Future signs of the second coming of Jesus

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Until the close of the 1800s it was not very easy to find signs that related to the coming of Jesus.� Of course, the rapture has always been an imminent event, yet back then it was difficult for Bible teachers to make definitive statements regarding world events associated with the second coming of Jesus.�
To keep things clear on this subject it must be emphasized that the rapture is not the second coming. The rapture is when Jesus will come in the air to receive His church from this world.� The Second Coming is when He, along with the church, will return to this earth for His millennial reign seven years later.� We can say without question the world events we see happening all around us point to the rapture, but only as the rapture relates in time to the Second Coming.

There were relatively few Bible scholars and teachers back then who placed significance on the rapture of the church because the Christian world had been led to believe there would be no Second Coming, therefore the rapture was an event no Christian could know anything about.� It was considered to be a gloomy and frightful day that most hoped would occur long after they died — people, in their ignorance, were afraid of the rapture as many still are afraid of it today.� As a result it had no practical relevance to everyday life.� Those who refused to acknowledge the rapture also ridiculed the idea that Israel would ever be a nation again.� It was over, they said.� Israel was dead as a nation and God was finished with the Jew.� Beginning with the Zionist Movement of the late 1800s, however, things began to change.

In 1894 Theodore Herzl covered the Alfred Dreyfuss trial in Paris where Dreyfuss , a French Army artillery officer who was a Jew, was wrongly accused of treason due to his accuser’s anti-Semitism.� Mobs on the streets of Paris were shouting “Death to the Jews” during the trial and Herzl, himself a Jew, had his eyes opened to the reality of the Jewish situation in Europe.� He knew Europe would once again become hostile to the Jews living there, and indications were it would not be very long.� Thus, he began calling for a homeland for the Jews, and modern Zionism was born.

This immediately captured the attention of those few Bible scholars and teachers who had always believed and taught that one day the Jews would go back to their ancient homeland and found a modern state of Israel .� From then on those teachers became acutely aware of signs that indicated God was beginning to move once again in the affairs of His ancient people.

The chief sign of the 20th Century was, of course, the reestablishment of Israel in their homeland.� The fulfillment of that prophecy in itself vindicated those teachers and their insistence on the literal interpretation of prophecy.� They had been ridiculed by almost all of Christianity for the stand they took, but in 1948 a lot of crow was eaten by a lot of biblical allegorists.� Yet, most Bible teachers even today still insist it was all a freak of political nature, and that the reestablishment of Israel means nothing as far as prophecy goes.

Further, what often escapes the attention of most Christians is the fact that prophetic signs pointing to the 2nd Coming will also be found during the tribulation period, that seven-year period of hell-on-earth that will follow the rapture.� The church, certainly, will not see the fulfillment of those post-rapture signs from an earthly perspective because she will be in heaven with her Lord.� There will, however, be a great multitude of those left behind after the rapture that will see them and know exactly what they mean.� Taking a stand on what they know will cost them their heads (Revelation 7: 9ff; 20:4).

Perhaps the first and foremost of those tribulation signs will be when Anti-Christ makes some sort of treaty with Israel as seen in Daniel 9:27 .� The signing of this treaty will do two things.� First it will positively identify the Anti-Christ.� So much speculation is going around today about the identity of this “man of lawlessness…son of destruction” and it is all hogwash!� Nobody knows who he is today, though I believe he is alive and well somewhere — waiting in the shadows for events to propel him into worldwide attention.� Second, it will signal a count-down, for in three and one-half years he will break the treaty (Daniel 9:27 ) and turn on the Jews with a hatred that will consume his every thought and action.

We might wonder at the reason for securing this treaty with Israel to begin with.� We can speculate about the details, but one thing is for certain — whatever the intricacies of the negotiations, his motive will be complete and absolute hatred for Jesus and His brethren-by-birth, the Jews.� He will do nothing that will not enhance his satanic scheme, and that is to secure this present earth and everything/everyone on it for Satan, his god.� The world and even the Jews will not have a clue as to what this treaty will mean, but many will know and they will shudder in fear at the thought of what is coming!

