Radioprogram, Panic About The Last Days, 13.10.2017
Announcer 01: Since the year 2.000, the world is constantly alarmed, “We’re in the last days!” And each year the media and the internet work more actively in this area. Every day TV channels and social media show and discuss hurricanes, earthquakes and wars on religious ground between nations around the world, that take thousands of lives.
What Europe saw during the last several years, - mass murders of civilian residents and explosions done by Islamic extremists, - seemed to cross all the boundaries.
And if you consider everything that takes place here in the United States, you can clearly see who stands behind it. One hurricane after another leaving so many victims; mass murders in strange circumstances; forest fires the causes of which still remain unknown… all this seems to lead to the thought that these are the last days. Even those who have not known the Bible before, study it to see what it says about these things.
Announcer 02: Today YouTube is full of information about the last days. There are some good materials, but also some very wrong and bad ones as well. And if one is not well aware of the Bible, it is very easy to be led astray by these materials.
Today people look for good pastors, leaders and teachers, who would explain to them what is going on. However, first of all each person must take care of themselves. It would be better to read the Bible yourself, to read the words of Jesus yourself, and God will speak to your heart. He will show you when to be cautious and when to be bold.
Announcer 01: Of course the Church of Christ is called to warn people and to tell them about the works of God. It is the Church that shall sound a trumpet about dangers or good things coming.
Today when you hear about the last days, all the events seem to perfectly correspond to the Bible. Those who speak about it think that they bring a good news to people, but in reality there is more fear and terror in their words than something good. In all this talk you can notice demonic fears, as afterwards you become sad, anxious, you procrastinate many important things and are just left confused. All you can think of is keeping your own purity and holiness; and life becomes uninteresting.
But if you follow the advice of Jesus in Matthew 24 and 25, you will see that now is the time to be active, to open Churches, to preach the Gospel among the Gentiles, to be creative by the Holy Spirit, to perform miracles and healings, to ask for the gifts of the Spirit, to go to missions and to give for the work of the Lord.
Announcer 02: In the last program, we promised to continue speaking about Matthew 24 and 25. We specifically study these chapters as they teach people about what conduct they shall have before the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Announcer 01: Before reading these passages, let us first review the words of Jesus about Israel and the Gentiles in the first part of Matthew 24. There is another chapter, Luke 21 that is very similar to Matthew 24. However, there are also some differences; in Matthew 24, Jesus spoke about the last days of Israel, and in Luke 21, He foretold the things that would happen after His ascension, namely the destruction of Israel, the days of vengeance, and the beginning of the period of the Gentiles. Jesus even mentioned things that would happen at the end of the 69 sevens.
Announcer 02: Let us explain it in more detail. In Matthew 24, verses 15 through 35, it is written about the last days of Israel, and in Luke 21, Jesus foretold the things that would happen after His ascension, as it is written in verses 8 through 24:
8 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.”
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.
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.
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.
This passage ends with “until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” All these events took place after the crucifixion of Jesus, and especially after the 70s of the I century. Israel was destroyed, Jerusalem was trampled down by the Gentiles. And even though Israel was reestablished as a state in 1948, it still has no peace and is trampled down by the Gentiles until this day. It has become one of the most popular place for tourists in the world and a battleground for Arabs and other nations. Jerusalem is divided into districts. It has become a religious apple of discord among Catholic Church, Orthodox Church, Gregorian Church, Judeans and Muslims. For the last 2.000 years, Jerusalem has been divided, sold and bought.
Announcer 01: And another important thing; remember that now we do not live in the times of the Jews, but of the Gentiles. Today many try to preach to the Jews; of course it is a blessed work, I do not deny it. However, we live in the times of the Gentiles, not the Jews. No matter how much you try to preach to the Jews now, their hearts are hardened and they will not hear, but their time will come as well. Today there are Messianic Churches and ministries, and may God bless them! But the Church is called to preach not to the Jews, but to the Gentiles. Yes, the times of the Jews will come, but that will happen later. We need to tell the coming generation about Israel, we must bless Israel and call peace upon Jerusalem, pray for them in our Churches, as this is a great blessing, and we must keep the coming generation aware of these things, as Jews are a people of the future.
Nevertheless, the objective of the Church is the Gentiles. Remember Paul’s words in Romans 11, verse 25, “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” There is a certain number of the Gentiles that are to be saved; however, we do not know that number, as Jesus says nothing about it.
Announcer 02: In Churches, people say that in Heaven we will be amazed at three things,
First, “How come I am here?”
Second, “How come that person is not here?”
And third, “How come this person is here?”
And only God knows when the total number of the Gentiles will be fulfilled. However, after the times of the Gentiles is over, God will again return to His people. Paul writes in Romans 9, verse 27, “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved.” Yes, the Lord will turn to His people.
Announcer 01: Yes, the 7 sevens and 62 sevens in Daniel 9 have already been fulfilled long since, and the times of saving and testifying to the Gentiles has started. However, when the times of the Gentiles are over, the Lord will again turn to Israel, and the fulfillment of the last seven will start for Israel.
This is written in Matthew 24, verse 14, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come”,
and also in Luke 21:24, “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.”
When the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled, we will have what is written from Matthew 24, verse 15; let us read through verse 27,
15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand),
16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house.
18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.
19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!
20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.
21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it.
24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
25 See, I have told you beforehand.
26 Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it.
