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And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.
And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.
For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.
But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.
And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man
Luke 17:20-26.

MUCH discussion has been made in the Body of Christ about the timing of the Lord’s return and debates rage over the timing about it being pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, or post-tribulation. I believe that we will be gone before the tribulation time, but we cannot discount that it sure seems to some people that they are already there! My heart goes out to people in what we call third world countries and in places like Phuket and Japan where the tsunamis hit or Nepal when the earthquake produced such destruction, loss of lives and much heartache. I feel for those in the troubled parts of the Middle East and other places where openly professing one’s belief in Jesus can lead to severe repercussions. It’s real already! 

Jesus told us that He was going to return and return He will. Before He left, He spent forty days with the disciples after His resurrection, speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God (Acts 1:2-3). Do not overlook that!
Theologians have been a little loose with their choices of words when speaking of the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Heaven. Let me tell you that heaven is a place. It is very real. It is a wonderfully beautiful, amazing, enormous place, but it is not the Kingdom of God! The kingdom of God is not heaven. I’ve been there along with many others. Heaven is a geographical place but the Kingdom of God is God’s way of doing things. They are totally different and distinct from each other. The Kingdom of God is much more important and has greater relevance than many people realize.

It would seem that the Lord was talking to the disciples about how God does things and we need to know those things to live the way God intends us to live in the rotten here and now, not in the sweet bye and bye.

The disciples then asked Him about restoring the kingdom to Israel. They were thinking in the natural realm, hoping for the restoration of a kingdom like David had and Jesus told them that this was none of their business.

The issue for Him was that they got on with the job He started. People get off onto all kinds of tangents and topics, some of which are pure conjecture and some are acceptable. Whilst some matters need to be discussed, what is more important? We can become sidetracked even with legitimate topics and get nowhere whilst the preaching of the kingdom is overlooked and people go to hell, never hearing the truth.

Jesus told them that the Holy Spirit would come to equip them for the tasks ahead. We need the Holy Spirit. Without Him in our lives, all we have is yet another form of religion and religion is man’s was of trying to relate with God, subject to all sorts of expressions, traditions and theories. Whilst He was telling them (and us) about being His witnesses, He ascended into Heaven. They stood there with jaws dropping in amazement (and we tend to do that also) until two angels came to get them moving, telling them to get on with the job and stated-

Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Acts 1:11.

There are a few key points to consider. They said that it would be the same Jesus who would return the same way that He left. That is, in the clouds. It will not be someone or something else but the very same Jesus who ascended into Heaven mere days before Pentecost.

In Revelation 1:7, we are told that He cometh with clouds. There is little doubt that He is returning.

I’d like to encourage you with some of the words Paul said on the matter.

Now also we would not have you ignorant, brethren, about those who fall asleep [in death], that you may not grieve [for them] as the rest do who have no hope [beyond the grave].
For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will also bring with Him through Jesus those who have fallen asleep [in death].
For this we declare to you by the Lord's [own] word, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord shall in no way precede [into His presence] or have any advantage at all over those who have previously fallen asleep [in Him in death].
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud cry of summons, with the shout of an archangel, and with the blast of the trumpet of God. And those who have departed this life in Christ will rise first. Then we, the living ones who remain [on the earth], shall simultaneously be caught up along with [the resurrected dead] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so always (through the eternity of the eternities) we shall be with the Lord!
Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

This will happen so quickly, it will be almost impossible to measure how fast. The twinkle of an eye is supposedly the smallest measurement of time possible for us to actually measure. One measurement said that it is eleven one-hundredth of a second. Paul said that it will be fast-

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:51-58. 

Jesus’ return is certain. Of that, there is no doubt and He told us to watch and to be ready for that great day and from scriptural accounts, it will be so fast, you could miss it if you blink at the wrong time. 

Since He left, there have been all kinds of theories and many foolish things said and done.

You have doubtless heard of some of them. Thankfully, He gave us some clues and I want to look at them with you. The Lord went into great detail on these things in Matthew chapter twenty-four and Mark chapter thirteen. The passages are very lengthy, so I will not share them in full here. Please study them out yourselves. But do so with an open mind as if you have never seen them before and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to you.

