My former pastor, (he moved on to another church, and I miss him.) informed us, on Facebook, that he was going to start a new blog on the end times. This is a passion for me and so I responded with “bring it on”.
The second blog he put up seemed to indicate that there are two predominant signs that must be seen before Jesus comes to catch us away.
Look at the verse with me.:
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 NIV (1) Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, (2) not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us–whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter–asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. (3) Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.
Something important that might aid you in your understanding of end times events. All throughout scripture you will find the phrase “that day” or “the day”. Most of the time it has reference to the Lord Jesus Christ’s physical reappearance on the earth. That day he will return to set things straight. He will come with a fury. He will come against those who have refused him, and he will judged those upon the earth. Take a look at Zechariah 14: 4,5.
Now when Paul uses the terminology “the day” as he did here in the Thessalonian letter, he is talking about the time before Christs return to the Mount of Olives, in which Jesus comes with a trumpet blast, remains in the air, and calls those of us who remain on this earth to meet him in the air. We, the church, have gotten comfortable using the term Rapture. That term is not in our bibles. It is a Latin term and only found in the Vulgate translation. The term in the Vulgate is Rapio. What we do have is: harpazō ; to seize (in various applications): – catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force).
The two signs, based upon Thessalonians are:
1. The apostasy
2. The entrance of the anti-christ on the scene.
The Apostasy – It means a falling away or rebellion. Our understanding of the meaning really depends upon the parameters does it not.
Even though a majority of this nation calls themselves Christian, most have no interest in accepting the name of Jesus Christ as their own. Most churches preach a politically correct message, choosing not to offend, and still try to draw people to a generalized message of goodness.
A local Methodist church, that I drive by, sponsored a religious unity day. They put up a sign inviting people of all faiths to come. Islam, Buddhist, Baha’i, Catholic, and Jews; all were welcome.
What would they unite upon? Certainly not Jesus Christ, the risen one, God’s son. Perhaps they could focus on some aspect of God that leads back to the Son. After all, God so loved the world that He sent his only Son. Well, that is not going to happen. There is really only one thing that all can have some form of agreement upon, and that is a goodness aside from God, for everyone wants peace within their own little world. But there is a problem with that!
For any manner of goodness is based upon an absolute moral authority which requires that you accept that there is one who sets the standards and boundaries, and that would be God. Many believe that they are capable of doing this on their own.
Assuming you preach peace based upon Jesus Christ, the Muslim ear, which agrees that there is a person named Jesus Christ, is appalled at the concept of him being a son of God. To them, god (Allah) is entirely pure, and uncorrupted by a woman, therefore it is ludicrous and insulting to imply anything else.
That means our agreement then seems to be limited to the possibility that man can be self-governing, because, again, the world wants to think that man is inherently good. Merely watching the growth of a child will teach you otherwise, for we are all born into a broken condition.
If apostasy means rebellion, then what meaning does the word, as Paul used it, take on?
The majority of the world has rejected and turned their backs upon the Creator. Perhaps we can call that rebellion. Makes sense when you consider that God forgave the sins of the entire world.
What then is God waiting for, things to get worse?
Doesn’t rebellion imply that those who may have been on your side previously have turned against you?
Consider this: Daniel 11 starting at verse 29 describes “the King of the North” showing favor to those who forsake the Holy Covenant. Rebels!
There is a key to this in light of Christ’s coming to catch us away, and the day of the Lord.
1. The “day of the Lord” here in Daniel, has to do with Jesus physically touching down upon this earth, to bring about judgment.
2. This passage of scripture appears to happen after the harpazo (or rapture.)
This brings me to the second point, and that is that pastor says “Christ cannot come until the entrance of the anti-Christ. Whether he is called this or not is irrelevant, but his physical person would have to be here. In one sense we do not have to wait for any fulfillment on this, for even John tells us that many anti-Christs have come already.
If you will read this in 2Thesalonians you will probably agree with me that the timing is extremely tight.
Ask yourself this question: If the Lord Jesus pulled us out of here today, could everything else in scripture begin to fall immediately into place? If you are saying yes then I suggest that you making this harder than it needs to be.
