Our Lord trusted in no man; yet He was never suspicious, never bitter, never in despair about any man, because He put God first in trust; He trusted absolutely in what God’s grace could do for any man. If I put my trust in human beings first, I will end in despairing of everyone; I will become bitter, because I have insisted on man being what no man ever can be—absolutely right. Never trust anything but the grace of God in yourself or in anyone else.
So interesting how companies have marketing campaigns targeting my generation. Commercials and ads popping up all over the place designed by people my age. This means an increase of dorky jokes that make no sense…mwhahahaha
When I discovered this billboard while driving down 71 North in Kansas City, I thought it was merely a billboard advertisement for a conference called “Judgement Day.” Much to my surprise, during my visit to Chicago, I realized that there’s a group out there that believes judgement day would occur on May 21st. This group and their belief of the Judgement day is plastered all over the city, it’s even on the evening news and the topic of much discussion. On my friend’s facebook the other day, I found a mock billboard created in response to this original, jesting at the false prediction of when the end of the world would occur.
Though I was a bit tempted to feel awkward and deeply embarrassed for those who propagated the message, I felt compelled to post definite signs Jesus Himself shared during his ministry on earth that will alert us to the end of the age, when He will return for the second and final time. Though the billboard above which references Matthew 24:36 is correct, that no one knows the day or the hour, the context of the verse indicates that we can know the season though the exact day and hour we will not know.
There are other places in scripture which speaks of Christ second coming, but for now I will focus on Matthew 24. Christ responds here to the disciples’ query, “‘when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’” with specific signs indicating that we can know the season of His return (“32Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.”) Here are the specific signs Jesus taught His disciples to watch out for:
1. False Prophets and Messiahs:
In verses 4, 5, 23, 26, 27 Jesus emphasizes twice in this passage that there will be those who claim that they are Christ or that Jesus is somewhere but not to believe them. These individuals will be empowered to do great miracles that even Jesus Himself performed during His ministry on earth, causing many to believe in him. In verse 27, Jesus states that when He comes, everyone will see Him. We don’t need to run to somewhere to find Him, “For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Christ instructs the disciples to know that this will happen and not to be deceived: “4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many…26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”
2. Wars and Natural Disasters:
The verses following the ones indicating the false, self-proclaimed messiahs indicate that another sure sign of Christ’s second return are wars, rumors of wars and natural disasters. Just as birth pains which precedes the birth of a child indicate to the mother that the baby is about to come, there will be increased troubles on earth, specifically wars and natural disasters that will alert those who are aware of these signs to Jesus’ coming: “6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.”
3. Increased Persecution of Believers and the Great Falling Away
Believers will be persecuted to the point of death in an increased level and as a result, many believers of Jesus Christ will deny their faith and fall away from the faith. Currently, only believers in certain nations are experiencing intense persecution. These nations include but are not limited to China, North Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, India and many predominantly Muslim nations. The majority of the western Church has yet to experience the intense fire of persecution nor are we prepared for them: “9 Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
4. Gospel Preached to All Nations
Gospel will be preached to the every nation. Currently, statistics indicate that for the first time in world history, the gospel will reach every people group within the next few years. So this sign Jesus shared with His disciples will soon come to pass: “14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
5. Abomination of Desolation
Though seemingly encrypted in its meaning, what the phrase abomination of desolation means is that the Antichrist will set up an idol of himself in the temple of Jerusalem and make the whole world worship him as God. This abominable (abomination/detestable act) act will bring about great destruction (desolation) to the whole world. God will have to pour out His wrath and judge those who worship the Antichrist: “15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’spoken of through the prophet Daniel(Daniel 9:27, Rev 13 and 14)—let the reader understand—” (to read more on this subject, click here)
Jesus taught on the end of the age (His second coming) many times throughout His three year ministry on earth. Even in the old testament, instructions about His return and how to be prepared and how not be caught off guard are prevalent especially in books such as Daniel and Joel. This topic is addressed more than any others in the Bible. All together, there are 150 chapters that focus on the topic of Christ’s return. If this is such a great emphasis in the Word of God, how much more so should we as believers be studying and preparing ourselves for His return as Christ instructed countless times? Instead of laughing off false teachings in the Church and in the world, let us prepare ourselves and others for His return with the truth.
Resources to help prepare yourself for His return:
- Mike Bickle’s teachings: director of the International House of Prayer Missions Base of Kansas City (IHOP–KC), an evangelical missions organization based on 24/7 prayer with worship that is engaged in many evangelistic and inner city outreaches along with multiple justice initiatives, planting houses of prayer, and training missionaries.
