EBible Fellowship Sunday Bible Study – 28-Dec-2008


by Robert Daniels


The thing I would like to speak about today is, during the Christmas holiday, a lot of people like to talk about the coming of Christ.  I would like to look at the other side, the second coming. 

Many people talk about the first coming—and there is nothing wrong with that.  It is a wonderful thing that God did, that God so clothed Himself with human flesh and came into the world.  And we know that He is “Emmanuel…God with us.”  But I would like to speak about His second coming, which we are approaching very quickly. 

God, in His mercy, has brought us through the end of another year, almost.  This is the last Sunday of 2008.  And you know that for time’s sake we are a year closer to His return, a year closer.  You think about that.  We are a year closer to the return of Christ.  That is a sobering thought, is it not? 

Now through the Bible, we are to understand the fact that He is only a couple of years away from His return, a couple of years from His return, when all the true believers will be with Him forevermore to spend an eternity with Him in the New Heaven and the New Earth.  What could be more important than that?  We leave this world to go and be with Christ to spend eternity with Him.  He tells us we will not remember this life any longer.  All things are going to be created anew.  And as true believers, we look forward to that day, to the coming of the second return of Christ. 

We know that if ever there was a time that we have to look at ourselves, not only in the mirror, but in the Bible, and examine ourselves as God has commanded us to do today, it is now because we are at the end of the world.  Wonderfully, He has brought us through to see the end of another year.  We are still here, and there is still an opportunity for us, if we are not saved, to cry to God for mercy.  And it is only by His grace that He has brought us through another year.  So many people died, people whom we have known.  Millions and millions of people throughout this past year have died, and the majority of them were not saved.  The majority of people in this world or who have died are not truly saved.  Yet here, while the blood is still warm in our veins, we can still beseech God for His mercy, and the possibility of salvation still exists.

The Bible is for everyone.  God wants all of us to hear this great information.  Remember the command He gave us in Matthew 28 to go into all the world with the Gospel.  He wants everyone to hear it; the Word of God is for everyone.  If you look at Isaiah 34:1, God wants all of us to hear His command, to hear the Bible, to hear the Word of God.  It is for everyone, irregardless of who you are.  You see here in Isaiah 34:1, God says:

Come near, ye nations, …

All the nations of the world:

Come near, ye nations, to hear; …

To hear what?  You see, He is going to tell us:

Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, …

To listen:

… ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it.

He wants the whole world to hear this warning of judgment day, and of the grace of God, and the Gospel, and these things.  It says in verses 2-3:

For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter. Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcases, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood.

And God goes on.  He wants everyone to hear this warning of the Gospel of salvation, everyone.  The Gospel is for everyone.  There is no particular group, but the Word of God goes out to all of us.  He is telling us that He wants all of us to hear of this.  The end of the world is at hand and His return is very near and He wants all of us to hear that salvation is still possible, still possible in our day. 

But let us turn to Acts 17:31; we are going to get into this verse a little bit today.  In Acts 17 (let us start in verse 29 to pick up the context—verse 29 of Acts 17), here God tells us:

Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

It is God’s command for “all men every where to repent.”  We know that repentance is a gift of God; we cannot repent of our own.  The command goes out like He commanded mankind to repent, He commanded everyone to repent, but we know that repentance is a gift.  Faith is a gift of God.  Unless He gives it to us, we cannot have it.  In verse 31 He says:

Because …

He is telling us now why we should repent:

Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

That day has been appointed by God; He will judge.  We know that day goes up to May 21, 2011—it is the last day for the believers.  But the day of God is not only one day, it is a five-month period when He is bringing judgment upon the world.  That day ends on October 21, 2011.  Then He will destroy the universe and “create new heavens and a new earth.” 

But here He tells us that He has appointed that day.  That day is set by God.  He is going to judge the world; we cannot change it.  That word there, “appointed,” is translated as “establish.”  This day has been established, from way in the councils of eternity, that God is going to end the world whether we like it or not. 

