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Most Recent Update
Jan. 17, 2012
Matthew 24 Is at the Door
I must admit the title is not original with me. I borrowed it from Johnny Cash. I hope he won't mind. Can't say I'm a fan of his, but that's a good title. I heard him sing a song on the radio, and I thought that's a pretty good message. I believe that the events foretold by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse are now being unfolded in such a way that we can say what people in no previous century could say. Jesus is coming soon. Take a look at the question the disciples asked.
Matthew 24: 3,
They want some inside information.
"...and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and the end of the age?" (Matt. 24: 3)
King James says, "world", the Greek says, "age." It's not talking about the end of the world, it's talking about the end of this present age. Jesus did not evade the question. He proceeded to give an answer. There are at least a dozen answers in the Olivet Discourse, and here they are. (Read Dr. Meyer's booklet, or the manuscript on his website called "Sixteen Biblical Signs of the End of the Age".).
Number one in verse 4,
Religious deception is one of the signs of the end of the Age. Jesus said that's the way it would be at His coming.
"For many shall come in My name, saying, I am the christ; and shall deceive many." (Matt. 24: 5)
This religious deception will involve false christs. It doesn't seem possible that individuals would have the nerve to publicly tell the world, "I am Jesus, or I am God," but you know they're doing it. For example: Rev. Moon, Charles Manson and, some years ago, Father Divine. Father Divine had his heaven down in Philadelphia, with all his angels, and he told them he would never die, but he did. They took him out and buried him just like everybody else. There was a man in California some years ago who walked around with a long flowing garment. This was in the days before the hippies made that so popular. He had long hair and twelve disciples all around him. He told everybody that he was Jesus, but one of his disciples was unhappy with the set up. He took a stick of dynamite and blew his master into the next world, and I can tell you one thing, it wasn't heaven. There are dozens of individuals in the world at any given time in the last few decades all claiming to be God. The amazing thing is that millions will follow them. Take the mystery of the so-called Rev. Moon. That has no other explanation apart from the work of Satan. If that man was preaching the truth millions would not follow him and shower him with Cadillacs and mansions and all that kind of thing. Jesus said that's one of the signs of the end of the Age. And I'm telling you we're witnessing it. But I think that sign is more than individuals claiming to be Christ. I think it involves also preachers presenting a false Christ.
Presenting a False Christ
I hope you realize that God has blessed you with one tremendous church. I've been around a lot. I see a lot, I hear a lot. I can tell you that there are more churches in this world and in this country that do not believe in the Christ of the Bible than do. They talk about Christ, but the Christ they're talking about is not the Christ that I talk about. The One I'm talking about is the One who's described in the Bible in which it says He was born of a virgin. They don't believe in the One who was born of a virgin. The One that I'm talking about died and shed His blood to atone for our sins, but they have denied the blood atonement. The One I'm talking about rose bodily from the dead, and the one they're talking about didn't. The One I'm talking about ascended bodily into heaven and is coming bodily, visibly again. He said, "...I will come again..." (John 14: 3).
The angels said,
But that's not the Jesus that's presented in the majority of the churches in this country. The one that they're talking about is a great teacher, a great humanitarian, a great reformer, a great revolutionary, a great hippie, Jesus Christ Super Star, but not Jesus Christ virgin-born Son of God, Savior! Jesus said that's the way it's going to be in the last days. It will be a period of religious deception involving false christs, and you ought to thank God everyday of your life that you've got a church like you have.
Wars and Rumors of Wars
Well, Jesus said number two involves wars and rumors of wars.
Remember the question, "What is it going to be like when You come again? What's the sign of Your coming and of the end of the [age]?" "Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars...". It doesn't say one big war that will end all wars. It says, there's going to be a lot of wars here and there and everybody's going to be talking about war, and the possibility of war. Never in the history of the world have there been so many wars as there are now and so many people talking about the possibility.
But Jesus said,
Not right away.
"For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:..." (Matt. 24: 7)
The Spoken Generation
Now, what do they mean by saying the end isn't right away? What He meant was, and you have to get this from taking all the other things that He said and put them together, I'm sure this is it. He was saying, "Now, when these end times start, and war is one of those signs, the end will not come immediately, these signs are going to stretch out over some years." Then He put a limitation on the span of years that they could cover. I'll come to it later, but I want to tell you about it now.
"...This generation..." (Matt. 24: 34)
This same generation that is alive when these end time signs start will not all have died off before they're all fulfilled. That's what He said. Now I believe that the beginning of the end was the first time this world had a war on a worldwide scale. Some people don't agree with me. They think the beginning of the end was 1948 when Israel became a state. And I wouldn't argue too strenuously against that. If that is correct, then we'll just have to stretch the time in which Jesus might come a little bit farther.
