First, some introductory comments about Matthew24:1-8.
This passage is really THE PROPHETIC KEY TO THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE END OF THE AGE – THE END OF THE WORLD. These words came from the LIPS OF JESUS during HIS LAST WEEK, prior to HIS CRUCIFIXION! These words really MAKE UP THE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM OF END-TIME PROPHECY! If you’re going to UNDERSTAND END-TIME prophecy, you must understand the words of Jesus in Matthew 24.
Everything fits when it is ATTACHED TO THE BACKBONE, it all works and makes sense! So let’s look at it, and let THE LORD GIVE US A GLIMPSE INTO THE PLAN HE HAS FOR THE CLOSE OF THIS AGE!
Look at Matthew 24:1-2 please,
“AND JESUS WENT OUT, AND DEPARTED FROM THE TEMPLE, AND
HIS DISCIPLES CAME TO HIM FOR TO SHEW HIM THE
BUILDINGS OF THE TEMPLE.”
“AND JESUS SAID UNTO THEM, ‘SEE YE NOT ALL THESE THINGS?
VERILY I SAY UNTO YOU, THERE SHALL NOT BE LEFT ONE
STONE UPON ANOTHER, THAT SHALL NOT BE
We must remember:
1. For the DEVOUT JEW, and THE DISCIPLES WERE DEVOUT JEWS, there was NOTHING AS SACRED AS THE TEMPLE!
2. It was THE PLACE OF GOD’S PRESENCE, GOD’S Old Testament RESIDENCE. It was the CENTER OF GOD AND MAN’S INTIMACIES.
3. It was the place THAT MADE ISRAEL UNIQUE. It was WHERE THE SACRIFICES WERE MADE!
4. So it should not surprise us:
a. That the disciples wanted to SHOW JESUS around THE TEMPLE BUILDINGS, for they loved the place!
b. It WAS THE CENTER OF THEIR JEWISH LIFE, HISTORY, CULTURE, and it meant everything to them!
c. And with A CHILD-LIKE FASCINATION, they take HIM AROUND, pointing at the STONES, THE ADORNMENTS!
d. Jesus could feel THEIR PRIDE, feel where their HEARTS WERE, and yet SHAKES THEM TO THE CORE when He says to them:
“YES I SEE THESE STONES, THESE BUILDINGS, AND THERE
WILL NOT BE LEFT ONE SINGLE STONE UPON ANOTHER.”
5. My, My, My:
a. You would have to be a Jew to understand WHAT A BLOW THAT WAS TO THEM!
b. It was THEIR NATIONAL LIFE, THEIR SPIRITUAL LIFE, THEIR PERSONAL LIFE, but now ALL TO BE PLUNDERED.
c. And in Verse 3 they begin to REASON AMONG THEMSELVES:
-Certainly, HE MUST BE TALKING ABOUT THE END OF THE WORLD!
-After all, the world cannot exist without the TEMPLE, but when shall all of this be?
1. Fulfilled it was, as all of God’s Word always WAS, IS, AND FOREVER SHALL BE!
2. In 70 A.D. EMPEROR TITUS and his armies came and KNOCKED THAT TEMPLE FLAT TO THE GROUND.
3. The point being:
“WHAT GOD SAYS WILL COME TO PASS, HAS IN THE ETERNAL
DIVINE ANNALS ALREADY TAKEN PLACE IN HEAVEN,
THOUGH IN A FEW INSTANCES YET TO BE
FULFILLED ON EARTH.”
THE GREAT SHAKING
Likewise, let me assure you, WHATEVER RELIGIOUS – POLITICAL – NATIONAL system in these LAST DAYS, THEY shall BE SHAKEN TO ITS FOUNDATION. Everything, every tradition, every institution, has been and will continue to be shaken to the foundation.
As we read in Hebrews 12:26-27,
“YET ONCE MORE I SHAKE NOT THE EARTH ONLY, BUT THE
“AND THIS WORD, ‘YET ONCE MORE,’ SIGNIFYING THE
REMOVING OF THOSE THINGS THAT ARE SHAKEN,
AS OF THINGS THAT ARE MADE,THAT THOSE
THINGS WHICH CANNOT BE SHAKEN
a. Let it come, I welcome it, THAT DOESN’T FRIGHTEN ME, FOR GOD’S DOING THE SHAKING!
b. Every stone BEING SHAKEN, EVERYTHING WE’RE USED TO DOING, IN OUR NICE COMFORTABLE WAYS!
c. And, the GOOD NEWS is that, it MUST BE, FOR THEN:
“THE PLANTING OF GOD WILL REMAIN, THE KINGDOM OF
GOD WILL NEVER BE REMOVED.”
d. Every political, national, and religious system that man has put his hope and trust in will be shaken as if by a COSMIC IDEOLOGICAL EARTHQUAKE. All CORRUPTED POLITICS, every GODLESS NATION, every FALSE RELIGION will crumble and burn. And the KINGDOM OF GOD alone will stand forever, even as we read in Isaiah 9:7,
“There shall be no end to the increase of His government….”
