What Do the Prophets Say?
April 1st, 1984 @ 10:50 AM
WHAT DO THE PROPHETS SAY?
Dr. W. A. Criswell
4-1-84 10:50 a.m.
It is a gladness and a joy to have the uncounted multitudes of you share this hour with us on radio and on television. This is the pastor bringing the message; the third in a series on “The Second Coming of Christ.” In our great doctrinal series covering a period of about three years, we are in the section on the return of our Lord. This message is entitled What Do the Prophets Say? What do they predict about the end of the world and the return of our Savior? A background text is in Revelation 10:7: “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God shall be finished, as He hath declared to all His servants the prophets” [Revelation 10:7].
The mystery of God; there are ten thousand things that crowd upon our souls when we try to understand the presence of evil, and darkness, and violence, and sin, and death in the world, and why God allows such sorrow and suffering. The Revelation calls it “the mystery of God” [Revelation 10:7]. And it shall be finished in the days of the voice of the seventh angel [Revelation 10:7]; at the denouement of the age, at the consummation of history, at the end of the world—at the coming of our Lord Christ. Then we shall understand, God shall make it plain, and we will find the reason for all of the tears and heartaches, sin, death, the grave, when Jesus comes again.
Now the apostle wrote in this text that this has been prophesied from the beginning by those who were sent as messengers from God with a word of encouragement and triumph for the world [Revelation 10:7]. The prophets of God: what do the prophets say? And we are going to listen to their speaking to us both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. I have divided the message, the study of the prophets, into five categories. What do the prophets say?
One: they speak of the second coming of Christ far more than they do of the first coming; many times more.
Number two: they speak of the certainty of God’s interference in the affairs of human history, in the affairs of this world. We sometimes are half persuaded by the infidels and the atheists that whoever made this world, or if it made itself, whoever did it has gone off and forgotten it. Not so, say the prophets; God interferes, intervenes, interpolates, in the affairs of this world.
Number three: what do the prophets say? They speak of the nation Israel in unending love and warning, and they speak of their final salvation, when Jesus comes again.
What do the prophets say? Number four: they declare that the end time closes with war and desolations. The end of history is in the blood. It is in violence. It is in tears and heartache and tragedy; it’s in darkness and trembling and fear.
Number five: what do the prophets say? They proclaim the victory of the Lord and the creation of a renewed heaven and earth. And they declare a prospect and a promise of a new resurrected humanity.
Now let us begin. What do the prophets say? First, they speak of the second coming of Christ far more than they do of the first coming. This can be seen in the Scriptures as a whole. The Bible starts off with the second coming of our Lord. In Genesis 3:15, the Protevangelium, the gospel before the gospel, the Lord says the Seed of the woman shall crush Satan’s head. This was fulfilled, is fulfilled, and is to be fulfilled in the nineteenth and twentieth chapters of the Apocalypse, when Satan is cast into the bottomless pit [Revelation 20:1-3], and finally into the lake of fire [Revelation 20:10]. But the Bible begins with that, with the second coming of Christ [Genesis 3:15].
The Bible continues that way, with the promise of the second coming of our Lord. Jude says: “And Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints” [Jude 1:14]. That is the second coming of Christ. And the Bible ends that way. As it begins, as it continues, it ends in the glorious triumph of the second coming of our Lord, depicted in Revelation 19 and 20 [Revelation 19:11-20:15], and finally in Revelation 21 and 22 [Revelation 21:1-22:21]. It has been said that one out of every twenty verses in the Bible refers to the second coming of our Christ. In the Old Testament, He is coming. In the Gospels, He is here. And in the epistles and in the Apocalypse, He is coming again.
The second coming of our Lord is one of the three great events prophesied in Scripture.
- One: the Messiah is coming [Isaiah 9:6-7], and it was literally fulfilled [Matthew 1:20-25].
- Number two: the Holy Spirit of God is coming [Joel 2:28-32], and that promise was literally fulfilled [Acts 2:1-4].
- And number three: Jesus our Lord in triumph is coming again [Acts 1:11; Matthew 25:31]; and as the first two were literally fulfilled, we are persuaded the third will no less be actually realized.
In the first chapter of the Book of Acts, the angel said: “This same Jesus—this same Jesus . . . shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven” [Acts 1:11]. Literally, Jesus is coming again.
The second coming is one of the three unspeakably wonderful promises our Lord has made to all who believe in Him.
- The first promise: He said if we believed in Him, we would have everlasting life. John 6:47: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on Me hath everlasting life.”
