The blessed impact of teaching Bible prophecy!

“‭Therefore‭‭, brethren‭, stand fast‭‭, and‭ hold‭‭ the traditions‭ which‭ ye have been taught‭‭, whether‭ by‭ word‭, or‭‭ our‭ epistle‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬  2 Thessalonians 2:15.

The word ‘therefore’ indicates that Paul is here drawing a conclusion from that which he has stated in the earlier verses of this chapter.

2 Thessalonians chapter 2 is one of the most detailed regarding the person of the Antichrist and the prestige with which he will be viewed by unconverted men and also his perdition in shame.


Be that as it may, it is a chapter, the plain teaching of which, is very sadly ignored. Were it read and believed the notion of a ‘secret rapture’ of the saints of God would be universally abandoned.

The opening verses makes it clear that there will be no return of Christ for His saints until after the revealing of the Antichrist.

“‭Now‭ we beseech‭‭ you‭, brethren‭, by‭ the coming‭ of our‭ Lord‭ Jesus‭ Christ‭, and‭ ‭by‭ our‭ gathering together‭ unto‭ him‭,‭ ‭That‭ ye‭ be‭‭ not‭ soon‭ shaken‭‭ in‭ mind‭, or‭ be troubled‭‭, neither‭ by‭ spirit‭, nor‭ by‭ word‭, nor‭ by‭ letter‭ as‭ from‭ us‭, as‭ that‭ the day‭ of Christ‭ is at hand‭‭.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ ‭Let‭‭ no‭ man‭ deceive‭‭ you‭ by‭ any‭ means‭: for‭ ‭that day shall not come‭, except‭ there come‭‭ a falling away‭ first‭, and‭ that man‭ of sin‭ be revealed‭‭, the son‭ of perdition‭; w‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ho‭ opposeth‭‭ and‭ exalteth‭‭ himself above‭ all‭ that is called‭‭ God‭, or‭ that is worshipped‭; so‭ that he‭ as‭ God‭ sitteth‭‭ in‭ the temple‭ of God‭, shewing‭‭ himself‭ that‭ he is‭‭ God‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬ 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

There was a common notion amongst some of the early believers that the Saviour could come in their day. But Paul is countering that by saying that the Saviour will not return until AFTER ‘a falling away‭ first‬’, or an ‘apostasy’. Furthermore, he says that the Saviour will return after the revealing or ‘unveiling’ of the ‘‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭man‭ of sin‭ . . .‭‭ the son‭ of perdition‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬’, the Antichrist.

Therefore the ‘timetable’ of the second coming is set down for all to see. It will come AFTER the rise and the revealing of the Antichrist. The revealing of the Antichrist will IMMEDIATELY initiate the ‘great tribulation’. The Saviour makes that plain!

“‭When‭ ye therefore‭ shall see‭‭ the abomination‭ of desolation‭, spoken of‭‭ by‭ Daniel‭ the prophet‭, stand‭‭‭‭‭ in‭ the holy‭ place‭, (whoso readeth‭‭, let him understand‭‭:)‭ ‭then‭ let them which be in‭ Judaea‭ flee‭‭ into‭ the mountains‭:‭ ‭let him which is on‭ the housetop‭ not‭ come down‭‭ to take‭‭ any thing‭ out of‭ his‭ house‭:‭‭ neither‭ let him which is in‭ the field‭ return‭‭ back‭ to take‭‭ his‭ clothes‭.‭ ‭And‭ woe‭ unto them that are‭‭ with‭ child‭, and‭ to them that give suck‭‭ in‭ those‭ days‭!‭ ‭But‭ pray ye‭‭ that‭‭ your‭ flight‭ be‭‭ not‭ in the winter‭, neither‭ on‭ the sabbath day‭:‭ ‭For‭ then‭ shall be‭‭ great‭ tribulation‭, such as‭ was‭‭ not‭ since‭ the beginning‭ of the world‭ to this‭ time‭, no‭, nor ever‭ shall be‭‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Matthew 24:15-21.

