So You Want to Know?
I'll assume that I don't know your status, but I'm glad
you're reading this. Don't stop. What you are about to read
is able to set you free no matter where you are right now,
but it depends what you decide to do once you've taken it
all in. So here goes. That truly is the bottom line of God's
love for us of course. He gave us free will, even to reject
Him. That's the essence of love - it doesn't force you into
anything. But we do have to live with the consequences of
our choices and how we have exercised our freewill. The
nice thing though is that you can change the course of your
life at any time by making new decisions.
Jesus Himself said that "you shall know the truth and the
truth shall set you free".(1)
You may have the problem that you don't believe in Jesus
so how can you believe what He said. Well, the fact that
you're reading this means you are searching because you
realized that there's an emptiness within or that there
are things you don't know or haven't taken serious. I'll
bet that by the end of this letter you will be ready to
receive the truth about Jesus Christ. Why am I so confident?
Because He Himself has put the truth within you(2),
and as you read I pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal
God's plans and purposes to and for you. After all He loves
you enough to have died for you!(3)
What is truth, and what does it mean to
be set free? Jesus said that man shall
not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds
from the mouth of God.(4)
You know that if all you got was food, you'd be dissatisfied.
Why? Because there's more to you than just flesh. You need
relationships too. Truth is, we were created in God's image.(5)
He is spirit and so are we. Denying that has dire implications
for your future. We live by the words of God. The Bible
says that the word of God is truth.(6)
We're talking absolute truth here. This means that the words
of God are what set us free. The word of God says that Jesus
came to set the captives free.(7)
It also says that Jesus is the word, and that the word became
flesh and dwelt among us.(8)
Jesus therefore sets us free. But free from what?
God's plans are not limited to this world. That's why He
sent His son Jesus. It's a plan of salvation for a time
when the world as we know it will cease. And the world is
characterized by sin. Jesus will set us free from sin and
reconcile us to the presence of God. He didn't say that
when you accepted Him as Lord and Saviour that He would
take you out of this world, but He did say that He was coming
back for all those who believe and love Him. That's called
the rapture, and in concept it is well outlined in the Bible.(9)
Christians don't dispute the rapture, they just don't agree
to the timing of the rapture, but we'll come to that later.
Lets focus on salvation first. And yes YOU can get saved,
even if the rapture has already taken place!
God's word says that if you confess with your mouth that
Jesus is Lord (God), AND, you believe in your heart that
God raised Him from the dead that you will be saved.(10)
The day will come when we individually appear before the
judgement throne of God.(11)
Salvation is for such a time, but is acquired beforehand.
Salvation secures, for us, the mercy of God, which triumphs
and instead of being eternally separated from our creator,
we are given robes of righteousness(13)
and an eternal place in the kingdom of Heaven.(14)
Your chance is now! At the end of this article is a prayer
that will lead you to salvation. Refer to it any time you
feel the desire to receive Christ, and let the truth set
Even as I write in this month of September 2000, we are
living in end times. Jesus said that when we see the buds
on the fig tree, we know that summer is near.(15)
Likewise, when we see the signs He spoke of in Matthew 24(16),
we will know that the end is near. I want to draw your attention
to this critical period in the history of humankind called
end times. What is it? When will it be?
How will I know, and what does it mean for my life and future?
What is meant by "end times"?
"End times" or the "End of the Age" refers to the end of
the world as we know it, culminating with the judgement
of humans by God. Remember that Jesus was God who came in
the flesh and dwelt among us.(17)
He, therefore, taught as one who had authority.(18)
He taught with authenticity. He knew what was to come. In
Matthew's Gospel Jesus was asked about the end of the age:
Matthew 24:3 As he [Jesus]
was sitting on the Mount of Olives, his disciples came to
him privately and said, "Tell us, when will these things
happen? And what will be the sign of your coming and of
the end of the age?" [All scripture quotes are from
the New English Translation (NET), available at http://www.bible.org/netbible/index.htm]
His disciples wanted to know when the end would come, and
what signs would be indicators that the end was near. There's
an important point to take note of in this verse however.
The disciples made a connection between the end of the age
and the second coming of Jesus. The signs would come first,
but Jesus would return at the end of the age.
When will the end come?
Jesus deliberated as He answered the disciples's question.
