Without question, a new horror and a new fear has seized the hearts of men today in our world, and it is the fear of extinction. For really the first time on a total basis, man lives in a constant fear that he may go out of existence as a species, the fear that at any moment, man's existence may come to a sudden halt. War, the bomb, polluted air, contamination, famine, earthquake, overpopulation, all of these things have the world in a pall of a death fear that is inescapable.
And the kind of sad thing about it as you look at men is the fact that there are no answers. Things are beyond control and man is trapped, unable to cope with his coming doom. The elite of philosophers and the cream of the crop of scientists are scurrying around as busily as they can, trying to figure out how to stop the terrible suicide of the human race and they really haven't figured it out yet. They have some ideas, but unfortunately they won't work.
They've decided the only way to stop the extinction of man is to control man. And we've been teaching you in recent weeks that what is going on in our world today is an effort upon the parts of some elite and some top-drawer scientist to gain control over the minds of men, over the reproduction of men, over the wages of men, over everything. And we see in our world, more and more controls being exercised. We see that there's going to be brain stimulation; LIFE Magazine ran a large feature article on it. They've already figured out how they can do it, using monkeys, of course, as test cases.
We hear constantly and incessantly about daycare centers, which are already being subsidized by the government, which are guaranteed efforts on the government's part to take children and indoctrinate them aside from the home in order that they may recreate the human race, in a sense, or create a new kind of people who don't have crime, and who don't have greed and who don't overpopulate, etc., etc.
Birth control, the talk about putting sterility drugs in water and then handing out fertility drugs to people who are designated by the government to have the right to reproduce. Money control, price control, wage control, all of this kind of control that you're seeing is man's efforts to grab his existence and keep it.
Right now there are over 100 bills before the United States Congress under the category of changing human nature; 100 of them. One of them provides that your infant would be taken out of your home and kept until 5, then sent to mandatory government schools. One hundred and eighty-six Congressmen voted for it. It would take $20 billion to implement.
The panic is on, my friends, in our world, in every corner. The world must be changed; man will never survive his own suicide if it isn't. But the doomsday machine is already rolling and it's a little bit late. The heart of man is still deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and my friends, no change is ever going to come in man, no change. They can try every system they want but they'll never stop man from greed, from crime, from lust, from all of these other things.
Man will always kill. Man will always make war; he will always lie; he will always cheat; he will always steal; he will always overindulge; he will always pollute; he will always make waste; he will always hate; he will always rebel. Because he is a sinner; he is depraved; he is deceitful above all things; he is desperately wicked and he cannot change himself.
He's racing to his doom; he has no power to stop it. Man will not get better. The world will not get better, my friends, it will get worse. If you say, "You sound like a prophet of doom." And indeed I am. The Bible tells us that the world is doomed; it is inevitable. Everything in man's own sphere says it's inevitable. Everything that man sees around him says it's grinding to a halt. And everything in the Bible says it. Not only is man saying the end is coming, and some scientists tell us we'll never make the year 2000, but God says the end is coming and God writes history.
The sun is setting. The sun of man's day is already casting its red glow of wrath against the clouds, and night comes very, very soon. The handwriting is, again, on the wall; thou hast been weighed in the balances and found wanting. And a man who can't see the impending doom isn't really looking, because it's there.
Tonight, I want you to see some of the signs in the word of God that tell us that the day of man is ending. And I want to give you four general - well, let's say three general and one specific sign - three general signs and one specific sign that the day of man is coming to an end. Now, there's so much material that we should really stretch this out over months. But we're gonna try to pick out the highlights for you tonight.
The first general sign that man's day is coming to a close is lawlessness, lawlessness. The world will not be peaceful, rebellion and war will not end, and no peace will ever come until the Prince of Peace comes, who is Jesus Christ. And the age of man will end with a return of Christ, in a great holocaust and a great judgment like the world has never seen. And the Bible tells us that a sign of the end, as it moves toward that judgment, and the coming of the Prince of Peace, will be lawlessness.
Turn in your Bibles to 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 3, 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 3. Now here the Apostle Paul is talking about the end and he says this, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, "Let no man deceive you by any means, for that day shall not come," that is the final judgment, the end of man's age, "shall not come except there come the falling away first and," and I just want to deal with this, "that man of sin be revealed the Son of Perdition. And he is called here the lawless one, the Anti-Christ."
Now go down to verse 6, "And now ye know what restraineth, that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity," that's the word anamia, which means lawlessness, "doth already work. Only he who now hindereth will continue to hinder until he be taken out of the way."
Now watch this. The Bible says that now there is a mystery of lawlessness at work. A mystery in the Bible is always something which is hidden and will someday be revealed. The total full, watch it, the total full expression of lawlessness is still hidden. It'll be revealed during a period of time the Bible calls the great what? Tribulation, which comes when the church is taken out. At the end of man's day, there will be this horrible Tribulation, this horrible time when lawlessness will be full blown and it won't be a mystery anymore.
But the mystery of it now already begins to work. But God has moved into this world and he has set some restraints on lawlessness. And we believe that the restrainer here is the Holy Spirit. Now watch that. The Holy Spirit is in the world now restraining lawlessness from going full blown, see. But someday it's going to be fully and completely revealed, verse 8, "And then shall that wicked one be revealed." Then we find out about all of the horrors that are gonna take place when he is revealed.
God has restrained lawlessness in the world, but someday, the restraints gonna be taken out. The Spirit of God will leave as a restraining influence. The Bible tells us those who love Jesus Christ will be taken out of the world before all this stuff begins. That's our hope, isn't it? And at that point, when we're taken out of the world, the spirit of God's ministry of restraining lawlessness stops, stops.