The timing is of great debate, but it need not be so. Scriptures are precise. They do indeed tell us in plain language what is going to happen. Jesus’ teaching here in Luke seventeen gives us one of the most profound warnings of what is to come. What we have to do is find put for ourselves what God does say on such things

It is important for us to take special note of several factors Jesus reveals about timing, and how the events of history reveal much about when His return will take place.  Two comparisons of man’s moral corruption are given to mark the condition of man’s soul at the time of His return.  The days of Noah and the days of Sodom, marked a time of complete moral decay.  Are we at that point in time now?  People are ruthlessly killing innocent men, women, and children in the name of their religion with no remorse whatsoever.

Their souls have been seared and become calloused.  What was once considered sexual immorality, has now become condoned by the world and considered natural by many.  Those that oppose this moral decay are now considered unloving and bigots in the mainstream media.  Truth is now called the lie, and the lie called the truth; light called darkness, and darkness called light.

Have we returned to the days of Noah and Sodom?  Jesus introduces some very important facts about the end of the age.

 Note that Jesus points out that on the day Noah entered the ark, and on the day that Lot went out of Sodom, judgment came. It did not come at some future date, or after some kind of religious fervor.

God did not judge the righteous with the unrighteous! He does not destroy the righteous with the unrighteous. Let us remember Abraham’s discourse with God about Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis Chapter eighteen. The moment God removed His righteous people, His judgment fell upon those that remained, but the righteous soul suffered until the day of deliverance!

He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that  righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. 2 Peter 2:6-10.

1 Thessalonians 5:9 states-

...God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.

To reinforce my beliefs that we are basically immune from this wrath or judgment—plagues and the great tribulation, please consider Israel. To be sure, things do happen and we would be foolish to ignore that, but I am speaking of God’s purpose. When Moses called for the plagues in Exodus chapter 7-11 and they came. Sometimes the Egyptian magicians copycatted what Moses did. Never think for a moment that anyone who produces supernatural signs is from God. Lying signs and wonders can and will deceive many in the last days—if people allow it. You and I need not be and will not be deceived however if we keep close to the Lord and his word.
I want you to see something interesting. In Exodus 7:9-10, God told Moses and Aaron what to do when they came into Pharaoh’s court. It was to cast down his rod (a symbol of authority and identification) before Pharaoh. It turned into a snake, but the magicians did the same! Notice whose rod was used. I used to think it was Moses’, but it was Aaron’s. If you study it out, when Moses went up the mountain in Exodus 3 with His rod, but when he came down in Exodus 4 after having an encounter with God, he went up carrying his rod and came down carrying the rod of God! Something happened to the man there that changed him and how he did things. This is the kind of thing that the church, generally speaking, has to return to, but without the spectacles and sideshows, excess and overindulgences of the past.  The reverse of these is also true!

Now if you read the account carefully, the bible says that when the fish died after the waters turned to blood, the Egyptians suffered. No mention whatsoever was made about God’s people! When the frogs came, the Egyptian magicians copied what Moses did, but Pharaoh asked Moses for help, not his magicians.

When the lice came, the magicians did what Moses did. The lice came, but they told Pharaoh that this was God’s finger, not their enchantments. All the way through the account, the land of  Egypt was mentioned, but not Goshen, where God’s people lived! Check it out! When gross darkness enveloped Egypt, over the other side of the road, so to speak, the Israelites were in light!

I am convinced that there was a demarkation line between the heathen and God’s people. It was a type or shadow of things to come. Just as God’s handful of people (8 souls in all) escaped the flood and everyone else perished, surely there is also a demarkation line between us and them! God told Moses what to do on that first Passover night, telling us that He was looking for the blood! My friend, you and I are marked! There is a scarlet mark on us and that is the Blood of Jesus.

I will talk in depth on this matter later in a study or two on the rapture of the church, in a topic I have titled The Trump of God. Watch for it.

To recap, things are coming to the world that will scare the socks off everyone who is not prepared and the Lord has been showing us what to look for. He gave many illustrations, one of which is the events that happened in Noah’s day. I say again that they will not adversely affect us in the way that ill informed people intimate, because we are in a covenant relationship with God.

