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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!

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

The Rapture, A Love Story

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #6 ~

Jesus Christ is now in heaven, sitting at the right hand of the Father. And do you know what He’s thinking about? He’s thinking about you and me, His bride on earth, and no doubt longing for that time when He will return to rapture and redeem the believers who are still on earth. But He is not just “thinking” about coming back, He’s “excited” about it, He’s “looking forward” to it. He “can’t wait” to come back and take you home to heaven. Jesus’ heart is aflame with love for you – He loves you so much more than you know – “for as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love towards those who fear Him.” Psalm 103:11

But here’s a question? Do you love Jesus? I mean do you intensely and passionately love Jesus? Is your heart aflame with love for Him? Are you loving Jesus by living for Him while you are on this earth? And are you excited that He’s coming back to take you home to heaven? Is this your desire and prayer, and what you spend time thinking about? My concern and fear in this day and age is that many Christians are sleeping, are apathetic, and aren’t interested in Christ’s return and the rapture. But why? Are they lovers of self? Are they worldly? Are they “choked with worries, riches and pleasures of life?” Luke 8:14. Or are they ignorant, and just don’t know about Christ’s return?

In over 100 verses, God specifically tells you that Jesus is coming back; and 100’s of more verses give all kinds of details about His return. Why does God say so much? Why does He keep repeating Himself? Because He loves you, and because Jesus loves you. These verses are Jesus’ love letter to you, letting you know, convincing you and reminding you about His coming for you. More than you realize, Jesus longs to see you and be with you, and He wants you to long to see Him and be with Him – and to be ready and waiting for Him.

Think of a serviceman overseas, writing emails and texts to his wife, and he keeps telling her, “I miss you so much. I can’t wait to see you. I’ll be home soon. All my love.” Then the day comes and he returns home, and he is in the airport, and he sees his wife, and they are jumping up and down, shouting, crying, hugging and kissing. And their love for one another is quite obvious. For a long time they’ve been thinking about this, and looking forward to this one moment. And now it’s true!

But we are talking about seeing Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and being in love with Him. Now there are many ways to get stirred in your love for Jesus. One way is by taking communion, for this is to remind you of Jesus’ love for you so that you then love Him. 1 Corinthians 11:26 says, “As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” This church age verse instructs you to stay in love with Jesus “until He comes.” Jesus’ heart is fired up for you, and He wants your heart to be fired up for Him, to be charged up by His love for you. It’s that simple. Jesus loves you and He wants you to love Him, and to be longing for that time when you will see Him. Jesus is your Savior, Friend and Husband, and three times at the end of His Revelation love letter, He says to you, “Behold, I am coming soon!” Revelation 22:7,12, 20

Your relationship with Jesus is a love story, and undoubtedly the best of all love stories. Jesus has loved you for a long, long time. God chose to save you, and since eternity past Jesus has had you on His heart, has had His eye on you, and then He died for you (Romans 5:8), and then you were physically born, and then He called you, and then you were saved, at which time you first began to love Him. And now you continue to love Him. But sad to say, your heart can get cold. Revelation 2:4 says, “you have left your first love.” Revelation 3:16 says, “you are lukewarm.” Today, if your heart is not fervent in your love towards Jesus, then repent, tell Him you are sorry, and “dine with Him” and “do the deeds you did at first”. And keep loving Him “until He comes”. I still remember and love Pat Terry’s song from the 1970’s – I can’t wait to see Jesus in His glory as He bursts from the sky…”

P.S. I just finished an article, “An Introduction to the Book of Revelation.” I believe you will find it very helpful, very instructive, and very encouraging.

The Rapture of the Christians at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #5 ~


At the end of this age, Jesus Christ will come down from heaven. With all authority, He will lovingly, powerfully, suddenly, quickly, and safely take up all the believers who are remaining on this earth. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet,” we will be taken out of this evil age, taken off this wicked world, and taken up from this earth. Immediately we will see Jesus, and then be with Him forever. This is the rapture of the Christians! 1 Corinthians 15:51-52

At this time, we will be caught up together with all the believers from all time. “We who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds…” 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Those in heaven and those on earth will be gathered together to be with Jesus Christ. Then we will see all the believers, which includes loved ones, family members and friends who went to heaven before us. What a great reunion, what a glorious celebration this will be! This is our hope, our future – this is the truth, what surely will take place, and what we should all be looking forward to. Matthew 24:31

“…to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17. We will not just see one another, but we will see Jesus. Then we will hear His loving voice and His truth filled words. Finally, it hits us, we are actually with Jesus, our Lord, Savior, Friend and Husband. Filled with awe and overflowing with joy, with great emotion we will praise and thank our Lord, and tell Him, as Revelation 7:9 says, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb.”

“We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He is.” 1 John 3:2. Not only will we see Jesus, but we will also be like Him. That is, we will be glorified, we will receive our brand new body. Do you realize that no believer in heaven or on earth is at this time glorified, is fully saved? This takes place at the rapture. And for believers now on earth, we were justified, we are being sanctified, and we will be glorified at the rapture, when all believers from all time will receive their perfect, powerful, immortal and spiritual bodies. Our salvation will finally be complete! How wonderful this will be! Glory be to God! Romans 8:28-30, 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

When will this take place? No one but God knows the exact time. But God does want us to know the general time of Christ’s coming and the rapture; and it won’t be long because we are now living in the end times. It is Matthew 24 that helps us see the general time of His coming, and gives us the best chronology of end time events. It tells us that the rapture (vs 31) will be after the birth pains (vss 4-8), after the Antichrist is revealed (vs 15), after great tribulation (vss 9, 21, 29), after the gospel has been preached to the world (vs 14), and after the end of the age, the signs in the heavens (vs 29). The rapture will take place sometime during the last half of Daniel’s 70th week, but we do not know the day or the hour.

The rapture of the church, the first event at Christ’s coming, is a most pivotal, critical and climactic point in human history. Why? 1) All believers are happily with Christ, our salvation is complete and we are glorified. 2) This present evil age is over, and the day of the Lord, God’s righteous wrath, will then take place on earth. 3) Then the good age will begin, when Christ will reign on this earth, and we will reign with Him. The rapture – what a glorious moment this will be, and O what it means for all eternity! Think about it. Believe it. Be excited about it! Look forward to it! “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:20

JESUS LOVES ME – Anna B. Warner / William Bradbury

“Jesus loves me! He who died Heaven’s gate to open wide; He will wash away my sin, Let His little child come in. Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.”

“Jesus loves me! He will stay close beside me all the way; He’s prepared a home for me, and some day His face I’ll see. Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.”

P.S. – Our church will be hosting a Bible Prophecy Conference on April 1-2. The speakers will be Marv Rosenthal, Alan Kurschner and myself. Check it out on the front page of www.HopeBibleChurch.US – it’s going to be a great conference, and I want to invite you to attend.

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