If one was going to ask: “What is the Spirit saying to the churches?”, I believe it is that the Lord’s cry in this hour is to “analyze the times”! Jesus wants us to understand and scrutinize these Last Days to see what is genuine and what is false. We are not to bury our heads in the sand, rather we are to examine daily events and discern their validity.
And He was also saying to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming,’and so it turns out. And when you see a south wind blowing, you say, ‘It will be a hot day,’ and it turns out that way.
You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time? (Lk 12: 54-56)
The most often repeated phrase from Jesus as his disciples questioned Him regarding the end times is: “Do not be mislead.”
As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.” (Mtt 24:3-5; see also Mk 13 and Lk 21)
Four times in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24) the topic of being mislead comes up (vs. 4,5,11,24). A key component to not being mislead or to be “lead away from the truth” (Strong’s Concordance) is to be lovers of the truth.
Paul points that out in his End Times discourse with the Thessalonians:
Then that lawless one [antichrist] will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. (2 Thess. 2:8-10)
The first place to start examining and scrutinizing is Israel and in particular Jerusalem. It is here that the Final Battle will take place at the end of “this present age” (Mk. 10:30). Many nations will conspire together to annihilate Israel.
“Come, and let us wipe them out as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more.” (Ps 83: 4)
From Zechariah we see that in the midst of this battle Jesus Christ will come back to earth the second (and final) time and overthrow the armies gathered together against Jerusalem.
“For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east…” (Zech 14:2-4)
“Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love [at the end of this age] will grow cold.” (Mtt 24: 12)
Before the Final Battle and the gathering of nations “to wipe out” Jerusalem, there will be an increase of lawlessness in the countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. These are the nations that have historically fulfilled Jesus’ promise that:
“Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24)
These Gentile nations that have been allowed by God to “trample down Jerusalem” for a season are: Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome.
In the near future this combined “empire” will be the “playing ground” of antichrist, as he arises from an obscure corner of one part of this empire and begins to rule. There lawlessness will especially rule! Iron and clay nations that do not mix (Daniel 2) will create an unstable environment amongst the area of the revived Roman Empire, from London to Babylon.
The apostle Paul clearly announces that the antichrist will be known as a “man of lawlessness”.
Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the coming of our Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. (2 Thess 2: 3-4)
As the conditions on earth “heat up” to lead on to the Final Battle, only the humble and well connected will survive unscathed. These coming years will be a time of unprecedented chaos, an incredible “falling away from the faith” (2 Thess 2:3) will occur and a time of significant harvest (Mtt 13).
“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” (Lk 21:25-27)
As men “faint from terror”, untold numbers of lukewarm “Christians” will become offended and no longer believe the truth and will “commit apostasy”; only those who endure to the end will be saved. (Mtt 24:13)
Stay lowly, meek, and modest and vibrantly connected to the Body of Christ!
Follow the Master’s example:
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.” (Mtt 11:29)
and His words of reassurance:
“But take heed; behold, I have told you everything [about the Last days] in advance. (Mark 13:23)
These things are worthy of remark. They show us that we must not be stumbled by the symbols of Revelation, as if they were altogether a new and strange thing.
We must remember they are used in the Old Testament as well as here, though far more sparingly, in communicating the mind of God to man. The peculiarity of the Apocalypse is not so much the use of symbols and emblems — as the profuse abundance of them.