October 22, 2023

What the bible really says about the end times

Pastor Chip begins his first of 3 weeks of addressing our blindspots in the context of the end times.

If I could take you back to the first century, if we could go back to the first century — which would be impossible for us to do. But if we could do that, if we could walk through the Middle East, get to know some Jewish people, and talk with them, we would find what we don't even need the Bible to tell us. We just know this historically. In the first century, there was an excitement in the air. The Jewish people were a proud people, and they had a story that God had given to them. He had told them that, one day, He would deliver them again, and then there was a buzz in the air. There was an electricity in the air in the first century that maybe, just maybe, God was going to finally do the things that He said He would do.

Many of us — and it's no fault of anybody. Nobody’s fault. When you grow up, you usually don't have a desire or a hunger to go study first century Judaism. I get it. So, for many of us, understanding what that would look like in the first century is a little hard, but what I can tell you is that the Jewish people saw things a little differently than maybe we do in the world that we live in today, because we have our ideas, our things, and our teachings, especially as Christians, and they would've seen things a little differently.

They believed that God was going to act, but they didn't believe God was going to act with some cataclysmic event where the world would be destroyed and all of these things. They believed that God was going to act in history because God was a God who acted in history. They believed that God was going to do for them what He had done for them before because He’s the same God. They believed that in the same way that God had delivered them from Egypt, the oppression of Egypt, and had given them their land, given them new rules to live by, and created a new community — of course, they failed, but they believed that God was going to do that again. In real space, in real time, God would act again in Israel. O come, O come, Emmanuel, God with us, and ransom captive Israel.

They believed that, and they told stories about that. They encouraged one another with that. It got them through the difficult times when all kinds of tumultuous things would be going on. The stories of the Old Testament prophets who promised that God would do something great again, they knew them. If we could go back and talk with them, it wouldn't have taken long for us to have heard some of those great poetic stories that the prophets told about that day that was going to come in history. Even Paul, a great Jewish man, understands that in Romans 8. He says that the world is groaning for its redemption. It's not groaning to be destroyed. It's groaning to be redeemed. Even the word “new” in Revelation is a renewal. It's like a new moon. It's not a new moon. It's a renewal of the lunar cycle, that the world will be renewed, and that it will be restored and made right. And they believed this. They believed that it could be at any moment, and they would tell stories like this out of their Old Testament prophets. They would say, “It’ll come to pass in the latter days.”

For them, time was divided into now and then. This age and the age to come. These days and the latter days. So, they would tell the story that in the latter days, the mountain — and anybody who's been to Jerusalem knows it's not a mountain. It’s a hill. Okay? So, these words are poetry. They're saying something deeper than words can say. The mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the highest of all the mountains. In other words, what that's saying is that it will finally be the kingdom that is above all the other worldly kingdoms, shall be lifted up above the hills, and all the nations will flow to it because, one day, the glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the water covers the sea.

They would tell these stories, it encouraged them, and it gave them hope in the middle of tumultuous circumstances. Many people will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us His ways.”

They're going to voluntarily come. The nations will want to hear about Yahweh, and that we may walk in His paths. Well, why would they do such a thing?

“For out of Zion will go forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem, and He will judge between the nations, shall decide disputes for many peoples, and they will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

And they drew strength from that. Now, not every Jewish person saw it unfolding the way someone else may. They had disagreements on how this would maybe come to fruition, but they all agreed that one day God was going to act, and there was a buzz. Now, when you talk about these things — and you may have different ways that you talk about them. They had different ways that they talked about them too. But when you're a pastor or you're a Christian, and you start talking about end times, last days, eschatology — eschatology is just a big word, two words, “eschaton” and “logos,” the study of the last things. When you talk about this, here's what happens. You know this, and I know this. There are always, in a church, people who are like, “I really don't care about this stuff, man. I'm just worried about getting through the day to day.”

