||What's Next? from Jerusalem
One of God's greatest attributes is that He knows what is going to happen before it actually happens, and His Word clearly maps the events of the future. In this message from Jerusalem, we learn why this city is the center of the world, as well as what we can expect to take place when Jesus fulfills His promise to return for the church.
Connect Group Recap: February 28, 2016
Speaker: Skip Heitzig
Teaching: "What's Next? from Jerusalem"
Text: Matthew 24:1-8
Pastor Skip taught this important message from Jerusalem, the center of the world. When it comes to knowing what's next, we need God's voice speaking through His Word, the Bible. God knows the end from the beginning. He knows all things and has made hundreds of detailed predictions in the Bible, stacking the odds of fulfillment against Himself so when they do happen, we know that they are from God alone. Pastor Skip taught from Matthew 24:1-8 and gave some insight about what the future holds.
- The Place—Jerusalem
- The Prediction—the Temple Destroyed
- The Promise—His Coming
The Place—Jerusalem (Matthew 24:3)
- Jesus was in Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives when He predicted the fall of the temple.
- Jerusalem is the center of the earth in these ways:
- Geographical center: Israel is at the center of the world; Jerusalem is at the center of Israel; and the temple is at the center of Jerusalem. God established Jerusalem in the midst of the nations; it is a land bridge that connects Africa, Europe, and Asia.
- Salvation center: Jerusalem is where Jesus died and rose again, bringing hope to a hurting world.
- Political center: Israel is the storm center of the world politically. God said, "I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone…. All nations of the earth are gathered against it" (Zechariah 12:3).
- Glory center: One day, all the nations of the world will flow into Jerusalem. There is a kingless throne in Jerusalem and a throneless King in heaven. When Jesus comes, the two will meet, beginning a new reign of peace.
The Prediction—the Temple Destroyed (Matthew 24:2)
- Jesus predicted the fall of the temple: "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly...not one stone shall be left here upon another" (v. 2).
- In AD 70, the Romans destroyed the temple. A fire broke out and the temple tumbled. Jesus' prophecy was fulfilled, and the religious system of the Jews was forever changed.
- This statement by Jesus shocked His disciples. For the Jews, the presence of the temple was a sign of God's favor.
The Promise—His Coming (Matthew 24:4-8, 42)
Connect Up: Discuss Jerusalem's importance throughout history. Knowing the story ends with a new heaven and new earth, how does the reality of our future draw you closer to the Lord? What do you think the new heaven and new earth will be like (see Revelation 22)?
- This is a promise of preparation: Jesus went away to prepare a place for us (see John 14:1-3), and though we don't know when He'll return (see Matthew 24:42), He promised He will come back for us.
- We are looking for two future events to happen:
- Toward the earth—the rapture: Jesus will come in the air; believers will meet Him in the atmosphere. This is when Jesus claims His bride; it will be sudden and unpredictable (see 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
- To the earth—the second coming: Jesus will come to the earth with the church, His bride. This coming will be proclaimed everywhere, as Scripture predicts (see Revelation 1:7; 14:1-20).
- At the rapture, Jesus will come bodily, bringing the souls of believers from all the ages. At this point, God's people will be resurrected. Once we meet the Lord, He will lead us in a triumphant entry into heaven where we will stand before God and receive our rewards for serving Him during our time on earth. Then, following the tribulation, believers will come back to the earth with Jesus and He will usher in the millennial kingdom.
- Finally, we will rule with Christ in the new heaven and new earth (see Revelation 21:1). This will be our home forever. We will rejoice not for what is at this home but who is at this home with us.
Connect In: How does the future help shape your present interaction with fellow believers? How does the hope of a new heaven and new earth influence how you help others in our current dwelling place?
Connect Out: Pastor Skip asked the question: "Are you ready?" We hope you are. But here's another question: Are your family, friends, and coworkers ready? If not, make it a point to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, telling them about the place, prediction, and promise of Jesus and His coming kingdom. Take a few moments to pray for the people you know who need Jesus.
