Sign Posts on the Road
By Phil Winfield
Bible Text: Phil Winfield
Preached on: Sunday, April 4, 2004
Grace Church of Des Moines, IA
4200 E. 25th Street
Des Moines, IA 50317
Online Sermons: http://gracehome.sermonaudio.com
Take your Bibles if you would, please, and turn to Revelation chapter 13, the book of Revelation chapter 13. “Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon.” And we will talk about this in the future of who these people are.
He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth.
You might write the words “false prophet” across the top of your page there.
He ordered them to set up an image in honour of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.
And then verse 16, underline it.
He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no-one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666.
In 1996 Bill Gates wrote a book. Now do any know who Bill Gates is? Sadly, that is a name that is approaching one of the most famous people in all the world. He wrote a book called The Road Ahead. In it he outlined some pretty amazing forecasts concerning technology. And he added to his billions in the process and lots of what he predicted came to pass. It was in that book that he talked about being able to hold in your hand a mini computer with, Rich, you could keep your schedule, have pictures of your children, use as a telephone. You got one right over there, don’t you? He’s got one right there. But at 1996 you didn’t have one.
And he was talking about the technology of the future and all of the things that were going to happen.
Are you ready? Ok. Let me finish my statement now. You got me going. He is waving at me up there. Ok. And he made some statements about coming things, things on the road ahead. And it was a fascinating book and I haven’t read all of it, but I am going to as I get into this study talking with you and about these things. And in that book he described what would happen on these little mini computers.
Many other things. He said the internet was only the opening door, just opening the door to the technology of the future of what is going to be able to be done with microchips and with all kinds of small, mini computers of what we will be able to do. You even see it now with your cell phones as, you know, people are stealing each other’s secret passwords at ATM machines now with these cell phones as they stand behind and take pictures. Another person is looking as they are talking on their phone and it is amazing what is going on. And he predicted a technology explosion.
You say, “Pastor, what does that mean?”
That means that the technology exists right this minute to mark every man, woman, boy and girl on the whole world.
He said, “Well, there might be…there might be…we might have to take a vow of commitment to the beast.”
And that is what this is all about.
You say, “When is this going to happen?”
I don’t know.
“When…? Is it right around the corner?”
I don’t know.
“Is it going to happen the next year, five years…?”
You know, what bothers me about that question is a lot of it if we really knew when all these things were going to happen, if we knew when Jesus was coming back then we would live right up to the last minute the way that we want to and we just wouldn’t get serious until we knew he was coming tomorrow. That’s why you don’t know the hour of your death. That’s why the Lord doesn’t tell you you are going to live today, tomorrow and the next day you die. He wants us to be expectant of either death, expectant of his return and expectant that it could happen at any moment.
Why? Because we are supposed to be busy today. We are supposed to be aware today.
Now this is not fictitious. This is in existence. All you have to do is go online, Google.com. I use it all the time and just type in “mondex.” Type in the word “verichip” and you can read hundreds of links about this very technology and this year, 2004, they will produce one billion of those little right sized chips.
What could happen? Well, I don’t know what could happen exactly, but I know that the technology exists right now for the beast to be able to know exactly where we are and what we are doing. And if they force everyone to take that mark, I believe there will be a vow of commitment that will also go along with the mark. I don’t believe it will just be as simple as punching people with a needle.
But I do say this. All of this information, all of this technology should make us aware that Jesus is even at the door. He is coming and he is coming very soon.
Take your Bibles, if you would, and look to Matthew chapter 16. Let’s see if I can move through some information quickly with you tonight that will help you as we think about the fact that we are on the road toward eternity, that we are on the road toward the end of all things and mankind has been on this road for all of history and that heading toward the end, but wow, those living thousands of years ago they just didn’t see it, didn’t understand it, they didn’t even understand the cross, the crucifixion when they were talking about it in the Old Testament. And certainly those New Testament writers writing about these things may have surmised, they may have calculated, they may have guessed and they may have come up with their ideas, but as we get closer to the time, all of these things become more and more of a reality for you and for me.
Matthew chapter 16 verse one says:
The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.
Do you notice that part it says there? “But you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”
Jesus embarrassed the Pharisees a little here and he pointed out that he had enough knowledge to tell the weather, but they could not tell the seasons. They had enough knowledge to know whether it was going to rain in the morning or not, but they did not have enough knowledge to know that the seasons were changing and that the times were changing and that they needed to look ahead to what was going on.
