Do Business Until I Come Back

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #18 ~

Image result for Iowa farmer

I want to look at a parable that has greatly impacted my life, that has made me very excited about serving the Lord in these days. Luke 19:11 – “Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that God’s kingdom was going to appear immediately.” This story was about a nobleman going away to receive a kingdom, and in the meantime his ten slaves were to invest his money, to put his money to work. He instructed them, “Do business until I come back.” Luke 19:13. The main lesson of this parable is that, during this church age, you are to use the talents, time and money God has given you for His purposes and glory.

God has given you unique gifts and abilities, and a certain amount of money to use, and a certain amount of time to live. And as a Christian, these things aren’t yours – you don’t own anything, for everything you have is what God has temporarily given you. He is the owner, He is the Master, and you are just a manager, a steward, a slave. And you are not to work for yourself but for God, using the gifts, abilities, money and time He has given you.

You have to realize that God Himself has made you a certain way, and has given you all you need to do all the work He wants you to. This should excite you, and motivate you to work for God, to “do business” right up until Christ comes back, right up to the rapture. As a Christian, you are extremely privileged to be God’s servant, and so work for Him and do His work. Be faithful. Be diligent. Be pragmatic. Work joyfully. Work hard. Work smart. “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

This God-planned work can relate to serving in the church, and so use your spiritual gifts. It can relate to working at a job, and so use your talents. Yes, you may be a nurse, a teacher, an engineer, a factory worker, a farmer, a cook, a graphic artist, a wife and mother, a pastor, etc., but remember, all your work is spiritual, and it has both earthly and eternal value. “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord, rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.” Colossians 3:23-24.

Now you may retire from working at a job, but you are to never retire from working for God. No matter your age, keep investing your life in God’s work until Christ comes back, or until you die. Don’t be short sighted, but see your life in light of the ages to come – and remember that God wants to eternally bless you for your earthly work. Look forward to what Jesus wants to say to you, “Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.” Luke 19:17

Then there is the sad part in this parable about the wicked, worthless and fearful slave, who wasn’t working for his master, and who was wasting his money. Luke 19:20-26. The master was right to take what he had given him and give it to someone else who would use it in a productive way. The lesson for us is simple – might we not be lazy, selfish or worldly, but might we wake up and get to work.

Let us also remember the overall work of the church. Matthew 24:14 – “This gospel is to be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 28:19-20 – “Go and make disciples of all the nations…” Yes, we have different jobs we’re doing for the Lord, but they need to be seen in the context of preaching the gospel and making disciples. It’s important then to be in a church that’s focused on preaching the gospel and teaching the Word.

This parable is for all believers during this church age, but it has particular relevance for us at this time. About 2000 years ago, “they supposed that God’s kingdom was going to appear immediately.” But now we live in the end times, and so we know that Christ is coming back soon, and then His kingdom will appear. We should be thrilled to think that in all of history, now is our time, now is our opportunity to serve the Lord. Let it be said again, “Do business until I come back.”

P.S. Here are two links to information related to this post which I believe may encourage you: Luke 19 sermon – Being a Good Steward; and a new article: The Time of My Life.

The Suspension of God’s Plan for the Jews, and the Church Age

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #17 ~

The book of Acts is God’s history of the early church. But it is in Acts 1, 2, 3, where God tells us some things He wants us to know about the future of the Jews and the future of the church. God tells us that Christ ascended into heaven and that He’d come back, but in between there’d be this interval, the “last days”, the church age. God tells us that it’s during these last days that the gospel is to be preached, and then this age will come to an end. God also tells us that there will be the restoration of the kingdom to Israel, but more than that, the restoration of all things. Let me explain further:

Acts 1:4-11. Jesus was teaching the apostles about the kingdom of God, and this was both the spiritual kingdom of God where He’d rule in the hearts of Christians, and the physical kingdom of God where He’d rule over the world. These Jewish apostles then asked Jesus the question that was uppermost in their minds. “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” Jesus answered them, but He didn’t say that the kingdom wouldn’t be restored to Israel, but that they didn’t need to know when it would be restored – He just wanted them to focus on their new job, proclaiming the gospel to all the nations.

Not long after this, the apostles watched Jesus ascend into heaven. They had to have been confused seeing Him leave – they had to have been wondering what was going to happen. But the angel assures them, “This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” To hear that Jesus was coming back had to have been very encouraging, for they knew it meant that He would then be “restoring the kingdom to Israel.”