- The second wonderful promise He made to us is divine companionship—that He will be with us. John 14:21: “He that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.” Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any one hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in and sup with him, and he with Me.”
- And the third great promise of our Lord is our victory when He comes to earth again. John 14:1: “Let not your heart be troubled . . . if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again” [John 14:1-3]. And Revelation 22:12: “Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give to every man as his work shall be.”
When we open the pages of the New Testament, we hear sounds of the second coming before the echoes of the announcements of the first coming have died away. John the Baptist, the great forerunner of our Savior, as he preached in the wilderness of Judea, he said in Matthew 3:10: “The axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” That is the second coming of our Lord. The great announcement of the presence of Jesus began in the announcement of His coming back to this earth. John continued: “His fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” [Matthew 3:12]. That is the second coming of our Lord—and he is here announcing the first arrival of our Savior [Matthew 3:11].
Jesus, in His parables and exhortations to the disciples, to the multitudes, before magistrates and judges, He constantly spoke of His second coming. In Matthew 13, in Matthew 24, and Matthew 25 are the great parables of our Lord, and they pertain to the second coming of our Savior. Before the Sanhedrin—the great tribunal of the Jewish nation—in Matthew 26:64, He said: “I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of Power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” That is the second coming of our Lord. Simon Peter, in his marvelous Pentecostal sermon in Acts 2, begins with a text on the second coming of our Lord. He quotes Joel 2, who speaks of “the wonders in the heavens above and the signs in the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord” [Joel 2:30-31; Acts 2:19-20]. That is the second coming.
The second coming of our Lord is mentioned in connection with every fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith. Our deliverance from sin unto eternal salvation is connected with the second coming of our Lord. Hebrews 9:28 “Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time apart from sin unto salvation.”
The second coming of Christ is a doctrine connected with the sonship of believers. In 1 John 3:2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him: for we shall see Him as He is,” the second coming.
It is connected with the resurrection of the dead. First Thessalonians 4:16: “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.” This is the second coming.
It is even mentioned with regard to the observance of the Lord’s Supper: “For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do portray”—dramatize, present, show—“the Lord’s death till He come,” till He come [1 Corinthians 11:26].
The second coming of Christ is connected with the bestowal of our final awards, 2 Timothy 4:8: “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but also unto all them that love His appearing”—the second coming of Christ.
And of course, it is mentioned in the doctrine of the recreation of the world. Romans 8:22-23: “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and trevaileth in pain together unto now.”
When I was a boy, lived on the farm, I used to see animals giving birth. There is no one of them—no one of them but that travails in pain. And when I was out on the farm, I used to see them die. There is no animal that doesn’t die without agony and pain. They are waiting; isn’t that an amazing revelation? The whole creation is waiting for the adoption, namely, to wit, the day of the resurrection of our bodies [Romans 8:22-23]; the second coming of Christ.
The second coming is bound up with every practical exhortation to Christian life, every one of them.
- In Matthew 24:44, “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour that you think not the Son of Man cometh”—the second coming.
- In Titus 2:12-13: “. . .denying ungodly and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of our great God and our Savior Jesus Christ”—the blessed hope!
- Hebrews 10:25: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.” The reason for our assembling together: the day of the second coming of the Lord is near.
- Second Peter 3:11-12: “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy living and godliness, Looking for and hastening unto the coming of the day of God.”
- First John 2:28: “Little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear…ye may not be ashamed before Him at His coming.”
- And in Revelation 2:18, 25: “And unto the angel of the church of Thyatira write… that which you have, hold fast till I come, till I come”—the second coming of our Lord.
Number two: not only do the prophets speak of the second coming of our Lord far more than they do of the first coming, but they speak of the certainty of God’s interference, intervention, in the affairs of this world in human history. Psalm 2 goes like this:
Why do the heathen, the nations, rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed…
He that sitteth in heaven shall laugh: the Lord shall hold them in derision.
Then shall He speak unto them in His anger, and vex them in His sore displeasure…
Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. . .
. . . Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.
The great God who presides over the earth is not indifferent to history and to all of us who are living in it. The whole Bible is that, the interference of God, the intervention of God in human history.
- It is the story of the Flood [Genesis 6:5-8, 17, 7:17-24].
- It is the story of the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain [Genesis 19:24-29].
- It is the story of the deliverance of Israel from the bondage of Egypt [Exodus 1-15].
- It is the story of the prophetic warning and the final destruction of Israel in 722 BC [2 Kings 18:9-12].
- It is the same prophetic warning and ultimate captivity of Judah in 587 BC [2 Kings 24-25].
