Signs of the Coming King

Lesson: 1
The Lord says He is coming and that He's coming quickly. What can we know about Jesus' return?
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Jean Ross: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. A very warm welcome to "Prophecy Encounter." We're just delighted to see you all here this evening. For those who are joining us across the country and around the world on the various television networks, we'd also like to extend a very warm welcome to you, particular 3ABN viewing audience, also the "Amazing Facts" TV audience. We're delighted that you're part of this international Bible study. Now, as mentioned a little earlier, this series is called "Prophecy Encounter." And over the next few nights together, we're going to be looking at some of the most important and some of the most fascinating prophecies in the Bible.

There's a lot of material that we want to cover, so I want to encourage you to come out regularly every night. You don't want to miss one of the presentations because when you study Bible prophecy, you need to build on a solid foundation. And as you study one prophecy after another, they all begin to fit together, and you get to see the big picture of what the Bible is telling us. So, this time, join me as we warmly welcome Pastor Doug Batchelor. [audience applauding]

Doug Batchelor: Thank you, Pastor Ross. Evening, friends. We want to welcome you to "The Prophecy Encounter." And we're just so thankful that you're here.

We want to welcome you to this program. This is a special series dealing with, principally, the book of Revelation, and we're going to be talking about some of the most exciting prophecies, talking about things like 666, and Armageddon, and the mark of the beast, the Second Coming of Jesus, and what is happening in the world through the focal point of prophecy. And I've been sharing seminars like this for 35 years now, and it is one of my favorite things to do is just to study the Word of God.

Now, I'm more of a teacher than a preacher, and I usually have so much to say, I need to get right into the program because there's a lot of material to cover. People know that something unusual is happening. In 2010, the Pew Research Group did a survey. And in that survey, they explained that, by the year 2050, about 60% of the people believe that Jesus would come.

I think 40% of those 60% were absolutely sure, 20% said probably, and that's in North America, of course. And that's why we're going to be talking tonight about the pinnacle of prophecy and signs of Jesus coming. You know, it's very interesting that they have so many programs now that are dealing with the subject of preppers. National Geographic has a program that specifically talks about "Doomsday Preppers." And a lot of people have been wondering what's coming. And some of these people aren't even religious. They just see what's happening in the world, they're worried about the environment, they're worried about a natural disaster. They say, "What will we do if an asteroid strikes, or if there's a tsunami, or if there's a social meltdown?"

Others are worried about the Armageddon, and there's more religious overtones to their fear, but a lot of people are worried. How many of you have heard about folks that are preppers? They're trying to get ready for the last days, and they're storing up buckets of beans, and they've got, you know, solar electric and all these things. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, but a lot of people are doing this because they think when there's this major meltdown, we somehow will survive.

Now, for years folks have acted like, "Well, this is just a fringe group that's worried about that." But it's now going beyond that. I think it was just last week, Wall Street Journal published an article that now there's about 60% of these mega millionaires have a plan or a place where they can protect themselves in the event of some social meltdown. And you can see "Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich" they bought these deactivated mission--what do you call it? Missile silos. And this one developer, Larry Hall, he bought these and he began to develop something so that--you've heard of skyscrapers that go up in the air? These go down in the ground. And they have rooms, and it's $3 million for a level. And they are selling out because these mega millionaires and billionaires, they're buying secure spots. They've got their own water system, purification, air purification, hydroponic farming. They've got a swimming pool, they've got a feeder for 17 people. They got a pharmacy, a jail, and this is all being built below ground. You know, they thought if anybody kind of, you know, gets odd, they've got the jail till they cool off.

Because you know, if you get cooped up with a bunch of type X millionaires, anything could happen. And this is a picture of one of the diagrams of how these--these are not skyscrapers, they're called earthscrapers because they go down. And they're in Kansas, but they won't tell us exactly where because it's top secret. So, it's not just fringe groups that are thinking about some kind of catastrophe that seems to be looming on the horizon. Hedge fund managers, multimillionaires and billionaires from Silicon Valley, they are making preparations for what they think is going to be inevitable one way or the other. And you consider what we're going to study tonight, and you'll see why. So, we're going to be talking tonight about signs of Jesus coming.

The Second Coming of Christ is what you will call the pinnacle or the high point of prophecy. And we're going to go through sort of a question and answer method. That just helps me stay on track, and so it creates an outline for our study. First question is, "What is one of the central teachings in Revelation?" Now, you may want to take notes. We've mentioned that there's some supplemental material that you can get to go along with these presentations, but I'm going to give you a few of the Scriptures just from Revelations so you'll know that the Second Coming of Jesus is not an afterthought in the last book of Bible--of the Bible.

For instance, Revelation 1, verse 7, first chapter, "Behold, he's coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him." Again, you can look in Revelation 1, verse--oh, that's it. And also, "All the tribes in the earth will mourn because of him. Even so, amen." You can read in Revelation 14:14, "I looked and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of Man, and having on his head a golden crown." Again, talking about the Second Coming. Someone on the cloud's coming, Jesus is coming on the clouds.

You can read in Revelation 22, verse 7, he said, "Behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book." Now, that's the last chapter in the Bible, but we're not done yet. You go to Revelation chapter 22, verse 20, "He who testifies of these things says, 'Surely I am coming," how? Quickly. Notice He's coming quickly, quickly. And you're probably thinking, "Well, Pastor Doug, John wrote that 2,000 years ago. God's idea of quickly and my idea of quickly are not the same." I mean, we want fast food, and we think our microwaves are too slow, right?

