[bg_collapse view=”button-blue” color=”#4a4949″ icon=”zoom” expand_text=”Mobile Friendly View” collapse_text=”Hide Mobile Friendly View” ]
SINCE NO MAN KNOWS THE DAY NOR THE HOUR WHEN JESUS WILL COME AGAIN, LET US TAKE THE WORD OF GOD AND ESTABLISH THE SEASON THAT HE WILL COME IN. THE BIBLE GIVES US THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES THAT WE ARE TO LOOK FOR, IF WE WANT TO KNOW THE APPROXIMATE TIME, AND THAT IS WHAT WE ARE GOING TO CONCENTRATE ON IN THIS MESSAGE. DO YOU KNOW WHAT WORLD CONDITIONS WILL HAVE TO BE LIKE IN ORDER TO BE AS THEY WERE IN THE DAYS OF NOAH? AND OF LOT? DO YOU KNOW WHAT PAUL TOLD THE THESSALONIANS ABOUT WHAT WOULD HAPPEN BEFORE THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH? WOULD YOU KNOW HOW TO RECOGNIZE THE ANTI-CHRIST THAT IS TO COME? ALSO, WHAT ABOUT ALL THE MIRACLES THAT WE ARE HEARING ABOUT FROM THE CHARISMATIC GROUPS? WE ARE GOING TO TAKE THE SCRIPTURES THEMSELVES AND ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS AND MORE. WE WANT TO SHOW HOW THE FIG TREE (ISRAEL) IDENTIFIES THE GENERATION THAT SHALL SEE THE COMING OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. THEREFORE I URGE YOU TO BEAR WITH ME THROUGH ALL OF THE SCRIPTURES THAT I FEEL IT IS NECESSARY TO USE. TEXT: MATTHEW 24:27-36
Our main scripture for this message will be taken from the 24th chapter of Matthew, but we will be reading parts of Mark 13, and Luke 17, along with it in order to get more clarification on what caused Jesus to say certain things that He said in this discourse. We want to take verse 36, and get a title for this message, then we will concentrate on what those words pertained to. The complete verse reads like this: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only,” but we will just title the message, “NO MAN KNOWETH THE DAY AND HOUR,” and then drop back to verse 27 to begin reading our text. Before we start reading let me say this; Through the centuries past, Christians have read these words of Jesus, and because of verse 36, they have just set the whole thing aside and said, “Jesus said, we are not supposed to know when these things are to take place, so why be concerned about them?” That was alright for Christians of every other age, but we are living in the age these scriptures were written for, and they are not there just to take up space in the Bible; they are to accomplish something in God’s plan for Christians in the Laodicean age. That is why we are going to study them very carefully; we want to lay all theology aside, and try to see exactly what these words hold for those of us who have been privileged to be the generation spoken of in verse 34, which we will get to a little later. You have heard me say many times, that, in order to get a true picture from certain gospel accounts, it is necessary to read what each of the four gospel writers wrote. Our text scriptures for this message is no exception, for there are certain statements in it that require help from Mark and Luke in order to get a true revelation. These men were not repetitionists; they were each seeking to record the things that Jesus said and did during the 3 ½ years He ministered on earth, and they wrote of the events as any other mortal would; they recorded those things that impressed them most of what they saw and heard. None of them recorded every detail of everything they wrote about, but if we will look at what each of them wrote, we are better able to align the sequence of events that take place and words that are spoken. People who have failed to realize this have read certain statements that, standing alone, have molded various ideas into their minds that have been there for years. Then when they finally do get a proper revelation they will say, “Why did I not see that before? It is so clear to me now.” Then there are also some who will just flatly refuse to accept the idea that another gospel writer’s account could change their understanding. Nevertheless I believe we can take what Jesus said here in Matthew 24, and allow the Spirit of God to open to us a far greater meaning than we have had in the past. Why do I say that? Simply because we are living in that hour, when what He said is being applied, and is going to be applied from now on until the end. Keep in mind, the generation that Jesus spoke these words to never did see any of what He mentioned here. Neither did hundreds of other generations since then, but our generation will see every bit of it fulfilled. You and I as individuals may not live that long, but this generation will not pass off the scene until all that Jesus spoke here has been fulfilled.
WHEN WILL JESUS COME?
Open your Bible to Matthew 24, verse 27, and we will begin to read our text. “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” You will find it very interesting to note how Jesus spoke of His visible coming to the earth to rule and reign and His mystical coming for the church, both, in such a way that the natural mind cannot sort them out and keep them straight. That is why there have been so many opinions as to how and when the rapture will take place, among those who do believe in the secret rapture of the church, the bride of the Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 27, is definitely speaking of His visible return to earth after the great tribulation has run its course. When that hour comes, the whole world will literally see Him coming in power and glory. Not one of those who are left alive at that time will have to strain their eyes to see Him. No one has to strain their eyes to see lightning when it flashes across the sky, do they? You can even close your eyes and that flash is so bright it still penetrates enough that you can tell it. It is as though your eyelids light up. You see the effects of it even with your eyes closed. Now that is what Jesus meant by this statement; when the hour arrives for Him to make His visible appearance in the heavens, in His descent to earth, His appearance will have the same affect on the human race; they will not be able to hide their face from it. This is just a comparison to emphasize the fact that every eye shall behold Him. There will be nothing secret about it. However, when he comes to catch the bride away to the marriage supper, only she will see Him; all the rest of the world will continue right on with what they are doing. The bride’s sudden departure will not create havoc as some have dramatized it. The world in general will never miss them when they go. We will say more about that a little later, but right now let us look at verse 28. “For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.” Matthew put that statement there, but we will show you in a little while that it does not belong there at all. When we go to Luke 17, a little later, you will see that Jesus gave this as an answer to a question asked him by His disciples. Some in this end time message have taken this verse to mean that wherever the revelated word is being presented, there will the true saints be gathered together; it can have a type. I agree that hungry saints, which can be compared to eagles, will truly gather where the fresh word of God is being taught, but Luke shows us that Jesus did not speak these words specifically for that meaning. Naturally, if this was the only place in the Bible that this verse could be found we would give it to that meaning and stand on it, but when we have other passages that shed more light, we are to walk in that light. Matthew did not even mention the fact that a question was asked that caused Jesus to say this. That is where many people have missed the great meaning of certain Bible truths. Many times the key to a whole verse lies in just one word, as we will demonstrate a little later. Right now, let us read verse 29, which is directly related to verse 27, speaking of His literal, visible return to earth. He had said, “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” This verse tells what is going to happen, and how it will take place. Then verse 29, tells us when it will be like that. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days (this term, TRIBULATION, and, THOSE DAYS, are applicable to the 70th week of Daniel’s 70 prophetic weeks of years concerning the nation of Israel,) shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” Before going on, let me drop back and read Daniel 9:27, to get the setting of this great tribulation, and those days, which Jesus said would proceed His literal coming. “And he (the Antichrist) shall confirm the covenant (a peace and trade agreement) with many for one week: (the agreement will not be set up for just one week, 7 years, but God will only let it last that long. He will allow the Antichrist that much time) and in the midst of the week he (the Antichrist) shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” Brothers and sisters, the world is rapidly moving toward an hour when a world dictator will be allowed to take over world rule for a period of 7 years. In the scriptures he is called, the Antichrist, the false prophet, the son of Perdition, the beast, and so forth, and by revelation, true saints of God call him, the pope, for we see that such a world ruler as is described in the scriptures can only come through that office, the office of the pope of Rome. He will move into his prophesied role of world rulership, because the world is fast getting into such a state of chaos that its leaders will soon begin to look for a man who has some answers to their many unanswered questions. Carter does not have the answer for the world’s great dilemma; neither does Khomeini, but there is one man that will have enough answers to cause world leaders to look to him for direction. Whether it is the present pope, or one that will follow him, we do not know, but we do know that whoever is filling that office in the Vatican when the hour arrives that Jesus was pointing to, will be the man that will fulfill Daniel 9:27, and all the other scriptures that pertain to the Antichrist.
Before returning to our next scriptures let me just say a word or two about Khomeini and his gang of cutthroats. If those people are allowed to take those hostages and use them as leverage against all concerned nations, without being severely punished for their actions, it will not be long until taking diplomatic hostages will become as routine as hijacking airplanes. Because of a lack of proper punishment for such deeds: every little old pup who desires some excitement, picks up a stick, a gun, a bomb, or something, and off he goes to hijack a plane. Do you know why? It is because they do not have to worry about getting shot. Everyone is so full of love, so sympathetic, they just do not want to see anyone die. They would rather pay ransoms, bargain and trade with these law breakers than to deal with them in a way that would put a stop to a lot of it. That is the kind of compromising philosophy that has moved the whole world to the brink of an international disaster where it stands today. I would not try to hold back conditions that God has allowed for the purpose of fulfilling the scriptures, but I do know that there is a God approved way to chasten law breakers, that will cause other potential law breakers to reconsider their plans. Of course it is too late for anything like that now; those days are behind us, and will remain so until Jesus sets up His millennium reign. Many people want to talk about the former Shah of Iran, how he executed a number of people, and denied certain rights to others. Let me tell you something; There are a lot of modern, church going people who will not enjoy seeing Jesus come to sit on His throne, for what the Shah did will be like child’s play compared to what He will do in that hour. He will separate the sheep people from the goat people, usher the sheep into the kingdom prepared for them from before the foundation of the world, and cast the cursed goats into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. He will not ask anyone if it is alright to do that either; no world leaders will be consulted. He will not be opening any books to judge them out of; His judgment will be according to Isaiah, chapter 11, according to the intents of men’s hearts. No one will be permitted to present any defense. I am talking to you straight out of the Bible, saints; do not get disturbed at me. God’s way has always been to punish law breakers sufficiently to place fear in others who might consider breaking the law. The devil has the world in general, so brainwashed, they take better care of those who break the law than they do the law abiding citizens. These things are all pointing to the end, and only those who know the truth can look at them properly.
