Studies in Matthew 24

As A Thief In The Night

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Pr. Stephen Bohr


Series Code: SMTF

Program Code: SMTF000010

00:34 Shall we bow our heads for prayer?
00:37 Our Father and our God, we thank you so much
00:41 for the privilege of being Your children.
00:44 We thank you, Father, for Your word
00:47 which is a guidance book for Your people,
00:51 especially in these last days.
00:54 We ask, Father, that as we open the word
00:56 that You've given us,
00:58 that Your Holy Spirit will come and teach us.
01:01 Give us clarity of thought and give us willing hearts
01:06 to receive the seed of truth.
01:08 And we thank you, Father,
01:10 for hearing and answering our prayer.
01:12 For we ask it in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.
01:18 The title of our study today is "As a Thief in the Night."
01:24 And I would like to begin by reading a passage
01:27 that we find in the Gospel of Matthew 24:37-39.
01:35 Matthew 24:37-39.
01:42 "But as the days of Noah were,
01:46 so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
01:50 For as in the days before the flood,
01:54 they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage,
01:59 until the day that Noah entered the ark,
02:03 and did not know until the flood came
02:06 and took them all away,
02:09 so also will the coming of the Son of Man be."
02:13 Now there are two things that I want us to notice
02:16 about this passage as we begin our study.
02:19 Number one, in these verses,
02:22 Jesus is comparing two great events.
02:27 He's comparing what happened in the days of Noah,
02:31 with what is going to take place
02:33 in connection with His second coming.
02:37 So the first thing that I want us to notice is that is--
02:40 there is a parallel between
02:41 the days of Noah and the end time.
02:46 The second thing that I want us to notice about this passage
02:49 is that there are four key points of time in these verses.
02:56 Four points of time.
02:59 Now I'm gonna mention what they are
03:01 and then we're going to take them one by one.
03:05 Let's go back to the passage again.
03:08 "But as the days of Noah were
03:10 so also will the coming of Son of Man be."
03:13 Now notice verse 38, "For as in the days before the flood."
03:19 That's the first point of time, before the flood comes.
03:21 "Before the flood they were eating and drinking,
03:25 marrying and giving in marriage."
03:28 Now comes the second point,
03:30 "Until the day that Noah entered the ark."
03:34 So you have the days before the flood,
03:37 you have the moment when Noah entered the ark,
03:41 and then I want you to notice verse 39.
03:44 "And they did not know until the flood came
03:49 and took them all away."
03:51 So there's a period during which they did not know something
03:56 until the flood came.
03:58 And, of course, we know that
03:59 that was the period of seven days
04:01 between the closing of the door
04:03 and when it actually began to rain.
04:06 So we have four key time periods here.
04:10 We have the days before the flood,
04:12 we have the moment of the closing of the door,
04:15 we have the seven days after the closing of the door,
04:18 and then we have the water that comes from above and below
04:23 and fills the earth.
04:25 Now as we begin, I would like us
04:27 to take these points of time one by one.
04:33 Let's begin with the days before the flood.
04:37 We all know from Genesis Chapter 6
04:40 that God gave the pre-flood race a period of 120 years to repent.
04:47 Let's read that in Genesis 6:3.
04:51 Genesis 6:3.
04:54 It says there, "And the Lord said,
04:58 'My Spirit shall not strive with man forever,
05:03 for he is indeed flesh,
05:05 yet his days shall be 120 years.'"
05:11 I want you to notice that the Spirit of God was striving
05:16 with those people before the door of the ark closed,
05:21 during those 120 years.
05:24 Not only was the Spirit working with them,
05:27 but we know from the New Testament
05:29 that Noah was preaching about the coming flood.
05:33 In fact, 2 Peter 2:5 tells us
05:36 that Noah was a preacher of righteousness.
05:40 And so basically, during this period,
05:43 you have the people outside the ark,
05:46 listening to the message of Noah that a flood is coming
05:50 and the message of Noah is accompanied by the striving
05:54 or by the power of the Holy Spirit
05:57 upon the pre-flood race.
06:02 Now it's interesting to notice a few things
06:04 about the message of Noah.
06:08 You know, it would have been absolutely ridiculous for Noah
06:13 to preach this message in the society that he lived in.
06:16 Let me explain the reason why.
06:19 We know from the Book of Genesis that at creation,
06:21 the planet was filled with water.
06:24 In other words, there was no dry land.
06:26 That's what we're told in Genesis 1:2.
06:29 We also know that on the second day of creation,
06:32 according to Genesis 1:7,
06:34 God took part of the water that covered the earth
06:37 and He put it above the earth and He took part of the water
06:40 and He placed it under the earth.
06:43 And, of course, the purpose for this was
06:46 the water above formed kind of a canopy.
06:49 And as a result, in the earth you had a uniform climate.
06:53 And the purpose of putting the water under the earth
06:56 was so that the earth could be watered
06:58 by an automatic sprinkler system.
07:02 It says in Genesis Chapter 2,
07:03 that at certain times during the day,
07:06 a mist came up from the earth to water the earth.
07:10 Now at the flood, God did not have to invent water.
07:14 At the flood, God simply took the water
07:18 that He had placed above,
07:19 and He took the water that He had placed below,
07:22 and He brought the water up and down,
07:24 and He filled the planet
07:26 like it was before the week of creation.
07:30 So it's very important to realize
07:32 that before the flood, there was no rain.
07:35 The earth was watered from below, not from above.
07:40 And so you can imagine Noah trying to get across
07:43 to that pre-flood race that a flood was going to come,
07:47 that water was going to fall from the heavens,
07:50 and water was going to come from below,
07:52 and the planet was going to be filled with water
07:55 as it was before creation week.
