Understanding End Times (Part 1+2)
- I want to talk to you today about two major prophetic events. One has already occurred. The other one is yet to occur. In between those two major events, God has hidden two secrets or mysteries.
- The first major prophetic event was Christ’s first coming to the earth. His coming was prophesied throughout the Old Testament Scriptures.
- Many Old Testament prophesies that speak of His coming also speak of an earthly kingdom being set up.
- Jesus knew the establishment of His earthly kingdom would occur at a later time. Yet that fact was hidden from everyone else in every generation.
- Jesus’ own disciples fully expected Him to set up an earthly kingdom and put down Roman rule—to destroy the oppressors and administer justice and judgment upon the wicked. God’s plan was even hidden from them.
- In between the two events—the first coming of Christ and the eventual establishment of His kingdom on earth—God has inserted two mysteries or secrets.
- The first secret is us, the church, and this age of grace we’re living in. This current time was a mystery hidden from the foundation of the world. Only God knew.
- This church age we are living in—this dispensation of grace where people can be born again by the Spirit of God—isn’t just for the Jews, but for everyone.
- In this age, God is extending grace and mercy to all of humanity, working through His Church to lay hands on the sick, drive out demons, and share the good news of God’s grace and mercy to a sighing, dying world.
- The only thing preserving this world from complete decay and corruption is the church. God working through His praying, preaching, and working church is holding back evil from having full sway.
- The first secret was the establishment of God’s church in the earth. The second secret is the removal of His church from the earth. Some refer to this as the rapture, which means the catching away of the church.
- When a loved one dies in the Lord, they graduate. They are in paradise, in the presence of the Lord. They would not come back if they could.
- We who are left behind miss the ones we have lost. There is a natural grieving process that we go through.
- This world, with all of its joys and beauty, is just a shadow of the world to come.
- The day is coming when those that have already died and laid their bodies down in the earth will be reunited with their bodies, but their bodies will be transformed, glorified bodies like Jesus’ after His resurrection. In the next moment, we who remain alive will be caught up together with them to meet them and the Lord in the air.
- After that, we will all be with the Lord forever.
- The second great prophetic event is the second coming of Christ to earth.
- The first time He came, He came as the Savior to extend mercy. The second time, He will come as Judge, executing wrath.
- The first time He came, it was to stand in our place and take the penalty for our sin. The second time, He will come to set up his earthly kingdom, and to destroy sin for all time.
- The second coming of Christ should not be confused with the rapture. The rapture is when believers will be removed from the earth before the time of God’s wrath. The second coming is the return of Christ to the earth with his saints to end the great tribulation period—to defeat the antichrist and his evil world empire.
- The rapture will be secret and instant. The second coming will be widespread and seen by all.
- There are certainly prophetic events that must come to pass before the second coming of Christ, such as the rise of antichrist and the nations being deceived.
- Jesus spoke in detail about many of the signs that will immediately proceed His second coming: wars, rumors of wars, nations gripped with uncertainty, great public upheaval, natural disasters including earthquakes in various places, famines, diseases, great persecution against believers, and a great apostasy—a great falling away from the faith.
- Jesus said the gospel of the Kingdom will be preached to every people group as a witness, and then the end will come. We are living in the only generation ever in which that will be a possibility. Within the next decade, it is very likely that every people and language group on planet earth will have a portion of Scripture in their own language.
- Jesus also said Jerusalem will be surrounded by enemies and a flash point for the armies of the world.
- Most of those things have not just begun to happen; they have already happened.
- Before Christ’s second coming, there are certain things that will still need to unfold. Yet nothing else needs to happen before the rapture can occur. It could be at any moment.
How to Live for Christ in These Last Days – Part 1
We may very well be living in the end of the end times, the closing minutes on God’s clock before Christ returns.
The signs of the end that Jesus told us to watch for are not just beginning to happen… they have already been happening.
So, how exactly will things play out from here? How should we be living in these last days? Watch today, and learn to look forward with confidence!
Do you want answers delivered right to your inbox?
Sign up to receive FREE daily devotionals and updates from Bayless.