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JESUS IS LORD!!

14 SIGNS OF JESUS RETURN PART 2

When the city of Jerusalem is attacked and conquered, the foreign occupying power will begin what the Bible calls the “abomination of desolation.” What is that? Jesus Christ describes this abomination of desolation in Matthew 24:15–20. Start with verse 15: “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation’ [a loathsome contamination], spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place… then let those who are in Judea [today known as the modern state of Israel] flee to the mountains.” The people in Judea are instructed, when they see this terrible abomination of desolation, to flee to the mountains.

Prophecy foretells that Jerusalem is again to be surrounded by armies (Zechariah 12:2), and an idol will be set up in a holy place. Jesus warns those who are faithful to escape quickly when this desecration takes place. “Let him who is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes” (Matthew 24:17–18). In other words, you are to get out immediately when you see this happening, because if you wait, it will be too late to escape safely. “But woe to those who are pregnant and to those with nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath [God’s people will be keeping the Sabbath]” (vv. 19–20).

There is a historical parallel to this end-time overthrow of Jerusalem and the erection of an idolatrous object on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. In the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, some 160 years before the First Coming of Christ, the pagan Seleucid Greeks sacrificed pigs as offerings upon the altar of God. A statue of Zeus, the chief Greek god, was set up. Something similar will occur once again. We are living during a time that is like the calm before a menacing, destructive storm. If you had been a Jew in Germany in 1935, would you have been alert to your people’s future destiny? Would you have taken appropriate action to save the lives of your family members? You need to be paying attention to what is happening in world events! The cost of ignorance, laxness or a dilatory attitude will be extremely high.

Remarkably, an important implication of Matthew 24:15 is that there will once again be animal sacrifices on an altar at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount dedicated to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel! Another scripture confirming this states: “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up…” (Daniel 12:11).

Since there is prophesied to be a place of sacrifice, many wonder if there will be a great temple raised up in Jerusalem. An alternative idea would be that there will be merely an altar set up, as happened when the Jews returned from their captivity in Babylon (Ezra 3:2). Watch for this in your world news. Prophecy clearly shows that the Jews will once again be sacrificing at Jerusalem. Whether in a temple or at a simple altar is not yet clear. The Jewish people—remember the Six Day War—move swiftly and courageously when they are urgent about something.

From the time that the daily sacrifices to God are stopped by a foreign aggressor (possibly by the coming “king of the North”) and the abomination of desolation is set up—“there shall be 1290 days” (Daniel 12:11). This scripture discusses a certain period of time after the abomination of desolation until the end of this present civilization when Christ returns to this earth as King of kings to usher in a genuinely new world order, the Kingdom of God.

“Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the 1335 days. But you,” God told Daniel to “go your way, till the end; for you shall rest” (Daniel 12:12–13). In other words, Daniel would not himself see the fulfillment of the prophecies God inspired through him. Daniel was to live out his days and die, never having understood the prophecy he was inspired to write down. But today, we can read Daniel’s words and understand, if we begin to walk with God and study these things thoroughly. We need to realize that we are living in momentous times when all these things are about to occur. Let that motivate us to really study the Bible. And most importantly of all, let us obey our God in all things!

12. The Collapse of the English-Speaking Nations—The Great Tribulation

Before the glorious Second Coming of Jesus Christ to establish His Kingdom, watch for the decline and eventual conquest of the English-speaking nations by their enemies! The biblical terminology for this event is “The Great Tribulation.”

Your Bible reveals that the worst, most indescribably terrifying time in the entire history of this planet is soon to occur. This terrifying time (the Great Tribulation) is also spoken of as the time of “Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). It will be such an awful time that the destruction and genocide of World War II will seem like a picnic in comparison!

Let us, therefore, examine the scriptures dealing with this dramatic alteration in the world’s power structure—which, like a powerful steel trap, will suddenly spring upon an unsuspecting world! Most of us will live to see these cataclysmic times, whether we realize it or not. “But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people” (Luke 21:23). When you really understand this prophecy, you can see that Jesus was speaking nationally of not only the Jews, but also of the other modern-day descendants of the ancient nation of Israel—among whom are the American and British-descended peoples.

