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Prophecies of the First ComingProphecies of the Second Coming
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The Link Between Prophecy and Evangelism

Today there is a major push to bring the gospel of salvation to the entire world, to all the language groups in the world.  By reading the documented accounts of the field work of the major international evangelistic organizations it becomes totally obvious that the Holy Spirit is behind and fueling this drive to promote the gospel of salvation in today's "modern" times. But support and funding of these excellent international evangelistic organizations is insufficient and sporadic at best.  Some Christian groups and denominations don't necessarily think this worldwide push of evangelism is Biblical, or necessary, while others do.  What did Jesus Christ have to say on this subject? It's time to take a hard look at what Jesus actually said and determine that what he said should govern our actions and beliefs in this important area.  First let's note that he said there would be a major push to promote the gospel of the kingdom to the entire world just before the end of this evil age and his 2nd coming.  Matthew 24:14, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."  What end?  Verse 15-16, "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:) Then let them which be in Judea flee unto the mountains."  To those who understand Bible prophecy, verse 15 of Matthew 24 marks the beginning of World War III, called the great tribulation in Bible language.  But in Jesus' own words, he said that there would be this huge push to promote the gospel of salvation around the world, and that when this was accomplished, then the end of this evil age would come, and ultimately, if you keep reading Matthew 24 through to verse 31, the 2nd coming of Jesus himself.  These are all Jesus Christ's own words, directly quoted and not taken out of context.  The very first commission Jesus gave to the 500 or so disciples (students) who had faithfully followed him, and by extension, all Christians from then on, is found in Matthew 28:18-20.  It's the only major job assignment Jesus gave Christians to perform until he comes again.  Let's read it.  Matthew 28:18-20, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.  Amen."   There are two parts to this assignment: 1) Preach, teach the gospel to all nations, and 2) obviously, to those who respond favorably, baptize them and teach them to observe all things, whatsoever Jesus had commanded them (and now recorded in Scripture).  This was spoken in similar time sequence to Acts 1:8-9, where Jesus said this, "But ye shall receive the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."  That is basically the only job assignment Jesus gave his disciples (disciples: archaic king James language for students), and by extension all Christians born of the Holy Spirit.  That job entails preaching the gospel of salvation, which is called in some places, the gospel of the kingdom--and to teach those who respond favorably (obviously one can't do much teaching to those who don't respond favorably, their minds are closed) the details of how to be a Christian or believer in Jesus.  This job can be broken down into two areas, one is promoting and preaching the gospel to everyone, and the other is nourishing and supporting the body of Christ--made up of those who respond favorably to the gospel message--believers, nourishing them in the Word of God.  Some Christians have been blessed with talents in the nourishment end of this assignment, while others are good at evangelism.  Let each of us use the talents God gave us in the area of this assignment where we best fit. 

