Follow by Email

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Bird's Eye View of the End Times Part 3

3. The State of the World!
As far as I am personally concerned there is no passage in the Bible that better describes the events and the state of the world during the end of days than Matthew 24. The same passage is also relayed in Mark 13, as well as Luke 21. When combining the three scriptures, and comparing them, one may see a difference of nuance, but the same focal points and main themes.
The reason I believe that Matthew 24 is one of the most important, and overlooked passages in God’s word, is because these words were spoken by Jesus Christ, and they were of a prophetic nature. Part of this prophecy has already come to pass; actually it came to pass some 37 years after Jesus rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. I will explain shortly, but for now I must point out something obvious yet profound: If part of this prophecy has already been fulfilled, is there any doubt that the rest of it will be fulfilled as well?
Jesus had just finished telling His disciples some truly troubling things. In so many words, He had informed them that the temple would be destroyed, and not one stone would be left upon another. To the disciples who were with Him, this must have been some truly disturbing information. It was after all the temple that Jesus was speaking of, the place of worship for all the Jewish people.
Matthew 24:2, “And Jesus said to them, ‘Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another that shall not be thrown down.”
The amazing thing to me is that none of His disciples doubted, or questioned Jesus as to why He would say such a thing. They believed Him at His word, and their only questions were:
Mathew 24:4, “Tell us when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
So the two things the disciples desired to know were when the temple would be destroyed, and what would be the signs preceding Christ’s return and the end of the age.
What follows in Christ’s discourse, are two separate prophecies concerning a future time that is relatively near, and one that is further out in the time stream.
First we are going to cover the prophecy that has already been fulfilled, that of the destruction of the temple. Although it is detailed in Matthew 24 (verses 15-20), the gospel according to Luke describes it more clearly.
Luke 21:20-24, “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by gentiles until the time of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
In 70 A.D. Cestius Gallus, president of Syria marched at the head of a powerful army ready to sack Jerusalem and bring it under his submission. They had surrounded the city, and everything seemed favorable for an immediate attack, the Jewish army was on the point of surrender, when suddenly and without explanation, Cestius abandoned the siege, withdrawing his armies for no apparent reason.
It was during this brief respite that the followers of Christ remembered His words, that when they saw Jerusalem surrounded by armies, desolation was near. They obeyed the admonition to flee to the mountains, and journeyed to Pella, a city beyond the river Jordan, some one hundred miles away from Jerusalem. As a result of their obedience, not one Christian perished in the destruction of Jerusalem, which took place upon the siege and subsequent sacking of the city and the destruction of the temple by a man named Titus.
Just as Jesus gave a detailed account of what would occur in Jerusalem, and how the temple would be destroyed, He also gave a detailed account of the events that would take place during the end of the age.
Before we get into the actual text, and study what Jesus said concerning His return, and the end of the age, I must say something that some may find offensive, but it must be said nonetheless: Novel writers, and movie director make for bad theologians.
When we believe men over the Word of God, and come up with fanciful new doctrine that we’ve fashioned out of thin air with no scriptural backing, we run the risk of disobeying Christ’s first command, and thereby rejecting the rest of what He has to say concerning the end times.
Matthew 24:4-5, “And Jesus answered and said to them: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name saying ‘I am the Christ’ and will deceive many.”
Before He could go into a detailed description of the last days, Jesus had to forewarn even those closest to Him that many would come in His name saying they were the anointed ones. Not only would they come in His name, but they would be so convincing that these men would even deceive many. There are countless examples of men offering new paths to heaven, even as Jesus unequivocally asserts that He is the only path to heaven.
I pray we can at least agree on the following premise as we continue with this study: If the Bible has an opinion concerning a certain thing, then we as followers of the Bible are not allowed to formulate an opinion contradictory to it.
The fundamentals of the faith that the Word of God set forth are unchanging. They worked for those two thousand years ago, as they worked for those a thousand years ago, as they work for those whom today are willing to submit to the authority of the Gospel.
There is so much deceit floating about, that unless one is tethered to the Word, unless they filter everything by Scripture, they will be stained by some doctrine or another, or draw certain conclusions that have no Biblical basis.
The first thing that Jesus points out, is that the last days, will be days of great deception. It is somewhat superfluous for me to point out the fact that abomination is now mainstream, that sin is widely embraced within the house of God, that preachers and teachers fearing for their paycheck and the reputation and relationship they forged with the world are being brow beaten into silence, but these things must be pointed out, that we might understand the times we are living in.
The truth has become a rare commodity indeed, and those willing to stand for the truth are shrinking in number on a daily basis. The words of Jesus echo to this day, warning and pleading with those who would hear, ‘take heed that no one deceives you.’
