ciwlogo_sm.gif The Signs Of Jesus' Coming

Introduction:

Signs serve such purposes as imparting information and giving a warning ahead of time. Thus road signs and looking into the sky to see what kind of weather may be coming are an important, practical part of our lives.

Jesus knew the value of signs as well. When the Pharisees and Sadducees tested Jesus by asking him for a sign, he told them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be faith weather, for the sky is red;’ And early in the morning you say, ‘Today will be stormy weather, for the sky is red and gloomy.’ On the one hand you know how to distinguish the appearance of the sky, but on the other hand you are not able to distinguish the signs of the times.” (Matthew 16:2,3) The signs of the times to which Jesus referred were his miracles and preaching. These should have told the Pharisees and the Sadducees who he was.

Focus:

Jesus has given us various signs for interpreting our times. Our aim in this Bible study is to learn what these signs are, to discover whether we can see them today, to discern what time it is now, to observe for what reasons Jesus gave us these signs, and to learn what we can draw spiritually from them.

Searching the Scriptures:

1. Both Jesus, and his apostles who wrote the New Testament, have given us the promise of Jesus' second coming in glory.

Matthew 24:3 Now while he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what is the sign of your coming and the end of the world?”

Matthew 24:27 For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.

Matthew 24:37 For just as the days of Noah were, so in this manner will the coming of the Son of Man be.

Matthew 25:31 When the Son of Man shall come in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his throne of glory.

For further study of this promise that Jesus gave us, see also Mark 13:26; Luke 9:26; 12:40; 18:8; 21:27,36.

Acts 1:11 . . . they also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way you saw him go into heaven.”

1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

1 Thessalonians 2:19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of glorying? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus at his coming?

Hebrews 9:28 . . . so also Christ, who was offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear for a second time apart from sin to those who eagerly await him for salvation.

For further study of this promise that the apostles gave us, see also 1 Corinthians 15:23; Colossians 3:2,3; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 10:37; James 5:8; 1 Peter 1:7,13; 4:13; 1 John 2:28.

2. The preceding passages are only some of the many that make the promise of Jesus' second coming in glory. Based on the number of such passages, it is evident that the second coming of Jesus was a lively expectation within the early apostolic church. That lively expectation gave the early Christians a blessed hope, a confidence, in Jesus' coming in glory to bring them their eternal salvation.

Titus 2:13 . . . while we wait for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, . . .

Hebrews 9:28 . . . so also Christ, who was offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear for a second time apart from sin to those who eagerly await him for salvation.

3. Jesus will return in glory to bring us our eternal salvation at the end of time.

As you read Matthew 24:3, 14, 29, 30 below, note that the disciples asked what the sign of Jesus' coming would be and of the end of the world. Note, too, that Jesus answered by giving them the signs of his coming in verses 4 to 14 and then saying the end would come. His coming in glory would be in connection with the destruction of this world.

Matthew 24:3 Now while he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what is the sign of your coming and the end of the world?”
Matthew 24:14
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole inhabited earth for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.
Matthew 24: 29
Now immediately after the tribulation of those days, THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL FROM HEAVEN, AND THE POWERS OF THE HEAVENS WILL BE SHAKEN.
Matthew 24:30
And at that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the nations of the earth will mourn. And they will see the SON OF MAN COMING UPON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.

As you read 1 Corinthians 15:22-24, note that Jesus will come in connection with his raising his believers from the dead, at which time the end will come.

1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:23
But each in his own order; Christ the first-fruits, afterwards those who are Christ’s at his coming,
1 Corinthians 15:24
then the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God and the Father, when he has abolished all rule and all authority and power.

4. There are different classifications of signs which point to Jesus' coming.

The first classification of signs are signs within the church on earth. Those signs are:

a. The coming of false Christs, false prophets and teachers, who are little antichrists,

Matthew 24:4 And answering, Jesus said to them, “Watch out that no one deceives you.

Matthew 24:11 And many false prophets will arise and will deceive many.

b. The rise of false religions and churches and sects

Matthew 24:4 And answering, Jesus said to them, “Watch out that no one deceives you.