So what's taking so long? Well, stay with us and we'll talk about that in just a moment. "He who testified of these things said, 'Surely I am coming quickly.' Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus." One of the principle teachings of the book. So, with that in mind that the Lord says He is coming and that He's coming quickly, what can we know about the time of Jesus' return? Now, this is where you've got to be very careful. And I want you to listen carefully to what I'm sharing.

We can know something about the Lord coming soon, but be very careful about a group that is giving you a date for the Lord's return. Matthew 24, Jesus said, speaking of His Second Coming, "But of that day and that hour knows," how many people? "No man, not even the angels, but my Father only." Now, I'm sure Jesus is in Heaven, He knows now. But when Christ was on the--I mean, I doubt that the Father is saying, "Oh, I know the date, but I can't trust you with it." But when Jesus was on the earth, He said, "I don't even know the date. My Father only knows that." So when someone starts to presume to tell you, "I figured it out, I did the math. I know the day and the hour of Jesus coming."

This gentleman here, Harold Camping, a very sincere man, I don't question that. He was the president, one of the founders of "Family Radio." They have some great Christian music, but I think most of us remember when, a few years ago, he foretold I think was 2011. That was the second or third time he picked the date for the Second Coming. Matter of fact, one of his dates was I think 1994 or '96, I don't remember. I was doing a seminar, and again, he had picked the date, and it really helped the attendance of my seminar. But of course, Jesus didn't come. And I've always made it very clear that's not how you do it. He had a big date for May 11--May 21, 2011, and we actually interviewed him. We were on Fox News in Sacramento because I made an offer. He had a great network, a radio station. We said, "We'll give you $1 million for your radio stations you can use now, but if Jesus doesn't come, you sign them over to us." And he didn't do it. And since then, he's--he was sincere. He had a stroke shortly after Jesus didn't come. I think he was devastated. He really believed it, but it messed up a lot of people. And you know what? It made Christianity lose credibility.

That's why we got to be careful about people just continually setting dates, and then it's the next date, and then it's the next thing. I think we need to live in a state of expectancy because, in reality, as far as you're concerned, if you die, your next conscious thought is the resurrection and the Second Coming of Jesus. He could come for you very soon. And even if you live 90 or 100, 200 years, what's that compared to eternity? Our lives are pretty short. The Bible says a day with the Lord is like 1,000 years. Now, Jesus did tell us we don't know the day or hour, but we can know when it's near. Matthew 24, verse 33, he said, "When you see all these things, know that it is," what? It's near. So Jesus gave us signs. He said, "Lift up your heads when you see these things." He wants us to be watching. Five times in Mark 13, when Jesus talks about the Second Coming, He says, "Watch, watch, watch." Actually, it's four times. But He wants us to be watching. Said, "Lest coming, suddenly He finds you sleeping."

And then He gives the parable of the virgins waiting for the bridegroom. They fall asleep and they're not ready. And so, He wants us to be thinking about these things. And so, when you come to a program like this and we talk about the return of the Lord, and the closing promise in the Bible talks about, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus," it is a good thing for Christians to talk about Jesus coming back, amen? It's a good thing. Don't set dates, but He wants us to be looking at that. So, is He coming soon? Let me give you a broad idea of where we are in the scope of history. The Bible sort of outlines history from--in three great epochs. You've got from the time of Adam to Abraham is about 2,000 years.

Just looking at the scope of history, Adam was born. You don't really say, born, he's created, about 4004 BC, somewhere around there. Two thousand years later, Abraham's born. For the first 2,000 years, God shares the gospel through the patriarchs. And then from the time of Abraham, then God shared the Gospel for another 2,000 years, especially through the Hebrew people, the Jewish people, and Jesus was born about 4 BC. When they developed that dating method, they did an educated guess about when they thought Jesus was born, they fixed that as the year zero. Then years later, they found out that King Herod the Great died about 2 BC. We know he's the one who tried to kill all the babies in Bethlehem, Jesus must've been alive then.

We realized Jesus was baptized in 27 A.D. He was baptized on His 30th birthday the Bible says. You count backwards, and we realized they got that AD, BC dating method wrong about 4 years. But so, then you've got 2,000 years from Adam to Abraham, 2,000 years from Abraham to Christ. Then for the next 2,000 years, which brings us to our day, the gospel's being preached through spiritual Israel or the church. And then, after you get from that, and of course we're living now in the space age, you know, we're living right now exactly 2,000 from the life of Jesus.

We're living 2,000 years from between when he was born and when he died. And so, it is an interesting time in history. And then you read in Revelation chapter 20, it talks about 1,000-year period at the end of this 6,000-year Bible history, talking about the Bible ages, for a total of 7,000, which is kind of an interesting number. You know, the Bible says, "A day with the Lord is like 1,000 years and 1,000 years like a day." God seems to work on a pattern in the Bible where you work 6 days and you rest 1. And here, you got like 6,000 years for the plan of salvation, here we are near the end of that period. And then 1,000 years it says the saints live and reign with Christ.

It's almost like a 1,000-year Sabbath if you will. So, just to kind of give this to you in your mind--here, I'll put a chart up here. You've got these three epochs. You got 2,000 years of the patriarchs, 2,000 years of the Jews, 2,000 years of the church or spiritual Israel, then 1,000 years where we live and reign with Christ. We're living right at that time that would be of great interest. I frankly think that we're living in the generation that's going to see the culmination of all that's been foretold. Keep in mind God told Abraham that through his descendants the Messiah would come. Every Jewish girl hoped that she would be the mother of the Messiah.