Acts 2:17-21. With passion and clarity Peter is preaching to the Jews. He calls the church age “the last days”, a phrase referring to the last part of this present evil age, an age that started a long time ago with the sin of Adam and Eve. But it was about 2000 years ago that the church age started with the outpouring of the Spirit, and an age that will end with the sudden appearance of signs on the earth and wonders in the heavens. The Jews knew from the prophets that these signs and wonders would occur before the Day of the Lord, God’s devastating judgment of the earth (Isaiah 13:6-11, Joel 2:30-31). But it’s during this church age that the gospel is to be preached, and that people need to call on the Lord to be saved from their sins – before it’s too late, before the Day of the Lord.

Acts 3:17-21. A primary purpose during the church age is stated again, that sinners are to “repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” But what happens after the last days, after this church age is over? It will not just be “restoring the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6), but the “the restoration of all things.” This restoration will be under the direction of Christ Himself, and will take place after the celestial signs and after the Day of the Lord. “The Lord will be King over all the earth.” Zechariah 14:9

Acts 1, 2, 3 makes it clear that God never diminished or negated His promises to the Jews, that the church never replaced the Jews. But what did happen back in the first century is that God suspended His plans for the Jews. One reason He did this was so His plans for the church would be fulfilled during the last days. “A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, and so all Israel will be saved.” Romans 11:25-26

In summary, Acts 1, 2, 3 tells us that the church age starts with the pouring out of the Spirit, and ends with the appearance of the signs and the wonders. Then Christ will come back and rapture the believers, and then the Day of the Lord will begin. After this just and punishing time is over, then Christ will rule over the earth for 1000 years, and there will be the restoration of all things, and the fulfillment of God’s promises to the Jews. As Christians, we will reign with Christ during His millennial kingdom.

Whereas the book of Acts talked about the beginning of the church age, now we live at the end of the church age, and we know that Christ’s return is very soon. The apostles had their time to serve the Lord and now it is our time to serve the Lord. With love and zeal for God, might we fight the good fight and finish the course He has given us. And maybe you and I will see Christ “come in just the same way” as the apostles saw Him taken into heaven, and then, “We who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we always be with Him.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Amen!

P.S. Please consider listening to the sermon series I just started on God’s Love here and here (and continuing on for the next several Sundays.)

Does Anybody Know What Time It Is?

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #16 ~

About two months ago I received a call from another Christian. He had been reading my posts and was wondering why I was writing things in an urgent way, making it sound like Jesus Christ was returning right away. Let me share a few things that I believe will help you understand why and how I think about end times’ prophecy and the timing of Christ’s second coming.

1. Christ’s return is an urgent matter. Two hundred years ago I wouldn’t have written articles like I’m doing now, but the fact that the Jews have been gathering back to their land for the past 130 years is a wake up call from God, a clear sign that we live in the end times. God is gearing things up, actively carrying out His final plans for this present world, and soon enough, Christ will return to rapture the church. Now is when we need to know what God’s Word says about Christ’s coming, and how then we should live. Luke 12:56, 1 Chronicles 12:32

2. Christ’s coming is very soon. In Revelation 22:20 Christ Himself said, “Behold, I’m coming soon.” If His coming was soon back in 95AD (the approximate date Revelation was written), then now it’s very soon. In Romans 13:11, Paul says, “Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now, salvation is nearer to us than we believed.” If Christ’s return was near in the 1st century, then how much nearer is it today? Hebrews 10:37 says, “In a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay.” Acts 2:17 describes the church age as the last days and that was about 2000 years ago, and so now we are living in the very last part of the last days.

3. When I say Christ’s coming is very soon, I don’t mean it could be tomorrow or next week, or even in the next year or two. And I don’t mean His coming is imminent, that no prophesied events need to precede it, for it’s not imminent, for many prophesied events need to take place before the rapture. When I say Christ’s coming is very soon, I mean it is very soon when you think about all of human history, from Adam and Eve to the present day. As Christians we need to step back and get perspective – we need to see the big picture. I like sports and I think of it this way: it’s the bottom of the ninth inning, and the baseball game will soon be over; or the two minute warning has sounded, and the football game is nearly finished.

4.  When people ask me where we’re at with regard to Christ’s return, I tell them it’s “the beginning of birth pangs” stage (Matthew 24:8). These birth pangs (false christs, earthquakes, wars, famines) have already been occurring. For example, many false religions have started since the early 1900’s. There have been wars and rumors of wars for the past 100 years, and most recently there’s been the North Korean situation. Then a few weeks ago I read, “20 million people are now threatened by famine – more than at any time since World War II.” (Tampa Bay Times – 4/14/17). And in the near future you’ll hear about some major earthquake. All these birth pangs will continue to take place as we approach Christ’s return, but with increasing intensity and frequency. Where are we at? We’re at the beginning stage of the end times, but let me add, well into the beginning stage.