The Signs of His Coming
Now I'm not setting a date. Nobody may do that, it is forbidden in the Bible, and anybody who sets a date is always wrong. So anytime someone figures it out put it down it's not going to happen. But He is coming, just don't set a date. Signs of the time: Oh, Paul says, "You ought to know that. You're the children of light, you're not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief." The first chapter of First Thessalonians, after he talks about the coming of the Lord, he tells those Christians that, "You can recognize the signs of the times so that it does not overtake you as a thief, you're not the children of darkness, you're the children of light (I Thes. 5). Therefore, I really don't need to write to you about that, because you know all about it." That's what he said. So it's very Biblical to believe in the signs of the times. And I am trying to persuade the world that all the signs of the times point to the fact that we have come to a climactic point in history where the Lord is coming soon. I believe the beginning of the end time described here by these signs was the time when I was born, time of the first world war. Since that time, though, you know we have fought two world wars to end all war. But did we end it? No, we didn't. Used to be there would be a war, you study history you find a war here, then there would be a period of peace, maybe long, maybe short, but there would be peace. People weren't talking about war. Then a war would flare up again, and somebody would win and there would be peace, maybe long, maybe short, there would be peace. Then maybe another war and that's the way history went. Not anymore. In my lifetime they end one war, but immediately they talk about the next one. Now they don't end them anymore, they just hope at best they can get a cease-fire and put some soldiers there and keep the firing down, while they rush over to put out another brush fire. Right now there are about forty wars going on, all the time. Some stop, others start, and they're so frequent and so common, people don't even talk about it. In some areas of the world they don't even pay any attention, but it's happening.
And Jesus said, "The generation that is alive when this starts will not all have died until it's all over." I think He was saying the end time signs will all fall within the life-span of one man. I don't think we should waste any time trying to figure out how long a generation is. I hear extensive arguments about 33 years, 40 years, different figures. I think it's totally irrelevant. My generation started when I was born, my generation will end when the last person who was born when I was born will have died. That's my generation that's not 33 years, so, this same generation that is alive when these things start will not all have passed until the Lord has come. Therefore, I'm saying, I believe the Lord is coming before all those who are my age will have died. That's not setting a date, that's just telling you what I think the Bible says.
Now, there are some people who say that we cannot have any signs, there are no signs for a signless event. I say then, "What were they talking about when the disciples said, 'When shall these things be and what shall be the sign of Thy coming?' " (See Matthew 24: 3.) Well, the answer I get here is, these are signs of the end of the tribulation period when He comes in the Revelation.
Many Phases to His Second Coming
I must stop now to explain the difference between the Rapture and the Revelation and I'll tell you why, I think that is not what they (the disciples) were talking about (the Revelation). Most of you know; but for the sake of clarity, and so that everybody understands, let me point out that the Bible speaks of two comings. The first coming took place way back there almost two thousand years ago. It covered a span of years about 33½ years. One phase was His birth in Bethlehem, born of a virgin in a stable, another His boyhood days, we don't know much about it, but we know a little, another His public ministry, another His death, another His resurrection, another His ascension. There are many phases for the one coming of 33 years.
Now we come to the second coming. It starts and He comes in the air not to the earth, but to the air.
"The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, [and] with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: the dead in Christ shall [stand up] first:"
That's the beginning and we call that the Rapture. Somebody says, but now, wait a minute, the word rapture isn't even in the Bible. That's true, neither is the word trinity, but I believe in the Trinity. Because the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are all named, and we give it a word, three in One, Trinity, and that's a good word to use. Even if it isn't used in the Bible it's a good word, and we never need to apologize for using it. The same is for the word rapture.
"Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up..." (I Thes. 4: 17) (the Greek says).
From that word caught up, we take the word rapture, it means to be caught away, caught up, so it is a good word. True, that word isn't in the Bible, but the thought and the event are very much there. So now I'm saying someday soon in time just ahead of us the Rapture is going to take place. The Lord will come in the air. He'll shout the command to come and all those who are dead and those who are walking around who accepted Christ will suddenly be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. We'll takeoff for heaven. Thereafter we'll always be in glorified bodies. We can never die and never grow old. We will go to heaven with Him, zooming through space with the speed of thought. Traveling more than 12 billion light years out beyond the last star to the third heaven, the Celestial home of God, and there we will have three main events.
First, the giving of the rewards. (The Judgment Seat of Christ will take place in Heaven between Revelation 4: 1 - 4: 4 after the Rapture happens in Revelation 4: 1. The newly raptured New Testament Saints/Christians [the four and twenty elders] are wearing those crowns of rewards in Revelation 4: 4. See also II Timothy 4: 8 and I Peter 5: 4.). God is going to reward us for our faithfulness, giving us crowns on our heads on the basis of our faithfulness to Him in relation to whatever talents He has given us. Someone can bake pies to feed the preacher, he ought to do that. Someone can go and be a missionary, he ought to do that. Someone can be a blacksmith and shoe horses, he ought to do that. Whatever talent God has given the individual, he ought to use it. Not all have the same talent and that's good. Someone has a talent for cleaning the church he ought to do it. God will reward, not on the basis of the publicity you've got here below, not on the basis of fame or money or anything like that. God will reward on the basis of faithfulness in relation to the talent He gave. So each of us must try to use that talent. Now I'm saying the first thing on the calendar of God when we get to heaven will be the receiving of rewards on the basis of our faithfulness to Him.
