Last-Day Events

Scripture: Matthew 23:12, Exodus 19:5-6, John 12:20-26
Date: 06/11/2016 
Lesson: 11
"At a time of so much turmoil and uncertainty in our world about the future, how can we learn to draw personal strength and hope from the promise of the Second Coming?"
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Good morning, friends, and welcome again to our very special Bible study called Sabbath School Study Hour. Coming to you here from the Granite Bay seventh-day adventist church. I'd like to welcome those who are joining us across the country and around the world. Thank you for being a part, once again, of our Bible study time together. Also, a very warm welcome to the members here at the Granite Bay church on somewhat of a chilly March - no, where are we? - May morning.

We had a little rain, which is a good thing. Today we're going to be studying lesson #11 in our study called last-day events. We've been going through our lesson quarterly dealing with the book of Matthew and for our friends who are joining us, if you don't have a copy of today's lesson, you can go to the website - just and you can download today's study guide and you can follow along with us. We also have a free offer; it is one of the Amazing Facts study guides called ultimate deliverance. That's our free offer for today so those of you who are viewing the program, if you'd like to receive this, give us a call on our resource phone number, that's 866-788-3966.

Again, that's 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer #105 and we'll be happy to send this to you. For our friends watching internationally, just go to the Amazing Facts website and you can actually download a copy of our free resource, the ultimate deliverance. Well, before we get to our study this morning, let's spend a few moments in lifting up our voices in praise. And we'd like to invite the choristers to come forward as they lead us in song. Thank you, Pastor Ross.

This is one of our favorite times of the program - is to sing with you, our extended family from around the world. So I invite you to pull out your hymnals. Hymn #250 - o for a thousand tongues to sing. O for a thousand tongues to sing my great redeemer's praise. The glories of my God and king, the triumphs of his grace! My gracious master and my God, assist me to proclaim to spread thro' all the earth abroad the honors of thy name.

Jesus! The name that charms our fears, that bids our sorrows cease, 'tis music in the sinner's ears, 'tis life, and health, and peace. He breaks the power of canceled sin, he sets the prisoner free; his blood can make the foulest clean; his blood availed for me. He speaks, and listening to his voice, new life the dead receive; the mournful, broken hearts rejoice; the humble poor, believe. Hear him, ye deaf, his praise, ye dumb, your loosened tongues employ; ye blind, behold your Savior come; and leap, ye lame, for joy. Right in the heart of that song, verse #4, it says, "he breaks the power of canceled sin, he sets the prisoner free;" - I don't know, but some days I feel like a prisoner many times over and I am so grateful for a Savior that has set me free and that gives me hope that there is something more than just the here and now, amen? And because we love him and we love to sing praises about him, we're going to turn to hymn #251 - the very next one - he lives.

And he gives us hope. We're going to sing all three verses of he lives. I serve a risen Savior, he's in the world today; I know that he is living, whatever men may say; I see his hand of mercy, I hear his voice of cheer and just the time I need him he's always near. He lives, he lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way. He lives, he lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know he lives? He lives within my heart.

In all the world around me I see his loving care, and tho' my heart grows weary I never will despair, I know that he is leading thru all the stormy blast, the day of his appearing will come at last. He lives, he lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way. He lives, he lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know he lives? He lives within my heart. Rejoice, rejoice, o Christian, lift up your voice and sing. Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King! The hope of all who seek him, the help of all who find, none other is so loving, so good and kind.

He lives, he lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way. He lives, he lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know he lives? He lives within my heart. I don't know how you can possibly sing that hymn without smiling. At this time, Pastor Ross will come and lead us in prayer. I'd like to invite you to bow your heads for prayer.

Dear Father in Heaven, thank you for the privilege of being able to open up Your Word and study. And tonight - or today - again, we want to ask for your holy spirit to come and guide our hearts and our minds. Lord, these are important truths that we're going to be studying together - the words of Jesus - issues relating to the last days, so we ask for wisdom and guidance, in Jesus' Name, amen. Our lesson this morning is going to be brought to us by pastor doug. Good morning, friends, and you already heard mention that we do have a special offer talking about the second coming called the ultimate deliverance and anybody that asks for this (in North America) we'll sent it to you.

It's offer #105 - and call 866-788-3966 and we'll send that to you. I'm excited today because if ever there was a time Seventh-day Adventists could get excited about a Bible study, it would be the one about the advent, Matthew chapter 24 - the signs of his return. And we're going to be dealing with that today. We have several Scriptures we're going to be asking some folks to read. Hopefully you've got your Bibles with us - with you - and we've got a memory verse.

