The Unveiling – Lesson Two
SEASON SIGNS of The End Times
Matthew 24:32 (KJV) Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
Jesus walked the earth 2,000 years ago. He discussed the last days of this earth with His disciples. He talked about the end time.
The disciples asked Jesus when he would return and what the signs would be? Jesus answered very specifically, using the parable of the fig tree.
We are closer than we have ever been to the rapture of the bride, the church. This is a statement with which one can easily agree based simply on time that has passed. But today, the same statement can be agreed upon because of fulfilled prophecy.
Scripture says that no man knows the hour nor the day of Christ’s return to this earth, but it also says we can know the season.
Matthew 24:3 (KJV) 3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
The Disciples Question
The disciples asked Jesus a series of questions concerning His return. Some included the following: What will be the signs of your return? What will the end look like? How will a person know?
The parable of the fig tree.
Matthew 24:4-14 (KJV) 4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 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 first leaf: Jesus begins with the warning,” Don’t let men deceive you.” Jesus said, “There will be many that come in my name saying that they are the Christ.” They shall deceive many people.
Matthew 24:34 (KJV) 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
This generation shall not pass. It should be noted, nobody knows the day or hour of Christ’s return.
Matthew 25:13 (KJV) 13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
PROPHETIC IMPORTANCE OF ISRAEL
Why is Israel important to biblical prophecy?
From a secular standpoint it would probably be a mystery why Israel is always in the news. It is a tiny nation about the size of the state of New Jersey.
Israel is important because God made promises to Israel that will be fulfilled.
The Prophetic Clock
On a long forgotten shelf, alone… stood a clock.The clock was not forgotten because of lack of greatness….for the clock was a marvelously crafted clock….but for many, many years the clock lay silent. Years before, it ran and chimed, ticked and tocked, but for many, many years it lay dormant…. Frozen in time the clock sat quietly until it happened….. On May 14, 1948 God’s prophetic clock started ticking again….LOUDLY. Author Unknown
Israel, our prophetic clock, ticks away as time passes. Events take place that shape the face of prophecy fulfillment.
The Jews who were once scattered to the four corners of the earth have returned to their homeland and fulfilled Ezekiel 36 and 37, which prophecies about the return of Israel to her own land. This is the generation that the Bible speaks about that shall not pass. The rebirth of the Jewish nation in 1948 should have put aside any doubts that God has not abandoned Israel.
Ezekiel 37:12-13 (KJV) 12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.
Isaiah 43:5-6 (KJV) 5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;
Isaiah 11:11-12 (KJV) 11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
The many scriptures that indicate Israel will be the main setting for key tribulation events makes Israel a vital part of end time prophecy.
Zechariah 12:3 (KJV) 3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
Romans 11:25 (KJV) 25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
The “fullness of the Gentiles” will come abruptly to its close when the church is caught up to heaven. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words explains that the fullness of the Gentiles as the completion of the number of Gentiles who receive blessing through the Gospel.
The “times of the Gentiles,” a phrase that refers to the Gentiles dominating Jerusalem, will continue until the end of the tribulation.
Luke 21:24 (KJV) 24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
Scripture indicates in Luke 21:24 that Jerusalem will continue in Gentile dominion, “until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Zechariah 12:2; 14:2-3 indicate that this will not be until the second advent (the Second Coming of Christ), when the armies of the Beast are destroyed by the Lord, as He is seen to do in Revelation 19:17-19. The phrase times of the Gentiles means “being under Gentile power, authority, influence, and control.” From 70 A.D. until today, Jerusalem has continued under Gentile control. Many thought the times of the Gentiles were over when Jerusalem was captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War. However, Israel’s secular government returned control of the Temple Mount to the Muslims. Revelation 11:1-2 explains that the times of the Gentiles will come to an end when Jesus returns back to earth, destroys the Antichrist, and establishes His kingdom on this earth. The times of the Gentiles will then be complete!
Biblical prophecy revolves around Israel, not around other world powers. Ezekiel 37, Isaiah 11, 43, Zechariah 12 leaves little doubt to the re-gathering of Israel.
Romans 11 explains with other scriptures discussed in later lessons (Lesson III) the catching away of the bride of Christ.
Luke 21 reiterates the domination of the Jews by Gentiles until Christ’s second return to earth at the end of the tribulation to establish His reign on this earth!
Matthew 24:34 indicates that the generation that sees these things will see the rapture:
It begins with Ezekiel 36:24-27 (Israel becoming a nation) and continues with the events in the verses from the “parable of the fig tree” (Matthew 24:4-14). Scripture is emphatic that the generation that witnesses all of these things will see the coming of the Son of man within that generation.
This will be the generation that will experience the rapture (harpazo) of the church from this earth.
Matthew 24:32-33 (KJV) 32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
Years ago many wondered at the meaning of these verses. No longer is it a mystery. Events have played out on the world scene that allows full understanding of prophecy, the understanding of these scriptures.
