Waiting for our blessed hope. What is the hope of the Christian? Paul tells us. He writes in Titus, waiting for that blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.
Isn't that wonderful? Jesus said, almost in the last words of the Bible, surely I'm coming soon. He's coming back. The Lord Jesus is returning. And last week we saw that in the end times, there will be religious, political, and natural upheavals. There will also be an increase in persecution and social upheavals. And we learn that the events to Jerusalem's destruction in AD 70 are a precursor of what will happen in the future during the tribulation period, prior to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. John Grasping was one of my professors at Dallas Seminary, and he writes, the conquest of Jerusalem is theologically, not chronologically, but theologically attached to the end time events.
What's the setting? Jesus has left a temple for the last time. He's told the nation that your temple, your house, is going to be left desolate. And the Lord with His disciples are sitting on the Mount of Olives, looking down at that magnificent temple. And the disciples are in shock, and they ask in verse 3 of Matthew 24, tell us when these things will be and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age. Now, the answer in part is found in our passage. I invite you to turn to Matthew chapter 24. And we're going to be looking at a rather difficult passage in verses 15 through 28. Now, as we deal with future events, I realize that for some of you, this is entirely you. And you're going to think, I'm not sure if I'm following this. Others of you know about this and you're still saying, I'm not sure if I'm following this. And others of you are experts on this, and they're just waiting for me to say something you disagree with.
Not at Calvary Church, some churches but not here. But seriously, I want to give a broad overview and we've got a slide showing that. So here is the big picture.
We're going to look at some of the details, but here is the big picture. The first coming of Jesus Christ, we celebrate that at Christmas, and the gospels are concerned with the birth, the death, the burial, the resurrection, and the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. Last week we saw that in AD 70 there is the destruction of the temple, historical fact. As prophesied by Jesus, not one stone is going to be left on top of another. And we are now, this Pentecost, Acts chapter 2, we are now in what is called the church age, the age of grace.
We are the church. Jesus Christ is building His church and the very gates of hell will not prevail against it. He is with us, Matthew 28 verse 20, to the end of the age.
We're not yet at the end of the age. How will the end of the age end? By the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. What's called the rapture of the church. We're waiting for that. That can happen at any day, 1 Thessalonians 4.
And the church, all authentic believers in Jesus Christ, when we're talking about the church, we're not talking about the denomination obviously, we're talking about those who are in the family of God, followers of Jesus Christ. Every single one of us will be caught up. That will be incredible. There will be a generation that will never die. We'll be caught up, says Paul, to be forever with the Lord, reunited with our loved ones.
Marvelous, isn't it? I look forward to seeing my mother and father. I look forward to seeing my son. I look forward, above all, to seeing the Lord. Caught up to be forever with the Lord. And then on the earth, there is this period we call the tribulation period, the seven-year period.
And we're going to be thinking about that today. And then there is the second advent of Christ, described in our passage, Matthew 24, also described in Revelation 19. When Jesus Christ comes to the earth, He comes in power and great glory, we read, and He will institute His messianic kingdom. We believe at Calvary Church in a 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ on earth. That is, we are premillennial. There is the judgment of the nations, described in Matthew chapter 25. There is the great white throne judgment, described in Revelation 20, when all unbelievers will appear before God as the judge. There is heaven, there is hell, there is the eternal state. Now if you're a follower of Jesus Christ, you've got an incredible future. That's our hope. Don't look down. Look up. Life is hard, life is difficult.
Yes, it is. But we have this tremendous hope, this blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Whether you die or whether you live, you've got a great future. To die is to be, as we were saying, at home with the Lord. Now that tribulation period, that period of seven years, you see it, that is a period described in the book of Revelation. I find that some churches, some people find, well, Revelation is too confusing.
Well, this may help you. In Revelation, from chapter 6 through 3, there is the tribulation period. There are seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls of judgment. What's happening in the tribulation period? God's judgment is being poured out on the earth.