The memory verse is from Matthew :12 - 23:12 - and it's in the new king James version right there in your lesson. You ready? "And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Anyone here discovered that's true in your own life? Yeah, that is a principle that never seems to fail. Now, our assignment today, let's just make it simple because sometimes, as we're going through the book of Matthew, we struggle to make sure we get through it. We're supposed to study Matthew 23 and 24. There is a lot there.

I have seen evangelists take three nights to talk about Matthew 24 and so we'll do our best to read through it. Give you a little background, just to set up what's happening. You remember last week it talked about Jesus coming to Jerusalem during what they called 'the triumphal entry'. And then he got into the temple and he chased out the money changers and that caused no small degree of consternation among the scribes and the pharisees and the sadducees that were there. In Matthew 23, now, there is an ongoing debate - he's heard all the resistance and the challenges that have come from the scribes and the pharisees.

After he chased out the money changers they were already outraged. And then the children were saying, 'hosanna to The Son of David.' They said, 'tell them to be quiet.' Jesus said, 'well, even the very stones would cry out.' And then they began to challenge him on several fronts. And after this ongoing resistance, Jesus could stand it no longer. He then, basically, warns the listening crowd about the hypocrisy of the scribes and the pharisees. So, Matthew 23, let's dive right in here.

This is under the section blind guides. "Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples, saying: 'the scribes and the pharisees sit in Moses' seat.'" - What he meant by that is they've got the authority of leadership that Moses once had - "'therefore whatever they tell you to observe,'" - they're in a position of authority, respect that - "'that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments.

They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues,'" - you know, who was ever by the guest of honor at the head of the table, that was supposed to be an honorable position and when there was feast, they all jostled for those places and it became very obvious how they were fighting for the chief seats - they loved the best places and the - "'greetings in the'" - and by the way, before I leave the seats, you know, Jesus told a parable about when you go to a feast and there are seats of honor. He said, 'instead of going and fighting for the highest seat of honor, go to the lowest and maybe the host will come to you and say, 'oh, no, no. You don't sit down here at the low spot, you sit up here at this - we've got a reserved spot.' He says it's better that you're honored in front of others, not because you're clamoring for it. But how humiliating for you to be jostling for the chief seat and someone say, 'that's not for you. That's reserved for someone important.

You sit down here.' - And they loved the "'greetings in the Marketplaces, and to be called by men, 'rabbi, rabbi.''" - Or ph.d. - Doctor - congressman - senator - just to have this - these titles of honor - "'but you, do not be called 'rabbi'; for one is your teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for one is your father, he who is in heaven.'" - Now, when they said this, first of all, do we have cases in the world today where people call religious leaders 'father'? Is Jesus pretty clear? You're not supposed to do that. Why did they do it? Well, can you think of an old testament time where they called the religious leader father? Father Abraham - that's true, there are places that that is true. They called Abraham their father but, I mean, did they call - did people call Abraham their father while Abraham was alive? When - when Elijah went to heaven, what did Elisha say? 'My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof.

' Well, that wasn't so bad because Elijah had sort of adopted Elisha, but when Elisha died, what did the King of Israel say? 'My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof.' They began to call the religious leaders and the prophets father. Now God never really told them to do this. And they all loved to be called spiritual father and he said, 'look, you've got one Father in Heaven.' So there's a pretty clear Bible mandate not to do this. But it's done a lot in the world today, isn't it? - "'And do not be called teachers; for one is your teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.

And whoever exalts himself will be humbled,'" - this is our memory verse - "'and he who humbles himself will be exalted.'" Now, why did it grieve the Lord so much that the church had fallen for so much external display? In a moment, someone's going to read for us Matthew chapter 6:1 - who will have that? Okay. I'm going to read to you Exodus 19 - and this is in your lesson - Exodus 19:5, "'now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to me above all people; for the earth is mine. And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words that you'll speak to the children of Israel." He wanted them to be a nation of Kings and priests, but the closest they got to fulfilling this goal was when, during the time of Solomon, when all the nations, like the queen of sheba, were coming to Jerusalem to find out about God - and all of the people when they met in the trade - because, you see, Jerusalem - God strategically put Israel on a land bridge between three continents - asia, europe, and africa all kind of intersected there - and so the trade from the world - they didn't all use aircraft back there. When you traveled, you went on foot or by camel or by donkey or by horse or whatever, but they would have to meet the people of Israel as they traveled through these continents. The people of Israel were to be a kingdom of priests that talked about jehovah.

