Tuesday, November 13, 2018

THE FIRST RESURRECTION





  By Pastor Mike Taylor


“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.”(Revelation 20:4-5)

I have had emails wondering about what is the first resurrection and believing that the rising of the saints will not happen until after the tribulation has played out. They say “Those verses plainly teach that the FIRST resurrection (as in “dead in Christ rising” I Thess. 4:16) takes place AFTER the tribulation saints have resisted the 
mark of the Beast. How do you think you will be “raptured” before the mark of the Beast, when the Bible plainly says that the first resurrection is AFTER the mark”

People look to these passages and reason that the dead in Christ will not rise until the end of the Tribulation. But are they correct, or are they missing something? I have a dear sister, that I will call “Judy” and emails me all the time with her “proof” of a post tribulation coming of the Lord Jesus, who is adamant that the first resurrection will not take place until after Jesus returns, one time only, at the end of the tribulation. Is she right? Let's see.

THE BEGINNING OF THE FIRST RESURRECTION.

At first glance at the aforementioned scriptures, it would seem to the casual Bible reader that the first resurrection does take place after the tribulation, but we must take the whole of scripture and not take one verse, or a set of verses out of context, as the bible CANNOT contradict itself, as the Word of God supports itself no matter what verse you are reading. A better interpretation of the First Resurrection would be the interpretation of the “resurrection of the righteous”!

52 “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”(Matthew 27:52-53)


The Gospels chronicle the blessed event of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, 
Jesus Christ. By these verses above, the saints who had died believing the promise of the coming of the Messiah were raised to life as well. They believed looking forward to that blessed event, even as we look backward at the completed event, but we both believed. These were saints who had fulfilled the years of their mortal life. As Jesus was the First Fruits of the resurrection, so were these people. Just as Jesus was on the earth for a full 40 days to witness to the masses of Jews that would believe His resurrection, so did these raised saints witness during these 40 days by their being raised to life. They witnessed to many during this time and so are we to believe that after they finished, they just died again? What witness would that be? No, I believe that Jesus took these saints with Him sometime during His days on earth after the resurrection, as Jesus and these resurrected saints were the beginning of the “First Resurrection”. As Jesus entered into the heart of the earth, He removed those found in Paradise, as Paul spoke of:

 “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
4:9  (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
4:10  He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)”(Ephesians 4:8-10)

 But this was just the start of the resurrection of the righteous or the 1st resurrection...
23 “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.”(1st Corinthians 15:23-24)

If you understand the implication of the verses that speak of Jesus as the first fruit of those born of the dead, then you realize that Jesus also was part of the first resurrection. As with any harvest of fruit, as the term “first fruits”, is important, as fruit is gathered in stages, not all at once of many a variety of agricultural products are harvested. So this harvest of God’s people will come in stages, but all will be part of the 1st resurrection.


18: “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”(Colossians 1:18)

There is no record of these raised saints in subsequent books of the bible, in Acts, or any of the epistles of Paul, that these people did anything but rise from the dead. They had no need to die again, as their sins had been forgiven, as they believed the promise that had just been fulfilled. As Jesus became a new creation with a new body that we will experience, so they also were part of that new creation. We don't know who they were, their names, or where or how far this miracle reached, but we do know that they came to life and were resurrected, just as our Lord was raised. If it was any other way, this fact would have been recorded to further the Gospel.

If we return to the verses in Revelation 20, then we must understand that this is the culmination of the resurrection of the righteous who are called collectively, the First Resurrection. Then if there is a collective series of resurrections, beginning with Jesus Christ, our Lord, then by implication, there must be others or a chronological order of events that will take place that will be called the First Resurrection, not just one.
THE TWO WITNESSES

Let's take a look at another resurrection. Let’s look at the raising to life of the two witnesses. Revelation chapter 11:
7 “And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
11 And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them,COME UP HITHER.  And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.”(emphasis mine)(Revelation 11:7-12)

These two prophets are unquestionably part of the first resurrection’s company of believers. The assembly which makes up the first fruits harvest contains at least two other groups of believers. It is often overlooked that Rev. 20:4-5 speaks of these two distinct groups.

