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Bible Search
"Are we Living in the Last Days?”

I. Intro

After 14 years of studying the Bible, William Miller became convinced that Christ would return in 1843. When Miller
announced April 3 as the day, some disciples went to mountaintops, hoping for a head start to heaven. Others were in graveyards, planning to ascend in reunion with their departed loved ones. Philadelphia society ladies clustered together outside town to avoid entering God's kingdom amid the common herd. When April 4 dawned as usual the Millerites were disillusioned, but they took heart. Their leader had predicted a range of dates for Christ's return. They still had until March 21, 1844. The devout continued to make ready, but again they were disappointed. A third date--October 22, 1844--was set, but it also passed.

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." – Western Union internal memo, 1876

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." – Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

"Television won't last because people will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night." – -Darryl Zanuck, movie producer, 20th Century Fox, 1946

"There will never be a bigger plane built." – – A Boeing engineer, after the first flight of the 247, a twin engine plane that holds ten people

 

  1. What does ‘end times’ mean ?
  1. We hear this question a lot. Are we living in the end times?
  2. A commercial boasted that its product could help people live 
pain-free in their golden years.
  3. “Am I in my golden years?” my wife, 63, asked.
  4. “Not at all,” I assured her. “But you are yellowing fast.”
  5.  
  6. Well, that question is a little more complicated that it would appear.
  7. We are living in the last days of the church, however we are not in Israel’s last days yet
  8. A key thing for us to understand is the ‘Day of the Lord.’
  9. The OT refers to the Day of the Lord dozens of times, the NT refers to it 4 times.
  10. Isaiah 13:9-11
  11. So what is it?
  12. First we have to understand what the Bible means by day. There are 3 main ways the Bible refers to a day.
  13. First, is daytime, it’s dawn to dusk.
  14. Secondly, it’s used as a 24 hr period.
  15. But Thirdly, it’s used as a period of time.
  16. We do the same things, we say ‘back in the day’ or ‘days of youth.’
  17. The Day of the Lord falls into this category. It’s not a specific period of time. It occurs at a specific time in History, but its not a 24 hr day.
  18. Simply put, the day of the Lord begins after the Rapture of the church, it begins with God dealing with Israel at the beginning of the tribulation period (7 yrs) and it goes through the creation of a new heaven and a new earth.
  19. When we talk about the end times. We are not currently in the ‘Day of the Lord’.
  20. We are in a period of time when God deals with us with grace. It will not be that way during the ‘day of the Lord.’
  21. Every person who is saved is saved as a result of God’s grace.
  22. For the most part, God is not dealing directly with human sin. What I mean by that is that evil people often enjoy wealth and health and succeed in their pursuits.
  23. Even though they do not honor the Lord.
  24. For example, the last time you sinned you weren’t struck with lightning were you?
  25. When the ‘day of the Lord’ starts it will not be that way. God will directly punish sin in wrath and judgment.
  1. Discerning the Signs of the Times
  1. Late Joke
  2. In April of 2009, Newsmax published an article entitled “The Jesus Question: Will He ever Return?” Much of the information in that article was taken from a Pew Research Survey asking this very question.
  3. Pew found that :

4 in 5 Americans believe that Jesus will return

1 in 5 said it would happen in their lifetime.

After laying out the entire survey the Newsmax article concluded that

“So the idea that creation’s clock could strike midnight at any time turns out to be as American as apple pie, pink slips, and debt collectors. If you mix the morning headlines into the average American’s eschatology, you stir up quite a powerful, anger inducing brew.”

  1. As we attempt to understand Bible prophecy we need to avoid two extremes.
  2. The first is sensationalism.
  3. These are the date setters.  For example Christopher Columbus predicted the world would end in 1657.
  4. Isaac Newton said it would be in 1715. Nostradamus wrote in 1555 that it would begin in 1999. That fueled much of the Y2K fear.
  5. Jerry Falwell said it would happen by 2009.
  6. Show pictures of books.
  7. Sensationalists view every earthquake, disease and disaster through the lens of the end times.
  8. The truth is that when everything is a sign then nothing is a sign.
  9. Ed Hindson reminds us that “God’s clock, the clock of history, is ticking away. It never speeds up and never slows down. It just keeps on ticking, continually and relentlessly, moving us closer to the end of the age. How close we are to the end will only be revealed by time itself.”
  10. The second extreme is scoffing.
  11. These folks say any study about the end times is foolish and a waste of time. What’s the point of talking about it?
  12. Well, the point is that if Christ does not return, if the signs described in the Bible do not happen then He is not the Son of God and the hope of Heaven is a ‘pie in the sky’ idea.
  13. Look what Jesus said to the Pharisees in Matthew 16:1-3 “And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them,[a] “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”
  14. Jesus said that you know how to interpret the weather, but not the signs of the times. So it is important.
  1. What are the ‘Signs of the Times?’
  1. Signs are visible events, they may or may not be miraculous, that point to something beyond themselves.
  2. Signs are predicted throughout Scripture. (expand)
  3. Signs in prophecy are kind of like road signs. They point us to what’s coming.
  4. Jesus used ‘signs of the times’ to point to His first coming. He fulfilled OT prophecies and performed miracles right in front of people.
  5. Yet they were blind to His identity.
  6. Despite the signs, people didn’t pay attention. He fulfilled 109 prophecies related to His being the Messiah and he was indicted by the Jewish leaders and crucified.
  7. Just like the people of Jesus’ day missed the signs. People today miss the signs even though they are all around us.
  8. What can we look for?
  9. Luke 21:25 ““And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves,”
  10. Matt 24:3 “ As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
  11. What connects these two Scriptures? When Jesus’ disciples asked for the signs, Jesus didn’t say not to worry about it, nor did He say none of your business.
  12. Rather He outlined several general and several specific signs to look for.
  13. After He listed many of these signs He pointed to the ‘fig tree’
  14. Matt 24:32-33 “ “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates.”
  15. Now likely the fig tree refers to the nation of Israel since fig trees represented Israel in the OT. But beyond that Jesus was demonstrating just as the blossoming of the fig tree indicates that summer is near, so the signs indicate that His second coming is near.
  16. We don’t ignore the signs of Spring after Winter do we? No, we look forward to them.
  17. We should do the same with the second coming.
  18. Heb 10:24-25 tells us what we are to be doing as we see the ‘signs that His return is drawing near.”
  19. “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
  20. We need to define what we mean by the Rapture of the Church.
  21. One final thing on this subject that’s really important. There are no clear signs of the Rapture in Scripture. The signs in prophecy relate to the second coming of Christ which will happen after a 7 year tribulation.
  22. The Rapture will happen before that time occurs. So we can infer that when we see these things related to the tribulation that the Rapture will happen soon, because we know that happens before the tribulation.
  23. Give play illustration.
  24. You’re at the play. The curtain is still down. Before the curtain comes up you can hear stuff happening in the background. You know stuff is happening behind the curtain.
  25. You hear sets being put up, you hear props being put in place, actors taking their places.
  26. This stuff is not the play itself but because you hear it going on you anticipate the raising of the curtain.
  27. Right now the curtain is still down. We are in the audience. We can hear things going on behind the curtain. These are the signs.
  28. World events are happening, players are assuming their roles, and the curtain is about to go up.
  1. Conclusion