THE PLAN OF JESUS
March 20, 2012
By: John Barnett
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JESUS HAS WARNED ABOUT
THE DANGERS COMING IN THE FUTURE
Mt. St. Helens belched gray steam plumes hundreds of feet into the blue Washington sky. Geologists watched their seismo- graphs in growing wonder as the earth danced beneath their feet. Rangers and state police, sirens blaring, herded tourists and residents from an ever-widening zone of danger. Every piece of scientific evidence being collected in the laboratories and on the field predicted the volcano would soon explode with a fury that would leave the forests flattened.
"Warning" blared loudspeakers on patrol cars and helicopters hovering overhead.
"Warning!" pleaded radio and television announcers, shortwave and citizens-band operators.
"Warning!" echoed up and down the mountain; and lakeside villages, tourists camps and hiking trails emptied as people heard the warnings and fled for their lives.
But Harry Truman refused to budge. Harry was the caretaker of a recreation lodge on Spirit Lake, five miles north of Mt. Saint Helens's smoke-enshrouded peak. The rangers warned Harry of the coming blast. Neighbors begged him to join them in their exodus. Even Harry's sister called to talk sense into the old man's head. But Harry ignored the warnings. From the picture- postcard beauty of his lakeside home reflecting the snow-capped peak overhead, Harry grinned on national television and said, "Nobody knows more about this mountain than Harry and it don't dare blow up on him...."
On 18 May 1980, as the boiling gases beneath the mountain's surface bulged and buckled the landscape to its final limits, Harry Truman cooked his eggs and bacon, fed his sixteen cats the scraps, and began to plant petunias around the border of his freshly mowed lawn. At 8:31 A.M. the mountain exploded.
Did Harry regret his decision in that millisecond he had before the concussive waves, traveling faster than the speed of sound, flattened him and everything else for 150 miles? Did he have time to mourn his stubbornness as millions of tons of rock disintegrated and disappeared into a cloud reaching ten miles into the sky? Did he struggle against the wall of mud and ash fifty feet high that buried his cabin, his cats and his freshly mowed lawn--or had he been vaporized (like 100,000 people at Hiroshima) when the mountain erupted with a force 500 times greater than the nuclear bomb which leveled that Japanese city?
Now, Harry is a legend in the corner of Washington where he refused to listen. He smiles down on us from posters and T- shirts and beer mugs. Balladeers sing a song about old Harry, the stubborn man who put his ear to the mountain but would not heed the warnings.
Revelation 1:7-8 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.” NKJV
⇨ Matthew 24:30 “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. NKJV
⇨ Matthew 26:64 Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” NKJV
⇨ 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. NKJV
⇨ Revelation 20:11-12 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. NKJV
JESUS EXPLAINS TO US HIS OWN ABOUT THE FUTURE
God here gives us an outline “Write...”
1. “the things which you have seen” = 1:9-20 A Vision of Christ or Christ in prophetic perspective. (Last week)
2. “and the things which are” = 2:1 - 3:22 A Vision of Church or Church in prophetic perspective. (start next week)
3. “and the things which shall take place after these things” A Vision of future or end times in prophetic perspective.
GOD’S PANORAMA OF AGES
RAPTURE I THESS. 4 Watch for Jesus, He is coming!
JUDGMENT OF CHRIST 2 CORIN. 5 Flee sin because we must all appear.
TRIBULATION REV. 6-19 Offer thanks, Christ will keep us from the hour.
SECOND COMING REV. 19 Trust Jesus, He will right all wrongs.
MILLENNIUM REV. 20 Wait for Jesus He will perfect the earth
GREAT WHITE THRONE REV. 20 Seek the lost, Hell is coming.
HEAVEN REV. 21-22 Seek eternal reward Heaven is coming soon!
Scholars of prophecy do not agree on all the details of future events. But the following summary is a fair representation of what many prophetic scholars believe as to the order of events:
1. The Rapture of the church (1 Cor. 15:51–58; 1 Thes. 4:13–18). This can occur at any time.
2. The leader of the ten European nations makes a seven-year agreement with Israel (Dan. 9:26–27).
3. After three-and-one-half years, he breaks the agreement (Dan. 9:27).
4. He moves to Jerusalem and sets up his image in the temple (2 Thes. 2:3–4; Rev. 13).
5. The Antichrist begins to control the world and forces all people to worship and obey him. At this time God sends great tribulation upon the earth (Matt. 24:21).