Many people are in denial, and there are those who would prefer the world just keep going on and on and on.  They have their plans, and they have this to do, and they have that to do, and they just cannot bear the thought of it.  “I do not want to hear that; do not tell me that.”  But that day has been set by God, it has been established by Him, that He is going to judge the world.  He is going to end the world.  And you know, we are approaching that day very quickly now.  If ever there was a day when we had to face it, it is in our day.  One of two things is going to happen to all of us: either He is going to take us in death or He is going to return on the last day – two things.  And here He has brought us through another year. 

God is very interested in time, as we know.  Time, we have the seasons of the year.  We have all these things—time, time.  We have a lot of demands on our time.  We have a family to raise.  We have work to go to.  We have to get to work on time.  We have to do this on time—time, time, time, time. 

You see, we are also in time; we are creatures of time.  And God, you see in the Bible, is also very interested in time.  If the Lord would tarry for a few more years, what would happen to us?  Eventually we would die.  We are creatures of time; we are creatures of time.  And so, for many people, God has ended their time on this earth this year.  He has ended it.  He has come for them in death. 

Remember I told you a few weeks ago about this person I work with who had a 14-year-old child, 14 years old.  It happened this year, as a matter of fact in August or September of this year.  Here this 14-year-old child, like any 14-year-old child, was making plans to go back to school in September.  Here he is—summer is over, most kids are making plans to go back to school, and the Lord took him in death.  14 years old.  He was simply playing basketball and he had discomfort breathing, a little discomfort breathing, and thought nothing of it.  They took him to the doctor and the doctor thought it was maybe asthma or something, and then he went home.  But the pain did not go away.  They rushed him to the emergency room, and within a few days, this boy died.  14 years old, and the Lord took him.  Is he ready to meet God?  I do not know.  I hope he is. 

Also, another gentleman I work with works 16-hours; I told you this before.  16-hours he worked.  He got on the bus going home.  I heard he stepped off the bus and collapsed right there on the street from a massive heart attack.  You see how the Lord could come and take any one of us.  It does not have to do with age or how old you are.  That has nothing to do with it.  That person’s time has ended in this life.  It has ended; God took them. 

Also here, God talks about His second coming.  He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world.  Time will end.  The question is, are we ready for that time?  Here we are just a few years away from the end, a few years away.  Many are in denial as I said earlier, even those who claim that they love the Lord.  They sing the song, “Come Lord Jesus; come, come, O come Emmanuel.”  But from the moment you start getting into these issues with them, the wall goes up.  Their defenses go up and they do not want to hear it.  They do not want to deal with this issue.  But we are right here at the end of the world. 

This word here, “appointed,” in Acts 17:31:

Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world …

This word “appointed” is translated in 2 Corinthians 13:1 as “established.”  This day is established by God.  In 2 Corinthians 13:1 we read:

This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

It is the same word as appointed.  God has established that time in which He will end the world, whether we like it or not.  God’s will will be done.  He will bring it to an end.  That time is established by God that He will bring this to an end. 

Look at the same word in Hebrews 10:9, beginning with verse 7 to pick up the context a little bit:

Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

“Establish”—same word as appointed.  He established that day when He will bring the world to a close.  See, God has a set time.  He already had preplanned it from eternity past, but He works it out in time.  He has established a time, He has appointed a time in which He will end the world. 

I will give you a few more examples.  Look at Daniel; go over to the Old Testament in the book of Daniel.  God gives us a little more information there in Daniel 8:18-19.  In Daniel 8:18-19, He says:

Now as he was speaking …

God was showing the vision to Daniel:

Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright. And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be.

What Daniel wanted was to know of the appointed time of the end.  Here God is telling us that the time of the end is appointed.  That “shall be” should not be there, but He says, “At the time appointed the end.”  God has appointed that day in which He knew He would end the world.  It is set by God, we cannot change it, and we are headed now very quickly towards that day. 

Look over (it is also the same idea in Daniel 11:27, it is the same idea there) at Daniel 11:27:

And both these kings’ hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed.