Note the total urgency that must be shown once the Antichrist identifies himself by the erection of ‘‭‭‭‭‭the abomination‭ of desolation‬‬‬‬‬‬’ in ‘‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭the holy‭ place‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬’, which will be the temple the Jews will one day soon build in Jerusalem. The ‘‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭great‭ tribulation‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬’ will begin immediately that happens and there is not even time to snatch up a discarded item of clothing or gather together a few things from the home before fleeing to the hills.


For the ‘‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭great‭ tribulation‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬’ to be set in motion and become effective as the Saviour indicates, it must be well and secretly planned by the Antichrist for quite some time before! Within living memory, the world has been given a foretaste of that of which the Saviour speaks.

In 1934 in Germany, there took place what was called ‘The Night of the Long Knives’. It was also called the ‘Röhm purge’ or ‘Operation Hummingbird’.

It was a purge that took place in Nazi Germany from 30th June to 2nd July, 1934. Chancellor Adolf Hitler, urged on by Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler, ordered a series of political extrajudicial executions intended to consolidate his power and alleviate the concerns of the German military about the role of Ernst Röhm and the Sturmabteilung (SA), the Nazis’ paramilitary organization, known colloquially as the ‘Brownshirts’. Nazi propaganda presented the murders as a preventive measure against an alleged imminent coup by the SA under Röhm – the so-called Röhm Putsch.

The primary instruments of Hitler’s action, which carried out most of the killings, were the Schutzstaffel (SS) paramilitary force under Himmler and its Security Service (SD), and the Gestapo (secret police) under Reinhard Heydrich. Göring’s personal police battalion also took part in the killings. Many of those killed in the purge were leaders of the SA, the best-known being Röhm himself, the SA’s chief of staff and one of Hitler’s longtime supporters and allies. Leading members of the Strasserist faction of the Nazi Party, including its leader Gregor Strasser, were also killed, as were establishment conservatives and anti-Nazis, such as former Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher and Bavarian politician Gustav Ritter von Kahr, who had helped suppress Hitler’s Munich Beer Hall Putsch in 1923. The murders of SA leaders were also intended to improve the image of the Hitler government with a German public that was increasingly critical of thuggish SA tactics. (Source – Wikipedia).


Such an evil and treacherous undertaking needed much secret preparation. The fact that ‘Röhm himself, the SA’s chief of staff and one of Hitler’s longtime supporters and allies’ was so murdered is most certainly a clear picture of the treachery of the Antichrist who will suddenly break a treaty he has made with the Jews in Israel and because of which they will have hailed him as a great hero. The homage paid to the Antichrist by the most of the citizenry of the ten kingdoms over which Antichrist will reign, is detailed for us in the thirteenth chapter of the Book of the Revelation.

“‭And‭ they worshipped‭‭ the dragon‭ which‭ gave‭‭ power‭ unto the beast‭: and‭ they worshipped‭‭ the beast‭, saying‭‭, Who‭ ‭is‭ like‭ unto the beast‭? who‭ is able‭‭ to make war‭‭ with‭ him‭?‭ . . . . ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬And‭ all‭ that dwell‭‭ upon‭ the earth‭ (The Roman earth, territories of the old Roman Empire) shall worship‭‭ him‭, whose‭ names‭ are‭‭ not‭ written‭‭ in‭ the book‭ of life‭ of the Lamb‭ slain‭‭ from‭ the foundation‭ of the world‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ ‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭Revelation 13:4, 8.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

The unbelieving amongst the Jews will join in with this adoration and thus be caught, as was Ernst Röhm, by the treachery of one they thought was their ‘friend’!