Matthew 24:11 And many false prophets will arise and will deceive many.

c. The rise of false teachings and doctrines which come from demons

1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, following deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,
1 Timothy 4:2
by means of the hypocrisy of men who speak lies, who have been seared in their own conscience with a red hot branding iron,
1 Timothy 4:3
who forbid people to marry and command them to abstain from food which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

d. Lying wonders, miracles and signs performed by the false prophets and teachers by the power of the devil

2 Thessalonians 2:9 . . . namely, the one whose coming is in accordance with the working of Satan in all power and signs and lying wonders.

Matthew 24:24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise, and they will perform great signs and wonders, in order to deceive, if that were possible, even the elect.

e. The Great Antichrist: All false prophets and teachers whose teachings conflict with Christ and his pure gospel are little antichrists. They put themselves and their teachings in place of Christ. There is one Great Antichrist, however, whose coming 1 John 2:18 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 spoke of. The presence of these antichrists tell us we are in the last hour leading up to Christ's second coming in glory.

1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
1 John 4:2
By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;
1 Johon 4:3
And every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and is now already in the world.

2 John 7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This one is the deceiver and the antichrist.

1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last hour, and just as you heard that Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. From this fact we know that it is the last hour.

2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we request you, brothers, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him,
2 Thessalonians 2:2
2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure, nor be disturbed either by a spirit or by a message or by a letter as to have come from us, that the day of the Lord has come.
2 Thessalonians 2:3
Not anyone should deceive you in any way, because that day will not come unless the apostasy should come first and the man of lawlessness should be revealed, the son of destruction,
2 Thessalonians 2:4
who opposes and exalts himself over everything that is called God or an object of worship, so that he sits in the temple of God displaying himself that he is God.
2 Thessalonians 2:5
Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things?
2 Thessalonians 2:6
And you know what is restraining him now, so that he would be revealed in his own time.
2 Thessalonians 2:7
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who is restraining him now will do so until he should be taken out of the way.
2 Thessalonians 2:8
And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the appearance of his coming,
2 Thessalonians 2:9
namely, the one whose coming is in accordance with the working of Satan in all power and signs and lying wonders,
2 Thessalonians 2:10
and with all deception of wickedness to those who are perishing, because they did not receive the love of the truth, so that they would be saved.
2 Thessalonians 2:11
And for this reason God sends them a deluding influence, so they believe the lie,
2 Thessalonians 2:12
in order that all who did not believe the truth but delighted in the wickedness may be condemned.

f. The persecution of the church

Matthew 24:9 Then they will deliver you up to affliction, and they will kill you, and you will continue being hated by all nations because of my name.

Mark 13:9 But you indeed watch out for yourselves! They will hand you over to the local councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues, and you will be stood before governors and kings on account of me for a testimony to them.
Mark 13:10
And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.
Mark 13:11
And when they lead you away and hand you over, do not concern yourselves beforehand about what you should say, but whatever may be given to you in that hour – speak this, for indeed you are not the ones who speak but the Holy Spirit.
Mark 13:12
And brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise up against their parents and will put them to death.
Mark 13:13
And you will continue being hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end, this one will be saved.

g. The apostasy or falling away from the church

Matthew 24:10 And at that time many will fall away, and they will betray one another, and they will hate one another.

Mark 13:12 And brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise up against their parents and will put them to death.
Mark 13:13
And you will continue being hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end, this one will be saved.

2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we request you, brothers, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him,
2 Thessalonians 2:2
that you not be quickly shaken from your composure, nor be disturbed either by a spirit or by a message or by a letter as to have come from us, that the day of the Lord has come.
2 Thessalonians 2:3
Not anyone should deceive you in any way, because that day will not come unless the apostasy should come first and the man of lawlessness should be revealed, the son of destruction, . . .

h. The preaching of the gospel in all the world.

Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole inhabited earth for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

i. Scoffers will ridicule the coming of the end.

2 Peter 3:3 Know this first of all, that in the last days scoffers will come with their scoffing, conducting themselves according to their own evil desires
2 Peter 3:4
and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue in this manner from the beginning of creation.”

The second classification of signs are signs within society. Those signs are:

a. Wars, rumors of wars, one nationality or race against another creating racial unrest, one country with its government against another

Matthew 24:6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened. For these things must take place, but the end is not yet.
Matthew 24:7
For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, . . .

b. Revolutions. The Greek word indicates insurrections, civil disturbances, disorders, unruliness, and unrest.