We see that He takes 41 verses in Matthew to tell them what
will happen. It was obviously important for them, and us,
to know. Even though Jesus does spend time on the detail
of the answer however, what He taught that day was a summary
of the vision He reveals to John (and us) in the book of
Revelation. But first lets see what He said in Matthew:
Matthew 24:4 Jesus answered
them, "Watch out that no one misleads you. 24:5
For many will come in my name, saying, "I am the Christ,"
and they will mislead many.
Remember, Jesus is describing the end of the age and its
signs. Before anything else, He warns us to watch out. We
should be on guard against deception, and particularly concerning
our belief of who Jesus Christ is. Remember, He is the Son
who was crucified, dead and buried, but was raised to life
and is now where? In Heaven with the Father.(21)
Another thing that is clear is that many will be mislead,
so in end times we can expect to see large numbers of people
Matthew 24:6 You will hear
of wars and rumors of wars. Make sure that you are not alarmed,
for this must happen, but the end is still to come. 24:7
For nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom
against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes
in various places. 24:8 All these things
are the beginning of birthpangs.
These are signs of the beginning of the
end of the age! Wars, famines and earthquakes are the "buds"
on the fig tree that tell us summer is near.
Matthew 24:9 "Then they will
hand you over to be persecuted and will kill you. You will
be hated by all the nations because of my name. 24:10
Then many will be led into sin, and they will betray one
another and hate one another. 24:11
And many false prophets will appear and deceive many, 24:12
and because lawlessness will increase so much, the love
of many will grow cold. 24:13 But the person
who endures to the end will be saved. 24:14
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout
the whole inhabited earth as a testimony to all the nations,
and then the end will come.
What follows is the abundance of sin and absence of love
in society. False peace and love will abound and lawlessness
will mark the day.(22)
In this atmosphere, Christians will be persecuted to the
point of death. Once again a warning. Endure to the end!
This means that we are to endure in our faith as Christians,
because that in itself will become a difficult test of genuine
belief. But the Gospel will be preached globally. Many will
be martyred, but the preaching of God's Word will ensure
that no-one has an excuse for not believing in the Lord
Have you recognized any of these signs in the world you
live in? Sure you have, but you may be asking "Wars, famines,
natural disasters and persecution have been happening for
decades, even centuries, so how do I know that these scriptures
apply to today?" To answer that we have to go to the book
of Daniel, even Jesus, in the next verse of Matthew 24 refers
Matthew 24:15 "So when you
see 'the abomination of desolation'--spoken about by Daniel
the prophet--standing in the holy place (let the reader
understand), 24:16 then those in Judea
must flee to the mountains. 24:17 The one
on the roof must not come down to take anything out of his
house, 24:18 and the one in the field must
not turn back to get his cloak. 24:19 Woe
to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies
in those days! 24:20 Pray that your flight
may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 24:21
For then there will be great suffering unlike anything that
has happened from the beginning of the world until now,
or ever will happen.
Daniel 9:24 "Seventy weeks
have been determined
concerning your people and your holy city
to finish the transgression,
to bring sin to completion,
to atone for iniquity,
to bring in everlasting righteousness,
to seal up the prophetic vision,
and to anoint a most holy place.
9:25 So know and understand:
from the going forth of the message to return and build
Jerusalem until the anointed one, the prince,
there are seven weeks and sixty-two weeks.
It will again be built, with plaza and moat,
but in distressful times.
9:26 Now after the sixty-two weeks,
the anointed one will be cut off and have nothing.
As for the city and the sanctuary,
the people of the coming prince will destroy them.
But his end will come speedily like a flood,
until the end of the war that has been decreed;
there will be desolations.
9:27 He will confirm a covenant with many
for one week. But in the middle of that week
he will bring sacrifice and offering to a halt
on the wing of a desolating abomination,
until the decreed end is poured out on the one who makes
Daniel received a prophecy of seventy weeks concerning
the duration of events leading up to the end of the age.
The word "weeks" here in Hebrew means "sevens." These are
periods of seventy "sevens" of years. Seventy periods of
seven years each have been determined for sin to run to
completion, for Jesus to atone for iniquity and bring everlasting
righteousness, for the vision received by Daniel to happen
completely, and for God to set up His throne with us in
His presence. The anointed one in Daniel is Jesus. It takes
69 weeks until the crucifixion of Jesus (cutting off of
the anointed one), and the destruction of the temple (sanctuary)
by the coming prince, which occurred in cf 70 AD.
