BIBLE STUDY LESSON # 24...March, 21 , 2010
“Chicken Little, The Sky Is Falling!
Last week we covered Matthew 24: 1 - 14...This week we will continue on and try to finish up Matthew 24. Before we go on, I want to reiterate the reasons why we should study prophecy and then do a re-cap of last weeks lesson…Let’s get started…
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? You know, as I was first introduced to Bible prophecy over 20 years ago, I was amazed first and foremost with the accuracy with which God’s prophetic word had been fulfilled in the past. The prophecies that cemented my love for prophecy were those that predicted the birth of the coming Messiah. Let’s look at a few of these…
Isaiah tells that the Messiah would be virgin born, 700 years before the birth of Christ…
Isaiah 7: 14...Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
Matthew 1: 18 - 23...Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
The prophet Micah predicted the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem over 700 years earlier..
Micah 5: 2...“ But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”
Matthew 2: 1 - 6...Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: ‘ But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”
Moses predicted the manner of death the Messiah would endure and that he would be cursed over 1400 years before he was crucified.
Deuteronomy 21: 22 & 23...“If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God.
Galatians 3: 13...Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)
King David predicted in Psalm 22 that they would gamble over His clothes…
Psalm 22: 18...They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.
Mark 15: 24...And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take.
You see what I mean? There was over 100 different prophecies predicted centuries earlier that Jesus fulfilled exactly. That is how we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus was indeed the predicted Messiah. The odds that one man could fulfill all of these prophecies precisely is astronomical. I know that I have gotten slightly off course here from the intended study but I think it is very important for every believer to know the significance of prophecy. If we know that every word that has been prophesied has come to pass exactly like it was told, then we have confidence that those prophecies of the end times that have yet to happen, will come to pass with the very same accuracy. Like I said above, prophecy is how God authenticates his word. He predicts the future from the past. So as we look to the prophetic warning signs that Jesus gives us for his second coming in Matthew 24, we can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will happen precisely as he predicted. That being said, let’s quickly re-cap verses 1 - 14...
RE- CAP OF PART 1...
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. The main significant prophecy that sets this generation aside from all other generations that have seen these same occurrences in their generation, is found in Matthew 24: 32 - 34 which I will get to in a few moments… Let’s begin “Chicken Little, The Sky Is Falling (Part 2)….
Once again, we must keep in mind that Jesus is primarily speaking to his Jewish followers. Verse 15 - 22 will come to pass half way through the Tribulation and so if you believe as I do that the Church will not endure the Tribulation, then this verse cannot be directed to us…Let’s read…
Matthew 24: 15 - 20...
15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand),
16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house.
18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes.
19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!
20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.
Jesus tells his followers to be looking for the “abomination of desolation” spoken of by Daniel. What does Daniel say over 2500 years ago? Let’s take a look…
Daniel 9: 27...Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”
The prophet Daniel, while in captivity in Babylon and after praying for the people of Israel, was given a vision and instruction by the Angel Gabriel. Gabriel reveals to Daniel the meaning of the “Seventy Weeks” which is another future lesson, but he tells of events that would happen in the Tribulation.
“Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week”. Who is “he”? He is the antichrist. Who are the many?… Israel is the many. One week in this vision symbolized 7 years. So Daniel first tells us that the antichrist will sign a seven year peace treaty with Israel. This seven year treaty will be the event that officially kicks off the seven year Tribulation…
“But in the middle of the week, he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering”. Since 70 A.D. when General Titus of Rome destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, the Jews have been unable to make animal sacrifices to this day (no altar, no sacrifices). This let’s us know that at some point in the very near future, Israel will once again rebuild the temple and resume these animal sacrifices. This portion of vs. 27 tells us that half way through the week (or 3 ½ years) into the tribulation, the antichrist will put a stop to these sacrifices in the temple.
“And on the wings of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate”. The antichrist will break his treaty with Israel, stop the sacrifices in the Temple, he will then defile the Temple (thus abomination of desolation title) and then he will begin to persecute the Jews.
So Matthew 24: 15 is the prophetic warning sign that Jesus gives for his followers to be looking for…
Verse’s 16 - 18...Is telling them, when you see this happen, don’t take the time to go home and get your clothes or belongings…Just run like crazy to the mountains…
Verse 19...Jesus warns…You better hope you're not pregnant when this happens, of course this warning is self explanatory, especially to women…
Verse 20...Jesus also tells then they better hope it doesn’t occur during the Winter or on the Sabbath Day….Why? Why not on the Sabbath Day?
If this abomination occurs in the Winter or the Sabbath Day it would be much more difficult to escape. The ancient Jews observed an Orthodox ritual that prohibited travel on the Sabbath to no more than 1000 yards beyond the walls of Jerusalem, or they would be violating the injunction against working on the Sabbath (Exodus 16:29). This distance was considered a “Sabbath Day’s Journey” (Acts 1:12). This verse carries added weight today as Orthodox Jews become more powerful in Israel’s government and urge the reinstitution of stringent Sabbath laws to restrict Sabbath-day activities of the people.
