The Divine Timetable, Daniel’s 70 Weeks

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #23 ~

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What really amazes and encourages me is how much God has told us in His Word about the return of Jesus Christ to this earth. I’ve recently written about an enormous number of Old Testament prophecies that’s particularly relevant to those of us living in the end times. It’s necessary that we rightly interpret these prophecies so we can have the understanding God wants us to have about His plans for both the Jews and the church.

Today, I want to focus on one prophetic passage. It’s Daniel 9:24-27, and it speaks of a divine schedule, a timeframe that’s absolutely essential to help you see the sequence of events in the end times. This timeframe is the 70 weeks of Daniel, where 1 week equals 7 years, and 70 weeks equals 490 years.

Biblical scholars believe these 70 weeks started in 445BC. Now Daniel 9:26 predicted that the Messiah would be cut off after the first 69 weeks, or 483 years. What’s so amazing is that mathematicians have calculated that God’s timetable was perfect, for these 483 years take us right up to 30BC, the exact time when Christ was crucified. Again we see that God’s prophetic Word is to be taken literally, and is completely, 100% accurate.

But what about the 70th week? Has it started yet? No, it hasn’t. Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:9-26, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, and Revelation 13 all tell us of specific events that need to take place during this 7 year timeframe, but they’ve not yet occurred, meaning the 70th week is still future. It’s obvious that this church age has now been going on for close to 2000 years, meaning there’s a long gap between the 69th and 70th weeks.

Yet, over the past 130 years, the Jews have miraculously regathered back to their land, and this is a clear sign from God that we now live in the end times, and that the start-up of the 70th week is not far away. In fact, Daniel 12:4 first used the phrase, “the end time”, which is the time period when these 70 weeks will come to an end. The fact that God is again actively working with the Jews means He’s wrapping up His work with the church, and it won’t be long before Christ’s return. Of course only God knows when the 70th week will start. But when it does, then we’ll see a great deal of prophetic activity, and the glorious fulfillment of many of God’s promises to both the Jews and the church.

Here are some of the major prophesied events that will take place during Daniel’s 70th week:
1. At the very start of Daniel’s 70th week, there’ll be the confirmation of a covenant (or peace treaty) between Israel, the Antichrist and other nations (Daniel 9:27). Obviously, for many years now, the United States and other nations have been trying to get a peace treaty signed. Even this week we have been seeing the pursuit of a peace treaty over in Israel.
2. At the midpoint of the 70th week of Daniel, the 3½ year mark, the Antichrist will be revealed, and he will desolate the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. (Daniel 9:27). True Christians and many Jews will discern that this is the Antichrist, this most wicked man who will then begin greatly persecuting them all over the world. (Revelation 12:13-17)
3. At the very end of Daniel’s 70th week, the 7 year mark, a great many Jews will be saved (Daniel 9:24, Romans 11:25-27). At this time the kingdom of the world becomes the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (Revelation 11:15).
4. Christ’s coming and the rapture of the church will take place sometime during the last half of this 70th week, but no one knows exactly when (Matthew 24:31-36). The day of the Lord, God’s judgment of unbelievers still alive on earth, will begin right after the rapture.

Only as you understand this 70th week timeframe will you be able to clearly figure out “what happens when” in the end times. I can’t stress enough the importance of knowing this divine schedule, for then you’ll be able to know how to put the prophecy pieces in their proper place. Otherwise you’ll be blind, and you won’t be able to see what God wants you to see about the future God has for you, your family, and for your church.

After Daniel wrote these prophesies, he was instructed to “seal up the book until the end time.” (Daniel 12:4, 9). Well, about 2450 years later, with the regathering of the Jews back to their land, this book was unsealed. How exciting and encouraging to be living in the end times that Daniel predicted. I’m sure he would’ve loved to be alive now, but God meant it for us. This is our time! It won’t be long now before the start of Daniel’s 70th week, and not many years later, the wonderful rapture of the church, the devastating wrath of God on earth, the promised redemption of the Jews, and then the glorious reign of Jesus Christ on earth. Psalm 72:18-19

P.S. I have just posted an important new article explaining why replacement theology, which believes God’s promises for the Jews are no longer valid, is wrong: Replacement Theology: It’s Not True – Part 1.