DANIEL’S SEVENTIETH WEEK
Let us look back to verse 29 now, where Jesus is associating His visible return with not a century, nor a decade, but a seven year period in which the last 3 ½ years is known as the great tribulation. We want to see, from the Bible, that Christians do not need to know the day nor the hour when the Lord Jesus will come. We are only to know the fruit bearing season itself, therefore, let us establish the fact that His visible return to earth will be at the end of a seven year period of time allotted to the Antichrist, a time in which he shall fulfill many prophecies, and also a time when a great world peace plan will suddenly be turned into chaos, and wickedness shall rule the whole earth. People who love God too much to deny Him will be martyred by the thousands, but somewhere around the first part of that seven year period Jesus will appear in the clouds, and call His bride people up to meet Him in the air, both the dead in Christ as well as those who are left alive until then. Remember this, it is not how much you can learn in a certain period of time that will award you God’s diploma; it is what you learn and retain as revelation. That seven year period is divided into two 3 ½ year periods, and there are multitudes of people professing to be Christians, who could not care less. Some will even tell you that none of that matters, just as long as you love Jesus. But I say to you who love truth, if none of this matters, we could just tear up the largest portion of our Bibles and throw them in the fire. No, God wants some people who will study His word, get familiar with scriptural signs of the times, and allow those signs to have them dressed properly and watching for the Lord Jesus to come for them. We have just dealt with a message taken from the scriptures recorded in verse 1-13, of the 25th chapter of Matthew, a message dealing with wise and foolish virgins who were all slumbering and sleeping in their denominations until such time as a wake up message began to be proclaimed around the world. Now, the virgins are all awake; some are being washed by the washing of the word of God, according to Ephesians 5:26, and others are out in the charismatic meetings enjoying Holy Ghost sensations and making big plans for a world wide revival. Those who are wise virgins know that it is too late for a world shaking revival that will get hold of great numbers of lost mankind; therefore they have determined in their hearts to find the will of God for their own lives in this late hour of time in which we are living. That very determination is causing them to realize that God did not inspire His men of old to record vain words in the book we call the Bible. We realize that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2nd Timothy 3:16-17) Therefore, we understand that it is important for the grace age bride of Christ to know whether there is still one full week of Daniel’s seventy weeks to be fulfilled, or whether there is only one half of that last week left. We have proved by the scriptures, over and over again, that there is still one full week left to be fulfilled, but there are yet many people who will hold to the idea that Jesus was crucified in the middle of Daniel’s 70th week. Brothers and sisters, anyone who would take the time to study Revelation 11:3-13, 12:16, 13:1-8, and Daniel 9:24-27, should be able to understand that God’s two witnesses cannot prophesy to the nation of Israel for 3 ½ years, (Rev. 11:3) if that nation (the woman, Rev. 12:6) is fleeing into a hiding place that God has prepared for her to hide her from the Antichrist for 3 ½ years, if it is the same 3 ½ year period. Those two witnesses will prophesy throughout the first half of that week. Then the Antichrist will break his peace covenant and have them killed in the middle of the week. That is when the woman (ISRAEL) flees into the wilderness to hide, throughout the last half of that week, while the Antichrist is seated in the temple at Jerusalem showing himself as God. His 3 ½ year reign is the great tribulation, the time when the thousands of Gentile foolish virgins, and Orthodox Jews will be martyred. We know what will take place in that week of years; we just do not know yet, when that week will start. I will say this, though; Every true, Holy Ghost filled child of God will know when the time is getting close at hand. Furthermore, Paul said, in his 2nd letter to the saints at Thessalonika, that our gathering together unto Him (Jesus, for the rapture) will not come except their be a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed. (2nd Thes. 2:1-4) That means true saints of God will recognize the man of sin, who is called the son of perdition in the scriptures, and they will know that Gentile time has run out, and that the rapture is close at hand, when the world is still rejoicing over their great peace covenant, and praising the man who was most instrumental in bringing it about, (the pope of Rome).
GREAT DRAMA IN THE HEAVENS
To come back to verse 29, of our text now, will give us an opportunity to compare the last part of that verse with what John wrote about the 6 seal. “Immediately th after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” What will happen then? 30 “And THEN (immediately after the great tribulation) shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven; and THEN shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the SON OF MAN coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Turn over to Revelation 6:12-17, and we will read almost exactly the same thing as we have just read from Matthew 24. This enables us to see that the 6th seal has its fulfillment in the visible coming of the Lord Jesus at the end of the great tribulation. We will not read all those verses just now, but notice verse 12, especially. It speaks of a great earthquake, of the sun becoming as blood, then goes on to say, the stars fall from heaven and great men of the earth flee into caves, crying out to the rocks and the mountains to fall on them, and hide them from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne. In that hour there will not be anything left on earth in the way of a righteous element of people from a salvational standpoint. All of them will be with Jesus already, ready to descend back to earth with Him. That sign in the heavens will be so visible, it will be impossible for any mortal person to miss it. I sometimes illustrate it by comparing it to a great play in a theater. The auditorium is filled with people, the curtains on the stage are drawn together, all the lights are on, and people are yakking all over the place. What a racket! That is the picture of the world today. But suddenly a voice rings out across the auditorium, Lights Out! Everyone knows what is about to take place; the play is going to begin. The lights go out, and then it is very quiet as all eyes are focused toward the stage. You know what the effect of turning off the lights is; it causes everything else around you to leave your attention. All eyes are focused on the only light there is in the building, the stage lights. The only light is on the players. That is exactly what God will do when the great tribulation has run its course; a great earthquake shall suddenly get everyone’s attention. Then He will turn off all the lights; the sun will become black, and therefore the moon which reflects the sun will cease to give her light also. The stars fall from heaven, and there is nothing but darkness all around. When God turns off all the lights in this old universe, do not think every eye will not be turned heavenward. All those who have scoffed and made fun of the people, and things of God, will suddenly find themselves in a position where there is only one way to look; that will be toward heaven where all the celestial bodies have suddenly taken on a great change. Saints; How many of you know what chapter in the book of Revelation is ready to be fulfilled at that time? Look at verse 11, in chapter 19, and you will see God draw back the curtains of heaven, and Jesus and His great armies begin their descent to earth. At such a glorious sight, why would not the hearts of all wicked mankind begin to tremble? Why would they not cry for the rocks and mountains to fall on them and hide them from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. You will not find any of them denying that there is a God in that hour; the whole world will see heaven opened, and will see Jesus, the one who said, “I am the light of the world,” come with all His heavenly armies to take vengeance on all those ungodly mortals who remain alive at that time.
EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW
I do not want to convey the idea that Gods wrath in the day when the earth is without light of all the celestial bodies will be a sudden thing, like a flash of light, and it will all be over. No, we have to keep verse 30, in mind as we put this together. “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven.” That sign will hang there while every knee bows, and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God. He uses the lightning flash across the skies to illustrate the fact that this heavenly scene will be seen by every mortal eye on the face of this earth, and not to say that it will all be over with in a flash. His descent will be gradual while His wrath is being poured out upon the earth. That is why wicked men have time to hide in the dens and caves, trying to escape His wrath, but it will do them no good to hide, all the elements will be against them. While in the Philippines, we were on this subject, and I explained it to them in this way, I said to them, Deep in the heart of this earth there are, no doubt, gaseous pressures being built up, some of which we are seeing in minor earthquakes as time goes on. (They are minor compared to what is ahead) But in that great day of the Lord, as Jesus is coming to the earth, and the wrath of God is being poured out, this old planet is going into convulsions. It will not be just one little earthquake; it will be an earthquake that will rock the whole planet. Revelation 16:17-21, clarifies that for us. These scriptures are dealing with the same event as Matt. 24, and Rev. 6 and 19. Notice this now, “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.” You can read the rest of it later. You will see where the cities of the nations fall, mountains and islands disappear, and great hail stones from heaven fall upon wicked mankind. I think of all those high rise apartments and skyscraper buildings in New York, Chicago, Singapore, Manila and Tokyo, and all over this world today. Men have spent billions of dollars building them, and not one of them will be able to withstand such a shaking as God is going to give them in that day. No wonder mortal man on earth will have to look up and say, Yes, He truly is both Lord and Christ. It will be too late for such a confession to benefit their doomed souls, but nevertheless, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW and EVERY TONGUE SHALL CONFESS that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the God the Father. Those people look at the Bible as a book of fairy tales now. They have never taken the time to realize that it is the only book upon the face of this earth that has steered the courses of all humanity down through life. Many of these people have actually done things in their lifetime, that they had to do, to fulfill prophecies of the Bible, and they did not even know why they did them. God puts it in the hearts of mortal men to do certain things that will fulfill His will and purpose.