“ALL KINGS AND KINGDOMS ARE AT THE DISPOSAL OF
THE ALMIGHTY AND SOVEREIGN GOD.”
“GOD IS NEVER SIMPLY A SPECTATOR , BUT HE IS THE
RULER OVER ALL THE AFFAIRS OF NATIONS AND
1. When Jesus spoke of THE TEMPLE DESTROYED, they thought HE WAS TALKING ABOUT THE END OF THE WORLD!
2. Remember, some of you, HOW YOU FELT, when your little religious world shook, you thought it was end of the world!
3. And yet, you’ve found the truth, while everything else crumbles, the truth of Hebrews 13:6 stands,
“THE LORD IS MY HELPER, AND I WILL NOT FEAR WHAT
MAN SHALL DO UNTO ME” (we need to know that!)
4. You found THAT THE LORD REMAINS YOUR ROCK, though all other stones crumble!
5. Even as the disciples had TO FIND that their life was not in a system, but in Christ Himself! That my friend is true for all of us!
EXPLANATION OF HARBINGER
The key word in eschatology these days is the word HARBINGER. Jonathan Cahn brought it to the forefront in his recent book THE HARBINGER. Frankly, I did not even know that word existed until Jonathan Cahn brought it to my attention. I am very glad that he did! It is a very strong word!
“FORERUNNERS OR PRECURSORS.”
These are not merely HUMAN FORECASTERS OR PROGNOSTICATORS. These are DIVINE FORERUNNERS! Harbingers are not THE FARMERS ALMANAC. They are more like THE MIDNIGHT RIDE OF PAUL REVERE. They are not HUMAN PREDICTORS, BUT RATHER DIVINELY SENT PROPHETS.
Harbinger makes the SIGNS OF CHRIST’S SOON RETURN LIKE PERSONAL HERALDS. HARBINGERS ARE HERALDS. You can hear THE HARBINGERS SHOUT. It is a far more powerful word than the word SIGNS.
Throughout this teaching you will be hearing HARBINGERS TRUMPETING THE VERY NEAR RETURN OF CHRIST. And the closer His return comes, THE HARBINGERS become LOUDER AND LOUDER – STRONGER AND STRONGER, as THE RETURN OF OUR LORD BECOMES NEARER AND NEARER.
“ALL THESE HARBINGERS FIND THEIR COMPLETION AND FULFILLMENT
NOT IN THE END OF THE WORLD, BUT IN THE
RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST.”
If you will:
“HARBINGERS ARE NOT ONLY PROPHETS, BUT THEY ARE
EVANGELISTS CALLING PEOPLE TO JESUS CHRIST.”
In Anne Tyler’s novel, “The Amateur Marriage,” we witness a sad series of events. The book’s main characters are Michael and Pauline, a pair of World War II-era sweethearts who get married and eventually have three children.
But then one day their oldest child, LINDY, just disappears. She runs away from home and promptly falls off the face of the earth. For the first days, weeks, and even months, they watch for her RETURN. They seize on any and every clue as to her whereabouts. They pace, they peer out windows, they listen for a key scratching at the front door’s lock, they sit bolt upright in bed each time they think they hear FOOTFALLS on the driveway.
But LINDY does not return. Over the years, her absence becomes just another part of life. They never finally give up on the idea that they’d see her again, but they stop watching for her. At first they were certain she’d be back soon. They would not have been at all surprised had she walked back through that front door. Years later, though, the surprise flipped: after a while, they would have been surprised if she had come back.
That can and often does happen to us in the passage of time, as we even find ourselves not being SURPRISED ANY LONGER IF JESUS DID NOT COME BACK AT ALL. WE STOP WATCHING FOR HIM. But let our HOPE RISE, as today we hear THE HARBINGERS ROAR the SOON RETURN OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST. Let faith arise in your soul! Every HARBINGER’S prophecy is being fulfilled word for word, and be assured that Jesus Christ will soon be here. We soon shall hear His trumpet in the Heavens.
I. HARBINGER # 1 – MANY FALSE CHRISTS
All of this gave rise to the DISCIPLES QUESTIONS in Matthew 24:3,
“WHEN SHALL THESE THINGS BE, WHAT SHALL BE THE SIGN OF
THY COMING, AND OF THE END OF THE WORLD (OF THE
CONSUMMATION OF THE AGE).
Then Jesus tells them about the HARBINGERS – SIGNS OF HIS COMING AGAIN. He says to them first of all in Matthew 24:4-5,
“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.”
The KEY WORDS ARE “MANY FALSE CHRISTS!” “MANY” SHALL COME AND SAY,
“I AM THE CHRIST, THE ANOINTED ONE!”
“MANY” shall come and say,
“I AM THE MESSIAH, I AM YOUR SAVIOR, FOLLOW ME,
I AM YOUR HOPE.”