But, friends, the mystery of lawlessness already works. And as you look at your world today, you can't help but see lawlessness everywhere. In 2 Timothy chapter 3, turn to it with me, please, in verse 1, we get a glimpse of this kind of lawlessness. And I don't need to tell you about lawlessness. If you look at the television or read any newspaper at any day, that's all you ever read about, breaking the law every kind of way possible and every kind of law possible. It's the new thing, you know. Do your own thing. Hang the law. Who cares, right? Lawlessness.
And the Bible says that as we get closer to the end, lawlessness will become more rampant, and it is. Notice in 2 Timothy 3:1 this, "This know also that in the last days, perilous times shall come." Perilous times shall come.
Now, I want to describe the perilous times, verse 2, here they come. This is the condition of the world at the end times. Watch it. "Men shall be lovers of their own selves." Know what that means? Selfish; look out for number one. Demand your rights. Do your own thing. Lovers of their own selves.
Secondly, covetous. That's a desire to have what belong to somebody else, whether it's possession, his position, his job or his wife. Boasters; egomania, promoting self, exaltation of self, ego, boy, if that isn't today, I think it's mostly obvious to us in luxuries and clothes and so forth how people exalt themselves other ways. Proud, that means no need of God. Self-sufficient, independence, blasphemers, substituting natural philosophy for divine revelation.
Watch this one. Disobedient to parents, would you say that's a picture of our age? Unthankful. Has there ever been a day in the world when more people thought everybody owed them a living? Ingratitude, unholy, and that's the key to everything, that's the problem.
Without natural affection. My friends, we live in a day when the natural course of love has been so messed up that you can hardly find a normal love relationship. Homosexuality, all kinds of perversions, even people in a heterosexual love relationship are totally unfulfilled and people jump from person to person to person, they can't find it with normal satisfactions of love. Truth breakers, nobody's word is worth anything. Liars; false accusers, meaning liars. Incontinent, which of course is follows in unrighteousness, unable to be trusted and so forth and so on.
Fierce, despisers of those that are good. Fierce means they can't be harnessed, they can't be restrained. Traitors, people sell each other off; heady, high-minded that means headstrong. Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. And these are characteristic of the end time and certainly we could pick up any paper and just in a very general way, we could see these as characteristics.
And the interesting thing is in verse 5, where it says they, "Have a form of Godliness but deny the power of it." In other words, with all of the things that are going on, they still maintain religion. Forty-nine percent of the people in America go to church. And you can read clippings from any newspaper and you can see all of those things; they're obvious.
But notice verse 13. That's the one I really want to point to you. "But evil men and seducers shall become worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." Now, there's always been lawlessness and there's always been these other things. But the point is, in the end time it's going to become worse and worse. It's going to come to a place where it is completely out of control.
Now watch this, backing up, I'm going to pick up some of the pieces. God basically, according to Romans chapter 13, instituted human governments. And he instituted human government to punish evil-doers and to reward those that are good. That's Biblical. Government is to punish evil-doers and reward those that are good.
My friends, you live in a day when that is in the process almost of being reversed. With all of the things that are going on today, government is failing to punish evil-doers, failing to stop lawlessness. And government is going to come to a halt and anarchy is going to result, and then Anti-Christ world, and then Jesus is gonna return. It's all coming right to a head.
Law breakers go unpunished. Courts won't convict anybody. Police have a terrible time trying to do their job. They catch a criminal, turn him into the courts and the courts turn him loose. Our own police chief wrote the governor a letter last week and he pleaded with the governor to revoke a new law in California that permits the prisoners 72-hour passes, because already in the last month or so, two of those on passes have murdered two people.
A judge in Pasadena recently had a person brought before him who was a rapist and the person told him that he'd never do it again; the judge let him go. He did it again, only this time he murdered the little girl after he'd raped her.
And government, because of the tangling of law and all the other problems, sentences are commuted, juries are hung, probations are given, early releases, police can't get convictions, etc., etc., it goes on and on and on. Civil disobedience is in order, everybody breaks a law, do what you want, burn the buildings, march, protest. And I'm not against a healthy, normal kind of attitude that desires to see change, obviously. But there's no place for disobedience and yet we see it all about us and it's a sign of the end.
The Bible says, when you start seeing lawlessness on a worldwide scale, look ahead, the end is near. You see, there is only way to deal with lawlessness, there is only one way. That's to create a police state. That's the what you do. Ultimately, it drives itself to a police state. And you see, that's what Anti-Christ has when he comes. He sets up a total world rule. And why he'll be such a hero, evidently, from the word of God is that with all the lawlessness all over the world, lawlessness on an international basis and on a national basis, is that he is evidently gonna be able to resolve this and get control of everything.
And I believe what the world is going to exist under, according to the Bible, is a Tribulation that is a police state. Why, if you take the mark of the beast, what happens to you? You get killed. That's the only way you can control lawlessness. And that's what's gonna make that great hero out of the Anti-Christ possibly, the fact that he can resolve the lawlessness into a controlled situation.
All right, that's a general sign, very, very general. Let me give you another general one. Not only is lawlessness a general sign of the coming of Christ but so is false religion. False religion, look at 1 Timothy 4, 1 Timothy 4:1, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly," pointedly, specifically, "that in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith." Now, in the latter times, my friend, in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith. Boy, have we seen that in liberalism, rampant everywhere.
Whole denominations have rejected the faith that was once there, tenants and their _____. Whole churches, schools, seminaries, have kissed the whole thing goodbye for rationalism. "... depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils."
In the last days, my friend, false religion, sponsored by demons, is gonna reign. Did you know that all false religion is demon worship, did you know that? We taught that several weeks ago. All false religion is demon worship. All idolatry is demon worship. Paul said in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, "The gentiles sacrificed to devils." All other religion, than that which is true, is demon worship. And, my friends, we are in the heyday of false religion, in a heyday of it.
