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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Robert Jeffress » Robert Jeffress - What Are The Major Events of The End Times?

Robert Jeffress - What Are The Major Events of The End Times?

Robert Jeffress - What Are The Major Events of The End Times?
TOPICS: Are We Living In The End Times?, End times, Bible Prophecy

Hi, I am Robert Jeffress and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. If I were to ask you to list the events of the end times in correct order, could you do it? If the answer is no, you're not alone. Many Christians are confused by the chronology of Bible prophecy. So today, we're going to explore all seven major events of the end times and discover why they're important to us today. My message is titled, What Are The Major Events of The End Times on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.

Maps can be very useful when you're traveling in an unfamiliar territory. I found that out the hard way some years ago. A friend of mine had invited me to come preach at his church in Canada, and since I had been there before, I was happy to accept the invitation. So one Friday morning, I left DFW and went to Minneapolis, changed planes and went on to Winnipeg, Manitoba. The service was going to be that Friday night and I got there in time at about 4:00 pm to have a leisurely supper I thought and then preach, but I got my bags at the airport, went outside to wait for the pastor, and I waited and waited and waited. He never showed up, so I thought obviously something's wrong, I need to call him. So I retrieved his invitation letter looking for his phone number, and as I did, I noticed that the return address is not where I was. He had been in Winnipeg, Manitoba the last time I was there. I just assumed that's where he was, but that wasn't the return address.

And so I went to the airport counter and I said I made a mistake. I came to the wrong place. I see here it's Vancouver, British Columbia, and is there a bus I can take to get there in 30 minutes? They laughed and they said, obviously you don't know Canada, you're 1500 miles away, but you've got luck. There is a plane we've got leaving right now for Vancouver and if you run fast enough, you can catch the plane. And so I ran like OJ Simpson, remember him? Ran down, got to the gate, the ticket agent took my ticket and apparently word had traveled down to the gate. He handed me a map of Canada. He said, read this, it might help you the next time you come to Canada. Maps really can be helpful when you're in a foreign territory and the subject of the end times is foreign territory to most people.

For most people, it's a confusing topic. They can't make heads or tails of it. Well, we're going to try to solve that problem today because as we consider our series, are we living in the end times, I thought it would be helpful today to talk about the major events that will categorize the end times. If you have your Bibles, turn to Romans chapter 11. First of all, I'm marked for your consideration the church age. That's the age we are clearly in right now. Now here's the definition of the church age. The church age is that period of time from Pentecost until the rapture during which gentiles are invited to participate in the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant.

Now that's a mouthful. So let me illustrate it simply for you. Just imagine you're a parent and you'd like to have a lavish birthday party for your 10-year-old son. So you send out the invitations to your closest friends and relatives and neighbors. You rent a bounce house, you order ice cream desserts, you have a clown there perhaps to help. It's going to be a big bash, but the day before the party, you start getting all of these RSVPs with people declining. They've got every excuse in the world for not coming and you realize your son's going to be disappointed. So what do you do? Do you cancel the party, of course not. Instead, you extend the invitation list. You start asking relatives you haven't seen in 10 years, neighbors you've never met, other people you can't stand just to get a crowd at your son's birthday party so he's not disappointed.

Now that's exactly an illustration of the church age or as the Bible calls it the time of the gentiles. Jesus used a similar illustration in Matthew chapter 22. Now, has Israel rejected God forever? Not at all. It is only a temporary rejection and that's what Romans 11:1 says. Paul said, God has not rejected his people, has he? May it never be for I too am an Israelite, the descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. Then skip down to verse 25. So I don't want you brethren to be uninformed of this mystery lest you be wise in your own estimation.

Mystery, is he talking about Agatha Christie? What does he mean here mystery? Here it is. The mystery is that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the gentiles has come in. Now that is the church age. The next event that we're awaiting, the next event is the rapture of the church. What is the rapture? Here's the definition. The rapture of the church is the snatching away to heaven of all Christians from the time of Pentecost until the tribulation. That's the rapture of the church. And the one word that describes the rapture best is imminent. That means it could happen at any moment. There are no prophecies that have to be fulfilled for the rapture to occur.

