Matthew 24: 3-14
“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’ 4 And Jesus answered and said to them: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.'”
Many of us woke up on February 24 to the news that Russia was invading Ukraine. It is no real surprise; they have had this in play for years. It was slowed by the previous US administration, but this current one poses no threat to the Putin regime. Why should Christians pay attention? Firstly, we have many brothers and sisters living there. I have dear friends who are missionaries in Ukraine. They have been living there for 4 years now, and they have a small mission that reaches people with the Gospel. They came home on furlough just before the hostilities began but have every intention to return as far as I know. One of the other reasons is that of Israel.
During a recent visit to Israel, the Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister, Emine Dzhaparova, pointed out that half of the grain imported into Israel came from Ukraine. Imagine if half of our grain here in North America was cut off? Once the country of Ukraine is annexed, there is nothing to stop Russia from invading Israel. This is Bible prophecy playing out for us, and we have a front-row seat. Christians need to stop being twisted between two minds and begin to understand and see that the world we live in is about to change for the worse as far as believers are concerned. But, if we keep our eyes open and our hearts tuned to the Word of God, we will see His power and glory in supernatural ways.
Sadly, not many churches talk about prophecy. About 25% of the Bible is prophecy. To ignore prophecy is to ignore 25% of God’s written word. This Word was written for us; God did not need to write stuff down like a Chronicle since He knows everything – the end and the beginning. Two thousand years ago, Jesus and His disciples sat in the area of the Temple in Jerusalem; they were chatting, and one pointed out the Temple. Jesus made a prophecy that would be fulfilled in their time to give credence and confidence in the prophecy that is for us today.
In Matthew 24: 1-2, Jesus points out that there would come a time when not ‘one stone’ of the Temple would be left on another. This means that the Temple would be razed to the ground and torn down so that there would be no stones on top of another stone, referring to the construction of the Temple specifically.
Jesus was executed in about 32 AD; in 70 AD General Titus of the Roman army came and besieged Jerusalem and eventually sacked the city. He and his men tore down the Temple and did not leave one stone stacked on another. Now, some of the disciples had already died, but there were a few, especially John, who was alive to see the prophecy fulfilled to the nth degree. This fulfillment of prophecy, which can be verified in non-Biblical sources, should confirm for us the truth that Jesus spoke.
Now we will take a brief look at the following 12 verses and see what we can learn for today and about our times.
- Deception, verses 4-5
The most important trait of the last days will be spiritual deception. This is led by people who proclaim to be ‘Christ.’ If you take the time to read Matthew 24, you will find that Jesus warns about spiritual deception two or three times in this one chapter. It will be the mark for us in the churches that will stand out the most. It should; we are truth people. We seek truth, we love the truth, and our Jesus is the absolute Truth. Psalm 119: 160, says “All your words are truth,” referring to the Lord God. All His words are truth. Deception, then, is an anathema to the local church. It should not be tolerated and should be clearly seen by the persons involved who are immersed in the Truth.
This is not happening in many churches. We have pulpits filled with men who do not know or who do not wish to apply the principles of teaching and research — asking simple questions about context; who is speaking, to whom are they speaking, what did they say, why did they say it, what did it mean at the time that they said it, and how do we apply it today? These are basic rules that should be used all the time.
I will give you an example. I was chatting with a person about her church, and they have a female children’s pastor. I pointed out to her that this should not be, first of all, as pastors in the book of 1 Timothy are to be the husband of a wife, thus a man. But some churches have female pastors for the children. I said to the person, well, she should not have any boys over 12 or 13 years old in her classes as the Bible clearly says that a woman should not teach a man (1 Timothy 2:12). This dear sister pointed out that we keep our boys young much longer, and so it would be okay to have her teach boys over 12 or 13. I pointed out that the Bible is not progressive; what did it mean at the time that it was written? Then we can apply that principle here.
Thus, young boys need to be taught by men in the Lord’s churches. But we have churches that take even the most basic and simplistic instructions and pervert them. There are huge ministries in the US that are led by women, and they cater to mixed audiences and say that they are called by God. God is not the author of confusion; He did not suddenly change His mind and call a woman to be a pastor. But Jesus did warn us not to be deceived. Not everyone who talks about Jesus is from Jesus.
