Light for the Last Days

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I am going to read from the passage where Jesus speaks about his Second Coming in Luke 21 and, as you probably gather, I believe we are living in the end times. I believe that the church at large needs to look at the prophecies of the Bible and to begin to interpret them not as some sort of vague prophecies but as literal events which will take place before the coming of Jesus Christ.

If you do so, then, you’re going to have an anchor for your soul and a hope in the midst of the storm that’s coming on the earth. Those who don’t do so are going to be blown this way and that by every wind of doctrine, every teaching which will be contrary to the Word of God and ultimately through the propaganda coming from the world system which is going to drive them towards the world’s final ‘bad man’, the Antichrist, who will come before the Second Coming of Jesus.

That’s why it’s important that we listen to what God says in his Word. So, listen to what Jesus said about his Second Coming. I’m reading from the Olivet Discourse, from Luke 21. You’ll find this passage also in parallel passages in Matthew 24 and Mark 13. But let’s read it from Luke‘s account in Luke 21 verse 7.

So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?” And He said: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not go after them. 9 But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.”

Luke 21.7-9

Luke 21 is one of many passages which tell us what’s going to happen before Jesus returns begins by speaking about what we might call ‘the beginning of the times of sorrows time’.

Jesus speaks about nation coming against nation, kingdom against kingdom, earthquakes, famines, pestilences all those things which I believe are part of the beginning process leading up to the time the final time of the Great Tribulation.

10 Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. 

Luke 21.10-11

In many ways, we could say that we are in that time now. We’re seeing these things beginning to come to pass, also accompanied by persecution of Christians in many parts of the world, something which is happening right now.

We see Christians facing persecution in China and Muslim countries all over the world, as well as increasing persecution and opposition to Christianity even in the Western world which could lead up to persecution here as well. We see this as another sign of the Second Coming of Jesus, something which causes us to be alarmed.

But Jesus says: ‘don’t be alarmed because I’m with you, I’m going to give you a Word, I’m going to keep you, and I’m going to keep you until the time that I will take you to be with Myself’.

12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. 13 But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. 14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head shall be lost. 19 By your patience possess your souls.

Luke 21.12-19

Matthew’s Gospel speaks about false prophets and cross teachers being a feature of this time. So, you see people being led astray by false teachings, some of them coming in the name of Christianity, in fact, with many of them in the nominal church also. Therefore, we have to be discerning to know what the truth is and keep our faith based on the Word of God and the Words which Jesus has given to us.

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?”

Matthew 7.15-16

Jesus also implies here a crisis in the Middle East. Now, that passage on Israel and the dispersion of the Jewish people in Jerusalem applies to the whole of the era, from the year 70 right through to the modern times. So, it deals with the fall of the Jerusalem 40 years after Jesus came but it also has a bearing upon our time when Jerusalem is going to be in the frame as the centre of world attention and the scene of the last battle before Jesus returns.

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.

Luke 21.20-24

The Bible is very clear that one of the major signs of the Second Coming of Jesus will be the return of the Jews to the land of Israel with a crisis in the Middle East following that. A crisis which will engage all nations and lead to the final battle over the status of Jerusalem.

Now, this is a theme not just here but also in much of the Old Testament prophets particularly Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Zechariah speaking about a return of the Jewish people from the north, south, east, and west, from the ends of the earth, making the desolate land fertile, rebuilding ancient cities, and also, more particularly, taking control of Jerusalem which would then be the burdensome stone burdening all nations: the subject of world attention.

And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.

Zechariah 12.3

Psalm 102 says:

For the Lord shall build up Zion; He shall appear in His glory.

Psalm 102.16

A sign of the coming of Jesus, the coming of the Lord is going to be the restoration of Israel and the restoration of Jerusalem.

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.

Luke 21.25-26

And the climax of this process will be the physical return of Jesus Christ Yeshua haMashiach to Jerusalem to set up His throne and rule in His government for a thousand years as King of the Jews, King of Israel, and King of the world, as the nations of the world become the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ at the end of this process.

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.”

Luke 21.27-28

That’s the end game.

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.”

Luke 21.29-36

Tony Pearce