The Coronation Ceremony
Then the second thing that will happen will be the King will be crowned. We'll be at the Coronation Ceremony. We'll play in the harp orchestra, and sing in the heavenly choir. He will be crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We will worship and adore Him.
The Wedding in Heaven
The third thing that will happen is there will be a wedding. Yes, the Bride will be married to the Lord. When the wedding is over, then He'll bring His new bride on a honeymoon, coming down out of heaven to earth to reign. He will reign in power for one thousand years as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. There are many verses in the Bible to prove it.
The Thousand Year Reign of Christ
Daniel said in chapter two, verse 44,
At His birth it was prophesied,
Somebody says, "But that's the spiritual kingdom." Yes, it's a spiritual kingdom, but it's also a physical kingdom.
Pray the next line too,
And when we get to heaven and sing at the Coronation Ceremony in the Heavenly Choir, we will sing: "...Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive honor and glory and power:... ...for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every (race and) kindred, and tongue, (and people,) and nation; and has made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on earth." (See Rev. 4: 11, 5: 9 - 10.).
The Second Coming
Now I'm saying He's coming back in mighty power with His new Bride and on that day every eye shall see Him. When He comes for His Bride, it's a secret rendezvous He's coming to snatch away His Bride and take her back to heaven to marry her. Then He's coming back on a honeymoon to reign with her. In the first phase it's a secret thing, only the Bride knows it. But when He comes in mighty power, every eye shall see Him, every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! (See Phil. 2: 10.) It will be too late, but they will do it. They will be forced to. The event when He snatches away His Bride is the Rapture. So I'm saying this great event is called, the Revelation. There are seven years between those two events (the Rapture and the Revelation), but they both constitute the Second Coming of Christ. [He comes with His Bride (in the Rapture) and after the Marriage Supper of the Lamb takes place in Heaven He finishes the Second Coming by returning to earth. So the first phase of the Second Coming of Christ is the Rapture and the second phase of His coming is the Revelation.].
There are those who insist there's nothing in this chapter (Matthew 24) about the Rapture, or about what sometimes theologians refer to as the second coming and they're only talking about the Revelation. I disagree with that view because I can't explain these things that I'm explaining that way. So I have to give it to you like I see it, and some of my good Bible teacher friends will not agree with me, but we'll still be friends. Someday when it happens I'll say I told you so. After all, we know how long the period of the tribulation is.
By the way, when those three things are happening in heaven as I said, (Rewards, The Coronation Ceremony, The Wedding in Heaven), "There would be a period of seven years on earth, the most awful period of all human experiences will take place. It's called the tribulation." The Greek says, tribulation, the great one. Awful beyond words and we'll be getting to it in a moment.
But now I'm trying to tell you. The disciples said, "What's it going to be like when You come again?" (See Matt. 24: 3.) If Jesus were talking about the Revelation there's no point in this at all because when the tribulation starts all that men would have to do is put an x on the calendar and count off two times 1260 days, and that's the day the Lord is coming. So why do they want to be told, well, when you see this and this and this, then you know that it's near. There's no point in it. The disciples said, "What's it going to be like when You come again?" I think they were talking about the end of this present age. I think the Rapture is very much in view. But there's more than the Rapture here and we'll see it as we move along.
More Signs of His Coming
Let's go on now, verse 7 continues,
One of the signs of the end of the Age will be famines, famines!
There are a few people as old as I am and you remember that when we were in high school they were telling us, "We were on the verge of a golden dawn. A beautiful new world is right out ahead of us, and it won't be long now until man will have learned all the lessons he needs to learn in psychology, and sociology and all the rest and nations will sit down at conference tables and discuss their differences. We'll have no more war and we will have a period of sharing with our neighbors, giving them everything we have so that we can usher in a beautiful world of peace. With our agricultural know-how and all our accumulated knowledge in the area of agricultural production we will be able to produce all the food we want." Because right along about that time the farmers of America were producing such great quantities of food the government had a problem. Imagine the problem was too much food. What are we going to do with all the food? That was the problem and you know what the solution was? They paid the farmers to kill the baby pigs and burn the wheat or plow it under. Our granaries were bulging, they were overflowing, we didn't know what to do. How to eat all the food. And they told us, "Now we have licked the problem of famine. We'll never again suffer from a lack of food because we can produce all the food we want and our problem here on out is surplus." And that was just a few decades ago. Who could have prophesied that we would come to the year we are now and our granaries are not bulging anymore. Oh, yes, we can produce food, but so many people have begun to populate this planet. There are four million mouths to feed everyday, and half of them go to bed hungry. They tell us, "The total food supply on reserve now is enough to last 27 days." Nobody is talking about surplus. Do you know what they're talking about? Famine! Famine! I thought they had outlawed that a few decades back. Jesus said, "There's going to be famines here and there." The United Nations has released figures showing that tens of millions will starve every year beginning right now. One scientist came up with some figures that are absolutely horrible to contemplate. He said there are four billion people now and by the end of the century there will be seven or eight billion, and four or five billion will starve to death. That's what he said. Now, that is a catastrophe beyond anything you can imagine. Half of the world's population when we double it now, will be more people than are alive right now and approximately that number will starve to death in 25 years. I don't know if he's right. But I know one thing, after we have gone to heaven, in chapter 6 of Revelation we read about it. When the fourth seal is broken John announces that they're having this terrible war and they're having a terrible famine. Wild beasts are biting people and between the war and the famine and the wild beasts, ¼ of the world's population dies. Now that's Bible. And that's awful. If we didn't get any more people and this happened shortly that would mean one billion people would starve to death within a few years.