Luke 21:9 But when you should hear of wars and revolutions, do not be terrified. For these things must happen first, but the end does not come immediately.

c. An increase of wickedness and lovelessness

Matthew 24:12 And because of the multiplying of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold.

d. Materialism and hedonism and ignorance of the end's coming, which Jesus describes as the condition leading up to the time of his sudden appearing. The people will be oblivious to his coming and the destruction of the world.

Luke 17:20 Now, after he was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, he answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation,
Luke 17:21
nor will they say, ‘Behold, here it is,’ or, ‘Behold, there it is,’ for the kingdom of God is within you.”
Luke 17:22
And he said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.
Luke 17:23
And they will say to you, ‘Behold, there he is!’ or, ‘Behold, here he is!’ Do not depart nor run after them.
Luke 17:24
For just as the lightning when it flashes from one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so will the Son of Man be in his day.
Luke 17:25
But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
Luke 17:26
And just as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man:
Luke 17:27
they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.
Luke 17:28
It was the same as in the days of Lot; they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building;
Luke 17:29
but that day when Lot went out from Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.
Luke 17:30
It will be in just the same way on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.”

The third classification of signs are signs within nature. Those signs are: earthquakes, famines, plagues and disease, eclipses, falling stars and meteor showers; storms of all kinds which cause the roaring and tossing of the seas--hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, cyclones, floods.

Luke 21:11 And there will be great earthquakes and from place to place famines and pestilences, and there will be frightful events and great signs from heaven.

Luke 21:25 And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and there will be upon the earth anguish of the nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and rolling waves,
Luke 21:26
people fainting from fear and expectation because of what is coming upon the inhabited earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

The fourth classification of signs are the specific signs which are:

a. Satan's short period of release to deceive the nations and to attack the church with his false teachings

Revelation 20:1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.
Revelation 20:2
And he seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil, and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,
Revelation 20:3
and cast him into the abyss and locked and sealed it over him, in order that he may not deceive the nations any more until the thousand years should come to an end. After that he must be released for a short time.

Revelation 20:7 And when the thousand years should come to an end, Satan will be released from his prison,
Revelation 20:8
and he will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the battle; whose number is like the sand of the seashore.
Revelation 20:9
And they went up on the breadth of the earth and they surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down out of heaven and devoured them.

b. The destruction of the universe. The sun will turn black and no longer shine. The moon will turn blood red and no longer shine. The stars will fall from the heavens. The planets will fall out of their orbits. The physical forces within nature will cease and the whole universe will fall apart and be destroyed in a tremendous, deafening roar. On earth a gigantic earthquake will level everything. Every mountain range will be flattened and every island sunk. The seas will roar and rage wildly and cause flooding. The earth's atmosphere will be removed, rolling up, and disappearing. The people on earth will be terrified to death and mourn, for the day of their judgment has come.

Joel 2:30 And I will give wonders in the heavens and on the earth, Blood and fire and pillars of smoke.
Joel 2:31
The sun will be turned to darkness, And the moon to blood, Before the great and dreadful day of the Lord comes.

Matthew 24:29 Now immediately after the tribulation of those days, THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL FROM HEAVEN, AND THE POWERS OF THE HEAVENS WILL BE SHAKEN.
Matthew 24:30
And at that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the nations of the earth will mourn. And they will see the SON OF MAN COMING UPON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.

Mark 13:24 But in those days, after that tribulation, THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT,
Mark 13:25
AND THE STARS WILL BE FALLING from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken.
Mark 13:26
And then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN THE CLOUDS with great power and glory.

Revelation 6:12 And I looked when he opened the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood,
Revelation 6:13
and the stars of heaven fell to the earth, like a fig tree drops its late figs when shaken by a strong wind,
Revelation 6:14
and the heaven was split like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved from their places.
Revelation 6:15
And the kings of the earth and the great men and the military commanders and the rich and the mighty and every slave and every free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains,
Revelation 6:16
and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb,
Revelation 6:17
because the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will disappear with a roar, and the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and the works in it will be burned up.

Note: Genesis 8:22 makes it clear that the preceding must be the final, last signs which usher in Jesus' appearance on the last day, for God has promised that day and night and the seasons will not cease until the very end, which the destruction of the sun and universe will bring to an end.

Genesis 8:22 “While all the days of the earth continue, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, will never cease.

