Month: March 2017

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!

Deception or Discernment?

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #9 ~

There’s a particular problem I have observed during my Christian life, and it’s that there’s a lot of confusion, uncertainty, deception, errors and apathy about end times prophecy. I have talked to many people, watched TV shows and You Tube, and read magazines and books on this subject, and some things that are being said are Biblical, but other things are irrelevant, strange, or just not true. I’m sure many of those who share these things are sincere and well-meaning, but sometimes they just don’t know what they are talking about. This naivety and lack of understanding on this important subject of prophecy greatly concerns me.

Let me list some things I have heard talked about with regards to prophecy in my 45 years as a Christian: the European Common Market, the European Union, wars, earthquakes, Israel, Babylon, red heifer ashes, blood red moons, Antichrist, 666, Iran, Russia, China’s 200 million man army, Fatima, Armageddon, pre-trib rapture, pan-trib rapture, Jewish temple, Seals, Trumpets, Bowls, Preterism, A-millennialism, imminence and date setting, and then there’s predictions by Nostradamus that some people think are actually coming true.

Here’s the main point: God wants you be discerning with regards to the things I just mentioned and everything else that’s being said about Christ’s coming and the end times. God wants you to know what’s Biblical. He wants you to know what His Word says on the subject of prophecy so you aren’t misinformed, doubting, afraid, or fooled by the devil’s lies.

When a cataclysmic event takes place, then that evil devil wants people to worry, to be confused, or be scared out of their mind. When some “Chicken Little” erroneously cries out, “The sky is falling, the sky is falling,” then that deceptive devil wants people to believe it and think they need to head for the hills. This should not be. Jesus said, “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God?” Mark 12:24. Many terrible things and events will take place in the years leading up to Christ’s return, but God’s people by God’s Spirit need to know God’s truth about what will be happening in the world.

Once in a while I will watch something on the Science or Discovery Channel that’s about prophecy, and I need to be Biblically sharp so I can understand what is being said, whether it’s from God or not from God, whether it’s relevant or irrelevant. In Matthew 24:3 Jesus says, “Watch out that no one deceives you.” You are to see to it that no one misleads you when it comes to prophecy, for the devil will do all he can to get you off track, to lead you astray. Your mind needs to be taught with Biblical truth so it becomes like a sieve, a spiritual filter that screens out the good from the bad, that enables you to recognize the truth and discard the error, so you can know the difference between what’s important and what’s not important. You don’t want to be deceived, you want discernment!

My desire, my prayer for you is that you grow in discernment, in wisdom, in understanding. God wants you to know what His Word says about what’s going on in the world in these end times. In his prophecy epistles, Paul says, “Examine everything carefully” (1 Thessalonians 5:21), and “Let no one in any way deceive you” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). In the months ahead we will be looking at many passages in the Word that give us clarity about the world we now live in, and where things will be heading as we get closer to the end of this age. Next week we will look at Matthew 24 which tells us many significant events leading up to the coming of Christ and the resurrection and rapture of the believers.

P.S. I encourage you to look at the article about hope that I just put up today. Every day we need hope –  we need to be looking forward to the great future that God has for everyone of His children.

God’s Time Frame for Your Life

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #8  ~

 

It was Carroll, Iowa in the late 60’s and early 70’s and I was in high school, and jogging was just becoming popular. A huge city cemetery was right behind our back yard, and 3-4 times a week I’d hop over the fence and take a run. Many times I’d stop and look at grave stones, noting a person’s name and his birth year and death year. Since then I’ve thought how most people define life in a physical way, by when they are born and by when they die. A person celebrates his birthdays, and sooner or later he dies, and he has a memorial service, and he gets one of those grave stones with his name and two dates on it. He has only so many years on this earth, and then he is gone.

A few years later I was at Iowa State University. It was my first day of classes and I still remember waking up to my roommate’s clock radio playing “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. But it wasn’t until later that year that my foolishness was taken away, for by God’s grace I realized my problem was sin and that Jesus Christ was the only answer – and I believed that Jesus died for me and paid for all my sins. I was born again. I was forgiven. I was a child of God in the kingdom of God. And I didn’t fear death anymore for death was but a door from this life to the next, from earth to heaven. This was the gospel – the best news I had ever heard. Now I had a heavenly Father (my earthly father had passed away 10 years earlier). Life was no longer just a physical life, but more so it was a spiritual life, a relationship with God Himself. I had eternal life, and I was going to live forever! John 11:25-26

God’s Word became my favorite “school” book, and God was my teacher. He taught me that my relationship with Him was in three parts. The past – I was justified, I was born again and had a spiritual birthday; the present – I am now being sanctified, and I am spiritually growing up; the future – I will be glorified, I will be perfect – body, soul and spirit. That sums it up – justified, sanctified and glorified. But I learned that being glorified doesn’t happen when I physically die. The Christians who die now get rid of their old body and go to heaven and never have any more sin, sickness or sadness (Amen!), but they are not yet glorified. Being glorified doesn’t happen until Christ comes back at the end of this age, and that’s when you get a brand new perfect, powerful, spiritual and eternal body. A person’s salvation is only completed when he is glorified.

