Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Olivet Discourse

Some of you may or may not know that Jesus' end-time prophecies in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 is called the "Olivet Discourse".  It's called this because the disciples came to Jesus privately on the Mount of Olives after He'd taught in the Temple all day.  They asked Him what would be the signs of the end of the age -- the signs of His Second Coming.

A lot of people are more familiar with Matt. 24, but I like to quote Luke 21.  I like it because just like in real life, two witnesses give different versions of a story.  Here is what Luke 21 says about the signs to look for right before Jesus comes.

Luke 21: 10-11 & 25-28

 10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

   25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Many scoffers say things like:

"Earthquakes happen all the time, even bad ones."
"There's always a war somewhere."
"The sun goes through a normal 11 year cycle of activity."
"Famines are nothing new."
"What about the Black Plague? That was a pretty wicked pestilence and Christ never came."

What you have to keep in mind when Jesus gave his disciples these words is the fact that taken by themselves, these events are not signs of the Second Coming.  I will be the first to readily agree that earthquakes are quite normal and the sun goes through cycles and sometimes eclipses happen and crazy weather happens.

What Christ was alluding to is that these signs would be happening all at once.  Together.  One right after another, hence the "birth pangs" getting stronger.

The reason why I personally believe we are living in the days right before the Rapture and Tribulation is not JUST because we've had scores of mass animal deaths.  Not JUST because we've had earthquakes.  Not JUST because there have been flooding and record snows.  Not even JUST because of the enormous solar storms or the Supermoon.  And not JUST because of the wars, uprisings and riots.  Each of these taken by themselves is not a sign of the Second Coming.

But because these are happening all at once, right now.

Did you know Japan has had about 600 aftershocks since the 9.0 earthquake struck a week ago?  And ALL of these aftershocks are in the 5/6 range on the Richter Scale.  WHAT?!  That's decidedly NOT normal.  Did you know Japan was having earthquake swarms like this right before the big one as well?  I don't believe the earthquakes are finished with Japan.  In fact, it wouldn't shock me if they were hit by another huge one.  I've read a few reports that wonder if the shelf Japan is sitting on might be crumbling.  The entire island DID move eight feet to the east, after all.

That's a scary, sobering thought.

Aside from Japan, the flooding and landslides and crazy weather elsewhere in the world have ruined crops all over the globe.  The price of food will soon soar and is beginning to increase even now.  We might not notice it for a few months as there's a delay from farm to shelf.  But it's coming.  And the 3rd Horseman of the Apocalypse is Famine and the enormous inflation of food prices, after all.  I do not believe the Black Horse has ridden yet, but he's chomping at the bit.

And with many countries of the UN agreeing to the no-fly zone over Lybia, could we soon "see" the White Horse (conqueror) or the Red Horse (war) ride soon?  If we succeed in taking out Gadhafi, what the heck are we going to do in Yemen?  Bahrain? They're firing on their protesters too.  And Saudi Arabia's troops are firing on Bahrain's protesters as well.

Is THIS the conflict Jesus spoke of, "Nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom"?

And while all of this is going on, we have huge earthquakes.  A massive tsunami.  Nuclear meltdown.  Are these the earthquakes, the waves roaring, and the fearful sights Christ spoke of?

I'm of the could they NOT be?

I asked a few days ago on this blog--before Japan's quake, "How much worse does it have to get before we understand we are living in the end times?"  Last week it got worse.  In a BAD way.  And I believe God has shown us a glimpse in Japan of the world-wide Tribulation that is to come.

But we have a Blessed Hope, the Hope of every Christian who has come before us:

Luke 21:34-36:

   34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.

When Jesus said, "I am coming quickly", He didn't mean, "I am coming soon."  He meant that when these signs begin to take place, then "I will come quickly" -- sooner than you expect, before you know it, and it will shock most people, who thought the Rapture or the end times were years or decades away. 

There is no Bible prophecy that must be fulfilled before the Rapture comes.  It is imminent.  The time is NOW to get right with God.


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