- Sermon Notes
The Apocalypse of Jesus Christ
July 18, 2021
1. The Apocalypse, the “revealing” of Jesus Christ when He returns, will be the most spectacular event the world has ever known.
ILLUS – As in Jesus’ day, people today are fascinated by and want to know how the world will end. In fact, over the years, people have creatively labelled significant events by using “End of the World” terminology.
2. The end of the world is a topic that has also raised many questions down through the ages.
a. When will the end of the world happen?
b. How will the world end?
c. Who is the Antichrist?
d. What is the “mark of the beast?”
e. What will happen to the Church during the Great Tribulation?
3. God wants us to know about the Apocalypse, the “revealing” of His Son, Jesus Christ.
a. God gave us His Word so that we may know the truth about the end times.
b. God also gave us the Holy Bible so that we may be prepared for the Second Coming.
4. Tonight, we will delve into questions about the end times by studying Jesus’ teachings in Luke 17:20-37.
5. It’s my prayer that our study will strengthen our faith, increase our love, and deepen our hope for the return of our Savior.
1. Massive crowds were following Jesus Christ as He journeyed up to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital city.
a. At that time, Jesus’ popularity was growing.
b. He was widely recognized as a prophet of God.
c. There was even talk of making Him king.
2. But it’s important to note that not all who were following Jesus were His supporters or disciples for planted among the throng were members of Israel’s elite religious, ruling class.
a. The scribes and Pharisees were sent to spy on Jesus, to find some reason to accuse Him.
b. The scribes and Pharisees were also sent to question Jesus, to trap Him and ultimately accuse Him of being a false teacher.
3. The Pharisees questioned Jesus “as to when the kingdom of God was coming” because, like John the Baptist, a central theme of Jesus’ teaching was the coming of God’s kingdom. (20)
4. Jesus’ answer is in two parts; first to the Pharisees (20-21) and then to His disciples (22-37).
5. Jesus told the Pharisees, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
6. What did Jesus mean by “in your midst?”
a. First, Jesus was telling the Pharisees that they would not be able to tell of the coming of the kingdom through their observations; “signs to be observed.” Why?
b. Because second, the kingdom of God was literally standing “in their midst;” Jesus Christ, their King, was standing “in their midst;” within their reach.
c. Ultimately, Jesus was telling the Pharisees that all they had to do was acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah, their King, the One who would bring the kingdom, and then the kingdom of God would come.
APPL – How tragic is the example of the Pharisees.
• They had been blessed to witness Jesus’ ministry for over three years.
• But what good did it do them? Zip.
• Why? Because their pride had blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts so that they could not reach out and embrace the reality and the significance of Jesus being the Son of God, the Son of Man, their Messiah, Israel’s long-awaited King.
• Since Israel’s religious, ruling elite rejected Jesus Christ, the kingdom of God would be delayed.
7. That’s why Jesus then turned to His disciples and prophesied, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. . . But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.” (22, 25)
8. Though the kingdom of God has been delayed, the Apocalypse, the revealing of Jesus Christ at His Second Coming is still set to happen.
9. The time of the Son of Man’s revealing has been determined and will be preceded by unprecedented signs and events.
10. What are these “signs” of the end times?
11. Here are some of the “signs of the times” that Jesus gave in Matthew 24-25 and Luke 21 so that when we see them, we will know that the end is near:
a. The coming of false Messiahs and false prophets who will mislead many people with their false teachings and deceiving signs.
b. There will be wars and rumors of wars along with famines and earthquakes which will grow greater in frequency and intensity as the events of the last days draw near.
c. There will be a great falling away from the Christian faith, an apostasy, as worldliness and unrighteousness increase. Jesus said that things will get so bad that “most people’s love will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12)
d. Tensions will also grow between Israel and her enemies. During that time, antisemitism will increase as will the power and voice of Israel’s enemies on the world stage.
12. In the midst of this political, economic, and social turmoil the Antichrist will arise on the world scene.
a. He will be revered as a diplomatic genius because he will succeed where others have tried but failed.
b. The Antichrist will make a peace treaty in the Middle East between Israel and her enemies.
c. Part of that covenant will permit Israel to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem.
d. Even Israel will respect and revere the Antichrist because of this great diplomatic achievement.
13. But the Antichrist will reveal his true colors when he breaks his covenant of peace with Israel 3½ years later.
a. He will establish a new world religion by setting himself up as a god to be worshipped in the newly rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem.
b. In fact, according to Revelation 13, he will arrange for a living statue of himself to be put into the Temple.
c. His associate, the false prophet, will cause the whole world to worship statue.
