Friday, June 24, 2022

The Mark of the Beast, or the Work of the Unholy Trinity

Some Golden Daybreak
Chapter 6 from the excellent book, Some Golden Daybreak,
by Dr. Lee Roberson, D.D. (copyright 1957)

by Pastor Lee Roberson, D.D. (1909-2007)

"And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. — REVELATION 13

It is exceedingly easy to make a lot of guesses and speculations on matters of prophecy. Many have done so and have likewise brought into disrepute the teaching of the second coming and related events. Therefore, we will continue to follow carefully the Word of God.

In the last message we discussed briefly the coming Antichrist, his characteristics, and his work. We noted that John said, "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time" (1st John 2:18).

There are many antichrists in the world today. All movements and men against our Saviour are antichrists. But let us notice that there is coming an Antichrist. The Antichrist will be a person. He will be a man just as Christ was a man. When the Word of God speaks of the Antichrist, the masculine pronoun "he" is used.

When will this Antichrist appear? He will appear when the church has been raptured and the Holy Spirit has been taken away.
"For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming." II Thessalonians 2:7,8.
After the Christians have been raptured and the Spirit taken, the tribulation will begin upon the earth. The tribulation is that period of time when judgments are sent by God upon a Christ-rejecting world. The terrible plagues which will come upon the earth are described in Revelation 6 to 18. In the forefront during the tribulation time there will be three unholy persons. All three of them are mentioned in Revelation 13.

I. The Dragon
"And the dragon gave him his power. . . . And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast." —vss. 2, 4
This dragon is none other than old Satan. He is the enemy of our Christ. All of sin and sorrow we see today is because of him. All that will come upon the earth will be because of him. In the tribulation Satan will make his last stand and will endeavor to get control of the earth. He will choose a man to be his representative. He will give to this person great power. We know him as the Antichrist.
  • The Devil is God's enemy.
  • The Devil is every Christian's enemy.
  • The Devil is the enemy of all righteousness.
  • The Devil is the author of sin, suffering, and death.
Though Satan has great power, Christians can defeat him today. James says, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). Christ showed us the way when He resisted the temptation of Satan in the wilderness. He won by the sword of the Spirit. We must battle and win in the same way.

The end of Satan is plainly given in the Holy Scriptures. First, we find that he will be bound during the kingdom age. This is given in Revelation 20:1-3:
"And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season."
The eternal doom of Satan is in Revelation 20:10, "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."

The Devil does not reign in Hell as a king. He will be tormented in Hell just as the others who reject the Saviour.

II. The Beast
"And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy." —Revelation 13:1
This is the one to whom the Devil gives power and authority. This beast is the Antichrist.

Note the origin of the beast. He will rise up out of the sea. The sea is typical of the Gentile nations. The particular sea in mind is doubtless the Mediterranean for it is the center, so to speak, of the former Roman Empire. The ten horns are a further mark of identification, showing that the Roman Empire is referred to, not as it has been during its entire existence, but as it shall be known in its last form. The seven heads doubtless symbolize the different forms of government in which the Roman Empire has existed from its beginning to the end.

Revelation 13:3 speaks of the restoration of the Roman Empire when it will be a federated empire of ten kingdoms, ruled over by the beast. This beast will be a warlike person, for the world will say, "Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?" He will be a blasphemer. "And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven." The Antichrist will be an atheist. He will set himself above all that is called God and will cause the people to worship him.

The Beast as set before us in Revelation 13 is the dragon's masterpiece of delusion. Satan has always wanted people to worship him, and now through the work of the beast they do so, for verse 4 says, "And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast."

III. The False Prophet

This is the third member of the unholy trinity — Satan, the beast, the false prophet.

The false prophet will be a man, just as the beast. This is proven by the doom of the false prophet as given in Revelation 19:20. False systems or empires are dealt with by God on earth, but persons are cast into the lake of fire.

The first beast came out of the sea. This second beast or false prophet comes up out of the earth. If the sea symbolizes the Gentile nations, the earth possibly symbolizes Israel. This false prophet, as he is called, may be a Jew, while the beast before whom he exercises his power may be a Gentile.

The first beast will be a dictator and a world ruler. This second beast will be something of a religious leader and will perform wonders and cause the people to worship the beast. The main business of the false prophet is to support the beast. He will be the absolute tool of the first beast.

Seven verses give a summary of his work. Consider Revelation 13:12-15:
"And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed."
Let us list the work of this evil one:
  1. He will exercise the power of the Antichrist, and cause the world to worship the first beast.
  2. He will perform great wonders and bring down fire from heaven in the sight of men.
  3. He will deceive earth-dwellers by means of his miracles.
  4. He will cause the people to make an image of the beast. He will give life to the image and destroy all who will not worship the image of the beast.
And now, may we consider the closing three verses of Revelation 13:
"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred three score and six."
In the tribulation days it will be either worship the beast or starve. All men, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, will be forced to receive a mark in their right hands or in their foreheads. No one will be able to buy or sell without this mark. Those who would eat must bear the marks or the name or the number of the beast. "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six."

Many people have tried to figure out the meaning of this number, 666. The outstanding Bible teachers simply say that six is the number of man. It represents imperfection, for seven is God's number of perfection.

Dr. William R. Newell says that God will give full understanding to His saints in the Tribulation when it is needed. The saints of the church age will not be there, but there will be tribulation saints who 'worship not the beast and receive not the mark.' They will know and understand this man. His number will be plain to them, for it is the number of a man.

Many people have tried to arrive at this mysterious number. It has been pointed out that the word Latin is spelled with Greek letters, lateinos, makes six hundred sixty-six in their numerical value. Others have called attention to the same fact concerning Nero Caesar spelled in Hebrew — the numerical value comes to six hundred sixty-six.

But putting aside vain guesses, we know that six is the utmost reach of man. Man was created on the sixth day. God's great human opponents have been marked by the number six. Goliath was six cubits in height. His spear's head weighed six shekels, and he had six pieces of armor. Nebuchadnezzar's image was sixty cubits high and six broad. These are but a few of the sixes which attach themselves to men.

In connection with this number of the beast someone has said that it is interesting that the radio broadcasting wave length of Rome, Italy, is 666.

In the light of the tragic days ahead, there are two things we should do. First, we should rejoice in our own salvation and in the fact that we will escape the terrible things which are coming upon the earth. Second, we should endeavor with all our power to bring people to Christ so that they will be saved and escape the awful tribulation. This is the time to win people before the darkness settles upon the earth. We have darkness now, but not as it will be in that awful coming day.

