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Friday, October 29, 2010

Is this the end of the world? Part 5C

Countdown to the last generation
In this segment of ‘Is this the end of the world?’ series of articles I would like to reiterate and expound upon the understanding that the end of the world does not mean the end of the planet but rather the end of the system that governs life upon the planet. Granted it will bring much destruction to the planet and will result in loss of human and animal life on an unprecedented scale but the planet Earth will outlast the end of the present world. Many people have contested my views that we cannot be aware of when the end will come based on scriptures such as the following one from the book of the apostle Matthew.
·          Matthew 24:36  But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

If we are not supposed to know the times and understand when the end will come, then it seems rather pointless that so much of the Bible is prophetic and gives us a great amount of detail regarding the events that will precede the end of the world which will culminate with the return of the Lord of lords and King of kings, Jesus Christ to Earth. The whole point of prophecy and of giving of signs is to show believers that which is to come. So that when the prophesied events do come to pass, we ought to know what comes next before it actually happens. Jesus Himself said that when we see ‘all these things’ we should know that His coming is near, even at the doors (Luke 21:28, Matthew 24:38).
So when His coming is that close as revealed by the signs, how can anyone claim that it is impossible to know when He will return? While we may not know the exact day and hour of His return, yet we should be very cognizant of the signs that He gave us that would precede His coming so that we can say with confidence that His coming is only a matter of years, and then a matter of months. I believe that when the time of His Second Coming draws closer, we may even know the exact day and hour. If that information was not yet revealed when Jesus was on Earth in the flesh, does not mean that the information has not now been made known by the Father to the Son, and in turn the Son will make it known to His disciples who wait for Him. After all Elijah knew the exact day and hour He was going to be taken up to Heaven, it did not take Him by surprise. It wasn’t as if He was going His merry way one day and all of a sudden the chariot of fire appeared and caught Him up to Heaven. So it is highly unlikely that real believers will be caught unawares regarding Jesus’ return. When the children of Israel were led out of Egypt by Moses, they knew the exact time and hour when they would be departing, when the flood of Noah was to come it did not catch Noah by surprise, just those who did not believe. Similarly those of us who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and await His return having their feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace will likewise be rewarded with the foreknowledge of the time of their Lord’s return; they will not even need to keep it a secret, for those who do not believe will continue with their lives as usual, and they are the ones that will be taken by surprise.
·         Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
·         1 Thessalonians 5:1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

A careful reading of the above scriptures proves that the day of the Lord, which we understand from the letter to the Thessalonians church means the return of our Lord Jesus to Earth, should not overtake those who believe by surprise. Yet it will overtake the rest of the world as a thief in the night, completely by surprise. Therefore it becomes imperative for us to study and understand the signs so that we are not the ones caught unawares like the rest of the world. One of the most crucial points to understand regarding the prophecies of the end of the world is that ‘all these things’ that Jesus Himself outlined in the Gospels and in the book of Revelation are future events that must occur over a limited period of time. As proven in previous segments of this series, the events prophesied in the book of Revelation, beginning with chapter 6 and the opening of the seven seals, will transpire over the lifespan of one single generation. This generation is the one that I have termed ‘The Last Generation’. In the Bible one generation lasts 40 years, so ‘all these things’ that Jesus listed in Matthew chapter 24 must occur over a time period of no more than 40 years. However Jesus also qualified that ‘this generation shall not pass’ before ‘all these things’ be fulfilled. In Mark 13:30 Jesus’ exact words were as follows: Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. So we can be confident that the total period from the beginning of sorrows to the shortening of days will be less than the lifespan of one whole generation or less than 40 years. Jesus lived to an age of 33½ years in the days of His flesh, and the Greeks calculated one generation to be slightly longer than 33 years, so it may be speculated that the total time that ‘all these things’ will take to be fulfilled, till ‘all these things’ be done will be around 33 years.
·         Matthew 24:7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
·         Mark 13:20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.

The question that arises is, are we now living in the days of the last generation? Although many would claim that we are, in my estimation those days are close but not here yet. There is a strong possibility that those days will begin within the next 2-3 years, and catastrophic destruction will overtake mankind in the form of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. These four horsemen will change the shape of our world forever and the death and destruction wrought by them will take the following four forms:
·         Warfare
·         Famines / food shortages
·         Pestilences / pandemics
·         Earthquakes / natural disasters

