IT’S NOT THE END, IT’S JUST THE BEGINNING.
PROPHECY SEMINAR – LESSON 1
As we approach this subject, it is with excitement. For in the prophecies we will cover, it will become very clear that we are truly living in the last days of earth’s history. In our world today, we see two sides forming, The “doomdayers,” negative people who can talk only about God’s wrath and the end of the earth, and the “careless,” overly optimistic people who are not concerned about the times. Somewhere between the two, in a balanced way, God speaks to our hearts.
We have come to a time when reading the newspaper creates a troubled felling. The news on TV is shocking! As a nation we are becoming used to horror, terror, and bloodshed. Statistics tell us the United States is by far the most violent industrialized nation on the earth. The homicide rate among young American males is 20 times more than that of western Europe and 40 times the Japanese rate. Young males in Harlem, New York are less likely to survive to the age of 40 than are their counterparts in Bangladesh. God never intended for us to live this way in strain and stress! Over 40 billion aspirin are consumed in the United States alone each year as people try to deal with the headaches of life! Eighty-six thousand pounds of Marijuana are smoked each day in America and countless other drugs as people try to escape the reality of living in this world. Heart attacks, seldom heard of in the early 1900s, are now the number-one killer! As the Bible prophesied “Men’s hearts are failing them for fear!” Luke 21:26.
We have the continued threat of nuclear warfare. There are now 50,000 bombs that leave the material things alone, but kill all human life. We live in an age when men are perfecting ways to die!
We are also living in an age of moral madness. One in seven Americans has been sexually abused as a child and one in six Americans has been physically abused as a child. One third of married men and women confess that they’ve had at least one affair. One in five children now lose their virginity before the age of 13. And nine percent of American woman have been raped at least once.
History has taught us that no civilization can survive under these conditions, and we are fast approaching the end. Because of this awareness, we again see two sides forming. On the one side are Bible believing Christians. They are happy, optimistic and saying, “This is wonderful, all this has been predicted, prophecy is being fulfilled. It is not really the end, it’s just the beginning. Jesus is coming!” The other side scoffs at this. “I’ve heard that all my life! The world will end, Jesus will come, I’ll believe it when I see it.”
The Bible speaks of such people in 2 Peter 3:3-4, “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.“
I would like to suggest that the Bible is an intelligent book and it speaks to intelligent people. For any open mind there is good reason, undeniable truth, solid evidence and clear fact to verify the Bible is a book that can be trusted!
God bears long with His people. 2 Peter 3:9, The Lord is not slack concerning His promises, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but all should come to repentance.” The only solution to our world’s dilemma lies with God. The Prince of Peace stands at the door of men’s hearts while men vainly seek for peace. Soon God will say, “It is finished!” To our generation God has sent a warning message, but also a message of hope. John 14:1-3, “Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my fathers house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.“
This is the answer to our world’s problems! The blessed hope of Christ’s return! Christ will return and that alone will end all of earth’s problems. These verses are the theme of the Bible. First we see Christ as a sin-pardoning Savior, secondly as a risen Savior who is coming back! The blessed hope of the New Testament. Titus 2:13! The blessed hope of the Old Testament. Job 19:25-27!
Now you may say, “How do we know that He is coming and the world will end?” Is this true, or are Christians living in a dream world of unrealistic expectations?
In Matthew 24:3 the disciples had the same question, “And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world?” Jesus answered in verse 36, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels of heaven, but my father only.” We can’t set times and dates. However, Christ then answered His disciples in Matthew 24 and gave 20 clear signs, and prophecies that were to take place to let us know when it’s near. You will find to your amazement that nearly all of these signs have been fulfilled, many in the last few years. The Bible prophecies point to one great fact, Jesus is coming soon. Verse 32-33 illustrate this, “Now learn the parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see these things, know that it is near, even at the door.”
The reason Christ gave these signs is found in Luke 21:34-36, “And take heed to yourself, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting , and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Make sure it wont catch you by surprise. Most people will be totally unprepared, that’s why it’s so important to study and know the truth.
