I am kicking off a new series about the end times. And honestly, this is a subject that I never intended to tackle in a message. I was hoping God would give me a pass.
But if you’ve been around me for long, you already know that to me, obedience to God is the only option. So when He asks me to do something, I do it.
A few months ago, the Holy Spirit began dropping hints.
I’m not one who thinks about end times. Those who do categorize themselves as either a postmillennialist, premillennialist, or amillennialist. I’d categorize myself as a panmillennialist – I believe it’s all going to pan out just like God wants it.
So when the Holy Spirit started dropping hints that this was going to be our next series, I started thinking about the end times. This was out of character for me, so I knew the Holy Spirit was working.
I’ve never had visions of the return of Jesus. And now I’ve had several over the past couple of months. I’m going to tell you about them throughout this series.
But here’s what I want you to know. We are at the end of the end times. Jesus is coming soon and we need to live each day ready for His return.
Although many of you might have been avoiding studying the end times, you are going to find this series bringing you great comfort. It will bring you peace and hope that Jesus is coming again.
This series is going to have four parts and I want to let you know what they are ahead of time so you know what’s coming.
- Part 1: Signs of the End Times
- Part 2: Rapture of the Church
- Part 3: The Great Tribulation
- Part 4: Millennium and Eternity
Before we get into part one, let’s set some ground rules. I understand that you might disagree with me throughout this series. Unpacking the end times is one of the most controversial things you can do in church. I’ll give you an example.
We had a small group a few years ago about the end times. I asked what percentage of the group believed in the pre-tribulation rapture and what percentage didn’t.
Can you guess? It was about a 50/50 split. Half of the group believed in the pre-tribulation rapture, and half of the group didn’t.
I’m not going to tell you where I stand on the issue because you will find out next week. And there is no reason to get 50% of you upset today when I am going to do that next week.
So, here’s the ground rule for this series:
It’s okay that we disagree on some of the details of the end times, as long as we all agree that Jesus is coming for His church. We need to be ready, and we need to help others get ready.
So, I started off in neutral about the end times, but now I am fired up. The Holy Spirit has been doing a work in me regarding this subject and I am excited to teach on this.
And I encourage you to get excited about hearing it, because God promises a special blessing for those who engage in this message. Take a look:
Revelation 1:3 NLT – God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.
This means that I am going to be blessed for bringing you this series, and you are going to be blessed if you listen to these messages and obey what the Word of God says.
So, who’s ready to be blessed today? Let me show you how we can know that the time of Jesus’ return is very near.
This might come as a shock to you, but I’ve never personally had a baby. Even though the pregnant man emoji now exists, the reality is, men can’t have babies. Just wanted to make sure you knew.
But I have witnessed my wife have five babies. And one of them was only four weeks ago.
You might be wondering where I am going with this. Well, Jesus relates the signs of the end times to birth pains.
Mark 13:8 NLT – Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in many parts of the world, as well as famines. But this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.
On Saturday, April 9, I got up around 7am and went to fix the kids breakfast while Beth slept in a bit. She was full-term pregnant and needed all the sleep she could get.
When she got up about an hour later, she was disappointed. I asked what was going on and she explained that she had contractions from about 4am to 6am and then they just stopped.
This is a frustrating experience for a woman who is ready to have a baby. Turns out, carrying a 9-pound baby in your abdomen isn’t all that comfortable.
I gave her a little pep talk and then we went along as if a normal day. After breakfast, I headed to my office to pray and spend time in God’s Word.
The Holy Spirit led me to read 1 Thessalonians. The book ends by reassuring the church that Jesus is coming. It even explains what is going to happen when He comes and I will get into that next week.
After I was done reading, the spirit of God filled the room. I became overwhelmed with inexpressible peace and joy. As I sat there, I kept sensing the spirit of God say, “I’m coming! I’m coming! Kade, I’m coming!”
Like I said earlier, I’m not one who thinks about end times. So this was an unusual experience for me. I’ve had many encounters like this with the Lord, but this was the first regarding His coming.