Another deception that we see today is that of pastors getting ‘special revelations.’ ‘God told me’ is a phrase that one hears a lot. I saw a children’s ministry book that was being used in one of the largest churches in the USA, and they had the children learning about God’s vision that He gave their pastor. God gave their pastor a special revelation, and that is the driving force of their church. What deception! God did not give this man a special revelation; God gave us all the same revelation in a book called the Bible. This is the WHOLE revelation of God to us for this time. Jesus gave us God’s revelation for the New Testament church in Matthew 28; 18-20,
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”
No one needs any further revelation from God. What we need is obedience. Sadly, too many church persons are not fluent in the Bible to be able to understand the deception and walk away. They equate size with success and assume that they are missing something when it is the very church that they attend that is missing something. But this deception is a part of the end; it is the canary in the mine, so to speak, for the last days. And we, the Lord’s people who fill His true churches, need to be immersed even more in the truth. Read, study, re-read, study and pray; handle the truth, and the lies will be clearly seen.
- Wars and Rumors of War verses 7-10
Well, we see it firsthand. For many of us, we knew that the wars were coming. We have leaders here in the West who are more concerned that boys can get to use the girl’s bathroom than be able to fight. We have decimated our militaries over vaccine mandates, and we have put confused men who think they are women at the head of our military. We are weak, and the predators on the outside know it. We have no stomach for war, and those that do are considered ‘Neanderthals.’
Our churches are filled with men that have never been challenged. They are weak and have not had to grow up and face life. We have filled their minds with virtual war where you get to go again, but none are ready for the real wars where people actually die. The real war that is coming will be on the conservative, non-progressive churches.
Let me enlighten you a bit; just last week, our Prime Minister enacted the Emergency Measures Act. He called it to quell the convoy of truckers that sat in Ottawa clogging the roads and protesting in the streets. One senator said that she had never felt so safe walking home from work as she is when the convoy was in town. One paper reported that the number of serious crimes had gone down while the siege was in play. But our PM decided that it was a dangerous time and that he needed more power. So, he enacted the Act, then about a week or so later, he decided all was well. But in the midst of the time, our Deputy Prime Minister said that they had enacted and made permanent some tools for confiscating monies and/or freezing bank accounts of those that supported the truckers.
Yes, the Government of Canada was able to get banks to confiscate people’s money, cancel their credit cards, and even try to cancel their insurance policies without a court order, without proving that anything criminal had happened; and the banks complied. This was done over a peaceful protest where the vast majority of the crimes were done by the police enforcing the Government’s new rules.
What happens when the Government decides that if your church does not conform to the Woke views about the transgendered and race, or if you keep preaching that marriage is between a man and a woman only, they decide to close your accounts because you attend this church, and you can only get money to feed your family if you stop attending and part ways with these conservative Bible-believing churches?
We all, me included, file our taxes and state where our tithes go to. Most churches have put sermons and lessons online; we have our services posted each week. What happens when the Government decides that they do not like what we say, and they shut us down? No court order, no day in court, no proof that a law was broken. This is what I remind you about Governments; they are like magicians, they show you the obvious, the Emergencies Power Act, but what did Mr. Trudeau really want to do? He wanted to strengthen the power of the Government to take your money, even digital money, without a warrant and without you having due process.
We have ‘Woke Churches’ all around us with their denial of the absolute power of the truth of God’s word. They change and re-interpret the truth to fit the winds of the day, and all in the name of size, money and power. It is sad to see how loose a lot of churches have become with the Bible, some even denying its power and eliminating it altogether. What happens when we take the Bible out of churches and out of society? People stop being able to handle the truth, even the truth looking you right in the eye.
- The offended, 11-12
This is the plague of our time; even in the Lord’s churches, we have many who are offended, even by the truth. I was listening to Jordan Peterson the other day, and he mentioned that just the act of thinking needs to prepare one to offend others. If you plan to have open and constructive conversations, you will need to accept being offended. The issue is that we have made it so that to have a contrary opinion is offensive, and one then falls into name-calling.