That’s fine. I hear you 100%. You're thinking, “I’m just trying to get my daughter to serve the Lord,” or, “I'm just trying to figure out my job.”

I get it. But then there are other people that when you talk about end times and whatever, the flag goes up because that’s their jam. Do you know what I'm talking about? In every church, there's always, in every service, people who are like, “Oh, yeah. Now we're going to see where Chip stands because I know where I stand.”

It’s almost like politics, almost. Everybody’s like, “Ah!”

Okay. Here’s what I want to say to everybody here. I am not here to try to persuade you to see things from my way of unfolding. I'm here, as your pastor, to talk about the fact that unless you are completely hidden in the sand, you know that the world is pretty crazy right now. I think anybody knows that. I'm here, as your pastor, to want to do one thing. I want to try to give you some hope rather than fear. Okay? This is really important that we hear this. So, for those of you all who have your systems, you've got your charts, and, in fact, you've got them on you right now because you knew we were going to speak about this, and you came to stand outside as soon, as I'm done, to correct what I said, it’s fine. I mean, I love you. I mean, seriously, I love people who get excited about this stuff. I just want to make sure that you hear this if this is your jam because this is important. I want you to hear that I and this church, without any reservation, believe that Jesus will return physically and literally one day. Okay? I want you to make sure you hear that, so you don’t go, “I don't know what that guy believes.”

No, no. I use those words very, very specifically. Physically and literally. I don't want anybody going, “I don't know what he really…”

Physically and literally. I'm with you. I may not have your same charts, and I may not have your same stuff — who knows? Maybe I do. The bottom line is we're all on the same team. Jesus is going to return one day. This is not an argument for how that unfolds. This is not a series to try to help everybody understand my view of the end times. It is here for one reason: To try to give some hope. The reason I say that is because — you know this, and I know this — if you are paying any attention — I mean, I can't even tell you how many times this phrase has appeared on my Facebook page from pastors and Christians. If you flip on Christian TV, if you do whatever, you know this, and I know this. I'm not here to say true, false, or anything about the particular statement, but you know this statement is running around, right now, pretty rampant: “The signs of the return of Jesus are all around.”

I see it all the time. Now, I want to make sure that you hear this. I'm not trying to be snarky, and I'm not trying to say that Jesus isn't going to return. I just want to walk you through my life because my life is probably not dissimilar to your life. If I could take you back to 1988, if I could take you back then, you wouldn't have the internet, you wouldn't have Facebook, and you wouldn't have those things. But if you could have been in my church, the signs of the return of Jesus were all around. There were books being written on how this was going to happen in September at Rosh Hashanah. Hal Lindsey had written a book called “The Late Great Planet Earth.” He said, publicly, “I don't think the world's going to last much past 1988 because Israel became a state 40 years ago, and in 1988 Jesus is going to return.”

I mean, there was a fever pitch. I was actually in a prayer meeting in youth group, it was a pretty intense prayer meeting, and someone yelled out, “We’re being raptured right now.”

I mean, that's how fever pitch it was. I looked up, like, “Really? I guess not.”

And I'm not trying to make fun of that person. Her name was Becky. I'm trying to. I'm just saying that it was exciting, and all this stuff. But if you could have been in 1988, you would've known that, but then it didn't happen. It was like, “Okay.”

Well, that was not even close to what happened in my life in 1990 when the Gulf War started. I was at Lee College. I was on the pedestrian mall. I had no idea what was going on. I'm just trying to figure out how to get through college, I’m just trying to figure out what God's called me to do, and I see a ton of people, as I'm walking down the pedestrian mall where there was a little place you could get something to eat with the TVs — there were like hundreds of people standing there. I noticed some people were on their knees praying. I saw some people laying on their face. I walked up, and I'm like, “What’s going on?”

They're like, “It’s the end of the world. The president's speaking.”

I'm like, “Really?”

I listen, and George W. Bush is saying that we're invading Iraq. They're like, “This is it. The signs are there. This is it. It is the time.”