Furthermore, these verses make it plain that the pope or the papacy, the succession of popes, are not to be considered as the personage spoken of by Paul as “‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭that man‭ of sin‭ be revealed‭‭, the son‭ of perdition‭; w‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ho‭ opposeth‭‭ and‭ exalteth‭‭ himself above‭ all‭ that is called‭‭ God‭, or‭ that is worshipped‭; so‭ that he‭ as‭ God‭ sitteth‭‭ in‭ the temple‭ of God‭, shewing‭‭ himself‭ that‭ he is‭‭ God‭.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬”

The Antichrist is not to appear until just three and a half years before the return of Christ. I say ‘three and a half years’ for that is how long the ‘great tribulation’ will last before it is brought to a sudden end by the second advent of Christ and His slaying of the Antichrist.

“And‭ then‭ shall‭‭ that Wicked‭ be revealed‭‭, whom‭ the Lord‭ shall consume‭‭ with the spirit‭ of his‭ mouth‭, and‭ shall destroy‭‭ with the brightness‭ of his‭ coming‭,” 2 Thessalonians 2:8.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Daniel was given a view of this time of great trouble for the Jews. “‭And at that time‭ shall Michael‭ stand up‭‭, the great‭ prince‭ which standeth‭‭ for the children‭ of thy people‭: and there shall be‭‭ a time‭ of trouble‭, such as never was since there was a nation‭ ‭even‭ to that same time‭: and at that time‭ thy people‭ shall be delivered‭‭, every one that shall be found‭‭ written‭‭ in the book‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Daniel 12:1.

The distress of the dreadful scenes caused one angel to ask another: “‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭ How long ‭shall it be to‭ the end‭ of these wonders‭?‭ ‭And I heard‭‭ the man‭ clothed‭‭ in linen‭, (I believe this is Christ, see 10:5-6) which ‭was‭ upon‭ the waters‭ of the river‭, when he held up‭‭ his right hand‭ and his left hand‭ unto heaven‭, and sware‭‭ by him that liveth‭ for ever‭ that ‭it shall be‭ for a time‭, times‭, and an half‭; and when he shall have accomplished‭‭ to scatter‭‭ the power‭ of the holy‭ people‭, all these ‭things‭ shall be finished‭‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Daniel 12:6-7.

‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‘A time‭, times‭, and an half‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬’ is but another way of specifying three and a half years.

So, the final Antichrist has not yet appeared. Undoubtedly, just as Judas was of that spirit, so are the popes. While Judas may be called ‘an antichrist’ even so may also the popes. But Judas was not ‘the antichrist’ and neither have been the many infamous popes that have presided in the midst of pomp and pride and sin and blasphemy in the Vatican.

But let us consider the words of our text.

“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.”


1. I think that in this day of abandoning the old paths by many professing Christians it is no mere coincidence that it is also a day of ignorance regarding just what God says about the future! It must be said that that which was the distant future for past generations has become the imminent future for this generation. This would be more universally recognised if only the teaching of God’s Word on the ‘last days’ was the subject of study amongst Christians. Whereas the subject was dealt with by all of God’s servants in former times it is now only the subject of an occasional special week of meetings when someone, more acquainted with the subject is brought along to speak on it. Not one of the prophets was ignorant of the subject! Peter made that plain.

“‭Repent ye‭‭ therefore‭, and‭ be converted‭‭, that‭ your‭ sins‭ may be blotted out‭‭, when‭ the times‭ of refreshing‭ shall come‭‭‭ from‭ the presence‭ of the Lord‭;‭ ‭And‭ he shall send‭‭ Jesus‭ Christ‭, which before was preached‭‭ unto you‭:‭ ‭whom‭ the heaven‭‭ must‭‭ receive‭‭ until‭ the times‭ of restitution‭ of all things‭, which‭ God‭ hath spoken‭‭ by‭ the mouth‭ of all‭ his‭ holy‭ prophets‭ since‭ the world began‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Acts 3:19-21.

Please note that the prophets were but uttering the words of God on this subject. It is a theme that the Lord emphasised greatly! Why then is it so neglected today, a day above all previous times that requires a knowledge of what God has said about the last days?

2. This exhortation by Paul comes at the end of a most detailed exposition of the final days of this age. Paul here calls for a ‘holding’, a ‘taking a powerful grip upon’ the prophetic truths he has just set forth in the previous verses.