Another sign will be when the Jews rebuild their Temple (Matthew 24:15 ).� Presently Israel , the Moslems and the apostate church are in direct opposition to such an idea.� Israel is not interested because she is a secular state whose leadership and citizenry generally have no interest in biblical matters.� Their only goal is to try to get along with everybody and to simply survive the present struggle with the Moslems.� The Moslems hate the Jews and the State of Israel and would not even consider sharing the Temple Mount with a Jewish Temple.� And the apostate church sees anything having to do with Israel , especially in a religious context, as a threat to her own imperialism and control of the world’s religious masses.� Yet, the rebuilding of the Temple is a tribulation period sign that will point to the 2nd Coming.

There are several groups in Israel today that are working toward the goal of rebuilding the Temple.� Various Temple vessels have already been constructed for future use in the building and garments have been made which the priests will wear during their service in the Temple.� Two cornerstones have already been hewn that will be the first stones laid when the process begins.� I believe this will happen during the tribulation period because I believe the go-ahead for construction will be associated in some way with the destruction of the Russian/Arab coalition of Ezekiel 38 ,39 and/or the treaty mentioned above.

Another tribulation sign is the desecration of that same Temple by the anti-Christ.� This will happen at the mid-point of the seven-year period.� At that time most significant threats to his grab for world-wide power will be out of the way, at least in his mind, and he will see no need whatsoever for continuing his charade with the Jews any longer.� To feign friendship with the Jews will be almost insufferable for him, and by that time he will relish revealing his true character to them.� He will demand their worship in their own Temple and this, in turn, will be intolerable for them.

It is at this point all stops are pulled out and anti-Christ will fully unleash every tool of terror and evil against the Jews.� No holes will be barred and no punches will be pulled.� Jewish blood will flow everywhere.� Persecuted tribulation saints will not miss this sign, either.������

Another sign will be an event the world is somewhat familiar with, at least by name.� It will be the gathering of the armies of the world in a valley in northern Israel in order to stage, consolidate, supply and organize anti-Christ’s forces for the push toward Jerusalem.� That valley is called Armageddon and is mentioned in Revelation 16:12-16 .� Most of the world, and even most of the religious world, associates this last great battle with the valley of Armageddon , but in reality the real thrust of the battle will occur in and around Jerusalem.

Those tribulation saints still alive at this time will see this great gathering and will rejoice for they will know the end is near.� They will understand that Jesus’ return will happen when the total decimation of the Jews is imminent.� That is, when Jerusalem is in the throes of collapse and the remnant of Jews is at the precipice of annihilation.

The culmination of these, and other signs that will occur during the tribulation, will be the return of Jesus, a subject addressed in greater detail in a previous newsletter.

But, the interesting thing about these tribulation signs is to be found in a comparison between how they might be viewed by persecuted tribulation saints then and how most at-ease Christians view the signs of our day.� Could it be that persecution, torture and death will cause them to be more sensitive to what God has predicted than we are?� If so, why?

It might be that the rapture and succeeding events will do for post-rapture saints what all other signs since the late 1800s have been unable to do for most of the pre-rapture saints, i.e., the church.� That is, awaken them from the slumber Peter addresses in 2 Peter 3:3 ,4 .� Sadly, you see, any number of Christians are disinterested in prophetic signs because they have� become comfortable with their place in this world and feel put-upon by all those prophecy teachers and all their warnings.� That, it seems, will not be a problem in the tribulation for those who know the truth and choose to act on it.

One last thing must be clarified.� The term “tribulation saints” has been mentioned several times.� Some might conclude they can simply neglect salvation presently, live as they wish and be saved during the tribulation.� Sort of a second chance deal. � Make no mistake about it: there is no such thing as a second chance.� As long as a person is alive he has opportunity, but death immediately ends all chances for ever.�

Only a fool would think about taking such a risk.� For one thing a person’s next moment of life is not guaranteed, not in this dispensation nor in the tribulation.� Secondly, if a person refuses to choose Christ now when it costs nothing (at least in this country) what makes him so sure he will choose Christ when the choice will cost him his head?� Further, his attitude might put him in that post-rapture group Paul spoke about in 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 ; the group that chooses to believe the lie no matter the evidence.

