Matt 27:52                 The Signs of Judgment Day                               3/22/2009      ßà   

 

 

 

 

#1.       The Law Was Changed (Heb 7:11-14, Heb 10:20, Matt 27:51)

 

 

 

#2.       The Veil (Matt 27:51, Heb 10:20, John 14:6, Eph 1:22-23)

 

 

 

#3.       Why an Earthquake? (Hag 2:6-9, Rev 16:17-18, 6:12)

 

 

 

#4.       The Rocks Rent (Matt 27:51, Ex 17:6, 1Co 10:4, Rev 6:15-16)

 

 

 

#5.       Graves Were Opened (Matt 27:52, John 5:25-29, Col 1:18)

 

 

 

#6.       The Holy City (Matt 27:53, Heb 12:22)

 

 

 

#7.       The Son of God (Matt 27:54, 2Cor 4:3-4)

 

 

 

 

Please open your bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 27:51 (2X). We are presently still in that section of the Bible where we are looking at the death of Christ, and all its consequences. Last week we spent some time looking at the first appearance of Melchizedek in Gen 14. We did this deliberately, because the figure of Melchizedek is intimately woven into the death of Christ. And by comparing the description of Melchizedek in Gen 14 with that in Heb 7 we came to the conclusion that Melchizedek was an early appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. First of all Melchizedek was a man, with a body, not a theophany without substance. Secondly, Melchizedek was without father or mother, and without beginning or end of days. Thirdly, Melchizedek was a king of righteousness and king of peace. Fourthly, Melchizedek was also a priest of the Most High God. Fifthly, Melchizedek was also a prophet, for He brought out bread and wine, and He blessed Abraham in the name of God Most High. It means then that Melchizedek was a Prophet, Priest and King, like the Lord Jesus Christ. Taken all this information combined we conclude that Melchizedek in Gen 14 was an early appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. And although the name Melchizedek is not mentioned in the narrative Gospels or in the Epistles, Christ as our great High Priest after the order of Melchisedec is mentioned in the Epistle to the Hebrews in connection with the death of Christ. And when we read of the phenomena accompanying the death of Christ in Matt 27:51-56, we are reminded of similar phenomena that will be shown on the Last Day. And thus the title of this sermon is called, The Signs of Judgment Day (2X). Let us then read of the signs that God chose to show us on this day, the day world history was changed from OT to NT.

Mt 27:51-56  And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.

We are going to see that the first seven signs are going to be repeated on the Last Day, the second Judgment Day. The first of these seven signs is the appearance of Christ as Prophet, Priest and King. At the death of Christ He appeared as the Prophet and High Priest after the order of Melchisedec. On the Last Day He will appear as the King and the Judge of all mankind. What was the reason why God chose these signs to be displayed at the time that Christ died? These seven signs reflect the wrath of God on the Lord Jesus. Christ became our Substitute to pay for the penalty of our sins. And thus, Christ endured the full penalty that would satisfy the wrath of God on our sins, which means that Christ, in the human part of His Person, would have to endure the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. No human being would be able to endure such an amount of suffering. That is why our Redeemer must be both man and God Himself, so that He could have the strength to endure this suffering without being consumed in the process. But our Redeemer must also be fully man, with a real human body and a human soul, for the sins He came to pay for were committed by man, and thus only a man could be a substitute for another man. Moreover, our Redeemer must be a spotless Lamb of God; He may not have sinned from the day He was conceived in the womb of Mary, for if He would have one sin, then He would first have to pay for His own sin before He could atone for the sins of others. But the Epistle of Hebrews emphasizes that Christ was crucified only once, and therefore He did not have any sin of His own to atone for; Christ was the sinless Lamb of God. But at the same time He was also our great High Priest after the order of Melchisedec. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Hebrews, Heb 6:19 (2X).When the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins on the cross, God says that Christ came as our High Priest, as our Mediator, to go behind the veil, carrying His own blood, and not the blood of goats and bulls like the High priests have been doing for 1400 years. This would have been the ceremony on the Day of Atonement. But Christ did not die on the Day of Atonement, but on the day of Passover, six months earlier. And thus God is deliberately fusing together the memorials of the Passover and the resulting Exodus, with the Day of Atonement and the resulting feast of Tabernacles. This is something we need to reckon with, especially when we would try to isolate the Feast of Tabernacles as a timing for Judgment Day. We read in Heb 6:19-20,

