As we continue our End Times overview, remember that Matthew 24 is our primary study guide.
“See that you are not frightened, for these things must take place, but that is not the end” (Matt. 24:6).
The disciples asked, “When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?” Notice that as Jesus begins to answer their questions, He does not answer them in the order they were asked, but rather, He begins answering them in the chronological order in which they would occur. Notice also that He prefaces His answers with a warning to guard against deception. What deception? That many men would appear claiming to be the Messiah. Exactly as He warned, the spirit of the antichrist wasted no time in fulfilling the prophecy of Jesus. Satan knows that he cannot deny that Jesus lived on earth and died on a cross, so He denies that Jesus is alive and that He is the Begotten Son of God. For clarification, Jesus is not a son, nor was He created. Jesus is not an angel, nor is He the brother of an angel. Jesus was with God in the beginning. Not only is He the only Begotten Son of God, He is God. He has always existed and He came to earth in the flesh to atone for the sins of all mankind. Jesus is saying to His disciples and to us, “Accept no substitutes!”
Following the warning, Jesus began building a bridge from where the disciples were in time to the beginning of the coming Tribulation. We will see the bridge being built in verses six through eight. Jesus begins by telling them that there will be wars and rumors of wars. From the earliest written history until the present wars between nations have been taking place. There were wars in the ancient world and there are even more wars in the modern era we live in. World War 1 was the war to end all wars, but thirty years later World War 11 occurred, and it is only a matter of time until the red horse of the apocalypse shows up engulfing the entire world in war. Until now, the oceans have been a type of buffer that helped keep America safe, but not any more. America will feel the brunt of the next World War. Jesus follows wars between nations with kingdom against kingdom. That dear reader is another term for civil wars. Today, many middle eastern nations are currently engulfed in civil wars and families are being devastated. Can America escape when the Church is gone? The answer is “No.” We are already seeing civil unrest that will continue to escalate as America stubbornly turns its back on God. Jesus continues with two other catastrophic events that are constantly taking place throughout the world, the increase of famines and earthquakes. Famines have existed since Adam and Eve caused the Curse to fall upon the planet earth. The Curse will not end (Christians are not under the Curse) until the return of Christ. Not only will they continue, but they will continue to increase, due in part to the population explosion. Millions of fathers and mothers will put their children to bed tonight with hungry stomachs and little hope that tomorrow will be any better. It is time to take a hard inward look, for we could all do better! Earthquakes are another sign. Jesus said that in the last days they would increase, and once again His prophetic words have proven to be true. In the last half century earthquakes have increased by more than one third. Frightening? Let’s remember the words of Jesus, “See to it that you are not frightened, for these things must take place.“
Having traversed the bridge of time from where the disciples were two thousand years ago to where we find ourselves today, let’s look at other events that must take place before the return of Jesus. In Matthew 24: 9 Jesus said, “They will deliver you to the Tribulation.” Who is you? It is not the Church, because the Church will be gone. It is primarily Israel, the apple of God’s eye that He is referring too. Remember, Israel as a nation is still looking for the first coming of the Messiah. Too late they will discover that the Messiah has come and that the week of Daniel has come upon them. Israel will be guilty of establishing a covenant with none other than the antichrist himself. For a short time it will appear that they have made a brilliant decision, but the trap of Satan will soon spring shut. Too late they will find that second only to their decision to reject Jesus as their Messiah, it is the worst decision Israel has ever made. Yet God is not dead, neither has He forsaken His own. He neither sleeps nor slumbers and His eye is still centered on His covenant people. While it will appear that the antichrist is in control, he is not. God is very jealous over His people and He is very jealous over you.
As our study moves forward, we will see that the question of “When?” begins to entwine itself into the question of “What?” We will explore the war prophesied in Psalm 83 as well as the prophetic war of Gog and Magog revealed in Ezekiel 38:1-9. We will find that when the antichrist appears, the Lord will enrage Him by sending out 144,000 Jewish men to evangelize both Israel and the entire earth. These men will be sealed by the Holy Spirit as born again Christians are today. No one else will be sealed, and men will have every opportunity to walk away from their salvation (Matthew 25). Under tremendous persecution, many will walk away from the Faith, choosing to take the Mark of the Beast. Two prophets will appear during the first part of the Tribulation that will preach the Gospel and perform great miracles. They will be a huge thorn in the flesh to both the antichrist and the false prophet, but after three and one half years, God will allow them to be martyred. Could they be Moses and Elijah? We do not know who they are but we do know they will appear. When? Jesus gives us some very sound prophetic insight into other events that must take place. One of the most amazing prophetic events has recently taken place. That event will be the center of our study next week. Until next Friday,
Thank you for being a part of our study. In Christ Jesus, Don & Penny. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org