I mean, people were repenting out loud.

“God, I'm so sorry for what I did last night. I should have never.”

I mean, it was serious. I mean, it was like it was here. And then it didn't happen. It was like, “Okay. What?”

Not to be outdone by 1999 to 2000. This is where the preppers started, historically. Everybody was fever pitched, and the signs of time were all around. I'm not saying that to be snarky about this phrase. I'm just here to say that when this phrase gets thrown around, and it's being thrown around right now, what I see, as your pastor, is that it sometimes makes people confused. It makes them fearful. It makes them dismayed. What it does, oftentimes, is it leads to discouragement. I know so many people who thought this was going to happen at certain times, and they're no longer believers because they gave up. What happens is when we get in these frenzies — and there’s nothing wrong about wanting the Lord to come home and come back. There’s nothing wrong about looking for the Lord's return. I'm not saying that at all. I'm just saying that when we get into the frenzies, a lot of times, it's more fear and anxiety than anything else. And then when it doesn't happen, when you publicly say the signs are all around, and you're a pastor, and then five years goes by, what happens is the church ends up getting ridiculed. It looks bad on many of us.

So, I just want to ask a question. I ask this humbly. I don't ask this with any agenda. I just ask the question is it possible — is it just possible — that we could be missing something? Is it just possible? I know you’ve got your charts, I know you've got your pitchfork out, and you’re ready to hear me say something that you don't like. I am not going to do that. I'm not here to attack anybody. I'm here to be your pastor. I'm here to help you through a very tumultuous time in our world. If the Lord comes back, that's awesome. It would be awesome. I can’t imagine what it would be like to meet Jesus, the one who I have given my life to, and the one that you have given your life to. I can't imagine what it would be like to get to see my mom again. I can't imagine how awesome that would be. But I also know I've lived long enough to realize that I've been through a lot of the frenzies, I've watched a lot of the anxiety and the fear, and I'm just asking the question, is it possible that we might be missing something?

So, here's what I want to do. We’ll take the next two weeks, and I want to talk about this. I want you to hear me. I want you to lean in. I want you to trust me, as your pastor, that I'm not here to try to get you messed up, teach you something crazy, or anything here. I think you know me well. I try to be very biblical. But I want to go through a passage that I'm not aware — I think I've read most of the popular books on end times and eschatology that have been written, or at least I'm familiar with them. I know many of the prophecy teachers that are on TV and do the things that they do. I've studied this. I have never heard, in church, anybody who teaches Revelation, Daniel, Ezekiel, or loves the end time stuff — I’ve not seen it in books. I’ve not seen anywhere in the popular world of this. I've not seen anybody ever use this passage of scripture, which is really strange because the people who study first century Judaism, the people who study, in the academic world, apocalyptic literature, and the people who study the war scrolls that were found in the caves of Qumran are all very familiar with this. They go, “If you don't pay attention to this thing here, you’re probably going to miss a lot of what Jesus is saying in the first place.”

So, I want to go there. I want you to do this for me. If this is your jam, if this is the thing that you love, and you think you know all the codes, keys, and everything else, and I go to a passage here, and you're like, “Oh, I didn't know that,” just be honest and say, “I didn't know.”

It's fine. I'm not here to give anybody a hard time. I'm here to go, “Hey, maybe we're missing something. Maybe, just maybe, we're going to look at something that you might not have ever looked at.”

Is it possible that, in looking at this, this might give us a lot more hope, a lot more security, and a lot more freedom than the fear and the anxiety that normally comes when everybody gets whipped into the frenzy of are we, right now, in the moment where Jesus is going to come back at any second? That’s my heart. So, we're going to go to Matthew 26. I could have gone to Luke. I could have gone to Mark. They use the same passage, so to speak, but I think Matthew, in the way he lays it out, and especially the way he ends his gospel, really ties in beautifully. It’s probably not going to be where you would think anybody would start, but it's vital that we start here.

