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The Year 2012, The 66 Ancient Books, and File 13… Or, How Does It All Affect Us? (Part #4)

 SIH STSTA ICONIn the previous parts to our study in Matthew 24, we’ve seen:

Part #1 – The Lord does not show the exact time of His coming to man, nor angels.

Part #2 – There are ten groups of signs pointing to His second coming in this chapter.  All of them currently exist today and many of them are increasing in frequency and intensity.

Part #3 – When Jesus comes back in the clouds, He will take His followers from the earth to live with Him.  Then, He will begin the final phase of His plans for earth; judging unsaved mankind and then bringing the world to an end.

Now in our final section of Matthew 24, we will be seeing the results to all of these events and our responsibility concerning them.

THE SCRIPTURE:

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. … The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  (Mat 24:32-51)

THE STUDY:

The Lord now begins to summarize and complete His teachings on the subject of His coming and the end of the world…

Vs 32-33 – The Lord uses the picture of a fig tree to describe how we are to use the signs of His coming.  Just like the leaves on a fig tree is proof summer is almost here; so, too His signs.  As we see His signs taking place around us, it is a clear certain indicator that His coming is drawing closer.

Vs 34-36 – The Lord emphasizes the truthfulness of all He has taught to us.  I am the first to admit some of these things are hard to grasp and imagine in our finite minds.  But by faith, we know these things will take place, just as He said, irregardless of the level of our understanding of it!

In these verses “this generation” is describing the “generation” that exists on the earth between His ascension and His second coming.  He is separating this one segment of time from all the other segments throughout history.  Why does He single out this segment of time?  That is the segment in which the signs of His coming exist.

Vs 37-39 – He compares the status of men in Noah’s day with the status of men in this generation.

Noah’s day is characterized by selfish living, centering on the fulfillment of fleshly desires; in other words, a big “party time”.   How did the Lord deal with this attitude?   He brought judgment upon an unsuspecting lost world after protecting His people.

In today’s time we see the same basic attitude of man.  How will He deal with this again?  He will once again, bring judgment upon a lost world after protecting His people!

Vs 40-42 – How will the Lord protect His people from the wrath to come?  He will take His people from the earth while He leaves the lost behind.  Our responsibility is to be watching the signs and to be always prepared for Him to come and take us home.

Vs 43-44 – The saved will take their responsibility to be ready very seriously. They will make sure their salvation is genuine; they will be ready for the Lord to come.

Those who neglected Christ’s coming by not taking care of their spiritual condition will suffer a loss when He comes.  In this way, His coming is much like that of a thief.  If the homeowner is not prepared, then the thief can come unexpectedly and cause the homeowner great loss.

Vs 45-51 – Salvation and living a faithful life is needed to live a prepared life.  Living a faithful life is wisely investing the time and the opportunity the Lord has given us.  This results in receiving rewards at His coming.

The unprepared believe His coming is far off, they will not trust Him, not serve Him with their lives. The reward they receive will be eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire.

The person who is prepared to meet the Lord is described as a “faithful and wise servant” for obvious reasons.  But, why would those lacking salvation and faithful service be called an “evil servant”?  How can he be called a “servant” of God?  He didn’t serve Him with his life. This is a very important principle…

By this, the Lord meant that all mankind is under His authority.  He is Creator and Lord of both saved and lost.  They are all held responsible to serve Him. In other words, they are His “servant”.  Are all men responsible to serve Him?  YES.  “Are all men fulfilling their responsibility to serve Him?”  NO.  Many choose to rebel and disobey Him. They are still servants but, just as He describes, they are “evil servants”.

SUMMARY:

So to close, let me first thank you for being willing to invest some of your time into reading this 4 part blog.  This series was much more in depth, and had much more detail in it, than any of my other blog entries.  The subject was so important, and the chapter held so much information, it was hard for me to “skim over it”.  Thank you again for your patience.

Next, I would suggest, you should go back and re-read any part that is unclear to you.  Also, I’ll be glad to try to answer any questions you may have, feel free to email me.

Thirdly, allow me to offer one question for all of us to answer honestly, and seriously, knowing we are in the presence of Almighty God….

If we would stand before the Lord today and answer for our lives; what title would we receive?  Would He say we are a “faithful and wise servant” or are we an “evil servant”?

I believe, after examining this chapter and looking at the world around us, we can see that His coming is closer today than ever before.  I see no reason why He could not come today.  We must be sure that we have this issue settled before it is eternally too late.  Remember, we have no promise of tomorrow.  There are some of us who may not see another day on this earth.

