Monday, April 6, 2015

Signs Surrounding the Return of the Lord (Part 2 of 2)

Nathan JonesMP3By

What are the 10 end times signs that mark the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista and I will look at the signs and conditions Jesus said would surround His Second Coming.

The Truth Will Set You Free

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Signs of False Teachers and Wars

Vic Batista: Jesus will one day rapture His Church up to Heaven, which is the first phase of His return. The second phase of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ happens at the end of the Tribulation seven plus years later. Let's now first talk a little bit about what will happen after the return of the Lord at the Rapture but before the Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation.

Nathan Jones: As we read about the signs of the end times that Jesus gave in Luke 21, we learn that they will come more frequently and more intensely the closer the world gets to the Lord's return. We are certainly living in a time when the signs of the end times are growing more frequent and intense. But, they really get ratcheted up during the Tribulation.

Let's start with the first sign that Jesus gave us. He said there would be a proliferation of false prophets, false teachers, and false religions. Actually, that's the number one most frequently mentioned end times sign in the Bible. During the Tribulation that sign will culminate into one particular false prophet, a man whom the Bible calls the False Prophet. He will be the PR man for the one world leader, the Antichrist, and he will force the entire world to worship the Antichrist.

When we talk about false prophets today, with 500 cults in the United States right now and 1,200 different religious organizations, there is a lot of confusing teachings. That's because there are lots of false teacher and false prophets. But, during the Tribulation, there will be only one false prophet.

The second sign that Jesus provides concerned wars. Wars would increase in frequency and intensity, along with the rumors of wars. We certainly live in a time when there are constant wars and constant rumors of wars being engaged in.

During the Tribulation, before Jesus' Second Coming, there will be global wars that will literally kill one-half of the world's population. We're talking about having seven billion people in today's numbers! That will be 3.5 billion people who will be killed in just the first year or two of the Tribulation due to the wars that the Antichrist will wage across the planet as he conquers it.

False teachers and wars — those are two of the most prolific of the end times signs right there.

Signs of Nature and Famine

We continue on to the third sign which is earthquakes. Earthquakes will increase in frequency and intensity the closer we got to Jesus' return. Certainly it has been well proven that earthquakes are increasing dramatically in our age. But, during the Tribulation we know that there is going to be some earthquakes, four in particular, that are just going to crush most of the earth. As a matter of fact, Revelation talks about all the mountains falling and the island drowning. The planet has some tremendous earthquakes heading our way.

The fourth sign is famine. There will be great famine throughout the world. There has been many famines during our age, but during the Tribulation because of all of the war and the food lines and the distribution being destroyed, many people will fall into starvation and many will die from hunger.

Vic Batista: On that note there in regards to famine, we are starting to see some effects already even in our own country. People don't want to recognize the situation that we are in, but I'd bet you have some astronomical numbers in terms of famines around the world.

Nathan Jones: Yes, I do. We are just starting to see trouble in the food lines here in the U.S. because of drought. This ministry definitely teaches that biblically the Lord continues to use drought as a way as a way to get people to pray. I remember a few years back when Atlanta had this terrible drought and the mayor said his people needed to pray to Jesus about getting rain. Many people just laughed at him. But, the mayor was right, as it often takes drought and starvation to get people to cry out to God and give up their pride.

There have certainly been many famines across the world. For instance, China in 1959 had the Great Chinese Famine. Some 43 million people died. In Russia in 1947 1.5 million people died. Growing up you might remember the famine in Ethiopia in 1984-85. Some 400,000 people starved to death. Right now there are many people starving to death in North Korea. And it continue on and on and on.

During the Tribulation, we're talking about millions if not potentially billions of people starving to death during that time. A horrific tragedy lies ahead.

Vic Batista: You made a good point in that sometimes certain things have to happen in order to get our attention, right? Tragedy gets us to pray. In my church I've been stressing lately that believers need to pray, and not just the dinner prayer when we're eating.

Nathan Jones: I like that term "dinner prayer." Yes, you're right, the dinner prayer is often the only prayer Christians make.

Vic Batista: It is through prayer that God wants to talk to us. He wants to communicate with us. He wants to have a relationship with us, but too often we just shove Him aside and only sort of call upon Him when everything is falling apart. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that because God is our loving Father, but I believe that prayer shouldn't just be because of catastrophes. We should get on our knees and call on the Lord at all times. God will use those tragedies because the Bible says that those He loves, He disciplines. In Hebrews, right, it says He chastises them.

Nathan Jones: That is so true, Pastor Vic. It's a shame that as humans we get so consumed by the minutia of life and daily living that we push God out. We forget that Jesus is life. The Bible says that Christ is life. He is the light of life and we need Him.

