Jesus stood on the Mount of Olives, gave His last instructions
to His disciples, and was visibly lifted off the ground, and ascended into heaven.
Acts 1:10-11 While they looked steadfastly toward
heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who said, you men of Galiee, why do you stand
staring up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you
have seen him go into heaven.
This was not the first time that we heard the promise of
the Lord's return.
Back in John 14, at the Last Supper, Jesus was facing the
horrors of the Crucifixion, and began to look beyond that to the glories that would come from it.
Let not your heart be troubled,
He said. You believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions---I go to prepare a place
for you----and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there
you may be also. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled.
Neither let it be afraid.
Jesus is saying a temporary goodbye
to His friends. He promises that the Holy Spirit will come to teach them and comfort them and strenghthen them
in this life. And He also promises them that He is coming back for them.
The promised return of Jesus Christ is called the Blessed
The rule of the kingdom of Christ on earth is first prophesied
all the way back in the book of Daniel, where King Nebuchadnezzar had his famous dream. In the manner of all mindless
tyrants, he threatens to execute all of the palace fortunetellers if they can't tell him what the dream was.
The dream made a deep impression on him. But dreams
have a habit of vanishing the minute you wake up. The king's attempts to get back into his subconscious and retrieve
the dream were seriously maddening.
So Daniel sends a message of re-assurance to the king.
Wait a couple of days. Give me time to pray and fast, and hear from my God, and I will tell you your dream, and its
Before the week is out, Daniel appears before the king.
Daniel 2:31 You, oh, king, beheld a great image---whose brightness was excellent, and the form of it was
terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and thighs of brass,
his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
You watched, until a stone was cut out without hands, which
smote the image upon its iron and clay feet, and broke them to pieces. Then the iron, clay, brass, silver and gold,
was broken to pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloor, and the wind carried them away, and there was
no place found for them, and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
Daniel interpreted the dream for the king.
He said, God has given you a kingdom, power, strength and
glory. You are the head of gold. After you shall arise another kingdom, inferior to you, and another third kingdom,
of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. The fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron. You saw the
feet and toes, part iron, part potter's clay. They shall mingle, but they shall not cleave to one another.
Iron and clay cannot mix.
In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up
a kingdom which shall never be destroyed.
This very famous dream, dreamed by King Nebuchadnezzar, interpreted
by Daniel the prophet, all the way back in the beginning days of babylon, is a representation of the rise and fall of major
dynasties of world governments. It covers thousands of years of human history. The study of how this prophesy
is fulfilled can go on for years. But today we are going to look only at the last part of it.
Daniel says, you saw the feet and toes of the image--two
kinds of material that can't mix. In the days of those kings---in the days of the existance of those nations, the God
of heaven shall set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed.
There is going to be a succession of earthly kingdoms, spreading
out over the centuries of man's history. But there will come a time when Almighty God will put an end to it all,
and set up a kingdom on earth, where He himself will be personally in charge.
But, Daniel also had a prophetic dream. In Chapter
7, Daniel saw four great, wild beasts rise up out of a turbulent sea, and tear each other apart. Then, in 7:13, Daniel
saw one like the son of man, come with the clouds of heaven, and there was given him dominion and glory, and an everlasting
kingdom, which shall not pass away.
The history of human civilization has been varied.
We have built huge, towering, shining cities, conquered diseases, invented scientific wonders, painted and sculpted masterpieces
of art, composed beautiful music, and designed the instruments to play it, written great poetry, and built rockets that
blew us passed earth's gravity and landed us on the moon.
We can truly be represented by this glorious statue with
the golden head.
But we can't stop killing each other. Not a generation has
gone by where some nation has not been at war with some other nation. We fight and we argue and betray one another,
and we can't get along with the ones we are closest to and love the best.
Nebuchadnezzar's grand image with the head of gold, and the
wild beasts of Daniel's vision, destroying each other, picture to us the same political dynasties, the same human history.
The human race has marched through history, reaching the
grandness of near heaven and the depths of the horrors of Hell. And God says, one day, it's all going to change.
