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The Day of the Lord

Scripture: Isaiah 13:6, Revelation 13:7
What does the Bible say about Christ's coming and signs that let us know it is near? We are warned there will be false prophets, wars and rumors of wars, and more.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

The Bible describes the Day of the Lord, and by the way, that is the title for our message this evening. The Day of the Lord. I think you’ll probably find 30, 35 times where this phrase or something similar is used in the bible and it’s used to describe that last day of the world’s history when probation closes for planet Earth and Jesus comes to rescue his people.

He comes at a moment where it looks like they’re about to be annihilated, but at the last moment, the tables are totally turned and our enemies are destroyed and we are vindicated and rescued. It is the Great Rescue. It’s called the Day of the Lord.

As a matter of fact, I’d like to just read a few versus to you from the bible. If you have your bibles, turn with me to Isaiah 13 and I’m going to start reading with verse 6. This is one of the many passages in the prophets talking about the Day of the Lord. ‘Wail, for the Day of the Lord is at hand. It will come as destruction from the Almighty. Therefore, all hands will be limp. Every man’s heart will melt and they will be afraid. Pangs and sorrow will take hold of them. They will be in pain as a woman in childbirth.’ Don’t forget that, like labor pains. ‘They will be amazed at one another. Their faces will be like flames. Behold, the Day of the Lord comes, cruel, both with wrath and fierce anger to lay the land desolate. He will destroy its sinners from it.’

So what happens in the Day of the Lord? Who is destroyed? The righteous? The sinners. ‘For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light.’ Does that sound familiar? ‘The sun will be darkened in its going forth and the moon will not cause its light to shine.’

So this Day of the Lord is synonymous with the Second Coming of Jesus, the great deliverance of his people, but all the tribes of the earth, which is the majority of the world that will be lost, are mourning. But there’s no need for anyone to be lost. There’s no need for you to be lost. If you believe all things are possible and you’re hearing what you’re hearing tonight because Jesus wants you to be ready, He wants you to be saved. Amen.

Question No. 1 - What is the Day of the Lord? I’ve got a lot to say tonight, friends, about the return of Jesus. I’ve got another verse, Isaiah 2:12: ‘For the Day of the Lord and hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty, upon everything lifted up, and it shall be brought low.’ You see, at the end, there’s going to be a war. This Day of the Lord is also synonymous with the Battle of Armageddon. And this Battle of Armageddon is not a war between China and Russia and the U.S. and Iran or anything like that.

Finally the whole world is going to be polarized into two groups; those who believe in God and His word and are willing to stand on the rock of truth, and those follow the beast and his image and are following this man-made religion of traditions. When the world began, there were two brothers. They both claimed to worship the same god. They did it differently. One did it his way; he was not accepted by the Lord. One did it God’s way; he was accepted. And the one who did it the wrong way persecuted the one who did it the right way. That is going to be repeated in the last days.

‘Dragon was enraged with a woman, Revelation 12:17, ‘And he went to make war with the rest of her offspring who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus.’ This is God’s church in the last days. There will be an all-out war against those who stand for the truth. I hope you’re willing, friends, to stand on the rock of God’s word and not be afraid, because you will not stand alone. Jesus will stand with you.

Revelation 13:7, ‘It was granted him to make war with the saints.’ This is the last battle. It’s not a political war. It’s a spiritual war between those who worship God and follow His word and those who don’t.

Revelation 17: 13, 14, ‘These are of one mind and they will give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the lamb.’ So whenever anyone makes war with God’s children, they’re really making war with who? The lamb. Jesus said whoever touches you touches the apple of my eye. They’ll make war with the lamb and the lamb will overcome them.

Question No. 2 - What are some of the prophetic signs Jesus gives us counting down to the Day of the Lord? I’ve got a lot of things I’d like to share with you here on this subject. First let’s get the backdrop. In Matthew 24, Jesus was looking at the buildings of the temple with the disciples and he shocked them when He said, ‘Assuredly I say to you not one stone shall be left here upon another that shall not be thrown down.’ And they were stunned by this. This was their national treasure. It was going to be destroyed. What could this mean? It must be the end of the world.

‘And as He sat at the Mount of Olives the disciples came to Him privately…’ because this was such a national crisis, they didn’t want anyone to hear, ‘…and they said tell us, when will these things be? What will be the sign of thy coming and the end of the world?’ Better known as the Day of the Lord. Jesus and His discourse, and you’ll find this in Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, Luke 17, are the best compilations of Christ’s comments on the signs and the events preceding the Second Coming.

One of the first things He says in every case is, A, Beware of false Christs and false prophets. They come in wolves in sheep’s clothing. And I want to remind you we all know about the kooks out there that claim to be Jesus. I’m not as concerned about people like this that are deranged.

Have you ever met anybody that claimed to be Jesus? I did. It was pretty scary because I was living alone in the mountains in a cave and I’d go days without seeing anybody. And this was shortly after I had just accepted Jesus, reading my bible, just a baby Christian, and this fellow comes walking over this log into cave yard. I had my own yard. I wasn’t that primitive. He’s got shoulder-length kind of chestnut hair and blue-hazel eyes and olive skin, beard, medium build. And after he visits for a little while, I periodically met hikers up there that came by because the only way to go up the canyon was go by my cave, which was right on the creek.