When I think of the efforts made by millions of foolish people to know ‘their future’ and the garbage they so readily accept in response to their enquiries, it is amazing that Christians show so little interest in the TRUTH that God has set forth most plainly regarding the future of this world!

Every day I read in the world’s media of how the world may be brought to an end as a result of ‘climate change’, a mad Vladimir Putin of Russia or Kim Jong Un of North Korea or Xi Jinping of China. Maps have appeared in the national press of the consequences of a nuclear missile hitting the United Kingdom and there are many setting out the means of ‘preparation’ that should made by those who it is suggested may well become targets. ‘The Battle of Armageddon’ is almost daily forecast by pundits who are ignorant of the fact that the Bible, where the place name ‘Armageddon’ appears, makes absolutely no mention of any battle taking place there. Rather it is merely the gathering place where Antichrist will assemble his army before marching to Jerusalem and to his doom at the hands of the Saviour returning to this earth in glory and great power!

It is typical of men to jump to wrong conclusions regarding just what it was the Saviour says. We have an example of this given us in John where the words spoken by the Saviour to Peter were totally misunderstood.

“‭Verily‭, verily‭, I say‭‭ unto thee‭, When‭ thou wast‭‭ young‭, thou girdedst‭‭ thyself‭, and‭ walkedst‭‭ whither‭ thou wouldest‭‭: but‭ when‭ thou shalt be old‭‭, thou shalt stretch forth‭‭ thy‭ hands‭, and‭ another‭ shall gird‭‭ thee‭, and‭ carry‭‭ ‭thee‭ whither‭ thou wouldest‭‭ not‭.‭ ‭This‭ spake he‭‭, signifying‭‭ by what‭ death‭ he should glorify‭‭ God‭. And‭ when he had spoken‭‭ this‭, he saith‭‭ unto him‭, Follow‭‭ me‭.‭ ‭Then‭ Peter‭, turning about‭‭, seeth‭‭ the disciple‭ whom‭ Jesus‭ loved‭‭ following‭‭; which‭ also‭ leaned‭‭ on‭ his‭ breast‭ at‭ supper‭, and‭ said‭‭, Lord‭, which‭ is he‭‭ that betrayeth‭‭ thee‭?‭ ‭Peter‭ seeing‭‭ him‭ saith‭‭ to Jesus‭, Lord‭, and‭ what‭ ‭shall‭ this man‭ ‭do‭?‭ ‭Jesus‭ saith‭‭ unto him‭, If‭ I will‭‭ that he‭ tarry‭‭ till‭ I come‭‭, what‭ ‭is that‭ to‭ thee‭? follow‭‭ thou‭ me‭.‭ ‭Then‭ went‭‭ this‭ saying‭ abroad‭‭ among‭ the brethren‭, that‭ that‭ disciple‭ should‭‭ not‭ die‭‭: yet‭ Jesus‭ said‭‭ not‭ unto him‭,‭ He shall‭‭ not‭ die‭‭; but‭, If‭ I will‭‭ that he‭ tarry‭‭ till‭ I come‭‭, what‭ ‭is that‭ to‭ thee‭?‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ John 21:18-23.

The misunderstanding resulted from the failing to note one word uttered by the Lord Jesus. That word is ‘IF’. He had said: “‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭If‭ I will‭‭ that he‭ tarry‭‭ till‭ I come‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬”, not ‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭“‭I will‭‭ that he‭ tarry‭‭ till‭ I come‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬”. But the latter was what many understood Him to have said and from that sprang the notion that John, who is the one spoken of, “‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭should‭‭ not‭ die‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬,” verse 23.