- It is our Lord’s warning to Israel and the destruction of the nation by the Romans in 70 AD [Matthew 24:2].
- It is our Lord’s letter to the seven churches of Asia: “I have somewhat against thee . . . Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent” [Revelation 2:4-5]—the interference of God in human history.
Number three, what do the prophets say? They speak of the nation Israel in unending love and warning and of the final salvation of Israel at the coming—at the return of our Lord. The love of God for Israel is unvaryingly expressed.
- Exodus 3:7-8: “And the Lord said: I have surely seen the affliction of My people . . . and have heard their cry . . . for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them.”
- Deuteronomy 32:9-10: “For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance . . . He kept him as the apple of His eye.”
- Zechariah 2:8: “. . . for he that toucheth Israel toucheth the apple of His eye.”
Israel will be regathered in the land; so the prophets say. They will go back home to Israel.
- Isaiah 54:7-8, 17: “For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid My face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee . . . No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.” If you do not believe that, look at what happened to Nazi Germany—“This is the heritage of the Lord . . . and their righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord.”
- Ezekiel 37, the vision of the valley of the dry bones pictures Israel as a great people rising before God, where they are buried in the nations of the world [Ezekiel 37:1-23].
- Jeremiah 32:37-38: “Behold, I will gather them out of all countries…and I will bring them again unto this place—Israel—and I will cause them to dwell safely: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.”
What do the prophets say? Israel shall be a nation before God forever.
- In the thirty-first chapter of Jeremiah, Jeremiah says: “Thus saith the Lord, as long as the sun shall shine in the sky and as long as the moon shall shine by night, just so long will Israel live as a nation before Me” [Jeremiah 31:35-36].
- In Matthew 24:34 our Lord says: “Verily I say unto you, this race, this people, shall not pass away until all of these prophecies be fulfilled.” The Jew will be here when Jesus comes again.
- And in Romans 11:1-2 Paul writes, “I say then, Hath God cast away His people? God forbid. . .God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew.”
The prophets say that Israel will accept the Lord Christ, their Messiah, as their Savior at His second coming. These are the words from the prophet Zechariah in the twelfth and thirteenth chapters:
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son…
In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness…
And one shall say. . .What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends…
And they shall call on My name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is My people; and they shall say, The Lord is my God.
And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east…
And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem… And the Lord shall be King over all the earth.
That glorious conversion of Israel is also described in Romans 11:26: “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer . . . for they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes . . . For the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance” [Romans 11:26-29]. God does not change [Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8]. And in Revelation 7 you have the story of the one hundred forty-four thousand Jewish Christian evangelists [Revelation 7:1-17], who convert the world to Christ in the most devastating time of the great tribulation [Revelation 7:14], so many multitudes won that John says, “I could not count them” [Revelation 7:9].
I have to close this section, and I do it with a word from Mark Twain concerning the Jew:
He could be vain of himself, and not be ashamed of it. Yes, he could be excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian and the Persian arose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away. The Greek and the Roman followed; and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight, or have vanished altogether. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?
[“Concerning the Jews,” Harper’s Magazine, 1899]
Thus, Mark Twain. And the answer is in Deuteronomy 32:9: “For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance.” And the answering word of [Malachi 3:6]: “I am the Lord, I change not; therefore the sons of Jacob are not consumed.” What do the prophets say? They say Israel will be here till Jesus comes, and when He comes they are going to accept Him as their Lord Messiah and be saved.
What do the prophets say? Number four: they declare that the end time closes with war and desolation:
- Daniel 9:26: “. . . and the end shall be with a flood, and unto the end war desolations are determined.”
- Jeremiah calls it “the time of Jacob’s trouble,” Jeremiah 30:6-7: Wherefore, do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? [Jeremiah 30:6]. Like a woman giving birth, Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble” [Jeremiah 30:7].
- Ezekiel calls it the consummation of the age, the end of God’s forbearance. Ezekiel 7:5: “Thus saith the Lord God; An evil, an only evil, behold, it is come. An evil has come, an evil has come”—he repeats it—“it watcheth for thee; behold, it is come [Ezekiel 7:6] . . . And mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity” [Ezekiel 7:9].
- That is in Isaiah also, in 13:18 [Isaiah 13:18].
- Joel calls it the day of darkness and trembling. “For the day of the Lord cometh . . . A day of darkness and gloominess, there hath not come any like it, neither shall be any more after it” [Joel 2:1-2].
- And so says Amos [Amos 5:18].
