PULPIT TODAY SERMON
Robert D. Pace
I want to talk to you on the subject of How the Bible Shows the World Its Days are Numbered. Many here know that I have written the book, “APOCALERT—The Bible’s Irrepressible Forewarning.” The book describes the events that mark mankind’s final descent into the Apocalypse. A significant portion of today’s message comes from this book and if you would like a copy you can order it on the RESOURCES page.
First, I want to define the term, APOCALERT. What does that word mean?
What is an Apocalert?
An Apocalert is a Biblical prophecy—whether an event, sign, or omen—
that comes to pass, showing that the Bible is true as it reveals the nearness of the Apocalypse.
(Transition) I want to illustrate one significant Apocalert from the Bible that has come to pass in recent decades.
Abraham is known as the father of the Jewish people. It was through his lineage that they became the one covenantal nation on Earth to represent God. But God also gave the Israeli people a forewarning. Moses told them the day would come when they would reject God and his Law, and God would remove their statehood as a nation among the nations of the world. But Moses was not alone with this warning. A chorus of ancient prophets joined with Moses in predicting the disappearance of Israel upon the world map. The final prophet to warn Israel of this was Jesus.
Jesus and the Prophets referred to Israel as the “fig tree.” It’s why one of the last miracles Jesus performed before dying on the Cross was to curse the barren fig tree before his Apostles’ eyes. In so doing, he foretold the destruction of Israel. And amazingly enough, forty years after Christ’s death in 70 AD, Christ’s act of cursing of the fig tree played out in actual events. The Romans attacked Jerusalem, killed a million Jews, destroyed the Temple, and eliminated Israel as a nation. At that moment, the Jews were uprooted from their homeland and those that escaped dispersed into 133 nations. At that point, Israel, the fig tree had fallen and was dead!
Once the Romans destroyed Israel, its land lay desolate and the Jews were without their homeland for approximately 1900 years. However, Jesus and the Prophets had not only spoken of Israel’s demise and dispersion into the nations, they had prophesied that God would resurrect Israel and rebirth them as a nation in the Last Days. And that’s why the last parable Jesus told was the Parable of the Fig Tree. Listen to its remarkable words:
Then he told them a parable: “Behold the fig tree and all the trees; (30) as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is near. (31) So you also, when you see these things happening, [The reappearance of Israel—the fig tree—replanted in its homeland] recognize that the kingdom of God is near. (32) Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.”
After 1900 years of global absence, Israel—the fig tree—reclaimed its Statehood on May 14, 1948. Today, Israel is a sovereign nation once again and nothing like this has ever happened in world history! Jesus indicated that when this happened, the clock of Endtime events would lead to the final countdown to his Return to Earth. This is an Apocalert of Scripture that announces the nearness of the Lord’s Return.
(Transition) Thank God that his Word never fails! The promises of Scripture always come to pass. And the Bible has recorded scores of prophecies that have been fulfilled or are in the process of fulfillment
Has the Tribulation Begun?
What’s interesting is how God prewrote the twilight of human history. Did you know there are more prophecies that relate to the Last Days than any other time of history? That means there are even more Bible prophecies pertaining to the Endtime than those predicting how Jesus would come to Earth as our Savior 2000 years ago. The amazing aspect of Bible prophecy regards its incredible, unerring precision.
The Bible does not present prophecy like Nostradamus or modern-day psychics. Their grift involves forecasting with sketchy, imprecise words that can be interpreted twenty different ways. That is not the way God spoke. The ancient prophets recorded God’s prophetic word with clarity, precision, and detail.
And there is a purpose for this: God refuses to let people stumble blindly into the Apocalypse. He has provided the last generation with a deluge of irrepressible signs, wonders, and Apocalerts that announce, “The end is near; you must prepare!” All of this provides mankind with “Due Notice” that the Apocalypse is imminent. You see, our God will not let anything impugn his character. And it would be the height of injustice for God to withhold evidence that mankind had reached the Apocalypse, but nobody knew it, until the Apocalypse had engulfed them!
As I have followed this pandemic, I have heard a question that Christians have begun to ask: Does this COVID—19 pandemic announce the initial stage of the Tribulation? And the answer is an unqualified, “No, not at all”! Are we close to that day? Yes, there is no question that we are living in the Last Days. But we have not entered the Tribulation!
How can we be certain of this? It’s because the Bible repeatedly records a practice of God whenever he brings a “sea change” event to the world. You’ll find this procedure throughout the Bible! And here is what it is: the great “sea change” events that God brings upon the earth are always preceded by a Precursor (Prophetic Signal) that provides indisputable evidence for what lies ahead. These precursors, or Prophetic Signals, serve as “wakeup calls” for what is coming.