07:58 In fact, if I can use my imagination just a little bit.
08:03 I would like us to visit
08:05 the classrooms of the universities of the day.
08:10 You know, if you visited classes
08:13 of those who taught the natural sciences,
08:16 you would probably hear things such as this.
08:19 It has never rained before.
08:22 Everything has continued as from the beginning.
08:26 It would be unscientific for water to come from above.
08:31 Nobody has ever seen anything like that before.
08:36 Perhaps, if you visited the theology department
08:39 of the university, they would say,
08:41 "God loves the world too much to destroy
08:44 the world with a flood."
08:46 "Besides, Noah's truth does not necessarily mean
08:50 that it's the same truth for everybody else
08:53 because truth ultimately is relative."
08:58 I can imagine visiting the history department.
09:01 And the history professor saying,
09:03 "There is no historical record of any flood, of any such thing.
09:07 So why should we expect a flood now,
09:10 when it's never happened in the course of history?"
09:14 I can imagine what it must have been like
09:16 in the department of behavioral sciences.
09:19 "Noah is suffering from an imaginary mental delusion.
09:24 He is confusing reality and fantasy.
09:27 He is mentally deranged. He needs psychiatric care."
09:33 I can imagine what was probably being said
09:36 in the sociology department of the university.
09:39 "We must not allow a lunatic like Noah
09:42 to interrupt the stable order of society.
09:47 He has all of the characteristics of a cult
09:50 and we need to make sure
09:51 that he does not destabilize society."
09:55 I can imagine what must have been said
09:57 in the philosophy department.
09:59 "Noah is suffering because he has
10:02 an existential void in his life.
10:05 And what's truth for Noah
10:07 is not necessarily truth for everyone else."
10:11 Everybody was sure that it was impossible
10:14 for a flood to come.
10:16 And yet Noah under the power of the Holy Spirit
10:19 continued preaching that God was going to destroy
10:24 the world by a flood.
10:27 Now we reach the second point of time,
10:30 the closing of the door.
10:33 Notice Genesis 7:16.
10:36 Genesis 7:16. At this point the Holy Spirit ceases to strive
10:44 with that corrupt Antediluvian race.
10:48 The Holy Spirit has finished His work.
10:50 Noah has concluded his preaching.
10:53 And now the door of mercy is going to close.
10:58 It says there in Genesis 7:16,
11:01 "So those that entered male and female of all flesh
11:09 went in as God had commanded him
11:13 and the Lord shut him in."
11:18 So now the human race has been divided
11:22 into the saved and the lost.
11:25 The saved are inside.
11:28 The door has been shut and sealed by God.
11:32 The lost are outside.
11:34 Although, they don't know that they're lost.
11:38 Now let's go to our third point of time
11:40 which is very, very interesting.
11:43 You've probably noticed from the story in Genesis
11:46 that the rain did not begin to fall immediately
11:50 when the door closed.
11:52 This is very, very important because we're going to notice
11:56 that what happened before the flood is going to happen
11:59 at the close of the history of the world.
12:01 Jesus said this.
12:03 So you're going to have these same four stages of time
12:07 they were discussing from the Book of Genesis.
12:10 Now the third moment of time is, actually, the seven days
12:15 that Noah and his family spent in the ark
12:18 before it began to rain.
12:21 Let me ask you, do you think
12:22 that the faith of Noah and his family
12:25 was severely tested during this period?
12:28 Obviously, yes.
12:30 Why would God keep them in that ark
12:33 filled with animals for seven days?
12:36 Why didn't He send rain immediately?
12:39 I believe it's because God wanted to test their faith
12:43 and God also wanted to show something
12:45 that was going to happen in connection with the end of time.
12:50 Not only was the faith of Noah tested,
12:53 but also undoubtedly, every day that passed,
12:57 those who were outside became more and more hardened
13:02 and more daring against those who were in the ark.
13:06 They became more abusive
13:08 and they became more violent outside.
13:11 And Noah and his family inside, their faith is being tested.
13:17 Now the fourth moment of time is mentioned
13:20 in Genesis 7:11.
13:23 That's an easy text to remember 7:11. Genesis 7:11.
13:28 It's the moment when it actually began to rain.
13:32 It says there in verse 11
13:35 "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life,
13:39 in the second month,
13:41 the seventeenth day of the month,
13:44 on that day all the fountains of the great deep
13:49 were broken up and the windows of heaven were opened."
13:53 You see, God shut water
13:55 beyond the windows of heaven at creation
13:59 and He placed an abundance of water under the earth.
14:02 Those were the fountains of the great deep.
14:05 And the windows of heaven opened.
14:07 And once again, the planet was filled with water.
14:13 Now I want you to notice a very interesting
14:15 little expression that we find here
14:18 in Matthew 24:37-39.
14:23 I'm going to read the passage again
14:25 and then I'm going to dwell on this particular point.
14:28 It says there, "But as the days of Noah were,
14:31 so also will the coming of the Son of Man be."
14:36 Let me ask you, what coming is that referring to?
14:38 The coming of the Son of Man.
14:41 You know, most people,
14:42 when I ask them that question they say,
14:43 "Well, that's referring to the second coming of Jesus."
14:46 And what I tell them is,
14:48 that it does refer to the second coming of Jesus,
14:52 but it refers to two aspects having to do
14:55 with the coming of Jesus.
14:58 It has to do with the closing of the door, a probation.
15:03 And then also has to do with the second coming of Jesus.
15:08 In other words, the door of probation for the world
15:12 is going to close before Jesus actually comes.
15:17 Notice once again, "But as the days of Noah were,
15:19 so also will the coming of the Son of Man be."
15:22 So there's a parallel between then and the end.