So, Jesus has been arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, and we're going to pick up the story here because the passage happens in an interaction between Jesus and Caiaphas. So, let's look at this together.

Matthew 26:57: “Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered.”

They’ve sort of thrown together a court proceeding to convict Jesus.

“And Peter was following him at a distance,”

This is before Peter had denied the Lord. You’ve got to give Peter some props here. He always gets maligned for denying the Lord, and justly so since he denied the Lord, but he's following. He's the only one following along. We’ve got to give this guy some credit. This is before he has denied the Lord.

“And Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and going inside he sat with the guards to see the end. Now the chief priest and the whole council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death,”

That's the reason they've got this thing together. They're looking for a reason to put Him to death.

“…but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward.”

So, you're sort of like, “What’s going to happen?”

Then Matthew tells us, “At last two came forward…”

Literary side note. Important for reading gospels. Matthew writes to a Jewish audience. Matthew uses “two” for just about everything. Two angels. Two people got healed. Two whatever. You read the other gospel, and they're like, “Maybe there's one.”

You go, “Why is there one, and why is there two people? Oh, it's contradiction.”

No. Matthew's using two because it's a literary device that he uses to tell you, “This is, in fact, true,” because, in the Jewish world, everything had to be established in the mouth of two or three witnesses. So, this is a literary device he uses. If you don't know that, then you wouldn't read Matthew correctly.

He says, “At last two came forward and said, ‘This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.’”

Now we have something because the only person who can destroy the temple effectively is God, and they knew that because God had allowed the Babylonians to raze the temple when the Babylonians had come in and defeated Israel. Jeremiah lamented over that in Lamentations. Jeremiah talks about it. Isaiah talks about it. The other prophets talk about it. They couldn't believe that the temple had been destroyed because if there's no temple, there are no sacrifices, but they realized God had done that because of their sin. Then God promised, in the prophets, that He would rebuild the temple, which they did. This is that rebuilt temple.

He said, “It’ll get rebuilt,” and it did, but now that the high priest has heard this, “You’re going to rebuild it in three days,” look at what it says.

“And the high priest stood up…”

He’s like, “I’ve got some info now. I’ve got some info, Jesus.”

“‘Have you no answer to make. What is it that these men testify against you?’”

And then Jesus' response is that He said nothing. Well, the high priest is not going to have it because he knows that if Jesus is walking around saying He can destroy the temple, then He must be saying that He is more than a man, and that is unacceptable. So, the high priest puts Him on the dime, and he puts Him under oath.

He says, “‘I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.’”

Now, if you're reading this, you should be going, “I’ve got to see what Jesus is going to say because this has got to be important.”

The first sentence is cryptic.

It says, “Jesus said to him, ‘You have said so.’”

In Matthew, that's said three times. It's said to Judas, it's said to Caiaphas, and it's said to Pilate. Jesus is basically going, “Yeah, you guys are saying stuff that's true, but you have no idea what you're actually saying. You don't understand what you're really saying.”

Then Jesus says this. If you've read this before, and you go, “I don't remember reading this. I know I've read Matthew,” — if you go, “I have no idea what this means. What in the world is He saying?” it's okay. That's why we gather. This is why we come together.

Here's what Jesus says: “‘But I tell you, from now on…”

Not 2,000 years, but from now on.

“‘…you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.’”

You may have read that and thought, “I don't remember reading that.” You may look at that right now and go, “I have no idea what that means. I hope he doesn't put microphones around and ask us to start saying what that means.”

It's okay. It's okay.

What we do know is when He said this, the first century Jews understood it because it says, “Then the high priest tore his robes and said, ‘He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy.’”

He says, “What do you guys want to do? What's your judgment?”

They said, “‘He deserves death.’”