            But now what is the connection between prophecy and evangelism?  As we have just seen in Matthew 24, Jesus predicted (prophecied) that there would be such a large push to promote the gospel of the kingdom just before the start of World War III, the tribulation, and that this gospel would go around the world and reach all nations and peoples.  Then right after that is accomplished the end of this evil age would come.   Also in Matthew 24 a great persecution of Christians takes place, which Jesus also predicted in Matthew 10, tied right to this "end time" push of the gospel message.  Could it be that this push of the gospel message is going to be so powerful and so extensive that it stirs up a hatred aimed at Christians?  It appears so.  But it hasn't happened yet, not in this country yet (the United States).  Why?  Because the gospel of the kingdom isn't going out to the world in sufficient power to cause this hatred and persecution of Christians on a worldwide scale that would include the United States.  Doesn't that tell us something?   Roughly a third of the Bible is prophecy, some already fulfilled, but a lot of prophecy is 2nd coming of the Messiah prophecy, yet to be fulfilled.  Then about a third of the Bible is historical in nature, and about a third is instructive in nature, showing how we ought to live spiritually, growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.  But prophecy does show that when this major push to evangelize the world is accomplished a lot of the world will reject the message.  If we are to believe Jesus, immediately following this worldwide dissemination of the gospel (and its rejection by the world), World War III starts.  In this war, God totally gives this world over to Satan for a 3.5 year span of time (Dispensational Pre-Millennialists believe it's a 7 year span--no matter, we'll see when it occurs {if we're still alive}).  But God's major lesson to mankind is this:  Look and see what you get when you reject God's invitation to a better way of life and Eternal Life at the end--you get destruction and annihilation.  Then when the world has had it's fill of destruction and annihilation, Jesus comes and stops the war, locks up Satan and the demons and brings salvation to all who are left alive.  The start of a whole new world without Satan begins and lasts for 1,000 years-a world where the knowledge of salvation and of God fills the earth as the seas cover the earth--salvation freely offered to everyone with no more blinding influence coming from Satan, everyone's eyes will be opened to the truth of God (cf. Revelation 19:1-21; 20:1-6; Zechariah 14:1-19; Isaiah 35:1-10; Isaiah 11:1-16; Ezekiel 36, whole chapter).  That's the connection between Evangelism and prophecy.  Both are part of God's lesson plan for mankind.   And as things get close to the beginning of verse 15 of Matthew 24, we as Christians must be about the job Jesus gave for us to accomplish, the job he said would be accomplished before the start of World War III, the tribulation.  So when you read these prophecies, understand, this is God's lesson plan for mankind.  And we Christians have been given a very important teaching job within that lesson plan of God to the world.  Ask yourself this, why did God leave Satan and the demons on this planet when he created mankind through Adam and Eve?  God is the ultimate teacher.  Jesus was called Rabbi, Teacher, by his students (disciples).  God is teaching the whole of mankind a lesson He doesn't want forgotten--not just what His way of life brings--but what Satan's way of life brings--death.  There's a positive and negative side to God's lesson plan.  Some like to avoid the teaching of all prophecy and stick entirely to teaching about Christianity.  They avoid some of the central lessons God has to teach about what happens when you follow Satan's way of life.  The whole gospel is a full-bodied message with a positive element and a negative element.  Even the apostle Paul in his thorough description of the gospel of Christ in the book of Romans points out the problem of mankind that the gospel is meant to address (cf. Romans 1).  And prophecy clearly shows the negative side of the lesson plan--if you ignore the gospel offer from God, destruction and annihilation will be the end result.  So we see that prophecy, the balanced teaching of it, is a vital part of God's lesson plan for mankind and Christians alike.  And as we see things getting close to the end, prophecy should make us want to redouble our efforts to support worldwide evangelism, and evangelism at all levels. Don't lose sight of the job God has given you to do as a Christian or Messianic believer in Yeshua.  If you wonder how you could do anything to support evangelism, that you're just not cut out for that--that's fine.  Your talents may be in the area of nourishing and support of other Christians and new-believers.  But you can always lend support to those who are doing the job in the international areas of evangelism, and doing it quite effectively.  The one thing that they do need is steady contributions. (And it doesn't have to be much.  A steady habit of giving is far more important to the international evangelistic organizations than the amount you can afford to give.)  And that is something we can all do.  This site has a whole section on evangelism, and the Mission Statement at the bottom of the Homepage shows some of the ways international evangelism can be supported (http://www.UNITYINCHRIST.COM/missionstatement.htm ).    You can make a difference in how many people are given an opportunity to chose life instead of death--eternal life!  God says that he places life and death before us, and commands us to chose life.  Deuteronomy 30:15, "See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil." That lesson is spelled out in prophecy and evangelism, when they are properly coupled together as they should be.

 

 

Prophecies of Jesus Christ's 2nd Coming.

Introduction

I am reproducing some introductory comments from John F. Walvoord's book "ARMAGEDDON, OIL and the MIDDLE EAST CRISIS" that are most appropriate for this study of prophecy.  Mr. Walvoord says, "The study of prophecy, however, has been plagued by two extremes.  The one extreme is to disregard prophecy or to interpret it in a non-literal sense.  About half of the prophecies in the Bible have been fulfilled.  The study of these demonstrates that when prophecy is fulfilled, it is fulfilled literally.  Brushing aside prophecies or doubting that they will be literally fulfilled is not supported by the pattern of fulfillment in the past.

          Another extreme, however, is to go beyond Scripture, taking what it says literally and then interpreting this in dramatic and contemporary style.  There is no scriptural ground for setting dates for the Lord's return or the end of the world.  The student of prophecy must be careful on the one hand, to observe carefully what God has revealed and, on the other hand, to recognize that the Bible does not answer every question.

          As students of the Bible observe proper interpretation principles, they are becoming increasingly aware of the remarkable correspondence between the obvious trend of world events and what the Bible predicted centuries ago.  People of all walks of life and of all religious faiths are asking the question--What does the future hold?