Heb 6:19-20  Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

The hope that is set before us is the Bible, which hope we have as an anchor of the soul. This hope is both sure and stedfast, because Christ has before prepared for us the way directly to God behind the veil. Christ, who has been made a High Priest after the order of Melchisedec, has been appointed to be our forerunner to prepare our reconciliation to God. Please drop down to Heb 9:11 (2X). And since we now have peace with God, we can come into His presence boldly, without fear, because Christ has completely taken away our sins. And Christ has not come behind the veil with imperfect sacrifices, like the high priests have been doing for 1400 years, but Christ has come with the only perfect sacrifice that is entirely pleasing to God, His own human blood. From this you can again see that the Lord Jesus Christ did suffer in His humanity, for God the Son is a Spirit, who has no blood. We read in Heb 9:11-14,

Heb 9:11-14 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Here we see that Christ not only erased our sins, but verse 14 says what He will do to our soul when He makes us “born from above.” He will purge our conscience from dead works, and He will instill in our soul the desire to serve the living God. This is the glory that is bestowed upon us, not only that we are made free from sins and the guilt of our sins, not only that we are reconciled to God and have peace with God, but also that He will make sure that in the process of our sanctification we will have an urgent ongoing desire to serve the living God by what is pleasing to Him. This is the character of someone who has been made “born from above”. Let us now look at the signs of Judgment Day. What was the first thing that was mentioned in Matt 27:51 when the Lord Jesus died? The Veil in the temple was rent, from the top to the bottom, to indicate clearly that this was the work of God. What does this mean? It means many things. But one thing that is often overlooked is that:

#1.       The Law Was Changed (Heb 7:11-14, Heb 10:20, Matt 27:51)

Please turn in your Bibles again to the Epistle to the Hebrews, Heb 7:11 (2X). You see, when God dictated the OT Scriptures to His servants the prophets, especially when He dictated the ceremonial law, God gave very precise instructions, as if the children of Israel were small children whom He had to take by the hand and instruct them carefully in all the details of the law. Any change God introduced must be understood as a change in the law. That is why we read in Heb 7:11-14,

Heb 7:11-14 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.

Thus we read in Heb 7:12, “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” This is something many churches refuse to admit. But the plain fact that the ceremonial law also died when Christ died implies also that the law was changed. And the plain fact that the veil in the temple was rent from the top to the bottom also implied that the law was changed, for it meant that we no longer need human priests to intercede on our behalf, for we must now each individually come to God, and plead for our lives. God says that we must boldly come to the throne of grace. God says in Heb 10:20, “By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh”. God says plainly that the veil represents the flesh of Christ. God symbolically indicated hereby that Christ's body was torn for us, so that from this time forward we can go directly to God and come into God's holy presence through the torn body of Christ. No longer do we need a priest to intercede for us. Christ is our High Priest. No longer do we need another human being to intercede for us. Christ is our Mediator. We can go directly to God and God can speak to us directly out of the Bible. And when we proclaim the words of God from the Bible we are prophesying, which means that we are NT prophets. The Bible also says that we are a royal priesthood. Therefore the N.T. saints are called prophets, priests and kings. Since the veil was rent God indicated thereby that #1, the "holy of holies" was no longer the holy place, and #2, therefore the temple was no longer the temple of God, and #3, therefore Jerusalem was no longer the favorite city of God, and #4, therefore the nation of Israel was no longer the people of God. From the time that Christ died on the cross all nations stand on the same level at the foot of the cross. And thus all N.T. Scriptures written after the cross dealing with the temple, or with Jerusalem, or with Israel have to be carefully examined from the context whether the earthly temple, or city, or nation is in view, or whether the spiritual temple, or the heavenly Jerusalem, or the Israel of God is in view.

Moreover, since the veil was rent God began unfolding the mysteries of the Gospel in the O.T., which were shrouded by the veil. The mysteries of the O.T. must now be interpreted by the new information obtained from the N.T. For example, we see that the mercy seat on top of the Ark represented Christ who is our propitiation, our provision for pity. And now we see that within the Ark the tables of the Covenant represent Christ as the Word of God, the pot with manna represent Christ as the Bread of Life, and Aaron's rod that budded represents Christ as the Resurrection and the Life. This is not an interpretation which we should keep to ourselves as applying only to the NT, but we should apply these truths also to passages in the OT, so that we can see spiritual truths also in the OT. In this way many OT Scriptures come to new life, because we now have NT information of what they mean.

