The Signs of His Coming

Revelation

The Signs of His Coming

March 30th, 1980 @ 8:15 AM

Revelation 22:7

Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
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THE SIGNS OF HIS COMING

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Revelation 22:7

3-30-80    8:15 a.m.

 

 

It is a happy privilege for us in our dear First Baptist Church to welcome and to share with the thousands of you who are listening on radio all of these wonderful things that pertain to our dear Lord.  This coming Sunday is Easter Sunday.  That is the highest celebration in our Christian year.  And because it is Easter, at all of the locations of our park-and-ride, we shall have two triple-liners – luxurious limousine liners.  We will have two of them at each one of those locations.  And invite everybody you know to drive to the park-and-ride place.  And leave your car there, and come, and rejoice with your friends and neighbors on one of those luxury liners.  It will be a great, great experience to get acquainted with the wonderful people in your neighborhood.

This, as you know, will be the sixty-fourth year that we have conducted pre-Easter noon-day services.  The theme for this year is "God Speaks to America": Monday, tomorrow, is War In The Will Of God; Tuesday, The Red In The Flag Is Blood; Wednesday, The Cancer That Consumes Us; Thursday, Slavery Or Freedom; and Friday, The Saving Of The Nation.

The services will be about thirty minutes in length.  There will be a lunch in Coleman Hall before and after the meeting here in this great sanctuary.  You can bring a friend and enjoy the fellowship and listen to the message.  The messages this year are patriotic.  They concern the present life and the ultimate destiny of our nation.  And it is in keeping with that patriotic theme that the message is prepared for this morning hour.

In these last several weeks, reading the Bible, and reading the headlines of our daily newspapers, I could not help but be overwhelmed by the things that I read in both.  This is what God says here; and this is its prophetic fulfillment here.  I read it in God’s Book; and I see it in the daily providences, and denouements, and involvements, and unfolding of modern history.  We are the people upon whom the ends of the earth have come.  The title of the message is The Signs of Christ’s Coming.

In the days of His flesh, the Lord was asked by His apostles, "What are the signs of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?" [Matthew 24:3].  The Lord did not disdain such a question, but in explicit apocalyptic discourses He answered the apostle’s questions – the signs of His coming, and the end of the earth [Matthew 24:4-51].

Then in the days of His glorification, the last thing the Lord spoke of in Revelation 22 is that same theme: the day of His coming.  In Revelation 22: 7: "Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book."  

Then He repeats it again in verse 12: "Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be" [Revelation 22:12].  Then the last benedictory Word: "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely, surely I come quickly."  John’s answering prayer; "Amen.  Even so, come, blessed Jesus" [Revelation 22:20].

What did the Lord mean when the last thing that He sent in message to His churches is this word, "quickly"?  "Behold, I come quickly," thrice repeated in the last concluding chapter of the Bible.  There is a word used in the New Testament, tachos.  That’s a noun.  It’s a substantive form, meaning "swiftness," "quickness," "speed."  

From it is made an adjectival form of the substantive tachanos, meaning "swift,"    "speedy."  But there are three adverbial forms of the word, tacha:  "quickly," "speedily"; tacheôs, another verb, "quickly," "speedily"; and then, tachu – an adverb, "quickly," "speedily"; That is the adverb that is used here, tachu – three times.  "Behold I come tachu,"  adverb, "quickly," "speedily."  

An adverb modifies a verb.  It refers to the manner of a thing, the "how" of a thing, the "way" of a thing.  So the Lord is saying that when these things begin to happen, they will happen speedily.  The events will succeed each other rapidly.

When the Lord comes, when that day is consummated all of these events will quickly and immediately fall after one another in rapid succession.  The way of the Lord’s coming – it’s an adverb, tachu.  The way of the Lord’s coming will be quickly, speedily.  These things will happen rapidly.  But maybe there is another overtone in that word, tachu.  If it refers to time, "when" the Lord comes, then we must read the time by God’s clock and not ours.

The third chapter of 2 Peter says, "A thousand years with the Lord is as a day, and a day as a thousand years" [2 Peter 3:8].  Moses in the ninetieth Psalm said, "For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night" [Psalm 90:4]. So if it refers to time, we must go by God’s clock: a thousand years as a day [2 Peter 3:8], in which event the Lord has been gone two days.  And maybe He returns on the third.