And, especially during the time of Solomon, they saw how blessed the people were, how wise the King was, how clean the Kingdom was, how holy the people were, and they became a nation of priests. That was God's design. And all nations came to find out about the true God. Look how God had blessed them. And their laws - Moses said - they would say, 'what nation has laws like these just laws?' And everyone would be impressed.

Well, they'd fallen very far from that. Now they were occupied because of their unfaithfulness, by another nation, and all of the religion was about greed and pretense, and it broke the Lord's heart. This was not God's plan for them. We're going back to Matthew 23. Now he starts to get pretty serious.

Verse 13, "but woe to you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites!" - Not very nice. He's calling them names. Well, he had tears in his voice when he did it - "for you shut up the Kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in." By their hypocrisy they were blocking people. - "Woe to you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites!" - Now this would include the sadducees - "for you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.

" - What did he mean, 'you devour widows' houses'? They used their religious pretense to tell the widows, 'well, if you really want God, you know, to forgive your sins and to bless your children, you need to sign over your property to us.' And then they'd pray long prayers to look religious - to cover it. And he said you have greater condemnation because you're stealing under a religious pretense - "scribes and pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows' houses." - Verse 15 - "woe to you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte," - a proselyte is a convert to the Jewish faith - "and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves." - Because converts are often more enthusiastic than originals - "woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.' Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? And, 'whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.' Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?" Can you understand the - the absurdity of what was going on? They would make vows and they would swear and say, 'well, I swear by the altar.' 'Oh, that doesn't matter as much as if you swear by the gift on the altar.' That's kind of like when someone says, 'I make a promise' but you've got your fingers crossed behind your back. Any of you remember that? That means the promise doesn't count. Anyone remember that? Yeah. Or you'd say, 'I swear' - that doesn't count.

But if you swear on your mother's grave, then it's serious. You know? And that's why Jesus said, 'let your yea be yea and your nay be nay.' If you're a Christian, everything you say should be telling the truth. Now, is there anything wrong with taking an oath if you're in court? Our friends the jehovah's witnesses believe that these verses are a mandate against even taking any kind of a formal oath before you give testimony. That's not what this is talking about. Jesus is saying, in all of your communication your yes should be yes and your no should be no.

Alright, go ahead, read for us Matthew 6, verse 1. "Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in Heaven." So Christ, when he began his ministry, in the sermon on the mount, he talks about outward religion as opposed to inward religion. Now this is what he's decrying here in Matthew 23. He said you give to be seen of men, but if you give to be seen of men, the only reward you have is the glory of people being impressed.

You're not going to get a reward from heaven. If you pray to be seen - pray long prayers so people will think you're holy - I hope you enjoy the praise of men. That's all you get. Or you fast to be seen of men. If you're fasting so people with think you're holy and pious, well, the praise of men will be all that you get.

But if you're fasting because you want God's attention, you want God's praise, that's what really matters. And so, this is the same thing he was dealing with. He started at the beginning of his ministry to call out the scribes and the pharisees for their outward religion and the hypocrisy, and now, just before he's crucified he basically opens all his guns and - and why is he doing this in the temple publicly? Why is he publicly rebuking them? The people needed to hear that - it needed to be exposed. Is there a time for preachers to call out public sin? Even, maybe, within the church? Yeah, Paul says - yeah, especially there - so others will fear. And - did John the baptist do it? When the pharisees came to the baptism, what did he say? 'Brood of vipers.

Who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?' You think that that got him any special favors? He wanted to be faithful to God. "Woe you blind guides" - and he's going back to swearing. You go to verse 20, "...he who swears by the altar, swears by it and all things on it. He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by him who dwells in it. And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by him who sits on it.

" - He's saying, you know, you can't say one counts and the other doesn't - "woe to you scribes and pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone." - Be faithful in your tithe, but don't neglect the other, the other being what? The weightier matters of "justice and mercy and faith." Verse 24, "blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!" You ever heard of being penny wise and dollar foolish? Now, technically, gnats are unclean bugs. You're not supposed to eat gnat salad. That's unclean. If you're running - any of you ever admit that you were running along one day with your mouth open and a gnat flew in? You began to choke and cough and finally realized it would be easier to swallow it? And you - it, you know, probably didn't thrill you, but you survived.

Well, they were so afraid that they would have a gnat in the water that they had cheesecloth - they'd put it over things and they would strain their water and make sure lest a little gnat got in there, but they ate camel steak. They said, 'oh well, you know, I know that it's technically unclean and they chew the cud but they don't - they've got a paw - they don't have a hoof, but oh well.' And so he said, 'you're hypocrites. You strain out a gnat and you eat camel.' They might not do it publicly. Do you mind if I get on you just a little bit? It always strikes me as a little bit hypocritical - now I'm a vegetarian - I'm a vegan vegetarian - I'm not boasting in that, but when you see people brag about being vegetarian eating banana splits. You eat - you know, you eat of ton of sugar and you say, 'oh, I don't eat any meat.

