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The End is Coming!

A Sermon by Jefferis Kent Peterson
2 Peter 3:1-13
Luke 21: 5-36;
Rms. 11: 25-32 2
Thessalonians 2: 1-12;
Rev. 13: 11-18
Ebenezer Pres. Church
Jefferis Kent Peterson
August 25, 1985
Sermon no. 49

Every generation wants to know when the King is coming back. When will the end be? There are millions of forecasters making many, many millions of dollars trying to foretell the future. Some are plainly not inspired by God: the horoscopes, the occultists; they try and tell from one year to the next, who will be mating with whom and who will be divorcing whom. And some far out people predict the end of the world down to the day and the hour. But we are not given the hour or the day, Jesus doesn't know it; even the angels in heaven don't know it. God the Father alone knows it. There are even Christian prophets who try and read from the signs of the times the day the Lord will come again. The most famous one is Hal Lindsey; he tries to read in the political events of the day signs which prove that the Lord is returning soon. But so many like him before have "proved" the Lord's return is near only later to be shown in error.

But I want to tell you, the end is coming! Perhaps sooner than you think! Hopefully, you will be ready. We are all supposed to be ready every day, every minute, every hour. Sometimes this readiness we are called to have leads people to sell all they have and wait till the next week when their prophet has said: " the Lord is coming August 17th at 12:00 noon." I don't know if you have read it in the Sharon Herald recently, but there have been notices that Jesus is returning August 17th. Well, it is the 25th. God can make fools of us if we try and pin him down too closely.

In ancient Israel, each city had a watchtower. And they would send up into the watchtower a watchman to keep an eye over the horizon to see and watch for danger approaching. If the man fell asleep at his post, it was very dangerous, because not only was putting his own life in danger, but he was putting in danger the life of the community. He would look across the horizon for dust, which would signal an army of approaching horses. And he was to give the alarm when he saw the dust, before he knew whether it was friend or foe, because if it were the enemy and the people were not ready, then it would be too late.

Today I am looking at the horizon, and I see possible danger approaching. And I want to tell you that the end is coming. I am giving you warning.

Everyone is curious. What will that day be like? Let us begin with the first reading from scripture:

"This is now the second letter that I have written to you, beloved, and in both of them I have aroused your sincere mind by way of reminder; that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles. First of all you must understand this, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own passions and saying, "Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation." They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago, and an earth formed out of water and by means of water, through which the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist have been stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire! But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells." 2 Peter 3:1-13, RSV.

Everyone is curious: what will that day be like? Peter says it will come in with a bang! But will there be any signs that let us know that it is about to take place? Jesus said it will come like a thief in the night and take us all by surprise. On the day of his coming, people will be getting married, women will be buying in stores, and farmers will be milking. There will be workers in factories and in fields. People will be visiting their friends. It will be a day just any other day. It will be a day just like today. And because these days go on and on, we are lulled into a sense of peace and security. And we come to believe that the world will not end; at least not in our lifetime. We all share the illusion of the stability of life: that we will never grow old, we will never die. No sudden accidents will come upon us. No disease will suddenly take us. Life goes on as before and will go on forever. And so we continue to do what we have always done; hopefully living righteously; if not, we also blind ourselves to the need for repentance because we continue to sin thinking that we will never be brought to judgement.

The Christian and non-Christian alike are blind to the fact that life is balancing by a slender thread, and that it takes only one unexpected slice of the knife to cut us off from the living. There are car accidents, strokes, heart attacks, even in the young, every day. Murders and terrorism plague the innocent. Therefore, Jesus said everyday we should be prepared to meet him. For we do not know the hour of his coming, nor do we know the hour of our departure. The Christian and non-Christian alike are blind, but the non-Christian is especially blind to the prophets who say: "the end is coming! For the Lord will return one day, and there will be judgment."They say they've heard things like that before. "It's foolish superstition. Religious zealots and fanatics always say things like that." They scoff at such a thing. "The earth lasts forever. It has been here for four billion years, it will be here for four billion more."