14. Israel will then realize that their “protector” is actually their ultimate, satanic “persecutor” and will respond with great anger against his desecration of the Temple.
15. Then the Antichrist will cause all the nations to turn against Israel.
a. The world will prepare for war against Israel.
b. At that time, cataclysmic events will also occur around the globe and in the heavens, such as earthquakes, plagues, famines, scorching heat waves, terrible storms with hailstones weighing 100 lbs. falling from the sky. (Revelation 16:21)
16. The Antichrist’s arrival will mark the beginning of seven-year period called the Great Tribulation, also known as Daniel’s Seventieth Week, or the Day of the Lord.
a. But the Church will be raptured into heaven before the Great Tribulation begins because the Church is not an object of God’s wrath but an object of His loving grace and mercy. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 5:9; Revelation 3:10)
b. The Great Tribulation will focus on Israel, to refine and prepare Israel for the coming of their King; that they may enter into and enjoy His Millennial Kingdom.
c. The Great Tribulation will also be universal in scope, a divine judgment upon creation, the outpouring of God’s wrath upon unbelieving humanity and every rebellious nation.
d. It will be a time unprecedented in human history. It will be so devastating that Jesus said unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved, but for the sake of the elect (Israel and the Tribulation Saints), those days will be cut short. (Matthew 24:22)
17. Yet, God will not leave Himself without a witness for there will be opportunities for people to hear the Gospel and place their faith in Jesus Christ to save their souls.
a. The Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world in those days.
b. God will raise up 144,000 Jewish witnesses to share the Good News about Jesus Christ. (Revelation 7:4-8; 14:1-5)
c. God will also send an angel to declare the eternal Gospel.
Revelation 14:6, And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people
18. The end of the seven-year tribulation will be marked by two great events.
a. First, the nations will gather for one final battle against Israel called the Battle of Armageddon.
• The name Armageddon is Hebrew, and it means the Valley of Megiddo.
• Megiddo is a strategic location where many wars have been fought because it leads directly into Jerusalem.
• It will be the stage for the greatest battle in human history with the largest armies ever assembled.
Revelation 9:16, The number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them.
b. The second great event that will mark the end of the Great Tribulation will be the coming of the Son of Man, the physical return of Jesus Christ to Earth.
Transition – How will Jesus return?
I. Jesus Will Return as Our Victorious King
• When Jesus Christ died on the cross at Calvary, He defeated sin, death, Satan, and his minions. He is and forever will be the victor.
• And when Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, returns He will establish what had been delayed, the glorious kingdom of God.
• Jesus will return as a victorious King.
• The sign of the Son of Man’s returning will appear in the sky.
Daniel 7:13-14, I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.
• The revealing of Jesus Christ will cause Israel to mourn as one mourns for an only son.
Zechariah 12:8-11, In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem. . . And in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem
• Israel will mourn because they will realize that the One they rejected and crucified was their Messiah.
• Yet, God will pour out a “Spirit of grace” upon Israel and be their Great Protector to fight their battle against the Antichrist and the armies gathered against them in the Valley of Megiddo.
• When Jesus is revealed, He will arrive on the Mount of Olives, which will be split in two by a severe earthquake.
Zechariah 14:4, In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.
• He will enter Jerusalem and the Temple through the Eastern Gate, also called the Golden Gate.
ILLUS – In 1541 A.D., the Eastern Gate was sealed up by the Ottoman Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, to prevent the Messiah from coming.
• God gave the prophet Ezekiel a vision of God’s glory departing the Temple during Israel’s exile in Babylon.
o As God’s glory left the Temple, it departed through the Eastern Gate and then towards the Mount of Olives.
Ezekiel 10:18-19, Then the glory of the Lord departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim. When the cherubim departed, they lifted their wings and rose up from the earth in my sight with the wheels beside them; and they stood still at the entrance of the east gate of the Lord’s house, and the glory of the God of Israel hovered over them.
Ezekiel 11:23, The glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city and stood over the mountain which is east of the city.
o With the return of Jesus, the glory of God will return to Jerusalem and the Temple just as it had departed during the days of Israel’s exile.
A. Jesus’ reign begins with His victory
1. In Luke 19, Jesus entered Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey, signifying He came to offer and bring peace.
2. But when Jesus Christ returns, He will not be riding the foal of a donkey; He will be riding a great white horse.
Revelation 19:11-16, And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
3. When Jesus Christ returns, He will set right all that is wrong in our fallen world.
a. He will defeat the Antichrist and the False Prophet.
