We are in Part 3 of a series concerning End Times Prophecies...But this series is NOT simply about...Chronologically walking through the events of the Last Days...
As we have done in the past... And will do again in the future.
This series is intended to make us...Aware of the things happening around us everyday...Right now! To make us watchful of the things which...
WILL BE HAPPENING... At least in part... In the near future! If we are truly living in the End Days.
Because a number of Events which occur just before... Or in the beginning of... The Tribulation Period...Are so huge... So UNMISTAKABLE...That their beginnings MUST be apparent...Long before they come to fruition!
Jesus Himself... Very clearly Tells us this is the case...And for that reason... He Tells us to "WATCH"...Because when we see these things BEGIN to happen...We are to lift up our heads and look for His Coming!
Luke 21:28 (NKJV)
28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.
ALWAYS remember... NONE of these things would matter...UNTIL the Key Piece of the puzzle was in place... ISRAEL!
Thus far... We have studied:
The soon to come War between Israel, Russia, Iran...
And other Middle East Nations! (Gog/Magog War)
Which MUST occur just before... Or at the very start...
Of the Tribulation!
A War which we have seen developing before our eyes today...
Described in exact detail... Over 2000yrs ago!
We have studied the intentions and preparations...
For rebuilding the Third Temple of God in Jerusalem!
Because it is in used during the Tribulation...And it is At THIS TEMPLE...That the Antichrist proclaims himself God!
TODAY...Every article of worship is ready...Priests have been trained and readied...
Even the first cornerstone of the Temple is standing by!
THIS WEEK... We will look into another area...Which is NOT just necessary... BUT FOUNDATIONAL...For the Events of the Tribulation to begin!
Some may wonder why I so regularly come back to messages...
Concerning End Times and Latter Days!
One: About 1/3 of Scriptures were Written Prophetically!
So it must be important to God, for us to understand Future Events!
Two: As we've just seen...
Jesus Spoke much about these End Times Himself
And He Tells us to "Keep Watch!"
Three: If we ARE truly living in the End Times...
Wouldn’t it NOT only be logical... But also Responsible & Proper before God…
To fully understand, appreciate, and respond accordingly?!
Signs Of The Times!
The people in the Church of Thessalonica were suffering extreme persecution...And for this reason... Many had begun to believe they had MISSED Jesus' Return! Tthat they were living in…The beginnings of the Great Tribulation!
Paul assures them that they have NOT missed Christ's Return...
With these Words!
2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 (NKJV)
1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.
STOP! Think on these Verses a moment before we continue! The Thessalonians thought... According to Paul's Earlier Letter...Jesus may already have Come... Secretly... To get His Own! That they... Had somehow missed the Coming! Paul opens to comfort them...He uses the phrase, "Our gathering together TO HIM"...Distinctly referring to a bringing together of Saints to HIM!
NOT... A Physical Return to the Earth...Which obviously had not occurred yet!
Both of these clearly illustrated FACTS...Show distinct teachings of the RAPTURE of Christ's Church... And that It Occurs... BEFORE His Second Coming!
Now... Listen to the evidences Paul gives to them...As to WHY THEY COULD NOT be LIVING in the Tribulation!
2 Thessalonians 2:3-5 (NKJV)
3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?
Paul said TWO THINGS had not occurred...One which must occur FIRST... The "Great Falling Away"...Or some Translations say:The "Apostasy"... Or the "Rebellion"!...And the other... Which must come immediately afterwards: IN the time of the Tribulation...The revealing of the Antichrist! Paul goes on to reveal WHY the Antichrist cannot be fully revealed...Until WE THE CHURCH... Are GONE!
2 Thessalonians 2:3-5 (NKJV)
6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.
"He"... The Holy Spirit... Is restraining Satan...When "He" is "Taken out of the way!"... REMOVED! THEN… The lawless one will be revealed! Meaning when the Influence of the Spirit…Is GONE from earth!
The Spirit is ALWAYS Present! But His Influence Works through US! So... When WE are "Taken out of the way!" The Antichrist will be allowed to rise!
SO... We need to GET TWO THINGS from these Passages:
ONE: JESUS DOES RAPTURE HIS CHURCH...
BEFORE THE TRIBULATION ON EARTH!
TWO: THESE TWO MASSIVE EVENTS ARE USED BY PAUL...
TO SHOW SIGNS THE BEGINNING OF THIS TRIBULATION…
MUST be occurring... MUST be taking root...BEFORE… THE MOMENT OF THE RAPTURE! So today...Let's consider what Paul said must FIRST take place...JUST BEFORE the Tribulation!
The Great Falling Away!
The Greek word used for, "Great Falling Away"...Is APOSTASIA (ap-os-tas-ee'-ah) Meaning: Turning from truth, forsaking, rebelling!