Hundred years went by, two hundred years went by. They kept saying, "He's coming, He's coming. The Messiah is coming." Five hundred years went by, a thousand years went by. And they started losing faith. "Yeah," they'd say, "the Messiah's coming." Finally, when Jesus did come 2,000 years later, were they ready? Could that happen again? They were on that time. What are some of the signs of the nearness of Christ? This is our question number three. Now, if you've got your Bibles, I don't know if you brought a Bible with you, but I'll read it to you. If you go to Matthew chapter 24, Jesus is talking about signs of the Second Coming. And He tells us for instance, well, several things. First of all, I want you to notice He says--go to verse 6. "You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you're not troubled. All these things must come to pass."

He said, "There's going to be war, but a war is not a sign. There's been wars all along. The end is not yet. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and pestilence," those are plagues, "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'll be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And many will be offended and betray one another, and many will hate one another. Many false prophets will rise and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold." And here it promises, "But he that endures to the end will be saved." So don't lose patience.

Even Revelation says, "Here is the patience of the saints." Why do you think we need patience? He's coming soon, and some people are saying, "Aw, is He ever going to come?" Hold on, He's coming again. So now let's take apart some of the signs that we just looked at, talking about the signs of the end, talking about wars and rumors of wars, political instability. Do we have that in the world today? Yeah, you know, just in the news in the last few days, not only is North Korea continuing to push the envelope and test the distance it can deliver ballistic missiles, but Iran is now testing missiles, and they've made it very clear there's some countries they don't like very much.

We're one of them, Israel's another. I mean, right now, it's like the whole Middle East is a powder keg. And unfortunately, man has never made a weapon he did not use. That's a historical fact. And you just wonder, at one point, is somebody going to get ahold of a forbidden nuclear weapon from the Cold War, or what's going to happen? You know, Revelation tells us that God has His angels holding back the winds of strife so that the gospel can go forward. I think the only thing that's giving us this window of peace is that the Lord is holding back the winds of strife to give us an opportunity to share the good news while time remains. Wars and rumors of wars.

I saw an interesting fact. Do you know the world spends over $100 million an hour on soldiers, ammunition, and war machines? And you think about the American military what it costs every hour. I mean, Russia and China and these--$100 million an hour is spent on preparing for these. Not only wars and rumors of wars, the Bible talked about earthquakes in various places. Not only earthquakes or earthquake, the one there in 2004 triggered the tsunami, and 250,000 people perished. And everyone keeps saying on the west coast, "When is the big one going to come?" And we've already seen some terrible catastrophes with earthquakes.

I saw a fact that came from the Geological Society of America in the National Earthquake Information Center that between 2004 and 2014, 18 earthquakes with a magnitude of 8.0 or more rattled subduction zones around the globe. This is an increase of 265% over the average rate of the previous century. Now, while I talk about signs, like war and rumor of war, and plagues, and earthquakes, keep in mind there have always been these things. What the Lord is talking about is when the frequency and intensity increases. And as you near the end of time, you'll see the signs that Jesus talked about wars. Well, last century, we had two world wars.

It almost looks like we're on the brink of a third the way things are going. That's not a normal war, it's a world war, and nuclear weapons, and atomic bombs. And the intensity of these things, including the earthquakes and natural disasters, it seems like they increase and intensify. So that's something to keep in mind. Plagues, pestilence Jesus talked about. I think we all shudder from the terrible images that we saw coming from West Africa with the Ebola breakout recently. But that's not the worst plague.

A little more than 100 years ago in 19--I guess a little less than 100 years ago, 1917, 1918, they had the--an influenza epidemic, and you know that it killed more people than World War I, about 40 million people died from a strain of the flu. And now, with all the antibiotics, science is telling us that the possibility of a very resistant strain, a superbug could be spread very quickly because I travel a lot, and you get on these airplanes, all it takes is one sick person coughing, it's pumped through the ventilation system. And boy, the airline industry around the world is a very effective way to spread a virus around the world. And so, governments are aware of that, and they are very carefully guarding. You remember with the Ebola, people flying, they were screening everybody because they could see how quickly this could spread. Again, it's just the grace of God that's holding these things back right now so that we can find Christ and share Christ.

There's things that are happening in the environment. National Geographic released the results of a study where they said that half of the world's wildlife has been lost in the past 40 years. That's staggering when you think about it. But you know, I've seen it. I told you we have a place up in the country, and we used to see herds of deer. And a lot of these animals that we--you know, they--Lewis and Clark, when they crossed the great plains, they had to wait for a buffalo herd to cross before they could move on, had to wait 2 days, one buffalo herd. They had flocks of birds, they blackened the sky for hours when they went by. They're extinct now. And just a lot of things have changed in the environment.

One of the signs Jesus gives of the last days is violence. Christ said, "As it was in the days of Noah and as it was in the days of Lot, so it will be in the days when the Son of Man returns." What was it like back in the days of Noah? You read in Genesis chapter 6, "The thoughts of men's hearts were only evil continually, and violence filled the land." The Bible tells us it grieved the Lord and His heart that He had even made man. And so, you consider that. Do we have that kind of violence in the world today? Here's an interesting fact. Every day, more American youth die in gang violence than in foreign--than fighting in foreign wars.

