Faithful unto death: A test of Endurance
In part 1 and part 2 of this series I drew the following conclusions based on the prophetic teachings of Jesus, and of His prophets and apostles throughout the Bible. The exact term, ‘the end of the world’ is used in the Bible in the following verse of scripture:
The following facts emerge from the questions that the disciples asked Jesus in the above quoted scripture.
1. THE WORLD IS GOING TO END / The disciples took for granted the fact that the world was going to end, what they inquired from Jesus was to clarify the following points regarding the end of the world:
2. THE TIMING / When shall these things be was the question that was posed to Jesus. In response to that question Jesus gave a whole series of signs that will be listed and detailed throughout this series.
3. THE SIGNS OF THE END / The signs that the disciples desired of Jesus were meant first of all to show us that the return of Jesus was near, which in turn would indicate that the end of the world was also near.
So the return of Jesus to this Earth is intricately connected to the end of the world. The world must end before Jesus will return; this old system must give way to the new, so it can be surmised that the very fact that Jesus will be returning soon is the same cause for which the world will come to an end. In part 1 and part 2 of this series I also proved that the Biblical definition of the word WORLD does not mean the planet Earth. Although the Bible teaches that God will someday in the future make a New Heaven and a New Earth (Revelation 21:1), that event is not the same as the end of this world. The planet will continue long after this world has ended and Jesus has returned as He promised He would after His first coming. The word WORLD actually means an Age and The System that governs the existence of people on this planet.
The present age is a fixed period of time that God has allotted to man to be the caretaker of this planet. In this age man has created a world on the Earth; the world he has created is a system of commerce, of trade, of merchandising, of buying and selling, it is a system based on money. Life for most people revolves around earning enough money, first of all for their bodily survival, and then for the accumulation of goods. Indoctrination into the cult of money or mammon begins rather early in the lives of all people. People are taught from birth that the more money a person has, the more goods he can acquire, and therefore the more successful he will be considered by his peers. This indoctrination by parents and teachers, and by the exaltation in society of the rich and powerful, leads all of us to believe that the very purpose of our lives is to make as much money as possible. The love of money, which is the root of all evil, ensnares almost everyone at a rather early age. It is only by the power of God that any of us are able to break free from this deadly snare that destroys the very souls of men. So when Jesus returns to Earth to set up His Kingdom and Government, He will not govern based on the Universal Commercial Code, His governance will not be based on a system of banking and money. He will introduce an entirely new system in which there will no buying and selling of God’s creation that He has freely given to all men. Therefore the term, ‘The End of the World’, literally means the end of the system based on money, there will be no dollars or treasuries or bonds or derivatives or stocks or any instrument of money in that New Age, and New World that will be ushered in upon the return of Christ to Earth.
It is commonly taught by Christian and non – Christian teachers alike that the end of the world is synonymous with the end of the Earth. Even Hollywood promotes the idea of the end of the world as a time of extreme catastrophes on Earth through TV programs and movies such as last year’s 2012. To a degree there is a great deal of truth in such predictions and fictional accounts of the end of the world. The Bible teaches, especially in the book of Revelation, that the end of the world will be accompanied by a great deal of terrestrial destruction, and a loss of human and animal life on a scale for which the only possible precedence would be the flood of Noah. The signs that Jesus gave that would indicate to His living disciples that the end was near fall into three categories:
- Manmade catastrophes – Economic collapse leading to warfare, which in turn would lead to famine and pestilential diseases such as the Spanish flu after WW1.
- Natural catastrophes – Earthquakes, volcanoes, powerful storms, tsunamis, and asteroid or meteor impacts.
- Supernatural catastrophes – This category presently resides on the fringes of society in Ufology and those who believe in the Alien / ET phenomenon. The fact is that non – human intelligences occupy dimensions that occupy the same space that man occupies. The veil that separates the various dimensions will be removed to reveal the hidden masters of history; in turn these ‘entities’ will interact openly with man and will bring about much destruction and loss of life on Earth.
