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The Signs of Christ's Coming, Part 1

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
July 2, 2020 4:00 am

The Signs of Christ's Coming, Part 1

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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July 2, 2020 4:00 am

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Everybody is curious about the future.

Let me that's obvious. All of us are for one reason or another we would like to see ahead.

We would like to know what we don't know almost anybody would like to know how it's going to be in their life in the future use of Jesus. They were, they wanted as well as know what exactly will happen when he comes back you'll start digging into those details. As John MacArthur begins a study today on grace to you titled Jesus is coming John. There are lots of people who sort of avoid the subject that were dealing with the second coming future events, they say, look, I'm concerned about here and now and and as if that somehow noble in a way that studying Bible prophecy is not what your reaction to that. Now what jumps into my mind immediately fill is that when I was in the eastern part of the former Soviet Union. I was way way back deep into Kazakhstan and Almaty and it was the first pastors conference in central Asia in history and there were there was a church that actually seated 1600 people and it was packed to the gills. Standing room only with these pastors for the first time they had a pastors cover to Central Asia after the Russian Federation broke up and asked me basically to teach on the church and a couple of days into this. The leaders came to me and said when you get to the good part and I said what you mean. The good part.

They said when he going to get to the coming of the Lord in heaven, there was nothing in this world that they were clinging to, and so there hope for heaven and the coming of Christ burned bright, and I remember I so Celtic one whole day and I took one entire day and went through the whole eschatology of the New Testament and all that was connected to the coming of Christ and at the end of the day they were so thrilled and they said you believe exactly what we believe and it it struck me that they had an accurate eschatology without education because all he had was the Bible to get it wrong yet to go to some school where they get it wrong and they teach you to believe wrongly so that that is stuck with me my whole life since then that all that mattered to them was what the Lord had for them in the future because it was nothing in this life actually to hold onto and we live in such an affluent world that the other so many things that basically draw our desires and our affections and we connect with these worldly things and we don't want to give them up and we'd like you to rethink the coming of Christ and how central that should be we ought to be living for his return will be looking for the glorious appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ and we can help you to do that as we explore Matthew 24.

So how should what the Bible says about the future change the way you live today that may be the most important question this study will answer for you. And here's John now to launch his series titled Jesus is coming. Everybody is curious about the future. I mean that's obvious.

All of us are for one reason or another we would like to see ahead. We would like to know what we don't know almost anybody would like to know how it's going to be in their life in the future, and there are people who would like to know what's going to happen in the economy so they can make the right investments.

There are many reasons for wanting to understand the future so man has always sought to understand what is not known about the future.

There's a pull to understand that the preoccupation with future things is not only limited to those who study the Bible by any means throughout all of human history, religion to religion. There have been seers and prophets and prognosticators in which doctors and mediums and futurists, fortunetellers, religious leaders, and all kinds of people have always been trying to take a leap into the future as it weren't and get a picture of what's happening there and then report back, so folks can better handle the present by understanding something of the future. The Jews of Jesus day were no different.

They want to know the future too, and they have their reasons, I mean they were tired of being oppressed. They were tired of being under the thumb of some controlling nation. They were in every sense of noble people and still are the Jewish line of humanity is indeed a noble line of people they are not a people who don't have what it takes to be autonomous.

They are not people who can't rule themselves and create their own meaningful society and make contributions they really don't need to be subjects of someone else. But that's exactly what history is found them for most of their their life. So by the time you come to the time of Jesus.

They are anxious to see the cessation of oppression which has plagued them throughout all the time. Which the Bible calls the times of the Gentiles.

Up to that point they longed also to see the coming of their Messiah because they know when Messiah comes, you'll make things right.

He'll throw over the oppressors. He'll settle the issues need to be settled and he'll establish again the kingdom in Israel and things will be the way that God promised they would be and should be. So there filled with eschatological anticipation eschatological comes from the word eschaton's in Greek, which means the last thing so it's the study of the last things in the Jews were really into the last things they had had enough of all of the difficulty they they had experienced the Syrian oppression in the taking away of the 10 tribes from the north and experience the Babylonian captivity and the taking away of the southern kingdom of Judah. They had gone through the Persian rule. In the Greek rule and now the Roman oppression and they'd had enough of all of that and in their spirits as they articulated in John eight to Jesus.