' Now, I think you should be a vegetarian - I think you'd be a lot healthier, but you ought to do the other as well and make sure that among those things that are clean, you're not being excessive in any area. If you're going to be health conscious, be health conscious, right? Straining a gnat and swallowing a camel. "Woe to you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence." - What does that mean? It means part of the cup that people see they want clean. But the part that's on the inside, that people don't see, they say, 'oh, well that doesn't matter.' You know, when I travel sometimes, I don't like to iron. Karen is nice enough to iron my clothes before I leave and then I just have to touch them up when I get there.

They usually have an iron. Now, are there any men out there that would admit that when you iron your shirt you just iron this part? Because that's the only part that shows. Come on, anyone done that? Let me see - hold them up there - okay. The part that shows - and then the back's all wrinkled - it looks like it's been ironed by a blender, you know? All crunched up - it's been in your bag for weeks but this is all nice and straight. If you ever take your jacket off, it doesn't look good.

That's like cleaning the outside of the cup. And so Jesus is talking about even the part that no one sees should be clean. When michelangelo, at least this is the legend I've heard, when he was painting the ceiling of the sistine chapel, that masterpiece and he was putting little stamens on the flowers that were up there around adam and eve and someone said, 'what are you painting?' And he said, 'I'm painting the petals on the flowers.' 'Nobody can see that from down here.' He said, 'I can see it. God can see it.' And so he was very faithful in the detail remembering that this was for the Lord and God sees. And just, you know, Paul talked about this kind of religion in 2 Timothy 3, verse 1, "but know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving," - a lot of 'uns' there - "slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God," - now here's the part - the reason I read this whole verse - had to read the introduction.

Here's how he sums it up: "having a form of Godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!" So there'll be a lot of religious people - they've got a form of Godliness but there's corruption in their lives. And then he describes the loving of money - and this is what Jesus is talking about - devouring widow's houses. Blind guides he calls them - blind - verse 26 - "blind pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also." Now if your heart is cleansed, will the outside start appearing clean? Yeah. You know one way that you can tell that a family has been converted is their yard begins to change.

When something happens in the hearts of the family, something begins to happen in the yard of the family. I remember having neighbors - there were always beer cans and junk out in the front. The yard was a mess and I - they came to Jesus and all of a sudden you saw them out there raking the yard, picking up the cans and it was amazing how the whole outside was transformed because the inside was transformed. So if the inside of the cup is clean, things will start to change on the outside. You know, boys sometimes aren't real particular about their appearance when they're young.

And they turn into teenagers and discover girls and they say that girls discover they've been discovered and their appearance changes. And all of a sudden the boys begin to get real interested in being clean. And they start to brush their teeth - you never know, they might make that first kiss. Things happen. But when something changes on the inside, it begins to change the things on the outside.

"Woe to you, scribes and pharisees!" - I'm in verse 25 - "hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and indulgence." - Verse 27 - "...hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness." You know what integrity is? Real Christianity and integrity is what you're like when no one is watching. What does God see when no one is watching? That's what real Christian integrity is. What is Jesus concerned with, the outside or the inside? 'Blessed are the pure in heart.' And he was - he was heartbroken because, remember we studied a couple of weeks ago? They were a fig tree with leaves but no fruit. He wanted the fruit on the inside.

"Woe to you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites!" - I'm in verse 29 - "you build the tombs of the righteous, and say, 'if we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.' Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers' guilt. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come" - by the way, before I finish verse 35 - Jesus is foretelling - he says, 'I'm sending you' - not 'I sent you' - 'I'm sending you' - who is he talking about? Through the converted apostles and the disciples that would follow them for another 40 years, they would preach in Jerusalem. And what would the religious leaders do? Scourge them, persecute them, kill them. What did the - what did Saul do - of tarsus? Didn't he become a persecutor of the apostles? And Jesus is prophesying here, how Jerusalem was going to treat his representatives.

Now, of course, there were many converts, but officially, it was a forbidden religion that they attacked. - "That on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth from the blood of righteous abel to the blood of Zechariah, The Son of berechiah." Now, if you're a Bible scholar, I'm going to tell you there's an anomaly here. I don't know if anyone caught it. It says from abel to Zechariah The Son of berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Who was it that murdered the priest Zechariah? Do any of you remember the child king named joash? He was a good king.