27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
It turns out that there is more than 2.000 years between verse 14 and verse 15, and right now we are in this period! Now our conduct must be according to what Jesus describes in Matthew 24, verses 42 through 51,
42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.
43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.
44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season?
46 Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.
47 Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.
48 But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’
49 and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards,
50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of,
51 and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Jesus continues to speak on this subject in Matthew 25. Read it, dear listeners, and see how wonderfully our Lord Jesus describes the conduct that all those who love Him are required to have until His Second Victorious Coming.
Announcer 02: Those who have not been active in the Church or in God’s work in general, usually become very passive and fearful when they hear about the last days. So please read Matthew 25 to see how many proverbs the Lord uses to help those who read to understand this instead of being fearful.
Do you remember the parable of the Tem Virgins? Five of them did not consider the coming of the Messiah very seriously, but the other five were ready. In fact, we must not only fill our lamps with oil by our active service, but also have extra oil with us, that by the time the Bridegroom comes, we will not run out of it.
Those who are afraid once they hear about the last days, are like the foolish virgins who, instead of having enough oil with them, fell asleep, and when they woke up, they saw that they have run out of their oil and remained outside.
Announcer 01: No one is able to tell the time of the coming of Jesus; no secret organizations, no presidents or leaders or any top officials. All of them are mere mortals, and they simply can unknowingly do the will of the Lord. God is sovereign, and until this moment, He hasn’t loosened His control over this world and the mankind, and won’t ever do. All the power and authority in heaven and on earth belongs to Him, both under the sky and in the outer space. God has set a special time for the Gentiles, and we live in these days. Now is the time to plant Churches, to prepare ministers, to go to missions and to go into the nations with the Gospel. However, it is going to end.
Announcer 02: Of course this does not mean that those who have come to Christ from the Gentiles do not experience persecution; of course they do. We Christians must not be afraid of persecution, or fear and tremble at the thought of the trials that await us. When trials or persecutions come, Christians are going to have miracles and signs from the Lord, as well as prophecies, healings, and the list goes on.
Dear Christian, do not just focus on persecutions. Where is your expectation in faith? Why do you think He gave you His gifts and His Holy Spirit? Was it for peaceful times only? No, quite the opposite; they are our helpers in times of trials. Remember the conduct of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Remember how Peter came out of the prison, or how Paul escaped from Damascus with the help of his friends, in a basket.
And most importantly, the one who loves Jesus Christ will feel and see His presence in trials. Dear Christian, if you have ever felt His presence, you know that you want to feel and see it again. You cannot buy it with money, as it is priceless. Whoever feels His presence never again wants to return to the entertainment of this world. Your eyes are open and you start to see that life is not limited by this world with its joys and sorrows. That life is not only about your family, your country, your work and your dreams. There is something more powerful. We have read about this future and heard it preached, but have not given much thought to it.
There is another future; there is another resurrection that is beyond your imagination. There is the Lord and His lordship, there is a new life and Jesus Christ the King.
We come to understand that death is not a limitation or the end line, and disease is not the end of it. His presence will show you the coming joy, the real life which is prepared for you. It will show you how valued you are in the eternity, although it is possible that you have not been valued in this life even by your relatives. His presence will show you what a great value you possess even though it is possible that you have always been neglected by people.
You cannot compare the presence of Jesus Christ to any pleasure or entertainment of this life. When you see Jesus by your side, you have no more questions; everything falls into its place. You understand where you have come from, why you are here and where are you going. You understand how many lies and how much deception you have been through. At the same time, your heart is filled with outbursts of joy, with peace and serenity. God’s Word says, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free”.
Announcer 01: From the very beginning of the world, satan envied the Son of God and God’s creation. So after he fell and was expelled from heaven, he has been busy spreading lies, envy, pride and delusion. He has decided to create his kingdom on this earth; with his rebellious spirit, he deceived and deluded people and cunningly made them leave the presence of God. Until now, he is busy with his dirty schemes. And as much as his end is near, he is even more furious and wants as many victims as possible. He wants more blood and more revolt against the creation. He imitates God, but those who have the Spirit of the Lord can perfectly discern what is of God and what is of the devil.
The devil urges people to hurry, creates panic and lies in the hearts of men, sows fear and disappointment.
Dear Christian, do not become the victim of his lies! Discern everything by the Word of God. Quit fear and panic! Enough with thoughts of fear! Raise up, raise up, put on your spiritual armor and take the sword of the Spirit! The Spirit that is in you wants to fight and overcome! Remember that the Spirit inside you is a weapon, for it is written, “take the sword of the Spirit”. As long as it hangs on your side and is inactive, you will remain in fears and confusion; but when you take it out and fight, you will enjoy the fruit of your victory.
So dear Christian, remember that there are so many voices in this world. Different voices, confusing, false and lying voices; but there is a voice that you will know very well from many others. The voice that brings peace and rest, but also makes us alert. This voice always gently reminds you, “Trust Him”. Whatever happens, remember that Jesus is the Lord, He is your King, He is the Victor in all the circumstances. Do not be afraid! Do not be afraid! Do not be afraid! The Lord will open your eyes and you will see that He is able to save you from so many trials. Yes, the Lord saves those who trust Him. The Lord does not let those who trust Him be ashamed. Let us finish our program with Psalm 91.
1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
8 Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”