We have in modern unfolding of human history the events of today.  We have in rapid succession the fulfillment of many of these tremendous signs that I read in the Bible.  I have chosen among many others – we’d be here for hours if I were to take time to go through all of these prophetic Scriptures.  I have chosen nine that I pray I have time to present at this hour.  Nine things: prophecies that are explicitly given to us in detail in the Bible that I see fulfilled today in reading our newspapers and listening to our broadcasts.

Number one is found in the sixteenth chapter of the Revelation.  Here is what God writes, beginning at verse 12:

 

The sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, in order that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared for their coming.

And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, out of the mouth of the false prophet.

They are the spirits of demons, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. . .

And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

[Revelation 16:12-16]

 

 

This is a reference to the gathering of the nations in the Middle East – Armageddon, the hill of Megiddo.  The mountain of Megiddo is on the south side, in the middle of the south side of the Esdraelon Valley.  On that side of it is Nazareth.  On this side of it is Megiddo.  And that is to be the great center of the maelstrom of the final denouement of human history [Revelation 16:16].

Do I see that today?  God’s Book says that the consummation of the age will be in the Middle East.  I am appalled at what I see in the development of the nations and the national life, political, economic, militarily, in every way; I am appalled at what I see developing today.

In 1973 in the oil crisis, we learned that the Middle East has in the palm of its hand the entire destiny of the whole world.  It can wreck and it can destroy the economies of all the nations of the world.

A little group of us was in the cabinet room, next to the president’s oval office in the White House.  And we were seated in those chairs where the cabinet members are seated, and I was one of the little group there.  And Henry Kissinger sat there at the head of the table to brief us on foreign affairs.  At that time we were engaged in the war in Vietnam.  And I asked Henry Kissinger, I said, "Do you think there is a possibility of an atomic confrontation in the Far East, in Vietnam?"     

He said, "No, not at all."  

Then I asked another question: "Do you think there is any place in the earth where such a nuclear confrontation is possible?"  

He said, "Indeed!"     

I said, "Where is it?"     

He answered, "In the Middle East.  In the Middle East."  

Isn’t it a strange thing?  Russia is coming down from the north to the south, to the Middle East, piece by piece – now through Afghanistan.  And the United States has a tremendous navy in the Mediterranean, and now a tremendous naval force in the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf.  More and more and more the entire focus of the world in every category of national life is focused on the Middle East.  God said that, I’ve just read it; the whole world.

One: in the ninth chapter and sixteenth verse of the Revelation, one of those nations is present there with an army of two hundred million men [Revelation 9:16].  John said, when the figure was so enormous, he said: "And I heard the number of them, two hundred million in one nation."  That would have to be from India or from China.  Sign number one: God says the denouement of history is in the Middle East.  And that’s exactly what I read in the papers.

Number two: one of the most astonishing things in the world to me is the fulfillment of Ezekiel 36: 24.  This is a prophecy of Ezekiel that out of the ends of the earth, God will gather the Jew.  But the astonishing part of it to me is that when they gather together in Palestine – in Israel, they gather in unbelief.  You’d think some great tremendous religious commitment will pull them together; not at all.  The Bible says that they gather in unbelief. 

"I will take you," beginning at verse 24, Ezekiel 36: "I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land."     Then after they are gathered together: "Then," not before.  After they are gathered together in unbelief:

 

Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean. . .

A new heart will I give you. . .I will put My Spirit within you.  You will walk in My statutes, keep My judgments.

Ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; ye shall be My people, and I will be your God.

[Ezekiel 36:24-28]

 

But when they gather in the land – when the Jew puts his face toward Jerusalem and moves back into the land of his fathers, he is going in unbelief! 

Now these children are going to Israel this coming summer.  The astonishing thing that you are going to meet over there in Israel is this: my impression of the people is that they are all atheists!  Would you believe that?  Would you ever in a thousand, million years of speculation ever suppose that that people – the people of God, the chosen family of God, that your impression of all of them is, they’re atheists?

That’s what God says.  When they come back, they are coming back in unbelief.  And it is while they’re in the land that this great, tremendous, conversion experience happens when a nation is born in a day [Isaiah 66:8].  I look at that; I see it here in the Bible.  It is happening exactly as God said.

All right, number three: Jeremiah chapter 31, verse 23, makes an astonishing prophecy that is being fulfilled today – in my lifetime.  Jeremiah 31:23:

 

Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel;

As yet they shall use this speech – Hebrew –

As yet they shall use this Hebrew speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I bring them again from their captivity; The Lord bless

thee, O inhabitant of justice, and mountain of holiness.