Matthew 24:6-7, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be various famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.”
“But there have always been wars and rumors of wars, there have always been famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places.” True, but the signs of the end times have to do more with frequency and intensity than they do with the actual events taking place. During these last days, what was once known as the exception becomes the rule.
There have always been wars, but they will increase in frequency and intensity as the last days draw near. There have always been famines, but they will increase in frequency and intensity, as the last days draw near. There have always been natural disasters, but once again, they will increase in both frequency and intensity as time as we know it breathes its final breaths.
Other than the deluge of deception, and the warmongering of the last days, Jesus points to three distinct areas that will foreshadow the end of the age. He speaks of material disasters, biological disasters, and natural disasters.
First on the list are famines, which in my view is the material disaster. We all know that famine is caused by poverty, and what we are beginning to see on a global scale is the first stages of what will most likely be an implosion of the financial systems the world over. This is by no means an isolated case, having to do with the economy of America, but every nation in the world is feeling the strains of an economic meltdown. Because Jesus said it, I believe things will get markedly worse, and the famines that we are seeing in such isolated places as Darfur or Somalia will become a common global theme.
Second on the list are pestilences, or biological disasters. I believe these will focus largely on diseases, new strains of known or unknown viruses that will sweep the globe leaving much death in their wake. As I write this, the big story on the news is swine flu, a couple years back it was bird flu, but whatever these pestilences are, keep in mind that Jesus spoke of them in the plural form. It was not one pestilence, but pestilences, that would ravage the globe.
Third, when He speaks of earthquakes, He is referring to what we would call natural disasters. It’s not just earthquakes that will grow in frequency and intensity, but all manner of natural events, that even the scientific community will have a difficult time explaining. It would seem that as of late, we are seeing an explosion of seismic activity all over the globe. Almost every week there is a new earthquake, whether in Italy, Mexico, Romania, Pakistan, Indochina, the Philippines, America, and the list goes on. One disturbing trend that I heard a news anchor comment on is that they are growing both in frequency, and intensity.
I need to make something perfectly clear. These signs that we are beginning to witness, and will continue to observe for the foreseeable, indicate the certainty of Christ’s return, not the timeline of Christ’s return. Because we witnessed the destruction of the temple as Jesus foretold, because we are witnessing the signs of the end time as Jesus foretold, we are also certain of His return as He foretold. The ‘when’ is a different matter altogether.
Throughout all these things, throughout the wars, and rumors of wars, natural disasters of varying kinds, through the famines and the pestilences Jesus encourages His followers by saying, ‘see that you are not troubled.’
‘But how could we not be troubled by what our eyes see, how could we not react as the world reacts?’ Because we have a hope, and a sure foundation, we are Christ’s and He is ours, and He watches over those who are His. We are at peace in the palm of His hand, and under the shadow of His wing. Our lives are not our own any longer, so come what may, we rest in the knowledge of His omnipotence.
Matthew 24:8, “All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
I’ve heard it more times than I can count, and it always leaves a hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach: ‘Thank the Lord we’re not going to be here for those things!’
‘Says who?’
‘Well apostle, prophet, doctor so and so.’
But did Jesus say it? Did Jesus say we’re all going to sprout wings and fly away at the first sign of these things coming upon the earth? Did Jesus even hint that we’re not going to be here for these events? Newsflash, we’re still here, and we’re beginning to see the thing of which Jesus warned coming to pass.
Why is this important?
Because if we don’t understand the times correctly, and are living every day with the expectation of being swept away, caught up, beamed home, then our hearts will be troubled with every event that unfolds, and our faith will be shaken with every fulfillment of end time prophecy.
The escapism mentality is keeping many believers in a static mode, giving them a false sense of security, which in turn keeps them from truly seeking the face of God, truly repenting, and truly building up their spiritual man.
‘Why pray for strength, why pray for direction, why pray for protection, we’re not going to be here anyway.’
It is a lie that’s keeping countless souls in a state of spiritual stupor, and it is a dangerous condition to be in. To use a term that headshrinkers like to use, ‘the perception of a thing will determine your reaction to the thing.’
Matthew 24:9-10, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.”
Throughout history the pattern leading up to persecution has been evident. First you marginalize, then you criminalize, then you are free to persecute to your heart’s content. The Christian church has already been marginalized in this country, and due to the willingness of some so called preachers and pastors to compromise the truth, and dismiss the Word of God, those who choose to cling to Jesus, those who choose to stand for truth, will soon be criminalized.
‘Why can’t you be like those preachers on television? Why can’t you just have a positive outlook, and beg off any hard hitting questions with the ever resourceful answer, ‘I’m not into doctrine all that much’, or ‘I think it’s just foolish bickering over things like sin and repentance because we’re all going to end up in heaven anyway; God loves everybody; He loves you just the way you are, no change required.’ Why can’t you just know your place, don’t hit on controversial topics, be spineless in the face of any opposition, and mimic the chameleon like tactics of politicians to such a degree that the two become indistinguishable?’