If you look at the verses in Revelation chapter 20, it shows one group that is sitting on thrones. They can't be angels, as angels are never given authority to rule or to judge. That blessing is given to only one group, and that is the Church. So these judging saints have been resurrected some time before those being resurrected here. The second group are those that were beheaded during the Tribulation period  (Revelation 6:10-11, and  7:9) and ends the chronological order of events called the First Resurrection, or the resurrection of the righteous. They were killed for their faithfulness to Christ, the beheaded faithful are blessed because they have a part (literally, to experience along with others) in the first resurrection. Only by spiritualizing this passage and ignoring the textual details can this group be made to represent all believers of all the ages. John clearly intends a smaller group, every single one being beheaded. Obviously, not all Christians raised to life will have this detail of being beheaded.

Of the first group, if we go back to Revelation chapter 4, I believe you can grasp who these resurrected saints are and when they were resurrected.

4
“And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.”(Revelation 4:4)

These are the symbols of the resurrected saints, called the Church who are part of God's government on the earth. They are not angels, as previously mentioned, but glorified saints before God's throne sitting on thrones with crowns on their heads. (see Lk. 22:30, Rev. 3:21 & I Cor. 6:2-3).

Those sitting on these thrones could not be there, unless Jesus had resurrected them to life before this time. This is confirmed by Matt. 16:27 and Jesus’ words found in Rev. 22:12 where He declares, “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to His work.”

As I have preached many times, the tribulation is designed for two things and two things only. First is the refining of Israel as silver is refined in the fire.
2 “But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:
And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.(Malachi 3:2-4)



It will be the most terrible tribulation that will fall upon those who have rejected their Messiah for 2000 years, save for a few who have been shown mercy and their eyes opened to the truth of their Savior. The second truth of the Tribulation is to purge and destroy all who are in direct rebellion against God's Laws, and the blasphemy against God's only Son, Jesus Christ, the Lord. It makes no sense for God to inflict this level of His Holy wrath upon His own bride, as Jesus has paid the price for our sins, and we have no need to be converted to Christ, as that blessing has been accomplished at the cross for all eternity. That would smack of purgatory, or being refined further, as Jesus and His blood just wasn’t good enough. Was it enough? You know the answer to that one…Yes, it was enough and when He said it was finished, my brethren, indeed it was. No need to refine the church further, as they have been redeemed at the cross.

Rev. 4:4 and 5:8-10 reveal that the Church will have received their reward of crowns before Jesus Christ initiates the Tribulation Period with the breaking of the first seal in Rev. 6,

1
 “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.”(Revelation 6:1)

This is the beginning of God's wrath, so to begin God's wrath, the church must be removed, as Paul wrote under  the Holy Spirit’s  inspiration
, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ”,( 1stThessalonians 5:9.)

1st Peter 5:4 reveals that these crowns could not have been issued to believers unless Jesus Christ had already been seen by them at the gathering of His church to life “…when the Chief Shepherd appears.v.
4 “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”

A SIDE POINT

One point that makes obvious sense, and would make no sense if  the opposite conclusion were true, which is this. If there is ONLY one resurrection at the end of the Tribulation and Jesus returns and destroys all rebellion with the sword of His mouth, then those raised will be spirit beings with new bodies, and those who are wicked will be destroyed. Matthew chapter 13 confirms this:
49 “So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”(Matthew 13:49-50)

My question is....who will go into the Kingdom Age being mortal to repopulate the earth? See the problem? There will be no one. A better explanation is that Jesus is not coming back to change all into spirit beings, as that has been done earlier. What He is coming back for is to set up His Kingdom. Those who survive the tribulation will go into the Kingdom Age being mortal but have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior during the tribulation, but escaped martyrdom and will repopulate the earth. As it was in 70AD, those who believed escaped to the Jordanian Fortress at Petra and were preserved alive. So it will be in the Tribulation, as spoken of in chapter 12 of Revelation.

14 “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.” (Revelation 12:14-16)
These are those who believed Jesus when He spoke of in Matthew 24 and escaped the oncoming slaughter begun by the Anti-Christ:
15 “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16 “Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:16-22)
This is repeated in Revelation chapter 12 that we just covered. Those who believed escaped and were brought alive into the coming Kingdom of God to repopulate the earth...they will be mostly Jewish by birth with a minority of Gentiles who also surived.




Those who have died, not accepting the mark of the beast, will be raised to life and will comprise the fulfillment of the first resurrection and receive their new bodies, the same as with Jesus Christ and the saints raised with Him, the first fruits of the two witnesses and the redemption of the His body, the Church approximately 7 years prior.