Cross references: Isaiah 2:2-3
- We want to know what happens in the future
- God knows the end from the beginning
- Omniscient (see Isaiah 46:9-10)
- He continuously stacks the odds against Himself, as the odds that all prophecy in Scripture will be fulfilled are astronomical
- The second coming of Christ is the culmination of all Christian hope for all centuries
- We will all be changed in a moment (see 1 Corinthians 15:52)
- We will get an extreme makeover
- The Place—Jerusalem
- The city of Jerusalem is mentioned 821 times in the Bible
- Jesus taught on the Mount of Olives
- Olivet Discourse
- He predicted the future
- The future of the Jews
- The future of Jerusalem
- The future of the world
- His future coming
- Jesus taught this message in the very place that is the center of conflict today
- Israel is the very center of God's plan for the future
- This is why it is the center of Satan's spiritual attack
- Jerusalem is the center of the earth
- Jerusalem is the geographical center of the earth biblically (see Ezekiel 5:5)
- Israel is on a land bridge that connects Europe, Asia, and Africa
- All biblical references to direction (north, south, etc.) are in relation to Jerusalem
- Jerusalem is the salvation center of the earth spiritually
- John 4:22
- Jesus paid for our sins on the cross just outside of Jerusalem at Golgotha
- Jerusalem is the storm center of the earth prophetically
- There is a sense of political and spiritual tension
- Zechariah 12:3
- Jerusalem is the glory center of the earth ultimately
- Isaiah 2:2-3
- There is a kingless throne in Jerusalem
- The throne of David
- It has not been occupied in over 2,500 years
- In heaven there is a throneless King
- When they come together, that will be the time of fullness the Bible speaks about
- In the tribulation period, God will seal 144,000 Jewish people
- God will set up His millennial kingdom in Jerusalem and will rule from Mount Zion
- Eternal state with the New Jerusalem
- The Prediction—the Temple Destroyed
- In the mind of the Jews, the temple was a sign of God's favor to the nation of Israel
- It took 18,000 workers a total of eighty years to complete
- The pinnacle of the temple sat 158 feet above its base
- Jesus predicted that the stones of the temple would all tumble down
- The prediction was fulfilled in AD 70 when the Romans attacked and destroyed it
- There is still dispute about where exactly the original temple stood on the Temple Mount
- The Scriptures predicted that the nations of the world will come against Israel
- Zechariah 12:2-3
- Israel fell in AD 70
- There are many people who would love to see this happen again
- The Promise—His Coming
- As tough as these predictions were, Jesus also promised His coming (see Matthew 24:42)
- The glory of the world and culmination of prophetic hope is the coming of Jesus Christ
- This should fill your heart with hope: your Savior is coming back (see John 14:2-3)
- We are looking for two future events to happen
- Jesus coming toward the earth for His church
- The rapture
- We will meet Him in the air
- This is not the second coming
- Jesus is coming to the earth with His church
- This is technically the second coming
- Will happen after the rapture of the church
- Every eye will see Him (see Revelation 1:17)
- The difference
- At the rapture
- Jesus will claim His bride (the church)
- The focus is Jesus and His church
- Sudden, unpredictable
- At the second coming
- Jesus comes with His bride
- The focus is Israel and the kingdom
- Predictable: after seven years of tribulation
- What's next for us is the Lord coming back
- The combination of what Jesus said in the Gospels, what Peter and Paul said in the Epistles, and what John saw and recorded in Revelation gives us a roadmap of future events
- Jesus Christ, who is currently seated at the right hand of God the Father, will come in bodily form from heaven to the atmosphere above the earth
- Jesus will bring with Him the souls of believers who have died and been with Him in heaven to resurrect their bodies (see 1 Corinthians 15:50, 53)
- The believers who are alive will join Jesus in a triumphal procession into heaven and face the judgment seat of Christ
- Rewards for faithful service on earth
- 2 Corinthians 5:10
- During this time, the tribulation will be happening on earth
- Jesus and the saints will come back to the earth for the second coming
- Then the millennial kingdom: the thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth
- Eternal state
- New heaven
- New earth
- New Jerusalem coming toward the earth
- The eternal state will be our eternal home
- John 14:2
- Heaven is a relational place
- The people who dwell in a house make it a home
- We will be with our Father and the people we love who have served the Lord
- When we think about heaven and that blessed hope, that ought to fill our hearts with joy
- There will be no broken hearts, no broken homes, no rehab, no hell
- Ultimately we will be with Him in glory (see Luke 21:28)
- Are you ready? Have you heeded the warnings?
; 46:9-10; Ezekiel 5:5
; Zechariah 12:2-3
; Matthew 24:42
; Luke 21:28
; John 4:22
; 14:2-3; 1 Corinthians 15:50
, 52, 53; 2 Corinthians 5:10
; Revelation 1:17
Keywords: future, Israel, Jerusalem, salvation, prophecy, throne of David, millennial kingdom, tribulation, temple, second coming of Christ, hope, rapture, judgment seat of Christ, eternal state, heaven