A Jewish Reading Lesson

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #22 ~

It was about seven years ago, that by God’s grace, I finally figured out how to read the Old Testament. I was so excited! For the first time in my life, I could see the whole big scheme of things, how everything in the Bible fits in with God’s future plans. My prayer and desire is to help you know how to read the Old Testament, so you too can more clearly understand God’s plans for the Jews, the church, and the ages to come.

First, here are some basic, Biblical ground rules that you need to know:
1. The Old Testament is true, and it needs to be taken literally. For example, Israel means Israel; Jerusalem means Jerusalem; and forever means forever.
2. God’s promises to the Jews regarding their land, salvation and King have not been changed or nullified. They are still true, and God will most definitely carry them out.
3. Israel has not been replaced by the church with regard to God’s plans. Promises made to Israel are not figuratively being fulfilled by the church, but will literally be fulfilled by the Jews.
4. You can’t understand the future of the church if you don’t understand the future of the Jews, for God’s work with the Jews in the end times is in conjunction with His work for the church. Daniel’s 70th week is a key time frame for both Jews and Christians.
5. Old Testament prophecies can usually be placed in one of four time periods: (1) The prophecy relates to the writer’s time period, and shortly thereafter. (2) The prophecy relates to Christ’s 1st coming. (3) The prophecy relates to Christ’s 2nd coming. (4) The prophecy relates to Christ’s kingdom age. (A prophecy may have both a near and far fulfillment.)

Here are some examples of how Old Testament prophecies fit in one of these four time periods – (1), (2), (3) or (4). Psalm 22:1-21 speaks about Christ’s suffering on the cross, and this refers to Christ’s 1st coming (2). Then Psalm 22:28 says, “The kingdom is the Lord’s and He rules over the nations” and this refers to Christ’s coming kingdom age (4).

Psalm 37:29 says, “The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.” This Psalm tells us about the fulfillment of God’s promise to the Jews that they will inherit some land, and this too is speaking about the coming kingdom age (4).

Psalm 98:2-3 tells us, “The Lord has made known His salvation… He has remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel.” This verse is talking about the house of Israel, and so this is not referring to the salvation of people during the church age, but to the salvation of the Jews at the 2nd coming of Christ (3).

Isaiah 9:6 is a classic, for the first part of the verse, “A child will be born to us, a son will be given us” is referring to Christ’s 1st coming (2), and the very next part of the verse, “and the government will rest on His shoulders” talks about the kingdom age (4).

Ezekiel 37:21-23 is one of my favorite prophetic passages, for right here in these three verses we read about the fulfillment of God’s promises to the Jews with regard to their land (verse 21), their King (verse 22), and their salvation (verse 23). These prophecies are clearly referring to Christ’s 2nd coming (3), and His kingdom age (4).

Micah 5:2-5 tells us two different things, that the coming Messiah will be born in Bethlehem which takes place at Christ’s 1st coming (2), and that “He will be great to the ends of the earth”, and this no doubt is speaking about the kingdom age (4).

Christians living in the end times of this church age have a distinct advantage. We can look at a particular prophecy, and then look back in history, and see if it has taken place or not, if it is a past or future event. We can see where everything fits, in time periods (1), (2), (3) or (4). It’s essential to learn how to rightly read the Old Testament, to properly interpret God’s prophetic word, and then you can understand His future plans for both the Jews and the church. I believe you’ll be thrilled as God gives you understanding, and then enables you to Biblically visualize the future God has for you, and for all His people on this earth.

There are 100’s and 100’s of verses in the Old Testament that predict God’s plans for the Jews. Here are some others I’d encourage you to check out in your spare time: Psalm 47, Psalm 67, Psalm 102:12-28, Psalm 105:5-8, Psalm 130, Isaiah 2:1-5, Isaiah 60, Isaiah 61:1-2, Jeremiah 32:6-44, Ezekiel 37:24-28, Daniel 12:1-13, Hosea 1:10-11 (the triple play), Joel 2:27-32 (Jews and church), Haggai 2:4-9, Zechariah 2:10-12, and Zechariah 14:9.

P.S. I encourage you to look at the charts (links) which we have in the above post, for they will help you to understand this lesson.