5. Have these signs all been fulfilled?

In this Bible study the signs have been classified according to the signs within the church, society, nature, and the specific signs. The signs within the church, society and nature are general and former signs. The specific signs are latter signs at the end. The specific and latter signs take place as the day of judgment draws nearer but in different intervals of time so no definite date can be ascertained.

All the signs within the church, society, and nature have been fulfilled in kind.

In Matthew 24:29,30, which are printed above, we saw that Jesus tells us immediately after the signs in the church, society, and nature have been fulfilled, the universe will be destroyed and he will appear. These general, former signs have been fulfilled in kind. Christ has not yet appeared and the end has not yet come, however. This indicates that while all these general, former signs have been fulfilled in kind, they have not yet been fulfilled in number. We have not yet seen the total number of wars and rumors of wars, famines, and pestilences, or of the rest of these general, former signs.

The preaching of the gospel in all the world is one of the signs which must be fulfilled before Christ comes at the end. This, too, has been fulfilled. It began to be fulfilled by the apostles and has continued to be fulfilled by the church since then.

Romans 1:8 First, I give thanks to my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.

1 Thessalonians 1:8 For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and in Achaia, but in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything.

Acts 19:10 Now this happened for two years, with the result that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.

1 Timothy 3:16 Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: Who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in spirit, Was seen by angels, Was proclaimed among the nations, Was believed on in the world, Was taken up in glory.

6. We humans will experience these signs as terrible tribulations which bring pain and suffering to body, soul, and mind, and cause distress, anguish and fear.

Matthew 24:6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened. For these things must take place, but the end is not yet.
Matthew 24:8
But all these things are the beginning of birth pains.

Matthew 24:21 For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not taken place since the beginning of the world until the present, nor ever will take place.
Matthew 24:22
And if those days had not been shortened, no person would have been saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.

Matthew 24:29 Now immediately after the tribulation of those days, THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL FROM HEAVEN, AND THE POWERS OF THE HEAVENS WILL BE SHAKEN.

Revelation 7:14 “These are the ones who are coming out of the great tribulation, and they washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

2 Timothy 3:1 Know this for sure! In the last days times that will be hard to bear will be at hand.

7. Because of the terrible nature of the general, former signs in the church, society, and nature, they are abnormalities and disturbances contrary to what the state of things should be like as God created them to be in the beginning.

8. The signs serve a purpose.

They are portends foretelling the coming of the end of the world as Martin Luther saw them to be. He is quoted by August Pieper (Christian Dogmatics, Vol.III, p.517) as having written: “Heaven and earth creak and crack like an old house ready to crash and collapse and act in every way as though they divined that the world is soon to come to an end and that The Day is close at hand.”

We know Jesus' love for us. He proved that with his sacrificial death for us on the cross. Let's look at his giving of these signs from the standpoint of his love for us. When we do, we see that the signs serve:

To forewarn us of the tribulations and evils which were coming, so we would be prepared for them when they occurred.
To prevent us from falling into undue fear and worry when we see them occurring.
To keep us from carnal security as a result of our thinking the day of judgment is far away.
To give us courage and boldness in standing firm in the Christian faith as we see these signs declaring the end is near, so we do not give in to fear and timidity in standing up for Christ and the gospel.
To confirm our hope and confidence that he is coming very soon to bring us our eternal salvation in heaven.
To alert us that his coming is at hand.
To confirm and verify his Word is true. What he has told us is coming to pass, so we can be sure all his promises will come to pass as well.

9. A mass conversion of the Jews is not a sign of the end as some claim. There will be no mass conversion of the nation of Israel just before the end.

Those who believe there will be a mass conversion of the Jews just before the end point to Romans 11,25,26 as their proof text.

Romans 11:25 For I do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of this mystery, so you should not be wise in your own opinion, that a hardening in part has happened to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles should come in,
Romans 11:26
and in this way all Israel will be saved; just as it is written: “THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION; HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.

Those who contend for a mass conversion of the Jewish nation before the end understand Romans 11:25 to say the nation of Israel will remain spiritually hardened in unbelief until the time all the Gentiles who will be brought to faith and saved are brought into the church. When all the Gentiles are converted a change will then take place in the nation of Israel. Accordingly they read the opening words of Romans 11:26 as “And then” all Israel will be saved.

