Introduction: Right now it seems that in the United States our freedoms are under unprecedented attack. My guess is that wherever you live in the world the feeling is the same. Governments have taken drastic measures to limit personal liberty in light of the COVID 19 virus. While the Bible says nothing that I have noticed about Christians facing problems relating to a virus, I have read Christians who express the view that this recent governmental repression of rights may be a harbinger of the persecution at the end of time. Is this leading us to the “ultimate rest?” Let’s dive into our study of the Bible to learn more about the events leading up to the Second Coming!

  1. Signs of the End

    1. Read Luke 21:5-7. What specific questions are the disciples asking? (They ask about the signs and the timing of the destruction of Jerusalem.)

    2. Read Matthew 24:1-3. What questions are the disciples asking as recorded by Matthew? (Matthew conflates two questions: 1. When will Jerusalem be destroyed? 2. What are the signs of the Second Coming (the end of the world)?)

      1. Why would the disciples come to Jesus privately? (They must have thought this was inside information.)

    3. Read Matthew 24:4. Is Jesus right to be concerned? (We see it in the difference between the Luke and Matthew accounts.  Matthew injects a great deal of confusion by the way he records this.)

    4. Let’s turn primarily to Luke’s account because his organization is superior. Scan Luke 21:10-15 and read Luke 21:16-19. Who is Jesus describing here? (It is the disciples. Matthew’s parallel account makes this difficult to separate from end time events.)

    5. In Luke 21:20-24 Luke specifically describes the destruction of Jerusalem. He then turns to the end of time. Read Luke 21:25-26. Lets break this down. What signs do we see from the seas? (Earth is endangered by the power of the oceans.)

      1. Is that something we see now? (I’m not going to get into the global warming issues, when I was a young man scientists were predicting a global freeze. But, many predict the water level will increase.)

      2. Have you read anything about signs in the galaxies and the end of times? (When I was growing up, some of my teachers pointed to signs in the skies that were seen in the New England area of the United States. That seems poorly thought out when you consider that Jesus is giving a prophecy for a world audience.)

    6. Read Revelation 14:6-7. Is this part of an end-time message? (I think it is because it refers to the hour of God’s judgment.)

      1. What is the first command of this judgment message? (To fear, worship, and give glory to the Creator God.)

    7. Let’s track back to Luke 21:25. Are there signs in the galaxies that God is our Creator? (The scientific evidence is currently stronger than at any time in history. There is powerful evidence that the galaxies began at a specific point in time. There are many necessary elements for life (and the galaxies) that are now well-understood. The odds of all of this coming together by chance are impossible. As a prominent astrophysicist who is an atheist said: “A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.” If you want to learn more, research “the fine-tuned universe.”)

    8. Look again at Luke 21:26. What kind of signs are making people fear the future? (This is a very specific prophecy – astrophysicists will see something going wrong in the galaxies that will endanger the future of the world.)

    9. Read Luke 21:27-28. What is Luke telling us to do when we see begin to see these signs? (Pay attention! “Straighten up and raise your heads!”)

    10. Read Matthew 24:23-26. What signs do we see that are limited to the earth? Signs that potentially deceive serious Christians? (Great signs and wonders. Amazing things are in our future!)

      1. What should we do with reports like this of people who claim to be Christ? (Nothing. It says we should not pursue them.)

  2. Meaning of the Signs

    1. Read Matthew 24:36. Can we predict when Jesus will come? (This says no one knows.)

    2. Read Matthew 24:32-33. If we cannot know when Jesus will come, why pay attention to the signs? (The day and hour will not be known, but we can know that the Second Coming is “near.”)

    3. Read Luke 21:29-32. This is Luke’s parallel account of the fig tree. What time frame does he record? (That when we see the signs in the seas and the heavens, that “generation will not pass away until all has taken place.” This helps to put an upper limit on the timing of the Second Coming.)

    4. Read Luke 21:33. How certain can we be regarding this prophecy of Jesus? (He gives us the strongest guarantee.)

  3. The Second Coming

    1. Read Matthew 24:27, Matthew 24:30 and Luke 21:27. What is the acid test for recognizing the true Second Coming of Jesus? (Jesus’ Second Coming will come to you! We do not need proof from someone else, we will personally see Him – and all will see Him at the same time.)

    2. Read Luke 21:34-35. What should we do to be ready?

  4. The Message

    1. We previously looked at Revelation 14:7 because that message fits with the increasing scientific proof for a Creator God. Do you think angels give this message or is this something for us to give?

    2. Read Revelation 14:8. What is the problem with Babylon? (It promotes sexual immorality.)

      1. God often speaks in the Bible about His people being unfaithful to Him, and compares it to adultery. See Jeremiah 3:6-9. I think that is one meaning of this. Do you think this verse should be read more broadly? (We see a rise in the number of those who totally reject God. And, we see an increase in those who pervert the sexual norms of the Bible.)

      2. What does the text mean when it says that the promoter of this unfaithfulness has “fallen?” (The saints have won, their enemy is defeated.)

    3. Read Revelation 14:9-11. Is this a picture of hell for those who receive the mark of the beast? (It is hard to conceive that is what is being described because this takes place “in the presence of [the angels and Jesus].”  Will Jesus and the angels watch the lost being tormented forever?)

      1. What do you think the statement that they “have no rest, day or night” means? (Our entire series of lessons has been about entering into the rest that Jesus offers us. They have rejected this rest.)

    4. Read Revelation 14:12. The people with the mark are compared to this group. What protects us from receiving the mark of the beast? (Faith in Jesus and keeping His commandments.)

      1. How do we keep the commandments and have faith in Jesus? (Read Romans 8:1-4. Jesus perfectly kept the law on our behalf. We accept this by faith and walk in accord with the leading of the Holy Spirit.)

    5. Read Revelation 14:13. What does this text say about the righteous and rest?

    6. Do we have to wait until we are dead to have rest? (No. Read Philippians 4:6-7. Jesus offers us peace right now. He gave us warnings about the future so that we could have peace about it.)

    7. Friend, Jesus has given us inside information about how this world will end. Will you trust Him about the future? Will you rest confident in that knowledge?

  5. Next week: We start a new series on the book of Deuteronomy.