So, Jesus is coming again soon. People have been preaching this all of my life. Even Paul and the early church believed Jesus would return in their lifetimes. And He didn’t. Why? Because it wasn’t time. But never before in history has the stage been completely set – everything is in place. Israel is a nation. Her enemies are aligning against her in the patterns described in the prophecies. And then there are the signs that Jesus gave us. Let’s look at these.
First, in Matthew 24:4 & 5, Jesus speaks of the sign of deception. “Do not be swayed or seduced by false messiahs and antichrists.” He said, “Many will come in my name, claiming to be me or claiming to have the answers.” Read this carefully this morning. As the end draws near, deception will be the ultimate tool of Satan, and even though the lies will be obvious, many will believe and like sheep, will dumbly follow the deceiver. Be honest. Have you ever known a time when people were more willing to believe a lie and follow a liar than today? It’s almost as if people have become so hungry for a juicy bit of gossip that they take it all in and cannot get enough. And it’s getting worse. The spirit of antichrist is rampant in our world today, and the closer we come to that time, the deceptions will multiply, and the world will not care. The apostle Paul tells us that it will even infiltrate the church. How can that happen? First, because Satan is a deceiver.
Read 1 Timothy 4:1, 2. “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron….” Look at 2 Tim. 4:3-4 says, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound teaching but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables.” That’s why many of the churches with their signs and wonders are busting at the seams. How can it happen? Because Society is Desperate. Prosperity gospels are popular in our day. There is an emphasis on emotionalism that is leading millions astray. People want to believe in something – anything that will provide a quick fix to what ails them right now. And the only antidote for these claims is the truth of the Holy Scripture. The good news is that Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice and follow me.” The true children of God are not deceived by these false prophets. But we must know the Bible well enough to spot counterfeits when they show up. Do you know how a bank trains its tellers to spot counterfeits? Not by showing them samples of counterfeit but by making them handle the real thing. The truth is that when you know the real thing, the counterfeit is easily spotted. Ultimately, one man is going to emerge who will be the real Antichrist. He will promise peace, and the world will gladly follow him. Why is that? Because a vast majority of the world’s population is looking for the coming of a Messiah.
Consider the three major religions in the world today. All are looking for the imminent coming of the Messiah. Christians are looking for the return of Jesus Christ, first to call His people out of this world and second to return 7 years later in power and glory. Second, the Jews are anxiously awaiting the coming of the Messiah. You see, they don’t know He’s already come once, but there is a group of Jewish rabbis and scholars who have written articles recently detailing how all of the things happening in the world today are signs that the coming of the Messiah is imminent. They believe we are living in the last days. Third, the Muslims are waiting for the coming of their messiah. They call him al Mahdi or the 12th Imam. In fact, many of the radical “Twelvers,” as they are called, have proclaimed that al Mahdi is already in the world, and he alone is responsible for the unrest taking place in the Middle East today. He is stirring the world into chaos because chaos is needed to usher in the end times.
Now let me share a little insight with you about this al Mahdi. Listen carefully – you might want to print this out and read it again and again. The Bible says that the Antichrist will kill both Christians and Jews during a 7 year period called the Tribulation during which he will reign supremely over all the Earth. He will establish a 7 year peace treaty with Israel and then break that treaty after 3.5 years. He will set up his global seat of power on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. He will kill non-believers in him by beheading them. He will require that his followers take a mark on their forehead or hand in order to do any kind of business, buying or selling in the land. At the end of the 7 years, Jesus will return in power and glory to bring judgment on the Antichrist. Do you have all that? Because listen to this. According to the Muslim Haddith, the words of the prophet Muhammed, the 12th Imam or al Mahdi will kill both Christians and Jews during a 7 year period during which he will reign supremely over all the Earth. He will establish a 7 year peace treaty with Israel and then break that treaty after 3.5 years. He will set up his global seat of power on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. He will kill non-believers in him by beheading them. He will place a mark on the forehead of all true Muslims – a mark they will proudly wear. At the end of the 7 years, Jesus will return to earth, but not in power and glory to bring judgment but to tell Christians that we have it all wrong, the Bible is corrupt, He never claimed to be the Son of God, never died on the cross, that Islam is the true religion, and that all should follow al Mahdi. What in the world is going on? God’s Word is being fulfilled before our very eyes. What in the world is going on? God is bringing to pass that which He said He would.