This perspective of our life is seen and summed up in many verses. Philippians 1:6 – “I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will complete it on the day of Christ Jesus.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 – “By His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness, sanctification and redemption.” But my favorite verses are Colossians 3:3-4 – “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”

Then I started learning about prophecy, and I realized that my life on earth was converging and coinciding with the end times. I saw that I may be here when Christ comes back, and then I’ll be glorified, and all the other believers from all of history will be glorified at that same time. It became clear to me that there are two possibilities for my future – either I’ll make it to the end of my life and die and go to heaven, or I’ll make it to the end of this age and be raptured and glorified and then go to heaven.

What do you think about this? Do you realize that you may not live to be 70, 80 or 90 years old? You may not become a grandparent. You may not have children. You may not even get married. The fact that you live in the end times means you need to look at life differently, for your “glory” days are not that far away. You may be living on earth when Christ returns and raptures all the saints. Thinking about life in this way changes things, and it helps you to not be fleshly and worldly, but to be living for God. It affects how you live, the things you do, the places you go, the people you see, and how you use your time and money. You need to see that the time frame of your life is now fitting in with God’s time frame for the end times. Knowing this gives you the right perspective on your life! Now in these days is our time to live for God!

P.S. I just finished an article on Matthew 24 which I believe is the single most important, most instructive prophecy chapter for Christians in the entire Bible. Take your time in reading it for there is a lot to digest. Please feel free to make copies of it for your own personal use.

What in the Wor(l)d is going to Happen?

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #7 ~

 

Why should we read Bible prophecy? And why do I read and study it, and come up with all these charts, and then take the time to write to you about it? Because Bible prophecy is God’s Word, and therefore it’s true, and therefore it’s most important, especially at this time in history. What I am  writing you is not my ideas or other men’s thoughts, but is based on God’s Word,

The Bible is the word of God, and not the word of man. Millions of books have been written by man – some are fiction, some are non-fiction, some are intelligent and some are silly or profane. But the Bible is the only book written by God – and it’s the supreme and absolute truth, and it has authority over our lives. It tells us about God, and how to get right with God; it tells us how to live; and it tells us about our future. We are foolish if we think it does not need to be read and applied to our lives, and that we can just do whatever we want. Who are we to think we can ignore God’s Word, and in these end times, God’s prophetic Word?

You listen to a person who talks to you, right? Well, God is talking to you and He is telling you the truth, and you’d better listen, or else there will be consequences. When you were a student, did you ever not listen to your teacher or not read your textbook? And if you didn’t listen, if you didn’t read, then you’d fail the test, you’d flunk out. How much more important is it to listen to God’s Word, for God is your Teacher, and you need to read and take heed to His Word, the only textbook He has given you.

The Bible is a book of truth and a large portion of it speaks about your future. And your loving Father wants you to know and believe what will be taking place, and He has told you ahead of time everything you need to know about the end times and the return of Christ. Personally, I really want to know what He wants me to know, and I really want you to know too. Mark 13:23

I get very excited when I think about this large unfulfilled portion of the Bible that is now more relevant than ever before, that is beginning to come true right before our eyes. There is prophetic truth in Genesis, in the Psalms, in Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Zechariah. In the New Testament, there is Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, 1 Thessalonians 4-5, 2 Thessalonians 1-2, 1 Peter 1, 2 Peter 3 and Revelation. There are other verses here and there, but these are the main portions about prophecy. And in these passages God predicts, He promises, He instructs, He explains, He warns, He comforts, and He gives hope.

Old Testament prophets predicted Christ’s 1st coming, and it all came true; and all Christians believe in Jesus Christ, and then celebrate Christmas and Easter. And Old and New Testament prophets and writers predicted Christ’s 2nd coming, and should we not believe them? Will not all there predictions come true too? Yes they will, every single one of them.  “(The prophets were) seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you… things into which angels long to look.” 1 Peter 1:10-12. Wow! I love these verses! The prophets predicted the coming of Christ, and they did it for us, and specifically for us in these days. Let’s be excited about prophecy, and find out all these things they have said about the end times and the coming of Christ.

About 2,550 years ago, God told Daniel, “Conceal these words and seal them up until the end of time.” Daniel 12:4. Since the Jews are back in their land then we know we are living in the end times. This means that Biblical prophecy is no longer concealed, no longer sealed up. These then are the days for you and I to be reading and learning about prophecy. And for the Christian, it is not an elective, it is required reading, it is a required course of study. Might you love God’s prophetic Word and read and study it so you can learn more about the future God has for you.

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” Matthew 24:35. Right in the middle of one of the most important prophecy passages in the Bible, Jesus gives you this powerful statement regarding the absolute truth of God’s prophetic word, and it will surely come to pass, and maybe in your own lifetime. This is God’s promise to you – “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it, for the time is near.” Revelation 1:3

P.S.  Please check out my new article!  Article 10 – Charting the Future With Prophecy Charts

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