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What Angels Want to Know - Matthew 24:36

Taught on | Topic: God's Plan | Keywords: Angels, end times, Abomination of Desolation, tribulation, patience,

Man's knowledge is impressive but it pales next to God's knowledge. The only things we know for certain are the things that God has revealed to us. Some things must be stored in our hearts in the imaginary file marked, "Wait for further information." As we wait for Jesus to come for us, let's consider what we know and what we don't know; in fact let's see what angels don't even know!

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10/8/2006
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What Angels Want to Know
Matthew 24:36
Skip Heitzig
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Man's knowledge is impressive but it pales next to God's knowledge. The only things we know for certain are the things that God has revealed to us. Some things must be stored in our hearts in the imaginary file marked, "Wait for further information." As we wait for Jesus to come for us, let's consider what we know and what we don't know; in fact let's see what angels don't even know!
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Rumblings of War and the Prince of Peace

Rumblings of War and the Prince of Peace

For 2,000 years the church has awaited the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. For 2,000 years men have tried to predict the exact moment of His return. Though no man knows the exact hour or even the day He will come back, there are signs to indicate His coming is near. In the teaching series Rumblings of War and the Prince of Peace, Skip Heitzig thoroughly expounds upon Matthew 24, explaining prophecy of what must take place and encouraging the church to always be ready.

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I. What We DO Know
A. Length of Tribulation
B. Abomination of Desolation
C. The Final Consummation

II. What We DON'T Know
A. The Calendar God Controls
B. The Company We Keep

III. What We SHOULD Know
A. That God Knows
B. That God Controls

LIVING IT:
1. How much of your life is really under your control? Someone once said, "God speaks through the regularity in which He disappoints our plans!" Know that your disappointments may be His appointments.

2. Ponder Daniel 5:23, "the God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny!" Does this comfort you or scare you?

Topic: God's Plan

Keywords: Angels, end times, Abomination of Desolation, tribulation, patience,

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What Angels Want to Know

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Would you turn in your Bibles this morning to Matthew chapter 24? Let's pray. Our heavenly Father, it's so good to be able to call You that. We have a relationship as dear children with You that You have done for us on the cross.

And so now, Father, we take this time. It's set aside for You. You have all of our attention, and we pray You'd speak to us that we might learn how much You care. You care enough to reveal so much to us.

Father, we pray that as we learn more and more about Your coming, we get more and more excited about it. And our lives would be ever more submitted to You because of it. Thank You, Lord, for this gathering today. Thank You for so many hungry hearts. In Jesus' name, amen.

A professor once asked his class this profound question. Which do you think is more of a problem in America, ignorance or apathy? One of the students raised his hand and said, I don't know, and I don't care.

[LAUGHTER]

I've discovered a lot of people feel that way about prophecy and the second coming of Christ. I don't know. I don't care.

There are so many details. It's so hard to understand all that prophecy stuff. That's all in God's hands. I don't know, and I don't care.

Well, there are things you don't know. There's things we all don't know. There's vast sections of the future that have a big question mark with them. Not even the angels know.

But there are other things we do know-- we should know-- because God has revealed them to us. God's in the business of revealing, disclosing, showing, and some of those prophetic sections of the scripture are highly detailed. There's certain chunks of the future that are mapped out very explicitly.

Then there are others that are just glimpses of the future. And whenever there's just a glimpse, just a hint, we have to be content with that and be careful not to add to the Bible or subtract from it.

Now today, we're going to look at one verse and one verse alone. And I guess I sort of apologize for that. I do get sort of stuck. I read through the Bible, and I see a whole section. And I originally thought we could go from verse 36 through verse 44 today, because there's this whole paragraph.

But then I come to verses like this, and I think, no, let's pause, and let's go really deep today because the verse could sound a bit like a contradiction to what we've already read. You see, Jesus has been answering the "when" question, a time question. The disciples said, when will these things be? What will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the world? Jesus gives them some pretty hefty details as to when, what signs to look for, what they can expect.

And we've read enough already in the Bible, and we'll see again today that now Jesus sort of turns on that and says, well, no man knows the day or the hour. Look at that verse, would you, with me, verse 36. It's the single verse we probed this morning. "But of that day and that hour, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only."

