Are we living in the Last days-4?
Good day to you once again saints of the Most High God. The Creator who has made us and adopted us into the
Family of God, to be heirs and co-heirs with Jesus Christ has called us by name. What a privilege it us to be called a son of God, and to know that we are saved from a life of emptiness and loneliness. And it is only by knowing Jesus as Lord that we can experience a fulfilling life, because the scripture tells us that Jesus came, “that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly, John 10:10”. Yes my friend Jesus promises to give us of that same abundance that is stored up in His house of plenty. As promised I am ready and willing to share with you what the Bible says concerning the end times that Jesus, and the Apostle’s Paul, Peter and John spoke of in the Word of God.
Once again I repeat what I have so far stated in all the previous messages, Yes we are living in the end times as Jesus and the apostles taught and warned us about. And for sure the ‘rapture’ or ‘catching away’ of the Church of Jesus Christ can and will happen some time soon. I believe that we are the generation that shall see the coming and happenings of these prophecies. But how close are we to all this that is spoken and has been spoken of now for generations past. Clearly we read in Matthew 24:36, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only”. So here we have a situation where only the Father knows. This is one of those secret things which belong to the Lord our God. The uncertainty of the time of Christ’s coming is, to those who are watchful, a savour of life unto life, and makes them more watchful; but to those who are careless, it is a savour of death unto death, and makes them more careless. To this end we must expect certain events as forewarned in scripture that we may prepare for them; and here we have a caution against security and sensuality, which will make it a dismal day indeed to us. But the Lord did not leave us hanging so to speak as concerns the day and hour in which the Son of man is coming. Jesus said that as it was in the, “days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered into the ark”, v37. Very clearly the Lord states it shall be as was in the days before the flood. So the very things that occurred before the flood is what is happening today. Thus it will be when the world that now is shall be destroyed by fire, for thus it was when the old world, being overflowed by water, perished, 2Peter 3:6-7. The Lord Jesus is here showing that the men in Noah’s day were sensual and worldly; they were eating and drinking and stealing and going in marriage [divorce].It is not said here that they were killing and stealing, and whoring and swearing although these were certainly some of the horrid crimes that were being committed; for the earth was full of violence. Their crime was that they ignored\did not heed the Word of God, and this is what ruined them. Instead of repenting and praying to God, as God called them through Noah to weeping and mourning they chose to indulge in the fleshly pleasures of the world. So the people of Noah’s day were secure and careless, until the flood came. So it is today saints that people are so eager in their pursuit and become entangled in the pleasures of the world, because they do not know, and believe, and even consider eternity which they are on the brink of. As the men of Noah’s day were insensible to the prophecies of a coming flood, so the men of today will be blind to these prophecies announcing the coming of the Son of Man. Men watched as Noah built the ark and they mocked and ridiculed him as he preached and warned but to no avail, so it is in our time that men have a total lack of concern for the coming judgement.
