END TIMES BIBLE STUDY PART III

Matthew, Mark, Luke, I Corinthians,

I and II Thessalonians



In this study we will go through the New Testament references concerning the End Times and the timing of the 'Rapture'. (The book of Revelation will be covered by itself in the End Times Part IV study)

In the first three studies (Beginning of the End, End Times Part I, and II) we studied the End Times prophecies of Ezekiel and Daniel who prophesied about 2,500 years ago. Some of these have been fulfilled (Daniel's 69 'weeks', Jesus' prophecies of the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple) and can be verified by history. Some are yet to come to pass

But note this: those who prophesied about the End Times were proven prophets of God before they made their End Times prophecies. So their prophecies can be trusted as they have previously proven fulfilled prophecies to testify for them.

In this study we will be studying the New Testament End Times prophecies of Jesus and the apostle Paul.



MATTHEW 13:24-30

24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field;

25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.

26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared.

27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?'

28 He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, 'Do you want us then to go and gather them up?'

29 But he said, 'No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.

30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn."'"

Tares are a weed named 'Darnel' which looks identical to wheat as it grows, but produces no heads of grain. And anyone who has ever pulled weeds out of a flower bed or garden knows they have an uncanny knack of growing very close to valued plants, many times growing so closely that if you uproot the weed, it will pull the good plant with it.



MATTHEW 13:36-43

36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field."

37 He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man.

38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one.

39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels.

40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.

41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,

42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

Many people overlook an important point here. Jesus says that at the end of the world, the harvest will take place in which the righteous are taken to be with Him, and the wicked are cast into Hell. He never said that there would be two reapings or harvests, as would be the case of a "pre-tribulation rapture". One reaping, one gathering.

The "pre-tribulation rapture" theory states that Jesus will return invisibly to take the believers with Him before the Great Tribulation starts, leaving the non-believers to face the wrath of the Antichrist. Those that accept Jesus during the Tribulation will suffer the horrors of the Great Tribulation and will be martyred for their faith and will be brought back with Jesus at His glorious return.

The 'pre' and 'mid-tribulation' Rapture doctrines if proven wrong, are then man-made doctrines which are poisoning the churches today. Christian need to fully test any doctrine for accuracy and Scriptural backing, in context. Scripture will support Scripture, and while Scripture does support the rapture, it does not support the timing of the 'pre' or 'mid-tribulation' claims.

But note also that Jesus also says that the weeds and the wheat are to grow together until the harvest, at which time they will be separated, the righteous into the kingdom, the wicked into Hell. In other words, the righteous will continue to be here until the end of the world, which will occur after the Antichrist is defeated and destroyed. And with only one harvest spoken of this can only happen when Jesus returns in glory at the end of the age. We'll see absolute proof on the timing of the "Rapture" later on this study and in the Part IV study.

MATTHEW 13:47-50

47 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind,

48 which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away.

49 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just,

50 and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth."



Again, Jesus sets out a parable in which a single gathering is done at the end of the world. The wicked are separated from the just and are cast into Hell, and the righteous are taken to be with Him in His kingdom, just as He said about the wheat and the tares.

MATTHEW 16:27

27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

Jesus speaks of this event as being when He would return in glory with the angels to claim His kingdom. In light of the parables above concerning the wheat and the weeds, and the gathering of fish, this again points to a single event, which the two stories refer to as the "end of the world." No invisible "second coming" followed by visible "third coming" as pre-Tribulation doctrine teaches. Only one event, the Second Coming, when everything is finished.



MATTHEW 24:1- 3

1Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple.

2 And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"

Jesus truly prophesied that the Temple stones would be thrown down. In A.D. 70, the enraged Roman legions under general Titus burned the Temple, and threw the stones of the Temple building itself down the mountainside to ensure that it would never be rebuilt, and sowed the city with salt in order to curse the ground.They then razed the city, and later renamed it Aelia Capitolina, dedicated the ruins to Jupiter, and forbid the Jews to come there to weep for the loss of their city and Temple.

Archaeologists excavating the Jerusalem and the Temple Mount have found huge impact cracks and gouges in the paving stones around where the Temple stood showing where heavy stone blocks from the Temple had been thrown down into the street. The present Western Wall (called the Wailing Wall by some) is not one of the walls of the Temple, but is a wall which abutted one of the Temple walls and is revered by the Jews as the only surviving relic of the ancient Temple.

As we have seen previously in the book of Daniel, God's prophetic "clock" stopped during the 1,878 years when Judah was no longer a nation after it's destruction by the Romans. Jesus knew of the devastation to come, so He prophesied of the destruction of the Temple and the nation in what was then the near future, and then prophesied of events during the interim time that the Jews would be scattered to the ends of the Earth.

MATTHEW 24:4-14

4 And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you.

5 For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.

6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.

8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

9 "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake.

10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.

11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.

12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.

13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

We canot deny that we are seeing the beginnings of what Jesus prophesied concerning the time of the end. Many may remember the most recent person to publicly claim to be the "Messiah", namely David Koresh who was killed in 1993, in Waco, Texas, and there are rumors of others (Maitreya, the New Age Messiah). Elsewhere around the world others have made, or are making similar claims (Adolph Hitler, Mao Tse-Tung of China, and at present the Kim dynasty of North Korea).