I've discovered that a lot of people have the question, when is the world going to end? The Gallup organization polled 1,550 Americans, and they said, if you could ask God a single question, what would you ask Him? Most people said, I'd ask Him, when's the end of the world?

People want to know their future, and prophecy gives us an advantage over any non-Christian with their greatest prognostications and views of statesmens and politicians. We have the edge. We know the end of the story.

About the best the world can come up with is a horoscope or fortune cookie. I've actually seen people open up fortune cookies and take them very seriously. That's scary. Somebody once says, he who believes in fortune cookies is sure to have a crummy life.

[LAUGHTER]

Well, you don't have to have a crummy life. You can have a solid life, and that comes from relying confidently on what has been revealed. So this morning, it's very easy. We're going to look at what we do know, what we don't know, and what we should know, all in verse 36.

Now, verse 36 tells us that we don't know when Jesus is returning. It poses a dilemma, as you're going to see in just a few moments. It says, "Of that day and that hour, no one knows."

I say it poses a dilemma because there's certain things we already know. We already know, for instance, about the tribulation. We even know the length of the tribulation. How long is the tribulation going to be? Seven years.

It's introduced in Daniel chapter 9, verse 27 as the final week of Daniel. Remember, there were 70 weeks of years? We already went through that.

But there's one final period, Daniel 27, that final episode, the time of Jacob's trouble or the tribulation period. It's named a lot of things. It's that final seven-year prophetic calendar time when God deals again with the nation of Israel.

Question-- when will that start? Well, I believe it's going to start at the rapture of the church. It's my personal belief that the rapture of the church, the great catching away of Saints, will close the church age.

It will end what we call the day of grace or the age of grace. It will be the time when God stops, you might say, dealing openly with a Gentile world and focuses his attention once again on the Jewish nation.

Paul referred to it in Romans 11:25 as the fullness of the Gentiles. This is what he said. Blindness, in part, has happened unto Israel until the full number or the fullness of the Gentiles are gathered in.

Loosely translated-- God knows when the last Gentile convert will be. He knows that number specifically. And at whatever day, whatever time that is, when that is gathered in, then God will once again deal with that blindness that, in part, has happened unto Israel.

Now, it always sort of begs me to go a little further with that and say, if you're one of those last holdouts, if you've heard the gospel presentation, you've put it off every altar call, every church service, every month. If you're just holding on, please, for your sake and for our sake, throw in the towel because you might be that last one that forms the full number of the Gentiles. So receive Christ, and let's get the show on the road. And we'll get going.

So we know about the tribulation. We know it's going to last seven years. Some of us believe, me personally, that the rapture of the church will be the thing that tips off that seven-year final period.

We have in the Book of Revelation an interesting sort of picture of that. I believe it's a very straightforward book. I have no problem with its rendering or its understanding if you take it at face value.

Jesus tells John exactly how to write the book. In Revelation 1, verse 19, Jesus says, John, write the things which you have seen, the things which are, and the things which will be after these things-- three parts. So John does exactly that.

Chapter 1, he writes what he sees. He sees the vision of the glorified Christ. In chapter 2 and 3, he writes the things that are. There's seven special messages to seven churches that give seven conditions of the church on Earth. Then he writes the things that will take place after these things, after this, the Greek word [GREEK].

And chapters 4 all the way through Revelation 22 speak about what happens after the church and specifically the great tribulation period leading up to the second coming. By the way, John sees it from a different perspective. Listen to chapter 4.

It says in verse 1, "After these things, I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me saying, 'come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.' Immediately, I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne set in heaven."

Boy, that sounds an awful lot like the rapture of the church, because he says, after these things, after he has just written about the church, heaven opens. A voice says, hey, John, come here. And he hears a trumpet. Sounds like 1 Thessalonians 4.

And instantly, he's in heaven, and everything he writes about from that moment onward is a view of the earth from the perspective of heaven. In fact, the theme of Revelation 1 through 3 is the church. It's mentioned 19 times in Revelation 1 through 3.