Now, I'm going to ask you to be honest. Be honest with yourself. Do we really know what's going on here? Look, if I were to ask you, “What’s Jesus saying?” you might go, “Well, I think, maybe…” — whatever. That's fine. It's okay because this is a passage that never gets talked about. It never gets taught on because nobody knows what you do with this thing. So, let's go back here. The Son of Man's going to be seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven. If I were to ask you — and I'm not going to ask you, but if I were to say, “What’s He saying?” you might say, “I'm not quite sure.”

If I were to ask you, “Is He quoting something?” you might go, “Well, maybe. I think so. Maybe not.”

If I were to ask you, “Is He quoting out of the Old Testament?” would you go, “Well, maybe so?”

If I said, “Do you know where?” you might go, “I’m not quite sure.”

If I said, “If you know where, do you know the context of what He’s saying?” you might go, “I'm not quite sure.”

This is why this passage is so important because if we don't know what Jesus is saying here, we're probably going to misinterpret a lot of what Jesus is saying in a lot of other passages. So, when Jesus says He's seated at the right hand of Power, He’s quoting from the Old Testament. He’s quoting from Psalm 110. Many scholars believe that Psalm 110:1 is the most quoted passage out of the Old Testament and the New Testament. All scholars disagree on everything, but it's quoted a lot. You probably, if you're honest, went, “I didn't know Psalm 110 was quoted in the New Testament.”

It's okay. It’s no big deal. I’m not giving you a hard time. This is why we come here, but it's quoted. And what’s going on in Psalm 110? They knew because they're Jewish. They knew their Old Testament. One of the nemeses — you know this, and I know this — in the American Church is that we don't know our Old Testament very well. So, because we don't know our Old Testament very well, a lot of times, we read stuff in the New Testament, and we butcher it because we don't understand the Old Testament. That's not to give anybody a hard time, but that's just to say maybe we're missing something. Is it possible that we're missing something?

Then He says, “And coming on the clouds of heaven.” You might've heard something like that before. Where's He quoting from? He's not quoting from Psalm 110. He's quoting from another book in the Old Testament. He's quoting out of Daniel 7. And of course, if you don't know what Daniel 7:13-14 say, and what that means, you might not understand what Jesus is saying. But I can tell you one thing: They did. One hundred percent, they understood. So, is it possible — I’m just asking. I'm asking for you to just give me a little bit of your attention. Is it possible that there might be something to learn here? Is it just possible? So, what I want to do this week is I want to look at Psalm 110 for a little bit. Next week, I want to look at Daniel 7 for a little bit. And I'm not here to get you to change your charts and your stuff. I'm here to try to give you some hope to understand what your Lord and my Lord was saying that they had such a problem with. And maybe if we understand it, we might approach things massively different when we get into these tumultuous times.

So, what does Psalm 110 say? Psalm 110 is an interesting psalm because if you go back and read the Jewish commentaries on Psalm 110, they had problems with it. They didn't know exactly what David was saying because they thought maybe it sounds like David's saying that there might be two Lords or something. Some of the commentaries would go back and go, “Doesn’t it say, in Genesis 1, ‘Let us?’” Then they’re like, “Blasphemy, because God's one,” and they’re like, “I don't know what to do with this thing.”

So, Jesus quotes this. They had trouble with it. They knew the overall gist, but we're going to have to go and do a little work. So, here's how Psalm 110 breaks out. Not the whole Psalm. I'm going to give you a couple of verses. You can go home and read it yourself, but you'll be able to see it a little bit more clearly when I read it here.

It says, “The Lord [Yahweh] says to my Lord, [Adonai]…”

So, David is saying, “Yahweh says to my Lord…” — well, hold on. Shouldn't his Lord be Yahweh? What's going on here?

“The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’”

This is what Jesus quotes. “I'll be seated at the right hand of Power.”

