Considering Emerging End-Time Signs: Part 4 :: By Gene Lawley

In the three prior parts of this topic, we have looked at possible signs of the approaching end of the Christian era. It began with the birth of Christ and will end with His returning for all those who have believed in Him over those centuries.

We have seen how those seven feasts of the Lord reported in Leviticus 23 are uniquely placed on the Jewish calendar as rehearsals of future events that mark the highlights of the Christian era for the first five feasts. Then there are a final two that foretell God’s plan for the Jews. Those two festivals are a very real part of God’s plan for the ages as well.

The timing of events is in God’s hands, and we have no Scripture that says, specifically, “it is then.” Three things we do not know are the year it is to be, nor the day nor hour of His coming to remove His restraining presence in the world by His Spirit-filled body of believers, called the Rapture. The fact that the Scriptures and practices do lead us to a two-day event called the Feast of Trumpets and its placement at the end of the harvest season called the “ingathering” (See 2 Thessalonians 2:1) does not create “date setting” in my thinking. One of those days, I believe, will be that Day of the Lord, but we do not know “the day nor the hour” of the two days. Also, we do not know which year except as the signs reveal its possibility.

Jesus did say, “Watch, for you do not know what hour He is coming,” and also, “When you see these things beginning to happen, look up, for your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28, and He is referring to those troublesome conditions He just presented in Luke 21).

Then, Hebrews 10:25 encourages believers to come together more often “as you see the day approaching.” So, how can one see the day approaching without paying attention to the signs of the times?

When Paul wrote to the Thessalonians about these things in his first epistle to them, he specifically left out anything about the “times and seasons” that will indicate when Jesus may return (see 1 Thessalonians 5:1). However, he did say in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 that “the falling away must come first, then the One who restrains will be removed.” We do not know how long that “falling away” will continue, given that we are seeing it happening now. So, Jesus says, “Occupy until I come.”

Now, let’s consider the signs and times that have to do with the future of the Jewish people after the Rapture has occurred. The way Paul wrote of that time of the Lord’s coming “as a thief in the night” then speaks of “they,” saying “Peace and safety” followed by “sudden destruction” coming upon them,” it appears to have a time gap between the two statements with the latter portion having to do with the Jews.

The statement in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 says, “For when they shall say, ‘Peace and safety,’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.” There is a parable tucked in that statement, which seems rather out of place with its subject. Let’s compare such an event with what is to happen with the Jewish people.

In a pregnancy, when the woman’s “water breaks,” her labor really begins, and there is no turning back. When the Rapture occurs, there will be no turning back in God’s plan, for the prophecy of Daniel 9:26-27 has a seven-year peace covenant being made for Israel and permission for them to rebuild their temple. This is implied, for later on, this one who is “befriending” them will turn out to be their enemy as he becomes the “abomination of desolation” mentioned in Daniel’s prophecy.

The Jews utter that statement in great relief, but Gog of the far north (see Ezekiel 38) sees that Israel, having no defense support from a now eliminated USA, is like a city without walls—defenseless. Then Gog (Russia), who has already made a unity proclamation with Iran and Turkey, will come upon Israel shortly after the Rapture has happened. But God is sovereign, and Gog’s utter destruction opens the door for that Antichrist who is befriending Israel to move forward into those seven years of Revelation’s prophecies.

Back to the parable, we see a parallel with the labor struggle the impending mother has as the birthing continues. Progress is more and more evident of coming success, in the pregnancy and in the parable, as the Feast of Atonement halfway through the seven years of tribulation reveals Israel’s recognition of their true Messiah, Jesus Christ, and not that one who had seemingly been their friend for that three and a half years.

That recognition of their true Messiah is reported in Zechariah 12:10:

“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.”

As the pregnancy labor comes to an end and the baby is born, so is the coming of Christ, finally, to reign on earth as the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, from His throne in Jerusalem. It is the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles when the Lord dwells with His people on earth.

The marriage supper of the Lamb will have been celebrated, as Revelation 19 reports the end of the seven years, and Jesus is with His followers, ready to rule the earth in a thousand-year theocracy. Read about it in Isaiah 11:5-7 and 65:25, and Zechariah 14.

As the UN Security Council and associated entities keep laying plans for progressing forward with unity and peace with togetherness by 2030, other signs of the end times are evident.