I can’t even put into words the experience I had that morning. But it took me by complete surprise and I left that time with complete confidence that I will see the coming of Jesus Christ in my lifetime.
I was so excited that I went to tell Beth. I didn’t do a very good job explaining what happened, but she caught a glimpse of it. Then I went back to my office to get some work done.
Lunchtime rolled around and Beth had only had a few contractions. She was convinced it wasn’t going to happen that day. But somehow I knew, “Today is the day.”
We put the kids down for naps after lunch and then went into our room to spend some time together. Beth was looking a bit weary, so I left her alone to take a nap and went to finish my sermon.
The baby’s coming!
About an hour later, Beth calls me back downstairs. She only got to nap for about 15 minutes before the contractions started again. After about 10 back-to-back, she decided to tell me about it.
She wasn’t sure this was it, but I could tell by the look on her face and the frequency of the contractions, that this was it. So I called over the sitter for our other four kids and we drove to our midwife in Tulsa.
On the way there, she was having contractions every three minutes or so. I decided to turn on one of our favorite songs to help distract her from the pain.
So I played Endless Praise by Charity Gayle. Almost immediately, the spirit of God filled our car and we both began to cry. His love and His peace were so tangible it was overwhelming.
Then came the third verse. Take a look at these lyrics:
Standing with those who have heard well done
Proclaiming forever that you’re the one who’s
Faithful, faithful, faithful are you Lord
What can we give you but endless praise
The heavens roar as we shout
Your name is Jesus, Jesus, Jesus You are Lord
At this point, I was going in and out of an open vision of Jesus coming on the clouds. My eyes were open because I was driving but I would catch glimpses of what His coming is going to be like.
So, there I am wiping tears from my eyes, sobbing, going in and out of this vision and trying to keep a laboring woman safe going down Highway 169. It was an unforgettable experience.
I imagine it was unforgettable for Beth as well as she was overwhelmed with the peace and joy of God and the pain of labor all at the same time.
At the birthing center
About twenty minutes later, we arrive at the birthing center. The midwife checks the progress and we find out that Beth is on the verge of having this baby. Less than an hour later, Daniel was born.
I’ve now watched Beth birth five babies. Four of those she did 100% natural, no pain medication.
Observing the process over and over again, I’ve learned that with every birth, the pain intensifies and becomes more frequent the closer you get to delivery.
This is what Jesus was referring to about the signs of the end times.
Yes, wars and earthquakes and famine have been impacting our world forever. But in our lifetime, the pain has intensified and become more frequent.
The disciples experienced the first of the birth pains, and we are experiencing the end of the birth pains that come right before the delivery – the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Why did the Holy Spirit give me that experience on the day of Daniel’s birth? To confirm what Jesus told us. We can be confident that His coming is near by paying attention to the intensity and frequency of the birth pains.
I’ve witnessed this many times and it is about time to push. So we need to be ready and we need to help others get ready for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let me show you another sign.
Fast Travel and Increased Knowledge
The Old Testament prophet, Daniel, prophesied greatly about the end times. He even let us in on what it will be like in the last days:
Daniel 12:4 NLT – But you, Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal up the book until the time of the end, when many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase.
In the 1600s, the great scientist Sir Isaac Newton read this scripture and said, “Personally, I cannot help but believe that these words refer to the end of times. There may be some inventions which enable people to travel much more quickly than they do now.”
He later speculated that such inventions might surpass fifty miles per hour! Eighty years later, a French atheist read Newton’s words and stated, “See what a fool Christianity makes of an otherwise brilliant man! Has he forgotten that if man would travel at this rate he would be suffocated? His heart would stand still!”
Yeah, what an idiot! Oh, wait… turns out the Bible enabled Mr. Newton to accurately predict the future while the atheist was left in the dark. Now we know who the real idiot is.
So Daniel reveals to us that the end times are marked by fast travel and increased knowledge.
The Tech Boom
From the garden of Eden to the early 1900s, people either walked or rode horses to get around. Then, in a span of less than one hundred years, mankind invented the automobile, jet plane, and space shuttle. Talk about rushing here and there.