Beginning in Revelation chapter 4, the church isn't mentioned a single time until you get to Revelation 22:16. During the entire tribulation period, it is absent. It is not even mentioned.

So I think you have a figure here. You have, again, a consistent pattern where you have the tribulation, the last seven years, the rapture that kicks off that prophetic time of judgment. We know that. It's revealed in the Bible.

We know something else. Number two, we know about the abomination of desolation. We read about it in verse 15, didn't we? Jesus talked about the abomination of desolation. He said, right after that will be the great tribulation.

And Daniel 9:27 once again says, right in the middle of that seven-year period, right in the middle, that's when the abomination will take place. So we know the tribulation lasts seven years. We know that that seven-year period is split in half in two 3 and 1/2 year sections. The abomination of desolation is that middle event.

And we know that 3 and 1/2 years later, who's coming back? Jesus Christ. Again Matthew 24-- after this is the great tribulation, and you're going to see these signs. And after that, the Son of Man will appear in heaven.

Now, we've been studying a lot about the second coming, and it's been very rewarding for me. The more I study about it, the more excited I get. You say, but boy, there's a lot of bad things happening in the world-- exactly why we're studying prophecy.

Listen to what Peter writes, 2 Peter chapter 1. "We have a more sure word of prophecy which you do well to take heed to as a light that shines in a dark place." In other words, every time a prophecy is fulfilled and you see it, it's like it gets brighter for you.

The world gets darker. The outlook looks very bleak, humanly speaking. But for the Christian who sees that God has talked about this in advance and we know it in advance, it's like a light comes on. It gets brighter and brighter.

I just found out that the National Institute of Mental Health said the biggest mental health issue for Americans is anxiety, typically, anxiety about the future. That same institute said that 13 million Americans spend the better part of their day feeling anxious.

Now, here's the good news. You don't have to be one of them. You don't have to be one of them because your future is revealed. You know what's coming, and guess what? I read the last chapter, and you win. You do.

[APPLAUSE]

Some of you got excited.

[LAUGHTER]

So we know. We know about the tribulation. We know how long it'll last. We know about the abomination of desolation. It splits it right in half.

We know something else. We know a little more detail than that. We know the final consummation. We are told in the Scripture how many days after the abomination until the time Jesus Christ returns to destroy the kingdom of the Antichrist.

We know that. We're told it's 3 and 1/2 years. 42 months. Time, times, and a half a time. And the Bible adds such detail to it, it even gives the number of days-- 1,260 days. We read it all over the prophetic literature.

Revelation-- here's a sampling-- 11, verse 3, "And the two witnesses will prophesy 1,260 days clothed in sackcloth." Revelation 12:6, Israel is depicted. "She fled into the wilderness where she has a place prepared by God that they should feed her there 1,260 days." Revelation 13:5 is the reign of the Antichrist. "He was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies."

It's funny. You read about the Antichrist a lot, and you read about his mouth. He has a big mouth. He's a loud mouth. He's a proud mouth.

"He was given a great mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for 42 months." So we know that the abomination of desolation to the end is 42 months. We know that the reign of the Antichrist will last a period of 42 months, 1,260 days. By the way, it's prophetic years. A prophetic year, remember, is 360 days, not 365, just in case you do the math and you come out a few days.

You know from the Bible, therefore, if you were alive during the tribulation period, if you were here on Earth when the abomination of desolation happened-- I don't believe you will be. I don't plan to be. You could technically count from the day that you see on CNN-- the Antichrist set up the abomination of desolation. You get your calendar out and count 1,260 days and say, that's the day Jesus will be back and destroy his kingdom.

And yet Jesus said, you don't know the day or the hour. So it poses a little dilemma for us because we have exact dates.

Now let's even complicate it a little more, shall we? Let's have a little more fun. Turn with me to Daniel chapter 12. Daniel chapter 12 adds a couple of interesting pieces of information. And you know Daniel chapter 12. It's the final prophecy given by the angel Gabriel to Daniel about the future. Daniel's an old gentleman at this time.

Verse 9, "And he said, 'go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand."

Now look at this. "And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be 1,290 days." Got an extra month thrown in there. What's that all about? Keep reading.