Never been like it is now: 455 million Muslims, 400 million Hindus, 350 million Confucianists, 250 million Buddhists, 100 Shinto and Taoists. And in all of those religions, there is demon and spirit worship; 750 million who have no religion or are in primitive kind of animism. Thirteen to 14 million Jews, 200 thousand Zoroastrians, and 1 billion atheistic communists.
The world is full of false religion. It's dominated by the doctrines of demons. And demons are behind the cults, as we know it. And the cults are growing as a rate that's absolutely unbelievable. Some of the cults have tripled and quadrupled in recent days. And people have gone so far that it's not only necessarily a religion or a cult, but they're actually worshipping directly demons and even the devil himself.
And you know about Anton Lavey and the Church of Satan, in San Francisco; mediums, seances, horoscopes, Ouija boards, ESP and whatever else. Ten million Americans subscribe to horoscopes. Typical demon work can be seen in the pseudo-Christian literature, for example, of Jeane Dixon, Edgar Casey, Ruth Montgomery, Arthur Ford, etc. All over America we have witch's covens. And all this to an extent never known in the history of the world.
And the Bible says that in the end times, watch it, the doctrine of devils. It's all over the place. And the doctrine of devils in an organized, religious way will come to a head, in Revelation chapter 17, in that false-world church. We'll look at that a little bit later.
All right, let me give you the third general sign: apostasy, not only lawlessness and false religion, but apostasy. Apostate is one who knows the truth and rejects it. Religious liberalism; and by that, I mean, those who have departed from the truths of the word of God; preachers and teachers who teach less than the inspiration of Scripture, the Deity of Jesus Christ, his virgin birth, substitutionary death, atonement, resurrection and coming again. Anybody who teaches less than that is an apostate.
And the tragic thing about apostasy is it finds itself in denominationalism, in church pulpits, in "colleges" of a Christian nature and in seminaries. And most seminaries, and most so-called Christian colleges in America are producing liberals who are apostate. The rise of liberalism in colleges, seminaries and churches, gives abundant evidence that men are departing from the faith fast.
I've told you many times about the time I went to seminary to finish up the year on my doctorate and they told me that my problem was in a seminary, religious seminary. I think it was a Methodist-sponsored seminary. They told me, "Your problem is, you've got too much Bible to get a degree in Bible."
False teachers everywhere. And Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians chapter 11 that they are dressed up like angels of what? Of light. Dressed up like angels of light. Yes, some shall depart from the faith.
People say to me, "You know, I'm in a church where the pastor doesn't believe in these things. What should I do?"
And I say, "Get out." That kind of stuff is damned, my dear friend. No Christian sits under the doctrines of demons and prospers.
You say, "Well, how can you tell an apostate?" Two ways: number one, he denies the deity of Jesus Christ, that he's totally God. Number two, he denies the Second Coming, always. Number one, denies Christ's deity. So just what Peter says, just clearly as possibly can be said. 2 Peter 2:1, "False teachers, even denying the Lord that bought them."
And over in chapter 3, they say, "Where is the promise of His coming?" And they laugh. See, they always deny two things: the deity of Jesus Christ, that He's God in human flesh, and the Second Coming, always. Because the Second Coming is tied with judgment, and they are subject to God's damnation.
But you know, they're gonna be busy. They're busy fellas, the apostates, very busy. Because they're building a great church, they really are. The only problem is, when the true church is gone, they'll just get rolling. The Bible says in Revelation chapter 17 that when the true church leaves, they just begin to really move on their church. The true church in the Bible is called a bride, their church is called a whore, Revelations 17.
They're building a church, all right. It's the devil's church. Revelations 17 is a fantastic prophesy that, bit by bit, describes the church of the Tribulation, the church that's here on earth after the true church is gone and it's being built today by the apostates. Friends, you and I are seeing it being built.
Now, there's only two things necessary for the apostates to build a church that's the whore or the harlot. Only two things: number one, a lot of apostates to do it; number two, a drive for all of the apostates to get together and build one church. Have you been watching your papers? Have you heard about ecumenism? Have you heard about COCU? Not cuckoo, COCU, which is the Council on Church Union. Have you heard of the World Council of Churches? The National Council of Churches? These are apostates banding together to build their church. They're gonna be very successful 'cause it's energized by Satan.
There's a new step every hour toward a world unified church, uniting under - not doctrine, not Jesus Christ - social actions, civil rights, anti-war, housing, welfare, you know, whatever. A recent article in the paper said this, "60 Protestant, Roman Catholic and Jewish religious leaders have announced the convening of an emergency religious convocation in Washington to mobilize support to end the war in Indo-China."
UPI Washington said, "Dr. Cynthia Wedel, president of the National Council of Churches, has predicted that the National Council of Churches will be replaced by a new and strong ecumenical organization within 18 months or 2 years at the most."
They know where they're going. And they're getting together on everything but the truth. They're getting together on all kinds of things. They're getting together on social action. I believe in some cases they're getting together in experience, falsified spiritual experience that's ingenuine. It's a sad thing to look around our world and see all of these apostates.
I come out of a denominational background, so do many of you. And I look back at the denomination I was raised in and I shake. The Glock and Stark survey of 1970 asked a couple of questions, one of them was this: Are the Scriptures the inspired and inerrant word of God? Seventy-seven percent of the American Lutherans said no; 67 percent of the American Baptists said no; 87 percent of the Methodists said no; 88 percent of the Presbyterians said no; 95 percent of the Episcopals said no, the Bible is not the Word of God.
Apostates everywhere, and all of them getting together to build their great church. Thirty-five million people in American belong to COCU; the United Methodist, the Episcopal Church, the United Presbyterian and the Presbyterian USA, United Church of Christ, and Christian churches, etc., etc., etc., the African Methodist Church and whatever else.