And he said, ‘I’m Jesus Christ.’ And he wasn’t kidding. I say can you say that again another way? Is that what your parents named you? And he said, no, he was Jesus. And I was a little worried because I thought, oh, I’m up here in the mountains with a lunatic. And then I had another thought. I thought, well, if it is Him, I’ve got a lot of questions and I don’t want to hurt His feelings. It kind of scares you when someone says that. Like I said, I was a baby Christian.

So I said, ‘Okay, well, I’ve got a couple of questions for you, Jesus.’ I didn’t want to make him mad and he said that was his name. And I said I understand when you come we’re supposed to be caught up to meet you in the air and everybody’s going to see you. And he said well, that’s my general coming, but I’m coming specially for a few people. And as I talked to him, he knew his bible pretty well. And he stayed there, we had a couple of prolonged bible studies and I noticed that he ate all my food and didn’t do any work and Jesus wouldn’t do that. I finally had to evict Jesus from my cave.

So I’m not worried about those characters. I’m worried about people who look very popular, they look articulate, they look intelligent, they’re not deranged. There are a lot of false Christs who are not claiming to be Jesus. Jesus said many will come in my name. And they’re saying that Jesus is Christ, they’re coming in Christ’s name, but they are false prophets. Get it? A lot of preachers out there that are coming in the name of the Lord and they are false prophets. They are preaching peace when there is no peace because God’s people are not repenting. They’re hearing lots of positive reinforcement sermons. And what they really need to hear is repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. And if they do that, false prophets.

Another sign, wars and rumors of wars. Do we have that today? Yes, not only do we have war, we have rumors of war. Not only is there still tension with Iran and people are wondering if it’s going to turn nuclear and what’s going to happen there, the problems with North Korea and the nuclear talks with them.

Do you know there are warheads that are missing from the former Soviet Union? The Ukraine used to have 2,400. They can only account for 2,200. There are 200 nuclear warheads that cannot be accounted for. And when you consider the close relations the Ukraine has with the Middle East, that’s a little unnerving. That’s why I think Jesus needs to come soon. If he doesn’t, man will destroy himself.

Pollution, it’s not getting better. God says we’d be living in the last days, one of the signs that we’re in the last days, you can read about this in Revelation 11:18, ‘And that you should destroy those who are destroying the earth.’ Man was originally taken and placed in God’s garden to care for it, to be a steward of this planet. And I’m not an environmental kook, but I do think that you ought to take care of the world as well as you can. Amen.

And let’s face it, the world has a lot of pollution problems. The environment has been contaminated. The most dangerous pollutants man had 150 years ago was banana peels and coconut shells. It’s different today.

Matthew 24:22, ‘Except those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved.’ Again, an increase of natural disasters is one of the signs that Jesus gives. Do we see that? Yes, the storms and it seems like they’re gathering in intensity and some of the pundits are saying it’s the result of global warming. I’m not an expert in those areas, but I have seen what appears to be an increase in natural disasters. In the magazines, the news, the radios, some have even printed articles saying weather of biblical proportions. These are secular news agencies. A storm of biblical proportions they’re saying. I’m hearing that term floating around a lot and I think everyone agrees the tsunami a few years ago.

Luke 21:25, some wondered if this prophecy in Luke 21 was referring to that, ‘And there will be signs in the sun and moon and the stars and on the earth distress of nation with perplexity, the sea and waves roaring.’ I understand that there was another major earthquake in Indonesia two or three days ago, 8.4 on the Richter scale. Another tsunami, this was only ten feet high compared to the other that was 100 feet in places. ‘The sea and the wave roaring, men’s hearts failing them for fear and the expectations of those things that are coming upon the earth.’ Failing them for fear.

By the way, you know what terrorism is, it’s using fear as a weapon. Famines. And so we saw the sea and the waves roar, that certainly happened. Famines are still in the world today. Right now still Africa and other parts of the world, there’s a shortage of food and some statistics tell us -- well, let me first read the scripture to you. Matthew 24:7, ‘There will be famines, pestilence and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.’

About 10,000 per day starve to death, 3.5 million per year die of starvation or it should say also malnutrition. Even though part of the world is overfed, in a good part of the world, there are still people that are underfed. Jesus said this would be a problem. Part of what exacerbates that problem is the overpopulation. That is not getting better.

I remember when there were only three billion people in the world. In my short life, it’s doubled to over six billion. And you realize it took about the first 4,000 years of the world’s history to get one billion. My family went to China a few years and wow, flew around China a little bit and saw all those people and I couldn’t believe it. They’ve got like 1.3 billion people. We went to India again this last year, about a billion people. The planet is burgeoning under this load and the economies and industry are exploding. If Jesus doesn’t come soon, there won’t be anything to come for. ‘Except those days be short and no flesh would be saved,’ he has to come soon.

Pestilence. And we’ve heard about a variety of plagues, everything from aides, they’ve got it where the growth in North America is stabilized somewhat, but you go overseas, India, Indonesia, Africa, and you go to some countries where one out of six people has aides. That is mind-boggling for us. And they’re looking at the future of the orphanages and what this is going to do for the country economically and it really is a crisis. There are also new strains of various diseases that are showing resistance to antibiotics. Tuberculosis is making a comeback. You’ve probably heard about the avian flu and influenza, fears about a pandemic.