Since that it is the case, I want to provide some examples. As I do, you will understand why the world has not entered the initial phase of the Tribulation. The first example of God providing a precursor to a “sea change” event is the Flood of Noah:
God would not Flood the earth until he first indisputably warned mankind what his plans were. And there are at least three significant ways he did this:
First, he sent Methuselah, the man that lived longer than anyone of human history—969 years. It’s important to understand what Methuselah’s name means. And here’s how it translates: “In the year of his death, it shall come.” Everywhere Methuselah went the people looked at him and probably thought something like this: “Look, there goes Methuselah. His name means, “In the year of his death, it shall come.” I wonder what it is?” And according to promise, God sent the Flood the very year that Methuselah died!
But more miraculous than that is the man that gave Methuselah his name, and that was his father, Enoch. The Bible describes Enoch as a “preacher of righteousness” that lived 365 years who suddenly disappeared and was translated—or raptured—into God’s presence! Can you imagine that? The story probably went something like this: One day Enoch gathered a crowd, stood in a high visible position, and preached about the coming wrath of God. Then suddenly, after concluding his message, God instantly snatched him away in full view of everyone. Now if that’s not God providing a precursor—supernatural evidence—for his coming plans I don’t know what is!
And finally, there was the witness of nature that testified to the coming wrath of the Flood. Do you realize that the last week before the Flood the Bible shows the animals marching two-by-two into the Ark? God forced the people of Noah’s day to watch the animals march to a place of refuge and yet they still rejected the Precursor.
That describes a few of God’s acts before sending the Flood, but now let’s investigate God’s actions as he delivered Israel from Its 400-years of Egyptian Captivity. The Lord wanted the Israelites to know he was ready for them to leave their life of slavery and become an independent, free nation. And everyone here knows that the Precursors appeared through a man named Moses that brought astounding phenomena to Egypt! He turned the Nile into blood; turned daylight into thick, eerie darkness; brought ten disastrous plagues upon Egypt; and then miraculously parted the Red Sea. There should have been no doubt that God wanted the Israelites to leave their life of slavery and become a free nation after this drama.
Then, notice God’s actions when he gave Israel the Ten Commandments—which to this day provides the world with the preeminent constitution and statutes for human governance. What did God do here? As he sent Moses up Mount Sinai to retrieve the Commandments the Lord made the people watch him walk into something dreadful. He walked toward bolts of lightning, fire, smoke, violent shaking. In fact, the Bible says that the whole world shook during this moment (Hebrews 12). This fearsome sight was more than sufficient to convince the people that God was giving Moses something incredibly significant!
You can see by these examples that whenever God introduced major events or dispensations to mankind he first supplied abundant, indisputable evidence to forewarn people of his plans. Since that is God’s methodology, it is only commonsense deduction to expect him to supply the world with “Due Notice” just prior to sending the Apocalypse—the Great Tribulation.
And here is what the Bible says will occur before the Tribulation begins: The world must first experience a convergence of notable Bible prophecies suddenly coming to pass, which will serve as “Apocalerts” (wakeup calls) to the Tribulation. For Christians, these prophecies will unfold in a convincing, irrefutable fashion!
(Transition) Because I believe we are close to the culmination of all Biblical prophecy, I want to unveil this convergence of Apocalerts that will appear just before the Tribulation. And I want you to notice that they are set to appear at a succinct, slice of time that Jesus called the “Beginning of Sorrows,” or the “Birth Pains”” (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21).
The Beginning of Sorrows—Birth Pains
There is a reason Jesus called this momentary turmoil “The Beginning of Sorrows” or “Birth Pains.” He was comparing the Last Days to a woman heaving and contracting in pain just before birthing her baby. Jesus knew that the world’s Endtime pregnancy would produce a bizarre, unordinary child! And he was talking about a pregnancy that would produce the Apocalypse!
And I want to apprise you of something: This bizarre and beastly pregnancy was conceived years ago, and as much as the world loves Abortion, there is no possibility of aborting the Tribulation! It’s been conceived through sin, evil, bloodshed, blasphemies, and all manner of transgression. You see, the Bible says, “whatsoever a person sows that they shall also reap.”
But since this message does not primarily concentrate on the Great Tribulation, I want to look closer at this painful period of “Birth Pains” and “contractions” that will serve as the official Apocalert to the Apocalypse. How did Jesus describe this series of prophecies? I want to read his words from Luke 21:8—11.
Many people would say that these events have occurred for centuries. And they have! They have occurred off-and-on for hundreds of years. And that is the key to understanding this passage of Scripture! One earthquake, or one virus, or one of any of these signs does not mean the Endtime has emerged. Jesus didn’t say: “The beginning of sorrows will occur off-and-on for hundreds of years and then the Tribulation will appear.” No. A mother experiences birth pains immediately before her baby is born! It’s the portion of time just prior to delivery!
