Prophecy Series-Message #12
by Gary "Gabe" Hulin
How Near Is His Appearing?
The approaching return of Jesus Christ to Earth is soon to shock an un-expecting world caught up in it's own affairs. The evidence that His Coming is "even at the door" is overwhelming and is given light in over 500 prophecies from the Old and New Testaments. Current global strains and the alignment of the nations according to God's Word are setting the stage for dramatic end time events.Opposing spiritual forces do battle as we head steadily toward the climatic event of this Age. The Coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will mark the end of Gentile rule over the nations and the establishment of Jesus Christ as our supreme ruler in the earthly kingdom of God.
As we reach prayerfully into His Word and earnestly and zealously study and ask for Him to reveal His Truth, we have His promise that if we ask we will receive. So with the awesome power and teaching of the Holy Spirit we can then begin to sort out some of the vast amount of information that God reveals and apply it to our rapidly changing world. It is easy to select a few verses concerning Christ's Second Coming and to get all excited about it, as, indeed, we should. However, understanding the far reaching significance of His Word even as God reveals new truths and prophecy comes to pass, requires an abundance of prayerful study of His Word. It then can become an humbling experience to see how God deals with the nation of Israel, the end time church, and the goat and sheep nations of the world while meticulously bringing to pass every minute detail of prophecy.
This message will focus on the study of some of these prophecies which are now and will very soon come to pass. For us to understand the wisdom of God and truths He reveals we must study His Word, knowing and recognizing it as the only source of absolute truth. I pray that the Holy Spirit Who teaches us will reveal truth concerning the imminent rapture of the Church, and how this event will set the stage for the 70th Week of Daniel (the Tribulation) and God's dealing with sinful man in the last days of this age.
One should seek to understand the difference between the rapture of the church and His Second Advent, wherein He will establish justice, peace and contentment in a very productive existence in His Millenial earthly kingdom. We will also attempt to explore those religious, political, economic and sociological events that reveal His Coming. How will God deal with the nation of Israel and the Condition of Man prior to His Coming? Study with an open mind, careful to discern the Truth as He presents it in His Word which is His direct communication with man. With God's Grace, We may reach a deeper understanding of these Truths and come closer to Him through this effort.
Coming For His Saints - The Rapture Mystery!
The removal of the Church is, indeed, imminent. This mystery event shall precede Christ's Second Advent by a period of seven years called the "Tribulation". The term "Rapture" does not appear in the scripture, yet, we know from overwhelming evidence that this "mystery" will occur. Please refer to 1 Corinthians 15:51-52: Paul says:
"behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, in a momment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
Further, in 1Thessalonians 4:16-18: "For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ will rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
In the first scripture Paul has declared that we will all be changed from our mortal state, in a moment's notice, so quickly that it is described as "in the twinkling of an eye". We will then be raise incorruptible (no longer slaves to death). Then in Thessalonians 4:16-18 we learn that he will descend to earth with the voice of an archangel. Those "dead in Christ", or, those having accepted Christ as Savior in times past "shall rise first", then those Christians remaining who are alive at this time are "caught up" in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air to "forever be with the Lord". Notice that the Greek word for "caught up" is Harpazo which actually means to be "snatched away violently". I
Here, It is important to acknowledge that we do not know the day and hour of His return. He does not reveal the exact time only when it is "close, even at the door".
We do know that we will forever be with the Lord and that we will return to heaven with Christ as He deals with the nations of the world during the tribulation; and, that we are with Him when He returns in triumph and establishes His Millenial Kingdom on Earth. Christians living at the time of the Rapture will escape the terrible time called the tribulation.
Phillipians 3:20-21 states: "For our conversation is in heaven; from hence we also look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our vile bodies, that we might be fashioned like unto his Glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able to subdue all things even unto Himself."