They were never served to any man they were looking for the day when they would be free again they would be ruled again by a righteous king and they would know the kingdom of God promised them with the flourishing of all of its benedictions and blessings promised in the Old Testament, and they read the Old Testament and they knew the Old Testament talked about a bright and hopeful future. They knew the Old Testament talked about God setting up a kingdom.

They knew they they were to anticipate an anointed one. A king on Messiah or in the Greek, a Christ who would common establish the rule and reign of David again on the earth. They long for that to come a time when righteousness and peace prevailed. A time when Jerusalem dwelled in prosperity and safety. And not only for a brief time. But, forever and ever, as the prophet Isaiah had told him they long to see that day when the restoration of the kingdom was given as God had promised it would be given so they were filled with hope for the future and no doubt they read with relish.

The Old Testament prophets. No doubt they exalted as they anticipated what Isaiah said in chapter 9, when he said there would come one the government of of the world would be upon his shoulders and he would rule and reign, he would be called wonderful Counselor, mighty God, father of eternity, Prince of peace and of the increase of his government and peace there would be no end, upon the throne of his father David ordered. Establish it forever and ever.

With justice and so forth. They really understood that they thrilled at that. They must've read Isaiah 11 one that there would come a branch out of the root of Jesse, who was the father of David. Another like on the David, not David but one like David a king like David who would reign in a prosperous time in this particular one like David it says in Isaiah 11 to would be anointed with the sevenfold power of the Holy Spirit.

And as you flow through that 11 chapter.

They must've read it many times and saw all the things that were yet to come. Must've read as well. Jeremiah chapter 23 chapter 30 and read about how that there would come one who would sit upon the throne of his father David and reign and rule and Israel would be again. The flower that it should have been blooming in full bloom in full glory under the blessing of God and they must've read Zachariah because Zachariah talks about that, particularly in chapter 14 and surely they knew Daniel and they must've known that in Daniel that was the promise of great Holocaust at the end but that Holocaust wouldn't be the end because there would come a stone cut out without hands would establish an eternal kingdom on the earth. They were well aware of what the prophets had to say.

So by the time you come to the life of Jesus. There is a very, very clear scenario of eschatological events in the mind of the Jew, and they had basically taken the Old Testament teaching from Daniel and Zachariah and Isaiah, Jeremiah, and then frame it together with the teaching of Ezekiel to give them all hello of how it would be in the end, and we see this this eschatology coming through the writings of that time. If you read the nonbiblical writings around the time of Christ.

They give us insight into the thinking of the Jews of that time. This very important as background to our text, what did the Jews think was going to be the end of the age. What did they think was going to be the coming of the Son of Man or the Christ. What did they think the judge was going to be like one of the events they anticipate. Let me see if I can't draw you to a source that will outline this for you. This to me is a very fascinating point remember the name of surer SCh you RER wrote a book entitled the history of the Jewish people in the time of Christ.

This man who has no particular eschatological view to champion at least certainly not the view that we would hold tells us what it was that the Jews believed in that time.

In its most fascinating and he draws it out of their contemporary literature as to what they were writing.

Let me give you the secrets.

First of all, Shearer says the Jews believed that before the Messiah came, there would be a time of terrible tribulation so that before the Messiah arrives there would be a time of birth pain as a woman has birth pain immediately before life comes out of her womb. So before the kingdom of Messiah is established, the nation will suffer some tribulation some pain now.