THE FIG TREE
Let us continue in our text scriptures by going to verse 32; I want to save verse 31, to bring in at a later time. Jesus uses a parable here, and I believe it is very important for us to realize why He used the parable at this particular moment. Naturally, as He told His disciples about His visible return to earth , it began to put an expectancy within them. I can hear a question being asked by one of those who were closest to Him. The question probably sounded something like this, Lord, you have told us how it is going to be, but you have not told us when it will be like that. When will we see you coming to earth, from heaven, like that? Here is how He answered that question, “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh; So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors, Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” When he answered their question like that they did not know what He meant by this fig tree putting forth leaves. Oh, yes, they knew that Israel was a fig tree, symbolically, but as far as they were concerned the Jews were already in the land. The two southern tribes were, and there was nothing about what He said that would cause them to know he was referring to their, then, national situation. He just said, “Now learn a parable of the fig tree.” (We know, now, that He was talking about Israel.) “When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh.” Of course they could all identify with the fig tree; they understood it’s cycle. It goes into the winter season and loses its leaves. When spring comes, it first puts out little new twigs; then its little buds begin to swell; the first thing you know it has leaves, then the fruit comes. Jesus uses this illustration to actually give them a prophecy, a prophecy concerning the fact that they would eventually go into captivity again, though He did not say it in a way that they got that meaning from it. In other words Israel must go into complete national death in a comparative sense. They must exist just like that fig tree when it is in its winter season. In the middle of January it is barren; there is no life, no leaves, no fruit. (That is how the nation of Israel existed for centuries until time moved into the Twentieth Century.) Now you can identify a tree by its leaf; you do not have to wait for the fruit to know what kind of tree it is. Likewise, people who know the word of God, did not have to wait for Israel, as a nation, to begin to bear fruit in order to recognize life in her, and know that this parable of Jesus is being fulfilled in our generation. Naturally those disciples who heard Jesus speak those things that day could only apply what they heard to their lifetime; they had no way of knowing that what they were hearing would not have its fulfillment for more than 1900 years later. After Jesus spoke those words and was crucified, and arose from the dead the third day, the nation of Israel continued on in much the same way until 70 A.D. when the Roman army, under the leadership of Titus, came in and tore down the city, slaughtered many of the people, and completely desecrated the whole land. They took the healthy ones away for slaves, and only left a few old people, and sick people, to mourn the condition. From that time on, for the next 1900 years, the land of Israel lay desolate, just like an old fig tree in the winter season, and as long as she remained like that, there was absolutely no scriptural reason whatsoever for anyone to think that Jesus would make His visible return to earth, neither His secret return for His grace age bride, for He will never overstep one word of all that is written concerning Him in the Bible. Yet there have been people in every age that would say, Jesus can come just any time now. We all hear that said, often. But Jesus cannot come now, except for you or me as an individual that has fulfilled our days on earth. If that is the way He comes, then there will be some funeral services in a day or two. I hope you get my point. Too many people have played around with the scriptures entirely too long already. Now it is time for some of us to settle down and realize that there are yet a few scriptures to be fulfilled before He comes again. Oh! Brother Jackson: If you talk like that people will not even try to get themselves ready to meet Him. I beg your pardon. What would you do? Try to scare them into getting themselves ready? That idea will not line up with the word of God either. Jesus is not coming after a bride that has been scared into making herself ready. Did any of you young married women ever get dressed up in your wedding garment because you were scared? Absolutely not! You go dressed up in your wedding gown because you realized it was time for the wedding, and you wanted to get dressed. So will it be with the bride of Christ. Not one of them will have to be scared by some kind of a threat in order to cause them to get dressed. Every living person that is to be caught up in the translation will be fully dressed in the revelated word of God. Revelation 19:7-8, says, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and HIS WIFE HATH MADE HERSELF READY. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” John is seeing the little bride of Christ that has made herself ready to meet the bridegroom. When will she do that? She is busy about it right now. We are that generation that shall see all the things Jesus spoke of, come to pass. How do I know we are? Simply because we have seen that dormant fig tree come to life and we are witnessing the cycle that Jesus described in verse 32.
LAST GRACE AGE GENERATION
In 1948 when the United Nations voted in one night’s time to grant Israel statehood, that brought the old lifeless fig tree out of her dormant state, the sprout was ready to shoot forth and start growing. Then by the time their June 1967, was over, she had put on some leaves. I am sure you understand what I mean; she had taken some territory. Therefore the next thing to watch for is the fruit. In the parable, when the leaves come forth it is getting close to fruit bearing time. “So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things (He is referring to all those things He has spoke of up until that hour) know that it is near, even at the doors.” In the marginal reference, that says, Know that He is at the doors, meaning, He is ready to come. In other words we should take note of the fact that His visible return to earth is associated with the summer season, which is the fruit bearing season. Then, verse 34, brings in what He said about the generation of humanity that is living to witness that fig tree coming to life. “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” This, absolutely, without question, is referring to our present generation. Now, Luke, in his writing, brought in some similar words of Jesus that dealt with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., telling that generation what to watch for, and when to flee, and so forth. But you will notice that Matthew held to those things He said, that related to the end time. Not only did our generation witness the rebirth of the nation of Israel, we have present all the other things Jesus mentioned. The world is full of false Christs, and there are all kinds of anointings everywhere you look. There has never been another generation that had so many religious actors as our generation. I will not take the space to comment on our religious television programs of our day, except to say that they are selling the precious blood of Jesus Christ in every conceivable way. You know what I mean by that; they all have their hand out begging for support for what they are doing. God is not a beggar, but nevertheless, it takes all this to fulfill the words of Jesus of what it would be like in the end time. We have earthquakes; we have pestilences; we have famines in just about every region of the world, and Jesus said, “All of these are the beginning of sorrows.” They point us to His soon return, but do not ever forget this, His visible coming has go to be tied to a tribulation hour, and that tribulation hour is also to be understood, by those who have the Spirit of God in their lives to guide them into all truth. That hour will catch the true people of God off guard. They will recognize it well in advance, and be ready to leave this old world before the actual tribulation begins.
JESUS AS THE OBEDIENT SON
Now verse 35, is the clincher. If we did not know it already; that verse lets us know that every word Jesus spoke will have to be fulfilled exactly as He said. Not one word will be bypassed. Then, verse 36, brings us to our main scripture for this message title. “BUT OF THAT DAY AND HOUR KNOWETH NO MAN, No not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” These words open up another thought, and the gospel of Mark carries it a little farther than Matthew. Mark 13:32, reads, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, NEITHER THE SON, but the Father.” Trinitarians like to use that verse to argue against the oneness of God revelation. They see the Father as one person, and the Son as another, and they do not even realize, that, anytime Jesus spoke of the Father, He was referring to that omnipresent Spirit that created all things, and knows all things, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the very Spirit that created a cell of life in the womb of the virgin girl, Mary, who is called the mother of Jesus. That same Spirit, the Spirit that Jesus referred to as Father was robed in the very flesh that called Him Father, the flesh of Jesus. Through time, the Spirit that God the Father is, has delegated certain authorities, and certain knowledge to be fulfilled through the office work of the Son Himself, and certain other things, were not given to the office work of the Son. Nevertheless, There is only one God, regardless of what grandmother or grandfather might have taught you. The best way I can illustrate this is, When Jesus was taken up and seated on the right hand of the Father: He was not seated on the right side of another person, but on the right hand of this eternal Spirit’s authority. He was given power and authority to intercede for sinful mankind. He is our high priest, our mediator, our lawyer, you might say. Everything pertaining to this mediatorial work has been delegated to the office work of the Son. We must try to understand why Jesus spoke as He did. For instance; why did He say, “The Son can do nothing of Himself?” Simply because He did not know ten years in advance, (speaking from the standpoint of the flesh man) what the Spirit in Him would cause Him to say and do. That is why He said, “I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him.” Then again, “I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” Notice this 29 verse, of the 8 chapter of John. “He that hath sent me is with me: The Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please Him.” This is a perfect illustration and example of the flesh of man being led completely, by the Spirit that was within Him, but you can never make two separate persons out of those scriptures that speak of the Father, and also, of the Son. Therefore we must understand, that, when Jesus said, No man knoweth the day, nor the hour, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only, it was because the whole plan of redemption was something that was chosen, elected and established in the mind of God before the world was ever created. It was to be fulfilled through the office work of the Son, when time progressed to the point where the Son would actually come into existence and be available to pay the supreme sacrifice for man’s sin. Redemption for the whole human race was purchased through the sacrificial death of the Son, but the authority for it all goes right back to the mind of the Father, who is a Spirit, and not a person. All knowledge is from the mind of God. But it is plain to see that the Father (the Spirit) did not pour the knowledge of every detail into the mind of the Son; (Jesus, the flesh and blood man.) He delegated to the mind of the Son only those things that pertained to those particular moments of time. He knew what was going to happen to Him, and He knew why, but at the time He spoke these words He did not know when He would come again. He did know assuredly that He would come again, but He was different from you and me; He was so obedient to the Father, it did not matter to Him when He would come again. At that time He knew He had one more job to do, and that was at Calvary. He did not want to die; His flesh, or I should say, the human side of Jesus cried out just like anyone else would. That is why He was out there in the garden praying, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” You will notice though that He included these words in His prayer, also, “Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” That was total surrender to the eternal Spirit which was the Father, the mental battle was over. Inwardly He knew He was ordained to die. That is why He said, “For this purpose came I into the world.” When He left Galilee with His disciples He knew what was ahead, for as they walked along He told them this, “The Son of man will go to Jerusalem, will fall into the hands of wicked men, suffer many things, and die, but on the third He will rise again. This is what caused Peter to rebuke Him, saying, “Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” But He knew what the will of God was in this matter; therefore He turned to Peter, and said unto him, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou understandest not the things that be of God, but only those that be of men.” When He was in the garden praying, He knew this thing was just a few hours away, and He knew He would raise from the dead the third day, but as for His visible return to earth for the millennium, He did not know yet, when it would be.
