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There are many views of how things will come about in the 'end times' or 'last days'. Regardless of your view, there are teachings of Jesus and the apostles about how we are to act and things to avoid. I believe this is what we should be focusing on, rather than all the emphasis on what is going to happen and when. It is good to understand the times and seasons to an extent, so that we are not caught unaware. This is taught below. But our focus should never be on information but transformation!
The following is a summary of these things. The italicized areas are things to avoid, while bolded areas are actions to embrace.
v Matt. 24:12 And because iniquity (doing your own thing) shall abound, the love of many shall grow cold. 13 But he that endures to the end, the same shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. Doing our own thing is deadly, we need to do God's thing. We need to watch our love for God, other Christians, enemies and the lost. We dare not let it grow a degree colder. Unforgiveness is usually the cause, so let's keep watch. All this (and faith from Luke) adds to enduring to the end and not giving up. We can hasten the Lord's coming by reaching unreached people groups (nations=enthos=ethinic people groups). That's the Lord's passion (see 2 peter below)!
v Matt. 24:43 But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have allowed his house to be broken up (house=life). 44. Therefore be ready: for such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes. 45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord has made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he comes shall find so doing. 47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. 48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delays his coming; 49 And shall begin to smite his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looks not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. I have heard it taught and believe it's correct, we should live as though Jesus died 3 days ago, rose today and is coming back tomorrow. That's how the disciples lived and they changed the world! If we think His coming is delayed we can lose what we have in the Lord and delay His coming even more!
v Matt 25:2 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go out to meet him. 7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us some of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 9 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. We need to know where and how to get our own anointing so that we never run out. Better than being a wise virgin, be the watchman (an intercessor, who prophesied the truth), who not only had plenty of oil=anointing, but actively watched for the Lord's return.
v Matt. 25:14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his ability; and straightway took his journey. 16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained another two. 18 But he that had received one went and dug in the earth, and hid his lord's money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came, and reckoned with them. 20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, you delivered unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter into the joy of your lord. 22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, you delivered unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter into the joy of your lord. 24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew you that you are a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not sowed: 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the earth: lo, there you have that is yours. 26 His lord answered and said unto him, You wicked and slothful servant, you knew that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not sowed: 27 You ought therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received my own with usury. 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it to him which has ten talents. 29 For unto every one that has shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that has not shall be taken away even that which he has. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. God has planted an incorruptible seed in our hearts. If it is truly there, it will bear fruit. That's another way of looking at this parable. We must do something with the deposit of what God has put in our lives! He has given us His life, blood, Spirit and word and everything else tied up with it. What should we be doing with such a treasure?!?!
v Matt. 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was hungry, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: 36 Naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry, and fed you? or thirsty, and gave you drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger, and took you in? or naked, and clothed you? 39 Or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and came unto you? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, In as much as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was hungry, and you gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and you visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto you? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, In as much as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. This one is pretty straight forward. Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, take in stangers, clothe those who lack clothing, visit the sick and imprisoned. To sum it up, take care of those less blessed than ourselves.
v Lk 18.8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Over and over again we will see faith mentioned in the verses that follow. It seems like such a simple thing, but without it, we can't please God and we can't have a relationship with Him. So we need to watch out and hold fast, to keep our faith in its fullness.
v Acts 1.6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Again, God's priority is to reach the end of the earth, not have us worry about times and seasons.
v Acts 2.17-21 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ The Lord is pouring out His Spirit in these last days. His promise is that He will do it on all flesh. If someone is not experiencing that, then we need to pray, for He promised it. We also need to be open to prophesy, visions and dreams - to receiving them from the Lord, sharing them with others and receiving them from others. Lastly, as we see these signs -- call on Him to save us from the terrors of the end!
v 1 Cor. 15.58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. Paul finishes a dissertation on the resurrection and sums it all up with this sentence. We need to hold on to the Lord with all we have and do the things He has put on our hearts to do for Him!
v 1 Thes. 4.16 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. 17 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. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. 5.1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. 11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. We're to comfort and encourage each other with the fact of Jesus' coming. We are not to be taken by surprise by the Lord's coming -- He's coming like a thief to the unbelieving! We're not to sleep or get drunk, but to watch and be sober. That is, we are to pay attention to Holy Spirit's moving, follow Him obediently, and don't get distracted (even with necessary stuff like sleep).
v 2 Thes. 2.1Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Like Paul said in the first letter to the Thessalonians, we're going to know when Jesus comes, there will be not a single doubt. We are not going to miss it by being too busy for Him. In fact, that's the way to ensure we are going to be ready.
v 1 Tim. 41-3 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. These deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons won't be straightforward lies, they will appear to produce holiness, se we need to hold fast to what the word teaches and not be led astray!
v 2 Tim 3.1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! What a list! Selfish and proud to the hilt, of these we dare not be and need to turn away from them lest we become like them!
v 2 Tim 4.1-5I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
v Heb. 10.23-25 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. We need to hold fast and not let go to what God has given us and we need to encourage and exhort our brothers and sisters to do the same.
v 1 Pet. 4.7-10 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Peter urges us to watch in these end times because any of us could be deceived. Love, hospitality and ministering to each other is the order of the day. In other words, we need each other!