5. Yes, Christ’s coming is very soon, but it’s going to be years before He comes, and whether that is five years, fifty years, or more, I don’t know. You see, many things still need to happen before Christ returns. The birth pangs will increase in frequency and intensity (Matthew 24:4-8). The world will get more lawless and wicked (Matthew 24:12). Evangelism needs to continue around the world (Matthew 24:14). Persecution of Christians will get worse (Luke 21:16-19). The desire for globalism will increase before the Antichrist is revealed (Revelation 13). Nations need to be realigned and reformed; and yes, the USA needs to decline in power (Daniel 7:19-24). The peace treaty involving Israel and the Antichrist will be signed (Daniel 9:27). And there is more. I am trying to make it clear to you that Christ’s coming is very soon, but in the whole big scheme of things, we still have a little ways to go, a number of years. But we don’t know the day or the hour of Christ’s return.

As Christians we should be extremely excited to be alive at this time in history. How amazing that God has chosen these end time days to be our days to be living for Him. But many Christians are asleep, and need to be woken up. And somebody needs to wake them up and let them know that events now taking place in the world are confirming God’s prophetic Word. That “somebody” may be you. “I have appointed you a watchman.” Ezekiel 3:17

P.S.   I have written a new article for encouragement  ~  Thinking of Jesus Christ!

The Day of the LORD: The Wrath of God on Earth

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #15 ~

In Love with the Wrath of God

The great majority of people in this world have no clue, no concept of the devastating destruction that will soon be affecting this entire earth, what God calls the “Day of the Lord.” They are ignorant of God’s fiery wrath that will be directed towards all the sinners on earth at that time. But God’s wrath is nothing new, for God has been judging guilty sinners ever since Adam and Eve. He has given us many examples in the Bible to warn us that He does not excuse, tolerate or put up with sin. He punishes those who reject Him, hate Him or ignore Him, whether it’s individuals, families, cities, countries or the whole world. “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness.” Romans 1:18. “The Lord is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness.” Psalm 98:9.

We are living in the end times, and it is obvious that this world is spiritually and morally going downhill – that most people are not lovers of God, but lovers of sin and self. Pride, lying, hate, violence, anger, selfishness, immorality and rebellion is seen all over the world, and it’s getting worse and worse. Then in God’s time, the Antichrist, the “man of lawlessness” will be revealed, promoting sin and fueling this judgment all the more. God will see all the people who have rejected Him and His offer of mercy, and have taken the mark of the beast, and He will have no choice but to judge the entire earth, but this time it won’t be with a flood, but with fire. Revelation 14:9-13

This is so sad that the sinners on earth are ignorant of what will soon be taking place. They are and will be mocking us, laughing at us, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?” But they have no idea of this coming wrath, and how catastrophic and deadly it will be. “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:31. “Destruction will come upon them suddenly.” 1 Thessalonians 5:3

You might ask, “What about the Christians?” In the not too distant future, all people living on earth will see the skies suddenly become dark – this is the sign of the end of this age, the sign right before the day of the Lord. Acts 2:20. Then Christ will appear and will gather, glorify, and bring all the believers to Himself, and then to heaven. “One will be taken, the other left.” Luke 17:36. But the unbelievers who are left behind are “fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the earth.” Luke 21:21:26. These sinners are scared to death and say to the mountains, “Fall on us and hide us … from the wrath of the Lamb.” Revelation 6:12-17. For about 30 minutes these trapped sinners will be worrying about what’s going to happen, and then the first trumpet will blast, signalling that God’s wrath has begun on earth. Revelation 8:1-7

This wrath of God, this day of the Lord, is the Trumpet and Bowl Judgments of Revelation 8-9, 16. But this “day” is not referring to a 24 hour day but to a time period starting during Daniel’s 70th week. It will not be quick like the Noahic flood, but  painfully prolonged and altogether righteous – a series of “hell” on earth type judgments that will afflict all the unbelievers. A third of the earth will be destroyed by fire; all unbelievers will be tormented by demonic locusts for five months; a third of mankind will be suddenly killed; all people will be covered with sickening sores and then scorched with fierce heat; a great earthquake will flatten the cities; and 100 pound hailstones will pound the people. And there is much more. “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth.” Revelation 8:13. “The day of the Lord is near… I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity.” Isaiah 13:6-11