The Christians Are in Heaven
I'm so glad that I'm convinced that the Church is not going to be here. The Redeemed Ones of the Lord without exception are going to heaven and will be playing in the harp orchestra. We'll be singing in the heavenly choir in chapter 5 of Revelation, before the Lord has broken the first seal of the little book the title deed of earth. When He (Jesus) breaks that first seal we will have already finished singing. Then the Antichrist begins to ride and he makes his bid for power. Then there will be awful war and awful famine and terrible, terrible death. So after we've gone to heaven the famine is going to be terrible. What Jesus is saying is, it's going to start even before that period, while we are here it will start, then it will get much worse after we leave. I'm trying to tell you, it has started now. Then Jesus adds another one, He says, "...and pestilence..." (Matt. 24: 7).
Pestilence, we refer to as epidemic. Back in those days when they were telling us there was a dream world out ahead they said, "With all these miracle drugs, penicillin and all the rest, and with all that's coming up in the laboratories pretty soon everybody will be healthy, and we wouldn't have to worry about doctors anymore." You know that's not the way it is. Most of you have an appointment with the doctor coming up soon. If you don't you better get one or you can't get in. You lick communicable diseases, yes. Like diphtheria, small pox, and so forth for the most part, but they keep breaking out too. But we have not licked the degenerative diseases like cancer and heart problems and multiple sclerosis, and diabetes and others. They get worse every year. We spent millions to try to find some magical pill and we don't realize that we're doing it to ourselves. We have polluted this planet that God made, the air, the water, the soil, consequently the food. The process which is now carried out before the food goes on the grocery shelves of the supermarket involves putting poison into almost everything. Though they don't call it that, they call it a nice name like, preservatives. So your bread doesn't get moldy. What's in that to keep it from getting moldy like it used to when I was a boy? It's the equivalent to a pinch of arsenic. They call it calcium phosphate. It's poison enough to kill any worm that tries to grow on that bread or any mold. So you eat the bread, but you don't fall over dead because God made you so wonderfully that you can throw off that calcium phosphate for awhile, and so the Food and Drug administration says, "Well, that's all right, that doesn't hurt you. Look, a lot of people are eating bread. Nobody falls over dead when they eat bread, so it must be all right." So we eat that calcium phosphate for 20 years. Along with that you eat a dozen, maybe a hundred other poisons. Every food that has a preservative has it. After awhile the body can't take it anymore. It has exhausted its resources, it's throwing off all these poisons you're putting in and somewhere somehow within the body the panic button is pushed. The cells decide instead of fighting off the poisons that are going to kill them, they just grow so fast that they will out-grow the work of the poison in killing them. So the cells multiply wildly and you know what that is- that's cancer.
The laboratory will induce cancer at will, by putting x-rays in white mice, or smearing their throats with nicotine. They take it away at will with large doses of vitamin C, but don't tell the Food and Drug administration, they won't believe it. I better quit or I'll be lecturing you on health foods. They call me a health nut, but then I don't have any aches and pain. The Lord has given me good health. I found out that in soybeans is a very valuable product called lecithin which homogenizes the cholesterol from the artery walls. A doctor told me I had the blood pressure of a man of 24. He didn't see what I did, and I wouldn't tell him. He wouldn't believe me if I told him, but the fact remains that man has polluted his planet, and he has brought down the curse upon himself, and the epidemics are increasing. You know it. Every year more people are getting heart attacks. A doctor friend of mine told me you used to expect men to die with heart attacks in their 50's and 60's. Now it's down. He said it came down in the 40's then the 30's, now it's in the 20's. The average American male at the age of 20 already has a good case of hardening of the arteries. Then he gave me a physical examination, and couldn't believe I was so healthy. He said, "I think you'll be surprised when you take your cholesterol account." I said, "No I won't, I'm expecting it to be low." I asked him if he knew anything about lecithin. He said, "No."
Jesus said, "In the end of the age there will be an increase of epidemics." It's happening. And we know it, and if we lick one there will be another. That's the way it works.
"...and earthquakes..." (Matt. 24: 7)
Jesus said, "There would be an increase of earthquakes." That is something that's phenomenal. Anyone who has studied earthquakes will have to agree that this is ah, well, which word should I use? I wanted to say alarming, but that's not the right word because if you were trusting Christ you don't worry about things that are in His hand and everything is in His hand. But the fact is that when you study the statistics to show how earthquakes have increased, and you have a chart, as I have, which I use when I talk on this subject, along with the graph that just goes up like that, and in the last decade or two it goes through the roof. We are having earthquakes so fast now that we can't even keep up with the count of 500,000 earthquakes every year. Then I studied scientific data concerning the planet earth, and if I didn't know the Lord, it would make me nervous.