My grandparents grew up without electricity. That means there was no technology. But it only took a few decades and everyone had radios, TVs, and many of the modern conveniences we still use today.
When I graduated high school, the iPhone didn’t exist. The smartphone of my day was called a Blackberry. But I had the popular Nokia that could make calls, send texts, and play snake.
In just a few decades, we’ve made major medical advances. Tiny babies weighing less than one pound can now survive outside the womb, and unborn babies can undergo surgery while in the womb.
We can clone sheep, mice, and cattle. We even have the technology to clone humans. If they aren’t doing it already, I’m sure it’s coming.
Talk about increased knowledge. The world has never experienced what we have experienced in just a few generations. It’s a sure sign that we are at the end of the end times.
The sad thing is, our drastically increased knowledge has actually been to our detriment, which is yet another sign of the end times.
The knowledge of man
Society now worships human knowledge over the wisdom of God. Highly educated people are now coaching the world on the rebirth of morality.
It’s no longer wrong to embrace a lifestyle of homosexuality. It is wrong if you speak against it. It’s no longer wrong to slaughter a baby in the womb. It is wrong if you speak against it.
We’ve become so smart that we finally realized, that all this time gender has been subjective. You can’t look in your pants to find out who you are. You have to wait and see how you feel.
Aren’t you grateful that human knowledge has led us to redefine morality? The results speak for themselves. Now around 70% of Americans believe sex outside of marriage is acceptable. Around 40% of kids have no father in the home.
And since abortion was legalized in 1973, close to 63 million unborn babies have been killed right here in the US. That’s equivalent to wiping out 20% of the US population right now.
Speaking of, you’ve probably heard about the information leaked that the Supreme Court plans to overturn Roe v Wade. This is great news!
But it is a problem that the confidentiality of the Supreme Court has been compromised. We need to pray that those responsible are found and held accountable.
The Issue of Abortion
Now, everyone is talking about abortion. I even read a post from a church leader that blew my mind. She said, “We don’t know when life begins. It is a great mystery. If we look at the book of Genesis, Adam’s life didn’t begin until God breathed into him. So, maybe life doesn’t begin until our first breath.”
Unbelievable! A church leader talking like this. Yet, if you pay any attention to scripture you know that God says, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.”
I’ve preached on this issue of abortion many times, and it all boils down to this:
If you side with abortion, you side with Satan.
Don’t trust a Christian who sides with abortion. People do not appreciate it when I say that, but it’s the truth. This issue of abortion is one of the easiest ways to determine if someone is part of the woke church or part of Jesus’ church. You know them by their fruit.
The Woke Church: A Harlot
Speaking of the woke church, I recently found out that it is described in Revelation 17 as the great prostitute. Take a look at how it is described:
Revelation 17:2 NLT – The kings of the world have committed adultery with her, and the people who belong to this world have been made drunk by the wine of her immorality.”
As you can see, the woke church consists of churches who side with sin over God’s Word. They wrap it in a beautiful package called social justice and people are drunk in the immorality.
Just a few days ago, I read about a church that is hosting a Drag Queen Show. I already told you about the church leader who is promoting abortion. These are just two of many horrifying stories about those who call themselves Christians but are nothing more than a whore.
The woke church will thrive during the first half of the tribulation as the antichrist shares his power with this harlot. But he won’t share his power for long. The prostitute called the woke church will be destroyed by the antichrist midway through the tribulation when the antichrist doesn’t need her any more.
The woke church is nothing but Stan’s prostitute to be used and discarded.
So, one of the ways you can be sure we are living in the end times is because we live in the generation of fast travel and increased knowledge. Just like the prophet Daniel said.
One of the signs I’m not going to get into today is what has been going on with the moon and stars over the past few decades.
In 2017, the stars aligned exactly as described in Revelation 12. If you are into astrology, you’ll enjoy researching that one.
We’ve also had three blood moon tetrads over the past 70 years and all of them aligned with something significant that happened in Israel. That’s what I want to get into next.
