Posts Tagged With: prophecy

On Trial!

Let me take you back to Tuesday of Jesus’ final week.

On that Tuesday, as you will hear in this PODCAST, Jesus made a most-remarkable promise to His disciples, and by extension, to us.

Allow me to remind you of what happened in Luke 21:

“Some of his disciples began talking about the majestic stonework of the Temple and the memorial decorations on the walls. But Jesus said, ‘The time is coming when all these things will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!’”

Now listen to His promise: 

“But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you!”

At the time, the disciples had no idea what Jesus meant by all of that. Now, here, in Acts 4, just 8-ten or so weeks later, they suddenly knew exactly what Jesus meant by all of that.

For first time in the now-nearly two thousand year history of Church, an earsplitting thunderclap of persecution now sounded throughout the Holy City, Jerusalem. So true to Jesus’ prediction made in Luke 21, Peter and John were unceremoniously dragged into prison, and held in there there overnight.

The next morning they were hauled before the highest levels of their religious hierarchy to stand trial.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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Times of Refreshment WILL Come. That’s a Promise!

“Starting with Samuel, every prophet spoke about what is happening today,” Acts 3:24.

What a remarkable statement.

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, with those eleven words, Peter alerted that unsuspecting crowd that had gathered at the Temple for their daily 3PM prayers that the singular message of the entire OT was now beginning to be fulfilled right before their amazed and curious eyes.

Jerusalem in all of its storied history had never before experienced anything like the events of the past two-to-three months. Going all the way back to Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into the Holy City, then His cleansing of the Temple, the crucifixion, the Resurrection, the Day of Pentecost. And now, for the past two-to-three months, nonstop, ongoing miracles.

All of that leading up to this: a very public, and deafeningly loud miracle—the healing of the lame man whom everyone in Temple precincts that day had passed every day on their way up to Temple.

I say loud because, as we can only imagine, when this man now went “walking and leaping and praising God” throughout Temple courts, everyone heard him.

And everyone naturally wondered, “What on earth is going on around here?”

Peter was about to tell them exactly “What on earth is going on around here?”

As it turns out, A LOT was going on around here.

Peter’s answer to that question?

“Starting with Samuel, every prophet spoke about what is happening today.”

The entire Old Testament—every story, prophecy, promise, sacrifice, festival, feast day, type, symbol, sign—all of it pointed to that day here in Acts 3, and all that they were witnessing now.

Get ready for a wild ride, courtesy of Peter.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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The Glorious Gift of Tongues

It is one of the great ironies of Christian life.

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, the Holy Spirit came to this earth in Jesus’ absence in part to bring a supernatural unity to committed Christ-followers throughout the world.

For example, we read in Ephesians 4:3, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

That phrase “the unity of the Spirit” notwithstanding, Christians throughout the world have arguably divided more over the gifts of Holy Spirit than any other single issue. Divisions that, quite frankly, have turned spiritually toxic.

There are those who will tell you and me with some measure of intensity that if you do not speak in tongues, you are at the least not filled with the Spirit; and at the worst, not a Christian at all.

There are those who will tell you and me with some measure of intensity that if you do speak in tongues, you are believing a false Gospel and consequently going to Hell.

So as we enter this discussion, I will give to you my promise, and make to you my plea.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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The Gold Standard of Our Faith

psalm-22They say that “For every sigh, there’s a psalm.” As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, they are 100% correct.

What an absolutely, beautifully inspired collection of very real, honest, soul-soaring, gut-wrenching human expressions is contained within its 150 chapters.

So many verses of its 150 songs are profoundly personal prayers that you and I can pray right back to God, giving us an immediate connection with the principle players in the biblical drama.

Psalms, the single most emotion-filled book in the Bible. Yes, indeed. For every sigh, there IS a psalm.

If variety is the spice of life, then the Book of Psalms

is a pretty spicy book. One that includes hymns of praise, thanksgiving, godly wisdom and sound theology, expressions of our doubts and fears balanced by an unshakable faith in God through good times and bad. Imprecatory psalms that are cries for God’s justice and vengeance in an unjust world. Songs of lament that give voice to the many challenges of our painful lives.

There are also historical psalms that remind the worshipper of God’s faithfulness in the past. And for our purposes in this podcast, prophetical psalms. Songs that flood our souls with the confident hope that God will keep His many precious promises in future, just as He has in the past.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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The Sheep and the Goats

51-fcimi7fl-_sx303_bo1204203200_Let me tell you! If you want to see in crystal-clarity the character and the heart of God, this is it. Right here, right now, in real time, in this PODCAST.

This in a breathtaking public display for all the world to see, at which the whole world will marvel. The broken heart of our God whom Peter described as “not wanting anyone to be destroyed (a word that means to destroy fully, to bring to nothing) but (who) wants everyone to repent.”

This portrait of our God — Who persistently pursues everyone in every way, making every effort to bring every sinner to repentance — comes at very end of Olivet Discourse in Matthew 25.

