Sunday, November 16, 2014

Text:  Matthew 24:29-31
Subject: “Joyful Anticipation of the End Times,” Part V
Introduction:
 
In our last message, we defined “the abomination that causes desolation” by answering four important questions.
1. Where is this important event first revealed in scripture? Daniel 9:24-27. From this text we see that “the abomination that causes desolation” occurs in the final seven (7) years of the four hundred and ninety (490) years that God decreed for the Jewish nation and the city of Jerusalem.  Four hundred and eighty three (483) of those years were fulfilled with the first coming of Jesus the Messiah. But the last seven (7) years will be completed with the second coming of Jesus. The last seven (7) years COULD NOT be fulfilled until Israel supernaturally became a nation again in 1948, after almost two thousand (2000) years of not being a nation,  and until the Jews miraculously retook control of Jerusalem again in 1967 for the first time since 70AD![1]
 
2. What is “the abomination that causes desolation?” II Thessalonians 2:1-4. Simply said, it will occur when the Antichrist (he will not be known as that by the world) breaks his seven year covenant (likely a seven year peace treaty that offers Israel security with her hostile Muslim neighbors) by going into the rebuilt Jewish Temple and proclaiming himself to be “God.” This will be an “abomination” to God when this takes place, and it will set in motion the most intense “desolation” that the earth has ever known! The Antichrist will make war on all who refuse to worship him as “God,” and God will release His judgments on all who do! This will be the Great Tribulation period.
 
3. When will “the abomination that causes desolation” take place? Daniel 9:27; Revelation 13:5. According to Daniel 9:27, it will take place at the midpoint of Daniel’s 70th week or in the middle of the last seven (7) years of the four hundred and ninety (490) years decreed for the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem. And Revelation 13:5 tells us that “the abomination that causes desolation” will last for forty two (42) months or three and one half  (3 ½) years.
 
4. What is the relevance of “the abomination that causes desolation” to the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus?
 
The short answer to that question is this: according to II Thessalonians 2:1-4 and Matthew 24:15, 29-31, the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus CANNOT take place UNTIL “the abomination of desolation” has occurred. That means that the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus will take place at THE END of the Tribulation Period and NOT BEFORE.
 
And as we said in our last message, how exciting and encouraging it will be to the Church when we see on the news “the abomination that causes desolation.” When the Antichrist walks into the rebuilt Jewish Temple and proclaims himself to be “God,” then we will KNOW that we are only three and one half years (3 ½), forty two months (42), and one thousand two hundred and sixty days (1260) away from being reconciled with loved ones who are already with the Lord; from receiving our new and eternal bodies and from seeing the Lord Jesus Himself!
 
“The abomination that causes desolation,” although the beginning of the most intense and difficult time the earth has ever known, will be an amazing sign that will actually give strength and hope to all of those who are looking for the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus!
 
As I have said in previous messages, the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus will be the most outwardly significant event that has happened since God spoke the time and space universe into existence. It will be, to say the very least, the most stunning revelation of the glory and power of God that the world has ever seen!
 
Let’s pray that God will now give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation to further see what He has planned for the end of the age.
 
I want to begin by trying to gain some sense of where the world will be when the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus takes place. What will the world look like when the Lord returns to the earth?
 
According to verse 29 of Matthew 24, it will be a time of “distress” on the earth. “Immediately AFTER the distress of those days . . .” the days that began with “the abomination that causes desolation”—when the Antichrist proclaims himself to be “God” in the rebuilt Jewish Temple. The actual Greek word for “distress,” is “thlipsis.” It is translated “tribulation” in the KJV. It means pressure, anguish, persecution and trouble. Again, this will be the last three and one half years (3 ½) of the final seven years prophesied in Daniel 9:27.
And as we saw in Revelation 13:5-8, “The Beast (Antichrist) was given a mouth to utter proud words and exercise his authority for forty two (42) months.  He opened his mouth to blaspheme God and to slander His Name and His dwelling place and those who live in Heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And He was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All the inhabitants of the earth will worship the Beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb slain from the creation of the world.”
 
The last world empire—the Beast kingdom led by the Beast or Antichrist—will negatively affect the whole world either directly or indirectly. Imagine ISIS or ISIL as a world empire and you will have a glimpse of the Antichrist kingdom that will be in power the last forty two (42) months of this age. It will be a time of “distress” in the world but especially in the Middle East. According to Revelation 12, Israel and the Church will be the two people-groups that will be the primary targets of the Antichrist. Even now, you can see the antichrist spirit at work in anti-Semitism and anti-Christian bias and persecution.
 
Now at the same time that the Beast or the Antichrist, who is claiming to be “God,” is causing such chaos and distress among the nations by trying to force the world to worship him, God is also sovereignly at work. How so? The book of the Revelation tells us that God is causing desolation for an unbelieving world by releasing divine judgment through seven (7) seals and seven (7) trumpets. (This is setting things up for the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus)
 
I’m going to very simply list them for you with only a brief explanation of what they are. It is not my intent here to go into a deep theological, exegetical explanation.
 