15:26 Notice this, "For as in the days before the flood,
15:30 they were eating and drinking,
15:32 marrying and giving in marriage,
15:33 until the day that Noah entered the ark."
15:35 Let me ask you, is that going to be parallel
15:36 at the end of time also?
15:38 Yes, the two events are being made parallel.
15:40 The entering of the ark,
15:42 the closing of the door is parallel as well.
15:44 So it says, "The day that Noah entered the ark
15:46 and did not know--" What didn't they know?
15:50 They didn't know that they were what?
15:52 That they were lost until the flood came
15:54 and took them all away.
15:56 Are you seeing here that there is a closing of the door
15:58 and all cases are decided when the door closes?
16:01 Actually before the rain begins to fall.
16:04 So when Jesus says,
16:06 so will the coming of the Son of Man be,
16:08 it must mean that there's gonna be a closing of the door
16:11 before Jesus actually comes from heaven
16:15 and pours out from heaven
16:17 and from the earth not water, but what?
16:20 According to 2 Peter, Not water but fire.
16:25 In actual fact, Matthew 24:37-41
16:31 are actually illustrating Matthew 24:14
16:38 all the way to verse 36.
16:40 In other words, what I'm saying is that
16:42 Matthew 24:14-36 is illustrated in verses 37-39.
16:49 Now let me explain how this is
16:51 and I'll do it as quickly as I can.
16:55 Matthew 24:14 speaks about what?
16:59 It speaks about preaching the gospel and then what?
17:04 And then the end will come.
17:06 Let me ask you, is that what Noah did?
17:09 Did Noah preach the gospel?
17:10 Yes, he did.
17:12 So you notice here that we have the gospel preached
17:16 to all nations and then the end will come.
17:19 Noah preached the gospel and then the end came.
17:22 By the way, in Revelation 14:6 it says that,
17:24 "Before the end comes,
17:26 the gospel will go to every nation,
17:29 kindred, tongue, and people,
17:31 just like in the days of Noah."
17:34 Now you remember, also in Matthew Chapter 24
17:37 immediately after it speaks about
17:38 the preaching of the gospel,
17:39 you have the abomination of desolation.
17:42 You remember that in verse 15?
17:44 Does the abomination of desolation separate two groups?
17:48 We studied this before, absolutely.
17:51 There's one group that remains where?
17:54 In the city and they are the lost.
17:59 You have another group that flees
18:02 when they see the sign of the abomination of desolation,
18:05 and their life is what?
18:07 Their life is spared.
18:09 So you have one group destroyed
18:11 and the other group is destroyed,
18:14 and one is spared when they see
18:16 the abomination of desolation.
18:18 Let me ask you, before Jesus comes,
18:21 is there going to be a separating of God's people?
18:24 Yes. What will God's people receive?
18:27 They will receive the seal of God.
18:31 And what will the wicked receive?
18:33 They will receive the mark of the beast
18:36 which we've already shown
18:37 is parallel with the abomination of desolation.
18:41 Are you following me or not?
18:42 In other words, as the abomination of desolation
18:45 divided Jerusalem into two groups,
18:48 so in the same way at the end of time
18:51 there are going to be two groups.
18:53 Let me ask you, were there two groups
18:55 in the days of Noah when the door of probation closed
18:59 and the gospel was finished preaching?
19:02 Absolutely, yes.
19:04 Now what came immediately
19:06 after the abomination of desolation
19:09 and the separation of the righteous
19:11 from the unrighteous?
19:13 You actually have the great tribulation.
19:16 You remember this in Matthew Chapter 24?
19:18 Let me ask you, in the days of Noah,
19:21 after the door closed,
19:23 after the two groups had been separated,
19:25 do you have a period of tribulation
19:27 for Noah and his family in the ark? Absolutely.
19:31 Do the wicked become more and more daring? Yes.
19:34 Is the faith of Noah and his family tested? Absolutely.
19:39 Let me ask you, at the end of time
19:41 after the mark of the beast is given
19:43 and the seal of God and humanity
19:45 is separated into two groups.
19:47 Are the wicked going to arise to try
19:49 and destroy God's people? Yes.
19:52 Is the faith of God's people going to be tested severely
19:55 during the time of trouble
19:57 such as no one has ever seen?
19:59 Yes. Daniel 12:1 speaks speaks about that.
20:04 And then interestingly enough in Matthew Chapter 24,
20:09 after the tribulation you have the second coming of Jesus
20:12 and the destruction of the world
20:14 and the picking up of God's elect by the angels.
20:18 Let me ask you, what happened
20:20 after the period of tribulation that Noah and his family
20:23 sent in the ark when the wicked became more and more daring
20:26 and the faith of those inside was tested?
20:29 What happened? Destruction came upon the world.
20:33 Are you seeing the parallel? You have an exact parallel.
20:36 You have the preaching of the gospel,
20:39 the abomination of desolation
20:40 would be the closing of the door,
20:42 God's people have been separated from the wicked,
20:45 and then you have the great tribulation
20:47 in the days of Noah, also in the end time
20:50 and then destruction comes in both cases.
20:54 So Matthew 24:37-39 is actually amplifying
21:00 what we find in the previous verses of Matthew Chapter 24.
21:06 Now by the way,
21:08 we need to also say something about verses 40 and 41.
21:13 I only read till verse 39,
21:16 but we need to read also verses 40 and 41.
21:20 These are the famous verses
21:21 that are used to try and prove the rapture.
21:24 One will be taken and the other will be what?
21:27 The other will be left.
21:29 And most people assume that the taken ones
21:32 are taken to heaven
21:33 and the left ones are left behind.
21:36 There's where that series comes from,
21:38 the series of books "Left Behind."
21:40 But a careful study, folks, of these verses indicates
21:45 that those that are taken are actually
21:47 those who are destroyed.