Now this seven-year period is sometimes called Daniel's 70th week. Matthew is going to refer to that. And this divided into two halves.
Two halves of three-and-a-half years. At the beginning of the tribulation period, a man called the Antichrist is going to arise and he's going to make a treaty with the nation of Israel. He's going to give them protection and security. At the midpoint of the tribulation period, the Antichrist will break the treaty with Israel. Furthermore, as we will read in a minute, he will desecrate the temple. And then at the end of the tribulation, there will be the glorious return of Jesus Christ with power and glory.
We'll think of that next week. Now, as we saw last week, Jesus is giving this teaching so that we not be led astray. We've got to be spiritually alert. We've got to understand these things. You say it's a bit difficult, a bit confusing.
I understand that. We have these prophecies in the book of Daniel and the book of Revelation in particular, but we just want to take it step by step. So Jesus is speaking to His disciples, Lord, when will these things be? What's going to be the sign of your coming?
He's looking at the temple. And the cross is only a few days away. Have you got your Bible? Matthew chapter 24, verse 15.
Isn't it wonderful that we can know what's going to happen in the future? Don't be one of these Christians that say, oh, this is confusing. I'm just going to leave it to the Lord. He's going to work it all out.
Of course He's going to work it all out. But He's given you teaching so that you're alert, so that you're not deceived, and above all, that you keep waiting and looking for that glorious appearing. Verse 15, so when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel standing in the holy place, that's the temple, let the reader understand. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
Let the one who's on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house. And let the one who's in the field not turn back to take his cloak. And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days, pray that your flight may not be in winter on the Sabbath, for then there will be great tribulation such as not being from the beginning of the world until now, no and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved.
But for the sake of the elect, those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, look, here is the Christ, or there he is, don't believe it, for false Christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders so as to lead us straight if possible even the elect. See, if I've told you beforehand, so if they say to you, look, he's in the wilderness, don't go out. If they say, look, he's in the inner rooms, do not believe it, for as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. Matthew 24, verses 15 through 28. Now, I want to consider three things, the abomination of desolation, the tribulation, and the antichrist. First of all, the abomination of desolation. Look again at verse 15. So when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place, let the reader understand. The abomination of desolation, does the reader understand?
You say, I don't have a clue. Others of you who know your Bible say yes, he's referring to Daniel. He tells us that, so let's go back to Daniel, shall we? Daniel chapter 9. Now, this is a huge subject and we can't get into all of the details, but let's look at Daniel 9 and we'll look down at verse 26. Daniel's is like the book of Revelation in the Old Testament.
The last, latter half of Daniel is prophetic. And after the 62 weeks, in Hebrews it's sevens, and after the 62 weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. Who's the anointed one? Who is the Messiah?
Our Lord Jesus. He will be cut off. He's crucified and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come, who is the prince who is to come? That's the antichrist, shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. Prophets say the anointed one is going to be cut off.
This prince will come. Verse 27, and he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week. That is a week of years.
That is seven years. And for half of the week, three and a half years, 42 months, he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abomination shall come one who makes desolate until the decreed end is poured out on the desolate ore. Daniel 9 from verses 24 to the end of the chapter are crucial for understanding these prophetic events. Now the abomination of desolation refers in part, it certainly refers to the desecration of the temple, it refers to blasphemous worship, and historically the abomination of desolation first recorded, first occurred rather, in 167 BC. A man called Antiochus Epiphanes, he enters, historical fact, he enters the temple in Jerusalem, he massacres the Jews, and he sacrifices a pig in the temple on the altar to Zeus, the Greek god.
In the Jewish temple, he selects a pig. Utter blasphemy. This is the abomination of desolation. This of course is idolatry. The abomination of desolation also occurs in AD 70. What do the Romans do? They desecrate and destroy the temple.
They scatter the Jewish nation far and wide. I find it intriguing that the temple, the Jewish temple, the beautiful temple, was destroyed in AD 70 almost 2,000 years ago and it has never yet been rebuilt. When you visit Jerusalem today, some of us will have that privilege in October, when we go to Jerusalem, one of the highlights of our visit is actually to stand on the temple mount.