Revelation chapter six (6).   (The Lamb (Jesus) sovereignly breaks the seals!)
1. First Seal—the rider on the white horse, the Antichrist, is released to begin his mass deception of the world. His speech will be smooth, like Hitler, but war will be in his heart!
2. Second Seal—the red horse in which the rider takes peace away from the earth (war).
3. Third Seal—the black horse, famine.
4. Fourth Seal—the pale horse, death and hades where ¼ of the earth’s population is killed by war, famine, disease, and by the wild beasts of the earth.[2]
5. Fifth Seal—martyrdom, those who will be killed because of the Word of God and the testimony that they maintained.
6. Sixth Seal—an earthquake; the sun turning black and the moon blood red; the stars—could be comets and meteorites—falling from the sky; the sky itself being ripped open.
Many Bible commentators see these seals and their effects associated with nuclear war. However they may come and whatever they are, we know that one reason for them is the Antichrist claiming to be “God” and trying to force the world to worship him as such. However, we also know that these seals are the sovereign and divine judgments of God on an unbelieving and rebellious world. And as we will soon see, they are setting the stage for the stunning return of God’s Son and the Rapture of His Church at the end of the age.
 
After the release of the six seals, in Revelation seven (7), God sends His angels to seal the remnant of Israel who will be saved—thus fulfilling His promise that there will always be an Israel.[3] Beloved, “the abomination that causes desolation” will begin a very difficult time for the Jewish people. The Antichrist will do all that he can to wipe them off of the face of the earth! You can actually hear this satanic hatred daily in the news in the vitriolic speech of Islamic extremists. But the devil’s plan will not succeed![4]
 
7. Seventh Seal—this is the half hour of silence in Heaven. Many commentators believe that this is the “deep breath” before the intensity on earth goes to another level in the seven (7) trumpet judgments.
(The seventh seal and the seven (7) trumpet judgments begin in Revelation chapter 8. You have the seventh seal followed by a description of the church interceding before the seven (7) trumpets are sounded).
 
1. First Trumpet—in this judgment, one third (1/3) of the earth is burned with fire. Again, this could be nuclear war.
2. Second Trumpet—this is the judgment on the oceans and the sea life.
3. Third Trumpet—this is judgment on one third (1/3) of the fresh water supply.
4. Fourth Trumpet—judgment on the sun, moon, and stars and how that this judgment affects the people living on the earth.
5. Fifth Trumpet—judgment on all those who do not belong to God, possibly through some kind of modern warfare—perhaps through chemical weapons.
6. Sixth Trumpet—the release of a two hundred million (200,000,000) man army—possibly from China and Asia, with the result of one third (1/3) of mankind being killed.
 
It is in this context (“distress” and “desolation” in the world like never before) that will set the stage for the seventh (7) and final trumpet being sounded!
 
 
Revelation 10:5-7 “Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, ‘there will be no more delay. But in the days that the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery (what has not yet been known) will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.’”
 
Revelation 11:15,18 “The seventh angel sounded his trumpet,[5] and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Messiah, and He will reign forever and ever. . . v.18 The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your Name, both small and great—and for destroying those who destroy the earth.’”
 
Now let’s go to our text in Matthew 24:29-31. With the earth reeling from the Seal and Trumpet judgments—the atmosphere, land, water, and of course mankind profoundly impacted—possibly from nuclear exchange among the nations; with the Antichrist still trying to wipe out the Jewish remnant; and with a church that has been attacked relentlessly and ruthlessly by the Beast, it happens. The Seventh Trumpet sounds!
 
Matthew 24:30 “At that time. . . ” What time? (The time we have been describing in this message) “. . . The sign of the Son of Man (Jesus, the Messiah and Son of God) will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They WILL SEE the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a LOUD TRUMPET CALL[6] and they will gather His elect[7] from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” Try and imagine this climactic, stunning and world changing event if you possibly can?
 
Beloved, this is the Feast of Trumpets, the next feast to be fulfilled on God’s prophetic calendar.[8] And as we have said in a previous message, it will be judgment for the world but blessing and reward for the people of God—for both those who have fallen asleep as well as for those who are still alive on the earth when He comes.
 
 
 
Following the Feast of Trumpets, ten (10) days later, Jesus will save the remnant of Israel from the Antichrist, thus fulfilling the Day of Atonement! It is my belief that the Lord will begin in modern day Jordan (ancient Bozrah)[9] and move forward to Jerusalem,one hundred and twenty miles (120), pouring out the seven (7) bowls of wrath—the final seven (7) judgments of God—killing the armies of the Antichrist as He goes. He will then kill the Antichrist himself! Five days later, He will begin the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles and the beginning of the thousand (1,000) golden years of the earth being under the leadership of the Greater Solomon—Jesus Christ the Jewish Messiah!
 
I will conclude this message by telling you how that you can have joyful anticipation in the last of the last days (3 ½ years, 42 months, and 1260 days from the time of “the abomination that causes desolation”) in spite of the fact that this will be a time of “distress.”
 