21:49 And those who are left, it doesn't say left behind,
21:52 those who are left are the ones who are actually saved.
21:55 And you say, "Well, how is that pastor?"
21:58 Well, Matthew 24 is drawing from Genesis.
22:02 So maybe it'd be a good idea to go back to Genesis.
22:05 Go back to Genesis Chapter 7.
22:06 And I want you to notice
22:08 something very interesting there.
22:09 Genesis 7:22-23.
22:15 Genesis 7:22-23.
22:20 It says there, in verse, let me see here, verse 22
22:26 that God destroyed what?
22:30 Come on, help me, God destroyed what?
22:33 He destroyed everything on the earth that was what?
22:38 That had the breath of life.
22:41 And verse 23 says that, Only whom? Only Noah,
22:48 and those who were in the ark with him, what?
22:53 Remained alive.
22:55 Now do you know that most Bible versions say,
22:59 and only Noah and his family were left?
23:07 You know, when a great big flood comes and washes away a town,
23:14 we say, "Did the flood take everyone away?"
23:18 "Wasn't anyone left?"
23:21 You see, the word left is a remnant word in Scripture.
23:24 I'm not going to get into all of the details,
23:26 but it's a remnant word.
23:28 In other words, it's what's left behind after a great calamity.
23:31 It's what's left alive after a great calamity.
23:35 The calamity takes with destruction one group,
23:40 but another group is left or the other group remains.
23:46 And so in the days of Noah, we have those who are destroyed
23:50 and those who are left.
23:52 The ones who are left are the saved.
23:54 Are they not, according to Genesis 7:22-23? Absolutely.
23:58 Now those who believe in the rapture
24:00 have a serious problem here.
24:02 Because what they say is that
24:03 when the rapture takes place,
24:06 many people in the world are going to die
24:09 at the rapture because, you know planes are gonna crash
24:12 and automobiles are gonna crash.
24:14 So it's gonna be a lot of dead people.
24:16 But they say that there's still going to be a lot of people
24:19 alive on planet earth after the rapture.
24:23 Have you ever heard that before?
24:25 So in other words, there's one group
24:27 that's going to be destroyed at the rapture,
24:29 there's another group that is going to remain
24:32 on planet earth, alive.
24:34 Now let me ask you, does that parallel
24:36 what we find at the time of the flood?
24:39 At the time of the flood, when Noah and his family
24:41 were left alive in the ark, you had outside,
24:44 part of the people were destroyed by the flood
24:47 and another part survived and kept on living on planet earth?
24:50 No, you only had two groups.
24:53 You had one group those outside, all of them were destroyed.
24:56 And those inside all of them were what?
25:00 All of them were spared.
25:02 Are you with me or are you not with me?
25:05 Praise the Lord.
25:06 Now I want you to notice that there is a period of time
25:12 between when the door closes and when the flood comes.
25:18 The same thing is gonna happen, folks, at the end of time.
25:21 The door of probation for the world is gonna close
25:25 before the tribulation before Jesus comes.
25:28 God's people are gonna go through the tribulation,
25:31 it's gonna be a time of severe testing.
25:34 The wicked are not going to know that they're lost.
25:38 And they are gonna come after
25:39 God's people according to Scripture.
25:42 But God's people are gonna be shielded.
25:44 You see, it's interesting that in Genesis Chapter 7 it says
25:48 that "God shut him in."
25:51 What that means is that Noah and his family
25:54 were shut in the ark
25:56 and they were spared from two things.
25:58 They were spared from the rage of the wicked
26:01 and they were also spared when the destruction came.
26:04 In other words, they were spared during the tribulation
26:07 and they were also spared when the destruction came.
26:11 By the way, in other places in Matthew actually,
26:14 a little later on in Matthew Chapter 24,
26:17 Jesus compares His coming to the coming of a thief.
26:22 Now let's dwell on that for a moment,
26:24 "The coming of the thief."
26:27 Do you know that a coming of a thief has two stages?
26:31 You say how's that? Well, let me explain it.
26:33 By the way, He says, Jesus--
26:36 His coming will be like a thief in the night.
26:38 Not while you're at work,
26:40 but while people are at home, what?
26:42 Sleeping. That's why Jesus said stay awake.
26:47 Don't go to sleep He says,
26:49 stay awake because I'm coming like a thief,
26:52 when you least expect Me.
26:55 And so you imagine, you know, you lock your doors
26:58 and your windows for a thousand nights, the thief never comes.
27:04 So you say, what's the use?
27:05 I can leave my windows open.
27:07 The thief's not gonna come tonight.
27:10 And so that night you go to sleep
27:12 and you left the window open.
27:14 And lo and behold, the thief comes.
27:17 Comes--gets through the window, steals your DVD player,
27:24 steals your microwave,
27:27 steals your television set, hallelujah?
27:31 Steals all your--all the movies that you have on DVD
27:34 that you shouldn't watch, anyway.
27:38 And everybody in the house is what?
27:40 Everybody in the house is sleeping.
27:43 Unaware that the thief has come.
27:46 And so the thief goes back out the window,
27:49 he leaves and everybody is asleep in the house.
27:54 When do they find out that the thief has come and visited them?
27:59 The next morning when they wake up
28:01 and they start roaming around the house
28:04 they see that all of their stuff is missing.
28:08 How many stages did the coming of the thief have? Two.
28:12 One, when he came and two when you found out that he came.
28:18 But in between you did not know that the thief had come.
28:24 Are you following me or not?
28:26 Jesus says, My coming is gonna be just like that.
28:29 The people before the flood,
28:31 they didn't have the foggiest idea
28:32 that their probation had closed,
28:34 when the door of the ark closed.
28:36 They didn't know.
