March 26, 2012
By John Barnett
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We can see on the horizon this evening, the world Jesus described as Earth at the End of Days.
As we open to Luke 21, remember, Christ's sermon called the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21) was His description of what the world would be like during the Tribulation’s horrors.
But He framed His horrific description of the End of Days by these incredible words in one of these three parallel accounts, the one recorded in Luke 21:28:
“When you see these things (listen) BEGIN to happen, look up…”.
Tonight, all 10 of the major trends Jesus described are visible, they have begun, and as obedient believers we must increasingly be ready.
We need more than ever to “look up” to Christ for daily grace, to go through the lead up to the Final Holocaust heading this way.
That means, as we saw last time, that believers will experience greater and greater persecutions.
So, the persecutions we see all around the world are just a preview of the horrors to come.
Jesus called them…
*The Beginning of Tribulation *
Turn back to Matthew 24 again as Jesus describes a snapshot of Earth at His Second Coming.
Here are those characteristics of “the end of days” that Jesus described:
1. Jesus described: Global False Teaching (vv.
2. Jesus described: Global Warfare (v. 6).
3. Jesus described: Global Famines, Epidemics and earthquakes (v.
4. Jesus described: Global Persecutions (v.
Christians have always been hated by the world, but here we have an acceleration of persecutions and murders.
All nations will be involved.
This certainly was not true in the history of the early church.
5. Jesus described: Global Chaos (vv.10–13).
6. Jesus described: Global Evangelism (v.
But whether or not those end of days events are as close as they appear to be; and whether or not we are seeing the beginning of the birth pangs of the Tribulation storm coming fast our way, making the seas of our present life rough, we do have the reminder from Paul in II Timothy 3:1-17.
Bad times are ahead, end of days or not, for us who are alive today, just for being a believer.
As we turn to these key chapter of II Timothy 3, always remember that we are “in this world”, but never fit in because we are no longer “of this world”.
Please stand as we rad God's Word:
1 /"But know this, *that in the last days perilous times will come:* 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.
And from such people turn away!
6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.10
But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured.
And out of them all the Lord delivered me.
12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.
14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."/
So, Jesus through His Word that is sufficient to prepare, defend, and protect us so that we can be useful to Him at all times, has warned us all in advance that…
*A Global Holocaust Is Coming*
Do you remember that all of the promises and prophecies Jesus gives in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21—are enlarged upon in great detail?
When Jesus revealed Himself to the Apostle John on Patmos, He gave 14 chapters of future descriptions.
If Matthew 24 sounds ominous; but it is only a brief introduction, the full report is overwhelming.
Walk with me through the pages of Revelation 6-19.
Briefly, starting in Revelation 6:8, may I describe the living hell you can avoid if you are a part of the Rapture?
Here are only a few of the dreadful disasters that take place during the Tribulation:
1. *GLOBAL GRAVEYARD:* Jesus described a time coming when one out of every four people will die (see Rev. 6:8), some through the ravages of war, others by starvation, and amazingly many others by the ‘beasts of the earth’.
So, whether by death that come instantly and thus less dreaded or a slow and painful death that is lingering an agonizing 25% of all people will die.
As of this week, the world's population was 6,764,700,000 (or as Wired Magazine succinctly stated it recently, “close to 6.7 Giga-Bods”); and growing at 7.4 million per month.
That means that if the Tribulation started this week (though it can’t without the Church being pulled out)—at least 1,691,000,000 will die.
That amounts to just less than 6 times the current population of the United States.
With a billion new souls added every 11 years, you can see that this picture Christ gave us is getting more astounding every day.
2. *GLOBAL WARFARE *(Rev.
6:8; 14:20): Jesus described a time coming when there will be a world war involving the armies of much of the world; and that war is so bloody that He describes the blood of those killed in battle as flowing for two hundred miles, splashing up to the bridle of a horse in the valley of Jezreel.
This will be the Battle of Armageddon.
3. *GLOBAL STARVATION *(Rev.
6:8; 18:8): Jesus described a time coming when there will be worldwide famine unlike anything the world has ever seen.
4. *GLOBAL BROWNING* (Rev.
8:7): Jesus described a time coming when one third of all vegetation will be burned up.
All grass, every tree, and much of everything green will be destroyed.
5. *GLOBAL NUCLEAR WINTER* (Rev.
8:12): Jesus described a time coming when the sun and the moon will be darkened as nature goes into revolt.
6. *GLOBAL HORROR SHOW* (Rev.
9:3-6): Jesus described a time coming when the gates of hell will open and hordes of demonic locusts, the size of horses, will come upon the earth.
Those locusts will be allowed to sting men like scorpions and the pain will last for five months.
The Bible says men will beg God to let them die but they will not die.
7. *GLOBAL NIGHTMARE* (see Rev. 6-19): All told, during the Great Tribulation, as many as half of all the people on the earth will be killed.
That is why God uses Paul to describe the Rapture as a ‘blessed hope’, because the Tribulation after the Rapture is so horrible!
So all of that translates again into a period, on the horizon that defies our attempt to describe it beyond what God's Word has already stated.
Remember, Jesus said that we are all going to suffer persecution for all the years before this event.
But those who live just before these dark days, need to especially get ready.
How do we prepare for persecution, suffering, and dark days that precede the End of Days?
By holding on tightly to:
*A Biblical Perspective: *
*Persecution, Suffering, and Believers*
*First, God's Word tells us that persecution is inevitable for us as believers : *
• 1 Thessalonians 3:2-4 and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith,3 that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this.4 For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know.
• 2 Timothy 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
*Second, we are called to participate in the sufferings of Christ :*
• 1 Peter 2:20-23 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently?
But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.
21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; NKJV
• 1 Peter 4:12-16 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.14
If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.15
But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters.16
Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.
*Third, God's Word promises wonderful treasures for those who face persecution:*
• Death brings the ultimate blessing of actually being with Jesus: Philippians 1:21, 23 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
23 For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.
• God will finally bring justice to all unjustly harmed when Jesus returns: 2 Thessalonians 1:5-7 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer;6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you,7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, NKJV
• Persecution and affliction matures us spiritually.
James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.4
But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
• Persecution brings us Heavenly rewards.