Sometimes God as a loving Father chastise us, or allows difficulties in life, so that we turn back to Him. I think that is why Jesus also gave the fifth sign — pestilence and plagues — as a major sign of the end times, because sometimes we have to be sick and on our backs before we turn to God and call out for Him to be our Savior. In sickness we often renew our right relationship with Him. That relationship isn't a master-slave relationship, rather it's a father-son relationship, or father-daughter relationship. God wants us to thrive in that relationship, but sometimes bad things have to come into our lives in order to get us to take that relationship seriously.

Vic Batista: Absolutely! Famines as you mentioned is a way to get people's attention. Here in the United States of America, droughts and certain diseases are a way for Christians in a sense to wakeup, because I do believe some of us are still sleeping and in slumber.

Nathan Jones: We can take our prosperity for granted. We forget that it is God that has given us that prosperity. Now, the news is filled with reports especially of the droughts in California. We know drought here in Texas as well because we are in the middle of a three-year drought. Our lakes look like ponds. It is awful!

Of course, drought effects the food supply and so food prices start climbing. We have a wonderful worldwide distribution network, and we are a major food supplier for the world, but our food supply is really getting hit hard. It hasn't hit us quiet yet, but in the next year or two we are going to see major reductions in food stock and supplies and major price increases. The Lord is trying to get our attention.

Vic Batista: Absolutely! Talking about drought, I live here in Florida. When we lose water everything turns brown here.

Nathan Jones: I don't know how you can lose water as you're right on the water.

Vic Batista: I know, it's amazingly odd, but as far as the rain and the lakes go, they can dry up very quickly even though we are so close to the water table. It's very interesting how brown it gets in Florida even though we are so close to the water. All we have left in the end is alligators!

Nathan Jones: I'm surprised. My grandmother used to live in Tampa and she said whenever they dug a grave they'd hit water. You guys must just be floating down there in Florida!

Vic Batista: It does seem that way, Nathan. But, as you mentioned, these droughts are part of these signs of the end times.

Signs of Fearful Events and Persecution

Vic Batista: What follows after the signs of drought?

Nathan Jones: The sixth sign in fearful events related to social and economic conditions. That could be stock market crashes, financial crisis, social upheavals and events like that. Those too will grow more frequent and more intense the closer we get to Jesus' return.

The seventh sign Jesus gave is great signs in the sky, such as astronomical and weather signs. We have certainly seen weather getting worse and worse just like Jesus said. Weather-related disasters have been statistically proven to be getting more frequent and more intense.

The eighth sign that Jesus gave us is that there would be a greater persecution of Christians. We're certainly seeing that around the world today as Islamic terrorists and armies like ISIS and Boko Haram are slaughtering the Christians en mass. In the West, even here a lot of persecutions of Christians are going on. Persecution Jesus said would increase.

Unfortunately, during the Tribulation, those who accept Jesus after the Rapture and get saved will be making a life or death decision. The Antichrist will kill anybody who proclaims their faith in Jesus Christ. The persecution of Christians will get worse and worse until the Tribulation when getting saved is equal to a death sentence worldwide.

The Super Sign

Next is what is called the Super Sign. The ninth sign concerns Jerusalem. The world's attention will be focused on who controls Jerusalem. There are end time prophecies about how the world's nations will surround Jerusalem in order to destroy Israel. The precursor was the Romans in 70 AD. Since 1967, Israel is in control of Jerusalem. Since that happened, we know that we are getting really close to the Lord's soon return. Jerusalem exists under Israeli hands which is a major, major prerequisite for a lot of the Tribulation judgments to happen.

Vic Batista: And that brings us to the last sign following the sign of Jerusalem. Clearly we have lived to see the Jews are returning back to their land. Their people are still flocking back into their land. That is what the prophets said was supposed to happen, right?

Nathan Jones: Yes, Isaiah and Zechariah foretold there'd be a second regathering of the Jews. They have been in exile since 722 and then 586 BC where they were sent to Babylon. Then later under Persian control they were allowed by Cyrus the Great to come back to the land of Israel. Then in 70 AD the Romans dispersed the Jews yet again. Today they are all heading back to Israel a second time.

About half the Jews of the world now live in Israel. That's a major, major sign that the Lord said would indicate that we are getting close to His return.

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ

Sign number ten is the actual return of Jesus Christ. The sign is unique to the three questions the Apostles asked Jesus in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. Jesus did not return before 70 AD. He will return at the Rapture but remain up in the clouds. The true return of Christ requires primarily when He sets foot on this earth once again. That will be the Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation.

There are minor signs surrounding the actual Second Coming. In Luke 21:25 it says: "There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. All the earth and nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man come in a cloud with great power and glory. And when these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

Vic Batista: Wow, hallelujah! That is amazing!

Nathan, thank you so much for sharing that good news with us. Could you wrap up that thought with a final message?

Nathan Jones: If you know that Jesus Chris is returning, and all the signs point to it, then I have to ask you this. Are you ready for the return of Jesus Christ? Give you heart to Jesus Christ today. Don't delay, for the signs of the end times prove that our time left here on this earth is short.

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