Saturday, September 22, 2012

"When You See These Things Happening"

Jesus knew we would still be on this planet during the generational signs that He outlined in His "Olivet Discourse" (Matthew 24/25, Mark 13, Luke 21), the signs that the prophet Daniel provided (Daniel 2, 7, 9, 12), Ezekiel (Ezekiel 36-39), Zechariah (Zechariah 12, 14), Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, and of course the book of Revelation, just to name a few such end times prophetically related scriptural signs. 

Signs which point to this era of massive, unprecedented increases in travel and knowledge, the opening of the end times prophetic scrolls, the rapid and alarming increases in earthquakes, warfare, famine, pestilence, persecution, the alignment of the revived Roman Empire and its movements towards unabated centralized power and control, the regathering of the Nation of Israel, miraculously,  "in a day", the gathering of the Gog-MaGog coalition who will invade Israel, the Syrian instability in the face of possession of chemical warheads, the development of the "Arab Spring" which has ushered in radical Islamic rule with Israel's most threatening enemies, the Iranian nuclear developments and their threats to destroy Israel, the imminent collapse of the American economy (and the world economy) and removal as the world's super-power, serious discussions about a centralized world-wide banking system and central currency, the increasing threats from Russia, and the world sits just on the brink...of something.

What that "something" is, is anybody's guess. We prophecy watchers know that "something" is ultimately the Tribulation, but how soon that arrives is the big question. 

We know we'll be 'gathered up' before the Tribulation (Revelation 3:10, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 5:1-9, Revelation 4, 5, 6-18, 19, etc.) but what we will have to endure in that interval prior to the Tribulation is anyone's guess.


In addition to the above, many of us feel that we may well be gathered up prior to the epic battle of "Gog-MaGog" as described in Ezekiel 38-39. Unlike making the case for the pre-tribulation Rapture of the Church (which is entirely scriptural based), such a case cannot be scripturally confirmed. There are several reasons for holding such belief, including the fact that God reveals Himself to the entire world at the time of this battle (for Israel's survival) as described in Ezekiel 38:23, 39:21-23. God hasn't done anything like this - especially in such an overt manner - thus far in the Church Age. We also know that we believe "by faith not by sight" during this age, and God's revealing of Himself in such a dramatic public way seems highly inconsistent with the concept of believing by faith (not by sight). For this reason alone it seems unlikely that the Christ's bride is here for the Ezekiel 38-39 scenario. Additionally, it is clear from these scriptures that God is in the process of finishing the last 7 years of Israel's alloted time as described in Daniel 9. That clock re-starts for the last 7 years (aka "The Tribulation") when the antichrist confirms the long awaited Middle East "covenant". 


So what has any of this to do with today's message?


We are rapidly approaching the very last days. Literally. The world is on the verge of becoming a very very different place - a place identical with what is described in Revelation 6-18, where we get a detailed view of what the world will look like during the Tribulation. 

This is a scary time, especially if you are paying attention to the news and watching the various events from around the world. It is easy to get consumed in what is very disconcerting and at times, alarming as we see a very ominous future. 

It is my belief that Jesus, in His infinite love and mercy - especially when directed towards His beloved Bride - gave us key information for our use in these last days. He knew we would be here to see these growing signs, and He wanted us to be prepared. But what does that mean to be prepared? We'll come back to that thought, but first let's look at His primary instructions:

"When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." 
(Luke 21:28). 

"Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near." (Luke 21:31)


Why did Jesus say these things? After all, He doesn't say things just for the sake of talking - He had a purpose with every word spoken in the scriptures. Clearly He knew we would be around to see the very ominous signs that we see every day - especially those who are paying attention to the prophetically related news. He wants us to know that His coming is "drawing near". He wasn't playing games with this - when He says something its a rock-solid guarantee - and we can take this information at face value. 

His coming is near. Period. No further discussion needed. Otherwise He wouldn't have made such a declaration - He is good for His promises. 

And with that information - that His coming is near - what are we to do?

"...lift your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

He isn't saying to focus solely on the signs (although He most definitely wants us watching the signs, just read the last several verses in Mark 13 for that) but He also wants us watching for His coming. "Lifting our heads" in great anticipation for that very moment - that moment when we come face to face with Him - in His very presence. 