How careful we must be when reading our Bibles. There is no room for careless and casual consideration of God’s truth, for “‭All‭ scripture‭ ‭is‭ given by inspiration of God‭,” ‬‬‬‬‬‬2 Timothy 3:16, and every single word and phrase are unquestionable truth and will come to pass. The Saviour said: “‭For‭ verily‭ I say‭‭ unto you‭, Till‭‭ heaven‭ and‭ earth‭ pass‭‭, one‭ jot‭ or‭ one‭ tittle‭ shall in no wise‭ pass‭‭ from‭ the law‭, till‭‭ all‭ be fulfilled‭‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Matthew 5:18.

3. The keeping of the truths of prophecy before the hearts and minds of God’s people is the key to their perseverance. The Lord Jesus said: “‭But‭ he that shall endure‭‭ unto‭ the end‭, the same‭ shall be saved‭‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Matthew 24:13. But these words came after a detailed description of the character of the last days, in response to the questions posed by His disciples. “‭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.

Just as the prophets of old were ever ready, under God, to speak on the last times, so the Saviour here unhesitatingly answers the disciples. How far removed was His response from that given by ministers regarding the subject of prophecy. I KNOW of those who have told members of their flock to avoid trying to understand the last book in the Bible, the book of the Revelation! How much that differs from the emphasis of the Holy Ghost Who says to us in the opening words of that book:

“‭The Revelation‭ of Jesus‭ Christ‭, which‭ God‭ gave‭‭ unto him‭, to shew‭‭ unto his‭ servants‭ things which‭ must‭‭ shortly‭‭ come to pass‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ (or come to pass in a short period of time)‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭‭; and‭ he sent‭‭ and signified‭‭ ‭it‭ by‭ his‭ angel‭ unto his‭ servant‭ John‭:‭ ‭who‭ bare record‭‭ of the word‭ of God‭, and‭ of the testimony‭ of Jesus‭ Christ‭, and‭ of all things‭ that he saw‭‭.‭ ‭Blessed‭ ‭is‭ he that readeth‭‭, and‭ they that hear‭‭ the words‭ of this prophecy‭, and‭ keep‭‭ those things which are written‭‭ therein‭‭: for‭ the time‭ ‭is‭ at hand‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Revelation 1:1-3.

There is a ‘blessing’ for those who read the Book of Revelation and indeed, any of the many portions of the Bible which deal with this vital topic. Furthermore, such reading aids the keeping of the “things which are written therein: for the time is at hand”. The study of prophecy serves to keep us aware of the passing of times and the advancing and unfolding of God’s purpose amongst the nations. This is evident from Paul’s words to the Romans, chapter 13 verses 11 to 14.

“‭And‭ that‭, knowing‭‭ the time‭, that‭ now‭ ‭it is‭ high time‭ to awake‭‭‭ out of‭ sleep‭: for‭ now‭ ‭is‭ our‭ salvation‭ nearer‭ than‭ when‭ we believed‭‭.‭ ‭The night‭ is far spent‭‭,‭ the day‭ is at hand‭‭: let us‭‭ therefore‭ cast off‭‭ the works‭ of darkness‭, and‭ let us put on‭‭ the armour‭ of light‭.‭ ‭Let us walk‭‭ honestly‭, as‭ in‭ the day‭; not‭ in rioting‭ and‭ drunkenness‭, not‭ in chambering‭ and‭ wantonness‭, not‭ in strife‭ and‭ envying‭.‭ ‭But‭ put ye on‭‭ the Lord‭ Jesus‭ Christ‭, and‭ make‭‭ not‭ provision‭ for‭ the flesh‭, to ‭fulfil‭ the lusts‭ ‭thereof‭.‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Sleepy carelessness is the result of failing to keep before us the approaching ‘Day of the Lord’. This is emphasised by the Saviour in one of the last parables He told.

