BIBLE STUDY LESSON # 23...March, 14 , 2010
“Chicken Little, The Sky Is Falling!"
I think most of us by now have heard the little nursery fable about Chicken Little. Chicken little went around telling everyone that “The Sky Is Falling” and caused mass hysteria among all of the other animals. Well, to make a long fable short, Chicken little ran and told Henny Penny, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey, Turkey Lurkey and Foxy Loxy that the sky was falling when it really wasn’t. Well, one by one Chicken Little told each animal and they all went off running to tell the King that the sky was falling. The last one they told was Foxy Loxy and Foxy Loxy led all of these animals straight to his den and they never made it to tell the King. The moral to the story is…The sky is not falling, don’t be a Chicken Little and don’t be afraid. Now in Chicken Little’s case, the sky really wasn’t falling, he only caused mass hysteria by claiming that it was.
Chicken Little Fable
As a student of Bible Prophecy and end time events I feel very much like “Chicken Little”. Only in my case, the sky really is falling but unlike Chicken Little’s friends, no one is really listening to me. I am not a Prophet or even someone that God has revealed the mysteries of sealed prophecy to. I am a student of some of the greatest Prophecy teachers of our time in Hal Lindsey, Grant R Jeffrey and Joel Rosenberg and I have learned very much. When you dig into Prophecy you can’t help but want to warn everyone of the times we are living in and that they must get ready. All too often it is shrugged off as a fairy tale and laughed at and we are made to feel like a nut case even among many believers. I have asked myself the question, “Why won’t people listen?” Prophecy and end times events are just as much a part of the Bible as the crucifixion or anything else. As I sat here meditating about this weeks study, the Lord revealed some of those answers in, of all things, The Chicken Little fable and also “The boy who cried wolf”. In this fable, the shepherd boy was guarding the towns sheep and he thought it would be funny to cry out WOLF, WOLF!!! Well the townspeople came running only to find an amused boy laughing at the havoc he had caused. When the townspeople went home he cried WOLF, WOLF again and again the townspeople came running only to find the shepherd boy laughing again. After the people left to go back home a real Wolf was lurking around the sheep and he cried out once again, WOLF, WOLF, but the people didn’t come this time. At sunset the boy hadn’t come back to the village so they went out and found him weeping and the sheep scattered by the Wolf… “Why didn’t you come?”, the boy said…An old man put his arm around him and said.. Nobody believes a liar, even when he is telling the truth…
Believe me, when I said, Lord, show me what to say and he gave me Chicken Little and the Boy who cried Wolf, I too thought it sounded a little loony for a Bible study but then it all came together as I revisited these fables. For over two thousand years now Christians have been screaming to the world that we are in the last days or “The Sky Is Falling”. Much end time Prophecy could not even be understood until the generation we now live in. So many Christians have been screaming “The Sky Is Falling” without having a clear understanding of the Prophecies. Each generation of Christians have believed that they were the generation that would see the return of Jesus Christ only to see that generation die out without seeing his return. Then you have the crowd of deceitful Christians who have “Cried Wolf” to the masses only for their amusement and financial gain. After crying Wolf for so long, nobody believes them now even though their crying has truth to it today. So whether peoples unbelief in end times prophecy today is a result of thousands of years of hearing “The Sky Is Falling” from well meaning but unlearned believers or whether it is from being deceived by those “crying wolf” for so long that they won't believe anyone who cries wolf, whether true or false. Either way, it is a problem.
The Boy Who Cried Wolf Fable
I hope to, in this weeks lesson, to lay out for you the signs that Jesus himself told his disciples and us to be looking for in the last days that would usher in his return. Much of the commentary & statistical information comes from the Grant R Jeffrey Prophecy study Bible. O.K. Let’s get to it…Today we will be looking at Matthew chapter 24...
Matthew 24: 1 & 2...Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” NKJ
Jesus left the temple, knowing that it was destined to certain destruction within that generation because the Jews had rejected Jesus as their Messiah. Jesus was predicting that Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed in that generation…
Then the disciples asked Jesus, “when will these things happen?” Here is that conversation…
Matthew 24: 3...Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” NKJ
Jesus answered the first part of this question in Luke…
Luke 21: 20 - 24...“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. NKJ
Prophecy Given…Jesus predicts that Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed by the Gentiles..
Prophecy Fulfilled… This Prophecy was fulfilled in 70 AD when the Roman Army under General Titus burned the city of Jerusalem, destroyed the temple and took Jewish survivors into captivity. It is estimated that between 600,000 & 1,000,000 Jews were slaughtered and up to 90,000 more were taken captive.