 

Now isn’t that an astonishing prophecy that has come to pass in these last days?  When the Jewish people – when Judah was carried captive into Babylonia, they forsook and forgot their language.  And for two thousand five hundred years, Hebrew was never spoken.  It was a dead tongue!

In Babylonia, the people learned to speak Aramaic.  And when they returned after the Babylonian captivity [Ezra 1:1-2:70], Aramaic was the language of the Jewish people.  When Ezra stood up to read the book of the law of Moses, he had to interpret it because the people could not understand Hebrew [Nehemiah 8:3-9].  And for two thousand five hundred years, Hebrew was a dead language.  It was never spoken.

But Jeremiah says:

 

The day is coming, saith the Lord of hosts, that they will use this Hebrew language in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring

again their captivity.

[Jeremiah 31:23]

 

And you youngsters, when you go to Israel, you’ll be listening to Hebrew – Bible Hebrew, the language of the ancient prophets spoken today, which is a phenomenon that has come to pass in my lifetime, in these latter years, an astonishing revelation!

We must hasten.  Ezekiel, chapters 38 and 39: God says that the great enemy of Israel is there in the north [Ezekiel 38:15; 39:2].  And Ezekiel spells out who that enemy is, beginning at verse 1 in chapter 38, "The word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog," now, that’s the king, "Of the land of Magog," that’s the country, "the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him" [Ezekiel 38:1-2].  My King James’ Version of the Bible says, "The chief prince of Meshech."     Why they translated Rosh, "chief," I have no idea.  It’s the country: Gog, the king of Magog.  He is the prince of Rosh – Meshech, Tubal.

 

Prophesy against him, and say, Thus saith the Lord God; I am against thee, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, the prince of Meshech and

prince of Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks in thy jaws . . . .

[Ezekiel 38:2-4]

 

And he does the same thing in chapter 39:

 

Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog. . .Thus saith the Lord God; I am against thee, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal:

And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts,

[Ezekiel 39:1-2]

 

Whenever you go to Jerusalem, whenever you go to Israel, you go "up." Always in the Bible you go up.  So they’re coming "up" from the north parts.  We’d say they’re "coming down" from the north.

 

And will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:

And thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel.

[Ezekiel 39:2]

 

This is the war of Armageddon.

 

Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou,thy people.  I will give thee unto the ravenous birds, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. . .And I will send a fire on Magog

[Ezekiel 39:4, 6]

 

Well, where is Magog?  That is, where is Rosh?  Where is Meshech?  Where is Tubal?  Well, I suppose that all of these interpreters are correct when they say, "Magog, certainly, is all of that vast land north of the Black and the Caspian Sea, and that Rosh is the name for Russia.  Meshech is the name for Moscow, and Tubal is the name for Tobolsk, cities in Russia.  God’s Book says that in the denouement of the age, that great nation, that vast country north of the Black and the Caspian Seas is coming down into the Middle East" [Ezekiel 38:15].  That’s what God says.

Well, do I read that in the paper?  That’s all I do read in the paper.  And the whole world trembles as they see the vast, almost illimitable, nuclear and military capability of Russia reaching down, down, and always southward into the Middle East.  It frightens our country daily.

You have to remember, and we don’t.   I don’t know why we don’t; we have to remember.  We think of Hitler as being the most atrocious, and inexcusable, and horrible, and terrible blot on human history; that’s what we think about Hitler.

I don’t know why we forget it, but it was Hitler in Germany and it was Stalin in Russia who agreed to divide up Poland.  And they invaded Poland: Hitler from the west side, and Stalin from the east side.  And they divided the country between them; they divided the spoils and that precipitated, as you know, World War II.  They were as violent in that as Hitler was.

And while the attention of the world was focused upon Hitler, Stalin and Russia invaded Finland and destroyed Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Bessarabia – the eastern part of Romania – and, there in the Russian ravenous paw today.  And Russia, more and more and more, little by little, is beginning to expand its terrible empire.  We’ve got them ninety miles away from the coast of Florida.

These kids today never heard of the Monroe Doctrine.  Monroe Doctrine is that no foreign power out of the Western universe is ever to enter into the political, and economic, and social, and military life of the new world, North and South America.  We’ve got Russia right there, ninety miles away from us.  That’s what God says.  That nation is expanding, and expanding, and mostly reaching out toward the Middle East, coming down.  And God says in that aggrandizement, "I am against you," and in the battle, ultimately, in the confrontation there [they] will be utterly destroyed.