I understand that 2016 in Chicago, there were over 718 murders. That's more people being murdered in one US city than our soldiers were slain in the last 6 years fighting in the Middle East. Violence, one of the signs of the last days. And if you don't mind my just saying here, I don't think it should surprise us when, if you scan through the television, you're going to find people are entertained by violence. And if we're entertained by violence, we tend to reproduce--especially young people. They see hundreds and thousands of murders as they grow up, and you sort of become callous and indifferent. And they see all the shooting on television, and they don't realize the distinction between a real gun and what it's going to do to a life, and fiction. And there's just this cold indifference. Immorality.

Boy, and I saw a study not too long ago that is kind of shocking, 12% of all internet websites are pornographic. Now, there are millions of websites. Twelve percent are--thirty-five percent of all Internet downloads are pornographic in content. Twenty-five percent of online search engine requests are related to sex. Forty million Americans consider themselves regular visitors to porn sites. The average age for the first exposure to porn is 11 years old, average age. It's just, it's saturating our society. And things that were once considered immoral, it's just becoming a way of life.

People are becoming callous to purity that God is calling us to. And, you know, I just can't rush by this without mentioning something I think we're all aware of that the Bible says, "As it was in the days of Sodom, so shall it be in the days when the Son of Man comes." And I'm frankly very disappointed that we've become fuzzy on the distinctions between men and women when it becomes to marriage. I don't want to be unkind, I realize it's very politically incorrect to say that, but I'm going to be here and tell you what the Bible says. And the Bible is very clear about that, and so I think that it's unfortunate. But the reason I include that is it is, I believe, a sign of where we're at.

Who would've thought that 25 years ago? Overpopulation. You know, I saw a study, I actually looked it up to check my facts today. Right now, we're bordering on, you know, seven and a half billion people in the world. It took approximately 5,000 years, I think it was 1829, the world got the first billion people. Five thousand years to get one billion. Then it was about 123 years after that, just 123 years to get the second billion. And about 30 years after that to get the third billion. I remember when there were only 3 billion people, and I'm not that old, in the world. And in my life, the world population has more than doubled from 3 billion to 7 something billion. There's actually a website you can go to, and it will clock for you how people are being born, how quickly. It's kind of staggering to just sit there and look at that how many people.

Ninety million people are being added to the world's population every year, ninety million people. That's including the ones you deduct for death, 90 million new people drawing on the resources of the planet. Karen and I've been to China a few times. Let me tell you, there's a lot of people in China. I remember in Shanghai--I grew up in New York City, that's a busy city. And it's a very populated city. But I got to China, and I felt like I was driving through New York City downtown for an hour, and it never stopped, like 24 million people in this one city. But it's growing. And this just tells us it can't last forever. That's why Jesus said, "Except those days be shortened, no flesh would be saved. But for the elect's sake, those days will be shortened." In other words, if he did not come on time and if he doesn't cut it short, nobody would survive.

So the Lord has to come soon, or there'll be nothing to come for. And another reason I think He's coming soon is everybody is going to believe that Jesus is coming when the whole world just sort of begins to swallow itself. But it may be a little before that because He said, "In such an hour you think not the Son of Man is coming." So it's going to surprise people. And then this for me is one of the most amazing prophecies. We're going to be finding that the book of Daniel is a partner book for Revelation, so we'll be going back and forth. Revelation does a lot of referring to the book of Daniel. You look in Daniel chapter 12, and he says in verse 4, "But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end." So, no question about what he's talking about. And he goes on to say, "Many will run to and fro." Now, first of all, I think they're going to run to and fro through the Word of God and discover truth, but you can't miss the point that people are running to and fro faster--you realize for about 6,000 years people--the fastest thing you got is a horse? National Geographic back in 2006, I know it's an old article, but it still bears the point. That's the magazine cover if you want to reference it.

There's a quote in there, "People are traveling far from home more than ever before in human history." Daniel goes on to say in Daniel chapter 12, the prophecy said, "Many will run to and fro," and here's the rest of it, "and knowledge will increase." This is a picture here on the screen of the great Hadron Accelerator. It is a--it's the largest experiment in the world. It's the biggest machine in the world. It's under the ground about 500 feet, a 17-mile tunnel in Geneva underneath the ground where all of these European governments got together and they poured like $13 billion into building this testing equipment to understand physics. And as they hyper-accelerate these particles, they smash them, and then they measure what they find, they try and figure out what is the base core of what life is made of. What is the stuff of life? They actually--the nickname is, the machine has been built to discover they call it the God Particle. Have you heard that before? They said it's going to try--we're trying to find the answers of where everything came from.

That's a big investment, boy, technology, not only from under the ground there in Geneva, but up in the sky with the International Space Station. Knowledge has increased. Just in one lifetime, or I should actually say in about a century, you look at some of the changes, incredible inventions, automobiles, airplanes, radio, television, smartphone, computers. A lot of young people today, they can't imagine a world without a smartphone. Can you imagine trying to explain a smartphone to the Apostle Paul? He would think you're demon-possessed. Paul would say, "Look, let me find that in my scroll." Say, "No problem, Paul, I'll google it." "What?" Things have changed. And another one for me that I think is a tremendous evidence of the nearness of Christ coming is global evangelization. Matthew 24, verse 14, this to me I think is one of the most powerful prophecies.

