Like a thief
2 Peter 3:3-10
2 Peter 3:3-10
The prophecies about the last days are sobering and somewhat scary. There have been so many talks about the last days that you would think that this room would be overflowing with believers who are waiting for the return of Christ. There are warnings and there are signs. Over and over again the bible tries to appeal to people to get ready so that the day of the Lord will not come as a surprise.
But at the same time we all feel the pull of the world grabbing at us. These are difficult days and our faith is challenged every time we wake up to a new day. The world is telling us that this all is a waste of time. Christ is not coming, and that there is no Christ. They say that religion is outdated and even dangerous. They tell us not to beat ourselves up over our sins, just to accept them and be happy. Get drunk, indulge, take pleasure, enjoy and you will live a much happier life than the bible promises you.
The world teaches that the bible is just not true. There is no God, and all there is is what we see around us. We are self-created, that is that we evolved from simple life forms and one day we may even be extinct. It would be so easy to join the masses of people that just block out God in their lives. Wouldn’t it be great to have the whole day on Sunday to do whatever we want? We all have family and friends that do just that. They may not look down on us for coming to meeting each week, but this is just not for them.
People are fine without God in their life. They spend time with their families, they go on trips, and they work hard and enjoy taking care of their homes. They live, they die and the world continues to turn.
But it is not so easy for us, because for some reason God is working in our life and He has given us enough information to make us think. He has slowed down our life enough that we have been given time to really think about what is happening in the world around us.
Common sense tells us that there is more to life than what we see around us. Think about it. Even if you believed in evolution and believed that everything you see around us started with some big expansion of space that happened 14 billion years ago. You still don’t have all the answers. They claim time started with the explosion and there is no before? There was nothing before the big bang? How can there be nothing? What caused space to explode in the first place? Where did all the neutrons, protons, electrons, anti-electrons come from? Why do neu-tri-nos have mass? Why is there so much matter in the universe? What is all this space expanding into? Why is the expansion of the universe accelerating? These are vital questions. The answers to these questions are critical to the theory.
The question is, are you going to reject the Living God based on a theory that is missing critical information? In fact the leading Professors of Physics, people who hold to this theory, admit that the model they use to support all this is wrong. They know the theory is wrong. In a study published last Friday they say it cannot possibly be right because it cannot predict why the universe exists.
The truth of the matter is that the theory of evolution is actually a religion. It has supreme importance in the lives of many people in the world around us and it gives them an excuse to thumb their nose at the Creator. And that religion gives them freedom to live however they want to live and not answer to anyone. That religion is backed up by many books, museums, professors, and scientists. And the founders of that religion are esteemed as champions and heroes. They are put on a pedestal and given a special place in the history books.
The only reason I am spending any time on this today is because these teachings are a very powerful influence in the world around us. They are embedded in our society. It is written in text books, on buildings, and taught in school to all age groups. It is everywhere you turn. As a result we have many family and friends, people we love, who believe in evolution. They don’t even question it.
This makes our life hard to see so many people fall away, lost in this delusion. I think God knows how difficult these last days would be for the believers, but He does not leave us here on our own. He counters all the delusion with some powerful prophecy.
In 2 Peter chapter 3, verse 8 we read “do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
This isn’t just thrown into this passage about the last days for no reason. It has everything to do with the last days. Believers from many generations have always held to the idea that Gods plan for man would be patterned after the seven days of creation. That the first six days of creation would symbolize a six thousand year period of time when God would be at work calling out a people for His name.
Guess what? We are now at the very end of that six thousand year period of time. This is the time spoken of throughout the scriptures as the last days. We are the generation that will see the end. We know that though. We have been raised up hearing it over and over again. But time seems to just drag on and it seems like nothing really changes. We get older and older and the Lord still has not returned. No wonder people are scoffing. No wonder people lose interest in the bible.
But we should not lose hope because the LORD God has given a great gift to our generation. Let’s turn to Zechariah Chapter 14. We will look at verses 1 and 2. Zechariah 14:1.
The day of the LORD is coming.
So here it is. This passage is talking about the same period of time that Peter is talking about. That is the time right before the coming of the Lord, also known as the end of the last days. And if there is any doubt in your mind that this prophecy is about the coming of the Lord then just look at the end of verse 5:
Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.
Keep in mind that these words in Zechariah 14 were written 2,500 years ago. They are written about the land of Israel and about the city of Jerusalem. There is no way that the prophet could have known about the events that have happened over the past 70 years. But in verse 1 he makes an astonishing statement. Zech 14: 1
Behold, a day of the LORD is coming when your plunder will be divided in your presence.