All right, the next prophecy, which astonishes me: in Ezekiel 38:5, it says, with Russia are "Persia, and Ethiopia, and Libya."  Now, I want to make a confession to you.  For years and years and years, I read that prophecy.  With Russia, in this imperial venture, are Persia – that’s Iran, are Ethiopia and Libya.  Now here was my problem.  I have been in Libya.  And when I was in Libya, Libya was our wonderful friend.  Some of the men who are in the city of Dallas, citizens of Dallas, were drilling for oil in the deserts of Libya – that was, before they discovered it.  And we had compacts of treaties, and codicils, and protocols of friendship.  Libya was our friend, and when I went around visiting in Libya, I was so welcome.  Libya was our friend; and yet, I read here in the Bible that they are our enemy, and I couldn’t understand it. 

Same way about Ethiopia: Why, my brother, I have preached over Ethiopia, held evangelistic meetings in Ethiopia, and was greatly, greatly welcomed and blessed.  Ethiopia was our friend.  And yet, I read here in the Bible Ethiopia is our enemy on the other side, and I couldn’t understand it.

The same thing about Persia: I was in Iran and was so beautifully entreated.  The whole nation was our friend.  When I went to the airport, three of those Muslim young men took me to the airport, and when I left kissed me and put in my hand the most sacred thing that they had, which was a beautiful Koran – their sacred scriptures.  They were our friends.  And when I read here in the Bible they’re our enemies, I couldn’t understand it.

Today, we have no more bitter enemy than Gaddafi of Libya.  He finances all of the turmoil that he can possibly put his hands on.  As for Ethiopia, those marvelous men, who entertained me in that lovely dinner at the hotel, when I asked about them, they’re either executed, or they’re all in prison.  And Iran: Ayatollah Khomeini says, "We are to hate America," and "We are to hate America until we die."  

Why, I read that in the Bible.  I couldn’t believe it, because I’d been there and talked and preached with those people.  But the Bible never fails.  These prophecies never fall to the ground.  Just as the Bible says, Iran and Libya and Ethiopia are our enemies.  That’s what the Book says.

I continue.  Do you want to read an astonishing prophecy, and one that has come to pass in the last few days, almost?  Here’s another one, that when I read it, I couldn’t believe it – out of reading God’s Book – Isaiah chapter 19, beginning at verse 19:

 

In that day there shall be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the Lord.

And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt. . .

And the Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians

shall know the Lord in that day,in that day there shall be a highway out of Egypt

[Isaiah 19:19-21, 23]

 

Up there to Israel, clear going on up to the head of the Mediterranean, to ancient Assyria.

 

In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt My people,

 

Look at that:

 

Blessed be Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of

My hands, and Israel Mine inheritance.

[Isaiah 19:24-25]

 

Did you ever read that in the days when Russia had its port in Alexandria?  When Russia was financing the Aswan Dam?  When Egypt was our enemy?  Did you read that passage?  Did you read that passage in the day when Egypt and Israel were at war?  Did you read that passage?  Yet, the Bible says that Egypt and Israel are going to be together.  And the Lord says, "Blessed be My people Egypt,and blessed be Mine inheritance Israel" [Isaiah 19:25].

Did you read that?  Would you believe the Bible in reading that in those days?  Just recently and now Sadat and Begin are embracing each other in a midst of a hostile Arab world of fifty million Arabs?  You believe that?  That’s what God said.  And I see it coming to pass before my very eyes.  I am overwhelmed and astonished!

We must – oooh.  We ought to quit, but I have these – I have three more, rapidly: Daniel 12: 4.  Daniel describes the end time, Daniel 12:4: "O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end." Now God is going to describe how it is in the days of the end time, "Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."  In Daniel’s description of the end time, there are two characteristics of the end time, Daniel says one is "knowledge shall be increased," and the other: transportation will be rapidly facilitated [Daniel 12:4].

Well, has that come to pass?  My dear people, in the last few years – I’m talking about a few years, like a dozen years – in the last few years, knowledge has increased more than all of the thousands and thousands of years before us.  It has been just like that.  And transportation – man, you can get in one of those jets and in a few hours be at the ends of the earth.

And that’s why it is possible for the Bible to come to the truth when it says that at the end time there’s going to be one tremendous world government and a dictator that the Bible calls the Antichrist [Daniel 9:27; 1 John 2:18].  A few years ago, that would have been unthinkable.  It would have been impossible, for in order to have a government controlling the whole world, first of all you have to have rapid communication.  You’ve got to know where all the people are.  They have computers now that can keep up with every human being in the earth.  And they’re improving those computers all the time – rapid communication.