It really makes me believe we are living in the last days. Jesus said extremely clearly, "The gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations." And then He said, "Then the end will come." He didn't say it might come, or it could come, or it may come. He said very emphatically, "The end will come." He did not say, "The gospel will be preached, and there will be a great global revival, and everybody will believe." He said, "For a witness." Give them an opportunity. And then what they do with that opportunity is up to them, but the end will come. Well, is the gospel going in all the world? Just this last 2 days that we've had an invitation to return to China, Amazing Facts was very blessed. We were one of, if not the first Christian organization in over 50 years invited to preach publicly a whole series of meetings that was broadcast on television in China. And that was such a thrill. And then the neat thing is they made copies of that, and they continued to multiply that, and so the gospel, and it's now on satellite.

Karen and I are going next month to New Guinea, and they tell us there will be about 100,000 people at this one meeting that we're going to in New Guinea. We're going to be in Australia. And I'm just one of thousands of missionaries that are out there doing this. It's not like we're doing it. Jesus said the gospel will go to the world. It's going to the Middle East. Amazing Facts gets email from all these people in the Middle East that are watching online. And so, people are searching, and the gospel is going, and missionaries are going. And Jesus said, "Then the end will come." And so, we're seeing I think the fulfillment of that in this generation.

Now, I need to pause at this point and delve into a very important part of our study. I've been talking about signs of Christ coming. Now, I want to talk about how He's coming. About what? How he's coming. Because there's a lot of confusion about how. Now, there's going to be a lot of people in Heaven that misunderstood how He's coming. Did the apostles misunderstand how the Messiah was coming the first time? Yeah, they'll be in Heaven, but they had the Scriptures wrong. They thought when the Messiah came, He was going to come on a white horse like King David, and He was going to destroy all of the Romans like Samson or something. And they were going to be a world empire like Solomon, and they just had these great, glorious ideas about when the Messiah comes. And Jesus said, "No, no, no, that's when I come the second time. First time, I'm coming like a lamb, second time I come like a lion." Well, the devil's doing the same thing to the church today. A lot of good people are confused about how He's coming so they won't be prepared to receive Him.

A lot of Christ's people, the Jews, did not receive Him when He came the first time because they said, "Nazareth? There's no prophet in Nazareth. A poor carpenter? How can--this can't be Him." They misunderstood that He was coming first as a sacrifice. Well, now there's a lot of misunderstandings. There are principally three views. When you read Revelation, there's one group that they're called preterists. And just think of the word "pre." They believe that all of Revelation was pretty much fulfilled by 100 AD. They think Nero was the antichrist and that it's all behind us. Good people, I respectfully disagree. Then you have futurists. Futurists are the ones who have popularized the version--the "Left Behind" scenario, where most of Revelation chapter 4, when John says, "I heard a voice and a trumpet," that's all future. Then you have where I fall in, what they call historists. And I'm in the company--this used to be the old view. It's not as popular as it used to be, but it's what the Protestant reformers believed.

It means Revelation is covering a panorama of history from the first coming to the Second Coming. And you can kind of track the history of the church and God's people across that horizon. And so, I'll just tell you right now that you've got two main views are the futurist view, there's not as many preterists, and the historic view. The futurist view is a fairly new view. It was really popularized by Hal Lindsey's book, I don't know if any of you remember a book called "The Late Great Planet Earth." And in that book, he predicted that because Israel was established as a nation in 1948, in 1981, the secret rapture will take place. In 1988, 7 years later after 7 years of tribulation, Jesus will come. And none of it happened. And he's still selling books. But it became very popular then. I am with the group that believes that the tribulation comes before Jesus comes. The other group believes that we are caught up before the tribulation. And I'd love to believe that, but I don't think it's what the Bible teaches. And we want to know--and I'm going to give you biblical Scripture. If you disagree with me, then we can still love and respect each other, but you owe it to yourself to at least understand your brothers and sisters that may believe differently, amen? And we can disagree and still be agreeable, right? All right, first of all, let's talk about this now.

Is it a secret coming? Now, the word "rapture" means to be caught up. We all believe Jesus is coming, the dead in Christ arise, we're caught up to meet Him, we agree on that. But is it a secret? Is it quiet? Do people just start disappearing, and then life goes on for 7 more years on earth after Christ comes, or after the Rapture? I don't believe that. Will Jesus come quietly? Let's look at what the Bible says. 1 Thessalonians 4:16, "For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God." And then it tells us, "Then the dead in Christ will rise." A trump. You read in Jeremiah 25:30, it tells us, "The Lord will roar from on high. He will utter His voice from His holy habitation. He will mightily roar upon His habitation. He will give a shout." Jesus’ coming is a very loud event. You read in Psalm 50. If this was the only one, it would be pretty convincing. It says there, "Our God shall come, and He will not keep silent. And it will be very tempestuous, stormy round about Him." The coming of the Lord is loud, does not keep silent, tempestuous around him. And then Jesus talking about the Second Coming, He said, "For when the Lord comes," said, "if they say He's in secret chambers, don't believe it. It will be like lightning shining from one end of Heaven to the other." And someone might be thinking, "Well, Pastor Doug, the Bible says He's coming like a thief.

Doesn't that mean He's coming quietly?" Well, I don't think so. You can read in the Bible where it says in 2 Peter chapter 3, it says, "The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise." What happens on the day that He comes like a thief? Notice heavens pass away with a great noise, there's a noise again, and the elements will melt with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. So, when Jesus comes as a thief, does it sound to you like life goes on here on earth? "He's coming like a thief," that just means it's a surprise. What other physical evidence will accompany the Second Coming that helps us see it's not a secret coming? Bible tells us there was a--Revelation chapter 16, verse 18, "There was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth. So might an earthquake, and so great." You go on and read in that passage, and it tells you the mountains and the islands are swallowed up. this is not four or five on the Richter scale. I mean, California, we have earthquakes. And even in Sacramento recently, where we used to never feel earthquakes, we felt some in the recent years. Things are starting to get shaky out there.

