Article 5 

By Steven J. Hogan

You watch the news and hear about wars, earthquakes, plagues, famines and economic problems, and it is very distressing, and you are hoping it all goes away. But these things, these “birth pains”, as they are called in Matthew 24:4-8, aren’t going to go away, not yet anyway. Conditions in the world will get worse and worse and worse. Then suddenly Jesus Christ will return, and He will take up the Christians, take out the enemy and take over the world. “They will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” Luke 21:27, Revelation 6:1-8

We are now living in the end times, and the reason we know this is because the Jews have been regathering to their homeland of Israel. We’re getting closer and closer to the end of this present evil age, that time period right before Christ’s second coming and the rapture of the church. On the night before Jesus Christ died, He told His disciples what would happen before He came again; and many of these things are now actually taking place in our lifetime. We should be very excited and thankful that we can actually be living in these days leading up to Christ’s return. Ezekiel 36-37, Mark 13:21 –“So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.” Hebrews 10:25 – “Encourage one another, and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.” Matthew 24:3-14

What can we expect to take place before Christ’s second coming, before we are raptured into heaven, and God then judges the world? As I mentioned there will be more and more wars, earthquakes, plagues, famines, economic problems, and death. But what else? Wars will continue, nations will be taken over, and new alliances will be made. People will increasingly be desiring world unity, yearning for a ruler who will bring world peace. Anti-Semitism will greatly increase, and Mideast tensions will boil over. Then, at the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week there will be this seeming breakthrough – this “peace treaty” between Israel and other nations. Finally, the Jews will rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, and once again offer sacrifices. But this peace will prove to be a “fake peace.” Daniel 9:27, Luke 21:24, 2 Thessalonians 2:4-12

The world will continue to grow more and more lawless and wicked. “There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents…lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” People will  be sinning all the more, but the gospel, God’s answer to man’s problem of sin, will be proclaimed to the entire world, and Christ’s command will be carried out: “Go and make disciples of all the nations…and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Matthew 24:12, 28:19-20; Ezekiel 38:1-6; Daniel 7:23-24

Then the Antichrist rises to power. It is the midpoint of this 70th week of Daniel. True Christians and discerning Jews will know that this man who desolates the temple in Jerusalem is the devil’s man, the beast, the man of lawlessness, the Antichrist. With great charm, eloquence and power, this most wicked man will deceive the unbelievers in the world, and they will worship him. To help carry out the Antichrist’s plan to control the world, his partner, the false prophet will do great miracles, and using the latest technology, force people to worship the image of this Antichrist and to take his mark; and his number is 666. Then it will “seem” to be a time of relative peace for the unbelievers, for they will be buying and selling, eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying and being given in marriage. “As it was in the days of Noah so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:37, Revelation 13, 2 Thessalonians 2:3

Christians will be hated and betrayed, even by their own family members, and many will be martyred for their faith. There are some who think Christians will have been raptured by this time, but this is not true, for that is not what the Word of God tells us. Christians have always suffered, but when the Antichrist comes there will be great suffering and persecution all over the world, even here in the United States. The rapture is pre-wrath, but not pre-tribulational. “In this world you will have tribulation.” John 15:33. “The beast (Antichrist) was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them.” Revelation 13:7. “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer.” Revelation 2:10

Jesus Christ will then rapture His church sometime during the last half of Daniel’s 70th week, but we don’t know the day or the hour. This great tribulation will suddenly be cut short by Jesus Christ. There will be signs in the heavens and the skies will grow dark, and then Christ will return in the clouds, His brilliant Shekinah glory lighting up the skies. Christ will give a loud command, the trumpet will sound, and Christ will rescue His bride, snatching her from the earth and taking her to heaven, so that she can then live with Him forever. Matthew 24:27, 29-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

How about you? Will you be left behind and face the great judgment of God on earth? Or will you be taken to heaven when Christ returns? Please understand the truth of Christ’s 1st coming, that He came to save sinners! Please understand the truth of Christ’s 2nd coming, that He is returning to rapture the Christians who received His mercy; and then judge those who rejected His offer for mercy! Don’t be left behind and face the wrath of God on earth, and then the wrath of God in hell, where God will show no mercy! “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” “For yet in a very little while, He who is coming, will come, and will not delay.” Hebrews 10:31, 37

If you’re not sure about your future, if you don’t know Jesus Christ and think you might be left behind, then know that it’s not too late to get right with God. Now is the day of salvation, the day of mercy, the time to wake up, the time to turn from your pride, selfishness, greed, idolatry and impurity, and to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and receive God’s great mercy. “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.” John 5:24, Romans 6:23, Romans 10:9-13

Repent of your sins, and believe that Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty for your sins and then rose again, gaining victory over sin, Satan and death. Call out to God to save you, and trust in Christ alone for the mercy He wants to freely give you. Then you will become a child of God, be forgiven of all our sins, receive eternal life, begin to experience God’s great love, and then begin your eternal journey of worshiping and serving Him. Someday God’s purpose for your life on earth will be over, and either you will die and go to heaven, or you will be raptured into heaven. Romans 5:8 – “God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” 1 John 3:1-3, 1 John 4:16

What’s next? What is God’s plan after the Christians are raptured and Christ judges the earth? At the end of Daniel’s 70th week, a great number of Jews will be spiritually saved, and then Jesus Christ will begin His 1000 year reign on earth. He will rule from Jerusalem with the glorified believers and the just redeemed Jews, who at this time will be living with Christ in Israel. This millennial kingdom of Christ, an immense and wonderful subject in the Old Testament, will be a most magnificent period of time as we work with and serve Jesus Christ, witnessing His great power, holiness, love, mercy and glory. You don’t want to miss it! Be saved and you will be with the Lord Jesus Christ forever and ever! Isaiah 2, 4, 11, 12, 40-66; Psalms 2, 37, 47, 48, 67, 72, 102, 117; Romans 11:27

Don’t be naïve, misinformed, confused or in error! The devil has told many lies about these important subjects. Please understand the truth of Jesus Christ’s 1st coming, that salvation is through Him alone, and the truth of Christ’s 2nd coming, that He is coming back to take up the saints, take out the enemy and take over the world. “Do not let anyone deceive you in any way.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, Matthew 24:4, Hebrews 9:27-28

If you are a Christian, then how should you live in these days leading up to Christ’s return? Read your Bible. Don’t be worldly. Love God and live all out for Him. Have faith in God. Put your hope in Christ. Be faithful and do God’s work. Love the Christians. Tell others how Christ can save them from their sins. Be in a church that clearly and passionately preaches the gospel and teaches God’s Word, including the truth of Christ’s 2nd coming. Persevere to the end. And remember, God is sovereign, and now, as always, He’s working out all things, and working through all people to fulfill His purposes, and to bring us to that point when Jesus Christ will come back to take us home, judge this world, and then begin His 1000 year reign on earth. Ephesians 1:9-14, Hebrews 9:27, 1 Peter 1:13, Revelation 22:20 – “‘I am coming soon.’ Amen, come Lord Jesus.”