The day of the Lord has been promised by God – it is certain to come. The day of the Lord is the righteous judgment of God – don’t complain. The day of the Lord will be totally unexpected by the unbelievers – “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night”. 1 Thessalonians 5:2. The day of the Lord will devastate the earth – this world, as we know it, will come to an end. Zephaniah 1:2

How should you be affected by the wrath of God that is coming upon this earth?  1) Never think God is wrong in these judgments. “Righteous are You, …O Holy One, because you judged these things.” Revelation 16:5.  2) Be thankful. It is only because of Christ’s mercy, because Christ suffered the wrath you deserved that you will escape God’s wrath on earth, and His wrath in hell.  3) Fear God. Be holy. Why do sinful things for which God’s wrath is coming upon this world? “Come out of her so that you will not participate in her sins.” Revelation 18:4.  4) Warn people about this wrath, this bad news, and tell them the good news about Jesus Christ. Tell them that forgiveness of sins can be granted when they repent of their sins and believe that Christ died for them. Tell people to turn from their sin and to trust in Christ before it’s too late.

P.S.  The audio messages from our April 1-2, 2017 Florida Biblical Prophecy Conference are now all available at  Hope Bible Church of Tampa at Sermon Audio.  The speakers were: Alan Kurschner, of Eschatos Ministeries; Marv Rosenthal, of Zion’s Hope; and I, Steve Hogan.   We were grateful to host this conference for God’s glory and the good of His people!

 

Everything on this Earth is Going to Change

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #14 ~

2 Peter 3:3-4 – “In the last days, mockers will come with their mocking, … ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.’” These last days’ sinners are stating that nothing is going to change on this earth, that everything is going to stay the same. But they are so deceived and so wrong. Peter goes on to say that they don’t realize what happened in the past, the cataclysmic flood that God used to judge the sinners and destroy the world; and they do not know what is going to happen in the future, the fiery judgment of this world and the “destruction of ungodly men.” 

But don’t you be deceived, and don’t be sleeping. Be awake, and aware of what God’s Word clearly tells us, and alert to the events I have already talked about, events leading up to Christ’s coming. Today, I am listing a series of monumental, earth shaking, life changing, God promised events that will be taking place at Christ’s coming. Please listen up, for you, your family, and your church need to know what’s coming to this earth, for everything is going to dramatically change!

This present age will come to an end. This present age that began with Adam’s sin is an evil age, for the whole world now lies in the power of the devil. But this age, and this church age (the last days), is soon coming to an end, and a glorious new age will begin. Ephesians 1:19-21

All the believers will be glorified. At Christ’s coming, at the rapture, those who have died and are in heaven, and those who are alive and remain on earth will become like Christ and the angels, receiving perfect, powerful, immortal and spiritual bodies. 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

All believers will be gathered together to be with Jesus Christ. “We will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18. Think of finally being with Christ and all the other believers! What love, what joy, what peace, what glory!

God will pour out His righteous wrath upon the earth after the rapture. This terrifying and fiery Day of the Lord is the righteous punishment of all the unbelievers who rejected Christ and took the mark of the beast. “She (the earth) will be burned up with fire”. Revelation 8-9, 18

“The Lord will be King over all the earth.” Zechariah 14:9. The devil will no longer be in charge, for Jesus Christ will take complete control of the earth. Hallelujah! “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and Christ; and He will reign forever.” Revelation 11:15

A great number of Jews will be saved at the end of Daniel’s 70th week. Romans 11:26-27 – “And so, all Israel will be saved… This is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” God’s glorious promises to the Jews will finally come true. Ezekiel 37:21-23; Psalms 67, 72

The Antichrist will be defeated. The most wicked man ever in the history of our world will be dictator over the earth in the time before Christ’s return, but this “beast was seized and with him the false prophet… these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire.” Revelation 19:20-21

Satan is bound and thrown into the abyss. Our chief enemy, “the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world,” will be chained up for 1000 years, and will not be able to hurt or harm any person on the earth during that time. Amen! Revelation 20:2

All glorified believers will begin their reign with Christ. “You have made them to a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.” To think we will worship and serve the Lord for 1000 years – this will be so exciting, fulfilling and rewarding! Revelation 5:10, 20:6

Each of the above events is huge in and of itself, and in the near future,  starting sometime during Daniel’s 70th week, they will all be taking place one after another. Do you see what is going to happen? Things are not going to be the same. We get so used to our homes, cities, families, church, jobs, schools, culture, leaders, way of life and environment. But do you see that Jesus Christ, the Lord, Savior, Judge and King, is coming back soon? And He is going to lovingly, powerfully and righteously change everything on this earth! Don’t wait to fear the Lord – fear Him now, and love Him, serve Him, and be looking for His return. “He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new… these words are faithful and true.’” Revelation 21:5

P.S. I’ve just published a new article: “Why is Jesus Coming Back to Earth?”