What seemed like the mere rants of a conspiratorial mind as little as two years ago, are no longer so impossible, but due to new legislation currently being churned out, it is highly probable. We are on the road of mandating the betrayal of the doctrine of Jesus.
We are witnessing the changes, and the march toward persecution throughout the world, yet we cling to our worn out mantra ‘that could never happen here.’ Wake up! It is happening here! Persecution is coming, and not because of your denominational affiliation, not because of your ethnicity, but because of Jesus. You will be hated by all nations for His name’s sake. Just remember these three steps, marginalize, criminalize, and persecute, and check them off as you see them coming to pass. There will be a catalyst that will turn hatred into open persecution, and that time is not far off.
So who will be offended? If you’ve read this far, please bear with me a little further, and suspend your preconceived notions for just a little while longer. I know of what I speak. During the communist regime that had a chokehold on my country for forty five years, there were numerous cases of those who were offended, and who betrayed and hated, and it was not the persecutors that were guilty of these things, it was believers who in the face of torture and death denied Christ.
It is these selfsame gutless wonders that pollute the minds of the sheep with visions of rose petals and butterflies that will be offended, that will betray and hate the true believers. Why offended? Because in their twisted understanding of God’s word, they were never meant to endure hardships, they were never meant to endure persecution, they were only meant to prosper, and have abundance. Never mind the fact that every generation in the history of the Church has had to endure persecution, never mind the fact that today, at this moment in time, there are brothers and sisters throughout the world willingly laying down their lives for the cause of Christ, we’re special, we’re exempt.
2 Timothy 3:12, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
All! Not some but all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. We are not exempt just because we live in America. If we desire to live godly in Christ Jesus, it is inevitable that our desire will be viewed as counterproductive, incendiary, and outright criminal by those who are deceiving and being deceived. The noose is tightening, but we are too busy to notice; the harbingers of what is about to descend upon the world are evident to those who have eyes to see. Rather than stand for truth however, many who have risen to Christian prominence in this country are doing everything they can to blend, and keep their followers in check by homogenizing their messages to such an extent that one would have a hard time discerning between what passes for a sermon, and a self empowerment seminar.
I have no respect for men who see compromise as a viable option. I have no respect for men who are more concerned with their own reputation than with standing up for the truth. I have no respect for men who are unwilling to stand for anything that might be deemed controversial even though the controversy in question is Jesus. We are worse than those who spat upon the face of the Christ, we are worse than those who mocked Him as He carried His cross to Calvary, because we knew Him, and still we betrayed Him!
Matthew 24:11-13, “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”
When sin becomes relative, when there no longer remains a right and a wrong, then lawlessness is given free reign. Lawlessness, is being unrestrained by law, and much of today’s church has succeeded in being unrestrained by the laws of God.
When we have the temerity to look into God’s Word, read the clearly defined guidelines of what is just and unjust, what is righteous and unrighteous, what is lawful and unlawful, then shake our heads and say ‘that’s not what God meant’, we are no longer on the road to lawlessness, we’ve already reached our destination. Jesus speaks of lawlessness in the context of the church, not of the world, and due to the lawlessness that we’ve allowed to creep into the house of God unopposed, the love of many is growing cold.
“What do you mean? The mega churches are still full, and the happy preachers are still drawing a crowd. How can the love of many be growing cold?”
The love of which Jesus speaks is not self love, but rather love for God. Yes people are more enamored with themselves than ever before but fewer than ever are demonstrating true love for God, by their unwillingness to obey, and do His will.
So what are we to do in the midst of this lawlessness, what are we to do as we see love growing cold? Endure! Not only for a season, not only for a time, but we must endure to the end, because he who endures to the end shall be saved!
Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
I realize this verse is pretty much self explanatory, but I have a question. If we’re not supposed to be here for the unfolding of the end times, who pray tell will be doing the preaching of the gospel all over the world? If we are not supposed to be here, who pray tell will be doing the enduring until the end? These are just a couple logical questions, in a long list that should get us thinking and which require an honest and reasonable response.
My hope today is that we don’t start packing just yet, that we understand the times we are living in, and our place in them. May we not shy away from our duty, from our calling, and from our commission to be the ambassadors of Christ, the light of the world in this season of darkness.
Although I could continue with the second coming of Christ, which is also described in Matthew 24, this article is already longer than I had intended, and I know how the attention span of most can be a fleeting and fragile thing.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