That leaves one week to go, or seven years, for the completion
of the vision. We see in Daniel 9: 27 that "the one who
makes desolate" makes peace with many for one week (or seven
years). During this time Jews begin to sacrifice in the
temple again, which had to have been rebuilt. But in the
middle of the week (three and a half years) 'the abomination
of desolation' stands in the temple and stops sacrifice.
These are the actions of the Anti-Christ.
The beginning of this seven year period is marked by a
confirmation of covenant with many by the Anti-Christ, and
the rebuilding of the Jewish temple for sacrifice. This
still has to happen as at the date of writing. Jesus said
that when these events take place, there will be great
suffering unlike anything that has happened from the beginning
of the world until now, or ever will happen.(23)
This is the Wrath of the Lamb referred to in Revelation(24),
which is a series of judgements that Jesus pours out on
the earth and its inhabitants. These judgements are before
Judgement Day, and are really a result of God's mercy in
that He gives people a chance to see His power and accept
salvation through His Son before the end
of the age.
Matthew 24:22 And if those
days had not been cut short, no one would be saved. But
for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.
24:23 Then if anyone says to you, 'Look,
here is the Christ!' or 'There he is!' do not believe him.
24:24 For false Christs and false prophets
will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive,
if possible, even the elect. 24:25 Remember,
I have told you ahead of time. 24:26 So
then, if someone says to you, 'Look, he is in the wilderness,'
do not go out, or 'Look, he is in the inner rooms,' do not
believe him. 24:27 For just like the lightning
comes from the east and flashes to the west, so the coming
of the Son of Man will be. 24:28 Wherever
the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
This period of great distress and suffering has been cut
short by God for the sake of those who love Him. That's
how bad it will be! But He warns us again: Beware of falsehoods.
People will claim to be gods during this time of history,
even Christ Himself, and will be convincing because they
will even perform miracles. Remember, God Himself has given
us the truth about His Son. All scripture is God-breathed(25),
and it says that the truth will set you free.(26)
The truth about Jesus is that God the Father loves us (you
and I) so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die
for us, and whoever believes in Him (that's Jesus) shall
not perish but have eternal life.(27)
Verse 27 of Matthew 24 (above) is talking about the rapture.
The rapture is the taking of all those who truly believe
in Jesus. This surely is the greatest sign that the end
of the age is at hand. Millions of true Christians will
vanish from the earth. Where will they go?
1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we who are
alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together
with them [dead believers] in the clouds to meet
the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord always.
Believers who are alive will be caught up suddenly
with all those believers who died, and will meet Jesus in
the air. Jesus (in Matthew) also warns that it will be sudden,
as lightning flashes from the east to the west.(28)
This may sound far fetched to you, but it's the truth, it's
the word of God, and knowing and believing it will save
you. At this stage of history, do you not rather want to
be a believer and be a part of Jesus, who has all authority
and power on earth?(29)
Matthew 24:29 "Immediately
after the suffering of those days, the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall
from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken.
24:30 "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear
in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. They
will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with
power and great glory. 24:31 And he will
send his angels with a loud trumpet blast, and they will
gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven
to the other.
More signs, depicted by the sun, moon and stars. Then Jesus
(the Son of Man) will come, and He will come with power
and glory and He will take up His kingship. But many want
to know when that will be. What does Jesus teach?
Matthew 24:36 "Now about
that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven,
except the Father alone. 24:37 For just
like the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of
Man will be. 24:38 For in those days before
the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and
giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark.
24:39 And they knew nothing until the flood
came and took them all away. It will be the same at the
coming of the Son of Man. 24:40 Then there
will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one
left. 24:41 There will be two women grinding
grain with a mill; one will be taken and one left. 24:42
"Therefore stay alert, because you do not know
on what day your Lord will come. 24:43
But understand this: if the owner of the house had known
at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have
been alert and would not have let his house be broken into.
24:44 Therefore you also must be ready, because
the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect
Jesus said that only the Father knows when His second coming
would be, but He compares it to the situation Noah and his
family faced when the great flood came. Noah knew it was
going to rain, and he was expectant. He entered the ark
in faith and waited for it to start raining. Do you think
he was surprised by the rain? Of course not. He knew the
season, but not the day or hour. Unbelievers and scoffers
however, were taken by complete surprise and were drowned.
They had rejected God's word. The truth was not within them
and they were not therefore set free. So it is with us.