Now, who is going to see Christ when He returns? Is it only a select group that disappears? And, listen to what it says. I'm gonna give you several verses here. Matthew 24:30, "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn. And they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of Heaven with power and great glory." They're going to see Him coming. Great power, great glory means brilliance, splendor. And again it says in Matthew chapter 24, verse 30, "They'll see the Son of Man coming, power and glory." Revelation 1:7, "Behold, He comes with the clouds and every eye will see him." Now, just to emphasize this. Again, just going to look at this real quick. In Acts chapter 1, if you look at verse 9, "When Jesus ascended to Heaven, He told His disciples--"

You know, I've got so many of the Scriptures on the screen, I like holding my Bible. You read in verse 9, "When Christ gave the great commission to the disciples after He spoke these things, while they watched, He's taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly towards Heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel who said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand here gazing up into heaven? Notice, this same Jesus who was taken from you into heaven will so come in like manner as you saw Him go.'" Jesus was real and personal when He went. The angel said, "You're going to see Him come. You saw Him go. He left in the clouds, He's coming in the clouds." It's not a secret. We'll see Him when He comes. People just don't start disappearing in cars, drive off the cliff, and planes start to crash. And like I said, that's a fairly new teaching. It's about 80 years old really. All right, number seven, who will be with Jesus when He comes? He's not coming alone. The Bible says, "The Son of Man will come in His glory," that's that splendor, and how many? "All the holy angels with Him." Well, how many angels are there? Let's think about that for a minute. Most of us have a guardian angel. Bible says--Jesus said, speaking of children, "Their angels do behold the face of my Father," implying that they've got an angel watching them. Seven billion people in the world. God's angels not only watch over people, they're doing His work, they're the ministering spirits. They're the army of God. They're called the heavenly host. Very real creatures with individual personality, billions of them.

Now, one angel came down from God, you read in the Old Testament in the days of King Hezekiah. The angel of the Lord went through the army of Syria. One angel killed 185,000 enemy soldiers in one day. The angels that were guarding the tomb of Jesus--I'm sorry, when the angels came to the tomb of Jesus at the resurrection, the Roman soldiers that were guarding the tomb were so frightened by the glory of that angel that came down and rolled away the stone, they fell over as though they were dead, one angel. Can you imagine the Heaven being filled with the brilliance of billions of angels? He didn't say we're leaving any of them behind, he said all the angels. All the angels have been involved in our salvation. They're going to--very interested in us being redeemed, and you'll see they play a part in our being collected, so to speak.

Question eight, what will the brightness of the glory of the Lord's coming and all these angels do to those who are not ready? Says, "When the Son of Man shall come in His glory and all the holy angels with Him," it says, "when Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God." And again, that was 2 Thessalonians chapter 1, verse 7 and 8. You can read in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, verse 8, "And then shall that wicked one be revealed whom the Lord will consume with the spirit of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming." The wicked one is destroyed by the brightness of His coming. Have you ever seen when you're out in the field on a nice sunny day, and you're just curious, you pick up a stone, and you turn it over, and you see all these crawly things start running for the dark? And at night, you can light something out in the woods, and all of the moths come to the light. You got two kinds of bugs out there. You got bugs like cockroaches that run from the light, and you got moths and butterflies that love the light. And that's the kind of people you got when Jesus comes.

You got your cockroaches and your butterflies. And so, those that are--really, if you don't have the Lord in your life, you are going to be terrified by His coming. But if you love the Lord, the Bible calls His coming the blessed hope. But if you've been living a life of selfishness and sin, it's going to frighten you, and it should. God wants you to have peace, but He doesn't want you to have peace if you're on your way to destruction. He wants you to be troubled until you repent and come to Him. The brightness of His coming will destroy them. So, what happens to the righteous who are dead at Jesus' coming? First, we'll start with the righteous who are dead. You read there the dead in Christ will rise first. That's where we read in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, "The Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout, the voice of the archangel, the trumpet of God." Someone once said that is the loudest verse in the Bible, and the dead in Christ rise first.

So, does that sound like a secret still? At this point, what happens to the living who are--when the Lord comes? The living and the resurrected saints, I should say. So you've got the dead in Christ, they rise. Some of us, we hope to be alive when Jesus comes. I'd like to if I can avoid death. So, what's going to happen to those who are alive? It says, "The dead in Christ are raised incorruptible." And those of us who are alive will be changed, in a moment it tells us. "This corruptible will put on incorrupt--" Corruptible means our bodies, they get old, they decay, they die. We're going to get these glorified bodies, like the kind Adam and Eve had before sin, before the light went out. “This corruptible will put on incorruption, and this mortal will put on immortality. Then we which are alive and remain will be caught up together." What direction do we go? That's when it's talking about the Rapture. We will be caught up or raptured up together with them in the clouds.

We meet the Lord in the air. So, Jesus' feet don't touch the ground when He comes next time. We meet Him, and Christ said this is how it would happen. He said, "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself," that's when we're caught up, "that where I am," He takes us where? Back to heaven. "You may be also," right? So, when we are caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and when the dead in Christ rise, and we all go back to the places that God has prepared, what is left here on earth? The wicked are destroyed by the brightness of His coming.

