In this section of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus is with His disciples on the Mount of Olives, just east of Jerusalem across the Kidron Valley. They are full of questions, and He graciously responds to their concerns.
Earthquakes. Famine. Wars. Lawlessness. Most Christians have some idea of the signs that occur during the time the Bible calls "the last days." Well guess what—we're living in them now! Just about every generation since the New Testament was written has thought the same. Some Christians are fascinated by the mysteries and symbols found in Revelation and love to unravel their secrets. Others feel that Revelation wasn't written for that purpose, so we're best off avoiding it altogether, lest we get sidetracked from our main calling.
What's the proper approach? What should we know about the end times, and what, if anything, should we do to live out our faith in the midst of these turbulent times? We hope these resources will increase your understanding of this important topic and will help you separate the solid truths of the Bible from the flimsy fantasies of the latest "end times" movie.
While we are always on the brink of change, Ecclesiastes 3 draws out two questions that must be addressed.
Brought to the very edge of prophecy, the angel showed Daniel the cruelty of war between the successors of Alexander the Great on into the demonic warfare of the Antichrist. For us, what we see in history shows us the grim picture of what is to come for those who will enter the tribulation—inescapable worldwide war—without Christ.
The ancients were comfortable with the truth that reality exists in two worlds—the physical and the spiritual. Yet we moderns sneer at such ancient mythology, while our hobgoblins whisper, “The ancients were right.” Daniel understood that two realities exist. And with another angelic visitation he would come to know how real the unseen world really is.
Dictators through the ages have always known this truth: many people will give up their freedom for security. At no time in human history will this be more evident than during the terrible time that will come when the Antichrist rules the world. The Bible speaks of this world dictator in great detail and challenges people to make a choice—accept freedom in Christ and the security of everlasting life, or seek temporary security in the Antichrist and suffer enslavement to damnation.
Nebuchadnezzar may have been anxious to know the interpretation of his dream, but he probably winced when Daniel told him that Babylon would not endure for eternity. How did Daniel know? The Lord revealed to him the king's dream of a great statue made of precious metals and clay and of a rock that destroyed the statue and grew into a mountain. This was God's blueprint for the future—a blueprint encompassing the whole world, beginning with Babylon.
We don't need to be prophets or sons and daughters of prophets to realize that the world is turned upside down. The cliff-hanging posture of the world today—terrorism, rogue nations with nuclear weapons, predictions of environmental catastrophe, governmental and business corruption—spells the end of our civilization as we know it. To make sense of it all we must first understand God's plan for the future, outlined in the book of Daniel and related Scripture.
Can we trust modern-day seers? Should we listen when they predict the coming of Christ and the end of the world? And when their message doesn’t square with Scripture, what should we believe? Is there a prophet we can trust? In this timely and timeless message, Chuck Swindoll answers these questions and gives us a checklist of what we should look for in a trustworthy prophet.
Because Scripture is inspired and the individual words of the Bible are God-breathed, we know words and their meanings are important to God. They should be to us as well.