One of the great benefits of covenant is the promises of protection for each of the covenant participants. Covenanters can legitimately expect those benefits. An example of this is found when Abram’s nephew is captured and Abram pursues his abductors in Genesis 14:10-16. 

But those who survived fled to the hill country. Then they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food supply, and departed. They also took Lot, Abram's nephew, and his possessions and departed, for he was living in Sodom. Then a fugitive came and told Abram the Hebrew. Now he was living by the oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner, and these were allies with Abram. When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he led out his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. He divided his forces against them by night, he and his servants, and defeated them, and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus. He  brought back all the goods, and also brought back his relative Lot with his possessions, and also the women, and the people.

The term allies comes from two Hebrew words. The first being, beriyth that connotes the sense of cutting a compact made by passing between pieces of flesh as a covenant and ba`al  that means a master or a husband. In the marriage covenant it is the obligation of the husband to love and protect his wife.

 

To attack one’s own ally or covenant partner would make the attacker a covenant breaker. 

Now, let us reference back to Peter’s writings in 2 Peter 2:7 and the statement, “if He rescued righteous Lot”.  The word, rescued, comes from the Greek word, rhoumai that speaks about saving, rescuing, protecting, delivering, warding something off and guarding. If God did all that for Lot, He can and will do that for us too.

Both Noah and Lot were surrounded by the corruption of a depraved and fallen world. If Jesus spoke of  Noah and Lot when speaking about end time events, then it should be no surprise that this world will be in the same condition as it was then., That is, just before God’s judgment. If this is the point of Jesus’ teaching and warning in Luke seventeen to His Church, it suggests that some people (believers) will be dismayed and fall away!

Jesus spoke much of His return. One illustration is found in Matthew 25:1-13.

Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.'  Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.  The foolish said to the prudent, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'  But the prudent answered, 'No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.' And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.

Later the other virgins also came, saying, ' Lord, lord, open up for us.' But he answered, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you. Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.

I’ve heard that the five virgins with oil represent Christians and the other five represent unsaved people, but there is a problem with that. All ten were engaged to be married, meaning that there has to be some kind of relationship to start with.

I have also heard that the five with remaining oil were keeping themselves filled to a certain extent with the oil of the Spirit, whilst the others had allowed the cares of the world and other things to enter in and thus had run out of oil. All ten had a supply of oil to start with, but something went wrong.

I am of the opinion that neither approach is correct.

All ten were in a relationship. All ten knew the approximate time for the bridegroom’s arrival. All ten knew what was required of them. 5 had totally neglected to be prepared and were totally unequipped.

The other 5 were not completely committed and dedicated and their oil had almost run out. They were waning in their love, whilst the others had already grown cold. The Lord spoke of such people in revelation. He wants those who are really sold out and fervent in their relationship, not those who were lukewarm, or compromising.
We visited a church recently to join in a special celebration event and were horrified!
They actually sold alcohol in the church, having deliberately received a temporary liquor license for the evening. Many  people seemed to be drunk. The senior pastor always had a glass of wine in his hand and later seemed to forget which glass was his. Of the several greetings and congratulations sent by pastors from other churches in their organization, many spoke about enjoying a bottle of wine together. Now, I am not advocating total abstinence, nor am I saying we should embrace consumption of alcohol. I am saying that the church has a responsibility to show unsaved folk that we are different. They were not. It resembled more of a drunken party than a church celebration and that was the problem. Alcoholics, even reformed for years, cannot take one small sip even by accident, or it will put them back onto the stuff and that church was exposing people to such risks.

The problem goes much deeper than that however. Major legalistic issues in many churches exist stating that anyone who smoked or consumed alcohol cannot take up membership etc, but they control others to the point that they act like a cult, have party factions and pastors “pets” and give preferential treatment to those who have money, or prestigious professional occupations. James warned not to do those things.

What about a pastor who is not approachable?

These things and more are attitudinal problems that hurt and offend many people and are as serious as the externals. Which is worse? Outward shows of self righteousness, extreme liberalism, or legalism?

