Heaven Split Open - Part 1

Scripture: Revelation 6:14, Hebrews 9:28, John 14:1-3
The Bible has much to say about the 2nd coming of Jesus to our earth. It is real, it will be visible by all, and it will be glorious for those who are ready. But for the wicked, it will be a day of disaster and death.
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One of these nights, suddenly a bright, dazzling light will appear in the sky, the likes of which men have never seen or even imagined. The heavens will be split wide open and rolled back like a scroll and there coming in power and majesty and glory will be Jesus, the King of Kings. I read this from the Bible. Revelation 6:14 and 14:14. "And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of Man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand, a sharp sickle." That will be the night when all men and women everywhere face God. For some, it will be the saddest moment of all time, for they will be unprepared and lost. For others, it will be the beginning of all joy and gladness. Which will it be with you?

There are some Bible students today who do not believe that Jesus is coming back to this earth the second time. But friends, I believe that we have reached such a crucial hour that every single one of us must hinge his or her faith upon this book. I don't think there is anything else safe anywhere. We must get back to this book. And if it is in the Bible we ought to say, "That's it." If not, we ought to reject it. I want to call your attention to the Bible and what the Bible says about the second coming of Christ. I would like to read you one verse that will forever settle the question. Hebrews 9:28. Listen. "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time." It is so plain and so clear and so positive, there is no escaping it. He shall appear the second time. You know, if there were one little tiny phrase in the Bible that mentioned some great person in the world today, that phrase would be seized upon and immediately he would be exalted and acclaimed the man of the hour, the man of destiny. But, you know, there are three hundred unmistakable predictions of the second coming of the wonderful man, Jesus, in the New Testament alone. Of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament, twenty-three speak of the second coming of Jesus. Do you know that one verse out of every twenty-five all the way through the New Testament speaks of the coming of Jesus? Oh, what abundant evidence that He is coming back again! It is proof positive!

You say, "Well, what did Jesus Himself say about it?" I would like to read for you a wonderful promise in John 14. "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again." Ah, dear friend, let me ask you a question. Did Jesus go away? What about it? Certainly we all know that well-established fact. Jesus did go away. He said, "If I go away, I will come again." We have His own word of honor that He is coming back. Yes, there is no question about that, He is coming back. But the question is this, how is He coming? In what manner?

I have heard a great many theories about this. I would like to mention a few of them today. You have heard them, I am sure. I mention six. One belief is that Jesus' coming is going to be a spiritual thing. Some believe that when you are converted, that is the coming of Christ. Some people believe that it takes place when a man dies. That is the second coming of Christ. Others say, "No, it is just figurative and it will be manifest by better conditions in the world." And then a great many people believe that He is going to appear again in person and walk around on the earth, and do the same miracles in the same way that He did over nineteen hundred years ago. Then there is a group that believe that He has already come. Forty years ago Jesus came the second time, they tell us. Also, there is a belief that's growing all the time that His second coming is to be secret. He will come all right, but it will be a secret coming and many, many people will know nothing of it.

Some time ago in Brooklyn an evangelist was preaching to a great congregation of about four thousand people, and he said to these folk, "You know, I should not be at all surprised to wake up some morning and find that Jesus had already come, and that He was in London, or Los Angeles, or Calcutta, or Buenos Aires." Perhaps you are saying, "Don't see what difference it makes." What difference does it make? Why is it necessary that I know "how" He is going to come, as long as I believe that He will come? I'll tell you. The reason is this. It is important because Satan is going to deceive most people into believing that Jesus has already come back when He hasn't come back. Then, when He really does come back, they will be surprised and lost. Now let's prove that from the Bible.

I would like to invite your attention to Matthew 24. I begin reading with verse 3. "And as He sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?" You see, they came to Him because they had heard Him say that He was coming back again, and they said, "Tell us a little more about it." I would like you to note what Jesus said immediately in answer to that question. "And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." Notice what He pointed out. He said, "Before we begin to talk about my coming, let me sound the warning. There are going to be false Christs and false prophets arise. There will be men arise who say they are Christ, and people will believe it and be deceived into following somebody who is not Christ, so that when he really does come back they will be unprepared and lost."