How many of you have heard of the seven years of tribulation? Let me see your hand, you've heard of it? Please show me a verse that says seven years of tribulation. That's pretty risky to do on live television, isn't it? We're broadcasting on several networks right now. You could shout it out. There is no verse that says 7 years of tribulation. I know where they get the idea, principally from Daniel chapter 9. But the left behind scenario, a prophecy basically says that the saints are raptured away, the lost are still here on earth. They've got to go through the tribulation. Then after seven years of them going through the tribulation, people will have a second chance to repent and come to the Lord. Then Jesus comes back down to earth with the righteous, some others will still be saved, but then the righteous reign over the wicked. I don't want to do that for 1,000 years. And it's a little bit convoluted.

Now, according to the Bible, there's a period of time where no one is alive here on Earth. Look in your Bibles in the book of Jeremiah chapter 4, verse 23. "I beheld the earth, and indeed, it was without form and void. And the heavens had no light. I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled, and all the hills moved back and forth. I beheld, and indeed there was no man, and all the birds of heaven had fled," they're all fled. They had been there, they're gone. "I beheld and indeed, the fruitful land was a wilderness, and all of its cities were broken down at the presence of the Lord and by His fierce anger." Cities are broken down, no one alive. Isaiah says the earth is utterly empty. There's no one to lament or mourn the bodies. No one here.

In the left behind scenario, they can't explain a time when the earth has basically vacated from the living before God makes a new heaven and a new earth. So, moving along, and I've got a little more I can say about that in just a moment. The resurrected saints then are caught up, they meet the Lord in the air. Notice, I want to summarize as I talk about the how of Jesus' coming. We've read where it says the Lord's coming is literal, personal, visible, audible, physical, vitalizing, glorious, climactic, there's an earthquake. Every sense in your being will know when Jesus comes. You're not going to text someone and say, "Did you catch it?" "Catch what?" "Jesus came with all the angels yesterday, did you--" "Oh, I missed it. I did notice some planes going down and cars careening off the road, but there was a clump of clothes in the bed next to me when I woke up. I think it was my spouse, but they're gone now." You know, I know I'm teasing. Maybe I don't mean to be unkind, but to me, I actually know people who think, "Well, if I'm not ready when Jesus comes, no big deal. If my spouse, they're Christian, they believe, if they disappear, then I'll get serious.

I might have to go through the tribulation, but then I'll know it's true." And you'd be surprised how many people out there are thinking they're going to get a second chance. That's why it's a very dangerous thing to not understand the how of his coming. Another reason is because the devil's got a lot of impersonators out there. By the way, late Pastor Tim LaHaye who wrote the "Left Behind" series with Jerry Jenkins, he says in his book "No Fear of the Storm," very honest, "No single verse specifically states that Christ will come before the tribulation." He says there's no verse in the Bible that says that. It's a theory, it's a series of fiction books that people are believing is reality.

What solemn warning does Jesus give about the Second Coming? As you start reading Matthew chapter 24, the first thing He says is, "Beware that no one deceives you." He repeats it over and over, "Many will come in my name, saying I am Christ, and deceive many." And I remember baptizing a young lady that was in Jonestown with Jim Jones. She escaped just before things all went sideways there, and told horrible stories. He started out Methodist preacher. Good church, preaching from the Bible. And just--but he was a false prophet. See, it said ultimately he was Christ. Jesus said, "There will arise false Christs. They will show signs and wonders." Are miracles, signs, and wonders the evidence of who's real and who's not? Can the devil do miracles? He can. We'll talk more about that. And they'll do this to deceive. If it were possible, the very elect. In other words, you need to know what the Bible says because the devil's going to have powerful deceptions in the last days.

What's going to prevent the righteous from being deceived in the last days? Isaiah 8:20, that's why we want you to know your Bibles. I hope you check on everything I'm saying. You can take notes. Bible says, "To the law and the testimony," that's how the Bible refers to the Bible. "The law and the prophets, if they speak not according to this Word, it's because there's no light in them." You measure everything by the Scriptures. You need to know Jesus said, "Seek and you'll find," amen? Would it be safe to maybe go see one of these false Christs? You know, just check it out.

Jesus said, "Wherefore if they say to you, 'Behold, he is in the desert,' do not go forth." He's hiding behind a comet, don't believe it. He's not coming secretly. Isn't that clear? Everybody's going to know when Jesus comes, like lightning. No one's going to say, "I've got inside information." What will the angels do at the Second Coming of Jesus? Ah, they get to participate. Matthew 24:31, "His angels will gather together His elect from the four winds of heaven, from one end of Heaven to the other." They are participating and gathering together those who are being saved.

Since we're now living just before Jesus' Second Coming, how should we relate to this solemn and glorious event? You know, I don't want people to watch, just tune in if you're just watching this because you think it's interesting. We do it because we want it to be redemptive. The purpose of prophecy is not to just tantalize us that God knows the future. He knows your future, but He wants you to be redeemed. Jesus said, "When these things come to pass, then you will know that I am He." The whole purpose of prophecy is so you can know that he is the one. Have a relationship with Jesus.

