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Reference Guide #3

Armageddon Countdown

Belief in the soon coming of Jesus does not require blind faith. The Bible records many signs that are to take place before Jesus returns. These signs will be seen in the natural, political, economic, scientific, and religious world, making it possible for all of society to recognize earth’s closing events.

 

SIGNS IN THE NATURAL WORLD

  • Matthew 24:29 — The sun is darkened, the moon does not give light, and the stars fall from the sky.
  • Matthew 24:7 — Increase in famines, earthquakes, and disease.

 

SIGNS IN THE POLITICAL WORLD

  • Matthew 24:6, 7 — War and rumors of war.
  • Revelation 11:18 — Nations are angry.
  • Joel 3:9–14 — Men prepare for war.

The Bible is careful to predict that in the time of anger and preparation of war, there would be many efforts toward peace. “For when they say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them” (1 Thessalonians 5:2, 3; Jeremiah 6:14).

 

SIGNS IN THE ECONOMIC WORLD

  • James 5:1–6 — Rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer. An increase in wealth at the expense of the poor is seen in the world. Injustice in the work place is prevalent. SIGNS IN THE SCIENTIFIC WORLD 1. Daniel 12:4 — Increase in worldwide travel.
  • Daniel 12:4 — Knowledge shall increase. It is interesting that God designed Daniel’s prophecies to be sealed until “the time of the end.” During the period just before the end, simultaneously people would begin to understand the prophecies of Daniel, along with discovering great scientific knowledge.

 

SIGNS IN THE RELIGIOUS WORLD

  • 2 Peter 3:3, 4 — There would be scoffers.
  • 2 Timothy 3:1–5 — 19 prevalent sins in the last days.
  • Mathew 24:12 and Luke 18:8 — A lack of faith and love.
  • Matthew 24:14 — The greatest of all signs is the worldwide proclamation of the gospel.
  • Matthew 24:4, 11, 24 — An increase in deceptions.

In addition to the signs in the sky and on the earth, men’s hearts will be fearful. “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth” (Luke 21:26). These world conditions indicate that the coming of the Lord is “even at the doors” (Matthew 24:32–34). Let's heed Christ’s admonition to “watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord does come” (Matthew 24:42).

  • Matthew 24:24 Jesus warned that there will be a lot of deception regarding His return.
  • John 14:1–3 The promise of the second coming of Jesus.
  • Matthew 24:25, 26 Beware of anyone proclaiming that Christ is already come or that His coming will be in a secret manner.

 

EIGHT BIBLE FACTS OF HOW JESUS WILL COME

  • Acts 1:9–11 1. LITERAL. As He left, so He will return.
  • Acts 1:11 2. PERSONAL. The same Jesus who ascended into heaven will return.
  • Revelation 1:7 3. VISIBLE. Every eye will see Him—even the wicked! (See also Matthew 24:30.)
  • Matthew 24:31 4. AUDIBLE. He will come with angels and the trumpet of God. There will be a divine shout, and the voice of the archangel, with the trumpet blowing (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17).
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:16 5. RESURRECTING! The dead in Christ shall rise first.
  • Psalm 50:3 6. GLORIOUS. The Lord will come in all His glory (2 Thes. 2:8) and with all of His angels (Matt. 25:31).
  • Revelation 5:11 tells us there are more than 100 million holy angels.
  • Matthew 24:27 7. CLIMACTIC. Christ’s coming will be like lightning that shines from the east to the west.
  • Rev. 22:11, 12 8. DECISIVE. All cases will have already been decided for eternity when Jesus returns.

 

THE BIBLE USES THE “THIEF IN THE NIGHT” ILLUSTRATION 5 TIMES

  • Matt. 24:42, 44; 1 Thess. 5:2,4; 2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 3:3; Rev. 16:15

In every text above there is no evidence of a secret, silent, invisible coming of Jesus. The context of the usage of the expression “thief in the night” is always referring to the time, the suddenness, or unexpectedness of His coming—but not to secrecy.

  • Matt. 24:40–44,51 The “one shall be taken, and one shall be left” passage simply shows us that at Jesus’ coming, one group will be ready and saved, while the other group is lost and destroyed. (See also Luke 17:34–37.)
  • 1 Thess. 5:1–6 The coming of the Lord as a thief is about those who are not ready.
  • 1 Peter 1:13 Peter also exhorted his readers to hope for the “revelation” or revealing of the Savior from heaven—not a secret, invisible rapture.
  • Titus 2:13 The hope of the Christian Church is in the glorious return of Christ—not a previous secret rapture.
  • Luke 21:26,27 At a time when people’s hearts are afraid, the Lord will come with power and great glory—no mention again of any “taking up” of the church prior to the glorious coming of the Lord.
  • 2 Thess. 2:8 The antichrist power does not reign after the “parousia,” because the Bible teaches that it will be destroyed by the “parousia” or the coming of the Lord.
  • John 17:15 It was not the prayer of Jesus that His church be “raptured” away before the tribulation time, but rather that through God’s power they be kept from succumbing to the evil of the world.
  • Rev. 22:11, 12 The Lord’s coming is a DECISIVE event in that all will have had their case decided for eternity (2 Corinthians 6:2).

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