They could've understood that simply by reading the 14th chapter of Zachariah because in this, in effect, that's exactly what it says there and we see that that's where their thinking was my reading. For example, the second book of group in which it says and honor shall be turned into shame and strength humiliated into contempt and beauty shall become ugliness and envy shall rise in those who had not thought of themselves and passion shall seize him, that is peaceful and many shall be stirred up in anger to injure many, and they shall rouse up armies in order to shed blood and in the end they shall perish together with them so they anticipated a time of terrible breakdown of morals, a time when honor and decency would be torn down a time when the world would become warlike and there would be a a physical moral chaos in the world and this would be the birth pain, about to bring the Messiah in forth Ezra. Another one of their books that tells us what they were thinking it says there will be earthquakes tumult of people's scheming's of nations, confusion of leaders in the disquiet to the princes. Furthermore, in the sibling oracles it says from heaven shall fall fiery swords down to the earth lights shall come bright and great flashing into the midst of men and earth, the universal mother shall shaking these days at the hand of the internal and the fishes of the sea and the beast of the earth and the countless tribes of flying things and all the souls of men in every seashell shudder at the presence of the eternal, and there shall be panic in the towering mountain peaks in the hills of the giant seashell ran in the murky abyss shall be visible to all in the high ravines in the lofty mountains shall be full of dead bodies in rock shall flow with blood and each torrent shall flood the plane and God shall judge all with war and the sword, and there shall be brimstone from heaven. Yay stones and rain and hail incessant and grievous, and death shall be on the four-footed beast gave the land a social drink of the blood of the perishing and beast shall eat of their fill of flesh. Matthew didn't know better you'd think this guy been reading the book of Revelation, but it had been written. It they saw a future time of tremendous turmoil tribulation across the world.

In fact they anticipate in the Mishnah that arrogance increases ambition shoots up and the vine yields fruit yet wine is scarce. The government turns to heresy.

There is no instruction.

The synagogue is devoted to lewdness, Galilee is destroyed God blonde laid waste, the inhabitants of a district go from city to city without finding compassion, the wisdom of the learned is hated the godly is despised.

Truth is absent boys and sold old man old men stand in the presence of children the sun depreciates the father, the daughter rebels against the mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law and a man's enemies are his house. Philip." That's out of the mission. Now they didn't know it but they were premillennialists they anticipated the tribulation so the time which preceded the coming of Messiah was to be a time of turmoil around the world. The second thing that they had in their eschatology was that into this turmoil would come a forerunner and a Harold announcing the immediate arrival of the Messiah and he would be like Elijah as the Messiah is not David but like David so the forerunner is not Elijah but like Elijah as the king himself comes in the spirit as it were, in the power of David, even to a greater extent, so the forerunner comes in the spirit and power of Elijah to even a greater extent, and so they anticipated that one like Elijah would come. That's why they were so drawn initially to John the Baptist because he was so much like Elijah and John the Baptist would've been that Elijah fulfilling that prophecy if they had received Jesus Christ and his kingdom, but because they rejected him in the kingdom was postponed.

Therefore, there has to be another like Elijah coming prior to the second coming of the King.

And so the Jews not necessarily seeing all that I just said you did see that would come one like an Elijah who would announce the coming of Messiah. In fact, the Jewish oral law, laid it down. That money and property, the ownership of which was disputed or anything found whose owner was unknown must wait quote until Elijah comes because he would set everything right to ready everyone for the Messiah.

The next thing they saw was the coming of Messiah. First, the tribulation time than a Harold and then the coming of Messiah himself, the one who was the king the great divine figure who would come in in the present age and establish the age of glory, the kingdom, and vindicate God's people. The next thing they saw in their eschatology. According to sure is that the nations would ally themselves and gather to fight against the Messiah. Amazing. For example, in the sibling oracles. Again we read this Jewish teaching the kings of the nations shall throw themselves against this land, bringing retribution on themselves.

They shall seek to ravage the shrine of the mighty God and of the noblest men whensoever they come to the land in a ring around the city. The accursed king shall place each one is thrown it with his infidel people by him and then with a mighty voice, God shall speak unto all the undisciplined empty minded people and judgment shall come upon them from the mighty God in all shall perish at the hand of the eternal he sees all the nations gathered in Jerusalem around it. All the nations gathered in Israel to fight against God.

They stick up their own gods with all their people around them in the midst of all that effort to fight against God.

God destroys them all in for forth Ezra. It says it shall be that when all the nations hear this, the Messiah's voice.

