Blessings to Israel presents Discerning the Times, a program committed to encouraging you to view current events through the lens of the Bible. Now in honor of the one and only true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, please join us for today's program. Welcome to Discerning the Times. My name is Brian Thomas. So great to be with you as always.
And this week we're going to do something a little bit different than the norm. I want to share a message that I delivered at our local assembly on this past weekend. If you would like to be a part of our local assembly, visit our website BlessingsToIsrael.com or GodFirst.org. That's G-O-D, the number one S-T dot O-R-G. Again, BlessingsToIsrael.com or GodFirst.org.
Go to the contact information there and reach out to us and we will share how you can be a part of our local fellowship. I spoke on the message, the rapture, the second coming or both. So I pray that this message will be a blessing to you. Why do we gather for fellowship, for worship, for the studying of God's word?
Why can't we just say that, well, we've already accepted Christ as savior and therefore we're good. Nothing else is needed. Well, would a man marry a woman and then do nothing else? Never talk to her, never hug her, never kiss her. She writes letters, never read it.
We can all say that that would not be much of a marriage, not be much of a relationship. And that is why we come together to learn about God, to have fellowship with him. And we come here today to deliver God's word, not to hoop, not to holler, not to hem and haul, to put on a performance. But we're here to learn God's word. And I want us to be excited to hear from God. I was watching football games yesterday and I saw people how excited they were in anticipating the game.
They were chomping at the bit. And we should be all the more excited to hear from God when we come together to study his word. And I'm just the messenger.
I hear people talk about going to hear certain people speak and they prefer one over the other. But I'm just the messenger of God's word. It's it's like a mailman delivering a letter. And when you get a letter from the mailman, you're not excited about the mailman to hear what he has to say. But you're excited about the one who wrote the letter, what that person is saying. Or today, not a lot of people write letters anymore, but we get emails. And so you're excited about the person who sent the email, not Gmail, not what Gmail has to say, but what the person who sent the email has to say.
And so, again, that is what I am here to do to deliver God's holy word. Things are not always as they seem. I heard an account of a man who had been married to a lovely wife for about five years. They had a great marriage. They were Christians and a very solid relationship.
But they were from time to time check in with one another and have these conversations to ask, is there something that I'm doing or not doing that? You would like the other to change for the better of the relationship to improve the marriage. And so on one of those occasions, the wife was telling him. You know, you're a great man.
I love you dearly. You're a wonderful husband. We have a great marriage. She said, but I could stand a bit more romance. Well, the husband was not defensive. He admitted that he was not the most romantic in the world and that's something that he could improve on. So he took her words to heart and he began to think on ways in which he could become more romantic with his wife. So a couple of days later, she told him she was going out to the hair salon to get her hair done. And so he thought to himself, well, this would be a good opportunity to pick up a bouquet of flowers and drop by the beauty salon while she's there with her girlfriends and surprise her with these flowers.
He said that'll make her excited and that will get me a lot of brownie points doing that in front of her friends. And so he decided to do just that. So that afternoon came and he showed up at the beauty salon with the flowers.
And the receptionist personally knew him and his wife. And when she saw the flowers and saw him, she immediately knew what was going on. So she spoke to him and smiled and said, you can go around.
She's she's in the back. So he walks around and he sees a long row of women who were lying back in these chairs with their head over the sink with their eyes closed. And so he hesitated for a moment and looked down the road and he saw the one who he identified to be his wife.
He said, I remember what she was wearing. And so he walks up to her. And again, she's lying there with her eyes closed, her head back in the sink, getting her hair wash. And he plants a big kiss on her. And then he raises his head and he's standing there smiling with the flowers behind his back and waiting to see her reaction. So she lifts her head and she immediately screams. And upon doing so, then he screams. And at this point, the other women in the beauty salon are trying to figure out what was going on.
So they all sit up and they're looking around. And then a second woman screams. And the man looks over and sees the second woman and finds that that is his wife. He kissed the wrong woman. Because this woman that he kissed was wearing an outfit that was almost identical to the one that his wife was wearing. And 20 years later into that marriage, he still can't live that event down because whenever something comes up with a disagreement, she reminds him that he kissed another woman. And he said, well, honey, I thought it was you.