We are going to use our Bibles tonight. Take your Bible now and turn to Daniel chapter 12 and we will move rapidly and try to cover a lot of ground as I want to lay a groundwork for what we are going to be looking at the next weeks here on Sunday evenings.
Daniel chapter 12 and verse number one. I can’t teach all of the context about Daniel here. I just want to read these verses and draw your attention to something, chapter 12 verse one. “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then.” Notice that, a time of distress, Jacob’s troubles.
You might write the word there in the margin of your Bible, write the word “tribulation.”
“But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered.” Look at that phrase. Everyone whose name is written in the book, they will be delivered. I am not looking for the antichrist. I am looking for the very Christ. I am not looking for the antichrist or the beast or the false prophet or the unholy trinity. I am not looking for an undertaker. I am looking for an uppertaker. I am looking for Jesus Christ to come and to take us back to heaven.
Now that is what our hope is. What is the blessed hope? It is the glorious appearing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Verse two. “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” You see, we are all on the road. And I want to talk to you now, over the next few weeks, about the road ahead. I want to talk to you about what is ahead of us concerning the final events in history and what is it that we can look forward to. What is in the road ahead?
Tonight I just want to talk about the sign posts. I want you to look at some signposts that let us know that we are nearing the end of the road.
Now, don’t let it be said that pastor Phil is setting dates. I am not setting dates, not setting seasons. I am not going to tell you this year, next year, 10 years from now. I have no clue. It is not up to me. Acts chapter one verse six to eight says I am not even supposed to think about it. I am just supposed to be busy being a witness for him.
However, it does say that we are not supposed to be good at looking at the weather and being able to predict that yet be unaware of the signs of the end. And so in this passage of Scripture, “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and [what kind of] contempt.?” Everlasting contempt, everlasting punishment, everlasting destruction.
I have on many occasions debated different ones about whether hell was for a moment or whether it was for eternity. Does a person just disintegrate at the very moment they are dropped off into hell and do they go out of existence? Or is it true that that rich man in the story of the rich man and Lazarus is still looking for a drop of water. He is still screaming for someone to go tell his brothers not to come to that place.
Well, I want you to know that this passage of Scripture says some are raised everlasting life and others are raised to everlasting judgment. Every man, woman, boy and girl that is born on this planet is headed on the road toward the end. They are headed on the road toward eternity. They are headed on the road toward everlasting life or they are headed on the road to eternal and everlasting destruction.
From time to time people will ask as they visit this church, and they will come up to me and they will say, “Pastor, now is this a church where you still preach about hell? Do you actually believe that there is a hell, a heaven to gain and a hell to shun? Do you really believe that there is a place like that or has it gone the way of the monster computers, the unicard computer, the Univac computer that took 30 rooms to occupy? Has it gone that way?”
No. I want you to know that the Word of God does not change. And I want you to know that the Bible teaches that there is a literal burning hell where people will suffer throughout all of eternity and the eternity of heaven would not make any sense if it were not for also the eternity in the continuum of hell.
Notice this verse, “Those who are wise…” Circle that word. “Those who are wise…” Those who are instructing others, “…will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.”
It is a wise thing to be getting out the good news. I said it this morning. This is a love worth finding, it is a love worth living and it is a love worth sharing. And I want you to know that you, as a born again child of God, engage yourself in a very wise activity when you stand up for righteousness in this world. And then, also, when you share the good news of the gospel with someone else because there is an eternal hell and there is an eternal heaven.
The road ahead for everyone is not the same; some to everlasting judgment, some to everlasting life.
Now, the first thing I want to say tonight in regards to this subject is only God knows the exact details and the timing of what lies ahead. We would like to think that we have it all figured out. In fact, during the days of the Cold War there were numerous people—and I remember talking to several of them—that were just convinced that the Russians were the one that were going to invade form the north in the Middle East. It seemed logical because Daniel talked about the northern kingdom. Zechariah talked about the northern kingdom. Jeremiah and Isaiah talked about the northern kingdom and that they were going to invade in the end days.
Well, that still may be true. Russia may be involved. They may invade, but the proximity of that does not seem to be so overbearing because of the fall of one little organization called the Soviet Union.