Every man shall leave his own land in the warfare. They have one against the other, and innumerable multitude shall be gathered together, desiring to fight against him all the other wars will stop and everybody ago to fight against the Messiah now again this was the Jewish belief at the time of Christ. According to sure and is exactly what the Bible teaches exactly what we understand from the Old Testament prophets and from the book of Revelation as well. That takes us to the next thing that they taught in their eschatology and that is that the result of that battle against the Messiah would be total destruction of all these nations there will be a total devastation of the nations that oppose Messiah. In fact, Philo said the Messiah would quote take the field and make war and destroy great and populous nations." And in it for Ezra again. It says he shall reprove them for their ungodliness rebuke them for their unrighteousness. Reproach them to their faces with their treachery and when he is rebuked them, he will destroy them and in Enoch. It says it will come to pass in those days, that none shall be saved either by gold or by silver none shall be able to escape. There shall be no iron for war. No one can clothe himself with a breastplate bronze shall be of no service and 10, shall not be esteemed and let shall not be desired, and all things shall be destroyed from the service of the earth. In other words, he will come and destroy all the hostile nation so that their armor and all the things that used to protect themselves readily useless. Remember, I'm not giving you pre-millennial contemporary dispensational viewpoints. This is a look at Israel at the time of Christ. They saw tribulation coming.

Then comes the Messiah after having been heralded by his forerunner when he comes he is fought against by the nations whom he defeats in a devastating way. Then they believe the next event would be the renovation of Jerusalem there will be a wholesale renovation of Jerusalem. This would be the purification of that city so that it would be the Jerusalem of the great millennium, the Jerusalem of the great kingdom.

The Jerusalem of the great eternal glory of the King. In fact in Enoch. It says the book of Enoch, all the pillars were new and the ornaments larger than those of the first Jerusalem as it were, says so they saw this renovating of the whole Jerusalem. The next event they saw was that the dispersed Jews had been scattered all over the world would be collected back they be regathered back into the city of Jerusalem. In fact, to this day the Jewish daily prayer says this in part quote lift up a banner together are dispersed and assemble us from the four ends of the earth." As part of the daily Jewish prayer. They look for the day when Messiah comes defeats all these nations renovates Jerusalem and then re-gathers all the Jews from all over the world.

In fact, in the Psalms of Solomon. It is written below.

He and Zion on the trumpet to some of the saints because he to be heard in Jerusalem the voice of him that bring you good tidings for God, have had pity on Israel and visiting them stand on the Hydro Jerusalem and behold I children from the East and the West gathered together by the Lord from the north. They come in the gladness of their God from the aisles, a far-off Goddess gather them high mountains at the abased into a plane for them. The hills fled at their entrance. The woods gave them shelter as they passed by every sweet smelling tree. God caused the spring up for them that Israel might pass by in the visitation of the glory of their God for Donald Jerusalem my glorious garments make ready.

Thy holy robe for God have spoken good for Israel forever and ever. But the Lord do what he has spoken concerning Israel and Jerusalem, but the Lord raised up Israel by his glorious name the mercy of the Lord, be upon Israel forever and ever."

So they see God coming in collecting everybody bringing it back to a glorified Jerusalem. This was their dream.

This was what they anticipated. On the basis of the Old Testament prophets. The point is, they understood. The Old Testament prophets the same way we do. We we understand the same sequence people say with your premillennial if you believe in the premillennial viewpoint you believe that Christ is going to return after time of tribulation to set up his kingdom on the earth. This is something new is anything new. This is understanding the Old Testament prophets exactly the way the Jews of Jesus.

Time understood and then after that they believe Palestine will become the center of the world.

That was the Jewish belief Palestine would become the center of everything, the whole world would be subject to it. All the nations would be subdued and the nations would come to Jerusalem to worship the King. In fact, in the sibling oracles. Again, all the aisles and the city shall say how doth the eternal love those men. Speaking of the Jews for all things work in sympathy with them and help them come let us all fall upon the earth and supplicate the eternal King, the mighty everlasting God, let us make procession to his temple, for he is the sole potentate so they believed that the whole world was going to come, subject to the Messiah and come to Jerusalem to worship that that God and finally the last point in this little eschatological flow was that there would come a new age of peace and goodness and glory. It would last forever. Now, in that we see the eschatological viewpoint of the Jews of the time of Jesus. They believe there would come a time of tribulation, a time of difficulty. A time of trouble.

And then there would come a herald to announce the coming of Messiah. And then there would come the Messiah and when the Messiah came, the nations of the earth would gather to fight against him and he would devastate and destroy.