So we see that the first question to Jesus in Vs 3, “when will Jerusalem & the temple be destroyed” was answered and we see how and when it was fulfilled. The second two part question in Vs 3 was, “and what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?” was answered in detailed in the remaining verses in Matthew 24...Now, before we go on and in order to understand the meaning of Jesus’ prophetic signs in this chapter, we must remember that this discourse occurred before the crucifixion. The Gentile Church of believers did not exist yet. Jesus was speaking primarily to his Jewish followers and warning of the Prophetic signs that would occur just prior to his second coming. Now let’s take a look at verses 4 & 5 as Jesus begins to lay out what the signs of his second coming and the end of the world as we know it will be...
Matthew 24: 4 & 5...And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. NKJ
The first sign that Jesus gives is to warn them to be careful to not let anyone deceive them because many would come in his name, claiming to be “The Christ” and would deceive many.
Prophecy Given…Jesus warns that one sign to look for would be that many would come in his name claiming that they were the Christ…
Prophecy Fulfilled & Still Being Fulfilled…Throughout history imposters and delusional fanatics have arisen and claimed to be the Messiah. In our generation alone we have seen an explosion of those claiming to be Jesus Christ, including David Koresh, Sun Myung Moon and The Lord Maitreya, Charles Manson and Jim Jones.
The next sign that Jesus gives is found in Vs 6...Let’s read…
Matthew 24: 6...And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. NKJ
Jesus warns of the increase of Wars and rumors of Wars before his second coming. The Prophet Joel also warned and Prophesied of these present and future wars that would eventually lead up to the battle of Armageddon.
Joel 3: 9 & 10...Proclaim this among the nations: “ Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, Let all the men of war draw near, Let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’” Assemble and come, all you nations, And gather together all around. Cause Your mighty ones to go down there, O LORD. “ Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; For there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. NKJ
Joel Prophetically proclaimed God’s command to the Gentiles to prepare for war, for God would bring his Heavenly army against them and bring them into judgment. Also see (Ezekiel 38 & 39 & Revelation 19).
Prophecy Given…Jesus Prophesied that another sign of his second coming would be “Wars & Rumors of Wars”. Jesus tells us that despite all of the wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled, for the end is not yet…
Prophecy Fulfilled & Still Being Fulfilled… The Lord also warned that prior to his second coming we would “hear of wars and rumors of wars”. Since the end of World War 2 the number of wars in our world has increased dramatically. New Nations have demanded independence as old empires disintegrate. Though there have been numerous peace treaties, the world has not known a single day without some Nation at war with another somewhere on earth. Today’s standing armies of the world comprise of millions of soldiers. The continuing arms buildup among superpowers and lesser third world Nations is even now setting the stage for the final Battle of Armageddon, a war that will drench the world in blood.
As I did a little research as to how many wars or conflicts that are ongoing today, I was somewhat surprised at the number I found. Here in the United States, according to what we hear from our Liberal Media, we think the only conflicts going on are Iraq & Afghanistan. We are led to believe that if it wasn’t for us and of course the Nation of Israel, the world would be at total peace. To save space I have provided a link to a list of the worlds ongoing conflicts and wars…Take a quick peek before we go on, you will be amazed….
Ongoing World Conflicts Today (Link)
The next signs we’re given in verses 7 & 8, Jesus warned that a series of cataclysmic natural phenomena would characterize his imminent return. Famine, pestilence and earthquakes would not only increase in frequency in the last days; they would also occur in different or unusual places.
Matthew 24: 7 & 8...For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. NKJ
Since verse 8 is divided into three separate signs, we will take them one at a time as to their fulfillment.