“‭Then‭ shall the kingdom‭ of heaven‭ be likened‭‭ unto ten‭ virgins‭, which‭ took‭‭ their‭ lamps‭, and went forth‭‭ to meet‭‭ the bridegroom‭.‭ ‭And‭ five‭ of‭ them‭ were‭‭ wise‭, and‭ five‭ ‭were‭ foolish‭.‭ ‭They‭ that ‭were‭ foolish‭ took‭‭ their‭‭ lamps‭, and took‭‭ no‭ oil‭ with‭ them‭:‭ ‭But‭ the wise‭ took‭‭ oil‭ in‭ their‭ vessels‭ with‭ their‭ lamps‭.‭ ‭While‭ the bridegroom‭ tarried‭‭, they all‭ slumbered‭‭ and‭ slept‭‭.‭ ‭And‭ at midnight‭‭ there was a cry‭ made‭‭, Behold‭‭, the bridegroom‭ cometh‭‭; go ye out‭‭ to‭ meet‭ him‭.‭ ‭Then‭ all‭ those‭ virgins‭ arose‭‭, and‭ trimmed‭‭ their‭ lamps‭.‭ ‭And‭ the foolish‭ said‭‭ unto the wise‭, Give‭‭ us‭ of‭ your‭ oil‭; for‭ our‭ lamps‭ are gone out‭‭.‭ ‭But‭ the wise‭ answered‭‭, saying‭‭, ‭Not so‭; lest‭ there be‭‭ not‭ enough‭‭ for us‭ and‭ you‭: but‭ go ye‭‭ rather‭ to them‭ that sell‭‭, and‭ buy‭‭ for yourselves‭.‭ ‭And‭ while they‭ went‭‭ to buy‭‭, the bridegroom‭ came‭‭; and‭ they that were ready‭ went in‭‭ with‭ him‭ to‭ the marriage‭: and‭ the door‭ was shut‭‭.‭ ‭Afterward‭‭ came‭‭ also‭ the other‭ virgins‭, saying‭‭, Lord‭, Lord‭, open‭‭ to us‭.‭ ‭But‭ he answered‭‭ and said‭‭, Verily‭ I say‭‭ unto you‭, I know‭‭ you‭ not‭.‭ ‭Watch‭‭ therefore‭, for‭ ye know‭‭ neither‭ the day‭ nor‭ the hour‭ wherein‭‭ the Son‭ of man‭ cometh‭‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Matthew 25:1-13.

Ministers ought to be constantly ’nudging’ their flock and keeping it awake by pointing out the wonderful prophetic truths of God’s Word as the time of Christ’s return draws near!


“Hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.”

Across the whole spectrum of professed Christianity, there is a letting go of the old truths. The old fundamental doctrines, the old standards of behaviour, the old Bible itself is swapped for a less-than faithful modern ‘version’! That is seen everywhere and it springs from the failure to preach ‘the whole counsel of God’ as was the practice of Paul. He said to the Ephesian elders: “‭But‭ none‭ of these things‭ move me‭‭, neither‭ count I‭‭ my‭ life‭ dear‭ unto myself‭, so‭ that I might finish‭‭ my‭ course‭ with‭ joy‭, and‭ the ministry‭, which‭ I have received‭‭ of‭ the Lord‭ Jesus‭, to testify‭‭ the gospel‭ of the grace‭ of God‭.‭ ‭And‭ now‭, behold‭‭, I‭ know‭‭ that‭ ye‭ all‭, among‭ whom‭ I have gone‭‭ preaching‭‭ the kingdom‭ of God‭, shall see‭‭ my‭ face‭ no more‭.‭ ‭Wherefore‭ I take‭‭ you‭ to record‭‭ this‭‭ day‭, that‭ I‭ ‭am‭ pure‭ from‭ the blood‭ of all‭ ‭men‭.‭ ‭For‭ I have‭‭ not‭‭ shunned‭‭ to declare‭‭ unto you‭ all‭ the counsel‭ of God‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Acts 20:24-27.

There are very few men today, even amongst fundamentalists, who can honestly say that! That which is central to the revelation of Holy Scripture, the revelation of the conclusion of all things and the triumphant glory of Christ, is sadly neglected or worse, error and falsehood are set forth regarding these wonderful things!