I was trying to do what was right. But it's important for us not to become overconfident because, again, things are not always as they seem. I was looking just the other night in a book that was talking about mirages in the desert. And we've seen the depictions in movies where a person is out in the desert and they're they're hot and they're thirsty and they think they're going to die from thirst.
And so they look into the distance and they see water and they begin running to the water. And we know how it goes when they get closer and closer than the water disappears because it was a mirage. What they thought was there was really not there.
Things are not always as they seem. I was watching a documentary that was talking about how the Earth's atmosphere can create optical illusions. It can make things appear to be that are not as they really are. And so it was showing how because of the way that light can be refracted over the Earth's atmosphere, when certain temperatures and moisture content and sunlight, when all these ingredients come together, it can cause things to actually appear in the sky when they're really not there. And so it was shown a city that actually looked like it was hovering in the sky.
You could see the downtown, the skyscrapers up in the sky, and it literally looked like the city was up in the sky. But again, it was an optical illusion because things are not always as they seem. So I want you to keep that in mind as we look at what we're going to talk about today. And what we're actually going to talk about is not what I originally had planned, but I saw a post online that a lady submitted that I wanted to address because it was a very good question. And I think one that a lot of people could learn something from. She wrote, quote, I heard something today from a speaker I know to be pre-trip, but he said something confusing that I've never heard before.
Been studying in times for eight years now. He said that in Matthew 24, when Jesus talks about what it will be like in the time that he returns, he gives the reference to it will be like the times of Noah. Then he talks about two men working in the field. One will be taken, the other left. There will be two women grinding at the meal.
One will be taken, the other left. This speaker said that what Jesus was talking about was not the rapture. And she goes on to say, where else in the Bible does it speak of this? So she's asking the question, what is this really talking about? Because again, this speaker says, well, that is not the rapture.
So I'm titling today's message the rapture, second coming or both. But before we get to that, I want to play a quick video. Let's play video one. Danny's got to be careful. Get too far out there and let the big run come. And now, as long as they're side by side, he's good.
But here comes Newman. Big run. Then he put the block on him.
Great job. Not causing the wreck on that block. White flag under green. Next flag will end the race. And Newman is there. Newman's got locked onto his rear bumper, just like he did. Oh, wrecking behind Chase Elliott around, spinning around. Still green.
Still green. And here they come. And here comes Blaney. Ryan Blaney behind Ryan Newman, trying to get him to Hamlin. Newman backed up to Blaney. Big run coming here to the inside. No one to the front.
Nothing. Denny Hamlin could do. What can Ryan Blaney now do? Here comes a push from Denny Hamlin. Well, this thing's not over yet.
Not at all. Ryan Newman off Turn four for the final time. Blaney to the outside to the inside. Here comes Hamlin up the outside crash into the wall, into the air, goes Newman upside down in a shower of sparks on his roof. Ryan Newman comes across the line fourth and comes to rest. Scoring unofficial between Hamlin and Blaney as far as who crossed the finish line first. Newman got turned, went up in the air as he came down, was hit by another car and launched skyward, coming down on his roof.
The AMR safety team is there quickly to attend to Ryan Newman. That scene was February of 2020. So if you didn't see it and don't know how it came out, we're going to revisit this at the end. So hang around. So we're going to look at Matthew Chapter 24. So please turn your Bibles there with me. Our main text is coming from Matthew Chapter 24 verses 36 through 44. Matthew Chapter 24 verses 36 through 44. And as we come to this text, we are reminded that earlier in this chapter, in the beginning, that the apostles had been speaking with Jesus and they were looking at the temple and they were talking about how beautiful it was. And Jesus said, not one stone will be left here upon another.
He said, it's going to be destroyed. And then they asked Jesus a series of questions. They said, tell us, when will these things be?
What will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age? And so they asked Jesus a series of questions. And so Jesus gives a series of answers in Matthew 24, what is known as the Olivet Discourse.