So how do we relate? Matthew 24, Jesus said, "Therefore, be also ready." He wants us to be ready. "For in such an hour as you think not the Son of Man comes." A lot of the world is going to wait until it's too late. It's going to be like that sign they had out in front of the Baptist church, "Repent now and avoid the rush." Because when most people finally start believing, it'll be too late. Everybody wanted to get on Noah's ark after the rain started, right? But it was too late then.

Number 16, what will the wicked say when Jesus returns? "And the kings of the earth, and the great man, and the rich man, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bond man, and every free man," speaking of the lost, "they said to the mountains and to the rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne, for the great day of his wrath has come. And who shall be able to stand?'" I told you, once again, two kinds of people. You got the ones who know Christ, and He's in their heart. You have those who have resisted Him, and they've become His enemies. You've either got the love of God or the wrath of the Lamb.

I want Him to come as my Lord and my Savior, not as my adversary, amen? What will the righteous say when Jesus comes? It tells us in Isaiah 25, verse 9, they'll declare, "Lo, this is our God. We have waited for him, and he will save us." Do you live for Jesus? Are you waiting for Him to come? You know, there's a lot of things that are probably going on in this massive city here around Orlando and the suburbs, a lot of things going on in the country, a lot of things attracting people's attention. But you know, I think God is especially interested in what's going on here via the broadcast and the streaming because Jesus came to seek and to save the lost.

The most important thing to God is that people find the truth because the truth will set you free. That you have a relationship with Jesus, you know Him, He will forgive your sins. You'll have peace and purpose in your life, and you can live forever. And that's why he wants us to think about this. We get so busy with life, we forget about why we're living. So, I'm so thankful that you've decided to take some time to make the main thing the main thing. Bible says, "We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation." What is the prime reason for Jesus' Second Coming? Is He coming to get even with the lost? No, He's coming to redeem His own. John 14:3, "I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am you might be."

Where I am you might be. Revelation says, "God Himself will be with us. We will see His face. Can you imagine that? "Now, we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face," 1 Corinthians 13. What a privilege that we can see God face to face. You know, friends, God is giving us the signs along the way. And I just want you to know that there are some difficult days ahead. I believe there's going to be a tribulation. See, I believe the Lord is coming, I believe we'll be caught up, but I believe the tribulation comes before the Rapture. Does God save His people from trouble or through it? Did God save Noah from the flood, or did He save him through the storm? Did God save Joseph from his trials or through them? How about Job? Was he saved from tribulation or through tribulation? Doesn't Paul say, "It is through much tribulation we will enter the kingdom of God"?

God is coming for a church without spot or wrinkle, or any such things. You get out the spots and the wrinkle with a hot iron and hot water. So, the idea that the church is not going to go through any kind of purging or purification before that--when does the church shine the brightest, in the light or in the darkness? There is going to be a time of great darkness. Jesus said it was at midnight the cry was given. Behold, the bridegroom comes. And so, there are some difficult days ahead. I don't worry about that. You know why? God said, "If you make the Most High your habitation, you don't need to be afraid. No plague will come near your dwelling." Yeah, we're going to study plagues. By the way, Israel, did God save Israel from the plagues of Egypt or through the plagues? Were they in Egypt when the plagues fell? But he protected them. So, if you've got a relationship with Jesus, you have nothing to fear.

By the way, how many plagues fell on Egypt? Ten. How many last plagues in Revelation? Seven. You realize the last seven of the ten plagues that fell on Egypt, Israel was protected through those seven plagues. First three, they experienced the trouble with the Egyptians. Last seven, they were protected. God will protect you through the plagues. You don't need to worry about that. What I worry about is, "Lord, I want to be faithful." He has given us signs. And some of the Christians are losing hope right here on the borders of the greatest event in history.

You know, I love history. I remember reading about Christopher Columbus. When he was crossing the ocean, you know, he just went launching out. And he said, "We're going to go discover a new passage." None of the explorers from Portugal or Spain went very far into the Atlantic because they had rumors, "You're going to sail off the earth." There were dragons out there and all these scary stories. And he said, "We're just going to sail west until we find our objective." And, you know, after two months in August and September, those sailors were ready to mutiny. And Columbus, you read his diary, he prayed a lot.

He believed he was on a divine quest. He finally told his sailors, "Give me three more days. If we don't see land, we'll turn around." Can you imagine what was at stake? But as those days passed, they began to see signs. Overturned canoe went by. And they saw some coconuts float by, some tufts of vegetation. Water began to change color, saltiness changed in the water. They noticed when they were sounding that it was getting shallower. Songbirds came by. They couldn't see land, but they saw the signs that they were nearing shore. And they were all encouraged by the signs, press on, finally at the end of the third day at night, they saw a fire in the distance. Next morning, they spotted land, San Salvador.

Well, friends, we see the signs Jesus is about to come. I want to be ready, how about you? I believe He's coming soon, He has a plan for you. And I think He's brought you to this seminar, and we want you to come back. Friends, I encourage you to have prayer with your groups, have a closing prayer.

Please do not forget we have another presentation. Tomorrow, we're going to be talking about the Hero of Revelation, one of the most important presentations, 7 o'clock Eastern time on your time zone. Go to "Prophecy Encounter," you can submit your questions there. Continue to pray for this series, and we just thank the Lord that you've come, amen? We're going to go off the air here praying and asking for God's blessing. Father in heaven, we just thank You for Your presence here, for bringing the people, and helping us make Jesus' return our priority. We pray that You'll bless each person, all those who may be tuning in, and pour out Your Spirit on this event. Help us to sense Your presence. We ask all this in Christ's name, amen.

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