6. The nations gather at Armageddon to fight the Antichrist and Israel, but see the sign of Christ’s coming and unite to fight Him (Zech. 12; Rev. 13:13–14; 19:11ff).
7. Jesus returns to the earth, defeats His enemies, is received by the Jews, and establishes His kingdom on earth (Rev. 19:11ff; Zech. 12:7–13:1). He will reign on earth for 1,000 years (Rev. 20:1–5).
GOD HAS LAID OUT THE STEPS FROM HERE TO ETERNITY
Bible prophecy is a record written long ago of how God will deal with mankind to the end of the earth. It is possible to trace a timetable of prophetic events, from the angelic hosts who announced Christ's birth to the time when we join in the multitude worshiping the King of Kings.
One amazing portion of the Bible in in Daniel 9:24-27. In these verses God God shows Daniel His 70 prophetic “weeks” (490 years). This is God’s timetable for the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem. The events God describes are:
⇨ Christ’s death as a sacrifice for sin,
⇨ Christ establishing His kingdom,
⇨ and a rebuilt millennial temple.
The 69 weeks or 483 years contain the command for Jerusalem’s rebuilding, Christ's birth. When Christ is rejected and “cut off” or put to death by crucifixion, this ends the 69 weeks. The destruction of the Temple in AD 70 finalizes the effects of Israel’s rejection. After an unspecified period of time in Daniel 9:26, the last week or seven years start up. They speak of the end time evil of the AntiChrist, and the momentous events prior to Christ's 2nd coming in power and glory. Zechariah 12-14 describe the remnant of Jews who see Jesus as Messiah, repent and turn to Him. The gap between the 69th and 70th week has been almost 2,000 years which is the church age.
1. THE CHURCH AGE IS CHRIST SEEKING (Worshipping – Waiting – Winning) – Remember Jesus promised to “build my church” (Matt. 16:18). The church, born on the Day of Pentecost, was formed by God from Jews and Gentiles receiving Christ as their Savior (Eph. 2,3). God’s planned for the church to preach and teach the Word. God through His Spirit is calling out a people for His name. As we go into all the world we are to “wait for the Son from heaven” (I Thess. 1:10; Acts 1:8). This period of time called the church age ends during a growth of religious apostasy, a culture obsessed with pleasure and self-love, as well as great immorality and violence (2 Tim. 3:1-6; 2 Thess. 2:3).
2. THE RAPTURE IS CHRIST RESCUING – When God is finished with the church He takes them home in the (1 Thess. 4:16-18; 5:9). rapture or “catching away” of the church. This opens the way for the Antichrist to begin taking over on earth (2 Thess. 2:3-9) and the Tribulation begins. Jesus promised He would meet His church in the air to “take you to be with me” (John 14:1-6; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). The Rapture can happen at any moment, so it is our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). Revelation portrays the church in heaven during the Tribulation. Believers of all the ages receive rewards, and the church becomes Christ’s “bride” and enjoys with all the saints the “marriage feast of the Lamb.” Then Christ returns with His saints to Earth (1 Cor. 3:11-15; Rev. 19:7-9).
3. THE TRIBULATION IS CHRIST INITIATING FINAL JUDGMENT – The 70th week in Daniel 9:27 starts when God returns to work with the Jews. The central purpose of the Tribulation is to reconcile the nation of Israel to their Messiah. The Jews are sought out and killed by the AntiChrist and abandoned by the world. At the darkest hour when there is no where else to turn, Israel looks to Christ at Armageddon and cries out repenting (Zech. 12:10). Some events the Bible portrays in the Tribulation include:
⇨ Israel is a nation but not aware of God's plan (Ezek. 37, 38).
⇨ A great army from the North invade Israel (Ezek. 38). These forces strike at the regathered remnant of Jews who are in the land, as Satan seeks to destroy the Jewish people before they can be reconciled to the Messiah.