This is Pennsylvania Dutch country and I can describe a kettle of mush and you know what I'm talking about. But if you didn't know, well, I'm sorry you missed some of the good things of life. My mother used to cook a kettle of mush in a big black kettle, and in the evening we would have mush and milk for supper. Then she would let it cool, she would slice it, and fry it in the morning for breakfast. Some of you were there; you know how it works. Well, when the kettle of mush was cooling you know a hard skin would form on the top, and it was kind of fascinating to us boys when mother wasn't watching you just take your finger and push it up and down. Not pressing too hard so your finger would break through or you would burn it in the hot mush. This old earth is like a kettle of hot mush. The whole inside of it is a boiling cauldron of liquid boiling rock! I stood on the edge of a volcano in Hawaii and looked down and saw the bubbling, firing, molten rock, and I said to myself that's the closest to hell I ever want to be. I missed the volcano exploding by a half hour, for which I was sorry. I wanted to see it flair up, as it was doing. By the time I got there it was down. But here was this enormous crater, this great big pit, and down there was hot boiling mush. Well, not mush, but rock. And to think the whole inside of the earth is like that, and we just have a thin crust on top, and we're walking around on top like ants on a kettle of hot mush. The inside of the earth is beginning to churn as the God of Creation is beginning to get ready to demonstrate His wrath upon a world that has rejected Him! They are preparing to build a world church that will end up worshipping the devil! God's mighty power, the forces of creation, are beginning to go into convulsions. As the earth begins to churn it breaks through here and it breaks through there. We have a volcano here, and we have an eruption there, we have a terrible situation involving hundreds of thousands of earthquakes! Jesus said, "That's the way it's going to be." I'm telling you that is the way it is. I'm only saying that everything the Bible talks about is shaping up in one way or another. Here it is, read it in the newspapers. It all points to the fact that Jesus is coming soon! Well, I'm taking too long in this portion, we must hurry on.
The Events That Take Place That Point to the Rapture
Now Jesus answered the question, "What's it going to be like when You come again?" Well, He said, "Here's what it's going to be like." Then He rehearsed those things and then He said, "Now look carefully," "All these are the beginning..." (Matt. 24: 8).
Beginning of what?
"...beginning of sorrows." (Matt. 24: 8)
Now He's moving into the tribulation period. They don't even understand the fact that He's going to leave them, and He doesn't try to clearly distinguish between the Rapture and the Revelation. But He does do it so clearly that I think we must see it. Let me draw a line here on this imaginary blackboard for you. Now the adults can't see some things like this, but the youngsters can see it. So if the adults don't know what it's all about you ask the kids afterwards, they can use their imagination. There's a blackboard, an imaginary blackboard, you can see it in your mind if you look. I'm going to draw a line on it. I start here and draw a line. I don't know just how long to draw it because I don't know when the next event comes, but right here we are and let's call that date 33 A.D. That's when Jesus was talking to the disciples. They looked ahead in time and they said, "Tell us what it's going to be like out there at that point when You return?" He didn't say how long it was. Nobody knows. But they want to know what it's going to be like for those few years just before You come. What's it going to be like? Jesus said, "In the lifetime of one man these things are going to happen.". Then He named them. (See Matthew 24: 3, 4 - 7, 34.). Then He went on into the period that follows the Rapture, and He begins it right here (Matt. 24: 8). We have passed the Rapture in His talking now, and we're going into the seven year period of the tribulation.
The Beginning of the Tribulation Period
Verses 8 - 13,
The Jews Will be Saved by Endurance
That has nothing to do with the age of grace. Endurance is not a necessity for salvation. We are saved by faith in Christ alone. He saved us. He keeps us. We cannot keep ourselves. If it depended on us there isn't a single person who could go to heaven. On the cross He said, "...It is finished..." (John 19: 30). You give yourself to Him. He causes you to be born into the family of God. He seals you by the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption, and Peter says, "We're kept by His power (I Pet. 5: 5)." So what is He talking about? "...he that...[endured to] the end..." (Read Matthew 24: 13.). We're in the tribulation period and He's talking about the Jews during that period. You must read all the other things that He says about it and then you discover that during that period there will be an awful lot of them killed, but He's going to seal a hundred and forty-four thousand. You may take it figuratively or literally anyway it comes out the same way, a vast multitude. He is going to preserve the kinsmen of Jesus so they will go through this awful period and not be destroyed by the plagues. To make sure they (the Jews) will be here when He (Jesus) comes because the prophets say, "Israel must be the head, and not the tail." Israel is going to be the leading nation of the world. If that is true, there must be some Jews here to make sure they are here. In Revelation 7 we read how He seals them.
And then He (God) says,
At that time when He comes in mighty power the Jews shall, "...look on Him [on Him, Jesus] whom they had pierced...". (Read Zech. 12: 10. See also Rev. 1: 7.).
And then the veil will be removed and the prophet continues, "...and they shall mourn for Him, as...[an] only son...". (See Zech. 12: 10.).
Finally, they will know who He (Jesus) is, they will weep because He died, but they will accept Him. Now put those verses alongside of what Paul said to the Romans. When he said, "And when the deliverer comes to Zion all Israel shall be saved." (See Rom. 9: 27, 10: 12, 11: 26 - 27.).