What better example do we have than that coming from the movie-industry? The illustrious Hollywood that is the leader of how one should live their lives as it pertains to morals and righteousness. For decades now these so-called actors [and I speak not only of Hollywood] have lived their lives in full view of the world. Nothing is private as their every whim is divulged, and the rest of the poor misled public hang onto their every word. Hollywood has for years now mocked the church-world and their leaders. They go to any length to ridicule and mock the preachers of the gospel. Marilyn Monroe, that so-called goddess of the big-screen was one day visited by Billy Graham and he shared the good news of Jesus Christ with her, and she mockingly told Graham that, “I don’t need your Jesus”. She was found dead two weeks later in her bedroom. There is not a movie that you can watch where the name of Jesus Christ is used not as reverence but rather as a form of cursing. We are all guilty of watching these types of movies. My friend we who call ourselves born-again, do we care enough that the world uses the name of our Lord in vain and yet we are to afraid or ashamed to correct that person. I happened to some months ago correct a working colleague over the telephone for his misuse of the name of the Lord. And when I dared to correct him he attacked me verbally telling me who am I to tell him he can’t use that name in this manner. People today have no fear of God Almighty and the punishment that a holy God will one day pour out over them will be harsh. I knew a gentleman for years who was not a friend of mine but that of my older brother who during his lifetime cursed and abused the name of Jesus, until God said enough is enough, and that same man had a stroke. I happened to visit him one day after the Lord told me to go and share Jesus with him. When I walked into his bedroom he was laying there, a giant of a man, but he was unable to utter one word that was understandable. It was all just gibberish, not one word was to be understood. God totally took away his ability to speak; all he could do was make a noise as if he was speaking. I had asked the Lord to give me wisdom in dealing with him in such a manner that he could understand me. God had him where he wanted him, flat on his back and me able to explain to him the reason for my visit and of the wonderful Saviour that he has cursed for many years, who loves him and wants to save his soul from a lost eternity. Well friends, mercy there was great and grace so free. I was able to in this very restricted way to bring the man into salvation and he acknowledged Jesus as his Saviour and Lord. Just a few short months later he passed on to be with the One whom he swore and cursed at most of his life. Only now he knew Him as his Lord and Master. My friend my point I am making, that now is the accepted time for you to make right with the Lord this side of the grave. Do not wait till it is too late. God will continue to call you, are you going to wait until God says enough and He maybe has to put you flat on your back in some hospital room for Him to get your attention. Or will you be one of the un-lucky one’s like a Marilyn Monroe where you get an opportunity like she did and you reject the offer of salvation. The consequence being that your eternal soul is lost without God and you have to burn in the lake of fire prepared for the devil, the Antichrist and the false prophet and all their followers day and night for ever and ever, Matthew 13: 42,50; Revelation 20:10. Curse as much as you want but you will give an account one day soon before the Judgement Seat of God.
Ok let’s see what is happening in the world at large, as related to Biblical-prophecies. Interesting but also very disturbing is China’s recent urging of both Syria and Turkey not to allow any more water into the mighty rivers of The Euphrates and Tigris, which the Iranians say is running dry due to the severe drought experienced by this war-torn nation. The reason and importance of this move by China is the signing of agreements between Syria and Iran, which will allow China’s Military Forces to use Iran’s territory to come to Syria’s aid. You see folks as this drama is unfolding before our eyes, it must be noted that the Word of God declares in Revelation 16:12, “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the ways of the kings of the east might be prepared.” Without a doubt one can conclude here that God Almighty is already preparing the way by allowing the Euphrates to slowly dry up in preparation for the Kings of the east [China, etc] to be able to cross over without a struggle to assist the Antichrist in his bid to not only totally annihilate the Jewish people but also to do battle against the King of Kings Jesus Christ and the saints. This battle will take place at what we know as the Valley of Megiddo; or better still the Battle of Armageddon, where an Eastern Army of 200 million soldiers, of which today in our world only China is able to field and have the ability to reach by land.
Ezekiel 38 and 39 tells us of a future invasion of Israel by a vast coalition of nations that surround it. As we read the headlines in the newspapers and watch the news on television, we witness the conflict in the Middle East, it is not hard to imagine this invasion prophesied over 2600 years ago, can and will be fulfilled in our lifetime. Ezekiel 36-37 predicts a gathering of the Jewish people to the nation of Israel, which is followed some time in the near future by this great invasion. For 19 centuries the Jewish people were scattered throughout the world, and until May 14, 1948 there was no nation of Israel to invade. But now 61 years later with Israel as a nation, the stage seems set for the war that will usher in the tribulation and the rise of the Antichrist; a war that will end with the destruction of Israel’s enemies by Jehovah God Himself; which will then lead to the signing of a 7 year peace treaty with Israel and the Antichrist. As you read Ezekiel 38-39 it isn’t just the creation of the nation of Israel that makes these prophecies seem likely, but also the nations that God tells us will form this coalition against Israel more likely than ever before as they form such an alliance. To understand the prophecies of Ezekiel concerning the invasion one must understand who the players will be. Now there are many theories as to who will join in the future invasion. But let’s see what the Word of God says as concerns this event. Ezekiel 38:1-6 gives us a basic idea as to who will be involved. “And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the Land of Magog , the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophecy against him, and say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: and I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army and horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togar’mah of the north quarters, and all his bands; and many people with thee”.