That idea - that event - that moment when we are literally in the presence of Jesus Himself - should be our primary focus, and preparing for that on a daily basis. Everything else - the signs that we watch, the events on this earth, the movements we see towards a draconian police state, etc., all should pale in comparison for what awaits us in the near future. In short, nothing else really matters. 


So how do we prepare?

With the backdrop of what we just saw (Luke 21:28-31) and looking for Jesus, we are told to be prepared and the parables found in Matthew 24/25 give us the necessary information.

The first message, as seen in Matthew 24:42, was followed by a descriptive parable involving the home owner who was told to keep watch in order to avoid being broken into. The key passages from this are seen:

"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come" 
(Matthew 24:42)

This one is easy. Jesus tells us to keep constant watch. This is often mis-interpreted to mean "hey, the Bible says we can't know when, so why bother to watch?". Actually it is just the opposite. We are told that we cannot know the specific day, but we are to know the season. It is because we can't know the exact day that we must keep constant "watch". After all, if we knew the exact day, we wouldn't have to watch at all, and that would be contrary to a vast array of scriptures. 

Then we turn to the parable of the 10 virgins, arguably the most disagreed upon parable in the entire Bible. But there is one point that everyone agrees with, and it is the only point that really matters:

"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the hour".
(Matthew 25:13)

We also see another idea added in this parable, and that is to be prepared. 

"The wise, however, took oil in their jars along with their lamps"
(Matthew 25:4)

In other words, they were prepared. 

And ready:

"The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet."
(Matthew 25:10)



So we begin to see three main themes arise from the parables: Be ready, be prepared and be watching


For what? 

Remember - we have a wedding coming up. 


Recall this summary of the scriptural passages defining Jesus' Church as the Bride of Christ: "The Wedding Approaches". How does any bride prepare for a wedding?

We should be consumed with Christ's love for us, and what He did for us on the cross. The enormous, almost unthinkable sacrifice that He paid for our salvation. We should be awaiting our meeting with Him with unabated joy and enthusiasm. We should be in constant prayer. We should be constantly thinking about Him, wanting to please Him, wanting to spread the gospel message of His offer of salvation, wanting and desiring to be in His presence - above all else

The signs are there for one primary reason - they tell us that His coming is "drawing near". The signs weren't given for us to live in fear. The signs were given in order to allow us an opportunity to prepare for His coming. Period. 

That is profound. In fact, relative to all of the fascinating and ominous signs that are discussed daily and watched - all of that should pale in comparison with the incredibly profound and dramatic message that we will be in His presence soon. 


It doesn't get any bigger than that. 


To be in the very presence of Jesus. 


It is coming soon. He said so. We can be ready for that moment. As the apostle John informed us, we have an epic celebration that also awaits us:

"Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:

'Hallelujah!
for our Lord God Almighty reigns.

Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!

For the wedding of the Lamb has come
and the bride has made herself ready...'

Then the angel said to me, 
Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'"
(Revelation 19:6-9)



What a glorious day awaits us. As the world continues a rapid descent into total darkness, we will be in Paradise with Jesus and with each other. This is what we are instructed to watch for and this is to be our focus. 

Maranatha!

He is coming soon!



20 comments:

ChristineInCleveland said...

AMEN & HALELUIAH!!! Beautifully put, Scott! :-D

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Scott! I love coming to your website,that was just beautiful,I cannot wait to be in Heaven with Jesus,it's like that's all I think about now!with everything that's going on in the world I hope and pray that it won't be much longer before our Lord and Savior returns!God Bless you all!

Hubae said...

Scott thank you for this!!! I so look forward to going home but can't help think of what the world will look like during the tribulation?! I have close family members who are unbelievers and they think I am crazy for what the Bible says is coming. I pray everyday for them! Can anyone give me advice on how to reach someone who wants nothing to do with church or "changing" their life?
Maranatha!!!!

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU SCOTT...!!

I REALLY NEEDED THIS TODAY.


GLAD WE ARE ALL GOING TO OUR REAL HOME SOON....SO SAD SO MANY OF THE PEOPLE I LOVE WILL BE STAYING BEHIND..


