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Wednesday, April 25 2012
The Church In The End Time
Studies in this series:
The Church of God, the people of God (see Can You See The Church?), exist today just as they have right from the moment that the first humans were created (see The Church In The Garden, The Church In The Wilderness and The Church Today). The Church of God (and the original Biblical term "Church of God" itself) was not the creation of any human. The pure and true Christian Church was created by and for Jesus Christ, "For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones ... I speak concerning Christ and the church" (see The Birth Of The Bride).
"5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Prior to His Sacrifice, the Messiah gave a detailed summary of what His church, His people, would experience in the "end time" - the time just prior to His return, that would mark the end of Satan's world and the beginning of the Kingdom of God on Earth (see The True Gospel Of Christ). It was given on the Mount of Olives, where the Messiah would later ascend to heaven after His resurrection (Acts 1:9-12), and where He will return (Acts 1:11, Zechariah 14:4). The disciples asked the question (for themselves, but moreover for those who will be living in the future when it happens), "What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?"
"24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of The End Of The World?" (Matthew 24:3 KJV)
The Messiah began His answer with a warning about the great deceptions and troubles that will engulf the entire "Babylon" world in the end time (see What And Where Is Babylon Today?). The religious deception, wars, famines and pestilences were repeated by Christ, about 60 years later, to the apostle John in the book of Revelation.
"24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many [see Is Your Religion Your Religion? and Is Your Church A Cult?]. 24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 24:7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows." (Matthew 24:4-8 KJV)
The "great tribulation" upon Christ's true people will be the result of the world coming under the spell of "many false prophets" who will cause hate for the Truth to abound (even more than it already does by those who are "offended" by Christ's truth, and all too often, any truth, while claiming to be Christian; see Antichristians).
"24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. 24:10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom [see The Gospel of The Kingdom of God] shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Matthew 24:9-14 KJV)
The "the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet," will be fulfilled at that time. Christ's "two witnesses" (see below) will be martyred at that time as well i.e. both of those events are described as happening just prior to Christ's return (see How Long Will 'The End Time' Last?).
"24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, whoso readeth, let him understand [see A History Of Jerusalem: Abomination Of Desolation]: 24:16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 24:17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 24:18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 24:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened." (Matthew 24:15-22 KJV)
Even the return of Christ itself will be counterfeited by Satan-empowered "false Christs and false prophets" - who will fool, and further make a fool of, those who ignore what is written in the Holy Bible (see What's Your Angle?). The written Word of God is the key to not being deceived ("whoso readeth, let him understand") because the deceivers will deny and contradict what is actually written in the Bible, while claiming to be teaching it (see Holy Bible Reading Plan With Study Notes).
"24:23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 24:25 Behold, I have told you before.
The "signs in the heavens" will then occur to get people to look up, away from the false Christs on this earth, to the genuine Christ arriving from heaven.
"24:29 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: 24:30 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 [see also Are We In Heaven Now?] with power and great glory." (Matthew 24:29-30 KJV)
The day of Christ's return will be salvation day for the people of Christ who have lived through all of the ages right up to that day (see When Will You Be Judged?).
"24:31 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." (Matthew 24:31 KJV)
The Messiah finished the teaching with a warning not to set dates because "of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only" (listen to our Sermon Proof Readers).
"24:32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 24:33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
While many have presumed to "set dates" for the return of the Messiah, the only Biblical clue will be the miraculous beginning of the ministry of Christ's two witnesses. Their ministry will endure for 42 months before they are martyred, and resurrected a little over three days later, in Jerusalem i.e. when the two witnesses begin their ministry, the return of Jesus Christ will be a little over 42 months away.
"11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 11:4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 11:5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. 11:6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
The day of Christ's return will be salvation day for Christ's church, of all time. The dead will be resurrected and those alive that day will be changed to spirit.
"4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep [see The Sleep Of Death], that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 4:16 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: 4:17 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 Thessalonians 4:13-17 KJV)
Unfortunately (for those who try to fight Him), the return of Christ is not going to be a peaceful event. A heavily-armed and very deceived world will not recognize what is happening (including most of the Christian-professing people of the world - see Is Your Religion Your Religion? and The Coming World Dictator). A great earthquake will also happen that day; the Mount of Olives will be split into two sections, releasing great springs of water (see also Fountains).
"14:3 Then shall the LORD [see Appearances Of The LORD God] go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. 14:4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. 14:5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
The result will be peace and truth on Earth, forever. Hence the famous "they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
"4:1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. 4:2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4:3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Micah 4:1-3 KJV)
Fact Finder: In what way has the true Church always been living in the end-time of each Christian?
This Day In History, April 25
404 BC: At the end of the Peloponnesian War, Lysander's Spartan Armies defeated the Athenians (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids).
1530: The Augsburg Confession was read at the Diet of Worms (i.e. Vorms, a city in Germany). Written primarily by Philip Melanchthon, the document comprised the first official summary of the "Lutheran" faith.
1590: The Sultan of Morocco launched his successful attack to capture Timbuktu.
1607: During the Eighty Years' War, the Dutch fleet destroyed the anchored Spanish fleet at Gibraltar.
1644: The Ming Chongzhen emperor committed suicide during a peasant rebellion led by Li Zicheng.
1707: At the Battle of Almansa, Franco-Spanish forces defeat the Anglo-Portuguese.
1792: Nicolas Pelletier, a convicted forger and highwayman, became the first person executed by guillotine.
1809: The Treaty of Amritsar, concluded in India between the British East India Company and the Sikh Kingdom of Punjab. It settled Indo-Sikh relations for a generation.
1849: Governor General Lord Elgin signed the Rebellion Losses Bill, which gave compensation to residents of Lower Canada (i.e. Quebec - "Upper" and "Lower" Canada were geographic terms based on the flow of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River toward the Atlantic Ocean) whose property had been damaged in the rebellions of 1837. It became known as the "rebel rewarding bill" because in the confusion some rebels were compensated. Opposition to the bill was severe; Elgin was attacked by an English-speaking mob and the Parliament Buildings in Montreal were burned down.
1859: British and French engineers began construction of the Suez Canal.
1867: Tokyo was opened to international trade.
1882: French commander Henri Riviere seized the citadel of Hanoi. French colonial involvement in Vietnam eventually resulted in the division of the country into North and South Vietnam, which in turn caused the Vietnam civil war, which the U.S. became mired in after the French left. The result of a century of war is that Vietnam is today a single country again, just as it was a long ago before France and the U.S. involved themselves in it.
1925: Paul von Hindenburg became President of Germany. He would soon be replaced by a rising politician by the name of Adolf Hitler (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1926: In Iran, Reza Kahn was crowned Shah and chose the name "Pehlevi." His brutal, undemocratic regime lasted until the Iranian revolution of 1979 (the "hostage crisis" of the U.S. Embassy in Iran began not long after Pehlevi fled the country; see also Has Another Haman Arisen?).
1959: The St. Lawrence Seaway, linking the Atlantic Ocean to Canadian and US ports on the Great Lakes, opened to shipping.
1967: Britain granted internal self-government to Swaziland.
1971: Bangladesh (which means "country of Bengal") was declared. Civil war immediately followed which killed an estimated 1 million people before India intervened against Pakistan.
1974: Antonio Salazar was overthrown in Portugal.
1990: The Hubble Space Telescope was placed into orbit.