And how many times do we watch the evening news, and see reports about brush-fire wars, famines in Africa and North Korea, disease epidemics, increasing murders, lawlessness and terrorism and an increasing amount of severe earthquakes?

Those living in the United States, look at what our country has become - crime is at an all-time high, our justice system has become corrupt, vote-greedy politicians are breaking the very laws they have sworn to uphold, we are being invaded by illegal aliens and our government does nothing to stop them and is rather approving of them. Gay marriage is now legal and we can be prosecuted for speaking out against homosexuality, criminals are claiming to be victims, police are portrayed as criminals, racism is becoming epidemic, etc.

When 'gay' marriage became legal in this country, God told me that we, as a country, had just passed through the gateposts of the End Times and we can see that He was right. Since then, blatantly anti-Christian behavior has risen, Christians can be Federally prosecuted for criticizing homosexuality or Muslim behaviors, there is blatant cheating and corruption in politics with no consequences from an equally corrupt Justice system. Christians in the service industry are being pressured to accept homosexuals and are being targeted and sued by militant gays and Islamists if they don't cater to their lifestyles. And only Christians are being targeted for prosecution by these groups. Muslims are rabidly anti-homosexual, yet they can (and do) refuse service to 'gays' without being sued. Need I say more?

Note in vs 13 that Jesus says that those who are faithful to the end will be saved. The end He spoke of either refers to death, or His return at the end of the world.

MATTHEW 24:15-20

15"Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand),

16 "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house.

18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.

19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!

20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.

Verse 15 proves that while markedly similar in description, the "abomination of desolation" spoken of in Daniel was NOT Greek conqueror Antiochus IV Epiphanes' desecration of the Temple, as Antiochus had performed his abominations 150 years before Jesus' birth. Jesus referred to it as a yet to happen event.

In 63 B.C. the Roman general Pompey conquered Jerusalem and entered the Holy of Holies of the Temple. However he looked around and did not touch anything, including the Temple treasury money, nor the gold and silver utensils used for sacrificial ceremonies. Pompey ordered the Jews to cleanse the Temple of his presence and left, never entering the Temple again.

And by the same token, it could not be the fact that the Roman general Titus entered the Temple's inner sanctuary before he destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D. as some believe, as by that time Jerusalem was already in ruins and those who could flee had already done so.



And why the warning about the Sabbath? I think this was more for the inhabitants of Jerusalem and its environs. The Ultra-Orthodox Jews follow the strictest interpretation of the Torah, the Law of Moses, and as no work is to be performed on the Sabbath, they would hinder and block anyone trying to leave the city, even if it meant the lives of those fleeing. Even today they push shopping carts in front of cars and throw stones at cars traveling the streets of Jerusalem on the Sabbaths.

Neither Pompey nor Titus demanded sacrifices to idols in the Temple as Antiochus Epiphanes did, therefore the abomination of desolation will be performed by the Antichrist after the Third Temple is built.

And just as Greek conqueror Antiochus IV Epiphanes set up an image of Zeus on the altar of the Temple, demanded that the Jews worship it and slaughtered those who refused, even so will the false prophet erect an image of the Antichrist in the Holy Place of the rebuilt Temple and will demand that all people worship it or face death (shown below). (For a detailed explanation of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, please see the End Times Part II study in this Web site.)

The apostle John says;

REVELATION 13:11-15

11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.

12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.

14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.

15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.

This 'beast' is the one who will be known as 'the False Prophet' who will perform Satanic miracles before the Antichrist. He will be a religious leader (horns like a lamb) but he preaches Satanic (the dragon) doctrines. He will direct all worship to the Antichrist (the first beast) and his image. This will be explained more clearly in End Times Part IV. (Revelation)



MATTHEW 24:21-22

21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

The Roman slaughter of the Jews and their scattering to the ends the earth was indeed a major catastrophe but wasn't enough to threaten the destruction of all life on Earth. The great tribulation by the Antichrist that will start when he sets up an idol in the Temple as shown in Revelation 13 above will be deadly enough to threaten all life on the planet.

This will be the great tribulation period spoken of in Daniel, the three and a half year period in which the Antichrist will be allowed to destroy the Christians and the Jews virtually unchecked. Remember, by this time Satan will have been thrown down to Earth to make his final stand. And he will wage war against God's people, and then will try to wipe out all of mankind at Armageddon before Jesus' return.

The word for "flesh" Jesus used in verse 22 above is the Greek word "sarx" meaning literal flesh. If Jesus were to delay His return, He would return to a dead planet. Mankind would no longer exist. But for the sake of the elect (us), He will shorten the days of persecution.

MATTHEW 24:23-25

23 "Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it.

24 For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

25 See, I have told you beforehand.

Here is a warning we ALL need to heed! Satan's servants will be empowered to perform miracles to the point that even Christians and believing Jews could be deceived by them.

Sadly enough, I have seen people in churches today that are so hungry for signs of God's power that they could very well fall into Satan's trap. They are so desperate for displays of something that they are willing to accept Satanic counterfeits and false prophets without testing them as the apostles Paul and John cautioned;

2 CORINTHIAS 11:13-15

13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.

14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.

15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.



2 JOHN 7-8

7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

8 Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.