28:37 For seven whole days they carried on business as usual.
28:40 They bought, they sold, they planted,
28:43 you know, they married and got,
28:45 you know, they married and they carried on with life.
28:50 Unawares that what?
28:53 Unawares that their door of mercy had closed.
28:57 When did they actually find out that they were lost?
29:02 When it began to what? To rain.
29:05 Jesus says, "So also will the coming of the Son of Man be."
29:11 You see, the Christian world today
29:13 is totally oblivious to this reality.
29:16 They're expecting the rapture
29:19 when really what they should be expecting
29:21 is the close of probation.
29:23 You see, there is a certain sense
29:25 in which Jesus comes as a thief before His glorious coming.
29:29 But He doesn't come personally.
29:31 He actually comes to His Father
29:33 and He closes the door of probation.
29:36 And then after the tribulation,
29:39 He actually comes on the clouds of heaven,
29:42 but the world is going to find out
29:45 that they're lost, too late.
29:46 By the way, have you ever noticed in Scripture
29:48 that the door always closes before the destruction?
29:53 Let me give you some examples, the Jewish nation.
29:56 When did the door of mercy close for the Jewish nation?
29:59 In the year '34 with the stoning of Stephen.
30:02 When did the destruction take place?
30:04 Between the year '66 and the year '70. That's right.
30:07 It was only the execution of the sentence.
30:10 Let me ask you, before Babylon fell in the days of Belshazzar,
30:14 did God already say,
30:15 "You have been weighed in the balances
30:17 and you have been found wanting,"
30:18 before Belshazzar was destroyed,
30:21 or anybody was killed in the city?
30:22 Yes. He had already been weighed.
30:26 Let me ask you, Sodom and Gomorrah, was there
30:28 a closing of the door before the cities were destroyed?
30:31 Yes. The Bible says that the angels pulled them in
30:34 and they shut the door.
30:36 That was it for the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah.
30:39 You see, they had been judged and the door closed
30:41 before the destruction came.
30:44 By the way, also before Jerusalem was destroyed
30:48 by Nebuchadnezzar we notice in Ezekiel Chapter 8,
30:51 that there was a process of placing a seal
30:53 on the forehead of those who sighed and cried
30:56 because of the abominations
30:57 that were being committed in the city,
30:59 and after they were sealed,
31:00 then God said, "Go and destroy."
31:03 And so this is the way that God operates.
31:06 You see, at the end of time it's the same way.
31:09 The first angel's message says,
31:10 "Fear God, and give glory to Him,
31:12 for the hour of His judgment is come."
31:16 Notice that the judgment takes place
31:18 before Jesus comes on the clouds
31:21 because the preaching of the Gospel
31:23 and the preaching of the judgment
31:24 is Revelation 14:6-7.
31:27 The coming of Jesus on the cloud isn't until Revelation 14:14,
31:32 when He's on a cloud with a sickle in His hand
31:34 and He's coming to harvest the earth.
31:36 But before that the judgment has been preached
31:39 and humanity has been separated into two groups.
31:43 This is Biblical proof that there is always
31:46 a pre-advent investigative judgment
31:49 before the destruction is actually poured out.
31:56 Now allow me to read you a statement,
31:59 from the book "Patriarchs and Prophets" pages 98 and 99.
32:05 You know, this author that I'm reading from Ellen White,
32:10 this book, "Patriarchs and Prophets"
32:11 is one of my favorites.
32:13 It is a tremendous commentary on the first portion
32:16 of Holy Scripture all the way up to Solomon.
32:20 I mean, it's a classic. If you really want to learn
32:23 the meaning of Scripture up from before creation,
32:27 from the fall of Lucifer in heaven,
32:29 all the way to the time of Solomon,
32:31 you know, this is a book that you need to read
32:33 because she has some profound insights.
32:36 By the way, she only had
32:37 two and a half years of primary education.
32:40 So she had more than human wisdom.
32:43 Notice what she says.
32:45 "So," she's spoken about the flood,
32:50 the closing of the door and them not knowing
32:52 that they were lost until the flood came.
32:54 "So when Christ shall cease His intercession for guilty men,
33:01 before His coming in the clouds of heaven,
33:06 the door of mercy will be shut.
33:10 Then divine grace will no longer restrain the wicked
33:15 and Satan will have full control
33:18 of those who have rejected mercy.
33:22 They will endeavor to destroy God's people,
33:25 but as Noah was shut into the ark,
33:29 so the righteous will be shielded by divine power.
33:34 For seven days after Noah and his family entered the ark,
33:39 there appeared no sign of the coming storm.
33:42 During this period, their faith was tested.
33:48 It was a time of triumph to the world without."
33:54 A time of triumph for who?
33:56 For those who were outside the ark.
33:58 They said, "See, we told you he was crazy."
34:01 She continues saying,
34:03 "The apparent delay confirmed them in the belief
34:08 that Noah's message was a delusion,
34:10 and that the flood would never come.
34:13 Notwithstanding the solemn scenes
34:15 which they had witnessed, the beasts
34:17 and birds entering the ark,
34:19 and the angel of God closing the door,
34:21 they still continued their sport and revelry,
34:26 even making a jest of these signal
34:29 manifestations of God's power.
34:32 They gathered in crowds about the ark,
34:35 deriding its inmates with a daring violence
34:40 which they had never ventured upon before."
34:44 This is speaking about the period
34:46 between when the door closed and it would begin to rain.
34:49 Their faith was tested.
34:51 And the wicked became more and more violent each day outside.
34:58 By the way, I believe that the seven days
35:01 would probably represent
35:03 the period of the seven last plagues
35:05 that begin to fall when the door of mercy is closed.
35:09 Also the number seven is connected
35:11 with the three young men who were thrown
35:13 into the tribulation of the fiery furnace.