But Peter said that the Lord is not slow as we consider slowness, for to him a thousand years is as a day. By that account, it has only been two days since he has been gone, but the world continues to be blind to the fact that the Lord is coming. And we too are blind; we share that blindness. Everything seems so firm and unshakeable. The ground is firm and solid. The earth abides forever, as the Psalmist says. But we really don't realize how fragile our earth is. If you lived in California, you might understand it better. Or in Washington, near the volcano Mt. St. Helens, you might know it also. Our solid earth that seems so solid and unchanging is but a thin crust of shifting plates over a seething mantle of great heat and raging fires under tremendous pressure ready to blow at the least little fissure in the earth. The earth is but a ball of dirt in space covered by a thin wisp of oxygen, near a boiling sun that is ready to explode, ready to wipe us out in a flash of its heat. It would not take but a second for Peter's prophecy to come true, and for the earth to be dissolved.

We don't know when day that will be. Even if God has not decided to destroy the earth through the events of nature, there are dangers that are far more immediate and are far more human. The finger of the president and the Soviet premier are poised over a button that would unleash instruments of death and consume us in a matter of 16 minutes. We are but seconds away from eternal conflagration and complete destruction of our fragile planet. Everything we know and trust and work for could be dissolved in flames of fire by one mad man in the Kremlin. One mad man could push it; or we could make one wrong move in the global chess match; or even worse, a simple program error in a super fast computer is all it would take to bring to fulfillment the prophecy of Saint Peter: "God gave Noah the rainbow sign, no more water, the fire next time!"

Everyone wants to know: how will that Day come? We are all interested. Peter says of that day, "the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works upon it will be burned up!" Sounds like nuclear holocaust or an explosion in the sun to me. But when will it come? That is not an answer that is given to us. Jesus said it will come like a thief in the night, on a day we do not expect. When women wash their clothes and men work their fields. That day will be like any other day. Therefore, said Jesus, "be prepared."

But there are signs, signs of the times, for which our Lord said we should watch. All the prophets put these signs in the future, for the day ahead. But I am about to tell you that some of these signs have already come to pass, and what we are waiting for could come sooner than we think, for nothing is left that needs to take place in order for him to return. The second reading: Luke: 21: 2-36.

"And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had. And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls. And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." Luke 21:2-36, KJV.

Hal Lindsey and a lot of contemporary interpreters are waiting for a great conflict over Jerusalem when armies are gathered from the north and the south. They see the Soviet Union marching down through Iran and Iraq and taking over Jerusalem, and then we will know that the end is about to take place. But Jesus says when Jerusalem falls; the end is not yet. Wars, famines, earthquakes, but the end is not yet. These are but the labor pains. Persecution must take place, and that is happening now in other countries, and it will happen here. But Jerusalem has already fallen once, and it doesn't need to fall again for him to return. Because if you remember, Jesus said that Jerusalem would be destroyed because it rejected God's purposes for itself in rejecting Jesus. That was the first sign. And it was destroyed for its disobedience in 70 AD And then Jesus said, "Jerusalem must trodden underfoot by the Gentiles, until the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled!" The time of the Gentiles is fulfilled! Israel is reestablished, and Jerusalem is no longer under trampled under by Gentiles and Gentile armies. It belongs to Israel! Therefore be ready! Be watchful. No more wars are necessary! Jerusalem was destroyed once: it need not be again. He can come any day!

The third reading: Romans 11: 25-32.

"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion 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 are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all." Romans 11:25-32, KJV.

The second sign of the times, according to Paul was that the Jews rejected Jesus as Messiah, God's anointed savior, so that the light might go out from Israel unto all the world and all the nations through Abraham be blessed by him -- according to the definite purpose and foreknowledge of God. "But," Paul says, "this hardening has come upon Israel only until the full number of Gentiles come in, and then all Israel will be saved." Jews are being converted to Christianity by the thousands, both here in the US and in Israel itself, and in other parts of the world not since the time of Christ has such a conversion been in evidence. The second sign of Christ's coming again is already being fulfilled! All Israel is being saved! There is dust on the horizon!

When Paul taught his congregations that the day of the Lord would come like a thief in the night, they were distressed. And some of them sold all their possessions and waited for that day, and became idle. And so he said, "I have stirred you up for something good, but we are not to be idle while we wait for that day, and I don't want you to be confused or to be driven into fear or into a panic thinking that the day of the Lord has already come. For it has not yet come." There yet remains to be fulfilled two major prophecies, each of which could be fulfilled in the next fifty years.