"Blessed is he who waits and comes to the 1,335 days." We have an extra 45 days. So we've got 75 days added, and Daniel's told that. "But for you, go your way until the end. You shall rest and will arise to your inheritance at the end of days."

So what's going to happen after the 1,260? Now you've got 75 extra days. What's going to happen? Well, stuff, a lot of stuff.

I don't exactly know what, but I pieced a few prophecies together. And here's a suggestion, a few suggestions. Number one, during that time period, that's when Jesus, having returned to the Earth, will judge the nations. Matthew 25, verse 31 and following kind of outlines that, also Zechariah.

Possibility number two, perhaps during that maybe initial 30-day period or that whole 75-day period, there's going to be a governmental restructuring, an infrastructure built for the kingdom age. We know Israel is going to be preeminent with the Messiah during the kingdom age, the millennium.

We also know that the borders of Israel that God promised to Abraham in Genesis 15 has never, ever been realized. Isaiah 27, verse 12 predicts a time when they will occupy their full borders from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates River. Do you know what that means? That one day Iraq is going to be part of Israel.

Now, they don't know that. They certainly wouldn't like that, but one day, they're going to take over that whole section. That will all be the border of Israel. It could be that that restructuring and borderline setup will take place during the time after His coming.

Number three, since Armageddon will have just happened and all sorts of conflagration and military excesses, it could be a mop-up period. Takes some time to do that.

Number four is a possibility-- a topographical restructuring. You know when Jesus comes back, he's going to be a landscaper, right? You knew that. You know that the Earth is going to go through some pretty dramatic changes, even Jerusalem, Israel.

The Bible says when Jesus comes back to the Earth, He puts his foot on what mountain? Mount of Olives. And it does what? Splits in two, and it creates a huge valley.

And do you remember what it says after that? It says that living waters will flow from Mount Zion, from the Temple Mount, and a river will be created through that valley that flows all the way down to the Dead Sea. And the waters of the Dead Sea will be healed, and fishermen will spread their nets out at Engaddi.

In other words, the Dead Sea will be the Undead Sea. There'll be life in it, teeming with life. And it could be that that's a period of time when that topographical restructuring will take place. Plus, the temple that has been desecrated by the Antichrist, the abomination of desolation, that has to be taken care of. A new temple will be built for the millennium.

Number five as a possibility, it could be-- and I don't know, but it could be that that's when the marriage supper of the Lamb takes place. Now, I said before, it could take place right after the rapture of the church. You're in heaven having a great old time with your Lord, your King during the tribulation period on Earth. Or it could take place on Earth, and maybe that's what it means when it says, "Blessed is he who waits to the 1,335th day."

Here's why I suggest it. A Jewish wedding has a predictable pattern. Now, first of all, there's the announcement. The bride- and groom-to-be make their way to the groom's house and make the announcement of their upcoming wedding, but they don't get married right away. There is a period of betrothal, about a year, 18 months. It's a period where they're officially contractually together, but they have no physical contact. They're courting, you might say.

At the end of that period is the wedding ceremony, and after the wedding ceremony is the marriage supper, which typically takes place at the bride's house. So you can picture whisked away into heaven at the rapture, coming back, the bridegroom's house, coming back to the Earth to the bride's former house where the marriage supper takes place in this renewed environment.

There's certain things we do know-- 1,260 days till Jesus' return, 75 days for stuff. And we know this. When we're in glory, we're going to know a lot more. When we're finally in God's presence and we're changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and we're given new bodies and new capacities-- the Bible says, we will fully know even as we are fully known.

And that's when you can be able to say, well, Skip was wrong on that count, but this is really what happening. And it's all going to come together. And when that happens, by the way, we're going to recognize each other, that loved one you lost, that relative that died this year or 20 years ago.

And you wonder, boy, are we going to recognize each other? Somebody asked Charles Spurgeon that. Do you think we're going to recognize each other in heaven? I love what he said. He said, do you think we're going to be more stupid in heaven than we are on Earth?