I remember attending a church where the pastor introduced an audio tape message from a "prophetess" in which he said that most of her prophecies had come true. No one else in the congregation seemed to note that little piece of information, but I had alarm bells going off like crazy! A true prophet or prophetess of God will have all of their prophecies come true. As God Himself stated;

Numbers 12:6

6 "Hear now My words: if there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream.

And;

Deuteronomy 18:20-24

20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.'

21 And if you say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?'--

22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.



A prophet must have been commissioned by God personally, and He will speak to him (or her) in a dream before they are considered a prophet. Notice in verse 20 that God commands that false prophets are to be put to death, so they don't promote Satanic doctrines as the words of God.



The apostle Paul warns us to test anyone calling themselves a prophet when he said to the churches;

I Corinthians 14:29-33

29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.

30 But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent.

31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged.

32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

During Paul's time people (like today) were faking spiritual gifts for adulation and praise, and Satan was busy promoting false prophecies within the churches. Paul states that any 'prophecy' made within a church must be tested by proven, true prophets, to protect God's church and its people.



Far too many churches aren't following these rules and as a result they are falling into serious errors and don't even know it. And in some cases they are becoming dangerously close to the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, by calling these demonic manifestations the work of the Holy Spirit!



Hank Hanegraaf in his revealing book "Counterfeit Revival" speaks of churches where people jump around like frogs, roll on the floor, jerk and twitch stagger around as if drunk and even bark like dogs while proclaiming that this is the power of the Holy Spirit! And if people on one side of the church began doing this, people on the other side of the church rushed over because they wanted this power too. Satan must have been rolling in the aisles because he was laughing so hard.

I myself attended a church where people while singing praises to the Lord were on their feet and jumping around like they were on pogo sticks or like someone was poking them in the derrière with a hat pin!!! This too was proclaimed to be the power of the Holy Spirit. Considering what else I saw, it definitely was not the Holy Spirit doing this.

Please, brothers and sisters, I cannot stress enough the fact that we are to test every spirit, and every "gift" of the Spirit! Having once been deeply in the Occult, I had wielded demonic powers and they can be very, very convincing......but they are NOT from God!

Satan is a great imitator, and sends his servants into churches to destroy them, or make them ineffective.

Case in point. In a church I attended for a while I was able to identify two active witches in the congregation. I sensed what they were, but I wanted to be sure before I said anything. I became sure after one of our services when the older of the two women turned around and looked at me. I felt the impact of that look in my spirit and felt as if someone had slammed into me. Then I was certain of what they were. From then on, during each service I bound the spirit(s) within them in the name of Jesus. And when I did, the older one would start glaring at the floor, apparently sensing that she had been bound.

I privately pointed them out to the pastor, but he didn't believe me. A month later he called me into his office, and admitted I had been right. But it took an incident of which he wouldn't tell me to prove it to him. Much spiritual damage was done within the church during the mean time, especially since one of the witches was the church secretary!

In another case, while in the Navy I been attending a Baptist Church. The Navy sent me out to sea on patrol which lasted about eight months. During that time the pastor at the church had moved on and a replacement pastor been voted in by the church elders.

Shortly afterward my wife wrote and told me that she and our children would not attend the church anymore as there was something wrong in it since the new pastor had taken over. She kept her word and stayed away until I came home. The following Sunday after I returned I decided I would go to this church and see for myself.

While out at sea I had created a Bible study group and we delved deeply into the Word, and Holy Spirit was definitely with us. I walked into the church and immediately my spirit sensed that something was wrong, as there seemed be a coldness both physical and spiritual inside the church.

The pastor got up to preach and my spirit just fell flat. I felt like something was wrong but I could not put my finger on the problem. At first I thought that because our Bible studies out at sea were so intense that maybe what I was feeling was the lack of the intensity of the Holy Spirit that we all felt out at sea.

When the service was over my wife and I went to leave, and the pastor greeted us at the door. He reached out and shook my hand and I immediately felt it. I was stunned!!!!I remember thinking "My God, it's him!!! I remember thinking that this couldn't be because this was the Lord's anointed!! Surely I must be wrong!!!

I prayed about it the rest of the week, begging God to show me the truth of the situation. The next week we attended another service. I was uneasy, and again my spirit fell flat when I walked in, and again there was that feeling of wrongness in the church. Then the pastor got up and started to preach, and I clearly heard the Lord tell me, "GET OUT! GET OUT OF THIS CHURCH!!" My family and I immediately got up and left and we didn't go back for several weeks.

To make a long story short, several weeks later one of the elders met me downtown and said he'd seen me leave and not come back and he wanted to know why. I told him what I felt and what happened when I shook hands with the pastor. He asked me to write a letter to the church describing everything and I had seen and felt, and I apparently confirmed some suspicions that the elders had about the pastor.

They ordered him to leave, but he resisted and tore the church congregation apart before he finally left. I found out later that before he'd come to the church he had been in Africa and had brought back voodoo fetishes and had put them on display in the church. A result that gave Satan legal access to the church and congregation, and it was demons that I felt within the church and in the pastor. The elders had to then go inside the church, rebuke the demons and cast them out in order to cleanse the church.

Apparently most of the congregation had been oblivious to the spiritual dangers these voodoo fetishes represented, or to God's commandment concerning cursed objects which says;

Deuteronomy 7:26

26 Neither shalt you bring an abomination into your house, lest you be a cursed thing like it: but you shalt l utterly detest it, and you shal utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.