You must have rapid transportation.  These missiles – a man can preside over those banks of missiles and subjugate any people in the earth, just at his fingertips.  And rapid communication, dear me: off of these satellites, up there in the sky going around the earth now, they can bounce off those radio and TV waves and talk with anybody on the face of the globe.  That’s what Daniel said it would be like.

I cannot help but notice what the minor prophets added to what Daniel said.  In Nahum 2: 3-4:

 

The shield of his mighty men is made red . . . with blood: the chariots shall be with flaming torches in the day of his preparation . . . .The chariots shall rage in the streets.  They shall justle one another in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches, and they shall run like lightnings.

 

If I ever heard a description of modern tanks and bombers in my life, that’s it.  And I wanted to show you another prophecy in the Bible.  And this is exactly what happens in an atomic bomb.  This is Zechariah 14:12: "This shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem"; this is at the great day of the Armageddon:

 

Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.

[Zechariah 14:12]

 

You know what I found out when I was in Hiroshima – they call it there in Hiroshima?  I was there just not long after the explosion of that atomic bomb.  And I talked to the people who survived it.  Did you know that in an atomic explosion the man will be standing there, and the liquid of his eyes will pour out – just standing there?  When the thing explodes, the liquid of his eyes pour out.  And he stands there with holes in his eyes.  And the whole man wastes away.  And he becomes an empty skeleton before your eyes, just as Zechariah said.  You can hardly believe how the Bible can pinpoint such awesome things as come in the denouement of the age.

Number eight: Jesus said, Matthew 24:14,

 

This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

 

Well, how in the world could such a thing as that be?  Well, I’ll tell you how.  It’s come to pass in our lifetime, in these last few days.  I mentioned these satellites that are circling the earth right now, and bouncing off of them, bouncing off of them, these radio and TV waves that touch the lives of everybody in the earth.

When I was in Warsaw, Poland, the men there – some of the men of the First Baptist Church in Warsaw, Poland were sponsoring a broadcast in Monaco, a five hundred thousand watt station.  And out of that one station, in forty languages goes the gospel twenty-four hours a day.

When I was in Cyprus, I learned the same thing in Cyprus; and in the Far East, the same thing in the Far East.  I was in the Fiji Islands, and I saw a Fiji Islander with his head bowed to the ground.  I walked over there, I thought [he was] like an Indian, listening to the ground.  No, for some reason or the other, he had a little radio.  And it was lying there on the ground.  And he was lying there with his ear on that little radio – a little-bitty radio just like that.  And so I had the nerve to just get down there and hear what he was listening to; just curious to know what that Fiji islander was listening to.  And you know what it was?  He was listening to a sermon.  He was listening to a gospel message in English.  The whole world at the end time will be listening to the gospel.

The last one is one that is sad; it’s one that is sad.  In the second chapter of the Book of Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, Paul says that that great denouement of the age and the revelation of the man of sin – the son of perdition, the Antichrist – will not come until there be a great falling away first, a great apostasiahe apostasia: " The apostasia,"  2 Thessalonians 2:3.  And there are many places in the Bible that speak of that apostasia.  For example, the Lord will say, "When the Son of Man cometh, will He find faith in the earth?" [Luke 18:8].

And in Revelation 3:20, Jesus is outside the door of the church.  He is not inside.  He is outside.  What about that?  That’s my impression of the whole Christian world, as I visit it.  There is a falling away.  May I read you this passage out of a newspaper report?

 

Churches are closing down for good all over Great Britain.  A recent exhibition at the Victorian Albert Museum in London presented graphic evidence of the shutdown.  In these recent years, the Anglican Church commissioners authorized the demolition of one church every nine days.

 

Every nine days, one of the churches is being destroyed. 

 

The Advisory Board for Redundant Churches predicted, in its annual report, that between 1975 and 1980 the total number of the Church of England churches declared redundant will exceed one thousand.  And this rate is increasing.

 

In the past forty years, more than five thousand Methodist Churches have been shut down in the British Isles.  Many churches have simply been demolished.  Others have been transformed into community centers: art centers, post offices, fish-and-chips shops, auctioneering houses and wholesale groceries.

 

A former Methodist chapel in East Sussex is now an office for a typewriter manufacturer.  Another one in Stratford on Avon, made famous by Shakespeare, is a museum featuring vintage cars.  A chapel in Davenport, Plymouth has been turned into a pub, into a liquor joint, entitled, "The Old Chapel."  