P.P.S. We have also just published a new article that I believe will help you understand our heavenly Father’s great love for us: The Father’s Love for His Children.

Unfinished Business

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #21 ~

God has a lot of unfinished business left to do with regard to the Jews. But many Christians don’t understand His plans, or are uninformed, confused, or in error. In fact, there are some who actually believe God’s work with the Jews is done, is over, is finished. Yes, they say the Jews were the ancestors of the Messiah and the writers of God’s Word, but they say they blew it when they killed the Messiah – they had their chance, and they took themselves out of the picture. Now they readily admit that the Jews have reoccupied Israel,  but they still adamantly say there’s no Biblically prophesied future for ethnic Jews, for those who are Jews physically speaking. They say that we’re now in the church age, and that all God’s future plans relate directly and only to the church. Let me explain why their thinking is wrong:

God’s Word is true – it was true when it was written, it is true today, and it is true forever. God is not a man that He should lie or that He should change His mind, and therefore, every single word of God will be fulfilled, which includes His promises to the Jews. “The word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does… The Lord’s counsel stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation. Blessed is the nation (Israel) whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen for His own possession.” Psalm 33:4, 11-12

God’s character is at stake. Do you think God would give all these promises to the Jews, and then not keep His Word? If God has changed His mind, then He has deceived many people, even Jesus’ own mother (Luke 1:28-35). If God doesn’t keep His promises, then He is a liar. But God is not a liar – He will always be faithful to His Word. “Do you think I came to abolish the Law or the prophets? I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” Matthew 5:17-19

God’s promises are not based on law but on grace, and therefore are unconditional. They depend on God’s Word, and on God’s power, mercy and faithfulness, and therefore can’t be annulled because of Israel’s sin and unfaithfulness. God’s promises to the Jews that they’d inherit some land (Genesis 13:14-17), that Messiah would be King over the entire world (2 Samuel 7:12-13), and that a Jewish remnant would be saved (Jeremiah 31:31-34), will, without question, be fulfilled! “God has remembered His covenant forever.” Psalm 105:8

God’s promises are literal. They are not to be spiritualized. You can’t take some of God’s promises literally, and others figuratively. The promises of Christ’s 1st coming were fulfilled in every detail, and the promises of His 2nd coming will be fulfilled in every detail. How can a person say Jesus was literally born as a baby but won’t literally come back as a King? How can a person say that Old Testament promises for the Jews are not to be taken literally, but are now true for the church? You can’t say these things. Listen to what God says: “Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it and I will do it.” Isaiah 46:9-11

God’s promises to the Jews are eternal promises. “All the land which you see, I will give it to you and your descendants forever.” Genesis 13:15. How can anyone say God’s promises are not eternal when God says they are eternal? God is not going back on His Word, is He? His promises cannot in any way, shape or form be taken back, be rescinded – they will come true, and they will be true forever. “Thus says the Lord…” Jeremiah 31:35

God never said His promises were changed. Neither God, Christ or any New Testament writer ever actually denied these promises to the Jews, or said they were altered or reneged, and then given to the church. In fact, they were affirmed to be true. Luke 1:54-55, 1:68-79; Romans 15:4

Most of God’s Word is about the Jews. Nearly 70% of the Bible is about the Jews, and close to 23% is about the church. And then you have way over 1000 Old Testament verses that restate and amplify God’s promises to the Jews. How can anyone say that the Jews are irrelevant, and that God’s promises to them are null and void? Anyone who thinks God’s future plans for the Jews have been nullified and invalidated are terribly mistaken. Don’t believe those who say there’s no future for the Jews. Believe what God says: “Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem for all generations.” Joel 3:20. “I will make a covenant of peace… an everlasting covenant with them. I will multiply them and set my sanctuary in their midst forever.” Ezekiel 37:26

This is a very important post. I write this for there are many who question God’s promises to the Jews – but we should never question God and His Word. With regards to His future working with the Jews, read the Old Testament, particularly the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets. Take them literally, and believe them, and see how God’s plans for His people, for both the Jews and the church, are now coming true at this time in history. And stay tuned, for there’s much more to be said on this subject in future posts and articles.