Notice this same prophecy in a parallel account in Matthew: “For then will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved [alive]; but for the elect’s sake [for the sake of God’s people] those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21–22).

In the past, it was not possible to exterminate all human life from this earth. You might have had a devastating war in Europe, or in the Middle East, but you would still have millions of people untouched elsewhere in the world in Africa, Asia or Australia, or in North and South America. But Jesus prophesied of a unique time in the history of humanity. No nation can feel secure from the utter annihilation that is now possible by thermonuclear warfare!

In the 1950s, it finally became possible to blast all human life off this planet. During the last half-century, we have now multiplied our ability to assure our destruction many times over. Scientists tell us today that we now can erase all human life from this earth at least 20 times over! Christ is describing our time today! No Roman army of Jesus’ day could ever boast of such murderous power.

Here is what the prophet Jeremiah said about this same time: “Now these are the words that the Lord spoke concerning Israel [whose modern descendants include the United States, Great Britain and other nations of northwestern Europe] and Judah.… ‘We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask now, and see, whether a man is ever in labor with child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor, and all faces turned pale? Alas! For that day is great [Jeremiah prophesied under inspiration] so that none is like it’” (Jeremiah 30:4–7). There has never been a time of trouble in human history like this one. Whose time of trouble does this terrible tribulation pertain to? It is the time of “Jacob’s trouble” (v. 7).

It will be a time of trouble so great that none is like it. There cannot be two times of trouble like this. This is the same time of trouble described in Matthew 24:21, the same time described in Mark 13 and Luke 21, the same time of trouble described back in Ezekiel 36 and Daniel 12 and elsewhere as the “Great Tribulation.” It is the time of God’s intervention to chastise His chosen people. Nevertheless, speaking of that woeful time of trouble, God says: “I will not make a complete end of you” (Jeremiah 30:11). So he will not utterly destroy us, but He will punish us severely—to shake us to the roots of our very being in order to wake us up. He will correct and humble His people in order to wake them up before it is too late!

This unprecedented time of trouble will be directed primarily against the American and British-descended Commonwealth peoples, though the other modern-day descendants of Israel will also have troubles. But why against these nations? Because the American and British-descended peoples have been recipients of God’s tremendous birthright promises as the descendants of the patriarch Joseph (Genesis 49:22–26). For more information, please request our booklet on this subject, The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy. In God’s eyes, blessings also impart responsibilities. We are not a favorite or pet people, but we have been chosen by God for a very special purpose. Regrettably, we have failed to fulfill that purpose. Let us understand why and what will happen.

“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30)! May God Almighty speed that great day!

The Americans and British-descended Commonwealth peoples have been materially blessed above all nations on the earth for the last 200 years. Beginning a little more than 200 years ago, the English-speaking peoples wielded power that thwarted the belligerent, aggressive nations—the Central Powers in World War I and the Axis Powers in World War II. Twice in the 20th century, the English-speaking peoples have restored a warring world to a measure of peace and security. Yet in spite of that, most Americans and Britons, individually, have turned away from the true God. At most, they continue to praise the Lord hypocritically. “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines’” (Mark 7:6–7, NRSV).

There are numerous end-time prophecies that reveal to the American and British-descended peoples exactly what God Almighty says will happen to them—if they do not turn from their present wayward course of disobedience to Him and His commandments.

The Pivotal Old Testament Prophecy

The pivotal scripture for understanding end-time prophecy is found in the Old Testament, in chapter 26 of the book of Leviticus. When we rightly understand our national identity, this prophetic chapter takes on new, urgent meaning. Here is basic, foundational information for modern Israel—among whom are to be counted the American people, and British-descended peoples of the Commonwealth nations. Those peoples are among the descendants of the so-called “Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.” This prophecy is talking about ancient Israel, and it is also speaking of their children and grandchildren at the end of this age!