That's an incredible feeling. To be where the temple was, where there is no temple. And as you're on the temple mount, in fact long before you even get up to the temple mount, there is a spectacular building on the temple mount. It's one of the most famous buildings in the world. But it's not the Jewish temple.
What is it? We've got a picture of it. It's the Dome of the Rock.
Do you see it? That Dome of the Rock is built on the temple mount. It's built where Solomon's temple was, built in 691 to commemorate the spot from which Mohammed allegedly ascended to heaven in 621 AD.
He ascended to heaven for a tour of paradise accompanied by the angel Gabriel. That's what they believe and so that temple is built. Rounded in Arabic, there is an attack on the Trinity and blasphemous words regarding our Savior. For almost 2,000 years, there has been no Jewish temple. But Scripture predicts that the temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem. Not just rebuilt, it's going to be rebuilt in Jerusalem, the very center of the world. Arguably, I would say, the world's most famous city.
Benjamin Disraeli, the former British Prime Minister, he said he was Jewish, he said the view of Jerusalem is the history of the world. It is more. It is the history of heaven and earth. Heaven and earth?
Yes. Do you remember in the future what's going to come down? The new what? Jerusalem.
Can you read it? Revelation 21. Now the final fulfillment of the abomination of desolation is yet future. Verse 15 here refers to the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place. What's the holy place? The temple. You say, is the temple going to be rebuilt?
Yes. Turn to 2 Thessalonians 2. I'd like you to bring your Bibles so you can read it and underline it and mark it. You say, well I've got it on my app, but you've been checking social media, haven't you? Listen, this is far more important.
Far, far more important. Jesus is saying, let the reader understand. Second Thessalonians 2 verse 1. Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, Paul believes that he's coming back, and are being gathered together to him.
Isn't that wonderful? We are going to be gathered together with our Lord Jesus Christ. We ask brothers, do not be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed by a spirit or a spoken word or a letter seeming to be from us to the fact that the day of the Lord has come. The day of the Lord hasn't come. There was some false teaching in the church at Thessalonica. Let no one deceive you in any way for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the man of lawlessness, another name for the antichrist, is revealed, the son of destruction who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called God or object of worship so that he takes his seat in the temple of God proclaiming himself to be God.
Interesting, isn't it? He's going to take his seat in the temple of God. Revelation chapter 11, the last book in the Bible, Revelation 11, the book that many of you find so confusing.
We'll read the first two verses. Then I was giving a measuring rod like a staff and I was told, now John is writing around A.D. 90 after the destruction of the temple. He's not talking about Herod's temple. He's talking about a future temple.
He is receiving prophecy from God in a vision. Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there do not measure the court outside the temple, leave that out for it is given over to the nations and they will trample the holy city for 42 months. How long is 42 months?
Three and a half years. Remember, the tribulation is divided into two halves of three and a half years. The midpoint of the three and a half years, the antichrist is going to go into the temple and there's going to be an abomination of desolation.
He's going to go into the temple. He's going to commit blasphemy and this occurs, as I said, in the midpoint of the seven years at the beginning of what we call the great tribulation. Tribulation, seven and a half years. Now, of course, all of us go through tribulation but Jesus prophesied that but we're not talking about that. We're talking about the tribulation as it were with a capital T and the last half of the seven years is the great tribulation.
So that's the abomination of desolation. Now secondly, the tribulation. It's very important to understand that during the tribulation Israel is the focal point. Why is that? Because the church has been raptured prior to the tribulation and God once again puts His focus on the Jewish nation. You say, well why is that? I thought now that we had the church, the church has replaced Israel.
Absolutely not. Do you remember the promises made to Abraham and his descendants? We call it the Abrahamic covenant.
You can read about it in Genesis 12 and 15 and 17. God made promises. He entered into a covenant with Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob and his descendants and central to that covenant is the promise that Israel will be in the promised land over and over again.
