Complete Sermon Notes
Antichrist & Rapture – Fact or Fiction?
Intro: A friend emailed me this week – he lost friendships because they switched to pre-wrath; he is pre-tribulation. How sad?
- The Bible was written for us but not to us.
- Application in all generations.
The Great Tribulation 24:15-22 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house.And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
- Urgency – flee…
- “Let those who are in Judea” reveals the locality.
- BUT it’s Hard to line this up with 70 AD because the tribulation is unprecedented.
Matthew 24:23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.
- 1st VIEW: He will not be hard to find.
- 2nd VIEW: Gary DeMar adopts an anti-bodily coming view of Jesus’ predicted coming in this passage when he says the following: Jesus would come “just as the lightning comes from the east,” that is, quickly and without warning….What the people saw was the manifestation of the Lord’ s coming even though they did not actually see Him….Was God physically present? He was not. Did He come? Most certainly!….
The Great Tribulation with the Antichrist – 2 VIEW:Rev. 13:1 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. 2 Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. 3 And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. 4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”
10 Crowns – The Roman Empire had 10 Provinces. The governors of each one gave their authority over to Rome and also exercised authority on behalf of Rome.
There will be a revised and renewed Roman Empire – could even be to the East near Assyria.
“Like a lion”: The apostle Paul, referring to his trial before Nero, testified that he was “rescued from the lion’s mouth” (II Timothy 4:16-17).
- Three successive kingdoms Daniel prophesied of – the “lion”, “bear” and “leopard”, are a world power: “Here all these features are combined, because the wild beast is a representative of all forms of world-power, which have been swift to shed blood: like a leopard leaping on the prey, tenacious and relentless as a bear, and all devouring (their throat is an open sepulchre) as a lion” (Ellicott’s Commentary).
Rev. 17:9-11 “Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time…”
- Mortally wounded: Nero committed suicide in June 68 AD. His death brought civil war and chaos – the empire almost collapsed. Josephus said that “every part of the habitable earth” under the Romans “was in an unsettled and tottering condition” (Wars 7.4.2).
- The world leader – will be mortally wounded and resurrected.
- The whole earth would worship him: “8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him,” Worshipping Nero involved offering sacrifices to his spirit in the public square, even after his death. Rulers from other lands also had to worship him. One statue hailed him as a “Savior” and “Almighty God.” “The whole earth” may refer to the Roman Empire (cf. Luke 2:1), or to Israel.
- Take the view literally that the whole earth would be under his control, and forced to worship him. “All who dwell on the earth will worship him” – “For God so loved the WORLD”.
5 And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. 6 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. 7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation [concept of world domination]. 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 10 He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
Nero persecuted Christians throughout the Roman Empire in 64 AD. The persecution ended when Nero committed suicide in June 68 AD. Thus he made war on the saints for a period of exactly 42 months.
“And there was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies; and authority to act for forty-two months was given him.” His last words were, “Qualis artifex pereo.” – “What an artist the world loses in me.”
A mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and authority to continue for forty-two months is in the future.
The Beast from the Earth – Rev. 13:11 for future reference.
Flesh and Blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Only dead men see God.
John 14 – “I’m going to go away, prepare a place for you, and if I go away I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am—where’s He going to be? In His Father’s house—there you may be also.”
1 Thessalonians – “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
- Coming Rapture
- The other view has “many” views: the most popular is that it happened in 70 AD – the saints who were killed rose to immortality at their physical death. Those who remained on the earth, were awaiting their death when they would receive their incorruptible, glorified spiritual bodies.
“Paul’s mixed metaphors of trumpets blowing and the living being snatched into heaven to meet the Lord are not to be understood as literal truth, as the Left Behind series suggests, but as a vivid and biblically allusive description of the great transformation of the present world of which he speaks elsewhere…” ~ N.T. Wright
The words “caught up” are the Greek word harpazo – “to snatch away.” My being “caught up” in reading the Bible is a state of mind, not a physical movement.
Answer: The timing of the rapture in relation to the tribulation is one of the most controversial issues in the church today. The three primary views are pre-tribulational (the rapture occurs before the tribulation), mid-tribulational (the rapture occurs at or near the mid-point of the tribulation), and post-tribulational (the rapture occurs at the end of the tribulation). A fourth view, commonly known as pre-wrath, is a slight modification of the mid-tribulational position.
First, it is important to recognize the purpose of the tribulation. According to Daniel 9:27, there is a seventieth “seven” (seven years) that is still yet to come. Daniel’s entire prophecy of the seventy sevens (Daniel 9:20-27) is speaking of the nation of Israel. It is a time period in which God focuses His attention especially on Israel. The seventieth seven, the tribulation, must also be a time when God deals specifically with Israel. While this does not necessarily indicate that the church could not also be present, it does bring into question why the church would need to be on the earth during that time. http://www.gotquestions.org/rapture-tribulation.html
The Coming of the Son of Man
29 “Immediately after the tribulation 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 the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
- Jesus physically riding on the clouds does not fit with the OT’s understanding of clouds – Isaiah 19:1 (KJV) “The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.”
Communion: Rich in symbolism –
Not about ritual but remembrance – “look back, look ahead, and look within.”
Look BACK – The Life of Christ
BREAD – Jesus called Himself “the bread of life.” Bread nourishes – its necessary for growth, health, and good condition. (cf. John 6:48-51).
- “I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
BLOOD – Jesus’ blood cleanses us of sin – “for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28).
Look AHEAD – Are you ready
Look WITHIN – Isaiah 55:6-7 (NKJV) An Invitation to the Thirsty 6 Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.