 

 

The Resurrection and the Rapture of the Believers

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #13 ~

 This past week a friend of mine died. But that was a good thing, because God took her soul from her frail body and this sinful world to heaven. Our biggest problem as humans is death. It is a problem in both a physical and spiritual sense, and it is a problem that every person must face. And Jesus Christ is the only answer, for when He was on earth He lived a perfect life, then He suffered and died on a cross to pay for people’s sins, and then He was raised from the dead.

A person is saved, is delivered from his sins and from death, when he repents of his sins, and believes that Jesus Christ actually died in his place, and paid the penalty, the debt for his sins. Spiritually speaking he has been crucified with Christ and raised from the dead, and therefore he is no longer spiritually dead but he is spiritually alive! He is forgiven of all his sins, given eternal life and will go to heaven after he dies! Ephesians 2:1-9

Once a person is saved he is transformed, and by the word of God and the power of the Spirit he is to live for Jesus Christ. I like how Philippians 3:10 sums up a person’s life on earth, “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering.” The believer is to know Jesus Christ and His resurrection power, and is to experience His love, joy and peace, and is to fulfill God’s plans while he is living on earth.

But what happens when this person dies? Because of Christ’s resurrection, his soul is immediately and supernaturally taken to heaven. By God, by Christ, by the Spirit, he has walked through that door called death, and is still alive, still experiencing the life of God. He is in heaven, freed from all sin, all pain, all sickness and all sorrow. And he is with God and Christ, millions of angels, and a great multitude of believers who have gone on before him. But his salvation is not complete. Yes, he is spiritually alive in heaven but he has not yet been physically glorified, he has not yet received his new physical body. He was justified on earth, lived as a Christian on earth, and then died, and is in heaven, but he has not yet been glorified.

When will this person be resurrected and glorified? Remember, it was about 2000 years ago that Jesus Christ, at His 1st coming, was raised from the dead and was physically glorified, was given a perfect, powerful, immortal and spiritual body. But understand that it is at Christ’s 2nd coming that this person will be resurrected and glorified. Therefore, it is still in the future. At the end of this present age Jesus Christ will return in the clouds above this earth, and it is at that time that this person and all believers who have already physically died will be resurrected and physically glorified. 1 Corinthians 15:20-23

What about believers who are still living on earth when Christ returns? They will not be resurrected because they did not die, but they will be raptured, will be quickly snatched from this earth, physically glorified, and immediately taken to be with Christ. This also takes place at Christ’s 2nd coming. 1 Corinthians 15:51-53. At Christ’s return, all believers already in heaven, and all believers still on earth, will be glorified, will be given a perfect, powerful, immortal and spiritual body. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. “We will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, … for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will all be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. We will “attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:11.

Have you repented of your sins and placed your faith in Jesus Christ, believing that He died to pay for your sins and then was raised again from the dead? If you have, then you have defeated death in every way, shape or form, and you will spiritually and physically live forever with God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and all the angels and saints. The central part of God’s eternal working in human history is Christ’s death and resurrection. This is what you must believe and should then be most excited about, that Jesus Christ died for you and was raised from the dead, resulting in your past justification, your present sanctification, and your future glorification.

“But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’… Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:54-57

P.S. I just published a new article about being in heaven with Jesus…

How Then Should We Live in the End Times?

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #12 ~

In the past two weeks we’ve looked at Matthew 24 and Revelation 6, and I’ve talked about “what” is going to occur in the years leading up to the coming of Christ and the rapture of the church. But now we need to answer the “how” question. Since all these things are going to take place before Christ’s return, then how should we live, and how should we prepare? I hear people give all kinds of answers to these questions, but what does God say?

In His Word, God instructs us how we are to live. And I want you to see that every single one of the following instructions is given in the context of Christ’s 2nd coming. Yes, we are to always have these godly qualities, but all the more so as we live in the end times. Those living on the earth right before Christ’s return will need to up their game, for this will be their World Cup, their World Series, their Super Bowl, their Olympics. How then should we live in the end times?

HAVE FAITH“When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8. In the years leading up to the rapture, life will be very difficult, for there will be lawlessness, wars, famines and persecution, and we are to trust God, to believe His promises, to rely on Him.

FIX YOUR HOPE ON CHRIST“Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13. When there is tribulation, you need hope – you need to think about being with Jesus, being in heaven, being with believers, and being in a new body.

