Do you feel the pressure these days? As if living in a COVID world is not difficult enough, we have suffered through the longest, most belligerent and hateful election season in the history of our country. Unfortunately, 2021 may make 2020 look like a game on the playground! But for the believer, we have hope! Today’s discussion is a bit more difficult, so please remember the good news we shared in previous posts, and be sure to come back tomorrow.
Today, we’ll employ the same method Jesus often used as He taught: by focusing on things which are seen to learn of things unseen! But first, I welcome anyone who has stumbled into our virtual living room! You are welcome here. We are nearing the end of a mini-series entitled Can You Hear Me Now, and we are acknowledging that, throughout history, God yearns for us to listen to Him. Here are the previous parts of our mini-series:
- Part 1: Can You Hear Me Now? – A New Mini-Series
- Part 2: Doors of Opportunity: Be Careful Which Ones You Open
- Part 3: Prelude to Babylon 2.0
- Part 4: The Trump Card
- Part 5: “Listen to Me!”
- Part 6: “Run to the Roar!”
Originally, Run to the Roar! was to be the last in this series. However, the Lord continues to draw me to His Word for more nuggets to share. Thus, we’ll continue with a couple more installments.
In the Gospels, Jesus often taught in parables, and if you have been to Israel, you can imagine the “props” He used! For example, in Matthew 6:25-34, He taught us to look to the finely clothed fields and well cared for birds to understand how He provides and cares for us! Looking out over the fields where Jesus taught, and hearing the birds chirping contentedly, puts you into the story. Jesus was great at that! So notice, in passages below, how Jesus uses things His audience sees and knows to tell them something they cannot see!
There are multiple reasons Jesus taught in parables, but one reason was to help His followers understand things that are not seen, by considering the things they could see. In light of what we are experiencing today, let’s apply the same principle.
Jesus told us in John 14:1-3 that He left earth (following His resurrection) to go to His Father’s house to prepare a place for us. At the Father’s command, He will come again for us so that we will be together with Him forever! That is GREAT news for as believers! We know how this thing plays out! Put that truth in the forefront of your brain today!
But when will He return?
The Bible clearly tells us that no one but the Father (not even the Son) knows the day and hour Jesus will come to snatch us out of here to meet Him in the clouds. (Matthew 24:36, Mark 13:32) If anyone tells you he/she knows the day Jesus will return, they are lying! Run from them!
However, twice in Scripture (once to His followers and once to the religious leaders), Jesus rebuked those who could discern the weather by looking at the sky, but could not discern the times and seasons in which they lived. (Matthew 16:1-3, Luke 12:54-56) Indeed, Jesus the Messiah was in their midst, yet they missed their appointed time! (Matthew 23:37-38)
That was at Jesus’s first coming. Are we missing the signs of His Second Coming? Though we will not know the day and hour, we are to discern the time and season.
Let’s take a look at Matthew 24, where the disciples asked Jesus “when,” and He Himself answered regarding His Second Coming. (For full context, stop and read the chapter.) Verses 4-8 warn of wars and rumors of wars, pestilence, earthquakes, famine and such. Verse 8 references end time signs as birth pains.
Verses 15-28 describe perilous times, including the evil work of false christs and false prophets. That seems to indicate evil within the church, as wolves in sheep’s clothing lead their flocks astray. Many will be taken captive by false religious beliefs in the last days. (Hint: if your church is not consistently teaching straight from the Bible, run! Likewise, be incredibly leery of the “prophets” online and elsewhere. If even one of their prophecies don’t come true, they are false prophets! Stay clear of those people!)
But our key focus is verses 32-35, where Jesus uses a parable to reveal one of the most astounding prophecies ever. Throughout Scripture, the fig tree is symbolic of Israel’s nationalism, and this passage tells us that when the fig tree blooms, summer is near. In other words, when Israel was reborn as a nation in 1948, a new season began. Verse 33 explains that He (Jesus) is right at the door! Discern the season, my friend!