Jeremiah, as well—it is an interesting illustration of that whole point—Jeremiah in the first eight chapters talks about an invasion coming into Judah from the north. If you have read Jeremiah any time recently you will remember that Jeremiah kept saying that marauding armies, overpowering armies, armies that will sweep you away are going to come and eliminate Judah. And he was talking about that elimination of Judah and Jerusalem that was going to take place and did finally for the last time take place in 586 BC. That is what he was talking about. It is going to come from the north.
And who was it that came? It was Babylon.
Now, if you have ever had a Bible map out you can even look at your Bibles now if you wish to the very back of it. Find that one that talks about the Assyrian and Babylonian Empire and you are going to find out that Susa and Babylon and all of those areas were directly east of the city of Jerusalem.
And somebody would say, “Well, now there you have a discrepancy in the Bible. The Babylonians were supposed to come from the north…or the invading armies were supposed to come from the north, but the invading armies came from the east.”
Well, if you study this a little bit closer you will find out that the first thing they was go up and finish off Assyria. They went up the fertile crescent, up the Euphrates River, directly north of Jerusalem, finished off the Assyrians and came straight south into the city of Jerusalem and in three separate occasions all three times from the north they took away, first Daniel and his friends, then all of those that had any craft, then finally the rest of the people, leaving only the poorest in the land, final time, 586 BC and Jerusalem was sacked. That was the end of it.
And they came from the north. And so we know that God can be saying many things.
Listen to Isaiah chapter 46 and verse nine. Only God knows what is going on.
You say, “Pastor, do you know when the Lord is coming?”
No, I do not.
“Do you know what day he is going to come?”
I have no clue.
“Do you know whether the Lord is going to come within the next year or 10 years?”
I have not an idea. But I do know that the Lord is coming and it is much closer to us now than it has ever been. He is coming and he is coming soon.
Look in Isaiah 46. You may have to just jot down some references. Verse nine.
Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.
Notice these are those chapters where God declares his sovereignty greater than any other place in the Scripture. Isaiah 43 to 46. “I am God. There is none other. I will not give my glory to another.” He says it over and over and over.
And right in the middle of it he says, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.”
And you know, Bill Gates made some pretty accurate predictions knowing that in his factories and in his rooms and in his laboratories he was studying this kind of technology. He made some predictions about what he knew was going to come to pass. But when we read in God’s Word about things that are going to come to pass in the future, we are not talking about 10 years ahead of time, five years ahead of time. We are talking about hundreds and hundreds, in some cases thousands of years ahead of time. And we have to understand that God is the only one that knows exactly when all things come to an end.
The key to understanding all of Bible prophecy is the person of Jesus Christ.
Now you need to understand that. If you are going to understand Bible theology, if you are going to understand Bible prophecy, if you are going to understand the whole flow of Scriptures, then you are going to have to understand that this book is about the revelation of God, specifically about the revelation of his Son Jesus Christ. This book is about Jesus.
Jesus himself said that as he was walking on the road to Emmaus one day and he met those two discouraged believers and he said to them….
Oh, the world is falling. Look right over there. See? It is coming down. I knew something was going on.
Jesus said that. He said that, “Why don’t you read the prophets? Why don’t you read the law because all of the law and all of the prophets are talking about me?”
This book is about Jesus.
Now listen to this verse, Revelation chapter 19 and verse 10. They key to the book of Revelation, the key to the whole Bible, if you will, concerning the unfolding of Bible prophecy. Verse 10. “At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me [this is John speaking], ‘Do not do it! I am a fellow-servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus.’” Notice that. They hold to the testimony of Jesus.
And then here is what it says. “Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Watch that now. “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
And what is this book? This book is the testimony of God almighty through inspired writers about the person, the coming, the work and the efficacious work that Jesus Christ did in this world to take our sins away. Everything you read in this book is his story. In fact, all of history is, in truth, his story. And that is what you find here in this passage of Scripture.
And then John 16 and verse 12. Jot that reference down if you would, please. This is so important. It says. “I have much more to say to you [Jesus speaking], more than you can now bear.” By the way, that is the way God works with us in our lives. We don’t get it all in one dose. Many of us would like to get all of Christianity in one quick dose, you know, just become everything God wants you to be in one day. No, you are going to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You are not going to get everything. You are not going to know everything in one day.
Jesus tells them. He says, “You know, you can’t even bear all of the truth that I would like to give you.”
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
Who is it that is going to convince us? Who is it that is going to teach us? Who is it, after the departure, after the ceasing of the earthly life of Jesus, who is it that is going to make sure that we get the rest of the story?