Here we will see, in this parable of the end of the age, the eternal separation of committed Christ-followers from those who defiantly and unrepentantly want nothing to do with Jesus. Plus, we will see their ultimate eternal destiny in what Jesus called “the eternal fire prepared for devil and his demons.”

An unpleasant topic, to be sure. But a #Most.Important.One, because we are talking about the eternal destinies of multiplied millions of people.

Specifically, what did Jesus mean by eternal fire? For whom is it intended? What happens to those goats (in contrast to His sheep) who are sadly, tragically, yet-justly cast into the eternal fire?

And of course, at the heart of this entire discussion sits this all-important and all too-common question: Does the loving God of the Bible — who defines Himself as not wanting anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent — really send people to Hell?

Allow me to set up this discussion in this way: I find it most-intriguing, and most-ironic in a most-purposeful sort of way that Jesus’ Hebrew name Yeshua, means “God Saves.” That’s right out of first chapter of the New Testament (Matthew 1:21): “Mary will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Yeshua, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Now watch this. Only God could create this wonder of the words. This, as you are about to hear, is not coincidental.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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YOUR Wedding Day Approaches (Sooner Than You May Think!)

WeddingAs you will hear in this PODCAST, we are fast-approaching the end of our mini-series within a series, this one having to do with all-things End-Times related.

We are, as you well-know, well into the Olivet Discourse. Jesus’ primary teaching on End-Times events, as given on the Tuesday of His final week on earth.

In two weeks, we will pivot to the Thursday of Jesus’ final week, including His Upper Room Discourse.

It is curiously intriguing to me in the first letter that the Apostle Paul ever penned, 1 Thessalonians, he devoted so much of that letter to a discussion of the End Times. Which tells me that even from the very beginning, the first generation of committed Christ-followers had questions about Jesus’ return, even as they watched and waited for Jesus to come back.

There was then, as there is today, much confusion about what was going to happen and when it would happen.

One of the most encouraging things that Paul wrote — you could consider it Paul’s commentary on this podcast’s Matthew 25 passage — was this:

“Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that THE DAY OF THE LORD will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day… Since we belong to the day, stay alert and be clearheaded… For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath, but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ… Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (Just a few of the highlights of 1 Thessalonians 5)

So let’s now heed Paul’s loving encouragement and be clearheaded about what he called “the Day of the Lord.” A vitally important, oft-repeated biblical phrase.

Now listen carefully: Over the past few weeks, we have gone to great lengths to distinguish between such things as the Rapture, the Antichrist, the Tribulation, the Great Tribulation, the Battle of Armageddon, the Second Coming of Christ, Millennium, Eternal State, and all-things in between.

We who are of a Western Mindset obsess over the order of things (those perennially bestselling prophecy charts, along with all of their precisely-placed arrows).

As westerners, it is woven into every strand of our western DNA to focus on Form (how something fits, with an emphasis on symmetry, balance, order, everything in its proper place, everything perfectly fitted together). But those of a Middle Eastern Mindset were much more concerned over function — not on how things fit together, but rather on what things do. Not on how something fits, but what something does.

As you are about to hear, this will have a profound impact on your own personal Bible study.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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The Second Coming of Jesus

meggidoAs you will hear in this PODCAST, with Jesus’ words here in Matthew 24, the climax of human history as we know it will occur.

No one will miss it. No one will mistake it. Everyone will know exactly what it is that is happening and why it is happening!

The “it” to which I refer and which I intentionally repeated in the above sentences is Jesus’ Second Coming.

What did Jesus say? “Then all the tribes of the earth… will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”

Quite a contrast to Jesus’ first coming, which you will remember was seen only by a few lowly shepherds out in the remote regions of Bethlehem. When Jesus came the first time, He came not with power and great glory, but as a newborn baby laid in an animal’s manger in the cold of a cave.

That was Jesus’ First Coming. In the run-up to the crucifixion, the disciples were understandably fixated on the future, specifically on Jesus’ Second Coming.

They were waiting; we are waiting. They were longing; we are longing. They were asking; we are asking: “What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

In giving His answer, Jesus said this:

“That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes” (Matthew 24:39).

“So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42).

“You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected” (Matthew 24:44).

“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne” (Matthew 25:31).

That’s what Jesus said just in Olivet Discourse. Indeed, the whole point of the Olivet Discourse is Jesus’ Second Coming.

So with all of that background, let’s discover together what Jesus taught us in the Olivet Discourse about His Second Coming.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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The Great Tribulation

coming_backAs you are about to hear in this PODCAST, with Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:15, words that describe a singularly hair-raising event, the Great Tribulation will begin.

A 3½-year period of unprecedented spiritual defection and oppression, along with its resultant worldwide suffering on a scale never seen before on this planet.

Don’t take my word for that. Take Jesus’ word for that. In Matthew 24:21,

“For then there will be great tribulation, greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again.”

The Great Tribulation, that will begin with the singular event to which Jesus alluded in Matthew 24:15, and will end with the climax of human history as we know it — the glorious Second Coming of Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Permit me the briefest of reviews. It is absolutely vital that we keep the end-times timeline straight.