Nebuchadnezzar's prophetic dream of the golden headed image,
and Daniel's prophetic dream of the wild beasts, portray the same thing.
This change is pictured to Nebuchadnezzar as the stone that
strikes the feet of the image, and causes it to disintegrate into dust and blow away.
Daniel sees one he calls the Son of Man, who is given power
and glory and an everlasting kingdom.
In this narrative, written hundreds of years before Christ
was born, Daniel, by the power of prophesy, uses the term Son of Man.
This is one of the titles of Jesus Christ. In the vision,
he recognized the One that was to come, and knew one of his titles.
So let's take a look at what does the term Son of Man mean?
It means that Jesus was a full, complete, member of the human
race. If he was not, he could not have qualified to be our Redeemer. He had to be fully human.
He was conceived by the Holy Ghost. That makes Him
the sinless Son of God.
From His mother, who was a fully human, fully sinful member
of the human race, he recieved his one hundred percent humanity. That gives Him the title Son of Man.
And Daniel recognized this Person in His vision, knew His
title, and his vision took place hundreds of years before Christ came the first time.
Jesus Christ is the stone that smashed the image representing
the world's kingdoms. He is the everlasting rock of our salvation. He is the chief cornerstone of the wall of
the Christian church. He is the foundation of the everlasting rule of peace that shall come to this world.
The disciples sat down with Jesus one day, and asked Him
about all this.
When shall these things be? They said. What shall
be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the world?
Jesus' answer went from wars, rumors of wars, pestilences,
earthquakes, religious liars, and wound up with the story of a wedding---a beautiful wedding---that a lot of people were late
Jesus' first answer was a warning. Take heed that no
man deceive you. Be careful. Matthew 24, beginning at verse four. Take heed that no man deceive you.
Many shall come in My Name, saying I am Christ, and shall deceive many. You shall hear of wars and rumors of wars,---nation
shall rise against nation---there shall be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in different places. --many false
prophets shall rise, and decieve many.---verse 30, They shall see the son of man coming in the heavens with power and
This first warning. What does it mean to say I am Christ,
It means to claim the authority of Christ to yourself, and
unto yourself, without your own submission to the Word of God. Jesus has given to His people His power of
attorney. We sign our prayers in the Name of Jesus. We cast out demons in the Name of Jesus. We declare
sins forgiven in the Name of Jesus.
But to claim the authority of Jesus to do your own will is
a deception and a blasphemy. How can a person do that?
Well, as an example, just in recent weeks, the man who calls
himself Benedict 16 has claimed to have authority over your church. Christ did not give him authority over your
church, but he claims it anyway.
He has declared that your church is not a real church, because it lacks a ceremony and
affiliation that he says a real church needs. This man claims to have the authority of Christ to make this statement.
Lets take a look at actual history. The actual fact
of history is that the office we call the papacy existed in Roman religion for hundreds of years before Christ was born.
The holder of the office was called Pontifex Maximus--the high priest of the god mithra. It was a religious office and
it was a political office.
When Constantine made the Christian religion legal in 312
AD, he appointed a christian leader to fill the empty pontifex maximus position.
A few years later, Constantine's nephew, Julian the Apostate,
banned Christianity and re-instated pagan idol worship. The effect of this back and forth condition of the State religion
was to create a hybrid. A religion that talked about Jesus but still hung on to the ceremonies and idols of the pagan worship.
At no time, in no way, did Jesus Christ have anything to
do with the creation of the office we call the papacy. The office claims an "I am Christ" authority that it does not
This warning to avoid false prophets and religious liars
goes beyond just the unscriptural claims by one man, to authority that he does not have. Jesus said many false prophets
shall arise. Liars shall fill the religious world, confusing the pure message of Christ.
This is particularly obvious in these past few decades.
The Christian church in America has been plagued with an abundance of false prophets. The church has been distracted
from its pure message by leaders who claim to have some new power of God, some new religious razzle-dazzle, some new twisting
of the true gospel message, some new way they can pick your pocket and make you think you can buy the blessings of God with
money. Some new way they can make you feel religious without telling you to repent from sin, and turn your soul
to obedience to Jesus.