You put all those verses together and this is the picture. When the Lord comes in mighty power to reign every Jew who is alive will receive Jesus as the Messiah and they will be saved. Most of them will die during the tribulation period. It's called "...the time of Jacob's trouble..." (Jer. 30: 7). It is the most awful period of human history for the Jews. Jesus said so. But those (Jews) that are still alive, those Jews that endure to the end through this period, when they look on Him (Jesus), if they haven't already been saved, every last one will be saved, when Jesus comes at the end of the tribulation period. That's what this verse means. It has to do with the tribulation period, and so does verse 14, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Matt. 24).
The Gospel of the Kingdom
It is a mistake to use that verse in connection with our mission program now. Yes, we're under marching orders. Yes, we should take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Yes, we should do all that we possibly can, and God will bless any individual and any church that does. To get the gospel out to all creatures everywhere, that's what Jesus commanded, and He expects us to use our every resource to accomplish it. But this verse has to do with the tribulation period and has nothing to do with now. The gospel of the kingdom, that's not what we preach. We preach the gospel of grace. All men are sinners. God loves us. He doesn't want us to perish. So He sent His Son to die in our place, and if we'll accept Him by faith, He will save us and take us to heaven. "...Christ died for our sins..." (I Cor. 15: 3), the gospel of grace (Acts 20: 24) (See also Eph. 2: 5.). The gospel of the kingdom is this. Everybody repent and get ready. The King is coming. And do you know who's going to preach it?
Two heavenly witnesses. I think it's Moses and Elijah, though I can't prove it. You read it in the book of Revelation (Rev. 12). A surprise to some of you, at least if you're not Bible students you will not know this. Three angels. You know, I bet right now the angels would just love to be turned loose. They say to God, "Well look at those preachers down there, and those missionaries and those Christians, they really aren't doing much. Let us go, God, we could tell everybody in one night." God says, "No, that's such a wonderful message, I have given them the privilege of telling the good news." I'm just sure it's hard for the angels to take that we aren't getting it done. So one of these days, just like that, we're going to go to heaven and then God's going to turn them loose. In Revelation 14 you read about it. Three angels will fly around the world. In one night they can tell the world. They don't need to take language lessons. Everybody will hear and the voice of the angel will be very clear, and the message shall be very clear. "Get ready, repent, the King is coming. This one who is setting himself up as Christ is not Christ. He's a phony, don't worship him." If you do take the mark of the beast and worship the Devil's christ, the Antichrist, this is what the angel says, "You thereby irrevocably forever seal your doom in Hell. Anybody who worships the Antichrist by taking his mark can never be saved." That's what the angel says. The gospel of the kingdom is going to be preached in the whole world and every ear on earth will hear it. But it will be in the tribulation period.
The Middle of the Tribulation Period
Let's go on, verse 15 brings us right in the middle of that period. We were at the beginning, and you ought to mark that at verse 8, the beginning of the tribulation.
The abomination of desolation standing in the holy place is the image of the Antichrist. In Revelation 13 we read that the image of the Antichrist is set up in the newly built temple of Jerusalem. They don't have the temple yet, but they will have it, some time between now and the middle of the tribulation period. I'm inclined it will be when the Antichrist guarantees them security, and it will be in the beginning of the tribulation, that's what I believe, but I can't prove it. All I do know for sure is that it will be there in the middle of the period because Daniel says in the middle of that seven- year period the image of the Antichrist will be set up, and he calls it, the abomination of desolation. Jesus is saying to the Jews when you see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place then there's something you ought to do, and you ought to do it fast. What is it? Flee! Don't stay to worship that image, and you know the Jews won't. They did once, worship images, and God sent them off into captivity, but they were cured in Babylon. They will never again worship idols. They will never again burn babies. This time when the image of the Antichrist is set up, they will know he's a phony, they will turn and they will flee. We read about that in chapter 12 of Revelation. It says that God has a place prepared for them in the wilderness and I think that's Petra down in the country of Jordan. I would love to talk about that because that's a fascinating subject. I like to go there, and take people there and lecture there, but we can't do that now, we must go on.
Chapter 24 of Matthew verse 15,
Then He (Jesus) stops to say,
Well, you need someone to explain it, who has put all the verses together. That's why people come to church to hear me because God has sent me to go and preach it.
The Jews Are Hid in the Wilderness the Last 3½ Years
Verse 16, Then He says, "...flee...".
"Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains:"
This has nothing to do with the Rapture, nothing to do with going to heaven. This is in the middle of the tribulation. God says to the Jews when the image of the Antichrist is set up. He knows that the Jews will not worship the image, and the Antichrist is going to turn on them and try to kill them. Everybody who's up on the mountain and is trying to come into the house or to get back to the city and into his house to get something, the Antichrist will catch him. So, Jesus is warning them when that is set up in the temple in Jerusalem flee, run, as fast as you can!
"But pray ye that your flight (fleeing or scattering) be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day." (Matt. 24: 20)
Some have twisted that and brought the Rapture into that and that's wrong because that has nothing to do with it. It doesn't matter how cold it is when we go to heaven.