NOAH WALKED BY FAITH
Brothers and sisters: In dealing with this type of message; it takes a little time to get our thought opened up, but I am doing by best to show you why Jesus spoke many things as He did. Please take note of the fact that it was before Calvary, that He said unto them, “NO MAN KNOWETH THE DAY NOR THE HOUR,” when He would return in the manner described. Let us notice now, in verse 37, what He led off into after He said that. “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” As we examine this comparison with the days of Noah, remember this, Noah did not know when the flood was going to come; he just knew that God had told him to build an ark of certain dimensions, and that He had told him what was to be taken into the ark besides his own family. Noah did not need to know then, when the flood would come; all he needed was a command of God to build the ark, and he started building it. All the time he was building the ark he was preaching, for it is written that he was a preacher of righteousness. He was warning his generation of what was coming, but did they take heed? I can just hear them: Noah, What are you doing? I am building a boat. Why are you building a boat? It is going to rain and flood the land. Noah, you must be crazy: It has never rained. But God said that it is going to rain, and, if He said it, I believe it is going to happen. Noah did not know when it was going to rain, but he followed God’s instructions and did all that God told him to do, and by the time he finished preparing for what was coming, it was just about time for it to begin. When he finished the boat God spoke again, giving him his next instructions. Noah, go out and gather up all the animals that are to go with you, and all the food that you will need, and put them in the ark, and then take your family members according to my instructions, and go in, for in seven days it will begin to rain, and it will continue for forty days and nights, and every living thing that is not in the ark will be destroyed from off the face of the earth. Noah had walked by faith for more than one hundred years in preparing the ark, and just seven days before it is to happen, God tells him when it is going to start raining. Now I do not believe Noah and his sons had to go out and set a lot of traps in order to catch the animals that were to be saved from the flood. I believe there was an inspiration from the Almighty that caused those animals to be attracted to them. I realize this may sound a little strange to educated minds, but so be it. Praise God! There is a time ahead when the whole animal kingdom will be completely tame. Children and what we know as wild, dangerous beasts will play together, in the millennium. We know this because the word of God declares it.
NOAH’S DAY – OUR DAY
Now, just as God did not have to chase Noah down, out in the woods somewhere, and say, Hey Noah: I told you to get in the ark: it is going to rain; neither will the bride of Christ have to be chased down at the last minute out here shopping or something, and told to get ready. Every last bride person will be ready just like Noah was. It is a matter of believing the word of God, and being led by the Spirit of God in obeying His word. By that, I mean, private interpretations have no place in the lives of God’s true people. Paul instructed Christians to be all of the same mind, and to speak the same thing. Those who are always out running here and there, trying to get a new revelation, are not even interested in the unity of the body of Christ. Self will is not God’s will in spiritual matters. In verse 38, of our text chapter you can see the comparison Jesus used to show how conditions will be at the end of this age. It will be the same as it was in the days before the flood, when all those carnal, self willed people went on their merry way, either ignoring, or making fun of God’s righteous servant until the flood came and took them all away. “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Saints, that is a picture of our present generation. So much attention is given to eating and drinking, and to engagements and weddings, but very little time is given to the things of God. I want you to know, while Noah was busy building an ark, at the command of God, and getting all those animals and food stuff aboard, all the rest of the world was busy building houses, and running to McDonald’s for a hamburger, or to the Burger Queen, or the White Castle. (These are places that people of our day are running to.) They were all busy with their worldly interests, and nothing that Noah was saying, or doing, alarmed them one bit whatsoever. It is the same today. The word of God gives us signs to watch for, but he majority of people in the world today could not care less what is going on in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, or any place else, just as long as it does not interfere with their own plans. The whole Middle East could go up in flames and it would not bother them one bit. Let me tell you, one of these days, and I believe it will be very soon, something is going to happen that will bother them, but it will be too late.
GOD’S WORD IS PRECISE
Jesus did not say very much about the rapture of the church, but He said enough to give strength to what the apostle Paul taught in the various letters he wrote. Just as Noah knew that it was going to rain, and made every necessary preparation for it, all because He believed what God had said, So will the true bride of Christ who believes in a secret rapture of the church, be prepared for it when the time comes. Noah made all his preparation without knowing what day and hour, or even what year the rain would come, but when it came time for Noah to enter into the ark, God told him that the rain would come in just seven days. Seven days from then the rain began to fall, and Noah was already shut in the ark by the hand of God, he and all those who were ordained to be saved. Keep this in mind, When God says 7 days: He means 7 days; not 6, nor 8, but 7. Likewise when God’s word says His two anointed witnesses will prophesy in the land of Israel for 3 ½ years, He means exactly that, and when it says that the Antichrist will have 3 ½ years, it means that he will have exactly 3 ½ years, no more, and no less. I wonder if you can begin to see a parallel, or a type here? The little bride of Christ that has been dressing herself with the revelated word of God will know that the literal appearing of Jesus Christ on earth will be exactly 7 prophetic years from the time that covenant of Daniel 9:27, is confirmed and those Jewish prophets start prophesying. When that week of time becomes effective you can mark off exactly 2,520 days on your calendar and say, This is when Jesus will descend from heaven back to earth. This is exactly 7 years of 360 days each. Now, you can do that because God’s word tell us that, immediately after the tribulation of those days Jesus will return to pour out His wrath upon the wicked inhabitants of this old world. But I pray that every one of you who will read this article will be among the number of those who will not be left on earth to face that dark hour of time. Those who are shut in with Jesus in a revelation of His word will know some things that others will not know concerning the plan of God, but by the time they learn those intimate things, they will already have made themselves ready. They will know these things because they are ready, and certainly not in an effort to cause them to get ready. As far as knowing exactly when the rapture is going to take place, we have no need to know that. If we knew that it was going to take place on June 22 at 8:00 in the morning, I am sure that some of you would never hit another lick of work. Some have set dates for the rapture. Others who do not even believe in a rapture have set dates for the Lord’s visible return, and every last one of those dates have come and gone, and Jesus is not here yet. We have read of one group out in Arizona that had a date set for the Lord’s return. They had a nuclear bomb exploding, and the world coming to an end. They built their bomb shelter, stocked it full of food, and they all got in there, waiting for it to happen. They did not believe in a rapture; they just believed He had given them the wisdom to know how to protect themselves against the bomb, and the fall out. You all know what happened; that date passed, and food spoiled, and one by one their revelation began to fade away. Another such case was out in Arkansas a few years ago. These people set their date, took their children out of school, locked themselves in their homes, and stopped all activity. Before long, newspaper people were knocking on their doors, the sheriff was knocking, wanting to take their children and put them back in public school, and so forth. How many remember the incident? They thought they had it all figured out. I also remember how, back in 1968, we had some people in this message that believed Jesus was coming in the month of October, 1968. Then there was the man who claimed the Lord had showed him that, by the time the year of 1973 had come and gone, the rapture would be history. Brothers and sisters, 1973 has been gone for a long time now, and the rapture has not taken place yet. Another year of much emphasis, among some, was 1977, and it has come and gone, and still no rapture, and no millennium. The strange thing about it all, is how these people fight for their date until it has come and gone, and then you cannot find one of them anywhere that will admit they believed such a thing. Does this not help you to realize why Jesus said Of that day, and that hour knoweth no man? When people get to expecting an event like that, they just simply lose all common sense, and act foolishly. The very fact that we have had all these forerunning things like this, lets us know what mortal man would do if God had set an exact date for the return of Christ Jesus. The Lord does not want anything like that. What He wants is some people who have a hunger, and an appreciation for truth. Do not put His coming twenty years off in the future, either. Just watch current events, and apply them scripturally where they line up, and do not jump to any sudden conclusions in either direction. It is the season for His coming that He wants us to recognize; and it is by watching conditions in the world that we come to recognize such a season. Even the thunders of Revelation 10:3, will not give us a certain day and hour for His return, but they will give us an insight that we do not now have, and they will intensify our understanding of the things of God. There is a great contrast between the effects of knowing the day and hour of His return, and simply just knowing the season for it. One could bring reproach and disaster, but the other will make us more like Him. If we recognize by the events of the world, that we are within the season for His return, we will go to the assembly lines, or to the fields, singing, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.” You can be hammering away on your carpenter job, and if you mash your finger, Praise God! Jesus is coming soon, and I will never mash it again! Revelated Christians are looking forward to an event that will make the Exodus out of Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea seem like a small thing compared to it. Just to think that one day we will hear a voice, ARISE! COME UP HERE! It almost overwhelms you to think of such a thing. Hallelujah! Brothers and sisters, it is going to happen! The eagles are going to be gathered together unto Him. One will be taken and the other left. The one who is ready and watching for His return will be taken right from the side of another one that has lived for the pleasures of this life at the expense of their own soul’s destiny, one from the field in America, and one from the bed in India, Africa, Norway, or wherever it is night time when it takes place.
I will never forget talking to a certain man in the barber shop a few years ago. He said, Bro. Jackson: I feel like the time is so short; there are just so many months left before the rapture; therefore I feel that I have enough money to take me through without having to do anything else. I thought to myself, you had better be sure you are right, for by the time your money runs out, and the Lord still has not come, you will have to go back to work again, and a job may not be that easy to come by. Do you know, that is exactly what Paul had to deal with in the Thessalonian church? That is exactly what had happened there. They had taken Paul’s own teaching concerning the coming of the Lord, and become so wrapped up in it, that they got completely off track and became troubled about it all. He had to write them a letter, reprimanding them, and reminding them of what he had really endeavored to teach them. We will go to the Thessalonian letters a little later, but let me say again, It is not the day and hour that we need to know, about the coming of the Lord; it is how to recognize the season. A season could be anywhere from 6 months to a year, but the bride of Christ will be able to put two and two together, when world events have moved us into the season when Daniel’s seventieth week is staring us right in the face. His mystical return for the true church should be associated, or applied to a little period of time at the beginning of that week.
