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843: Alas, the day of the Lord is at hand – 3 – Lesson 1 Part 3 Book 71

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 71

ALAS, THE DAY OF THE LORD IS AT HAND – 3

Joel 1:1-15

Okay, good to see everybody in this afternoon. Again, for those of you joining us on television, we would just like to invite you to an informal Bible study.  That’s why we’ve got coffee cups and what have you.  We just want to be like a home Bible study where we can just fellowship together and learn to search the Scriptures.  That’s all I can beg people – just search the Scriptures!  If you haven’t got a good study Bible, go out and buy one.  That’d be the best money you’ve ever spent.

Okay, we’re spending the afternoon on what Joel said way back in the Old Testament, 800 years before Christ, when he used the term “the day of the LORD.”  The day of the LORD is that last seven years of time before Christ returns and sets up His Kingdom.

Okay, as we are looking now at “the day of the LORD,” we’ve been coming up through the Old Testament a few portions.  Now I’m going to jump into the New.  Come with me to Matthew 24 and, oh, these are the words of the Lord Jesus Himself toward the end of His earthly ministry. The Twelve are getting curious.  How is all this going to come to an end?  They understood that He was going to be bringing in the Kingdom.  But as yet in Matthew 24, they don’t know He’s going to be crucified and die, but they do realize that there’s an end to this human program that had started – well, at their point in time – 4,000 years before, and now it’s 6,000 years since Adam.    All right Matthew 24 and we’ll start at verse 1.

Matthew 24:1

“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple.” Which, you’ve got to understand, the Temple wasn’t just one little building.  It was a whole complex.  It involved a lot of various activities.  In fact, I think a lot of the apartments of the priests and so forth were involved in that Temple complex.

Matthew 24:2

“And Jesus  said unto them, see ye not all these things?  verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Which of course happened when the Romans came in A.D. 70, forty years later.  The Romans literally took the Temple down, stone by stone.

Matthew 24:3-4

“And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples (the Twelve, nobody else) came unto him privately, (In other words, no press of crowds or anything like that.)  saying, Tell us, when shall these things be?  and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and the end of the Age? 4. And Jesus answered and said unto them, (Now, here He begins unfolding the events that will roll through those seven years of Tribulation.  And the first warning was–) Take heed that no man deceive you.” Be not deceived.  So, that tells us that verse 5 is already happening.

Matthew 24:5

“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; (or the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed) and shall deceive many.”  Now, I just made the comment, I hope I didn’t confuse you.  These are all things that will take place as soon as the Tribulation or the day of the LORD begins.  It’s going to be a tremendous outpouring of satanic deception, but we’re seeing the beginnings of it.

You remember, I think in my last taping I mentioned this. I know I did in several of the seminars around the country. You remember when the Pharisees and the Sadducees taunted Jesus about end-time events and so forth, and what was Jesus’ response?  Oh, He said, “you hypocrites, you can look at the sky and predict tomorrow’s weather, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.”

Well, I’ve been using that for the last twelve months or so as I travel to wake people up.  What are the signs of the times, the signs that the end is near?  Well, the number one sign for us today is the return of Israel to the land.  That is the number one sign of the times!  Because we know that you can have no end-time prophecy until Israel is back in the land.  So there you are.

The same way here, Jesus is warning the Twelve that there’s going to be coming a time of deception like the human race has never seen before.  Now again, remember what we showed on the timeline, that all these prophecies were going to come one right after the other. Even after Christ is crucified and He’s raised from the dead, He’ll go back to Glory.  Then in would come the day of the LORD, those final seven years, and then Christ would return and yet set up the Kingdom.  I guess we’ve got it up there on the board, that’s the Old Testament line of prophecy.

Now remember, keep the Church Age out, because that is not revealed until we get to the Apostle Paul.  Okay, so one of the signs of the Tribulation would be a great influx of false messiahs.  And He says they shall call themselves Christ.

Matthew 24:5b-6

“…and shall deceive many.  6. And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”  Now, I feel that the wars and rumors of wars that He’s talking about here are what we talked about in the last program, when the Russian invasion will come in the very first year of the Tribulation.  All of a sudden that euphoria of peace is blown away with this tremendous horde from the North.  And Israel, especially, will be suddenly bereft of any peace, because the land is covered with foreigners.

Matthew 24:7

“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”  Again, we’re seeing just a little bit of the beginning of this, but He’s speaking of the real thing.  This is the future of those final seven years.  All right, verse 8.

Matthew 24:8-9a

“All these (the famines, the pestilence, the earthquakes) are the beginning of sorrows. (That’s at the very first year or so of the seven) 9. Then they shall deliver you up to be afflicted,…”  Now, who are the “you”?  Israel.  The Jews.  And listen, anti-Semitism is just compounding by the week.  The world is hating the Jew more and more every day.  So we’re already seeing the signs of this.

Matthew 24:9b-10

“…they will afflict you, and they shall kill you:  and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.  (They won’t even have America as a friend or ally once the Tribulation begins.) 10. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, (Because of the pressures of hatred and persecution, one will tell on another.) and shall hate one another.” 

Matthew 24:11

“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.”  See, it’s going to be a satanic deception that will overcome even the work of the Holy Spirit, who I feel will stay on the earth after we’re gone.

Matthew 24:12-13

“And because iniquity (wickedness) shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. (In other words, they’ll just turn against anything spiritual.) 13. But he that shall endure to the end shall be saved.”  Physically—they’re going to come to the end of the seven years, and goodness sakes, they’re still alive!  They haven’t been martyred.  They haven’t been killed.  They’re alive.  All right, that’s what He’s speaking of, that “those who endure to the end shall be saved.”   Physically!   We’re not talking about a spiritual salvation in that verse, as I can see, at all.

Matthew 24:14

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Now in verse 14, yes, during the Tribulation, the 144,000 of Revelation 7 will be preaching not the Gospel of the Grace of God, but they’re going to be preaching “the gospel of the kingdom.”

Now, I know that gets people all bent out of shape when I proclaim that there are two Gospels in the New Testament.  They’re not active today, of course not.  We only have the Gospel of the Grace of God today.  But in Christ’s earthly ministry and Peter and the Twelve, they preached what Jesus calls “the Gospel of the Kingdom.” And the Gospel of the Kingdom was the good news of the King.  The Grace of God is the good news of the finished work of the cross.  Big difference.

All right, so when the Church is gone and the Gospel of Grace ends, the 144,000 will go around the world preaching again the gospel of the Kingdom.  And I don’t know why that’s so hard for people to swallow.  But it is.  Boy, I get more complaints on that than anything else.  But here it is, “The gospel of the kingdom, (not the Gospel of the Grace of God) shall be preached in all the world.”

And the Gospel of the Kingdom was believing that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, along with repentance of sins and water baptism to get ready to set up the earthly Kingdom.  Whereas today in Grace we believe in our hearts for salvation that Jesus died for us, was buried, and rose again as we see in I Corinthians 15:1-4. 

Now, I take this approach.  I don’t mind if people disagree. Just this last week I had a couple of calls where they disagreed on something so far removed from the gospel that it’s not even funny.  I said, “Now look, if I’m right and you’re wrong or you’re right and I’m wrong, is that going to determine our eternal destiny?” “No.” “Well, then it really doesn’t matter, does it?”   And that’s where it’s at.  If it doesn’t affect our salvation, our eternal destiny, hey, we can have some disagreements.  That doesn’t bother me a bit.  It’s moot.  What difference does it make?

For example, you know there are those who think the world is 120 million years old.  And others say, no, it’s only six thousand.  You know what I say?  What difference does it make?  Does it make any difference?  You know, I tell geologists, oil people, does it make any difference where you tell your engineers to drill if the world’s 200 million years old or if it’s six thousand?  Well, no.  So, it doesn’t make a bit of difference, does it?  Yet they can get all bent out of shape.

Well, the same way here.  We have this Gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus and the Twelve proclaimed to Israel, and the 144,000 are going to take that same Gospel of the Kingdom around the world during the Tribulation. The Church is gone, the Gospel of Grace is ended, and multitudes are going to be saved by the Gospel of the Kingdom.  God’s Sovereign.  He can do it any way He wants.  So, yes, those 144,000 are going to fulfill the Great Commission like no one has ever even come close.

All right, now verse 15; here we come to the mid-point of those seven years.  Now, I’m going to make that as a separate series of references in a little bit.  I’m first looking at the physical things concerning the Tribulation: the horrors, the death, and the destruction.  Then we’re going to look at the time element that it is indeed seven years. And then we’re going to look at the personalities that are involved – the anti-Christ and the False Prophet and so forth. So we may not get finished this afternoon.  We’ll continue next month.  But, here in verse 15, now, the Lord Jesus is continuing on through the seven years of Tribulation. He reaches the mid-point, and He says in verse 15-

Matthew 24:15a

“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet,…”  Now, let’s go back and see what Daniel wrote.  It’s the only way we can do it.  Come back to Daniel chapter 9.  This is the confirmation that Daniel knew exactly what he was talking about when he wrote by inspiration in prophecy,

Daniel chapter 9, we have to drop down to verse 24.  Now remember why I’m coming here.  The Lord Jesus is using this portion of Scripture to define the events of those final seven years that are coming.  And remember, He doesn’t give any hint that there was 2,000 years of the Church Age in between all this.  It was all just going to keep coming.  Always remember that the Old Testament knew nothing of the Church Age.  It knew nothing of our Gospel of Grace.  Everything in the Old Testament was dealing with Israel and the Messiah, her coming King, and an earthly Kingdom.   All right, but now here’s Daniel, who by Holy Spirit inspiration writes, starting at verse 24:

Daniel 9:24a

“Seventy weeks (of years or seventy sevens or 490 years) are determined (in God’s program, now) upon thy people (Israel) and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness,…”  That is the Kingdom.

In other words, 490 years are going to take place from a point back here in the Old Testament. It’s going to be between the 400 and the 600 B.C., right about in 454 B.C. when Nehemiah was given the command to go back and rebuild the city wall around Jerusalem.  That’s what it’s based on.  From that point until Christ would be crucified would be 483 years.  And then there would be another seven years, and it would bring in the 1,000 year Kingdom.  So, 490 years would be involved fulfilling the Old Testament, Christ’s coming, the seven years of Tribulation, and the Kingdom.  That’s the 490 years that are determined upon the Nation of Israel.  Okay, now as you come down through verse 25, he breaks it down.

Daniel 9:25a

“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment (to Nehemiah to go back and rebuild the wall) to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks:…” And that’s for a total of 483 years from Nehemiah until the crucifixion.  Four hundred and eighty three years.  But the whole prophecy is 490.  So, we’ve got seven years left that has never been fulfilled.  All right, now you come on down through verse 26.

Daniel 9:26a

(After the 483 years) And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: (In other words, He died for us.  He didn’t die because He deserved it.  And then here comes the prophecy.) and the people of the prince that shall come,…”  Now, the prince that shall come will be the personality that we’re going to look at sooner or later, the anti-Christ, and he’s going to come out of the Roman Empire.

Now again, I always like to use my timeline. As you come up through the Old Testament from 600 B.C. until you get to the time of Christ, you have the Babylonian Empire, the Mede and Persian Empire, the Greek Empire, and then the Roman Empire.  And you all know that Rome was part and parcel of the crucifixion.

All right, so out of the Roman Empire then, in the prophecy line of the Old Testament, would come the anti-Christ, because Rome is over all of this.  Now remember, I’ve got to keep this Church Age out of here.  I should have made a second timeline, I guess, but whatever, I didn’t.

So now we’re going to use this line strictly as the seven years of Tribulation, which we’ve got here.  Forget about the Church Age – for now.  That’s just not involved in our Old Testament line of prophecy.  Just keep it out of your mind for the time being.  Then we’re going to drop down and look at those seven years on a larger scale timeline. Okay, continue on with Daniel chapter 9, once again, verse 26.

Daniel 9:26b

“…after Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city (And we know that Rome did this under Titus in A.D. 70.)  and the sanctuary; (in other words, the Temple) and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”  See, there’s nothing to indicate there’s a break in the timeline.  It’s all going to flow.  All right, now verse 27, this prince that shall come, we call him the anti-Christ, and I’ll deal with that a little later.

Daniel 9:27a

“And he (this prince that shall come) shall confirm (or make) the covenant (or a treaty) with many for one week:…” Or seven years.  Now, someone called, or wrote, a while back with an interesting statement.  And they had a thought that I can’t ridicule one iota.

The Oslo Peace Accord that was put together back in Clinton’s time, wasn’t it?  That Oslo Peace Accord has almost everything in it that would bring about the peace treaty that the anti-Christ will sign.  So this writer, I think it was a lady, said, “You know, Les, if that be the case, all they’d have to do is bring that thing back up and this man anti-Christ can just simply agree – this is exactly the way we want to do it – and it’ll be confirmed and it’s in place.”  Well, that just tells us how close we really are, that all the details of this necessary treaty are pretty much agreed upon already.

All right, but anyway, he’s going to make a seven year treaty between the nations of the world, predominately, I think now, the Muslim world and Israel.  And it will give them, as I said early today, permission to rebuild the Temple.  Now, here’s what the Lord Jesus was referring to.  Remember what He said in Matthew?  “When you see the desolation spoken of by Daniel.”  Here it is in this verse 27.

Daniel 9:27b

“…and in the middle of the week (in the middle of those seven years) he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,…” Can you stop something that hasn’t started?  Now, you know there’s no sacrifice and oblation going on in Jerusalem today.  And it can’t until they have a Temple.  So, what does this tell us?

That in those first three-and-a-half years, as a result of this peace treaty, Israel is going to rebuild a Temple.  And it doesn’t have to be a glorious, gold and cedar one like Solomon’s, but it’ll be functional.  I personally think it’s in a warehouse in Jerusalem right now, all ready to pull out and set up, and it’ll be functioning in less than a week’s time.  So, they’ll go back under Temple worship for the first three-and-a-half years.

Then the anti-Christ will turn on Israel. We’ll look at that again in Matthew 24 in just a little bit.  And in the middle of the week, he will cause the sacrifice and oblation, or Temple worship, to stop.  He’s going to turn on the Jew.

Daniel 9:27c

“…and for the overspreading of abominations he (the anti-Christ, this prince that shall come) shall make it (that restored Temple) desolate, (Inoperable as far as Judaism is concerned, and it will remain that way.) even until the consummation, (That is, the end of the seven years.) and that which is determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” Or the desolater.   In other words, the anti-Christ will meet his doom at the end of the Tribulation.

All right, now let’s come back to Matthew 24.  Back to Matthew 24, now this is exactly what Jesus is referring to in verse 15.  We are now at the mid-point of the seven years.  The first fourteen verses are the first half.  Now we start the second half.

Matthew 24:15-16a

“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (He’s in the Temple defiling it.) (whoso readeth, let him understandJ 16. Then…”  

Now, those of you that have heard me teach over a period of time, what kind of a word is then?  It is a time word.  When the Jews see the desolation taking place up there on the Temple Mount with the anti-Christ defiling it, probably by sacrificing a hog, Israel will be just beside themselves. But the Lord says when you see that, wake up!  Get out of town!  That’s the way we’d put it today.  Get out of town!   Here we go, verse 16:

Matthew 24:16a

“Then let them who be in Judea flee into the mountains;…”  Now, I call this the escaping remnant of Israel.  Now, you have to have the remnant that will come through the Tribulation and be ready to go into the Kingdom.  You have to have the Nation of Israel, but it won’t be the whole Nation, it’ll be a remnant.  I need to show you that.  Let’s see, I’m going to take the time.  Keep your hand in Matthew, again, and come back with me to Zechariah chapter 13 starting at verse 8.  Now remember, this is prophecy, again, so it’s going to happen.

Zechariah, that’s the next to the last book in your Old Testament.  You know, I always tell people to find Matthew.  You can all find that, and then just go to the left, past Malachi and there’s Zechariah.

Zechariah 13:8

“And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, (That is, the whole land of Israel.) saith the LORD, two parts (or two thirds) therein shall be cut off and die; but the third part  shall be left therein.”  They’re going to survive.   Now verse 9:

Zechariah 13:9

“And I will bring the third part through the fire, (Now the fire here is the Tribulation, the horrors of it.) and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: 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.”  So, that’s the remnant.  All right, back to Matthew 24. The remnant now is fleeing out of Jerusalem at the middle of the Tribulation.  All right, we’re going to do this quickly, verse 16.

Matthew 24:16-17

“Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: 17. Let them who is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house:” Time is of the essence is the way I usually put it.  Don’t take time to find some heirloom or something of value – get out of town!

Matthew 24:18

“Neither let him who is in the field (the working class) return back to get his clothes.”

Now, for Israel today, that would be the scientist, the medical people, and the business people, because Israel is no longer an agrarian nation like it was at the time of Christ.  So, the whole cross-section of the Nation now is involved in these verses.

Matthew 24:19-20

“And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that are nursing in those days (young mothers)! 20. But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, (Because Jerusalem gets twelve to fourteen inches of snow every once in a while.) neither on the sabbath day:” So that they would not be limited as to how far they could walk.  Now, here’s the verse that I wanted to end with, verse 21.

Matthew 24:21

“For then (beginning with that desecration of the Temple) shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, (the time of Christ) no, nor ever shall be.”  This takes us right on up past our own day and time, including the Holocaust.  So, that should tell you something – that for Israel as well as the rest of the world, the time is coming in these last three-and-a-half years when it’s going to be worse than anything in all of human history.  It’s going to be beyond comprehension.  And that was in the words of the Lord Jesus himself, that there is nothing in all of human history that compares with these last three-and-a-half years.