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Vision Week - Part D

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October 26, 2023 6:00 am

Vision Week - Part D

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, we present a special preview program of a major series of prophecy messages that Skip has concluded. Four out of ten Americans believe we are living in the end times, a topic often misunderstood, sensationalized, or ignored altogether. Next to the topic of faith itself, the theme of the Second Coming dominates Scripture.

In a message titled Prophecy Update, Skip Heitzig encourages us to prepare our hearts for Jesus' return as we see the beginning of sorrows in the world around us. This program is part of our four in ten Americans believe we are living in the end times. It's stated 55%, over half of all Americans say we're in the last days and Jesus is coming back to the earth one day. That's a significantly high rate of people, group of people.

Though most will say they don't know what the timing will be, some believe that He will return in their lifetime. Here's what's amazing about that research poll. That's not just a poll of evangelical Christians. That's a poll of Americans of all races and religions and political viewpoints.

Which begs the question, why? Why are so many people now more than ever before saying, I think we might be living in the last days? Look back on 2022. It's been a turbulent year. It's been a turbulent few years. Back in March, Russia invaded Ukraine. 200,000 soldiers have been killed, about 400,000 civilians. So when you have a half a million plus people dying in a war or rumors of war, that gets people's attention. Also, this is now the third year of the pandemic. The number of COVID deaths have topped 6.6 million. Add to that inflation, not just in our country, inflation around the world has touched virtually every country.

And it is especially hitting low and middle class income people. So the name of this message today, this prophecy update, is what will the future hold? What will the future hold? This message is sort of an introduction to something that we'll be looking at in a few weeks after we're done with Colossians, when we look at a series on eschatology or the end times. Now, the Bible does predict the future.

The Bible clearly predicts the future. But I find there are two extremes with people reading the Bible that predicts the future. One extreme is overstatement.

The other extreme is understatement. Some overstate it. Some are fanatics about Bible prophecy. It's all they talk about. They build their entire ministry on it. Everything is sensationalized. They see everything as a sign from God, from a Jewish festival to a blood moon to the logo of Starbucks.

Everything is a sign from God. The other extreme is understatement. And perhaps understatement is a reaction to, number one, the overstatement. Because so many people overstate it, hey, let's just not talk about it.

Let's just not deal with it. It seems for some, there is a refusal to deal with the idea of the end times or of prophecy. Partly it's because of, number one, an overreaction to prophecy. But for some who don't talk about it at all, it's partly because they have a theological construct. There's a history of their interpretation that sort of forbids them from doing that.

We will go into more depth in our series. But what's interesting about this particular group that makes the understatement of Bible prophecy is that so often this very group is the group that is known for digging deep and championing the great doctrines of the Bible. They're really good at uncovering every stone when it comes to the doctrine of grace, salvation, sanctification, the church, soteriology. But when it comes to prophecy, it's like they're in abysmal failure. They don't talk about it. They don't see it. It's like God is unfolding signs right before their eyes, but their head is in the theological sand.

We want to approach this in a balanced way. So today what I'm going to do, and I'm just going to scratch the surface of this chapter, it's just really a deep section of Scripture, but I am going to predict the future today. I'm going to predict the future through the lens of Luke chapter 21, and I'm going to tell you things that will happen. I'm going to give you four certainties about the future.

Here's the first. There will be an end. There will be, and I know I'm starting very general here, right? There will one day be an end, an end to the world. Let's pick it up in verse 7. So they, they being the disciples, asked Him, Jesus, saying, Teacher, when will these things be, and what sign will there be that these things are about to take place? And He said to them, Take heed that you do not be deceived, for many will come in My name, saying, I am He, and the time has drawn near.

Therefore, do not go after them. But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified, because we've always had wars, we've always had commotions, do not be terrified, for these things must come to pass first, but the end is or will not come immediately. That's not to say the end will not come, but the end will not come immediately.

It will come, definitely, but in God's perfect time. So go down to verse 32. Verse 32, Jesus is talking, Assuredly I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away.

Notice that. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. One day the world will end. We know that from a biblical perspective. We know that one day the world will come to an end, Jesus said in Matthew 24.

Okay, let me pause just for a moment, because you're going to hear me refer to this, and this is sort of nuts and bolts. Matthew chapter 24, Luke chapter 21, Mark chapter 13 are all essentially about the same sermon that Jesus gave called the Olivet Discourse. It's a little more detailed in Matthew 24, less so in Luke 21, less so in Mark 13 for a host of reasons I'm not going to uncover today.

But it's from different vantage points, but same basic territory. So in Matthew 24, the parallel text to this, Jesus said, the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. There's Jesus saying the end's going to come, one day.

Paul the apostle knew that to be the truth when he gave us that great chapter, 1 Corinthians chapter 15 about the resurrection of the dead at the coming of Christ. He said, then comes the end when he delivers the kingdom of God, the Father, and he puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. So Jesus said the end is coming, Paul said the end is coming. Peter not only said the end is coming, but he describes the end of the world.