TWO DIFFERENT TRUMPET CALLS

Another point that is made right along with the verses that began this sermon, is that the trumpets in 1st Thessalonians, is the same trumpet blown by the 7th angel in Revelation 11:15. There is a misconception that these are the same trumpets blown. The biggest reason that I can find is they announce two different events. The one that Paul writes  in 1st Thessalonians is followed by nothing but sheer joy. We have been redeemed from the earth. Each in his own order:
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
(1stThessalonians 4:16-18)

Now compare this with the trumpet that is blown by the 7th angel that is erroneously thought to be the last trump that Paul speaks of and the third woe. But also note that Paul wrote his epistle about the last trump a clear 30 years before John had the revelation of these events by Jesus Christ.:
15 “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
16 And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God,
17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned."(Revelation 11:15-17)
In subsequent verses, we see the third woe being enacted upon a rebellious earth and it's inhabitants. Bowl judgment after bowl judgment is poured out of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God. How fast? We don't know, but when it comes it is NOT a trumpet to signal joy, but a signal of unspeakable horror, violent death, and suffering beyond any of our imaginations. They are two trumpets blown, but separated by some amount of time. One trumpet  for joy and “rapture” and the last one of death and destruction are their plain, distinct differences. Understand that? Good, let’s move on.

THE SECOND RESURRECTION

The nature of the second resurrection is brought forth in Revelation, which depicts the unrighteous dead being released from the power of death for the purpose of a final judgment,
"11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that 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, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
(Revelation 20:11-15 ).


This is called the Great White Throne Judgment and the books will be opened.
9 “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.”
(Daniel 7:9-10).
What books will there be? We know that there is what the bible calls a “book of life”. Someone asked me what the difference was in the “Lamb’s book of Life, and the “book of life” mentioned in the bible at several places. The book of life, in my belief, is the written history of every human being that has ever been born and chronicles how their life was lived, either for God or in sin by following Satan’s temptations and lies. The Lamb’s book of Life are those names that have been re-written at the moment of salvation and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Master of their life. Those whose names are not written in this book or the Lamb’s book of Life will be cast out and thrown into a great inferno and will be in torment forever, called the Lake of Fire. What are the other books? I believe they are the books of your Bible, God's Holy Word. By God’s Word, each man and woman will be judged who are raised in the 2nd resurrection.. Those who have been resurrected unto life in this chronological order of the 1st resurrection will have their name in the book of life. Judgment will be passed on the wicked as not being found in this Lamb’s book of life at this final resurrection, as the righteous have been rewarded before this time for they have been covered by the blood sacrifice of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
WHICH RESURECTION FOR YOU?

What each of us have to decide is, which resurrection will you be involved with? Obviously, the first resurrection is the one that any sane person would choose if they were convinced of the penalty imposed for not following the clear message of the Books of your Bible. Many will be deceived. Many will revel in their unrighteousness. Many will follow the god of this world, Satan, the devil to their own destruction. What about you? Will you choose life, or will you choose death? Eternal death awaits for the resurrected wicked raised at the 2nd resurrection, BUT life eternal awaits those who are part of the 1st resurrection. It is promised : 1st Corinthians,
51” Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”(1st Corinthians 15:51-55)

Whether we live or whether we die, being part of the 1st resurrection, those who have died will be raised to life, and those who are still alive, then each of us will meet the Lord in the air, at His coming for His Bride. This is at the rapture of the Church, but the 1st resurrection will be completed when those who have died during the Tribulation and have not taken the Mark of the Beast will also be raised to new life with immortal spirits. This will end the 1st Resurrection. Where will you be? Will you be in the first resurrection? How do you obtain life through the first resurrection?
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.(John 3:16-18)


Believing starts in the heart and man's spirit, then we must confess our Lord to others by witnessing that very thing that happened to us. Not to a priest, pastor, but to others around you, your family, your co-workers, or your neighbors as God leads.
8 “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Roman 10:8-13)


Believe right now the Lord Jesus Christ and His payment for our sins on the cross at Calvary and those who do so, this side of the coming Tribulation will be assured to be in the 1st Resurrection and will never see the coming wrath that will be poured out on this earth for 7 years of unspeakable horror and death upon the earth. Jesus promised us this very thing when you read Revelation chapter 3:
10 “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” (Revelation 3:10-11)