1. First, as we have seen previously, the last days will end with the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus to save Israel and the Church.
2. Secondly, as we see the numbered judgments of the Seals and Trumpets being fulfilled before our very eyes we will know that the Feast of Trumpets will soon become a reality. Can you imagine the pure excitement and anticipation as we realize that the eternal plan of God is at the door! The Church will be a place of genuine purity and power in those climactic days! I don’t think holiness will be a problem!
3. Third, just to think that YOU will literally witness and EXPERIENCE the Rapture and Second Coming –whether from Heaven or on the earth—can and should fill you with joy unspeakable and full of glory!
 
Beloved, when Jesus returns at the end of the Tribulation Period and appears in the sky with great power and glory, and shouts or commands His New Creation to come forth, it will be the greatest event that the world has ever witnessed. And you and I will literally be part of it!
 
So yes, a thousand (1,000) times yes: we will have joyful anticipation in the end times! For the best, the very best is yet to come!
              




[1] Mark Twain once said, “If you want proof of God, look no further than the Jews.”

 

 


[2] With the current population of just over seven (7) billion people, that would mean that about 1.8 billion people would be killed.


[3] Genesis 17:7-8


[4] Romans 11:25-27


[5] Keep in mind that the number seven (7) in the Bible is the number of completeness.


[6] See further I Thessalonians 4:16; I Corinthians 15:52; Revelation 11:15.


[7] Of the twenty two (22) times this word is used in the NT, it is clear that it is referring to believers and not Israel.


[8] Jesus fulfilled, 1.Passover, 2.Unleavened Bread, 3. First Fruits, and 4. Pentecost, with His first coming.   


[9] Isaiah 63:1-6

Sunday, November 9, 2014


TEXT: Matthew 24:15-31

SUBJECT: Joyful Anticipation of the End Times, Part IV

INTRODUCTION:


This is the first part of a two part message from the above text. Our goal in this message is to define “the abomination that causes desolation” that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:15. This will be critical in understanding the timing of the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus.


Therefore, I will answer four important questions about this significant event. They are:

1.) Where, in scripture, do we first find “the abomination that causes desolation?”

          2.) What is it?

          3.) When does it occur?

          4.) What is its relevance to the Rapture and Second Coming?


By having a Biblical understanding about “the abomination that causes desolation,” the church will be better equipped to embrace the end times with a joyful anticipation!


Prayer: “Father God we humbly ask for the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Your Word that we might be the people that we need to be in these amazing days that are leading to the end of the age and the beginning of the New Creation in Christ Jesus. It is in His strong Name that we pray, amen.”


I. Question one: Where, in scripture, do we first find “the abomination that causes desolation?”


A. Daniel 9:24-27

1.) Verse 24 “Seventy sevens (490 years) are decreed for your people (The Jews) and your holy city (Jerusalem) to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy.”


It is my conviction that the end times cannot be properly understood without an understanding of the importance of Israel in biblical prophecy. To that end, may the Holy Spirit remove the veil that has been over the Church’s eyes concerning Israel and the end times!


In verse 24, there are six things prophesied that the Jewish Messiah (Jesus Christ) will fulfill. Although Daniel doesn’t make a distinction between the first and second coming of the Messiah in this text,  it is clear that Jesus fulfilled part of the above six things at His first coming and will fulfill the rest at His second coming. But that is not our subject in this message. Our focus here is to see how that this text lays the groundwork for discovering and understanding “the abomination that causes desolation.”


Keep in mind that the “seventy sevens” or 490 years is connected to the Jewish nation and the Jewish city of Jerusalem. (The Hebrew as well as the context of the prophecy makes it clear that this means years and not days).


2.) Verse 25 “Know and understand this: from the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the anointed one, the ruler, comes, there will be seven sevens (49 years) and sixty two sevens (434 years). It (Jerusalem) will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.”


This prophecy reveals that from the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the coming of the Messiah (Jesus), there would first be seven sevens and then sixty two sevens.


First, let’s do the math: 49+434= 483. That would be 483 years from the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah would come. The question then is this: when was that decree issued?


II Chronicles 36:22-23 “In the first year that Cyrus was king of Persia, in order to fulfill the Word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing: This is what Cyrus King of Persia says: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for Him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of His people among you may go up, and may the Lord their God be with them.” Note: the seven sevens (49 years) were fulfilled when Ezra led a company of Jews back to Jerusalem from captivity to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (Ezra 7:11-26).


According to historical sources, that decree was issued in the year 445 BC. Now if you go forward 483 years, you come to the year 38 AD. History shows that Jesus had to be born between 6 and 4 BC because Herod the Great who was alive when Jesus was born died in 4 BC. And remember that Herod, trying to kill the child Jesus, ordered that all male children who were two years old or younger (from the time that Jesus would have been born) should be killed. Therefore, this would put the birth of Jesus at 6 BC. So if you subtract 6 from 38, you get 32 AD! This would be the approximate year of when Jesus was crucified. And that leads us to Daniel 9:26


3.) Verse 26 “After the sixty two sevens, the Anointed One will be cut off and have nothing…”


The “Anointed One,” that is the meaning of “Christ” in the Greek, was rejected and crucified. He was “cut off,” and as far as Israel was concerned at that time,  He “had nothing.” The rejection and crucifixion of the Messiah was a huge event for the nation of Israel and the world!