Jesus has given us the signs to watch out for and has commanded
us to stay alert and to be ready. Jesus
has given us the truth about Himself and about the end of
the age. Dare we reject His truth? Dare we scoff at the
prophecy of Jesus? You are witness to the signs He spoke
of. Do you not think that God is talking to you? Calling
you? Call out to Him and pray, right now. You will be saved!
Mercy triumphs over judgement.(30)
How does knowing all this affect me?
Many Christians argue about when the rapture will be. Remember
the rapture is a separate event to the second coming of
Christ, but many believe they will occur together. Briefly,
some believe in a pre-tribulation rapture, some in a pre-wrath
rapture and some in a post-tribulation rapture. Now that's
a mouthful isn't it? The tribulation is generally accepted
as being the period during which God pours out three series
of 7 judgements on the earth and humankind.(31)
Jesus Himself referred to the severity of the tribulation:
Matthew 24:21 For then there
will be great suffering unlike anything that has happened
from the beginning of the world until now, or ever will
Some hold that the disappearance of Christian believers
in the rapture will be before this, but some believe we
will endure the tribulation. Others believe that the rapture
will occur somewhere in the middle of the tribulation before
the Wrath of the Lamb (32)
(pre-wrath). It is not my intention to support any of these
views, but rather to underplay the importance of the rapture
"when", and emphasize the surety of its occurrence, and
its implications for believing in Jesus Christ.
Biblical prophecy is true. This means that we can rely
on the truth of God's word. We've seen what the Bible says
about end times and signs thereof. The rapture (and the
second coming of Christ) will happen. If the rapture has
not yet happened, our faith needs to be prepared and ready
for the day. If the rapture has already happened, there
is very little time left to the second coming of Jesus Christ.
You can still receive salvation by believing, but once He
comes its too late to change your mind.
The book of Revelation is a prophecy given to John by Jesus
of the fate of our planet and the destination of humankind.
Many are discouraged by the prophetic nature of Revelation.
I will summarize important events that are relevant to this
discussion. The first seven judgements, of a total of 21,
are called the seal judgements (or dooms).(33)
These start the tribulation period, during which time a
quarter of earth's population dies.
The seven Seals:
Establishment of the Anti-Christ, or False Christ.
(This is the rider of the first white horse who is given
a crown and the ability to conquer his enemies.)
Global war. (The rider of the red horse has a sword
and is given permission to take peace so that people
will war with one another.)
Extensive famine. (The rider of the black horse has
a balance. During this time the average daily salary
of a person will only cover 1 person's rations for 1
Death. (The rider of the pale green horse is called
death and is followed by Hades. He is permitted to kill
a quarter of earth's population by the sword, famine,
pestilence and wild animals.)
Completion of the number of martyrs. (During this time
Christian believers are persecuted and killed until
their set number is fulfilled. The cry of the martyrs
is heard by God.)
A great earthquake and darkness. (The sun will go dark,
the moon red, and stars will fall from the sky. Believers
will receive a mark from God that will identify them
Silence in heaven for half an hour. (Preparation is
made for the next 7 judgements, the trumpets. This is
accompanied by thunder, lightning and an earthquake.)
The seven Trumpets:(34)
Hail, fire and blood. (One third of all trees and the
earth is burned up, and all the grass is burned.)
Explosion in the ocean. (What is likely to be a meteorite
falls into the ocean. One third of the sea turns into
blood, one third of the sea creatures die, and one third
of the ships are destroyed.)
Asteroid poisoning of fresh water. (Wormwood turns
one third of earth's fresh water bitter, and people
die from the poisoned water.)
One third darkening. (One third of the sun is darkened,
one third of the moon is darkened, one third of the
stars are darkened, one third of day and night will
be without light.)
Release of demons. (Demons are release from the abyss.
They are locust-like with a scorpion function to sting
unbelievers only. Those stung will suffer for 5 months
and wish to die but will not.)
Mobility of huge army and death. (200 million soldiers
on horseback kill one third of all humanity using fire,
smoke and sulphur.)
Disruption of the world system. (Two witnesses will
prophecy, die and be resurrected. An earthquake in Jerusalem
will destroy one tenth of the city and kill 7000 people.
The Anti-Christ (Beast) blasphemes God, conquers believers
and rules globally. Unbelievers worship the Beast. The
False Prophet rises up to worship the Beast and performs
signs and wonders. The False Prophet institutes the
mark of the Beast on the hand or forehead which limits
trade to those who have the mark.)