As I have preached before, the phrase “will keep these from” in Greek is the word “EK”, which literally means to be removed from the time and space of the coming event. What event was Jesus speaking of? Is was in reference to the coming Tribulation. Will you escape the coming Tribulation and be in the 1st Resurrection? Jesus is the ONLY WAY.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the waythe truthandthe life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
Tribulation is coming and the removal of the Church is imminent, so won't you accept Jesus now and be removed from that event and live forever with Jesus in the Family of God?
2 “(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)” (2nd Corinthians 2:6)

This is Pastor Mike Taylor praying God's love in your life through His Son. See you at the First Resurrection. If you have any needs for prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, email me at 
realteam1999@sbcglobal.net, or visit me online at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com,    God bless you,


till we meet at Jesus feet.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

THE WORLD IS COMING APART

  by
Joseph Chambers -

 
2 Peter 2
 
1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

     There is no doubt but the world is moving to crisis after crisis. It is amazing and scary to watch and listen to the wicked people. The worst of the wicked will call anyone who opposes their wickedness dark names. If you stand for righteousness, do not respond to the wicked in kind. Our duty is to conduct ourselves in the spirit of gentleness and with soft words. Don't be a wimp, but be strong with the truth of Holy Scripture.
 
     The End Of The World was not a strange term to Jesus Christ and the early church. Secularists of our generation have created a mindset that immediately labels anyone using such terminology as a religious nut. The truth is that there cannot be a Biblical New World Order and the glorious kingdom of Jesus Christ until the present order comes to an end. Therefore, the present world as we know it is going to end and a new world begin. Nothing in Scripture is prophesied more clearly. We must rescue this truth and begin again to preach "The End Of The World". Satan is afraid of such truth and, especially, truth that convicts the unsaved. Without question he is the mastermind behind the silence in the church about impending judgment and the "End Of This World."
 
     Early church preaching rings with the shattering message of judgment and the coming darkness. Peter wrote to the believers among the many churches, "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer." (1 Peter 4:7).
 
     They lived in constant readiness for the kingdom of God to be established and warned that the present world order as they knew it had to end first. Nobody cared too much about worldly goods and building personal empires for they all knew it could be gone in a moment. Some of them sold everything they had and gave to the kingdom for the good of everyone. "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.   Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,   And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.   And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,   Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet." (Acts 4:33-37).
 
     It was a mindset unknown to today's church because they knew this world was going to end. They actually expected it in their lifetime and wanted their riches to be invested in the eternal kingdom. This was the Lord's intention for His church.
 
     Biblical discipleship will not return to the church until we re-establish the kingdom message. Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." (John 18:36). This world order has to end for the visible appearance of His kingdom to appear. You cannot mix the old with the new unless the new is spoiled and becomes like the old. Jesus' kingdom is presently invisible, a spiritual kingdom in our hearts as we live only for Him, but soon the old will end and His kingdom will begin right here on this earth. He said, "Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." (Matthew 5:5). That was not some figurative statement, but a clear promise to His own. We will spend at least seven years in Heaven after the Rapture before we share in Christ's establishment of His earthly kingdom.
 
The Signs Are Everywhere: It's Almost Over
 
     Jesus Christ's disciples asked Him a three-part question that promoted some of His most incredible teachings on this subject. Let's look at these three questions. "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (Matthew 24:3). Jesus had warned them of the destruction of the temple and the coming judgment upon Jerusalem. They asked Him about the time of that judgment, but also about His coming again and what they called the end of the world. The first part was fulfilled in AD 70 when the Romans smashed Jerusalem and ended that great city as a Jewish city for nearly 1900 years. The Jewish people reclaimed the city in 1967 after 1,897 years.
 
     They were very specific in their question about the end of the world and Jesus gave them a specific answer. Notice that He mentioned the end of the world three times in the next eleven verses or the first part of His answer. After speaking of "wars and rumors of wars", he said, "but the end is not yet." Later, He stated, "But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved." He then gave the last of the signs that must occur and stated, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Matthew 24:14).
 
1 John 4
 
1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

     Let me give you the total context of this great reference to the end of the world. Please read it carefully. "And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?   And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.   For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.   And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.   For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.   All these are the beginning of sorrows.   Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.   And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.   And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.  And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.   But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.   And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Matthew 24:3-14).
 