1. In Judaism alone, in the FIRST CENTURY, documented were “40 FALSE CHRISTS,” all of them saying, “I’M THE ONE!”
2. Like MOSES OF CRETE who led all of his followers into the sea and were drowned (a Pied Piper and his rats).
3. But this prophetic warning hasn’t ceased, and this HARBINGER is speaking louder than ever.
a. In my brief life time, I think of men like JIM JONES, who declared himself to be a Savior, and led nearly 1,000 people to tragic deaths in Guyana with purple Kool Aid.
b. Others, like SUN YUNG MOON who DECLARE THEMSELVES TO BE MESSIAH:
-YES AND IN OUR DAY, before a court of law, he declared HIMSELF TO BE MESSIAH, and that HE HAD TALKED WITH BOTH MOSES AND JESUS and was confirmed by them as MESSIAH, and thousands all over the world are falling for that yet today.
-And, what is remarkable, IS THAT MOONEYISM made its biggest inroads on the College Campus, the intellectual centers of our society, Harvard, Duke, Stanford, and Berkley.
MANY FALSE CHRISTS DECEIVE MANY
And Jesus says in Matthew. 24:5,
“MANY FALSE CHRISTS SHALL DECEIVE MANY.”
a. Many, yes Many, as the Avalanche rolls at us with incredible speed, as Jesus said it would.
b. We are told by historians on this part/piece of the prophetic puzzle:
“MORE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN FAKED OUT, CONNED, LED ASTRAY
BY THE CULTS AND FALSE MESSIAHS IN THE LAST 30
YEARS, THAN IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND.”
c. I remember as a young lad, and even as a young seminarian, having a hard time wrapping my mind around GOBS OF PEOPLE PARADING AROUND AS FALSE CHRISTS, AND SABOTAGING the true Christ. Let alone MANY BECOMING FOLLOWERS OF THEM IN TOTAL DECEPTION!
But now, lo and behold, it is happening before our very eyes. Many in the modern church today hold to the belief that Christians are little christs and little gods on earth. So many of those who embrace the little- gods and little-christs stuff are prominent TV personalities – the “little television gods.”
Benny Hinn states:
“WHEN YOU SAY, ‘I AM A CHRISTIAN,’ YOU ARE SAYING,
‘I AM MASHIACH’ IN THE HEBREW. I AM A LITTLE
MESSIAH WALKING ON EARTH…YOU ARE A
LITTLE GOD ON EARTH RUNNING AROUND.”
Benny Hinn tells Christians that they are LITTLE MESSIAHS and LITTLE CHRISTS and LITTLE GODS running around on earth. Why running around I will never know. I suppose these little gods run around while the big God walks around. Of course if you are a god, you certainly wouldn’t have to run after someone or run to somewhere. Why? I mean, let’s cut to the chase here. Because a god, even a little one, would have to be omnipresent, which means he would not have to run to anywhere because he is already there.
Then Hinn commands his audience:
“SAY, ‘I’M A BORN-OF-HEAVEN GOD-MAN. I’M A GOD-MAN.
I AM A SAMPLE OF JESUS. I AM A SUPER-BEING.’”
Where do we start? God have mercy! Here we go again – little messiahs and little gods and god-men and super-beings. Hear it:
“GOD THE NOUN AND LITTLE THE ADJECTIVE ARE OPPOSITES AND
CONTRADICTIONS, LIKE SHORT SKYSCRAPERS, MINIATURE
GIANTS, LITTLE GODS.”
The only place that “little” is appropriate is little men, if I may borrow the words from Louisa May Alcott. Jesus looked at His disciples as a mother would look at her brood and said to them in John 13:33,
It is obvious by now that Religious Humanism is overrun by little gods, and has no place for God’s little children.
Now we have added to the false teaching that Christians are little gods, the equally false teaching that Christians are little messiahs, that is, little christs. As distinguished from big Christs I suppose. If we are big Christs, then that would be big a no-no! But as long as we are little christs, that makes it okay. Sort of like the difference between a LITTLE LIE and a BIG LIE. Just don’t get caught telling a big lie. But if it is a little one, well, then it’s okay. Sorry, the fact is that to say we are little christs is a little lie, and to say that we are big Christs is a big lie. Either way it is a lie! Even if we called ourselves teeny-weeny christs, it still is a big fat lie.
The late Kenneth Hagin Sr. was one of modern Christianity’s first to put forth the Man-God-Equality Doctrine as truth. He didn’t so much join the Man-God-Equality parade, but rather led it by making claims about Adam and God standing together on the same level. You might call Hagin the modern drum major of the “Adam-Equal-With-God Marching Band!” He wrote:
“MAN WAS CREATED ON TERMS OF EQUALITY WITH GOD, AND
HE COULD STAND IN GOD’S PRESENCE WITHOUT ANY
CONSCIOUSNESS OF INFERIORITY…MAN LIVED
IN THE GOD REALM. HE LIVED ON TERMS
EQUAL WITH GOD. THE BELIEVER IS
CALLED CHRIST…THAT’S WHO WE
ARE; WE’RE CHRIST.”
