But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. (Daniel 12)
And here we are today – the time of the end. Twenty six hundred years have passed since these words were written. Knowledge has increased. The amount of printed material in the world doubles every 15 years. The people of our society are more educated, many have college degrees. And with that knowledge the world has come a long way. Thousands of people fly 30,000 feet above our heads at over 200 miles per hour and land safely every day. Today computers exist that can assimilate all the words of the Bible five times over in one second. Computer chips, no larger than the fingernail of a little finger, can store millions of items of information. There is a calculator that can make over 1 million calculations in one second. And men have even sent a spaceship 35 million miles away to Mars and controlled it from Houston Texas.
But for all the knowledge this world has, for all the technology that we have that makes learning easier, for all the books that have been written and for all the talk shows and lectures and articles and seminars, even with all these things and such incredible knowledge, this world seems to be further away from truth and lacks the faith and desire for the word of God that earlier generations had. Therefore, even though there is strong evidence that the second coming of Christ is only years away – this world is not ready for him.
Mathew 23:37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be
The words of scriptures are very clear about the second coming of Christ and how unprepared the world will be. With the prophecies that announce the return of Christ come the warnings. None say it any stronger than the words in Luke 21. Keep in mind that these words were written for one generation only. That generation is the one that is living today. We are the generation. These words were written for us.
Luke 21 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with the cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
Many of us desire the second coming of Christ. After all, it is what we have waited for for years. And yet we need to be very aware that the second coming will be very different than the first. The flood was a very traumatic event. The entire world was changed in an instant. The changes that must happen upon the return of Christ will be just as traumatic to this world. The prophecy in Amos warns us of this.
Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! For what good is the day of the LORD to you? It will be darkness, and not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him!
Over and over again the prophets warn us about the day of the Lord. The words are found all through the pages of the bible.
Isaiah 13:6: “Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.”
Isaiah 13:9: “See, the day of the LORD is coming --a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger--to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it.”
Jeremiah 46:10: “But that day belongs to the Lord, the LORD Almighty--a day of vengeance, for vengeance on his foes.”
Joel 2:11: “…The day of the LORD is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it?”
Zephaniah 1:15: “That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness.”
Even Jesus emphases this point when in his prophecies he said “and there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth”. The book of the Revelation speaks of the coming political changes, massive destruction, and death. Peter teaches that that day will come as a thief in the night when the political and religious heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the people the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
And again the prophet stresses that the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ While people are feeling comfortable in their homes and lives, while people are caught up in living and pleasure and all this world has to offer, then destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains come on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
Why is it that the wrath of God will be poured out on the generation that is alive today? Why is it that the bible forecasts so much death and destruction for the people of the world today? It is not necessarily because this generation is anymore deserving of it than past generations were. But it is because of the accumulation of the evil of all the generations leading up to this generation reaching a point where God just can not suffer the wickedness to continue any longer. It is described by Ezekiel as a time when His fury will come up in His face. When He has taken all he can of mans scoffing, mans pride, mans selfishness, mans absorption with pleasures, and mans abuse of his people. His jealousy for his people and his wrath against those who come against them will reach a point when this world will be shaken and God will wake up men with pestilence and with blood; and rain. An overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire and brimstone.
The unfaithful wait for a sign before they respond to the Prophets warning. But this unfaithful generation has been given more signs than one can count and they still do not respond. Look at the world around us. The stage is set for the coming of the Lord. The world’s population is approaching seven billion leading to serious shortages of the world’s resources. Poverty is abundant. Just about every Island that man goes to for fun and vacation is filled with people who hardly have enough to eat for that day. In some cases living in shacks and eating out of the trash. But we call those places paradise. World wide 27,000 thousand children die every day from hunger and preventable diseases. The natural forces of winds, rain, storms, and earthquakes have increased their intensity. Diseases today spread more rapidly and are becoming more deadly. False teachings are out of the control. Many in the world believe truths that are far from the teachings in the bible. There are thousands of gods and thousands of religions, each claiming to be the one that is true. Even among the Christian religions there is great diversity in teaching. A survey of some of the Christian leaders show 47% of them believe there is no absolute truth, 33% believe that Jesus didn’t have a physical resurrection, 19% believe that Jesus sinned while here on earth.
And there are more signs. The land of Israel is inhabited by the Jews; Islam is a major force in today’s world. The Moslems still voice their hatred of the Jews and anyone who stands in the way of their desire to destroy the Jews. The Christian nations are more wealthy and powerful and take control of the world’s politics. Terrorism has become a part of day to day life in many places of the world and its attacks are becoming more powerful and more deadly. Even the leaders of the United States feel strongly that the Terrorists will once again cause even greater devastation on this nation. All these things were predicted thousands of years ago, and today and only today these things have come to past and the world is now situated for the second coming.