Bringing the fetishes into the church had violated God's commandment, bringing a curse upon the entire congregation, spiritually blinding them to what was in the pastor and giving Satan the legal right to remain in the church.



Remember the words of the Apostle John!

I JOHN 1-3

1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,

3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

The apostle Paul says to watch out for servants of Satan in the churches when he says,

II CORINTHIANS 11:13-15

13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.

14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.

15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

I THESSALONIANS 5:21

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Ok, back to Matthew.

Jesus said concerning the End Times;



MATTHEW 24:25-27

25 See, I have told you beforehand.

26 "Therefore if they say to you, 'Look, He is in the desert!' do not go out; or 'Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it.

27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

Jesus says His coming will be as lightning lighting the sky. In other words, there will be no doubt as to what is happening when He comes. Every eye will see Him, including those in Hell. Again, this refers to a glorious Second Coming, not an invisible Second Coming, followed by a visible Third Coming.

MATTHEW 24:28

28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

The word used for "eagles" in Luke 17:37 below can also be translated as "vultures" and eagles, like vultures, are carrion birds. And looking at Matthew 24:28 above where Jesus speaks of the "carcase" (carcass) being the place where the vultures will gather sheds a whole new meaning on the following passage in Luke.

LUKE 17:34-37

34 I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left.

35 Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left.

36 Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left."

37 And they answered and said to Him, "Where, Lord?" So He said to them, "Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together."

What happens, is that when the Tribulation starts, it will be sudden, without prior warning. There will be two men (probably workers) sleeping in one bed; two women grinding at the mill; two men in the field. The Christian will be taken away and put to death, and the non-Christian will be left.

MATTHEW 24:29-30

29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Jesus Himself states that He will not return until AFTER the great Tribulation, as we have already seen in the book of Daniel. And when He comes with the clouds of heaven, all the people (tribes) of earth will mourn, as they ALL will see Him.

MATTHEW 24:31

31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Note Jesus says that when He returns, the elect shall be gathered from one end of heaven to the other. This would seem to be a gathering of believers from heaven only, as would be prescribed in a 'pre-tribulation rapture'.

However, Mark says,

MARK 13:26,27

26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.

27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

So when Jesus returns, there will be a gathering of believers from the ends of heaven, to the ends of the earth. And all believers, both living and dead will be gathered at the same time. For those who are still skeptical, please hang in there. We'll show the final, irrefutable proof of when the Rapture will occur in the book of Revelation (End Times Part IV).

MATTHEW 24:32-36

32 "Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.

33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near--at the doors!

34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.

35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.

As we saw in the Daniel study, (End Times Part II ) 490 years (seventy prophetical "weeks") were set from the time that Persian ruler Cyrus the Great issued the order to rebuild Jerusalem; for Israel to make atonement for iniquity; anoint the Most Holy (Jesus as Messiah), etc. As Daniel was told;

DANIEL 9: 24-26

24 "Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.

25 "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.

26 "And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.

The 70 'weeks' (490 years) are split between 69 'weeks' (7 + 62 weeks) and a separate 1 'week'. The 69 'weeks' follow the history of Judah in the wars between the Ptolemies, Seleucids, and Romans, ending with King Herod and the birth and death of Jesus.

The last (70th) 'week' is reserved for the last 7 years before Jesus' Second Coming.

(For a full explanation of Daniel's 70 'weeks', please see the End Times Part II study in this site.)



MATTHEW 25:31-46

31 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.

32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.

33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.

34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;

36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'

37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?

38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?

39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'

40 And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'

41 "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;

43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.'

44 "Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?'

45 Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'

46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

This is the initial judgement at Jesus' return (remember the stories of the wheat and the weeds, and the gathering of good and bad fish) . Those who have accepted the Mark of the Beast (we'll see this in the Book of Revelation) will be cast into Hell until their Judgement, while the righteous will receive their rewards, their place in God's kingdom, and their assignment as to where they will rule during the Millenium (the 1,000 year reign of Jesus on Earth).



Note also that in verse 41, Jesus states that Hell was created for Satan and his angels, not for man. But those who choose to follow Satan will also follow into his eternal punishment.

Mark and Luke also describe Jesus' discourse on the end times; I will only include those passages which differ from the account in Matthew, to avoid redundancy.



LUKE 12:11 - 12

11 "Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say.

12 For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say."

Just as the apostles and martyrs down through history have been brought before rulers to give an answer to those in authority concerning their faith in Jesus, even so shall we be brought to trial. But Jesus said that it will be an opportunity for us to witness to them, and be a living testimony against them.

He also says not to worry about what we're going to say, as the Holy Spirit will give us wisdom to speak, just as He did to those before us.

LUKE 21:16

16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death.


During the End Times, things will be incredibly hard for those who survive WW III. Starvation and disease will be rampant, persecutions will be increasing, and when given a choice, many people will betray others to the authorities to save their own lives, especially those who do not have a foundation of Christ in their lives.

I also fear this will happen when Christians who believe a pre or mid-trib rapture realize that the Tribulation is beginning and they are still here. I fear they will become disillusioned and enraged, feeling they have been lied to and out of fear and anger will turn on their brethren.