And then he would purify the city of Jerusalem follow this very careful, purify the city of Jerusalem gather together the Jews from all over the earth and establish his eternal kingdom that was Jewish eschatology not follow their think they had been under tribulation from their viewpoint for a long time. Right. I mean they'd been under it. Persians, Greeks and the Romans, and they looked at the Roman oppression is a time of tribulation time of difficult and they could easily remember back not long before when their people had suffered in the in the Maccabean. The terrible desecration's by Antiochus epiphanies and the Greeks, and so they may have well thought the tribulation was already going on, but the Roman oppression under which they now existed was in fact that and then shows up John the Baptist. What you think.

They think now here's the one like to Elijah and then all of a sudden comes Jesus Christ and he heals people and he raises the dead, and he has his amazing power to feed multitudes and he's a wonderworker miracle worker who banishes disease from Palestine during the duration of his ministry and he comes riding into Jerusalem at the Passover and they throw palm branches and garments in front of them and they say to themselves, this is it. This is the Messiah and they remember what is the first thing that's going to happen when the Messiah comes, will the first thing is going to happen as the nations of the earth are going together against him.

He's going to destroy the and so they immediately think he's going to start a war and the Romans are going to be the first ones to get it in the Holocaust to start real fast and once he's done that, then he's going to purify Jerusalem. This could throw out all hypocrites and all false religion all false worship and then we go to see that glorious maybe they thought of the Ezekiel Temple of 40 to 48 in Ezekiel, that glorious final temple where the true worship is going to go on and then is going to gather all the Jews from all over the world and establish the eternal kingdom.

Now you know what's in the head of the disciples as we approached chapter 20 4K this is the kind of thinking that's going on in their minds, and the scene is unfolding so clearly it seems to them. She say what about when Jesus told them that he was going to die when even on the day of the triumphal entry, he said, is nonetheless a quart of wheat fall to the ground and died abides alone. What about that does not compute is not in their eschatological scenario.

They can handle that that they reject that and there always say no, no, no, that can happen so they do not comprehend the death of Christ. They do not apprehend the resurrection of Christ. They only see the coming glories and then a very compressed view of Christ. They see it all happening when he comes a first time they don't understand what we understand.

He came once and only got a long time. Right until he comes again the Old Testament prophets didn't see that they didn't talk about that. They just saw Christ coming in the whole thing happening. They didn't see the time element, and that's what we call that a mystery because it was not revealed in the Old Testament that Paul calls the whole New Testament. A mystery hidden from ages past, because it unfolds a time.

Not seen previously. Mystery meeting that which was hidden so the Old Testament prophet Saul happening in one time. That's where the disciples are so they expected boy. It's right on schedule.

Our eschatology was on target. We rightly interpreted the Old Testament prophets. We've been through the tribulation in our own experience.

We seen the Elijah common John the Baptist, here is Christ, the Messiah is coming in to see the city he accepts our hallelujahs in our triumphal praises and he's going to first of all take on the whole Gentile world in the day of the Gentile purify the temple, gather the Jews and establish his kingdom. It's all on time, all on target. This is grace to you with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us today. John launched a study that's showing you what the future will be like he's titled this look at end times events. Jesus is coming. It's a series that can motivate you right now to reject sin pursue righteousness and evangelize the lost.

To make the most of each day since you don't know when Christ will return not friend. Remember, we make it easy for you to review the teaching you hear on grace to you.

Jesus is coming is available in CD, MP3 or transcript format to get your copy, contact us today to give these messages to a friend I would encourage you to pick up the nine CD album it's affordably priced.

Shipping is free to order, call 855 grace or place your order at our website TTY.for the MP3 recordings or transcripts go to our website TTY.those are free to download in the title again. The look for Jesus is coming in for MP3s or transcript. Remember we have them all of Johnson's 3500 total in all of them are free of charge@tty.org. Also, when you contact us.

Ask about the MacArthur study Bible. It has nearly 25,000 footnotes that can help you understand Scripture like you never have before. From the prophecies about Jesus first coming to the prophecies about his second coming from Genesis to Revelation and every passage in between place your order at TTY.or call us at 855 grace now for John MacArthur this is Phil Johnson encouraging you to be here tomorrow when John continues his study of Christ's future return and how you can prepare for. Join us for another half hour unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on Fridays wasting


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