v 2 Pet. 3.3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” 8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you. God is patiently waiting until the last person who is supposed to be saved is safely in His care. He is never slack with His promises. If it seems like it, it is for everyone's good that He is waiting! Holy conduct and godliness, being in peace, without spot and blameless is what our conduct should look like, understanding what the end of this world will be like -- everything as we know it will be destroyed by fire. It's all going to burn up, so let's live for what can't be burned! That's how we can hasten His coming!
v 1 Jn. 3.2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. When we see Him, we'll be like Him. Oh, what a day that will be. Just that focus will help purify us!
v Jude 16-21 These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. There is a real distinction here between God's people and the people of the world. The closer we get to the end, the clearer it will become. It breaks down into selfish vs. following the Lord. One group -- nothing is good enough for them and it's all about them, the other remembers what God says and follows it.
v Rev. 2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things says he that holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; 2 I know your works, and your labor, and your patience, and how you can not bear them which are evil: and you have tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and have found them liars: 3 And have borne, and have patience, and for my name's sake have labored, and have not fainted. 4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against you, because you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from whence you are fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto you quickly, and will remove your candlestick out of his place, except you repent. 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. God does see the good we're doing, but also notices the lack. Holy Spirit will show us when we are messing up! This church left its first love, implying it wasn't an accident, but a choice. Ouch! We need to look and see if we have fallen behind in our zeal for the Lord and repent if we have. In each of these seven letters, we are told that if we have spiritual ears, to hear and overcome. Are we listening? Are we overcoming?
v Rev. 2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things says the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive 9 I know your works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but you are rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. 10 Fear none of those things which you shall suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried; and you shall have tribulation ten days: be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life. 11 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches; He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death. Suffering is our lot as Christians. We're not to fear it, because what can really hurt us can't touch us!
v Rev. 2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things says he which has the sharp sword with two edges 13 I know your works, and where you dwell, even where Satan's seat is: and you hold fast my name, and have not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwells 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling-block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 15 So have you also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16 Repent; or else I will come unto you quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows saving he that receives it. God wants us faithful and not to tolerate teaching that has a mixture. The Nicolaitans mean Nico=above laita=laity. They taught a hierarchy in the church, much like some churches do today. We are all priests to our God, one is not above the other.
v Rev. 2:18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things says the Son of God, who has his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; 19 I know your works, and charity, and service, and faith, and your patience, and your works; and the last to be more than the first. 20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against you, because you suffer that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searches the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. 24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you no other burden. 25 But that which you have already hold fast till I come. 26 And he that overcomes, and keeps my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches. A Jezebel spirit, according to this scripture, comes in as a false prophet proclaiming fornication and idol attachment. The forms of these things can be quite varied, for example in addition to sexual fornication, there is spiritual fornication, where we love anything else more than the Lord. That could be tradition, buildings, style, etc. Idolatry is equated with greed in the word. So the application and the warning about Jezebel is vast. Also, Jezebel was a domineering woman in the word, over the Lord, the prophets and her husband. It has been said that the only way for a Jezebel to exist is for an Ahab -- a weak leader, to exist as well.
v Rev. 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things says he that has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know your works, that you have a name that you live, and are dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found your works perfect before God. 3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore you do not watch, I will come on you as a thief, and you shall not know what hour I will come upon you. 4 You have a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. 5 He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels 6 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches. Many times we are told to 'hold fast' what we have. That denotes action, we dare not assume we will keep what we have gained. We must be on guard to maintain what God has given. The best way to do that is to be using it and moving forward, higher, deeper, and onward in all areas and in all ways of our walk with Him. We are also told many times to watch and I think that ties directly into holding fast. We need to be aware of when our enemy attacks us. If we are not, it is much easier to go astray. Remember, he doesn't always use a direct attack. He is sneaky and tenacious. Therefore we must be extremey aware and even more tenacious than he in order to win the battle. The war is already won, but the particular battle we're in is up to us.
v 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things says he that is holy, he that is true, he that has the key of David, he that opens, and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens 8 I know your works: behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it: for you have a little strength, and have kept my word, and have not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you 10 Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth 11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown. 12 Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name 13 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches. This is the only church without a rebuke! At least not a strong, direct one. They were told they had a little strength. They kept His word and did not deny His name. The only instruction was to hold fast what they had. Lord, let that be us!
v Rev. 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things says the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot. 16 So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. 17 Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye-salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 21 To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 22 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches. (This next part is borrowed from Bill Gothard.) Think about your life with God right now. How would you rate yourself your love and your works for Him, from 1-9.
Freezing, ice cold -- 1
Cold -- 2
Chilly -- 3
Cool -- 4
Neutral -- 5
Warm -- 6
Heating up -- 7
Red Hot -- 8
White Hot -- 9
God wants us to be a 1 or a 9. I’m neither one, how about you? What can we do to get there? This is not an option, unless we want to be rejected into God’s ‘barf bag’!!! Part of the clue to this whole process is realizing how desperate we truly are for God’s presence and His work in our lives. I have come to realize that if I don’t get close communion with God each day, many times a day, I will soon be in bad shape. I am a mess. Without God, I would be on the streets, in jail or dead. Honestly. I know this to be true.
Jesus was standing outside the door of a church when He was knocking on it's door. Is He ever outside our church wanting to be invited to come in and have His way? I have been in meetings like that. What a shame!