It is very important to understand that the war described in Ezekiel 38 is not the same as the war that will come at the end of the tribulation period, when Jesus returns physically with the saints and armies of heaven to defeat the Antichrist and to establish the millennial kingdom. Well how does one understand this then? The war at the end of the tribulation known as Armageddon is a world war. Armageddon is at the climax of the tribulation, while the war of Ezekiel comes well before that. Revelation 19 tells us that this battle will involve all the nations of the earth at this time, whereas the war of Ezekiel includes specific nations [Islamic] that invade Israel in their bid to rid the Jews once and for all from the face of the earth. The President of Iran said in 2005, over international Television that Israel must be wiped from the map of the world. There is a wealth of information on the internet as to these participants spoken of in Ezekiel. Let me list for you the names of these  participants as pertains their Ancient and Modern names.
Ancient Modern Nation Explanation
Rosh Russia or Chief Ancient Samaritans known as Rashu, Rasapu, Ros, and Rus.
Magog Central Asia Ancient Scythians-Islamic southern republics of the former
Soviet Union with a population of 60 million Muslims, this
territory could include modern Afghanistan.
Mescheh Turkey Ancient Muschki and Musku in Cilicia and Cappadocia.
Tubal Turkey- also southern Russia Ancient Tubalu in Cappodacia.
Persia Iran Name changed from Persia to Iran in 1935.
Ethiopia [Cush] Sudan Ancient Cush, south of Egypt.
Put Libya Ancient Put, west of Egypt.
Gomer Turkey Ancient Cimmerians-from the 7th century to 1st century B.C.
in central/western Anatolia.
Beth-togarmah Turkey Til-garimmu-between ancient Carchemish and Haran --
Many peoples with you Other Islamic nations Possibly Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Egypt.
The reason God gives us for the enemies’ invasion of Israel is that the attack will be an Islamic attack, is because of the hatred through the ages of the Jewish people that they want wiped from the face of the planet. One can safely say that though this is a geographical situation, it goes deeper than that as to a spiritual/theological difference between these two nations. It is a stated goal of the Islamic nations in the Middle East to destroy Israel completely. The invasion of Israel will be no less than a jihad or holy war, but it will be the last and final jihad. Few countries will attempt a lame protest as this invasion develops, and one can already see and believe the indifference most nations display as Israel is repeatedly attacked. If you can remember that during the Gulf war in the 1990’s the U.S, Western Europe and Saudi Arabia were allied against Iraq, while Russia, Iran, Sudan, Libya and most other Middle East nations allied with Iraq. This is a forerunner of things to come. But my friend there is the good news that God wins, as He will come against these invaders of Israel and destroy them. For you see, the Jews are still the chosen people of Jehovah. Despite the contrary to what some are teaching concerning the relationship between God and the Jewish nation, they are still the apple of His eye. And in His jealousy over His people and in the fire of His wrath God will cause an earthquake so great in Israel that the whole world will feel it. This earthquake and shaking of the land will cause such chaos and confusion that nations will turn against one another, Ezekiel 38:19-20. Death of millions will be the result of this. Verse 22 continues and tells us there will be plagues, torrents of rain, hailstones, and burning sulphur such as was the case of Sodom and Gomorrah, when God destroys these invading nations. Our God will once again show the nations of the world that He is the Lord. He will with a display of might and power proof that He is still the Holy One of Israel. This war against Israel will pave the way for the Antichrist’s military rule over the world and demand that the world worship him as God. With Islam defeated and the Church raptured, opposition to worshipping a man as God will be greatly reduced. And those who are in opposition to this will have no army with which to protest.