We had the Torah. We had the prophets. We had the Old Testament. We had the history. We had all of those things. But when Jesus came and did his work on Calvary, he then said, “Now, then, the one that is going to tell you the rest of the story is the Holy Spirit and when he comes he is going to tell you what is yet to come.”
So you pick up your Bible and you look at it and you start at Matthew chapter one. You read right through the New Testament and you are going to come to prophetic passage after prophetic passage after prophetic passage after prophetic passage.
I dare you. I dare you to go through your New Testament and use this symbol as a symbol. Every time you know that it is talking about something yet in the future, you just draw an eye. Just draw a little line there and a little line there and a little circle on that side and put some eyelashes on it because that will look forward…that will let you know that that is a verse.
When you get done with it you go back and you count and you find how many times in the New Testament that Jesus or one of the disciples or one of the apostles, somebody who is writing talks about things yet to come. You are going to find out that it is many, many times because there is much prophecy yet to be finished in the future.
There are 333 prophecies concerning the coming of Christ. Jerry Vines says, though I didn’t count them. But I was reading Jerry Vines and he said that there are 300. He found that out somewhere because all of us are the same. We read all these books and find things in books and come tell you about them as if we knew them.
Folks, I am only telling you what I have studied. I don’t know everything. I am just telling you what I have been studying. Jerry Vine says there’s 333 prophecies concerning the person of Jesus Christ. One hundred and nine of those prophecies were fulfilled, in his first coming. Now let me say that again.
Prophecies concerning the coming of Jesus Christ. There are 333 of them. One hundred and nine of those prophecies had to do with his first coming into the world. Thirty-three of those prophecies were fulfilled in one day. That leaves 224 prophecies concerning Jesus left concerning his Second Coming. Two hundred and twenty four prophecies.
“Oh, wait a minute here. Now I don’t…I just thought the last thing that was going to happen is going to be the rapture.”
Oh, no. There are many, many, many, many, many more prophecies just concerning the person of Christ that are left yet to be done.
Question: How accurate were the prophecies about his first coming? What do you think? How accurate were the prophecies about Jesus’ first coming? Were they pretty accurate? Oh, they weren’t just accurate. Let me teach you some Spanish. They were accurate [?]. I mean they were so unbelievably accurate that I mean you could not…you could not find one single discrepancy in all of the life of Jesus Christ. The probability of him fulfilling all of those 109 prophecies on time at the right place is just astronomical. You can’t even think about the possibility that that is.
Well, it is isn’t possibility. It is called sovereignty and God made it happen.
And here watch this. Think about this. The virgin birth, the Bethlehem chronicles, the flight to Egypt, the return to Nazareth, the carpenter shop training, his area of ministry, his entry into Jerusalem on a young colt of a donkey, the cross, the garments, the crown, the clouds, all of those things fulfilled. I mean, exactly what the Old Testament said was going to happen in various occasions.
Now here is another question for you. We know how accurate the prophets were about his first coming. Now, knowing that God is batting a thousand—you know, baseball is right around the corner and I kind of like that sport, too. I want to go over here and watch the cubbies lose again.
But do you know God bats 1000? Everything… You know, Moses said that one day. He said that one day when he was getting ready to depart from all those people that he had been leading for all those years. He said, “Not one of his promises that he gave to you has failed, not one promise. Everything he said he was going to do, he did.”
And I want to say to you that the one who kept all 109 of the first prophecies is going to keep all 224 of the last prophecies and he is not going to miss a beat. One of those promises is he is coming back for you. He is not going to miss that.
Another promise is he said, “Where I am, there you will be also.” He is not going to mess that up.
God never misses on his prophecy and he has said these things to us. He is going to do completely, exactly, fully, everything that he said that he was going to do.
“Ok, Phil. When is he coming?”
I knew you were going to ask that.
“When is he coming? How much time do I have?”
You know, in the New Testament days let me tell you how they acted. It was a time of great difficulty. If you will remember, if you have ever read 1 Corinthians chapter six, seven, eight there were some cultural things that went on there, but there were also some things that Paul gave some information to those that were there about marriage. He says, “I would that everyone remained as I am so that you may serve the Lord fully because the Lord is at the door, the Lord is at hand.”
I mean that is what Paul was saying. This is 2000 years ago. And Paul was saying, “You know what? If you are married, stay married. If you are not married, don’t seek to get married.”