Well, this is what we've learned, as Christians. They didn't see it in the Old Testament. What we know here is that Jesus, when He resurrected, sat at the right hand of Power. He rules. He’s conquered death, hell, and the grave. He says to Caiaphas, “Hey, in just a little bit, you're going to see me sitting at the right hand of power.”

Well, they know what that means. That means that He thinks He’s a king. “Until I make your enemies your footstool.” We know in the Egyptian museum that one of the pharaohs had a footstool, and on the footstool were images of the other kings who were around that area that he would put his feet on like he's going to defeat all those kings. So, we're being told here — we know this as Christians now because we can read this, and we know how Jesus interpreted this, that Jesus is going to, because of His death, burial, and resurrection, be seated at the right hand of God. Which is great because Caiaphas is seated, judging Jesus, and he doesn't realize that Jesus is going to actually be the one who's really seated and will judge Caiaphas.

David says, “The Lord sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter. Rule in the midst of your enemies!”

That's what Jesus does right now. He is ruling in the midst of His enemies. The last enemy to be defeated will be death, but He rules which means no antichrist, no beast, no government, no leader is actually the one who's ruling right now. Jesus is.

Then it takes a twist because in Psalm 110:4 it says, “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest…’”

Hold on. We just had a king on the throne, and now we’ve got a priest?

“‘You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.’”

What the Jewish people knew is that whoever this guy was in Psalm 110 was both a king and a priest, and they couldn't reconcile that very well because they thought the kings had their lineage, then the priests had their lineage, and never the twain would meet. So, when Jesus says, “You’re going to see me seated at the right hand of Power,” they're like, “This dude thinks He’s the guy in Psalm 110. There's no way He is. He's the carpenter's son. There's no way. Blasphemy.”

Now, I'm going to take you to the end of Matthew because Matthew ties all this together with what Jesus has said. He also does it with the other verse that we'll look at next week, and we'll come back again at the end of Matthew and see how it ties in again. But I want to read you the end of Matthew to get you encouraged here.

“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain…”

Now, early on, I told you about Isaiah 2. If you remember Isaiah 2, the law would go forth out of Jerusalem, the nations would be converted, and all this great stuff. The Jews knew their scripture. Sometimes we don't realize what's going on because we don't really know the Old Testament well, but there's a reason why Jesus takes them to a mountain. He directed them there. So, let's look at the text.

“Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him,” — I love this — “but some doubted.”

You could not even make up a story this bad. Jesus has actually resurrected, and some of them are still wondering what's going on. People go, “The Bible can't be trusted.”

It's crazy. It's crazy talk. I mean, this shows you how honest scripture is. He is resurrected, and they're still going, “I'm not sure. I never really saw anybody get up from the dead. I'm not quite sure what's going on.”

It's so honest.

“And Jesus came and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’”

Listen to me: We don't live, as Christians, as if this is true because when we run around being fearful and anxious about, “Oh my gosh, the world's falling apart,” — listen to me. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus. He rules in the midst of His enemies because He’s seated at the right hand of Power.

“‘Go therefore…’”

Off the mountain, into the nations. Isaiah 2. Yeah.

“‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’”

What can we learn here for this weekend, real quickly? Three things. First of all, we don't need to fear tumultuous times because Jesus has all authority and power. There's not some special group that's ruling the world. There's not some dude who’s going to take over everything. There's not some whatever. I'm telling you, the person who rules the world, right now, is Jesus, and if He's ruling the world, then whatever's going on, in a way that we don't understand, He’s working everything for His children's good. You go, “I don't know how that works.”

Nobody does. That's just what we say in faith. It's like David. David goes to fight Goliath, and we go, “Oh, look at the faith that he had.”

No, no. what David had was a word from Samuel that he was going to be anointed king. He was going to be the king of Israel. Well, guess what? He wasn't the king yet. So, guess what Goliath can't do? He can't kill him. David knew that because God's word had said, “You’ll be king,” and if God’s word said, “You’ll be king,” you will be king. And if God's word says Jesus reigns, and all authority in heaven and on earth is His, He reigns. And that’s what He says, which is why when we read the book of Revelation, we’re like, “Oh, it's crazy.”

