End Times

End Times

End Times – What In the World is Happening

 

In this message, Pastor Ed Kidwell outlines the Biblical root of the Middle East conflict, and how we can find peace in Christ despite the troubled times in which we live.

Introduction
•    Turn in your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 15.
•    What in the world is going on in the Middle East?
•    Why can’t the Arabs and Israel ever seem to find peace?
•    Do these things have any relation to our lives here in America or abroad?
•    I want to consider some of the End Times prophecies, and hopefully bring some encouragement to us in the midst of the crazy times in which we live.
•    1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:6 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive [and] remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 Then we who are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 5:1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.
2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.
4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.
5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others [do,] but let us watch and be sober.

The Middle East Conflict
•    In order to understand how fruit grows, you must first understand the root of the tree.
•    In order to understand the strife in the Middle East, you must understand the root of that strife.
•    Israel and the Arab nations are all the children of Abraham.
•    The Arabs are the sons of Ishmael:
•    Genesis 16:11-12 And the Angel of the LORD said to her (Hagai): “Behold, you [are] with child, And you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, Because the LORD has heard your affliction.
12 He shall be a wild man; His hand [shall be] against every man, And every man’s hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”
•    The only enemy that the Arab nations fight more than each other is Israel. This is actually the fulfillment of what God told Abraham.
•    God told Abraham of a miracle child that would be Abraham’s heir:
•    Genesis 17:15-21 Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah [shall be] her name.
16 “And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be [a mother of] nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.”
17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall [a child] be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear [a child?”]
18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!”
19 Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, [and] with his descendants after him.
20 “And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.
21 “But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.”
•    So before the birth of Isaac, God told Abraham to make Isaac his heir.
•    All of this was fine for over two thousand years until around 610AD when Muhammad claimed to have been visited by the angel Gabriel, and had a “revelation” that the Ishmaelites were actually the heirs of Abraham, not Israel.
•    It may sound like oversimplification, but this is the root of the Middle East strife, and why it is still inflamed today!
•    To protect us from deceptions, God established a principle in His Word:
•    Deuteronomy 19:15 “ One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.
•    God’s revelations of the Old Testament came through dozens of men, all of whom were in harmony with each other.
•    Therefore, every religion in the world that has come through the revelation of only one man—including Islam—is false, and is contradiction with the harmony of God’s word.
•    Israel was the son of Isaac.
•    Genesis 32:28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
•    Another significant point to be made is that Christ came from the lineage of Isaac (Matthew 1), and therefore, the entire Christian faith hinges on God’s conversation with Abraham in Genesis 17.
•    In Romans 9, Paul explains the New Testament perspective of these ancient children of Abraham, that Isaac was the child of promise and Ishmael the child of the flesh.