As I alluded to previously, like so many other prophets, Daniel did not make a distinction between the first and second coming of the Messiah. He did not account for the time period between the two events. That was not an uncommon practice in the Old Testament prophets.


So what you have in verse 26 and verse 27 is the event of the first coming of Messiah and His crucifixion followed by the coming of the antichrist and his beast kingdom at the end of the age and prior to the second coming of Jesus. Verse 26 “. . . the people of the ruler who will come (the antichrist) will come and destroy the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary (the rebuilt Jewish Temple). The end will come with a flood: war will continue until the end and desolations have been decreed. Verse 27 He (the antichrist) will confirm the covenant with many for one seven (7 years). In the middle of the seven he (antichrist) will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the Temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”


In the final seven years of the 490 years decreed for the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem, the Antichrist will enter into a covenant with Israel only to violate that covenant after three and one half years (or in the middle of the seven) by ending Jewish sacrifices and offerings that have been restored for the first time since 70AD, and by doing something in the Jewish Temple that will be “the abomination that causes desolation.”


Before I move forward, I need to make a very important point here.  Someone may be saying, “a rebuilt Jewish Temple?”  “The restoration of Jewish animal sacrifices”? “It will never happen!”


May I remind you, this is exactly what people were saying prior to 1948 when Israel became a nation again for the first time in almost two thousand years! It will never happen!


And that is exactly what most people were saying prior to June 1967, when for the first time since 70AD, the Jews retook control of the holy city of Jerusalem!


Beloved, just as sure as Israel became a nation again in 1948, and just as sure as the Jews retook Jerusalem again in 1967, there will be a rebuilt Jewish Temple and there will be the restoration of animal sacrifices by the Jewish people!


O how the devil hates the Jewish people! Why? Because they are God’s symbol and witness to the world that God exists! And that is why that there will always be a Jewish people!!


II. Question two: What is the abomination that causes desolation?


A. II Thessalonians 2:1-4

“ Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (Second Coming) and our being gathered together to Him (Rapture), we ask you brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the Day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness (the Antichrist) is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in GOD’S TEMPLE, proclaiming himself to be God.”


According to this text, “the abomination that causes desolation,” which must come before the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus, is when the Antichrist or man of lawlessness( they are one and the same) goes into the REBUILT JEWISH TEMPLE and sets himself up and proclaims himself to be God! In the simplest terms, this will be “the abomination that causes desolation.”


So then, thus far, we have seen that “the abomination that causes desolation” first occurs in the book of Daniel, Daniel 9:24-27, and we have also seen what it is from II Thessalonians 2:1-4. Now let’s go to our next question.


III. Question three: When does it occur?


A.  Revelation 13:5

“The Beast (Antichrist) was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty two months.”


Forty two months is three and one half years and 1260 days based on the Jewish calendar.

These 42 months will be the last three and one half years of the Tribulation period—also known as the Great Tribulation. So that means that “the abomination that causes desolation” will occur in the middle of Daniel’s Seventieth Week or the final seven years of this age.


Daniel 9:27 “He (the Antichrist) will confirm the covenant with many for one seven. In the middle of the seven (3 ½ years; 42 months; 1260 days) he will put an end to sacrifice and offering and on a wing of the Temple he will set up the abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”


In simple and plain language, “the abomination that causes desolation” occurs at the midpoint of the seven year tribulation period.


Before I answer the fourth and final question in this message, I need to say one more thing about what “the abomination that causes desolation” is. First of all, it is called the “abomination” because it will be an abomination to God when the Antichrist goes into God’s Jewish Temple and proclaims himself to be “God.”


Secondly, the “desolation” occurs because the Antichrist will begin attacking and making war against anyone who opposes his claim of being God (this is the purpose of the mark of the beast); on the other hand, God will declare war on all of those who do worship the Antichrist and receive the mark of the beast!


The “abomination that causes desolation” will mark the beginning of what is known as the Great Tribulation. In Matthew 24:21-22, Jesus said this about this time period on the earth: “For then there will be great distress, UNEQUALED from the beginning of the world until now—and NEVER to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.”


Beloved, “the abomination that causes desolation” will be the most intense time that this world will ever know! And that leads to our last question in this message.


IV. Question four: What is the relevance of the abomination that causes desolation to the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus?


The answer to this question will set up our second message to you from Matthew 24:15-31 that will come next week.


          

In verse 15 of Matthew 24, Jesus said this, “So when you see standing in the Holy Place (the Holy of Holies in the Temple) the abomination that cause desolation, spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand” (those alive at that time).


In the following verses, Jesus goes on to tell the people living in Israel at that time—especially those living in Judea where Jerusalem and the Temple are located—to flee!