Revelation 17 says a very interesting thing. It says we'll all be centered in the city of Rome. Read it in verse 4 and verse 9 in Revelation 17. You say, "Well, maybe it's not talking about Rome." Then take the Catholic Bible, 1963 Confraternity version, read that chapter and see who they say the city says in view in chapter 17. In the Confraternity Catholic Bible, it says, "The city here is Rome." It's obvious who it is, the city on seven hills.
And since Pope John XXIII died, there has been a growing movement toward this one-world church. Pope Paul at Vatican, too, pled for the worldwide union and forgiveness for the iniquities of the Roman Catholic Church in the past. They exonerated the Jews from crucifying Christ, etc., etc.
Jeane Dixon had a vision of a cathedral in Washington, which became very important to all these people in this effort. In the vision, she said, "A remarkable peace came over me and I know that a council of our church would soon bring together, under the roof of Rome, the religions and nationalities of the world." That's what she saw in her vision. Four years later, the council met and it began.
You say, "Does she get supernatural visions?" I believe she does. They're not of God.
So lawlessness, false religion and apostasy are signs of the end of man's age. Now, I want to give you specific signs, specific signs. Hang on to your seat. I just gotta lay a little groundwork very quick. Man's day goes along, watch it now, goes along. Incidentally, there's some little charts in the back. If you want one when you leave, you can pick them up if there's any left. It'll give you a little diagram of the plan of the end that we worked out for you. It's back there if you want it.
We're living in this age. It goes along; Jesus comes down, not to the earth but to take His own. Gathers us and we meet Him where? In the sky. It's gonna be great. God turns off gravity for all Christians.
And there we are, right? And the ones in the grave go first because they have six feet further to go and we want to meet together. So the ones in the grave, and we meet - except in New Orleans where they're above the ground. We meet in the air with the Lord. We go to be with the Lord, and when we're going with the Lord, then seven years of Tribulation comes on earth as God judges all of the other unbelievers.
And at the same time, He's gonna work with Israel. And at the end of seven years, He comes back and we come with Him. That's how it goes. Now, when we go, all that horrible thing is gonna happen, the Tribulation. The Tribulation happens after we've been taken out of the world. But, watch this, we can already begin to see Tribulation events happening, forming. And we're gonna go before they happen but we can already see them beginning. I don't think we have very much time.
I'll never forget, I preached this message a little girl ran to me one time at a camp. She says, "I gotta go home. I gotta go home." It's only the first day of camp.
I said, "Why?"
She says, "My momma doesn't know the Lord." She says, "Do I have time to get home before Jesus gets here?"
I said to her, I said, "Honey, I don't know if you do but pack up your stuff and get outta here." And you know that sweet little gal went home and Jesus didn't come home but I know one mother that got the love of her daughter's heart as she presented to her the claims of Jesus Christ.
I don't know how much time we have. We may not even make it to the tomorrow. Praise the Lord. Even so, come Lord Jesus. Can you say that?
But there are some events happening. Let me give them to you. Number one, the rebirth of Israel. You wanna know what Israel is? My dad just wrote a book and he entitled it Israel: God's Clock. You just watch them and you know what time it is.
The Old Testament clearly and repeatedly foretold that Israel, as a nation, would be reborn. All over the Old Testament. Ezekiel chapter 20, and let me just read you a couple of verses there. Ezekiel chapter 20 verse 42, for one, and there's so many of them, but this is just one. 20:42, "And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for which I lifted up mine hand to give it to your fathers. And there shall ye remember your ways and all your doings in which ye have been defiled. And you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils and you've committed. And ye shall know that I am the Lord when I have wrought with you for my namesake, not according to your wicked ways, no, no, grace; nor according to your corrupt doings, oh ye house of Israel, saith the Lord God."
House of Israel, you're scattered all over the world. But I'm gonna bring you back. And old Ezekiel over there in chapter 37, God took him out in the valley, verse 1, "And the hand of the Lord was upon me and carried me out into the Spirit of the Lord."
And verse 1 says, "He set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones." Ezekiel's having a vision. God puts him in a valley, bones everywhere. He looks around and sees all the bones. "And he calls me to pass by roundabout. And behold, there were very many bones in the open valley and, lo, they were very dry." A valley of dry bones.
And he said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?"
Ezekiel answers, "Huh? You know, you brought me here. I don't know."
And he said unto me, "Prophesy upon these bones and say unto them, 'Oh ye dry bones, hear the Word of the Lord.' Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones, behold I will cause breath to enter into you and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you and bring up flesh upon you and over cover you with skin and put breath in you and you shall live and you shall know that I am the Lord."
So God says they're gonna live. That whole valley of bone gonna come together, flesh gonna get on them, they're gonna breathe, they're gonna be alive. And Ezekiel verse 7, "So I prophesied as I was commanded. And I prophesied, behold there was a noise and behold a shaking." And the head bone connected to the neck bone and away it went, see. And bone connected to bone. And that whole thing came together.
Verse 8, "And when I beheld all the sinews and the flesh came upon them," and the skin and pretty soon breath comes into him. And old Ezekiel says, "Lord," verse 11, "who is this? What does this mean?"
Verse 11, "Then he said to me, 'Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel.'" Wow. Do you know that nation has been scattered? It's never possessed it's own land and controlled it's own land for 2,500 years; it has been re-gathered.
Have you ever met a Hittite, Amorite, Jebusite, Hivite? You say, "Huh?" There aren't any. But there are Israelites all over the world. God has preserved the Jew. Why? Because God says, "I'll bring Him back to His land." They're His people.
God chose to work his redemptive act through one nation. That's His nation. They forsook Him and He scattered them. But in your lifetime, beloved, and in mine, He has re-gathered them. Boy, it's a fantastic thing to realize. Since 586 BC when Nebuchadnezzar conquered the land, Israel hasn't been in power, 2,500 years.