Tribulation the Great One
Verse 21, Jesus says,
You know the Bible says, "...In the world you will have tribulation:..." (See John 16: 33.), and people get this all mixed up. They try to make the Church go through the tribulation. Yes, in the world you will have tribulation and Christians of every age have had tribulation. In my lifetime they have had more tribulation. There have been more martyrs than in any previous period of history. Between the bloody war of the Kremlin, Joe Stalin, and the murders, something near a hundred million people have been killed by those brutal rulers. Many of them are Christians. Brutality, cruelty, torture, martyrdom, tribulation, Oh yes! Couldn't be worse. I have a marker here from a missionary in Vietnam. I was in a Bible conference where this dear lady was speaking, she was giving a missions report, and I was preaching, there were others too. She gave me that, and I prize it very highly. Christians made it in Vietnam, and it has the words Vietnam on it. She said there was a fine young pastor in Vietnam who had a growing church. In a short time he got a thousand people in his church. They were growing so fast they set a goal of a thousand more in the next year, and they were well on the way. Then the Viet Cong overran the church, and the area. They caught the pastor, took off all his clothes, and wrapped him in barbed wire. They rolled him on the ground, and pressed their big boots on the barbed wire to force it into his flesh. They dug a hole and rolled him in and buried him alive. Now that's about as horrible as anything you could talk about. It happened not too long ago.
So, yes, in the world Christians will have tribulation, but there is coming a day when it will be tribulation for all Christians everywhere on a worldwide scale for the first time in the history of man. And that's tribulation, the great one. It's the period of the outpouring of the wrath of God upon a world that is worshipping the devil and his christ, and the Christians will not be here. Yes, there will be a lot of tribulation martyrs, individuals who will accept Christ, they will be saved, and they will be killed. But the Bride of Christ, saved during the age of grace, is going up, every last one in the Rapture, praise God. But now we're talking about tribulation, the great one.
"And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." (Matt. 24: 22)
Jesus is not saying when He sees how horrible it is, He's going to change His mind and make it a little shorter than He planned. He has told us exactly how long it is. What He's saying is, except it is a shorter period nobody could live through it. If you read the story of the seven last plagues in chapter 16 of Revelation you'll understand why He (Jesus) said that, but I'm establishing the fact now that Jesus was describing signs of the end of the present age. Then He went into the beginning of the tribulation, and then He went to the middle of the tribulation. Verse 15, He was in the middle, and now He's beyond that, and pretty soon we'll be at the end of it!
Let me read it, verse 23,
"For there shall arise false Christ's, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." (Matt. 24: 24)
You know the Antichrist and his helper, the False Prophet, are going to call fire out of the sky to prove that they are God, and the world will believe it.
But Jesus says,
"Wherefore (therefore) if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not."
"For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." (Matt. 24: 26 - 27)
Now He's getting to the end of this tribulation period ready for the Revelation (His return to earth).
That's a picture of the battle of Armageddon. And of the vultures that come to eat the bodies of the horses and of mortals. And it takes place when He comes in mighty power in the Revelation.
The End of the Tribulation Period
Verse 29 says,
Will you mark the word after. Now I showed you where the beginning of the tribulation is. I showed you where the middle is, and now I'm showing you the end. The tribulation period is over. He has looked ahead in time. He has described the end of this age. He has gone into the tribulation beginning, middle, and end.
Verses 29 - 30,
That's the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the end of the tribulation period, when He comes with His bride to reign.
Jesus Begins to Talk About the Rapture Again
Now, will you look very carefully at the next word. It's very important. "Now...". Look at the blackboard again, will you? 33 A.D., Jesus looked ahead in time. The disciples said, "What's it going to be like at the end of the age (describe the lifetime of one man at the end of the age) just before You come?" (Matt. 24: 3) And Jesus began to list what it's like. And then He moved right over from that into the tribulation period, a period of seven years. And He talked about the beginning, He talked about the middle, He talked about the end. When it's all over, He said, "Now.". Then He comes right back with the word, "Now" to where He was, and He went back to the original question and started all over to explain the end of this present age. He is not now talking about the tribulation. He is talking about the Rapture. (See Matthew 24: 3 - 7, 32 - 34.).
The Fig Tree
Then we go to verse 32,
Well, any farmer knows that. But we believe that the fig tree here is a symbol of Israel. But He couldn't say that without destroying the doctrine of The Imminent Return of Christ. But we know it's true because wherever you read anything about Israel in the Bible, and how they're going to come back and when they're back they're going to have a King. You put it all together and you know that when they're back in the land the King has got to come, but the King can't come until there's a wedding in the sky. There can't be a wedding in heaven until the Bride leaves the earth, and that's the Rapture. So the Rapture has got to take place and then the King comes with His Bride to reign. So when Israel is back in the land you know that it's close. So, whether or not you're correct in saying the fig tree represents Israel. It comes out the same way in any case. And I'm saying, "The fig tree represents Israel."
You Can Know the Rapture is Near
Now verse 33 says,
I like that word, K.N.O.W. They don't know a thing about it in the universities. They think you can't know anything for certain, but Jesus said there's something you can know for certain.