There’s a different problem today. Many sleep, slumber, and simply don’t believe. Jesus said in Revelations 3 that there would be a time in which individuals would be indifferent–not cold, not hot–lukewarm. Those in this condition He would spew out of His mouth.
How fitting was the characteristics of the Revelation 3 Laodicean church age to represent the church of this age!
They worshipped the one pagan god, Zeus, who was the chief and father of gods. This forecasts the twenty-first century religious premise of “one god, father-of-us-all” that sets forth the Global One World initiative that seeks to bring together the Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc., under one religion with the intent that a mutual form of worship will increase our love, understanding, and care for one another.
The heads of mainstream religious organizations strive even now and are gaining ground in their mutual acceptance of this ideology with the avowed intent that others will follow, encompassing special interest groups in its wake such as homosexuality and abortion. The blind lead the blind!
This very attitude has been seen in the United Nations Organization when the world leaders refused to recognize any one individual concept or spiritual worship but recommended putting aside all those separate concepts with the hope that all religions become leveled to one, for all desire the same goals, all have the same purposes, and all are basically right. Thus, the march to a one-world religion, and finally, the worship of one man, the antichrist, is well underway!
The name Laodicea means “the people’s rights, or justice of the peoples.” Was there ever an age like this age where people in all nations are visibly rising up and demanding equality, socially and financially? This is the age of the Communists, in which all men are supposedly equal, though it is only so in theory. This is the age of political parties who call themselves Christian Democrats, Christian Socialists, Christian Commonwealth Federation, etc. According to our liberal theologians, Jesus was a socialist and the early church under the guidance of the Spirit practiced socialism, and so should we today!
When the ancients called Laodicea the metropolis, it was looking forward to the one-world government that we now see rising. As we think of that city being the location of a great church council, we see foreshadowed the global move taking place today, wherein very soon we will see all the ‘so called’ Christians come together. Indeed, the church and state, religion and politics are coming together. The tares are being bound, the wheat will soon be ready to garner!
The church of Laodicea coupled with false teaching confused the church issue, starting centuries ago by fogging scripture, hiding factual meaning of scripture, twisting God’s Word to conform to ideals that fit agendas of mankind instead of God’s!
Jesus said, “When you see the fig tree bud, when you see the leaves mature, know that summer is near and even at the door!”
A prophecy within itself unfolds before our very eyes, as we have watched the tree put on all of its end time leaves and at the same time a great falling away from truth occurs!
Matthew 24:4-5 (KJV) 4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
This first leaf is a very important leaf, one that has been inadequately emphasized. Too many times prophecy teachers, preachers, and laymen breeze by it far too quickly. After all, everybody knows what a false prophet is, right?
The millions know about the tragedy of those that died with the occult leader Jim Jones. All over America, and even abroad, the “Whacko from Waco” is still talked about. More recently, we have had the Solar Temple Cult, Heaven’s Gate Cult, and the India Guru’s, to name a few, that proclaim to the public that they must listen and follow them.
On a whole different level, and taking it to higher extremes, are the self-proclaimed Messiahs and Gurus claiming to be God.
Does the Bible talk about these people and their motives?
God warned that there would be false prophets and false self-proclaiming Christs deceiving the masses in the world. Much scripture is given to guard against deception of these false prophets. Deuteronomy 13:1-4; Revelation 13:13; I John 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:9.
Deuteronomy warns that these false prophets and teachers have come to “lead you away from the Eternal God,” to ultimately serve a pagan god. A pagan god does not have to be a statue of stone, marble, or wood. It can simply be man’s concept or wrong interpretation.
Jesus warned His church, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
Matthew 7:15 (KJV) 15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Jesus said you would know them by their fruits. Jesus asked a question, do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Matthew 7:16-20 (KJV) 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
What are the “fruits” according to the Bible? The “fruits of righteousness.”
What are “the fruits of righteousness?”
According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words. they are “the character or quality of being right or just”; it was formerly spelled “rightwiseness,” which clearly expresses the meaning. It is used to denote an attribute of God, e.g., Rom. 3:5, the context of which shows that “the righteousness of God” means essentially the same as His faithfulness, or truthfulness, that which is consistent with His own nature and promises; whatever has been appointed by God to be acknowledged and obeyed by man and the Scriptures as containing the gospel, wherein is declared the righteousness of God in all its aspects.
This means the scriptures must be followed in all truthfulness, consistent with His nature and promises which have been appointed and or given by God!
2 Corinthians 9:10 (KJV) 10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)
Philippians 1:9-11 (KJV) 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; 11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
The NIV reads:
Philippians 1:9-11 (NIV) 9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,
10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.
The original definition of “righteousness” is equity of character, act, or specifically Christian justification.