So what do we do?  How can we be sure that we are prepared to meet our God?    The Word of the Lord contains the answers for us and it makes clear that we must totally submit to the Lord trusting in Him, His Word, and His Work…

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”(Heb 12:2)

with Bible in hand, read the following passages…

(Isa 53:1-12, Acts 8:35-37, Acts 13:30-32, Roms 4:20-25, Roms 10:8-11, Eph 2:1-22, 1 John 5:1-4)

If you have any questions about salvation feel free to email me, I’ll be glad to help you any way that I can.  Or, you can go to any church that teaches God’s Word, they will be glad to help you as well.

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace”  “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike”http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

The Year 2012, The 66 Ancient Books, and File 13 (Part #3)… Or, The King Of Kings Is In The House!

SIH STSTA ICONIn this blog series we’ve been looking at the teachings of Matthew chapter 24.

In part one, the Lord has shown us that no man, nor angel, will know the exact time of Christ’s coming and the end of the world.  From this we have drawn the conclusion that the 2012 theory cannot be relied upon, and therefore, must be discredited as pure speculation with no foundation in fact.

In part two, the Lord has taught us the ten groups of signs that reveal to us the general time frame of His coming and the world’s end.  We have seen that these signs are present in our world and many of these are increasing in intensity and frequency.  This allows us to know that the Lord’s coming is possible at any time.

Currently, we are in the time frame of waiting.  As we wait on the Lord to come back and waiting for the world to come to an end.  During this waiting period the world is slowly decaying around us.  (Roms 8:20-23)   The Lord’s second coming will begin the final phase of the world coming to an end.  This final phase will greatly accelerate the world’s ending.  So now, let’s see what will take place when the Lord actually comes back and the process leading to the world’s end as it enters it’s last stage.

THE SCRIPTURE:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Mat 24:29-31)

THE STUDY:

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken”

The Greek word “tribulation” simply means to be burdened, to be pressured, or to face trials.  What is the “tribulation of those days”?  It is simply the different signs of his coming that we have already studied (false teaching, wars, famines, persecution of God’s people etc.).  In and of themselves, they are tribulation that we face on a day to day basis.  After Christ’s coming, however, far greater tribulation will fall upon the world.

In our text, at the coming of Christ, great changes will take place in the heavens. Christ’s glory and power are so great, He will outshine the moon, stars and even the sun.  In comparison to Christ, all of these will appear as if they are dark.  Or perhaps, the sun, moon and stars will actually be darkened and misplaced at His coming.  Remember, this is God, Himself, coming in the heavens to take His people home to be with Him; who knows exactly what effect His coming will have on the created world?

“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” 

Please notice that the “secret rapture” of God’s people is not taught in Scripture.  Here, we find that when Christ comes back to take us home to be with Him the entire world will see Him (Rev 1:7).  Both lost and saved will see Him as He appears in the heavens.  Again, when He comes, we see Him coming with “power and great glory” … this is probably why the heavens will grow dark at His coming.

“And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Here is the great purpose for His coming back in the heavens.  It is to take the living saved (and the bodies of the dead saved) home to be with Him (1 Thess 4:13-18).  This will entirely remove the saved from the world before His wrath falls against sinful mankind.   Note, that the angels play a big role in retrieving the Lord’s people from the earth.

This event is the FIRST reaping as described in Rev 14:14-20:

“And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

The SECOND reaping is the beginning of His wrath falling upon sinful mankind in Rev 14:16-20:

And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.”

The promise of His second coming, and of the saints removal from the earth before His wrath falls, is commonly described as “the Rapture”.  This is the event we are talking about in Matt 24:29-31. This is the beginning of the last phase of the earth’s existence.  Within a short period of time, immediately after the Great Tribulation, the earth will be totally renovated preparing the way for our Lord’s return to the earth to reign. (2 Pet 3:12-13, Isa 65:17, Rev 21:1-5)  These promises are a source of great encouragement and strength to believers everywhere. (2 Thess 2:1-2)

Today, with joy in our hearts, let’s live our lives for Him!  ….

 “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luk 21:28)

In our final part to this study, we will be seeing the end result of these events and what our responsibility is concerning these events.

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace”  “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike”  http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word. Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

The Year 2012, The 66 Ancient Books, and File 13… Or, The Signs Of His Coming (Part #2)

SIH STSTA ICONIn part number one of this series, we saw that the exact time of Christ’s coming and the end of the world would not be revealed to any man, nor angel, but only to God alone.  (Matt 24:3-6, Matt 25:13, 2Pet 3:10)  Also, because mankind will not be told of the exact time of Christ’s return, His return is described as if a thief was coming in the night. (1 Thess 5:1-11).