[LAUGHTER]

I mean, if we recognize each other on Earth, we're going to do OK up there. So that's what we do know. What about what we don't know? Well, Jesus tells us what we don't know. Verse 36, "But of that day and that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, but My Father only."

What does that mean? I think it means we don't know when God's going to pull the trigger. He alone has His prophetic calendar under His control. And I think that that day refers to the entire section of what He's been talking about in Matthew chapter 24.

All of these events taken together that constitute what the Bible calls "the day of the Lord." Have you heard that term before? It's an Old Testament term. The day of the Lord is not a 24-hour period. It's a series of events over a period of time.

That is, the day of Christ, the day of grace is over, and now the day of the Lord-- His judgments upon the Earth-- take place. I think there's even a verse that corresponds with verse 36. In Zechariah chapter 14, the day of the Lord is announced. It says this, verse 1, "Behold, the day of the Lord is coming." Then it talks about it, and down in verse 7, "It shall be a day which is known to the Lord."

So the day of the Lord that begins with the rapture of the church that inaugurates that seven-year period that leads to the return of Christ, nobody knows when that's going to be set into motion. Nobody can predict when that event-- the rapture of the church that brings in the day of the Lord that leads to the second coming-- when it's all going to start. Nobody knows.

It's a signless event. The second coming has a lot of signs attached to it. But the rapture of the church that brings in the day of the Lord that leads to the second coming is a signless event.

And yet every few years, somebody writes some paragraph, some book, some announcement that they've discovered when Jesus Christ is coming back. They know the day of the rapture. It's happened for years.

1943, William Miller and a group of his followers-- they called themselves "Millerites." They sat on a hillside in the Midwest because Miller said, I know exactly the day Jesus is coming back for the church. They put white robes on, and they sat there all day, all night to the next morning.

And they looked at him, and he went, well, OK. And he said another day. Five times he set the day till he finally died.

When he died, his followers put the wisest thing they ever published on his tombstone. It read, at the appointed time, the end shall be. In other words, we quit. Only God knows.

Back in 1985, a newspaper in Hartford England took out a little article that said, the world is definitely coming to an end on December 11 at noon precisely. That was to be on a Wednesday.

On Friday, two days after Jesus was supposed to come, they ran the article again. But the editor put a little PS. We're still here. They made it a laughingstock.

I wonder how many of you remember Edgar Whisenant and 88 Reasons Why Jesus is Coming in 1988. I remember those books very well. They were circulated around this town in large numbers.

He said he calculated by the Scripture the exact time that Jesus would rapture his church. It was September 12, 1988. He gave 88 reasons why, and he was wrong.

Then he gave 91 reasons why Jesus was coming in '91. And it got to be really bad, and it became a laughing stock. And yet I remember people saying, you owe it to your people to tell them that Jesus is coming back on that day, or you're leading them into heresy.

And I said, you know what? You're supposed to be ready no matter when he comes, right? Look down at verse 44. "Therefore, you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."

Do you remember the disciples after Jesus rose from the dead? And I picture the disciples like this because they thought, this is it. Jesus is going to set up the kingdom. This is it.

Well, Jesus starts talking to them about waiting in Jerusalem for the power of the Holy Spirit to fill them. And they interrupted him. They said, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel at this time?

And remember what Jesus said? By the way, that's called an "interruption." That's a non sequitur in communication. It's like, I'm bringing in a subject that has nothing to do with what you're telling me. It's like saying, hey, Jesus, do you like green chili on your falafel?

[LAUGHTER]

Yeah, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm saying, wait in Jerusalem till the Holy Spirit fills you with the ability to do what I want you to do. Are you going to restore the kingdom now?

And Jesus said to them, it's not for you to know the times or the seasons that the Father has put in His own authority. But you will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and you'll be my witnesses all over the world. In other words, boys, listen. You guys ought to just be thinking about working out in the vineyard, and don't worry about what time the sun sets. My Father will take care of that.

Well, we don't know when that's going to happen, and we're in good company. Look what Jesus said. Verse 36, he said, "no one knows it, not even the angels of heaven."

I like that. I'm in good company. Do you know when Jesus is coming back?

No, I don't. I don't know. I don't know when that rapture is going to happen that leads to the seven years that leads to the second coming. I don't know.

