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What the World Is Like Before Judgment, Part 1

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
March 19, 2024 12:00 am

What the World Is Like Before Judgment, Part 1

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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March 19, 2024 12:00 am

Listen to the full-length version or read the manuscript of this message here: https://wfth.me/pap.  Just like our world is today, the disciples in Jesus' day were obsessed with the end times. What happens next when the world ends has been a fascination of all cultures in all times throughout human history. And Jesus provides some clarity and guidance about how future events should impact our present living.

 

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Pack your kids backpack with school supplies, go to work, plan your next vacation.

None of which is wrong. It's life. Jesus is delivering the warning that life has a dangerous way of overshadowing the reality of eternal life. Busy events distracting people from listening to their troubled soul. We just have to crank up the music to drown it out. Are you intrigued by the end times and wanting to know more about when Jesus might return?

That's common. Just like our world is today, the disciples in Jesus' day were obsessed with the end times. What happens next when the world ends has been a fascination of all cultures in all times throughout human history. In today's message, Stephen Davey looks at a section of Luke where Jesus addressed this. Jesus provides some clarity and guidance about how future events should impact our present living.

Here's Stephen Davey with today's message from God's Word. I was sent this conversation between a teenager and his father. The teen had recently passed his driving test and wanted to talk to his father about using the family car. So the father offered his son the following deal.

You study your Bible lesson each week and you bring up your grades from a C to a B average, do your chores around the house and get your hair cut and then we'll talk about the family car. So his son agreed. A couple months later the father said, Son, I've noticed you're reading your Bible.

Your grades are better than ever. You've been doing your chores but I'm a little disappointed that you haven't gotten your hair cut. His son said, Well, you know, Dad, I've been reading the Bible. It seems pretty obvious to me that Moses had long hair and Samson certainly had long hair and so did John the Baptist.

There seems to be some cultural evidence that even Jesus had long hair as well. It looked like Dad was cornered. After thinking about it for a moment his father said, Well, that's true. But did you notice that wherever Moses and Samson and John the Baptist and Jesus went, they walked. That was free.

You can use that now anytime you want. We got a little education he wasn't expected at that moment. I thought about that here with this text before us. The Pharisees are at it again. They're trying to stump Jesus. They deliver a rather presumptuous question.

We're not given the specific questions, it's the topic. They're about to get an education they're not expecting and Jesus is going to teach them, primarily his disciples, he's going to give them a description of what life will be like on earth before judgment falls. What life will be like on earth just prior to his return, the end of the tribulation, when he sets up his kingdom. We're going to cover a lot of scripture.

We're just going to back the truck up and deal with this subject. Let's go back to Luke where the conversation takes place. If you're new or going through this Gospel, we're now in chapter 17 and verse 20. Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, the kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, look here it is or there, for behold the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.

Jesus responds, not sarcastically but bluntly. The Pharisees are already convinced he's not the Messiah. They've followed several false Messiahs already because they want a Messiah that will smash Rome, lead a revolt, and usher in the glory of Israel. The Pharisees have a little bit of that right but mostly wrong. In fact, their timing is off by some 2,000 years now. First, the Messiah will experience a crucifixion in his first coming and then at his second coming, he will experience that grand coronation.

Notice down in verse 25 Jesus says that, but first he, that is the Messiah, must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. The Pharisees are demanding miraculous evidence. They're trying to stump the Lord. They're trying to put him in a cul-de-sac with, hey, if you're really the king, it doesn't look like the kingdom's getting any closer. Rome still seems to be in full power. So if you're really the king, isn't it about time we saw some evidence of that?

That's what they're saying. Show us another miracle. Jesus says back in verse 21, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you. In other words, you're really not going to see the kingdom because you're rejecting the king and the king is standing right here in the midst of you.

You don't need another miracle. You need to trust me, Jesus is effectively saying, as your Messiah. Now with that, the Lord just sort of pulls over on the side of the cart path, so to speak, and he provides some personal tutoring for all who are listening, primarily as disciples, of what life will be like. Here's the evidence that the kingdom is just around the corner, so to speak. Verse 22, the days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man and you will not see it. And they will say to you, look there, or look here, do not go out or follow them. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.

Don't chase after every speculation. By the way, that's true today as well. There's always somebody coming up with another reason why the date's just around the corner for the rapture and they'll be doing the same thing during the tribulation for the coming of the kingdom with the return of Christ. When it happens, you're not going to miss it.

It's going to be like lightning from one end to the other. You'll see it, when the day, in his day. Now what day is Jesus referring to here? He's referring to the day when he returns to the planet to set up his kingdom. Look down at verse 30 where Jesus says, so will it be on the day, you could circle that, the day when the Son of Man is revealed. Then go up to verse 24, draw the line and look there, so will the Son of Man be in his day. Couple that with verse 30, so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. So that day is now described by Jesus as to what life will be like just prior to his return.