LOVE ONE ANOTHER“The end of all things is near… above all keep fervent in your love for one another.” 1 Peter 4:8. Loving one another is one of the main ways you are to live for God in the end times. Be patient, kind, gentle, humble, compassionate, forgiving, forbearing, and be loyal.

BE HOLY“What sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God.” 2 Peter 3:11. This instruction is simple – don’t be fleshly or worldly. Put sin to death, be living a holy and obedient life, and all the while be looking for Christ.

BE SOBER“Let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.” 1 Thessalonians 5:6. Don’t be sleeping – be spiritually awake and alert, untainted by fleshly desires and worldly temptations, setting your mind on Christ’s coming, and doing the work He wants you to do.

BE IN FELLOWSHIP“Not forsaking our own assembling together, …encouraging one another… as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25. As we get closer to Christ’s return, and as times get tougher and tougher, you will need other Christians, and others will need you.

BE PRAYING “The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.” 1 Peter 4:7. The storm will rage before the Son appears in the sky, and you will need to pray, for faith, wisdom, courage, endurance, for one another, and for His Kingdom to come.

SERVE GOD“You turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9. When life gets real hard, don’t go by how you think or feel, but keep serving God, trusting Him, obeying His commands, using your gifts, doing what He wants you to do.

PREACH THE GOSPEL – “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14, 28:19-20. Right up to the end of this age you are to be winning and building, proclaiming the gospel and making disciples.

WAIT FOR CHRIST – “Wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 1:10. As the days get darker, as there is persecution and even death, keep looking for the Light, keep waiting for Christ, “for the blessed hope.” Jesus will come!!!

PERSEVERE“Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.” Revelation 13:10. Here is another key: no matter how tough it gets, do not quit. You are to endure, to keep believing, to not grow weary, to stay the course, to keep going to the end of your life or to the end of the age.

DO NOT BE DECEIVED “Let no one in any way deceive you.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3. In the end times the devil will lie to you like never before. It is imperative that you not be deceived, but that you discern what is true and what is false, what is of God and what is of the devil.

DO NOT FEAR “Do not fear what you are about to suffer…Be faithful until death.” Revelation 2:10. Do not be afraid, do not worry, do not be anxious. If you die, then you will be with the Lord; and if you endure to the end of the age, then you will be with the Lord. Either way you win.

BE AN OVERCOMER“To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life.” Revelation 2:7. In the context of the end times, Christ continually instructs us to be overcomers, to be winners, to get victory over sin, fears, doubts, worldliness, our enemies, and yes, the Antichrist.

BE FIGHTING – “Take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day…” Ephesians 6:10-13. The most evil days will be the end times, for the spiritual battle will be most intense. Be strong in the Lord, put on the full armor of God, and be a good soldier for Christ.

Please, do not put these instructions in a drawer and then pull them out when times get tough. Now, not later, is the time for you to be learning them and practicing them, and then you will be ready for whatever comes. If you are a designated survivor, then know that God is training you for the great tribulation days, so that you endure, so that you overcome, so that you are a champion for Christ. Psalm 144:1-2. “In all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39

 

A Short Summary of Our Bible Prophecy Conference

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Special Post ~

What a great prophecy conference this past weekend in Tampa, Florida! It was on Friday, the day before it started, that I knew it would be great. I was to pick up Alan Kurschner, one of the speakers, around 3 pm, but Alan had called me earlier and told me that his flight from New Jersey was delayed. To make a long story short, after two different planes, 13 flight time departure delays, and some fervent prayer, Alan flew, not into Tampa, but into Orlando, over 100 miles to the east. I thought, “Wow, the devil sure doesn’t want Alan to speak. That means God wants Alan to speak and it is going to be a great conference.” It was a few minutes after 11 pm that Alan, after a two hour Uber drive, arrived at our home. After some food and fellowship, we headed for bed, quite tired, but excited about the next day.

Attendees for the conference, from Indiana, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, started registering at 9:15 am, and the first session began just a few minutes after 10 am. Alan was the main speaker for Saturday, primarily expounding on Matthew 24, proving that the rapture of the church is not imminent. The vast majority of Christians in this country believe that the rapture is imminent, that it can happen at any moment, that there are no signs whatsoever that need to take place before Christ returns. But that is just not true – and Alan, in four different sessions, talked about events needing to happen before the coming of Christ. And I thought how interesting, for this is what I’ve been writing about in my past two blog posts.