He [?] to understand that what is most important is that Jesus is coming and he is coming… He was talking that way 2000 years ago.
And somebody might say, “Well, see there? He said he was coming. He hasn’t come yet. I guess he is not coming.”
No, all that means is that he thought he was coming then and he didn’t come. How much closer are we to his coming now than when we first believed?
Jesus is coming.
And so you say, “Well, when is he coming?”
I don’t know, but don’t think that the question didn’t cross the mind of the disciples.
They asked him.
You say, “Is it wrong to ask when he is coming?”
I don’t know, as long as it doesn’t side track you.
You say, “What do you mean?”
Back in the 70s and 80s one of the most popular events in America in the Christian community was to run off to a prophecy conference somewhere and just to, you know, to get big books and syllabuses and they would sold all kinds of books and you would go and you would sit at these conferences and they would all ooh and ah and listen to somebody. They would go on cruises and just cruise off all into the Caribbean and they would just float all around out there in some great prophecy teacher. And I am for it. I’m not saying that they are not right. I am not saying they are not telling the truth. But there’s…that is not really what we are supposed to do. We are not supposed to get caught up in is he coming today, tomorrow, the next day, next week or next year. We are supposed to do what he told the disciples to do.
And listen to what he told them to do, Matthew 24 in your Bibles verse one to three. Take your Bibles, open it up. Keep it moving. Those pages flip all direction so just grab that thing and go to Matthew chapter 24.
The sign of a growing Christian is a worn out Bible, a person who needs to go buy a new one. So use it. Use it, read it, love it, weep over it, pray over it. Put it in front of you when you have your devotions. Pray the Word of God.
Matthew 24:1-3. “Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings.” Think about that. “Oooh, Lord, look at that thing. Isn’t that something? Look at that. Look at that world trade center.”
Think about that. Think about that whole context there. “Look at what men have built.”
“Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately.
They didn’t want to stir up a controversy. “‘Tell us,’ they said, ‘when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’”
Well, what did they say? Well, they were just as curious as we are. “When are you coming back, Lord?” They fully expected it to be any time. They believed that his coming was even at the door. He told them lots of things concerning how it will be just before he returns. But he gave them an answer that would not satisfy them and it does not satisfy most humans because we just want to get this figured out. We want to know when, you know.
My wife loves to go on a vacation with me and we are one of the few spontaneous families in the world. I gave her 30 minutes to get ready for a vacation and we went. You would not like to be part of the Winfield family. If you do not like spontaneity then you do not want to be part of the Winfield family. I mean, you know, jump in the car and drive to Kansas City just for the fun of it. I mean, just, you know, just spontaneity. If you are one of those people that you like to have your life righted all the way to the end, you know, there’s a lot of us like that.
“Oh, I want to live by faith. But, Lord, light up the whole thing so that I can see it from here to there.”
You know, I told you this one time. It is kind of like saying, “I want to go downtown to have a Starbucks downtown on Locust Street on…” By the way it is 10th and Locust right down. Anybody wants to know where it is that is where it is. I go there often.
But anyway if somebody says, “I want to go down and I want to have a coffee at Starbucks,” and so you pull out of this parking lot and you want to know whether the lights are green all the way. Well, it’s just not going to work like that. You are just going to have get in and go from light to light to light and get on the expressway and dodge the cranes and all the things that are going on and find your way down there.
And that’s what…you know, life is not like that, but we would love it to be that way. We would like our life to just be laid out right before every bump in the road, every pot hole, every difficult. We would like to know that there is just going to be smooth sailing, green lights all the way, no difficulty, straight line, nothing to go around, over under. We just would love to have that and like to have it lighted right down to the end. We like the Lord…
Here is what we would really like. Phil, right over here, Stovalt, you know what? I am coming back on December 12th, 12:23 AM so get ready.
He says, “Well, ok then. Got that figured out. Now between now and then I’ll a lot my time and these are the things I am going to do between now and then.”
Well, that is the way we would like it to be. You know what the Lord says to us? “Be ready because at an hour that you think not, like a thief in the night I am coming. You don’t know when I am coming. It could be at any time so be yourself ready.”
That is the way the Lord wants us to live.
He wants you on the edge of your seat. That is the way we are supposed to live. Now that doesn’t mean we don’t relax and we don’t enjoy life. We are supposed to occupy until he comes, but we are supposed to know that the Lord could come at any time.