After the seven Trumpets, seven Bowl judgements are poured
Sores on unbelievers. (Ugly and painful sores occur
on those who have the mark of the Beast.)
Death of ocean life. (The seas turn to blood and all
ocean life dies.)
Freshwater turns to blood. (Rivers and springs of water
are turned to blood.)
Scorching heat. (The sun scorches people with fire
and terrible heat.)
Darkness. (Darkness covers the Beast's kingdom, and
people suffer and bite their tongues because of the
Armageddon. (The Euphrates River dries up to prepare
the way for the kings of the east. The kings of the
earth gather for the battle of Armageddon.)
Natural disasters and the Day of the Lord. (A loud
voice from the temple proclaims "It is done!" Lightning,
thunder, and the biggest earthquake known to humanity
occur. Jerusalem is split into 3 parts, and the cities
of the nations collapse. Hailstones of 100 pounds fall.
The book of Revelation reveals the details of what Jesus
spoke about in Matthew 24, and provides vivid signs that
lead, over a period of seven years, to the end of the age
and the second coming of our Lord. These signs clearly set
out what MUST happen and because God warned us beforehand
their fulfillment bears witness to God's power and mercy.
What must happen sounds terrible, but God is being merciful
in that He gives humankind profound warning of the end of
the age. Humans will suffer, and that includes Christians,
but our hope and strength is in Jesus Christ who, when He
comes will redeem believers and glorify them with eternal
life in the kingdom of God. I know that I have said that
before, but I can't stress the importance of choosing to
believe in Jesus enough. What this all means for you is
that you need to prepare yourself for what is to happen.
Accept the truth and reject the lies of what people are
saying. Believe what the Bible says about salvation, judgement
day, and eternity, and give your life to Jesus Christ.
May the blessings of the one true God cause you to find
Him, His Son, His Spirit, and His gift of salvation which
He extends to ALL.
Summary excluding Revelation
Persecution of Christians
Rise of the Anti-Christ
Wrath of the Lamb preceded by the abomination of desolations
False signs and wonders
Jesus has warned us
His coming is sudden (this is likely the rapture)
Astronomical signs (sun, moon and stars)
Astrological sign (as in the birth of Jesus(36))
Prayer for salvation:
What follows is a prayer that will help you receive salvation.
Pray it out aloud to God and believe it in your heart. Expect
that it will change you and your life.
I realize that I have not been obedient to your
Word, and that this constitutes sin. I also realize that
the only sin you wont forgive is my rejection of you. I
am ready to do what it takes to receive salvation. I am
ready to commit to You and to believe. I am ready to repent
in my heart. Please forgive me Lord Jesus. I confess that
You are Lord. I choose to acknowledge that right now. I
believe that you died for me Lord Jesus, so that my sins
could be blotted out. Thank you! I believe in my heart that
God raised you from the dead, and that you sit in heaven
with the Father. I choose this day, to accept your covenant
Lord Jesus. Thank you that I am now saved. Help me to develop
my relationship with you. I want to know you Lord Jesus.
May your name be praised for ever.
Congratulations! You are now saved and have become a son
or daughter of the most high God, co-heirs with Jesus Christ.
My suggestion to you is that you find a Bible and read the
gospel according to John. Enjoy!
1. John 8: 32
2. Romans 2: 15
3. John 3: 16-18; 1 Corinthians 15: 3
4. Matthew 4: 4
5. Genesis 1: 26
6. John 17: 17
7. Luke 4: 18
8. John 1: 14
9. 1 Thessalonians 4: 16-17; 1 Corinthians
10. Romans 10: 9
11. Romans 14: 12-13
12. James 2: 13
13. Revelation 7: 9
14. 1 Thessalonians 4: 17
15. Luke 21: 29-31
16. Matthew 24: 4 - 31
17. John 1: 1
18. Matthew 28: 18
19. Matthew 3: 17; John 1: 34
20. 1 Corinthians 15: 3-4
21. Ephesians 1:20; Hebrews 1: 3
22. Matthew 24: 12; Ezekiel 13: 10
23. Matthew 24: 21
24. Revelation 6: 16
25. 2 Timothy 3: 16
26. John 8: 32
27. John 3: 16
28. Matthew 24: 27
29. Matthew 28: 18
30. James 2: 13
31. Revelation 6 - 16: 21
32. Revelation 6: 16
33. Revelation 6 - 8: 1
34. Revelation 8: 7 - 12: 6
35. Revelation 16: 1-21
36. Matthew 2: 2