You might be asking, and I hope that you are, “He can’t be serious, can he?” Yes, I’m afraid he is serious. We are to believe that Adam as created had no sense of difference from or inferiority to God? He lived comfortably in the God realm as a God himself. Eyeball to eyeball with God! Even Steven! If you will, Adam, after Eve’s being created as his rib replacement, instantly stood up, beat his chest in Divine exaltation like some Edenic deified Tarzan, looked at God and yelled the Tarzanian yell, “Me God –You God!” “Me Christ – You Christ.”
The Bible nowhere teaches anything of the kind. We read in Genesis 2:7,
“Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground….”
First, feel those words! Let them sink in. Read them again. Once more! The Lord God! Man of dust! God formed dusty man but dusty man never formed God. Man came from a dirt hole but God dug it. Are those the realities that describe the state of two co-equals and co-supremes? Are those the words about God and man standing on the same level? No consciousness of inferiority to God? Those are notions that are as far from the truth as your toes are from your nose.
Second, does dirt look at or up to the dirt Maker? Does clay look at or up to the Potter? Do people look at or up to Mount Rushmore? We are talking here about the eternal God as contrasted with dusty man who the second before he was made from dust was nothing. Let alone standing in God’s presence without a conscious inferiority. If it wasn’t for God Adam wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.
WHAT IS THEIR MOTIVATION?
1. POWER AND AUTHORITY
-FALSE CHRISTS want to rule, control, be obeyed, be followed, be acclaimed. They have an ELITIST DRIVE.
-They care nothing about serving, loving, or even dying for lost humanity.
-They are power mongers who have the spirit of Satan revealed in Isaiah 14:13,
“But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to Heaven; I will raise
My THRONE above the stars of God, and I will sit on
the MOUNT of ASSEMBLY in the recesses of
-They crave the authority of Christ talked about in Matthew 28:18,
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”
2. OPPOSITION TO CHRIST
-False Christs deep down do not like Jesus Christ, let alone love Him.
-They are in fact opposed to Christ much like Absalom disliked his father David (II Samuel 15:1-6), and tried to supplant him.
-“Follow me,” says the fake christ, “and you will see the true Christ in action.”
-And those who are disillusioned with their faith and with Christ follow after counterfeit christs.
3. FALSE CHRISTS AND FALSE DOCTRINES
-Where there are FALSE CHRISTS, there will always be a whole bunch of FALSE DOCTRINES.
-FALSE CHRISTS AND FALSE DOCTRINES ARE MARRIED TO EACH OTHER.
-Falsehood always begets falsehood, and FALSE CHRISTS NEVER RECEIVED THE LOVE OF THE TRUTH. (II Thessalonians 2:10)
“WHEN A MAN NEITHER LOVES NOR LIKES THE THING ASSOCIATED
WITH WHAT THE BIBLE CLEARLY TEACHES, IT IS ODDS ON THAT
AFTER A WHILE, HE WILL TOTALLY THROW AWAY THE BELIEF
ITSELF, AND FOLLOW AFTER THOSE WHO BELIEVE AND
Well now, this is what is happening to many, just as Jesus said it would:
“SATAN, REALIZING THAT HE CANNOT KILL CHRIST, TRIES
TO SABOTAGE HIM.”
“SATAN DOESN’T MIND IF WE BELIEVE IN CHRIST, JUST AS
LONG AS IT IS A FALSE CHRIST.”
And Christ tells us this:
“MANY PEOPLE WILL BE DECEIVED INTO BELIEVING IN MANY
FALSE CHRISTS. THIS IS SATAN’S ULTIMATE GOAL, AND
HE IS UP DAY AND NIGHT FALSIFYING CHRIST AND
And Harbinger #1 is shouting to us this:
“WHEN YOU SEE MANY FALSE CHRISTS AND THEIR MANY
DECEIVED FOLLOWERS MUPTIPLYING LIKE FLIES,
LOOK UP, FOR YOUR REDEMPTION DRAWS NEAR.”
It is such a POWERFUL AND LOUD HARBINGER, that Jesus repeats it in Matthew 24:23-25,
“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ’, or
‘There he is,’ do not believe him.”
“For FALSE CHRISTS and FALSE PROPHETS will arise and
show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if
possible, even the elect.”
“Behold, I have told you in advance.”
II. HARBINGER #2 – WARS AND RUMORS OF WARS
Jesus goes on in Matthew 24:6,
“AND YE SHALL HEAR OF WARS, AND RUMORS OF WARS, SEE
THAT YE BE NOT TROUBLED, FOR ALL THESE THINGS MUST
COME TO PASS, BUT THE CONSUMMATION IS NOT YET.”
1. Oh yes, I know THAT WARS HAVE BEEN GOING ON throughout all history.
a. So they themselves ARE NOT AN ADEQUATE SIGN OF Christ’s coming for His church!
b. However, the AVALANCHE CONTINUES TO PICK UP SPEED IN SIZE AND FEROCITY.
c. A RECENT COMMUNIQUE FROM THE UNITED NATIONS INFORMS US:
“THAT THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A TIME IN THE HISTORY OF THE
WORLD LIKE IT. SINCE WORLD WAR II, PLANET EARTH HAS
NOT KNOWN ONE 24 HOUR PERIOD OF PEACE. NOT ONE
DAY, BUT THAT THERE HAS BEEN A WAR TAKING
c. That means my ENTIRE LIFE, there has not BEEN ONE DAY OF PEACE ON EARTH.
