How to know what's happening today!
In Lesson 7 you learned God's program, or his master plan of the ages. In Lesson 8 you studied some of the important world events that will happen in the future. In this lesson you will find out what is happening today - that is, what is really happening!
About two days before Jesus died for our sins on the cross, he told the people of Jerusalem that they would not see him again until they say, "God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord." [Matthew 23:39.]
Jesus left and was going away from the Temple where he had been speaking, when his disciples came to him to show him the Temple's buildings. "Yes," Jesus said, "you may well look at all these. I tell you this: not a single stone here will be left in its place: every one of them will be thrown down."
Later, the disciples came to Jesus in private. [See Matthew 24:1-3.] They asked him three questions:
1. When will all this be happening?
2. What will happen to show that it is the time for your coming?
3. What will happen to show that it is the time for the end of the age?
The disciples were curious. They wanted to know when all this would happen: the Temple being destroyed and Jesus going away until the Jews will say, "God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord."
The Temple was destroyed in the year 70 A.D. by Titus and his Roman soldiers. This was about 40 years after Jesus had warned the people of Jerusalem; and the entire city, as well as the Temple, was destroyed.
But as for the time of the Lord's coming, and of the end of the age, Jesus gave us certain signs to watch for. He answered the disciples questions and told them things that would happen to show when it is time for his coming, and for the end of the age (or, world).
No one knows, however, when that day and hour will come: neither the angels in Heaven, nor the Son (Jesus) ... the Father alone knows. [See Matthew 24:36.]
Whoever, we can know when the time is near, or ready to begin. Read carefully Matthew 24:32-35. How can we know when it is near the time for the Lord to come again to Israel, and for the end of the age, or world? [See verses 33 and 34.)]
Notice what Jesus said in Matthew 24:34. "All these thing will happen before the people now living have all died." In other words, Jesus was saying that the people who are living in the age when these signs start to happen will see all of them come to pass.
Now what are some of these signs that the Lord Jesus mentioned? What did Jesus say will happen to show that it is the time for his return, and for the end of the age? This is what we want to study in the rest of this lesson.
Immediately after the disciples asked Jesus the three questions, Jesus answered, "Watch out, and do not let anyone fool you." Why did he say this? [See Matthew 24:5.]
Jesus said that there would be battles close by and far away (wars and rumors of wars). Why did Jesus say for us NOT to be troubled? [Verse 6.]
In Matthew 24:7, what are four (4) signs which are mentioned?
Jesus said that these signs mentioned in verse 7 are like the first pains of childbirth. In other words, the end is not yet: the real pains are yet to come.
Read carefully Matthew 24:9-14. Why will the love of many people grow cold? [Verse 12.]
Where will the Good News about the Kingdom be preached?
What will happen then? [Matthew 24:14.]
Remember what we studied in Lesson 8-A, "How to Know the News In Advance?"
Remember the two street preachers who will proclaim God's message for 3½ years?
Also, remember that there will be a time of great persecution for God's people in the future which will last for 3½ years [42 months, or 1260 days].!
This 3½ year period is the same period of time that Jesus was talking about in Matthew 24:15-35. The prophet Daniel tells us that a world leader will arrive on the scene who will make a false treaty with the nation of Israel for seven years. But in the middle of the seven years (with 3½ years left), this world leader (who is the anti-Christ) will go into the Temple and stand in the Holy Place pretending as though he is God.
This is what Jesus was talking about when he said, "The Awful Horror of which the prophet Daniel spoke, [will be] standing in the holy place." [Matthew 24:15.]
Now remember, the "signs" in verse 7 of Matthew 24 are described as the first pains of childbirth. They tell us that the end is not yet ... BUT NEAR! Jesus is coming SOON!
This is why God's Spirit is moving in Israel today; drawing his chosen people, the Jews, back into their land from the four corners of the earth.
This is why we have wars and hear of wars almost daily. Yes, there have always been wars, but there is an increase in world strife today. Since World War II we have had over 50 major conflicts in the world.
This is why we have famine. Famine (shortage of food, and starvation) is on the increase around the world. The increased population rate coupled with the pollution of our natural resources promises an alarming increase in famine.
This is why we have earthquakes throughout the world. Yes, there have always been earthquakes in history, but the frequency is rising rapidly ... and there is an earthquake coming that will be bigger and more destructive than the world has ever known!
All of these signs tell us what is happening today - Jesus is coming SOON!Your next study (Lesson 10) will be: How to Let God Use You!
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LESSON 9 - HOW TO KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENING TODAY