The Last Days & the Lord's Return
There is a lot of false information around the subject of the last days and the Lord’s return. We received a tract about the Millennial Kingdom, printed by a religious biblical society. The tract had been given to one of our brothers in prison. I was so horrified at all the false teaching and errors in this tract that I decided to try and give you all a SIMPLE understanding of what God, through the Bible, teaches on the subject.
Some may say, “I don’t believe your interpretation.” Well, then prove me wrong, but be sure your opinion is by the Word of God. Only in the Bible will we find the answers to God’s plan for mankind. The psalms and the prophetic Old Testament books speak of the day of the Lord.
Then there are the books of Daniel and Revelation. And to fully understand those two books a person needs a degree in world history, plus knowledge of Hebrew and Greek. This is why so few are qualified to teach on the “end times,” and why I am keeping this simple. I am not a historian, or scholar, nor am I skilled in the ancient Bible languages, but I have been blessed in having good learned teachers in Dr. Scott and his wife, Pastor Melissa Scott. We all have.
Jesus also spoke about the end in the gospels, so there is a lot of information in the Bible to study.
To begin with, we all know that life comes to an end one day, and that is something that most people do not want to think about. There are those who believe that a loving God will receive us all to heaven when we die. As long as we have been a “good person,” we will make it. I have no idea as to what a good person is, but I know that I am certainly not good enough on my own.
Then there are those who believe that since Jesus came once as a man it is possible that He can come again and set up His kingdom on earth. There have been many false prophets throughout the years setting dates for the Lord’s coming. Groups of people have waited in vain and then the day came and nothing happened. Jesus said in Matthew 24:36: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” Now that settles it for me. You cannot argue with that.
In Matthew, chapter 24, the disciples asked Jesus about this: “Tell us when these things will be? And what will be the signs of Your coming and of the end of the age?” And to the end of chapter 24 Jesus tells of things to come. He catalogues the happenings from today through the Great Tribulation, and until the coming of Christ when His kingdom will be set up. Some of the events in this chapter have already happened and some are future events.
The “rapture” of the church, the catching away, is one of the events yet to come. Some denominations do not believe in it at all, yet there has been events which could be called “rapturous” that have already happened.
We get the word “rapture” from the Greek translation in Acts 8:39, which describes the catching away of Philip. Philip was explaining the Word of God from Isaiah 53 to an Ethiopian treasurer who was in charge of the treasury for Candace, the queen of Ethiopia. After baptizing him Philip was “caught away” and later he was in another city. He was raptured.
Then there is Enoch in Genesis 5:24: “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” He was raptured.
We all remember Elijah. He was suddenly taken up by chariots of fire into heaven (2nd Kings 2:11). In Matthew 27:52-53 it speaks of many saints coming out of the graves at the time that Jesus was resurrected from the grave. No doubt these resurrected saints went with the risen Christ into heaven.
The above should be enough evidence to prove that most certainly God has the power to catch us up. And the Bible is very clear on the subject.
In 1st Thessalonians 4: 16-17, Paul said: “And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are ALIVE and REMAIN shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to MEET the Lord in the air and thus we shall always be with the Lord” (emphasis, mine). Notice the word “meet.” This is not the second coming of Christ. He does not come down to the earth at this time. He meets us in the air. His second coming is later.
Then the marriage supper takes place, called the marriage supper of the Lamb, because Jesus was always the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, as the atonement for the entire world.
The Bible, God’s message to mankind is so deep, so full of wisdom, that it is impossible to go into the detail of every verse and the depth of it’s meaning in one message.
But some things become clear as we study and read things over and over. The church, at times called the body of Christ, at other times called His bride, is made up of people from all nations who were called out from the world to belong to Christ.
And Paul the Apostle says in 1st Thessalonians 5:9, “For God did not appoint us to wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” So if a person does not believe that God will “rapture” us out of this world before the Great Tribulation begins, then they must also believe that they are destined to suffer through that horrible time. We as the body of Christ are not appointed to wrath. Christ already suffered that wrath on the cross.
Dr. Scott taught that the church had been raptured, caught way from the horror to come at the beginning of chapter 4 of Revelation. I believe that. The church is not mentioned again after chapter 4.
Hebrews 9 says unto them that look for Him shall He appear. A true member of the church will always have a mindset, a knowing, that it could happen at any moment.
The Holy Spirit in the church today is what restrains the anti-christ from being revealed and taking power. Once the church is gone, the antichrist will show himself, set himself up to be god and world ruler, and no man will be able to buy or sell without his number in the hand or forehead. His government will join with a false church and will work miracles and deceive many. The only false church that has power all over the world is of course the Catholic Church.
Jesus often warned us to look for the signs, and there were certain things that had to happen before the antichrist could come to power. But there are no signs BEFORE the rapture. We are told to live each day as if the rapture could happen today. Remember Jesus does not come to earth. He MEETS us in the air. His SECOND COMING is AFTER the marriage supper and the 7 year tribulation.
However, there are some signs that had to be fulfilled BEFORE the Great Tribulation and the second coming of Christ.
FIRST SIGN: Israel had to come back to the land given to Abraham so long ago. They had to again form a nation. God said in Ezekiel 11:17: “I will gather you from the people, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered and I will give you the land of Israel.” This prophecy was fulfilled and God’s Word came true in 1948 when Israel became a nation again. Israel had to become a country, because during the Tribulation many nations come against the Jewish people to destroy them. You can read chapter 38 of Ezekiel about the countries and the great battle against Israel.