Then down in verses 29-31 Jesus tell us what will happen at the END of the Great Tribulation[1] which began at “the abomination that causes desolation” in the middle of the Tribulation period or Daniel’s Seventieth Week ( the last seven years of the 490 years).


Verses 29-31: “Immediately AFTER the distress of those days, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. AT THAT TIME, the Son of Man (Jesus—the Messiah) will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky and with power and great glory. And He will send His angels WITH A LOUD TRUMPET CALL and they will gather His elect[2] from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”


Beloved, according to the above scripture, Jesus will return and rapture His Church at the END of the Great Tribulation period that begins in the middle of the final seven years of this age with “the abomination that causes desolation.”


And as it is in I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and I Corinthians 15:50-58, this will be the fulfilment of the Feast of Trumpets. Matthew 24:31 “And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”


We will take a closer look at this stunning event next week, but I will close this message to you with these thoughts.


1. Where does the abomination that causes desolation first appear in scripture? In Daniel 9:24-27—Daniel’s Seventieth Week (The last seven years of the 490 years decreed for the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem).



2. What is the abomination that causes desolation? II Thessalonians 2:1-4. It is the Antichrist proclaiming himself as “God” in the rebuilt Jewish Temple.


3. When does it occur? Revelation 13:5. In the middle of the seven year tribulation period—in the middle of Daniel’s Seventieth Week—at the three and one half year mark, 42 months, or 1260 days.


4. What is its relevance to the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus? Matthew 24:15-31. It tells us that Jesus will return and rapture the Church at the end of the Great Tribulation period that began with “the abomination that causes desolation.”


Now, these four questions may have left someone with this question: Where is the joyful anticipation in all of this?


Beloved, when we see on the news that “the abomination that causes desolation” has taken place in the rebuilt Jewish Temple, in the city of Jerusalem, by the man who signed a seven year covenant or agreement with the nation of Israel, we will KNOW that we are only three and one half years away from the Feast of Trumpets—the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus. . .


. . .only 42 months away from being reconciled with our loved ones who are in heaven and who Jesus will be bringing with Him. . .


. . . and only 1260 days away from receiving a new and glorified body as the fulfillment of being a new creation in Christ Jesus. . .


. . . and best of all, 3 ½ years, 42 months and 1260 days away from seeing the face of the Lord Jesus Himself!!!


ALTAR/PRAYER

Father God, we humbly ask you to fill us with joyful anticipation of what it will mean to know that we are so close to the Feast of Trumpets—and all that that will mean! Amen!




[1] Matthew 24:21 NKJV
[2] From the 22 times that the Greek word for “elect” is used in the New Testament, it is clear that this is referring to believers and not Israel.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

TEXT: I Corinthians 15:50-58
Subject:  Joyful Anticipation of the End Times, Part III
Introduction:

In today’s message I want to drill down a little deeper into what will happen at the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus at the end of the age. Specifically, we will deal with the transformation of the Old Creation into the New Creation.

It is of foundational importance to understand that through the death and resurrection of Jesus God is reconciling back to Himself what was lost at the fall of man in the very beginning.
This understanding is critical if we are to be able to comprehend and walk in joyful anticipation of the amazing and spectacular transformation that will occur at the Rapture and Second Coming!

Prayer: Father-God, we ask for the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Your Word.  It is in Jesus strong and powerful Name, Amen.

I. The Fall of the First Adam and First Creation

When the Son of God became a man two thousand years ago through the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, He literally became a part of the fallen, human race which began with the sin of  Adam and Eve—the first man and woman.

Although Jesus was without sin, He yet fully identified Himself with sinful man by becoming a man.

Now keep in mind that when the first man sinned and fell in the Garden of Eden, he BECAME a sinner and was therefore separated from a Holy God. Consequently, everyone that has been born into the human race is born a sinner and separated from God.

Sinning doesn’t make us a sinner; rather we sin because we are sinners. Have you ever noticed that you don’t have to teach children how to sin? It comes natural!

And the judgment of God on the sinful human race is death.  As the Scripture says, “the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23)

Simply said, the human race is broken and man can’t fix it. The law, although holy and good, cannot fix the sin or the sinner. Quite the contrary, as Paul said, the law convinces us of just how sinful we are! (Romans 5:20)

For that reason, the old creation that began with the first Adam (and Eve) and which became sinners through disobedience MUST BE put to death.

II. The Last Adam and the New Creation

It is precisely at this point of “hopelessness” that the Son of God enters the human race as
“the Last Adam.” (I Corinthians 15:45)

So what began with the Old Creation and the First Adam must end with the Last Adam.
Let me say it another way: the Old Creation that began with the First Adam, because of sin, must end in death with the death of the Last Adam—even the Son of God!

What began in the Garden of Eden with the sin of the First Adam ended at the cross with the death of the Last Adam who was the Lord Jesus.

In effect, with the death of Jesus on the cross, the Old Creation that had been ruined with sin was put to death—“the wages of sin is death!” This was and is the only remedy for sin and the sinner—death.