17 comments:

Daniel Eggers said...

Amen, the Truth is the Light unto darkness, pealing away the veils of deciet. -God Bless, Daniel

Anonymous said...

by all means, please continue on! i want to hear(read) your thoughts on the second coming of Christ!

does our failure to witness the gospel to all nations have any bearing on God's timetable? can we slow down or speed the return of our Lord?

an off the wall question-are you a dune fan?-"he who controls a thing...."-head shinkers quote-"‘the perception of a thing will determine your reaction to the thing.’"

thanks for the lesson on matthew 24, i will have to read this again to ruminate properly!:)

p.g.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic articles. The longer the better. Keep up the good work. God bless you and keep you.

Anonymous said...

Your boldness and love is both refreshing and greatly appreciated. Thank you Brother Michael.

Duck and Daisy said...

How refreshing it is to hear God's truth, from His word. I pray that we have ears to hear and act on His words to reach the lost in these times of increasing trouble. May God bless you and your family Michael for this online ministry.

Nicole

ZionsCRY said...

I pray with all my heart that people will read - AND HEED - what you wrote.

I have never seen you quite this BOLD.
GOOD! TIME IS SHORT!

This Obamanation in the whitehouse now has destroyed the United States of America in only 100 days.

Now he will use the new Obamaflu (its not pig flu) to lockdown and some say put in martial law. He wants absolute CONTROL. Media are his puppet.

The Obamaflu is a bio weapon - it is NOT natural - and globalists want it to kill many off.

GOD is physically moving some of His remnant to other locations for the tribulation.

Briefcase said...

Yes, you're a man of my mettle, Michael. I have a character in my book, Walkabout: The History of a Brief Century, whom I call Reverend Cooper. It's a fictional character--a truthful minister--and I always thought that no such person could be found in America. I think I've found him now.

Here's a quote from Rev. Cooper: “A pre-tribulation rapture is an unbiblical best-case scenario, spiritual snake oil that has never served any other purpose than fundraising. ‘Beware of best-case scenarios!’ I tell my congregation, like, no doubt, you advise your contingency planning constituents.”

Yes, keep up the good work.

Robert

Jerald said...

Don't stop now Michael. You're on a roll!

Wade in Michigan said...

Michael,

Timely, pointed, and possibly your best yet. Keep on writing/preaching. You are a blessing.

Wade in Michigan

Anonymous said...

I agree on this with my whole heart. I hear about how we are not going to be here and it just makes me mad because it is a lie that will make many fall.

Michael Boldea Jr. said...

To P.G.
Nope, never heard of Dune. I was reffering to psychiatrists as head shrinkers. Sorry.

Briefcase said...

Well, you must become aware of Dune, there's just no other way. Here.

Robert

Anonymous said...

Those things Paul described in Timothy as signs of end times, do they not apply to the "Christian nation" and not just the church?

Anonymous said...

If you read the authorized King James Holy Bible God's preserved word you will see the "being caught up before the tribulation!"

The modern versions which I call perversions deny the deity of Jesus Christ and has come out of Alexanderia Egypt of corrupted manuscripts by Origen and his students via Westcott and Hort of the latter 1800's. Westcott and Hort were into occultic and demonic activites such as levitation.

The KJB comes from the "received text" also known as "majority text" and the stream comes out of Antioch where the disciples were called Christians first! Acts 12:26

Anonymous said...

[url=http://filmvkom.ru/khkhkh-onlajjn/]
порно хорошего качества онлайн бесплатно[/url]

Anonymous said...

[url=http://angellena.ru]
начинающему свадебному фотографу[/url]

Anonymous said...

[url=http://tutdlenet.ru/]
музыкальный шаблон для dle[/url]