SOURCE: Chapter 6 from the excellent book, Some Golden Daybreak, by Dr. Lee Roberson, D.D. (copyright 1957)


Sunday, May 15, 2022

The Everlasting Lake Of Fire For the Wicked

Revelation 20:11-15, “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

The following information describes a popular play, shown as a video presentation to follow:
“Heaven’s Gates & Hell’s Flames” is a live high impact dramatic performance involving special sound and visual effects, elaborate stage sets, costumes, and a cast and crew of 50 people. The play begins with the crucifixion of Jesus and depicts His resurrection victory over Satan. The focus then turns to the Gates of Heaven and the coming Judgment where everyone will one day stand before God. A series of vignettes follow depicting people from various walks of life who suddenly and unexpectedly die. Some of them are prepared, others are not. The play graphically depicts the blessedness of meeting Jesus at the Gates of Heaven and the horror of facing eternity in Hell. ~Heaven's Gates And Hell's Flames

The problem with the preceding video is that it teaches Lordship Salvation. They present a false gospel, telling people to “invite Jesus into your life” and “Give your life to Jesus!” Judas gave his life to Jesus and went to Hell! The preceding video is HORRIBLE! The video shows preachers requiring the audience to “turn from their sins,” which is nowhere taught in the inspired Holy Bible.

This video is full of damnable heresy! Nowhere does the inspired Word of God say to turn from your sins, surrender to Christ as "Lord," repeat a prayer, invite Jesus into your life or give your life to Christ to get to Heaven. You may do all those things are never be born-again at all. The Apostle Paul defines "the gospel" in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 as three things: Jesus' DEATH on the cross for our sins, His BURIAL and bodily RESURRECTION from the dead after three days. This is the "GOOD NEWS" (Gospel) by which whosoever BELIEVES is saved (Romans 1:16). Faith is the only righteous thing that I can do. Salvation is not a reward for the righteous, it is a gift for the guilty! The true Gospel always points you to CHRIST; a false gospel always points to YOU. Right doctrine matters!

As I mentioned, Paul defines the Gospel in 1st Corinthians 15:1-4, in which no mention is made of giving your life to Christ, or of inviting Jesus into your life, or of surrender to Christ as 'Lord' of your life” to be saved! Beware of false prophets!!! The video itself is great, depicting the dangers and torments of Hell. But what good is a play and video about the dangers and reality of Hell, if you then preach a counterfeit plan of salvation? I am Philippians 1:17, “But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.

We will all face God someday in eternity. It matters not if you die as a poor beggar under a bridge, or die as the president of a great country, all men must face God someday. Hebrews 10:31, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

Dear reader, there are no atheists in Hell! I promise you that famous atheist's Madalyn Murray O'Hair, Ernest Hemingway, Stanley Kubrick, Gene Roddenberry, Rod Sterling and Margaret Sanger all BELIEVED in God their first 10 seconds in eternity!!!

Dear reader, you were created by God for eternity. God did not create humanity for this temporary lifetime; but rather, for eternity. What will this temporal 70 years or so of life, matter in comparison to trillions of years in eternity? Revelation 14:10 foretells that “time shall be no more,” in the future! So one Google (a big number; a 1 with 100 zeros behind it!) won't even be the beginning of eternity, because there is no time in eternity. I learned from Pastor Max Younce, that God created time as a means of sharing with His friends what He plans to do in the future. God is letting us know as His children, His friends, what He intends to do next! I like that. What a wonderful God.

God's plan of salvation is very simple. Anyone who acknowledges that they are a guilty sinner in the holy sight of God, and receives Christ's sacrifice on the cross as payment for their sins, believing that Jesus Christ is bodily risen from the dead, is immediately, irrevocably and eternally saved. 1st Thessalonians 4:14, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

Dear friend, have you been born again? Hell is real. If God allows suffering, torment and death in this temporal world, then you can be assured that He will allows suffering, torment and death in the next. You have been warned. YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN!!!

There Is No Escape From Hell

Thursday, May 5, 2022

God Made The Wicked For The Day Of Judgment

2nd Thessalonians 2:9-14, "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Carefully notice the following statements after the Bible says God will send them STRONG DELUSION... "That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." These are Christ-rejecters! So first we must conclude that God did not choose them not to be saved. They have a FREE WILL from God to make their own decisions. They freely chose NOT to believe.

In our text passage of Scripture, we read in 2nd Thessalonians 2:9-10, "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." So here we learn that the coming Man of Sin, ANTICHRIST, will work all manner of evil and deception "IN THEM THAT PERISH," because they rejected THE TRUTH. They rejected the truth (Good News) of the Gospel. They are not saved.

I read an interesting Bible verse today from Proverbs 16:4, “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” That is a deep thought. God created billions of people, knowing in His foreknowledge that they wouldn't get saved and will burn in Hell forever. Yet God made them! The Bible says God made them for Himself, for His purpose. 1st Corinthians 11:19 teaches that we need false teachers, so that men of God who properly study the Bible and teach sound doctrine can be made known. I was encouraged one day when I read that Bible verse. I have been exposing the apostate Calvinist Bob Jones University (BJU) camp since 2014. I have also started exposing the Pensacola Christian College (PCC) camp since 2018, because they sinfully bid Godspeed to BJU. It is sad that so many pastors today refuse to stand against heresy, falsehoods and sin. They just sinfully want their undeserved paycheck (Luke 16:13).

So, just as God allows there to exist false prophets, to provide a dark canvas (a backdrop) against which true Bible preachers like me can paint the light of THE TRUTH; in the same way, God created people that He knew would become wicked, to provide contrast against which the righteous can be compared. Proverbs 16:4, “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” The "day of evil" refers to judgment day. God will send the unsaved wicked "strong delusion" for His own glory and purpose. We see that God did this with wicked Pharaoh, hardening his heart against the Hebrews. God didn't harden Pharaoh concerning salvation, but only concerning releasing the Jews. Likewise, God won't harden anyone's heart not to get saved in the Tribulation, which is what 2nd Thessalonians chapter 2 is about; but rather, since they rejected Jesus as their Savior, God will blind them further for His purpose and glory.

The following passage is amazing. The Bible says God will gather the heathen nations against Israel, and then fight against those nations! ...
Zechariah 14:1-3, "Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle."
I love that! This is exactly what God did to Pharaoh in Moses' time, so that the Lord could show forth His magnificent power and glory to the universe!

I definitely think one of the ways that God will send strong delusion is that people will believe everything they read on social media. I think the "strong delusion" refers to anything and everything from mainstream society (TV, books, news, internet, podcasts, radio, word of mouth, et cetera). The Antichrist will use every existing form of media to deceive the masses of this wicked world (1st John 5:19). 
Even today, already we are seeing woeful deception on social media. The Devil is a beautiful liar!

It is shocking to me how much false doctrine has crept into the churches. Over 90% of Baptist churches today are horribly teaching the Devil's lie that you must forsake sinful behavior to get to Heaven. That is keeping the Mosaic law, which is another gospel (Romans 3:19-20; 1st Corinthians 15:1-4; Galatians 1:6-9). Eternal life is a free gift from God (Romans 6:23), paid for by Jesus' precious blood (1st Peter 1:18-19). NO ONE can, or ever has, turned away from their sins! Even the best Christians still sin all the time (Romans 7:14-25).

