What The Lord Said To Me Today
The Time Of The End
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Last Sunday, our youth pastor at Harvest Fellowship approached me after our worship service
had ended. He was carrying some sheets of paper, which had the telltale website title strip
accross the top of the page, so I knew he had been spending some time on the internet.
He began to speak, showing me the pages he held in his hand. On page 1, I could see one
of those prophetic timelines that we have all seen, given from the pre-tribulation rapturist
view, where everything is neatly calculated and set in its place on the seven year timeline.
I looked at that page, and he asked me a question. He said, "Steve, could you put together
something on this (shaking the pages in front of me) that is at a third grade level?"
Now, He is my friend: we lived together for about a year quite a while back, but he is about
20 years my junior. I looked at him, and I looked at his pages. All at once, I became very
forceful and bold. I took the pages, and pronounced them and all like them to be garbage:
man's attempts to calculate what cannot be calculated; man's attempt to catalogue an
undefinable and infinite God; man's attempt to loose what has been sealed. I then told the
youth pastor that "If there is any way to understand what will come upon the Earth in the future,
it will have to be at a third grade level, for much of the NT warnings about a falling away to
come and a rise of an antichrist, a son of perdition, were given to illiterate slaves. Perhaps
third grade might be even too scholarly. All of these scholarly attempts to list and catalogue
these things are the refuse of religion!
I thought I was done with it, at that! But, the Holy Spirit has kept nudging me all week. He
wants me to write on this issue, and I really don't want to. Why should I add my words to a
library of Congress full of words on this subject. The Theologians call it "eschatology".
Yuuuchhh! I'll bet those illiterate slaves who comprised the church at Thesalonika would
give a teacher some funny looks over that word. We, on the other hand, are going to have
a little talk about "The time of the end.
Daniel was given much revelation, and very little understanding concerning what he had
seen. This bothered Daniel! It would have bothered me too. Just as I would have done,
Daniel pursued his Lord for understanding. He records this in 12:8-9
"And I heard, BUT I UNDERSTOOD NOT: Then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of
these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till
THE TIME OF THE END."
If we have any hope of gaining understanding of the words that were given to Daniel, we
must have assurance that we are at "THE TIME OF THE END". If we are not, we will not have
the benefit of the Lord telling us a second time what he told to Daniel way back when.
Matthew 24 is chronological! The Lord gave it to us as the only timeline we will ever have
until the time of the end. The disciples asked questions regarding chronology in 24:3. They
asked "Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming and of
the end of the world (age) (GK-aeons)?" So they asked for chronology and for signs. Our
Lord did not tell them to go their way, as Daniel was told. They were given answers: true
Verse 6 tells us "the end is not yet". Everything before that point is definitely not "THE TIME
OF THE END". Daniel's words were still sealed while deceivers and false prophets were being
sent. They were still sealed through all the wars and rumours of wars. Verse 14 tells us,
"then, the end shall come". That means, through verse 14 of Matthew 24, it had not come
yet. So, in the midst of races fighting against other races, wars, pestilences, famines, earthquakes
in diverse places, persecutions and martyrdoms, christians being killed, betrayal by brethren
and family members and the love of many (in the church) growing cold and iniquity abounding,
And, the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world for a witness: still "THE
TIME OF THE END" is not yet. Daniel's words are still sealed up until "THE TIME OF THE
I have a surprise to reveal to you: "THE TIME OF THE END" is not here yet, in one respect, and in another, it has already been here, come and then passed into a dormant state....confused? Daniel's words
are still sealed for the purpose of utilizing them to predict with certainty what will happen next. No timelines interpreting it are possible. Every 7 year timeline you have ever seen in any prophecy book is an attempt to unseal what God said was sealed until
"THE TIME OF THE END". Anyone who tries is trying to
unlock something that God has locked. No man can open a door that God has shut until
God says it is time.
When will "THE TIME OF THE END" be here? Jesus gives us one sign to look for. Look
closely at Matthew 24:15-22.
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet,
stand in the Holy Place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) (standing where it ought not,
according to Mark 13) Then let them which be in
Judaea (The West Bank) flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come
down to take any thing out of his house. Neither let him which is in the field return back to
take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those
days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then
shall be GREAT TRIBULATION (42 MONTHS), such as was not since the beginning of the
world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there
should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."
Now, Jesus is referring to some sealed prophecy from Daniel, and "THE END IS NOT YET".