These teachings of God, bring into question the year 2012 theory for His return.  According to the most popular version of the theory, the world is coming to an end on Dec 21, 2012.  We know the Lord clearly says that He will not reveal the exact time of His coming; because of this the 2012 theory must be labeled unscriptural and, therefore, false.

We will now pickup with our Matt 24: study by looking at Christ’s teachings concerning the signs of his coming and the end of the world (Matt 24:3-28)

THE SCRIPTURE:

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? …. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.  (Mat 24:3-28)

THE STUDY:

Matt 24:3 – The context of our study… Christ is answering the question, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”

The 10 great groups of signs pointing to His coming and the end of the world’:

Sign #1 – Matt 24:4-5 – The appearance of men who will claim to be anointed by God, but they will deliver a false message, some will even claim to be Christ Himself.  (2 Cor 11:13-15, 2 Thess 2:3 )

Sign #2 – Matt 24:6- Wars will take place, combined with threatening of wars about to take place.

Don’t let these things surprise you, they are a part of God’s plan and must take place before the end. (Luk 21:9)

Sign #3 – Matt 24:7- Nations will oppose nations economically, politically etc.  Also, famines will take place with deadly diseases and earthquakes.  All of these things will take place in a variety of different, multiple places. (Ezek 14:21, Luke 21:11, 25-26)

Matt 24:8 – All the above signs (vs 4-7) are described as beginning of “sorrows”.  The Greek word for sorrows means “birth pains”.  The above signs are compared to birth pains, i.e. they will increase in frequency and intensity as the end times grow closer.  Much like a woman’s birth pains increase in frequency and intensity before the child is born.

Sign #4 – Matt 24:9 – This speaks of the persecution of the followers of Christ. This includes physical, emotional, social, and economic abuse of God’s people. (John 15:19-20, Rev 2:10, Rev 6:9-10)

Sign #5 – Matt 24:10 – Disagreements, legal disputes, hurt feelings, physical confrontations will take place between individuals.  These will stir up hatred for one another.  (Matt 10:21,35-36,  Matt 13:21)

Sign #6 – Matt 24:11 – Many men will teach a message of error, yet claim it is God’s Word. This is speaking of false religions that teach salvation is received apart from Christ. (1 John 4:1)

Sign #7 – Matt 24:12- Sin will be rampant as love for one another dwindles. Natural types of love will decrease (parents for child, man for woman, child for parents, etc.) Perverted, selfish lust will be on the rise. (Mark 13:12, Luk 21:16, Roms 1:26-32)

Matt 24:13 – One of the greatest marks of those who are saved is consistent service to Him. Perseverance in service to the Lord is one of the greatest proofs of genuine salvation.

Sing #8 – Matt 24:14- Worldwide gospel outreach by ministries of the Lord.

Sign #9 – Matt 24:15 – The Abomination of Desolation is Daniel’s account of the Hebrew temple being

defiled.  This was done by the Antiochus Epiphanes in 170 BC when he slew the pig on the Israelite altar. (see for more info – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abomination_of_Desolation) .

This ceremonial defilement of the altar is a picture of God’s worship being defiled today through false teachings and harboring of sin in worship.  This sign is about sin and error creeping into the Lord’s assemblies causing the true worship of Him to be defiled. (Daniel 9:-12:, 2 Pet 2:1-3, Rev 2:12-17)

Matt 24:16-20 – All of the above events will be unstoppable and world-wide, causing even God’s people to flee in terror, knowing that these things cannot be overcome by mankind’s efforts.

Matt 24:21-22 – At the completion of these signs, the Great Tribulation will be ready to commence.  The Great Tribulation would even destroy God’s people, but the Lord will intervene and take them home before the GT begins.

Sign #10 – Matt 24:23-28 – False accounts of Christ’s return will radically multiply as the end draws near. These false teachings will include Him physically coming back to the earth. These false claims about His return will give support to the rise of false Christs with miracle working powers coming on the scene.  They will be empowered through Satanic intervention deceiving virtually all men (with the exception of genuine believers. (2 Thess 2:9-11, Rev 13:13-14)

Only God’s people will reject these false teachings. Christ’s true followers will understand the Biblical teachings about His second coming.  They will understand He will come in the clouds and take His people to heaven to be with Him.  He WILL NOT return to the earth at this point in time.

(Note: I have included a few extra verses with each sign to supplement this study.  There are many, many more verses I could have included but the length of this study restrained me.)