Watch this wicked speech given by our shameful Vice President, Kamala Harris, defending abortion. By God's grace, I humbly wrote this blog today to preach against her heresy. The Bible says that God made the unrighteous for the day of judgment. I don't know about you dear friend, but I THANK GOD that I am a born-again child of God. If you do not KNOW 100% beyond any shadow of a doubt that you are saved, please make sure right now...

The Clear Gospel In 4 Minutes
(by Pastor Ralph Yankee Arnold)

Monday, April 18, 2022

The Devil In Chains

The following is quoted from chapter 10 of the excellent book, “Some Golden Daybreak,” authored by Pastor Lee Roberson (1909-2007) in 1957. ...

by Pastor Lee Roberson, D.D. (1909-2007)
Revelation 20:1-3, “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”

When Christ returns to the earth, many important things will take place. He will leave heaven with the saints, riding upon a white horse and coming to the battle of Armageddon. He will quickly gain victory in this battle because of the sword which proceeds out of His mouth.

The beast, the Antichrist, and the false prophet, who will bring together the armies of the earth, will be captured and cast alive into a lake of fire, burning with brimstone. After a thousand years they are still found in that place suffering torment day and night.

After the battle of Armageddon comes a great supper—it is the supper of the flesh-eating birds. These fowls of the air are called together by the angel who stands in the sun. They come to devour the flesh of kings and captains and mighty men, and of all men, small and great, who are destroyed in the battle of Armageddon. Revelation 19 closes with this notation, "All the fowls were filled with their flesh."

We now come to a consideration of the first three verses in Revelation 20, which tells us of the chaining of Satan. There are three things I would have you to see about this enemy of God.

I. The Character of Satan

The Word clearly delineates the character of this evil one.

He is proud. Paul gives a warning unto preachers in 1st Timothy 3:6, "Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil."

Satan is presumptuous. In Job 1:6 we are told that "when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them." He had no business in the midst of the sons of God. He had lost his place in Heaven, but he returned to bring accusation against the saints of the Lord. The Devil has always inserted his presence into the midst of God's people for the purpose of stirring up strife.

The Devil is powerful.
“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” —Ephesians 2:2

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. —Ephesians 6:12 
With many other words the Bible describes the character of Satan. John speaks of him as the wicked one. Moses tells of his subtlety. Paul speaks of his deceitfulness. The Lord recognizes Satan as fierce and cruel, and was always willing to cast out demons from those who were sore beset.

II. The Career of Satan

The Word indicates that Satan was once in Heaven and doubtless in a place of great authority. His downfall came when he put his will against God's will. Let us notice Isaiah14:12-14,
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”

Remember this: The shortest definition of sin is " I will.

After Satan was cast out of Heaven, he made the scene of his action on earth and in the air above the earth. In the Garden of Eden he caused the downfall of the first man.

Throughout the Old Testament we find evidences of his work. He caused even the people of God to forsake the Lord and to engage in doubtful practices. He caused the people to murmur against God and to complain. He led them to worship false idols and gods.

In New Testament days Satan was still busy. He tempted the Lord Jesus Christ, but was defeated by the Word of God. Please notice that it is always the Word which brings about Satan's defeat. If we are to conquer Satan and cause him to flee from us, it will be through the use of the Word.

As we study the Bible, we are made aware of the Devil's devices. Paul says, 'We are not ignorant of Satan's devices.' The Bible will cause us to open our eyes and to discern the things that are right and wrong. In the days since the close of New Testament history, Satan has still carried on his work. Christians have always had a battle with him and the churches have often been torn asunder by his onslaughts.

One of these days the Lord Jesus is coming for His own. This we know as the rapture, when the dead in Christ shall be raised and the living shall be changed; when the church and the Holy Spirit have been taken out of the world, and the tribulation will rage upon the earth. In this period of time, Satan will have his heyday. It will be his last effort to gain control of the earth. In the tribulation period he will give power to the Antichrist who will take over the reins of human government, and will bring together the armies to the battle of Armageddon.

At the close of the tribulation will come this bloody battle in the valley of Megiddo. Satan will be present, working through the beast and the false prophet. To this battle will come Jesus who will quickly destroy all opposition. The beast and the false prophet will be cast into Hell. Disposition will be made of Satan for a thousand years.

The work of Satan through the centuries has been threefold:

First, to damn souls. This is the main objective of the wicked one. He desires to damn every soul in Hell that he possibly can. A saved soul is a testimony to God's power. A Christian is a reflector of God's glory; therefore, Satan hates Christians and desires to keep men from accepting Christ.

Second, his work is to destroy lives. If he cannot damn the soul, then he will content himself with destroying the life. If a person escapes his clutches and receives Christ, he does not give up the battle, but seeks to destroy the effectiveness of the life for God. How well Satan is succeeding is evidenced by the many indifferent, cold, worldly lives of Christians.

Third, his work is to disrupt every work of God. Take the book of Acts and notice how he began with the early church. When souls were being saved and the revival fires burning, he had Peter and the other apostles cast into prison. When this failed to stop the work, then he brought in trouble by the deception of Ananias and Sapphira. Every disruption of the work of God is Satan's program; therefore, let us be on our guard and allow him no place in our lives.

III. The Chains of Satan

Revelation 20:1-3 is a portion of Scripture that Satan hates. It tells of something which is to come upon him. It has not taken place yet, but it will take place one day. Of course, there are some teachers who say that now we are in the kingdom of God and the Devil is now chained. If this be true, then the angel certainly placed a mighty long chain on Satan—a chain long enough to allow him to come from the bottomless pit to every place on earth. Satan is not bound now, but he shall be.

The world will be in an awful condition after the tribulation and the battle of Armageddon. But conditions will begin to improve when Revelation 20:1-3 is fulfilled. This earth will begin to blossom like a garden when he is no longer here to damn, destroy, and disrupt.

Satan is going to be bound like a common criminal and cast into the bottomless pit.

The world will no longer be his arena. He will be cast out of the earth. You remember the story of Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration with Peter, James, and John. The disciples were in the valley and a father brought to them a son possessed with a demon. They tried to cast him out, but could not. When Jesus came down from the mount, He reproved His disciples and cast out the demon.

It is not too farfetched to say that the Lord Jesus has been in the Mount of Transfiguration in Heaven for twenty centuries. Down upon the earth some of His followers have been trying to cast out Satan. They have tried reformation and education. They have tried every known means to cast out Satan and to bring in the fulness of the kingdom of God. They have failed utterly and completely. The Devil is still in power and even growing in power.

But, thank God, here in Revelation we read that Satan's reign and power will be broken and that he will be cast down. This will be accomplished, not by reformation, education, or legislation, but by the coming of Christ. Church work and preaching are good, but they will not accomplish the casting out of Satan from the earth. But the personal coming of our Lord will bring about this event.

Later we will see the final doom of Satan, but for the present it is enough to realize that there is coming a day when his power will be curtailed for a thousand years. Here is another reason why we should look eagerly for the coming of Christ. Let us give our wholehearted allegiance to the Lord Jesus and pray with John, Even so, come Lord Jesus.”