Let me go back a paragraph or two and say this: if your church has a female pastor, it is your right to do so as a local church, but it is also my right to point out that it is not biblically allowed, that simple. If that offends you, then so be it. The truth can be offensive. I am a big man, fat, to be honest. It is offensive when my doctor tells me I need to change my eating habits or I may die young. It is nonetheless the truth. Those who smoke may be offended that someone calls into question the addiction, but it is one that will kill you and, worse, kill family members. It may be offensive to learn that baptism won’t and can’t save you from Hell; you need to be saved and trust in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. You can accept the truth and go to Heaven or be offended all the way to Hell. The choice is yours.
Churches no longer call sin, sin. They no longer talk about the absolutes of God; they no longer talk about Holy living and Holy thinking. We make excuses for our actions and behaviors. We no longer tell people that they are evil to the core and that what feels good is not always good. We don’t talk about Hell; that may be offensive, and we never say ‘NO!’ That may hurt someone’s feelings. So we allow rampant sin to go unchecked in our churches, and we find out later the damage that was done. The out-of-context Bible verse has become the springboard into whatever ‘feel good’ devotion we are doing today. We use just enough of the verse to get our point across.
Churches encourage people to follow their hearts, and the Bible says our hearts are deceitfully wicked. Rather, we should follow the clearly expressed and written word of God, no matter what our hearts feel or say. Truth offends us, and God’s truth offends people who want to do their own thing unchecked. Jesus told us that men love darkness because their deeds are evil; God’s truth brings light, and it hurts our eyes and bruises our egos when we see how evil we really are. One of the truths that truly saved people have to face as we spend more and more time in the Bible is the depth of our own sin and how aggressive the old evil man is in us. We don’t call people to face this evil within and challenge the man in the mirror to change.
As we get closer and closer to the end, even more false prophets will come, false churches will arise, false Christs will appear, and false Christians will show themselves. Keep grounded and find your foundation in the truth of the Bible.
- Lawlessness, verse 12-13
Once people get away from the foundation of the Ten Commandments, they will progress into an evil and dangerous society very, very quickly. It is our job as Christians to be the light and salt of a nation. But if we are putting the Bible in the background and losing sight of the absolutes of God, we are just helping society fall faster and further from God; and then the Gospel will have less and less power, at least here in North America and the West. Evil will abound, and lawlessness will grow, but this is a preparation for the Man of Sin, the Lawless One who will soon come on the earth as a global leader, a false saviour.
The whole world is being readied for his appearance and his solutions. These will sound so good to the people who are accustomed to lies, and they will embrace the solutions wholeheartedly and think him to be the new messiah; he is not. Soon their hopes will turn to nightmares, and the reality of evil will rise to the forefront, and still, they will not turn to the Lord Jesus for salvation.
None of this can happen without ‘Woke Churches’ who have watered down the truth, tried to change the Gospel, made salvation about works and not sacrifice, and stopped talking about the blood redemption because it was too traumatic and made God seem too hard. Churches that preach salvation without repentance, grace without judgment, and Heaven without Hell. Churches that are building earthly kingdoms and have not prepared anyone to serve in the heavenly one. Churches that don’t tell saved people that they will be judged by God for how they lived, how they thought, and what they did. These kinds of churches are preparing the world for the Man of Sin rather than preparing people to meet Jesus and serve in His eternal kingdom.
Once again, what is needed is a firm and permanent grounding in the Bible, more Bible, more study, and more reading. This will slow the lawlessness in our lives, in society, and in our churches.
In verse 14, we are told that the Gospel will be preached in the whole world. I have a friend who is a missionary in Bangladesh; he just led 40 persons to Jesus at once in a conversation about Jesus. Our churches help a ministry in Pakistan, a man and his wife who have an orphanage, and they preach the Gospel as far and wide as they can. As I mentioned, we have missionaries that have growing ministries in Ukraine. I see weekly reports from one of our missionaries in Kenya as they see salvations, baptize people in crocodile-infested waters, and form new churches. The Gospel cannot be stopped, even here in our little church; we have had salvations and baptisms in the last year.
Keep working, keep reading, keep studying, keep praying, keep seeking the truth, keep asking for Godly wisdom, and keep living for Jesus. The end is near, but not yet.
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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