Prophecy Given… There will be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places…
Prophecy Fulfilled And Still Being Fulfilled (Famines)…Another warning sign of Christ’s imminent return is the increase of devastating, widespread famine. In our generation we are faced with severe drought and famine conditions throughout portions of Africa, India and Southeast Asia. Many Nations in these areas are already unable to properly feed their populations. Because of severe drought, millions of acres of fertile, agriculture land has been transformed into arid wasteland. Large quantities of precious topsoil are lost each year. Tropical rain forests, which contribute significant amounts of our planet’s oxygen and water supply, are shrinking every year. Compounding these problems are the staggering statistics concerning the growth rate of the worlds population. Every day more than 225,000 people are added to the earth’s population with the largest percentage born in third world nations where food supplies are already compromised. Diminished food resources will be overwhelming during the Tribulation when worldwide famine destroys millions of lives (Rev 6: 5 & 6)…
Revelation 6: 5 & 6...When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!" NIV
Prophecy Fulfilled And Still Being Fulfilled (Pestilences)… In our generation, health officials have discovered more than twenty new infectious diseases for which there are no known cures or treatments. Growing urbanization, poor sanitation and the increase in air travel have all helped to spread these deadly diseases throughout our world. Though we try to protect ourselves with antibiotic drugs, health officials now find that we may have compounded the problem. Increasing numbers of diseases are showing resistance to traditional antibiotics. Many diseases of the past like bubonic plague, small pox, diphtheria, yellow fever, malaria- are reemerging as strains that are resistant to standard treatments and are becoming deadly threats to human populations. Toxic substances are also proliferating in our environment. Untested chemicals created in laboratories every year are casually introduced into the earth’s biosphere without adequate tests of their effects on humans, animals or plant life. Scientist recognize that a large percentage of cancers and cancerous tumors are caused by exposure to hazardous substances in our environment. In addition, the pestilence of pesticides has created an emergence of a new strain of germs highly resistant to chemical eradication. Sexually transmitted diseases are also on the rise. Of these, the AIDES virus is the most dangerous plague in history. Recent studies indicate that AIDES may wipe out as much as one quarter of the earth’s population. Plagues and epidemics typically follow famine and war, compounding their terrors. Jesus warned that worldwide pestilence would signify his imminent return. During the coming holocaust of the Tribulation, these epidemics will decimate one fourth of the worlds population…(Rev 6: 8)
Revelation 6: 8...So I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.
Prophecy Fulfilled And Still Being Fulfilled (Earthquakes)…In our century, we have experienced an unparalleled increase in the frequency and intensity of “killer” earthquakes that register 6.5 or higher on the Richter scale. The reported number of severe earthquakes between 1900 and 1970 totaled only 37. The decade immediately following reported 56 occurrences, and the 1980’s witnessed 74 major earthquakes. Yet the first half of the 1990’s has posted a record 125 killer earthquakes worldwide, a significant jump. Since these findings only covered part of the 1990’s and none since 2000, I did a little research and found the following statistics…Keep in mind, the statistics above counted major earthquakes above 6.5, the following statistics cover major earthquakes above 6.0. Even though there is a slight difference, the numbers are still staggering. These numbers are major earthquakes between 2000 and 2010 to date.
6.0 - 6.9 …. 1484 Major quakes
7.0 - 7.9 …. 134 Major quakes
8.0 - 9.9 …. 14 Major quakes
Total …… 1632 Major quakes Between 2000 - 2010
Just recently we are all aware of the 7.0 quake that hit Haiti that killed over 200,000 people and the 8.8 earthquake in Chili that killed around 800. The 8.8 quake that hit Chile was the 5th largest quake to hit since 1900 and was said to have shortened our day by 1.26 microseconds. The Chile earthquake is said to have been as much as 500 times stronger than the Haiti earthquake.
Both Jesus and the Old Testament Prophets prophesied that the last days would see an increase in the number and severity of earthquakes. Jesus also indicated that earthquakes would occur in strange places.
Isaiah 29: 6...You will be punished by the LORD of hosts With thunder and earthquake and great noise, With storm and tempest And the flame of devouring fire.
Revelation 11: 13...In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.
Below is a link to the earthquake statistics I provided between 2000 and 2010
Earthquake Statistics (Link)
The next sign that Jesus gives to his followers is persecution and martyrdom. Again, we need to put these signs in perspective. Jesus is talking to his Jewish followers. If you believe like I do that the Church will be raptured out before the Tribulation, then we must assume that these warnings are intended for the Jewish people and also those Tribulation saints that turn to Christ during the Tribulation. Let’s look at the warnings that is recorded in verses 9 - 12...
Matthew 24: 9 - 12...“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
Prophecy Given… This sign warns of persecution and martyrdom for the faith…
Prophecy Fulfilled And Still Being Fulfilled… Jesus warned that his followers would be subject to extreme persecution and martyrdom because of a profound hatred of Jesus by the religious authorities. This prophecy was initially fulfilled during the first wave of persecution by the Jewish authorities during the first century but will find it’s final fulfillment in the terrible persecution of the Tribulation. Because of this persecution in the last days, many will turn from their faith and betray other believers. While nations have always found reasons to hate one another, Jesus warned of a worldwide hatred of the Jews that would signal his impending return. The genocide of the Jews during Hitler’s reign, the vile anti-Semitic propaganda and persecution throughout Russia and modern Arab nations, and the terrorist attacks of Jewish synagogues and cemeteries worldwide, points to the fulfillment of this sign. Jesus also indicated that this hatred would extend from between nations to between families and individuals. Jesus warned that a denial of natural love would be a condition of the end times prior to his return (Vs 12). Today, anti Semitism, anti Christianity and anti God of the Bible is at it’s all time high. The world is systematically trying to remove God from the conscience of mankind. In other Countries such as China or middle east Countries, the persecution of Christians & Jews has always been a way of life for those believers which includes having to worship in secret and dying in public for their faith. In this Country (U.S.), we think we are being persecuted but we don’t know what true persecution is…at least not yet…but it’s coming. Jesus also warned of the rapid increase of false prophets. In our generation alone we have seen an astonishing rise of false prophets, telepaths and cults. In this Bible study we have extensively covered the many false doctrines, false teachers and prophets that are dominating many of our Churches and Christian airwaves today. For every false teacher that is exposed for their hypocrisy, ten more rise to take their place and like sheep going to slaughter, we continue to blindly follow them.