Saturday, March 12, 2022

The Holy Spirit And The End Time

This is Chapter 34, “The Holy Spirit And The End Time,” from Pastor Jack Hyles' excellent book titled: “Meet The Holy Spirit” ...
II Thessalonians 2:1-12, "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by work nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is vacated God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity both already work: only He Who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: even Him, Whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

There are three main comings of our Lord to the earth. He came TO His own. John 1:11, "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not."

He is coming FOR His own in the air. I Thessalonians 4:13-18, "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: an so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."

He is coming WITH His own at the end of the seven-year tribulation period to put down the Antichrist and establish His kingdom. II Thessalonians 2:8, "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming."

To understand the Holy Spirit's part in the end time, one must understand the purposes behind the writing of the books of I and II Thessalonians. The apostle Paul had started the church in Thessalonica. He especially imparted to this church the truths concerning the coming of the Lord. They had become excited about the rapture and our Lord's returning FOR them. However, something unforeseen happened. One of their members passed away. They were not prepared for this, so they wrote the Apostle asking what would happen to there departed member when Jesus came for His own. The book of I Thessalonians is a letter from the Apostle to the church at Thessalonica explaining to them what would happen to the dead when Jesus comes.

Soon trials came to the church, trials that were so great that the members began to wonder if they were already in the tribulation period. They wrote to the Apostle inquiring concerning this matter. This book of II Thessalonians is a letter from Paul to the church at Thessalonica reminding them that they were not in the tribulation period and teaching them that they must transpire before the tribulation could come and teaching them in general concerning the order of events of the end time.

Following is that order:

1. The Mystery of Iniquity (that is, sin) will continue. That is, sin will continue to abound. II Thessalonians 2:7a, "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work."

2. The Rapture of the saints must take place. 2nd Thessalonians 2:7b, "Only He Who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way." The work "let" here means "to hinder." There seems to be someone hindering the mystery of iniquity. This someone, of course, is the Holy Spirit. He does this hindering to His people who are the salt of the earth. Now notice the words in verse 7, "until He be taken out of the way." This means the Holy Spirit will continue to hinder the mystery of iniquity until that day comes when He is taken out of the way. This is the rapture when God's people are caught up to meet the Lord in the air; the dead will raise first, followed by those of us who are alive and remain. Now notice in II Thessalonians 2:1 the words, "by our gathering together unto Him," which speak of the same event-the rapture. Read further in 2nd Thessalonians 2:2, 3. The Apostle says that that day, that is, the tribulation period, cannot come "except there be a falling away first." The term "falling away" is also translated "departure." This, no doubt, speaks of the rapture.

3. The Antichrist will then be revealed. II Thessalonians 2:8, "And then shall that Wicked (wicked one) be revealed." Also note in verse 3, "and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition." In other words, the tribulation period will not come until the rapture has taken place and the man of sin is on the scene. This man is the Antichrist, who will be the main character of the tribulation period.

4. The Tribulation itself will take place. This is that seven-year period when the saints are in the air with Jesus enjoying the marriage of the Lamb, the marriage supper, and appearing before the judgment seat of Christ. The tribulation period is divided into two parts. During the first 3 1/2 years the Antichrist is a peaceable person, deceiving the world by his flatteries. In the middle of the tribulation period the Antichrist becomes Satan incarnate, just as Jesus was God incarnate during his earthly ministry. The last half of the tribulation period, hence, will be the working of Satan incarnate for a period of time about the same as the period of time when our Lord ministered as God incarnate (3 1/2 years).

5. Then we have the coming of Christ WITH His own. II Thessalonians 2:8, "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, WHOM THE LORD SHALL CONSUME WITH THE SPIRIT OF HIS MOUTH, AND SHALL DESTROY WITH THE BRIGHTNESS OF HIS COMING." This is the time when Jesus comes back to earth with His saints to establish His kingdom of righteousness which shall last for 1,000 years. This is the time when the wolf shall lie down with the lamb, the little child shall lead the wild animals and play at the hole of the cockatrice den. This is the time when men shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. This is the time when the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. This is the time when God's people shall be kings and priests of God and shall rule and reign with Him for 1,000 years.

6. The Millennium itself will take place. This is the aforementioned 1,000-year reign of Christ upon the earth.

Now let us trace the activities of the Holy Spirit during this time:

1. He is taken out of the way at the Rapture. II Thessalonians 2:7, "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He Who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way." This does ton mean that he will not work at all on the earth. This does mean the end of His ministry as the church age has known it.

2. He will still convict sinners, and people will be saved during the Tribulation period. Revelation 7:9, 14, "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." These people are those who received Christ during the tribulation period. There will be multitudes of them. Of course, they must be convicted by the Holy Spirit in order to be saved. These concerts are probably those who had never before heard the message of salvation. The Bible seems to teach that those who have heard the message of salvation and refused it shall be sent delusions during the tribulation period and will not be saved. II Thessalonians 2:9-12, "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

3. The Holy Spirit will work in mighty power during the Millennium. Isaiah, 11:1,2, "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord." Here we have a summary of the work the Holy Spirit shall do during the kingdom age. It is He Who will lead us as we rule and reign on the earth. It will be His wisdom by which we rule and His power through which we rule.

Before this discussion is concluded, mention should be made of the counterfeit work that shall be done by Satan in the end time. This work will be manifested by the workings of miracles. When the Antichrist and the false prophet shall come, they shall come performing miracles. See Revelation 13. Satan, you see, has a trinity. Satan himself is the opposite of God the Father. The Antichrist, who shall head the political end-time confederation, is the opposite of God the Son. The false prophet, who will head up the ecclesiastical confederation in the end time is the opposite of God the Holy Spirit. Hence, in these three we have Satan's trinity. Revelation 13:1, 11, "And I stood unto the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon."

Notice also that this second beast (false prophet) will do great wonders and even call fire from the heavens. Revelation 13:13, "And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men."

Also notice that he will do miracles and by them will deceive the nations. Revelation 13:14, "And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power on earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by the sword, and did live." Now notice that he even makes an image, that is, a man-made replica of the first beast (Antichrist) and actually gives to that image life and the ability to speak! Revelation 13:15, "And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed."

Be not deceived, beloved, when those who are in error concerning the get doctrines of the faith suddenly perform miracles, for in the end time the performance of these miracles will not at all confirm that God is working. If a man comes to town and you see tumors disappear before your very eyes, this does not necessarily mean that is of God. There are people today who no doubt are seeing physical miracles take place who do not believe in the virgin birth, who pray to the Virgin Mary, and who do not believe in the verbal inspiration of the Bible and other foundational truths. This doing of miracles is in no way an evidence of being genuine. Christians should not be deceived; there is a supernatural which is not of God. There are miracles which are not of God. There are miracles of the Antichrist and false prophet will intensify as we see the day approaching. Many will be deceived; do not be among them!

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Jesus May Come Today


by Evangelist John R. Rice (1895-1980)
"Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come." —Matthew 24:42
"Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." —Matthew 24:44.

"Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." —Matthew 25:13.

"Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is." —Mark 13:33
"Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch." —Mark 13:35-37
"Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not." —Luke 12:40.

"Behold, the judge standeth before the door." —James 5:9

"Behold, I come quickly." —Revelation 22:7

"The time is at hand." —Revelation 22:10

"And, behold, I come quickly." —Revelation 22:12

"He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus." —Revelation 22:20
Yes, JESUS may come today! The coming of Christ to the earth is imminent: it may occur any moment, day or night!

There is not a single event prophesied in the Bible which must come to pass before the Saviour returns. As far as we can know, no event, either political, economic or spiritual, need occur before Jesus comes. Not another war need be declared, not another gospel sermon preached, not another soul be saved, as far as can be told from the Scriptures, before the Saviour comes to catch up His saints into the air for the marriage supper in Heaven.

And I do not mean that signs of the Saviour's coming show that it is likely to be soon. Some say that Jesus must come soon because the little modern nation Israel is established in Palestine. I do not believe that is the restoration of Israel promised in the Bible. I do not believe one can tell from that even approximately when Jesus will come. I do not believe that wars, earthquakes, dictatorships, communism, or modernism are signs that Christ will come at any predictable time or within any given generation. My conviction is that we should look for Christ's coming simply because He said to look for His coming.

We should not look for Christ's coming because of meteor showers or because of numerals found in the bible and mistakenly applied to reckon when Christ will return. The Millerites went wrong on that in 1842. We should not presume that with a tape measure we can measure a passage in the Great Pyramid in Egypt and, making an inch mean a year, find when Jesus will come. British-Israelites were made a laughing stock by that false premise nearly twenty years ago. I know one who thus set a date for Christ's return and is now a scoffing infidel. No, let us stop looking in the newspapers for signs of Christ's coming and simply believe Christ may come at any moment because He said so.

At any moment we may expect Christians to be caught up into the air to meet Christ in the first promised phase of His second coming. We do not know when. We bring reproach on the blessed hope by speculations, but we can watch because Jesus said we should.

The Scriptures quoted above do not discuss any signs that might precede the coming of Christ but rather the fact that He may come at any moment. The Scriptures teach that Jesus might have come at any moment since He went away! Jesus Himself taught the apostles and all the Christians then living that He might return in their lifetime. They were commanded that He might return in their lifetime. They were commanded and entreated earnestly to watch and pray since they knew not the day nor the hour when the Son of man should return. At Pentecost the promised pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles took place and they began their witness for Christ. Since that day there has never been a moment but what Christians ought to have expected Jesus to return as He most certainly might have done.

All these Scriptures quoted above show that the coming of the Lord might have been at any time from Pentecost on until now. There is not one single sign for which Christians have needed to wait before they should expect the return of the Saviour. And not one single event has occurred or will occur definitely enough that any person can know the day or hour of His return.

I. Christ's Imminent Return Clearly Stated By Christ Himself

The Bible is full of teaching about the second coming of Christ and related events. Those of us who take the Bible literally and believe it all and are therefore premillennialists, expecting the literal, bodily, physical return of Christ and His reign upon earth are foretold in the Scriptures, have much to preach. We have the great themes of the resurrection; the rapture or meeting Christ in the air; the judgment seat of Christ; the great tribulation; the man of sin, or Antichrist; the glorious return of Christ with saints and angels; the battle of Armageddon; the restoration of the Jews to Palestine; the judgment of the living nations; the millennial reign of Christ on David's throne, etc. All these matters ought to be preached for they are clearly taught in the Bible. But, very strangely, we often neglect the greatest theme in connection with the Saviour's coming, and that is that His coming is imminent, and that every Christian is commanded to watch! watch! watch! for no man knows the day nor hour when He shall come.

Whatever Jesus taught about His second coming, the point of His message was always this: that His coming is to be sudden, unexpected, and surprising so that every Christian should be ready for His coming at any moment.

In the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, after thirty-five verses concerned with the second coming, then Jesus said, "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."

From verses 36 to 51, the last sixteen verses of the same chapter, Jesus earnestly urges the unexpectedness and imminence of His coming. In verse 42 He says, "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come." And in verse 44 He says, "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."

The angels do not know when Jesus will return. Jesus Himself, while in the flesh, did not know when He would return as He Himself said in Mark 13:32.

Then in Mark 13:33 He said, "Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is."

And in Mark 13:37 He repeats again His warning, saying: "And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch."

In Matthew 25:13 Jesus closes the parable of the ten virgins, saying: "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh."

In Luke 12:40, after warning Christians that they should be "like unto men that wait for their Lord," telling them "And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants" (Luke 12:38), and next reminding them how a man should be constantly watching lest the thief should break in and steal (vs. 39), then Jesus said, "Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not."

Only one honest meaning is possible in these Scriptures: Jesus may come today!

If the Bible is a trustworthy book, then Jesus might have returned even in the lifetime of these New Testament Christians, He might have returned any time during the centuries since then, or He may return now at any moment. If the Father Himself has set the time, then He has not revealed it even to the angels and certainly not to any man. He may come today. There is no other possible meaning to these Scriptures.

He has put no promised event before the Saviour's coming. There are no Scriptures yet to be fulfilled before Jesus comes, and we are commanded plainly, repeatedly, insistently to watch for His coming.

If you do not believe that the coming of Christ is imminent, then you make Christ Himself a deceiver. It would have been cruel and insincere for Jesus to have all the apostles and New Testament Christians earnestly watching for His return if it were already a settled fact that He could not return for thousands of years. No, the words of Jesus were true words, and they are as good today for us as they were the day they were uttered to the apostles. Jesus may come this very day, yea, this very hour. We may hear the sound of the trumpet and may feel ourselves suddenly changed and caught up to meet the Lord in the air where we will be gathered with the saints of all ages and carried to the Father's house of many mansions while the unsaved are left on a wicked world, turned over to sin and to the man of sin until we shall return with Christ to reign. Today I may see Jesus! Today I may see my mother, my father, my baby brothers! Today I may enter into the reward of my labors. Today I may lay down my burdens, lay down my sorrows, lay down my weaknesses, lay down my disappointments, lay down my frail, sinful body! Today I may be clothed upon with a glorious body like that of our Saviour! Oh! today I may see Jesus and report and bring in my sheaves rejoicing, and kiss His dear feet! May God grant that I will not be ashamed before Him at His coming but that I may be watching with my lamp trimmed and burning when I hear the great shout, "Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him!" Jesus may come this very day! Hallelujah!

II. His Imminent Second Coming Illustrated By Jesus

How precious this doctrine is to the Saviour and how important to His disciples we can see by the way He repeated it and illustrated it. Notice the illustrations the Saviour gave.

