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Generally speaking, people will be prosperous and be able to enjoy their possessions in safety before Christ's return.
"They shall build houses and inhabit them, and they shall plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat the fruit; for like the days of a tree shall be the days of My people, and My chosen and elect shall long make use of and enjoy the work of their hands." Is. 65:21-22 Amp.
This scripture would seem to indicate that large, bureaucratic governments are destined for destruction before the coming of the Lord. They are responsible for more theft and looting than any other organization on earth. They can be totally ruthless in stealing people's money and property. High taxes and ungodly laws are devastating most countries [including Canada and the US] around the world. This "legal" plundering and ungodly invasion of privacy of the innocent and helpless must be stopped. Justice must prevail.
There will come a time in the future when this abuse of governmental power will not be. People will be able to enjoy their possessions in peace without government or other busybody interference. The civil government will be reduced to it's God-given place of ministering God's justice in the earth - and that is all!
There will be a time of peace.
"The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent's food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all My holy Mount [Zion], says the Lord. " Is. 65:25 Amp.
This is poetic, prophetic language describing a time of peace when violence and blood shed will be very rare indeed. What a difference from the world as we see it now but the time will come, before the return of Christ, when it will be seen on earth. What a way to celebrate the Prince of Peace and welcome Him back to planet earth!
" And He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide [disputes] for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nations, neither shall they learn war any more. " Is. 2:4 Amp. Also see Micah 4:3.
There may still be disputes but instead of settling them through war and violence the Word of God will be used to bring justice into the situation and settle it. The Word of God will be seen as the final authority.
Here we have 9 secret signs of Christ's return. These are general signs. When we see these things happening we know we are approaching the Return of Jesus. It could still be hundreds or even thousands of years away. Only God knows. His are the times and the seasons. Ours is the job of expanding the Kingdom of God on earth, of evangelism, and of applying the laws of God to every area of life [see Master Life]. As we do this we will be rewarded and we will be moving the earth closer the Second Coming of our beloved King.
In saying all of the above I do not want to paint the picture of a world with problems. Difficulties and struggles are a part of life. They cause us to grow and to mature. Even a loving, caring family has problems, but they are not the same problems of a drunken, abusive home. There will always be problems to be worked out and solved but the violent abuse of people and property will stop or be vastly reduced. There is coming a time when the world in general will be in peace and acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Let's take a quick look at Matt. 24 which is used by so many as "signs of the end times."
The context finds Jesus in the Temple area telling His disciples the Temple is going to be destroyed [Matt. 24:1-2]. This shocks His disciples. In private they ask Him when this is going to happen and when He is going to return [vs. 3]. In their minds the two events had to happen together. Jesus does not confirm their preconceived ideas but from vs 4-34 describes to them the time when the Temple would be destroyed. We know this is what He is talking about in these verses because at the end in vs 34 He tells His disciples that their generation shall not pass, till these things be fulfilled. Students of history can testify that all these things did happen between the resurrection of Jesus and when the Temple was actually destroyed in AD 70. People who apply these signs to today have missed the mark by almost 2,000 years!
Other points to consider:
1. Jesus specifically said that wars etc. were not a sign of the end. Vs. 6
2. All through this section Jesus is speaking as if His physical listeners were going to see and experience these things [as indeed they were].
3. In vs. 15 Jesus refers to the Abomination of desolation, spoken by Daniel the prophet. Luke 21:20 [which is a parallel passage describing the same thing] defines this as the time when Jerusalem was surrounded by armies. This did happen in the Jewish War AD66-AD70 when the Roman surrounded and defiled Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple.
4. Verses 21-22 talks about this time being the Great Tribulation. Any student of history who knows the horrors of this war with Rome will find this an apt description of the terrors which took place. [That's right but the way, the Great Tribulation is behind us not ahead of us!] Read The Jewish Wars by eyewitness Josephus for greater detail.
5. This passage confuses many because they do not understand that Jesus was using prophetic imagery - taken from the Old Testament prophets. Instead they take the sun being darkened etc. literally. The listeners of Jesus were familiar with the Old Testament and its meaning and understood exactly what Jesus was talking about.
Why is there so much misunderstanding on "end times" issues?
1. People fail to understand the importance of the destruction of the Temple and the Jewish Nation in AD 70. This event finally ended the Old Testament Era. It was the end of an age, the end of the world as it had been known. It was tragic and disastrous. Much of what is applied to "end times" actually is prophetic of the world in AD 66- AD 70. Misapplying these scriptures to our own era leads to much confusion.
2. The terms "last days" or "latter days" refer to the entire New Testament era [or to the last days of nation of Israel. [See When Are The Last Days? ]. God has divided history into two parts: Old Testament [former days] and New Testament [latter days]. Applying Scriptures which use the terms "last days" or "latter days" exclusively to our time causes much confusion. [On the other hand, the term "the last day" [singular] does refer to the Second Coming of the Lord.]
3. People fail to realize that God's new people is the Church redeemed by Christ. This, of course, includes Jewish believers but never again does God have a special physical nation instead He has a spiritual nation - His church. Trying to bring natural Israel back to replace or supersede the Church brings much confusion.
4. Sadly, there is much money to be made by feeding people's desires for sensationalism and reducing the Holy Scriptures to be like a cheap tabloid magazine.
What about the Rapture? How and when does it take place? Some people like to complicate the Return of Jesus. They have secret returns [when millions of Christians disappear] and public returns. And many other mind-bogging doctrines. Obviously, if my "secret signs" above are in line with scripture, these theories cannot be correct. Someone is right and someone is wrong. The all important question is: What does the Scripture - in context - teach?
The return of Christ is really very simple.
"Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the grave shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil to unto the resurrection of damnation. " John. 5:28-29 KJV
"And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." John 6:39
"For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1 Thess. 4:16-17
"After that comes the end [the completion], when He delivers over the kingdom to God the Father after rendering inoperative and abolishing every [other] rule and every authority and power. For [Christ] must be King and reign until He has put all [His] enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be subdued and abolished is death." 1 Cor. 15:24-26 Amp.
"...this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." Acts 1:11 KJV
From these Scriptures let us note several things about the Coming of the Lord.
1. Jesus is coming again. It will be a physical coming as He descends bodily from heaven.
2. There is only ONE resurrection. When Jesus comes it is all over - it is THE last day. Those who belong to Jesus will live with Him forever, those who have rejected Him will go forever to the Lake of Fire. There is no second chance. No complications. No secret returns for the saints. One Return and its all over.
3. The dead will raise first and then the living will also be changed without seeing death [the final foe having been defeated!].
Of course following the plain, simple teaching of Scripture won't make for too many best-selling, sensational books. But a quick look at any Christian bookstore will show that many authors refuse to let Scripture stand in their way on this topic.
If this report has presented new ideas to you, I challenge you to lay aside all your books and charts. Get a concordance and a Bible. With an open mind search these things out for yourself. [If you are not sure how take our Feed Yourself course.] Don't believe things just because famous people teach them, don't believe it because I or anyone else says so. Search the Scriptures with a heart open to the teaching of the Holy Spirit. Clear away preconceived ideas. Look with fresh eyes to see what is really there. You may not understand the application of every Scripture or detail [nobody does] but you will gain a solid Biblical understanding of the topic.
We have great things to look forward to. Let's work at expanding the Kingdom of God in every area of life for the glory of God. We will then hear those words, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord".