on two nations in alliance, Russia (Gog and Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal) and Iran (Persia). Interestingly these two nations have never had an alliance throughout 2000 years of history, until the last few years. Just three months ago, Reuters reported that Russia and Iran are going to speed up “a major new interstate agreement.” It’s shaping up for the showdown!

This Russo/Iranian invasion will occur shortly after Israel signs a covenant with the new leader of the European Union, the aforementioned Antichrist. This brings Israel peace with her Islamic neighbours, and curries favour with the rest of the world. The people of Israel will trust that the European powers will protect them from any outside invader.  However, after three and a half years Europe will betray Israel.

During this time the Bible talks about a short period of tremendous suffering for all mankind, called the tribulation, lasting seven years. I don’t have time to go into details, Revelation 11-18 makes terrifying reading. In this period, evil abounds unchecked, natural disasters occur, and God’s wrath is poured out on unbelieving mankind. And they will be shocked by it…

1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 (ESV)
For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labour pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

Yet many people still refuse to repent and acknowledge the Lord, even though they are smashed by these tribulations. They will love their immorality, and debauched lifestyles, which will be considered normal, and will refuse to repent.

2 Timothy 3:1-2 (ESV)
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, (and the list goes on)

This out-of-control evil will be accompanied by a series of natural disasters, earthquakes, oceans turning to blood, stars falling to earth (meteors).

But one thing that just happen before the time of the tribulation starts, is restored Jewish access to the Temple Mount. This probably means the relocation of the Islamic Dome of the Rock. Unlikely? Consider this…

Already things are moving this way. We currently know from the Jewish Temple Institute that they have made over sixty articles of worship and are breeding red heifer cattle specifically for temple sacrifice. They also have tunnels under current structures.

TWO WITNESSES

At the start of the tribulation, Revelation describes two witnesses (Elijah and Moses) appearing in Jerusalem, proclaiming the gospel.

Revelation 11:3 (ESV)
And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days (three and a half years, half the tribulation period), clothed in sackcloth.”

These two witnesses convert 144,000 Jewish evangelists (not JWs), 12,000 from each tribe, who spread the gospel to all nations (Revelation 7). All this happens in the first three and a half years of the tribulation. At this time many are won for Christ across the world, but they are often killed for their faith by evil men. The two witnesses are then murdered, and their bodies displayed so the whole world can see them.

Revelation 11:9 (ESV)
For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb,

This was thought fanciful up until recent times. Now, however, because of the internet, international telecommunications, and satellites, literally billions of people can watch a single event like the football world cup or the royal wedding, simultaneously, all on their phones. The Bible prophesied this centuries before such technology existed.

The witnesses are then resurrected, taken up to heaven. Then the second, even more devastating, half of the tribulation unfolds (the seven bowls). The Antichrist attains absolute power. He is joined by a false prophet or religious leader, and combined with the true power behind it all, Satan himself, they form an unholy trinity to rival the Holy Trinity. (Father, Son and Holy Spirit vs Antichrist, False Prophet, and Satan).

The books of Revelation and Daniel talk of an unholy trinity to oppose the Holy Trinity. The false prophet deceives many, the Antichrist controls everything and or course the overall leader is Satan himself.

You might be thinking…ARMAGEDDON SICK OF ALL THIS

Remember Russia and allies invading Israel from the north at the start of the tribulation? They are defeated by supernatural events, fire from on high, possibly nuclear. A few years later at the end of the tribulation, Israel is attacked from all sides, by all nations. This is the big one, the battle of Armageddon, which means mountain of slaughter in Hebrew. Over two hundred battles have been fought here, from Elijah versus the prophets of Baal to Gideon, Saul, right up to WW1. Napoleon said, “All the armies of the world could manoeuvre their forces on this vast plain…There is no place in the whole world more suited for war than this…”

The Antichrist will lead the bad guys in this war but, saving the day, Jesus will appear, this is the second coming, the Day of the Lord. He will fight and defeat the Antichrist and his mighty army, by His Word…

Matthew 24:29-30 (ESV)
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

There are more than nine hundred prophecies in the Bible concerning the second coming of Jesus Christ – nearly three times as many compared to His first coming!

THE MILLENNIUM- 1,000 YEARS OF PEACE

After Christ returns, and wins the war, this leads to…The Millennium, a 1,000-year reign of Christ from a New Jerusalem. It will be a time of unprecedented prosperity and joy, lambs will lie with lions, all nations will be at peace. (Micah 4:2-3; Isaiah 11:6-9). A thousand years of peace and prosperity, when Satan is bound, but not destroyed. Evil is banished, but not entirely vanquished.

So how does it all end? During the Millennium, children will be born who will populate the earth. David Jeremiah speculates that some of these children will develop pride and rebel against the righteous rule of Christ. After 1,000 years, Satan will be loosed for a short time and will stir up a final rebellion on earth among those who haven’t believed during the thousand years. The final judgement of the world, the Great White Throne Judgement, concludes the Millennium and ushers in the New Heaven and Earth (Revelation 20:11-15, 21:1).

So that’s a whistle stop tour of the end of the world. Hundreds of prophecies predict this. Jesus is going to return, not as a cute baby at Christmas but as an all-conquering victor.

WHY BOTHER STUDYING END TIMES?

All people seem to have an inherent curiosity to know what the future holds. That’s why the psychic industry is worth millions of dollars. We know that the Bible is true from cover to cover, but why bother studying it?

Christians too have a longing to know the future. Some love to study and argue end times as a a kind of intellectual guessing game. This is not why it’s in the Bible!

1 Thessalonians 5:6 (ESV)
So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.

1 Thessalonians 5:9 (ESV)
For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV)
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

PRESS ON

We study this material to give us hope and encourage us I press on to win others for Jesus! It drives us on when faith burns low. Whatever difficulties we face in life, whatever opposition, we know who wins. It’s like being in the last lap of a marathon event. The sight of the finish line can spur us on to greatness. We must remain vigilant. One day we will rejoice in the presence of the Saviour. One day we will share the marriage supper of the lamb. Until then, this is a season of serving, a season of open doors. This is our moment to shine for Christ, it’s a season of opportunities we will never have again!  We must, as Paul implored us…

Philippians 3:14 (ESV)
press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 24:36-38 (ESV)
“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark,

We live in such a day, and despite amazing and terrifying Biblical prophecies clearly moving to a conclusion. Most people don’t expect Jesus to return, even many believers. Now is the time we must stand firm, encourage one another, and speak out and share our faith with others.

1 Peter 3:15 (ESV)
but in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

A PRACTICAL COMMITMENT

Today I want you to make a practical commitment with me.

Ephesians 5:16 (ESV)
making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

That you will tell three people this week about Jesus, no matter what.

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