Through His Word God is drawing back the curtain to let His people see what’s coming. These signs will take place on a worldwide scale. Let’s look and see their fulfillment.
Signs In The Religious World
Matthew 24:5, 11, “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many, And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many.” There will be confusion in the religious world and a rise in false religions, false Christs, and false prophets. Today we see more of this than ever in our world’s history. Look now at verse 24, “For there shall arise false Christ’s, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they would deceive the very elect.” Then in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 we read another sign of a form of religion without power. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come…Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” Statistics prove these verses true. A radio commentator recently said, “One hundred and sixteen million churchgoers in the United States are more than ever before. We have more church members today than ever before in the history of America. This is an increase of 30 percent in the last ten years. But illegitimacy has increased 300 percent. Pornography has become a five billion dollar a year business. Venereal disease has increased 72 percent in one year. Our crime bill is billion of dollars a year and crime is increasing five times faster than our population. For every dollar spent on churches, we spend $20 on crime. Our nation now has five million alcoholics and three-and-a-half problem drinkers. You combine all of our churches, all of our synagogues, and all of our temples, and they are outnumbered by taverns by 213, 955! According to the Census Bureau of the United States Government, our nation now counts 555,560 thousand bartenders and 600,000 ministers of the gospel. Americans spend about 160 billion dollars legal gambling each year including lotteries but only give 82.5 billion to churches. A recent poll of Protestant clergymen, of whom 7,441 replied, were asked four questions): 1. Do you accept Jesus’ physical resurrection as a fact? Fifty-one percent of Methodist said, “No.” Thirty-five percent of United Presbyterian said, “No. Thirty percent of Episcopalians said, “No.” Thirty-three percent of American Baptist said, “No.” Thirteen percent of American Lutherans said, “No.” Seven percent of Missouri Synod Lutherans said, “No.” 2. Do you believe in the virgin birth of Jesus?S Sixty percent of Methodist said, “No.” Forty-four percent of United Presbyterian said, “No. Forty-nine percent of Episcopalians said, “No.” Thirty-four percent of American Baptist said, “No.” Nineteen percent of American Lutherans said, “No.” Five percent of Missouri Synod Lutherans said, “No.” 3. Do you believe in an evil demon power in the world today? Sixty-two percent of Methodist said, “No.” Thirty-seven percent of United Presbyterian said, “No. Forty-seven percent of Episcopalians said, “No.” Thirty-three percent of American Baptist said, “No.” Fourteen percent of American Lutherans said, “No.” Nine percent of Missouri Synod Lutherans said, “No.” 4. Do you believe that the Scriptures are the inspired and inerrant Word of God in faith, history, and secular matters? Eighty-seven percent of Methodist said, “No.” Ninety-five percent of United Presbyterian said, “No. Eighty-two percent of Episcopalians said, “No.” Sixty-seven percent of American Baptist said, “No.” Seventy-seven percent of American Lutherans said, “No.” Twenty-four percent of Missouri Synod Lutherans said, “No.” Truly we are living in the age of religion with no power as prophesied!
SIGNS IN THE GENERAL WORLD
Matthews 24:6-7, “And ye shall hear the wars and rumors of war: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” Jesus here turns from the religion world to prophecy about the political and natural world. We see around us war and stride. The world’s nations are in constant battle with no end in sight. TV and media daily show the horror of war all around us. America is spending billions of dollars each year on arms and defense, and we have now seen two world wars. The United Nations recently held 81 sessions in 18 months to resolve the problems of war and not just one single problem was settled. Never have these words of Jesus been so fulfilled as today. In fact, in just one decade America spent an excess of four trillion dollars on arms and defense! That’s enough money to house, clothe, and feed the entire world for one year! Since the end of World War Two there has been 112 major wars around the earth. New ones seem to begin every few weeks. The mass destruction has never before been witnessed in earth’s history. Now verse 7, “For nation shall rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” Famine is a fact. Bangladesh, a country the size of Florida, has over 100,000,000 people in it and no food. India has 638 million, 618 million are malnourished, and starving. Ninety percent of earth’s nations produce less food then it takes to feed themselves. Weekly we see on TV and in magazines, graphic pictures illustrating this prophecy.