That's repeated in Scripture. The land belongs to Israel. Of course, it's the most disputed part of real estate in the world, isn't it? It's a very small country.
When you're going there for the first time you have to say, well is that it? Particularly if you're an American and we live in such a large country, Israel is a small country. But it's not yet all in the land which was promised to Abraham.
It continues to be a matter of great dispute. But God does not go back on his promises. In the beginning of the tribulation, what's going to happen? The Antichrist is going to make a treaty with Israel.
He's a powerful global ruler. It's going to arise. And Israel will enter into that treaty so that their borders are secure. And for a time of three and a half years there's relative peace. At the midpoint of the treaty he breaks it. He has guaranteed Israel's borders but he breaks it. But during that time, during that three and a half years, many, many Israelis, Jewish, Jews are come to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
You say, John, how do you know that? It's prophesied. Think of Revelation 7, the twelve tribes, 144,000 Israelis converted are going to be, as it were, evangelists throughout the whole world and will bring the gospel to the whole world. And many people, Jew and Gentile will come to saving faith during the tribulation period. But now, halfway through the seven years, the Antichrist, under the guise of protecting Israel, will invade Israel. He'll break his covenant and he will place himself in the temple as God.
What blasphemy. And the abomination of desolation then commences the great tribulation period and it climaxes with the return of Jesus Christ with power and glory. Now notice our text from verses 16 through 20. Jesus says, at the sign of the abomination of desolation, that is when the Antichrist goes into the temple, you should immediately flee when the Romans surrounded Israel, particularly when they surrounded Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
This was a sign for Israel to flee, to get out, flee to the mountains, get out of Jerusalem. We think what's happening in Ukraine. There's the Russians going in.
What do the Ukrainians do? Many of them leave. The women and children in particular, they leave. They get away from the danger.
They get away as quickly as possible because they know if they stay, they can be killed. During the tribulation period, it's the same thing. Pray that it's not winter. How difficult it's going to be for a woman who's pregnant, for a woman who's nursing, Jesus says. And during that time, there's going to be many false reports that Jesus Christ has come, verses 23 and 24. Some of these false cries will perform signs and wonders. Don't think that every miracle that's performed comes from God. Satan has got great power and is able to produce miracles. Think of the magicians, as it were, in Egypt regarding Moses. Remember the various miracles with the snake and so on? The magicians could do the same.
So just because someone nowadays says, I've done a sign and a wonder, don't necessarily believe them. Now the great tribulation is a time of unprecedented persecution. Look at verse 21. For then there will be great tribulation. Such has not been from the beginning of the world until now.
No and never will be. You say, well, this tribulation now, listen, it's nothing compared with what's coming is the point. This affliction, this persecution, this tribulation, which follows the abomination of desolation is unparalleled in human history. And during the tribulation, the focus is not on the church, the church is in heaven, the focus is on Israel. Did you see the references to Judea, verse 16?
The reference to the Sabbath, verse 20, Jewish terms. Praise God that the church is raptured prior to the tribulation. Now what else is going on in the tribulation? Many things, and I realize that some of you say we don't believe what you're saying. We think the church will go through the tribulation or the church will go through part of the tribulation.
Well, I ask you to consider this. Think of the uniqueness of the terms used in the Old Testament to describe the coming tribulation. Here are some of them. Isaiah 61, verse 2, the day of vengeance of our God. Daniel 12, verse 1, the time of trouble such as never has been since there was a nation. Sounds like Matthew 24, doesn't it? Zephaniah 1, verse 15, a day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements. Jeremiah 30, verse 7, that day is so great there is none like it. It is a time of distress for Jacob.
Notice that. It's a time of distress for Jacob. Jacob being a name for Israel. It's a great day.
It's a terrible day. There's nothing like it, and there's a day of distress for Jacob, not the church. And you know as I know that no nation on the face of the earth has been so persecuted consistently down through their history. For 3,000 years, the Jewish nation has been persecuted. Some have tried to completely obliterate the Jews so that not one of them is alive. That happened in the book of Esther, didn't it?