Now watch this one, in Luke 21:24, it says, "Jerusalem," meaning the whole land of Israel, "shall be trodden down by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Hey, you mean Jerusalem and Israel is gonna be under Gentile control until the times of the Gentiles are over? That's the end of man's day. You mean that the Jews aren't gonna control their land until it's the end of the Gentile day? That's what the Bible says, Luke 21:24.
Listen, friends, in your lifetime, Israel has begun to gain control over her land. You know what that says to me? Fast closing are the times of the Gentiles. It's almost over. A miracle; 70 AD, 1,100,000 Jews were killed by Titus Vespasian. In a single day, 10,000 throats were cut in Damascus. In 115 AD, Hadrian destroyed 985 towns and killed 500,000 Jews. In Crusades, they slaughtered them all over Europe.
For thousands of years, they've been massacred. But in 1873, they came back. First settlement, 1914, 90,000 of them; 1935, 300,000 of them. In 1945, 6 million of them dead. In 1948, they were a nation, controlling their own country, a part of it, for the first time in 2,500 years. The miracle of history. No nation in history has ever done that; they did. And you have seen it happen.
God has re-gathered Israel because once the church is taken out, the seven years he deals with Israel, and they've gotta be in the land to be dealt with, and they're in the land.
Let me shock you. Matthew 24 verse 32. Now Jesus, in this whole chapter, is talking about the end times. Listen to verse 32. "Now learn a parable of the fig tree." Jesus is gonna speak a parable here, or an illustration. "When its branches yet tender and putteth forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So likewise, ye, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near even at the doors." In other words, he's saying now there is an end coming to everything. The great end is coming.
Now he says, in terms of a fig tree, when the branch begins to put forth a little leaf, you know that summer's near. So he says, now you watch, "When the fig tree begins to put for its branch, the end is coming."
In the Old Testament, Israel is a fig tree. So Jesus says, "Folks, watch. Folks, watch." Because when you see the fig tree bud - May 1948 - this is what this prophesy means. And this is a possible interpretation obviously. The fig tree budded. He says, "Watch it; the end is near."
Verse 34, "This generation, Genoa, shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled." What does he mean? Many Bible scholars feel he means this, listen. "The generation that sees the fig tree bud will not die off till all the events of the end come to pass." Did you get that? "The generation that sees the fig tree bud will not die off till all the events of the end come to pas."
Guess whose generation saw the fig tree bud? You say, "You mean, this is the last generation?" In my heart, I believe that. I may be wrong, but I believe there's evidence from the Word of God that that's very, very possible. I would never set a date. But as I read it, if Israel is the fig tree, it's budded. And the generation that sees that will not die off till all these things come to pass.
You've seen it, friends. You've seen God bring his people back. And if you don't think God did it, ask the Arabs. One little incident out of the war, the Israeli Air Force took off, and the Arabs had a plan. They put dummy airplanes on the runway, six-day war, 67. Put dummy airplanes on the runway, they flew over. The Arabs figured, "They'll drop their payload on the dummy airplanes and we'll take off and beat them back and destroy Israel."
One thing they didn't realize, the Israelis had developed a homing bomb that only homed in on live targets. They flew over runways and they dropped the bombs. Destroyed 90 percent of the Arab Air Force in less than a day; never got off the ground.
I'll never forget, my wife and I were riding along in the bus with the Michelson'sand those that were on the trip with us to Israel, and Lynnand Joe. And we went down the Golden Heights. And they said, "You know, this was possessed by the Arabs up there." And they would sit up on the Golden Heights and shoot at everybody down below and it wasn't fair. You know you can't fight somebody that's way up above you so they couldn't do anything.
So they had manned every possible place with Arab forces where the Jews could possibly get up there. And they thought they were secure. There was one area that was too steep for anybody to climb so they left that alone. And that's what cost them. Because the Israeli Army got all their tanks and pushed them up the Golden Heights with bulldozers, and they all came over the top. And they came in with an air strike and wiped out that whole thing and moved the line back 10 miles. They said, "That's fair, we can fight on flat ground."
The girl who drove the _____ track that led the largest column of troops said she saw before her a pillar of fire, one reporter said. He didn't know what the pillar of fire is but it sounds like somebody we know. And she said, "When I saw the pillar of fire, I diverted the whole column. A couple of vehicles were late and they didn't see the pillar of fire. They went straight ahead into a mine field and blew into bits."
God is superintending the recovery of Israel to the land. In Israel, you just can't believe what you see, you can't believe it. It looks like a large construction zone, like they should put a wooden wall around the whole city, you know, construction zone. It's the fastest growing city in the history of the world. It'll double in 10 years. People are coming back.
Let me give you a second one, a second specific. The rise of the United Nations. In Revelation 13, Revelation 18, Daniel 2, Daniel 7, Daniel 9, Daniel 11, every place in those passages, prophesies are concerning the political picture at the end of the age. And the political picture is that there'll be one world government with one world ruler. And the whole thing will eventually disintegrate into a total war among all these big powers in the world.
But the Bible says there'll be one man, one world ruler. Well, you know, up until a month ago or so, that wasn't possible; do you know that? 'Cause up until a month ago, all the nations in the world weren't under one umbrella. You happened to see the inclusion of Red China into the United Nations, which means as of now, all nations in the world, significant nations, are in the United Nations.
You say, "What does that mean?" That simply means that if one man were to rule the United Nations, for the first time in history, he would rule the world.
Now you say, "Are you saying the United Nations will be the vehicle of Anti-Christ?" No, I'm just saying that the mind of men is collectively to get together for a common rule. And they are, for the first time in the history of humanity, under one umbrella. And theoretically, if a man could get control of the United Nations, he'd rule the world. It's never been possible before. You've seen it in the last couple of months.