35:16 In fact, the furnace experience in the Bible
35:20 is connected with testing or with tribulation.
35:24 You know, you can read Psalm 12:6 where it says that,
35:27 "silver was refined seven times."
35:31 You can also read Isaiah 48:10,
35:34 where the prophet says that God's people
35:37 are tested in the furnace of affliction.
35:41 So God's people-- the faith of God's people
35:44 is gonna be severely tested during this period.
35:49 In another very interesting comment in "Great Controversy,"
35:52 page 491 we have an amplification
35:57 of what I read from "Patriarchs and Prophets."
36:01 "When the work of the investigative judgment closes,
36:05 the destiny of all will have been decided for life or death."
36:13 You know, when you really think about it,
36:16 if we should die tonight that would close our probation.
36:21 There's gonna be a close of probation for the world,
36:24 but there is also a personal closing of probation.
36:27 So we need to be ready at each moment.
36:31 She continues saying, "Probation is ended a short time
36:37 before the appearing of the Lord
36:39 in the clouds of heaven. Christ--"
36:42 Now she's gonna show where this is found in Scripture.
36:45 "Christ in the Revelation,
36:46 looking forward to that time, declares,
36:49 'He that is unjust, let him be unjust still,
36:52 and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still,
36:56 and he that is righteous let him be righteous still,
36:59 and he that is holy, let him be holy still.'"
37:02 And then he, Notice this text,
37:07 immediately after, "And, behold, I come quickly,
37:10 and My reward is with Me,
37:13 to give every man according as his work shall be."
37:16 Do you see there that the coming of Jesus
37:18 takes place after this declaration
37:21 from the sanctuary,
37:22 that the righteous will continue to be righteous,
37:24 the holy will continue to be holy,
37:26 the filthy will continue to be filthy,
37:28 the unrighteous will continue to be unrighteous?
37:30 Then it says, "Behold, I come quickly
37:33 and My reward is with Me,
37:35 to give every man according as his work shall be."
37:39 She continues saying,
37:41 "The righteous and the wicked will still be living
37:45 upon the earth in their mortal state.
37:49 Men will be planting and building,
37:51 eating and drinking, all unconscious that the final,
37:57 irrevocable decision has been
38:00 pronounced in the sanctuary above."
38:03 Then she goes to another biblical basis for this.
38:07 "Before the flood, after Noah entered the ark,
38:11 God shut him in and shut the ungodly out.
38:16 But for seven days the people,
38:18 knowing not that their doom was fixed,
38:22 continued their careless, pleasure-loving life
38:26 and mocked the warnings of impending judgment.
38:29 'So,' says the Savior,
38:31 'shall also the coming of the Son of man be.'"
38:35 Now notice this.
38:37 "Silently, unnoticed as the midnight thief,
38:44 will come the decisive hour which marks
38:47 the fixing of every man's destiny,
38:51 the final withdrawal of mercy's offer to guilty men."
38:56 "Watch therefore,
38:58 lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping.
39:02 Perilous is the condition of those who
39:05 growing weary of their watch,
39:08 turn to the attractions of the world.
39:11 While the man of business is absorbed in the pursuit of gain,
39:15 while the pleasure lover is seeking indulgence,
39:18 while the daughter of fashion is arranging her adornments,
39:22 it may be in that hour the Judge of all the earth
39:26 will pronounce the sentence,
39:28 'Thou art weighed in the balances,
39:32 and art found wanting.'"
39:36 That is an awesome statement.
39:38 And she's not just getting this from the top of her head.
39:42 She uses two avenues to prove it.
39:44 Revelation 22:11 and 12,
39:47 and also the parallel of the times of the flood,
39:50 where Jesus said, "As it was then, so it will be."
39:55 There's a time between the closing of the door
39:58 and when the destruction comes, when people will not know
40:02 that their destiny has been fixed.
40:07 Now the big question is, must the close of the door
40:12 of probation catch us by surprise?
40:17 Is there anyway that we can be sure
40:19 that closing of the door does not catch us by surprise?
40:25 And how can we be sure?
40:27 Well, allow me to share with you something
40:29 that happened in the country
40:31 where I lived for many years, the country of Colombia.
40:35 November 13, 1985 the city of Armero in Colombia
40:42 was buried by an avalanche of mud
40:47 as a result of the eruption of the volcano,
40:52 El Nevado del Ruiz. Perhaps, some of you remember that.
40:57 Twenty two thousand people were buried alive
41:03 in a matter of just a few minutes.
41:06 The question is couldn't this loss of life
41:11 have been prevented?
41:13 Weren't there an abundance of signs
41:15 that a disaster was about to take place?
41:19 Did they really need to be caught by surprise?
41:23 The answer is a resounding no.
41:28 In fact, in an article published in the newspaper El Espectador,
41:35 there was an article the very next day
41:37 and the title of it was "Un desastre anunciado."
41:41 In other words, An Announced Disaster.
41:45 You know, if there's a disaster
41:46 that is announced before it happens,
41:48 you certainly would have a chance to escape.
41:51 By the way, the author of this article
41:53 was Rodolfo Rodriguez Calderon.
41:57 What he said in that article was simply amazing.
42:00 No one in that city should have lost their lives
42:04 if they had just paid attention to the signs.
42:08 Allow me to share with you some of the information
42:11 that this author wrote in that newspaper the following day.
42:17 He said, "11 months before the disaster
42:20 the mountain began spewing out smoke.
42:26 The fluffy snow on the mountain had become
42:30 a solid sheet of ice because of the intense heat
42:36 that was coming from the mountain itself.
42:39 The water level in the rivers grew immensely,
42:43 flooding out some small towns in the area.