The end itself will come when Jesus returns with His armies from Heaven to Earth to destroy all remaining opposition, and has Satan imprisoned in the bottomless pit for 1000 years. Even in Christian circles, most people view the events prophesied in the book of Revelation and elsewhere in the Bible as fairy tales; most of them believe more in Santa bringing presents on Christmas day than they do in Jesus’ Second Coming. Nonetheless Jesus said that Heaven and Earth shall pass away but His words shall not pass away (Matthew 24:35); I, for one am fully convinced of the veracity of His words and have no doubt that He will come again even as He came the first time. In part 2 I wrote of the great and varied deceptions that will precede the end of the age prior to the return of Jesus. For non believers these deceptions will take the form of false messiahs such as Maitreya, Imam Mahdi, and others. The prophets of these false messiahs such as Benjamin Creme have been busy setting the stage for the great deceptions. There will be a great deal of technological wizardry that will be employed to show great signs and wonders to attempt to establish the authenticity of these false messiahs. Project Blue Beam is just one such program that we are aware of that will introduce various messiahs to various cultures; in reality all these messiahs will be one and the same but they will be introduced in a different manner in the context of different cultures and languages. Although it is impossible to determine whether the technologies described in the following video will be the exact ones employed to create such deceptions, the fact remains that such deceptions are coming our way in the very near future. This is the purpose for which Jesus told His disciples, past and present, ‘Behold, I have told you before.’
The deceptions that are targeted towards Christian believers will be different than the ones targeted towards non believers. They will not be presented with messiahs of another religion but rather ongoing attempts will be made to make them believe in someone masquerading as Jesus, to believe in people that will come in His name, claiming either to be His prophets or claiming to be Jesus Himself. Jesus’ prophetic discourse in Matthew 24-25 begins with a warning to be not deceived, and in order to help us in the coming strange and difficult times, He gave us a whole list of signs that we must be fully aware of so that we do not fall into the traps laid by deceivers. In my estimation the single biggest reason that professing Christians will be deceived is because they will be looking for the return of Jesus prematurely. Therefore it becomes vital for us to study and understand the chronology of the prophesied events so that we can accurately gauge where we stand on the End Times clock, and how much time realistically remains on it before the sand runs out of the hourglass.
This series will study the signs given to us by Jesus Himself in the book of Matthew and in the book of Revelation. Though prophesies found in other sections of the Bible will also be referred to, the majority of this study is based on the Olivet discourse in Matthew and the whole book of Revelation. It is my understanding that Matthew 24 & 25 are a summary of the whole book of Revelation. The book of Revelation fills in the detail for the signs that Jesus gave His disciples in a summarized manner in the gospel of Matthew. So by comparing the chronology found in Matthew and filling in the details from Revelation, it can be determined that the events of the end take place in stages over a period of time. In part 2 I wrote that it is my belief based on Matthew 24:33-35 that the prophesied events that comprise the end of the world would occur over the lifespan of one generation, a period of roughly 40 years. In a future article in this series I will tabulate the signs given in Matthew and compare them to Revelation with an estimated time for each stage to be completed in order to develop a probable chronology. It will become apparent that once the end has begun, events will occur in rapid succession with increasing intensity and magnitude. For example in the beginning stages the full destructive impact of end time events may only be felt by a quarter of the Earth’s inhabitants, but by the end, destruction will befall the entire globe through one catastrophe or the other.
So the end of the world will indeed be very catastrophic from economic, political and geophysical points of view. These catastrophes will result in the loss of human life numbered in the billions. At the time of the very end when Jesus returns, the current population of the Earth may have been reduced by 75% or more, maybe by as much as 90%. Based on a population of roughly 7 billion inhabitants, that would imply a loss of life of some 6 billion people over the course of less than 40 years. Needless to say these coming times will be fatal for the majority and very traumatic for the survivors. As Christians, it is imperative that we have an accurate understanding of the times so that we can be spiritually, mentally and physically prepared for a rapidly changing world. In order to prepare us Jesus told us before what to expect. The deceptions in the present day church lie in the false expectations that have been built up false teachers and so – called prophets.