The Rapture
•    Unfortunately, we do not have the time to cover all of the details of End Times prophecy in one message. Therefore, I want to cover some highlights of events that will happen:
•    1. The Rapture of the Saints.
•    According to the Bible, the Rapture will be an event where all Christians will be “caught away,” or disappear.
•    1 Corinthians 15:51-54 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
•    In verses 51 and 52 Paul says we will be “changed.” This is the Greek word 236 allasso {al-las’-so}, and means “to be transformed.”
•    Many people want to remove anything supernatural from God’s Word.
•    The Rapture is one of those supernatural doctrines that does not jive with super-logical thinking, and therefore, it is under attack.
•    But even Christ Himself prophesied of the Rapture:
•    Matthew 24:38-42 “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,  39 “and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
40 “Then two [men] will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.
41 “Two [women will be] grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.
42 “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.
•    The word taken is the Greek paralambano {par-al-am-ban’-o}, and means to take up, or to take away.
•    Another definition says, “to join to one’s self, as to an associate or a companion.”
•    When we are taken, we will be joined to Christ our companion.
•    From a strictly logical perspective there are only three options:
•    1. Christ was telling the truth.
•    2. Christ was lying.
•    3. We have totally misunderstood what He was trying to say.
•    From other scripture we can quickly settle that Christ was telling the truth:
•    John 14:10 …The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own [authority;] but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.
•    Numbers 23:19 “God [is] not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
•    And Christ rose from the dead and appeared to 500 witnesses to prove that He was the Son of God.
•    But how can we be sure that we have not misunderstood the Lord?
•    Scripture interprets scripture. For anything in the Bible to be cited as a doctrine it must appear more than once.
•    The doctrine of the Rapture appears many times, and repeatedly describes an event where those who trust in God will be taken away.
•    Matthew 24:38-42 “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,  39 “and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
40 “Then two [men] will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.
41 “Two [women will be] grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.
42 “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.
•    Luke 17:34-37 “I tell you, in that night there will be two [men] in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left.
35 “Two [women] will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left.
36 “Two [men] will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.”
37 And they answered and said to Him, “Where, Lord?” So He said to them, “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”
•    In verse 37 the disciples asked an interesting question. “Where is this going to happen, Lord?” Jesus’ answer is “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”
•    In other words, “Wherever there are Christians, from there is where they will be carried away.”
•    This is significant because there are many false preachers who tell people, “We need to go to the mountains to make the Rapture!” or, “We need to go to the Jerusalem!”
•    This is ridiculous, as Christ taught that the only thing we need to do is to maintain our faith.
•    2. The Second Coming of Christ.
•    This is when Christ returns to the Earth to setup his Millennial Reign.
•    3. The Tribulation of the World.
•    This is one of the most argued doctrines in the Bible.
•    The Bible is extremely clear on what the tribulation will be. In a nutshell, the tribulation is God’s judgment upon the world for unrepented sins.
•    However, there is some confusion as to what the Bible says about when the tribulation will occur in relation to the Rapture:
•    Pre-trib = The Rapture will happen immediately before the tribulation period begins.
•    Mid-trib: The Rapture will happen during the tribulation period.
•    Post-trib: The Rapture will happen immediately after the tribulation period, immediately before the Millennial Reign of Christ on Earth.
•    Before I continue, you must understand that there are Essential doctrines, and Non-Essential doctrines (aka The Essentials and The Non Essentials). For example:
•    Salvation by grace through faith is an Essential. If you do not believe and practice this, you will not make it to Heaven. It is essential.
•    The Rapture and the Tribulation are in fact Non-Essential doctrines.
•    What you believe does not directly affect your salvation. However, over time your beliefs about the Rapture and Tribulation will indirectly affect your salvation.
•    For example, if you believe in a pre-trib Rapture, you are more likely to be living clean day-to-day. If you believe in a mid-trib Rapture, then you might believe that you can calculate within a few days when the return of Christ will occur. And therefore, you are less likely to live like a Christian now.
•    Another point to clarify is that the Tribulation is God’s judgment upon the world. The Tribulation is not the World’s persecution of the church.
•    In other words, Christ told that a persecution would occur before the Rapture. He said it would occur to His own generation, and He also said that it would happen to the Last Generation.
•    Matthew 24:3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what [will be] the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
•    Matthew 24:9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.
•    Matthew 24:34-36 “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
36 “ But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
•    Remember that Christ was answering three questions: When will these things happen? What are the signs of Your coming? And what are the signs of the end times?
•    Christ answers: 1. No one knows the day or hour. 2. There will be persecution.
•    But Christ mentioned two things that are significant:
•    1. The signs of the end will happen in the end times and to the current generation.
•    2. His Words will not pass away.
•    The preterists believe that the Tribulation already occurred in the first century because the signs were fulfilled. But according to Christ, both the first generation and the last generation would experience the signs.
•    For the record, I believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture because of the following scriptures:
•    Matthew 24:42 “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.
•    Matthew 24:44 “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
•    Jesus constantly repeated this theme that His coming would be a surprise. Since the Bible gives an outline of the Tribulation down to the day, the day of the Rapture could be calculated very easily if it were to occur within the Tribulation period.
•    1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.
2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.
4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.
5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others [do,] but let us watch and be sober.
7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.
8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and [as] a helmet the hope of salvation.
9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.
•    In verse 9—in the context of the end times—Paul says that we are not the ones who have been “appointed to wrath,” and said that this should comfort us!
•    And in verses 2 and 3 Paul also echos that the Rapture will be a surprise for everyone.

The Two Perspectives of the End Times
•    There are only two perspectives that we can have of the End Times: the perspective of the Saint, or the perspective of the Sinner.
•    To the Saint, Christ warns us that the End Times would be a test.
•    Matthew 24:10-13 “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
11 “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.
12 “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
13 “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
•    To the Sinner, God’s purpose in the End Times is to bring repentance.
•    Revelation 3:3  “Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.
•    Revelation 3:19  “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
•    Revelation 9:20-21  But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk.
21  And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
•    If you are already a Christian, then be careful not to allow your love to grow cold.
•    If you are not a Christian, then you are in terrible danger of experiencing the coming judgment that will happen!
•    Luke 13:3b …but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.

When will the rapture happen?

 

Many people wonder when the rapture will happen. This article will tell you.

When will the rapture happen? The short answer is it could happen any time!

But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37 But as the days of Noe [were], so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two [women shall be] grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
–Matthew 24:36

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. 27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
–Luke 21:25

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