SECOND SIGN: This has to do with the great shift of balance of world powers in the world. A century ago no one thought of China and the east as a world power. Today it is, and so is Russia and the European Union. God’s Word says that three major world powers will come against Jerusalem at Armageddon. Satan has a special hatred for the Jewish people. There is no other way to explain how every nation in the world has persecuted them. God chose them to be a special people for Himself, the bearers of His law.
THRID SIGN: The third sign is of course the explosion of technology that has come about in a very short period of time. I can remember when there were only black and white TV’s. Now you can walk down the street and watch TV on a hand-held tablet. The numbering system most likely started with our social security numbers. Today we have many numbers and the antichrist will have his number on his people, and there will be no need for any other number. Antichrist could not have come to power before the invention of the computer and internet.
I used to wonder about what was meant when the Bible said, “and every eye shall see Him.” But it has become clear to me now how that will happen. Satellite television brings us ongoing wars and live coverage of all events around the world. And when so many people “disappear” from the earth I’m sure that CNN will be reporting on it.
With all this technology we are set up for a takeover of a world government controlled by the antichrist. He will most likely be an ordinary man, but one who loves power and will achieve it at any cost, which makes him an anti-christian or antichrist.
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1st Timothy 6:10). There is nothing wrong with either power or wealth, except when it controls who you are and what you do. The antichrist himself is controlled by none other than the devil, but he will appear to bring peace and the answer to all the world’s problems. Foolishly, Israel and others will sign a peace treaty for 7 years. Daniel 9 speaks of this covenant, which he will break after 3 ½ years.
The second coming of Jesus Christ is foretold in the 14th chapter of Zechariah, written in the 6th century B.C. I believe in the prophecies of the Bible and have no doubt that some day in the future we will look back at what the prophets wrote and be amazed at how correct their writings and foretelling’s were. But then, it was God who inspired them to write the words in the first place. And He certainly knows the future.
Quoting parts of Zechariah 14: “The day of the Lord is coming . . . for I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem. Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations as He fights in the day of battle and in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives which faces Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west making a very large valley; Thus the Lord my God will come, and all the saints with Him.”
And this is when the great battle of Armageddon occurs. That battle becomes the feast for all the Carrion birds of the air, as they will eat the flesh of those who came to fight against Jerusalem. Had any of these men believed in prophecy maybe they would have avoided this battle and saved their lives. But satan has convinced people through the ages to follow his evil plans, because maybe his plans make more sense.
Revelation 19:11-21 describes the return of Christ as the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, “and the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen white and clean followed Him on white horses.” Revelation is full of symbolism, but it’s very clear that the saints already in heaven follow Christ to do battle. Romans 8:17 tells us that we are joint heirs with Christ, and we will judge the world and angels (1 Corinthians 2-3). “And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4).
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1st Corinthians 2:9, being repeated from Isaiah 64:4).
I have tried to give you a small overview of the last days, as I see it in the scriptures. A study of the Bible and prophecy is a life-long work. Everything I have written I believe. I trust and lean on the words of God, with no doubts. Here are some examples of prophecy fulfilled:
In the 15th chapter of Genesis God promised Abraham a son and descendants like the sand on the sea shore or stars in heaven. And God promised him the land of Israel. Abraham asked for a sign that this would come true. God told him that his descendants would go to a land, be afflicted for 400 years, and afterward come out with great possessions. The Word of God came true when after 400 years Pharaoh let the people go.
Then we have Micah 5:2 predicting the birth of Jesus at a very unlikely place. “But you Bethlehem though you are little among the thousands of Judah. Yet out of you shall come forth to Me the one to be Ruler in Israel, whose going forth are from of old from everlasting.”
Cyrus was prophesized at least two centuries before his birth. In the 8th century B.C. Jeremiah prophesied “who says of Cyrus, he is my shepherd and shall perform all my pleasure saying to Jerusalem ‘you shall be built’ and to the temple ‘your foundation shall be laid.” Now Cyrus was the heathen king of Persia, yet God used him to write this proclamation: “All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May the Lord his God be with him and let him go up!” (2nd Chronicles 36:23, written in the 5th century B.C.)
The Jews had been carried away by force to Babylon many years earlier. The temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed and the Jews were slaves. Yet God’s Word spoken in the 8th century B.C. was fulfilled. God is not a man to lie (Numbers 23:19). He will fulfill His Word.
We are here to occupy until He comes and to be the restraining power of God’s Spirit in the body of the church. May we all look for His return and look up because our redemption draws near.
©2014 Wingspread Prison Ministries
Prayer Requests for March, 2014
For Ponnell Buchanan (Illinois).
For Robin Harris’ Dad (Oklahoma) who needs a kidney transplant.
For Joe Oakley (Amarillo, TX) who has pneumonia.
For Paul Jones (Menard, Illinois), that he gets to visit with his mother.
For Willie Scott (Grady, Arkansas), that he gets his good time back.
For Michael Small’s Mom, Suzanne (Illinois), who just had hip surgery.
For Willie Harper (Joliet, Illinois) & family, & Ella Watson.
For Isaiah Robinson (Menard, Illinois).
For William Holland (Joliet, Illinois), for health. He has Sciatica nerve pain and needs cataract eye surgery, also.
For Frank Williams, Jr. (Death Row, Grady, Arkansas). Frank is preparing for a new trial.
For Anthony Grayson (Elmira, New York), that his health gets better, and that he finds legal assistance.
For Mike Long (Larned, Kansas), for health.
For Sister Ann & the Carmelite nuns in Little Rock.
For Freddie Lee Lott (Robinson, Illinois), to stay “cancer free.”
For Robert Heffernan (Grady, Arkansas), that DNA evidence in his case will be tested.
For Pastor Scott & her ministry in Los Angeles.
For all of us at Wingspread.
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