2012年12月10日星期一

Understanding Bible Prophecy

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Matthew 16:2-3
Why is it important?

"Because the testimony of Jesus is in the Spirit of Prophecy," Rev 19:10

What are the next prophetic events?

Jesus did not keep us in the dark concerning the plan He has towards His Church and His people Israel, Romans 11:25.  He prophesied, which mean that He foretold, the future events that will take place before His return. Jesus loves us.  He love to reveal to those who love Him and who seek Him, 1 Cor 2:9, Hebrews 11:6.  Jesus doesn't want to keep us ignorant.  To please Jesus it is important to take Him by His word. Therefore, it is important to take prophecies seriously.

To His Church and His people Israel, Jesus instruction is to watch.  "Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming," Matthew 24:42.  That is not an instruction to Christians to be sinless for His return, because we know that Jesus paid for the penalty of all our sins, past present and future, on the cross.  "If we are not faithful, he will still be faithful, because he cannot be false to himself," 2 Timothy 2:13. To be watchful has nothing to do with your salvation? 

Jesus instructs us to be watchful for three reasons:

·        So that we may not be taken by surprise,
·        So that we would not worry,
·        So that we may give testimony by using God's prophecies to bring others to salvation

"The time is near when all things will end. So keep your minds clear, and control yourselves. This will help you in your prayers," 1 Peter 4:7.

"And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet," Matthew 24:6.

If you are a reader that has not yet accepted Jesus as your personal saviour, you have no time to spare. Jesus return for the church is imminent. If Jesus doesn't return today, what guarantee do you have that you'll live another day?  Please read this article title, "To become a Christian, that is easy".

We are to be curious and open-minded. The Jews at the time of Jesus didn't recognizes the signs of His coming as a redeemer. They refuse to accept and to test the prophetic signs.  They were not even curious. Here is one example:

Jesus birth: during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?   King Herod had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.  “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel," Matt 2:6. Quoting Micah 5:2,4

Be like the wise man. Notice that the priests and teachers didn't take prophesies seriously.  None of them were ready for Him; none were interested to see for themselves if the child was the promised King (Messiah).  As it is today, many church members do not take prophecies seriously. So many do not teach or research the scripture to understand God's plan.  Too many believe that the kingdom of God is in the heart, only, and do not literally believe in the resurrection of the body, but instead believe that once dead everyone goes to heaven.  Many do not believe in Jesus return, therefore are not watching.

During Jesus ministry, Jesus made a remark that the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the high priest couldn't discern the signs of time.

"Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?" Luke 12:56"

Jesus even warned them of the consequence that they will suffer for not recognizing the signs of His coming:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!  See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" Matthew 23:37-39.

In Matthew 21:1-11, is the best example of how the Jews were ill prepared to receive their Messiah.

 "Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,  saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me.  And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”

All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:
The King Enters Jerusalem

“Tell the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your King is coming to you,
Lowly, and sitting on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them.  They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him[d] on them.  And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:

“Hosanna to the Son of David!
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Hosanna in the highest!”
And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?”

So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.” 

Did you notice that the multitudes didn't recognized Him as the Promised One, the Messiah, but instead accepted him as a prophet? He fulfilled all the prophecies mentions in the book of the major prophet, John 1:45, yet only a few recognized Him. John the Baptist recognized Him, so is Andrew the brother Simon (Peter) at the beginning of Jesus ministry, John 1:35-50.  Even gentile believed in prophecy concerning the Messiah, the example of a Samaritan woman,

"The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things,” John 4:25.

Let us not be like the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law. Signs of Jesus soon return are everywhere in the news.  What is going to be the soon coming events which will be reveal to the nations of the world as proof that God had sent His Son Jesus to judge and to rule the world.

What are the next prophetic events?

To The Church: it is a secret event revealed by Paul  "The Rapture"
"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord,"  1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.

As for Israel, since it rejected Jesus as the Messiah the truth was partially taken away from them.

"For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in," Romans 11:25.

This partial blindness started 70 year after Jesus predicted the destruction of the Temple.

"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.” Matthew 24:1-2. 

And, in Matthew 23:38 Jesus warned them that the land of Israel would be left to the gentile, deserted and wasted. This happens in the year 70 AD. Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed and the Jews were force out of their land.

Do you see the importance of taking prophecy seriously? God do exactly what He said He would do. Therefore, the church has a responsibility to read the scriptures of prophecy for understanding so that it may teach it.  God have chosen some among the Church with the gift of prophecy.

"Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy," 1 Corinthians 14:1. "for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit," 2 Peter 1:21.

Everything that we need to know has been revealed by the Spirit to God servants. The scriptures reveal its interpretation.

"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation," 2 Peter 1:20.

We may not know the Day or Hour of His return but He gave us signs.

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect," Matthew 24:36-44.

To be ready has nothing to do with salvation unless you are not save. For Christians, it all about our mind set.  Do we desire with all our heart the return of the Most High?  Is it not part of the Lord Prayer that Jesus taught us, "Let Thy Kingdom Come?

There are signs that we can observe which will warn us that the time of Jesus return is near.  The Jews returned to their homeland is the most well known sign that His return is near.

The Parable of the Fig Tree


“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. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!  Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away." Matthew 24:32-35

Matthew 24, describes an increase of signs at the end time such as earthquakes, extreme weather conditions, famine on the raise, diseases escalating, and an increase in political turmoil. 




What are the next coming prophetic events pertaining Israel?

Ezekiel 37 - In 1947, we witnessed Israel restored as a nation, yet still partially blind.

Psalms 83 - describes the continual development of a coalition among the Muslim countries to war against Israel.

Jeremiah 49 is a message from God to the surrounding Muslims coalition. I wonder if this message has been delivered to each one of these nations.

Isaiah 17 - describe destruction of Damascus.  Have you noticed how much Syria is in the news lately? 

Watch: The Fate of Damascus and the Psalm 83 War produce by Prophecy Update Videos  https://youtu.be/utWQjChjUrI

The Rapture is imminent. Although the rapture is not a date and time event, we understand that Israel cannot fulfill its last day's commission as long as the Church is still here present.

"For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in," Romans 11:25.


Ezekiel 38 - I do not know if the church will be around to see the fulfilment of the war of Gog and Magog against Israel. But I do know that  as long as the Church is present, Israel will continue to be partially blind and the anti-christ will not be made known.


"Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, - For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way," 2 Thessalonians 2:3,7.



After the defeated armies of Gog and Magog, this man of peace will show up into the world seen as one who can bring a settlement in the Middle East conflict.

"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,” Daniel 9:27.

Conclusion

Let us be watchful.  The hour is near. All the prophetic events mention in this bible study are at hand.

Jesus instructs us to be watchful for three reasons:

·        So that we may not to taken by surprise,
·        So that we would not worry,
·        So that we may give testimony by using God's prophecies to bring others to salvation

"But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him," John 4:23.

If not save, repent and accept Jesus as Lord 'NOW', the day and hour, no one knows.  When the rain start falling it's to late...as were the day of Noah.