- Zephaniah calls it a day of wrath. The great day of the Lord is near. . . That day is a day of wrath, a day of trembling and distress . . . and I will bring distress upon men, that they should walk like blind men” [Zephaniah 1:14-17].
- And so says Malachi [Malachi 4:1].
- Jesus calls it “the great tribulation” [Matthew 24:21].
- The word is repeated, “The great tribulation” in the Apocalypse, chapter 7 [Revelation 7:14].
- Paul calls it “the wrath to come” in 1 Thessalonians 1:10.
- And he calls it a day of “sudden destruction” in 1 Thessalonians in 5:3.
- “The Revelation calls it “the day of the wrath of the Lamb.” Revelation 6:15-17: “…and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves…and said to the mountains and to the rocks: Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of His wrath has come and who shall be able to stand?”
- So terrible, men shall seek death, and shall not find it: Revelation 9:6 . . . they shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
- The prophets declare that the earth is mined and a match has been set to the fuse. The spark has fallen, and all civilization faces an ultimate and final destruction, a crashing down [Jeremiah 28:8].
- Second Peter 3:10: in the day of the Lord “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.”
This, the prophets declare, the end of the age, the end of the world is in war and in desolation.
Last: the prophets proclaim the victory of the Lord, and the creation of a renewed heaven and earth [Isaiah 65:17, 66:22], and they speak of a resurrected humanity [Ezekiel 37:12-14; Daniel 12:2]. God will not leave His glorious Edenic creation in shambles. God will not leave the least of His sainted dead forgotten in the grave. God will not forget the suffering martyrs who laid down their lives in the great tribulation [Revelation 7:14]. There is victory and deliverance for the people of God. There was a great deliverance for Israel at the Red Sea [Exodus 14:21-31], after which the saved of the Lord sang the song of Moses in Exodus 15 [Exodus 15:1-18]. There will be a greater deliverance when the saints of God overcome the last world antichrist and they sing the song of Moses and the Lamb in Revelation 15 [Revelation 15:3-4]. There was a great day of indescribable rejoicing when the Lord brought back the Babylonian captivities to the Promised Land, Psalm 126:
When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing . . .
They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall surely come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
There will be a greater day of rejoicing when the elders and the angels behold those who have come out of the tribulation of this world, “having washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” [Revelation 7:14].
Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple . . .
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more…
For the Lamb which is in the midst of them, shall lead them unto fountains of living waters: and God, God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
There is a greater victory and deliverance coming than any we have ever known in these years past. It was a day of victory when Lazarus was raised from the dead and restored to his sorrowing sisters, Mary and Martha [John 11:43-44]. It will be a greater day of glorious triumph over Death and the Grave [1 Corinthians 15:54-55], when the trumpet shall sound at the second coming of Christ and the dead and the saints of the Lord shall be raised and rise to welcome Him in the air. “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them…to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17]. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump…the dead shall be raised, and we, we shall all be changed” [1 Corinthians 15:52].
No fever, no anguish, no wasting, no sighing.
No weary night watches, no languishing pain.
No death dew, no struggle, no gasping, no dying,
No shroud and no hearse and no funeral train!
Caught up with our Lord!
No grave with its darkness, no worm, no corruption;
With death and her sorrows, no part and no share,
“Caught up” in an instant, From wrath and destruction,
In rapture, “caught up” to the Lord in the air!
[“Rapture,” Grace Canfield Halliday].
O Lord, that we could live to that time when Jesus comes again. When the prophets describe the coming King and His kingdom, they dip their pens in glory. The golden age we dream of and long for has come. There will be a worldwide universal kingdom presided over by the Son of God, our Savior—Daniel 2, [Daniel 2:1-45]. At the succession of world empires and in the days of those last kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, and it shall stand forever [Daniel 2:44-45]. The same glorious vision in Daniel 7 [Daniel 7:1-27]; he sees the succession of world empires, then he says, “I saw [in the night visions] and, behold, One like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days . . . And there was given to Him dominion, and glory…His dominion is an everlasting dominion . . . and His kingdom that which shall not pass away” [Daniel 7:13-14].
And Revelation 11:15: “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying: The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever.”
There will be universal peace, Micah 4:3:
And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they will sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and nobody will make them afraid.
Even the vicious, carnivorous animal world will return to its Edenic beauty and rest; the transformation of all life and living; we, and the whole animal world around us. Isaiah 11:6-7: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid…and the lion shall eat straw like an ox.” “The infant child shall play on the hole of the cobra, and the young child shall put his hand in the nest of the deadly adder” [Isaiah 11:8], unharmed, unafraid. Nothing shall hurt nor destroy in all God’s holy mountain [Isaiah 11:9].