My turn to speak came early Saturday afternoon. I have to admit that I was revved up, for I was talking on one of my favorite subjects, the big picture of our life and how it fits in with the big picture of all that God is doing throughout human history. It just so happens, as I think you now know, that we live in the end times, at the very end of this age, that time right before Christ’s return. It won’t be long before we will “see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” Luke 21:27

There were plenty of break times, a good lunch, but most of all there was great fellowship. I believe I can speak for everyone when I say that it was very encouraging talking to people we had just met, about the Lord and His soon return. One of my favorite times was the singing. I have to admit that we have an excellent music group, and we must have sung and / or heard close to 15 different songs during our conference, most of them related to prophecy. That was definitely a taste of heaven, being with one another and singing to the Lord!

Our Sunday speaker, Marv Rosenthal, and his wife Marbeth, drove in Saturday afternoon, and Marsha and I had the blessing of having a meal with them that evening. Marv and Marbeth truly love the Lord and His Word, and love our little church. What an encouraging time being with them, talking about family, the church, the state of the world, and prophecy.

It was another short night, and in the morning I took Alan to the airport – and fortunately the plane was on time. “Thank you Lord.” Then back home and Marsha and I head back to church. Again, there is good singing, and then the messages. Marv spoke with clarity and passion from 1 Thessalonians 4-5, two short, powerful chapters about the resurrection, the rapture, and the Day of the Lord, important lessons about what happens to believers and unbelievers at Christ’s coming. Then the final song of the conference – “Revelation 19.” (You have to hear this, and you can if you email me and ask for “Scripture Songs”, a double CD set.) Then the benediction from Jude 24-25, and finally, more fellowship, a lunch and many good byes. I thank God for a Christ exalting and edifying conference!

P.S. Messages will be online in the next week or so at Hope Bible Church at Sermon Audio.  The blog post for this Saturday is “How Then Should We Live in the End Times?” 

The Seals of Revelation 6 – The Storm Before the Son

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #11 ~

Picture an ancient scroll, one that has seven seals on it. It is in Revelation 5 that we first read about this most valuable scroll, and there we learn that only Jesus Christ can break these seven seals. And He must break them, for they set in motion conditions that must be met, and events that need to take place before the coming of Christ and the rapture of the church. Revelation 6 describes the breaking of the first six seals, and you realize that the content of this chapter corresponds to Matthew 24. But why would God give us two chapters so similar to one another? Because He wants to stress that what Christ is saying is true, and that it is vitally important information that all Christians living in the end times need to know.

Revelation 6:1-8 tells us about the breaking of the first four seals, resulting in false christs, wars, famines and death. Now these famines are related to financial hardship – that is, there will be major economic problems, which should not surprise us. We see too that these first four seals are very similar to the beginning birth pains described in Matthew 24:4-8. This will be a most difficult and troubling time in the world for many people will be hurting and dying; but remember that these events won’t affect everyone in the world, for “you will be hearing of wars,” and “in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.” Matthew 24:6-7

Revelation 6:9-13 tells us about the breaking of the 5th seal and it speaks of more death, and specifically the martyrdom of Christians. These verses correspond to Matthew 24:9, 21, which speak of great tribulation, of Christians being killed all over the world. Matthew 24:15 informs us that it is the evil Antichrist who is promoting this persecution. Revelation 6 does not specifically talk about this Antichrist, but we need only to go to Revelation 12-13 for more details about this man’s devilish work in the end times. These are sobering passages, and you need to read them so you can learn what will be taking place, and what may be affecting you, your family and your friends. “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

But notice three things about the Christians: first, they love God’s Word and are proclaiming it. Second, they want to know when God will judge their enemies. Third, they learn that God is sovereign over each believer’s death, and has ordained who is yet to be killed, and then Christ will return to rapture the Christians who have endured, and who remain on the earth.

Revelation 6:12-17 speaks of the 6th seal. And the breaking of this seal is one thing Christians should be looking for, for this is the sign of the end of the age, which is also described in Matthew 24:29. At this time the entire world goes dark, which means great tribulation is over, is done. For the Christian this is “Hallelujah” time! For non-Christians, this is their worst nightmare, but sad to say, it is not a nightmare. These unrighteous, ungodly unbelievers now know that God’s wrath is coming, and so they try to hide from God, but they cannot hide, and they will not escape. God is most holy and these unholy worshipers of the Antichrist deserve what is coming. “It’s a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:31

What about the 7th seal? When will it be broken? It is Revelation 8:1 that tells us that this seal is broken, and it is at this time that the scroll is unrolled. Chapters 8-9 go on to describe the contents of this scroll, which is God’s righteous wrath being poured out upon an evil world. But what happens to the Christians? Revelation 7 answers this question, telling us that a great multitude of believers is delivered out of great tribulation. And so the rapture of the Christians is in Revelation 7, and this is after the tribulation in Revelation 6, but before the wrath of God in Revelation 8.