But, and the answer that Jesus gives them does not satisfy. Matthew 24:36, “No-one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
Now I believe the Son knows now, but I believe that the time he said that when he was in the world he did not know the day, the hour. He didn’t know about when he was going to come back the next time. He did not know, only the Father.
The short reply is that no one knows when Jesus will come back, however all of human history is pointing to the fact that the road ends at the person of Jesus Christ and in his eternal kingdom.
Predictions are abundant. There is a fellow by the name of Ed Wizenhand. Did you ever hear of him? Anybody ever read his book? Do you think anybody is buying that book?
A radio preacher said, a famous radio preacher said he is coming back in 1994. He is not on the radio anymore.
Joseph Smith said he is coming to Salt Lake Utah in his life time. Well, unless he is living a long, long life I don’t believe he is. He didn’t come.
How many of you know who Charles Taze Russell is? Why he was involved with the Jehovah’s Witnesses and very instrumental in getting that all started. He said that Jesus came in 1914, but nobody saw him. He did. He said he came in 1914 but nobody saw him.
Well, I have got a problem with that because Revelation chapter one says, “And every shall see him.”
Well, the Lord is coming. He will come and the fact that he is coming has been on everyone’s mind. Acts chapter one verse six. Listen to God’s Word. His disciples, even those on the Mount of Olives—can you imagine the thrill? Now back there at the temple when Jesus was talking about the temple of his body, also knowing that that temple would be destroyed, that was one thing. That was pretty amazing for him to say those kinds of things and for the disciples to ask him, “Lord, when is this going to happen? What is the sign of the end? When is the sign of your coming?”
They were asking him this. But now then, now then, the resurrection has occurred. Things are different. We are not talking about some quizzical people that just, you know, just kind of curious about what is going to go on. No, no, no. We are talking about some people that are energized beyond what we can even understand. I mean to have an encounter with a man that was dead, that you saw ripped to ribbons by the beatings and stabbed through the hands and the feet, nailed to a cross, lifted above the earth, dropped into a hole, suffer like no human ever suffered, be…to die, have his side poked with a spear, have the blood and water mixed proving that he was dead running out, died, be taken down, embalmed in the way that they embalmed him, put him in the grave and then three days later find out that he is risen and that he is appearing to people.
In fact, 1 Corinthians 15 says he had seen over 500 people in one meeting. Well, that’s a lot of witnesses, do you know that, 500 witnesses that stand there and say, “I saw him. He’s alive.”
Well, this group that is on top of the mount of Olives are ecstatic. This group that is on the top of the Mount of Ascension, rather, they are up on top of the Mount of Ascension and they are thrilled beyond measure. They are…I mean they are giddy they are so excited.
“Ok, Lord. You are going to go back to heaven. Whatever you say. You know what? We wondered about this rising from the dead thing, but do you know what? You have proved us all wrong. If you say you are going away and coming back, great. When are you coming back?”
We always want to know, when, when, when, when, when, when is he coming?
Acts 1:6. “So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom?”
“You talked about that, Lord. Are you going to restore the kingdom now?”
“He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.’”
You ought to write yourself a note in the margin, “A note to me from God.”
“It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.”
But here is what is to you. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Knowing that Jesus is coming is supposed to produce an activity and an attitude in our life. It produces the attitude of expectancy. He may come at any moment. And then it produces the activity of sharing the gospel.
You know, just watching that whole thing up there on that screen with that thing in the hand and all that stuff, it just sort of gives me the, you know, the willies, the chills, the goose bumps. How many of you know what I am talking about? I just…oh, he is coming and he could come at any time. It makes you wonder whether that bass boat is really what you need, isn’t it?
There is nothing wrong with a bass boat. There is nothing wrong with a three wheeler or whatever. Nothing wrong with anything. Use it to the kingdom of God, to God’s kingdom’s glory. Use whatever. But here is what I am saying to you. To live for those things is really a problem knowing that Jesus is around the corner. He is coming. He is coming very soon.
“What are the sign posts, pastor?”
Let me give you some of them very quickly tonight. The first sign posts are physical, physical sign posts on the road, on the road toward eternity.
Matthew 24:7 says in various places, “There will be famines and earthquakes.” The King James says “pestilence” as well or sickness.
Earthquakes. The last 100 years 10 times the seismic activity of the previous hundred years. Did you hear me? Ten times the seismic activity in the last hundred years of what there was the 100 years before that. Growing up as a boy I don’t remember hearing of the massive earthquakes that we have heard of in the last decade, much less in the last 100 years.