"...when you see all these things, (then you) know it is near..."
Now, I'm asking you to use your own common sense. And tell me, what is the "it"?
"...when ye see all these things, (Signs of the end of the Age), know that it is near..." (Matt. 24: 33)
What is He (Jesus) talking about? Is He talking about the Revelation at the end of that seven-year period when He comes in mighty power? Well, it doesn't mean anything if He is because we know the length of the period, when that period starts. We can count off the days, and we know the day that He's coming. So why would He say in the later part of that period, "You'll see wars, famine, earthquakes, pestilence, and all these things, and then you know that it's near?" That doesn't make sense to me. They don't need that. They can count the days on the calendar. It's two times 1260 days. So when He's saying, "it", I insist He's talking about the Rapture. It's the only date we don't know. We know the Revelation, but we don't know the Rapture. I call to your attention that Luke said in giving an account of this same thing in Luke 21, "...when (all) these things begin then look up..." (because that's when you're leaving.). (See verse 28.). In the tribulation period they don't begin, they finish. They begin before the tribulation period. Well, maybe I shouldn't spend so much time on this, but I'm doing it because some of the very best theological schools in the country say that this whole chapter has to do with the Revelation, and I must disagree for reasons that I have explained, but you don't have to agree with me. You just have to read it for yourself and determine what it says to you.
The Spoken Generation
Now Jesus said in verse 34, "Verily I say unto you, This generation...".
The Greek says, "This same generation...".
"...shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." (Matt. 24: 34)
That's what I said awhile ago. The generation that is alive when the end times start will not have all passed off until the Lord comes, and then the tribulation is ushered in.
"Heaven and earth..." (Matt. 24: 35)
That's the atmospheric heaven.
"... and [the] earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away." (Matt. 24: 35)
Only God Knows the Day and the Hour of the Rapture
"But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven..." (Matt. 24: 36)
Well, they don't know the day and they don't know the hour, but you can know that those angels are watching the building program. When they see the mansions are all finished, they know the Bride's going to come soon. When they see preparation for the coronation, they know the Bride's going to show up to sing in the choir. When they see the preparation for the wedding all finished they know it must be close, and I'll venture to say the angels are excited in heaven. A great event is going to take place. Christ is going to catch up a few hundred million people from planet earth to be His Bride. You ought to be excited because you're going be in that number. Unless, of course, you have decided to reject Christ, and then, Oh, are you in for trouble. Because after we leave, the Antichrist will come to power, and it will be a day of outpouring of the wrath of a Holy God like the world has never seen. Jesus said so. The time of the tribulation, the great one. Well, Jesus says, "...of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only." (Matt. 24: 36).
"But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be."
"Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left."
Matthew 24 is at the door. The signs of the times that Jesus talked about indicating the end of the age are upon us. I am persuaded that's true, and we are leaving for heaven. Now we can't set a date, can't tell you which year. All I can tell you is that, when you look at the long streams of time called history we are right at the very door. There are so many other things, but that's sufficient for now.
As we conclude the message, is there someone who's getting nervous? This information ought to make you nervous, if you don't have a reservation for heaven, because we just might leave and you would be left behind. As a matter of fact, we will leave, but I don't know when. It's my job to tell you it's near and tell you to be ready so you'll not be left behind when the Lord comes. Is there anyone who has not accepted Christ, but you would like to do so, tell the Lord as we pray. (Some verses you can read, John 19: 30, 3: 16, 10: 27 - 28, Rev. 22: 17, 3: 20.).
Our heavenly Father, we praise and thank You for the way of salvation that is so plain and so simple, but so many people stumble over it, because it's too simple (of its simplicity). Somehow we think we have to do something to earn our way to heaven. We're not willing to rest in the finished work of Christ, and to acknowledge that He said, "It is finished." He said, "Whosoever will let him come and drink of the water of life freely. I know My sheep, they hear My voice, and I give unto them eternal life and they shall never, never perish. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." God, we thank You for the verses. Now I pray that if there is anyone who has never received Jesus by faith that they may do it now. Help them to realize that they are sinners lost and undone on their way to a devil's hell. There is no possible way in which they can save themselves. Help them to surrender their stubborn wills and say yes to Jesus, inviting the Savior to come in, and we know that He'll do it. Because He said, "I stand at the door and knock. If any man open I will come in." We have seen it so many times, Lord. We know that it works. We just pray that You will do it again and again and again. Don't let anyone go away unsaved. Oh God, I pray. Strengthen every believer in the faith and spare us all, helping us not to grow weary in well doing, knowing that in due time we shall reap if we faint not. God, stir Christians into action. Make missionaries out of us all. Help us to have a testimony for Christ. Help us to determine what it is that You have given us the ability to do, and help us to do it for Your glory, no matter what it may be. Grant that every person may also be in the center of Your will. So accomplish Thy purpose in each heart for Thy good and for Thy glory, we pray it in Jesus' name, Amen.
(Read John 3: 16, 10: 26 - 27, 19: 30, Rev. 3: 20, 22: 17.).
The Nathan Meyer Bible Prophecy Association (BPA)
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