A little Amazing Fact I’ll throw in here. World War I, 1918, nine million people died in World War I, but most of the people that died in 1918, 25 million died from the influenza that year. Twenty-five million from a virus. Do you know how quickly that could happen again? It’ll look just like that. Earthquakes, I already touched on that.

As a matter of fact, I went to a website that anybody can go to, you can find out what the earthquakes were in the last 24 hours. It will even tell you what they are in other parts of the world as the day begins. They’ve got the tracking system all over the world in the National Earthquake Information Center. Boy, I tell you, things are really shaking in Indonesia. It seems like they’ve had about ten of them in the last three days. Major ones. Some of them 6. or more and I’m not even talking about the 8.4 one. They had an earthquake yesterday in California. Alaska shakes a lot. They had one in Kentucky and in a variety of other parts of the world. Our whole world is shaking right now.

Jesus said another sign of the last days would be violence that would increase. Do I need to bare that out very far? Not only is it all over the airwaves, people are entertained by violence. You don’t hear much about this. A lot is made of the news about the war in Iraq and I’m not going to go out on the political mine field of dealing with that issue, but I don’t know that most people are aware that if you combine New York, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., more people are dying in those cities everyday than the war from violence.

I’m not talking about natural causes, from violence, in our country, in just a few cities. And the way that they highlight and grandstand what’s happening in the defense of freedom in a foreign country, I think we lose touch with reality sometimes. Violence, we become so accustomed to it, in our own country.

One of the signs that excites me about the last days, Jesus said in Daniel 12 there’d be an increase in knowledge. Knowledge has always gradually increased, but not like in the last generation. This to me is one of the greatest signs that the Coming of Christ is eminent.

You read in Daniel 12:4, ‘But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book until the time of the end. Many will run to and fro,’ -- now, speaking about running to and fro, they say more people are traveling this year in spite of the problems with security and the airplanes and the airports and the frustrations. More people are traveling by air now to and fro than any other time in history.

I’m going to stop on this point about running to and fro. National Geographic 2006, in an article it says, ‘People are traveling far from home more now than ever before in human history.’ And then that verse in Daniel 12:4 goes on to say, ‘… and knowledge will increase.’ Not only is that telling people are going to travel, it’s saying they run to and fro and God’s word and knowledge increases, but just think about it.

Sitting here right now are people -- I won’t ask for a show of hands, but I can tell from some of the gray hair and shiny heads out there that there are people who remember when there was no radio, no television, not to mention computer, when people still used horses to get around and they lived on farms and if you wanted milk, you went to milk the cow and you didn’t go to 7-Eleven.

In one generation, we’ve gone nuclear, we’ve gone to space, look at the inventions in the last 100 years and try to imagine life without them. Automobile, airplane, subway, air-conditioning, plastic, frozen foods, electric clock, dial telephone, foam rubber, jet engine, hearing aid, nuclear bomb, television, cable TV, computer, I could go on and on, internet, moon flight, DNA decoded. And this is just a small sample of the exponential explosion of knowledge in the last days and it’s continuing to grow. That’s one of the signs.

One of the signs that excites me is global evangelization. Jesus said in Matthew 24:14, ‘And the gospel of His Kingdom will be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations and the end might come.’ Are you reading that? Then the end will come. He says the gospel is going to be preached and everybody will be converted. Did he say that? No, he didn’t say that. He for a witness, they’ll have an opportunity.

And it’s so exciting to think that even right now, this very moment as I’m speaking, that these images and the frequency is being picked up by the AV equipment here, it’s ricocheting off the satellites, being fed to satellites all over the planet. And with a delay of about half a second, it’s bouncing and re-bouncing each time all over the planet.

As I speak the gospel is going forth. And we’re getting email from South Africa, from Australia, from Europe and Scandinavia. The gospel is going around the world and I realize I’m just one of hundreds of people who are doing that. The gospel is going. Jesus said it’ll go and then the end will come. He wants everyone to have an opportunity and that’s happening now. And not just through satellite television, but through books, through the internet.

We actually got a response one time from someone who was studying our material at a station in Antarctica. All over the planet people can now access the studies. I can’t believe it, I go to Africa, I go to India, and I sometimes have to get Karen or send a message back to the office, I go to an internet café and there are folks in there that look like they’re carrying a bow and an arrow and they’re on the internet. It really is something to behold. It’s just all over the world.

Now, I’ve spent a little time giving you some of the quick signs of Jesus coming, but in this meeting, most Christians believe that Jesus is coming. Most Christians believe in the signs of the nearness of His coming, but we have been given a distinctively biblical message, which we believe also happens to be the foundational teachings of the Seventh Day Adventist movement.

There’s a lot of confusion in the world out there regarding how Jesus is coming and I’d like to take a moment and talk about that, because if you do not only understand something about how He’s coming, if Christ began telling us about His coming by saying beware of false Christs and false prophets, He’s telling us that there’s going to be a major deception in the last days that will fool most of the world regarding His coming. Satan is going to impersonate Christ’s coming. So one way can guard against being deceived in that way is to understand something about how he’s coming. If Jesus tell us, I will be coming through the white door and someone claiming to Christ comes through a purple door, you know something’s wrong, right?