In other words, Paul is saying...That in the times JUST BEFORE Christ's Return for His Own...The entire world... Including... And Especially... The CHURCH...
Will begin to turn from the Truth of God...Rebel against His Word...And live in spiritual and moral rebellion, debauchery, and perversion!
Paul and Jude expand on the details of this "Falling Away"...Several times:
2 Timothy 3:1-5 (ESV)
1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NLT)
3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths.
Jude 1:7-8 (HCSB)
7 In the same way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them committed sexual immorality and practiced perversions, just as angels did, and serve as an example by undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. 8 Nevertheless, these dreamers likewise defile their flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme glorious ones.
Romans 1:24-32 (ESV) (Wrath revealed from Heaven against these things!)
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Revelation 13:6-7 (NKJV)
6 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. 7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them…
Matthew 24:9-10 (NKJV)
9 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.
Because of the place we are at current...In our Wednesday Night Bible Study (End of Judges)...We touched on this topic a bit this week already.But let's just STOP...
And attempt to remove the influences, biases, and fears of our world around us...Long enough to see our world…Through the LENS of God's Word ONLY today!
The Previous Verses... And many more...State the following about the people of the Latter Days:
Narcissistic and arrogant... Love only themselves
Unappeasable... Cannot be pleased or made happy
Slanderous... Make vicious, false, bitter claims to defame others
No self-control... Do whatever feels good or is desired
Love pleasure more than God
Try to look godly... But denying God in personal reality
Seek churches to paint a god they want…With the sin they want
Without natural affection
Jealous, murderous, violent, anarchists
Haters and persecutors of those holding to…True beliefs in Christ and His Teachings.
Given to perversions of sexual acts and homosexuality.
Actually inventors of new sins... And proud of it!
Now STOP AGAIN... Leave out worldly influence...And look ONLY at what GOD MUST THINK of the actions...Of America and the world today...73 million abortions take place each year worldwide. (1)
1.5 billion babies have been aborted worldwide in past 50yrs (2)
3 in 10 pregnancies end in abortion worldwide - 29% (1)
42% of all yearly deaths in the world from abortion (2)
Every 2 seconds a baby is aborted (2)
Listen to these stats…Which outline the beliefs of our Church today:
Percentage of Christians in favor of Same-Sex Marriage in Church: Stats from 2023 Pew Research Center (8)
Catholic - 57%
Mainline Protestant - 57%
Orthodox Christian - 54%
In the 2022 Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research Survey...
Of beliefs held by U.S. Evangelicals in the American Church: (8)
"Jesus was a great teacher, but He wasn't God." 43% (9)
"God accepts the worship of ALL religions." 56% (9)
"The Bible, like all sacred writings, contains helpful accounts of ancient myths but is not literally true." 26% (9)
"Religious belief is a matter of personal opinion; it is not about objective truth." 38% (9)
"Gender Identity is a matter of choice." 37% (9)
c. Pastor and Author Randy Alcorn comments:
"The percentages demonstrate that these are no mere fringe ideas; they are already prevalent in U.S. churches and are gaining traction at an alarming rate."
d. The Ligonier & Lifeway Surveyors conclusion:
"The 2022 State of Theology survey reveals that Americans increasingly reject the divine origin and complete accuracy of the Bible... U.S. adults are also increasingly holding to unbiblical worldviews related to human sexuality. In the evangelical sphere, doctrines including the deity and exclusivity of Jesus Christ, as well as the inspiration and authority of the Bible, are increasingly being rejected... an inconsistent biblical ethic is also evident, with more evangelicals embracing a secular worldview in the areas of homosexuality and gender identity."
Christians are the most persecuted group worldwide...And near genocide levels in parts of the world! (11)
Open Doors World Watch List 2022 says this: (10)
- In the past year 360 million Christians…That’s (1 in 7) were significantly persecuted! (10) 5,600 murdered, 6,000 detained, 4,000 kidnapped! (10) 5,000 churches & organizations destroyed! (10)
Christian beliefs are met with more and more hostility...Even now here in the U.S…
In the workplaces, schools, businesses & public forums.
Adult Americans Identifying as LGBT...Has risen exponentially through the generations: (3)
Baby Boomers (1946-1964) - 2.6% (3)
Generation X (1965-1980) - 4.2% (3)
Millennials (1981-1996) - 10.5% (3)
Generation Z (1997-2003) - 20.8% (1 in 5) (3)
The LGBT percentage will be 10% overall in the near future! If Sexual Orientation cannot be taught and learned in culture... Why this exponential increase?