One of the deceptions that is in vogue in the present day church is the doctrine of the pre – tribulation rapture. Jesus warned us that there would be tribulation on Earth such as was not since the present world began with Adam and Eve, some 6000 years ago. (Please note that I am not teaching that the Earth is only 6000 years old or that Adam and Eve were the first intelligent inhabitants of the planet, or even the first humans on the planet. For those who have not already done so, I would strongly suggest that they listen to three of my audio series to understand the history of creation and also the purpose of creation. These three series are ‘The Chronology of Creation’, ‘Pre – Adamic Civilizations’ and ‘Ye shall be as gods...knowing good and evil’.) The Pre-Trib. Rapture promoters teach that Jesus will come secretly to remove His Church (those who believe in Him) from Earth to Heaven prior to the beginning of the tribulation that they claim will last 7 years. As we will presently see that though Jesus promised some of His believers that He would keep (guard) them from the hour of temptation, He did not say that He would do so by transporting or rapturing them out of Earth to Heaven while all hell was literally breaking loose all over the planet. What He admonished His disciples to do was to prepare themselves to endure, to withstand, to be faithful, even unto death.
When the days of the last generation have begun, even the believers will not escape the tribulation that will inflict the whole world. As a matter of fact Jesus warned us that in the world we will have tribulation; he did not say that we might be subjected to tribulation; He guaranteed that we would be subjected to it. This tribulation would take the form of persecutions, imprisonments, and even death. So the word most relevant to those living in the last generation who believe in Christ is the word ENDURANCE. Though many religious authorities deceptively have their flock believe that the times of the end of the world, the events of The Day of The LORD are like a 100 metre dash, in reality the race that has been set before us is more like a marathon. Those who will expend all their energy thinking it is a sprint will be the ones whose love will wax cold rather rapidly when the heat is turned up as is already happening all over the world. These deceptive teachers and pastors may themselves believe their own false doctrines, yet it does not excuse their lack of understanding when Jesus plainly told us before, in great detail, what to expect. Even if the doctrine of the so – called Rapture was true, it is far safer for believers to prepare themselves for the worst. If God, whose mercy endures forever, takes us away from here before the end we will rejoice, but if He does not we are prepared to endure, to be faithful unto death if need be. On the other hand if an expected rescue, based on false premises, does not materialise, there is real danger of people falling away from the faith, of thinking that God had failed them, that Jesus’ words were not true. Jesus did warn us that love of many will wax cold because iniquity will abound and people will desperately be looking for a way out. So because people had been taught to look for Jesus when it will not yet be time for Him to return, their love will wax cold. The problem will be that people will be looking for Him based on the false teachings of their leaders with smooth words. Religious leaders are no different than politicians; they will say whatever their flock wants to hear so that they can fleece them without fear. There is no less love of money among church leaders than there is among bankers.
I will close part 3 of this series by quoting the following scriptures from the gospel of Matthew to show all who truly seek to know the truth and nothing but the truth that Jesus did not promise an easy way out of the coming perilous times but warned us repeatedly to prepare ourselves to be ready to bear whatever may come our way. It is my prayer for all who read these words and study the scriptures to see if these things be so, that God would enlarge their hearts so that not only will they rejoice when persecutions and tribulations come their way, but that they will also be a lighthouse and a beacon to all those who sit in darkness in this ever darkening world.
Nowhere in the above scriptures do I see Jesus promising us that He would come to take us away before all hell breaks loose on Earth. What did He teach us and warn us would be coming?
· Believers will be delivered up
· Believers will be afflicted
· Believers shall be killed
· Believers shall be hated of ALL NATIONS
· Many will be offended (because the promised easy way out did not materialize)
· Many will betray one another (because the promised easy way out did not materialize)
· Many will hate one another (because the promised easy way out did not materialize)
· Many false prophets shall arise (because they will promise an easy way out)
· Iniquity shall abound (the world will truly be a lawless place, at least for a while at the beginning of sorrows)
· The love of many shall wax cold (because the promised easy way out did not materialize)
· We must ENDURE unto the end (not for a few days or few months but right up to the end, may be for 40 years)
· He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved
In part 4 of the series I will discuss in detail the beginning of sorrows, a time of possibly 7 years or so in which the world will experience the following:
· Total economic collapse
· Major warfare
· Pandemics / Pestilences / Highly contagious and deadly diseases
· Natural disasters (primarily major earthquakes)
· A loss of life on the scale of a quarter of the Earth’s population or more
This will be stage 1 of the end of the world, but it will not be end.
To be continued