Fourth reading: 2 Thess. 2: 1-12: "Let no one deceive you, for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed…"

You and I, right now, are going to look into the future a bit, and see if we can see in the signs of the times, the signs of our Lord's approaching. The major prophecies have already been fulfilled, yet there await a few conditions. "Let no one deceive you, for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed…" The rebellion which Paul describes, is the general decay of law and order in society, which we can see is already taking place in Europe and the east with terrorism and is soon to take place here, especially with nuclear terrorists planting bombs in our cities. And this is something that the FBI and the CIA are already trying to protect us from, having caught people bringing in nuclear devices into our country. Alas, the collapse of law and order in our society will be part of the rebellion of which Paul takes about.

And the man of lawlessness, we shall discuss in a moment. But first let us take a look at Revelation. 13: 11-18, the fifth reading. The book of Revelation is highly symbolic and it is hard to take things from it literally. It has to do with many of the things that were taking place in John's own day. But there are few sections that have not yet taken place and have yet come to pass in ours. As a matter of fact, they could not have taken place in John's day, but now all that is necessary for the prophecies to be fulfilled is ready.

"And no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is the name of the beast or the number of its name… that number being 666."

Let us project into the future what the book envisions: The book of Revelation envisions a world economic order wherein every individual's bank accounts and spending power is held under the control of one organization; under one person's authority or under one international organization's control.

How could it come about? How long would it take to happen? We are almost there? First of all, major international corporations are hastening the day when we will become a "cashless society." AT&T, when it introduced its telephone credit card system, was proud to announce it was moving us towards the future when we shall be a cashless society. All transactions are carried out not by dollars, which anyone can carry; but by numbers; and only one number can be assigned to any person so as not to confuse the computer. Already, computers tell you whether you can make your purchase with your credit card or not. The merchant calls up a central authority to validate your credit. Therefore the power to buy and sell is increasingly coming under one, central control system - one computer system. And as long as people can carry cash or gold or trade, this centralization of power and control over finances is not possible.

But already, our government wants to stop printing paper and minting coins because of the exorbitant costs of making money; and there is a problem with counterfeiting. Credit cards would be so much more convenient.

Secondly, as businesses strive to eliminate waste and fraud, they will seek tighter and tighter controls over the use of these credit cards. Already they have introduced cards with personalized computer chips that identify the carrier by a special code that keeps track of that individual's bank balances. Not really a credit card, it is a debit card: you can spend only what you have in the bank. If you use these teller machines and have your own code, you get the idea of what is taking place. (I want to caution you that none of this is bad in itself. It is just technology. But I want you to see that technology may provide the stage for the fulfillment of prophecy.)

Ultimately, however, in order to reduce fraud, it is a short step to introduce under the skin, an infrared-type bar code with name, numbers, and credit balance. They already use a laser chip or hologram, on your credit card. It is getting more and more complicated and harder to duplicate.

And this is interesting: third, there is already in Belgium, a computer, six city blocks by six city blocks, and it has the capacity to keep track of the finances of every individual on the face of the earth. This computer has a nickname given to it by those who work for it. It is affectionately called "the beast." The technology is already here! All it takes is the reason to implement it. (Note: 1992 - I have recently heard that this computer uses not the traditional 14 to 16 numbers {4 groups of 4 numbers} that is common on most credit cards today, but it uses 18 numbers in three sets of 6 numbers, i.e., 6 6 6. Also, I have heard that a worldwide prefix for this worldwide financial tracking service begins with its identification code of 666.) (Note 2008: For the possibility that the mark is spiritual rather than physical, see here.)

Fourthly, our economic system: some of you remember the depression: Do you remember that "it couldn't happen here?" It couldn't happen! We couldn't have an economic collapse! Our economic system is based on trust. We have the illusion of stability and order - that it cannot collapse. But even more fragile than the earth is our economic system. Already in our own nation, our major banks are in debt over their heads to Third World countries, so much so that if the Third World stopped paying back on their loans, our own banking system would collapse. We think that it can never happen here, and bankers tell us it will never happen here, or at least it will never happen again. And yet, many economists say we are on the brink of collapse, and already, many third world countries are contemplating not paying back their debts because the debts are crippling their countries. Castro just last month encouraged them to default on their US Bank debts as a form of protest. And the countries really don't have much choice, because if they enforce the measures that will satisfy the World Bank, it will drive their nation into such a depression that there will be a revolt and it will drive the government out of power. So they have the choice of revolution or default, and that really is not much of a choice.