"Gender-Affirming" surgery and/or hormone replacement Is offered to people as young as 12yrs old in some Health Centers and Clinics! (4)
Medical Clinics offer "Puberty Blocking" Hormone Therapy for children just 10 or 11yrs old! (5)
Transgender teaching is in school classrooms as young as…K thru 3 in some areas! Even using “Introducing Teddy" Transitioning Teddy bear! (6)
The equal rights women have fought to gain for decades...Has been set back drastically... In a number of ways!...As biologically male individuals compete in women's sports...Win honors and awards women have worked to achieve...Force women to share locker rooms with biological males...Simply because they emotionally identify differently.
Have true medical and statistical data about women blurred worldwide... (12)
Our own White House even honoring a transgender...With an International Women's Day Award this month. (7)
The entire "Political Play" in the Trans-Argument...Is wrongfully represented... And based upon a lie! You say everyone is beautiful and should be accepted for who they are... But you quickly support changing everything about them to make them accept themselves.
Children are NOT MATURE enough…To vote, drink, or smoke... But they ARE MATURE ENOUGH… To decide they want to permanently mutilate their bodies...And destroy their chances to procreate or nurse children forever!
Old enough to understand what their permanent stance on sexuality will be for the rest of their lives...
ALL BEFORE they have even… Attained puberty and sexual maturity! All IN THE NAME of CARING for the child...This is selfish abuse... For political reasons! No matter your stance on Transgender!
Homosexuals, transexuals, gender-questioning people...Are all just like you and I:
People with issues...
People with problems...
People with sins...
People in need of help, acceptance... And the Love of Jesus!
But to encourage them in a way of life…Which the God who Created them says will hurt them... Is not love… Is not faith!
LISTEN… Jesus Accepted ALL SINNERS…EVEN WHEN THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS DIDN’T! BUT… WHEN THEY DID COME TO HIM…THEY… LEFT CHANGED! NOT JESUS!!
Now... If you KNOW...That Jesus Christ is Real...That Scriptures are True...
And that we were Made by God... In His Image... And for Him...Answer these questions: Based entirely upon HIM...And NOT the world view which has tainted us...Was the entire world Judged for it's rebellion against God in Noah's time?
Was Sodom and Gomorrah Judged for it's sexual perversion and selfish violence? Were the Canaanites Judged for their sexual lusts...And especially for the killing of their own children? Was even the Nation of Israel Judged for turning away from their own Messiah?
According to just these few facts…About our Nation and our World today:
Mankind... In OUR generation...Has fallen away from God as never before... Worldwide...As His Own Church...Has changed our teachings and beliefs about:
Whether His Word is True and Inerrant... Or partial myth...Whether Jesus Himself was God... Or just a good man...What parts we want to believe and accept...What parts we want to totally disregard to please self...
Christians are becoming less in number...Less tolerated in society...And more persecuted worldwide... (Some to genocide levels) Than ever before in history...
We are the most narcissistic, self-obsessed society in our Nation's History...
Living for pleasure... With no responsibility to others...With no foundation or guidance...To show us our worth, our roles, our value, our purpose...Or even our sexual identity...And we are crumbling under depression, anxiety, and suicide and violent crime as a result.
We are responsible for killing more of our own children than any Nation of any generation in history...We are teaching and encouraging our own children...To reject, and mutilate their own bodies... Question their identities... And make the world bend to their delusions... Rather than learning to love and accept themselves...We are in more wars with one another…Than at any time in history!
Every Verse which we read…About the Generation of the End Times... Matches everything we just covered from today's culture...TO THE TEE!
No one can say that it has ever been like this worldwide... In history! No one can deny that it has exponentially changed in a single generation!
2 Thessalonians 2:3 (NKJV)
Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first...
Here is what Jesus Clearly Calls you and I to do...In such a rapidly declining culture against Him:
ONE: Learn God's Word from Genesis to Revelation...
Know His Truth... Know Who He Is... FOR YOURSELF!
Trust His Love, His Ways, and His Character!
TWO: Do NOT let the culture…Influence your thoughts & actions!
Hold fast to what you know is True, Right, and Loving...No matter what the cost!
1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 (NKJV)
21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.
THREE: EXPECT... Society to change even more...In their attitude and reaction towards you... Because of your Faith in the future!...And be prepared... Knowing God is in Control!
FOUR: Maintain a complete Love, Acceptance, and Passion… For the many who are simply misled and lost...In a broken, sin-soaked world...Knowing your greatest calling... Is to show them the God Who Made them... And Loves them!
FIVE: Recognize what all of these undeniable pieces of the Puzzle... Actually mean... And, "Look up, because your Redemption draws near!"
Then determine to NEVER... Back off... Back down... Give up... Or Compromise! Let the world see that God is Real and Valued enough...
In YOUR OWN LIFE... To Sacrifice anything for... And they may see a God Worth exploring!
Revelation 3:2-3 (ESV)
2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.
Revelation 3:10-13 (NKJV)
10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." '
“HOLD THE LINE… IN LOVE… AND STEADFASTNESS…”
More is coming!
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