Matt Hagee - The God Who Holds Tomorrow
When it comes to the issue of Bible prophecy, oftentimes, people want to say it's just too complicated to understand. And they want to skip over the details. Other times, people want to get too close to the argument and get into the debate. And when you do either thing, you miss a great opportunity to meet the God who holds tomorrow. When I was a freshman at oral Roberts university in August of 1996, the first class that I took was the introduction to economics.
Now this class just happened to be taught by the dean of the school of business and he had a ph.D. From Oxford in this topic. What he didn't know is at the age of 18, I was full of wisdom and knowledge. But before I could even begin to speak to this individual, he wanted to hand me what he called a syllabus. A what? I'm not here for this paperwork. I'm here for a Socratic discussion between mutual intellectual beings. But what he mentioned just briefly about this syllabus is that it was very important, because it was filled with details about what we were supposed to read, when our assignments were due, when the quizzes and the exams would be given.
You see, what I didn't understand in my naivety is that that syllabus was a prophetic document. He was telling me in advance of the events what was going to happen in the classroom that he controlled. So did I read the syllabus? No. Silly document. What value was it to me? Until six weeks later. When he walked in with another stack of papers, and he said, "Today, we're going to have our first exam". I went, "What? Over what material? All we've done is debate economics. We've discussed business. We're just getting to know each other. Why are you giving me a test"?
And then he let me know that if I had read the syllabus, I would know the material that the test was going to be over. And if I had read the syllabus, I would not be surprised that the test was on this date because somewhere in the syllabus, it actually said the actual date. And if I had read the syllabus, I would know that based on the title at the top of the page, this was his class and his schedule and not mine. So I took the test. And then I thought, "Thank God I'm at a Christian university because there's grace in this environment".
And I went to his office and I asked him lovingly for grace. And he helped me to understand that the law was that the syllabus said there's only retakes for medical emergencies. At which point I let him know that my father was going to kill me. And if that's not a medical emergency, I don't know what is. The point I'm making in this story is not to tell you that the Word of God is his syllabus. It's what he has given to us to tell us in advance when and what is going to occur and who's in control of the events that are going to happen throughout history. We don't get a vote. God is the God who holds tomorrow. Now please understand these things. God doesn't give you an actual minute-by-minute up-to-date thing. But he gives you insight to help you understand exactly where we are.
So the first place that we're going to look is Luke 21:24. Why are we going there? Because in that verse, Jesus speaks about a season. This is the last time that Jesus is in Jerusalem with his disciples before his crucifixion. And he's telling them what's going to occur because they asked him about signs of the times. And he tells them about a season of the gentiles. In Luke 21:24, he says, "The times of the gentiles". Say that with me. "The times of the gentiles". And he's talking about people other than Jewish people in charge of Jerusalem. The times of the gentiles is when the City of Jerusalem would be under gentile control. And he speaks about the time of the gentiles coming to an end.
So when did it begin? When did it end? And what does it mean for us? First and foremost, I want to show you this timeline. Now understand that this timeline is not given in distance, but the dates are what's important. We begin at 598 BC, before Christ. And we get all the way down here looking at the war that's occurring with Hamas. Beginning here at 598 BC, this is when most Bible scholars, and when I say most, almost 98% of them tell you that the time of the gentiles began because Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem. He conquered the nation of Israel. He conquered the kingdom of Judah. And he took Jerusalem. He conquered it. In his conquest, he took people like Daniel and Meshach and Shadrach and Abednego from Jerusalem back to Babylon.
How many of you remember those stories from VBS? All right. So this is when the time of the gentiles began, 600 years before Jesus. And it goes all the way into modern era, because from the time of Christ until 1948, you could not have found Israel on a map. Bible prophecy has a major event take place in 1948. What happened in 1948? David Ben-Gurion on may the 14th, as the head of the Jewish agency, announced the establishment of a state of Israel. Harry Truman, the president of the United States, recognized the nation of Israel on that very same day. This was a significantly prophetic date, but it was not the end of the time of the gentiles. The time of the gentiles doesn't just have to do with Israel. It has to do with the City of Jerusalem. And in 1948, Jerusalem was not a part of the state of Israel.
However, the God who holds tomorrow, he told us in the syllabus 250 years before Nebuchadnezzar, way back over here. Two hundred and fifty years before Nebuchadnezzar, he told the prophet Isaiah, "Has the earth seen such a thing? Shall it be made to give birth in a day? Shall a nation be born in a day"? In Isaiah 66:8, 750 years before Christ and 2,600 years before the war of independence, the God who holds tomorrow was telling us that a nation was going to be born in a day and that nation was Israel.