The rapture is an event that will occur prior to the tribulation; and, true Christians will be spared the wrath of god which will come upon those living during this time. This does not mean that others will not come to Christ as there will, indeed, be "multitudes" that will accept Christ during this otherwise horrible time. However, they will endure plaques, persecution by the antichrist, as well as the wrath of God on a wayward world. God has prepared a way for His people to accept Him and be spared the "70th Week of Daniel", the tribulation: "Being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." Romans 5:9. Also, "For God knows how to deliver the righteous and to reserve the ungodly for the day of judgement." 2 Peter 2:9. And, in Revelation 3:10 "Because thou has kept the Word (Christ) of my patience, I will keep thee from the hour of temptation which will come upon all the world to try them that dwell upon the earth."
In Chapter 21 of Luke, Jesus reiterates what will come to pass during the tribulation in verses 20-37. This passage parallels part of the Olivet discourse in Mathew Chapter 24. Verse 36 reads: "Watch ye therefore, and pray always that ye may be counted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."
Again, He has exhorted us to watch, pray and be prepared that we might escape the tribulation by accepting him now and be caught to Him in the clouds to forever be with the Lord. It is important to realize that the Rapture of the Church occurs prior to the tribulation. The true Church is removed from the earth while God deals with the nation of Israel in order to finally convince Israel to accept their true "Messiah", Jesus Christ. Throughout history God has allowed persecution of the Jews because of their rejection of Him as their savior. It may be hard for us to realize how Israel has rejected Christ even as He walked among them; however, it should be no more hard to understand than how so many remain blinded to the truths of His Second Coming in light of world events and God's own Word. Christ said to the Sadducees and the Pharisees in Matthew 16:2-4: "When it is evening you say 'it will be fair weather today, for the sky is red'; and, in the morning 'it will be fair weather today because the sky is red and lowering'. O. ye hypocrites, ye discern the face of the sky, but ye cannot discern the signs of the times."
Coming With His Saints - The Second Advent!
We would do well to remember that the Rapture is when Christ comes for His saints in the air (1 Thess. 4:16-18). His Second Advent is when, at the end of the tribulation, He will come to earth and with His saints... "And His feet shall stand in that day on the Mount of Olives...and the Lord my God shall come and all the saints with thee." (Zech. 14:4-5)
The antichrist will be judged at Christ's Second Coming: "And then shall that Wicked (antichrist) be revealed, whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of His Coming." 2Thess. 2:8:
Revelation 19:11-21 graphically reveals Jesus returning with His armies (raptured saints) to "smite the nations" and rule them with "a rod of iron". At this time He will become "King of Kings" and "Lord of Lords".
Earthly kings are now gathering for Armageddon and just before man is about to destroy himself, Christ will intervene. The beast (antichrist) and the false prophet will be cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. Christ will then bound Satan for 1,000 years (the millenium) and set up His Kingdom on earth (please refer to Message #13 "The Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ").
Many Jewish people today are looking for their Messiah to save them from constant oppression by 100,000,000 Arabs and Muslims surrounding them with the constant threat of annihilation. The Bible clearly states that they will accept a false messiah at the beginning of the tribulation period following the rapture. This antichrist will cause extreme persecution of the Jewish people. It is during this bleak period of man's existence that they will finally be led to accept the true Christ Jesus. Daniel describes this period as "there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since their was a nation, and, at that time, thy people shall be delivered." Dan. 12:1.
Not until the Jewish nation has undergone the terrible judgements of The Tribulation shall one third accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah. Instead the majority will accept a false Messiah as a "man of peace", a man with the answers to their need and desire for peace and safety. He (the antichrist) will establish a covenant with the Jewish people and will guarantee peace for them. However, at the midpoint of the tribulation, the antichrist will break his covenant and will establish himself as God, in the temple of God (the tabernacle), claiming that He is God. This is referred to by Daniel as "The Abomination of Desolation". This will then begin the last three and one-half years of this age or "the Great Tribulation".