Jesus Taught Powerful Truths About The End
 
     The Rapture of the Bride of Jesus Christ needs no sign for us to expect Him at any moment, but there is a multitude of signs that relate to the end of this wicked world order ruled over by the devil. Satan has never been very smart and a Bible student can easily detect His masteries of lies. The environmental movement of the world has affected a large portion of churches and many professing Christians have become wild-eyed environmentalists. Many Pentecostal/Charismatic churches are now full-blown "dominion theology" believers working to establish what they believe is the kingdom of God on the earth. The Book of Revelation is rejected by this crowd as a literal book of the prophetic future because they see it as "doom and gloom." Terrible disappointment is just ahead for anyone who has rejected the "end of the world" truths that represent such a clear message in the Holy Bible. This world order is going to crash and the sounds of that crash will echo to the Heavens.
 
Look at some of the signs Jesus gave in the Matthew 24 teachings we just shared in this article:
 
"Take heed that no man deceive you." Never has there been more false teachings and doctrines flooding the religious world. Many believers have rejected the Bible as the final word on all truth and now they are extremely vulnerable.
 
"For many shall come in My name, saying, 'I am Christ'; and shall deceive many." The new generation of deceivers are quick to fill their dark teaching with a sprinkling of Jesus' name and some of His wonderful truths. Then they mix in their false ideas that destroy and deceive. Nothing is more dangerous than a mixture. It is even worse than total error.
 
"And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars." Our globe is a powderkeg of fighting, massacre, and civil wars. We have seen so much carnage on the news that it barely gets our attention. India's recent explosion of five different nuclear devices is an excellent measure of the state of world tension. Many noted world analysts are predicting a nuclear war in the Middle East at any moment.
 
"Famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places." The record number of these kind of death-dealing events is no longer a question. Tens of thousands are dying from famine and pestilence. Africa is facing a plaque of the AIDS virus that will certainly continue to spread on a worldwide scale. AIDS, along with many other fatal diseases, fits perfectly the Biblical warning of pestilences.
 
Jesus paused at the end of verse six to warn that the end is not yet. After verse seven, He stated, "All these are the beginnings of sorrow." Everything Jesus stated in verses four through seven has been evidenced to some degree from the time of the early church. Then He describes additional signs that are more pronounced today than ever in church history.
 
"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted and shall kill you." Our congress has been debating a "Christian Persecution" measure for months because of worldwide persecution of Christians. Right here in America there is a dedicated effort to stop every public reflection of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Hornets basketball team in our city of Charlotte has prayer before each game, but refuses to allow anyone to participate unless they agree not to use the name of Jesus in the prayer. Our city council and county commissioners have faced a constant barrage of evil persons determined to stop prayer in Jesus' name. There is a worldwide spirit of evil hatred against the power and person of Jesus Christ unknown in world history.
 
2 Thessalonians 2
 
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
 
     "And ye shall be hated of all nations for My name's sake." This verse of Scripture must be seen in a double sense. It relates to the Christians because Jesus was talking about believers and to the believers, but He was also talking to Jewish believers. The hatred of Bible-believing Christians is no less pronounced than the hatred of Jewish people. The anti-Semitism that is reflected in the Arab world is more understandable than the anti-Semitism in religious people. There are whole ministries that operate on their hatred of Jewish people.   There is not a more diabolical expression than that which motivates "hatred of Israel." Sure, the Jews as a nation are still in unbelief and are indeed enemies for the gospel's sake. Their unbelief has blinded their eyes to the gospel, but the Scripture clearly warns us to be free of pride and to expect "all Israel to be saved." I believe we are seeing the final expression of hatred for the Jews that will usher in the Antichrist reign. The same Hornets basketball team here in Charlotte that forbids prayer in Jesus' name also forbids anyone praying in Hebrew. Those were the only two restrictions. That would be odd indeed if you did not understand this great teaching of Jesus Christ in Matthew twenty-four. Notice those words again, "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake." (Matthew 24:9). Of all the religions in the world the only two to be forbidden in the prayer were the two ideas of fundamental Christianity and fundamental Judaism. The only friend Israel has at the United Nations is the United States of America, and Bill Clinton could be the man to change that. At that moment, this Scripture would be perfectly fulfilled, if we could not already count it fulfilled.
 