The study of signs is important to an understanding of prophecy, but there is something more important.� We are at the point in the history of the world that we should not be looking for signs so much as looking for the event toward which the signs point!� The rapture of the church should not be a surprise event to any Christian.�� DLM

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Those left behind

Posted in Articles (From the website)


The thrust of Crown & Sickle Ministries is the proclamation of the imminent return of Jesus for His church.� Many issues are addressed in these pages, at prophecy conferences and in those series of meetings held at churches, but make no mistake about it — the driving message is the imminent return of Jesus which is commonly called the rapture.� As you might imagine this dominant theme creates a strong basis for evangelism and rededication.� But, at the same time it causes people to think about those who might not be ready when it happens.�

At times the most heart-felt questions from audiences are not voiced in the occasional Q&A sessions some churches like to have following the presentations, but at the door as people leave.� From time to time people will draw close and almost whisper their questions in an attempt to hide their concerns from those around them.� And among those questions the most distressing have to do with their unsaved family members.� Quite simply they want to know who will be left behind so they can see if those they love the most will “make it or not”.

I cannot answer that specifically, for I do not know such things.� However, I do know what God has said about some of those who will be left behind.� This we shall consider briefly.

Heaven or hell will not be gained by accident

The first thing people must understand is that no one will be saved or lost by accident.� No person will find himself being caught-up in the rapture and wonder how he got there.� Likewise, none will pass from this life through death and wonder how he got to Hades (there is currently no one in hell — Revelation 20:10-15 ) or heaven.� The only exceptions to this are those innocent due to childhood or mental incapacity; there should never be any undue concern regarding the eternal destiny of the blameless (Deuteronomy 1:39 ; Mark 10:14 ).

I believe the best situation is Christian homes where children are taught the truth from birth via words and example.� At the same time, though, if this kind of spiritual environment is haphazard, or if it commands a lower priority than academics, sports, secular achievement, etc., a very serious danger might present itself, and that is the danger of “family” faith.��� That is, a child might be taught the truth, but in such a casual way that it is never connected with individual sin and accountability.� In short it never becomes his or her own truth.� They “become Christians” at a certain age because it is traditionally expected of them.� They might take the attitude that it is, “now time to walk the aisle, make a profession of faith, be immersed…”� In those circumstances the Holy Spirit has little to do with conviction.� In reality it becomes religious protocol instead of a contrite sinner humbling himself before a just, holy and gracious God.

Those who expect to be wafted up to eternal bliss at the rapture or at death in some sort of heavenly up-draft because they were “raised in a religious family” might be surprised.� Jesus had some very strong words about the impotence of such man-made religion.� Though many preachers and congregants alike tend to ignore them, yet their import will resound throughout hell’s eternity: “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven…” (Matthew 7:21 ).� For those people salvation is wrapped up in family or the upscale, entertainment-inclined church they attend, or who they are around town or what great religious things they do for all to see.

The good ole boy syndrome

When I was a teenager I knew of a preacher who was almost attacked after a funeral by family members of the deceased because he did not preach their loved one into heaven.�� He did not say bad things about him; he just did not punch his ticket to heaven.� And the reason was the deceased was a spiritual reprobate.� But, says the family, he provided for his wife and kids, did not get drunk, worked steadily, helped at the volunteer fire department, would give someone the shirt off his back, etc.� The preacher clearly understood the man might have done all that, but there was one thing he had not done, and that was to make Jesus both Lord and Master of his life.

I have preached funerals of people I had never seen, either alive or even while in the casket.� You see, usually when a family has no real biblical convictions just any old preacher will do for a funeral— as long as everyone is assured the dead man is saved.� Funny how eternity receives no thought until funeral arrangements have to be made.� When survivors are asked about the dead man’s life it is a sure bet they will tell about what a good man he was with detailed examples of his kindness and love for his family.� But, it won’t work, for if heaven was for good ole boys then Jesus was beaten to a bloody pulp, nailed to a Roman cross and forsaken by His Father for nothing.

God says every human is rotten to their core, their hearts are evil, their Adamic natures are in control, their righteousness is like dirty rags before His face, they have no redeeming spiritual value, they are treacherous, vain and obsessed with self.� In short, there is none righteous (Romans 3:10 ).� However, such divine condemnation does not stroke the human ego and salve the human conscience.� We inherently do not like to be told these things.� That is why emergent, self-esteem preachers like those in Garden Grove, CA and Houston, TX never talk about sin and human depravity.� They prefer to singularly emphasize God’s goodness as though that is the sole facet of His character.

In modern religion the test is no longer biblical, but psychological and philosophical, thus most everyone is qualified to “make it to heaven” because, after all, “He was a good ole boy…”� Interesting that God gives no such accolade to any man, much less does He accept it as a ticket for the rapture.