These four are the beginning of sorrows. When these four horsemen have ridden off simultaneously or in quick succession we can be assured that the end has begun, and the world will come to an end as prophesied in the next 3 decades or so. But do not be deceived; even after the horsemen have caused unprecedented destruction and loss of life on an unimaginable scale, the finish line will yet be in the distance. I will emphasize this point again since almost every prophecy teacher out there teaches that the events of Matthew 24 and the book of Revelation will run their course in 7 – 10 years at most. I would contend that these 7 – 10 years are just the beginning of sorrows. There will be much more to come, so believers should not lose hope because they did not witness the return of their Lord as many have been preaching for years will happen very shortly. No, even after a quarter of the Earths’ human population will have been killed off in a relatively short period of time, which according to the Bible is only the beginning of sorrows. After the beginning, there will be a middle, and then will come the end.  
In the past 2000 or so years, since the Ascension of Jesus to Heaven, and His promise to return in like manner, men have made it a habit to predict the date of His return. Even today, many are setting dates and times for His return in the very near future. Jesus warned us time and again not to pay heed to these false teachers, and their deceptions. As I wrote earlier, when His coming is at the door, we will know for sure, and will not be overtaken by surprise. I can affirm with confidence that His coming is yet some years away, actually some decades away at the earliest. So what we need to study carefully is what Jesus meant by the term, ‘the beginning of sorrows’, for without the beginning, there can be no ending. From what I see currently happening in our world, the stage is being set for the First Stage of the end of the world events to begin happening in earnest in the next few years. We may possibly go through the whole first stage by the end of this decade, which in turn would mean that this decade will see major warfare, worldwide famines, pandemics and natural disasters, primarily earthquakes. How can we be sure that the stage is being set for the first stage of the end to begin?
The answer to that question lies in the understanding of the word, WORLD, what is meant by the word, world in the Bible? As proven in previous segments, the word World in the Bible means the SYSTEM of governance of life on planet Earth. The SYSTEM is a MONEY based ECONOMIC system of TRADE & COMMERCE, a MERCANTILE system. Without the destruction of the system of money based commerce, the world cannot end. The current economic crisis which is turning into a global catastrophe, despite the false rhetoric of world leaders, is a harbinger of the end of the world itself. The Olivet discourse of Matthew 24, which is one of the most important chapters of Biblical prophecy, reveals the methodology of how the end will come about, Jesus taught that the system would be dismantled stone by stone, as a process, not as a sudden instantaneous act. Although most people think that He was referring to the temple in Jerusalem when He commented that not one stone would be left upon another, the context of that remark proves that His statement referred to the whole world, not just the Jerusalem temple.
Matthew 24: 1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. 3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4 And Jesus answered and said unto them...
When Jesus remarked ‘See ye not all these things’, was He just referring to the temple that the disciples were showing Him, or was He referring to something more than just the temple? Verse 3 of the chapter gives us a clue as to what was being referred to by the phrase, ‘all these things’. The question that the disciples asked Him upon Jesus’ remark that not one stone would be left upon another was not about the temple but rather about Jesus’ Second Coming, and the End of the World. They did not ask Him what shall be the sign of the destruction of the temple but rather the destruction of the world itself. So Jesus’ remark that not one stone would be left upon another had meaning far beyond the brick and mortar temple in Jerusalem. He was referring to the stone by stone, step by step destruction of the world, of the systems of the world, primarily the Economic system.
This is exactly what we see happening in our world today, although the dismantling of the world’s Economic system has been going on for decades, at least since 1971, the process has shifted into high gear in this century, especially in the past 3 years. So what we are witnessing is in a very literal and Biblical sense the end of the world, or at least the time that will soon be followed by the beginning of the days of the last generation when then the riders of the Apocalypse will gallop full speed all across the Earth. In the next few years if we see this Economic catastrophe gain momentum, leading to the impoverishment of ever greater numbers of people, especially those who would currently consider themselves to be the Middle Class, and if we see those currently poverty stricken become even more destitute, resulting in the deaths of millions, maybe tens of millions for lack of food, then we can be sure that this time it is truly different. This time is indeed unlike any other in history and the end of the world is upon us. And if food shortages caused by economic policies (because food is priced out of the reach of millions) is accompanied by shortages in food supply, and by one or more outbreaks of fatal infectious diseases, then we can be doubly sure that the end of the world is upon us and is no more than 2 – 3 decades away. And if famines and diseases are accompanied my one or more major wars, then we can be triply sure that the end of the world is upon us, and we should look up for our redemption draws near. And if the famines, pandemics and wars are accompanied by mega powerful earthquakes and other natural disasters, then we can be quadruply sure that the end of the world is upon us and we should be on our faces before The Most High God who alone has power over all these plagues that will be devouring mankind in numbers never before seen in history except perhaps in the days of Noah, and his days were the days of the end of his world.
To be continued

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