P.S.  Here is another important article about what the Old Testament teaches us about the Kingdom Age on this earth: Hidden Treasure in the Old Testament.

Old Testament + New Testament = The Word of God

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #20 ~

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The Old Testament is the truth of God. It is a set of 39 books, that together with 27 books in the New Testament, make up the Bible, the word of God. And just like you need to read all the chapters in a book to get the whole story, so too you need to read the whole Bible, both Old and New Testaments, to get the whole story, to understand God’s past, present and future working with His people, and with this entire earth.

What is the Old Testament about? It is about Jesus Christ, who He is, what He’s like, and what He’s doing – His office, character and purpose. There are many verses, types and illustrations of Christ in the Old Testament, giving us a very good picture of our Lord, Savior and King. Jesus Himself used the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms from the Old Testament to help His disciples understand who He was (Luke 24:25-27, 44-45).

The Old Testament is about the Jews. Their purpose was to write God’s word, to be recipients of God’s Laws and covenants, to carry out the temple service, and to be the “Woman” who’d give birth to the Messiah, to Jesus Christ. We also read stories about the Jews, their lives and service for God, which give us many good examples of faith, hope, love and perseverance. There’s Adam, Abraham, Moses, Deborah, Ruth, David, Isaiah, Esther, Nehemiah and many others. But these are not just saints with godly character that make for nice Sunday School lessons. The Old Testament is more than just a lot of stories with no larger context, but it’s part of the entire Bible, and therefore a necessary part of the whole story. Consider the following:

First, there were the promises, the covenants from God. Abraham knew that from his lineage would come a great multitude of descendants (Genesis 12:1-3). David knew that the Messiah would be one of his descendants, the future King of the entire world (2 Samuel 7:12-16). Jeremiah knew that a great number of Jews would be saved in the future. (Jeremiah 31:31-34). These three promises are extremely important, for they not only speak of God’s plans for the Jews, but they also relate to the church and to our future.

Second, there were the predictions of the prophets. They “predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.” 1 Peter 1:11. For example, Isaiah, Micah, Zechariah and Daniel all spoke of the coming Christ (Isaiah 9:6-7, 53; Micah 5:2-4; Zechariah 14:9; and Daniel 7:13-14). As we now know, some of their predictions literally came true at Christ’s 1st coming, but others will literally be fulfilled at Christ’s 2nd coming, and in the kingdom age to follow. For example, Jesus was literally born as a Baby on this earth, and  in the near future He will literally appear and be the King over this earth.

Third, there were the parts played by godly Israelites. There was Moses, and if it weren’t for him, the Jews would never have made it to the promised land. There was Ruth, a key player in the big scheme of things, for she was the great grandmother of David. There was Esther, whom God used to preserve the Jewish race, and without her, Jesus would not have been born. And then there was Ezra, and he helped bring the Jews back to Israel, and so Jesus could be born in Bethlehem. These stories, seen on earth, were all part of God’s plans. But behind all this has been the invisible spiritual war between God and Satan. Revelation 12 tells us that Satan has been fighting like the devil to stop the work of God as it relates to both Jews and Christians, but God has defeated him again and again.

You can’t disregard the Old Testament. When you read it, you need to realize that it’s not just isolated events that took place in the past with no connection to the future. You have to see the Old Testament promises and predictions of God, all pointing to and leading to New Testament events, Christ’s 1st coming, His 2nd coming, and His kingdom age. You have to see that God’s people played key roles in the past, but were also necessary for God’s future plans. You need to see God sovereignly directing people and events in accordance with His eternal purposes and plans. “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.” Psalm 33:11

At this time in history, we are in the last part of the church age, for the Jews are back in their land. God’s working with both Jews and Christians is now in high gear, and it won’t be long before His end time plans for them will be fulfilled. Then in the next age, we will all be worshiping and serving the Lord together. Hebrews 11:13, 39 is instructive – “All these (Old Testament saints), having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had something better for us (New Testament saints), so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.” 

P.S. I have an important new article for you to read – “Why Do Believers Die?” ~ A Memorial Service Message.   Also, just as a reminder, we have been continuing to post new Español posts every week!

