July 1, 2023
End Times prophecy can be confusing and challenging, but God’s Word is as certain as the sunrise, and we are living just before dawn.
One of these days the Lord Jesus is going to step from Heaven, pull back the shades of darkness, pin them with a star, open the door to the morning, and flood the world with the sunshine of His Second Coming.
Let’s open God’s Word and explore the teaching from a series of messages Pastor Rogers initially titled “Remembering Tomorrow.” How can one remember tomorrow? God resides outside time and space. He’s already accomplished everything that concerns this world. While we on Earth tend to wring our hands at the headlines and cower in the gathering darkness, He lives in the light of completed prophecy.
So, let’s look at what He has told us—and at what those who follow Jesus Christ can be certain of as we watch His plans unfold. Metaphorically, we’ll walk through, wait by, or pass by a series of doors on our way to the “door to the morning,” which will be opened by Jesus Christ Himself at the Second Coming.
As we begin our look at End Times events and contemplate Christ’s return, we are not to be disturbed or deceived. And if we trust in Him, we will not be disappointed.
So the first door we’re going to open is the door of peace for all those who belong to Jesus Christ.
and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels...
The Word of God tells believers to be at peace about the End Times. Keeping that in mind, we don’t have to be afraid of “eschatology,” a big word for the study of End Times prophecy.
Eschatology is focused on what the Bible has to say about Jesus and His involvement in the events of the End Times. Some of these events are persecution of believers, the Rapture of the Church, the seven years of the Great Tribulation, the Second Coming of Jesus, and the final judgment. Scholars disagree on how and when these things will happen. Those in the Church (all true believers in Jesus Christ) must focus on being prepared regardless of the timing.
How do we prepare ourselves for Christ’s return? We prepare first by accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. Then we live lives that honor the Lord, and we tell others about Him so they can be prepared as well.
For an overview of events related to the Second Coming, read the article, End Times Prophecy: The Second Coming of Jesus.
Let’s stop now at the door of the New Testament in Matthew 24 and look at what Jesus had to say about the signs that point us to the events of the End Times.
The disciples asked Jesus: “When will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3).
In answer to their question, Jesus gave His followers these signs that He is at the door: there will be great deception, people will be divided by war and will be terror struck, natural disasters will increase, religious persecution will increase, those who are not true believers will desert the Church, there will be an increase in false prophets providing disinformation, and there will be great depravity.
“We have a generation today that no longer believes in a fixed standard of right and wrong; because of that, the moral anchor is gone, and they have gone down into a swirling sewer of depravity.”
But Jesus gave this hope to those who live in such times:
“But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 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.”
Remember as you look at these biblical prophecies that the Rapture will take place before the Great Tribulation, and that those who are truly believers will endure to the end because Jesus keeps His own without fail.
For more about the signs described in Matthew 24, read the article, Signs of the End Times in the Bible.
Revelation 13 unveils Satan’s counterfeit messiah, the Antichrist, who will rise to power during the Great Tribulation. Though the Beast might very well be waiting at a dark door today, he will not wield his great power until after the Rapture of the Church.
The Beast will worship Satan, blaspheme God, deceive sinners, kill those who come to believe in Jesus after the Rapture and during the Great Tribulation, and dominate the entire world.
In previous generations, it may have seemed far-fetched that the whole world would turn to one leader. But we now live in a world of global communication, decreasing nationalism, and increasing conformity of thought. When one considers the possibility of global disaster, hunger, and war, it’s easier to imagine the entire world turning to someone who promises peace and provision in exchange for conformity. The Beast will be such a man. He is described in Bible prophecy in Daniel 7 as representing the great conquering kingdoms of the world.
The Beast will grasp absolute power, said Pastor Adrian Rogers:
He’s going to be all of the Napoleons, the Hitlers, the Alexanders the Great, the Stalins, all rolled into one.
Pastor Rogers referred to the false prophet as a “sinister minister of propaganda.” This will be a miracle worker who causes people to worship the Beast. The Beast will require his mark to be placed on everyone; without the mark it will be impossible to buy or sell.