The next event on God’s prophetic timetable is that wondrous event we commonly call The Rapture, where Christ-followers throughout the world will “meet the Lord in the air.”

Nothing needs to happen before the Rapture, that awesome event described so vividly in 1 Thessalonians 4, 1 Corinthians 15, and alluded to by Jesus in John 14. The Rapture, or as Paul called it, Our “blessed hope.” Titus 2:13,

“While we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Please note that Paul described our “blessed hope” as Jesus’ “appearing,” not His “coming,” a distinction of monumental importance.

Now again, nothing has to happen before the Rapture, where Jesus will appear in the clouds and we meet Him in the air, all of this near the beginning of Tribulation. Yes, you can indeed wake up every morning of every day with the hope-filled words flooding your troubled soul, Perhaps Today! Nothing has to happen before the Rapture.

That said, much, much has to happen before the Second Coming, where Jesus will literally come down to the earth, setting foot on the Mount of Olives, this at the very end of the Tribulation.

Most notably, what has to happen before the Second Coming? The event described by Jesus in Matthew 24:15, and by Daniel in Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11.

Hear it from Jesus’ lips to our ears:

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matthew 24:15).

“Let the reader understand.” Why that particular exhortation? Precisely because there is so much confusion about this prophecy, and so many who therefore do not understand.

Confusion which we will bring to a conclusion in this podcast.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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The Signs of the Times (Part 2)

maxresdefaultBirth pains. It’s all about the birth pains.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, as we enumerate the final three of the six “signs of the times,” both Paul and Jesus made it crystal-clear that we are to think of these signs in terms of birth pains.

Paul, who borrowed this most-meaningful metaphor from Jesus, used it most-appropriately when he in Romans 8 declared, “For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”

It would not surprise me one bit to hear that some of you — Or should I say some of us? — have been groaning a little more than usual this past week.

It is all about the birth pains, that increase dramatically in frequency and in intensity as the moment of birth approaches. This troubled planet of ours is undeniably in the later stages of its own labor pains, as it waits in breathless anticipation as the moment of Jesus’ return approaches.

So said Paul.

So said Jesus.

Here in Matthew 24:8, spoken in the Olivet Discourse, on the Tuesday afternoon of His final week, in reference to these “signs of the times.” Jesus said, “All these are the beginning of birth pains.”

That is precisely where we are today. Groaning, watching, and waiting for the climax of human history as we know it finally and mercifully to dawn upon us.

In Luke’s abbreviated account of the Olivet Discourse, Jesus said in reference to these same “signs of the times,” “When these things (these birth pains) begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Stand up; and lift up. Those are phrases that speak of victory, not defeat!

We don’t sit down in defeat; we stand up in victory!

We don’t hang our heads in dismal distress; we lift up our heads in victorious anticipation.

We are not defeated. Not by a long shot. We are encouraged.

These “signs of the times,” these birth pains, have indeed begun to take place. Our redemption is indeed drawing nearer, every single day!

Yes, these six “signs of the times” have always characterized our world. Yet, these is no denying the acceleration of their frequency and intensity.

Let me briefly remind you of the first three, and then we’ll discuss in some detail the final three. All with a view to standing up and lifting up our heads, not in defeat but in glorious victory.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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The Signs of the Times (Part 1)

its_timeWelcome to the Olivet Discourse. The End Times prophetic address that Jesus gave to His disciples high atop the Mount of Olives, immediately to the East of the Holy City, Jerusalem.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, that lovely little land that we affectionately call Israel is the center of the world.

Literally and metaphorically.

Literally, because Israel is the place where the three major continents — Europe, Asia, and Africa — tenderly touch and affectionately kiss each other. Which goes a long way to explaining why God chose this modest piece of real estate — a mere 150 miles long (North-South), 50 miles wide (West-East) — as stage for the Greatest Story Ever Told.

Metaphorically the center of the world because throughout all of human history, the eyes of world have ever been focused squarely on the Middle East — so called because it sits in the middle or center of the world. And in center of the Middle East sits Israel.

So Israel is indeed the center of the world.

That said, Jerusalem is the center of Israel, and the Temple is the center of Jerusalem.

So it is no wonder that Jesus and His disciples took a timeout from all of the hubbub of activities on this Tuesday of Jesus’ final week, exactly three days before Jesus would go to the cross.

As they sat upon the Mount of Olives taking in that breathtaking view of the Holy City and its glorious Temple — God’s House, what Jesus called “My Father’s House,” what many of our Jewish friends call “The House” — the disciples were moved by that spectacular panoramic portrait to ask Jesus these two most important questions in Matthew 24:

“What will be the sign of your coming?”

and

“What will be the sign of the end of the age?”

Jesus’ answer to those questions comprise what we now call the Olivet Discourse, spanning two full chapters, Matthew 24 – 25.

As you are about to hear, there are Two All-Important Interpretive Keys to understanding these all-important prophetic chapters.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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