2. Verse 6 – WARS and RUMORS OF WARS! (Don’t be troubled – it must happen. God has it all covered. )
a. Not only WARS, but RUMORS OF WARS, rumors of wars being worse than the wars!
b. Why would Jesus say “RUMORS OF WARS” after “WARS,” as if the RUMORS WERE HOTTER AND BIGGER NEWS?
c. For one thing because of THE POSSIBILITY, POTENTIAL, RUMOR OF NUCLEAR WAR TODAY! It’s THE RUMORS of such wars that cause more tension than any conventional war being fought!
d. And another thing, and that is that man’s inhumanity to man will be so grotesque and horrific, that at first hearing it is impossible to accept as fact, but only as RUMORS too horrible to be true.
Now then, FACTUALIZING THE HORRID RUMORS!
-In 2005, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was captured by American forces and spent the next four years a prisoner in the Bucca Camp in southern Iraq where the worst of the worst were held in Iraq. We decided to shut down the Bucca prison camp in 2009, and he was one of thousands of suspected insurgents granted amnesty as the US began its draw down in Iraq. Al-Baghdadi started ISIS a year later. When Baghdadi left, he promised his American jailers saying, “I’LL SEE YOU IN NEW YORK.” Baghdadi pledged to revenge his death “with 100 terrorist attacks across Iraq” at the time no one took him seriously.
-Iraq has one of the oldest Christian communities and churches in the world, the people are gone, and the buildings are destroyed. This is not just a war but an EXTERMINATION not unlike the Nazis in the 40s. If Islam extremists are like Nazis, what do we call ISIS that is far worse? An 1,800 year old church is torched by ISIS, and their soldiers hand out Qurans to cars that are leaving as they drive by.
-Christians are being eliminated by force from Iraq. Convert or die or pay the jizra (tax). The true Islam without the mask of peace! On a Friday, the al Qaeda splinter group issued an ultimatum to Iraqi Christians living in Mosul – by Saturday at noon (5 a.m. ET), they must convert to Islam, pay a fine or face death by the sword. A total of 52 Christian families left the city of Mosul early Saturday morning, with an armed group prohibiting some of them from taking anything but the clothes on their backs.
-For those Christians who did not comply with the decree by July 19, ISIS warned that “there is nothing to give them but the sword.” Many have since fled their homes. Christians were trapped in the desert or on the streets with nowhere to go. They are disappearing, people are being massacred, their heads chopped off. We seeing the end of Christianity in one of the most ancient places it once thrived. What is ISIS doing? They are STONING young Christian girls and BEHEADING young male children! This is their plan for the entire world – CONVERT TO ALLAH OR BE BEHEADED.
3. Jesus goes on to say in Verse 7,
“FOR NATION SHALL RISE AGAINST NATION, AND KINGDOM
a. Verse 7 seems to give us A SHIFTING OF GEARS and A SHARPER FOCUS ON THE END OF THE AGE!
b. In fact, as you will see in Verse 8, we could well call Verses 7-13,
“THE BEGINNING OF THE END.”
c. You see, THE END:
-Is NOT LIKE SHUTTING OFF A TV SET AND WATCHING THE PICTURE GO BLACK INSTANTLY.
-But, the end is the final period, the close of the age, here called in the KJV “THE BEGINNING OF SORROWS.”
4. What shall take place DURING THE TIME OF SORROWS (the beginning of the end)?
-NATIONS AGAINST ENTIRE NATIONS-KINGDOMS AGAINST ENTIRE KINGDOMS!
-You see, now WE HAVE GRADUATED FROM THE TERM “WAR” To entire NATIONS, KINGDOMS, on a world-wide, cataclysmic scope!
-Jesus is talking about Great International WAR of a WORLD MAGNITUDE!
-And we already have had TWO OF THOSE, known as WORLD WAR I and WORLD WAR II.
-The whole world was affected, the whole world was involved.
-Wars on a scale, that until the TURN OF CENTURY, WERE NOT ever thought possible.
-Where 1,000s upon 1,000s at a MOMENT OF TIME were slain, eliminated in HIROSHIMA!
-The disciples then could not have imagined THE SCOPE OF JESUS’ WORDS!
-And today, WE FEAR WORLD WAR III, the great nuclear world conflagration! ARMAGEDDON! The bloodiest, most horrific, and climatic war the world has ever seen!
5. What is really behind THE BEGINNING OF SORROWS?
a. Nothing more or less than the sinful, hateful, and vicious blood thirstiness of men THAT ONLY JESUS CHRIST CAN DELIVER THEM FROM.
b. King David complains of HIS ENEMIES in this way in Psalm 120:7,
“I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war.”
-Jesus is talking about a time in history when WARMONGERS WILL COVER THE EARTH.
