End Times Explosion
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Matthew 24:32-24:44 (NIV, NIRV, TNIV, KJV)
Sermon Series: IT IS the End of the World!
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End Times Explosion
This week an errant spy satellite, usually capable of reading a newspaper on earth from space, was shot down in low earth orbit with a missile precise to the square foot where the actual fuel tank was located, and we were able to see it happen on video from the ground. Amazing indeed is all that “I can spy with my little eye” today!
Is it possible that Jesus will return in our lifetime? It’s not just possible...but probable. I’m not a date setter, and I’m not trying to make a prediction. But we need to recognize the signs of the times, and I’d like to share with you some more compelling evidence that at any time now Christ could explode onto the scene, rupturing the sky and rapturing the saints!
End times events that precede the rapture are being played out before our very eyes. The panorama for the second coming is spread out like a table for Sunday dinner. The stage is set, the key players have taken position, the cameras are rolling and the lights are beginning to dim. A hush is falling across the audience in heaven and all we need is for the Director to cry out, “Action!”
And if I die before the rapture, I want to give advanced instruction to put on my tombstone, “He died surprised”.
Joke—a hypochondriac always complained about the illnesses he felt that he had...but it was all imaginary. But he grew old and eventually died. He had instructed the engraver to put on his headstone, “I told you I was sick!”
Some say that every generation has believed Christ would return in their lifetime...that simply isn’t true. Every generation has hoped to see His return, but not all have expected it in their lifetime.
Ill.—Sir Isaac Newton was not only a great scientist, but also a theologian, especially late in his life. He concluded that his generation would not see the return of Christ. He did not see the signs of the end times coming just yet. He said, “About the time of the end, a body of men will be raised up who will turn their attention to the prophecies and insist upon their literal interpretation in the midst of much clamor and opposition.”
Ill.—C. H. Spurgeon, one of the greatest preachers of the 19th Century, asked, “Will Jesus appear in 1866 or 1867? I am inclined to think that He will not come at any such time. It seems to me that there are a great many prophecies which much be fulfilled before the coming of Christ. We shall go on many a day yet. We may have to wait for another century.”
Another century has come and gone, but my what has changed in that century. This leads to a powerful discussion of the fulfillment of one of the lesser known prophecies of the Old Testament.
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
This verse makes us think of the transportation age, and the knowledge explosion of this past century. Think about it...
From the time God created Adam to this day, about 6,000 years have passed, and for all but the last 100 of those years man either walked, sailed, or rode horses. The 20th Century saw man come up with automobiles, planes, jets, and spacecraft.
For centuries Bible scholars interpreted ‘run to and fro’ as a coming increase in travel and in the speed of travel. It was in the 17th century that Isaac Newton said, “A new mode of travel shall be invented in the last days. Knowledge will be so increased that man will be able to travel at a rate of [and then he went out on a limb] 50 miles an hour.” He was highly criticized for making such a statement. The atheist Voltaire said, “Newton thinks that someday men will travel at 50 miles an hour, the poor dotard.” I wish he could see the space shuttle today traveling at 20,000 mph!
And global communication today has man traveling at the speed of light. The information age has placed anything you want to know just a click away, and what used to take years to research is available in seconds to virtually anyone! As a popular search engine touts in commercials, “No one wants to look dumb.”
It took men 160 years to produce a steam engine that worked, from concept to completion a couple of centuries ago. But the nuclear bomb was built in just 6 years a few decades ago, and today’s tech inventions flow from paper to prototype in days, and mass production in weeks!
You’d have to be blind not to see it. The knowledge explosion has been going on for more than a century, and is only increasing in speed, and the Bible says this all will lead to Jesus’ explosion onto the end times scene.
Now, knowledge doesn’t make us any better people. Our society is still in kindergarten morally. Educating someone’s mind without changing their heart only adds pride to their already sin filled resume.
Another verse you may have never thought about is...
And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.
What does that remind you of? For years Bible scholars wondered what kind of warfare this could possibly speak of? Well, now we know!
And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell:
The next chapter says it happens in one hour. For years we wondered how entire cities could be destroyed in an hour...well, now we know!