World War II brought out some of this in people, in which neighbors who had lived in harmony next door to Jewish families for generations betrayed them to the Nazis to save their own lives, because if the Nazis found out that these neighbors knew where Jews were hiding and didn't report them, they would be killed or sent to the death camps also.

The same will happen to the Christians. Those who do not accept the Mark of the Beast will be hunted like animals, and anyone caught harboring fugitives or not turning them into the authorities will be put to death also. And when the choice comes, unfortunately many will choose their own lives above saving others.

As Jesus said,

MATTHEW 10:34-36

34 "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.

35 For I have come to 'set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law';

36 and 'a man's enemies will be those of his own household'.

One night years ago I had a dream. I was in the United States and I knew it was sometime in the future. The sky was dark and cloudy, a cold, damp wind was blowing, and it seemed to be about November. I knew it was in the United States and there was a famine in the land, whether natural or artificially generated, I wasn't told.

I saw a young boy, probably about eight years old, dressed in rags and shorts, shivering in the wind. He was given a piece of paper that stated that for every Christian turned into the authorities, he would get some food. And I saw people either dragging Christians to the authorities, pointing them out, or bringing in slips of paper with names of Christians on them.

Then I saw huge barn-like structures where these Christians were being systematically put to death. This may be a case of what Jesus was talking about above......

MARK 13:24- 26

24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,

25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.

26 And then shall they see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.

Jesus says that after the Great Tribulation, the sun will grow dark, the moon will stop shining, and Satan and his demons will be thrown out of Heaven for good. Jesus is using a compressed time frame here, for the book of Revelation speaks of Satan being cast down some time before Jesus returns, I suspect just before the Tribulation, either at the rise of the Antichrist, or during the three and a half year period of the Tribulation.

MARK 13:27

27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

Ah! Now we come to an often overlooked verse. Note that Jesus says that after the Tribulation, He will send His angels to gather His elect from both Earth and Heaven, at the same time. There will be no "first-gathering" followed by a second gathering of those "left behind" at the Rapture, as pre- and mid-Tribulation teachings express.

Remember the parable of the harvest spoken of in Matthew 13. Jesus spoke of letting the weeds and the wheat grow together until the harvest, at which time the wicked would be severed from the just, and cast into Hell. Even so here, Jesus speaks of one gathering, a single event. But please keep reading. We will see the final proofs in the book of Revelation.

MARK 13:28-37

28 "Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.

29 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near--at the doors!

30 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.

31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

32 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

33 Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.

34 It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch.

35 Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming--in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning--

36 lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping.

37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!"



Again Jesus reiterates that He doesn't know when He is due to return as this information has been reserved for the knowledge of the Father alone.

When Jesus spoke of "this generation" He was not speaking of the generation that the disciples came from. He spoke of the generation that would see the events come to pass that He spoke of. In other words, those who see these things come to pass, will see the return of Jesus within the lifetime of their generation.

It is interesting that the church is referred to as Jesus' bride (we'll see this in the Revelation study). In Hebrew custom, the prospective groom could not go to get his bride (who was waiting for him elsewhere, usually at her father's house) until the father of the bride gave him permission. And the father alone knew when he would allow the groom to get his bride.

This gives new meaning to the following parable that Jesus told;

MATTHEW 25:1-13

1 "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,

4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

6 "And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!'

7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.

8 And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'

9 But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.'

10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

11 "Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!'

12 But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.'

13 "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.


The lamp oil Jesus was referring to here, is faith. The wise bridesmaids knew that the bridegroom couldn't come for his bride until her father gave him permission, and had prepared for his coming by keeping their faith alive and ready. The foolish had made no such preparations, and as such were caught by surprise when the bridegroom suddenly appeared.

And while the foolish bridesmaids went to find someone to rekindle their faith, the bridegroom entered to get his bride and begin the wedding feast, and the door was closed. And when the foolish bridesmaids were ready, they tried to enter but could not. The groom had claimed his bride, and could not stop the marriage celebration because of foolish bridesmaids.

The same is with us. If we keep our faith alive, and be ready for the bridegroom (Jesus) when He comes for His church, we will be allowed into the marriage feast. But if we're caught by surprise, and we're not ready, woe to us, for we will be cast out.

LUKE 17:22-24

22 Then He said to the disciples, "The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.

23 And they will say to you, 'Look here!' or 'Look there!' Do not go after them or follow them.

24 For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day.

Again Jesus says that as lightning is seen from one part of the sky to the other, even so will it be when he returns. ALL will see Him, and there will be no mistake of His coming!

LUKE 17:25-30

25 But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.

26 And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man:

27 They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.

28 Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built;

29 but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.

30 Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

Jesus says here that all things will seem to be taking place normally; the sun will be shining, people will be going about their business, just before He comes. And as the Flood destroyed those who would not listen or were not prepared, even so will Jesus' return catch people by surprise.

LUKE 17:31-32

31 "In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back.

32 Remember Lot's wife.

Jesus is saying that when the abomination of desolation as spoken of in Daniel and Revelation is set up, flee! Don't slow down long enough to even look back. For if you look back, you will be caught in destruction even as Lot's wife did for her disobedience.

LUKE 17:33-37

33 Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.

34 I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left.

35 Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left.

36 Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left."

37 And they answered and said to Him, "Where, Lord?" So He said to them, "Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together."