#2.       The Veil (Matt 27:51, Heb 10:20, John 14:6, Eph 1:22-23)

Let us now return to Matt 27, to the veil of the temple hat was rent. We read in Matt 27:51,

Mt 27:51  And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

God says in Heb 10:20 that the veil represents the flesh of Christ, or the body of Christ. And thus the first meaning of this event is that we must go through the body of Christ to the Father. The Lord Jesus says in John 14:6, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” And thus, the tearing of the veil is the first demonstration of this principle. But I spoke of all seven signs to be signs of Judgment Day. It is readily seen that the suffering and death of Christ was the First Judgment Day; we were judged in the Judgment on Christ. But is the tearing of the veil also seen in the second Judgment Day, when this world comes to an end? Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Ephesians, Eph 1:22 (2X). Two primary themes can be found in this Epistle to the Ephesians. The first is the grace of God which is given by an infinitely wise and sovereign God to whom He will, through Jesus Christ, according to His good pleasure. The second is the oneness of those who have received this gift of grace. Eph 1:22-23, “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” And so we see that the church is the body of Christ. Therefore, if it is true that all these phenomena seen at the death of Christ are also phenomena that are repeated on the Last Day, then it will also be seen that the church will be torn before Christ returns. This may cause panic among church people, but if these things be true, it will be better if we recognize them now rather than bury our heads in the sand. Let us consider the other events at the death of Christ.

#3.       Why an Earthquake? (Hag 2:6-9, Rev 16:17-18, 6:12)

Please turn to the prophecy of Haggai, Hag 2:6 (2X). You find Haggai toward the end of the O.T. just before Zechariah and Malachi. Haggai is only two chapters long and you find it about 10 pages before the end of the O.T. The nation of Israel had returned from Babylon. And God encouraged the people to rebuild the temple. In Haggai 2:6 God speaks about a great shaking. But we must distinguish between a spiritual shaking and an earthly shaking. We read in Hag 2:6-9,

Hag 2:6-9  For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.

What is this shaking that was prophesied in Hag 2:6-7? This shaking represents a spiritual shaking. These verses speak about filling this house with glory. It is speaking of the filling of the N.T. temple with all the nations of the world. It is speaking about giving these people peace, which is the peace of God that passes all understanding. God promised here that the Messiah would come shortly: "Yet once, it is a little while", and He shall come. His coming shall be introduced by a great shaking, but it is a spiritual shaking. God will spiritually do for the Church what He did when He brought the children of Israel out of Egypt. At that time He literally shook the heavens and the earth at Mount Sinai. He shook the sea and the dry land when God made a way through the Red Sea and God split rocks open to give them water to drink. God did that again when at the sufferings of Christ the sun was darkened and the earth shook and the rocks rent. God moved heaven and earth to deliver His people out of slavery in Egypt. At the cross God again moved heaven and earth to deliver His people out of the slavery of Sin and Satan. When His Kingdom was set up oracles were silenced, idols were destroyed and kings and kingdoms were moved and removed. The shaking of the nations was for the settling of the Church and for the establishing of things that cannot be shaken. Christ shall come as the desire of all nations, for in Him shall all the families of the earth be blessed. But now let us learn to distinguish between the spiritual shaking and physical shaking, which is a shadow of Judgment Day. Please turn in your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 16:17 (2X). At the cross was the first Judgment Day. It was Judgment Day for Christ and for all those who are in Christ. But when Christ comes again at the second Judgment Day God will again shake the heavens and the earth. This awesome event is addressed in Rev 16:17-18 where we rd

Re 16:17-18  And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of

the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.

This is a literal earthquake, for it corresponds to the same earthquake that is also found in Rev 6:12

at the opening of the sixth seal, which announced the wrath of God on the Last Day. And thus, we see a literal earthquake both at the death of Christ and at the end of the world.