And the Angels don't know. Now, think about that. The angels are those beings that are close around the throne of God, some of which were there when Jesus came the first time, remember? Multitudes of heavenly hosts around Bethlehem. They don't know.

Gabriel was the guy that gave Daniel the prophecy of the future. Gabriel was the angel that was there announcing to Mary the birth of Christ and was there at the birth of Christ. He doesn't know.

Michael that's called the angel, the great prince of the nation of Israel who defends the Jewish people-- he doesn't know. Now, I have a hunch they'd love to know. I say that because in 2 Peter chapter 1, as Peter talks about our glorious salvation, he says, these are things even the angels desire to look into.

Now, I picture the angels today as sitting on pins and needles. They're waiting for their cue. They're waiting for the day when the Father announces, now.

1 Thessalonians, "For the Lord will descend from heaven with a shout with the voice of the archangel with a trumpet of God, and we'll be caught up." I just see the angel sitting up there waiting for God to say, hit it boys.

[IMITATES TRUMPET]

[WHOOSH]

They can't wait. Neither can I.

So we don't know. The angels don't know, and there's somebody else Jesus said who didn't know. Now, it's not written here. Some versions include it.

But over in Mark chapter 13, which is the parallel account of what we're reading, Jesus said, "Of that day and the hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, not even the Son." Did you get that? Jesus Christ said He didn't even know when He was coming.

You say, now, wait a minute. How can Jesus say He doesn't know, when Jesus is God, isn't He? He is God. The Bible says He's God. He said He was God.

So wait a minute. I thought God was omniscient, and he knew everything. He does. Well, then how can Jesus say He didn't know?

Now, we know at times in the gospels, Jesus demonstrated that He knew all things. It says, He knew all things. He had no need that any man should testify to Him for He knew all things. He knew what was in man-- the end of John chapter 2.

On five occasions, the Bible says, Jesus could read their thoughts. He knew what they were thinking before they even said anything. So what does it mean Jesus doesn't know His coming?

Well, it goes back to Philippians chapter 2. Paul tells us very succinctly, Jesus was in a form of God. He was God in human flesh. He was at the same level as God the Father, but He voluntarily emptied Himself, right? He made himself of no reputation and became a man.

That is-- and listen carefully. He laid aside certain prerogatives of his deity. He doesn't lay aside his deity.

He was always God. He was God in the womb. He was God on the cross, but He laid aside certain exercises of the prerogative of his deity.

Every year, we sing the song, Hark the Herald Angels Sing. Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see. Hail, Incarnate Deity.

In other words, his deity wasn't void. It was just veiled, and one of the areas it was veiled in is he said, I don't know the day of My coming. Only My Father knows that.

Now, I believe that was then. I believe Jesus knows now, because Jesus prayed in John 17, "Restore the glory that I had with you before the world was." And after he rose from the dead, after he conquered death, after he paid for the atonement, he said to his disciples, Matthew 28, "All authority is given to me that is in heaven and on the Earth." So for that period of time, he didn't know, and he told them so.

So anyway, that's what we know. That's what we don't know. I want to close with what we should know in the next couple of minutes.

Look back at verse 36. "But of that day and that hour, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only." In the Greek language, "only" is very emphatic. [GREEK]. The Father exclusively knows, and boy, does He know. That's how you could translate it.

Let me summarize for you. There's a lot we know. There's a lot we don't know. But I know that the Father knows, and I'm content with that. The Father knows.

If you think about it, man's knowledge is very impressive. We double in our accumulative knowledge every couple of years. I was talking to my mom the other day. I have a sister-in-law who's a librarian. And she mentioned that she's a librarian.

And I said, yeah, libraries. I forgot about those things. And I thought, who uses them anymore? No offense if you're a librarian. I just haven't been to one for a long time, and here's why.

I have a computer. I can plug into libraries around the world. I have access to knowledge. You have access to knowledge that's quite impressive.

But the smartest, wisest man or woman who's brilliant has to bow in their knowledge before the Omniscient One. God knows everything, everything. God even knows, Jesus said, the hairs of your head in number, which, for some of us, changes every day. And for some, it's very easy-- one. But nonetheless, God knows.