This is another often misunderstood passage of Scripture, and one that many pre-Tribulation people use as a bolster for their arguments. However, many people don't understand that eagles are basically classified with vultures as carrion (scavenger) birds, feeding off of dead flesh. Taken in context with the same passage in Matthew, the eagles will be feeding off of the dead who are taken out and killed, (Christians) while the non-Christians will be left.



LUKE 21:20-24

20 "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.

21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her.

22 For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

23 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people.

24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Here Jesus is prophesying of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman general Titus in 70 A.D. and indeed there was great wrath upon the Jews; thousands were brutally killed and the rest were sold into all nations of the Roman Empire.

The city of Jerusalem was destroyed, the Temple was torched, and its walls thrown down the mountain; the city was sown with salt to show it as being accursed, was renamed by the Romans as Aelia Capitolina and they dedicated the ruins to Jupiter.

According to Jewish scholars, the Temple was destroyed on the exact same day (9h of Ab, roughly August 14th) that the first Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.

And for 1,878 years, Jerusalem was trampled by the Gentiles, only coming back under Jewish control in 1948.

And with the final destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., God's prophetic 'clock' stopped, with Scripture remaining silent concerning the Jews until 1948.



LUKE 21:25-26

25 "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;

26 men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

As we saw in the book of Daniel, the "sea" referred to in prophecy does not mean the physical sea, but multitudes of people. The "sea" will be unstable because of the great conflicts and changes in politics that are coming, and we're seeing the beginnings of that today. We'll see this again in the book of Revelation.

Our youth today feel that they are the "terminal generation", that they have nothing to live for. Soon the ugly threat of World War III will again come into prominence when Russia and Arab forces rise to threaten Israel. (For more on this, please see the study on World War III in this Web site). People will begin dying literally from fear at what they will see happening in the world.



LUKE 21:27-36

27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."

29 Then He spoke to them a parable: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.

30 When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near.

31 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.

32 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place.

33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

34 "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.

35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.

36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."

Some people I have spoken to refer to verse 36 as being proof that the rapture will occur before these things take place. However that is not what the verse says. Jesus says to pray "that we may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass"; He did not say that we all would escape them as it would be with a pre-Tribulation rapture. And why would Jesus warn us about the Tribulation if we were to all escape it?

I CORINTHIANS 15: 50-52

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.

51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed--

52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed..

Here is the greatest set of verses that Christians use in reference to the rapture. Paul states that mortal bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God because the flesh is corrupted by sin. So the body dies, and if a person dies with Jesus in their hearts their spirit goes to be with Him until the resurrection. If a person dies without Jesus, they go to Hell to await the resurrection of the damned after the Millenium.

Paul also states that when the believers are resurrected in their new immortal bodies, those believers who are still alive when Jesus returns will be instantly changed from mortal bodies to immortal bodies. They will never experience death.

Now note carefully what Paul says in verse 52 above. This will happen at the last trumpet. Jesus stated that He would return with the sound of a trumpet and the shout of the archangel, and as we'll see in the book of Revelation, seven trumpets are blown. The first six bring disasters, and when the seventh and last is blown, the archangel shouts and proclaims the reign of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of the righteous.



I CORINTHIANS 15: 53-57

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."

55 "O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory?"

56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

On that great day that Jesus returns, the great enemy of mankind, Death itself will be conquered for the believers. Those who have died in Jesus will rise again to live forever in new glorified bodies, and those believers who are still alive when this happens will never suffer death, for they will be changed into immortal bodies at the same time. Death will still be in the world however, and non-believers will still die. But just as Jesus conquered death, even so will all believers through His power at His coming. Then, after the Great Judgement, Death itself will be thrown into the Lake of fire forever.

I THESSALONIANS 4:13-18

13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.

16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.



Paul again expresses the hope of every Christian, namely that when we die it will not be forever, but that we will be resurrected with the return of Jesus at the last trumpet, and will live with Him forever.

Note that Paul states that this will happen when the Lord appears with the 'voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God'. Jesus said He would return with a shout and the sound of the trumpet, and Paul confirms this fact and states that it will be the 'last trumpet' when Jesus returns. There will be one gathering, at the seventh and last trumpet, and that when the Lord returns for His kingdom.

I THESSALONIANS 5:1- 3

1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.

2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.

3 For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.



I have had these verses quoted to me many times by believers in the pre-tribulation rapture, saying that if the Lord comes as a thief, there must be no warning of when He will arrive. While this seems viable, there are several verses in Revelation that counter this theory. I had thought to wait until the study in Revelation to do this, but I will quote the passages below. Please read again the above three verses, and then read the verses below.

REVELATION 16:13-16

13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

15 "Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame."

16 And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.



These verses indicate that Armageddon is getting ready to start, and Jesus is STILL saying, "Behold I come as a thief". If He had already come as the pre-tribulation believers hold forth, then the world would know that He was due to come back in seven years. Yet He STILL says, "Behold, I come as a thief." This, more than anything else points to the fact the Christians WILL go through the entire tribulation!



Some might ask that if we know that God's final countdown starts when the Antichrist signs a seven-year pact with Israel, why won't people know that Jesus is coming back in seven years?

There are several verses that give a clue to this. I have listed them below.