Now I can just hear some one say, "I don't believe there is any danger of anybody being deceived that way." But here is a very solemn thought. Christ the Saviour of the world thought that there was danger of people being deceived on that point. In Matthew 24, speaking of His second coming, He said over and over again, "Be careful that no one deceives you into thinking that I've come when I have not come." I thought we would read a few of those verses and comment on them a little. Verse 23: "Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not." If someone says Christ is over here, you don't need to go over there and look and say "I will decide after I see him." You can say, I don't believe it, because that is what your Master said for you to do. Exactly that!

Some time ago in California there was a man who suddenly appeared. No one seemed to know where he came from. He had a long, white, flowing robe; a beautiful white beard and long white hair. Oh, what a musical voice he had. He preached to the people and said, "I am Christ." He sounded to the people as if he might be Christ. He spoke some of the same wonderful truths that Jesus used to preach, and they were having a wonderful time. Then one day he appeared on the street and a great group of people were around him. They heard some singing off in the distance. They looked and down the street the Salvation Army was coming, and they were singing this old song, "I shall know Him, I shall know Him, by the print of the nails in His hand." And that is good Bible doctrine. So somebody went up to him and said, "Show us the nail prints." Do you know what happened? He vanished in the crowd. He wasn't Christ. The Lord said that if they say he is over here or over there, don't you believe it.

Verse 24. "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."

Did you hear about the man not so long ago in the East, the miracle working man? It was a marvelous thing. A newspaper reporter was skeptical. They had been saying, "He is wonderful, he claims to be Christ and he does wonderful things." So this newspaper reporter said, "I don't believe that. That is ridiculous. Somebody is nervously upset." So he went out with his pen and his pad, and he followed him around. And this man who claimed to be Christ suggested that they go out in the country, and they did. A storm came up, and fireballs leaped out of the clouds and rolled around and the reporter thought, "This is no place for me." He said, "Let's go back home." And this man who was supposed to be Christ said, "Oh, you forget. You are in the presence of Christ. I control the elements." Then he said, "Peace, be still." And there was a great calm. They walked along together; and, as the reporter told it, they came to a river. This man raised his hands, and the river parted and they walked right across on dry ground. They stacked some brush in the river-bed and this man raised his hand again and fire came down and devoured it. Oh, all sorts of wonderful things, and the reporter wrote an article about it, and he was very much amazed. But the Lord said there would be things like that.

May I counsel and warn you right here on the authority of this book, don't be deceived into believing that a miracle proves that a thing is divine. It doesn't. Not necessarily. A miracle proves that there is supernatural power involved, but remember that Satan has supernatural power. Revelation 16:14 says, for they are spirits of devils, working miracles." Christ Himself said there are going to arise false Christs, and false prophets, and He didn't say they will think to do miracles. He said that they will do them. "Great signs and wonders in so much that if it were possible they would deceive the very elect." So it makes no difference what happens, if you should go down town some day and there on the street should be a glorious being and he began to preach and say, "I am Christ, I can heal people." Don't you believe that that person is Christ because his own book says no. I want to tell you in just a few minutes why it cannot be, and how you can know when He does come.

Verse 26. A little more counsel. "Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold he is in the desert; go not forth; behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not." Why is it that every time a man arises out on the desert, people flock out there by the thousands? Why? The Lord said not even to go. "Or if they say He is in the secret chambers, believe it not." Now, perhaps that has never happened to you but there is an organization called "spiritism." It is growing by leaps and bounds and is an exceedingly dangerous thing. They will tell you, "You come over to my house tonight. We'll go down in the basement, turn the lights down low; and when everything is just right, Christ will come into this secret chamber." Ah, the Lord says don't you believe it. He doesn't work that way.

Now verse 27. "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." There will be nothing secret about it. When I was a little fellow, I used to be terribly afraid of lightning. I don't know why to this day, but I was. At night it seemed as though the lightning would just go across the sky and I couldn't shut it out. I'd cover up my head and I could still see it. I'd pull the pillow over, and then I would nearly suffocate. It is hard to get away from. And there is nothing secret about it. Jesus said, "So shall My coming be."

In verse 25 He said, "Behold, I have told you before." In other words, He said to His disciples, I am telling you now. I am warning you so when it comes you will not be deceived and go after some miracle worker or man that claims to be Christ. Now those are Christ's own words. The danger is this: we may believe we are following Christ. We may believe He has come when He has not come. Then when He does come, we will be greatly surprised and terribly lost.

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