However, and here is the beauty of the Gospel, after the Passover when Jesus died on the cross as the Last Adam; and after they had placed His Unleavened Body into the grave (He died for our sins and not His own because He was in nature sinless), three days later on Sunday morning, the day of the Feast of First Fruits, He was raised from the dead as the first fruits of those who have “fallen asleep.” (I Corinthians 15:23)

And at His resurrection, Jesus Christ was raised up as the BEGINNING OF THE NEW CREATION OF GOD! First Fruits means that there are more to follow! That includes you and me!!

Beloved, this is a very powerful truth that must be understood if we are to fully grasp the significance and glory of the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus at the end of this age.

Why is that Pastor? Because it is the foundation as well as the requirement in order for God to be able to fulfill what He has planned on the Feast of Trumpets. Let me show you why.

(1). First, the Old Creation had been ruined by sin and had to be put to death—that was the only remedy. That requirement was fulfilled on the Feast of Passover when the Son of God, as the Last Adam, died on the cross.
(2). Secondly, the only One who could fulfill the role of the Last Adam was He who was without sin. He could die for our sins because He Himself was sinless. He was the Unleavened Bread that came down from Heaven to fulfill God’s Feast of Unleavened Bread.
(3). Third, because He was without sin His body did not see decay. (Acts 2:25-32) So on the third day, after Passover and Unleavened Bread, on the Feast of First Fruits, the Lord Jesus was raised from the dead as the first of the New Creation of God!
(4). Fourth, fifty days later, on the Feast of Pentecost, the Lord poured out the Holy Spirit on the 120 in the upper room, and hence, the official beginning of the Church.

Subsequently, everyone who has been born again since that day has become a part of the New Creation of God through the New Birth by the Person and power of the Holy Spirit. “If anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation; the old has gone and the new has come.” (II Corinthians 5:17)

So then, where does that bring us? What is next on God’s prophetic calendar? It brings us to the next Feast of God, The Feast of Trumpets.

III. The Feast of Trumpets and the Transformation from the Old to the New

The Feast of Trumpets is the Rapture and the Second Coming of Jesus at the end of the Tribulation period. (I will make this clear from scripture in my next message)

Also, as I said to in my last message, this will be the most stunning act and revelation of God since He spoke the universe into existence! If we think that the First Creation of God was spectacular—and it was—I can hardly wait until He brings about His New Creation at the Feast of Trumpets!

Joyful anticipation? Absolutely!

Hopefully what we have said has laid a good enough foundation to be better able to grasp the revelation that the Holy Spirit gave Paul in our text.

1. Verse 50 “ I declare to you brothers, that flesh and blood (the Old Creation) cannot inherit the Kingdom of God (the New Creation), nor does the perishable (Old Creation) inherit the imperishable (New Creation that began at the empty tomb).
2. Verse 51 “Listen, I tell you a mystery ( Greek—musteerion)—not something “spooky,” but rather something that has not been revealed or made known before. We will not all sleep—those who have died will not remain dead or “asleep.” Rather, we will all be changed (made into something different is the idea of the Greek here). We will no longer be the Old Creation but we will be changed into the New Creation.
3. Verse 52  “in a moment (or in a flash), “in the twinkling of an eye”—quicker that a blink of an eye, “at the last trumpet.” (The Seventh Trumpet in Revelation 11:15-19)
“At the last trumpet,” is a reference to the Feast of Trumpets. It is here that all of those who have become a New Creation in Christ—whether in spirit-form or still alive on earth in the Old Creation body—will instantly be changed or transformed from the Old Creation into the New Creation of God!

“For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable “( with a New Creation body no longer subject to the death in the Old Creation body) “and we will be changed.”

4. Verse 53  “For the perishable (Old Creation of Adam) must clothe itself with the imperishable (the New Creation body like that of Christ) and the mortal (first Adam) must put on immortality (Christ—the New Creation)

5. Verse 54  “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal has put on immortality, THEN the saying that is written will come true: Death (Adam and the Old Creation) has been swallowed up in victory (Christ and the New Creation).

6. Verse 55 “Where O death is your victory? Where O death is your sting?” Beloved, it will be at that moment on the Feast of Trumpets—at the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus—that we will speak these Words of God with God’s authority!
7. Verse 56 “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.” (God’s righteous requirements that no one can meet)
8. Verse 57 “But thanks be to God: He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The victory that the Apostle Paul is here referring to is the death of Jesus as the Last Adam (He paid the wages of sin for us); the resurrection of Jesus as the beginning of the New Creation (His resurrection is our guarantee of also being raised up); and the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus when we receive our New Creation bodies like His very own!
9. Verse 58 “Therefore (because of what we have in Christ both now and especially in the future), my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
Let me paraphrase: Don’t ever give up friends; for we know that as New Creations in Christ, the best, the very best, is yet to come!
CONCLUSION

Beloved, as those who are New Creations in Christ Jesus, knowing that you are going to receive a new body like the body of the Lord when He returns and raptures you on the Feast of Trumpets at the end of the age, how can you not be living with the joyful anticipation of that day?