II CORINTHIANS 4:3-4

3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,

4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers to the knowledge of the truth, so that they cannot be saved unless God binds the demons who are holding the spirit of the unbeliever captive, so they can receive the knowledge of the truth.

Jesus Himself spoke of this problem when he addressed his disciples concerning the fact that He spoke to them in stories (parables) rather than tell them the truth plainly. As He said,

MATTHEW 13:13-15

13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: 'Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive;

15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.



We should thank and praise God for His mercy to us, in the fact that He has chosen us and has opened our eyes to see and hear the truth of these things!

There is also a verse in II Thessalonians that gives the strongest clue as to why people will not understand, and we'll get to that shortly.

I THESSALONIANS 5:4-11

4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.

5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.

6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.

7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.

8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.

9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.

11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

It's sad, but even with increasingly obvious signs that the things Jesus warned us about are happening today, many people, Christians as well, are oblivious or are waiting for the rapture to take them out of here. What they fail to realize is that WWIII will come first with little warning and most people, including Christians, don't know what signs to watch for. And with today's weapons, experts predict we may only have 7-10 minutes warning before the first nuclear weapon strikes.



II THESSALONIANS 1:6-12

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,

8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.

11 Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power,

12 that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

If Jesus is coming to be glorified in His saints, then this will happen when He comes back, as there will still be saints here on the earth during the Tribulation period. (Not the "saints"
of the Roman Catholic church, but the REAL saints, Christians who follow the true Jesus Christ.)




Note also, that Paul says to those who are troubled, "rest with us" (the rest of the Christian saints) until Jesus comes to take vengeance on those who have rejected the Word of God, and have persecuted His people. So again, Paul refers to a single event, in which Jesus will appear and claim His kingdom.

II THESSALONIANS 2:1-4

1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you,

2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.

3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,

4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

Now we come to a critical issue. The "day of Christ" that Paul speaks of here, is the return of Jesus, when He comes to claim His kingdom and the church. Paul states plainly that the Antichrist must rise first before this can happen, and we have already seen in the book of Daniel that he will be allowed to destroy the Christians and Jews for three and a half years.

But first there must come a falling away, and we're already seeing that happen. I have been astounded and shocked by some of the clearly unscriptural teachings within the churches, and many people are developing a unhealthy fascination with angels, even to the point of worshiping them, which Scripture clearly forbids.

Colossians 2:18

18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

Others, especially some charismatics I have seen, are so involved in the display (or with many of them, the attempt to display) the gifts of the Spirit that they are worshiping the Holy Spirit rather than Jesus Himself. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would direct all worship to Himself (Jesus), as He said below;

JOHN 16:13-15

13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.

15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

We are to worship Jesus and the Father through the Spirit, not worship the Spirit Himself.



There is lastly and most alarmingly, started in the '70's, a movement toward 'ecumenism', in which the various denominations are breaking down the barriers between them and are worshiping together, despite the fact that some of these churches are teaching and following doctrines that are clearly condemned in Scripture, all in the name of "unity", leading toward a World Church which will be dominated by the coming False Prophet.

Paul addressed this when he said;

2 Corinthians 6:14-18

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?

16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them and walk among them I will be their God, and they shall be My people."

17 Therefore "Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you."

18 "I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.



Ecumenism is introducing an insidious poison into the churches that is rendering them ineffective. Jesus didn't compromise on Scriptural teachings, and neither should we. In other words, if you cannot back up a teaching or doctrine with solid Scripture in context, you should not teach it!

This problem will become so bad that Jesus Himself says,

LUKE 18:8b

8 Nevertheless when the Son of man come, will He find faith on the earth?

Paul states in II Thessalonians 2:3 that the Antichrist cannot rise to power until the power of the church is diluted by the great falling away. This dilution is well underway and is spreading rapidly, and fewer people are attending church because the Holy Spirit is no longer within many churches. Christians in the United States are being persecuted by an increasingly worldly population. Those who stand against these worldly people are called 'haters' and are now being threatened with physical harm and Federal prosecution if they stand up for their beliefs. And this is only the beginning of things to come.

Why?

Because false doctrines are being embraced as truth, and ministers are soft-soaping the Scriptures so as not to offend their congregations (when is the last time you heard a good, hard sermon about Hell and Judgement? Spiritual Warfare?)

Prime-time preachers are preaching a feel-good Gospel, and are always asking for money while wearing expensive suits, driving expensive cars, and flying expensive personal jets around the world so they can 'personally' preach to people. (Apparently the Gospel message can't be spread unless they, personally, preach it).They preach that we need to be like Jesus but they act like the Pharisees and live like the Sadducees. People see these examples and become cynical about Christianity and Christians as a whole.



Another poisonous doctrine is the 'name it and claim it' belief which essentially preaches that God is a big "Sugar Daddy" who can't resist the desires of His children and will give us whatever we want. All we need to do is claim it in Jesus' name and it's ours, based on Jesus' words;

Matthew 12:21-22

21 So Jesus answered and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done.

22 And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."



However, they apparently don't know or don't remember James' admonition of;

James 4:1-3

1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?

2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.

3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

Do you hear what James is saying? People ask for things of God that are for personal pleasures and fleshly lusts, not for what they need for daily life. I'm reminded of the old Janis Joplin song which says, "Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes-Benz, my friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends...."