These advocates of a mass conversion of the nation of Israel fail to see that Romans 11:25 says, “Israel has experienced a hardening in part.” The verse does not say all of Israel has experienced a spiritual hardening of heart, but only a part of Israel has become spiritually hardened. The others are not hardened in unbelief but have, or will, come to faith in Jesus. As Romans 11:5 also states: “In the same way also then, at the present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

The contenders for a mass conversion of Israel take the term Israel in Romans 11:25,26 to mean the physical descendants of the Jewish nation. They fail to see that Paul made a distinction between those who were the physical descendants of the Jewish nation and those who made up the true spiritual Israel of God. It is this true spiritual Israel whom Paul means in Romans 11:25,26. In Romans 11:1-5 Paul discussed the people of Israel who were saved. The Israel of which Paul said were saved were some of the Jews, a remnant, consisting of those whom God foreknew and chose by grace for salvation. They were the elect among the Jewish nation.

Romans 11:1 I say then, God has not rejected his people, has he? May it never be! For I am also an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
Romans 11:2
God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah? How he appeals to God against Israel,
Romans 11:3
“LORD, YOUR PROPHETS THEY HAVE KILLED, YOUR ALTARS THEY HAVE TORN DOWN, AND I ALONE AM LEFT, AND THEY ARE SEEKING MY LIFE.”
Romans 11:4
But what does the divine answer say to him? “I HAVE KEPT for myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN, WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL.”
Romans 11:5
In the same way also then, at the present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

Paul clearly distinguished between the physical descendants of Israel and the true, spiritual, elect of Israel in Romans 9. He stated that not all the physical descendants of the Israelite nation are Israel, the people of God. He said not all Israel is Israel. Only those who believed God's promise, as Abraham did, are the true Israelites. As you read Romans 9:1-8 below, take special note of Romans 9:6-8.

Romans 9:1 I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience is bearing witness with me in the Holy Spirit,
Romans 9:2
that I have great sorrow and constant grief in my heart.
Romans 9:3
For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ in place of my brothers, those of my own race according to the flesh,
Romans 9:4
who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the law and the worship and the promises,
Romans 9:5
whose are the fathers and from whom is Christ according to the flesh; who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.
Romans 9:6
But it is by no means as if the word of God had failed. For not all those who descended from Israel are Israel,
Romans 9:7
nor because they are descendants of Abraham are they all children, but IN ISAAC WILL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE CALLED.
Romans 9:8
That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God; on the contrary, the children of the promise are considered the descendants.

The advocates for a mass conversion of the Jews misunderstand the meaning of the word “until” in Romans 11:25. Contrary to what they think, the word “until” does not necessarily mean that part of the Jews will remain spiritually hardened through the entire time the elect among the Gentiles are being gathered into the church of believers and then the situation will change when there will be no more spiritually hardened, unbelieving Jews, so that in the end all Israel will be saved. “Until” in this verse does not mean this condition of hardening exists up to a point, then changes, any more than it means in the Greek of 2 Samuel 6:23 that Michal, the daughter of Saul, had no child until her death but that she then bore children after she died.

Those contending for a mass conversion of the Jews also misread the opening words of Romans 11:26 as “And then”. They see the Jews remaining hardened in unbelief until all the elect of the Gentiles are gathered in, at which time a change will come over the Jews, “and then” all Israel, the physical descendants of the Jews, will be saved. The words “And then”, however, literally mean in the original Greek “and so, and in this way or manner.”

What Romans 11:25,26 are saying is: Only part of the nation of Israel is hardened in unbelief, not all of the Jews are so hardened. Throughout the time the elect among the Gentiles are coming into the church of believers, there will be those among the Jews who will refuse to believe. Other Jews who are the elect of God and who are not among the hardened of Israel will also be gathered into the church of believers right up to the end of time when all the elect among the Gentiles will have been converted. And so, in this way and manner, all Israel, the true spiritual Israel of both Jews and Gentiles who were elected by grace, will be saved. It should be noted that some have advocated that "all Israel" refers to the spiritual Israel of those Jews who were elected by grace. This is also a scriptural possibility. In either case, "all Israel," surely does not mean all the physical descendants of the Jews.

Applying the Scriptures:

1. Reread Titus 2:13 and Hebrews 9:28 below. We have learned what the signs pointing to Jesus' coming are. We have also learned that we can see those signs now and that they have been fulfilled in kind. On the basis of these passages what kind of a spirit prevailed in the early church and what does it indicate our spirit as Christians will be today?