We must have high standards because we represent royalty. We must have dignity, courtesy and respect and show honor that is due where honor is due. If you had the opportunity to meet the Queen, you would have to display all those qualities. You would have to talk only when spoken to and then in the appropriate manner.
If you had a meeting with the President of the United States of America, you would address him as “Mister President”. 

In Australia, our national leader is the honorable prime minster and we have to respect all such offices even if we do not agree with their policies or if they belong to a different political party. The leader of the opposition is still called the honorable leader irrespective of which party is in government.

Having said this, a meeting with one of those leaders involves much protocol.

One has to dress appropriately. We have to be in attendance at the prescribed time. We sit in the place we are shown. We stand when standing is required. There are many things to consider.

When Believers come to worship the Lord—the King of Kings should we not show similar behavior?

Why are so many churches permitting people to arrive late? No respect. No honor. Why do people dress as if they are going to a football match? No honor. Why do people walk around in the sanctuary during service? No honor. I am looking into the matter of honor and might present a dedicated study on that at a later date, but I share these things now to illustrate that there are many areas in which compromise is entering the church and I believe that it offends God.

Compromise under any pretense is still compromise and many churches are like them, becoming “seeker friendly” and more attractive to unchurched folk who can see right through the pretenses.

Jesus never compromised. He ruffled feathers. He called people hypocrites, vipers, whited sepulchers and so on. He forgave many people and immediately told them, “Stop sinning” or living like that!

If we are the light of the world we must shine and be different, otherwise the lost will never see Christ in us. We do not have to be religious and fanatical, but please let us stand up for truth. 

If you study the manners and customs of the day, you will see that certain events were clearly evident to everyone at that wedding. In our society, a man asks the lady to marry him, she replies, “Yes” and from then on, they plan the wedding. They set the date, venue and time. They arrange for her bouquet of flowers, her bridal gown, engage the services of a photographer, organize the wedding cake and breakfast. They plan their honeymoon, so if they are traveling somewhere, surely they know the date and time and all the travel arrangements. They invite their guests and usually have an R.S.V.P. to facilitate arrangements.
I have never heard of receiving an invitation without a date, place and time!


They all knew where and when the groom would arrive, but all ten had fallen asleep.

Only one person knew when the bridegroom arrived and that person was the watchman!
Only one person was actively looking for his approach whilst everyone else was doing their own thing.

Many of our Churches are full of people that know about Jesus, but do not know Jesus. Many of our churches are full of people who are enjoying the activities of their church life, but not really looking for the bridegroom.

This is the event that the Apostle Paul so appropriately describes in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4,

Let no one deceive or beguile you in any way, for that day will not come except the apostasy comes first [unless the predicted great falling away of those who have professed to be Christians has come, and the man of lawlessness (sin) is revealed, who is the son of doom (of perdition), [Daniel 7:25; 8:25;1 Timothy 4:1.].

Saints, we cannot allow the events of this age to distract us from our mission to reach the lost. As we draw closer to the end of the age, it is imperative that we draw closer to our Savior and Deliverer.  We must- Draw near to God and He will draw near to you James 4:8.

We must keep our lamps filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit.  Let us forget not the parable of the sower. Four-fifths of those that heard the word failed to reach the promise of the Kingdom.

Hear then the parable of the sower.  When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. Matthew 13:18-23.

 It is the oil of the Holy Spirit, which keeps the fire burning! Let us follow the disciples’ example: And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Acts 13:52.

Whilst we wait patiently for His return, there are certain things we have to do and must do.

As a pastor and because of the apostolic/prophetic mantle on me, I meet many people, see and hear many things world wide.

To be sure, there are many places I have not personally visited, but I have also traveled much and there are many people who communicate regularly with me from all parts of the world and they are all saying similar things.

My ministry associates are all talking about changes, an imminent visitation of God, an unprecedented outpouring of the Holy Spirit and wonderful things that are both awesome, yet exciting.

We are also starting to see another side of the coin. The days in which we live are getting darker and problems are emerging that could cause many hearts to fail for fear.