Ok let’s turn our attention to what is happening in the Church of Jesus Christ. Imagine sitting in church one Sunday-morning enjoying the music and the beautiful singing that is so uplifting. Your pastor gets up to bring his sermon, sets his notes down. He smiles warmly and makes the following announcement. While holding his Bible up, he announces to the congregation; “I should let you know that I’ve found the Bible to be far too depressing and outdated. We as a congregation will no longer be using it in our services.” Does this seem real to you, but also frightening? My friend this is what is happening in most churches all over the world. Maybe not so sudden but with methodical manner and the effect is the same. According to Bible prophecy, there will be a great apostasy from Christ’s church. This apostasy which Paul speaks of in 2Thessalonians 2:3 will occur before the rapture, the tribulation, and the rise of the Antichrist, which shall involve a departing/falling away from faith and sound doctrine. This apostasy will be world-wide in scope within the Church. It will be such amongst those that call them selves Christians. And may I add there are Christians and born-again Christians. Those who are Christians in name only having no personal-relationship with Jesus Christ, and then them who have had the born-again experience as taught in God’s Word having a personal day to day relationship with Christ. For those who are Christian in name only it will be so much the easier to fall away from sound doctrine. Whereas those who claim to be born-again and who are ever watchful against the wiles of the enemy, they will be looking and watching for the event of the ages with a desire and a longing. Of course this being the Rapture!!! In spite of the phenomenal growth within Christianity the Church has always had an apostate tendency through-out history. The Bible clearly states that, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron”, 1Timothy 1:2-3. And Paul furthermore speaks of a particular and significant departure from sound doctrine in 2Thessalonians 2:3, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition”. Who is Paul speaking of here? None other than the Antichrist. The Greek word ‘apostasia’ is used here for the “falling away” and it is from this word that we derive the English meaning apostasy. Apostasy is defined as a defection from the truth, or a departing from that which was given at first. As the consciences of men become seared, and their hearts are hardened from the truth, they will clamour towards doctrines that sound nice, but do not have the ring of truth to them. This is what the scripture means by “doctrines of devils” as it will be that which is truth will be twisted by these demons as to having people think it sounds right but really is lies, because there will be no Holy Spirit power in them. The Bible clearly states in the last times that men will no longer tolerate sound doctrine, but instead they want to gather around them teachers to tell them things their itching ears want to hear, 2Timothy 4:3-4. Are we in this apostasy now? Sadly yes we are, as some Biblical teachings are being usurped by doctrines that place inclusiveness above the truth. Many mainline Protestant denominations are denying that homosexuality is a sexual sin; many are also ordaining openly homosexual clerics who perform same sex\homosexual marriages. No I will not call them gay because the Bible the Holy Word of God calls them homosexuals. Most of you know the struggles within the Anglican Church in the USA and Canada and England, even here in South Africa are split wide open over this issue, as are the Methodists and Episcopalians. Recently in a conference in England, Anglican Bishops voted to affirm the deity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The reason for this being that a significant percentage of the bishops voted no! As I have written in the previous sermons of this same title I would suggest that you read up on them as to what some of our more famous Bishop-leaders have to say about these matters.