And that is according to what Paul writes in the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans: the whole creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed [Romans 8:19], for us when we are resurrected to our Lord. For the creation was subject to frustration and travail and hurt, not from its own choice, but in the hope that it would be liberated from its bondage and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God when Jesus comes again [Romans 8:20-23]. The hurt and the cripple will be healed forever when Jesus comes again. Isaiah 35:5-6: “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a deer, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing: for in the wilderness shall be waters breaking out, and streams flowing in the desert.”
Someone has said that the Book of Romans is a book of “much mores,” It could be said that the Book of the Apocalypse, the Revelation, is the book of “no mores.”
- In Revelation 7:16: “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.”
- Revelation : “And they laid hold on that old dragon, that old serpent and cast him into the bottomless pit. . .that he should deceive the nations no more [Revelation 20:1-3].
- And I saw a new heaven and a new earth . . . and there was no more sea” [Revelation 21:1]. John was lonely, separated from his people by the sea that washed between him on the isle of Patmos and his people in Ephesus [Revelation 1:9]. They’re not going to be any more separation, any more loneliness. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. . . and there was no more sea [Revelation 21:1].
- “And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for these things former are all passed away. And He that sitteth upon the throne said: Behold, I make all things new” [Revelation 21:4-5].
- And the book closes in Revelation 22: “And there shall be no more curse” [Revelation 22:3].
We shall see Jesus face to face—our living Lord.
- Job 19:25: “For I know—I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand in the latter day upon the earth: and though through my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God . . . Whom mine eyes shall behold, and not another” [Job 19:25-27].
- And Revelation 22:3: “. . . and His servants shall serve Him: and they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads” [Revelation 22:3-4].
- And Paul closed his marvelous thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face” [1 Corinthians 13:12], when Jesus, when our Lord, when our glorious King and Redeemer comes again.
Right now we face illness and sorrow and heartache and sickness and age and death, but the mystery of God shall be finished in the sounding of the trumpet of the seventh angel, as He prophesied through all of His servants [Revelation 10:7]. And when Jesus comes, there will be victory, and life, and resurrection, and a new heaven and a new earth, and our new beloved, beautiful Jerusalem home [Revelation 21:1-5]. Think of it! As Paul exclaimed: “Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, nor hath even entered into the heart of a man, the marvelous, glorious things God hath prepared for those who love Him” [1 Corinthians 2:9].
And that’s our invitation to your heart, thus to give your life and every vision and prayer for a tomorrow, to give it all to the Lord Jesus. “Pastor, this day, this day, I turn in my heart and life and accept Jesus for all that He promised to be and for all that He said He was, and I’m on the way, pastor, I’m on the way.” A family you putting your life with us in our dear church; a couple you, the man and his wife, two friends; or just you. Now let’s ask God to bless the appeal.
And our Lord, this is a time of decision. This is God’s invitation. The Spirit says, “Come.” The church invites that we come. Let the one that hears would heed the invitation to come. Let him that is athirst, who wants everlasting life, let him come; and anybody, whosever will, let him come and drink at the fountain of water freely [Revelation 22:17]. They who drink of the water of this life shall thirst again; transitory, temporal, for a fleeting moment, but they who drink of the fountain of the water of life, lives now and triumphantly forever [John 4:13-14]. And our Lord, bless as only God could bless, these who open their hearts in faith and trust and commitment to Thee this day [Romans 10:8-13]. And may it be our joy here in earth, and the joy and gladness of those angels in heaven, to see them come [Luke 15:10]; in Thy wonderful and saving name, amen.
While we stand and while we sing, come. God bless you as you come.
WHAT DO THE PROPHETS SAY?
