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The Olivet Discourse

Matt 24

  1. Intro
  1. Well today we are going to continue to look at some signs of the times that indicate the second coming of Christ.
  2. If you’ve lived in ET long enough you know that you can sometimes tell when there’s a sign that the weather is about to change. In fact, we are getting towards that time of year when things could change on a dime!
  3. We’ve all started a day with warm weather and then felt a cool north wind come down and ended a day in our coats around here. In fact on one of the most famous ‘blue northers’ came through Dallas on 11/11/11.
  4. On Nov 11, 1911. Early in the day the temperature was a balmy 83 degrees, by the time people’s work day ended it was 17 degrees! That 66 degree change in temperature is still  in the record books today.
  5. Well, Jesus tells us to be aware of the ‘signs on the times.’ And in Matthew 24: 3-14 Jesus tells us what those signs are.
  6. Read Matt 24:3-14
  7. A few years ago An 89-year-old man named Harold Camping, who owns a string of radio stations across California and other states. Mr. Camping, who has no theological training, had declared that all organized churches are wrong. And As a former engineer, he developed his own dating system of the Old Testament.
  8. Based on his dating system, he was convinced that May 21, 2011 was exactly 7,000 years from the day Noah entered the ark, so he concluded this would be the date of the Rapture.
  9. His radio stations receive millions of dollars in donations and he spent a fortune buying full page ads in newspapers like USA Today and sponsored over 2,000 billboards announcing that the Rapture would happen May 21. He even had the audacity to say, “The Bible guarantees it.” Mr. Camping, who had earlier predicted Jesus would return in 1994, was wrong again— but that didn’t stop people from making plans based on his predictions.
  10.  Amazingly, there is a website that offers to take care of the pets of Christians after the Rapture. For a one-time payment of $135 you can rest assured this organization of pet-lovers will collect your pet and take care of it.
  11.  The website guarantees that all the members of this organization are all avowed atheists, agnostics, or blasphemers. If you think it’s a joke, many people didn’t. Did you know that on the day of Camping’s predicted Rapture, the website had so many hits it shut down. These folks raked in thousands of dollars. I guess P.T. Barnum was right about a sucker being born every minute
  12. Well, we need to be ready, but also use humility and wisdom in looking at the signs of the times.
  13. So what signs does Jesus tell us to look for? Well Jesus likens the 2cd coming to labor pains that come upon a woman.

       II.  The Beginning of Birth Pangs- False Christs

  1. The first birth pang that Jesus mentions is the pain of false messiahs.
  2. Vs 4-5 ‘And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.’
  3. 2 Peter 2:1-3 ‘But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.’
  4. False messiah’s are nothing new. In fact there have been at least 16 Jews that have claimed to be the Messiah, most recently a man named Mendel Schneerson in 1994.
  5. At least 35 ‘Christian’ messiah claimers. Including David Koresh, Sun Myung Moon and others. And about 10 more who don’t fit into any particular category.
  6. In fact as we sit here today, there are currently about 16 people in the world who claim to be the Messiah.  Folks, this is the prelude to what’s to come.
  7. The Bible says that after the Rapture, during the Tribulation, God will withdraw His Holy Spirit and all hell, literally, will break loose.
  8. 2 Thess 2:7-8 “ For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.”
  9. What we see is the perfect storm. Right now the Holy Spirit works in the world to demonstrate truth. That’s part of the reason we are here.
  10. The Holy Spirit works in the world to restrain evil. Otherwise it would be a lot worse than it is.
  11. But in the end times, God will remove His Spirit from the World. And so, You’ll have this increase in deceit that’s happening at the same time as there is a decrease in wisdom and people will be more vulnerable than ever.
  12. All of these false prophets will be more popular than ever because the world will have so thoroughly rejected the truth.
  13. It’s no wonder that Jesus says ‘take heed, that no one deceives you.’
  14. The word here to ‘take heed’ is a word that means, keep your eyes open all the time.
  15. A girl said, “My mother and I returned to my parents’ house late one evening to find my father fast asleep.
  16. “Mom had forgotten her house keys, so we knocked loudly, first at the back door and then the front and side doors. We yelled my father’s name over and over, with no answer. The car horn woke up the neighbors but no one at our house.
  17. Luckily our neighbor had a key and let us in.
  18. She said mom found Dad who was in bed, snoring, with the television on. Mom quietly switched it off. Then, Dad woke right up. "’Don’t turn that off,’ he said. ‘I’m watching the game.”
  19. Folks, when it comes to false prophets we need to be awake, not sleeping! Our eyes need to be open!

     III.  Wars and Rumors of Wars

  1. A doctor, an architect, and a lawyer were arguing over who had the oldest profession. The doctor said, "Well the first operation was performed on Adam, so the medical profession is the oldest." "No," said the architect, "Architectural planning and design was needed to create the earth and the universe out of chaos, so I represent the oldest profession."
  2. "Where do you think the chaos came from?" asked the lawyer.
  3. Regardless of where chaos comes from. Jesus says it will increase.
  4. These birth pangs will include war and the threat of war on an unprecedented scale.
  5. ‘you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.’  The verb used here actually suggests constant action, so it would read ‘you will be hearing’.
  6. So there will be constant talk of such things, sometimes true and sometimes rumor.
  7. The idea here is that the public discourse will be dominated by talk of war.
  8. Just look at our own past century. We have fought WWI, WW2, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea
  9. We were involved in world wars, cold wars, military actions, civil wars, border conflicts, terrorism, revolutions, even the term ‘peacekeeping mission’ means war.
  10. And they are going to continue and get larger and larger and more and more intense.
  11. How does the world look today?