A Short Summary of God’s Working With the Jews

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #19 ~

When we talk about end times prophecy, we can’t just focus on the church. We have to understand the past history of the Jews to understand God’s present working with the Jews, and that His present work with them in these end times is in conjunction with His work with the church. Here is a summary of God’s past working with the Jews.

It was about 2050 BC that God began to carry out His plans for the Jews. He promised Abraham that he would inherit a large area of land, and be given a great number of descendants (Genesis 12:1-3, 13:14-16). Then came Abraham’s son Isaac, and then his grandson Jacob, and then his great grandson Joseph. It was Joseph who was providentially taken to Egypt, and years later was joined by his 11 brothers. From the 12 sons of Jacob came the 12 tribes of Israel, and the birth of the nation of Israel in the nation of Egypt.

It was in 1445 BC that God chose Moses to miraculously help the Jews escape out of Egypt and into the desert. There God gave them the Law, and the means by which they were to worship Him. Moses humbly led the Jews in the desert for 40 long years, but it was Joshua who led them into Canaan where they soundly defeated God’s enemies, finally taking possession of the promised land. But it wasn’t long before the Jews were disobeying the laws God had given them, and were doing what was right in their own eyes. Therefore, God began appointing judges who led Israel for the next 325 years.

In 1110 BC God first revealed Himself to Samuel, and He raised him up to be a prophet and a priest. Now the Jews desired a king, and so Samuel anointed Saul, but he was not a very good king. Then there was David, a man after God’s heart, and he was the best of the earthly kings. God then made an amazing promise to David, that one of His descendants would be the Messiah, the future King of the entire world (2 Samuel 7:12-16).

Then came Solomon (970 BC), a world famous king, and he was responsible for building a temple for the Jews. After him came many more kings, some good and some bad. And sadly, instead of worshiping God, many of the Jews started worshiping idols. This terrible and grievous sin went on for over 350 years, stirring up God’s righteous anger, resulting in His wrath often being poured out upon His people. He also sent them prophets, like Isaiah, Joel and Jeremiah, to proclaim God’s truth, and help them see their need to repent of their sins. In all this God was very patient and very forgiving. It was during this time that God made a most gracious promise to Jeremiah, that in the future, He would save a great number of Jews (Jeremiah 31:33-34).

But finally, God had enough of the Jews’ sin, and so He punished His people by sending them out of Israel (722 BC) to Assyria, and out of Judah to Babylon (606 BC). Then after 70 years, God, through Haggai, Ezra and Nehemiah, began mercifully bringing these Jewish exiles back to their land. They rebuilt the temple and the city wall, and again began to worship the one true God. And as time went on, the Jews were sinning more and more, but it wasn’t idol worship as much as it was a proud and self-righteous rebellion against God.

Then, in the fullness of time, around 4 BC, JESUS, a Jew, a descendant of Abraham and David, the Messiah, the Son of God, was born. When He was 30, He began His ministry, teaching, healing and making disciples. Then He humbly and lovingly went to the cross, suffering and dying for our sins – but God raised him from the dead, and after 40 days He ascended into heaven. Amen!

Sadly, most Jews were hard hearted, and didn’t turn from their sin and trust in Christ for salvation. And so in 70 AD, God severely punished the Jews – close to one million of them died, and the rest were led captive into all the nations. But God’s promises and plans for the Jews were not then nullified or changed, as some believe, but were only suspended. The church age had begun: from heaven Christ was building His church on earth – it was the time for people to call on the Lord to be saved from their sin.

It is now 2017, close to 2000 years later, and it’s still the church age. But now we live in the end times, the last part of the church age, for the Jews, after being scattered for over 1800 years, have miraculously returned to their land. The prophetic pieces of the puzzle are being put into place; God’s work with both the church and the Jews is clearly evident; and it won’t be long before Christ returns to rapture the Christians, and then pour out His wrath on this world. Then God will be true to His Word, and fulfill His promises to the Jews – the promise of salvation, the promise of land, and the promise of a King. Finally, world peace. Shalom.

P.S.   My new article will further help you to  understand this subject of God’s working with the Jews:  Charting God’s Miraculous Working With the Jews.

Do Business Until I Come Back

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #18 ~

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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?”

 

 

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