⇨ The Antichrist appears, first as a political super-hero of the West (Dan. 9:27). At the midpoint of the Tribulation, he enters the temple in Jerusalem and declares himself to be God (the abomination of Desolation), demands worship, and refuses his “mark” to all who will not bow down to him. (Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:3,4; Rev. 13). This act initiates the Great Tribulation, as God pours out His wrath upon a belligerent Gentile world system in a series of disasters that culminates in Armageddon (Rev. 16:14-16).
⇨ Jesus Christ returns with His saints to take His throne and judge the nations (Matt. 24:25; Rev. 19:11-21).
⇨ Israel’s national remnant, about one-third of the people, accept their Messiah and experience national reconciliation (Zech. 12:12; 13:8,9; Rom. 11:25-27).
4. THE MILLENNIUM IS CHRIST RULING – For 1,000 years, believers “reign with him” in a theocratic kingdom where all of God’s promises to Abraham and his descendants are fulfilled (Deut. 30:1-6; Rev. 20:4-6). During this kingdom, universal peace and justice prevail (Isa. 11:1-10), and believers from all nations worship at the millennial temple in Jerusalem (Zech. 8:22, 23). Satan’s influence on earth ends, though only temporarily (Rev. 20:1-3).
5. THE FINAL UPRISING – At the end of Christ’s 1,000 year reign, Satan gathers a multitude of unregenerate people to rebel against the King (Rev. 20:7-9). The uprising exposes conclusively the depravity of the human heart. With Christ personally-present, and every opportunity to embrace righteousness, many still rebel against God.
6. THE GREAT WHITE THRONE IS CHRIST EXECUTING FINAL JUDGMENT – The lost of all ages are judged, not to determine salvation, but the degree of punishment to be borne in the “lake of fire” (Rev. 20:11-15). This will be consistent with the “light” received, and rejected, during their lifetime. Before the Great White Throne, the lost of all ages finally acknowledge the lordship of Jesus Christ, but too late for deliverance (Phil. 2:10, 11). All human distinctions about power or position are meaningless – the small and the great face their “works” before a holy God and are condemned. Their sentence is eternal, conscious internment in the lake of fire. Satan is also cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10).
7. THE NEW HEAVEN AND NEW EARTH IS CHRIST OPENING PARADISE – Next, the consummation of all prophecy appears: the new heaven and earth. A firestorm destroys the present planet (2 Peter 3:10), and God creates a new world (Rev. 21:1-5). The saints live in a New Jerusalem (Rev. 21, 22) with many “rooms” prepared by Christ for them (John 14:2,3). Here there is no pain, no death, no curse, no adversary. Above all else, we will be with the Lord, and He will share His glory with us for all the ages to come.
WHAT ARE WE TO DO FOR JESUS WHILE WE WAIT?
We don’t know how long before our Master returns. Jesus said we must do His work until He comes. The best way to do that is to start living right now the way we want to have Him find us at the end when He comes (rapture) or calls (death). I call this some specific Plans for Growing Old in Godliness. These can all be found in Psalm 71. Let’s conclude there.
1. I will LEARN to flee to God rather than drown in my troubles. v. 1
2. I will LEARN to trusts God's Word over my fears. v. 3
3. I will LEARN to keep reminding myself of God's faithfulness all during my life to this moment. v. 5, 17
4. I will LEARN to use my mouth so much for praise, no room will be left to complain. v. 8, 14b, 24 I will LEARN to never give up even if I end up all alone, sick or even forgotten by everyone in the world except God. v. 14
5. I will LEARN to never stop looking for people to share a testimony of God's goodness in my life. v. 15
6. I will LEARN to seek out younger people and pass on to them my testimony of God's goodness and great faithfulness. v. 18 like Bill Eddy!
7. I will LEARN to never stop pursuing a deepening experience of knowing God daily. v. 19 like Howard Smith
8. I will LEARN to see pain and suffering as God's perfect tools for shaping my life. v. 20 like Dorthy Crebs, Joni Erikson Tada
9. I will LEARN to forsake the stereotypes of old timers and