THE SUMMARY:

By looking at the above list of signs of His coming and the end of the world, it is plain to see that we are living in the last days.  Every one of these signs has already appeared and many have become much more frequent and intense.

Although there is no way I can know exactly when he will come, I believe it will be soon… in any case, we all can echo Paul’s sentiments in Rom 13:11-14:

“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

In the next part of our blog series we will be looking at our long-awaited event, the second coming of our Lord.

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace”“The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike”http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.

Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

The Year 2012, The 66 Ancient Books, and File 13… Or, The End Of The World Revealed (Part #1)

SIH STSTA ICON2012… just four little numbers that in the past few years have become a BIG DEAL!  What used to be simply a descriptor, for a 12 month segment of time on coming calendars, has become synonymous with the end of all mankind.  How did this happen?  Well, to tell you the truth, I think it takes a Mayan scholar and historian to really get the answer straight; there is much controversy over the whole theory.  I can’t read the Mayan language, nor do I understand how the Mayans went about creating their calendar; so to be fair to supporters of this theory, I think I’ll leave the explanation of all this to them.  If you are interested this link may help you…  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_phenomenon

As far as I’m concerned, the only area of interest for me is … “What does God’s Word say about the world ending in 2012?”   From my perspective, God’s Word (made up of 66 separate books, Genesis – Revelation) is the only reliable authority on this whole issue.  Therefore, if God’s Word teaches that the world ends in 2012… so be it, then that proves to me that the Mayan’s had it right all along; but, if God’s Word proves the 2012 theory is baloney…. that settles it for me… I’m placing my faith in my Lord, and His Word, and I’m delegating the 2012 theory to my trash can (file 13).  (If anyone is interested in why I count God’s Word as the ultimate authority in matters like this, please refer to my previous blog entry on the Bible and Science: http://bit.ly/bYDWbZ for more info)

THE SCRIPTURE:

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? … But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only… Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.  (Mat 24:3, 36, 42; see also Matt 25:13, 2 Pet 3:10)

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.  (1Th 5:1-11)

THE STUDY:

Matthew chapter 24 is a record of the teachings of Christ on the subject of His second coming and the events surrounding the end of the world:

Matthew 24:1-3…

If you notice, the question that initiated the Lord’s teachings of Matthew 24 is found in verse 3 …” Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”

So clearly, the context of this chapter is the second coming of Christ and the end of the world.  To say otherwise is to deny the context of this chapter.

(Please note, the “things” being referenced in verse 3 was the destruction of the temple by Rome a few years later in 70 AD by Roman general Titus.  This brought an end to the Hebrew worship of Jehovah in Jerusalem and began the time period we call the “latter days”.)

Matthew 24:4-28

In these verses, the Lord describes the different events leading up to His second coming. An in-depth look at these signs will be presented in Part #2 of this blog series.

Matthew 24:29-31

The coming of Christ is described as he takes His followers to heaven to be with Him. A closer look at these verses will follow in Part #3 of this blog series.

Matthew 24:32-51

Here our responsibility to look for the signs and to be ready for His coming is brought into view.  These verses we’ll look at in detail in Part #4

Note in verse 36 and verse 42 …

He clearly says in verse 36, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”

And then in verse 42, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”

In the context, watching the signs of His coming, He makes it plain that, as we watch, we should not expect the exact time to be revealed to us!   In other words, the signs are to help us know the basic time frame of His return, but we will not know exactly when He is coming.

He explicitly states that no man, nor angel would ever know the exact time of His coming.  Even Christ, while on earth, as a human, who did not exercise His divine attributes (Phil 2:5-8), did not know the time of His second coming.  (Just a note here…. I believe that since Christ is ascended and has begun to exercise His divine attributes and authority, (Phil 2:9-11) He now knows when the second coming will take place.)

This same principle is also brought out in the Scriptures in our other text, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”

In other words, Paul did not need to write to the believers in Thessalonica about the times and seasons of Christ’s second coming because Christ had already addressed the topic.   But even though they already had teachings on the signs, there would be no specific announcement of when He would come.  In that sense, He would be coming as a thief, unannounced and unexpected by many.

SUMMARY OF OUR STUDY SO FAR:

So for this blog entry, it is important for us to see that Christ gave us signs marking a basic time frame of His coming.   However, the coming of Christ and the end of the world, will not be announced with any exact date. He specifically teaches that no man, nor angel will be shown the time of His coming.   It is a truth only known by the Triune God.

By the way, good old “2012 theory” is already rattling around in my file 13, and we are only one-fourth finished with our study!

My next blog entry will answer the question, “What are the signs of His second coming?” from Matt 24:4-28.

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace”“The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.   Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”