So as we come to verse 36, here's what our Lord says. But of that day and hour, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day that Noah entered the ark and did not know until the flood came and took them all away. So also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field. One will be taken and the other left.
Two women will be grinding at the meal. One will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore, you also be ready for the Son of Man is coming in an hour you do not expect.
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For more information, please visit our website, BlessingsToIsrael.com or write to us at 1-866-Keobach-266, Knightdale, North Carolina 27545. Now, let's return to the conclusion of today's program. Things are not always as they seem. As we look at this main text, notice that Jesus said it would be like it was in the days of Noah, where they were eating and drinking and marrying and giving in marriage. Well, nothing is wrong with eating, as long as you're not being a glutton. Nothing is wrong with drinking, as long as you're not drinking alcohol to the point of drunkenness. Nothing is wrong with marrying. Of course, we know God ordained marriage and he ordained it between a man and a woman, one man and one woman, regardless of what society says. Two men cannot marry one another. Two women cannot marry one another. But marriage is between a man and a woman. God ordained it. So there's nothing wrong with these things in and of themselves.
But our Lord is saying that they are just simply going about business as usual. So we have to keep that in mind. He says here that two will be in the field. One will be taken, the other left. Two women working at the meal.
One will be taken, the other left. In the ancient days, they worked at these meals. And so this is referring to a meal grinder. And that was the way in which they created products like flour.
And we have machines today to do it. But in those times, a meal grinder would be turned. It had these large stones and two people had to turn it in order to grind out the material, grind out the wheat, for example, in order to create flour. So it was performed in pairs.
And it was considered a menial task that oftentimes women were assigned to do. And so they would sit on opposite sides of each other, sit in opposite sides of the grinder, and they would move it halfway around a circle in order to, again, make material like flour. And so Jesus said there will be two there working together.
One will be taken and the other left. So imagine today, again, a lot of machinery are doing these type of jobs for us. But we've seen crosscut saws. You're all familiar with crosscut saws where you have these large trees and there's a saw with a handle on each end. And you'll see two men where one is on one end and one is on the other. And they're pushing and pulling, pushing and pulling, pushing and pulling in sync with one another in order to cut this tree down because the tree is too large for one person.
So imagine that as this is happening, two men are there cutting the tree with this crosscut saw and one is taking the other left. That is what our Lord is saying is going to be at the end of this time period. So turn your Bibles now with me over to First Thessalonians chapter four.
And we're going to look at another text, another very familiar text that we talk about a lot here. And those of us who are students of Bible prophecy or are very familiar with First Thessalonians chapter four. And we want to go to verse 13.
We're going to look at verses 13 through 18. But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, God will bring with him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with the shout, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. But notice as we read this text, does it sound like the same event that we read in Matthew 24? Again, remember in Matthew 24, it says one will be taken, the other left. And as we look at First Thessalonians chapter four, we see that it says, Well, the dead will rise first.
Then those of us who are alive and remain shall be caught up. So it sounds very similar. It sounds like it's talking about the same thing, doesn't it? The apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote this text to address those at the church at Thessalonica. It was during this time in which an apostle had written to the church, signed a letter by Paul's name, and he said that they had missed the rapture of the church. But again, Paul is writing to address those at Thessalonica, and he's saying, I don't want you to be ignorant. He said, remember, I've already taught you these things. I've told you how this is going to transpire.
So you need not be worried that you missed this event. Now, let me take a moment to address something that I've spoken on so many times before because I hear it all the time and I'm convinced that it's not going to the end until the Lord comes back. But whenever we talk about the rapture of the church, someone always says, well, the word rapture is not even in the Bible.
And they use that as an argument to dismiss the rapture. But as I always say, there are many words that are not in the Bible, but we know they are real things. For example, the word demon is not in the Bible. It's not in the King James version of the Bible. The word Trinity is not in the Bible, but we know the Trinity exists.