I need not elaborate more. You know as well as I what some of them are.

With regard to Jesus‘ comments about the days of Noah, Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah look at an alarming trend. It is not new by any means, but the agenda is being openly pushed at an alarming rate.

Legislation was recently approved in the United States to legalize same sex marriage, stating that it contravenes the Constitution to ban it. The implications to ministers are serious, for in refusing to agree to conduct such weddings, they face prosecution, confiscation of church properties and more.

This is not new however for in ancient Greece and Roman times the same issues raised their ugly heads, with serious repercussions for not complying.

Ancient Greece and the Roman empire is dead! They and many other nations had an open stance on such matters. It was considered to be the norm so much that one was prosecuted if he or she did not have a same-sex relationship.


This is a returning trend.

It is not an issue about gay rights, but is a direct attack on God’s viewpoint on marriage between one man and one woman and the family. The trend now it to stop pushing for their gay rights, because we can see right through that. The thrust has changed to gradually introduce their agendas in subtile ways like appealing to people unobtrusively. Talk instead of marriage equality and talk about it often enough ordinary people’s senses are dulled. We could then think that we do not agree with homosexuality, but feel sorry for those folk who say that they are not being treated as equals with their choices of relationships. 

The attack is deliberate because marriage and the family speak of the Church, the Bridegroom and the Bride.

It is more serious now, although there is nothing new under the sun, because of the population of planet earth and the technology explosion. There are more people involved than back then and they are openly advertising it. There are other issues of course, but Jesus spoke of Sodom and Gomorrah, the days of Noah and Lot when speaking of His return.

His return takes on more than one form or phase. Christians confuse things, forgetting that God speaks to different classes of people at different times and in different ways. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:32 not to give offense to the Jew, or the Greek, or the church of God. That is three differing groups of people. The Jew has a covenant with God that is different to the covenant enjoyed by the church. Both are valid and active today. The gentile could be likened to heathen. That is, people with no covenant as such.

God therefore speaks to each individual group in differing ways and if we think He is talking to us, when He is dealing with someone else, we confuse things, especially end time doctrine.

In Matthew chapter twenty-four when Jesus was speaking about such matters, He was talking on these lines. Some things pertain to Israel and not to you or me. Some things have already happened. For example, His disciples showed Him the buildings of the Temple and He said that it would fall. All that remains is the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Many scholars believe that the abomination of desolation He spoke of, mentioning Daniel, related to Israel and that has already happened.

We can easily get off onto tangents with these end time discussions and miss the core truth that concerns us most. He said that He would return and that is what we should focus on. He shared many illustrations in the process so we would be wise to keep ourselves informed on certain events, one of which I shared earlier. People talk of conspiracy theories, then antichrist, underground cities and military buildups in the United States, the supposed rise of a new financial and governing world body comprising India, China and a few other countries who will essentially destroy the United States (now trillions of $$$s in debt), replace the world bank with a new system and more... If it happens; it happens, but never forget that Jesus said things were going to happen before He returned and He shared things to watch for.

I do not want to get political here, but must say that the United States risks much by the way it treats Israel.

The current President is regarded very favorably by many US citizens who think he is wonderful; that he is doing a great job; that he is introducing much needed change. Certainly social changes for the improvement of people’s lives is a good thing, but when decisions are made that contradict God’s standards, it is a dangerous thing.

The US recently made a deal with Iran to lift sanctions and in essence gave them a small fortune without any workable control mechanisms. Their centrifuges are still spinning, enriching their uranium supplies and they have openly stated on numerous occasions  that they want to exterminate Israel.
After Obama announced the deal, Iran publicly said that they would sell arms to anyone who wanted to buy them.  That is pure evil and craziness.

What happened? Compromise.

This is the kind of thing Jesus said would be rife just before He came back.

He clearly said that there would be wars and rumors of wars and we are living witnesses of this, but He said more..

The Gospel of the Kingdom:

Jesus had been talking about wars, earthquakes and natural disasters, but added the end was not yet.
He spoke about false prophets and deceivers and we have them in abundance, but the end is not yet. He spoke about people’s love getting cold and those who endure to the end, but neither is that the end, because of a little conjunction, “And”.