- “When Jesus Returns” by David Pawson: British Bible teacher/preacher
- “End-Times Simplified” by David Sliker: senior leader and teacher at the International House of Prayer who often teaches on this topic
而我知道我幾乎都在分享我對於婚姻和交往關係的想法，卻沒把重心放在我們的故事，所以這次我要盡量聚焦在最刺激的追求過程。: ) 神啊幫助我專心！哎呀！
現在我們要換到Dustin那邊…這是妳長時間以來等待的時刻..哈哈..我希望我可以把這一刻變得戲劇化一點…(插入想像的緊張的暫停畫面，配上壯闊的配樂)…不管了…總之，我和Michael談話的幾天後，Dustin傳簡訊給他約他喝咖啡。所以一個多禮拜後，兩位男士便花了些時間聊聊近況。換Dustin說他的情況時，他開始描述那陣子上帝開啟他心眼所看見的女生，這對Michael而言是十分驚訝的事情，因為他和Dustin認識以來從沒聊過這方面的事情(他們認識對方很久了)。當他開始描述那位女生，Michael在腦海中看見我的名字，但馬上打消了念頭。Michael自己想：「不可能。」但是當Dustin繼續描述這女孩，Michael終於明白，就是了!!!Michael也注意到，Dustin在prayer room 發現我的那天，是他告訴我他會每天為我禱告的隔天。
在這段對話之前，onething 2008開始(每年12月IHOP-KC舉辦的特會)，上帝已經和Dustin有了幾次對話。IHOP-KC的創辦人畢麥克(Mike Bickle)鼓勵每個人向 神求從祂而來的夢想，所以Dustin和上帝求異夢，在夢裡向他顯現。上帝用一個夢回應了他，夢裡他正在美國南部的一條路走著。他看見路的盡頭有位女孩等著，戴著一頂南方大草帽，臉發著光。夢裡，Dustin感覺他和那位女孩都被對方吸引，但她不會離開道路來走近他。他知道這位女生每天都會到路邊等待上帝要給她的那一位，就是他自己。但是到最後，她會回到她所待的家庭。
Dustin在prayer room注意到我的幾個月前，他又做了另一個有關John Piper的夢（在美國一位很有名的牧師，約翰‧派博）。夢裡，在Dustin要和John Piper共進晚餐的路上，有位小女孩跑到John Piper旁邊告訴他「你知不知道剛剛有人對Dustin預言他要訂婚了？」在夢裡Dustin覺得很尷尬，因為那小女孩在他最敬佩的牧者面前說了這些。
接著，在上一個冬天他在prayer room的時候，Dustin感覺上帝叫他約朋友Isaac喝咖啡。Dustin在prayer room找Isaac的時候，他看見Isaac正在禱告所以想說大概聽錯了吧。回到他自己的禱告沒多久，Dustin抬頭看一下，發現Isaac已經離開了。他想著也許Isaac在咖啡店，便起身去找他。Dustin走進咖啡店的時候，他看見Isaac正買完咖啡離開隊伍。Isaac來找Dustin並對他說，他覺得Dustin已經準備好要當一位丈夫和爸爸了。其他人也陸續對Dustin說類似的話。這是在上帝讓他注意到我的幾個月前。
6月24日，Dustin被請去幫忙prayer room的招待。雖然那時他正在很深的禱告中，Dustin仍勉強答應幫忙，不知道上帝這天有什麼妙招。當他在prayer room裡面走來走去，指引方向和幫忙找座位時，他注意到我。那一刻上帝開啟他的雙眼注意到我，並且Dustin對 神說「她好美，她是女王！」然後他想到，之前他為了擴張的新季節，將自己分別為聖獻給 神。他離開prayer room的時候，正好碰到他的好友Isaac在咖啡店。他還正在想上一刻在prayer room發生的事情時，Dustin發現Isaac正在和某個人招手。他轉身看Isaac在向誰招手，而那人就是我！他們兩個走出咖啡店時，本來Dustin還在猶豫要不要問Isaac關於我，最終他還是問了「欸，你剛剛揮手的女生是誰，她很可愛。」Isaac回答「她是Sunny，你實在該約她出去，我可以幫你安排和她見面的地方。」第二天，Isaac給Dustin看我的部落格，然後告訴他他可以「偷偷來看。」Dustin去我的網站的時候，她發現更多引起他興趣的地方：1. 我的部落格名稱是beau soleil，就是法文的美麗太陽的意思(Dusitn大學主修法文)。2. 我的最新文章是有John Piper的影片。3. 最新文章下面一篇是上帝和我談關於婚姻的文章。
OK…我想這次我已經寫夠了…我常常都會擔心文章寫太長…所以下次我們會從這裡接起 : ) 弔人胃口的結局…哈哈哈
Links to Previous Posts:
Dinner for two: mozzarella salad, wheat couscous and maple salmon 🙂 yum (Taken with Instagram at The Sanctuary)
Thank You Jesus, You are so good to us! (Taken with Instagram at FCF Auditorium)