The Super Sign: Israel
What’s going on with Israel is considered the super sign of the end times. Take a look at what Jesus said:
Matthew 24:32-34 NLT – Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place.
When Jesus references the fig tree, He is talking about Israel. So what Jesus is saying is that a single generation will see all the end time prophecies about Israel fulfilled.
Here’s the thing. Many of these prophecies have already been fulfilled in our generation. This means that we are the generation Jesus was talking about in this scripture. That’s awesome!
I’m going to take you through the prophecies already fulfilled. This is going to encourage you.
Israel is regathered a second time.
An entire generation of Israel lived captive to Babylon as a result of their idolatry and rejection of God. But after 70 years, God did what He promised and brought them back to their land. This happened more than 500 years before Christ.
Then, just like Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24, the temple was destroyed and the people of Israel dispersed a second time in 70 AD. This was around 40 years after Jesus prophesied it would happen.
For almost two thousand years, the people of Israel were scattered around the world. And I’m sure there were many over that long period of time that called Isaiah a false prophet because here’s what he said:
Isaiah 11:11-12 NLT – In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to bring back the remnant of his people— those who remain in Assyria and northern Egypt; in southern Egypt, Ethiopia, and Elam; in Babylonia, Hamath, and all the distant coastlands. He will raise a flag among the nations and assemble the exiles of Israel. He will gather the scattered people of Judah from the ends of the earth.
God fulfilled this promise in 1948 when Israel once again became a nation after being scattered for almost two thousand years.
This leads right into the next prophesy about Israel that has already been fulfilled:
Israel is born in one day.
Once again, take a look at what the prophet Isaiah wrote:
Isaiah 66:8 NLT – Who has ever seen anything as strange as this? Who ever heard of such a thing? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? But by the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin, her children will be born.
On May 14, 1948, Great Britain released its control over the land of Israel. On that same day, the head of the Jewish Agency announced the establishment of the State of Israel.
The US president at the time, Harry Truman, was quick to recognize the new nation on the very same day. Other nations were slow to follow Truman’s lead, but May 14, 1948 is recognized as the official birthdate of the State of Israel. A nation born in a day.
Again, this leads right into the next prophecy already fulfilled:
Israel is regathered from the North.
Now that Israel has been born in a day, where are all the people going to come from?
Of course, we already know that they were scattered across the entire world and would come back from all over.
But the largest migration came from Russia. Between 1989 and 2002, more than one million Russian Jews migrated to Israel.
When the Russian president opened the borders and allowed the Jews to leave, it fulfilled Jeremiah’s prophecy.
Jeremiah 16:14-15 NLT – “But the time is coming,” says the Lord, “when people who are taking an oath will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’ Instead, they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all the countries to which he had exiled them.’ For I will bring them back to this land that I gave their ancestors.”
Yet another prophecy about Israel has already been fulfilled. Don’t miss this. I’m showing you today how you can know that we are living in the last generation. And there’s more.
Jerusalem is retaken by the Jews.
Jesus prophesied about the desolation of Jerusalem. This was fulfilled in 70 AD. But He also prophesied that Jerusalem would be re-captured by the Jews.
Luke 21:24 NLT – …Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles until the period of the Gentiles comes to an end.
This means that Jerusalem would remain outside of Israel’s control until the end times.
I already explained that Israel became a nation in 1948. Then in 1967 Israel engaged in the Arab-Israeli Six Day War and regained control of Jerusalem. It remains in their hands today.
How long is a generation?
Jesus said the same generation that sees the prophecies fulfilled about Israel will see the end times. We are that generation.
So, you may be wondering, how long is a generation? The book of Psalms gives us the clearest explanation:
Psalm 90:1,10 NLT – Lord, through all the generations you have been our home! … Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty.
According to this scripture, a generation is between 70 and 80 years. The first prophecy fulfilled about Israel was when it became a nation in 1948.
I’ll give you a moment to do the math… In just a few days, on May 14, Israel will celebrate its 74th anniversary as a nation.