We should watch for the fulfillment of those prophecies that foretell the downfall of the United States and Great Britain, insofar as their national prestige and power are concerned, even before their cities are totally demolished in a future round of world war—World War III—which will be the most deadly time humanity will ever experience.

Speaking of the coming end-time Great Tribulation, God says: “If you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, I also will do this to you. I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you” (Leviticus 26:14–17). God Almighty says He will bring us down very low. If we continue transgressing His commandments, He will discipline us in more ways than we can begin to imagine. He goes on to say: “And after all this, if you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more [or “sevenfold more” as many versions render it] for your sins. I will break the pride of your power” (vv. 18–19).

Our competitors for global power and influence are looking down on us with increasing glee as we stumble in resolving domestic and international problems. These things are happening to us because we have turned aside from God. We have not obeyed the God of our fathers.

In Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 are powerful prophetic warnings for us today, because God does not change (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8). God promised that if we would obey Him, He would set us “high above all nations of the earth” (Deuteronomy 28:1). However, if we do not obey God and keep His commandments: “Cursed shall you be in the city” (v. 16). Are we cursed in our cities? Think about it. Millions of Americans are afraid to go out of their own homes at night. Elderly people and women and others all over this land are afraid to venture out in the evening—in this “land of the free, and the home of the brave.” We are locked in our homes like prisoners! No, we are not blessed in our towns and cities.

Further, our disobedience would bring upon us curses in our food supply, curses in sexual relations and curses in whatever policies or programs that we nationally attempt because we have turned aside from the Great God.

The growing effect of our national sins includes escalating crime, violence, marital infidelities, sexual perversions of all sorts, lying, cheating, stealing and every foul thing imaginable that is disgusting in the sight of a just and holy God. The selfishness and decadence of our “modern lifestyle”—which is based on egotistical pride and vanity—are gnawing like voracious termites at the structural frame that holds in place the edifice of our national greatness. How long before our house collapses? Look around you and consider.

In spite of our great material blessings, the American and British-descended peoples have turned away from God. These once-great nations have plummeted in their moral standards and become nations of perverts, liars, thieves and murderers. And God will chastise these nations for their own good, as He rebukes and chastens every son He loves (Hebrews 12:6).

God says: “Therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness” (Deuteronomy 28:48). In other words, these English-speaking nations (including the Jews and others residing in them) will be taken into a terrible captivity. God says we will be “in need of all things; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you” (same verse). Is that plain enough? God will take us into national slavery. The Holocaust of World War II will seem mild in comparison. The English-speaking peoples will not all die, but they will no longer exist as nations, not as the United States of America and the British-descended nations of the Commonwealth, after an awful punishment from God Himself: “‘The Lord will bring a nation from far away, from the end of the earth, to swoop down on you like an eagle, a nation whose language you do not understand, a grim-faced nation showing no respect to the old or favor to the young” (Deuteronomy 28:49–50, NRSV). This aggressor will not be Mexico or some other nation nearby, but one from “afar”—from the end of the earth—from way over in Europe. This enemy will be “as swift as the eagle flies.” It is interesting that three major nations on earth use an eagle as their symbol. One is the United States, another is Russia and the third is Germany. This aggressor will be “a nation whose language you will not understand” (v. 49), “a nation of fierce countenance” (v. 50)—meaning a very warlike nation.

God reveals that the American and British-descended peoples will be besieged in their own gates (v. 52), and will be so desperately hungry that they will resort to horrific measures in the times to come—even turning to hideous cannibalism (v. 53).

Finally, these peoples will be taken into slavery by a coming great power that is now beginning to rise up in Europe!

God Promises to Deliver His People!

God says He will humble us and correct us, but He also promises to deliver us from all our troubles—when we truly learn our lesson and turn from our many abominations!

“And at that time your people [all the descendants of the patriarch Israel] shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:1–2).

The time setting is unmistakable. Daniel is talking about the resurrection to immortality of the saints of God, which shall occur at the seventh or “last trump” when Jesus returns to this earth with all His mighty angels, to establish the Kingdom of God to rule for 1,000 years (1 Corinthians 15; 1 Thessalonians 4; Revelation 20:4). Daniel is not writing of something that happened way back in the Middle Ages. This prophecy concerning the Great Tribulation period leads right up to the glorious Second Coming of Jesus Christ at the very end of this present evil world (Matthew 24:21–30).