In Isaiah 46, the Lord declared, "I am God, and there is no other. I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times the things that are not yet done." Friend, do you know that your life is in God's hands? Do you understand your future is known in detail to the Father?

You know what that means? You can relax a little bit. He knows and the one who knows is your Father. There's a relationship there.

How many of you remember the old show on television-- I want an honest show of hands-- Father Knows Best? You're old. I remember that show. I'm older.

Remember, the theme was Dad, who's a bit stodgy, out of times with the Beave and Wally-- he still knows best. He's a wise man.

You have a father in Heaven who knows absolutely every detail about your future, your life, which should cause you to say, well, I don't know a lot of things. But I do know that he knows, and [EXHALES CONTENTEDLY] it's OK.

Remember the day Jesus pointed up to a tree, probably, and said to his disciples, hey, check it out. Look at the birds. Look at the birds of the air. And they're not worried, and they're not toiling. They're not gathering in the barns.

Remember what He said? But your heavenly Father feeds them. You're a lot more valuable than birds.

Did you catch the language? He said, your heavenly Father feeds them. He's not their heavenly Father. He's their creator. He's their God, but He's not their Father.

You see, did God ever promise to birds a personal relationship? Did God ever promise to birds recreation by the new birth? Was any bird created in the image of God? Was any bird ever promised eternal life? No.

You have a heavenly Father who feeds them, but he's your Father. He's going to take care of you.

I've always loved that little poem that says, said the robin to the sparrow, I would really like to know why these anxious human beings rush about and worry so. Said the sparrow to the robin, friend, I think that it must be they have no heavenly Father such as care for you and me.

There's a lot of things from the Bible we know, but we do not know that day where there will be the catching up of the church and the final plunge of society in this world into the day of the Lord. But we know He knows, so [EXHALES CONTENTEDLY] let's pray.

Heavenly Father, once again, how privileged we are to even use that term. How privileged we are. We don't have to come before You shaking, worried, even though You're the master of all, the creator of all, the one who holds all things together.

Jesus taught us to pray, our Father, which art in heaven, You're our Dad. You love us tenderly with precious thoughts continually, and it brings a level of rest and relaxation and confidence. And even as the world gets darker and even as things in our world get darker, we see from the prophetic Scripture that there's lights everywhere that come on, that bring illumination to our path.

Thank You, and I pray that we would be the kind of people who hold tenaciously to what we do know and march with that into the future. In Jesus' name, amen. Let's all stand.