For more about the Beast, read the article, The Antichrist and the Beast of Revelation 13.
The next door we’ll stop at will reveal four horsemen described in Revelation 6.
White symbolizes his dominion. He will be the malevolent, wicked ruler of the world. He will come as the world’s messiah offering peace.
The Antichrist will inflame men’s hearts with hatred and stir up war.
As night follows day, so does famine follow war; massive starvation will plague the land.
Sin causes hatred, which causes war, which causes famine, which produces death.
Yet, God will still be in control. Remember, those who belong to Jesus are waiting for Him, not for the Antichrist. We can be comforted, knowing that Jesus will rapture His church before the Great Tribulation begins. As we wait for Jesus, we must turn away from idols to serve the living God. We wait with expectation and anticipation—looking, learning, longing, and laboring until He returns.
We’ll work till Jesus comes and then we’ll be gathered home.
For more about the four horsemen, read the article, Understanding the Great Tribulation.
In these last days, the Church will see increasing persecution; no genuine Christian is exempt. This is a dark door we must go through without fail.
Believers will be discriminated against by those who hate Jesus. Christians must expect persecution, endure it, and use it to return good for evil. We should also rejoice because we are counted worthy to suffer for the name of Christ Jesus.
The only way to escape persecution is to compromise—to conform to this world. Instead, we can prepare for persecution and decide now that no matter what happens, nothing will take our joy from us.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Christians are persecuted “for righteousness’ sake” because we are different. In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus called us the salt and light of this world. Salt irritates the wounds of this world, and light exposes its darkness. In context, Jesus was saying we are to be irritants and exposers of sin.
Jesus was crucified because of false witnesses; likewise, Christians are and will continue to be blamed for things they have not done.
Jesus says believers are persecuted, “for my sake” (Matthew 5:11). The world hates Jesus Christ because He stands against the very things the world stands for: drunkenness, abortion, pornography, pride, racism, hatred, and selfishness.
As followers of Christ, we can expect to endure personal insult and physical intimidation. But we can enlist our persecution for the glory of God. Because we are children of the King, we reign in life, and we can return good for evil. We must also rejoice in the Lord; we have been identified as followers of Christ and associated with the Lord... what an honor!
Finally, we should respond in love. We can be great witnesses if we respond to the hate of this world with the love it desperately needs.
For more about preparing for persecution, read the article, The Christian’s Response to Religious Persecution.
The word blessed in the Bible means happy, joyful. The word hope means confidence or assurance. The blessed hope of the believer is Jesus Himself! He is our hope for now, and He is our hope for the future. He is our joy-filled confidence.
In these increasingly dark days, we can live in the light of the blessed hope that Jesus Christ is coming again. He will open the door to the morning and flood the world with the light of his presence forevermore.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men… looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…
It is a rock-ribbed assurance and anticipation.
Hope is purifying: “...teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age…” (Titus 2:12). When people have hope, they are looking toward something in the future, so they will take care of the present. If we truly anticipate Jesus’ return, we will clean up our lives and keep them clean. We will want to live pure lives and move step by step toward holiness.
Hope is encouraging. God our Father is the power, preserver, and purpose of creation; everything is in His control. When Jesus comes, wrong will be made right. He will come for His bride, the Church. Jesus will subdue the devil and He will sit on His throne.
Hope is unifying. As we move higher toward holiness, we draw closer together in abounding love with our fellow believers. As we wait for Jesus, we ought to have a fervent love toward one another, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.
The closer we get to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the closer we ought to be to one another, the more we ought to be in the house of God.
Hope is challenging. Christ’s return should motivate us to bring people to Him in faith. We have such limited time, and we must remember the most important thing is sharing the Gospel with others.
Hope is stabilizing. When we’re rooted in this hope, we will not be blown about by the things of this world.
Finally, hope is comforting. The blessed hope reminds us that it is not over yet; our King is on the way.
For more about how we can live in hope as we wait for Jesus, read the article, Anticipating The Blessed Hope.