These things lead us to another truth concerning the Rapture. Daniel 12:11 states "From the time the daily sacrifice shall be taken away (the restored form of worship shall be taken away) and the abomination of desolation (antichrist exhalting himself as God) set up, their shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days..now go thy way until the end be, for thy shalt rest and stand in thy lot at the end of the days." Dan. 12:12-13)
From the time that the antichrist shalt exalt himself as God until the time of the end shall be 1290 days(see the message entitled"the Antichrist-Who is He?"). This is a specific time that those who are living in the Tribulation that learn of God's word concerning these things will know`when Christ's second advent will occur. Remember this: The rapture (1st part of Christ's Coming again) is imminent, we know not the day and hour which it will occur, only the general time, even when it is at the door. However, the second advent is a precisely foretold event which will occur exactly as he said it will just as Christ first coming was precisely, to the day, 483 years after the commandment to restore Jerusalem was given to Nehemiah. (please refer to Message # 7: "Daniels Vision of the Seventy Weeks"). . Thus, if a precise date can be given to the second advent then to what was the reference made concerning the fact that we cannot know the day and hour? the Rapture!!
Thus, if a precise date can be given to the second advent then to what was the reference made concerning the fact that we cannot know the day and hour? the Rapture!!
The Blindness of Israel
God also reveals that His chosen people will be blinded to the truth "even in the face of it". In reference to the Jews rejection of their Messiah, John reveals in Chaper 12 verse 40:
"He (God) hath blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts; that they will not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them."
The Jews are then blinded to the recognition of Christ as their Savior. They have not accepted this basic truth of salvation even in the light of abundant scripture, both old and new testaments, that establishes Christ as their Messiah and the Savior of all mankind. Christ said in John 5:43 speaking to the Jews: "I have come in my fathers name and you accept me not. If another (the antichrist) shall come in his own name, him shall ye receive."
End Time Scoffers
As we study over 500 prophecies that God has revealed concerning the Second Coming it is prudent to understand some of the world events and trends that are leading us toward prophetic fulfillment. Of course, there will always be skeptics toward God's Plan: "...O. fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken." Luke 24:25
Jesus Christ will be King over all the earth. He will promote peace, justice, equity, universal spirituality and knowledge to all those chosen to be a part of the Book of Life in His Kingdom. God reveals that a majority of the skeptics will remain lost and blinded to the Truth. They will continue to seek "Vain philosophies and edicts of men" and will listen to humanistic religiosity to fill their inner need for supernatural contact. The Bible teaches that they will seek to gather unto them many teachers teaching what they want to hear, always searching but never able to come to the knowledge of Truth.
Jesus is Coming soon. The Apostle Peter warned us: "First of all you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following after their own evil desires. They will say where is this coming He promised? Every since out fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation'. But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's Word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and with water. By water also the world at that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same Word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgement and destruction of ungodly men." (2 Peter 3:3)
At the Door
The second half of this message is intended to help those who are searching for truths concerning the "signs" of Christ's Coming again. The scriptures are clear that Christians living in the last days can, and indeed are commanded to know when it is near, "even at the door". Apostasy in the church has robbed many of the desire to seek understanding of biblical prophecy. This also was foretold in God's Revelation to the churches. Peter warned us of scoffers and called them ignorant. Can we know? Is there a way to discern this time when Christ will reappear and save mankind from his own destruction? Some have used the verse in Acts 1:7 to refute the fact that we can "know" when he is coming: "It is not for you to know the times and the seasons." The Greek Word which Jesus chose to use in saying that those men of his day could not know is "OIDA" which means to know intuitively. A few verses earlier when He said some could know when His Coming is near as to be "at the door", He used the Word "Ginosko". This involves knowing as a result of investigation. Neither Peter nor John nor any of God's angels could know intuitively when Jesus would return. That special privilege is reserved for the Father only. Neither could the disciples know the time of Christ's return by investigation and study of His Word concerning the end time. The signs that Jesus speaks of in Matthew 24 were simply not available to them for investigation as they were future from the days when the message was received. He did, however, indicate that when the signs He spoke of begin to appear, believers who see them can know by investigation when it is near, even at the door. The knowledge of His return can be gained through prayerful study of God's Word wherein the Holy Spirit opens up understanding.