When did the day of the gentiles end? It didn't end in 1948. It actually ended in 1967. In 1967, there was a major military conflict in Israel. In history, it's called the six day war. A coalition of nations came in 1967 against Israel. And when they came against Israel in 1967, in six days, God helped Israel to defeat them all. Now the major prophetic event that took place in '67 is that for the first time since 598 BC, Jerusalem was under Israel's control and in Jewish hands. The day of the gentile was over. And the Bible says that this generation will not pass before you see the coming of the Son of Man.
Now let's take a look at our timeline and consider this date right here. 593 BC to 563 BC, the time of Ezekiel. Ezekiel, about five years after the fall of Jerusalem, begins a prophetic ministry. God starts talking to this priest. And he tells this priest to start writing down things that are going to happen. First, let's look at Ezekiel 37. Ezekiel 37 is where Ezekiel breaks the story of the valley of dry bones. God and Ezekiel are having a conversation about the nation of Israel because it's not in Israel. It has been carried by Nebuchadnezzar into captivity. And Ezekiel says in Ezekiel 37 that, "God picked me up and he took me to a valley of bones". And he's showing Ezekiel a picture of the children of Israel. This valley of bones that he describes is not a connected skeleton. You look in this picture on the screen, what Ezekiel saw were scattered bones.
There was a skull here and a jaw there. There were hands without fingers, feet without toes, legs and arms gone from spinal columns. And God asks Ezekiel, "Ezekiel, can these bones live"? And Ezekiel's seeing the despair and the fact that there's not even skin or muscles or ligaments or tendons and how scattered they are. Ezekiel, as a very wise man, says, "God, only you know". He's saying with those words, "You're the only one who could do it". So then God tells Ezekiel, "I want you to prophesy. I want you to speak the word of the Lord to these bones".
And what he tells those bones is that God is going to cause breath to enter those bones and those bones will live. Not only are those bones going to live, but God's going to restore them. He's going to put tendons and muscles and flesh upon them and they're going to come back to life. And they're going to come back to life because when they come back to life, the world will know that God is the Lord. So Ezekiel 37:10, Ezekiel says, "So I prophesied as the Lord commanded me. And when I prophesied, breath entered the bones and they lived and they stood up on their feet".
And he said that these dry and scattered bones had become an exceedingly great army. Do you know what we call that army today? We call that army Israel. In 598, those bones started to get scattered. In 70 ad, the scattering accelerated. In 1948, those bones that were disconnected and scattered throughout the nations of world came back to Israel and are now standing before you an exceedingly great army in the land that God had given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Five times in Ezekiel 37:1-14, five different times God clearly says these words to Ezekiel about the bones. God says, "You will live and become an exceedingly great army, for I am the Lord. I have spoken it. I will do it". This is the declaration of the Lord. The point that God is making is that when he says it, that settles it. Every dictator and every terrorist group and every warlord and every nation can plot and plan, and God is going to laugh at your plan because if he said Israel lives then Israel lives. He is the God who controls the heavens and the earth. And he said, "I am the keeper of Israel and I do not slumber and I do not sleep". God is the God who said, "If I declare it, I will do it. And Israel lives".
What's the next headline? The next headline is that there's nations who are going to attack Israel. As soon as Ezekiel's done prophesying to the bones, in Ezekiel 38, there's more late-breaking news. God tells Ezekiel, "Prophesy". And he tells him to prophesy to nations and regions and lands. And in Ezekiel 38, here's what you read. He says, "Prophesy to Gog and the land of Magog, to Meshech and to Tubal, to Persia, to Cush, to put, to Gomer, to Beth-Togarmah. And the remotest parts of the north, they are with you".
Now, Ezekiel is talking to people groups that are identified in the very earliest pages of scripture. And you have to trace them through scripture to understand the regions that are being talked about. But there's two ways to know. One, you can know directionally because God tells Ezekiel that they're going to come from the remotest parts of the north. Now understand this. Washington, D.C. Is not the center of God's map. The center of God's map is Israel. And if you go directly north of Israel, you run into Syria, Lebanon, Turkey. And the remotest parts of the north is the land, the biblical land, of Magog, but the modern land of Russia.
How many of you have heard Russia mentioned in the news lately working with places on the map in regards to what's happening here in Israel? Don't be surprised. God told Ezekiel in 563 BC, "These are the people who are going to be at the last dance. And I'm throwing a party". Not only do you know directionally, but you know from the ancient regions where these people dwelt. Gog is a person. He's the king of Magog, which is a region. And the region of Magog is around the Black Sea and the Caspian sea, which is modern day Russia. Iran is the old Persian empire. Turkey is the old ottoman empire. Cush and North Africa and Egypt are all parts of a network of nations that are known to have animosity towards Israel and harbor terrorism.