This verse says to Israel that a time is coming when your plunder (the King James Version says Spoil) will be divided in your presence. Now if I were the leader of Israel today this passage should grab my attention. I would have to ask myself what is the plunder or spoil that is to be divided. We all know what it is because we have heard brethren speak about it for years. The plunder is the land that Israel captured during the 6 day war in 1967. Specifically that land is the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. These territories are the spoils of war.
But Zechariah is teaching that that territory that was captured will be divided up prior to the coming of the Lord. Zechariah probably had no idea what the prophecy meant when he wrote it. Peter, James and John probably had no idea what the prophecy meant when they read it. The early believers probably had no idea what the prophecy meant when they studied it. The only people who can truly understand what the prophecy means are the believers who are alive today. This is why I believe that this prophecy in a gift to our generation. It was written for us to give us assurance that what we believe is true, but also to tell us what to expect.
There is no way anyone could have predicted the details of this chapter 2,500 years ago. There is no way anyone could have made it up with such accuracy. This prophecy proves the Living God. Well you say, wait a minute; I don’t see the land of Israel being divided up. What do you mean you don’t see it, how could you miss it? The United Nations has been talking about doing it for years. In modern politics it is called the Two State Solution.
Several years ago when I first started looking closely at Zechariah 14 everyone in the world was saying the Two State Solution was dead. It will never happen. But something happened just last month. Donald Trump has been working on a new Mideast peace plan with his son in law Jared. He was getting ready to present it to the United Nations during his speech to the UN in September. But some of the details were not quite yet ready so now he says it will be revealed in two to four months.
We don’t know a lot about this peace plan, but the current UN Ambassador for the United States says that it is an unbelievably good plan. We also know something else about it. It includes a Two State Solution. Trump said:
"I like two-state solution". "That's what I think works best.”
So there you have it. Behold the day of the LORD is coming when the land captured by Israel during the 1967 war will be divided up in their presence.
Whatever this plan is that Trump will present to the world, it will take time and energy to implement. It will likely be carried out in phases. I think the initial plan will also leave Jerusalem off the table, but a future US President that is not so friendly with Israel will put Jerusalem back on the table and then we will have the conditions that will lead to verse 2 of Zechariah 14:
I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped (forced from their homes). Half of the city will go into exile (Be captured), but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city.
That future president will be thinking they are doing the right thing. The majority of people who live in this country will support it. And if you want to know what will happen after this occurs you only have to read the rest of the prophecy in this chapter and also the passage we read in Peter. The words of the prophets are very sobering. The result of this will bring an end to the world as we now know it.
What does this all mean for us?
In recent weeks there have been a lot of reports of break-ins in the Springfield area. The scary part is that these break-ins happen at night while people are home and sleeping. It leaves us wondering if we should worry about it. Should we lock our doors at night? Should we buy an alarm system? Should we put up security cameras? If we knew for a fact that someone was going to break into our house we would probably take some preventive action.
Well the same is true for the return of Christ. The world knows all about the promise of the coming. But the world doesn’t believe it, or doesn’t think it will happen, or doesn’t care. So for everyone in the world the return of Christ will be as thief. It will catch them all by surprise. And in one quick moment everything they hold near and dear will be taken away. Their money and college degrees will be worthless, their retirement plans will be gone, and their homes, jobs, possessions will be taken away. They will cry out for mercy but there will be no answer. It will be a holocaust that will affect every corner of the earth.
But for us, we have strong information to know that his coming is happening now. We can see it in the clouds of heaven. All the nations are in place and the conditions are ripe. He is not only near; he is right at the door.
Hey, did you happen to notice that in a couple of weeks there is a mid-term election in this country? People are very worried about this election and it is sometimes hard not to be drawn into the politics that surrounds us. The issues of the day seem to be immigration and the right to abort children. But none of the issues of the day will lead to more people turning to God. None of those issues will cause people to read their bibles. None of those issues will stop the flood of people that is turning away from God.
The people of the world are only getting further and further away from truth.
Honestly, there is nothing more true in any of our lives than where we are right now. In this place we are perhaps the closest we can be to God. The bread and cup are on this table before us. They are just simple symbols, but they tell God something that is going to save every one of us from what is coming. Partaking of these emblems is our answer to Him. God calls out to all the people of the world and a few people answer Him and step out and say in response: