I'm summarizing an article that was printed in "Prophecy in the News Magazine", May 2012--by Gary Stearman
warns that "Prophecy Burnout" can be a very real thing--as we
concentrate on looking for the return of Jesus. Believers can watch,
for what seems like forever, and still the Lord tarries. But at the
same time, KNOWING end time prophecy brings peace of mind, and much
comfort in times of sorrow, and in the course of normal daily life, it
provides mental satisfaction. We know Jesus is coming...
signs which are usually cited are from a list, given by Jesus in Matthew
24. These are so familiar to the prophecy student: false christs,
wars and rumors of wars, ethnicities rising against ethnicities (kingdom
against kingdom), famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in diverse
places. This list of SIGNS, known as the beginning of sorrows (BIRTH
PAINS, LABOR CONTRACTIONS) signal the approach of that time of intense
judgment called the Tribulation.
There are people who declare
that the Rapture is a SIGNLESS event, meaning that there's nothing to
watch for. However, the Apostles of the early Church had much to say
about the closing days of the Church Age. When we look around today,
it's apparent that the geopolitical and societal climate of the world
MIRRORS what the Apostles wrote so many centuries ago.
says: Yesterday, on my Facebook page, I had a run-in with a person who
declared that "the dispensation of grace" (the age of grace) was an
error. Today, as I REVIEW what Gary Stearman wrote, I see he ECHOES and
SUPPORTS my assessment, and this idea is NOT in error at all. I'll
quote Gary (before I continue this summary). We need to have a clear
grasp upon DISPENSATIONS.
"Since Pentecost, and for a finite
period ending with the catching away of the Church, we are said to live
in 'the dispensation of grace.' Paul announced the beginning of this
period in Ephesians 3:2, as he wrote, '...ye have heard of the
DISPENSATION OF THE GRACE OF GOD which is given me to you-ward...'
used the word 'DISPENSATION' to describe his ministry, as in 1
Corinthians 9:17, where he said, 'For if I do this thing willingly, I
have a reward: but if against my will, a DISPENSATION of THE GOSPEL is
committed unto me.' Or, in Colossians 1:25, where he writes, 'Whereof I
am made a minister, according to the DISPENSATION OF GOD which is given
to me for you, to fulfill the word of God.'
"In these instances,
Paul expresses THE FACT that the Lord has impressed him into the
service for the purpose of founding the doctrinal centerpiece of the
Church Age (dispensation).
"The term 'DISPENSATION' describes a
condition of stewardship--the FOUNDATIONAL doctrines of the Church given
through Paul. But, it is also intimately connected with the CONCLUSION
of the Church Age. This is easily observed in Ephesians 1:10, where
Paul speaks of the END OF THE AGE:
"'That in the DISPENSATION of
the FULNESS OF TIMES He (Jesus) might GATHER TOGETHER in ONE all things
IN CHRIST, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even IN
"Paul speaks of 'times,' PLURAL, rather than 'time,'
SINGULAR. This is an ACKNOWLEDGMENT that the DISPENSATION OF GRACE is
only ONE PART of a larger picture. Former time periods began with the
FIRST--Innocence--and the Garden of Eden. After that, came Conscience,
Human Government, Promise, Law and the PRESENT AGE, GRACE. After THIS
AGE ENDS, the seventh (Kingdom) age will feature the physical presence
"But NOW, more than ever, the teaching of classical
DISPENSATIONALISM is being held up to ridicule...." End of Gary's
quote. (I ran into that ridicule about DISPENSATIONS yesterday on my
Facebook page, and now, I thank Gary for this explanation.)
To continue with this summary:
dispensational premillennial people believe that the Rapture will be a
SIGNLESS EVENT, meaning that NO PROPHECY needs to be fulfilled BEFORE
the Rapture...which will come quickly and without warning. Yet, signs
of "the day of the Lord" (the Tribulation period) show "the nearness" of
that hour. AND at the same time, a warning is given by Jesus, "Watch
therefore, for you KNOW NOT what hour your Lord doth come." We can
surely see THE DAY (Tribulation) approaching, and yet we will NOT know
the hour of the Lord's coming. This appears to present us with a
contradiction. If nobody but the Father knows when Jesus will come,
then WHY look for signs?
The meaning is quite clear: BELIEVERS
MUST AT ALL TIMES BE READY FOR THE COMING OF THE LORD. He will come
LIKE A THIEF upon those who DO NOT WATCH, and those people can suffer
Consider the admonition to the Church of Sardis (the dead
Church): "Remember, therefore how you hast received and heard, and hold
fast, and repent. If therefore you shall NOT WATCH, I will come on you
as A THIEF, and you shall NOT KNOW WHAT HOUR I will come upon you."
In the prophetic application, the Sardis Church
represents the Churches of the Reformation in the sixteenth
century--which is the time when the latter-day Church awakened after the
dark ages to enter a final countdown to the end of the age. Sardis
represents a Church which was FROZEN INTO a mistaken eschatology (end
times) interpretation that had solidified out of the false teachings of
Augustine from the fifth century. Sardis wrongly holds to the idea that
the events of THE REVELATION have, for the most part, already been
fulfilled. Jesus told Sardis that if it did NOT repent of this, they
would fail to recognize the signs of the end; they would NOT be
watching, and the Rapture of the Church will catch Sardis by surprise
(because not watching).
What is implied here is that a Church
which FAILS TO WATCH will be surprised by Christ's coming. On the other
hand, IF people watch, they WILL KNOW He is coming.
What do the Apostles say about the end of the Church Age--things that will signal that the Lord's coming is near?
What Paul declares in Romans--we have the SIGN of a REBIRTHED nation of Israel.
11:11-12--"I say then, Have they (Israel) stumbled that they should
fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall SALVATION IS COME to
the Gentiles, for to PROVOKE them (Israel) to jealousy. Now if the FALL
of them (Israel) be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of
them the riches of THE GENTILES; how much more their fulness?"
shows the future days in which the Jews will be brought back to their
land--as is also prophesied in Ezekiel and Daniel. Gary then gives a
detailed description of two things. 1. A revived revelation of
understanding, directly from the Bible, that Israel must come back to
their land (J.N. Darby saw this in scripture; so did E.W. Bullinger--in
the 1800s). 2. At the same time, Jews were stirred to return to the
Holy Land. I'll add # 3.--And in the sky, in 1896-97, an eclipse cycle
upheld that understanding--and in 1897, the FIRST Zionist Congress was
held in Basle, Switzerland, near the same time as the eclipse.
years later, in 1947, the Jews were recognized by the United Nations,
and in 1948, the new nation of Israel was born. In leading up to this,
World War 1--and the Balfour Declaration-- prepared the land for the
Jews. World War 2 and the Holocaust prepared the Jews for the land.
Therefore, as scripture declared, the nation of Israel was indeed reborn
in the latter days. We see this very thing in Paul's writing--as he
wrote to enlighten the Church:
"And so shall ALL Israel be
saved: as it is written, 'There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer,
and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant
unto them, when I shall take away their sins, As concerning the gospel,
they (Israel) are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election
(Israel), THEY ARE BELOVED for the Father's sake. (Notice that Israel
is called "THE ELECT" here.) For the gifts and callings of God are
without repentance." Romans 11:26-29. (Meaning that God will NEVER
abandon Israel, to whom He gave those EVERLASTING COVENANTS.)
THE REBORN NATION OF ISRAEL IS A SIGN THAT THE RAPTURE IS IMMINENT.
Paul declares in 1 Corinthians--the resurrection and rapture of the
Church put into THE CONTEXT of the Jewish Feast Calendar.
THE ORDER of the FIRST RESURRECTION in 1 Corinthians 15:20-26--"But now
is Christ risen from the dead, and become THE FIRSTFRUITS of them that
slept. For since by man came death, by man (Jesus) came also the
resurrection of the dead. For as IN ADAM (our earthly birth) ALL die,
even so IN CHRIST shall ALL (who trust in Him) be made ALIVE. But every
man in HIS OWN ORDER: Christ, the FIRSTFRUITS: afterward THEY that
ARE CHRIST'S at His coming (the Rapture of the Church). THEN COMES THE
END, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the
Father; and when He shall put down ALL RULE and ALL AUTHORITY and POWER
(after the Tribulation). For He MUST reign (in the Millennium) till He
has put ALL enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be
destroyed is death (after the Millennium)."
What's THE ORDER of Jewish feasts that's seen here?
Lord died for us on Passover, becoming our sacrifice for the cleansing
of sin. His body was broken for us and hidden in burial, as revealed in
the Feast of Unleavened Bread. On the Feast of Firstfruits, Jesus rose
from the dead (the first of those who will receive glorified bodies).
Then comes Pentecost, the birth of the Church, and the coming of the
Holy Spirit. The Church Age will be fulfilled, represented by
Pentecost, which then brings us to the Resurrection/Rapture of "THEY
that ARE CHRIST'S at His coming" (at the end of the Age of the Church).
THEN COMES THE END. The next order of Jewish Feasts will bring the in
fulfillment of the Second Coming of Jesus (Feast of Trumpets/Rosh
Hashanah, Atonement/Yom Kippur, and Tabernacles/Succot).
interesting fact, taking us back to Pentecost--the DISPENSATION of the
Law BEGAN on
Pentecost, AND the DISPENSATION of the Church BEGAN on Pentecost, so
it's not too far of a stretch to say that the NEXT DISPENSATION, that of
THE KINGDOM, "could begin" on Pentecost--(starting "the day of the
Lord"--which includes the WORK of God's DEALING with Israel--BEFORE the
Tribulation, INCLUDING the SEVEN-YEARS of judgment, and ENCOMPASSING the
entire Millennium--that's the FULL SCOPE of "the day of the Lord").
sequence of resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:20-26 shows the RAPTURE of
those who belong TO CHRIST in His Church. THEN COMES THE END!
Paul declares in 1 and 2 Thessalonians--here we find the BLESSED HOPE
of the Church in its FULLEST description. Writing to the Thessalonians,
Paul urges WATCHFULNESS, and that was 2000 years ago!!! Jesus will
come as A THIEF to those who do NOT watch. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4.
let us NOT sleep, as do others, but let us WATCH and BE SOBER. For
THEY that sleep, sleep in the night; and THEY that be drunken, are
drunken in the night. But let US, who are of the day, be sober, putting
on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of
salvation. For God has NOT appointed US to wrath, but to obtain
salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 5:6-9.
this passage, it's the FINAL salvation that's in view, in THE CONTEXT of
being delivered, via the Rapture, from the devastation and wrath of the
day of the Lord. In "that day of the Lord" will be this: "For then
shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the
world to this time, no, nor ever shall be, And except those days be
shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake
(Israel) those days shall be shortened." Matthew 24:21-22. The Church
is NOT appointed to THAT wrath, declares Paul.
adds to the doctrine of the Rapture: This epistle was written SHORTLY
AFTER the first one, and it seeks to comfort, reassure and console those
who have been CONVINCED that they're ALREADY in the terrible
Tribulation. False teachers had come, dramatizing the horrors to come,
and preached that the Church would go through the Tribulation. Paul
makes it clear, in no uncertain terms, about what he had told them in
his earlier teachings.
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for
that day (the day of the Lord, the Tribulation) will NOT come, except
there come a falling away (departure) first, and that man of sin be
revealed, the son of perdition; who will oppose and exalt himself above
all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sits in
the temple of God, showing himself that he is god. Remember ye not,
that, WHEN I was with you, I told you these things?" 2 Thessalonians
The day of the Lord CANNOT precede those events which will
reveal the man of sin. First there will come a falling away (BEFORE
the day of the Lord)--whether this is an end time apostasy (as some
say), or A DEPARTURE (as say others)--the Rapture of the Church. THAT
COMES FIRST. Then the Antichrist will be revealed, and that revealing
BEGINS "the day of the Lord." Paul makes it clear--the Church will NOT
be here during the day of the Lord (the Tribulation)!
there is no Jewish temple, but plans are afoot to build one. Currently,
there's no world government, or Antichrist, but STRUCTURES are being
set-up for the unfolding of these events.
WE ARE TO WATCH--"And
when these things BEGIN to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your
heads; for your redemption draws nigh." Luke 21:28.
What Paul declares in 1 Timothy--warning about "doctrines of devils" and "massive deception."
the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart
from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of
devils; speaking LIES in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a
hot iron; forbidding to marry; and commanding to abstain from meats,
which God has created to be received with thanksgiving of them which
believe and know the truth. For every creature of god is good, and
nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving." 1 Timothy
Only in the past century has scripture been twisted to
become almost meaningless. A characteristic of end time apostasy is
that the Word is destroyed through the application of "higher
criticism." Doubts have been cast upon the INSPIRATION and
INFALLIBILITY of the scripture. "Modernists" question many aspects of
the Word, saying that Church doctrines are equal in authority to the
scriptures. They also say that some of the Old Testament prophecies
were never fulfilled, and in fact were reversed. They question that
Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. They question the book
of Isaiah. They declare that those who are unsaved will get a second
chance. And they say that sanctification is not complete at death--plus
many other false things. Also, teachings arose which say the the
Church will unify the world--and bring-in a global religion.
The latter times will be rampant with a variety of false teachings, of which, we DO see.
What Paul declared in 2 Timothy--a powerful picture of how end time SOCIETY will ACT.
know also, that in the last days perilous times will come. For men
shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud,
blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural
affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce,
despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of
pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but
denying the power thereof: from such turn away." 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
end times are PERILOUS (the Greek "chalepos") which is defined as being
FIERCE and RAGINGLY INSANE. This same word is used to describe the
Gergesenes demoniac--who was possessed with a legion of devils. At the
PERILOUS TIME of the end is a world in which the inhabitants display
weird, preternatural (diverging from the normal) behavior and
supernatural strength. Exceedingly fierce is the social condition at
the end of the Church Age. (I've been seeing disgusting reports in the
past several days which SHOUT that this crazy time has arrived.)
The last days will be insane, violent, dangerous and disgusting. We're there!
What James declares about GLOBALISM--the characteristics of rich men who control the world.
to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come
upon you, Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.
Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a
witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. You have
heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the
laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by
fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into
the ears of the Lord of sabaoth." James 5:1-4.
researchers have validated these verses. It's well-documented that a
"shadow government" exists. These are secretive people who have
conspiratorial connections with military and corporate "money-making"
schemes (the military industrial complex). They do so upon the backs of
the laborers who are defrauded. The rich control the wealth. The
common people get by with less and less.
When we see such greed
and government chicanery, be encouraged. The time allotted to this
wicked world system grows short. The coming of the Lord is not far
What Peter declares about the approaching Millennial Day--false teachers and scoffers abound.
2 Peter 2, he writes about latter day apostate teachers, saying in
verse 1: "...false teachers, who privily shall bring damnable
In 2 Peter 3:3-4, he reminds the Church about the end
time doubters, who only mock at the idea of Christ's return--"Knowing
this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking
after their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming?
for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were
from the beginning of the creation.'"
Two great truths are added
here, to show the folly of the scoffers. 1. There will be a future
judgment, just as there was once a great Flood. 2. "...one day with the
Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day."
fathers of the early Church taught that the redemptive history of the
world would be divided into six, one-thousand year days, followed by the
seventh day of the Millennium.
By counting the time, and by seeing all the scoffers, we know that the time is very near to the Rapture.
What Jude had to say--he warned about false teachers.
calls these false teachers "filthy dreamers" and "mockers"...those who
walk after their own ungodly lusts." Jude says that the motive of these
false teachers is "sensual"--something that will feel good to the
Sadly, the Age of the Church ends in a degenerate
organization. Many of us, in these end times, despair over finding a
place that teaches the whole word of truth.
John receives the
vision of the seven Churches in the book of Revelation from Jesus--this
PROPHECY spans the entire AGE OF THE CHURCH on earth.
1. Ephesus--the Church of the Apostles, spanning the years from approximately 30 AD to 100 AD.
2. Smyrna--the Church under Roman persecution, spanning 100 AD to 312 AD (under 10 Roman Emperors).
3. Pergamos is the earliest stage of the Roman Church from 312 AD to 600 AD (when the first Pope was established).
Thyatira is the time of the Dark Ages under a very corrupt Papacy. 600
AD to 1517 AD (and continuing to exist until cast into the
5. Sardis is the Church of the Reformation, from
1517 to about 1700 (and continuing to exist to the Rapture where some
NOT watching will be caught by surprise).
6. Philadelphia is the
Missionary Church from about 1648 through 1900 (and continuing to exist
in small numbers until being caught up in the Rapture).
Laodecia--the modern Apostate Church, from about 1900 until THE PRESENT
(those who will be spewed from the mouth of Jesus when He appears).
We see that Apostate Church right now--and that tells us the end is here.
says in his article, QUOTE--"...the pattern conforms perfectly with the
scenarios presented by the other writing Apostles. Here, Revelation
shows a REVIVAL, then a growing apostasy that leads to judgment.
"The believing Philadelphia Church will be TAKEN FROM the world BEFORE it is judged, as recorded in Revelation 3:10:
you have kept the word of My patience, I also will KEEP you FROM THE
HOUR of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, try them that
dwell upon the earth.'"
So what do we see? A remarkable
consistency among the Apostles. What they have declared gives us a
dependable guide as to the times and seasons.
Paul shows us a
regathered Israel, plus a Church that is caught up to heaven on the
basis of THE PATTERN found in the Jewish Feast Days. He also assures us
that the Rapture will happen BEFORE the revealing of the Antichrist in
the Day of the Lord.
The pastoral epistles, however, show us that
the Church will see growing apostasy, perverse teaching and growing
social INSANITY that reaches DANGEROUS proportions.
us about the global money machine, which is given in the context of
Christ's soon return. He assures that the selfish end times rich men
will be dashed to pieces.
Peter warns about growing false
teachings--and reveals prophecy scoffers. These scoffers assert that
God has never interfered in the affairs of men. Of course, these people
are WRONG, and will soon witness THE PROOF of their ERROR. Jude
reinforces what Peter had said.
John, and his receiving the
letters to the seven Churches from Jesus, ties the entire picture
together, giving us a clear OVERVIEW of the whole AGE (DISPENSATION) of
Through the Apsotles, we have a clear idea of how the end of the Church Age will look. I'd say we're RIGHT THERE!
writes, "Can we set a date? No. Can we observe trends that tell us
the approximate time? Yes, definitely. And we are ENCOURAGED to DO
SO. The words of 2 Timothy 4:8 promise a reward for those who are
diligent observers of the times:
"'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 unto ALL them also
that love His appearing.'"
Keep looking up! This is NOT an
exercise of false hope. When we WATCH we receive commendation. In the
Old Testament, those who CAME UNDER "the wrath of God" were most always
those who didn't listen to the prophets.
Let's listen to the
prophetic word, read it, study it and know it. A wonderful reward
awaits those who are faithful to the Lord.
That's the end of this summary--and we certainly have much to ponder.
conditions RIGHT NOW are EXACTLY what the Apostles recorded for the
Church to see and know. By that, we INDEED CAN SAY that the Rapture of
the Church is IMMINENT. Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!