-It will be the TIME OF SORROWS WHEN MURDER WILL BE IN THEIR EYES, AND BLOODSHEDDING WILL FILL THEIR HEARTS.
-Like ISIS, they will live to see men stripped and hacked to pieces as if by some devilish addiction.
-Barack Obama recently said, “We are not at war with Islam and we never will be.” True that under Obama, we are not at war with Islam, even though Islam is at war with us.
-IN FACT, ISLAM IS AT WAR WITH ANYONE WHO DOES NOT BELIEVE EXACTLY AS THEY DO.
-THE TIME OF SORROWS IS HERE, AS ALL INFIDELS (NON-MUSLIMS) MUST BE PUT TO DEATH.
c. Hear what Jesus is saying about THIS HARBINGER – THE TIME OF SORROWS.
-There is a time coming when people all over the world will be like salamanders who cannot live except in the fire.
-People who cannot enjoy themselves except in cold-blooded murder.
-People who when they breathe it does not so much enliven them, but rather inflames them to murderous rage. They live to kill and they kill to live!
-If they could not drink blood for only a few days, like VAMPIRES THEY WOULD DIE. They need to suck blood constantly to be able to live!
THE HARBINGER’S TRUE FOCUS
Say the word “APOCALYPSE” to the average man or woman on the street, and you will conjure up in his or her imagination just such a picture of CATASTROPHIC HAPPENINGS. But were you to probe deeper into people’s thoughts regarding such matters, you might find a kind of FATALISM that many folks quietly harbor.
As writer Daniel Wojcik noted in his book The End of the World As We Know It, you can detect the fatalism people carry around in their hearts just by listening to certain popular catch phrases. People will refer to this or that event in their lives (be it something good or something bad) and they’ll say things like, “It was FATED that we meet this way. This was your destiny. It was meant to be. It was in the CARDS.” Or, when someone dies, people may characterize this by saying, “I guess his NUMBER WAS UP. It was just his time. It was his FATE.”
When facing the uncertainties of the future, many people will say that since there is nothing we can do about it anyway, the best we can do is grit our teeth, press forward, and hope for the best. And if the worst happens and some APOCALYPSE comes, then that’s just the way it has to be. It’s all rather random anyway and so, in the meanwhile, we’ll live life while we have it and let the CHIPS fall where they may.
Of course, many people are perhaps not aware of the FATALISM that colors their perceptions of the present and the future. It reminds me of the man who once declared,
“I am not a fatalist! And even if I were, what could
I do about it!?”
Christians, of course, should not be FATALISTS, but for some Christians past and present, there has been an attempt to do an end-run on FATALISM by claiming that they know already precisely what the future holds. And so they’ve turned passages like Matthew 24 (and entire biblical books like Revelation) into a kind of giant secret code that, if we can just crack it, will spell out in neat and precise details the future’s exact timelines.
Probably, though, that’s the wrong approach. Although there is no denying the forward, future bent of passages like Matthew 24, in the end Jesus is not interested in telling us precisely what the future holds but rather Who holds the future. THAT IS THE HARBINGER’S MAIN MESSAGE. And when you know Who holds the future, then you know Who holds your every moment in this present time as well. We find huge comfort in Matthew 24:6b,
“SEE THAT YOU ARE NOT FRIGHTENED, FOR THOSE THINGS
MUST TAKE PLACE, BUT THAT IS NOT YET THE END.”
If you will:
“DON’T WORRY OR FEAR ANY OF THIS, FOR IT WILL ALL FLOW
FROM THE DIVINE SCRIPT. AND GOD HAS IT ALL
III. HARBINGER #3 – FAMINES, PESTILENCES, EARTHQUAKES
-We read in verse 7,
“THERE SHALL BE FAMINES, PESTILENCES, and EARTHQUAKES,
IN DIVERS PLACES!”
-Those ARE THREE DISTINCTIVES that stand OUT HERE AS DECLARED HARBINGERS OF THE CLOSE OF THE AGE!
FIRST – FAMINES
-In America, we don’t realize that RIGHT NOW TODAY – 10 million people die in planet earth from STARVATION EACH YEAR! (I can’t even count up to 1000.)
-Just because WE ARE NOT AWARE OF IT, DOESN’T MEAN IT’S NOT HAPPENING!
-Right now, 2.5 million people are starving to death in Cambodia, North Korea, and throughout Africa!
-It says FAMINES, PLURAL, even though the “World Health Organizations” wrote several decades ago:
“BY 1980 THERE WILL BE DEVELOPED SUCH SOPHISTICATED
FERTILIZERS THAT THERE WILL BE NO MORE HUNGER
IN THE WORLD.”
a. Now, WE HAVE PBB in humans, PCB in fish, and all in THE NAME OF HEALTH!
b. And we are told, all this STUFF IS TAKING THE PROPER NUTRIENTS OUT OF THE EARTH. FAMINE!!
SECOND – WHAT FOLLOWS FAMINES? PESTILENCES!
-Plagues, Maladies, Diseases of every kind, in Epidemic Proportions!