1. As the Lord has brought times of trial and affliction upon those who stray from Him, we may expect such times to come upon us. Indeed, can I not say that they have already begun! Christians are being harassed in the place of their employment should they in any way give witness to their faith or express opposition to the vile immorality that is ever more embraced by society! The open preaching of the Word of God is opposed on the streets where once it was a common and welcomed practice. Christ, His Word and His people are openly mocked and sneered in every level of society whereas, the ungodly religion of Islam is honoured and reverenced and woe betide any who might speak slightingly of it!

2. Times of difficulty will drive the believer to his Bible, to prayer and to fellowship with those like-minded. I can recall when the Free Presbyterian Church was viewed in a very different light than it is today. That was when to be a ‘Paisleyite’ was to be refused employment as my wife Ann experienced on a number of occasions. In the midst of such an atmosphere, the gathering of Free Presbyterians at ‘sod-cutting’ or ‘stone-laying’ ceremonies or the opening of a new church building, saw a people assembling together and rejoicing in the company of those like-minded! It was a time like that spoken of by Malachi.

“‭And now we call‭‭ the proud‭ happy‭‭; yea, they that work‭‭ wickedness‭ are set up‭‭; yea, ‭they that‭ tempt‭‭ God‭ are even delivered‭‭.‭ ‭Then they that feared‭ the LORD‭ spake often‭‭ one‭ to another‭: and the LORD‭ hearkened‭‭, and heard‭‭ ‭it‭, and a book‭ of remembrance‭ was written‭‭ before‭ him for them that feared‭ the LORD‭, and that thought‭‭ upon his name‭.‭ ‭And they shall be mine, saith‭‭ the LORD‭ of hosts‭, in that day‭ when I make up‭‭ my jewels‭; and I will spare‭‭ them, as a man‭ spareth‭‭ his own son‭ that serveth‭‭ him,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Malachi 3:15-17.

Note the word ‘then’ in that portion. It comes between the prophet describing the spirit of wickedness that was abroad and the reaction of the saint of God to that wickedness.

That was how it was in former times when ‘Ecumenical O’Neillism’ dominated Ulster. We will yet huddle even closer together for ‘Michelle O’Neillism’ will prove worse by far than that of the antichristianity of past days.

Westminster desires only to be rid of Ulster Protestants. Unionist representatives, with very few exceptions, are the most deceitful and craven representatives a people may have! There is no level to which they will not stoop to keep their salaries. As it was said of the deceivers of old it may be said of them:

“‭They have healed‭‭ also the hurt‭ ‭of the daughter‭ of my people‭ slightly‭‭, saying‭‭, Peace‭, peace‭; when ‭there is‭ no peace‭.‭ ‭Were they ashamed‭‭ when they had committed‭‭ abomination‭? nay‭, they were not at all‭‭ ashamed‭‭, neither‭ could‭‭ they blush‭‭: therefore they shall fall‭‭ among them that fall‭‭: at the time‭ ‭that‭ I visit‭‭ them they shall be cast down‭‭, saith‭‭ the LORD‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Jeremiah 6:14-15.

Ulster Christians will yet learn, if they have not already been awakened to this truth, that there is none who can be trusted but the Lord. No word but His will be kept and true comfort is found only in His presence.

“‭«To the chief Musician‭‭ upon Nehiloth‭, A Psalm‭ of David‭.»‭ Give ear‭‭ to my words‭, O LORD‭, consider‭‭ my meditation‭.‭ ‭Hearken‭‭ unto the voice‭ of my cry‭, my King‭, and my God‭: for unto thee will I pray‭‭.‭ ‭My voice‭ shalt thou hear‭‭ in the morning‭, O LORD‭; in the morning‭ will I direct‭‭ ‭my prayer‭ unto thee, and will look up‭‭.‭ ‭For thou ‭art‭ not a God‭ that hath pleasure‭ in wickedness‭: neither shall evil‭ dwell‭‭ with thee.‭ ‭The foolish‭‭ shall not stand‭‭ in thy sight‭: thou hatest‭‭ all workers‭‭ of iniquity‭.‭ ‭Thou shalt destroy‭‭ them that speak‭‭ leasing‭: the LORD‭ will abhor‭‭ the bloody‭ and deceitful‭ man‭.‭ ‭But as for me, I will come‭‭ ‭into‭ thy house‭ in the multitude‭ of thy mercy‭: ‭and‭ in thy fear‭ will I worship‭‭ toward thy holy‭ temple‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Psalm 5:1-7.

Yes, the times of trial that are coming will divest and strip those Christians of their folly, who have been blinded and who have stubbornly refused to act or even acknowledge, the existence of the rampant invasion of worldliness and ungodly attitudes that have been allowed to come within our ranks.

3. Only the prophetic teachings of the Bible reveal this dreadful decline in the last days and only where that is taught, will there be an adhering to ‘the old paths’. Is there not a repeating today of the situation which developed in the days of Jeremiah and which is set forth in those unforgettable words of his: “‭Thus saith‭‭ the LORD‭, Stand‭‭ ye in the ways‭, and see‭‭, and ask‭‭ for the old‭ paths‭, where ‭is‭ the good‭ way‭, and walk‭‭ therein, and ye shall find‭‭ rest‭ for your souls‭. But they said‭‭, We will not walk‭‭ ‭therein‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Jeremiah 6:16.

When I started as a Christian sixty years ago, I often heard those words directed against the ecumenical churches. Now, however, they must be directed against many who are the descendants of those who who protested against ecumenism but a generation ago!


I am thankful that I find evidence in God’s Word that in the last days there will be an awakening to the very truths that Paul sets forth in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2. In the very days of the Antichrist’s power there will be those “‭And such as do wickedly‭‭ against the covenant‭ (the covenant between the Jews and Antichrist mentioned earlier) shall he corrupt‭‭ by flatteries‭: but the people‭ that do know‭‭ their God‭ shall be strong‭‭, and do‭‭ ‭exploits‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Daniel 11:32.

Again, the wonderful parable of Matthew 25, “‭And‭ at midnight‭‭ there was a cry‭ made‭‭, Behold‭‭, the bridegroom‭ cometh‭‭; go ye out‭‭ to‭ meet‭ him‭.‭ ‭Then‭ all‭ those‭ virgins‭ arose‭‭, and‭ trimmed‭‭ their‭ lamps‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Matthew 25:6-7. That indicates a return to their earlier diligence to their duty.

I may not live to see the return to the spirit of 1st century Christianity, that “waiting for‭‭ the coming‭ of our‭ Lord‭ Jesus‭ Christ‭” (1 Corinthians 1:7) but I KNOW that there will be a restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ to her first love and her willingness to suffer even death for her Beloved.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“And‭ I saw‭‭ thrones‭, and‭ they sat‭‭ upon‭ them‭, and‭ judgment‭ was given‭‭ unto them‭: and‭ ‭I saw‭ the souls‭ of them that were beheaded‭‭ for‭ the witness‭ of Jesus‭, and‭ for‭ the word‭ of God‭, and‭ which‭ had‭‭ not‭ worshipped‭‭ the beast‭, neither‭ his‭ image‭,‭ neither‭ had received‭‭ ‭his‭ mark‭ upon‭ their‭ foreheads‭, or‭ in‭ their‭ hands‭; and‭ they lived‭‭ and‭ reigned‭‭ with‭ Christ‭ a thousand‭ years‭, ‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ Revelation 20:4.‬‬‬‬‬‬

And now:

“‭T‭he Lord‭ direct‭‭ your‭ hearts‭ into‭ the love‭ of God‭, and‭ into‭ the patient waiting‭ for Christ‭,‭”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ 2 Thessalonians 3:5.

Rev Ivan Foster (Rtd)
12th April 2024.

(The 60th anniversary of the first time I heard Dr Ian Paisley preach in the old Ravenhill Free Presbyterian Church with my mother and father, just one week after my conversion to Christ.)