So, first I’d like to take a moment and very quickly overview, but this is not new information, this is not Seventh Day Adventist theology that we have copyrighted, that we have a registered trademark on, this is traditional Protestant teaching about the sequence of how Jesus will come. But do you know what? It’s been lost in the last 50 years. It’s been eclipsed with fairy tales and now people have embraced the fairy tales.

Here’s a slide that quickly illustrates it. In the last days just prior to Christ’s coming, there’ll be a tribulation. It’ll be two sections. It’ll be a small time of trouble and then probation closes; big time of trouble, that’s when the plagues fall. There’ll be a death decree against God’s people, just like you had in the Book of Esther.

But at the moment when it looks like God’s people are going to be destroyed, the Lord comes to deliver us in the Day of the Lord, the wicked are destroyed by the brightness of His coming, we are caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Then we spend 1,000 years living and reigning with Christ in the mansions he’s prepared. Doesn’t that make sense? He says I go to prepare a place for you, He goes up, I’ll come receive you to myself, we’ll be caught up to meet him in the air. We go and live and reign with him in eternity and at the end of the 1,000 years a new Jerusalem descends back down to earth. The meek inherit the earth, God punishes the wicked. There’s the final judgment, He creates a new heaven and a new earth.

I’m giving you a very quick overview of those things. But especially in recent years, a scenario that used to be the exception has now become prevalent because people do not study for themselves and folks want to believe whatever is sensational and popular. This whole left-behind scenario that has been made so popular by a series of books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins and made into a variety of movies has kind of taken the generic Christian church by storm.

Because people are not really studying biblical theology and chronology eschatology in depth, they’re not digging deep and putting their roots down on the rock, they’re being caught up in these fantasies.

It’s interesting that in Tim LaHaye’s book, the author of the Left Behind series, in No Fear of the Storm, page 188, he actually says, ‘No single verse specific states Christ will come before the tribulation.’ That’s right, you know why? Because he’s teaching the wrong thing. Jesus comes after the tribulation. They believe, and this is their scenario, what I’m about to show you is what I believe is a false theory. I want to make that clear so people don’t copy this and say, oh, this is what Pastor Doug said. Just so you’ll understand why it’s important to recognize the differences.

The popular view of the Second Coming right now, this left-behind scenario, is that at any moment, it could happen right now, Jesus will rapture up those who are ready and, poof, we get glorified bodies, we’re caught away, but life continues to go on here on earth. Don’t miss that. They say, yep, He’s coming like a thief, He’s secretly going to catch everybody away, but life goes on here on earth for another seven years. That’s when the tribulation begins. Then at the end of that seven years, Jesus comes again, He comes back down to the earth for 1,000 years, the righteous reign over the wicked.

I’ve got a few problems with that. One problem is the bible makes it clear that when Jesus comes as a thief, life does not continue to go on here on earth. The other problem is I don’t know who in the world that is saved would want to reign over the wicked. And here you’ve got people who have eternal life and glorified bodies reigning over folks that presumably still grow old and die and are killing each other off. It is a very strange, convoluted theory.

These new interpretations and theories were formed originally to combat the Protestant Reformation. Listen carefully. If you catch this, it’ll make sense, it’ll gel. If you go back about 500 years ago and as the Protestant Reformers were reading the bible, 450 years ago, taking a stand for the truth, they realized there were a lot of things that were being taught by the mother church that were not biblical and many were identifying the mother church as the antichrist. And they were pouring out by the 1,000s and millions were converting to the Protestant faiths.

So they realized they needed to do something to hemorrhage the flow of people leaving the mother church. And I’m speaking principally what was then the Roman Catholic church. So they hired two Jesuit priests. They didn’t have to hire them, they were on the payroll. And they said, look, they’re pointing to Revelation, all these Protestants going all the way back to Wycliffe and Hus and Luther and I could go all through them and name them. They’re saying that we are the beast of Revelation, we need our interpretation of Revelation and Daniel to counter. We have no answer.

Now, the traditional view of Protestants was what we call the historicist view. They believe that Revelation and Daniel, they cover the history of the church at varying times. All the prophesy does not deal with just seven years of Christian history. It covers the whole journey. That’s the historicist view.

So they’ve got one gentleman, a Jesuit priest, Luis de Alcazar. He developed a theory known as Preterism. He believes that all of the prophesies of Revelation were fulfilled by the death of John or shortly thereafter. The first 100 years that Nero was the antichrist and he took it all and he put it in the past to divert the attention away from the church. Well, that wasn’t so popular. There are still people out there that believe that.

Some of you maybe have heard Hank Hanegraaff who has a bible answer program and he’s got a book and that’s something I guess he embraces. And then there was another gentleman by the name of Francisco Rivera. He developed a theory called futurism. He took the prophesies of Revelation and much of Daniel and he shunted it all into the future and he has it all happening in the last days.

Oh, by the way, here is a copy of the manuscript by Alcazar. Of course, you probably can’t read some of this, but he wrote a 900-page document on this. These two gentlemen were basically trying to divert the attention away from the real issue, the historicist view. It gives people the idea they can have a second chance.

Let me tell you why this is so dangerous. I’ve met people before who believe in the secret rapture theory. A husband, for instance, will say, well, dear, I know you’re going to church and you’re telling me one of these days that you’re just going to disappear. Have you heard folks say this before, planes are going to crash, cars are going to crash? And he said, you know, if you disappear, I might have to go through that seven years of tribulation, but then at least I’ve got seven years to get my act together.

