Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
Praise the Lord! We thank you because we can meet in the name of Jesus. We thank you that you have got good things for us even though there are bad things in the world. And we thank you Lord that you have the answer and that you’re coming again soon, in power and in glory and because, no matter what happens in this world, nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So guide me as I share tonight. May your will be done in this place. In the Name of Jesus. Amen
Enduring in evil times
The last couple of weeks I’ve been looking at things happening both in the church in the end times, and also in Israel in the end times:
We looked at last time at the subject of persecution of Christians and infiltration of Christianity, and also we looked at things which are happening in Israel.
Tonight, we’re going to look at what’s happening in the world. I’m going to give you a bit of a warning beforehand. Some of the things I’m going to tell you about are pretty gruesome. So, if you’re of a delicate sensibility you might like to leave now, but otherwise, stick around and hear what we have to say.
We have to say the world is in a bad place. Isn’t it? I mean I went to a Holocaust event yesterday in Kensington. It was called the ‘Auschwitz Experience’ and
it’s the kind of exhibition of photographs and experiences of people in Auschwitz. I went around there. There were harrowing pictures of persecution and terrible things done to Jewish people.
And one just thinks: ‘Where does where did it come from? How could you explain this horror which was visited upon the people? Why did people do these things?‘
When I was doing my levels, I was studying German and I spent quite a bit of time in Germany. I stayed with different German families. One of the things that struck me was that they were pretty much like us, no different.
Looking at some of the things in the exhibition it said that some of the people at Auschwitz had been gardeners and painters and that they were normal people, yet, suddenly, they were doing this horrendous thing. How did they do it?
One has to say that, obviously, there was something demonic influence going on.
I remember asked one of the families I stayed with when I was in Germany and said, ‘How is it possible that you could have followed someone like Hitler?‘ and the lady said, ‘Well, (she’d been in the Hitler’s Youths movement), you know, I’ve realized it was totally wrong but as a child, as a young person, I was influenced.‘ And she said something that has really stuck in my mind, she said, ‘You have no idea what it was like to stand in one of Hitler’s rallies and feel the power that came out from his eyes.’
It’s clear that there was a power, a demonic power, which was let loose upon people, and as I was going around this exhibition, I thought, ‘Well, I wonder how I’d fared in Nazi Germany as a German. Whether I would have had the power to stand up against what was going on. Would I have been courageous enough to resist Hitler or would I have just gone along with him? If I was one of the victims, I would have endured so much!‘
I spoke this morning on the theme of ‘Abide in me’ and just how, if we have Jesus in us, He’ll guide us, He’ll give us the power, He’ll give us the power to overcome all the evils in the world today.
I won’t go through the sermon I did this morning which, if you want to listen to it, you can here.
But basically, as I go through some of the bad stuff happening today, the question is: How can we overcome? How can we endure? It is by abiding in Jesus and having His Spirit living within us and leading us, and helping us to overcome.
So, let’s have a look at some of the things going on.
One of the questions people are asking is:
Is time running out?
Multiple crises are coming on the world. Some think there’s no way out of the crisis. And if you look around, one of the things which strikes us is the absence of answers people give.
We have got politicians coming together at the World Economic Forum, but, in fact, they’re supposed to be proposing answers to the crises which are coming upon us. However, if you look at the answers they’ve got, they’re not going to work.
Religious leaders as well. Here, the Archbishop of Canterbury spends most of his time waffling about climate change and all sorts of things but very little time speaking about Jesus. Yet, really, the only answer we have got is in Jesus. Christ is the only one who can sort it out.
Our political and social leaders make things worse and the only answer we have got is what we find in the Bible. The only people who’ve really got a genuine reason to have a hope for the future are bible-believing Christians.
If you’re not a Bible-believing Christian, you can have some hope that it’s going to work out but you’ll be disappointed. The only hope you can have is if you believe what it says in the Bible which is that, in the last days, things are going to go from bad to worse, but then, Jesus is going to come and He’s going to sort it out.
He is going to come this time NOT as the suffering servant he came the first time around, He is going to come this time as the King of kings and Lord of lords, with all the power of God at His disposal, to sort out the mess which humans have made of the world which God gave us to look after.
If we’re going to be ready for that, we need to sort ourselves out. If we’re going to have a hopeful outcome in our lives, we need to be ready to meet with the Lord. We need to be in the right place with God.
So, this is not just a theoretical lecture, it’s something that applies to how you respond. And if you have the faith in Jesus Christ, you have the answer. If you don’t, then, get that faith! Because it’s the only answer you’re going to have.
One of the things Jesus said concerning the last days was that
And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.Luke 21.24
He was speaking about the dispersion of the Jewish people, and the implication is that, when you see the Jewish people back in the land, and particularly some controversy taking place over Jerusalem and its status, then, that is one of the key signs of the Second Coming of Jesus.
Therefore, when you see that begin to happen, pay attention!