Now, there are several prophecies related to the second coming seven years later, like the rebuilding of the temple, the regathering of the people in Israel, some of which we've seen take place, some of which are yet to take place, but there are no prophecies that are left unfulfilled for the rapture. It could happen before we finish the message today. At the end of the rapture, I believe that is when we experience the Judgment Seat of Christ. The second Corinthians five talks about the bema seat as it's called. It's not for non-Christians. It is a judgment of rewards for Christians, and I think that occurs second Corinthians 5:9 to 10 after the rapture. Now what happens after that? What happens after the rapture? The church age, the time of the gentiles is over, God is now ready to finish his dealings with Israel during a period of time we call the tribulation.

Here's the definition for you, write down of the tribulation. It is the seven year period of time that begins when the antichrist signs a peace covenant with Israel and ends with Armageddon and the second coming of Christ. Daniel prophesied 600 years before Christ. So we're talking about something that happened more than 2,600 years ago. The children of Israel were captive in Babylon. Daniel lamented the Israelites' slavery and cried out before God. God, when are you going to put an end to this? When is this deportation, the Babylon going to be over? Give me some hope. And so God gave Daniel more than he bargained for. He sent Gabriel, the angel, to reveal the total panorama of God's remaining dealings with Israel.

And remember Gabriel said, Daniel, God has decreed 70 weeks and he was talking about weeks of years. It's strange to us, but that's how they sometimes talked. A week of years, 70 weeks of years. Now if one week is seven years, 70 weeks, 70 times seven would be 490 years, Gabriel said God has 490 years left to finish his dealings for Israel and to usher in the long awaited Kingdom of God. Now, he went on to tell Daniel that those 490 years would be separated into two parts. The first 483 years, 69 weeks of years, and then the final week of years, the final seven years, there'd be a gap between the two. How would Daniel know when the stopwatch started the countdown of those 490 years? Well, Gabriel was very specific. He said from the time that the decree is issued for Israel to rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the prince will be 483 years.

Now, when did that decree go out to rebuild Jerusalem? Many people erroneously say, oh, that was when Cyrus the great, the Persian king, issued the decree. No, that was in 536 BC. It doesn't work out if you'd start with Cyrus. Cyrus didn't issue the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. He issued the decree to rebuild the temple. It was Artaxerxes Longimanus, we actually know the date in history March 14th, 445 BC that he issued the decree to go and rebuild Jerusalem and Gabriel prophesied from that moment until Messiah the prince as referring to Jesus. When was Jesus recognized temporarily, very temporarily as Messiah? It was when he was on that donkey and was entering into Jerusalem on palm Sunday. Did you know we know that date as well? April the 2nd, 32 AD.

My old seminary professor Harold Hoener did a chronology where he shows exactly how to the day that was the fulfillment of the vision given to Daniel by Gabriel. The time from the decree going out until the time Messiah arrived in Jerusalem was 483 years, but then God stopped the stopwatch. There are seven years yet remaining on it and there were many things that would happen in that gap. Messiah would be crucified, cut off. Thousands of years of the church age would elapse, all those things would happen. God still has seven years to finish his work with Israel, and that's what the tribulation is all about. The tribulation is that final seven years of God fulfilling his promise to Israel.

What is the purpose of the tribulation, twofold. Number one, the salvation of Israel. Many Israelites will become Christians during the tribulation, through the witness of 144,000 Jewish evangelists, as will many gentiles as well. They'll suffer great persecution to become a Christian, but they will do so. But the second purpose of the tribulation beyond salvation is the condemnation of unbelievers when God pours out his judgment on the world. Now the climax of the tribulation will be the fourth event, Armageddon and the second coming of Christ.

Here's the definition, the war of Armageddon is the final world war that will be fought in Israel and would result in the visible return of Jesus Christ on earth. The world forces will be assembled on the plain of ghetto. They will be waging war against the dictator when suddenly the skies will open, the trumpet will sound the Lord Jesus along with his army. The church will return triumphant and that will be the end of the Great Tribulation. We'll talk in depth about the second coming of Christ and why it's important next week. And then that leads to the millennium. Remember, the tribulation is filled with pain, the birth pains that will increase in frequency and intensity, but that pain produces something good. And in this case, that good is the millennium, the thousand year reign of Christ, when Christ will fulfill all of the promises that God made to Abraham and the believing Israel.