“Earthquakes in different places.” Notice how these amazing statistics validate this prophecy!
Major earthquakes (over the scale of 7) since the ninth century.
9th century- one
10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th century – NONE!
16th century – one
17th century- NONE!
18th century- two
19th century – one
20th century :
1900-1975 – nine
1975-1978 – ten
So far in this century there has been four times more major earthquakes (over seven) than in the past 10 centuries combined!
If you take all the earthquakes in this century it is over 30,000, more than in the previous 5,000 years of history!
All in diverse places of the earth. From California, Guatemala, Alaska,Turkey, China, Russia, with increasing frequency we hear of another one somewhere on earth. Never has it been like this before in earth’s history.
Jesus went on to say in versus 37-39, “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day the Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away: so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” What does it mean, “they knew not?” They had the opportunity to know for 120 years! Yet so conditioned were these people by the signs of false Christs, war, earthquakes, pestilence, and famine are also all around us and we “know not?” Let’s be ready and know! Jesus said, “Like the days of Noah.” What was Noah’s day like? Genesis 6:5, 11, “And god saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” Noah’s day was characterized by violence, crime, and lawlessness. That’s exactly like our world today. Crime is climbing fast. in 1960 there were 3.400.000 major crimes committee in the Untied States each year. By 1974 it went up to 10 million! And today 60 percent of all Americans have been victims of major crime. Fifty-eight percent of those people have been victimized twice. Thirty thousand people a year commit suicide. Sixty percent steal things from work. Twenty-nine percent shoplift. Thirty-five percent have had a car stolen. And twenty seven percent have dealt drugs. Today it’s like Noah’s day in that only eight people were saved. It’s incredible that people seem determined to go to hell while salvation is free!
God says again in Luke 17:28, “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built.”
“As was in the day of Lot.” The principle sins of Lot’s cries, Sodom and Gomorrah were immorality, homosexuality, and lesbianism. Again we see the same in our world today. Almost one third of all married Americans (31 percent) have had or are now having an affair. Millions of Americans have AIDS. The majority of others see themselves as being at very high risk for AIDS. The majority of those people, both those who are certain and those who believe they are at high risk, are heterosexuals. Upon Sodom and Gomorrah God executed judgement. And God will not stand much longer for all this perversion. Our world needs to understand this. That which God says will never be right we change with pretty words and cliches.
God calls it “Sodomy,” we call it “homosexuality.””
God calls it “Drunkenness,” we call it, “alcoholism.”
God calls it “Perversion,” we call it “adult entertainment.”
God calls it an “Abomination,” we call it an “alternate lifestyle.”
When we see a world in gay marches and in talk shows flaunting their perversion and shaking the puny fists in God’s face, they do not realize they are fulfilling prophecy word for word.
It is fearful to see America, a nation build on God, a nation that puts “in God we trust” on every coin, now not only tolerating the sins of Sodom, but approving of it.
It’s time to let the world know God made them man and woman, husband and wide, Adam and Eve! Not Adam and Steve! It’s time to understand we are made in God’s image and God wants us to have happy homes, and wonderful marriages.
Next the Bible prophecies what the people will be like in the last days. Second Timothy 3:1-4, “This know also, that is int he last says perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, un-thankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those who are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” Let’s look at verse 2, “Disobedient to parents.” Paul said there would be a generation gap. Verse 3, “Truce-breakers.” One out of two marriages end in divorce. in 1918 the national average was one in every 33. Recently in Tulsa, Oklahoma, there were more divorce applications than marriage applications! Verse 4, “Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of god.” In the last days the theater would be full. The sports arenas are full. That’s why today you can get 150,000 people to pay 50$ to watch a football game in the rain or snow, and yet people think they are doing you a favor when they come to a heated building with padded chairs to hear the word of God for free! In the love of pleasure,Americans spend 36 billion dollars a year on alcohol! That’s over $1,000 per second all year! Thirty three gallons per person per year! Truly we have seen each of these prophecies fulfilled in our life time!