That doesn't count the US trade deficit or the national debt, which is growing so fast that one economist friend of mine said that by the year 2025, our interest alone on the national debt will exceed our gross national product. Which means that no matter how much money we make, we will not be able to pay off the debt. That doesn't count the regular spending on defense or Social Security. The interest on the debt alone will be greater that our other income. Which means that in order to pay off our debt we will have 100% inflation per year like Israel and other Third World nations, or we will collapse entirely. And forget Social Security; the government may pay it, but the paper they pay it with will be worthless.

The stage is already set, all we need are the actors. So let us assume or contemplate the possibility of a world economic collapse, and see what would happen. It will not be like 1930's. The collapse and the debt will be worldwide. There will be starvation, poverty, and unemployment worldwide. There will be no way to climb out. There will be wars in the major cities of our own country, like Miami, N. Y., Washington, and Pittsburgh. In the Depression, one thing that distinguished our nation from today was that there was a set of common values among our people, one of which was that you must work for what you want to get. When anyone suffered, they went to a neighbor and asked if they could work for a meal. And there was a sense that we were all Americans and all in it together. But for the vast number of Americans who have become dependent upon a welfare state, from farmers who are subsidized to unwed mothers who live on welfare checks, they have come to believe that the government owes them a living. We have lost the sense of values in work; our ability to suffer through a depression will not be great. This is especially true in places like Miami, where many of the recent immigrants were criminals sent by Castro who did not come to the land of opportunity to find freedom, but who came to find a new place to exploit and steal; these have little appreciation for the value of our American system of government. If there were a world economic collapse, there would be far less reason to maintain discipline. There would be war in the cities. There would be no food, and the children would be crying. They would be hungry and the government would not be providing. Mobs and mobsters would be able to control the cities. And people everywhere would be hungry.

International businesses, in order to reestablish an economic base and rebuild a world market for trade will see that past barriers to trade and national economic systems as outdated barriers to world order. To establish a world order where we will not need or want to go to war - a world order that will protect the interests of international investments against national conflicts would be seen as necessary. World leaders will see a security in intertwining our economic destiny. There will be one currency. One world economic system. One system of monitoring. One system of control.

The problem with this world order as God sees it is that it is a human instrument and invention that seeks to find peace and security not in morality, not in trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, but in economic and political stability. It is a false God, a beast, an idol, like the Tower of Babble raised anew in the twenty-first century. "We don't need you God, all we need is our resources, and our ability to organize."

The people around the world will be so hungry for jobs and money they will do anything to get it. They will even sell their souls if they have to. And they will. Yes, give us these identity cards; yes give us this one world economic system. And let us all have one language and one currency. And let us organize and rebuild this tower of progress that has fallen to the earth. Let us raise it anew to the heavens, so that we will never have to fear these economic uncertainties again.

All these technological advances are not evil in themselves, but they become evil as people sacrifice their morality for economic security. In Revelation, the beast is not really a man, but a false god, an idol. This whore which defiles the world is Mammon — Money. It represents our desire to entrust ourselves to material riches instead of to God. And it is in this world system that this ultimate choice is given to us: God or economic security?

All these technological advances are not evil in themselves, but once we have brought all international finance under one control, we have set the stage for a man, or a group of businessmen, to step in and take control of the world's economic system. One Hitler may step in and promise world peace and prosperity and enforce his rule through the use of this economic beast, this computer that will let you buy and sell. The bible says the man's name or number is 666. It is easy to see that number on your credit cards or tattooed on your skin. Now in Revelation the number 666 is a symbolic number. If you take a person's name and assign every letter in the alphabet a value; a being 1, b being 2, etc., if you add up all the letters, you come out with a number that is equal to a name. When this book was written, there was a Caesar named Nero, who was bloodthirsty. He murdered his own mother and put Christians in the arena. He persecuted the Christians so badly, that they thought he was evil incarnate. And though he was killed, they thought he would rise again. Sort of an anti-Christ. An evil, anti-type of Christ, rising again. Now if you take his name, Nero Caesar, and put it into Hebrew and add the characters together, the number comes out to be 666. But the number identified the spirit of a man, more than the individual. And all you need to think about to understand what John was saying is if you think of Hitler, the most evil man of our generation, being raised from the dead to rule Germany, you would see what the Christians were fearing: a man with a mortal wound rising again. The Nazi party rising again would fulfill all those things that John was foreseeing. It is important not to try and identify which party or which man it will be, for then we will get caught up in circumstance. But if we fear the rise of a new Hitler, we share the same fear they had when they feared a new Nero. Yet, if the prophecy is literally true, there is some marking or number that we will all have to receive in order to buy or to sell which will be equal to 666 or equal to the name of the man. And if you receive the mark of the beast, you are taken out of the book of life.