1. The second coming will be like the flood in the days of Noah.

Jesus said: "But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." (Matthew 24:37-39)

The fact of the coming flood had been clearly foretold. For one hundred years Noah had been building an ark and preparing for the flood. You may be sure that everybody in the inhabited portion of the earth knew of God's warning. You could no more keep the ark a secret than if in the Panhandle of Texas or in the mountains of Arkansas men should work for a hundred years building a ship like the Titanic or the Queen Mary! Noah's preaching "got over" yet the people did not know when the flood would come. They did not believe it. Noah himself did not know when. The Lord gave no definite date. Noah went into the ark when he was commanded, and God shut the door. Even then the flood did not come for seven days. There were no preceding signs by which they could be sure of the exact date of the threatened deluge, even if they had believed it was coming, so the men of that age "were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark." That is the way it will be, the Saviour says, when He comes. People will be as unprepared and His coming will be as sudden and unexpected.

2. The Saviour's coming is likened to the coming of the bridegroom whose bridesmaids have been waiting until far into the night (Matt. 25:1-13).

Some of the bridesmaids had no oil and expected their dry wicks to burn until he came, but their lamps went out. All of them, the wise and the foolish, those with the oil of salvation and those with only the lamps of profession, "slumbered and slept." And then at midnight His coming was so sudden and unexpected that those who had no oil did not have time to secure it but were left without and missed the wedding.

And so there could be no doubt of His meaning, for the closing verse of the parable says, "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh."

The point of the parable of the ten virgins is this, that the coming of Jesus is imminent. He may come today, so therefore be ready.

The virgins knew the bridegroom was coming, but just when, they did not know. He might have returned at once. They ought to have been ready at any moment.

It is strange that people would so pervert the Scriptures as to miss the very heart of the Saviour's teaching here. Yet a few years ago the story of the ten virgins was given in the International Sunday School Lessons but only the first twelve verses were printed. The thirteenth verse where Jesus gives the conclusion and lesson of the parable was omitted entirely in the Sunday School quarterlies that I saw. The Saviour's second coming was not even mentioned! The parable of the ten virgins is not simply a lesson on preparedness. It is a lesson on preparedness - not for usefulness, not even for death primarily - but preparedness for the second coming of Christ. The lesson is that Jesus may come at any moment, so watch and be ready!

3. The second coming is as imminent as a master returning to his home after a long journey.

Jesus used this illustration more than once. In Matthew 24:45-47 Jesus said: "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods."

The return of such a master is imminent. That is, he ought to be expected at any moment, and it is a faithful and wise servant who earnestly does his duty day by day looking forward to his master's return.

But there are those who say that "my Lord delayeth His coming," and that we ought not to expect Him momentarily now. For such the Saviour continued the same parable in verses 48-51 as follows: "But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

This is a picture, perhaps, of an unsaved one. But the unsaved are as much accountable to Jesus as the saved. All a sinner has he gets from God, and he must give an account to the Lord Jesus Christ whether he loves Him or not. This world belongs to Jesus Christ and one day He is going to claim it. Meantime, all who read this had better be ready for Jesus to come for they shall certainly have to give an account for their stewardship even if they have not been converted.

And what a sad teaching this is! Don't you see that one who says in his heart, "My lord delayeth his coming," is not right in his heart? He is not anxious for Jesus to come, perhaps is not willing for Jesus to come, and therefore does not watch. This Scripture indicates that it is always unbelief and sin that keeps one from eagerly watching for Jesus to come.

Jesus taught the same matter in Mark 13:34-37, and verse 35 says, "Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning." Surely the coming of Jesus may be today, may be at any moment.

The imminence of the Saviour's coming He illustrated by the unexpected thief.

In Matthew 24:43,44, Jesus said: "But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."

In Luke 12:39,40, Jesus said: "And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not."

The coming of a thief to break in and steal is a matter that people ought always to be forewarned and forearmed about. There is no set time for the thief to come. He may come at any moment. Therefore every householder ought to be prepared and constantly watching. Just so the coming of the Saviour may be at any moment, and the only way for us to be safe from embarrassment and shame when He comes is to be watching and ready. The saved who slumber and have their lamps smoky will be embarrassed; the lost who have no oil of salvation will not only be ashamed but will be left behind and will miss the wedding.

III. Sinner, Take Warning!

Let the unsaved readers observe the note of solemn warning in all these passages where Jesus spoke of His coming. Every time He mentions that we should watch because He might return any hour of any day there is a thrill of joy for the Christian, and yet there is a solemn and fearful thought for the unsaved.

"As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be," Jesus said. And remember that all the world, except eight souls, perished in that terrible flood because of their wickedness of which they did not repent!

And when Jesus spoke of the return of a master to call his servants to account after a long absence, He warned of the fearful punishment that would befall the unfaithful servant who began to eat and drink with the drunken and to beat the other servants, etc. The coming of Christ for His saints will be a sad day for every unsaved soul.

His coming is likened unto a thief in the night, and like the householder who, being not ready, has his home broken up and his goods stolen, so every sinner who has not trusted Christ will find himself bereft of the most precious things in this world - his loved ones who are Christians. Many a man will have mother, father, wife, babies or dear friends taken away in an instant, and he be left to face a world gone mad in sin with every single Christian removed at one stroke!

Some few will be saved during the great tribulation, but even then they cannot miss the tribulation. Some of the virgins who had no oil in their lamps may go back and get oil, but when they come to knock at the door where the wedding is, they will find the door is shut and they are left outside. Some will be saved, I say, during the great tribulation, but at what terrible cost! With churches closed, preachers gone, loved ones gone, they will be left as poor, crying babes in a wilderness of sin without a single man of God to teach them, without an older Christian to comfort them or give them strength.

And saddest of all is this fact: when Christ comes and takes away all His saints, then most of the good influences will be taken out of this world and most of those who reject Christ will then plunge headlong into such sin as they never before dreamed of. The Antichrist will be so deceptive and his power so terrible that few will oppose him. None can buy or sell without taking his mark, and those who take his mark will never be saved. Many of those who are saved will endure the fiercest persecution, hunted like wild beasts and put to death for the cause of Christ. Those who are unsaved when Jesus comes for His saints, will be left behind and most of them then will never, never, never turn to Christ for salvation.

You who read these lines, then, make sure that you are saved now for Jesus may come today. It is terribly dangerous for any unsaved sinner to live one day without Christ. It will be a thousandfold more dangerous to go into the great tribulation without Jesus when all the saints have been taken out at the coming of the Saviour.

IV. Objections Answered

Here I can imagine that some reader says, "I know that the words of Jesus seem to teach that He may return at any time. But certain other Scriptures appear to contradict that." Some good Christian people do not understand certain passages of Scripture relating to the Second Coming, and so stumble at this blessed teaching that the Saviour may return at any moment. Therefore they do not constantly watch as He commanded. They miss the joy of "the blessed hope."

However, since the Bible never contradicts itself, it will not be difficult to reconcile these Scriptures, and that I will try to do and show that there is no prophesied event to come before the return of Christ.

1. It is sometimes said that the gospel must first be preached to all the world before Jesus comes; that He cannot return for His saints until the evangelization of the world is completed.

