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Jesus expects His readers to understand the signs of the end. How will we know what to look for?
Here’s what I thought of after your series on the end of times: You said that discerning Christians’ will recognize the signs that the end is near… How can I be sure I am a discerning Christian?
The Bible is filled with signs as to what the end times will look like. Some signs are so specific we can’t miss them. For example, in Matthew 24:15-16 Jesus pointed out one sure sign of the end times: “So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel — let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains…
Jesus expects His readers to understand the signs of the end. How will we know what to look for
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We need to study Scripture.
First sign of the End Times
God told the prophet Daniel that when the end is near, many seemingly enigmatic verses will become clear. Probably because as the events prophesied are increasingly fulfilled, the more clear other signs will become.
As Daniel concluded his prophecy in chapter twelve, he asked God to let him in on the timing of the end-time events. God deflected his request in verse four: “But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end…” (Notice that when the end is near everything will become more clear).
Daniel then asked the two angels standing nearby, “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?”
An angel replied in verse seven, “It will be for a time, times, and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.”
The terms, "time, times and half a time" and the corresponding 3.5 years and 1260 days and 1290 days, are explained in the Book of Revelation.
What happens when we don't understand?
Daniel confessed in verse eight that he still did not understand so once again He asked the Lord, "My Lord, what will the outcome of all this be?"
God replied in verse nine, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end...None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand."
Rest assured that discerning spiritual men and women in the body of Christ will be able to read the signs.
(and will be happy to share what they see with you)
Notice I said, “spiritual men and women.” Jesus predicted that near the end of time many false individuals will confuse many (this, of course, is another sign in itself).
But, don’t stop by depending on the insights of others. Do your own homework. Be a biblical “self feeder” and check these things out for yourself.
So that you won't have to go searching to get started, I've listed below the basic prophetical books and passages in order to help make your study a little easier.
Scriptures that explain the signs and events of the end times (1/6):
Armageddon, Daniel's Timeline
The Psalm of the battle of Armageddon: Nations rage; God laughs; and the exaltation of Christ as Lord
The Book of Daniel
An over view of God's dealing with human governments
A time line of events from the days of Daniel, 598 B.C. to Palm Sunday, April 6, 30 A.D.
An overview of the last seven years before the Second Coming known as the Great Tribulation which begins with a peace treaty between Israel and a confederation of European states and ends with the Battle of Armageddon and the return of Christ
Israel reestablished, a battle (2/6):
The prophecy of the return of Jews from all over the world to the land of Israel to reestablish the nation of Israel (the dispersion occurred in 70 A.D. and against all odds, the return took place in 1948 A.D.)
The battle between Gog, from the land of the north (Magog), that is directly north of Jerusalem (Russia??) and the nation of Israel. Gog, who is allied with a number of African nations is soundly defeated. The battle probably occurs before the time of Great Tribulation.
Christ's hands, His words (3/6):
The Israelites weep and repent when they see the nail-scarred hands of Christ at the second coming.
Known as the Olivet Discourse, Jesus answers the Disciples' questions about the end times and the future destruction of Israel.
The rapture, deceit (4/6):
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
A description of the rapture when Jesus comes "for His saints" and takes them to Heaven.
The swiftness and stealth of the Second Coming is detailed.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Beware of the coming Antichrist who is revealed when he sets up the Abomination of Desolation.
The Antichrist has deceptive tools to fool the world.
When "that which restrains" (either the Holy Spirit or the church) is removed from earth, the Lord's wrath is unleashed.
Descriptions of the Ungodly (5/6):
1 Peter 4:7-11
An outline of how to behave during the last days
2 Peter 2
A description of wicked men during the last days
The Second Coming time table is right on schedule. God is not delaying.
"The elements will be destroyed by fire."
A picture of the destruction of ungodly men and women at the Second Coming
The Entire Book of Revelation (6/6):
A three-fold picture of what man does to destroy mankind (7 Seals); what Satan does to man (7 Trumpets); and what God does to mankind (7 Bowls of Wrath)
A description of the person and ministry of the Antichrist.
The Battle of Armageddon
The Great White Throne Judgment
Tossing Satan into the Abyss of Hell
The millennium and the new Heaven and Earth
So, "S," in order to read the signs well and not be deceived, I recommend that you:
Carefully study the Bible passages referring to the endKeep an eye on world eventsListen to spiritual men and women who listen to God for their insights into "the times of the end."
Finally, remember that Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:4: “But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief…”
I hope this helps.
Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at email@example.com.
Ask RogerDr. Roger Barrier recently retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.
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