Dr. W. A. Criswell
4-1-84I. They speak of the second coming of Christ far more than of the first
A. The Scriptures as a whole
1. Bible starts off that way – the protevangelium(Genesis 3:15)
a. Fulfilled when Satan cast into bottomless pit, then lake of fire (Revelation 19, 20)
2. Bible continues that way(Jude 14)
3. Bible ends that way, in glorious triumph (Revelation 19, 20, 21, 22)
B. It is said 1 in every 20 verses speaks of the second coming of Christ
1. Old Testament – He is coming
2. Gospels – He is here
3. Epistles and Revelation – He is coming again
C. Second coming is one of three great events prophesied in Scripture
1. Messiah is coming – literally fulfilled
2. Holy Spirit is coming – literally fulfilled
3. Jesus is coming again in triumph – we are persuaded this will no less be actually realized(Acts 1:11)
D. Second coming one of three wonderful promises our Lord has made to all who believe in Him
1. Everlasting life (John 6:47)
2. Divine companionship (John 14:21, Revelation 3:20)
3. Victory in His second coming (John 14:1-2, Revelation 22:12)
E. When we open New Testament we hear sounds of second coming before the echoes of the announcements of the first coming have died away
1. John the Baptist preaching in wilderness of Judea (Matthew 3:10-12)
2. Parables of Jesus(Matthew 13, 24, 25, 26:64)
3. Simon Peter in his Pentecostal sermon (Acts 2, Joel 2:28-31)
F. The second coming is mentioned in connection with every fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith
1. Our deliverance from sin (Hebrews 9:28)
2. The sonship of believers (1 John 3:2)
3. The resurrection of the dead(1 Thessalonians 4:16)
4. The observance of the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:26)
5. The bestowal of our final rewards (2 Timothy 4:8)
6. The re-creation of the world(Romans 8:22-23)
G. The second coming is bound up with every practical exhortation to Christian living(Matthew 24:44, Titus 2:12-13, Hebrews 10:25, 2 Peter 3:11-12, 1 John 2:28, Revelation 2:18-25)II. They speak of the certainty of God’s interference in the affairs of this world
A. God is not indifferent to history and us who are living in it (Psalm 2:1-11)
B. The whole story of the Bible is that(Revelation 2:4-5)
III. They speak of the nation Israel in unending love and warning and final salvation at the coming of Christ
A. The love of God for Israel(Exodus 3:7-8, Deuteronomy 32: 9-10, Zechariah 2:8)
B. Israel will be regathered in the land(Isaiah 54:7-8, 17, Ezekiel 37, Jeremiah 32:37-38)
C. Israel will be a nation before God forever (Jeremiah 31:35-36, Matthew 24:34, Romans 11:1-2)
D. Israel will accept the Lord Christ as their Savior at His second coming (Zechariah 12:10, 13:1, 6, 9, 14:4, 8, Romans 11:26-29, Revelation 7)
1. Mark Twain concerning the Jew(Deuteronomy 32:9, Malachi 3:6)
A. Called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:6-7)
B. Called “the consummation of the age, the end of God’s forbearance” (Ezekiel 7:5-9, Isaiah 13:63)
C. Called “the day of darkness and trembling” (Joel 1:1-2, 2:2, Amos 5:18, 20)
D. Called “a day of wrath”(Zephaniah 1:15, 17, Malachi)
E. Called “the great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21, Revelation 7:14)
F. Called “the wrath to come” and “day of sudden destruction” (1 Thessalonians 1:10, 5:3)
F. Called “the day of the wrath of the Lamb”(Revelation 6:15-17)
1. So terrible, men shall seek death and not find it (Revelation 9:6)
G. The earth is mined and a match has been set to the fuse (2 Peter 3:10)
V. They proclaim the victory of the Lord and the creation of a renewed heaven and earth, and a new resurrected humanity
A. There is victory and deliverance for the people of God
1. The great deliverance at the Red Sea for the Israelites – song of Moses (Exodus 15)
a. Even greater deliverance when the saints of God overcome the last world anti-Christ – song of Moses and the Lamb(Revelation 15:2-4)
2. A day of indescribable rejoicing when the Lord brought back Babylonian captives(Psalm 126:1-6)
b. Even greater rejoicing when the elders and angels behold those who have come out of the tribulation (Revelation 7:15-17)
3. Day of victory when Lazarus raised from the dead
a. Even greater day of triumph over death at the second coming of Christ(1 Thessalonians 4:17, 1 Corinthians 15:52)
i. Poem, “Rapture”
B. When prophets describe coming King and His kingdom, they dip their pens in glory
1. There will be a universal kingdom presided over by the Son of God(Daniel 2:31-44, 7:2-9, 13-14, Revelation 11:15)
2. There will be universal peace (Micah 4:3)
3. Whole creation renewed (Isaiah 11:6-7, Romans 8:19-20)
4. The hurt and crippled will be healed forever (Isaiah 35:5-6)
5. The “no mores” (Revelation 7:16, 22:3)
6. We shall see Jesus face to face (Job 19:25-27, Revelation 22:3-4, 1 Corinthians 13:12)
7. We cannot fathom the marvelous things God has prepared (1 Corinthians 2:9)