The neglectful

For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard… (Hebrews 2:2,3 NASB, emphasis mine).

You have just read one of the most thought-arresting passages in the New Testament.� The author is writing as a Christian to Christians, and uses the personal, plural pronoun “we” with the context having to do with Christians drifting away from the truth due to a careless attitude (Greek: ameleo).� If words and context have any meaning at all this should get our attention.� This verse forms the nexus of the warnings soundly issued to his Christian readers in chapters 3,4,6, etc.

Nobody knows for sure who wrote Hebrews, but one thing is certain:� he rightly divides the word of God so there is no misunderstanding of what the Holy Spirit was saying through his pen.� He does not speak of those who reject their great salvation, but those who neglect it.� How does a Christian neglect his salvation?� I would like to have seen the author go into greater detail with a neat list of things he had in mind, but he did not.� The Holy Spirit chose to leave it as it was knowing we should have the maturity to figure out the simple things and make the applications.� It is sufficient to say, however, the warnings cited above are adequate for removing any excuse for negligence anybody might offer.

Does this take away from the security of the believer?� Perish the thought (John 10:28,29 ; 1 John 5:13 )!� The Holy Spirit does not have in mind here those who might lose their salvation as one might accidently lose his wallet.� Nor does He have in mind those who might be forcibly removed from God’s hand against their will.� Neither is possible.� However, He clearly and strongly warns about Christians being careless with their salvation to the point where they “fall away from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12 ) as a result of their own choices.� Though we tend to recoil at such a thought and offer humanly-inspired arguments otherwise, the fact is it is as� simple as that.� There is no unusual Greek nuance in the translation of ameleo into neglect that could lead to any other conclusion; it means exactly what it says in English.

The a-religious (they accept no religion)

Yes, the wicked among us will certainly be left behind.� Everybody is quick to say the Hitlers, Stalins, Edi Amins, Arafats, Ahmadinejads and other such notables will not make it.� If any in that crowd is religious at all it is a perverted style of Christianity (Hitler), or paganism in such forms as Islam (Arafat and Ahmadinejad).� Some are fully hateful of any form of religion no matter the variety (Stalin).� These are the ones easily identified and condemned by those who like to measure their own religious standing by such comparisons.� Alongside Robert Mugabe or Kim Jong-il just about any junk-yard dog can look like an angel.� But, these men could not care less about being left behind.� They do not accept biblical precepts and are totally oblivious to spiritual matters.

These people are not to be confused with others who call themselves atheists who simply disavow the existence of God.� Rather, they reject God and His word out of hand and are unconcerned about Him even if He might exist.� And here is where things can get sticky.

Recently a friend asked me about the best way to approach someone they know who is in that group.� That person is intellectually brilliant, leans heavily upon their doctoral degrees, and feels no need for God and the Bible.� This person believes God and His truth are spiritual drugs the common people must have to anesthetize them when facing the realities of life.� Though law-abiding and moral this person sees religion as Marx saw it; that is, as the opium of the people.� Marx said religion was for oppressed people who live life through illusions.� The fact of the matter is until that person, and multitudes like them, chooses to allow the Holy Spirit’s conviction to soften their hearts they will never be reached.� You see, it is all about the heart, not the intellect.�

At the taking out of the church the God-rejecting intellectually elite will be left behind with only their self-declared intellectual brilliance to answer their intellectually-inspired questions.� And, just as they have always allowed their own intellectual faculties to explain away their need of a Savior, so shall they invite those same intellectual faculties to lie to their mortal consciences about this great and humanly unexplainable Divinely-inspired disappearance.

Who shall be left behind?� Every one who believes they have a better way of living, dying and preparing for the eternal existence of their souls than the plan God has given us.� What shall be their condition?� A hell on earth with pain, suffering, depression and a sense of futility that cannot be imagined by any human being.� Being left behind will be a mind-shaking experience for everyone on earth.� However, for those who have loved-ones taken up in the rapture, who have at least some understanding of the truth and who will know what has happened the event will be a horror too great to imagine.� Their grief will be unprecedented.

These are not pleasant things to think about, yet they must be addressed because they are on the immediate horizon.� Jeremiah wept for his people who rejected the truth, and Amos thundered against those who did the same.� Sometimes I think Christians respond only with weeping.� Maybe it is time to ratchet things up to the thunder level.�� DLM