And I’ve met a lot of people that think, well, I’m going to wait and see if this rapture thing really happens. And if it happens, well, I’m not looking forward to the tribulation, but at least I get another chance. And the devil has developed this false theory because he loves it. It makes people think, oh, I can just take it easy and wait and see if the rapture happens.

Now, I failed to give you the background. Francisco Rivera’s futurism theory, the secret rapture left behind theory, it really didn’t get too popular until someone from the Plymouth brethren embraced it, a pastor by the name of Darby. It became known as Darbyism. He was a Protestant, not a Catholic, and he was embracing Jesuit theology or Jesuit interpretation of prophesy.

Well, then it went from him to a man named Scofield. Have you ever heard of the Scofield Bible? He said that makes sense since the Protestants weren’t studying prophesy anymore. The church was pretty dead when Scofield wrote his bible. And he introduced the futuristic interpretation of prophesy into his Scofield notes. Now, Protestants were all reading the Catholic interpretation of prophesy.

And along comes Hal Lindsey. Does that name sound familiar? And back when his book, like Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth, the Late Great Planet Earth, they were very popular, and keep in mind, let me just remind you what was in those books, swept the church just like the Left Behind books, swept the church.

Let me tell you what it said. Israel was formed as a nation in 1948. If you go one generation from there, 40 years, you come to 1988. Since the tribulation has to happen seven years before the Second Coming, in 1988 the secret rapture will happen in 1981, Second Coming in 1988. He had the whole thing mapped out. Of course the book was written I think in the last 60s or 70s. None of it happened. None of it. No apology was ever issued, no retraction, no saying, you know, maybe I was wrong. But they just kept repackaging the secret rapture theory.

And what you’ve got then is after Jerry Jenkins and the others got to the Pentecostal church sort of embrace Scofield’s interpretation. And then it began to, along with other things from the Pentecostal churches, that began to infiltrate the mainline churches until now you’ve mainline churches, like Baptists and Methodists and Presbyterians that used to believe the same thing I’m teaching that have given it up in preference for the fairy tales.

The Protestant church now, if you ask them about the final events, they will recite to you Jesuit theology. You don’t find Spurgeon and Wesley and Whitefield and the great reformers believing this nonsense.

Pardon me, I don’t want to be derogatory or unkind, but I hate to see folks deceived and the devil is setting people up. The tribulation happens first. God does not save His church from tribulation. He saves it through tribulation.

Let me ask you, the seven last plagues are sort of a parallel for the ten plagues that fell on ancient Egypt, right? Were God’s people, the Israelites, in Egypt when the plagues fell? Yes, they were there when the plagues fell. Did He protect them during the plagues? I’m not worried about the plagues, not one bit. The only thing I worry about is will I be faithful. I’m not worried about the plagues. I know that if I’m God’s side, He’ll take care of us. He didn’t save them from the plagues, He saved them through the plagues.

Paul says it is through much tribulation we must enter the Kingdom of God. God did not save Noah from the flood. He saved them through the flood. He was right in the middle of it. He didn’t save Daniel from the lion’s den. He saved him through it. He saved Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego through the fiery furnace. He saved Joseph through his trials and Job through his trials.

This whole idea that God loves the church too much to allow during any heat he’s going to rapture her out before the tribulation comes, sounds entertaining and we all like candy, don’t we? That’s all it is. It’s cotton candy, it’s not biblical.

And by the way, remember what I’ve been telling you, whenever you’re in doubt about what to do, do what’s safe. My view is safer. Be ready for the tribulation. If we all get raptured and we miss it, I’ll apologize.

But if you’re thinking that you’re just going to relax and you don’t have anything to worry about and you’re not fortifying your faith and your mind with the word of God for this storm that’s coming, you’re the one who is going to get swept away because your house is not rooted on the rock. See what I’m saying?

We will be here. The tribulation is coming before Jesus comes because He comes to rescue us. He says the midnight of the world, the darkest hour, the church is going to shine the brightest when the world is the darkest. That’s what makes it so glorious.

1 Thessalonians 5:2, 3, ‘For you yourselves know perfectly that the Day of the Lord,’ -- remember, that’s our title, ‘… so comes as a thief in the night, for when they say peace and safety,’ -- this whole secret rapture scenario is all based on peace and safety, ‘… when they say peace and safety, then sudden destruction comes upon them as labor pains,’ -- do you remember, now Paul is quoting Isaiah, what I just read to you in Chapter 13, ‘… as labor pains upon a pregnant woman, they shall not escape.’

You know, sometimes when I talk about the signs that perceive the Second Coming of Jesus, people, oh, Pastor Doug, there’s always been famine, there’s always been war, there’s always been earthquakes. That’s no big deal. Well, you know, it’s something like when a woman is going to have a baby. This is the scenario the bible uses. And during her pregnancy, she might get a few kicks here and there and a couple of aches and pains, right?

Well, may I announce to you that our son, Daniel, just had a grandbaby about three weeks ago. I’m very happy to be a grandfather again. A little boy named Matthew Levy, named partly after our son. Very exciting. But you know, we’ve had a couple of false alarms. He calls, well, dad, we’re at the hospital. He calls back later, oh, we’re back home. Then he calls, well, we’re back at the hospital. Oh, we’re back home.