Here's the definition, the millennium is the 1000-year reign of Christ on earth that will occur after the second coming. The Bible uses the phrase 1000 years, five times in six verses in Revelation chapter 20 and notice one key component of the millennium. And John says, I saw the angel coming down from heaven holding the keys of the abyss and he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old who is the devil and bound him for 1000 years. The Bible says in Revelation 23 that after the millennium, Satan must be released for a short time.

Why does Satan have to be released? In order to give those born during the millennium an opportunity to make a choice. Everybody has to choose, whether they're going to serve God and his kingdom or the devil and his kingdom. And amazingly people who have lived under the benefits of the reign of Jesus Christ, some will choose in the end to follow after Satan and that's when God calls an end to humanity of the world as we know it. Revelation 20:10 says after that short term rebellion, the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone where he and the false beast and the false prophet are also. They were cast there 1000 years before this at the beginning of the millennium, but they still exist and they are being tormented day and night forever and ever and ever. And now that they are done with, it's time for the final judgment, the Great White Throne judgment of all unbelievers who have ever lived.

The Bible says hades, the temporary dwelling place of the unsaved, was emptied and everyone stood before the Great White Throne judgment and the Bible says, and every person was judged by his works. Now people wonder about that. They think, well, I'll just take my chances and let God judge me by my works. And so God says, okay, if you want to be judged by your works, we will judge you by your deeds. Revelation 23, every one of them was judged according to his deeds, but as God examines the deeds, there may be some wonderful things you have done, but it's not enough. For you see, the standard by which God judges our deeds is not other people. It's by his perfect son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And in comparison to Christ, nobody measures up.

The Bible says in Romans three, there is not one righteous among us. No, not even one for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The Bible says, if any man's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire, Revelation 20:15. Not to be destroyed but to suffer, to be persecuted like Satan, the antichrist and the false prophet day and night forever and ever. That is incomprehensible when you think about it. The worst, excruciating pain you've ever had, think about it. At least there was some relief. It might've come in an hour, a day, a week or a month, but there's been some relief. Think about the worst pain you have ever felt and think about experiencing that day and night forever and ever. The awful truth about hell, ladies and gentlemen, is this, when we have spent three billion trillion years in hell, we will not have reduced by one second the time we have left to spend there. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.

And once that happens, the present heaven and earth will be destroyed as second Peter three tells us. By his word, the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, but the day of the Lord will come like a thief in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat and the earth in its works will be burned up and that leads us into the final event. In the end times, we call it eternity future. Eternity future is the permanent underline that state of both believers inhabiting the New Heaven and of unbelievers inhabiting the lake of fire. The key is once your eternal destination is fixed, there is no changing of it.

And then after the present heaven and earth were destroyed, John saw something else in Revelation 21. Then I saw a New Heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and earth passed away and there is no longer any sea and I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God made ready as a bride adoring for her husband. What are we going to do for all eternity if we're not plucking a harp? Well, we're going to worship God. We're going to experience worship like we've never had it before. We're going to work. Work, that sounds like hell to me. Work, what do you mean? I thought I was through with all of that.

We were created in God's image to be workers. The only reason we don't enjoy work right now is because of the restraints of working in this world. The tired bodies, strained relationships, unfair treatment, none of that will be present in the New Heaven and new earth. We'll enjoy work and accomplishment like God intended. We'll have new bodies. The words cancer, stroke, dementia, those won't be in the dictionary of heaven. We never get sick, nor will we ever have to experience alienation from loved ones, broken relationships, divorce or standing over the grave of a loved one saying goodbye. None of that will be a part of the New Heaven and new earth. Instead, John said in Revelation 21:4, on that day, God will wipe away every tear from our eyes and there shall no longer be any death, no longer any mourning or crying or pain for the first things will have passed away. That is the forever future of those who know Christ as Savior.
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