Additional Messages in this Series

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7/23/2006
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Rumblings of War and the Prince of Peace
Matthew 24:1-3
Skip Heitzig
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When you hear of wars and rumors of war what do you think of? When you see TV news of images of the horrors of evil what do you think? Most of us turn to others for comfort and others turn to the bible for answers but the real question is do you believe in your heart that God is your Father? Matthew tells us of the concerns of the disciples as they heard of Jesus speaking of the end times. The disciples are much like you and I for they asked Jesus and He told them plainly but did they really believe? So are you hearing and believing or are you believing what you think you want to hear? Think about it.
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7/30/2006
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Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign
Matthew 24:3-5
Skip Heitzig
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Do you believe signs when you see them? Do you know how to read signs when they are given to you? Jesus, in Matthew 24 tells of His return and the signs we are to look for. If we have a different understanding other than what the bible says then we may miss the greatest happening of all time and be left behind.., the return of Jesus. So, will you read the signs and seek to understand, or will you simply dismiss them and interpret your own signs.
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8/6/2006
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Why We Can't All Just Get Along
Matthew 24:6-8
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War has always been a part of the regular life of humanity since our beginning. So what makes war a sign that Jesus' return is near? And more importantly, why can't people around the world get along? Why is it that strife, conflict, rivalry, and fighting have so marred God's highest creation? Where will it lead and how can we cope?
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8/13/2006
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When Faith Turns Fatal
Matthew 24:9-11
Skip Heitzig
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The Bible extols the benefits of faith. Faith justifies the sinner, appropriates God's promises for the believer and will bring us into eternal joy. But faith can also be fatal - there are consequences to believing! Faith in God brings us into direct opposition with Satan's worldly system and incurs the wrath and opposition of unbelievers and false believers. What will it be like for those who trust Christ just before His Second Coming?
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8/20/2006
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Big Mess; Bigger Message
Matthew 24:12-14
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Whenever there's a mess, a messenger with a message is needed. God has always worked that way. In ancient Israel he sent prophets to herald truth to a recalcitrant nation. In church history God raised up evangelists to proclaim the gospel to sin-hardened and cynical generations. The future Tribulation will be the biggest mess ever, yet God will still have his message heard! Lets notice four human conditions that will prevail in the future of earth's most severe time.
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8/27/2006
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God's House Vandalized!
Matthew 24:15
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This single verse is pivotal in understanding prophecy. It highlights something that is both historic as well as prophetic. This verse, when tied to its historical roots in the prophet Daniel, will help you understand what John wrote in the book Revelation. But it offers more than just biblical information it provides practical inspiration when properly understood.
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9/3/2006
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Holy Land Tour: CANCELED!
Matthew 24:16-20
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For many Christians, a trip to the Holy Land is a once-in-a-lifetime dream. To see where Jesus walked, taught and spoke prophetically of is thrilling. But trouble is in store for Israel's future, in fact Scripture refers to it as "Jacob's Trouble" (Jer. 30:7). What will be Israel's future and what can we learn about the nature of God in adversity? Moreover, what should a believer's response to catastrophic events be?
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9/10/2006
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When God Declares War
Matthew 24:21-22
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War is ugly but sometimes necessary. It's meant to defend the weak and punish deadly aggressors. Jesus' words here depict a time when God wages war on the human race and throws every conceivable judgment to the earth in the Tribulation. These two verses also highlight three prevailing conditions that exist between God and mankind. The first condition has existed since the Fall of Mankind, the second will be a temporary result of the first, and the third condition is rooted in the character of God and takes the edge off of the first two.
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9/17/2006
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The New Dark Ages
Matthew 24:23-28
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Jesus said, "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."(John 9:5) and that His followers were to take up the same occupation: "You are the light of the world" (Matt 5:14). But what happens when the light has been extinguished? What happens when spiritual darkness overshadows everything, everywhere? There's an old saying, "It's always darkest just before the dawn." Jesus tells His followers here that just when the world plummets to its darkest moment, He will be returning!
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9/24/2006
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Ready or Not, Here He Comes!
Matthew 24:29-31
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Children love to play games. One of those games is Hide and Seek where a child, after counting to ten, will call out to his friends, "Ready or not, here I come!" One day, after a time of intense distress, Jesus will return to the earth for the second time and many will not be ready for it. Those who survive and are ready will be gathered together with the rest of God's people to be ushered into God's eternal Kingdom. Are you ready or not?
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10/1/2006
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The End Times Farmer's Almanac
Matthew 24:32-35
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For years agrarians have consulted the venerable Farmer's Almanac for predictive signs on what this next season would bring, in terms of weather forecasts, threatening bugs and water table levels. It helps them know how to navigate through the growing year. Jesus gave a story to His disciples on how the future generation can tell when the season of judgment is upon them and how they should live during the last days on earth.
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10/15/2006
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Eat, Drink and Be Judged!
Matthew 24:37-44
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When Noah built his ark, most people thought he was nuts. Only seven others listened to his warning and went with him. Jesus spoke about the fool who thought he was prepared for the future because of his wise investments. This man said to himself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." (Luke 12:19). Jesus also tells us that the world will largely adopt this attitude in the final days of history unaware of what's ahead.
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10/22/2006
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Caught in the Act!
Matthew 24:45-51
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Every parent remembers walking into their child's room catching them in some act either good or bad. The youngster wasn't expecting you to be there and that child's look tells all, betraying innocence or guilt. The return of Jesus Christ will catch some people off guard while others will be diligently involved in the Master's work. Ever wonder what you'll be up to when Jesus returns: what activities, conversations and thoughts you'll be engaged in? Let's consider two possibilities.
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There are 13 additional messages in this series.