-We were told back in 1960 by American Medical Prognosticators:
“THERE WOULD BE SUCH BREAK-THROUGHS IN MEDICINE, THAT
IT WOULD MEAN THE COMPLETE ERADICATION OF FLU,
COMMON COLDS, AND ALL THE REST.”
-Well today, famines or no famines, we HAVE PLAGUES, DEADLY WORLD-WIDE DISEASES!
-Cancers, Leukemia’s, CF’s, Distrophies, MS’s, HEART DISEASES, Deadly Maladies of every kind like EBOLA.
-The list is endless, VD’s:
a. Call the Oakland County Health Dept. and ask if THERE ARE ANY EPIDEMICS IN THE COUNTY!
b. Ask them the CRITERIA THEY USE TO JUDGE WHETHER VD’s are EPIDEMIC OR NOT!
c. Then ask them how many cases of VD they treat every day! Some strains are incurable.
-AND IN NATIONS WHERE THERE ARE FAMINES, RESISTANCE IS SO LOW, that diseases break out, and WHAT FAMINE DOESN’T DESTROY, DISEASE SWEEPS IN!
THIRD – EARTHQUAKES!
-By the way, the Greek word for EARTHQUAKE IS SEISMOS? Seismologist etc.!
-Seismologists tell us WE HAVE HAD MORE EARTHQUAKES in last 20 years than in the last 200 put together!
-Earthquakes are almost daily now, earthquake activity 200 times per day around the globe – killing 1,000s. Indonesia, China, Japan have been devastated!
-And, the MAIN AVERAGE of all this activity is measured daily on the RICHTER SCALE!
-And, the great faults, such as the San Andreas Fault, from Alaska, through San Francisco to the BAJA.
-And now Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Florida are having their own Tremors, measurable indeed!
-And today TIDAL WAVES are caused by EARTHQUAKES on the floors of the earth’s oceans.
All of this increase fits in with Verse 8,
“ALL THESE THINGS ARE BEGINNING OF SORROWS!”
-The word “SORROWS” literally means “LABOR PAINS”.
-And, as it is with labor pains, they intensify as the time of birth nears! In frequency and intensity!
-And, more than that, ONCE THEY START, there is no TURNING BACK, or stopping them!
-So, too, THESE THINGS all indicate THE END OF ONE ERA, AND THE COMING OF ANOTHER!
-My people, THE END OF THIS AGE is painfully approaching, and THE RAPTURE AGE IS HERE.
Why is it that it appears that the WORST must always lead to the BEST? Why such HORROR before HEAVEN? For we see here harbingers of MANY FALSE CHISTS before THE TRUE CHIRST RETURNS, HORRIFIC WAR before ETERNAL PEACE, and NATURE IN CONVULSIVE DESTRUCTION before THE NEW HEAVENS AND THE NEW EARTH?
It causes one to ponder the order of things. Why INCONCEIVABLE NEGATIVES before the ETERNAL POSITIVE. I am going to try to answer this in three ways:
1. FIRST OF ALL, because Revelations 12:12 says,
“Satan is filled with fury, because he knows that his
time is short.”
You see, as the end is near, Satan goes into an unprecedented rage. He tries as never before to produce FALSE CHRISTS, so that he can lead as many as possible away from the TRUE CHRIST. He tries to destroy and kill as many as possible before the PERFECT KINGDOM OF GOD’S PEACE IS ESTABLISHED. He tries to make as many as possible to SUFFER FROM CRUEL AND DEADLY DISEASE before the coming of GOD’S PERFECT KINGDOM OF ETERNAL WHOLENESS AND HEALTH COMES.
2. SECONDLY, that is the nature of the universe – THE CONFLICT OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND THE KINGDOM OF SATAN – meaning that THE BEST THINGS ALWAYS COME THE HARDEST. Jesus in Matthew 24:8 in NASV likens it to THE INTENSIFYING OF LABOR PAINS LEADING UP TO BIRTH. Everything good birthed in this world is painful. Just think about, if you dare, the dilations, secretions, and painful contractions, all to bring forth the final prize – A PRECIOUS NEW HUMAN BEING! Lets be honest men, we don’t even want to talk about, let alone look at the agony of the birthing process.
Can you be surprised even when EXPECTING something? Of course! Just ask many women who have had children. A common phrase to refer to a woman’s pregnancy is that “SHE IS EXPECTING.” Indeed she is. She is EXPECING the child and makes many preparations to be ready. A nursery is created. Baby showers are given at which lots of useful items are collected: strollers, toys, clothing, baby monitors, car seats. It’s no secret the baby is coming.
Yet it is not at all unusual to hear a story that goes like this: “Boy were we in for a surprise! There we were, nearly 3 weeks out from our due date, stuck in traffic during a terrific thunderstorm on I-75 just outside Detroit. Out of nowhere I went into FIERCE LAB0R! I ended up having the baby in the backseat of the car with two police officers assisting while my husband was about going berserk!! We sure never EXPECTED anything like that!