Recently, Belgian Premier Spock said, "The truth is, that the method of international committees has failed. What we need is a man, someone of the greatest experience, the highest order, of great authority, of wide influence, of great energy, let him come and let him come quickly. They want a man. They're gonna get one. They're gonna get one.
Jeane Dixon, who's had many demon-inspired visions says this, "Strange things began to occur in Mrs. Dixon's house," this is the writer commenting. "As she gazed toward the East before sunrise, she saw an Egyptian Pharaoh and Queen Nefertiti. And cradled in the queen's arms was a baby in rags. The couple advanced toward her," that is toward Jeane Dixon, "extend the baby, whose eyes were full of wisdom as if offering it to the entire world. Soon the baby grew and became a man before Mrs. Dixon's eyes. A small cross, which had formed above him, began to grow in size until it extended over the earth. Then people of every race were seen kneeling and adoring this man.
"Her interpretation was that a child was born into the world who would revolutionize the world. And before the close of this century, he will bring together all mankind in an all-embracing faith. This will be the foundation of a new Christianity, with every sect and creed, united through this man, who will walk among the people to spread the wisdom of almighty power."
Where do you think she got that vision? That's a perfect description of Satan's man, the Anti-Christ. It's a shocking thing to realize the day in which we live, shocking. He'll come; he'll be here, the man the world wants. And when he comes, he will come to establish peace. What is it the world wants more than anything else? Peace, peace, peace, peace, you hear it all the time. You're gonna get a man who brings peace.
Revelations 6, I'll introduce him to you. Here's the man, Revelations 6 verse 1. Well, now here you have the four visions of what happens in the Tribulation, four opening visions. Verse 2; let's just look at verse 2. We'll skip some of the preliminary. Verse 2 says there's gonna be a conqueror that's gonna conquer. And he has a bow, and notice he doesn't have any arrows which is an indication he conquers by peace. This is a picture of the Anti-Christ, as he's commonly called.
And in Daniel 6:4, Daniel 9:27, Ezekiel 38:8-12, we have the same description of the same guy, and all of those places tell us he's gonna conquer by peace. This guy moves in and he's accepted as a world leader and he brings peace. My friends, what is it the world wants? Peace. And they're gonna get just what they want. Only, it's not the Prince of Peace, it's this Anti-Christ. And he brings peace but it's a phony peace, it's a phony peace.
In 1 Thessalonians, don't look it up, just listen to this. In 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 verse 2, "For yourselves, know perfectly that the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night." Final day, listen to this. "For when they shall say 'peace and safety' then cometh sudden destruction."
The world's gonna be in a situation of false peace and it's not gonna last. Look at verse 4, "Another horse in the vision comes and power is given to him that sat on it to take the peace from the earth. Peace is short and he rips it from the earth." And what happens? "And then kill," what? "... One another. And it was given unto him a great sword."
Ezekiel 38:21 says, "Every man's sword will be against his brother." They kill each other. This is inter-country revolution. And the word for sword is not ramfiah, the big sword. It's makirah, the assassin's dagger. Men are gonna turn against each other and assassinate each other all over the world. And you know this is the thing we fear so much, even in our own country, is civil war.
The slaughter is infused in the men by Satan himself. In America, for example, we have 200 thousand million guns and we sell 3 million more every year; pistols, revolvers, shotguns, rifles, uncounted machine guns, bazookas, hand grenades, mortar, anti-paint guns. One ad in the paper said, "Buy your father a machine gun for Father's Day."
There are more guns in Los Angeles than there are in Saigon. In the last 70 years, nearly 800,000 Americans have died of private guns, 630,000 by war; 170,000 more we've killed ourselves. We're an armed camp, my friends. And when the war breaks loose after peace is gone, men are gonna kill each other. And we're ready for that. It can happen. The tension is right for it.
When peace gets ripped from the earth, men are gonna turn on each other. The results are staggering; the results are shocking in verse 6. Famine and it goes to describe famine by talking about the terrible price for wheat and the terrible price for barley. And they won't be able to touch the oil and the wine, which will belong to the rich people. Famine is gonna hit our world. That kind of war and that kind of slaughter, and everybody fighting and nobody producing, and famine is gonna hit.
The Bible tells us elsewhere that famine is gonna be a part of the end times. Do you realize that 400 million people are starving in our world right now? Ten thousand drop dead every day of starvation. A hundred thousand a month died of starvation in Biafra; that many are dying in India. And it can only get worse, it can only get worse.
But, my friends, it's not only gonna be that personal assassination but the Bible says in Matthew chapter 24, that there will be wars and rumors of wars on a national basis. There'll be internal revolutions and there'll be massive wars. I think these are staggering thoughts, staggering.
Look how many people are gonna die, in verse 8. "Power was given to them over the fourth part of the earth." One-fourth of humanity will die. Later on the, Bible tells us in a few chapters, I think its chapter 9 verse 15, that one-third will die. Put that together and you've over half the earth. The population of the world today is about 3.5 billion. Can you imagine 1.7 or 1.8 billion people dying in 3.5 years?
It's shocking. Only 62.5 million people have died in all of the major wars; 1.6 billion at least, 1.8 billion perhaps, dying if Jesus were to come now, in 3.5 years. And the shocking thing about it, my friends, that would have been a mathematical impossibility 50 years ago. Couldn't have killed them that fast. Can you imagine using that many arrows? Can you imagine using that many single-shot bullets? There's only way to do it, that's in germ warfare, chemical warfare, poisonous gas and bombs. And we can kill them a lot faster than 3.5 years.