It's a great children's story. It's in all the books. But, unfortunately, after jehoiada had died and he grew up - his friends turned him from God and he began to persecute the prophets and he killed the son of jehoiada the priest, whose name was Zechariah - killed him between the porch and the altar. But the Zechariah, The Son of berechiah, is the prophet Zechariah - they're two completely different people. And so, some folks have wondered, 'is this a scribal error or was one of the names of jehoiada also berechiah? They don't know, but it's an anomaly, I'm just telling you.

So Jesus, in his sermon, he's referring to - he says, 'the blood of righteous abel' - that's the first blood shed - and then he talks about the blood of Zechariah, who was slain in the temple - and this is before the temple was destroyed - and he says, 'the blood - all that guilt that had accumulated is going to come on this generation. Now, we're going to talk about a generation in Matthew 24 in just a moment. And then he cries again, 'oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem. The one who kills the prophets and stones those who were sent to you. How often I wanted to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under its wings, but you were not willing.

See your house is left to you desolate.' I remember reading this reader's digest article - there was a terrible fire that went through the woods and one of the rangers was walking through the woods after the fire had charred everything and he saw there, at the base of a tree in a low spot, the burnt corpse of a wild grouse - field chicken. And he went with his, you know, hiking boots, he kind of kicked it and out from under the scorched wings of this bird, these little chicks came running. They were alive, which means, what the mother did is, when she saw the fire coming, she spread her wings over her chicks and she stayed and would not move through the flames that killed her but kept them alive. And this is what Jesus said, 'I would have taken the wrath. I would have taken the punishment that you could live.

How often I wanted to do this but you would not. Then he says, 'your house is left to you desolate.' Verse 38 - now don't miss that. What does Jesus say when he goes into the temple and cleanses it? 'Take these things hence. My Father's house will be a house of prayer. You've made it a den of thieves.

' 'My Father's house.' Look how different it is after he rebukes the religious leaders and he Marches out. He said, 'your house is left to you desolate.' This was the last time Jesus walked out of the temple. A few days later, when they crucified him, the veil would rend in the temple, there's an earthquake showing the purpose of this earthly temple was destroyed. He built a new temple. His church - his body - you are the living stones in that temple.

He is the cornerstone, okay? And then end of verse - chapter 23, verse 39, "for I say to you, you shall see me no more till you say, 'blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'" The last time he left the temple. Just a very powerful, very sobering chapter. Now, as he's walking out of the temple, the disciples have heard him say something pretty ominous and they're wondering, 'what does this all mean? So they come to him, chapter 24 - now we're under the signs of the end - and as he departs "from the temple, and his disciples came up to show him the buildings of the temple." - These immense stones - "and Jesus said to them, 'do you not see all these things? Assuredly I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another," - oh, did I take your verse? Yeah, you're - go - no, not specifically, go ahead, read Matthew chapter 24, verse 3. "Now as he sat on the mount of olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, 'tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?'" That's a very important verse because they ask three questions. the Lord sort of combines - he blends his answer into one discourse in Matthew 24 - actually goes over into Matthew , too.

They're asking what? When will these things be? He says there won't be one stone left upon another in the temple. Now, you realize why that was so amazing, is that, in the temple, they actually had some stones that were pretty monumental. There was one stone in the temple that was 150 tons. It weighed more than a full 747 fueled with all the baggage. Can you imagine that? And he said there won't be - and it's still there today.

You can go look at it. They struggle to find equipment big enough to move that today. And so, when the disciples said there won't - you know, 'when will these things be?' They're amazed - not one stone left upon another. What is the sign of your coming? When will the destruction of Jerusalem be? And of the end of the world? And so he now blends his answer. And listen to some of the first things that Jesus says - when you go to Matthew 24 - he says - and they're sitting on the mount of olives - he's not talking to all of them.

One version says he's talking to Peter, James, John, and andrew. First thing he says is, "take heed that no one deceives you." - In verse 4 - "for many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many." Now, when you've got the word 'few' in the Bible and then you've got the word 'many'. Few means few and many means many. Few means the minority, many means the what? Majority. "Many will come in my name saying 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.

" That verse has two different meanings - and they don't conflict each other. Many will come in the name of Jesus saying, 'he is the Christ.' And they deceive people. It can be taken that way. That could be any preacher that says he is the Christ and he deceives people. 'Many will come in my name saying, 'I am the Christ' and they'll deceive people.