As the foregoing prophecy reveals, God Almighty Himself will order one of His mighty angels, Michael, to stand “watch over” the people of Israel, who at that time will have had their power broken, and will have been scattered into many nations as captive slaves.

God’s miraculous deliverance of His people is clearly revealed: “‘Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,’ says the Lord, ‘nor be dismayed, O Israel; for behold, I will save you from afar, and your seed from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, and no one shall make him afraid. For I am with you… to save you; though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet I will not make a complete end of you. But I will correct you in justice, and will not let you go altogether unpunished’” (Jeremiah 30:10–11).

God goes on to explain how He will greatly bless His people, once they have truly learned their lesson: “Then out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of those who make merry; I will multiply them, and they shall not diminish; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small” (v. 19).

What will be the final state of the peoples of Israel, after God delivers them from their captivity at the hands of a cruel oppressor? “Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare it in the isles afar off [includes the British peoples], and say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd does his flock.’ For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of one stronger than he. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, streaming to the goodness of the Lord—for wheat and new wine and oil, for the young of the flock and the herd; their souls shall be like a well-watered garden, and they shall sorrow no more at all.

“Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old, together; for I will turn their mourning to joy, will comfort them, and make them rejoice rather than sorrow. I will satiate the soul of the priests [God’s servants] with abundance, and My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 31:10–14).

However, the bad news prophesied in Scripture—of a terrifying time of trouble that will soon spring upon an unsuspecting, heedless world—must come first! What a tragedy that we will not hear and return to our God! That time will be the worst time of trouble this earth will ever experience (Matthew 24:21; Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 12:l)!

But the ultimate in good news is that Scripture also predicts the imminent return of Jesus Christ to this earth. He will deliver the modern-day descendants of Israel (of whom the nations of northwestern Europe, and also the Jewish people, are part) from a horrible time of captivity and trouble. God says He will sweep aside all human governments (Revelation 11:15–18; 19:11–21). Christ will then banish Satan, so that he will no longer be able to mislead the nations (Revelation 20:1–3), and after removing Satan from power over the nations, the Great God will establish the Kingdom of God upon this sin-cursed, war-torn earth (Isaiah 11:1–9; Revelation 20:4).

The prophet Daniel also wrote the good news of the establishment of the glorious Kingdom of God: “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44).

Furthermore, Daniel says: “Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him” (Daniel 7:27).

Finally, the nations shall have passed through the Great Tribulation, and will have arrived at the time the prophets foretold—the establishment of the Kingdom of God to rule all nations—bringing peace, prosperity, health and happiness to all nations!

13. Heavenly Signs and the Day of the Lord

Next—after the Great Tribulation—there are to be dramatic astronomical signs in the heavens visible to everyone on earth. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Matthew 24:29).

God really will intervene in human affairs! And He will even intervene with nature and show this generation that there is a real God. Even after the modern nations of Israel go into captivity, God will not be through yet. Though our nations have professed to being “Christian,” they are in fact filled with deceit, vanity, avarice and violence.

Notice: “I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind” (Revelation 6:12–13).

Here are incredible parts of a crescendo leading up to Christ’s return. Almost like a vast fireworks display in the evening sky, we will literally see the transition from the Great Tribulation to intensified punishments directly from God on any who are still unrepentant in defiant rebellion against their Creator. Notice verse 17: “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

The six seals outlined here describe the same events that Jesus had told His disciples would occur at the end. As the seals are opened we first find false prophets; second, wars; third, famines; fourth, disease epidemics; fifth, a Great Tribulation (including the martyrdom of the saints). The sixth seal is the heavenly signs. In Joel 2, we also see that the heavenly signs occur before the great and terrible Day of the Lord. “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord” (v. 31). We already saw in Matthew 24 that the heavenly signs come after the Great Tribulation. What yet remains before the Kingdom of God can be fully established?