Well, what we can say regardless of how you read that book — I love Mark Twain. Mark Twain goes, “Man, the book of Revelation is just one darn thing after the other.”

But here's what Revelation teaches, period, end of story. No matter how you unfold it, it teaches that the end of Revelation brings long-awaited justice. The end of revelation is the renewal of all things. The end of Revelation is God with us. How do we know that's true? Because Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth. That should make us rejoice. No matter what's going on in our world, we can go, “I know God's good. He's good. I don't quite see it. There’s lot of bad stuff going on, but I know one thing: He’s good. Because I know that when Jesus was crucified, it really looked bad on Friday, but Sunday came and, all of a sudden, something changed. There was a difference.”

I'm here to tell you that no matter what goes on in this world, let me tell you something: God is working, somehow, some way, all things for good. In that, rejoice. Rejoice. And He's not working all things for good for everybody in the world, but He's working all things for good for those who are His children. Big difference. Big difference. There's a lot of ugly stuff going on in the world.

Second thing: We shouldn't live in paralysis and tumultuous times, and we do. Oftentimes, we just go, “Oh my gosh. What are we going to do? What are we going to do?”

No. We’ve got stuff to do. We’ve got stuff to do. He says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.”

We’ve got stuff to do. We're not supposed to be sitting around, going, “Oh, man. Maybe I should order some of that freeze-dried food.”

No. We need to be going out and making disciples of all nations. We’ve got stuff to do. It's time to get to work. It's not time to sit around the TV and go, “Oh my gosh.”

It’s time to go, “Jesus reigns. He reigns. I'm going to need to go out into the world and tell people about Jesus because He’s going to come back one day, and when He comes back one day, it's going to be awesome.”

We ought to be the happiest people in the world because we know the end of the book. I'm preaching way better than you all are letting on tonight, but that's okay.

Third: We don't need to be trying to unhealthily figure out all the times. We need to be redeeming the time. Jesus said nobody knows. I love it.

“He gave me the secret insight, Pastor Chip.”

No, He didn't. He didn't give you the secret insight because Jesus doesn't know.

Paul says it best: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”

I'm going to end with this. In the Book of Revelation, there’s this wonderful passage. It's beautiful. It’s in Revelation 1. It says that Jesus held in His right hand seven stars. The seven stars are the angels, the angélous, of the church. The pastors are the angels over the church depending on how you read that or understand that. But if you can, imagine physically seeing seven stars in His right hand. Maybe they're on chains or something. I don't know, but He’s got them in His right hand. That’s telling you something. John says, “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead, but He laid His right hand…”

I mean, you can imagine how this would be sort of a mess. You’ve got seven stars, and then He clunks him in the head as he reaches down to hit him. You can see here that there's something more going on than trying to look at it that way.

“He laid his right hand on me, saying, ‘Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.’”

What John is saying is that He can control all the affairs of the Church, yet that same hand can reach down, touch one of us, and say, “Fear not.”

And you don't have to fear because he has the keys of death and hell. If you're one of His children, you're not going to death and hell. You've been given the keys to the kingdom. So, I just want to encourage you to just think about, rather than getting in the frenzy, that there's a lot of hope and a lot of security in tumultuous times. I want to encourage you to embrace that. We're going to sing one final song. It's actually a compilation of two. I asked them to do it. I just want you to sing it, and I just want you to allow faith to arise.

Then I want you to drag anybody and everybody that you’ve got back here, next week, as we go back to this passage and look at the other one. My hope and prayer is that you leave here with a real sense of hope, that you leave here with a real sense of, “Do you know what? He’s got the whole world in His hands, and He’s a good God.”

No matter what comes our way, He’s going to deliver each and every one of us. One day, we will be with Him forever, and that's an encouraging message.

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