Jesus could not return prior to 1948 because the fig tree had to bloom first! The Jewish people who were dispersed all over the world due to the Holocaust have to be back in the land in order for Jesus to return there! Yet, now that the prophecy is fulfilled, He could come at any time! In fact, verse 34 says that this generation (alive at the time of Israel’s rebirth) shall not pass away until this takes place!
Friends, we do not know the day or hour, but we are living in the season…and the season is coming to a close. How do we know? Back up to verse 8. Jesus said that when all these things begin to take place, they are as birth pains!
When a woman goes into labor, the baby is coming! Sure, birth pains come and go, but they also intensify and come more frequently the closer the mother is to giving birth. It’s only a matter of time. Our world is in labor…and its not going to stop! May 14, 1948 was conception. Now, after 73 years, birth pains are growing, and we are reaching the end of the generation Jesus said would not pass away until those things occur. The appointed day is coming just as surely and quickly as a baby is birthed once birth pains reach their climax!
How close are we? Consider:
- Iran is feeling very emboldened now that the Trump administration (which has kept tight sanctions on the Iranians) is leaving office. Ezekiel 38 tells us very specifically that Persia (modern-day Iran) will join Russia, Turkey and others in an invasion of Israel. Isaiah 17:1 says that Damascus will fall. Is it any wonder that just a couple days ago the Israeli Air Force took take care of business by blowing up Iranian positions near Damascus! Is it any wonder that Russia is clamoring for oil and gas, which Israel has in gigantic proportions! Is it any wonder that President Erdogan of Turkey is so power hungry that he is willing to do anything to take over Israel and the rest of the Middle East! Birth pains! Some day soon Israel will be attacked…but the US has to be out of the picture. (Biden has already said he will rejoin the Iran nuclear deal…and Iran has already proposed that the US pay them BILLIONS in reparations for the economic mess they blame on the Trump administration.)
- The tribulation will be characterized by One World Religion and One World Government…or, as it is called today, a New World Order. (Revelation 13, 17, 18 describe it as “Mystery Babylon.”) No borders, socialist ideology, “free” everything (though the One World Government will control everything you do), no freedom of speech or religion, no rights, etc. What do we see today? Socialism in some countries, ripping their citizens to shreds. The European Union erasing borders and sharing the same currency. COVID restrictions conditioning the entire world to accept government control and ultimately the mark of the beast. The US is now drifting down the forbidden path, which will leave America unable to stand with Israel. Birth pains!
- America was the last great bastion of hope standing between freedom and the New World Order. The ultra-wealthy industrialists, media and high-tech giants have fought for years to break down the global seat of democracy, and now they have punched a very large hole in it. Has God’s hand of blessing and protection left America? Time will tell, but it certainly appears possible. (Hint: it HAS to be that way in order for prophecy to be fulfilled!)
- 2 Thessalonians 2 warns of lawlessness already at work in our world. It will culminate with the man of lawlessness, the Antichrist, who rises to “save the day.” Suddenly, what has happened in many places in the world already, is now happening in America. Riots in the streets and burning down cities is okay. Freedom of speech and religion are being attacked like never imagined. Vitriol in our halls of Congress are commonplace…there is no civility on either side of the aisle. One side thinks its okay to cheat in elections, the leader of the other side thinks its okay to spend years calling others belittling names and treating opposing leaders with disrespect. (Albeit, with great policy-making ability.) Firm, but principled has long been replaced by beat downs on both sides. Lawlessness, lovers of self, boasters, arrogant, slanderers, treacherous, reckless, traitors, without self control. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
Do you see it? Matthew 24:8 calls these birth pains. The season is nearing an end. Are you ready?
11 Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we first believed. 12 The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let’s rid ourselves of the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.~Romans 13:11-12
There is encouragement on the horizon, dear friends! Jesus is coming any day now! Come back tomorrow for our discussion about finishing the race! See you then!