Then there are people who come in his name saying, 'I am the Christ' - there'll be false Christs that claim that they are the Christ and deceive many. You're going to have both. You're going to have people say they represent Jesus, that he is the Christ, and they'll deceive people and then you're going to have people that are actually going to claim to be Jesus. Now have we seen that? There's - there are probably several walking the earth today that say they are Jesus incarnate or claiming to be the Son of God. Some of them are just deranged and some of them are very serious.

Now, as he talks about the signs of destruction - I've got to hurry because there's quite a bit here. He says, 'you'll hear of wars and rumors of wars' - verse six - "see that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." Now we often talk about wars and rumors of wars as a sign of the end, but what is Jesus saying? He's actually saying, 'don't get all stirred up because of wars and rumors of wars. That's going to happen to the end of time.' Now never have we had wars like we had last century where you have world wars. And so the frequency of the war, the intensity of the war, increases as childbirth pains as you near the end. And that's what's happening.

And it says here these are the beginning of - oh, I'm sorry, verse 7, "for nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.

Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many." - There you've got the false Christs again - "and because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold." - So one of the signs in the last days is lawlessness. Does he mean lawlessness in the world or in the church or both? Hard to imagine you could have lawlessness in the church, but it means that even in the church they will be without law. And, as a result of that, love grows cold. But he that endures to the end will be saved. Now, when you're talking about the second coming there's a few big groups.

One group says this tribulation that Jesus speaks of happens after the rapture. That Christians will all be suddenly whisked away in the secret rapture and then there'll be a tribulation. Now all Christians agree - virtually all - that the Bible's pretty clear there's going to be a great tribulation. Daniel chapter 12 - 'at that time Michael stands up, the great prince that stands for the children of thy people and there will be a time of trouble such as there never has been since there was a nation, even unto that same time.' Great time of trouble. Jesus talks about this great tribulation.

The question is, when does the Lord rapture up the saints? Technically we are caught up - 'the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout. The voice of the archangel.' We are caught up to meet him in the air, but when does that happen? Before the tribulation or after the tribulation? The terms that are used among Christian pastors and scholars are - you've got 'pre-trib', 'mid-trib', 'post-trib' - there's those that believe in the pre-tribulation rapture. That would be the left behind group. They think the church is going to be raptured prior to or pre-tribulation. Then you've got mid-trib - some think that the antiChrist power will be in Jerusalem three and a half years and then - they believe the tribulation is seven years - by the way, where in the Bible does it say 'seven-year tribulation'? There's really no verse that says that.

Corinthians says there's a seven-year tribulation? Corinthians - you're talking - thanks - yeah, 3 Corinthians. Yeah, that's where it is. It's right next to 2 hezekiah. Yeah, no, it doesn't say that. The closest you can get is that Noah was on the ark for seven days before the flood came.

Some say a day equals a year. Or they take the last week of Daniel chapter 9 - the 490-year prophecy - they pull it away from the rest of the prophecy and have it floating at the end of time and say, 'that's the seven-year tribulation.' You know, you really don't see that. Matter of fact, most of the time in the Bible, the tribulations - the famines - they're all three and a half years. You've got three and a half years of persecution. You've got three and a half years in the days of Esther.

Three and a half years in the persecution of the apostles and so I'm not setting a date. No one knows, but it doesn't say seven years of tribulation. And then you've got your post-trib - that's where we fall. That following the tribulation - that's why Jesus says, 'he that endures to the end' - endures what? The tribulation - 'the same will be saved.' They say, 'well, no, it's only the jews that have to go through the tribulation. There'll be 144,000 jews that will be preaching to the world' - that they're literal jews and there's a lot of problems, theologically, with that, because you can't find 12,000 people from the tribe of issachar today.

And so, anyway, I don't want to take this too deep but let's keep reading here. So he talks about this great tribulation, there's false Christs - will satan seek to impersonate Jesus? I believe he will. He talks about the demise of Jerusalem. He says, 'he that endures to the end will be saved' - 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." You know, one of the reasons that you know that Jesus was a prophet - that's a pretty outrageous thing to say - 'my teaching is going to go into all the world' - well, he was right. It did, didn't it? And he said, "then the end will come".

Well, there's still a few corners who haven't heard it, but do we have the technology today, where the Gospel can go into all the world? Through television and - the internet is everywhere. There are more cell phones in africa than in North America. Did you know? Yeah, it's amazing. And the Gospel is going into all the world. We're very excited today.

Some of you remember the first baptism we had here at granite bay was mr. Wu - do you remember that? How many remember that? Mr. Wu is here today. He doesn't know what I'm saying because he doesn't speak english. Hey - have him stand up for a second.

There he is. Do you want to say hello, mr. Wu? He's back from china to visit us. He's been over there preaching. Hallelujah, amen! Thank you.