The comparison of today’s world conditions with that of Noah and Lot in Luke 17:26-37 is more compelling for a current happening than ever before. Those first five verses of the passage, verses 26-30, identify the conditions when Jesus will return for the “ingathering” of His body of believers.

It says, “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.

“Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”

Note that in both situations, Noah and Lot, with their family members, were the ones saved; all others were left behind to the ravages of their respective judgments. Also, note that God closed the ark’s door after Noah’s entrance. And the angels took Lot and his daughters out of the city. They were delivered from the judgments.

Has the falling away foretold by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 reached its climax? Not yet, for we believers are still here. That verse says the “falling away must come first,” then the One restraining the progress of evil in that world-encompassing “falling away” will be removed, and the evil one will be released to his goal of world control.

Noah’s “eating and drinking, and marrying and giving in marriage” conditions indicate more than just those activities, but an active social and economic life in the midst of a totally sinful environment. It brings the idea of hopelessness, “so let’s eat and be merry, for tomorrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:32).

It pictures a lack of any knowledge of God, who has been pushed to the outside of all attention of the population. This is just what has been the effect of the “falling away” to make the knowledge of God to be a forgotten issue.

In Lot’s time, the city was saturated with homosexuality, yet they were active in social and business ventures. Sexual deviation is now rampant in the USA and followed by the world itself, as the LGBTQ+ ever presses toward that same saturation, including transgender’s radically false claims of viable reality. It is Satanic lying designed to blaspheme God with the destruction of His greatest creation of mankind.

That passage of Scripture is clear that it will introduce the coming of the Lord for those He has saved over the centuries since His resurrection. If you, the reader, are reading this article in a mortal setting, then the “falling away” will not have reached its climax, and another year must elapse until the next Feast of Trumpets. It is hard to imagine what the world will be like with one more year of moral degradation, lawlessness, unjust court proceedings, mass killings, and deceptive activities at the highest levels of our government and in the world.

But Jesus said, “Occupy till I come.”

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Considering Emerging End-Time Signs: Part 3:: By Gene Lawley

As this current indication of an end-time sign continues to unfold, it appears to have prophetic support from the words of 2 Thessalonians 2:3, which says, ” 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 uncertainty of how long the falling away will continue remains in God’s timing, for Jesus has said, “No one knows the day nor the hour of His coming.” This sign that is developing also has in its formation the opening of a new phase of God’s plan, as the two incidents are compared.

When Pilate asked the question at the trial of Jesus Christ, “What is truth?” he had been looked at wrongly, as if he was stalling for time, but not so. He had seen strange tactics for a Roman politician who had been under Roman law for a long time. Roman law, from the background of Latin, as I understand it, has the foundation of jurisprudence and judicial proceedings that extends even into today’s courts of law.

The Jewish people were subjects of the Roman government but proclaimed that they had the truth in their laws from Moses. But Pilate had examined Jesus quite thoroughly and said, “I find no fault in Him, and neither did Herod. He has done nothing worthy of death.” Their response was, Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Then, “Give us Barabbas instead!”

Pilate had seen them violate their own laws of truth during the mock trial. They had violated these judicial precepts:

  1. They were ready to kill an innocent Man, the seventh commandment.
  2. They were accepting false witnesses, the ninth commandment.
  3. They were not allowing any witnesses for the defense, a violation of “justice for all.”
  4. They were totally given to rejection of any evidence of His true identity, even though each time they had asked for a sign of that, His answers had been rejected. His evidence had never been honestly searched out in Scripture because they did not want Him changing their way of life.

Looking at God’s eternal plan, it is clear that Jesus was to be crucified for the sins of the whole world. They were blinded by their hate, and God allowed it to be so. In 1 Corinthians 2:7-8, Paul wrote this: “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” They followed their own inclinations, however, and will face the judgment of God for that.

Paul said clearly, “He has made Him who knew no sin to become sin for us, that we might be the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Thus, God stood back and let evil’s incessant desire take every opportunity to move into any place where God is not resisting it. That is Satan’s way of opposing God, for he only comes to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10a).

This unjust trial brought on the great change in God’s plan for mankind in that the coming of Jesus Christ was the introduction of the New Covenant in His blood, replacing the Old Covenant based on obedience to the law of Moses, a covenant of works, not faith. (This “change” was not God changing His mind and letting them crucify Jesus but a change in His plan’s operation as it moved forward to the next phase of its eternal purpose.)