I will give you an example:
1. The mark of the beast.
A. The beast, a spirit, must possess and move a man into a place of power quickly. There are a number of characters that could fulfill that, but Islam believes wholeheartedly in prophecy and end times events as well, and they expect this person, we call the beast to come as the Mahdi. While they believe their prophecies to be somewhat interpretive, you will find that they run somewhat parallel, and close to what Christianity believes, in many ways.
Islam believes that Mahdi is prescribed to be 40 years, and a descendant of Mohammed. Until recently, when the US blew this most recent Al Queada operative, up in Yemen, he fit many of these aspects.
B. The mark – of the beast. English interpretations have butchered this concept so badly, no wonder we have been confused. Scriptures started out as preservation of documents and letters, and were initially written in Aramaic and Septuagint Greek, on skins and clay tablets. There is a man, named Walid Shoebat, a former terrorist, now a Christian, who in giving his testimony, tells how he reading in the scriptures in Aramaic, his native tongue, comes to the place that speaks of the mark. It says “and his mark shall be the number of a man”. In Aramaic it is spelled out clearly “There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his messenger.” Mr. Shoebat, even expounded upon this idea by pointing out how a fairly recent movie conveyed this same message when they wore headbands and armbands that read: “There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his messenger. To the English speaking mind the symbols that convey this message look very similar to a string to 6’s.
I strongly believe that technology, though a possibility, is not nearly as important to this scenario as people think. Scripture tells us that the “saints” will be beheaded for their testimony. While that is certainly happening today, I can see where we might get one of our concepts that make us believe that the Church goes through the tribulation, for it is God that is calling the beheaded, Saints. We, in our narrow minds, attribute this to Christianities suffering on behalf of the Lord.
Jesus paid our price; get that straight. Either he was enough or not. If not, then there is no salvation, and all we do is waste of time. What we do have is a God whose mercies extend beyond our limitations to people that most of us currently condemn. Think about it, Latter Day Saints, who will not accept Jesus Christ as the price for their freedom, study voraciously. Mormons; advocates of strong families, study voraciously. There has to be others, who on the verge of recognition of Christ as Lord, will be the evangelists of that day.
Islam declares those who call themselves Christians, to be “people of the Book”. Muslims are taught from an early age to hate those who oppose Islam, especially people of the Book.
Spend some time studying the scriptures and you will come to realize that the Holy Spirit is not taken off the earth for many continue to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Lord. You will also find that an Angel flies around the earth, broadcasting the message of Jesus Christ, and salvation.
I wish I could tell you that the Great Tribulation will be exclusive to the middle east, but Islam is bringing ideals and message into your neighborhood. There is no separation between Islam and fanatical Islam, for it is merely Islam, and what they do and believe is all in the Qu’ran. The Qu’ran teaches and advocates lying, especially with the infidels of the book. My own mother felt she had to respond to this statement, with a story of a family friend who married a Muslim man, and he does interfere with her beliefs.
What would make a situation like this so dangerous? If you are permitted to live a justified lie, while waiting for the appropriate time to act, which is precisely what the Qu’ran teaches, this Muslim man could under the guise of Sharia law kill this woman for Apostasy.
There is that word Apostasy again, but this time Islam sees the woman as trying to convert a Muslim and provides for her to be stoned or beheaded. As a side note here. There is no equality or fairness when it comes to sentencing. If a man and woman are caught in adultery the man is buried up to his waist, his arms and hands are free, and if he can dig himself out before he is killed he is free to go. The woman on the other hand is completely bound, buried up to her shoulders and stoned until dead.
Germany has allowed Sharia law such a foothold that recently they unable to prosecute a Muslim man for killing his, justifiable by Sharia law, his religious right.
Here is the point, if I have not made it. The Apostasy is upon us, and it is getting worse by the minute. I believe that the man who will take on the role of the beast exists and lives among us. Islam believes this too. We have seen the tree produce leaves and bud, therefore our sign that the season is upon us has come. Be alert, and pray.