Pestilence. What is that? Well, it is sicknesses. It is disease. AIDS is a horrible scourge upon our country, upon this world. It is a terrible thing. I have a brother in law in Africa, in Zambia. Seventy, get this now, 70% of the people in that nation will die of AIDS. Horrible thing.
AIDS. A homosexual Canadian airline steward was the first one to bring that into the adjacent 48. When he brought that disease that was a result of sexual activity with a primate, maybe not him, maybe someone else…
You say, “What? Sexual activity with an ape?”
Well, you see, Darwin told us that we descended from what? So why not?
Do you see why wrong doctrine and wrong belief is so very, very, very dangerous? Everything is spiritual. Every decisions is a spiritual decisions. There is no such thing as making a decision that doesn’t have spiritual…
“I just think I’ll go out and get drunk tonight.”
That’s a spiritual decision.
“I think I’ll just do whatever I want to with my money. I am going to take God’s tithe and spend it any way I want to.”
That is a spiritual decision. And it is going to have spiritual and physical ramifications in your life.
AIDS is the product of a spiritual decision.
Now you listen to me. AIDS, when AIDS crossed the borders of the United States the estimates were that, well, even if there is sexual activity between an infected person the chances were only one in a million; 10 years later, one in 600. In San Francisco today if there is activity it is one in 25, the chances that that person is going to contract that.
Now combine that with the drug usage. Combine that with the tainted blood supply and all these other things and many other avenues that I won’t go into and AIDS is a scourge. And that is horrible.
Pestilence. But that is nothing compared to the hot zone diseases of the world.
You know, we are cute. We want snakes in our homes. You know, we want to go in and get jaguars out of the jungle, bring them in, put a leash on them, put in the back yard. We want to take lions and tigers out of the jungle and we want to bring them in and we are not understanding that that is another kingdom, that is an animal kingdom that God set up. These aren’t domesticated animals. And you can’t raise a snake like I heard about a snake that somebody had a particular type and that they had, that a little boy grew up with and at 15 years old the snake and the boy, the snake completely strangled the 15 year old boy and killed him right in his home, grew up with him. You know what? You don’t domesticate a snake.
Hot zone diseases coming with these animals, coming from around the world. What is one of them? Ebola. What is that? Well, what AIDS can do in 10 years Ebola can do in 10 days as it eats your flesh away from the inside out. Horrible, terrible, hot zones.
Physical signs. There will be famine. There will be pestilence. There will be earthquakes. I need not mention the hunger that exists in the world today. I am going to have to come to a close and finish as we keep going next week.
Matthew 24:29. “Immediately after the distress of those days “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.”
We have made the good old United States of America, our military and armed forces have produced a 100 megaton nuclear bomb.
“Ooh, that sounds big, pastor, how big is that?”
Well, if you drop an atom bomb every day for the next 13 years… Do you know what an atom bomb did in Nagasaki? Do you know what it did in Hiroshima? Do you know what it did? Eighty thousand people and now today, even today, one in five born in that area are born with birth defects because of the radiation that continues to linger in that area.
Now listen to me. You know what a 100 megaton bomb is? It is a bomb that if you dropped an atom bomb every day for 13 years you would finally get up to what a 100 megaton bomb. And our good old United States as well as China and Russia and others all boats of a bomb that would literally obliterate life as we know it.
How about some international signs? Those are physical signs. Here are some international signs. Matthew 24:7, “For nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom.”
Right around 1950 the United Nations came into being saying, “We are going to just put an end to all of this. We are going to take control. We are going to eliminate all of these wars in the world.”
There have been exactly three and a half times the wars since 1950 that there were before 1950 in the last 500 years. Wars, nations rising against nation, countries that figure in the end times, nations.
Listen to this. Russia does figure in the end times. The Bible talks about Gog and Magog and Rosh and the prince of Rosh coming down. Russia will figure. Europe, perhaps, more than any place on the face of the earth will figure in the end times and what happens during the tribulation period. The revived Roman Empire figures in the end times, those 10 nations.
You say, “Pastor, where do you get that?”
Well, there are10 toes on Daniel’s statue in Daniel chapter two, 10 toes. There are 10 horns on the head of this beast that comes up out of the sea in Revelation chapter 12 and 13. There is always 10. And these 10, these horns, these toes always represent kingdoms in a confederacy that always hovers there in the common market of Europe between eight, nine, 10, 11 and 12.