The United States, USSR, Red China and Europe have 50,000 atomic devices. The United States has 30,000 atomic devices with 25,000 megatons of power. And listen to this, 1 megaton equals 50 A-bombs like we dropped on Hiroshima. We've got 25,000 of them stockpiled.
We can do more damage with one missile, with one nuclear warhead, than all of the bombs combined dropped in World War II. And we could do it in a half an hour. The world is ready for war, like it's never dreamed could exist. We're an armed camp.
And when you think about that many people dying, it's shattering, it's shocking, it's terrifying. It's coming. It's coming. And for the first time in the history of the world, we have that kind of kill power where it can happen.
Do you see? Do you see what we're saying, friends? This can happen. Oh, there are so many other prophetic things. We think about the revival, for example, of the Roman Empire. Daniel chapter 2, Daniel said there's gonna be a revival of the great Roman Empire in the last days. People, you say, "Oh, boy, Daniel. Can you see everybody going around with little tin hats saying, 'heresy'. You're out of your mind. Nobody's gonna go around a revived Roman Empire." But Daniel prophesied it because God told him. It's repeated in Revelation very clearly.
They said there's gonna be 10 nations, 10 toes on the image. Remember the prophesy? There will be a 10 nation confederacy of those nations that once were in the Roman Empire. You say, "Well, that's not happening." My friend, that's happening right before your very eyes. Have you looked at your newspaper in recent days and read about the European Common Market? There are now seven nations in the European Common Market. All seven of them were, at one time, territorially in the old Roman Empire. There are three making application, and all three of them were at one time in the old Roman Empire.
God says in the end time there's gonna be a great power in the West, a confederated Europe under the old Roman Empire territory. Europe is getting together, my friends. You watching that? Finland, Norway and Denmark have made application. If they get accepted, that makes 10. That's what the Bible said.
December 27, 1971, KFWB news reported, this is a couple weeks ago, "The biggest event to look for in 1972," here it is, "the rise of the European common market which will become the greatest single economic power in the world." You think Daniel knew what he was talking about?
The Los Angeles Examiner, are you ready for this shock? Los Angeles Examiner, October 29th, the last - 1971, listen. "The British decision to join the common market has brought Western Europe to the threshold of its strongest union since the nations involved were tied together as part of the Roman Empire 15 centuries ago." God said the Roman Empire would be revived in the end days. You are seeing it happen.
I'll give you another one, the rise of Russia, Ezekiel 38. God says there's gonna be a great nation from the, "... uttermost part of the North." Listen, friends, everything is in relation to Israel. You'll go uttermost north from Israel and you're only gonna wind up in one place, that's Russia. And it's called Gog and Magog and if you trace to the meaning of Gog, Magog, Meshach and Tubal, you'll find that those are ancient tribal names for Russian settlers. It's Russia.
And the Bible says in Ezekiel 38 that Russia will, "descend on Israel and make war." Would you say that's a possibility? It couldn't even happen until 1948 because Israel wasn't even there. It is now. The Bible also says, and you can read it in Ezekiel 38, it says, "It will ally with Kush and Put," and the names of a whole lot of other nations that are ancient names for the now territories that are occupied by the Arabs. Russia's allies would be the Arabs. Who are their Middle East allies? The Arabs. Twenty-six hundred years ago, Ezekiel said it would happen.
Let me give you another one, the rise of Egypt. Daniel 11:40, and following says that the king of the South, Egypt will fight Israel in the last days. Would you say that's a possibility? Egypt fight Israel.
Now, let me just double the power to that thought. Daniel 11 says this, "King of the South will ally with the king of the North," Russia and Egypt, "against Israel in the last days." Have we seen that?
Let me give you some shocking things. November 1971, in The Jerusalem Post, listen, "Soviet Missiles in Egypt have tripled. They have 523 Soviet fighter planes, 150 Russian pilots, 250 Soviet tanks, 20,000 Russian advisors working in the Egyptian Army." That's end-time stuff, friends, happening.
Daniel chapter 9, Matthew chapter 24 indicate that in the end times, the temple will be rebuilt. You can go there now, as we did this past summer, you can see there's no temple there now. So we asked the guide, "Well, when are you gonna rebuild the temple? It's gotta be rebuilt for the Tribulation."
"Oh, nobody wants to rebuild the temple. We don't care about that. That's a lot of baloney. We don't care about that."
I said, "Come on, you care about it. It has to happen." Not before we can leave because they could build it so fast, you couldn't believe it. They could build it in a day.
He said, "We don't want to rebuild it. We don't want to rebuild it."
I got back home, I got The Jerusalem Post in the mail that says this, "Temple mount blocked. A number of Batara-affiliated youngsters were removed by force from the temple mount, the ground there, compound, after they tried to recite Psalms near the Aksa Mosque. The demonstration was part of the BachinskiDay demonstration. A large force of police was called in to disperse the Bator youth. One person was injured when he was toppled by police and his head struck a stone. Shouting, '_____ _____ _____,' the Jewish people live. The group was forcibly removed from the temple mount. And a Bator represented to _____ that his people would continue to pray on the mount in hopes of stirring opinion and favor of turning it over to Jewish hands and permitting Jewish services there."
Don't tell me a temple won't be rebuilt. You say more? Well, let me just give you a couple, two more. The rise of the power in the East. Revelation 9:15 says this, "And the four angels were loosed who were prepared an hour, a day and a month and a union to slay the third part of men." It's gonna be a terrible slaughter. Here comes the army.
Listen to this in verse 16, "And the number of the army and the horsemen were 200 thousand,000 thousand." All right, we know it from Revelation 16:12 that it's an army from the East, and from the Euphrates, it says the angels are by the Euphrates there in verse 14. Here comes an army from the East numbering 200 thousand,000 thousand. That's 200 thousand thousand million. If you see an army of 200 thousand thousand thousand million, are you kidding?