Xie xie ni. (Laughs) the Gospel's going to all the world - even in china. And through this satellite and through the internet and through dvds and print and a thousand different ways - and he said, 'then the end will come.' He didn't say everybody would believe. He said, 'as a witness to all nations.' Notice this, "therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place' (whoever reads let him understand)," - what is he wanting you to read? Daniel - and you can read in Daniel 9, you can read in Daniel 12, where it talks about Daniel , I believe, talks about the abomination that makes desolate. And then he said, "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

Let him who is on his housetop not go down and take anything out of his house." Last week I went up to our cabin in covelo with a couple of our Amazing Facts crew and we videotaped a segment on country living. We tried to give a balanced approach about reaching the cities, but just talked about some of the advantages and the counsel of country living. And here, is there a time coming when we might need to flee to the hills? And you so, 'oh, that was back then for the destruction of Jerusalem.' Yeah, but what Jesus said here is going to be repeated in the future. The signs that preceded the destruction of Jerusalem, many of those will be repeated, in a more spiritual nature, before the second coming. Because they're asking, 'when will these things be?' - Destruction of Jerusalem - what are the signs of your coming and the end of the world? Back then it was Jerusalem surrounded by armies.

But there's going to be something in the future as well. By the way, you'll find that in Luke chapter 21 - Jerusalem surrounded with armies. Daniel 9:27 - you'll find the abomination that makes desolate, talking about this beast power hedging in God's people with laws. None of the believers were destroyed in the destruction of Jerusalem because they believed the word of Jesus. When the Romans first surrounded Jerusalem - and it was a terrible siege - there was a change in leadership and the general needed to retreat and when they broke camp and left, the Christians knew, 'this is our chance to escape' and all the Christians fled and they didn't come back into Jerusalem when the Romans came back.

They went up near pella, by the sea of Galilee and all the Christians survived there when Jerusalem was destroyed and you can also read about that in the Bible commentary chapter 5, page 499. Anyway, Christ says it's going to be very tough for those who are in Jerusalem. "But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 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." Now did Jesus believe his followers would still be keeping the Sabbath? Evidently or he wouldn't have said that, right? And he said it will be so severe that if it were possible, even the very elect would be destroyed - or deceived - "and unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened." It's going to seem like man is going to self-destruct. Things are going to be so severe in that time.

Alright, what's one of the main things the Lord warns us against? Someone's going to read for me Matthew 24, verses 4 and 5. One of the main things the Lord tells us to be on guard for just before he comes. Now, I'm going to read Matthew 24:23 again, "then if anyone says to you, 'look, here is the Christ!' Or 'there!' Do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders" - even satan, himself, perhaps impersonating Christ - "to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.

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.' Go ahead, read for us 24, verses 4 and 5, "and Jesus answered and said to them: 'take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many." Main thing Jesus warns against - there's going to be a lot of deception - a lot of deceivers - even signs and wonders and miracles. False Christs saying, 'oh, he's out in the desert.' 'He's in inner chambers.' 'He's in that church - in that temple - in that sanctum - go' - don't even look because you'll be putting yourself on enchanted ground. So, if cnn reports 'this glorious being has appeared in Jerusalem, claiming to be Christ - we're about to get an interview.' Should you watch the interview? I mean, it's amazing, you know? I'm even - I'm even surprised at how many protestants, when they watch the pope on television, their whole attitude about catholicism changes because he's such a nice guy when we see him that they're just being swept up in it all. 'He's just - he's so loving.

He just exudes kindness and humility and' - be careful. What they believe has not changed. And so he says, 'don't go forth! Don't even look, because you could be among those who are deceived.' Now, I'm about out of time and I've got a little list I want to go through. What are some of the signs of Christ's return that Jesus gives us? First of all, false Christs - we talked about. Wars and disasters in the world.

Knowledge will increase. Now this is actually from Daniel chapter 12, 'many will run to and fro and knowledge will increase.' Are people traveling to and fro more today than ever before? Oh, absolutely. And has knowledge increased exponentially now more than any other generation? How many of you have grandparents that lived before there was television, radio, and airplanes? You're dating yourself, aren't you? When you do that. And they probably used kerosene lights and were born at home and they actually had horses that came up to the house. I wouldn't want to do that now, not if you can have a four-wheeler.

I know if you whistle the horse'll come, but I don't have to feed my four-wheeler all the time, whether I use it or not. That's a different subject. But look how much the world has changed in one generation. For 6,000 years people fought with bows and arrows and swords. Those were the weapons.