Cary

John said...

Halleluja!!!
God is good at His Word. Amen!!!
What a day of rejoicing that will be!!! TheLordIsNear!!!
John from Va.

Anonymous said...

Thanks!

Gwenny said...

Thanks for posting this today Scott! I read it out loud to my hubby--he enjoyed it very much. Also made a great witnessing tool for our son to hear it as well. It looks like a beautiful fall day is in store. Finally got around to canning some green beans with my mom --she's 81. First time I have canned without my precious daddy. I was a little fumble-fingered at first. I could hear in my mind's eye Dad 's little instructions. We successfully canned a bushel of beans.
Headlines sure are coming fast! Pray it won't be much longer. Also praying for all who have not come to Christ and all who are going through trials.
I also checked out the Kotel website--thank-you Mrs C for putting that site on here--enjoyed that . I haven't heard the shofar blown yet--looking forward to that. I hope each of you are enjoying a beautiful day. Keep looking up!

Susan said...

So many good, uplifting reminders in today's commentary! It is easy to get bogged down with all the negative stuff going on in the world - and prophecy watchers are especially aware of and sensitive to the negative stuff as it comprises a great deal of the "signs" we are to look for.

Totally concur with your assessment of the timing of the Gog/Magog war of EZ 38-39, and believers being gathered up before it. A few additional thoughts that apply to Israel - Conditions of peace are often brought about by peace treaties, which could explain how Israel is living in the land securely at the onset of the EZ war. We know something gets their attention in order for them to desire to turn back to God. It is this stunning victory over the invading armies and the supernatural signs that accompany it that seem to turn the Israelites hearts back to God. Why trust an antichrist after such a deliverance by God himself? In addition, we know from the opening of the second seal in Revelation that war is coming to the earth shortly after the antichrist has risen to power (1st seal). The EZ 38/39 war could easily be the same as this second seal war (Rev 6:4).

Ally said...

:) thanks Scott!

J.H. said...

Those who haven't come to Christ yet still have time. They need to accept God's free gift while they can. We should pray for them...and we do.

Ally said...

Hubae-i know nothing about this mans teaching or church bacground except he is Baptist. However, I looked at his teaching on this subject and could find no biblical fault. Had tried to share the info previously, but maybe now that things are in moderation, it might be welcomed.
The pastors name is LEE THOMAS and his book is PRAYING EFFECTIVELY FOR THE LOST. And its free. He is also on youtube and he is available to speak at churches. He does not seem wealthy, he seems like saving rhe lost and serving the Lord is who and what he is. I kinda got the feeling (holy ghost feeling lol) that he had spent a really long time trying to understand why people wetent getting saved after he prayed and prayed for them. And I think he kept pestering God about it, a lot. (for those of you with children...you know what I'm talking about) so God finally just said ok here is the deal!
Anyway, it blew me away!!!!! And my prayer life is getting better. Pretty clear and you can tell this man has spent his life working hard on praying for the lost.
Scott and all-let me know what you think! And may this info be exactly what we needed to pray thos special lost persons in just in the nick of time :)

mary said...

"What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see, when I look upon His face, the one who saved me by His grace.....

See ya at the house!!

Hubae said...

Thank you Ally, I am going to definitely check him out.
I am so blessed to have y'all in my life! I can't wait until we are united together in heaven and get to finally meet!!!!

Anonymous said...

thank you so much Scott. I watch the signs daily and it does get very disturbing..I needed this as do all the Christians. I only wish the Pastors in the Churchs would discuss things like this . I know we all need to hear it. Thank you, and God bless.

WVBORN56 said...

Scott great devotional today! Good good stuff. Thanks so much for being faithful and sharing your gift.

Anonymous said...

Ally,
I normally just read the blog and comments and don't post much, but thanks for posting the info on the 'Praying Effectively for the Lost'. I found the pdf and have read the first 7 pages and so far it is very powerful. I don't know whether the lost will only be saved if we pray for them, but regardless, we as believers still have a duty to pray for the lost.
Blessings,
Kathleen

Caver said...

Just amazing isn't it....for thousands of years folk have been trying to understand all the information. We're the only generation that can make sense of it all.....we understand it all, and its all here now.