"And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." This verse speaks specifically of men and women who call themselves apostles, prophets, etc. Our world is suddenly, in the last 10 years mainly, being inundated with so-called prophets and apostles. From what was called the "Kansas City Prophets", we now have thousands spreading religious viruses throughout the church. Any man or woman that calls themselves or allows others to introduce them as a prophet or a prophetess is dangerous. The Lord has always had prophets, apostles, pastors, teachers, and miracle workers in His church, but they were men who rejected such titles lest they gather to themselves honor that belongs only to the Lord. We are all servants and whatever our calling may be we have no right to exalt ourselves so that we can then demand an audience of the people. The Lord Himself exalts and debases and we give Him alone the glory. Flee for your life when someone calls themselves a prophet or an apostle. They certainly fit this Scripture perfectly.
 
"And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." This speaks specifically of the great apostasy that we are experiencing at this very moment. "Iniquity" or a better word is "lawlessness" perfectly describes the present church world. The church is full of men and women who believe they are a law unto themselves and will not listen to the "unaltering truth of Holy Scripture." You can quote the words of God that demand separation and holiness and the people will simply say, "I'm not convicted of that" and they believe that settles it. This very term, "iniquity/lawlessness", is a profound image of today's church world and because of this lawlessness "the love of many shall wax cold". You cannot be ready for His return and the end until your will is totally surrendered to His perfect will as revealed in the Bible. If there is an ounce of "lawlessness" in you, then you must find the mourners' bench of repentance and confess it to the King.
 
"But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." It is very evident that the Lord Jesus knew the struggle of the righteous in the times right before the end. Seven times the same idea was recounted to the church in Revelation two and three. "To him that overcometh", etc. was the closing promise to all seven churches representing the church period or dispensation. The apostasy of this hour has convinced a multitude of church members to ignore the Scriptures that teach total discipleship and complete separation from the world. There is going to be some angry church members and children of compromising churches and families when they suddenly realize they have missed the Rapture and are being thrust into the Tribulation.
 
"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." It is a testimony to the mercy of God that the last sign and action that He has determined before the end is the preaching of His kingdom. If you are a faithful servant of Jesus Christ, then do not fear that the devil can stop you from proclaiming the truth of the gospel. It is thrilling to me to know that our God will protect the true messengers right down to the moment of the Rapture and the beginning of the end. The last sign before the end is a man of God in the pulpit telling the lost how to be saved.
Luke 21
 
33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

Jesus Was Not Embarrassed To Talk About The End Of The World
 
     If Jesus was willing to freely speak of the end of this age and the final judgment of a wicked world, why should we not speak freely about the same? It is unbelievable how utterly lost is this incredible message to our sinsick world. Hope is quickly vanishing from the political world. Military experts speak of inevitable conflicts and impending dangers. The secular media is more willing to talk about the hopeless future than the church.
 
     We must show the world that the end of this age is at hand. No, we should not set dates or try to scare people for the sake of its effect on their spiritual commitment. But, we must preach the whole Word of God including eternal damnation and the coming judgment of God. God can no more ignore the plaque of sin that grips this world than He ignored it in Biblical history. Sin always has consequences and to preach otherwise is to be a false prophet. This is not a message of doom, it is a message of hope.
 
The End Is Just The Beginning
 
     The "New World Order" that the devil's crowd has fostered is a masquerade and imitation of the real. The real "New World Order" is the Biblical kingdom of Jesus Christ. That kingdom cannot mix with a world ruled by greed, love of money, and love of pleasure. Every principle of this present world order must be judged and eliminated. Then He will establish His kingdom to last forever.
 
     Daniel saw this heavenly kingdom established without human hands. Listen to his description from the vision of Nebuchadnezzar which was from the Lord. "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure." (Daniel 2:44-45).
 
     No human hands, no "Kingdom Dominion" preachers, no post millennialist will help establish this kingdom. It will be the supernatural hand of the great God and His Son, Jesus Christ. The most mindless idea I have ever heard from a religious source is the new doctrine of a man-made kingdom. The new kingdom must be established and ruled by the King of kings.
 
     The end of the present world order is the beginning of the glory of this kingdom. After one thousand years of His physical reign in Jerusalem the new Heaven and the new earth will be manifest to the world. John clearly shows that the old must end for the new to begin. He stated, "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.   And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God." (Revelation 21:1-3). The truth about the end of the world is one of the most glorious messages in Holy Scripture. Let's tell the world about it!