Another prophecy, it says man'll have the ability to destroy the earth. Does man? And that's in Revelation 11:19, 'God'll destroy those that destroy the earth.' Now we have weapons that can destroy the earth. We have chemicals and pollution that can destroy the earth. They didn't worry about that two hundred years ago. This is a whole different time we're living in.

Violence and terrorism is one of the signs. Men's hearts failing for fear. What is terrorism? It's designed to strike terror in people's hearts. They're afraid to go anywhere, get on a plane - because they're it's fear - and the constant war - the sea and the waves roaring - tsunamis and earthquakes - and you just look at what's going on in the world today and, for me, of all the signs, knowledge increasing, Gospel going to the world, selfishness, people's hearts growing cold, what's happening to the environment, the population, and what's happening to the church, to me, it says, 'in such an hour as you think not' - when the church is sleeping - that would be one of the signs. But do we see the signs of Jesus coming all around us? Alright, back to Matthew 24.

By the way, when we post our notes online, I usually - good or bad - I usually send my notes in. You can download them if you want. Those of you who teach, I'll put in some of the signs of Christ's return and it's got some of the Scripture references in there as well. And then it goes on to say, "heaven and earth will pass away," - verse 35 - "but my words will by no means pass away." One more thing. I want to go back to verse 34 - verse 33, "so you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near-at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.

" Jesus made this prediction in about 30 ad. Who knows when the temple was destroyed? Ad. How long is a Bible generation? Forty years. When the people of Israel lost faith he made them wander until that generation died off. How long did they wander? Forty years.

And you go through the book of Judges. You can see when that generation died off they had peace forty years or they had war forty years. And it just seems like everything was in gen - David reigned forty years, Solomon reigned forty years - Saul reigned forty years. Interesting, first three Kings, forty, forty, forty. Moses spent forty years in Egypt, forty in the wilderness, forty leading them from Egypt through the wilderness.

So Jesus said this generation will not pass away until all these things be fulfilled. He's talking, principally, there from those signs to the destruction of Jerusalem. It fit perfectly. He - from 30 ad to 70 ad the temple was destroyed. It's never been rebuilt - but it's interesting.

He said Jerusalem would be trodden down to the gentiles until the time of the gentiles be fulfilled. Can you please point to me any other nation in the world that comes close to doing what the jews have done, in being dispossessed from their land three times, in a foreign country, coming back and getting their property back again. They were dispossessed when they left in the days of Jacob, they were dispossessed in the time when the Babylonians carried them off, they were dispossessed 1,900 years from 70 ad to 1948 and now they're a nation again. No other nation has even survived having their own identity, being dispossessed, for 200 years. But the jews, because they have the Scriptures as an anchor for what their belief and their culture is, have survived millennia.

And God said they'd be trodden down until the time of the gentiles be fulfilled. There's a lot of debate about what that means, and I'm not sure I have all the answers, but you can't deny that what's happened with the nation of Israel is at least remarkable. And you wonder, sometimes, how far is it? How much longer can the world last until Jesus comes? He said, 'in such an hour as you think not, The Son of man comes.' That means it won't be - I don't think Jesus is going to come when the whole world is hanging by a total thread. He said there'll be planting and building. There'll be marrying - those are things - I mean, you plant when you think you've got a future.

You build when you think you've got a future. You marry when you think you've got a future, right? They'll be doing things as though they think there's some future left. And then it'll take them as an overwhelming surprise. It's going to be like it was in the days of Noah, where violence fills the land. Are people entertained with violence, now, all over the world? And so we just see - you've got these signs everywhere around us.

Well, friends, I believe Jesus is coming soon. I hope you'll send for the free offer we mentioned at the beginning of the lesson. And there are a few verses I didn't get to, but I think we covered them in spirit. The ultimate deliverance - ultimate deliverance - and call 866-788-3966. When you read this, it's a lesson on the second coming of Jesus.

It's got some of the verses we shared - and ask for offer #105. Thank you very much for joining us for our Sabbath school study hour for today. Can't get enough Amazing Facts Bible study? You don't have to wait until next week to enjoy more truth-filled programming, visit the Amazing Facts media library at ''. At '' you can enjoy video and audio presentations as well as printed material all free of charge, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, right from your computer or mobile device. Visit ''. (Crickets) (sprinklers) (ominous music) (dog barking) (fire alarm) mommy, daddy, help me. No, I don't think so. You didn't do very well on your report card this last quarter so, no. You haven't been pulling your weight around here lately.

You want help? Well, I wanted help with the dishes last night. Help yourself. Huh? Honey, did you bring the marshmallows? (Sirens)

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