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. Matthew 24:14.


No matter what happens in the world, Jesus said that He would build His Church and that the gates of Hell could not prevail against it. The devil can’t do a thing about that. Jesus did not say denominations or churches, but His Church! This is a glorious Church according to Paul in Ephesians, especially chapter 5. To understand this, you and I need revelation and the church is a mystery without such revelation. His Church is His body of believers, or the Ekklēsia (called out ones).

He said that our job is to preach something specific, that is, the gospel of the kingdom. If that is what He wants, then if we preach anything else, does this imply that we are being disobedient?

He did not ask us to build church edifices although they are where we often come together for worship. We can preach what he wants anywhere really and meet His criteria. He did not tell us to embark on social welfare projects although they are needed. He never told us to create music ministries or youth groups and the other things we associate with church life, but they form a part of our lives in out society. Many of the things we do in churches are not really scriptural at all, but they are often legitimate tools that we can use to get the message across.

He did not tell us we have license to go on shopping sprees, build houses and enjoy the good life because of a prosperity doctrine although the wealth transfer is real. Many good people have gone to excess over the prosperity message, little realizing that the wealth transfer is not coming to everyone! There must be a mission or a purpose for the wealth and God will not entrust people who cannot handle what they have now with great wealth. It is foolish to think that we can get this wealth now if we have already proved that we cannot handle what we already possess. It is foolish to think God will send us millions of $$$s, knowing that we will drink ourselves silly or buy a powerful sports car if we cannot drive properly.

It is like giving a 5 year old boy a hand grenade to play with. Eventually, that child will pull the pin out.

We must understand such things. 

Society has changed vastly since He walked the earth, but the message is the same. Sin is still sin, no matter how sugar coated we make things people do. Friendly churches do not really meet His requirements. In fact, the truth can often be abrasive to many people. He often rubbed people up the wrong way and did that so much to the religious folk that they wanted Him dead. They hated Him and He said that if they hated Him, they would also hate us. This does not mean that we have to water the gospel down to appeal to people. Tell the truth. Tell them the truth about Calvary, the punishment of sin and a promise of life everlasting if we accept HIm. That is the core of the message.

He said that the gospel of the Kingdom would be preached in all nations—as a witness. He did not tell us that it would always be accepted. What is necessary is that every human being on earth has a chance to hear the Gospel of the Kingdom. That—is one of the most powerful signs that He gave us.

On one of my visits to India, the team there took me to what they called a remote native village. It was remote all right! We drove in the country for hours and got off the beaten track to follow what I would call a trail bike track, but even worse. We climbed the last hill and on the other side was that village. People came running towards us and the car stopped. When I got out, many people froze on the spot. Children started running away, some screaming with fright. They had never seen a white man before!

The pastor thanked me for coming with him saying that I was the first foreigner to have ever visited that part of India! He was not joking.

On our return home, we passed through another village late in the evening. The car stopped at an intersection and turned and I saw a group of people in a public place watching Joyce Meyer on TV by satellite.

The Lord spoke to me then saying that I had witnessed that day precisely what He had said in Matthew 24.

This Gospel that Jesus spoke of is interesting. Many good sermons are preached on a wide range of topics and rightly so. Social issues, political issues, health and prosperity issues, work ethics, family and marriage, worship and many other topics are used and often to great effect, but we must look at what Jesus tells us to preach about and what to do. We must follow His example. I urge you to read Isaiah 61 carefully, compare it with the first sermon Jesus preached as recorded in Luke 4 and relate that to Acts 10:38 and then see how modern day preaching compares. I often wonder if we really measure up.

The Gospel is supposed to be good news, coming from the Greek word Euangelion. It originally spoke of a reward for good tidings, later omitting the idea of reward so that is simply stands for the good news. You will see familiar words evangelism and evangelist. That is where they come from.

