2022- another New Year, another strain, Omicron! We fear political upheavals, wars, atomic bombs, crime running amok. Do we need to look ahead with trepidation, or should we shrug and sing, “whatever will be, will be?”
When I look at the world today, I can’t help thinking we are approaching the end times. It’s not just a feeling, it’s based on facts -that is, if we read our Bible, and believe what we read. This is a decision we must make for ourselves and not rely on the pronouncements of some churches and theologians who obviously do not believe it. That’s why churches, which are not evangelical, are losing members to such an extent that church buildings are being sold and turned into everything from small shopping malls to private homes.
Jesus Christ told his disciples many pertinent things about the end times just prior to his crucifixion. My grandmother, who had been a missionary nurse, spent much time studying books by Benjamin Will Newton,1807-1800, an evangelist but also a fellow of Exeter College, Cambridge. My father spent his last years studying the subject. When he retired, he took over a failing church in Durban, built it up and became a Church of England lay preacher. He supported a movement in England that published magazines on the end times called WATCHING AND WAITING. (Google Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony). Sovereign Grace Advent Testimony has recently published some of B.W. Newton’s major works which are all out of print.
Now, what did Jesus Christ himself have to say about the end times before he comes again in glory? For this, we turn to Matthew chapter 24:1-39 KJV.
24:3 The disciples asked Jesus for a sign of his coming and of the end of the world.
24:4 Jesus said, “Many will come saying, I am the Christ.” We have seen some already!
24:6 We are not to be worried about wars and rumours of wars for the end is not yet.
24:7,8 The beginning of “sorrows” would be marked by “famines, pestilences and earthquakes.” Watch the press for daily reports of these!
24:9,10 Jesus warned that Christians would be persecuted and hated by all nations, false prophets would deceive many and there would be a huge increase in evil. Every day we read about rampant lawlessness and vile atrocities perpetrated on the innocent, drug abuse, human trafficking.
24:12,13. Because of all this, many Christians will give up their faith, but those who remain steadfast will be saved.
24: 14. Most importantly, when the whole world has heard the gospel of the Kingdom of God, the end shall come.
24:15-21. This passage tells of Daniel’s prophecy in the Old Testament when the “abomination of desolation” stands in the “holy place.” Those in Judea are warned to flee immediately for there will be great tribulation more than has ever been seen before.
24:24-27. Don’t believe false Christs and false prophets who can perform “great signs and wonders,” for, when Christ returns, it will be an unbelievable happening seen all over the world.
24:29. However, immediately after the Tribulation, the sun shall become dark, the moon wont shine, and stars shall fall.
24:30-31. All nations will see Christ, the Son of man, coming in “the clouds of Heaven with power and great glory.” There will be a tremendous trumpet blast and Christ will send his angels to “gather his elect.” Incidentally, we read elsewhere that when Christ comes, the dead in Christ shall rise with their new, eternal bodies to meet him in the air and be forever with him. What a glorious prospect! Worth dying for- as millions have and will.
24:36. No one knows when this will happen except “my Father.”
24:37-39. Life will carry on as in “Noah’s day” – eating, drinking, and marrying.” We are warned to watch.
24:40-41. Two men are in a field, “one is taken, one is left.” Two women are busy grinding, “one is taken, one is left.” This passage has been taken out of context by people who believe the “Rapture” theory which states that Christians will not go through the Tribulation. In this passage, it refers to the people on earth when Christ comes: the saved and unsaved.
What happens after this is another story which, God willing, I may be able to tell this year! But before I close, let’s consider one of the many references in the OLD Testament to the return of Jesus Christ. It is Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.
Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon besieged the Jewish city of Jerusalem and conquered it. He took some of the finest young men of noble birth to be trained to serve him. Among them was Daniel and his three best friends.
Now the King had a dream which perplexed and agitated him - so he called all his wise men, magicians, sorcerers and astrologers and demanded that they explain it to him. However, he refused to tell them the dream. ”No man on earth could do it!” they exclaimed. Nebuchadnezzar was so furious that he decreed all wise men and others should be executed. This started and they came to Daniel. Daniel went to the King and asked for time to pray to his God in heaven.
The four Jewish friends prayed and in a night vision, God told Daniel what Nebuchadnezzar had dreamt. Daniel burst into prayer, beginning “Blessed is the name of God forever and ever!” Then he went to the King and said, “there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets and has told you, O King, what shall happen in the last days!” He said the King saw an intensely bright, huge image standing in front of him. His head was made of fine gold, his breasts and arms of silver, his belly and thighs of brass, his legs of iron and his feet partly iron and partly clay. In other words, the image was built from metals inferior to gold from his head down.
Then the King saw a stone, “cut without hands,” which hit the image on his feet of iron and clay and smashed all the fallen pieces into smithereens which the wind then blew away. The stone became a great mountain which filled the whole earth. (Dan 2:31-35).
Daniel then interpreted the King’s dream. It was about 4 kingdoms, starting with his own, the head of gold, and the 3 succeeding ones which, in turn, became inferior to the preceding ones. (Dan 2:36-45). History has shown these to be Babylon, Medo-Persian, Greece, and Rome. The Roman Empire in Christ’s time is very interesting. Google Map of Roman Empire in Jesus’ time. This shows the extent of it from Europe to all around the Mediterranean Sea. The last kingdom, the mixture of iron (Roman Empire) and clay sees a return to the map of the Roman Empire in Jesus’ time. This will be the seat of the Antichrist. It is from here that he will rule the world with terror such as it has never seen. It will be the great Tribulation.
I believe we are approaching that time. Read the news, watch and pray, hold the faith. Jesus Christ is coming again!
God be with you in 2022