Think of it this way:
Many people in this room in their lifetime, have seen mankind harness the atom, and develop capabilities to destroy the entire earth in less than 30 minutes
Here’s a biggie:
In 1948 Israel was again established as a nation, and the dispersed Jews have been returning to Israel by the hundreds of thousands (just as the Bible predicted would happen before Christ returns)
3 And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; [see also Ezek 37]
Israel [v. 32—the ‘fig tree’] has become the hub, the hotbed of all that goes on in the world.
v. 34 What is the ‘generation’ that won’t pass? Some said 40 years, but it has been almost 60. How much longer can those alive for this event continue to live?
Add to that these facts: That the cashless society is nearly a done deal / that you’ve heard of more earthquakes in your lifetime than the previous 500 years put together! / 70% of all medicines known to man have been invented in YOUR lifetime / 90% of all the scientists who have ever lived...are alive today!
We used to wonder how everyone on earth could see the bodies of the 2 witnesses lying in the streets in Revelation, but everyone will see it online or on TV, replayed over and over again. Just as surely as we were on the front lines watching the shock and awe of Operation Iraqi Freedom a few years ago, the knowledge explosion of transportation and technology is ready to give the world a front row view to the end of the world...but it won’t be entertainment, it will be horror beyond imagination!
If you are old enough to get a discount at restaurants, then you’ve seen in your lifetime the divorce rate go from 1 in 8 to what it is today where divorces outnumber marriages every year / crime rate increase by over 500% / birth of the church of Satan in 1969, which has been granted tax exempt status by the US government / one-world government begin to be formed…the new world order / one-world church…ecumenical movement / unprecedented increases in famines, natural disasters, incurable diseases / there’s an intensity building up, an expectancy is in the air…
…but as believers, we need not run around w/ headline hysteria, we are to simply look up, for our redemption draweth nigh! We are to faithfully and patiently wait for our Savior, who will soon come bursting thru the blue w/ the sound of a trumpet, in the twinkling of an eye.
When the Bible says that, it means in a millisecond, in an instant…therefore, when the rapture occurs, if you’re not saved, there will not be time to get saved, it will be too late for you.
If you are a Christian, and not living for God, there will be no time to make it right. Your salvation is secure, but will you be ashamed when He comes? You won’t be able to ask Him to wait…
“Wait, Lord, I want to win a soul for you! My brother, my father, my spouse, my kids, my friend, neighbor, my co-worker!
“Wait, Lord, I want to obey you and be a tither / got bitterness in my heart toward someone / looking at porn right now, let me turn it off / (stamp foot) let me put this out!
The message of the rapture is “be ready” / do it now, for the Lord could come at any moment. Be watching…be ready!
Though we cannot know the day or the hour of the second coming, the general season can be known.
v. 32-33 Underline the word ‘know’ in each verse. We can know the season we observe around us. Even though Jesus will return like a thief in the night, it doesn’t have to take the Christian by surprise. We are not children walking in darkness but children of the light.
Good men disagree on some of the specifics of some of these verses, but all agree that the signs of the end are touching us today, warning us, beseeching us to take cover, get ready, and to warn everyone we can! We don’t have to be taken by surprise. But most of the world will be caught off guard.
Ill.—how many of you are waiting for the return of Christ? How many of you are WATCHING for His return? Nowhere does the Bible tell Christians to wait, but to WATCH, as if it could be today!
v. 43 The whole point is that the thief doesn’t announce his plan to you in advance. Never does he call ahead and say, “Hey, I’m gonna be breaking into a few houses in your neighborhood tonite...and I was wondering if 2 AM would be a good time for me to stop by your place?”
ill.—a man worked on a riverboat for 30 days at a time, and couldn’t wait to return home. As the boat approached his home port the captain announced, “Your wives are gathered on the dock! There’s Bob’s Mary, and there’s Tom’s Betty, etc...” One man was disappointed because his wife wasn’t there. He caught a ride home w/ another couple. He walked in to his house and there was his wife, who smiled and hugged him and said, “Hey there, I’m so glad you’re home! I’ve been waiting for you.” He replied, “Yeah, but the other guy’s wives were watching for them.”
v. 44 Are you ready? Is your life in order? How about your family and loved ones? Will Jesus find you faithfully serving Him, or flirting with the world?
Some may be saved, but not right with God, and that’s different. You have a relationship with God…He’s your Father, you’re His child, and your eternity is secure, but you’re not in good fellowship with Him. You still have a relationship, it’s just a poor relationship, and in a way you’re being left behind…not experiencing the abundant life God wills for you.
I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Make sure you’re Right with God, and not Left behind!