JESUS COMES AS A THIEF
We have another parable to look at before we go to the Thessalonian letters. This parable is also dealing with the coming of the Lord, but remember, it is a parable. It is given to make a point, and not to be applied literally. Verse 42, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. (We do not know the HOUR.) 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” This parable is not to cause anyone to think that Jesus will come as a thief in the night, as far as the bride is concerned. He will not slip up on her, for she will be ready and watching, like He said to do. This is spoken for the benefit of those who might become slothful, or be very dilatory. He is simply saying, You are like a man who knows that there is a thief at work in your neighborhood, and you go upstairs to bed, leaving your valuables in plain sight, and do not even bother to lock your doors. It is as though such a person is expecting the thief to send him a telegram saying, I will be coming by your house tomorrow night. Thieves do not operate like that. If you have valuables, you must protect them at all times, not just when the thief himself warns you that he is coming by your place. If you do not lock your door, and your valuables are taken, you have no right to cry about it; you just failed to prepare for that character’s visit. This is what Jesus is having reference to, here, a person who fails to prepare himself and watch for his Lord’s return. What is more valuable than your soul? It should have your first attention; everything else is secondary. Brother! You put a good night latch on your doors, and if the thief comes by your house, nine times out of ten he will wake you from sleep, trying to get in. But the man who is never prepared, will sleep soundly while the thief robs his house. He will awaken to find everything of value has been taken. That is how the rapture will be. Jesus will come and take His bride while all the other folks are sound asleep. (spiritually unprepared) That is what we are looking at in this parable. The fact that Jesus comes and gets His bride, and the rest of the world does not even know about it, makes His coming like a thief in the night to them. He will not slip up on the bride though, for she will be watching for Him.
We are going to 1 Thessalonians st now, and catch what Paul said to them about the rapture. Turn to chapter 4, verse 14, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.” He is actually telling those Thessalonian Christians not to worry about their loved ones who believe in Christ, and have already passed on. He says, God will bring them with Him when He comes for all those who are left alive. Verse 15, “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, (and you will not find this written anywhere in the Old Testament where Paul could read it; he got these words from the Lord Jesus by revelation while he was out there in the Arabian Desert.) That we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. (Talking now about the rapture) For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” That verse goes right with Matthew 24:40-41, and Luke 17:34-36, two in the field, two at the mill, two in bed, and the one is taken, and the other left. Paul goes on in verse 18, to say, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” That lets us know that Paul had a deeper understanding of what Jesus had said in Matthew 24, and Luke 17, concerning His mystical return for the true church, which is His bride. It takes what Paul says about it in order for us to know what Jesus was referring to. Paul is the one who give us details on the resurrection of the dead saints, and the changing into immortality of the living ones. While we are at this point, let me clear up something that various one’s seem to be confused about. While I was in the Philippines this last time, someone asked the question, Bro. Jackson, will we have a physical body when we are raptured, or will we just have a theophany body? I said, You believe in a resurrection, do you not? Yes, Brothers and sisters: it would not be called a resurrection if we were going to have some other kind of body. That just goes to show you, no matter how much people read their Bibles, they are still prone to hold on to a traditional idea that came out of a seminary somewhere. Our theological opinions must be replaced with the revelated word of God if we are to be in the bride of Christ. Bro. Jackson: What does it mean there in 1st Corinthians 15:44, where it says, our bodies are sown a natural body; and it is raised a spiritual body? Brother, having a spiritual body, does not keep it from being a physical body. That just means that the inner man has complete dominion over it. No longer will it be ruled by the natural mind. As long as we are in this mortal body the lusts of the flesh are constantly pulling on us, but once we are changed into immortality, all that will be done away with, forever. There will be no more death present. There will be no more disease. We will have a full set of teeth again, and a full head of hair. We will never need eye glasses again. Our old defective, death doomed body continues to get old and wear out, but when we take on our new body, our resurrected and changed body, whichever the case may be, it will last us throughout all eternity. But, Bro. Jackson, the Bible says that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; How does that fit into the picture? It is not our flesh that is born again, but our spirit, and the kingdom of God is His spiritual kingdom in the hearts of His redeemed children. You just have to look at this from the standpoint that it is the inner man that receives the inheritance, but at the same time the outer man reaps the benefits of being a tabernacle for a son of God. When you go to the 8th chapter of Romans, you will see that even though it is our inner man that is born again, our bodies are included in God’s plan of redemption. They are part of the purchased possession. The fact that He rose from the dead, never to die again, proves that He also purchased this old body. That is why we published the article titled, Resurrection and Reincarnation, we wanted to show from the scriptures themselves that when the trump of God sounds for the resurrection and rapture of the bride of Christ, God will cause every molecule that has ever been incorporated into the body of a saint, to come from the ground and be joined with that body. That is RESURRECTION. Paul said it like this, in Romans 8:11, “But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, (the Holy Ghost) He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (give life to) your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” In our present state our bodies require oxygen. That is why every jet airplane, that goes up to 25,000 to 35,000 feet, requires a pressurized cabin, but there is coming a day when we will not need jet airplanes, space suits, nor any of man’s devices. We are going to rise to meet the Lord in the air in our own immortal bodies. We are going to the great wedding supper. What for? To be married to the bridegroom!
PEACE AND SAFETY
Now let us go back to the first Thessalonian letter and pick up where we left off. Paul has just told them how the resurrection and translation will take place, and admonished them to comfort one another with those words. That concludes chapter 4, but Paul did not break his chain of thought with chapters and verses when he wrote this, so notice how the first verses of chapter 5 just go right on with the subject he was on, (the coming of the Lord, resurrection and translation) “But of the TIMES and the SEASONS, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the lord so cometh as a thief in the night, (to the world in general.) For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” I want you to know that we have never yet had such a time when men would say, We now have peace and safety. That will not be until the man of sin has introduced his covenant of peace. When he introduces his great covenant of peace to the world, then, the man of the world will say, Now, at long last, we will have peace and safety. The little bride of Christ which will still be here at that time will know differently, but the man of the world will feel like all his troubles are past, and there is nothing but good times ahead. At that time, the little bride will know for sure that she is in the very season when the Lord will come. Notice, also, that Paul allows his thought to reach on out past the rapture of the church when he spake of the sudden destruction that would come. That is exactly what Jesus did in Matthew 24, and Luke 17, where He was speaking of His visible return to earth, in wrath, and then included those remarks about one being taken, and the other left, which we know applies to His mystical return. Let me say this, also, When Paul said, Then sudden destruction cometh upon them, he did not mean that it would happen the next day after the peace covenant is signed. Sudden destruction will come, but it will be after the man of the world has had time to settle down and really put his confidence in their great plan for world peace and safety. We all know that Daniel’s seventieth week must fun its ful course before the wrath of God is poured out upon wicked mankind.
BE THANKFUL AND FAITHFUL
I will never forget an incident that took place at the close of W.W.2. A Lieutenant assembled us out on a hillside and made a speech. (All the nations of the Western world had come together and formed a body called, the United Nations) He said to us, that day, This was the war that was fought to end all wars. We have now formed a body of nations that will work together to unite all the nations of the world; therefore we will never have another war. I thought, that is not what the Bible says. Do you know, there has never been a time since then, when there has not been some kind of conflict somewhere in the world? Men of the world have never had a time yet when they could sit back and say, We have peace and safety, everywhere; everything is lovely. But just up ahead, Ezekiel 38 & 39, will be fulfilled and I believe that is what will shake this old world to the place where they will welcome the man of sin, and his covenant of peace and safety for all. That will lull the whole world to sleep, the unregenerate world. But the little bride will look up, knowing the time is at hand. Sudden destruction will come upon the unregenerate world as a thief in the night, Paul says, and they shall not escape, “But ye brethren, (verse 4) are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; (meaning that we should not go to sleep spiritually) but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, (those who are revelated with truth) be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; (that will keep Satan’s darts from piercing your heart) and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. (That will protect your mind against Satan’s darts of doubt and fear.) For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep we should live together with Him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” Knowing what we know about the plan of God should be a great comfort to us in this time of trouble and turmoil when there is strife among mankind all around us. We should be very thankful that the Lord Jesus will not come as a thief in the night and catch His true people unprepared. Also, instead of complaining about the pressures of the times we are living in, let us be mindful of the fact that this kind of times must of necessity proceed His coming to get us out of here. If we truly are anxious for the Lord’s return, then let us settle down, have faith in God, and let Him lead us day by day in dealing with the pressures of this life. As the season for His appearing becomes more evident, do not let down on your normal duties and responsibilities of life. When He comes: let Him find us busy, instead of just gathered together somewhere waiting for Him. Oh, Bro. Jackson, I do not want Jesus to come, and find me busy doing carnal things. I think it would be better if we were all somewhere reading our Bibles and praying when He comes. That is very strange. If the Lord had wanted us to do that, Why did He not say so? Why did He bother to say that there would be two at the mill, grinding, and one would be taken, and the other left? Why would there be two in the field? Do you think they went out there to read their Bible and pray? Paul said, Pray without ceasing. If you obey the scripture: you will be praying when Jesus comes. Common sense teaches us that we cannot be on our knees praying all the time; therefore let us understand that to mean that whatever we are doing; whether we be a carpenter driving nails, or a truck drive out here on these superhighways, we can have a prayer in our heart: Lord, I am occupying until you come. If this is the day for your return then let me be found faithful in everything I know to do. As you go to work, driving along in your car, Lord, I thank you for another day of life; I thank you for my job; I thank you for the very privilege of prayer and fellowship with you. That is what Paul was have reference to when he said, Pray without ceasing. I believe that by the time the rapture does take place, this old world will be in such turmoil, true Christians will have urgent reasons to pray without ceasing. Some have the idea that everything is going to be standing perfect when the Lord comes for His bride, but let me tell you, saints, I can find nothing in the Bible that would cause me to believe that.