2 Peter chapter 3, he says, the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise and the elements will melt with fervent heat. Both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness? The word dissolve in that verse means to unloose or to set free what is bound. The idea is that the elements will be broken up into their component parts like a building being torn down. The physical structure of the universe will disintegrate. If I could put it like this, the creation will be uncreated.

It will be dissolved. Now we know that from the Bible, but we also know that from the scientific community that regularly reminds us that we live in a limited universe. We didn't always believe this. Science didn't always teach this, but we have come to the understanding that the universe is expanding. We have observed radiation echo, which adds credence to that idea. But did you know up until the 1950s and really the 1960s, the scientific community said that the universe is just eternal. It's just going to go on and on and on. It was called the steady state theory.

The steady state theory. That was the prevailing cosmology of the day. Today, we know better. We know different.

We've added to our knowledge base. And so there's different theories as to how the universe is going to end, but one thing everybody agrees on? It's going to end.

It's going to end. The universe is running down. There are certain scientific realities that are undeniable and unbreakable. Laws, scientific laws. One of them is the now famous second law of thermodynamics, which basically says everything in the material universe is experiencing energy loss or heat death. It's like a clock that has been wound up that is running down.

So, this is easily observable. Cars, over time, don't get shinier or more efficient, right? They rust and they break down. Human beings, over time, don't grow stronger as they get really old. They grow weaker.

We don't become less wrinklier over time. The second law of thermodynamics, I checked this morning in the mirror, is at work. There will be an end. There will be an end. There will be an end.

That's one prediction. Second, Jesus will be back. Jesus will be back. In chapter 21, our chapter, verse 27, one sentence. Then, after all these things He talks about, then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. The Son of Man is a messianic term, and all the Jews knew that. He was speaking about a reference of Daniel chapter 7, a vision of the Son of Man who is given a kingdom. They will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now, in Matthew chapter 24, remember I said that there's three chapters that deal with this Olivet Discourse? Matthew 24, the disciples are walking with Jesus up the Mount of Olives, and they ask Him a question. They said, not only when will these things be, but what is the sign of your coming and of the end of the age? Chapter 24 in Luke 21 is the answer to that question. What will be the sign of your coming?

Now, isn't that an odd question to ask somebody who's standing there with them? He's already there, and He says, so, when are you coming? You know, you might think Jesus is going to say, did you notice I'm with you guys? Now, when they ask that question, they did not think of His second coming. You might automatically go, they're mentioning, they didn't know about a second coming.

They didn't believe in a second coming. They thought the Messiah is coming. Okay, He's come.

He's here. When they said the sign of your coming, they believe He's going to stay there, but there's going to be some punctuating event. That was their eschatology. That was their belief, that the Messiah is going to now rule over the enemies of Israel and set up His kingdom. That's what they meant by coming, some punctuating event, not a return. However, that's what they thought. In a couple days from that question, He takes them up to an upper room where they have the Passover, the Last Supper. And Jesus unloads the truth on them that He's going to die, that He's going to be crucified and then rise again. Now, when they heard that, I am convinced it was like this. Does not compute.

They did not get it at all. But in that conversation, Jesus said to His disciples, because He could tell that they were really bothered by this. He said, let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house, there are many mansions or rooms or dwellings, literally. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself that where I am, there you may be also. He says two things. I'm going and I'm coming again.

I'm going and I'm coming again. Ever since Jesus spoke that promise, that has been the blessed hope of the church for the last 2,000 years. That's why Paul in Titus 2 called it that, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. This is why so many of the hymns of the historic Christian church have been about the coming of Christ, the second coming.

We sing them at Christmas because we think they're Christmas songs, but they're not. They're second coming songs. One is the Isaac Watts anthem, Joy to the World, the Lord is Come, Let Earth Receive Her King. It's about the second coming. Or the Charles Wesley hymn, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus. It's about the second coming.

Julia Ward Howe wrote Battle Hymn of the Republic after the Civil War. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. It's about the second coming. And it's because this is one of the dominant themes of Scripture.

Did you know that? The second coming of Jesus Christ dominates the Bible. Next to the subject of faith, the coming of Christ in the future is the most discussed topic in the book. Do you know how many times? 1,845 times. 1,845 times that second coming is alluded to or predicted. That's one out of every 25 verses in the New Testament that mention it. So out of 260 chapters that comprise Matthew to Revelation, there are in the New Testament 318 times the second coming is spoken of. For every one mention of the first coming of Jesus, the second coming is mentioned eight times. So the first coming is pretty important, right? Pretty important.

Jesus coming to earth, dying on a cross. We celebrate the first coming every Christmas. Pretty important. Eight times more the second coming. For every one time the subject of atonement appears, the second coming is mentioned twice.