#4.       The Rocks Rent (Matt 27:51, Ex 17:6, 1Co 10:4, Rev 6:15-16)

Mt 27:51  And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

What is the meaning of rocks that were rent? Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle of First Corinth, 1Cor 10:4 (2X). In the Bible one of the glorious symbolic names for God is The Rock. “The Rock” (singular) speaks of the Sovereign God as the eternal immutable one who is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. On the other hand “rocks” (plural) is used as a title for pagan gods. Let us look at a few examples. God says to Moses in Ex 17:6, “Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the Rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the Rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.” This is a well known event from the story of the Exodus out of Egypt. The children of Israel were thirsty, and God gave them abundance of water out of the Rock. What is the spiritual picture here? Moses is here symbolizing the law. The Rock symbolizes Christ. The law must smite Christ, bring Him to the cross, and the result of it is that the water of the Gospel will flow in abundance, so that those who thirst after righteousness shall be filled. We know that this is the right interpretation, for we read in 1Cor 10:4, “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” That Rock was Christ.

On the other hand, an example of rocks (plural) can be found in Rev 6:15-16, where we read,

Re 6:15-16  And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

 Have all the people of the world, from kings down to slaves, gone crazy? Are they talking to rocks out of fear? Are they asking rocks to protect them from the wrath of the Lamb? What about those in the Netherlands who live on an absolutely flat country? So we can see that it is highly unlikely that people will be talking to rocks. But these verses make all the sense in the world when all people have their own idols. They have created for themselves images of God that are as impotent as idols of wood and stone. They have created for themselves gospels of works, rather than believe the Gospel of grace, and thus the gods that they are serving are gods that cannot save. Then at the end of the world they will plead with their impotent gods to protect them from the calamities that they see coming on the earth. That is the true meaning of these words in Rev 6:15-16. And so we see that when “the rocks rent” at the time that Christ died, is an event that will be repeated on the Last Day, and it will be repeated totally in a spiritual manner, with people who will still believe that the idols they have created are real gods who can protect them. Let us now continue in Matt 27:52,

#5.       Graves Were Opened (Matt 27:52, John 5:25-29, Col 1:18)

Mt 27:52  And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,

When Christ comes again the graves will be opened. Since God draws a close parallel between the first Judgment Day and the second Judgment Day we see at the time of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus a picture of the rapture of the saints on the Last Day. Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel According to John, John 5:25 (2X), where the Lord Jesus also speaks about the dead being raised and the graves being opened. In John 5:25-29 the Lord Jesus speaks twice about raising people from the dead. We read in John 5:25-27,

Joh 5:25-27 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

Did you notice: Jesus mentioned the dead, but He did not mention the graves? These people were dead, but they were not in their graves. They are the walking dead. God says in the Bible that all mankind comes into the world spiritually dead, in total rebellion against God, and are living a life that is dead in trespasses and sins. Therefore all mankind is under the wrath of God, on the way to Hell. But the hour of salvation is now. The Lord Jesus said: "The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live." How can a dead man hear? The Lord Jesus must first give the man spiritual ears to hear. The Lord Jesus has received authority to make spiritually alive anyone whom He will and give him ears to hear. Anyone of us, who finds in his or her life an urgent need to hear what Jesus said in the Bible, has in fact already received such spiritual ears. Those of us who have spiritual ears listen carefully to what Jesus says to us. It means that we have already been made alive. We have been resurrected from the dead.

On the other hand, in the following verses Jesus speaks about another time that people are resurrected. We read in John 5:28-29,

Joh 5:28-29  Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Did you notice: Jesus mentioned the graves, but He did not mention the dead, because those who have received spiritual ears have everlasting life, and have passed from death unto life. Only their bodies have died, but their souls are living with Christ in heaven. Here in John 5:28-29 the Lord Jesus speaks about the Judgment of the Last Day, when the graves will be opened and all those who have not believed the Gospel will be condemned to Hell. Since God draws a close parallel between the first Judgment Day and the second Judgment Day, God also resurrected people after Christ rose from the grave. They came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. They must have resurrected after Christ’s resurrection, not before, because Christ is the Firstborn from the dead. God says in Col 1:18, “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” If Christ is called “the firstborn from the dead” it implies that Christ has the preeminence over Enoch, and Moses, and Elijah, who have already been resurrected, but who perhaps have not yet received glorified bodies.