WHAT WILL YOU BELIEVE?
We will go into Paul’s 2 letter to nd the Thessalonians and catch some more of what he said to establish the season of the Lord’s return, but let me say, first, if you have been watching world conditions lately, you should begin to feel like we are getting close to the season for the Lord’s secret appearing. All of this turmoil in the Middle East is motivated by Satan in his attempt to get rid of Israel. Naturally, as long as America is allied with her, and is looked upon as her means of keeping alive, Satan’s big guns will be firing at us through every possible situation. Through other nations, he will continue trying to knock us out of the picture. Get rid of the U.S.A., then we can get rid of Israel, they will think; therefore Satan will just keep right on stirring the fires in the Middle East until it leads to a terrible war. We need to be concerned, of course, but let us not be alarmed, if we really are looking for Jesus to come again, for these things must come first. I just cannot stress this enough. I realize that a message like this will not mean much to a lot of people, but perhaps those who will appreciate it are the ones it is being prepared for. There are a lot of people who profess to be walking in the truth of this hour, that resent my teaching on the seventy weeks of Daniel, and the thunders, so much, that they just do not want to hear anything I say or print, but their attitude will not change the word of God one bit whatsoever. When the seventieth week of Daniel does start, many of them will still be involved in idolatry, and when the seven thunders finally do sound THEIR voices, these people will not even hear them. The would rather study their Spoken Word books, debate, fuss and argue, than to believe present day truth. Over in the Philippines, I was asked about the big division in this message concerning the seventieth week of Daniel. Is there still 7 full years left to the Jews, to fulfill that week, or was Jesus cut off in the middle of that week? The Bible says He was cut off at the end of the 62 week period which would make it at the end of the full 69 weeks, but certainly not in the middle of the seventieth. According to the understanding of a lot of know it all people, Daniel 9:26, would have to read like this, “And after three score and two and a half weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself.” Does it say after 62 ½ weeks, or does it say, after 62 weeks, He will be cut off? Open your Bible and read it. Then tell me whether you are going to believe the Bible or will you keep looking for some secret word that Bro. William Branham uttered, that could change what the Bible teaches? It is just like I told those people over in the Philippines. It is not the Godhead that we disagree on. There is no division in this message on the Godhead. There is no division on water baptism, nor is there division on whether God sent a prophet or not. We all believe in the experience of receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and the fact that the Holy Ghost is to lead a person into all truth, but, sad to say, not every one who believes that, is allowing Him to lead and guide their thinking, or they would not hold to a statement and teach a doctrine that is contrary to the word of God. I fully respect God’s prophet messenger to this age and I have to say, It was through his teaching that God opened my eyes to the reality of His word that I had always looked at through eyes of tradition. But I will never give that little man the place that only the Lord Jesus Christ is to have, no matter how much respect I have for him. He came on the scene, fulfilled his calling, and God took him home, and time has continued on for over 14 years since his tragic death. I would have to believe that God died, also, in order to think He would not still speak to His living sons and daughters through a living ministry as time runs out. Praise God! Hallelujah! God is alive, and He is still speaking to His people! Furthermore I am persuaded by the scriptures that He still has some very important things to say to the bride before she leaves here, things that are not written anywhere. For when John heard those thunders utter their voices, he was told not to write what he heard, and you can be assured of this one thing, what those seven thunders uttered is still not written. Their utterances will come forth by prophetic revelations, after Jesus has broken the 7 seal, and is th off the mercy seat, and not before. It is just plain ridiculous for anyone to believe that those thunders are 7 sermons that Bro. William Branham preached, yet there are certain men who travel around the world saying that the 7 thunders are the revelation of the seven seals. If they really believe that, why can they not agree on a date when Jesus will come again? If they want to go by every word that Bro. William Branham spoke then let them take what he said about the 7th seal, that it should bring a revelation or an understanding about the time of Jesus’ coming for His church. I am convinced that those thunders will deal with the revelation of His coming, and that they will be just for the bride. I pray that those of you who have read our article on the seven thunders have been able to see by the scriptures we used, why we believe as we do. That is the only way I want anyone to believe what I teach, when they can see it through the word of God. I can tell you what God has showed me, what He has revealed to me, but only He can give you a revelation of it. That is why some people can hear something a hundred times and still never really understand it. Paul had the same thing in his day; some of those who heard him teach, just heard enough to trouble their minds when they could not figure out every detail, and set dates for the return of the Lord.
EXPLAINING SCRIPTURES WITH SCRIPTURES
Open your Bibles to 2 Thessalonians 1:7, now, and remember, in his first letter he told them, God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, for we are children of light. Yet in spite of all that he had taught them, some of them were troubled by what they had been hearing from other sources. So Paul says, beginning in verse 7, “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power; When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day.” What do you find people in this message troubled about in our day? They are troubled about the same things those Thessalonians were troubled about. They want to get every detail worked out and set dates for the Lord’s return, and since there is nothing in the scriptures that will enable them to go that far, they search through Bro. William Branham’s messages constantly, looking for something that will help them fit their revelation together. The divisions in this message are mostly about times, dates, seasons, and things of that nature. They get all shook up because they cannot figure out exactly, the very things Jesus said we have no need to know. Paul was actually the one who said it like that; Jesus just said, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man.” Paul was not worried about the exact time when the Lord would come. He was not shook up about it. That is why he could say, “And to you who are troubled rest with us.” He was resting in what the Lord had revealed to him, knowing that whatever else he needed to know, if there was anything else he needed to know, God would reveal that also. There was nothing to worry about then, and there is still nothing to worry about, unless you are one who is very careless with the way you live your life. That could be cause for concern, but just worrying will not help the situation. God wants us to live according to the revelation we have, and leave all the rest to Him. When time has progressed to the point where the bride needs to know something else, He will reveal it to her. So Paul says, Rest with us. In other words, Take it easy; let your mind relax; do not become frustrated. As you read on down through verse 10, you know that he is referring to the visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ, for that is when He comes, taking vengeance on them that know not God, bringing His angels with Him, to be glorified in His saints. Like I said earlier, He will not be coming to earth to His saints. He will be coming to earth with His saints, but it is only after He and all His saints are back on earth in the millennium, that He is glorified in them. You can pick that up in the 25th chapter of Matthew, verse 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.” That is when all those from every nation who have remained alive through the great tribulation, and through the time when the wrath of God was being poured out, will be gathered before Him and divided into two groups, sheep and goats. He will separate the people as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. All of the sheeplike people will be ushered in to the millennium to repopulate the world, and the goatlike people will be cast into the lake of fire. That will be their final destiny. At the end of the one thousand year reign of Christ with His bride, the great white throne judgment will be set, and all of death and hell shall be resurrected, judged, and cast into the lake of fire. But first now we are dealing with Paul’s letter to the saints at Thessalonika, and we were directing our attention to WHEN Jesus would come from heaven with His mighty angels, and be glorified in His saints, and the answer to that is, at the end of the seventieth week of Daniel, after the great tribulation has run its 3 ½ years of allotted time. Then shall Jesus be revealed from heaven in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God. You can tie that to 2nd Peter 3:10 “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night: (unexpectedly) in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” Now, does that mean that God will annihilate everything that He has created and start all over again? Absolutely not. That would not be redemption. You would have to throw away 95 percent of the Bible if you cancel out redemption. What does it mean, then, about Jesus coming in flaming fire, the elements melting and the earth being burned up? And also, about the new heavens, and the new earth? To get the picture there, let us just back up a little, to verses 5-7, and see how Peter spoke of the destruction by the flood in Noah’s day. “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water; Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, PERISHED: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgement and perdition of ungodly men.” How many of you caught the reason why we read those verse? If you missed the point, read it again. Peter, speaking about the earth that was standing out of the water and in the water, (in Noah’s day) said, the world that then was, being overflowed with water, PERISHED. Now we all know what the word “PERISHED” means, so tell me, Did the earth of old perish, or was it man and all his wicked works that perished? We all know the answer to that; this is the same earth that we read about in the first chapter of Genesis. God just washed it clean, with a flood that lasted many months, then Noah and his family and all the animals he had in the ark with him, repopulated the earth. The next time, God will cleanse the earth with fire, but He will not destroy the planet itself, and that is exactly what the fires of God’s wrath will do the next time, destroy everything that in any way pertains to wicked, ungodly men. But, Bro. Jackson, Did not Jesus say that heaven and earth would not pass away? Yes He did say that, but you have to understand what He meant, in the light of all the other scriptures that are also His word. I believe it should be sufficient just to say that this was Jesus’ way of saying that it would be easier for heaven and earth (which were created by the word of God) to pass away, than for His word to fail to come to pass. The word that He leaves, is His word concerning a finished product of redemption, a redemption of the earth as well as a people upon the earth. All of man’s former works shall be burned up, and everything will be made new, but it will be through redemption, and not be another act of creating something from nothing, as He did in the beginning.