Let me note here some heretical doctrines are based more on a social gospel than a theological one. The Bishop, who founded the United Religious Initiative in the 1990’s William Swing, based his findings under the banner of uniting the world’s faiths in a spirit of co-operation, placing the gospel of Jesus Christ on the same level as any other religious-belief. On the assumption that all roads lead to God, the URI is poised to play a significant role in ushering in a single global religion as is prophesied in Revelation. And then we have that retired Episcopal John Shelby Spong, who has this to say, “So the mythical religious language of a finished creation, the fall, original sin and the need for a rescuing God becomes language out of touch with our present perception of reality. The loss of this mythical framework has also rendered meaningless the normative portrait of Jesus as the divine rescuer, and the story of the cross as the sacrifice designed to pay the price for sin. Those concepts are rapidly becoming all but nonsensical”. Spong continues his disposal of the Godhead in the following theses. Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead so most theological God talk is today meaningless. Since God can no longer be conceived in theistic terms, it becomes nonsensical to seek to understand Jesus as the incarnation of the theistic deity * So the Christology of the ages is bankrupt * The biblical story of the perfect and finished creation from which humans fell into sin is pre-Darwinian mythology and post-Darwinian nonsense * The virgin birth, understood as literal biology, makes Christ’s divinity, as traditionally understood impossible * The miracle stories of the New Testament can no longer be interpreted in a post-Newtonian world as supernatural events performed by an incarnate deity * The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbarian idea based on primitive concepts of God and must be dismissed. Resurrection is an action of God * Jesus was raised into the meaning of God. It therefore cannot be a physical resuscitation occurring in human history * The story of the Ascension assumed a three tiered universe and is therefore not capable of being translated into the concepts of a post-Copernican space age * There is no external, objective, revealed standard writ in scripture or on tablets of stone that will govern our ethical behaviour for all time * Prayer cannot be a request made to a theistic deity to act in human history in a particular way * The hope for life after death must be separated forever from the behaviour control mentality of reward and punishment * The Church must abandon, therefore, its reliance on guilt as a motivator of behaviour * All human beings bear God’s image and must be respected for what each person is * Therefore, no external description of one’s being, whether based on race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, can properly be used as the basis for either rejection or discrimination.”
Can you see the perversion of God’s Holy Word by men such as these? They are substituting the longstanding truths of the Bible concerning sin and redemption with inclusiveness, universal salvation, and a complete release from accountability. This is what the Bible means by “itching ears” messages. So instead of man being inherently sinful, he is inherently good. There is no condemnation, therefore no divine salvation, and grace is being replaced by self-reliance. Many of the mainline denominations have lost their zeal and faith, and are totally relying on the wisdom of man. Church is less about faith and fellowship, and more about religion- a tepid, cream coloured, and non-intrusive, un-demanding religion. My friend I am not trying to candy coat things for I say it like it is. Jesus spoke in Revelation 3:14-22, concerning the church of Laodicea and their lukewarm attitude. The Master could be speaking too many if not most churches of today. So even today the state of the Church of Christ has become stale, and their creature comforts are of more importance than the work of the Lord. I must have the bigger more luxurious house with the swimming pool and tennis courts; I must drive a bigger better car than the other brother; I must dress in the best suit of clothes than that elder; I must go on a better overseas holiday than the other congregants. Are you getting the picture? And I am not even talking about the congregation here; I am talking about your pastor or minister. Nowadays the pastor does not accept a calling to another assembly if he does not know beforehand what his salary and perks will be and how big his house is. I know what I’m talking about friend because I have seen it. This Laodicean syndrome amongst the majority of churches today has made them susceptible to the siren of false gospel teachings. Therefore it makes them ripe for apostasy. The enemy is clever. He attacks Christ’s Church from within and from without. Satan has, “sown tares among the wheat”, Matthew 13:25. These false prophets within the Church call it “a new reformation” but my Bible calls it apostasy. My friend we cannot stand idly by and allow a social gospel to replace the true gospel of Jesus Christ. It is Jesus Christ and Him Crucified, Resurrected and Ascended and seated at the right hand of God the Father making intersession for us His children. Nothing less than that is not acceptable. We cannot allow this apostasy too carry on within out church ranks, as we are instructed not to. Jude 3-4 clearly states, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and, our Lord Jesus Christ”. We are commanded to contend for our faith – to defend it against those who would pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul’s instructions to Timothy is just as applicable today as it was back then, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables”, 2Timothy 4:2-4. Saints of God are you getting the picture? The scripture is clear as to false teachers and prophets and false Christ’s who will if possible even mislead the elect. Now is the time for you to stand for what you believe to be truth. Yes you will be mocked, ridiculed, laughed at and persecuted. But do all this as unto the Lord, for your reward is great in heaven if you endure to the end. Maranatha!! Jesus is coming soon.