It had been “foreshadowed” all along by the offering of animals on an altar in the temple (Hebrews 10:1), and believing in and keeping those annual sacrifices was required. It was not a permanent solution.

Jesus was crucified, and the gospel of salvation by faith in Him was reality. The last command that Jesus made to His disciples just before He ascended into heaven was to go into all the world with that message and confront people with it for their eternal salvation (Acts 1:8). Now, it has been nearly 2,000 years of that missionary effort.

With that Great Commission, Jesus said, “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). What then? We believers will be with Him, for that next big event is the coming “ingathering” of His body of believers, both the dead and those still living.

As Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep [died], lest you sorrow as others who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Then he continues with details of the Rapture of the saints in verses 16-17). On God’s calendar is the Feast of Trumpets, which is His “ingathering” at the last harvest of this age. How will God introduce that major change in how He relates to His body of believers? As the crucifixion of Christ and its attending rejection of truth and justice resulted in a major forward movement of God’s plan of redemption, a similar rejection of truth and justice seems to be preceding that great “ingathering” of these last days.

(The following comparison of similar tactics of the opposing forces in this series of trials has many signs not unlike those of the judicial violations in the trial of Jesus Christ. I am not comparing Donald Trump to Jesus Christ on the basis of Christ’s deity. Trump is not deity; he is an Adam-based sinner like the rest of us. What is the same, unchanged since Adam, is the evilness of mankind, which shows up in the comparison of the two trains—of Jesus and that one coming, or attempted, of Donald Trump.

God is sovereign, and He can name one whom He will use for His purposes years before that one even exists. Take the matter of that Persian king named Cyrus, whom Isaiah named some 200 years before he came on the scene to be God’s man. Cyrus would allow Ezra to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple in 539 B.C. Isaiah wrote his prophecy about 740 to 700 B.C. So, is it not interesting that we would come to the end of this age, and it does appear so, that God would use a man named Trump to be involved in bringing to pass that “Last Trump” as the original King James version translation of the Bible calls it? Coincidental, meaningless, or what, in the presence of a God who knows all things before they happen.

This man Trump was one of the elite, supposedly a billionaire non-politician who was not likely to become a threat to the makers and owners of presidents. But then he challenged their front-runner to produce his long-form birth certificate. Wow! That put those makers and breakers into a panic to produce one, and quickly. Later, that one so targeted exclaimed just before the 2008 election, “We are just five days away from fundamentally transforming America forever!” And as he was nearing the end of his second term, he made this observation, “The end of the Republic has never looked better!” (For world control.)

In considering the similar abuses of judicial practice that are repeated in the ongoing opposition to Trump, we can see the following facts:

  1. His opponents have impeached him twice to no avail and continue with multiple charges so that the last straw not yet attempted is an assassination, at least not known about. (You shall not kill.)
  2. They have gathered multitudes of false witnesses who cannot be proven as true. (You shall not bear false witness.)
  3. The procedures have always been one-sided, that is, unjust, when “justice for all” is USA law and God’s way as well.
  4. Trump’s opposition has charged him with any possible violation of any law they can find, whether it fits the occasion or not.

It is reported that if he is proven guilty of all of the charges against him, the total jail time would be over 600 years! They want Trump out of circulation, no matter what it takes. He has so revealed the “scum of the DC swamp,” as he calls it, and their plan to control the world, that he must be put away.

But how does this have anything to do with the end of this age? Just as the crucifixion of Christ was God’s way of introducing the New Covenant in His blood, He is, it seems, allowing a totally evil system to reveal its coming judgment as the godly members of the population are taken out of the way of that judgment. That is, the “ingathering” of the believers in Christ. The “falling away” will become “the only way” as Jesus comes and removes His representation on earth, and the lawless one takes control for his eventual termination.

As soon as that happens, the prophecy of Daniel 9:26-27 comes into fulfillment. The interesting insert Paul makes with 1 Thessalonians 5:3 has a message that summarizes the next seven years for the Jewish people, it seems. Then verse 4 clinches the assurance of salvation for the believer in Christ: “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.”

So it will be, as He said.

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