Have you ever been there and done that? You have these Braxton hicks contractions and they’re sort of just the warm-up act. But then as you get closer to the delivery time, pretty soon you have labor pains and what do you do? You tell the doctor, I’m having labor pains. He says, how apart are they? Oh, they’re 20 minutes apart. He says, call me when they’re five minutes apart, I’ve got to go golf. And the closer they get, the more intense they get. They come in quicker duration and more intensity, then you’ve got a baby.

What’s happening with the signs in the world today is they’re coming in more rapid succession and with greater intensity and God is telling us, wake up, it’s about to happen. It says He’s coming like a thief. I just read that to you in Thessalonians and here it is again in 2 Peter 3:10, ‘But the Day of the Lord will comes as a thief in the night.’

Stop right there, please. We’ll put that back up on the screen, but I want you to listen to me. A lot of preachers stop right there. Jesus is coming like a thief and we’re going to be caught up to meet him and those left behind -- they don’t read the whole verse. Let’s find out what happens when Jesus comes like a thief to those that are left behind. We’re talking about the Day of the Lord.

The Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night in which in that day -- here’s what happens -- in which the heavens pass away with a great noise, the elements will melt with fervent heat, both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.’ Does it sound like life goes on for another seven years after Jesus comes like a thief? Why does He say He’s coming like a thief? I used to be a thief and the whole idea was I didn’t announce in advance I was coming. I didn’t want them to know I was coming. I was coming for what was precious and it was to be a surprise. They knew after I came, I came.

And it’s not saying that He’s going to come secretly and leave. You read in the newspaper the next day, Jesus came. Reports are circulating, rumors abound. Someone’s going to call you on the phone and say, did you hear that? Jesus came. That’s not how it’s going to happen, friends. Everybody’s going to go.

Psalms 50:3, you tell me if it sounds like a secret to you reading the bible. ‘Our God shall come and shall not keep silent. It shall be very tempestuous round about him.’ Again, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, ‘For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with a voice of the archangel with the trumpet of God.’ It’s a trumpet, He’s going to shout. It’s the loudest thing in history.

Jeremiah 25:30, ‘The Lord shall roar from on high,’ -- and this is in the context of His coming, ‘…He will utter his voice from his holy habitation. He shall mightily roar upon his habitation. He will give a shout.’ All through the bible, it’s the noisiest event in the bible is the Second Coming of Jesus. Secret?

Question No. 3, wow, I’ve got 14 questions, I’d better get going. Will the Second Coming of Christ be visible to all men? Revelation 1:7, it says, ‘Behold He’s coming with the clouds and,’ -- how many? ‘… every eye is going to see him.’ And I get people asking me, Pastor Doug, how are people on the other side of the planet going to see him at the same time? It doesn’t say simultaneously. It means everybody alive in the world as he sweeps around the circuit of the earth and sort of vacuums up his saints, they’re all going to see him. The whole world is going to know when he comes. There’ll be lightening going all the way around the world.

Question No. 4 - Is Jesus coming alone quietly? Who will come with Jesus at the Second Coming and why? Matthew 25:31, ‘When the Son of Man shall come in His glory with all the holy angels with Him,’ -- how many? All the holy angels.

2 Thessalonians 1:7, ‘When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,’ -- He’s caught up in the clouds, clouds of angels received Him, He’s coming in clouds of angels, ‘… in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God.’

At the resurrection of Christ, it tells us about an angel, another place that says there are two angels, but there’s one angel that rolled away the stone, His brilliance terrified those Roman soldiers. They fell down like they were dead at the presence of one angel. What do you think it’s going to be like when Christ comes with all the angels. How many angels do you think there are? If you’ve all got a guardian angel and there’s six billion people, well, there you’ve got at least six billion. Can you imagine the heavens filled with glorious angels and Jesus coming on the right hand of the power of Almighty God the Father? Is that a secret?

Question No. 5 - What is the purpose for the Second Coming of Jesus and the Day of the Lord? John 14:3, He said, ‘And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again to receive you to myself. Now where I am you might be also.’ He wants us to be with Him. That’s what it’s all about. He loves us. He’s coming to rescue us. Revelation 22:12, ‘And behold I come and my reward is with me.’ He’s coming to give rewards. ‘According to every man as his work shall be.’

Question No. 6 - What will happen to the righteous people when Jesus comes the second time? The answer, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, we’ve looked at this verse. ‘For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of archangel and the trump of God and the dead in Christ will rise first.’ They’re caught up to meet him in the clouds as He comes. ‘Then, we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with Him in the clouds,’ -- This is what you might refer to as the rapture, but it’s not a secret rapture, you got that? ‘… to meet the Lord in the air,’ -- and they get glorified bodies. You read about that in 1 Corinthians 15:52, ‘The dead shall be raised incorruptible and we will be changed, for this corruptible will put on incorruption.’ The bodies that grow old and decompose. ‘And this mortal will put on immortality.’ That’ll be something, friends. That day when Jesus comes and all our loved ones are brought out of their graves.

Question No. 7 - What will happen to the wicked people when Jesus comes again? We don’t like to think about this, but the bible does tell us. ‘And then shall that wicked be revealed whom the Lord will consume with the spirit of His mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.’ These were some of those somber versus that we read talking about the Day of Lord.