          Unlike the self-willed prophets of today, the prophets of the Bible did not peddle vague and general predictions that could be adjusted to any situation.  The prophecies recorded in the Bible are detailed and intricately interwoven.  Although interpretation of minor points may vary, the overall picture is frighteningly clear.  The Bible does not simply speak of a final destructive world war but of a whole series of carefully timed events on a doomsday calendar leading to Armageddon...[Armageddon] is the final act in a terrifying series of events that are very much related to today's headlines..."  So says Mr. Walvoord.  And considering recent headlines while I'm writing this down on the 12th of September 2001, I'd say we are getting a little closer to that final event.  This should be a great motivator for us Christians to want to evangelize to the world and our neighbors, showing them they can be a part of God's kingdom right now--that they don't have to wait for the Lord's arrival on earth.  For some of these events that lead to his glorious coming are so frightening and horrible that most of the population in this world may not survive to witness the Lord's arrival.  This should be a great motivator for us Christians, causing us to want to reach everyone with the Good News of Salvation, and yes, perhaps a strong warning of what's to come (wouldn't you want to be warned?).  Those that just died in the Twin Trade Towers were only a very tiny foretaste of what's to come.  And these are facts which you will come to understand as you read this study taken directly out of the Bible.  They aren't my words.  These prophecies reproduced here are God's Words.  This study is in three parts:

 

Part I: General Survey of Old Testament 2nd Coming Prophecies;

Part II: Daniel 2 & 7, Revelation 13 & 17;

Part III: Revelation 16 & 19, The Seven Last Plagues.

 

 

Prophecies of Jesus Christ's 2nd Coming

Introduction

I am reproducing some introductory comments from John F. Walvoord's book "ARMAGEDDON, OIL and the MIDDLE EAST CRISIS" that are most appropriate for this study of prophecy. Mr. Walvoord says, "The study of prophecy, however, has been plagued by two extremes. The one extreme is to disregard prophecy or to interpret it in a non-literal sense. About half of the prophecies in the Bible have been fulfilled. The study of these demonstrates that when prophecy is fulfilled, it is fulfilled literally. Brushing aside prophecies or doubting that they will be literally fulfilled is not supported by the pattern of fulfillment in the past.

Another extreme, however, is to go beyond Scripture, taking what it says literally and then interpreting this in dramatic and contemporary style. There is no scriptural ground for setting dates for the Lord's return or the end of the world. The student of prophecy must be careful on the one hand, to observe carefully what God has revealed and, on the other hand, to recognize that the Bible does not answer every question.

As students of the Bible observe proper interpretation principles, they are becoming increasingly aware of the remarkable correspondence between the obvious trend of world events and what the Bible predicted centuries ago. People of all walks of life and of all religious faiths are asking the question--What does the future hold?

Unlike the self-willed prophets of today, the prophets of the Bible did not peddle vague and general predictions that could be adjusted to any situation. The prophecies recorded in the Bible are detailed and intricately interwoven. Although interpretation of minor points may vary, the overall picture is frighteningly clear. The Bible does not simply speak of a final destructive world war but of a whole series of carefully timed events on a doomsday calendar leading to Armageddon...[Armageddon] is the final act in a terrifying series of events that are very much related to today's headlines..." So says Mr. Walvoord. And considering recent headlines while I'm writing this down on the 12th of September 2001, I'd say we are getting a little closer to that final event. This should be a great motivator for us Christians to want to evangelize to the world and our neighbors, showing them they can be a part of God's kingdom right now--that they don't have to wait for the Lord's arrival on earth. For some of these events that lead to his glorious coming are so frightening and horrible that most of the population in this world may not survive to witness the Lord's arrival. This should be a great motivator for us Christians, causing us to want to reach everyone with the Good News of Salvation, and yes, perhaps a strong warning of what's to come (wouldn't you want to be warned?). Those that just died in the Twin Trade Towers were only a very tiny foretaste of what's to come. And these are facts which you will come to understand as you read this study taken directly out of the Bible. They aren't my words. These prophecies reproduced here are God's Words. This study is in three parts:
Part I: General Survey of Old Testament 2nd Coming Prophecies;
Part II: Daniel 2 & 7, Revelation 13 & 17;
Part III: Revelation 16 & 19, The Seven Last Plagues.

 

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