Jesus said the false prophets would show signs and wonders,
enough to deceive even God's elect. The true supernatural signs of the Holy Spirit will follow them that believe.
The true Holy Spirit will also convict your soul of sin, make you understand what the judgement of God is all about, and make
you hungry for righteousness.
The next thing Jesus talked about was the condition of the
world. Wars and rumors of wars. Nation rising against nation. Famines, pestilences, earthquakes.
With all this, Jesus said, you shall be hated of all
men for My Name's sake. Chapter 24, verses 10, 11, 12. Then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another,
and shall hate one another, and many false prophets shall rise, and shall decieve many. And because the love of evil
shall abound, the love of many shall grow cold.
When all the pestilences, and wars, and rumors of wars, and
religious liars has reached a fever pitch, there shall appear the Sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and Jesus will return.
Jesus says, in verses 29 and 30, the power of heaven shall be shaken, and they shall see the son of man in the clouds of heaven
with power and great glory.
If we are looking for heaven shaking, sky-splitting events,
and the son of man appearing in glory, where do we get this teaching called the Rapture, an event that comes totally
unexpectedly? These days, the Rapture is often called the secret rapture. But in actuality, there is nothing secret
about it. It is just unexpected. Because we are not told the day or the time.
This is the wedding spoken of in Matthew 25. The kingdom
of heaven shall be compared to ten virgins. Ten bridesmaids, waiting for the groom to arrive for the wedding.
All ten of these ladies had lamps, to carry, to light the wedding party. And they believed the groom was on his way.
They knew there was going to be a wedding.
They did not know exactly what time the groom was to arrive,
so they got dressed for the wedding, and then sat around with their feet up on the sofa, snacking and reading magazines, until
they fell asleep.
All at once they are jolted from their nap. The groom
is here! So they all shake themselves awake, put their shoes back on, and check their hair in the mirror. And five of
these ladies discover their lamps have gone out, and they are out of oil. No light. They ask the other five if
they will share theirs. The others refuse, declaring there isn't enough to go around for everyone. So the
ladies make a quick trip to the local all night 7-11 to get some oil.
But they are to late. The wedding has started, and
there are no stragglers allowed.
Watch, Jesus said. You don't know the day or the hour
that the son of man will come. Two shall be in the field. One shall be taken, the other left. Two shall
be grinding at the mill. One shall be taken, the other left.
Well, who is it that is getting married?
Revelation 21:9 there came to me one of the seven angels,
and talked with me, saying come hither, and I will show you the bride, the lamb's wife.
Who is the Lamb? John the Baptist told us. Behold
the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus is the Lamb. He is the Heavenly groom. And His
church, He calls, the Heavenly Bride.
Revelation 21:2,3 I John, saw the Holy City,
New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Remember back in John 14? He told us He was going to
build us a heavenly home, and then He would come back and take us to Himself, and take us to our heavenly home. That
where I am, there you may be also.
And what is this heavenly, eternal home going to be like?
Revelation 21:3 I heard a great voice out of heaven,
saying, behold, the tabernacle of God--the dwelling
place of God--is with men, and He shall dwell with them, and be their God, and God shall wipe away all tears from
their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former
things are passed away---and He that sat on the throne said behold, I make all things new.
The parable of the ten virgins pictures the event that
we call the rapture. The word rapture is not in the Bible. But the incident that we call the rapture is described
in 1 Thessalonians 4. I would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep---concerning them that
are dead. That you sorrow not, even as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
even so, them also who sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. The people who have died throughout the ages trusting
in the resurrection. Paul says, when Jesus comes back, He's going to bring them with Him.
verse 15. For this we say unto you by the word
of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not precede them which are asleep---for
the Lord Himself shall decend from heaven with a shout, and with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God,
and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in
the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we ever be with the Lord.
This is the moment of the bodily resurrection of the righteous
dead. And it is that same resurrection power that will snatch our live mortal bodies and resurrect them without their
passing through death.
Paul describes this in 1 Cornthians 15:52. Behold I
show you a mystery. We shall not all sleep. We shall not all die. But we shall all be changed. From
the beginning of the human race, everybody has died. And Paul is saying by the Holy Spirit that there are a few who
won't? When, why, and how? In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the dead shall be raised incorruptible.