Matthew 24: 13 & 14... But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
Despite the coming trials and persecutions, Jesus promised that those who remained faithful would be saved. The generation of the last days would witness the Gospel being preached in an unprecedented way throughout the whole world.
Prophecy Given…Jesus predicted that the gospel of the Kingdom would be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations…Then the end would come…
Prophecy Fulfilled And Still Being Fulfilled…We have never seen an astonishing move of God as we are witnessing today. Millions in Indonesia, Africa and Southeast Asia have become followers of Jesus Christ. Church membership is on the rise, too, growing at twice the rate of the overall population growth. The evangelical Church has grown from only 41 million in 1934 to over 540 million in 1997, with the greatest increase seen in the underground Church in communist China. Christian radio broadcasts reach most of the world today in every language. Every year more than 300 million Bibles, New Testaments, and scripture portions are distributed throughout the world. The Gospel is definitely being preached to all the Nations. As expectant believers we must be aware of these signs, for when these things are fulfilled…”Then the end shall come”.
Jesus gave us all of these signs to look for that would indicate his return was very near. From false Christ’s and false prophets to wars & rumors of wars, nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, persecution & martyrdom of Jews and Christians, the love of many growing cold and the gospel being preached around the world. These things are not only happening today, but they are happening all at once. These things have always occurred throughout the worlds history but not to this degree and intensity and not all out of control at the same time. Jesus didn’t give us these signs because he wanted to show us how smart he was, he gave them so we would see these signs and prepare our hearts for his return, so we could warn others to get ready. I only pray that everyone reading this lesson heeds the warnings given by Jesus in Matthew 24...
I hope this lesson has helped you better understand the significance of Bible Prophecy. Do you know that nearly 3900 verses in the Old Testament and nearly 1500 in the New Testament have a prophetic theme. One verse in every six in the Bible has a more or less important bearing on prophetic subjects…
Why is Prophecy Vital to the Church?
1.) Fulfilled prophecy authenticates the Bible as the inspired word of God.
2.) The message of the prophets calls the Church to live in purity and holiness.
3.) The prophetic message of the imminent return of Jesus Christ motivates us to witness to those around us.
4.) The message of prophecy is a vital evangelistic tool for reaching the lost. God can use prophecy to help convince unbelievers that the Bible is the inspired word of God, thereby bringing them to a place where they may consider the truth of the Gospel.
Listen to what God says through his prophet Isaiah…
Isaiah 46: 9 & 10... Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’
God says that he declares the end from the beginning. No one in history has ever come close to God when it comes to predicting the future. His predictions have never come up short, don’t you think we should pay attention to what he says about the end times…the generation we live in?
Next week we will finish up Matthew 24...
Note: A guideline to this study came from the Grant R Jeffrey prophecy study Bible. I have been a student of Bible Prophecy for over twenty years now and have studied under the video & audio tutelage of Hal Lindsey & Grant R Jeffrey & Joel Rosenberg. If Bible Prophecy intrigues you, I am posting links to both Hal’s, Joel's and Grant’s sites below.
Hal Lindsey Media Ministries
Grant R Jeffrey Ministries
If you want to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and have your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, pray with me wherever you are. Pray with a sincere heart and God will reach down from heaven, forgive your sins and give you new life….Lets pray…
Father God, I come to you in the name of your son Jesus Christ. Thank you for sending Jesus to die in my place on the cross. I know I am not worthy, but I ask you today to forgive me of my sins (confess your sins to him now) and give me a new heart. I make Jesus the Lord of my life from this day and forward. Teach me how to love the God way, so I can love others. Teach me your Word and show me the purpose you have for my life. Thank you for forgiving me, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray…Amen
If you prayed that simple prayer with a sincere heart, your eternal destiny has been decided. God tells us that he takes that sin and casts it as far as the east is from the west. So forget the past and press on in your new walk with Christ. Remember that this is only the first step to Eternal Salvation. You now need to study God’s word, live your life for him and let your good works in Christ testify to the world of the new creature you have become. Now go shout your new found faith to the world as confession of Jesus Christ is part of your salvation. If you need help, or need a Bible, please contact me through the group...
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