Matthew 24: 21 & 22...
21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
Jesus warned that the Tribulation to come would be unprecedented in it’s terror and destructiveness. All of humanity would be destroyed unless those days were shortened for the sake of God’s people. These are the “tribulation saints” saved during the period that follows the rapture of the Church. The Old Testament usage for these “elect” ones clearly applies to the Jews. (Isaiah 45:4)
Isaiah 45: 4...For Jacob My servant’s sake, And Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.
Matthew 24: 23 - 27...
23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it.
24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
25 See, I have told you beforehand.
26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it.
27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Verses 23 - 26... Jesus warned against anyone believing another’s claim that they had seen Christ. This prophetic warning should alert anyone to the claims of false messiah’s. Jesus warned that these false Christ’s would produce deceptive signs that would be so amazing that they could deceive “if it were possible”, the people of God.
Verse 27...When Jesus truly returns, his coming will be as spectacular and unmistakable as lightning. He will appear in the sky exactly as he ascended almost 2000 years ago. (Acts 1: 11)
Acts 1: 9 - 11...Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
Matthew 24: 28...For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.
This prophecy may refer to the terrible aftermath of Armageddon when God will gather the birds of prey to eat the bodies of the dead. (Rev 19: 17-18...Job 39: 26-30)
Revelation 19: 17 - 18...
17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God,
18 that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.”
Job 39: 26 - 30...
26 “Does the hawk fly by your wisdom, And spread its wings toward the south?
27 Does the eagle mount up at your command, And make its nest on high?
28 On the rock it dwells and resides, On the crag of the rock and the stronghold.
29 From there it spies out the prey; Its eyes observe from afar.
30 Its young ones suck up blood; And where the slain are, there it is.”
Matthew 24: 29 - 31...
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Verses 29 & 30...Jesus gives a host of signs that would happen “after the tribulation of those days”…The sun will be darkened, the moon will not give it’s light, stars will fall from Heaven, the powers of the Heavens will be shaken. Then Jesus will appear, coming in the clouds with power and great glory.
Verse 31...When Christ comes, he will send his Angels to gather the “elect” from all over the world. These “elect” ones are the saints who came to faith in Christ during the terrible persecution of the tribulation. This gathering of the “elect” is a different event from the translation of the saints described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15: 51. Note that here (Matthew 24), the Angels gather these “elect” while the rapture Paul describes indicates that the saints will rise in their resurrected bodies to meet Christ in the air ( 1 Thessalonians 4: 16 - 17). Also Matthew 24: 31 does not mention any change in anyone’s physical bodies. At the rapture of the Church (prior to the tribulation), a physical body transformation occurs as we are resurrected. The purpose of the Angels gathering the “elect” here in Verse 31, is to protect the tribulation saints from the wrath of God that is about to be poured out from Heaven upon unrepentant sinners.
Matthew 24: 32 - 35...
32 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near.
33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!
34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.
35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
Verse 32...This prophecy is the prophecy that distinguishes our generation from all of the rest as to the generation that will see Christ’s return. The parable of the “fig tree” points to the time when the Son of man will return. The fig tree appears in many places throughout scripture , appearing repeatedly in the Old Testament as a symbol of Israel’s security & blessing (1 Ki 4:25, Isa 36:16, Mic 4:4, Zec 3:10). In the New testament, Jesus withered away a barren fig tree to symbolize Israel’s barren spiritual life. However, Jesus promised that Israel would produce great spiritual fruit in the last days (Rom 11: 25 - 29). Israel had not been a nation for almost 2000 years since Jerusalem was destroyed by General Titus of Rome in 70 AD. Jesus said that when the fig tree flourishes again- When Israel is reborn as a nation- God’s kingdom would be close at hand. Israel became a nation again on May, 15, 1948.
Verse 34...”this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place”. The understanding in this passage is that the generation alive to witness the rebirth of Israel will still be alive when Jesus returns to establish his kingdom. What determines a “generation”?
In the OT, scripture uses this term to indicate time periods of 40 years (Illustrated by the reigns of Saul, David and Solomon).
100 years…(Genesis 15: 13 - 14)
70 - 80 years…A natural lifetime…(Psalm 90: 10)
The NT most often uses this term to refer to a group of people living at one particular time.
Anyway you look at it Brothers and Sisters, we are close to the return of Jesus Christ. The purpose of this prophetic study is to wake us up and alert us to the signs that Jesus pointed to that would indicate his soon return. I had hoped to be able to finish chapter 24 this week and get to chapter 25 next week, but I think I will close part 2 out and conclude this study in part 3 next week. See you next week…
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 to 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…Tim
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