FACTS ABOUT THE MAN OF SIN
Alright now, let us move on to chapter 2, in Paul’s 2nd letter to the Thessalonians. He has been writing about the visible return of Jesus, the time when He comes to execute wrath, but notice how long he moved right to His mystical return in these next verses we are going to read. “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, (our gathering together unto Him is the rapture) That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” Over 1900 years have come and gone since Paul wrote these words to a church assembly to settle them. If there has been a man like Paul in every generation since then, I am sure similar words could have been written to every generation that followed, but let us be thankful that this one writing has applied to every generation since then, and we are living in the generation that will actually see the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ that Paul was writing about. But notice in this next verse what he said would have to proceed this glorious event. “Let no man deceive you by any means.” In other words, he is saying basically the same thing Jesus said in Matthew 24:23-26, that led up to our text scriptures. “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, He is in the desert; go not forth: behold, He is in the secret chambers; believe it not.” In other words, do not be deceived; that is exactly what Paul is saying in this letter. “Let no man deceive you by any means; (even if he says an angel stood by his bed last night and told him that Jesus would come tomorrow night do not believe it) for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” This is one of the reasons why you hear me say, often, No, Jesus cannot come before tomorrow night. I have heard a lot of preachers say that, trying to scare some lost soul into getting saved, but a man who says a thing like that for that reason is doubly wrong. First of all, you cannot scare eternal life into a lost soul; they must be drawn by the Spirit of God. But the main reason why Jesus cannot come before tomorrow night is because there has to be a general falling away first, and that man of sin (the Antichrist) must be revealed. The falling away that Paul was talking about, was not what happened back there in the Dark Ages. Because, out of the Dark Ages came the Reformation. You could not say that was a falling away; that was a restoration. You might say, It was a revival in progress, a time of restoring truth to the church. So none of that period was a falling away. When the Spirit of God spoke that through Paul, it was to be applied to a certain generation in time, where there would be a massive falling away from truth, and THE Antichrist revealed to the true church. That man of sin will deceive the world, but the true people of the living God will recognize him from what God has revealed to them from the scriptures. There have always been Antichrists in the world ever since the apostle John warned the church about them in 90 A.D., but THE Antichrist, which is also called, the man of sin, has not come on the scene yet, at least not in that role where he will have 1,260 days allotted to him to finish out the week of Daniel. We can already see the falling away that leads up to that hour, but the Antichrist will have to make a peace and trade covenant with many nations of the world in order to fulfill this scripture. We already know what office the Antichrist will come from, but we do not yet know if this present pope is the one who will be in that office to fulfill that son of perdition role or not. There is one thing we do know though; there will be 3 ½ years of hell on earth during that time. Let us continue reading in verse 4, where Paul continues speaking about that man of sin, the son of perdition; “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” That is why it is important for us to understand Revelation, chapter 11; We need to understand that something will happen along about the time of the beginning of that week of Daniel, that will allow the Jews to obtain their temple ground from the Moslems. That Jewish temple will be built in the first half of that week of time; therefore it will be ready for the Antichrist to throw the Jews out of, in the middle of the week, when he has God’s two witnesses killed, and moved into it himself, showing himself to be God. Naturally the first thing those Orthodox Jews will do is clear off the ground and build an altar, where they will begin offering up sacrifices to God. That was the first thing they did after returning to the land in the days of Zechariah and Haggai. In two months they had the altar in operation. By doing that the priest can function in his proper place, and they can all worship God right on that spot of ground during that time they are laying the stones for the temple. Those two Jewish prophets will be on the scene; Brother! What a revival! Three and one half years of that, is all the old Antichrist will be able to tolerate. He will not like having those two witnesses warning the people about what is just ahead of them, and testifying and prophesying about Jesus Christ being the very Jewish Messiah. By the time the middle of that week arrives, he will have reached his wits end. He will be so provoked by all this great revival among the Jews, that Satan will incarnate him. That is when hell is turned loose on earth. That is why this man of sin is called the beast; that is what he will be like in that hour. Anyone who will not renounce God and bow to him, will be ruthlessly murdered. What took place in the Dark Ages, compared to that, will seem like child’s play. He is the abomination that maketh desolate, that Daniel wrote about. He will stop the Jews from using the temple; they will be forbidden to offer up sacrifice and evening oblation to Jehovah, and when he seats himself in the temple, he will demand to be worshiped, but those Orthodox Jews will not worship him. They know that first commandment too well to do that. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” That is when the woman element of Jews will flee into the wilderness to escape the wrath of this beast, according to Revelation 12:6,14. Do you see why the bride of Christ will have this man of sin revealed to her before the rapture takes place? It is because God has allowed us to know all these things about him ahead of time; therefore the bride will recognize who he is when all the rest of the world will be placing all their hopes in him.
CONVICTING PRESENCE OF HOLY GHOST
Paul says to these Thessalonians, “Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? (He had preached to them in person, and told them about these things, but some of them had become troubled in their minds about certain things of the rapture and the Antichrist, so Paul writes this letter to settle them.) “And now ye know what withholdeth (the Spirit of God is holding him back until his appointed time) that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: (that is the spirit which will lead the world to such a character) only He who now letteth will let, (speaking of the restraining presence of the Holy Ghost) until HE be taken out of the way.” To put this in easy to understand words, Paul is saying, The Holy Ghost is restraining and hindering the working of this Antichrist spirit, which Paul refers to as the mystery of iniquity, until a people from the Gentiles has been taken for the name of the Lord. “And then, (verse 8) shall that Wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.” Brothers and sisters: In my own words, let me tell you what Paul is talking about, here in these verses. We mentioned already, that in 90 A.D., John said, The spirit of Antichrist was already at work. When we go back to the 2nd Corinthian letter; we find the apostle Paul speaking of certain ones that have come among the saints, claiming to be the apostles of Christ and seeking vain glory. He says beginning in verse 13, chapter 11, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” In other words they will be destroyed. But the point is, this Antichrist spirit, this spirit of Satan, this mystery of iniquity has been working among true saints for over 1900 years, but the Holy Ghost has been restraining and hindering him, until the fulness of the Gentiles is in. Then the Holy Ghost will withdraw His convicting presence from the Gentiles and Satan will be allowed to move his man on the scene. No, the Holy Ghost will not leave Christian people; He will just cease holding back ungodliness and lawlessness. That is what Paul meant, “Until He be taken out of the way.” It is not that the Holy Ghost withdraws suddenly; we have witnessed His gradual withdrawing for the past 30 years. In one sense there has been a great revival in that same period of time, but the inroads of evil and decay have been opened up right along with it, so that wickedness and immorality has been just like a huge tidal wave sweeping right in behind the revival. Do not ever forget, Satan’s children outnumber the children of God. Straight is the gate, and narrow the way that leads to eternal life, and few there be that find it. Jesus is the one who first said that, so do not be alarmed when you discover that the forces of evil are all around you. When you take a good look at the influx of filth, immorality, and social breakdown in our country, you realize that our “used to be” Christian nation, has become the world of any in the world. Paris, France used to be called the cesspool of filth, but now, it is the U.S.A., from coast to coast, that is such a cesspool. The very nation out of which came the message to the Laodicean age, now has all the conditions present that are to proceed the mystical coming of Jesus Christ for His bride church. Right now, we are just watching Western Europe and the Middle East countries that must fulfill their role in prophecy before He comes.
AS THE DAYS OF LOT
I noticed in the news lately that this woman running for the mayor’s office out in San Francisco, California, is playing it very cool in order to get the votes of their large population of homosexuals. She said, Any mayor of San Francisco has to be a mayor for all the people. Another person who is campaigning for that job, said that if he gets elected, he will put a homosexual person on the police force. Do you see the significance? They have to do those things to fulfill what Jesus said, “As it was in the days of Lot, so also will it be in the days of the coming of the Son of man.” There has to be a Sodom and Gomorrah condition existing in the world to fulfill the words of Jesus, and we have it. This great falling away is intensifying every day; the law makers, and also, the law enforcers are becoming just as corrupt as those that the laws are made for. Some of the things that take place within the ranks of the Louisville Police Force are almost beyond our ability to believe, but all these things that we are witnessing just let us know that the falling away is here. Morally, the world is just about ready for the week of Daniel to begin, but politically there are a few more things to take place before that week of time is ushered in. By the time that covenant is signed and that angelic form of Revelation 10:1, turns and moves into Israel to accompany those two prophets; Jerusalem will be just as filthy and corrupt as Los Angeles and San Francisco, California, to fulfill the words of Rev. 11:8, which says, (speaking of the two prophets that will be killed in the middle of that week) and their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. (We know that is Jerusalem.) Now, why did the Spirit of God see the city of Jerusalem where our Lord was crucified as being like Sodom and Egypt? Because it will be in bondage to the Antichrist, and Egypt speaks of bondage, and its moral condition will be like Sodomites. Nevertheless, out of all that, through the witness of those two prophets, the Holy Ghost will seal enough spiritual people to fulfill all that is prophesied for Israel in the last days. All things considered: that is probably what will bring the Antichrist into Jerusalem in the middle of the week; as friction between spiritual Jews and the political Jews builds to a point of explosion at just any time, the old peace making pope will intervene, and that is when Satan will move upon him to take over the whole state of affairs. This starts your great tribulation period of 3 ½ years.