And we shall be changed. This corruptible must put on incorruption--this mortal must put on immortality.
We shall not all sleep. There shall be some of us alive
on the earth when this moment of resurrection comes. This twinkling of an eye moment---and when this trumpet is sounded,
and your life is filled with the light of the Holy Spirit, then that will be the moment for you to be resurrected as
well. And every mortal cell in your body will explode, and take on a whole, new, immortal, DNA, and for you, there will
be no death.
That's why we call it the rapture. The word comes from
the Latin verb rapio. And roughly translated, it means, the glorious snatch.
It is interesting to note that when the disciples asked Jesus
what would be the sign of His return, His immediate response was to warn them to watch out for religious liars.
In the midst of all those wars, rumors of wars, and perils of all kinds, Jesus emphasized that the real danger was to allow
yourself to be led astray by religious impostors who play games with your soul and tell you you don't have to
obey Christ, or turn away from sin.
Verse 24:6, He mentions the wars and rumors of wars, and
says, don't be troubled. The thing you should worry about is having oil in your lamp. Why? Why oil instead
of a rifle, to fight the wars and be ready for the rumors of wars?
At this point in time, the world is going to fall apart,
and you won't be able to stop it anyway. Your job is to keep your own soul filled with the truth of God, with
the Spirit of God. The love of His appearing. Believe the truth of the Word of God. This will fill your soul with
the oil of the Holy Spirit, and this will prepare you to be snatched away to the wedding in the twinkling of an eye.
How do you prepare your soul to be full of the oil of the
Holy Spirit? Acts 2:37,38. The people who heard the Word asked the disciples, men and brethren, what shall we
Peter said to them, repent, and be baptized in the Name of Jesus.
Acts 16:29, 30. Paul and Silas had
been arrested and whipped, and chained in a prison. As they sang songs of praise at midnight, an earthquake shook
the prison and ripped the chains off the walls. The keeper of the jail was terrified, because he saw the supernatural
workings of God in the earthquake. He cried out in fear, what whall I do to be saved? And they said, believe
on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.
Simple. How do you prepare for the Lord's coming?
Turn from sin, and believe the true Gospel. 2 Timothy 4:8 speaks of them who love His appearing. Jesus is looking
for people who love His appearing.
In the very last chapter of the Bible, Jesus explains
the the final judgement. Revelation 22:11. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still.
He that is filthy, let him be filthy still. He that is righteous, let him be righteous still. He that is holy,
let him be holy still.
What does that mean?
In the moral universe there are two sides. The side
of Light, and righteousness, justice, and obedience to the perfect God. The dark side. The side
of filthyness, unrighteousness, evil, rebellion. Rejection of the law of God and the love of the Redeemer. During
your whole life, God continually requires you to face the one great big underlying question. Which side do you
want to be on? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The long centuries of man's warfare against God is
coming to an end. Man has always been given the choice between life and good, and death and evil. But Jesus says
that one day, the side you are on, that is the side you will be on forever. He that is filthy will no longer be allowed
to choose the redemption of Christ and receive His holiness. He will be filthy still, in his sins, stuck forever on
the wrong side.
Zecharias 14:4 Behold, the day of the Lord comes.
The Lord says, I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle. We can see that being put together this very minute.
Remember the two angels said He would come back the same
way you see Him go?
Zecharias described that return--and His feet shall stand
in that day on the Mount of Olives. And the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst, and there shall be a great valley.
When Jesus feet touch earth again, there is going to be a
big earthquake. And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. And He shall reign forever and ever.
He shall rule the nations with a rod of iron.
But first, there's
going to be the resurrection of the righteous dead, and there's going to be a wedding.
Luke 12:40 Therefore, you also be ready, for the son of man
comes at an hour when you think not.
1 Thessalonians 5:2 You know perfectly that the day
of the Lord comes as a thief in the night.
James 5:8 Be patient, establish your hearts, for the
coming of the Lord draws near.
1 Thessalonias 5:23 The very God of peace sanctify
you wholly, and I pray your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.