Knowing God’s desire is for all men to repent and turn to Him, I imagine He’s going to give us that extra ten years mentioned in Psalms. But we are already four years in.
He is coming soon. He’s coming very soon.
The Last Generation
A couple of months ago, we were here at church one Sunday morning. I was preaching on miracles. Spiritual gifts were moving at the end of the message. It was a great service.
When it was over, I walked off the stage and went to the back of the room where my kids were seated. As soon as I got back there, my six-year-old daughter stunned me with what she said.
She said, “Hey Dad, I just found out that we are all going to go to heaven together. You and mom aren’t going to go before us. We are all going to go at the same time.”
I don’t know if you’ve experienced this before, but when someone tells you something by the spirit of God, the words stun you for a moment. They carry a weight that everyday words don’t.
This was one of those moments for me. I knew she was speaking about something she had seen in the spirit. It made this connection with my spirit and I knew she was talking about the rapture of the church.
Now, some people believe the rapture is before the tribulation. Others believe it is in the middle. And some even believe it is at the end. We’re going to get into that next week.
Regardless of what you believe about the timing of Jesus coming back for His church, the important thing is, Jesus is coming back. And He told us we better be ready when He gets here.
We don’t know the day or the hour, but we do know the generation. And as I explained to you today, we are that generation.
Are you ready?
Here we are near the end of that generation. And as the birth pains increase in frequency and intensity, we know the end is near. So I need to ask, are you ready for His return?
If Jesus were to come tonight, would you be ready?
Getting ready is very simple. The Bible makes it clear that the only way to salvation is believing in Jesus Christ. You can’t earn it with your good works. You can only receive it by believing.
And you may be wondering, “How do I know if I believe in Jesus?” It’s simple. When you believe in Jesus, you follow Jesus. Following Jesus becomes the focus of your life.
But don’t misunderstand. What you do can’t save you.
There are a lot of people who say they’re a Christian because they are part of a church, or because they said a prayer one Sunday morning, or because they care about social justice.
None of those things make you Christian. None of those things save you from eternity in hell. The only thing that saves you is believing that Jesus Christ died in your place, God raised Him from the dead and gave you eternal life.
Listen to me. There are a lot of people who think they’re saved, but they’re not. I know, it sounds really odd for me to say this, but Jesus is actually the one who said it.
Matthew 7:22-23 NLT – On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
Works alone can NOT save you, God’s mercy does
We can say we believe in Jesus all day long. But what really tells the tale is how we live our lives. If you truly believe Jesus is who He says He is, you’ll follow Him by following His Word.
I’m not saying you’ll get it perfect. None of us do. But what I am saying is that when you believe in Jesus and something is revealed in your life that is contrary to the way of Jesus, you abandon your way and embrace the way of Jesus.
This is an ongoing journey. For me, it all started by giving up a life of homosexuality. Next, I gave up pornography. Then, I found out I was really mean and had to give up my bad attitude.
On and on and on, over the past 15+ years, I’ve been living a life of repentance. When something is revealed in my life that is contrary to the way of Jesus, I make an adjustment. Happens all the time.
Why? Because I believe in Jesus. I believe He gave me new life. I believe His power resides inside of me and enables me to live life the way He wants me to. He doesn’t expect me to do it on my own.
I believe He loves me. So when He asks me to do something that I don’t particularly like at the time, I do it anyway because He always has my best interest at heart.
I believe in Jesus, so I follow Jesus.
And I want to ask you, do you believe in Jesus? Because now’s the time. He’s coming back for His church very soon. And trust me, you want to go with us.
Romans chapter ten verse nine tells us that if we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved.
So we are going to do that together. If you truly believe God raised Jesus from the dead, raise your hand. Now, everyone who has their hand raised, repeat after me, “Jesus is Lord.”
It’s that simple. You are saved! Don’t let anyone talk you out of it, not even yourself. Anytime you have doubts about your salvation, turn to Romans 10:9:
Romans 10:9 NLT – If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. I declare Jesus is Lord. I am saved and no one can take that away from me.