Revelation 19:19-20, And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.
b. He will conquer the nations that rose up against Israel and judge them for their wicked ways.
Revelation 19:21, And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.
4. This will be in fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3.
Genesis 12:3, And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.
B. Jesus reign will last for 1,000 years
1. After the defeat of Israel’s enemies, Jesus will establish His kingdom and reign from Jerusalem for 1,000 years.
Revelation 20:4, Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
2. Jesus’ kingdom will be characterized by righteousness, peace, and blessing.
Isaiah 9:6-7, For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.
3. It will be peaceful because Satan will be bound for 1,000 years and will then be thrown into the lake of fire where he will be eternally punished.
Revelation 20:1-3,10, Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. . . And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
4. Again, all of this will be a fulfillment of God’s promises to His people.
a. God promised Adam and Eve that Satan will be defeated through Messiah, the seed of the woman.
Genesis 3:15, And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.
b. And to King David, God promised that his Son would reign on David’s throne forever.
2 Samuel 7:12-14, 16, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me. . . Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.
c. After the Millennial reign of Jesus, the heaven and earth will be destroyed with fire and a new heavens and new earth will be created with God dwelling in the midst of His people for all eternity.
2 Peter 3:10, 13, But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. . . But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.
Transition – Jesus Christ is coming back to make everything right. How then shall we, His people, live while waiting for His return?
II. Live Each Day with a Love for Christ’s Appearing
• In Matthew 24:36, Jesus declared that no one will know the day or the hour of His return.
• So, Jesus gave us principles for how to live each day with a love for Christ’s appearing based on the divine judgments described in Genesis 6-8 and Genesis 19.
A. Keep watch
1. During the days of Noah, the people did not pay attention to the warning signs, that a cataclysmic flood was coming.
2. They were distracted by their fleshly pursuits and lived as if they would never face any consequences for their actions.
Genesis 6:5, Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
3. But Noah walked with God and stayed faithful to God’s Word.
Genesis 6:9, 22, Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God… Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.
4. God’s judgment literally came like a flood.
a. The wicked were taken away in judgment.
b. Noah and his family remained, saved through the flood and entered into the blessing.
5. The same will be true with Christ’s return.
a. Those taken away will be judged and not permitted into the kingdom of God.
b. Those who remain will enter and enjoy the 1,000-year reign of Jesus.
APPL – Walk with God and keep His Word like Noah.
B. Don’t look back
1. Jesus also used Lot and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah to warn that in the last days people will not know the day of Christ’s return.
2. While the primary interpretation and application of this passage is for Israel and those who live during the Great Tribulation, there are still principles for us to live by and apply to our lives.
3. While waiting for Christ to return for His bride, the Church, we must avoid the way of Lot’s wife.
a. Her heart was set on the “creature comforts” of Sodom.
b. Though delivered from destruction and warned by the angels to not look back she did just that, longingly looking for what she had been delivered from and suffered the consequences; turned into a pillar of salt.
APPL – Don’t look back! What do I mean by this?
• If you try to hold onto the fleeting things of this world, you will be sorely disappointed.
• If you try to save your life by identifying with this world, you will lose in the end.
• But if you fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, renounce the things of this world, lose your life for the sake of Christ, then you will “preserve it.” (33)
• Live each day with a love for Christ’s return!
• And if you have wandered away from the Lord, come back to Jesus!
• God is for you and His grace is sufficient to keep you until that day!
Jude 24-25, Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
APPL – It’s like Jesus Christ is shouting out, “When you see Israel coming back to life and these events taking place, know that My return is near!”
• Jesus can come for His Church at any time!
• May we live each day with a love for Christ’s appearing.
Philippians 3:20, For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ
Luke 17:20-37 NASB
20 Now He was questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, and He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with [a]signs that can be observed; 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is [b]in your midst.”
22 And He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 And they will say to you, ‘Look there,’ or, ‘Look here!’ Do not leave, and do not run after them. 24 For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part [c]of the sky, shines to the other part [d]of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day. 25 But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26 And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so will it also be in the days of the Son of Man: 27 people were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, and they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 [e]It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, and they were building; 29 but on the day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and [f]brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 It will be [g]just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day, the one who will be on the [h]housetop, [i]with his goods in the house, must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one in the field must not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whoever strives to [j]save his [k]life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will keep it. 34 I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. 35 There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left. 36 [[l]Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left.”] 37 And responding, they *said to Him, “Where, Lord?” And He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the [m]vultures will be gathered.”