So it's pretty important. So we know two things that we can predict. There will be an end of the world. Jesus will be back.

I'll give you a third. Third, there will be signs. There will be signs. You notice the question in verse 7. They ask Him, Teacher, but when will these things be and what sign will there be that these things are about to take place? Verse 11, and there will be great earthquakes in various places, famines, pestilences, and there will be frightful signs and great sights and great signs from heaven. Go down to verse 25. And there will be signs in the sun, the moon, the stars, and on earth, distress of nations with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring, men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth. For the powers of heaven will be shaken.

Go down to verse 31. So you also, so you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Signs, signs, signals.

The Greek word semion, which means markers or indicators or signals. God is a God of signs. He gives indicators when He is about to do something. You know why He does that? Because He wants people to be aware that He's doing something.

Hence the sign, just like you have a road sign. It tells you what is coming ahead. In Amos chapter 3 verse 7, He writes, Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret to His servants, the prophets. So when God is going to do something, He warns His people. He sends a sign so His people will know that He's going to do something. You remember when the religious leaders came to Jesus and they said, We want a sign from heaven. And Jesus responded to them in His loving tone, hypocrites.

And I don't say that tongue in cheek. He was always love incarnate. And even when He unloaded on His enemies, He still spoke that harsh word in love. He said, hypocrites, you know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times?

Now what was He talking about there? His first coming. His first coming, the Messiah.

The Messiah came to Israel. They should have seen the signs. Did you know there were signs of His first coming? You know how many signs there were? About 300. About 330 signs.

Now if you're driving down the road and you see 330 signs, you better not be surprised when you end up wherever it says you're going to be ending up at. 300 to 330 signs like, and here's His personal profile in the Old Testament, Messiah will be from the tribe of Judah. He'll be born in Bethlehem.

He'll be from the lineage of King David. He'll arrive before the temple is destroyed and others. Now I know that, and we'll talk about this a little more in our series, I know that the last days technically started 2,000 years ago. If you look at all of world history, the last days is from the time of Christ's first coming to the time of His second coming. But I think there is some indication that we could be in like the last days of the last days, the final days of that time period. There are signs the prophets gave, there are signs that Paul gave, there are signs that Jesus gave in Luke 21, Matthew 24, Mark 13, as well as other places.

Now something else, now this is sort of nuts and bolts a little bit here. The signs that are mentioned in those three New Testament chapters, Matthew 24, Luke 21, Mark 13, the signs that Jesus gives are signs that will take place primarily in a future time period called in the Old Testament the 70th week of Daniel. You've got to know Daniel 9 to understand that phrase. The 70th week of Daniel, a seven year future time period, the New Testament refers to as the tribulation period. And more specifically, it will be the last three and a half years of that seven year period known as the great tribulation period.

So those are the signs that he speaks of. We are not in that time period right now. We are not in that future eschatological time of the tribulation, but it sure seems like we're getting right up to the edge of it. You've been listening to a prophecy update from Skip Heitig. Jesus Christ's return is a reality that we should be prepared for. The Bible is clear that there are certainties about our future. We know that the prophecies in scripture will be fulfilled. We are given prophecy not to instill fear, but to be prepared for Christ's glorious coming and to have peace and hope in our salvation through him. Here is a critical question from the Apostle Peter's writings that this prophecy update brings to the light. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God? On our next broadcast of Connect with Skip Heitig, we will have the final edition of our Vision Week programming as we present a preview of the message, The End is Near.

Before we close today, here is our current resource offer. Listen to what the message version of the Bible says about the necessity of a clear vision for the future. If people can't see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves.

But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed. Vision for your life. That's the theme of our resource package that features five excellent full-length messages by Skip, including six things that will surprise you about heaven and God's purpose for people. Now, here's a comment from Skip Heitig on the topic of purpose.

God has a desire. God has a purpose for you and one of his purposes for you is that you know him, that he walk with you, that you do life together with him. Do you walk with God?

Is that a concern of yours? Is that a stated goal in your head, in your heart? I want to walk with God. I want to live to please God.

I want to know God. Clear vision for your life. That's the theme of our vision resource package that features five excellent full-length messages by Skip, including six things that will surprise you about heaven and God's purpose for people. You'll want to order our vision resource package for this month, which also features a full-color magazine about the vision that drives Skip's ministry. You'll also receive an audio copy of Skip clearly outlining his philosophy of ministry in the past, present, and future. Receive your vision package when you make a donation of $50 or more to Connect with Skip. Give your gift by calling 1-800-922-1888 or online at

That's 1-800-922-1888 or Join us next time on Connect with Skip Heitig as we present an important prophecy message as part of vision week. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross and cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection, a connection. Connect with Skip Heitig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-26 07:19:28 / 2023-10-26 07:28:59 / 10

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