The end of the world, it “shall be at the time appointed” by God, set by God.  It cannot be changed.  And now we are only a couple of years away from that day, from the end of the world.  That time is appointed by God.  Whether we like it, whether we want to hear it, whether we want to deal with it or not, God is going to bring this world to an end.  The end of the world is at hand, and ever so closely now.  We are almost there, we are almost there. 

The question is, “Am I born again?”  The finger is not pointed to our neighbor or anyone else—the finger is pointed at me.  You point the finger at your own self.  Am I ready for that time?  I do not know whether today is my last day or not.  You do not know.  Do I know whether God is going to have me living throughout 2009?  No, none of us has the assurance that we are going to be here until the Lord comes in 2011.  We do not know that.  We could be perfectly healthy and the next moment we could be stricken with an illness and the next moment the Lord could take us.  We do not know.  The only thing we are guaranteed is our next breath.  That is it; that is it.  And we ought to look at these things and deal with them before it is too late. 

Let us look at another verse.  Do you remember in the Old Testament when God brought the plagues upon Egypt in Exodus 9?  Everything that God does happens at His time.  It is not by whim or caprice.  For instance, He tells us about Christ that in the fullness of time Christ came.  It was planned by God.  Everything is planned out in minute detail by God, everything is planned out, everything. 

In Exodus 9, start reading in verse 1 (here we are going to read about the plagues), and we will read up to verse 7.  Exodus 9, beginning at verse 1 up to verse 7:

Then the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still, Behold, the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain. And the LORD shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children’s of Israel. And the LORD appointed a set time, …

See, He “appointed a set time” in which He was going to bring judgment upon Egypt, “a set time.”  God does not just throw out a time there and say, “Okay, plan it as you go along”:

And the LORD appointed a set time, saying, To morrow the LORD shall do this thing in the land. And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, …

See, He carried it out, He carried it out.  Just as in our day, that time is set by God.  And when the time comes, He is going to bring it to pass, He is going to carry it out.  He is not only threatening us, but He has the power and the ability to do what He says.  God is not slack concerning what He says He will do.  He is quite capable of doing what He says.  He says in verses 5-7:

And the LORD appointed a set time, saying, To morrow the LORD shall do this thing in the land. And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one. And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.

With all this he saw, you would think that it would soften him a little bit and he would say, “There is a God, wow!”  No.  Just like in our day, you can tell someone that the end of the world is at hand in 2011, and they just look at you and turn and walk away with no effect.  It is just like Pharaoh, his response.  He did not break.  Pride, pride was there.  He did not budge, although he knew that the cattle died in Egypt and all these other plagues that God brought upon his people.  And yet pride, he did not budge. 

It is the same thing in our day.  Tell someone that the end of the world is at hand and they will look at you as if to say, “What is wrong with that guy?”  They look at you as if you have lost your mind.  It is expected, it is expected to happen.  But you see, that time was set by God and He did what He said He would do.  You see that time is set by God. 

Let us look at another verse in 2 Peter.  We are looking at the fact that time, as the book so says, has an end.  It is true; it is absolute truth.  Time is not going to continue on and on without end.  Eventually you know, if the Lord would tarry “x” amount of years longer, we know that our life is not going to continue on and on and on indefinitely.  We know that sooner or later, our life in this world will end.  Somebody is going to take my body to the cemetery.  It is a fact that time will end.  In 2 Peter 3 (as we are very familiar with these verses here), God tells us in verses 1-10:

This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days …

The last days” have to do with time:

… scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment …

The day of judgment,” as we know, is quickly approaching.  We are living in the time of God’s vengeance.  His judgment is upon the churches, and then it is going to end with the end of the world:

… against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, …

He will do what He says:

… as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come …

It will happen.  “The day of the Lord will come,” and we are headed there so very quickly.  It will happen; it will come.  Many are living in denial of this and their pastor is telling them, “Do not worry about 2011.  You hear about 2011, do not worry about it.  No one knows the day or the hour.”  Is that so?  No, we can know and we do know:

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Everything we see is going to be destroyed, everything.  If a building is burned up, you see the ashes remain.  There is something in there, some chemical.  But to destroy—that, we do not know.  To actually destroy something—we cannot understand that, how God is going to wipe it out.  All the chemicals, all the molecular structures, all of this and that, how He governs the universe, and all this and all that is going to be burned up.  It is going to be gone.  We cannot comprehend that, what total destruction is.  We do not know.  All the chemical compounds and this and that—we studied chemistry and all this stuff, yet we do not understand what it is to totally destroy something.  You dig down into the earth, all the oil deposits underneath the earth, and what is above the heavens, and the oceans—all of this is going to be destroyed.  We do not understand that, but this is what the Bible tells us.  It is going to be burned up.  It goes on in verse 11:

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, …

How is He going to dissolve it?  We do not know.  Someone who has been dead for 10,000 years who was a true believer, you cannot find their body.  But yet their body is going to come out of the earth a brand new body.  How is God going to do that?  We do not know.  God is Almighty.  He can do all things, all things.  We do not know.  Those true believers who may have perished in the ocean or in a fire, where are their bodies?  We do not know.  But yet the Bible tells us that person is going to be resurrected with a glorified spiritual body. 

God is God.  And you know, as human beings, we are to know our place.  We are to know our place; we are to be at His feet.  We are to bow before the Cross and know our place.  What do we know?  What do I know?  Nothing, compared to the infinite wisdom of God.  We cannot even begin to fathom that, we cannot.  It goes on in verse 11:

… what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

So if we know that time has an end, that the end of the world ought to come, God is asking us what manner of persons ought we to be?  We are to be seeking God with all our heart.  We have to examine ourselves.  We are to seek, by God’s mercy, to do it God’s way.  And we do not rely on our own wisdom, our own understanding or anything like that, but only listen to the Bible.  Because the Bible—this Almighty Creator is speaking to us from the pages of the Bible.  Him and only Him are we to listen to.  Instead of our own ideas or what I think or you think, we have to listen to the Bible.  It goes on in verses 12-13 to tell us:

Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, …

God keeps repeating Himself about “the day of God,” or “the day of the Lord” in verse 10 (“But the day of the Lord will come”).  And here He calls it “the day of God”:

… wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements …

What are “the elements”?  All the molecules, whatever He used to create the universe or whatever He used, He tells us again that it is going to be dissolved:

… and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, …

Who are the “we”?  The true believers:

… according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

The true believers, we hear of this time we are in and we are looking for that day.  We look within the pages of the Bible.  We are not looking towards the heavens.  We are looking in the Bible (What can we know about this?  What can we know about the time in which we live?) because we can know.  We can know the time in history in which we are living.  We can know a lot about it.  We will not know everything about it, but the true believers can know a lot about it.  It says in verse 14:

Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for …

And where are we looking?  In the Bible.  That is where we see these things.  That is where we see these things:

Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, …

When we are found in peace, when we are born again.  We are born again without spot.  When we become born again, we are spiritually without spot and we are blameless.  We become blameless when we become a child of God because Christ has paid for our sins.  So in that fact, we become blameless before God.  We become holy.  We become righteous. 

The Bible uses these terms before God when we become born again.  Yes, we have a body that is not saved, and our bodies are not.  Sin, from time to time, is going to pop up.  But we know that we can go to God for strength to turn away from sin.  It is going to be an ongoing thing until the Lord takes us home to be with Him.  There is going to be sin.  

It is not an excuse to sin.  We should never blame someone else for our own sin.  “He made me do it,” or, “She made me do it,” or, “Because I was born in a rough neighborhood or I was this or I was that.”  No, our sin is our own.  I committed that sin.  No one made me do it.  Remember in James 2, God talks about when we sin.  I do not want to quote the verse, but it is in James 2.  Our sin is our own, and we turn away from it by God’s mercy. 