Remember the man Haman? Goes to the king, and he wants a decree, and he gets the decree to do what? Genocide.
To exterminate the Jews, and it was God using Esther for such a time as this to go to the king. Benjamin, the Israeli that I quoted, a Jewish British prime minister, was attacked one day in the House of Commons for being a Jew, and they tried to sneer at him and Benjamin, the Israeli who was very quick on his feet, said this. He said, yes, I am a Jew. And when the ancestors of the right honorable gentleman were living as savages in an unknown island, mine were priests in the temple of Solomon.
Don't you love that? Who were your ancestors? Savages in an unknown island, probably referring to Ireland.
I think so. The Israeli's ancestors were priests in the temple of the Holy God. But Satan hates the Jewish nation. You think, what hatred? Consistent hatred. Satan hates the Jewish nation.
God's chosen people. After World War II, there was a systematic extermination of Jews. Hitler and his lieutenants tried to rid the world of Jews during the Holocaust. Gideon Hausner was Israeli's attorney general at the prosecution of Adolph Eichmann in Israel. There's a book by Neil Bascom called Hunting Eichmann that I recently read. And Eichmann was one of the top men responsible for the killing of thousands and thousands of Jews.
After the war, he fled and he ended up in Argentina in hiding. And the Israelis, in the beginning of Mossad, their intelligence service, they finally found out where he was and were able brilliantly to capture him and bring him back to Israel for trial in 1961. Here's the attorney general as he begins his prosecution of this evil man who hated the Jews. He said, when I stand before you, judges of Israel, to lead the prosecution of Adolph Eichmann, I'm not standing alone. With me are six million accusers, 1.5 million of them children. But they cannot rise to their feet and point an accusing finger towards him who sits in the dock and cry, I accuse. For their ashes are piled up on the hills of Auschwitz and the fields of Treblinka and they're strewn in the forests of Poland. Their graves, not their graces, their graves are scattered throughout the length and breadth of Europe. Their blood cries out but their voice is not heard, therefore I will be their spokesman. And Eichmann rightly was convicted. So the Jewish nation knows about persecution. Persecution which continues to this day.
But think of this. This tribulation is unparalleled. Verse 22, if it were longer, no one would survive. It's a terrifying time of worldwide trouble, distress and turmoil.
It's unique, it's unprecedented. Yes, it has its precursor with the fall of Jerusalem, a foretaste of it. But the actual time of the tribulation, read it, Revelation 6-18.
It's so terrible. It would be inconceivable unless the Scriptures described it. A time of unbelievable horror, suffering and turmoil in the earth. Yes, against the Jewish nation but also against every single person. Satan has always hated the Jewish nation. And during a tribulation his hatred is unleashed in unmitigated hatred. The tribulation. Finally, quickly the Antichrist. The abomination of desolation, the tribulation, the Antichrist. The Antichrist is a future world leader who will come to power during a tribulation. People ask, could he be alive today? Yes, he could be alive today. He's not in power today.
Certainly not over all the world. But he's going to rise and he's going to be the key figure during a tribulation period. Here is the chaos of the tribulation. And when people are in trouble, what do they look for? They look for a leader. Here's the trouble in Russia and Ukraine. What do we need? We need a leader.
Here's the Ukrainian president, rises and gives brilliant leadership. We look for our president. We look for NATO. We look for people to lead.
A time of economic disaster, a time of political turmoil. What do we look for? We look for leadership.
We look for a solution. And during a tribulation and all of the chaos that will rise a very wise, a very shrewd political leader. Someone who can bring peace to the world. He'll become a global political leader.
More and more we hear this word global, don't we? A global leader. He's going to amass tremendous power. As I say, he'll make a treaty with Israel to protect its borders and its security. And during that time, Israel will be able to rebuild its temple. We read in 2 Thessalonians 2 verse 4 that he enters into the holy place.