TIME Magazine, November two years ago said this, "The Chinese Red Guard now numbers 200 thousand million."
You say, "Why Red China?" Russia's archenemy in the world is Red China. Russia moves to take over the control of the Middle East, I'm not too sure Red China's gonna like that. And the Bible says an army of 200 thousand million, and Time Magazine says the Red Chinese army now numbers 200 thousand thousand million.
Revelations 16 verse 12 says that the Euphrates will be dried up so that that army can march to Israel to get in on a great, final Armageddon. You say, "The Euphrates will be dried up?" Yes, it will.
Let me give you this thought. December 9, 1971, Los Angeles Times, whole feature article on the Russian's new dam project on the Euphrates. They're cutting new canals. And it's all getting ready for Armageddon. The great western power, the king of the south, king of the north, and the power of the east, the final dissolution of Anti-Christ kingdom into a great holocaust of war, all to be fought on the plains of Megiddo.
And when Israel moved into the land in 1948, the plain of Armageddon was a swamp and nobody would have fought a battle. But they didn't know what they were doing. One of the first things they did when they became a nation was drain it and make it one of the most fertile valleys in the world, a perfect place to fight a battle.
Last one, Revelation 11, my two favorite characters in the Bible and I don't even know who they are. Revelation 11 verse 3, "And I will give power unto my two witnesses." And see, during the Tribulation when all the church is gone, all of us Christians are gonna be gone, God's gotta have a witness, right? Gotta have somebody down here to tell them the truth. God would never be without a witness in the world, would He?
So He's gonna have two super witnesses. Now, I don't know who they are but I'm volunteering. Verse 3, I would love to get in on this, "And I will give power unto my two witnesses and they shall prophesy 1,200 thousand and three score days. That's three and a half years or half of that Tribulation. For the three and a half years, they're gonna be the preachers in the world. They're gonna be preaching.
Now, you know in a world where there's only two believers, they're not gonna be real popular. And everybody in the world is gonna try to kill them, so God has to protect them, right? Now, watch this in verse 5, "Now, if any man will hurt them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies." Can you imagine that? Now, I don't know exactly how that's gonna work. Anyway, if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
God's gonna keep his two witnesses, and they're gonna do their job for three and a half years and nobody's gonna get rid of them till they're done. Anybody tries, they're gonna die on the spot.
Verse 6, "These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not on the days of their prophesy. They have power over waters to turn them to blood and to smite the earth with all plagues as often as they will." Ho, ho, I mean, this is in our world. Can you imagine the news every night? Just think about that.
Can you imagine on the evening news, "Well, they're at it again. All of the water in Cincinnati has turned to blood. Everybody in Hartford, Connecticut has got boils. Everybody in San Francisco has got lice. The plague has hit Denver." Why this? Because God wants to get the attention of the people to hear their message, and boy, he's gonna get their attention. They're gonna go through the world with these abilities to make plagues.
I love verse 7, "When they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that descends out of the pit shall make war against them, and overcome them, and kill them." Finally, Anti-Christ's forces are gonna kill them, they're gonna kill them. And boy is it gonna be a great day for the world to get rid of those two.
Can't you imagine how that will dominate television? I mean, news every night. And we can't get rid of them and everybody who tries, you know. But once they die, and this is Pagan, you can't even believe it in our age, but it's gonna happen. In verse 8, "Their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, previously called Sodom and Egypt, where our Lord was crucified." That's Jerusalem. Their bodies are gonna lie there. They're gonna let them lie there.
When a person gets assassinated in our age, they take the body away immediately. They don't let it lie around. But they're gonna be so glad these guys are dead, they just want to exalt over their death. They just let the bodies lie there and decay so they can look at it and be happy about it. You say, "You mean, they're really happy about that?" Happy, they're so excited they can't stand it.
Verse 9, "And they of the peoples and kindreds and tongues and nations will see their dead bodies." You want to know something, friends? Fifty years ago, they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations couldn't see their bodies. Why? No television. They can see them now. Everybody all over the world can see that. It'll be there every night.
Can you imagine how, when somebody dies, somebody gets assassinated or something, how they dominate television for three or four days, you ever notice how all that happens? And all that stuff they talk about, all that endless blabber day after day after day. And this is the third aunt of the fourth cousin, and this is little Tommy and he's got a green sock on, and on and on and on. It just goes on and on and on and on, and they just keep talking about stuff that is so insignificant and it just - well, you can imagine.
When these two are dead, it's just gonna go on and on, and "There they are, they've been lying there two days, yes. And the world's so glad to get rid of them." And this, this, this and this. Television, the world's gonna watch, the whole world is gonna see.
In fact, the world's so happy, in verse 10, "They that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, make merry and send gifts one to another." Happy Dead Witnesses Day, you know. Handing out presents, "... will not permit their dead bodies to be put in graves." They are so happy about this, they make it a holiday.
But my dear friends, watch this. Verse 10 - verse 11, "After three days and a half, the Spirit of Life from God entered into them and they stood on their feet." Now, I don't know who the reporter is gonna be that happens to be there at that moment. But I can imagine him saying, "Well, they've been - they're getting up!"
And the Bible says, "They stood upon their feet and great fear upon them who saw them." I can imagine. Can you imagine the instant replay? "And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, 'Come up here', and they ascended up to heaven on a cloud their enemies beheld them." The world will see them go. "In the same hour, there was a great earthquake and the tenth part of the city fell. In the earthquake, were slain men of renown, 7,000 of the world leaders. And there were them that were terrified and gave glory to the God in heaven."
Television makes that not so unreal, doesn't it? You see, friends, and this is just a little tiny touch of what's happening. When you begin to put the pieces together of prophesy, you begin to see that it isn't very long until Jesus is coming. Oh, my friends, I hope you catch that. I hope you catch that.