Let me put it into a larger framework visually. We don't know the day or the hour of either the rapture of the church, which we're waiting for, or then the return of Christ at the end of the tribulation when he returns to earth. He wages war with the Antichrist and destroys the unbelieving world and sets up his kingdom.

But we do have a general outline of these major epics, these eras, so to speak, of biblical history. We're living in the days prior to the rapture of the church, just as Noah and Lot, as we'll see in a moment, were rescued from the wrath of God, poured out on earth. So the church has been promised to be saved from the wrath of God, specifically the wrath of God during the tribulation, that seven year period when the wrath of God is poured out on the earth.

The rapture of the church will signal the beginning of this seven year period of tribulation or soon thereafter. In fact, keep in mind that the purpose of the tribulation is not for the church. It isn't to purify the church.

The church is already pure. And by the way, that would be no blessed hope to go and deliver that message to the suffering church in China or North Korea. When somebody says, ah, but the church has got to suffer, well, they're obviously American and they're interpreting the scripture through American eyes. The purpose of the tribulation is for Israel primarily as God prepares them, begins to regather them, does this unique distribution of his power through 144,000 Jewish evangelists, brings the nation to repentance and restores them in his second coming. These two events, the rapture of the church and the return of Christ are the two different events in scripture.

And let me give you several distinctions between these two events, several distinctions. The rapture takes place, Paul writes, in the twinkling of a what? Of an eye. Blank, that's how fast it took.

The twinkling of an eye. In other words, it's going to be invisible to the world at large, the unbelieving world. The only thing the world will have to do is somehow deal with the effects of millions of Christians instantly disappearing into thin air.

It will be, for the world, invisible. But the return of Christ to earth after the tribulation will be very visible to everyone on earth. The Lord is going to descend, the believing world and the unbelieving world will see him descending as he comes with his redeemed to battle the Antichrist, which won't be much of a battle. He'll speak, he'll be slaughtered, and then he sets up his kingdom. That's another sermon or three or four or five.

Here's another distinction. The rapture of the church is private, but the return of Christ to earth is public. In fact, we are told that the nation that has regathered, the nation Israel, that all Israel will mourn as they see him coming, see him descending. They will mourn over the one whom they pierced. Zechariah chapter 12 verse 10.

Here's another distinction. The rapture will be misinterpreted by the world, but the second coming will be unmistakable. Frankly, the rapture is going to be one of the most misunderstood, significantly misinterpreted events ever to take place in human history. We're not told how the world is going to explain millions of people disappearing, although I have a suspicion that in our world it's all prepped for this massive alien abduction.

I think most people would probably go, yeah, that makes a lot of sense to me. We don't know how they'll get over it, but what we do know from Scripture is that the world seems to move on. Here's another distinction between the rapture and Christ's return to earth. At the rapture of the church, Jesus descends to the clouds, calling his followers up.

He doesn't come any lower, taking them back to the Father's house. But at the end of the tribulation, Jesus descends all the way down to earth. In fact, he's going to touch down on the Mount of Olives and he's going to split it wide open.

That's when he returns. So at the rapture, you can think of it this way. Jesus comes for his followers. At his return, he comes with his followers. Revelation 19, verse 14 describes it.

Here's another distinction. At the rapture, there's no time to think. No believer is going to have time to, you know, run inside his house and get his stamp collection or whatever else he treasures.

It's not going to matter. But at the second coming, as Jesus will describe it, and we'll look at it in a moment, it's a slow descent. There's time to prepare. So here's what Jesus is teaching.

He's teaching about that little area that we've shaded in red. Life on earth during the tribulation prior to his return and the setting up of his millennial, his thousand-year kingdom on earth. And I've got to tell you, as he describes that life on earth, frankly, it might surprise you. Now notice with that as a backdrop, verse 26. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage until the day when Noah entered the ark and the flood came and destroyed them all. Now we know a lot more about the days of Noah.

All you have to do is travel back to Genesis chapter 6 where it is described for us. Lawlessness has just taken over the world. There's no order, no law, verse 5. The world is saturated with violence.

Violence seems to be a sport. The world is violent with each other. There's no compassion, no mercy, no grace. Wickedness is so rampant that God describes it by saying that every intention of the thoughts on mankind's heart was only evil continually.

There's no other way to describe utter wickedness than that. Genesis chapter 6 and verse 5. Nobody in the human race besides Noah and his believing family had even one pure, kind, compassionate thought.

It's all gone. Everyone is corrupt, violent, self-centered, wicked and God effectively says I'm going to start over. Jesus says well life on earth just prior to my return to set up my kingdom at the end of the tribulation period will be just like the days of Noah and you'd think at this point he'd start quoting Genesis 6. The Pharisees knew about Genesis 6.

The Jewish nation knew about Genesis 6. Everybody knew about Genesis 6 but it said Jesus says that life before that day of judgment is gonna look just like life does now. Jesus doesn't emphasize here their wickedness. He emphasizes their indifference to God. He doesn't emphasize their violence. He emphasizes their blindness to spiritual things. The days of Noah were days just like now when warnings from God were considered ridiculous.