God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. The word Bible is not in the Bible, but we know the Bible exists. We're all sitting here holding Bibles. Hold up your Bibles now so that anyone, in case anyone has any doubt, we see that Bibles are real. But the word is not in the Bible. So we need to dismiss that argument. That is a weak argument that so many will throw out there that, well, the rapture, the word is not in the Bible. But if you want to just call it the catching away, the concept is there. And it says here in the scriptures, it says, notice that it makes a reference to falling asleep.
Why do you think that Paul uses that terminology? He says concerning those who have fallen asleep. Well, how many of us like sleep? A lot of people love sleep. That's why I see you smiling because people love sleep. A lot of us don't want to get up in the morning because you're enjoying the sleep so much. And so we don't dread sleep.
We enjoy it. And that is how it is for the believer in Jesus Christ. When we die, that is how we should view death is simply going to sleep.
It's not something that we should be fearful of. So it's a reference to physical death for the believer. But I want to caution that we're not talking about soul sleep because there are some out there that teach that. They teach that there's nobody in heaven now. There's no one in what's actually Hades, but they say, hell, they say there's no one there because they believe in soul sleep.
We don't believe in soul sleep because the scripture says that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. And so the way that things are going to transpire with the rapture is that there is going to be a trumpet and a shout. Jesus descends into the air and the dead will rise first.
Then those of us who are alive and remain will be caught up to meet them in the air. But notice the differences that I want to point out between what we see here in First Thessalonians chapter four and what we see in Matthew chapter 24, because Jesus was speaking to Jews about the tribulation in Matthew 24. The rapture the church is spoken of here in First Thessalonians chapter four. Remember that the church had not been yet birthed or had not been yet revealed in Matthew chapter number 24.
So we have to keep that in mind. Let's go back to Matthew chapter 24. And I know we're looking at a lot of scripture references, but we need to do so because, again, we are here to learn.
This is a teaching ministry and we're here to learn the word of God. Matthew chapter 24. Let's go to verse 15. Therefore, when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place, whoever reads, let him understand. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house and let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days and pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. Now, let me pause here for a moment because we see here clearly that Jesus is speaking to a Jewish audience because we see here he speaks of the abomination of desolation. That's referring to what's going to happen with the temple. And where is the temple located? The temple is in Jerusalem, in the nation of Israel. He goes on to say Judea. Those of you who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Where is Judea?
That is in Israel. OK, he's talking to the Jews. He's not talking to the church. He goes on to say, I pray that your flight not be on the Sabbath. When is the Sabbath?
It's on Saturday. And we know that the church does not gather on the Sabbath. We gather on Sunday and that came about because Jesus was resurrected on Sunday.
And so that's the day we come together to worship. But because Jesus came and fulfilled the law, we are no longer required to observe the Sabbath. But Jesus being God, he knows everything and he knew that in that time period, the majority of the Jews would not be accepting of him as the Messiah. So they would still be practicing the things that were under the law, such as the Sabbath. And so therefore he knew they would be going by Sabbath rules, which had restrictions on what they could and could not do.
And so that's what he's referencing there. And also let me state that when it comes to the church, any Jew that has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is a part of the church. And we have to be careful to make that designation, because sometimes when we talk about the church and we talk about Jews or Israel, we tend to look at it as, well, they're totally separate in that, well, no one from from Israel or a Jew can be a part of the church. But it's not Gentile versus Jew is simply the church versus Jew or Israel and same versus.
I'm just saying as a comparison, not meaning we're we're one against the other. But Jews are a part of the church if they receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We call them Messianic Jews. So let's go back to Matthew 24. Let's pick back up at verse number 20, or actually 21. For then there will be great tribulations such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time.
No, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh will be saved. But for the elect's sake, those days will be shortened. Well, we're going to pause there this week as we are out of time. But please come back and join us next week for part two and the conclusion of the rapture, the second coming or both. Thank you for tuning in. And as we close, we remember to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Bless God's great nation of Israel and to the only wise God be glory through Jesus Christ forever.
Amen. Thank you for tuning in to Discerning the Times. Please come back and join us next week as we continue to encourage you to view current events through the lens of the Bible. Until next time, remember to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Bless God's great nation of Israel and seek first the kingdom of God. Discerning the Times is presented by Blessings to Israel.
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