This passage is speaking of a deeper knowledge and insight, so we can discern our best path to be pure and blameless, filled with the fruit of righteousness justified through Jesus Christ.
“Righteousness is not said to be imputed to the believer save in the sense that faith is imputed (“reckoned’ is the better word) for righteousness. It is clear that in Rom. 4:6, 11, ‘righteousness reckoned’ must be understood in the light of the context, ‘faith reckoned for righteousness,’ Rom. 4:3, 5, 9, 22. ‘For’ in these places is eis, which does not mean ‘instead of,’ but ‘with a view to.’ The faith thus exercised brings the soul into vital union with God in Christ, and inevitably produces righteousness of life, that is, conformity to the will of God.” – Vine’s Expository
Psalm 119:172 (KJV) 172 My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.
The mark of a true prophet, a true teacher, preacher, or minister is one who preaches/teaches and keeps the commandments of God. His fruits are living observances of God’s laws, precepts, commandments, teachings, and instructions.
Many today teach and preach a watered down message to serve many different purposes. The purpose and reasoning is of every sort imaginable. An observation and opinion is that many well-meaning individuals follow a course, trusting its path to others, not digging out their own study, breaking down the Word of God, seeking out their own salvation as scripture instructs. (Philippians 2:12)
This is why Hosea says, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.”
Hosea 4:6 (KJV) 6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
So many people, even leaders, do not take the time to apply the instruction of Philippians 2:12 of searching out their own salvation. Thus, by not involving themselves in study, they walk the road of destruction without knowledge because it has not been studied out.
An example would be an individual who simply follows the traditions he grew up in, or philosophies of individuals he put a lot of faith in, for years or maybe his entire life. As long as those individuals and those philosophies are right, then there is no problem. But the risk of taking someone else’s word for something without conducting one’s own study is the potential loss of one’s own soul.
The Bible gives us a good example of this scenario in the story of Cornelius. He was a good man; “a man that prayed always” is how the scripture describes him. God sent an angel to Cornelius to tell him to ask for Simon Peter, and scripture says, “He shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.” It was after this encounter that we see God’s completed plan in Cornelius’s life.
We must never stop looking for greater depth in Jesus Christ, more knowledge, and understanding. I don’t judge those that have gone before me as to whether or not they are saved for the Bible explicitly says “Do not judge.” That’s God’s business, but I must strive to make sure my election is sure according to 2 Peter 1:10.
Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (Ref. Lesson 1)
Philippians 2:12 (KJV) 12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Mainstream religions often go against Christ’s teachings as they bend their message to fit agendas and their organization’s protocol, preaching away God’s commandments.
Jesus taught, “I have not come to destroy the law or the prophets; I have not come to destroy but to fulfill.”
Matthew 5:17 (KJV) 17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
He said, “I kept my father’s commandments.”
John 15:10 (KJV) 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
False Christianity will deceive the majority of people. Many individuals are oblivious that they are listening to a false message. Jesus said not everyone will enter that calls me Lord. Jesus said there would be individuals who will ask, “…have we not prophesied in your name, cast out devils in your name, and in your name we did many wonderful works?” This verse of scripture goes on to explain that He will say, “I never knew you, you workers of iniquity, depart from me!”
Matthew 7:21-23 (KJV) 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
The definition of the word iniquity from the original verse 23 means “illegality” or “lawlessness,” meaning “no law.” God’s law has been done away with. What these messengers preach and teach is illegal. They are not following the commandments, the instructions, or the laws of God.
God did it all for a reason! The death, burial, and resurrection were for a reason! He chose His specific birth and bloodline for a reason. He chose His specific twelve disciples for a reason. He chose the specific early church apostles and prophets for a reason. He chose a specific lifestyle plan for His church for a reason. He chose His specific plan of salvation for a reason. God’s plans choices were not random, but they were specific to the minutest detail. When followed correctly, they lead us to become more like Him and to eternal life with Him.
Many are called but few chosen!
Matthew 22:14 (KJV) 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
This literally means as Matthew 18:14 points out, it is not the will of the Father that any perish, but all have eternal life, but many do not adhere to His instructions, thus they are not chosen!
Regardless of how highly we esteem a person or organization, it should not be in them that we put our trust. It is in God and instructions from His Word that we should place our faith and trust. Do not misunderstand. The Word of God instructs in Hebrews 10:24-25 that we should come together corporately, which means that we should attend church. In fact, scripture says more as we see the day of the Lord, the end of this age approaching, which means that we should gather together corporately even more frequently as we see the signs of his return. However, I must be certain of that which I believe, lines up with the Bible, and I must be certain of that what I am being taught lines up with the Bible. We can rest assured and be confident that the Bible gives us the answers! Studying the Word of God is vital to our salvation.
Now, it’s time for the million dollar question! How do we know if the teachings, beliefs, and platform of understanding follow the advice of the first leaf, “take heed that no man deceive you?”
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV) 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
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