And again, Revelation 6:15-17, ‘And the kings of the earth and the great men and the rich men and the chief captains and the mighty men and every bond man and every free man they said to the rocks and the mountains, fall on us and hide us from the face of Him that sits upon the throne for the great day of His wrath has come and who will be able to stand.’

Now there are two kinds of people when Jesus comes. His tribe, the ones who are ready and they will say lo, this is our God, we’ve waited for Him.’ But the majority of the tribes of the earth who have rejected Jesus will mourn and it will be a terrible and terrifying day for them.

Question No. 8 - How will Christ’s Second Coming affect the earth? Now, stay with me. There’s a point in all of these puzzle pieces I’m giving you. I want you to have the clear scenario. If you understand all these points, you’ll not be confused by the false left-behind scenarios of the Second Coming.

Revelation 16:18, ‘And there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great.’ Every island and mountain is moved out of its place by this earthquake. Talk about 8.4 on the Richter scale. They say the great earthquake there that hit the first time was 9. on the Richter scale. Picture, if you will, a 20. Earthquake on the Richter scale. That’s what it’s going to be like when Jesus comes.

Furthermore, it says in Revelation 16:21, ‘A great hail from heaven fell upon men, every hail stone about the weight of a talent.’ Now, sometimes we talk about the weather all the time. We talk about the weather when there isn’t any weather, right? Can you imagine someone elbowing you and saying did you see the hail yesterday? Yep, hail, 100-pound blocks. Did you catch that on the news? Is that a secret when that happens or is everybody going to know when you’ve got hail stones like that.

Question No. 9 - Does the bible give specific information regarding the nearness of Christ’s coming? Now, I’d like to emphasize, I’m not setting a day or an hour or a year for the Lord’s coming, but there are some broad strokes that we can give that help us know when the time is near.

I’d like to remind people about some basic facts. How many of you have heard of the 7,000 year theory? And by the way, this was something that was taught by Martin Luther. It’s in the spirit of prophesy, the idea of Satan ruling for 6,000 years. There’s a sequence here, it’s very simple. I’m just speaking in general terms. You read the bible chronologies and creations approximately 4,004 B.C. according to Bishop Usher’s chronology. He just added up the dates in the bible and it may not be accurate. I’m not trying to pinpoint the creation.

So from the time that Jesus created the world, about 4004 B.C. to the time of Abraham, you’ve got the age of the patriarchs, Adam, Enoch, Methuselah, Noah, 2,000 years. Abraham was born 2004 B.C., exactly 2,000 years later. For the next 2,000 years, from 2,004 B.C. until 4 B.C., you’ve got the age of the Jews. Then Jesus is born 4 B.C. Then you’ve got the age of spiritual Israel, or the church, for the last 2,000 years. Peter tells us a day with the Lord is as 1,000 years and 1,000 years as a day. 6,000 years God has been sowing the seed of the gospel.

It says in Revelation He’s the hardest and we live and reign with Him for 1,000 years Sabbath and we need to learn how to keep the Sabbath here now if we want to enjoy that 1,000 year Sabbath. Amen. All through the Jewish economy they had this pattern. They would have a Hebrew slave six years. At the end of six years, he went free.

The Great Jubilee is when Jesus comes and He liberates. For six years, Athaliah, the wicked queen, reigned over the land. At the end of six years, then the King was in the template of God. Where is our King Jesus now? In the temple of God. But at the end of her six years, as the Sabbath was about to begin, you read this in 2 Kings 11, ‘They blew the trumpets, they coordinated Joash, they killed the wicked queen and all who followed her. She represents Babylon, her daughters, and the people rejoiced. It happened after six years.

All through marching around the city, I could go through pattern after pattern. Moses stayed at the base of Mount Sinai for six days and after six days God called him up into the mountain. Jesus told the disciples, ‘Some of you who are standing here will not taste of death until you see the Kingdom of God come with power,’ -- Mark 9:1, ‘… after six days he took them up.’ I think we’re the generation living at that time and there He was glorified before Him and (inaudible) says that story is a miniature picture of the Second Coming. I don’t know what year that will be. Some of the chronologies are pretty loose. It might be a little later than exact. Do you know why? God is long suffering to us.

Furthermore, it seems like there’s a delay. When Moses delayed coming down the mountain, but then he came. Jesus said, ‘If that wicked servant says in his heart my Lord delays His coming,’ the ten virgins, why do they go to sleep? It seems like the bridegroom is delayed. You know that an apparent delay seems to be part of the program.

I believe right now we’re living in that time of apparent delay where the church is snoring and we need to wake up. Behold the bridegroom comes, friends. We need to get ready.

How may we know when we are in the last generation? 2 Peter 3:3, 4, ‘There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 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 age.’

1 Timothy 4:1, ‘In the latter time, some shall depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.’ And our people are so preoccupied now that even Christians reading Harry Potter think it’s got a lot of good lessons it can teach us about the battle between good and evil. That stuff is just filled. I sit on airplanes and sometimes I’m forced to watch this stuff. It’s just filled -- I don’t go to movies. I said I sit on airplanes and there it is on the monitor. It’s hard to hold a magazine up 16 hours. Now I feel guilty.