Titus 2:13: “. . . while we wait for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, . . .”

Hebrews 9:28: “. . . so also Christ, who was offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear for a second time apart from sin to those who eagerly await him for salvation.

2. In what ways are you able to see these signs within the church today?

False Christs and false prophets? The little antichrists?
False religions, churches, sects, and cults?
False doctrines and teachings within the visible church?
Lying wonders, miracles, and signs?
The Great Antichrist?
The persecution of the church?
The apostasy or falling away within the church?
The preaching of the gospel throughout the world?
Scoffers who ridicule the coming of Christ and the end?

3. Seeing the above signs within the church and within the religions and cults in the world, what spiritual lessons should we now draw with regard to them on the basis of the following passages?

Matthew 24:4: And answering, Jesus said to them, “Watch out that no one deceives you.

Romans 16:17: Now I urge you, brothers, take note of those who cause dissensions and obstacles to make you fall contrary to the doctrine that you have learned, and turn away from them.

2 John 9-11: Everyone who goes further than is right and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God. He who continues in the teaching, this one has both the Father and the Son. If someone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house and do not express a greeting to him. For he who expresses a greeting to him shares in his wicked works.

2 Thessalonians 2:1,2: Now we request you, brothers, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure, nor be disturbed either by a spirit or by a message or by a letter as to have come from us, that the day of the Lord has come.

4. As far as the signs within the church, what do they mean to you and to your spiritual life and faith?

5. In what ways are you able to see these signs within society?

Wars?
Rumors of wars?
Nationality and ethnic heritage against nationality and ethnic heritage?
One country and its government against another country and its government?
Revolutions?
An increase of wickedness
An increase of lovelessness?

6. Seeing these signs within society, what spiritual advice can we draw from our Lord based on the following passages?

Matthew 24:6-8,13: “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened. For these things must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes from place to place. But all these things are the beginning of birth pains. . . But the one who endures to the end, this one will be saved.

Luke 21:9: “But when you should hear of wars and revolutions, do not be terrified. For these things must happen first, but the end does not come immediately.

7. What do these signs within society mean to you and to your faith and spiritual life?

8 Are we able to see these signs in nature? Where? When?

Earthquakes?
Famines?
Plagues and pestilence and disease?
Eclipses?
Falling stars and meteors?
Storms--hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms?
Floods?

9. What do seeing these signs within nature mean to you and your faith and spiritual life?

10. What can we expect conditions for us Christians to be like during the short period of time Satan is unleashed before the end based on the following passages?

Matthew 24:21,22: “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not taken place since the beginning of the world until the present, nor ever will take place. And if those days had not been shortened, no person would have been saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.

Mark 13:19,20: “For those days will be a tribulation of such a kind as has not taken place from the beginning of creation, which God created, until the present, and never will take place. And if the Lord had not shortened those days, no person would have been saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened those days.

11. In your opinion during the short time of the devil's unleashing, what might we expect with regard to the occult, black arts, wickedness, demonic activities, angelic appearances and sightings of demons? And how do you think we will feel about these things at the time?

12. We discussed whether we could see the fulfillment of the general signs and their purpose. Would you say that some of these signs are so striking and so easily recognizable that even the unbelievers should be able to note from many of them that the end of the world and the return of Christ are impending?

13. The abnormalities of the signs were discussed in this study. Would you say people's failure to recognize these abnormalities as signs of Christ's coming and the end of the world is a result of a spiritual dullness? Should these unnatural and abnormal signs, which are considered natural and normal, not strike us all?

14. What do the nature of the signs mean to you and your faith and spiritual life now, knowing they are abnormalities which you hear or see constantly?

15. Having studied the signs, in your opinion what time is it in the world now?

 



Unpublished work. Copyright 2001 JCS of Christian Inconnect. All rights reserved.  No part of this document may be reproduced for distribution or publication without prior permission from Christian Inconnect.

All Scripture verses on this web page, unless otherwise indicated, are a translation of the pastor of Christian Inconnect and are a part of the Christian Inconnect Version (CIV), on which he is working. He reserves all rights to his translated verses and to their copyright ©. They may not be quoted without his prior permission.
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