Jesus goes on to say,
25 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”Luke 21.25-28
And He also told them:
32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! 34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.Matthew 24.32-35
There are going to be some cosmic events happening, signs in the sun moon and stars, distress of nations on the earth, distress of nations with perplexity. I’ve said before (and it’s in the latest like the Light for the Last Days magazine) that the words ‘with perplexity’ are the translation of the Greek word aporia which literally means ‘with no way out’. So, you’re going to see a crisis coming on the earth which has no way out of it. And people will be afraid of what’s coming on the earth, and Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. coming this time as I said as King of kings and Lord of lords, not coming this time as the suffering servant.
How do we know?
When Jesus comes again, He will come to put the world to rights. When He came the first time, He came to save us from our sins through dying on the cross. When He comes the second time, He is going to judge the world in righteousness according to how we have responded to that message of the first coming.
There are two possible interpretations of the parable of the Fig Tree.
One is saying, when you just see the Fig Tree budding, you know that the next thing to happen will be summer. Therefore the interpretation is that there is going to be a sequence of events. That is, ‘when you see the things which I’m talking about about, the signs of the Second Coming taking place, then, you know that the next thing which is going to happen will be the Second Coming itself.
The other interpretation relates to the Fig Tree as a symbol used in the Bible of the national life of Israel. Jesus cursed the victory followed by the withering of the national life of Israel and the dispersion of the Jewish people into the nations. Therefore, the Fig Tree blossoming equates to the regathering of the Jewish people to the land of Israel, that is, the Fig Tree, the national life of Israel being revived; a key sign of the Second Coming of Jesus. So, when you see the restoration of Israel, and when you see a controversy over the status of Jerusalem, you should look up and lift up your heads because you know then that your redemption is drawing near. Jesus is coming.
Do you see either of those things happening? Yes, it’s all happened in our lifetime.
and that Jesus also says,
Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.Matthew 24.34
A literal generation is 40 to 70 years. People have tried to work out whether it means that Israel, the Jewish people will not pass away or something else. Yet, one of the more important questions that arise when you see these things happening is, Are these signs that Jesus is coming?
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.Matthew 24.35
What is on this world will pass away, and the kingdoms of this world will pass away. And, according to Revelation,
“The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ [Messiah], and He shall reign forever and ever!”Revelation 11.15
That’s why it’s good to invest your time and your talents and what you have in the Kingdom of God because that’s going to endure. This world is not going to endure.
Jesus said when you see certain things happening, these are the labour pains of the last days. Jesus answered this is Matthew 24. He said to them take heed that no one deceives you many will come in my name saying I am the Christ I’m the Messiah
4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.Matthew 24.4-8
What will we see?
Therefore, when you see these things happening, then, it’s a sign that the process has begun which is going to lead to the Second Coming of Jesus.
He speaks about nation rising against nation and kingdom against kingdom, wars and troubles; troubles between not just individual nations but even blocks of nations, East versus West, NATO versus Russia.
You can see these things taking place, and famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. Natural disasters, famines, plagues. We’ve had Covid; what next? All these things are the beginning of sorrows.
The word which is used for ‘sorrows’ is also a word which is used in the Bible for labour pains, the pains of a woman in labour. And, if you look in the Bible, you’ll find that very often, this image of the woman in labour is one which is used concerning the Second Coming of Jesus or the end of days.
It is also used in the Old Testament.
To the woman He said:
“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;Genesis 3.16
In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.”
And they will be afraid.
Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them; They will be in pain as a woman in childbirth;Isaiah 13.8
They will be amazed at one another; Their faces will be like flames.
The labour pains is quite a graphic image because once a woman goes into labour, she begins a process which can’t be reversed until the child is born. Also, once a woman goes into labour, she experiences a series of shocks which become more and more intense (contractions) the nearest she gets to the birth of the child. So I’m told because I’ve never experienced it, but I think that ladies who have will know that that is the case.
Both of those scenarios apply to the Second Coming of Jesus. Once the process has begun, it’s not going to be reversed, it’s going to continue until you get to the final outcome which will be ‘the birth of the child’ and there will be a series of shocks, of events which will become more and more intense the closer you get to the birth of the child.
In John’s Gospel, in chapter 16, he says
A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.John 16.21
So it is for the believer. When Jesus comes, all these sorrows and troubled things will be forgotten for the joy that Jesus has come.
That’s why He said,
27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”Luke 21.27-28
There’s a good outcome to this. And I want to tell you as I’m telling you some bad things that you see happening now, that there is going to be a good outcome, that is, the Second Coming of Jesus.
Yet, it’s only a good outcome if you’re in the right relationship with Him. That’s why you need to be born again and have a relationship with God through Jesus. If not, Jesus says that these events will come as a snare on the earth, as a trap.
Therefore, those people who are outside of Jesus need to get ready, seek Jesus in order to be ready for His return.