He enters into the temple. He's a man of great intellect. He's a powerful political leader. He's an economic savior. A global dictator and he is a worldwide religious figure. He controls everything.
The banks, politics, yes and religion. He's going to make himself as God. He's going to go into the temple to make that abomination of desolation.
He takes the place of God and is utterly blasphemous. Listen to Daniel's prophecy. Daniel 11 verse 36. And the king, Antichrist will do as he wills. He will exalt himself and magnify himself above every god.
I'm the greatest. Don't you look for humility in leaders? God's opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble.
In leadership, at any level of leadership, we look for humility don't we? But the Antichrist is the opposite. He's arrogant. He's proud. He's so proud he commits blasphemy in the Jewish temple by declaring himself above every god. He shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods, the true God. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished for what is decreed shall be done. He shall pay no attention to the gods of his fathers or to the one beloved by woman, probably a reference to Christ. He shall not pay attention to any other god for he shall magnify himself above all.
However, important side note, Revelation 19. He's going to be cast into the lake of fire in the future. Now you say, who's the Antichrist? Think of the word, he's Antichrist. He is against Christ. He's Satan's substitute for the king of kings. He's sometimes called Daniel 7, the little horn. He's called the beast in Revelation 13, 2 Thessalonians 2. He's called the man of lawlessness.
He's the very personification of evil. And he's got a mark. He's got a number. Do any of you know what that mark or number is? Six, six, six.
Don't tattoo that number on you. Turn in your Bibles to Revelation 13 to read about it. You say, is this fiction?
No it's not. It's not out of Hollywood. This is out of Scripture. John, old man as he was, gets a vision from God.
And here's part of it. Revelation 13, verse 16. Also it causes both all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both slave and free to be marked on the right hand or on the forehead.
So that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark. That is the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom. Let the one who's understanding, again think, brothers and sisters, don't be deceived.
Let have understanding. Mark the number of the beast for it's the number of a man and his number is six, six, six. The last three and a half years of the tribulation, the great tribulation, the antichrist will reveal his true identity. He will persecute the people of God and all those who have not received his mark. The antichrist will mandate that everyone receive the mark.
You take it on your hand or on your forehead. It's a brand, we might say a tattoo. In this way the antichrist has worldwide economic and political control. We read no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark. You go to put fuel in your car and you're unable to get it unless you have the mark, unless you have the sign, unless you have the right number. You go to Harris Teeter to get your groceries.
You get all your groceries and you're coming and you give your credit card. We'll be dealing, I'm pretty sure, with a cashless society that's very possible without technology and the person says, no, your credit card is not working. With the mark, the antichrist will know exactly where everyone is and many will take the mark. Think of the economic pressure. Think of the political pressure to take the mark of the beast. Now can I say, and I'm going to be very dogmatic here, some of you are going to disagree with me, but I want you to think about it. The COVID vaccine is not the mark of the beast. Please, some of you are laughing, but I received, I received emails, I received questions, pastor, is the COVID vaccine the mark of the beast? No, it's not the mark of the beast. Absolutely not.
Think of it. First of all, we're not in the tribulation yet, but the mark of the beast is not something you accidentally receive. It's not that you go to your doctor and you get the flu vaccine, but the mark of the beast is hidden in it. It's not that you get the shingles shots and the mark of the beast is put in it. I know there's conspiracy theories put out by those who are anti-vaccine that this is the mark of the beast.
Total, total nonsense. The mark of the beast, according to Scripture, is an intentional sign which people deliberately take, declaring their allegiance to the antichrist. That's the point of it. It's not slipped to you.
You've got to make up your mind. Are you on the side of the antichrist or are you not? If you're on the side of the antichrist, you deliberately go and you intentionally get the mark of the beast. It's not something slipped into you accidentally.