By God’s Word and Spirit, a great number of Christians will be overcomers, and will persevere to the end of this age. They will be looking for Jesus Christ, and then suddenly be raptured into heaven, and then they will see Him, and then they will know that it was all worth it. Just think, you and I might be part of this great multitude of believers who will be lovingly, powerfully and safely taken up to be with Jesus Christ. Amen!

P.S. We recently started a new tab, Español, that takes you to blog posts that are translated into Spanish. Please tell your Hispanic friends about this. I thank my friend Mario for doing the translation work.

Matthew 24 – A Road Map of the End Times

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #10 ~

I know I am old school, but I love road maps. When I travel, I like to know where I am at and where I am going. I like to know what cities I will pass through before I get to my destination. A map gives me clear directions. It also gives me confidence about my journey, for when I pass through those cities, I can say, “I’m right on target.” With respect to prophecy, God has given us many road maps, but Matthew 24 is one of the best road maps there is for Christians living in the end times. The following is a succinct summary and analysis of this important chapter. (I encourage you to read Matthew 24:3-36 before you read this post.)

Matthew 24:3. The disciples knew Jesus was leaving, and so they ask Him to give them some signs that would let them know when He was coming back. Jesus answers their questions but He goes on to tell them, and now He’s telling us, many more things that will be taking place before His coming, and before the rapture and resurrection of the believers.

Matthew 24:4-8. We learn: 1) There will be “birth pains”, and these are false christs, wars, famines and earthquakes. 2) As times goes on, these “birth pains” will increase in frequency and intensity. 3) They don’t affect all the people in the world, for they occur in various places. 4) They are not God’s wrath but are events leading up to the end of the age. 5) They are only beginning birth pains, and the end of the age, Christ’s return and God’s wrath is still to come.

Matthew 24:9-14. We learn: 1) These events occur after the beginning birth pains. 2) Whereas the beginning birth pains affect all kinds of people, these events focus primarily on the Christians. 3) The Christians are being hated, persecuted and martyred all over the world. 4) The gospel is being preached to the end of this age, and many Christians endure to the end of the age and then they are saved, are raptured into heaven.

Matthew 24:15-27. We learn: 1) This focuses on the Jews. 2) The Antichrist desolates the Jewish temple in Jerusalem at the midpoint of Daniel’s 70th week. 3) He begins great tribulation against Jews in Jerusalem which then spreads to Jews and Christians all over the world. This tribulation is cut short by Christ at the end of this age. 4) These events take place in the same time frame as verses 9-14, which means God’s work with the Jews in the end times is in conjunction with and coinciding with His work with the church. 5) The final event listed is Christ’s coming, which corresponds with the end of the age that is spoken of in verses 3, 13 and 14.

Matthew 24:28. Many people are dying all over the world because of these events.

Matthew 24:29-31. We learn: 1) The sign of the end of the age is cosmic disturbances which occur after the tribulation, the persecution of the Christians. 2) The sign of Christ’s coming is the heavens being lit up by the Shekinah glory of Christ. 3) Verse 31 is a resurrection and rapture verse, for believers will be gathered together from the heavens (those who have died in the past), and from the earth (those who survive the tribulation). 4) God’s wrath will occur after these two signs and the rapture of the church on earth. Isaiah 13:9-10, Joel 2:31

Matthew 24:32-34, 36. No one knows the day and hour of Christ’s return, that is, the specific time of Christ’s coming. But Christians can know the general time, for the events given in this chapter are to inform and encourage us that Christ’s coming is getting closer and closer.

Matthew 24:35. This chapter is God’s Word, and the events discussed here will absolutely, unquestionably, undoubtedly and undeniably take place, and maybe in our lifetime.

In conclusion let me say: 1) It is 2017, and we are now in verses 4-8, in the beginning birth pains. 2) People will say all kinds of things about the end times in the years to come, and so don’t be naïve or deceived, but rather examine Matthew 24 so you can be discerning, so you can not only know what events are going to occur, but the order of these events. 3) Twenty different events listed in Matthew 24 need to happen before Christ’s coming and the rapture of the church. 4) As Christ’s coming gets closer, the believers living on earth will be seeing these events taking place. Therefore, encourage one another as you see the day of Christ drawing near. Hebrews 10:25

P.S. I’ve just added an important new article on trials, which I hope and trust will encourage you!

« Older posts

© 2017

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Scroll Up