SIGNS IN THE SCIENTIFIC WORLD
The Bible covers it all! Daniel 12:4, “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.“ Recent statistics documented that in 70 years we have come farther in technical knowledge than in the previous 5000 years! I’m sure some of you can remember the first electricity or the first automobile? In your lifetime we now have computers, television, telecommunications, and airplanes. The Concord, in two hours, flies between America and Europe. The space shuttle now travels at 25,000 miles per hour. Today this Scripture has been fulfilled before our very eyes!
Signs of the time are fulfilled and Christ’s coming is near, even at the door. There are also many practical reasons Christ has to come. Let’s cover a few.
1. The vast store of nuclear bombs we have. Notice what the world-leading scientists who develop these bombs have to say. Sir Charles Snow said, “We know with the certainty of the statistical truth, if enough of these bombs are made, in enough countries, some will blow up through accident, folly, or madness.” Dr Harold Uray (developer of the atomic bomb) said, “A flaming end seems inevitable. Someday there will be at the head of the government someone seems crazy enough to use this bomb.”
2. The second problem Newsweek called ” The world’s Greatest Problem,” population explosion. It took 5000 years to get the first billion people on earth, it only took 100 years for the second billion, 35 years to get the third billion and only 15 years to get the fourth billion. At the current growth rate, by the year 2020 there will be estimated 16 billion people on earth! Earth is not big enough to sustain more than 7 billion and we will be there soon! Christ has to come!
3. Then there is the problem of famine. Scientists say it will be impossible to feed everyone by 2020. Millions today are going hungry.
4. Last we have the problem of pollution. Forty million people in Latin America can’t use their water due to pollution and it has to be shipped in daily. Our water in most major cities comes from sewer pipes, where, after careful treatment it is piped back into homes. We have acid rain, smog, oil spills, hazardous waste, and hundreds of other problems too great for man to take care of! But I am happy to tell you that Christ’s coming will take care of it all! This is the good news of Revelation. Let’s read it!
Solution to problem 1. Revelation 11:18, “And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great, and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.” You don’t have to worry about nuclear annihilation! Christ will come when they have potential to destroy the earth, and he will settle it!
Solution to problem 2. You don’t have to worry about population explosion. Revelation 21:16, ” And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.” The Holy City where Jesus has a mansion prepared for you is approximately 375 miles square! And there will be no jails, theaters, funeral homes, or hospitals. There will be plenty of room for all!”
Solution to problem 3 and 4. You don’t have to worry about food and famine. Revelation 7:16-17, “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feel them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all the tears from their eyes.” There will never be an end of food and water. God’s coming will take care of it all. And today is the time to decide you’re going to spend eternity with God.
It works like this. God is for you. He loves you unconditionally. He wants you to have an abundant life here, and eternal life in the hereafter. He wants to give you peace, joy, purpose, and a bright future. God casts his vote for you. Then there’s Satan. He hates you. HE wants to destroy your life, your health, and your mind here on earth, and destroy you permanently in hell at the end. He wants to give you guilt, unhappiness, hopelessness, and no future. Satan casts his vote against you.
That’s one against one, a tie. Then you cast a vote for one or the other. Your vote breaks the tie. Choose wisely.
When Jesus says, “It’s done,” He will throw aside his priestly robes and put on the royal garments of King of Kings, and come again. There will be two groups on earth, on in Revelation 6:14-16, ” And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their place. And the kings of earth,. and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.” Let’s not be in that group!
Noah’s generation didn’t think it would happen. Sodom didn’t think it would happen. And now our world doesn’t think it will happen. But it’s coming! Those that are wise will be aware of the signs and prophecies. They will be ready. I invite you to make a decision today to be ready for Jesus to come. Lift up your heads for redemption draweth nigh!