Now, whether you take the COVID vaccine or not is another issue for health reasons or other reasons, you may choose to get it or you may choose not to get it. Personally, I've got it and I continue to get it and I don't have the mark of the beast on me, I assure you. Don't be led astray. Now, when the antichrist breaks the peace treaty with Israel after three and a half years, the terrible events of the great tribulation will follow as prophesied by Jesus. If you refuse it, you're going to be persecuted. If you refuse the mark of the beast during the tribulation, you may well be killed.
It's called the time of Jacob's trouble or Jacob's distress. Praise God that we the church won't be there. We'll be at home with the Lord.
Now let me finish with this. As followers of Jesus, big picture here, we're not looking for the tribulation. We're not looking for the antichrist. We are alert. We're watching what's going on in society. We're watching what's going on in the church community, in the economic community.
We're wise. We're looking. But above all, we are looking for our Lord Jesus Christ. That's our blessed hope. Make sure you're spending more time looking for Christ than hunting for conspiracy theories.
Make sure your eyes are on that blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. We will not go through the tribulation, no. 1 Thessalonians 1 verse 10, 1 Thessalonians 5 verse 9, Paul explicitly says that our Lord Jesus delivers us from the wrath to come. God's wrath is coming on this earth for those who don't believe.
No, we're not waiting for that. We're waiting for His Son from heaven. You see, Jesus is saying that wrath is coming. He's saying to the disciples, you see that beautiful temple. It's going to be utterly destroyed. In the future, those who reject Christ will experience His wrath.
Where is the only place of safety? Listen to Paul, Romans 5 verse 6, for God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Any sinners here? Christ died for you while you were still sinners. Since, therefore, we've now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God. God's wrath is coming on those who refuse to bow to the Lord Jesus Christ, who are unsaved.
The only place of safety is in Jesus Christ to be sheltered, as the choir were singing, to be sheltered because the blood has been applied. We belong now to Christ. We're in Christ. We're saved. We're eternally saved from the judgment and the wrath of God. Praise God. But during the tribulation period, people will be faced with a stark choice.
Think of it. Will you take the mark of the beast, the Antichrist, or will you not? If you take it, how are you going to survive?
You can't buy or sell. Your business is going down. How are you going to get food? How am I going to survive? What would you do? What would be your choice? Let me ask you, what is your choice today?
What's your choice today? Choose you this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we're going to serve the Lord. I'm with those who say, no, we would never, ever, ever deny our Lord. Our allegiance, our top allegiance, and thank you, Amy, for that testimony where you said it very clearly that your trust was in Christ and you're going to stand for Him irrespective of the opposition. May all of us have such courage that wherever we are and whoever surrounds us that we would never, ever, ever deny our Lord Jesus Christ, that our allegiance is to Him.
What about you? Are you in the kingdom of God or the kingdom of Satan? Are you in the kingdom of light or the kingdom of darkness?
The kingdom of God or your own tiny little kingdom? Meantime, for those of us who are saved, don't be troubled. Let not your heart be troubled. Says Jesus, you believe in God? Believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions.
If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you and if I go, I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am, there you may be also. How wonderful. The Lord Jesus Christ is gone. He's prepared my salvation.
The work is done. If you've never done this, bow at His feet. Confess your sins and receive Christ and pass from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God. A kingdom which will never end. A kingdom which is greater than Satan, greater than the antichrist, greater than the forces of darkness.
That kingdom will never end. In the meantime, we say, even so come, Lord Jesus come. Will you stand? We're going to sing that. And as we stand, may we prepare our hearts.
Whose side are you on? Darkness or light? Satan or Christ? Be strong. Draw that line and say I belong to Christ.
Wherever you are. Stand strong in your business. Stand strong at school. Stand strong in a bank. Stand strong in a neighborhood for Jesus Christ. And shine as a bright light.
Be salt in the darkness. As we say, even so come, Lord Jesus. We pray that, Father, now as we stand before you, we make that response. May that day come, that blessed hope, the glory of the appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-14 17:16:41 / 2023-05-14 17:32:48 / 16