Keith's Comments
Your Redemption Draweth Nigh
I write this specifically to my brothers and sisters in Christ that you may be strengthened, edified and encouraged. Jesus and the disciples had just left the temple in Jerusalem and ascended the Mount of Olives when the disciples approached Him with a question:

"And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" ( Matthew 24:3 KJV )

What Jesus begins to describe to the disciples are signs that reveal when the Tribulation is near which will result in His Second Coming to the earth. Here, in His own words, is His answer:

"For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ..." ( Matthew 24:5 KJV )

In only the last 50 years, 1100 people have claimed to be Christ.1

"And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars..." ( Matthew 24:6 KJV )

In 6000 years of recorded history, an estimated 600 million people have been killed in wars. One half of all those have died since 1900. More wars have been seen by our current generation than by any other.2

"For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom..." ( Matthew 24:7a KJV )

The current development and proliferation of nuclear weapons by rogue nations such as Iran and North Korea, along with military alliances and technical assistance being offered by Russia to Iran and Syria, tell us strategies are being formed for a near future military action by these nations.

"...and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places." ( Matthew 24:7b KJV )

A major issue of famines and pestilences occurred as a result of the southeast Asian earthquake and tsunami at the end of last year which claimed over a quarter of a million lives. We must realize that a world war which brings about the destruction of natural resources, not to mention lives lost, would only compound such a problem.

The earth's population has doubled twice in only the last century3, and is reeling from natural disasters which continue to increase globally every year. Last month the United Nations released a report stating that 2.5 billion people have been affected by natural disasters over the past 10 years, which is a 60% increase over the previous decade. Floods and earthquakes were the deadliest occurrences which accounted for more than half of the total casualties during that time period.

"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake." ( Matthew 24:9 KJV )

It's been 2000 years since Jesus ascended to Heaven. More Christians have died for their faith in the last 100 years than the combined total of martyrs in the first 1900 years after His ascension.4

"Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors." ( Matthew 24:32-33 KJV )

Jesus utilizes a parable with a possible two-fold meaning. First, He could simply be saying that just as a budding fig tree in nature shows signs that summer is near, He is providing us with signs that the Tribulation and His Second Coming is near.

Or second, He could be symbolically referring to Israel as a "fig tree" as is done in Jeremiah 24 and Hosea 9:10 and saying that when Israel is reborn as a nation ("putteth forth leaves") we should know that the Tribulation is near ("summer is nigh"). If it is the latter, remember that after almost 2000 years Israel was regathered again as a nation in May 1948.

"But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." ( Matthew 24:37 KJV )

Jesus said that at the time of His Second Coming at the end of Tribulation, the earth would be as it was in Noah's day. The Bible gives us the answer as to how it was in those times:

"And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence..." ( Genesis 6:13 KJV )

Violent crime is at an all time high, and terrorist activity continues to increase on a global scale. Noah's day sounds very much like today's society doesn't it.

But then, just as the ominous signs of which He speaks begin to appear hopeless, Jesus provides hope for those who are saved:

"And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." ( Luke 21:28 KJV )

What is our redemption? When each of us received the salvation of Christ, we were spiritually adopted into His family. But our redemption is the change of a Christian's mortal body to immortal as the Lord physically adopts us into His Kingdom:

"...waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." ( Romans 8:23 KJV )

"We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed," ( 1 Corinthians 15:51 KJV )

"Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body..." ( Philippians 3:21 KJV )

"For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." ( 1 Corinthians 15:53 KJV )

This event must take place at the Rapture of the Church when Jesus comes to take us Home to the Father's House ( John 14:2-3 KJV ) because:

"...flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." ( 1 Corinthians 15:50 KJV )

What a glorious event that will be, and what a wonderful blessing the Lord has promised! And not only for we Christians who are still alive, but also for all our family, friends and loved ones who have put their faith and trust in Him for salvation, but have preceded us in death:

"For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him." ( 1 Thessalonians 4:14 KJV )

Here's how it will occur:

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." ( 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 KJV )

Remember, Lord Jesus said "when these things begin to come to pass" we receive our redemption. Not when these things are going full force during Tribulation; not when these things are about to conclude; when they BEGIN to occur! As we see in the news every day, and as I've shown you above, the signs that the Tribulation is near have already begun.

So this is not a time to be idle in anticipation of His soon return. As brothers and sisters in Christ we must support and edify one another as we see the day approaching ( Hebrews 10:25 KJV ), and we must continue in our daily lives, but always striving to win souls to the Kingdom of God:

"For ye remember, brethren, our labor and travail: for laboring night and day, because we would not be chargable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblamably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:" ( 1 Thessalonians 2:9-10 KJV )

"And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing." ( 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 KJV )

Look up my family in Christ! Lift up your heads! Our redemption draweth nigh!

Keith

02-15-2005

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1,2,3 - Statistics utilized in a sermon by Dr. Adrian Rogers broadcast January 2005

4 - As cited in the editorial review of "By Their Blood: Christian Martyrs of the Twentieth Century"

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