But I’ve seen enough. If you want to know what the movies are, you don’t have to go to a theater. Go to Taco Bell, it’ll be in the prizes, right? But it’s filled with spiritualism and yet Christians’ senses have been so neutralized by overexposure, they don’t even know what’s good and bad anymore. Spiritualism has permeated the church.

Question No. 11 - How should we respond to the nearness of the Day of the Lord in the Battle of Armageddon? How do we get ready for this? The answer, Luke 21:28, ‘Now when these things begin to happen look up and lift up your heads because your redemption is drawing near.’ That doesn’t mean you walk around like this until you get a crick in your neck. It means you live in an attitude of expectancy of the eminent Advent.

What makes a Seventh Day Adventist important in these last days is because we are calling the world to prepare to meet the bridegroom. But if Seventh Day Adventists are going to sleep, who’s going to give the shout? Our message is all about we believe in the eminent Advent of the Lord. Oh, but, Pastor Doug, no, we’ve been around now for 150 years and he’s not here yet. What’s the matter, is he late? No, he’s right on time. The bible said there’d be an apparent delay. And believe me, when he does come, most people will think it’s too soon. So we need to wake up to the truth that we are right there on the borders of eternity right now. I believe that this is the generation. I really do. I wouldn’t even buy green bananas if I were you. No, that’s going a little far.

Question No. 12 - How can I be certain I will not be deceived by Satan regarding the Second Coming of Christ? Matthew 24:26, Jesus said, ‘Wherefore if they say unto behold He’s in the desert, go not forth. He’s in secret chambers.’ Jesus is in secret and if suddenly someone says turn on the TV, Jesus just appeared in Jerusalem, I wouldn’t even turn it on, friends. You’d be hypnotized. ‘Go not forth.’

Jesus said in Matthew 24:27, ‘For as lightening comes out of the east and flashes to the west, even so shall the coming of the Son of man be.’ How do we avoid being deceived? Isaiah 8:20, ‘According to the law in the testimony. If they speak not according to this word, it’s because there’s no light in them.’ Friends, we’ve got to say this is where we stand. Amen. It’s going to go by the word of God. It doesn’t matter how popular or unpopular it is. Heaven and earth may pass away. His word does not pass away. It is the rock that we are to trust and build on.

Now notice what we’ve just considered about the Second Coming. It’s not a secret. His coming is literal, it’s personal, it’s visible, it’s audible, it’s physical, it’s vitalizing, it’s glorious, it’s climatic.

Furthermore, there will be environmental signs, astronomical signs, economic signs, religious signs, scientific signs, political signs, spiritual signs, social signs, moral signs, all those things are happening now. We are living in the day that should prepare for the Second Coming of the Lord.

What is it going to look like just before Jesus comes? It’s going to look a lot like today. Oh, but Pastor Doug, some things need to happen first. You’re right. And the final events are going to be so rapid, it’ll make your head spin. So if you think I’m going to wait until I see somebody say there’s something in the newspaper, then I’m going to take it seriously, friends, the best time to get ready for a test is not the day of the test. It’s before, right? If you want to get ready for a storm, you can’t wait until the lightening starts to crack. You’ve got to be ready now.

Question No. 13 - How can I be certain to be ready when Jesus comes? Jesus says in John 6:37, ‘He that comes to me I will in no wise cast out.’ That’s my appeal to you, friends, that you’ll come to him just like you are. John 1:12, ‘As many as received Him, to them He gave power to become the Sons of God.’ God wants to give you that power that you can be a new creature, that you can be ready for His coming.

You know, there’s been sort of a seductive, hypnotic, paralyzing influence that has been permeating the Christian church at large and it has infiltrated even God’s church. This dangerous idea that we can still love the world and be saved in our sins. You can come to Jesus with your sins, just like you are. Don’t ever doubt that. Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever your experience, if the Holy Spirit is speaking to you, you can come to Jesus right now. As many as receive Him, He will then give you power to be Sons of God.

Christianity is not just about the justification we receive when we come to Christ. It’s about then a sanctifying power that will transform you, give you a new mind. You become a new creature. He wants to fill you with that power where you walk with the Lord day by day and you live in the atmosphere of Heaven.

If you thought that you might die tomorrow, if you thought you might die in a week, how serious would you be about your relationship with Jesus today? How serious would you be about spiritual priorities? And by the way, I don’t want to make anyone nervous, but there is nobody here that knows which day is your last day, unless you’re planning suicide. So when is the best time to get ready? Right now. And you know what, when you do, you can live moment by moment in the power of the Lord with that peace of the Holy Spirit in your life.

Question No. 14 - Of what great danger does Christ solemnly warn regarding the Day of the Lord in the last days? Matthew 24, ‘No man knows the day or the hour, not even the angels of Heaven, but my Father only.’ Well, of course now Christ knows. But I’m setting a time. We don’t know. But we know we can get ready.

Matthew 24:44, ‘Therefore, be ye ready,’ live in a constant attitude of preparation. It’s not this idea of like filing your taxes the day before it’s due. You can’t prepare for Jesus like that. And why would you want to give them the leftovers of your life? Come to Him now. Give him your strength and your heart. Be ready now. There’s no reason that anybody cannot choose to say, Lord, I want to come to you now. I want today to be a different day from now for the rest of my life. There’s no reason you can’t be one of those people who will be part of that group that will be ready. Jesus wants you to be, that’s why you’re hearing these things right now. Would you like to decide to be ready?

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