The Scripture quoted for this is Matthew 24:14, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."

The mistake here is in supposing that "the end" is the coming of Christ to take away His saints. Rather, "the end" is the end of the Tribulation time. In the same passage, verse 8 tells about "the beginning of sorrows," which I believe is the time just after the Rapture of the saints. Verse 21 in the same passage says: "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."

Remember that there are two phases of the coming of Christ. First, He will come into the air and call out His saints to meet Him. This is the first part of His coming, the part always referred to by Jesus when He said, "Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh" and made similar statements. Then on the earth there will intervene the seventieth or last "week" of Daniel's prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27). On the earth then there will be "the beginning of sorrows," and in the last half of the "week," three and one half years of Great Tribulation while the Antichrist rules the world. Then Christ will return from Heaven, coming literally in the clouds with the saints and angels to fight the battle of Armageddon, destroy the kingdoms of the Antichrist, and reign upon earth. During the Great Tribulation this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached to all the world and then will come the end of the Tribulation in the Battle of Armageddon when Christ comes to set up His kingdom. That is what Matthew 24:14 means. The Gospel or Good News of the coming reign of Christ will be preached by a newly converted remnant in all the world after Christ comes and takes away His saints.

But in any case, the gospel has already been preached "in all the world for a witness unto all nations." At Pentecost we are told that "there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven," that is, those who had come to abide there temporarily during the feast, probably from the time of the Passover through Pentecost. We are told that these heard the gospel by the Spirit-filled Christians and they were "out of every nation under heaven."

At a Bible Conference where I answered many Bible questions, came a full-blooded Indian from Oklahoma who asked for an interview. He had heard me on the radio and was sent by his tribe from northern Oklahoma to ask me this question. Opening his Bible to this verse, Acts 2:5, he said, "My people want to know if any of those devout Jews were from America, among the Indians and prehistoric races in America at that time." His question certainly astonished me, and for a time I did not know what to answer. He continued to tell me how traditions had come down through the years from father to son among his people about God, the creation, the flood, and even some faint glimmer of ideas about the Christ. All I could tell him was that I believed the statement of the Scriptures, though I did not know whether the Scripture meant that there were Jews present who had lived among the American Indians or not. In any case, the gospel was preached to representatives in all the world when it was preached at Pentecost.

Again we are told about the church at Rome that "your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world" (Rom. 1:8), and Paul wrote to the Colossians about "The gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world" (Col. 1:5,6). So the gospel has already been preached in all the world. Even if Matthew 24:14 referred to this age, then it has already been fulfilled. We ought to do all we can to get the gospel to every creature, but the second coming of Christ need not be delayed awaiting evangelization of the world. Jesus may come at any moment. No prophesied event is to intervene before the coming of Christ to take away His saints.

2. Some people believe that the coming of the man of sin, the son of perdition, or Antichrist, must precede the coming of Christ.

They have in mind the warning of II Thessalonians 2:1-3 as follows: "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition."

The above Scripture plainly warns that "the day of Christ" is not "at hand." Some had evidently written in Paul's name, and others had evidently quoted Paul as saying that the day of Christ was at hand, that is, impending soon. Paul urged them not to be deceived since this day of Christ cannot come until there comes a great falling away and the man of sin or son of perdition (the Antichrist) be revealed.

But we must not confuse "the day of Christ" and the coming of Christ for His saints. The day of Christ here means the same as "the day of the Lord," a term used many, many times throughout the Bible. That term refers always to that future time when Christ will visibly, bodily, personally and literally return to the earth, destroy the armies of the Antichrist at the battle of Armageddon and set up His throne at Jerusalem and there begin His millennial reign. "The day of Christ" or "the day of the Lord" includes all the millennial reign of Christ until He shall turn the kingdom over to His Father. The day or period of Christ means the time of His rule. But the term, "the day of the Lord," or of Christ, never refers to Christ's coming into the air as a Bridegroom for His bride when the Christian dead will be raised and living Christians will be changed and all caught out together to meet Christ in the air.

The rapture, the hope of the church when we will be caught out with Jesus for a honeymoon in our Father's house of many mansions which Jesus is now preparing for us, comes before "the day of Christ" or "the day of the Lord." After Christ takes out His saints, and the Holy Spirit who makes His abode in the bodies of the saints is taken away, then the man of sin will be revealed and will run his short and terrible course. The Holy Spirit who dwells in Christians now hinders the man of sin so that he does not appear and is not revealed to the world as yet. But as soon as we are taken out, then the man of sin will be revealed. Following him then will come the day of the Lord or the day of Christ.

The coming of Christ to the earth when His feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives, when He shall fight the battle of Armageddon and sit on His throne at Jerusalem is NOT immanency. The coming of Christ into the air to call out His saints, both living and dead, to meet Him, IS imminent. With this in mind, you can see that this passage of Scripture does not contradict the many plain passages where the Saviour warns us that His coming will be like a thief in the night or like the flood on the unsuspecting wicked in Noah's day, or like the unexpected return of the master to judge his servants after a long absence.

After the Rapture of the saints, then there is a well-defined train of events foretold in the Bible, and those on the earth may know if they will read the Word of God about when the Saviour will return to destroy the man of sin and set up His kingdom. They may know about when the day of the Lord will come. But before that is the sudden coming of Jesus into the air for which all of us are to watch earnestly since no one knows that day nor the hour and since He may come at any moment.

After studying the Scriptures which prove the imminence of Christ's coming, it becomes evident that the saints must be called out of this world before the great tribulation. In order that the rapture may be the great surprise which is foretold in the Scripture, then the rapture of the saints must be the next event prophesied in the Bible. It must come before the battle of Armageddon, come before the reign of the man of sin, or the great tribulation time. The thing that every Christian should watch for next is not the appearing of the Antichrist, not the restoration of the Roman Empire, not the mark of the Beast, not the great tribulation, not the last great war and battle of Armageddon, and not the reign of Christ at Jerusalem; but the coming of Christ for His saints.

V. New Testament Christians Expected Christ to Come in Their Lifetime

We have given about many of the plain statements of Jesus in the gospels concerning His imminent coming, but the rest of the New Testament is equally clear. New Testament Christians expected Jesus to come at any moment.

The people at Corinth were "waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" as the Apostle Paul wrote by divine inspiration (I Corinthians 1:7). The people of Thessalonica "turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come" (I Thess. 1:9,10). After people were saved in New Testament times, Paul properly taught them to be looking for and waiting for the coming of the Saviour! They knew His coming might be at any moment.

Writing to the Philippians, Paul said, "For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body..." (Phil. 3:20,21). Paul himself was continually looking for the coming of the Saviour. He had in mind here the time of the rapture when he would have a changed body, caught out to meet Christ.

To Paul was given the highest revelations in New Testament times, we suppose. He wrote fourteen books of the Bible (if we include as his the book of Hebrews, which I think we should). He was not only a great teacher, but was himself so filled with the Spirit that he was caught up into the third Heaven and received revelations that were not lawful to utter. He was the most used of God of any New Testament character, and will meet more souls whom he won to Christ than any other apostle. And it was constantly in the mind of Paul that Jesus would come, possibly in his lifetime, so he looked for Him steadily.