Jesus therefore warns the disciples that it will require understanding: in other words, that
part is still sealed, until "THE TIME OF THE END". But the Hebrews had some clues about
this section of Daniel's prophecy, learned painfully at the hands of Antiochus IV, who
poured pigs blood on their temple altars and forced the Levitical priests to eat swine flesh
or die. So, we have some clues as to exactly how this might play out at "THE TIME OF THE
END", but we cannot be sure, because it is still sealed up.
With a certainty, this has been confirmed by the Papacy from 533 A.D. to 1793 A.D. We can look at the prophecies of Daniel now, in light of the history of the Pagan Roman Empire, and then the Papacy, and Daniel's words are unsealed. We can see what they refer to.
The most sure words on this subject that are given in the whole of scripture are found in
2 Thessalonians. I should say that all scriptural words are sure, but our current understanding
many times is not. These words may be clearly understood. First, the words were given as
a response to a problem that was recognized by Paul. We can say, Thank You Jesus, that he
raised up churches
in what is today, Turkey. Then, the whole region was populated by churches, filled with
illiterate slaves. Almost no one could read. There were no theologians! The only one was
a travelling one: Apollos.
These innocent lambs: the believers in the Church at Thesalonika, had received Paul's first
letter about the event we affectionately know as the rapture. Some people started telling
them that it was very near, so some of them began selling their homes, quitting their jobs
and going to sit on a hill, waiting for the Lord to "catch them away". Paul gives the response
to them in 2 Thessalonians 2:2-4, instructing them about the error into which they had fallen.
"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering
together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor
by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you
by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that
man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition: Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that
is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is
Now, this is not sealed up. This may be understood. You are not going to need to be a theologian
to understand this. You are not even going to need to be able to read. This is going to be
clear. When you see that man, commiting what Jesus called "the abomination that causeth
desolation", sitting in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." This is going
to be crystal clear. THEN WE WILL BE AT THE TIME OF THE END!
According to Revelation 20:4-5, this man will do some other very absolutely clear things.
He will cut the heads off of Christians who refuse to take his mark and worship him or his
image. Again, this is going to be very clear to any Christian, whether he is literate or
illiterate. There is something about the loss of one's head that will tend to clear everything
up in terms of theological argument and debate. All rapture positional views and debates
will have ended by this point!
After this, as it is recorded in Revelation 20:5, comes THE FIRST RESURRECTION! That
kind of implies that it is, well, the FIRST. It kind of seems to imply that there will be no
rapture resurrection prior to this point. As far as I see it, anyone who says this is simply
pretending that this scripture is not in the bible.
Looking back in history, it is quite an easy and simple matter to see that the Pope has fulfilled all of this. Looking backwards, Daniel is unsealed. But looking forward, Daniel is still sealed. Confused?
If, as I suspect, the prophecies of Daniel, and Revelation are to be fulfilled on a worldwide scale just prior to the return of Jesus Christ, then the actual, blow by blow fulfillments of the prophecied events are, once again, sealed to our understanding until we see, once again, the abomination that causeth desolation, standing where it ought not, in the Holy Place.
The previous, historical fulfillment featured a Papacy which gradually came around to the idea of it's own infallibility. By 533 A.D., the Emperor Justinian had proclaimed the primacy of the Bishop of Rome over all other Bishops. By the year 1208, the doctrine of Papal infallibility was in full view during the Albigensian Crusade, in France. After this, the Pope was fully presented in every generation as the vicar of Christ, incarnate, infallible and perfect. He was "standing in the Holy Place (The Church), proclaiming himself to be God". He became the abomination that causeth desolation. From that point in time then, looking back, Daniel's prophecies could be understood to refer to the fall of Pagan, National Rome, and to the rise of a little horn: the Papacy.
We wait, once again, for the rise of another, little horn. Will it be a revived Papacy, working through a revived Roman empire, masquerading as the United States Of Europe?
What more can be understood? Well, there is much in the book of Revelation that gives
us glimpses of events, but they can't really be put into a timeline with precision when looking future. We are
told that when we read or hear the book of Revelation, we receive a blessing. We should
study it frequently. It is the
only book that carries with it a specified blessing for the reading of it. Also, the book of
Revelation is not a sealed book. It is a book filled with symbolism and images. As such,
much of it is sealed up to our understanding in a practical way, but the Holy Spirit is not
prevented from unsealing it to our understanding. I have found that the more that I ask,
seek and knock concerning the book of Revelation, the more understanding of it I am given.
One day, when we see our Lord face to face, we will understand everything clearly. As for
now, we must live with seeing darkly, as through a glass.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Stephen L. Bening
a servant and prophet of our Lord Jesus Christ
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