 

Now that is not only true of Great Britain, it’s true of the whole world.  When I was in India, they were shutting the great mission stations on the Ganges River that had been founded by William Carey.  When I walked up and down the streets of Stockholm trying to get people to come to church, every one that I talked to said the same sentence: "I am just not interested."     

That’s what God says.  And my appeal: that’s why I want us to shine in this dear church, in the heart of this great city.  In a world of darkness, let’s shine!  In a world of apostasy, let’s be true.  In a world that is sometimes lost in despair and hopelessness, let’s lift up our heads and rejoice for "our redemption draweth nigh" [Luke 21:28].  God said it.  And we’re on the winning side of this.  We’ll not lose.  And God bless our people, as the darker the headlines, the nearer and closer we draw to our Lord.

Now may we stand?  Our wonderful Savior, in a dark day how the light from the face of Jesus our Lord shines upon us; once again, convinced of the truth of God’s Word, and of the omnipotence by which the Lord controls the destiny of all the nations of the earth.  And then for us, Lord, that however the world might apostatize, we shall believe in Jesus.  And in that faith and commitment may God give us a precious harvest this hour.  Amen.

While we remain standing just for a moment and while the choir sings, down that stairway, down one of these aisles, "Pastor, today, I’m giving my heart to Jesus," or, "I’m coming in the fellowship of the church.  I’m bringing my family with me." Or just you yourself, on the first note of the first stanza, come, while we pray.  While we wait, and while we sing.

THE SIGNS OF HIS COMING

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Matthew 24:3, Revelation 22:7, 12, 20

3-30-80

 

I.          Introduction

A.  Tachu, an adverb

1.  Tachos, substantive, noun form – "quickness, swiftness, speed"

2.  Tachanos, adjectival form of the substantive – "swift, speedy"

B.  Three adverbial forms of the word meaning "quickly, speedily" – tacha, tachaos, tachu

C.  Has definite meaning and overtone

1.  Meaning – an adverb modifies a verb and expresses manner, way, how

a. When He comes, the Lord will come quickly, speedily

2.  Overtone – referring to the time of our Lord’s coming as soon

a. God’s clock is not our clock (2 Peter 3:8, Psalm 90:4)

 

II.         The denouement of history in the Middle East(Revelation 16:12-16)

A.  1973 oil crisis – Middle East has the answer for destruction or prosperity

B.  White House cabinet room – Henry Kissinger

C.  Whole world is increasingly drawn to the nations that gather around Israel in the Near East(Revelation 9:16, 14:20)

 

III.        The return of the Jews in unbelief to Israel(Ezekiel 36:24-28)

A.  May 15, 1948, God’s people gathered together into a nation

B.  A nation of atheists

 

IV.       The revival of the Hebrew language(Jeremiah 31:23)

A.  When the Jews were taken into Babylonian captivity in 586 BC they ceased speaking Hebrew

B.  From 586 BC and 1948 it was a dead language – Israel today is speaking biblical Hebrew

 

V.        From the north, the appearance of overwhelming enemy(Ezekiel 38:1-4, 39:1-4, 6)

A.  Russia will come down from the north into Palestine

1.  Gog the ruler, Magog the country

B.  We forget that at the same time Hitler was ravaging nations of northern Europe, Russia was destroying Eastern Europe

 

VI.       The confederation (Ezekiel 38:5)

A.  Persia, Ethiopia, Libya – I have preached in these countries

B.  Today Iran is a bitter enemy, Ethiopia is communist and Libya contemptuous

 

VII.      Friendship of Israel and Egypt(Isaiah 19:19-21, 23-25)

A.  Strangest of all developments – they had been bitter enemies

 

VIII.     Daniel’s description of the end times(Daniel 12:4)

A.  Two things characterize end times

1.  Knowledge

a. Rapid communication, intelligence, knowledge make possible the one world dictator

2.  Rapidity of transportation and movement

a. Description of modern warfare(Nahum 2:3-4)

b. Zechariah describes the kind of war that will distinguish the end of the world – atomic warfare (Zechariah 14:12)

i.  Visiting Hiroshima

 

IX.       Gospel preached to all nations(Matthew 24:14)

A.  Warsaw brethren sponsoring radio station in Monaco

B.  Fiji islander with his ear to the ground, listening to preaching on radio

 

X.        The great apostasy(2 Thessalonians 2:3)

A.  Our age ends in a great falling away(Revelation 3:20, Luke 18:8)

1.  News report about churches in Great Britain

2.  Beautiful church in New York – eighteen present