You say, “Well, there are 12 of them over there now.”
Yeah, but there was nine five years ago. I mean just…you know, I mean it just goes back and forth. But it is at a certain time. Whether we are talking about those 10 that were in existence in the New Testament or whether we are talking about 10 that are actually going to be in existence when Jesus comes back, there are 10 nations in Europe that are going to comprise the revived Roman Empire and they, they are really going to figure into what is going on in the end times. Jerusalem figures in the end.
The city of Jerusalem for over 2000 years did not even exist as a nation. People laughed, mocked.
“Yeah, sure, that’s right. The Bible. You can’t trust that Bible. Yeah, prophecy, inspiration, that’s all gone.”
But in the 1800s the new theologians, the textual critics were all saying, “Yeah, you can’t trust that Bible. Israel doesn’t even exist as a nation.”
Well, God’s batting 1000. Never forget that.
May 14, 1948 the nation of Israel was reborn. Zechariah 8:4 says:
Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Old men and old women shall again sit In the streets of Jerusalem, Each one with his staff in his hand Because of great age. The streets of the city Shall be full of boys and girls Playing in its streets.’
I don’t know if you ever watch the news, but I see that on the news and in their little uniforms coming out of school. The boys and girls are running home and they are all carrying on and giggling and playing in the streets and old men—which was not something that happened in Israel for many years—but God said it was going to happen.
There are international signs. There are intellectual signs.
Let me hasten to finish. Intellectual signs. Turn in your Bibles to Daniel and we will finish, Daniel chapter 12. Intellectual sign posts along the road toward eternity. Listen to God’s Word.
The Bible says in Daniel chapter 12 and verse four it says the following, it says, “But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end.” Watch this. “Many will go here and there to increase [what?] knowledge.”
I just showed you about a result of increased knowledge. I have given you this illustration before, but I want to give it to you again. If you could accumulate all of the knowledge that mankind had accumulated in books and computers and what have you up until 1900—didn’t even have computers—but up until 1900 let that be represented by a penny on the floor. The accumulated knowledge of man from 1900 to 1950 would have made a stack eight feet high of pennies. The accumulated knowledge of man from 1950 to 1970 would have reached to the moon. The accumulated knowledge of man from 1970 to the present cannot be measured because it would go beyond our universe two or three times and come back to us.
We are living in a time of increased knowledge. How many of you as young people were born and raised on a farm? How many of you…? I see Bill Cheney. Bill, would you have ever dreamed that you could talk on a telephone and see the person you are talking to in that phone and that phone have no wires to it? Technology. Would you have dreamed, would you have dreamed you could have been on an airplane? That was quite a feat in the first place, but an airplane, sitting in that airplane talking to somebody on a telephone provided through the airplane, talking to anybody you want to. You are moving through the air and that thing is bouncing off a satellite somewhere.
Can you believe that I am going to go to Peru in just a few weeks and within 15 of accuracy I am going to be able to tell exactly where I am on this planet because of a little wrist watch that has a GPS on it, a global positioning system, that I am going to be able to know exactly where I am in this big old universe because there are satellites up there, 12 of them, that hone in on that GPS and tell me where little Philip’s paddies are running today.
We live in a day of increased knowledge. I am not the sharpest drawer in the knife, nor the smartest guy on the block. But here is what I know. Sharpest knife in the drawer. I told you I wasn’t sharp.
Listen to me. Here is what I know. We have only touched the tip of the iceberg in the area of the explosion of technology and information in this world. And the Bible said the people are going to go here, there like lightning, jostling like streaks of light against each other in streaks. They are going to do that chasing down more knowledge.
I am going to stop right here. I have got more to say. Come back next week and I will carry on. But I want you to know this. Jesus is coming.
You say, “What comfort have you given us tonight?”
Well, nothing. None of this should shock you. It should just let you know that your redemption is closer than when you believed. Jesus is coming and we had better be about the master’s business because the master’s business is beginning to take form and he is going to take over very quickly in this world.
Let’s bow our heads.
Father, bless us, encourage us, use us, open our mouths to witness, help us not become groupies that want to go and study prophecy, but help us to be aware that you are coming so that we can study to be like you, so that we can witness to a lost and dying world before it is eternally too late. We ask you this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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