PRAYER

Father God, we humbly ask that you would fill us with the revelation of what we will inherit at the Rapture and Second Coming of the Lord Jesus. Help us to see it and keep it before the eyes of our heart so that our joy in what is ours in Christ will be a witness to those in our circle of love. In the strong Name of Jesus we pray, amen!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

TEXT: I THESSALONIANS 4:13-18
SUBJECT: JOYFUL ANTICIAPATION OF THE END TIMES, PART II
INTRODUCTION:

In our first message from this text, we preached on the “Great Family Reunion” that God has planned for the end of the age. This will be for all of those who are in Jesus—including those who have died or have “fallen asleep” in Him—and  will take place at the Rapture and Second Return of Jesus at the end of the Tribulation Period. The Great Shepherd of the Church inspired the Apostle Paul to use the tender phrase, “fallen asleep” when referring to those who had died, to make it clear that they were not dead, only sleeping! Consequently, on “That Day,” or “The Day,” of the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus, those who have died and are now in Heaven with God will be returning back to the earth with Him to be reconciled with those in Christ who will be alive on the earth at that time.

It will be quite the event to say the least!

This is a day that the eternal God has been looking forward to for a long time, and He has been moving all things toward this day since the beginning. It will be the central focus of the Day of the Lord. To say that this event will leave the whole world at a loss for words would be the understatement of all time. This spectacular revelation that has been in God’s mind from the eternal past and was set in motion at the creation of the heavens and earth will leave all who witness it—including angels and demons—stunned at the greatness of God!

Just think of it, all of the saints—going back to Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Paul, Peter, John and every generation of believers up to that time, including our loved ones who have fallen asleep in Jesus—will be returning to this earth with the Son of God and the holy angels! Beloved, there will not have been anything like this since the moment that God spoke the universe into existence!

If you are saved and are glad that you will be a part of it, would you say a good amen?

So in our first message to you from this text, we focused on vv. 13-15 and the sheer joy of the hope that we have as believers in being reconciled with our loved ones when they are awakened from their sleep in Jesus.

In part two of this message, we will focus on the event itself and how God will bring it about. Again, it will be breathtaking! And if you will embrace it by faith, it will fill you with a joyful anticipation of the end times and set you free from fear and dread.

 I. Let’s begin with verse 16: “For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command (or shout), with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.”

This stunning event of Almighty God—the Rapture and Second Return of Jesus—will be revealed in three powerful ways:  (1).The loud command or shout of the Lord, (2).The voice of the archangel, and (3).The trumpet call of God.

(1). The Rapture and the Lord’s Second Return will begin with the loud command or shout of the Lord Jesus Himself.

A.) To help get a visual of how this amazing event will look, I want to take you back to the ascension of Jesus into heaven after His bodily resurrection from the dead and after His appearances to His disciples for over a period of forty days.
1. Acts 1:9-11, “After He said this, He was taken up before their eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight. They were looking up intently into the sky as He was going, when suddenly two men (angels) dressed in white stood beside them. Men of Galilee, they said, why do you stand here looking up into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.”

a.) Notice that the angels said, “This same Jesus” will return. That very simply means that the “same Jesus” who became a man through the virgin Mary; the “same Jesus” who gave His life on the cross to pay for our sins; the “same Jesus” who was raised from the dead with a physical body; and the “same Jesus” who appeared to His disciples for 40 days after He had been raised from the dead and who ascended into Heaven from the Mount of Olives in bodily form will also return back to the earth in bodily form—this “same Jesus!”
b.) And this “same Jesus” will return to the earth in the “same way” that you have seen Him go into Heaven. When Jesus returns, He will do so in physical and VISIBLE form—in the “same way” that he was taken up from the Mount of Olives. It will not BE HIDDEN OR DONE IN SECRET! Rather, it will all unfold in plain view for all the world to see—in real time.

Beloved, when the Lord Jesus splits the sky, it will be the most dynamic act of God that this world has ever witnessed!

The point that I am trying to convey here is that the Rapture and Second Return of the Lord will not be done in a corner or where no one can see it. God hasn’t waited this long for this moment only to hide it. No way!!!
This event will be the display of the raw power of the Almighty God! And that raw demonstration of God’s power, when Jesus descends from heaven, will begin with the loud command or shout of the Lord.

The question is this: what is the loud command or shout of the Lord?

Before I offer an answer to that question, I do so with this caveat: no one can fully comprehend what it will be like to hear this loud command or shout of the Lord since no one has ever experienced it. Just as no human being can describe that first grandeur moment of creation when God brought the universe into existence, so too can no one describe the moment when the Lord descends into our atmosphere with a loud command or shout.

With that said, according to the Greek word translated “loud command,” or “shout” (keleusmati), the meaning here is associated with a victorious King riding into battle with his army. As the Lord Jesus, along with those who have fallen asleep and with the angel army, leaves the third heaven and breaks into the material heavens—into our air on terra-firma—He will give the loud command or shout of the King of Kings! It will be a shout that will shake both the heavens and the earth. And it will be the Divine announcement to all of those on the earth that everything is about to change, FOREVER!