In Africa – 214 wars

In Asia – 167

In Europe – 80

In Middle East – 240

In the Americas – 26

Total 728

Wargraph photo

  • And folks, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
  • It will really go nuts after the Rapture of the church and God withdraws His spirit from the world.
  • In fact Rev 19:19-21 “And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. 20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence[e] had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.”
  • Jesus will come back in the middle of the largest war that earth has ever seen.
  • This is just the beginning.
  • But Jesus says in Matt 24:6 “See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”
  • The world is still in labor.

       IV  Famines, Pestilences, and earthquakes in various places

  1. These birth pangs will bring an increase in natural disasters.
  2. Luke 21:11 adds some more info “There will be great earthquakes in various places, famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.”
  3. We don’t know exactly what the ‘signs from heaven’.
  4. But the Bible gives us a clue.
  5. Joel 2:10 “The earth quakes before them;
        the heavens tremble.
    The sun and the moon are darkened,
        and the stars withdraw their shining.”
  6. Joel 3:15 “The sun and the moon are darkened,
        and the stars withdraw their shining.”
  7. Isaiah 13:10 “For the stars of the heavens and their constellations
        will not give their light;
    the sun will be dark at its rising,
        and the moon will not shed its light.”
  8. Rev 6:12 “ When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood,”
  9. People will not be able to deny it’s judgment, but they will.
  10. Think about it.
  11. Religious deception and war involve human acts. It’s easy to say, ‘God’s not involved in that stuff.’ So people will talk themselves out of it being divine judgment.
  12. Pestilence and famines follow deception and war. Again, no divine judgement.
  13. But earthquakes, cosmic catastrophes are a clear indicator that something bigger than you is at work.
  14. These things will come together and make it seem like the earth is falling apart. The truth is that all of these things are divine judgments.
  15. It will feel this way Because God will withdraw His sovereign Mercy. Simply put, He will allow the world to lie in the bed that it’s made. All hell will break loose.
  16. But look what Jesus says that these are the ‘beginning of birth pangs.’
  17. These are the pangs of the Tribulation.
  18. The ‘Great Tribulation’ is still to come. Imagine that.
  19. When John gives his account of this very thing in Revelation he says in 6:8 ‘and power was given to them (death and hades) over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.”
  20. John goes on to describe the response of people in Rev 6:12-15 “When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, 13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. 14 The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. 15 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave[a] and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains,”
  21. This last earthquake includes the ‘earthquakes in various places’ of our passage and the cosmic craziness in Luke 21:11
  22. Jesus says that all of these things are only the ‘beginning of sorrows.’ (Matt 24:8)
  23. That is amazing. Folks, God has restrained so much of His Wrath against sin because He loves us.
  24. In Revelation 8 3-4 it says that after the 7th seal is broken that 7 angels appear before God. Each one of them is handed a trumpet, incense is given to God in a golden censor. John says that incense smells with the prayers of the saints. Precisely these are prayers for God to rise up and show His justice.
  25. An angel then takes the censor, fills it with fire, and throws it to earth. That signifies that the prayers for justice have been heard and God is about to judge even more harshly.
  26. Then the angels prepare themselves to blow their trumpets.

Rev 8:5-6 tells you what happens next. ‘Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings,[a] flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them.

  1. So even these massive judgments that have come are just an opening act to what God is going to do.
  2. The birth pangs get stronger, but Jesus says in Matt 24:6 ‘the end is not yet.’
  3. Next week we’ll continue to look at these birth pangs.

      V. Give me some Good News

  1. This second God’s hand of grace and mercy is still extended to you and I.
  2. Tell story about man needed help on side of road.
  3. Yesterday I was your savior, today I am your judge.
  4. Rom 10:9-10 “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

         VI. Conclusion

When the infidel Robert G. Ingersoll was delivering his lectures against Christ and the Bible, his speaking ability usually assured him of a large crowd. One night after an inflammatory speech in which he severely attacked man’s faith in the Savior, he dramatically took out his watch and said, "I’ll give God a chance to prove that He exists and is almighty. I challenge Him to strike me dead within 5 minutes!" First there was silence, then people became uneasy. Some left the hall, unable to take the nervous strain of the occasion, and one woman fainted. At the end of the allotted time, the atheist exclaimed derisively, "See! There is no God. I am still very much alive!" After the lecture a young fellow said to a Christian lady, "Well, Ingersoll certainly proved something tonight!" Her reply was memorable. "Yes he did," she said. "He proved God isn’t taking orders from atheists tonight."

My point is simply this. God decides when this world will come to an end. Not the super people or the super powers of this world. HE ALONE IS THE SUPER POWER OF THE UNIVERSE! And when that time comes, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.