They had been expecting. But they had not “EXPECTED” it just then and in just that INTENSIVE PAINFUL way. Surprises can come even when we know what’s coming. And so Jesus said it will be when the Son of Man returns. True believers won’t be surprised that it happened, but they will almost certainly be shocked WHEN AND HOW it does! But as with the birth of a child, because what we had been expecting was a good and joyous thing, once the surprise of just when and how it happened wears off, we’ll forget the PAIN and be left with just the joy. So it will be in the HARBINGERS OF CHRIST’S RETURN.
3. Remember, it was only the beginning of time that saw man in his new world INNOCENT AND GOOD. We remember the words of Genesis 1:31,
“And God saw all that He had made, and behold,
it was very good.”
But sin came and ruined it all. And then sin grew by time, and became more rotten by repeated continuance. Every succeeding age had the more rotten example of the age before it. Hear me:
“THE SAME CANDLE THAT REFRESHED WHEN IT FIRST
GAVE LIGHT, SMELLS AND OFFENDS WHEN IT
IS GOING OUT.”
And so, every good that now rises and buds forth must struggle against the weight of the bad, and therefore there is always THE PAIN THAT WILL LEAD TO PERFECTION. There is no other way but that the perfect is in a desperate struggle against the imperfect. Nothing good comes easy but hard.
Do you think that growing into the MANHOOD OF CHRIST will be easy and pain free in this world? I mean, the definition of MANLINESS in our world is DRINKING BEER, SMOKING CIGARS, PLAYING POKER, OR WATCHING FOOTBALL ON A SUNDAY AFTERNOON. That is MR. MACHO! Do you doubt that being like Jesus will involve a whoke lot of pain in the dying to self and to the world? Think again! Becoming like Jesus is always an uphill climb and swimming agasint a powerful current. Hear me:
“FOR MOST, CONFORMING TO THE IMAGE OF CHRIST WOULD
MAKE THEIR HOUSE UNLIVABLE.”
I have to admit to feeling yanked around a little bit by our Lord’s words in Matthew 24. In Verse 43 Jesus says that if someone knew at what hour a burglar was going to come to rob the house, he would keep watch. Yes, he would. Yes, so would we all.
It reminds me of that scene from the movie Home Alone in which the little boy Kevin—accidentally left behind when his family took a trip to Paris—is peering out an open second-story bedroom window. As he looks down, he sees and then overhears two CAT BURGLARS saying that they’d be coming back to rob Kevin’s house around 9pm that night. Now Kevin knows when they are coming and so he spends the rest of the day setting up one BOOBY TRAP after the next to foil the thieves who, indeed, show up promptly at 9pm.
If you know when a BURGLAR is coming, you get ready and WATCH, Jesus says.True enough! But then in the very next verse Jesus encourages our own readiness and WATCHFULNESS on account of the fact that we DO NOT KNOW when He will return. Huh? What’s the linkage here? Knowing when something is going to happen makes you watchful. But doesn’t it follow that not knowing makes us less vigilant, less able to watch when we are supposed to? The analogy does not work. Or is the point that we have to assume that the burglar could come any night and so we have to sit up in the living room with a baseball bat every single night for the rest of our lives?
If you tell me BURGLARS are coming next Wednesday around 1:30am to smash through my kitchen window, I am going to be there and be ready. This is useful information. But if you tell me that my house is going to be robbed—certainly robbed—at SOME POINT in the dead of night SOMETIME in the next 15 years, I am going to start to wish you had never told me because I wonder if I will ever sleep again. This is not terribly useful information.
Let’s assume Jesus is trying to be useful, however, and is not trying to trip us up. How then are we to understand His words and His analogy? Perhaps what He is saying is that if you did know WHEN, you’d for sure do something. In the case of the return of the Son of Man, we do not know WHEN but we do know THAT it will happen—no matter how long it takes—and surely this information is useful on some level, too. Because we over-extend Jesus’ imagery if we make Jesus’ return out to be something as bad and unhappy as a burglary.
Jesus’ return will be a profoundly awesome good thing, and so living with an awareness that this is going to happen need not make us nervous or sleepless but it is intended to make us simply FAITHFUL. We don’t need to perform heroics—walking humbly with our God will do. We don’t need to spend our days calculating time charts for when the Lord will return (as some, alas, do)—living with the hope of the NEW CREATI0N will do.
In this sense, Jesus’ telling us that this is going to happen (even if the WHEN is unspecified) is perhaps like telling a desperately lonely person, “I cannot tell you when but I can assure you that you are going to meet someone very special one day. You will be married, you will have children, and you will be very happy.”
Knowing that will not erase the loneliness that will continue until that happens, but it will prevent the loneliness from having the last word. And if the lonely person believes your prophecy, despair will never take over, either. Instead, hope will remain. And vigilance will continue—Mr. or Miss Right is out there. Maybe today will be the day I meet him/her. I will, therefore, get out of bed, keep my eyes open, be the best person I can be, and wait.
That is the CALL OF THE DIVINE HARBINGERS! Not only will we see Jesus, but we will see Him sooner than you think. Just WAIT AND SEE NOT ONLY, BUT NOW YOU WON’T HAVE TO WAIT LONG! Amen!