Now if you read the syllabus, you recognize what's happening here. If you watch the news, then this is a land problem. How many of you see a whole lot of land that Israel could share with all these people? It's not a land problem. It's not an economic problem. It's not a political problem. God tells Ezekiel, "Here's what's going to happen". In Ezekiel 38:4, he said, "I am going to put a hook in the jaw of all of these nations and I'm going to draw them to the land of Israel". Now what does it mean that he's put a hook in the jaw? It's like a trout that's caught in a stream. He's got a hook in his jaw and the fisherman is pulling him to the land. He don't want to come ashore, but he's coming anyway.
What God is saying is, "I am in total control of what is about to happen". The state department is not in control. The governments of the earth are not in control. "I'm the one with the hooks in the jaws and I'm bringing them to the nation of Israel". People say, "Well, why would he do that"? Keep reading the syllabus. Verse 18 of Ezekiel 38, he said, "When they come, my fury is going to show in my face". Verse 23, "And I will magnify myself and I will be known in the eyes of many nations and they". Who is "They"? "The whole world is going to know that I am the Lord". So you say, "What does this mean for me, preacher"?
Well, read the syllabus. John 14:1 through 3. Jesus Christ, the night before he's arrested and crucified, he tells his disciples these words: "Let not your hearts be troubled". What it means for you is exactly what Jesus said. "Let not your hearts be troubled". He says, "If you believe in God, believe also in me. For in my father's house are many mansions". And he told the disciples, "I go to prepare a place for you". The God who holds tomorrow told us more than 2,000 years ago he was going to go and prepare a place for us. But then he also said these words: "And if I go to prepare a place for you, when I come again". "When I come again, I will receive you to myself, because where I am, there you may be also". Now in our modern language, what we call this "Receiving unto him" is the rapture.
What's the next thing that the syllabus says to expect? Don't be surprised. It's the rapture. And here's how the rapture works. 1 Thessalonians 4 is where Paul gives us very vivid details. And in several verses, he says these things. He says, "I don't want you to mourn as those who have no hope". He says, "I want you to rejoice in this". But in verse 16, he says, "There's going to be a shout". He said, "The Lord himself will descend with a shout".
So we've got the Lord shouting. Who's he shouting at? He's shouting at the dead in Christ. He's going to be shouting at your brother. He's going to be shouting at your sister. He's going to be shouting at your mother. He's going to be shouting at your father. He's going to be shouting at the righteous dead who have gone into the grave. He's going to be shouting, "Come forth! Come forth! That grave can't hold you anymore! That casket's not your resting place anymore! This time of sorrow and sleeping is over! Come up out of that grave! This is moving day! This is the day that we're leaving this world"!
Now, Jesus is shouting at the dead. If you're alive, you ain't going to hear it. But the next thing that happens is there's the voice of the Archangel. Now in scripture, the Archangel is named Michael. We meet him in the book of Daniel. He's fighting with the prince of Persia, fighting with Satan over the bones of Moses. Michael is a bad cat. What's going to happen in rapid succession is that God's Son, Jesus, is going to shout at the dead, and the Archangel is going to hear the voice of the Son.
And he's going to say, "Hey, angels. It's moving day. It's time to snatch them off the face of the earth and escort them past the sun and escort them past the moon and escort them past the stars and take them beyond the galaxy. You fly them right through that second heaven where Satan sits, and you let them know that these are the righteous and the redeemed, and your accusations have been cancelled and the debts have been settled and the price has been paid". This is the moment, church, when we're caught up to meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we be with the Lord forever! Give the Lord a handclap of praise!
Stand to your feet. I don't know when, but I do know what. And I also know this. That the rapture of the church is a reunion for the redeemed. But it is a day of sorrow for the lost. If you're redeemed and Jesus Christ is your Savior, you're looking up. If you're lost, you're going to wail in sorrow when you see the church leave this world. So before we leave this service today, I want to ask every person in this room this simple question: are you ready to meet Jesus Christ? If you are not, this is your day.
If you can say, "Pastor, I'm not ready," and trust me, if you're asking if you're sure, then you're not ready. I'd rather have trip insurance than wonder. I want you to lift your hands if you say, "Pastor, I'm not ready. I want to receive Jesus". Just raise the hand and let me see it. Others of you in this place, you say, "Pastor, I am ready. But there's people in my family that aren't". If that's you, you're ready, but you've got members in your family that are not. I want you to put your hands in the air. And now I want everyone in this place to repeat this prayer with me:
Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for being the God who holds tomorrow. Thank you for being my Savior and my soon-coming king. Today I rejoice in your gift of salvation. And today I am asking you, through the power of your Holy Spirit, to help me see the members of my family brought to Christ, in Jesus name. I'm ready. And I'm looking forward to our reunion, in Jesus name. Amen.