It is also a very slick doctrine for when people question those who teach the 'name it and claim it' doctrine as to why they didn't receive what they prayed for, rather than refer them to the James scripture above, their teachers pompously tell them, "You just don't have enough faith!!" Yeah, right.......

Remember Paul said;

Philippians 4:19

19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Note that he says need, not wants or desires.



There are many more un-Scriptural doctrines in the churches today, but these will be addresses in another study.

During the 1800's, a Frenchman came to America to see what made it such a great country. He toured big cities, industrial centers, farms and small villages observing everything. When he went back to France, he reported to those who sent him that what made America great was not industry, food production or anything else like that.

What made America great was the sermons thundering from the pulpits every Sunday. He said that the truth and righteousness being preached from the churches is what made America a great and righteous nation.

Please understand that not all churches are dead or dying, there are some on-fire churches left. But they are few, and becoming fewer. For Satan to become so bold, he no longer fears the churches nor those who attend them. If you want to see some graphic examples of unbelievable church doctrinal errors, read Hank Hanegraaf's "Counterfeit Revival." In it he writes seeing 'Christians' jumping like frogs and barking like dogs while claiming that the Holy Spirit was motivating them to do this!

THIS IS BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT!!! These people are attributing the works of Satan as the power of God. The Holy Spirit would NEVER cause such behavior in believers! If Jesus, who was filled with the Spirit, behaved like this while on Earth, He would have been declared to be demon-possessed and His ministry would have been destroyed! (For more information about blaspheming the Holy Spirit, please see the study in this site.

If Christians worship and fellowship with others who follow unscriptural practices, then the we give approval to their actions. God never compromises the truth, and we can't either. And with the church being his only real enemy here on earth, Satan has targeted the churches for destruction.
And as Paul shows in II Thessalonians chapter 2, verse 4 below, the Antichrist will seat himself in the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, will proclaim himself to be God, and will demand that all worship him. It is that this point that the great three and a half year tribulation will begin.


II THESSALONIANS 2:1-12

1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you,

2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.

3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,

4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?

6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.

7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.

8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.

9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,

10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,

12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.



Here we come to one of the most controversial points of the entire rapture issue. In verses 6 and 7, we see that there is something, more than likely the Holy Sririt, that is holding the spirit of the Antichrist in check, and will do so until He is taken out of the way. "Taken out of the way" doesn't indicate a complete removal, but more of a "stepping aside".

Many people hold that it is the Holy Spirit that is holding the Antichrist in check, and that when the Rapture comes, the Holy Spirit will be taken from the Earth along with the Christians, and those left behind will face the wrath of Satan and the Antichrist.

There is one huge flaw with this belief, namely, if the Holy Spirit is taken from the Earth even for a nanosecond, this would be in direct violation of Jesus' promise of the Holy Spirit being with us forever, making God a liar. Jesus Himself said,

JOHN 14:15-17

15 "If you love Me, keep My commandments.

16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever--

17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

If the Holy Spirit is to dwell within us forever, then He will be with us until Jesus returns for all of us. And as we have seen so far, there will be a single gathering of all believers at His return.

And if the Holy Spirit is taken off the Earth, how will unbelievers and sinners be convicted of unrighteousness and sin? It is the Holy Spirit that brings about conviction of sin and repentance, and motivates our hearts to follow Jesus' commandments. And without Christians to bring the message of Jesus and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, how will anyone accept Christ if the Christians and the Holy Spirit are taken from the Earth?

Satan is to be thrown down to Earth physically during the reign of the Antichrist, so without the Holy Spirit no one on Earth could resist him. Therefore anyone left on Earth would be doomed to destruction with no hope. Yet, as we will see, there will be thousands who will be beheaded in the book of Revelation during the great persecution because of their faith in Christ.



II THESSALONIANS 2:11-12

11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,

12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

This is where many people will fall under the power of the Antichrist. God will give them up to serve the master they choose and will let them follow into his punishment and ultimate destruction. We as Christians must be aware of what is happening around us, and keep faith in our Master, lest we too fall under the deceit of Satan and his pawn, the Antichrist!

SUMMARY

In the End Times Part II study we have seen the fulfillment of the 69 of 70 "weeks" of Daniel, culminating in the death of Jesus Christ as prophesied, and as confirmed by history. We have also seen that the "70th week" has yet to be fulfilled, and that the final countdown of the prophetic "clock" of the last "week" will begin when he who will be called the Antichrist will sign a 7-year peace treaty with Israel, and will break it half-way through, and start the dreaded 3 1/2 year Tribulation as spoken by Daniel.

We have seen that the rapture will occur AFTER the great Tribulation that Jesus warned us of. And as we have already seen in Daniel, the Antichrist will persecute and destroy the Christians for three and a half years, and will himself be destroyed upon the arrival of Jesus at Armageddon.

We have also seen that the wicked will be allowed to remain among the just until Jesus sends His angels out to sever the wicked out of His kingdom at His return. And we have also seen that the Antichrist cannot rise until the great "falling away" happens to the churches, an event already in full swing.

We as Christians need to be strong, and have our faith grounded now, so we are not caught by surprise when the persecution starts! And may God grant us the strength to endure until the end!



Final proof of the timing of the "rapture" and Jesus' return will be found in the book of Revelation in the End Times Part IV study.



Questions? Comments? E-mail me at watchmen_777@yahoo.com



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