When the “Beginning of Sorrows” erupts in the earth people will be appalled. They will be lamenting and heaving with anguish at what the world is experiencing. These are the contractions that precede the Tribulation. And with the emergence of profuse prophecies converging upon the earth it will be evident that God is speaking to mankind with a Prophetic Signal.
Now do you understand why it cannot be said that COVID—19 alone has launched mankind into the Tribulation? The words of Jesus must first come to pass concerning the contractions of the “beginning of sorrows.”
The Danger of Overstating Bible Prophecies
(Illustration) On April 18, 1906, San Francisco experienced a mammoth earthquake that destroyed 80% of the city and killed 3000 people. How many Christians thought that Christ’s prophetical words had brought the “end of days”? Probably a significant number!
There is something that Christians must keep in check regarding Bible prophecy: we must never exaggerate, overhype, or misapply prophecies in an attempt to convince sinners that we have reached the end of days. There is nothing to gain from overstating or misapplying Bible prophecies! Because later, when it’s evident that they fail, people realize they were duped into accepting a sensationalized prophecy.
Here is what Jesus meant when he described the Endtime prophetic contractions and birth pains. He wanted us to know that over a relatively brief period of time that the world would be assaulted by deception, wars, uprisings, international disputes, mega earthquakes, famines, pestilences, fearful events, and great signs from the cosmos. They will all appear in rapid-fire succession! And this is how the Bible shows the world its days are numbered!
(Example) Can you imagine five to ten major earthquakes striking the globe in a short span of time? Then wars and uprisings breaking out? Envision a plague of viruses infecting millions, along with a couple of meteorites clobbering the planet. No sensible person could ignore the fact that the Endtime convergence of contractions had begun. And this would be enough to convince sinners that “life as usual” had been interrupted and God was bringing a “sea change” experience to the world. It would be enough to strike godly fear within people and create a global wakeup call to the Last Days.
And do you see how this scenario would prepare the stage for that Master of Intrigue—the Antichrist—to offer solutions to a world in crisis? In a moment I will show you specifically how the Antichrist will rise to power but first I want to address what has happened during this plague known as COVID—19.
Prophetic Signal of COVID—19
For several weeks I have called COVID—19 a Prophetic Signal—a harbinger—of what is to come. For months now Americans have witnessed how the world has reacted to one virus plaguing mankind. And this is startling! I want you to consider some of the proposals from politicians, the Deep State, and the world’s elite during this pandemic:
There has been a call for an International Monetary System—perhaps initiating crypto-currency on a global basis.
We have heard some demand a World Tracking System to surveille the movements of all people.
We have seen State Governors ignore the Bill of Rights and deliberately infringe upon civil liberties.
We have willingly allowed the expansion of “Big Brother” and its unnecessary encroachment of watching us. We now have citizen “watchdogs” spying with neighbors “ratting out” neighbors.
And what is also disturbing is the attempt of the Ruling Class, the elites, and the news agencies to silence the voices of citizens that oppose government policy.
There has been an alarming crackdown on personal freedoms!
(Prophetic Word) These are the liberties that have been jeopardized by one plague! And this is what I prophetically sense: What has happened to our world in recent days with COVID—19 is a microcosm of how the world will react in the coming days! It is a “dress rehearsal” for the days that will lead into the Tribulation.
Think about this: If these infringements have been levied against people from one pandemic, then imagine the consequences from a profusion of plagues and cataclysmic events bombarding our planet! In the coming days, when chaos converges, people will be more than ready to eliminate the boundaries of personal freedom and accept whatever policies may be demanded from the autocrats and even the Antichrist.
You can mark this down, folks: The “Beginning of Sorrows” and its contractions will create unprecedented fear! It will strip people of their discernment, and it will set the stage for a man with answers to “take the helm” even though he is infested with Hell itself. That person will be the Antichrist and that is how he will rise to power. As a charismatic figure, bursting with knowledge, he will gladly answer the world’s call to a place of leadership. But his charm will be short-lived as he creates world chaos and turns nation against nation.
As I conclude this message, I want to explain the Bible’s purpose for predictive prophecy.
As these foreboding prophecies come to pass, God uses them to strike fear into unsaved people and turn their hearts toward Christ. Our loving God desires that none “should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). Thus, the foremost purpose of fulfilled prophecy is to warn the wicked of a day of judgment so they can turn their hearts toward Christ before it’s too late! Remember, the grace of God will not let mankind walk blindly into the Apocalypse. He has determined to alert man with irrefutable evidence that the Apocalypse is approaching and spiritual preparation is needed.
Secondly, God uses predictive prophecies to assure Christians that his plan is unfolding just as he recorded in his Word. And when we witness prophecies being fulfilled it deepens our faith and confirms that we can trust God to the very end.
Folks, the world needs Christ like never before. He is the only hope this world has! If you don’t know him as your Savior, ask him to forgive your sins, and pledge yourself to him today. He is waiting with open arms and he won’t turn you away!