When Paul wrote about the rapture of the saints, that event when Christ comes into the air to receive His own, he wrote of himself as being among the living. In I Thessalonians 4:15 he said, "We which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep."

"We which are alive and remain!" Paul expected to be alive and remain until Jesus came. Again in the seventeenth verse of the same passage he said, "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air." The Christian dead are mentioned in the third person, but the living are mentioned in the plural, first person. It was Paul's confident hope, nay, his expectation, that he should be living when Jesus should come. That is how clearly the apostles were taught the 
immanency of Christ's return. They knew that He might return any moment.

Likewise, in I Corinthians 15:51,52 Paul says: "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but WE shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and WE shall be changed."

Again Paul spoke of the dead in the third person, "The dead shall be raised," but he spoke of himself with all the living, saying, "And we shall be changed." Again you notice that this is the time of the rapture when Christ calls His saints out to meet Him in the air. He is not speaking of the day of the Lord, a little later when Christ returns with all the saints to destroy the Antichrist and reign on the earth.

In James, the fifth chapter, are several references to the coming of Jesus as if He might come at any moment. To Jewish Christians scattered abroad, the inspired writer says, "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord" (verse 7). In verse 8 he says, "The coming of the Lord draweth nigh. In verse 9 he says, "Behold, the judge standeth before the door." These statements would only be true for that generation (or for any other generation, for that matter), if Jesus might be expected at any moment. It is the clear testimony of all the New Testament that we should expect Him at that hour or any time since the time of the apostles.

The 
immanency of the coming of the Saviour, and of course of the things that follow, are clearly taught by the Apostle Peter. In I Peter 4:7, we are told, "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer." We are reminded of the exhortation of Jesus to "watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." The coming of the Saviour was at hand in the sense that He might come at any moment; and in the same sense His coming is still at hand.

The book of Second Peter was written primarily with this in mind to stir up the people, reminding them of the promises of the apostles and prophets concerning the coming of the Saviour. Here is what that book says: 
"This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after 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 the creation" - II Pet. 3:1-4.
And then follows in verse 9 the inspired explanation of why the coming of Christ has been postponed.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

The coming of the Lord is at hand: it is only God's mercy that delays His coming so that others may be saved!

One should notice, too, that it is scoffers and unbelievers who will not believe that the Saviour is likely to come soon. These scoffers and unbelievers walk after their own lusts (verse 3) and do not believe in direct creation and other miracles of God (verse 5). Dear reader, do not put yourself among these scoffers! Believe the Word of God that Jesus is coming. We believe He is coming very soon; we know that He may come at any moment.

VI. The Closing Testimony of the Bible

Today I have been greatly impressed with the powerful exhortation given us in the last chapter of the Bible concerning the coming of the Saviour. Here God's revelation to man is finished; the canon of Scripture is closed. And in the last chapter of Revelation at least five times we are warned that the Saviour is likely to come at any moment. Verse 6 says, "These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things WHICH MUST SHORTLY BE DONE."

Any honest interpretation of that verse must agree that it means the events pictured in Revelation must shortly be fulfilled, that is, every reader should look forward and expect Him soon. And remember that the next thing on God's calendar is the coming of the Saviour to take away His saints.

And then in verse 7 the Saviour said, "BEHOLD, I COME QUICKLY: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book."

Jesus is coming quickly. Is not that meant for a warning that you must be ready? Does not that mean that Jesus is likely to come at any moment? Unless this Bible is a fraud we must understand it so. The time is not named, but we are warned to be on our guard, to watch and be ready.

Again, in verse 10 the Lord said, "Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for THE TIME IS AT HAND."

The time is at hand!"
That is what Peter said (I Pet. 4:7). The coming of the Saviour is at hand.

Then in verse 12 we are warned again, "AND, BEHOLD, I COME QUICKLY; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be."

And then the last verse in the Bible besides the closing benediction is verse 20 which says, "He which testifieth these things saith, SURELY I COME QUICKLY. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus."

Conclusion: Are You Ready?

Quickly! Quickly! QUICKLY! Jesus is coming quickly! He may come at any moment; it seems certain that He will come soon. Brother, are you ready?

I beg every Christian to lay aside the cares and covetousness and pleasure of this world that would prevent you from being happy if Jesus should come today. Here we must return to the words of the Saviour in Luke 21:34-36.
"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. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to sand before the Son of man."
Notice these commands, "Take heed to yourselves." "Your heart will be overcharged with the eating and drinking, and the cares of this life, and so that day will come upon you unawares," the Saviour said, "if you do not beware." "Watch ye therefore, and pray always" is the next command of Jesus. Christians are to take heed about their lives. They are to watch hopefully, expectantly for the Saviour's coming, and they are to pray often for His coming. Jesus gave it in the model prayer, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." That prayer asks for the return of Jesus and for His kingdom and all the related events. And John, the beloved disciple, as allowed to use the impassioned and Spirit-directed prayer of his heart when he cried out, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:20). So, Christians, take heed, watch and pray. Do not lose your testimony. Do not be too busy about making money. Do not get too absorbed in pleasure. Do not eat too much or drink too much. God will destroy both the belly and the meats, Paul says. Rather, look for Jesus and live a pure life and win souls so you will not be ashamed before Him at His coming.

And, sinner, are you ready for Jesus to come? If not, only one thing will make you ready, and that is for you to trust Him today to forgive you, surrender your whole heart to Him, claim Him as your Saviour! Do it today! Make sure of it while you can, and then you, too, can join in the happy watching for the coming of the Saviour.

One night at the close of a service I went down a darkened aisle to prepare for a baptizing while the people waited. A woman seized my sleeve and stopped me. With quivering lips and broken voice she said, "Brother Rice, do you believe Jesus is coming soon?"

I answered back, "Yes, I believe that Jesus is coming soon: I ought to believe it much more than I do. There are many people who think so. Certainly the Bible teaches He may come at any moment."

"Oh! I am afraid He is! I am afraid He is!" she said. I was startled and asked her the reason why she, a Christian, should talk this way. I said, "Don't you know you are saved? Haven't you trusted Jesus for forgiveness?"

"Oh, yes," she said, "but my husband is not saved. I am afraid that Jesus will come and leave him behind. What will I do if Jesus comes and my husband isn't saved and I have to go away and leave him?" I earnestly urged her to put the salvation of her husband's soul before everything else.

Do you believe that Jesus is coming? Then the way to prove it is to win souls, separate yourself from the wickedness of this world and let your light shine while you can.

When I used to play college football, the referee would call to the captains of the opposing teams,

"Are you ready, Decatur?" "Are you ready, Denton?"

And then the whistle would blow. So with an earnest heart I call today to every reader,

"Are you ready, Christian?" "Are you ready, sinner?"

"Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh."

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