#6.       The Holy City (Matt 27:53, Heb 12:22)

But where is the holy city? Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Hebrews, Heb 12:22. (2X) At the moment that Christ died, the veil in the temple was rent. Thus the temple was no longer the temple of God, and Jerusalem was no longer the holy city. Then, where is the holy city? God reminds us in Heb 12:18 about the fearful conditions at Mount Sinai when God gave the two Tables of the Ten Comm. to Moses. Those who inhabit the "Jerusalem that now is", are still under the threat of those fearful conditions: "Obey My Commandments or you die." This is the threat of the Law to all the unsaved people of the world. Only when we come to realize how awful sin is and how incapable we are to obey God's Commandments perfectly, only then are we open to receive the Good News of salvation through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. God has to open our eyes for this, that we do not want justice: We want mercy. Then we read in Heb 12:22,

Hebrews 12:22  But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels (messengers),

We have not come to Mount Sinai, but we have come to Mount Sion for mercy. What is Mount Sion, or Mount Zion? What is the meaning of Zion? Historically, it was the place where David had his fortress. Spiritually, it is the place where God resides. Since the veil is rent, we can go to God directly, provided we go to Him through Christ's Atonement. In prayer we go to the place where God resides, in heaven, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. When we become saved, we become citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem. The holy city, the heavenly Jerusalem, is not a literal city. God describes it on the Last Day as the Bride of Christ, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. When we have become born again, we have become a part of the Bride of Christ. Throughout eternity future we will be the Bride of Christ, and the wedding feast is probably lasting an eternity. This is the holy city. We do not know who the saints were that were resurrected when Christ rose from the grave. It was only a foretaste of the resurrection of the Last Day. But the saints who have been resurrected did not show themselves to people in the earthly Jerusalem. They appeared unto many in the heavenly Jerusalem. That is where they went. Who would want to stay on this earth? God promised that the saints would be resurrected in a glorified body. Therefore they could not stay on this earth, but went into heaven, where they appeared unto many.

#7.       The Son of God (Matt 27:54, 2Cor 4:3-4)

Mt 27:54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

Please turn in your Bibles to the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 2Cor 4:3 (2X). The Roman soldiers, Gentiles in the flesh, saw the great darkness for three hours, they heard the gracious words of Jesus from the cross, they read the accusation above His head, they heard the mocking of the priests and the Scribes and the Pharisees for whom they had no great respect to begin with, they saw how Jesus died, they experienced the earthquake and that even the rocks were rent, and they saw that the darkness was giving way to light, these Gentiles in the flesh whose hearts were not clouded by envy, they recognized from all these signs that "This was the Son of God". For an unbiased observer, they had seen enough evidence to convince them of who Jesus was. But the priests and the Scribes and the Pharisees, whose hearts were clouded by envy, no miracle whatsoever could convince them that Jesus was the Messiah. The Roman soldiers had not heard of the Messiah. That is why they said: "This was the Son of God". But the Jews had heard of the Messiah, and they had the Scriptures teaching them what to expect. But their eyes were blinded. What does that tell us about other people in the world whose eyes are blinded? God says in 2Cor 4:3-4

2Cor 4:3-4  But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Satan has blinded the minds of them which believe not. But Satan is allowed to do this in full agreement with the will of God, for Satan is not an independent power; Satan must be obedient to God. It means that Satan has blinded the minds of almost all people in the world, because only a remnant chosen by grace will be saved. Likewise, at the return of Christ the nation of Israel will still be as blind as they have ever been, and a small number of unbiased Gentiles, who have never heard the Gospel of free grace, shall be saved in the nick of time, because God had mercy on them. That is a sad situation, but it brings great joy to those who do believe the Gospel. It brings us great joy to know that God chose us from before the foundation of the world, and that the Lord Jesus Christ almost 2000 years ago paid particularly for all our sins. It means that we are secure of our salvation unto the end. Thanks be to God for such an indescribable gift.

Let me summarize what we have learned from this passage of Scripture. The seven signs that God showed us at the death of Christ shall be repeated at the return of Christ. #1, Christ shall appear. #2, The body of Christ, the church, shall be torn apart by gospels that cannot save. #3, There will be a great earthquake. #4, Idolatry of works gospels shall flourish. #5, The rapture of the saints. #6, A total misconception of the holy city shall prevail until the end. #7, A blindness on Israel shall prevail, and a small fraction of Gentiles who have never heard the Gospel shall be saved. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.    AMEN.                        Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.