Let us turn to another verse.  In 2 Timothy 4:6-8:

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: …

That day” is the last day when the true believers receive their glorified bodies and our salvation is completed:

… and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

There are those who, come May 21, 2011, are going to love the appearing of Christ.  Why?  Because finally now, our salvation is going to be completed and we will be with our Savior forever.  No longer will we have to struggle with sin or illness or death or all these things that pertain to this life.  All of that is going to be forgotten because we are going to love His appearing. 

But for those who are not saved, it is going to be the most awful day in their lives.  It is going to be one of the most horrible days for those who are not saved.  For five months, they are going to be punished, they are going to be tortured.  They are going to suffer the most horrible things for those five months.  But for the true believers, we are looking forward to it.  We are looking for that moment when the Lord comes and we no longer will be in this life, but we will be with our Savior, with God, for ever and ever. 

It is not only forever once.  God uses the phrase “for ever and ever,” forever more in the New Heaven and the New Earth.  What could be more important than that?  It is not whether I am going to become this person or whether I have enough money in the bank or whatever the case might be.  These things are going to be dissolved.  It is going to be destroyed.  We have to look away from this. 

I know there are those who are going through terrible trials or testing or whatever the case might be, but it is only “but for a moment.”  How long is it?  “Our light affliction,” as the Bible tells us, how long is it?  It is “for a moment” (2 Corinthians 4:17).  I am not trying to downplay anything anyone is going through.  It is difficult, it is difficult.  But we have to look to Christ.  That is where we get our strength from.  Once you start feeling sorry for poor me—look at me, something is always wrong with me—no, no, no, look to Christ.  That should make us more focused on Christ and the New Heaven and the New Earth.  We no longer have to go through this any more.  It is total perfection with God. 

Let us look at 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3.  Here God tells us:

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

That day” is coming very quickly upon us.  We are almost there.  It is a two-prong thing: the true believers are looking for “that day,” but we also have loved ones whom we love dearly.  It could be a wife, a husband, children, uncles, aunts, whomever.  We start to think about them and the sadness sets in because they cannot see this for dust.  We tell them about it, but we know that “Salvation is of the LORD” (Jonah 2:9).  We trust in the fact that whatever God has done or is doing is absolutely perfect.  It is absolutely perfect.  

Our heart, as part of being a child of God, weeps for our loved ones.  Our heart goes out to them because we know what is coming.  You see them, and all is well with them in the world.  Their career is going well with them.  They have the success stories.  They are enjoying themselves, and it seems they do not have a care in the world.  They convince themselves that all is going to be okay; “Do not worry about a thing.”  That is how unsaved man lives.  He lives in this delusion, in a deluded state, that all is going to turn out at the end. 

There was a lady I was giving the Gospel to one day, a long time ago, and she had this salvation program where she believed that God is going to save everyone.  I said, “No, no, no, God has elected a people to salvation.”  She said, “No, Rob, no, no, no.  In the end, you will see.  We all are going to be saved.  It is going to turn out just fine.  Our loving Father would never send a person to hell, not the God that I serve.”  I said, “You are right, the ‘god’ that you serve, not the God of the Bible, will not do that.” 

But as we read in the Bible, as we are understanding more and more about the end of the world, God has begun to open up the Bible to a lot of His people—we know that, you know, our loved ones who are not saved will not burn in hell forever.  And it is a blessing to know that at the end they are going to be destroyed.  It is a blessing.  Because to contemplate the fact that they are going to be in torment for eons of time, tormented, suffering alive forever more; I tell you when I heard this, we rejoice, because at least we know our loved ones will not be suffering forever.  They are going to be destroyed, and they are going to cease to exist forever more.

Q&A (paraphrased)

Q. In John 10, the Lord is talking about being a good shepherd.  He says in verse 10:

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Here it defines what the thief does.  He comes to steal and to kill and to destroy.  So that is the kind of idea we should have when we are looking at those verses that say:

… the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; …

(2 Peter 3:10).  It is there to destroy.  Everything is going to be destroyed at that time.  We have the connotation of that.  It is not just kind of surprising people.