Was watching the Western Wall celebrations the other night from the fixed cameras.....and it came to mind....from anywhere in the world, a few mouse clicks and you are there.....and for 2000 years years folk have wondered how the world is going to be able to watch the 2 Witnesses

Joining in the wonderment and praise....and gratitude to Scott for such a wonderful entry. What mixed emotions for these times but unbridled anticipation at soon being with our Ultimate Hero and Bride Groom.


Gilbert alvarez said...

So much things happening in this world...but lots of people are ignoring this sign...thank you God Almighty!!!

Waterer said...

Beautiful and hopeful post Scott. Thank you SO much!!

Expected Imminently said...

Hello Scott,
Ally, Hubae, Kathleen Re. FALSE TEACHER LEE THOMAS. Baptists denounce him.

Below is a link to a vital read of a Baptist expose’ on one of their own whom they are rejecting for his Extra Biblical teaching. In his book ‘Praying Effectively for the Lost’ Lee Thomas haughtily claims that 85% of the info came as direct revelation from God. However the book of Revelation was the final revelation from God to man, there is NO NEW REVELATION until Jesus comes and takes us into the Eternal State.

His thesis is UN-Biblical claiming that the lost can ONLY be saved with the help of praying believers (no different to RC indulgences to ‘buy’ people out of non existent ‘Pergatory’). The fact that he calls the heretic Charles Finney a ‘great man’ is evidence that he is part of the ‘name it and claim’ deception of ‘Word of Faith’.

Lee falsely states that “the lost WILL NOT and CANNOT be saved unless someone prays for them” (emphasis is from Thomas). He maintains that people are going to hell because no-one prayed for them. This is a DIRECT CONTRADICTION OF SCRIPTURE:

John 3:18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

“Thomas’ view of I John 2:2 is of a UNIVERSALIST interpretation), the chief problem is his overlooking of an imputed sinful nature inherited by Adam and instead (Lee) puts it squarely on the shoulders of Satan”.

“Thomas holds to heretic Origen’s Ransom Theory of the Atonement. He writes,” Legally, all souls belong to Christ because He paid for their sins on Calvary (I John 2:2). But Satan, illegally and forcefully, continues to hold them captive, resolutely refusing to let them go. And he will continue to hold them bound in spiritual darkness until we take our rightful place and exercise our throne-rights by demanding their immediate release on the basis of Christ’s shed blood and our delegated authority from Him.”

Rather than Origen’s theory, Scripture nowhere states that the “ransom” mentioned in Mark 10:45 was to Satan”
“Christian orthodoxy views the ransom of Mark 10:45 as being paid to God the Father who holds us in debt (ransom) because of sins held to our account and Christ who subsequently paid our debt (ransom) by substituting Himself in our place as the propitiation of God’s wrath.

“Seemingly for Thomas, CHRIST’S ATONING BLOOD WAS INEFFECTUAL AND AFFECTIVELY RANSOMED NO ONE - UNLESS – WE GIVE GOD A HAND TO FREE THEM.”

Plainly put, people go to hell because they refuse to BELIEVE in the GOSPEL that Jesus died, was buried, rose from the dead and ascended to heaven. On the Cross, Jesus substitutionary sacrifice, paid for the sins of the whole world (even the sin of failure to pray). They go to hell because they refuse to BELIEVE in Jesus for cleansing from sin to receive the free gift of salvation and legally DECLARED to be righteous when Jesus gives us His perfect righteousness in a direct exchange for our unrighteousness which is like filthy rags to a Holy God.

I am not a Cavanist (or Arminianist) so I don’t accept certain of the claims of these Baptists, but it is easy to filter through their doctrine and recognise the truth of Scripture which they boldly declare against this erring fellow Baptist, Lee Thomas. This man is a false teacher, and he needs exposing not encouraging in this lie.

Sue

Taken From
Pastors, guard the pulpit. May 9, 2012

RefMT Issues Warning Concerning Lee Thomas' "Praying Effectively" Seminars in Western MT

http://www.reformationmontana.org/about-us/blog/refmt-issues-warning-concerning-lee-thomas-praying-effectively-seminars-in-western-mt.html