14. The Seven Last Plagues

What will happen after the first six seals of Revelation 6 are opened? “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Revelation 6:17).

Revelation 7 then describes the protection of the 144,000 and the great multitude, Revelation 8 describes the opening of the seventh seal—God’s direct punishment on a rebellious world. This consists of the seven trumpet plagues described in chapters 8 and 9 of Revelation.

Finally, in Revelation 11:15, the Seventh Trumpet—the famous “Last Trumpet”—is sounded. Christ returns in power and glory. But even as He returns, the deceived nations of mankind will fight and curse Him who is their very Creator! (Revelation 16:21; 17:14).

So, as He comes, Christ pours out the awesome seven last plagues described in Revelation 15:1 and 16:1–21. Study these passages. These plagues will be indescribably horrible!

But even here, God—who rebukes and chastens every son He loves (Hebrews 12:5–6)—is doing this to bring men and nations to their senses! As you read the passages in Revelation, you see that every mountain and every island on earth will be shaken. There will be virtually nothing left of their former world for hard-headed, vile, rebellious men to hang on to. Everything around them will be removed or destroyed. Proud men will come to realize that they are nothing compared with the Creator God of the universe.

Hundreds of millions of men and women will finally acknowledge, as did Job: “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5–6). In a way they have never done before, human beings will truly repent and be willing to listen to the Truth—to listen to God’s true ministers and teachers and obey their Maker.

Then they will truly understand these statements of God in Isaiah: “For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry; for the spirit would fail before Me, and the souls which I have made” (Isaiah 57:15–16).

Finally, then, humanity as a whole will have been made humble and teachable. It will yield to the Living Christ and the resurrected saints who will join Him in ruling this entire earth in Tomorrow’s World. This world government established by Christ will be known as the Kingdom of God and it will be the active, hands-on, governing leadership of God on this earth!

What Lies Just Ahead?

So, what will happen? Unless we, as nations, fully repent of transgressing God’s laws, the future of America and the British-descended Commonwealth countries looks grim indeed. For every great nation and empire in history that has descended into the depths of immorality, like we are now experiencing, has come to an end.

Will America’s or Britain’s preachers wake up and begin to preach obedience to the laws of God? Will our political leaders turn to their Creator in true godly fear, making God and His ways a vital part of our national life? Will the educators, the psychologists and sociologists begin to build their concepts on the foundations of Scripture? What do you think?

The answer seems obvious. We, along with most of our fellow English-speaking nations around the world, are in for a time of national calamity—actually, national punishment—unprecedented in the annals of modern human history. Month by month, year by year, more and more things will somehow go wrong for us. Our national debt will increase. Our immorality and crime rate will increase. Our cities will become even less safe, increasingly being racked by lawless hoodlums, gang warfare and race riots—and finally food riots, because of the impending drought and famine prophesied to strike our nations.

Describing this very situation that will occur in the “latter days,” God states: “And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord will drive you. And there you will serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice (for the Lord your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them” (Deuteronomy 4:27–31).

Yes, if we do not heed—nationally or individually—the warning going out now and over the months and years just ahead, we will have to absorb the full brunt of God’s corrective punishment.

At the same time, you can be certain there will be other voices of lying deception saying not to worry, everything will be fine. “‘For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously with Me,’ says the Lord.… and said, ‘It is not He’” (Jeremiah 5:11–12).

In other words, people will say “these prophecies are not real, God is not speaking; this is just some doom and gloom preacher talking nonsense.” The skeptics will say, “Neither will evil come upon us, nor shall we see sword or famine” (v. 12). Yes, even false ministers will speak evil of God’s true ministry. “And the prophets become wind, for the word is not in them.” In modern jargon, they are saying that God’s servants are a bunch of “windbags” to whom they should not pay attention, “for the word [of God] is not in them” (v. 13).

God clearly forewarned us that there will be cynics and doubters who will contradict and ridicule God’s warning through His true servants: “Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle… that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets… knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation’” (2 Peter 3:1–4).

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