It really stands for the good news or good tidings of the Kingdom of God and of salvation through Jesus that is received by faith on the basis of His death, burial, resurrection and ascension. In my usual fashion, I present scripture references to illustrate. There are many, some of which are Matthew 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; Mark 1:1; 14; Acts 15:7; 20:24;  Romans 1:1-9; 2:16; 15:16-19; 1 Corinthians 15:1-3; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 11:7; Galatians 1:7-11; 2:2; Ephesians 1:13; 6:15; 1 Thessalonians 2:2, 9; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Timothy 1:11; 1 Peter 4:17; Revelation 10:7; 14:6.

With theses thoughts, may I ask you to seriously reconsider what you call preaching. Are we really fulfilling Jesus’ commission? We do not have to stand behind a pulpit to answer that one.

As the world is getting darker, our message must get clearer and brighter.

The Fig Tree:

The second major pointer Jesus used was that of the fig tree. The fig tree often speaks of Israel. I guess that you know Israel’s history. This nation is the only nation on earth to have such a beginning. It was chosen by God; entered into a covenant with God that is still in force today; established a capital city—Jerusalem that God chose as His and is the national birthplace of our Lord. No other nation has ever been dispossessed as much as Israel and had the citizens dispersed throughout all the world and no other nation in human history has been destroyed and rebuilt. 

Jesus said that when the fig tree starts to bring forth new shoots, it heralds summer time when the figs fruit!

In 1948, Israel was reborn. It was recognized amongst the nations as a legally constituted independent country and Jews from all over the world started a second exodus to return to the land God gave to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as an everlasting inheritance. How dare any world leader try to deny that and take their land from them. How dare any world leader of any nation allow planned mass holocaust to happen and not suffer the consequences. How dare any world leader allow what the prime minster of England do when he turned a blind eye to Hitler’s threat and history itself attests to that.

This is why I boldly said that the incumbent President of the United States has made a very serious mistake.

If there was any doubt about the purposes for which Iran will use the $150 billion windfall it will soon receive from the nuclear deal, recently brokered, Iranian leaders are making their aims very clear. 

They firmly and publicly have declared that they will continue funding terrorist groups around the world.
Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister said, “We will supply arms to anyone anywhere.”

It is undeniable that our government and world leaders have just taken a step that dramatically increases the danger of terrorist attacks in Israel, in Europe, in America, and all around the world. Iran is not going to use its massive cash bonus to build schools and bridges—it is going to use it to buy guns and bombs and rockets, and attempt to spread its radical vision of Islamic domination over the entire earth.

Do not fear however. Remember Jesus’ promise to return and His sign that the fig tree will blossom again.

I was born in 1942!

I was alive when Israel was reborn as a nation six years later.

Look at what He said-

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
Verily I say unto you,
This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Matthew 24:32-34 

Did He mean that the generation that would be breathing God’s good air when those two things happened would be around when He returned?

I am bold enough and naive enough to believe so.

That means we are running out of time. Perhaps we are already on borrowed time and if so then it behoves us to maximize the time we have available.

It is a challenge to me personally but I for one do not want to be caught unprepared.
I want to be like the watchman in that story of the ten virgins who was alert to what is happening, watching and preparing and enjoying life to the full and overflowing in the process.

There is much more to tell yet. Matthew 24 is full of multiple stories, each one has a different message to different people. He addressed Jews of His day; Jews of many generations later; Jews of our day and He told you and me now to keep abreast of things that are happening. I hope you take this message to heart. It has covered a whole bunch of stuff, but there are the three major points I will sum up to leave you with.

The Gospel of the Kingdom of God that Paul called His Gospel has to be proclaimed—not another gospel; not a watered down message that contains compromise; not a message of fire and brimstone that does little but turn people away, but a message of hope and the guarantee of a good future that is the Gospel of the Kingdom of God that empowers people, changes their lives and reveals truth.

The nation of Israel is facing a crisis, but this is not the end. I’ve read the end of the book and we really do win, even if it does not always look as if it is so. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray for the leaders of your nations. Pray for sanity to return and wisdom that is the wisdom of God to prevail.

Watch the trends in churches and see if they measure up to God’s standards. If not, then get out and find one that does. Watch things that are sneaking in to undermine God’s standards and do not be caught napping. Jesus did tell us that when He came back it would be like it was...as in the days of Noah! 

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