42:47 The cloud of gases and ash which had been
42:51 about 15 feet high the first day,
42:54 grew to 750 feet the second day,
42:57 and was 16,000 feet high, the day before the disaster."
43:05 On September 11, interesting.
43:08 On September 11, the earth began
43:11 to shake 3 on the Richter scale.
43:17 On occasions, people said
43:19 that they could hear the mountain roar inside.
43:24 The authorities had to close the roads
43:26 that let to the ski resort at the top of the mountain
43:29 because of the mudslides.
43:32 It was impossible for people
43:33 to keep their furniture clean because their furniture
43:37 was constantly filled with volcanic ash.
43:41 The day before the disaster
43:43 people could smell sulfur in the air.
43:46 In fact, the very night before the mountain erupted,
43:51 there was a torrential rain, according to some
43:53 who escaped with their lives.
43:56 And this torrential rain began to fall at about 9 p.m.
43:59 And they said, witnesses said
44:01 that it was unusually dark.
44:03 It was like a supernatural darkness.
44:07 People had all these signs
44:10 that a major disaster was going to take place.
44:14 And yet 22,000 people were buried alive.
44:20 Let me ask you, did they have plenty of signs
44:23 to have escaped from this disaster?
44:26 Of course, they did.
44:27 Do you know what the problem was?
44:29 They chose to ignore the signs
44:32 because of what the experts had to say.
44:38 In that same article the author explained the reason
44:44 why people were so comfortable in the city and had no fear.
44:49 Allow me to share with you,
44:51 what these authorities had to say.
44:56 The town priest Edgar Efrain Toros
45:00 came over the radio at 7 p.m.
45:03 And he said, "There is no reason to panic,
45:07 please keep calm."
45:10 The civil defense which is supposed to actually help
45:14 in case of a potential disaster or in case other disaster
45:19 had a special radio release that said,
45:22 "There is no reason to be concerned."
45:26 The bishop of the town Augusto Osorio
45:31 warned on the radio against fanatics
45:34 who were making it appear like a major disaster was imminent.
45:40 The mayor of the town said,
45:42 "Don't worry," and then he skipped town.
45:45 The governor of the state of Tolima
45:48 where this city was, said, after the disaster,
45:52 he said, "The disaster could not have been predicted in advance."
45:58 Colombian scientist, Jaime Viegas Velasquez
46:01 affirmed before the disaster,
46:04 "This volcano is not going to erupt.
46:06 Nothing is going to happen.
46:08 Beware of speculations and exaggerations."
46:14 The Secretary of mines, Ivan Duque Escobar said,
46:19 "Nothing will happen."
46:22 Even United States geologist
46:24 Darrell Herd had said before the disaster,
46:28 "It is very unlikely that the cities
46:32 could be buried by rocks, lava, or mud."
46:36 And the regional emergency sent out--
46:39 committee sent out a message,
46:42 "Don't expect your windows to shatter,
46:45 don't expect darkness,
46:46 don't expect lava to rundown the mountain,
46:50 don't expect large layers of ash among other things."
46:54 In fact, the message said,
46:56 "Go out and enjoy the spectacle."
47:04 Why were all of those people buried?
47:06 Why did all of those people perish?
47:09 They had an abundance of signs,
47:13 that a disaster was imminent.
47:16 But instead of paying attention to the signs
47:19 and believing the signs, they chose to believe the experts.
47:26 And, you know, the Bible tells us
47:28 that in the end time it's gonna be the same thing.
47:31 You know, when I listen to the radio,
47:33 to the radical left wing on radio.
47:38 They seem to think that anybody
47:40 who believes that the world was created in seven days
47:44 is some sort of ignorant animal.
47:48 They seem to believe that anybody
47:50 who doesn't accept the theory of evolution
47:54 is naive and uneducated.
48:00 That's exactly what 2 Peter has to say.
48:04 It says that in the end time there were people--
48:06 be people that will come and they'll say,
48:09 "Where is the promise of His coming?
48:11 Everything has continued as from the beginning,
48:14 there is nothing to worry about."
48:17 And Peter says, "They willingly ignore this.
48:22 That once upon a time in the days of Noah
48:26 the world was destroyed by a flood."
48:30 And he says, "At the end of the history of the world,
48:33 the world will once again be destroyed by a flood."
48:36 But it will not be destroyed by a flood of water,
48:39 it will be destroyed by a flood of what?
48:42 By a flood of fire.
48:46 Allow me to read you another statement,
48:48 this is rather extensive.
48:51 It's actually a comment of Ellen White
48:53 on Mark 13:33-37.
48:56 I'm gonna read that passage first
48:57 and then I'm going to read her statement
48:59 which is very significant.
49:02 Here Jesus is speaking and He says this.
49:04 "Take heed, watch and pray,
49:08 for you do not know when the time is."
49:11 By the way when Jesus says
49:12 you don't know what the time is,
49:14 that's not the time of the second coming.
49:15 It's the time of the close of probation.
49:18 Notice what it says in verse 34.
49:20 "It is like a man going to a far country,
49:22 who left his house and gave authority to his servants,
49:26 and to each his work,
49:27 and commanded the doorkeeper to watch.
49:29 Watch therefore, for you do not know
49:32 when the master of the house is coming."
49:34 That's not the second coming, folks.
49:36 "You do not know when the master of the house
49:38 is coming-in the evening, at midnight,
49:41 at the crowing of the rooster,
49:42 or in the morning- lest, coming suddenly,
49:45 he find you sleeping."
49:47 Notice, it's when he comes and finds you what?
49:51 Sleeping, not when you wake up.
49:53 "And what I say to you, I say to all, watch!"
49:58 Now notice her comment,
50:00 Ellen White's comment on this passage.