The Word of the Lord. From the beginning it has been spoken. Not once has Gods word failed. God spoke to Noah of the coming flood, and the flood came. God told Abraham that his seed would be in bondage for 400 years, and it came to pass. God warned Israel of the curses that would come if they disobeyed, and those curses did come. Jesus spoke of the desolation of the temple of Jerusalem and that desolation came to pass. God’s word is proven truth. We have all witnessed the words of the Lord our God come to pass right before our eyes in our lifetime. Therefore none of us should doubt the word of God that was spoken to man years ago. That the world as we know it by the same word is kept in store, reserved unto fire against the Day of Judgment and perdition of ungodly men
And yet there are today a handful of people, that are now living, that will escape the coming destructions.
4Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with recompense; he will come and save you.
The scriptures testify that there will be some righteous alive at the second coming when it speaks “we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord”. The very fact that these words were written are a testimony that there will be faith found on the earth when the son of man cometh. The “we that remain” are people who have been called out and chosen and who live each day of their life for the Lord who saves them.
Make no mistake about it though. God knows how to protect his people. Remember how he delivered Lot from the coming destruction. Lot was vexed in his soul with the filthy conduct of the wicked: He saw it, he heard it, he was upset about it, he was angry about it, and he was frustrated with all the unlawful deeds that were happening around him. The men of Sodom told Lot to get a life. They told him not to be so judgmental. The men of Sodom said that everyone is wicked anyways, we all have sin. They argued, how can God be so angry about two men that show close affection for each other and want to be married? They would taunt Lot, and ask him what’s wrong with having a little fun. If everyone was enjoying the drinking, if everyone was enjoying the fornication, if everyone was caught up in the pleasure than no one was getting hurt and how could Lot condemn it. After all Lot, you’re not perfect either they would say. The same reasoning is being used today to justify some of the worst deeds that the children of man could ever commit.
In the same way God rescued Lot, he will also deliver the godly and reserve the unjust unto the Day of Judgment to be punished.
20Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be over past. 21For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.
God has set the time and the season of the Judgment. We do not know for sure when it will happen, but we do know that when it does happen, it will happen very quickly. There will be no time to think.
If we are among the faithful, it will be a moment unlike any other moment that we have ever known. One minute, it will seem like any other day. We may be washing the dishes, we may be at work, we may be reading a book, and we may be talking to a friend. And then, as quick as the blink of an eye – it will happen. Suddenly a strange feeling may come over us. The hairs of our neck may quiver, our fingers may tingle. Our thoughts may be in a daze. An angel of the Lord will be before us.
There will be no time to change clothes, no time to warn others. There will be no time left to do good deeds, no time left to get oil. There will be no time left to give to the poor or to make the changes in our life we wanted to before the return of Christ.
And at that point, that will be it. If we are ready, we will be ready. If we are not ready, we will not be ready. The time will have come and there will be no way to turn the clock back.
And this will be the moment that we have waited our life for. There will be no doubt in our minds as to what is happening. It will be as clear as lightning flashing through the sky. The angel will lead us to meet the Lord.
Where will we be taken? There is some indication in scripture that we will be gathered to the mountain of the Lord, the mountain of Judgment, Mount Sinai. This may be the chambers that will protect us from the indignation that is to come.
Not all will be alive on the day of the Lords return though. Many will be asleep in the dust of the earth. It can be a painful thing when a faithful person falls asleep and are buried in the cold ground. We may wonder why such a terrible thing has happened to someone so undeserving. But, keep in mind that God is at work. And sometimes things are not what they seem. Consider this prophecy: “The righteous perish, and no man lays it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.”
If we are faithful, regardless of if we are alive and remain, or if we are sleeping in the dust of the earth we will be caught up together in clouds to meet the Lord that we now remember.
We have come here today not to receive vengeance, but mercy. The one who we remember in the bread and cup – is the same one who is able to rescue us from the time coming and to bring us to a day when all will be well.
It’s so easy to become absorbed in all this modern day has to offer. But these days do not last. Every thing that we have gathered will one day be lost. Our homes, our cars, our treasures, our bank accounts, our stocks and bonds, our insurance policies, our jobs, our photos our videos. When one dies, all these things are lost or passed on to others. We can’t change that. It happens and has been happening ever since death entered into the world. And yet, it is these very same things that we usually spend all our time on. With little time left for the things of God. Isn’t that incredible? The things of God are eternal. The things of the world are passing away. Which is more valuable? You would not know it by the way we live.
I don’t know when the Lord will return. I would guess that it would be no more than 15 years from now. That may seem like a long time from now, but I have already lived 3 times that many years and those years just seemed to have flown by. Over the years I have seen and heard many things. The saddest of all things are those who either outwardly or inwardly have turned away from God. Not really believing the things the bible teaches. Not having the will or desire to remain faithful to the end. Not working to keep the garment God has given us unspotted. The saddest of all things is coming to a realization that the “weeping and gnashing of teeth” may be people who I know and love and I even need to take heed lest I myself end up being one of those who are cast out.
When I am strongest, I know that the most precious thing that I could ever desire is to stand face to face with the Lord we come to remember today. To be in the presence of the Holy One of God, to have him look into my eyes and to say to me “enter now into the Joy of your Lord.”