The Holy Spirit gave John a glimpse of this staggering truth in Revelation 19:11-16 “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called faithful and true. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has a name written on Him that no one knows but He Himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His Name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike the nations. He will rule them with an iron scepter. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On His robe and His thigh He has a name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

This incredible and supernatural scene unfolds first with the loud command and shout of the Lord as He breaks into our atmosphere for the first time since He ascended from the Mount of Olives. Not to be overly simplistic, but it will truly be “the shout heard around the world!”

“When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, my God, how great thou art.”
(2). The second way that the Rapture and Second Return of the Lord will unfold will be with the voice of the archangel.

As with the last point about the loud command or shout of the Lord, no one can define what the “voice of the archangel” will actually sound like. Nor does the Bible indicate which archangel it will be, Michael or Gabriel.

But the real point is this: at this momentous event of the Rapture and Second Return of the Lord, it is only fitting that the highest in the angelic hierarchy should be present and involved. So along with the shout of the Lord, this mighty archangel adds his voice to this heart-stopping revelation of God’s Son!

I’ve never heard an archangel’s voice, but I will on that day. As with the loud command or shout of the Lord, I look forward with joyful anticipation to that mighty sound from the archangel at the end of this age announcing the Rapture and Second Return of the Lord.

(3).The third way in which the Rapture and Second Return of the Lord will unfold will be with the “trumpet call of God.”

There is little doubt in my mind that the Rapture and Return of the Lord will happen on the Feast of Trumpets. Just as sure as Jesus fulfilled the first four Feasts of God to the very day, 1.Unleavened Bread, 2.Passover, 3. First Fruits, and 4. Pentecost, He will fulfill the last three of God’s seven Feasts to the very day—5.Feast of Trumpets, 6.Day of Atonement, 7. Feast of Tabernacles.

The Lord will fulfill the Feast of Trumpets at the Rapture and Second Return. Ten days later on the Day of Atonement He will save the Remnant of Israel from the Antichrist, and five days later He will commence the Feast of Tabernacles which will lead into the Millennial Reign of Jesus over all the earth. (For a more comprehensive explanation of the Seven Feasts of God, please visit my blog: warriorprophet.blogspot.com and reference my post from February 23, 2012 “The Seven Prophetic Feasts of God.”) There can only be one fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets as it is with the other Feasts of God. Therefore, the Rapture and the Second Return of the Lord occur at the same time—at the end of the Tribulation period! (See Matthew 24:15-31 for the timing of this event)

Along with the loud command or shout of the Lord and the voice of the archangel being that of a victorious King and His heavenly army, the sounding of the trumpet call of God—in keeping with the meaning of the Feast of Trumpets—is God announcing to the world to prepare for judgment. [1]

However, if the sounding of the trumpet means judgment for a rebellious and unbelieving world, it is for the Church the announcement of God gathering the faithful in Christ to be rewarded and blessed because of His Divine mercy! I will more fully develop the timing and meaning of the Rapture and Second Return in subsequent messages, but for our purposes in this message I will close with what is revealed in vv. 16-18

When the Lord Jesus comes from the third heaven (a dimension that we as yet have not experienced) with those who have fallen asleep in Him and with the holy angels, as He enters our physical heavens with a loud command or shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, something spectacular is going to happen for all of those who are true believers in Jesus.

First, “the dead in Christ will rise first” (v.16). As our text says, God will bring with Jesus all of those who are in spirit form and will raise up their new and glorified bodies to be united with their spirits! This all will happen with the shout of the Lord, the voice of the archangel and the trumpet call of God. God’s great power will accomplish this amazing event!

Although this will happen “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,”(see further I Corinthians 15:51-52) I believe that their ascent into the sky will be slow and very VISIBLE just like the ascent of Jesus from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:9-11).

Secondly, v.17 “After that, (the dead in Christ having been raptured) we who are alive and are left will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”

Once the dead in Christ are raptured up, then those believers who are still alive will also be raptured up to meet them and the Lord in the air or sky above the earth.

What a scene! What a spectacular event! Again, not since God created the universe has there been anything close to this! Beloved this is THE DAY OF DAYS!

And the call of the Spirit today is that we would be stunned with the anticipated beauty, hope and glory of the Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus at the end of the age! God wants us to be overwhelmed with what He has planned for us in the end times. The Lord desires that we embrace the events of the end times with joyful anticipation.

So once again Church, the end times are not the end for those who are in Jesus. Rather, what will be the end for the rebellious and unbelieving world will truly only be the BEGINNING for those who are in Christ Jesus the Messiah.

It is for that reason that the Apostle Paul can say to the Thessalonian Church and to us today: “Therefore, encourage each other with these words.”

ALTAR AND PRAYER

Father-God, as we enter into these last days, we ask that you would pour into us the stunning revelation of the Rapture and Second Return of Jesus. Help us to focus on what the shout of the Lord, the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet call of God will mean to all of those who are in Christ Jesus—eternal reward, blessing and glory!



 Please see for a full explanation: [1] http://www.biblicalperspectives.com/books/festivals_2/2.html