The stage is set; it could happen within 50 years. Businessmen, in the guise of bringing order and stability to a troubled world will go along with this powerful tool of obedience. Seeking security in a human government and human economics, they will establish an interdependent, international organization or world system of government of laws and economics. But INTERNATIONAL Business, because of its need for profits and its system of greed, will always choose order and stability over morality and righteousness. Just as the Krupps arms manufacturers in Germany did not care who was in power, as long as a profit was being made, and JUST AS TEXACO SOLD oil to Germany while we were at war with them, so that just in case Hitler did win, those business executives would still be able to exercise control over their company.

Greed - the desire for money, is idolatry, and when John talks about the beast, he is identifying the beast with idolatry. - and especially with materialism, in which people choose to worship material security and feed their material needs before they will worship Jesus Christ. So when John talks about the beast, he says we are being given a choice, a choice between allegiance to a beast that gives us all the material possessions we desire or allegiance to Christ where we must suffer and be denied the necessities of life. Jesus said that persecution will come. And John says it will come with the mark of the beast. And the system, the technology is already here. All that waits is the reason to put the system in place. Perhaps it will come with an economic collapse. But perhaps not. Maybe it will just take international businesses and governments getting together, like the European Economic Community, joining their currencies together and forming Eurodollars. Only it would happen worldwide.

And if it comes to pass that all the forces of law and government and all economics are tied into one central organization. Watch Out! For the time of the prophecy will be fulfilled. Christians and Jews will be seen as troublemakers simply for opposing this world order. And the beast will enforce obedience by giving to those who are loyal by politics and religion a mark on their hands or heads, a mark of obedience, either a man's name or a number; the number is 666.

As I said, all this could come to pass within your lifetime. An economic collapse may be only a few years away. And then, the tribulation begins. There will be war in the streets of our major cities. Food shortages will be everywhere. The banks will foreclose on all your loans, because you will not have any income to repay your debts. There will be no money anywhere. Then we will all be tempted to receive this beast.

A word of practical advice. Since we may lose everything for being Christian and be persecuted for not receiving the mark: Be prepared for suffering and struggle. That is what the watchman on the tower says: "the enemy is approaching." Get out of debt. Do not have personal property tied up in business loans. Separate your personal finances from your business, if that is possible. Don't go over your head in debt, because if there is an economic collapse, it doesn't take much for the banks to foreclose. You who lived through the Depression know what that is like. And plenty of farmers out west right now can tell you that is happening.

If all this takes place, should we have a spirit of fear! No. For if the persecution and the tribulation comes, God will give us power to face these days - power beyond our wildest dreams and expectations. God will make great manifestations of his power to combat evil, to save and deliver, and to prove to the world the truth of Jesus Christ. For he will be drawing all men to himself. Even the children will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. Every one of you will be performing miracles, because the persecution will be so great. He will need every one of you to give his testimony.

And when conflict arises, His Spirit is far more present. I have read that in Nicaragua there are murders and terrorist attacks going on down there. Christians are meeting in the midst of all that chaos. Once, they were having a prayer meeting, and in walked two soldiers, arms ready, wanting to know "What is going on here; what is this worship?" And two men, standing beside them turned and laid hands on them and both soldiers fell down and received the Holy Spirit right there. Both went out, came back, laid down their weapons and began to worship with the others who were there. When great persecution arises, God increases his Spirit as we need it to give a true witness to bring people back to him. So when the persecution comes and you lose your houses, that is the time to rejoice; because God's power is going to be manifest among you in a way that is greater than anything you can imagine. For though we suffer and are made to suffer, we will also be able to REJOICE, for the battle is already over, the battle already won! For when all these things begin to take place, our salvation draweth nigh! Our Lord shall return, and bring to an end this corrupt and decaying world. And then the lawless one will be revealed, and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him simply by his appearing and his coming!!! The Lord will return to establish his righteous reign upon the earth. No battle needs to take place. No world conflict needs to take place. Those signs have already come to pass. Be ready. He could come tomorrow; he could come today.

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