The Sign of Israel's Return
The most significant sign of God's Plan in the last days is the Reestablishment of Israel as a nation after nearly 2000 years of dispersion, persecution and attempted annihilation by various peoples and principalities of darkness. "For the children of Israel will abide many days without a king, without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image." (Hosea 3:4)
Fulfillment of this prophecy is now history in part as since 1945 when Israel was made a nation again thousands return to Israel each year; and, now, they even come from the Soviet block as they regather from every corner of the earth. Hosea continues: "Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their King; and shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days." Hosea 3:5
Israel is looking for their Messiah. They did not recognize His first Coming but many will accept Him as Lord and Savior at His Second Advent. Please note, however, that before this happens ,many will first accept a false messiah, who will dupe the nation into believing that he is God. This antichrist will come in "lying deceit", establish a false peace covenant (currently being worked out) with a remnant of Israel, claims to have the answer to all of Israel's problems, specifically "peace and safety", as well as the New Age World Agenda in a New World Order. He will be boosted into power by the world religious leader, the false prophet, who is at the head of the end-time world false religious system
End Time False Religious System
The false religious system is referred to as the "Harlot" in Revelation. This false prophet will have the power of Satan behind him and be capable of performing miracles in the sight of men that he might deceive them (Rev. 13:12-13). Jesus warned that these false teachings and man oriented false religions would spring up at the end time becoming more and more prevalent in our society as indeed it has, with the bombardment of eastern mysticism in all aspects of our society even mainline Christian churches (Please refer to Message #8 "Mystery Babylon, The Mother of Harlots")
Christ warned that there would come "a falling away" before His Coming. I believe this refers to a falling away from the true church and refers to the end time apostasy. Numerous churches have already fallen away from sound doctrine and now teach "doctrines of devils" seeking to "tickle the ears" of their congregation with wordy slogans and shallow spirituality. The world has distorted, spiritualized and omitted so much of God's Word that many churches no longer teach God's Word as Truth, and thus do not accept His Plan for salvation from a sin- sick world.
To the delight of the evil one, Satan, many churches have become primarily gathering places for social activities. They have watered down God's message, distorted His Plan and grossly omitted Him from His own house. Many churches have created their own man made religion, inserting into their doctrine the tenants of humanism and have strayed away from the absolutes and precepts imparted by the scripture. In the name of the worldly religion of Humanism they continue to erode our learning institutions, ban prayer from schools and war against the inclusion of Creationism in their school’s curicculum. As a result of "science falsely so-called" we then are creating warehouses for the ignorant who are deprived of a right foundation on which to build their lives while they survive in a chaotic undisciplined atmosphere where "children's rights" prohibit the enforcement of order and the Word of God is prohibited.
This false religious system will boost the political aspirations of the antichrist in the final seven years of this age. It will be composed of all those "religions" that have rejected Jesus Christ as their Savior and who, instead, have accepted the false doctrines of Baal, teachings that have their foundations in men's wisdom apart from God. Timothy described them thusly: "...always learning but never able to come to the knowledge of truth." 2 Tim. 3:5-7 They never placed their faith in Jesus Christ, the One who is the The Way to Eternal Life.
Some false teachings may appear outwardly to be good to man's distorted and highly limited vision. They may advocate love of neighbor and peace toward others, the ten commandments, virtue, patience, and many of the other things that we should practice as Christians. However, when it come to salvation some have replaced the gospel with a man made and man centered philosophy of humanism and salvation by some form of works. This is anathema and is revealed by Timothy to be the "the lie" which began in the Garden of Eden causing the first sin and the fall of man. It is today all to often at the core of end-time false religions.
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