GOD SENDS STRONG DELUSIONS
Brothers and sisters: I will try to get back to what I started to say. We will reread verse 9, in this Thessalonian letter where Paul is talking about the Antichrist that is to come literally in human form, and will not be just a spirit any longer. “Even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; (Why will they perish?) Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” Let me say two or three things here before we read verse 11, In verse 8, the spirit of the Lord’s mouth is the sword of judgment that he smites the nations with, and the brightness of His coming, is the glory that Christ is expresses through as He comes to earth after the great tribulation. Then in verse 9, the Satanic power and signs and lying wonders are not supernatural miracles in a true sense. Whatever is done will be through deception. We have seen a little forerunning of it already. I have always said, if the pope ever speaks in tongues, every Pentecostal will run, and jump right in his lap. He did the next thing to speaking in tongues a while back; he prayed for a sick woman and she got well. I read this in an article, not too long ago. Here is how he did it. They told how long this woman had been afflicted with a condition the doctors could not cure, and how they brought this particular woman to a place where the pope would be, a certain place in Europe. (This took place before he made his trip to America.) They notified him that she was in the gathering, and after he finished his speech, he came down from the platform, walked over to the sick lady, and said to her, “Can I just put my arm around you?” He put his arm around this sickly, Catholic woman and blessed her and the article said the woman was healed. That caused certain reporters, in another meeting, later, to remark about what a notable thing this was, and that this truly is a man of God. Saints, it takes all of that to fulfill the word of God. No, it was not the devil that did the healing; God is the only healer, but the devil is behind it all. It is just to fulfill the word of God which we are going to read in just a minute. Verse 10, tells us that this deception is taking place in them that did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. This lets us know that prior to the introduction of such a character, God did something that presented to the world an opportunity to receive truth, and they did not want it. They rejected the truth that would have brought them salvation, and because they did, God Himself does something, and He does it through those who are outside the realm of truth. Let us read verse 11, and see what God does to those who reject the truth. “And for this cause GOD SHALL SEND THEM STRONG DELUSION, that they should believe a lie. 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” How will God send them strong delusions? It is very simple. He will let those make believers speak in tongues and prophesy, and He will heal enough of the people they pray for to make them look like real, genuine servants of God. I am not pointing my finger at any certain people right now; that is for God to do, but I will say this, If you are privileged to know the truth of God’s word, you will not be too terribly amazed by the great healing miracles that are taking place out here in Trinitarian denominations, for all of this is being done to fulfill the word of God. There are no amount of signs and wonders that can mark a man as a genuine servant of God. A man is marked according to the way he handles truth. Even Pharaoh’s magicians could do almost everything that Moses and Aaron did, but did that make them servants of God? The answer is obvious. God can allow anyone, to do anything that it takes to fulfill His word, and those who are seeking to walk by revealed truth will not be disturbed nor amazed by any of it. I just thank God for opening my eyes one day, and for allowing my hungry soul to have the opportunity to feed upon truth. It just thrills my soul after all these years whenever I stop to meditate upon the truth, that Jesus Christ truly is the same, yesterday, today and forever, and that we do not have to have crucifixes, candles, prayer books, prayer beads, and a bag full of rituals in order to talk to Him and have Him talk to us. Hallelujah! I love Him! And I love His word. Just thinking about having the Holy Ghost dwelling in us, and how He quickens the word of God to our souls is enough to make you shout all over this place. No wonder Peter said, It is joy unspeakable and full of glory; there are just no words to describe what God can do in a sincere soul that loves truth. Neither do we have words to tell how far God will go in sending strong delusion upon those who have no love for the truth, those who have pleasure in unrighteousness. Truth is what divides and separates righteousness from unrighteousness.
THE SEALED SCROLL
Now, I want to talk for a few minutes on a very important part of this message. We have built the whole message around the statement Jesus made concerning His coming back to hearth, “BUT OF THAT DAY AND HOUR KNOWETH NO MAN, NO, NOT THE ANGELS OF HEAVEN, BUT MY FATHER ONLY,” and we have looked at many things, but now I want to talk to you about the 7th seal, which is still on the scroll that once had seven seals on it. Six of those seals have been broken and we now have the revelation of what was under them, but that 7th seal has not been broken yet. I realize there are a lot of people running around here, there, and everywhere, saying that all the seals have been broken, but believe me, if that seventh seal had been broken in 1963 like they claim, not one Gentile could have been saved since then, for Jesus will come off of the mercy seat when that last seal is broken. Many of those same people who claim the seal has been broken already, have children as well as other family members that they claim, got saved, since then. How can they explain such a revelation? There is no way to explain it, for when that seventh seal is broken in heaven, mediatorialship is over for the grace age, and Jesus is ready to come to earth in angelic form to fulfill Revelation 10:1-6. Let us read verse 1, chapter 8, first, for I want to talk to you about the half hour of silence in heaven. “And when He (Jesus) had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven ABOUT the space of half an hour.” Let me remind you who are not familiar with the setting on the things John saw, that John was projected into the Twentieth Century by a spiritual vision, so do not picture John as standing back there in the 1st Century, looking forward to see these things in prophetic visions. You picture him standing in the Twentieth Century, on out a little past where we are right now, and looking back down through the years of time, watching all these things as they actually took place through the years. It does make a difference the way you see this. Then I want you to notice that John did not say there was exactly one half hour of silence in heaven when the seventh seal was broken; he said it was ABOUT the space of half an hour. Right now Jesus is still seated on the mercy seat, sitting there with that little redemption scroll in His hand, and one seal still holding it, so that its contents have not been revealed yet to this very hour. But like we have been saying, the hour is just ahead when the last Gentile person that will ever be saved by this grace age gospel, will come in, and it will be time for Jesus to break that last seal. By His own words which we have been talking about, Jesus lets us know that He, as the Son, in His mediatorial work, did not know when this time would come. That was retained in the mind of the great eternal Spirit, the Father, and that is why Bro. William Branham, the Laodicean church age messenger, had to stop after the sixth seal was broken. If the Son himself could not break that seventh seal before it was time to leave the mercy seat, then no more revelation could come to the prophet on earth. But when Jesus does break that last seal in Rev. 8:1, the rest of that chapter deals with the ministry of the two witnesses in Israel, and also chapter 9, those trumpet angels will be carrying out the word of those two prophets in Israel. When they call for plagues, these angels deliver them. Therefore the next thing that pertains to the bride of Christ is found in chapter 10. All this is going on at the same time, so John writes about the trumpet angels, and the plagues they are producing, then he comes back to deal with the part that pertains to the bride. Watch now, Jesus breaks the seal, and when He does, he begins to rise from the mercy seat. Remember, not even the angels of heaven knew when this was going to take place, therefore when Jesus began to rise, it caused a hushed silence among all the angelic host of heaven. Therefore what was silence in heaven, how ever long it is when translated into days, weeks and months, I believe it is the length of time the bride will be here on earth after the week of Daniel starts. During that time, I believe those 7 thunders will sound their voices to the waiting bride, and whatever those thunders proclaim, there will have to be time for them to reach a universal scope, for what they will say will be for the universal bride around this world. That would allow time for what Paul said to the Thessalonians to have its fulfillment. In other words, our gathering together unto Christ in the rapture will not take place until enough of the first half of that week has progressed to reveal the Antichrist to the bride. I trust you can get the picture. We will read those verses from chapter 10, and trust the Holy Ghost to open them up to you. Before we start reading, let me just say this, the mighty angel in verse 1, is none other than Jesus Christ in angelic form for He is the only one that has the little scroll of redemption in His hand, but remember, He cannot come to earth literally until 7 years later, so you must see Him on earth in spirit form, dealing with the bride in her final preparation, before He takes her to the wedding supper. This is that period of time when there is silence in heaven. I believe it will be a period of time maybe from six months to a year, but please do not try to pin that down to a certain number of days, weeks and months. John did not give an exact length of time, he only said about half an hour. By the same token I am not giving an exact length of time, and you will be doing wrong if you try to. Let us just leave it like it is, and know that there will have to be some time elapse between the opening of the seventh seal, and the rapture of the church.
RAINBOW ANGEL – OPEN SCROLL – SEVEN THUNDERS
Let us read now, and we will bring this to a close. Verse 1, “And I saw another mighty angel (Jesus in spirit form) coming down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon His head, and His face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: (notice now) and He had in His hand a little scroll OPEN: (that last seal has been broken, and He is on earth in spirit form to claim those whose names were revealed when that last seal was broken) and He set His right foot upon the sea, and His left foot on the earth, (that symbolically shows universal dominion) and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: (that identifies the angel right there, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and lion speaks of authority) and when He had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.” I just have to stop here and say a couple of things. To you who believe the thunders have already sounded, why can you not see that the thunders do not sound THEIR VOICES until after Jesus is off the mercy seat, and has the little scroll open in His hand? And please do not try to tell me that this all took place in 1963, or I will want to know why those two prophets never did show up in Israel. Then there is the point which I have emphasized many times before, but will do it again for those who may not have heard. The seven thunders uttered THEIR VOICES; that is in the plural, and could not possibly be seven messages, nor seven statements from one man, for that would only be one voice, no matter how you look at it. Now let us establish a sequence here for something else. In verse 4, John tells us that he was about to write what the thunders uttered, but was commanded not to write them. Therefore since there is no record anywhere of what they contain, whoever the voices are that will sound them, they will have to get them by a spiritual revelation. Now we come to verses 5 and 6, where we will see the rapture fall into its sequence. “And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up His hand to heaven, and sware by Him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth and the things which are therein, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer.” Literally that should read, There will be delay no longer; for we know that is not the end of all time. It simply means that all things pertaining to the preparation of the bride of Christ have been accomplished, and her translation need not be delayed any longer. They have heard the seven thunders, and they have identified the Antichrist, so all things are ready for the dead in Christ, and those who are still alive to be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air. Praise God! Let me say it one more time before I close, the rapture cannot take place before tomorrow night. There is a war to be fought, a peace covenant to be signed, an Antichrist to be recognized, and thunders to utter their voices first, but do not be careless with your life because you know that, for He may come for you as an individual before tomorrow night, and it is just as important, to be ready for that. That is your assurance that you will come up in the first resurrection. All make believers and ungodly from every age will have to lie in the ground for the next one thousand years, then be resurrected only to be burned in the lake of fire. But in closing I will say, Comfort one another with Paul’s words about being caught up to meet the Lord in the air, for, though we do not know the day nor the hour, we know the season is close at hand so let us walk humbly before the Lord. Amen.