The thought of some kind of judgment coming from God would be viewed with humor, with utter disregard and if you doubt it go out on the street and say judgment is coming. Those people are characterized aren't they? Caricature.

They're fools. The end is coming. That's always a cartoon but it's true and they thought back in the days of Noah that the idea of judgment from God was ridiculous. The warnings of Noah caricatured. He was a clown until it started to rain and the first pitter-patter of raindrops stopped the party and suddenly the Bible records the fountains of the deep underneath the crusts of the earth erupted and a global flood quickly inundated the world.

In fact it'll take just over a year for the water to run off, fill the oceans, the lakes, the streams. Noah and his family of eight are on that arc for more than a year before they had dry land to stand upon once again. Let me tell you this judgment is known around the world today. It's been a warning for thousands of years.

You travel throughout North America, South America, Central America, the Far East, the Middle East, Africa, Asia. They have a flood narrative. It's been distorted over the centuries frankly due to lack of interest, lack of care. The Chinese symbol for a boat is eight people in a floating vessel. The Peruvians believe that everyone on earth drowned in a flood except for a few people that survived and became the forefathers of every ethnicity on the globe. Cubans have their legend of an old man who learned a flood was coming so he filled a boat with his family and a bunch of animals. A Mexican flood tradition tells of a man and his family saved during a flood by floating on a raft that he constructed. He eventually sent out a hummingbird to see if there was dry land and the hummingbird came back with a branch with green leaves on it. The Hindus of India tell of a man who built a ship and with his family of eight survived the flood and then ran aground on a tall mountain. Alaskans believe their first ancestor dreamed a flood would destroy the earth so he built a raft. He brought his family and animals on board. According to this legend during those days the animals could talk. The animals were soon complaining of the long voyage. How long is this gonna last? Makes you think of your kids.

Are we are we there yet? After all the water subsided everybody got off the raft. Their legend says the animals could no longer speak as punishment for complaining.

You might tell your kids that one. The judgment of this flood was preceded by a hundred and twenty years of warning from Noah the Apostle Peter referred to as a preacher of righteousness. And what was life like during the days of Noah? Just like your life in your town. Crime? Yes. Wickedness? Yes.

Not to that degree but for the most part of a nice place to live. A little barbecuing on the weekends. Dinner out with friends. Pack your kids backpack with school supplies. Think of the next career move. Send out wedding invitations. Go to work. Plan your next vacation.

None of which is wrong. It's life. Jesus is delivering the warning that life has a dangerous way of overshadowing the reality of eternal life. Busy events distracting people from listening to their troubled soul.

We just have to crank up the music to drown it out. So they live it up for the here and now heading toward cataclysmic judgment. Jesus goes on now verse 28. Likewise just as it was in the days of Lot.

What were those days like? They were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all. So will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

In other words there's coming great destruction. The Bible makes it very clear. Again we're given the details of life in Sodom and Gomorrah before sulfur came raining down.

We're given description of their moral evil. The entirety of these two cities but other cities called cities of the plain given over entirely to homosexuality. It's interesting in Judaism the flood of Noah and the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah are typically coupled together to show the evil of mankind and the just righteous judgment of God. The Apostle Peter writes in 2 Peter 2 verse 6 that God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to extinction making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly. God also predicted by the way through his prophet Jeremiah that those cities would never be rebuilt. Those prophecies have come true.

These cities have never been inhabited again. But again what is Jesus emphasizing here? He's emphasizing not so much their perversion but their preoccupation. He's making a broader a judgment statement here that can incorporate every human being, every culture, every country, every generation.

Everyone is in trouble of facing the judgment of God unless they find escape through Christ. That was Stephen Davey and this is Wisdom for the Heart. We don't have time to bring you today's message in its entirety. We're going to stop right here for today. When we come back next time Stephen will do a little bit of review and then bring you the conclusion to this message.

It's called what the world will be like before judgment falls. Between now and our next broadcast is there anything going on in your life we can pray about? We have a team of people who pray by name for each request that comes in. We have a place on our website that you can go anytime you have a need. You can share your request with us and know that you'll be prayed for personally by a member of our prayer team. For information or to send us a request visit wisdom online.org forward slash prayer.

That's wisdom online.org forward slash prayer. There's also information on that site to help you pray for us. Our ministry is reaching people all over the world.

We have visitors to our website from over a hundred and fifty countries each month. Each week we pray for a different country and I invite you to join us in prayer asking that God's Word would bear fruit among the nations. Once again the website you want to visit is wisdom online.org forward slash prayer. Do that today and if you'd like to speak with us our number is 866 48 Bible. It's 866 48 Bible or 866 482-4253. Well thanks again for listening. Be sure and come back here next time to hear the conclusion to today's message on Wisdom for the Heart. you
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-19 00:28:47 / 2024-03-19 00:37:30 / 9

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