50:02 Jesus-- By the way, if you want
50:04 the reference to this, it's found
50:06 in volume 2 of the Testimonies pages 190 and 191.
50:11 Jesus has left us word, "Watch ye therefore,
50:16 for ye know not when the master of the house cometh,
50:20 at even, or at midnight,
50:22 or at the cock crowing, or in the morning.
50:25 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
50:29 And what I say unto you I say unto all, "Watch."
50:33 She is quoting Mark 13, right?
50:35 Now notice her remark on this.
50:38 "We are waiting and watching for the return of the Master,
50:42 who is to bring the morning,
50:45 lest coming suddenly He find us sleeping."
50:49 Now here comes the remarkable part of the statement.
50:52 "Lest coming suddenly He find us," what?
50:55 Sleeping.
50:57 She says this, "What time is here referred to?"
51:04 When it says, "lest coming suddenly He find us sleeping."
51:07 She says, "What time is here referred to?"
51:11 Now notice her categorical answer.
51:13 "Not to the revelation of Christ
51:16 in the clouds of heaven to find a people asleep.
51:20 No, but to His return from His ministration
51:25 in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary,
51:28 when He lays off His priestly attire
51:30 and clothes Himself with garments of vengeance,
51:34 and when the mandate goes forth,
51:36 'He that is unjust, let him be unjust still,
51:38 he which is filthy, let him be filthy still,
51:41 he that is righteous, let him be righteous still,
51:43 and he that is holy, let him be holy still.'
51:47 When Jesus ceases to plead for man,
51:51 the cases of all are forever decided.
51:55 This is the time of reckoning with His servants."
51:59 Now I want you to notice, some very interesting terms
52:01 that she used because she's gonna say
52:03 that most of those who were surprised are church people.
52:09 "To those who have neglected
52:14 the preparation of purity and holiness,
52:18 which fits them to be waiting ones to welcome their Lord,
52:24 the sun sets in gloom and darkness,
52:27 and rises not again.
52:31 Probation closes, Christ's intercessions cease in heaven.
52:37 This time finally comes suddenly upon all,
52:41 and those who have neglected,"
52:44 there's the word again, neglected, not rejected,
52:48 "those who have neglected to purify their souls
52:53 by obeying the truth are found sleeping.
52:58 They became weary of waiting and watching."
53:03 Are these believers? Sure.
53:06 "They became weary of waiting and watching.
53:11 They became indifferent."
53:13 Do you notice neglectful, indifferent, weary?
53:17 This isn't a rejection.
53:19 "They became indifferent in regard
53:21 to the coming of their Master.
53:23 They longed not for His appearing."
53:27 They maybe believed it, but they didn't long for it.
53:32 "And thought there was not need
53:36 of such continued, perseverant watching.
53:40 They had been disappointed
53:41 in their expectations and might be again.
53:44 They concluded that there was time enough yet to arouse.
53:48 They would be sure to not lose the opportunity
53:52 of securing an earthly treasure.
53:56 It would be safe to get, all of this world they could.
54:00 And in securing this object,
54:02 they lost all anxiety and interest
54:06 in the appearing of the Master.
54:09 They became indifferent and careless,
54:12 as though His coming were yet in the distance.
54:16 But while their interest
54:17 was buried up in their worldly gains,
54:20 the work closed in the heavenly sanctuary,
54:25 and they were unprepared."
54:28 Solemn words, aren't they?
54:33 I believe that Jesus is gonna close the door very soon,
54:37 by what we're watching, out in the world.
54:41 And I believe that Jesus is gonna come very soon.
54:45 How about us?
54:46 Are we anxious for His coming to take place?
54:50 Or have we grown weary, indifferent, careless,
54:56 tired of waiting and watching?
54:58 We say, "Oh, my parents talked about the second coming,
55:01 and my grandparents talked about the second coming,
55:04 and their parents talked about the second coming.
55:07 It's been talked about for since 1844.
55:12 And still Jesus hasn't come.
55:15 His coming a still a way's off."
55:18 Those who express it this way
55:21 are the ones who are going to be caught by surprise,
55:24 when the door of probation actually closes.
55:29 You know what we need to be doing, while we're waiting?
55:31 We need to do the same thing that Noah did.
55:35 Preach and work. See words are cheap.
55:41 If Noah had said, "There's a flood coming,
55:44 everybody get ready."
55:46 And the people say, "What are we gonna do about it?"
55:50 Noah says, "The Lord will provide."
55:53 No, his words were backed up by his actions.
55:57 He had a faith that worked.
55:59 That's what needs to happen with God's people.
56:02 By the way, do you know that Ellen White says that
56:05 everything that Noah possessed, he invested in the ark?
56:13 Everything that he possessed, he invested in the ark.
56:17 Everybody else was saving for a rainy day.
56:22 And what happened, when the rain came?
56:25 Everything that they had saved was washed away.
56:32 You know, God's people today are probably,
56:34 the most prosperous of any generation
56:38 of Seventh-day Adventists.
56:41 And as a result, we become like Revelation says,
56:43 "Rich and increased with goods, and in need of nothing."
56:48 We've lost all anxiety that longing for the coming of Jesus.
56:54 We need to get that back because only those
56:57 who long for His coming, who love His coming,
57:00 according to the apostle Paul will be prepared,
57:04 when the door of mercy closes,
57:06 and when Jesus comes on the clouds of heaven.
57:09 I pray to God that we will re-consecrate
57:12 our lives to Jesus.
57:14 And that that fire might burn in our bones
57:16 and in our hearts again.
57:18 That glorious hope, that blessed hope
57:21 that the Bible speaks about,
57:23 the second coming of Jesus Christ,
57:26 our Savior and our Lord.


Revised 2014-12-17