Every person—and perhaps every family—has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Death, sickness, unemployment, loss of income, foreclosures on homes, bankruptcy of businesses, suicides, emotional distress, fear and loss of hope have marked lives around the world in the past year and a half.
I believe we began to think in terms of the global community just a century ago. The first cannon shots of World War I, then the Spanish flu, the League of Nations, followed by the economic crash of 1929, united the world in its global thinking. The increase of globalization grew with World War II, the United Nations, world communications, global economics, civil and governmental unrest, more pandemics, global pollution and climate change.
We have forever lost the isolation of nations, continents or individuals. We are world travelers on a world stage where kingdoms and nations war against one another for dominion in territories, economics and government (see Matt. 24:6). The increase of knowledge has grown exponentially. We are connected by the internet, social media, science and technology beyond our control.
The United States funds a lab in China, and the world is brought to its knees. Suddenly the threat of world annihilation stares us in the face in ways we have not seen since the end of the Cold War. Hollywood and the movie industry around the world seem to come up with an end of the world scenario every six months.
Yet Jesus told us all this would happen and more. One study of Matthew 24 and 25 foretells the state of world affairs. God, who became man, has given us His revelation of the future and our present-day dilemmas.
I believe one of the most missed aspects of prophecy in the Bible is that Jesus taught in global terms before anyone understood what it meant to be a world community. He came to die as the Lamb of God for the sin of the world (John 1:29). He commanded His followers to make disciples in every nation of the earth (Matt. 28:18-20). He foresaw global and cosmic events in ways we are just seeing unfold now (Matt. 24:6-13).
He said the season before He would return would be a time of lawlessness where our love would grow cold. Lawlessness is not the absence of law but the replacement of the laws of God with the laws of men. False teachers and false prophets would deceive and lead even the elect astray. He warned of fake news before Trump was ever born.
He prophesied the intense hatred of Jews and Christians on a global scale (Matt.24:9). The gospel of His kingdom would be preached to all the world as a witness to the nations, and then the end will come (Matt.24:14).
If you connect the prophecies of the rebirth of Israel and reestablishment of Jerusalem as her capital, the world as a global community becomes the beginning of the season of His return.
The end of this age truly is upon us. Matthew 24:30-31 outlines this truth from the mouth of Jesus. "The sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." That triumph of our Lord will circumvent the globe with His glory and majesty.
Jesus then tells us in the parable of the fig tree that He expects us to know this season of global events. "So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near-at the doors! ... Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away" (Matt. 24:33-35, NKJV).
We may not know the day or hour (Matt. 24:36), but our Savior says we should be able to anticipate this season of His return. We had better be alert and watchful and have our house in order, for "the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Matt. 24:44).
Jesus then gives us five parables to teach us how we should live in the season of His return. We will examine these lifestyles in the weeks ahead because His return is imminent.
I had a dramatic encounter with God 14 years ago that changed my ministry and my life in connection with the return of Jesus after a momentous trip to Israel.
My wife and I led a team of 30 people to travel from one end of Israel to the other to pray for the outpouring of His Spirit on this sacred nation. We gathered in seven locations from Galilee to Jerusalem to Eilat to cry out for God to awaken His people to the Messiah as Paul prophesied in Romans 11 that all Israel would see their deliverer come out of Zion and be saved.
When we prayed on the Temple Mount, our team of 30 joined with a group from Asia to pray and prophecy. The Spirit of God fell on us as we spoke in tongues declaring the glory of God. We began to lay hands on each other and prophecy.
Armed guards surrounded us as we cried out the name of Jesus over this sacred mountain. They never tried to stop us, but stood as angelic sentinels to protect us.
When our new friends from Asia had to leave, they walked away about 200 feet. Then their leader ran back to us. As she had turned to look at us one more time, she saw us engulfed in the flames and fire of the Holy Spirit. More prayer and prophecy broke out.
When I returned to America from this incredible journey, I was in prayer and study for about three hours when the Spirit told me to go on my daily run along the canal near our house.
As I was running, the Spirit came upon me and said, "The return of Jesus is imminent. I am sending you to Israel, to the church and to the nations to call people to repent and believe in Jesus, be baptized in the Holy Spirit and deny themselves, take up their crosses and follow Jesus."
The impact from this encounter was so life-changing that I retired from my pastoral position to go into full-time world evangelism to speak the words of the Spirit and to awaken a global community asleep to the signs of His imminent coming.
If this is true, then we should know how we should be living in this season of His return as taught to us by Jesus. Please join me in this marvelous study and journey over the next several weeks as we prepare for Jesus' Second Coming.
Author's Note: The Presence of God lives in us. The Word tells us the Holy Spirit comes into our lives the moment we are born again. We also know that the Father and Son abide in us as they have made Their home in us. This life we have in Jesus is a glorious one. We are being changed from one degree of glory to another to be like Jesus. We hunger for less of us and more of God to fill us completely. There are also moments when God's presence fills the atmosphere where we worship as our Lord did when Solomon dedicated the temple or when Isaiah saw Jesus, the Lord of Hosts, in the temple, or when the Holy Spirit was poured out in Cornelius' house in the book of Acts. When God acts in His glory, lives are transformed to live for His purposes and plans to redeem the world.
We have set our hearts on God to come in His glory at our "Hosting His Presence" event on Sept. 9-12. We do not want only an encounter with God but for Him to remain, so it is not just a visitation but a habitation that draws us daily to Himself. This glory moment will inspire us with dreams and visions to go into the world as Jesus sent His apostles and disciples to the nations of the earth. Begin praying now for this Holy Spirit gathering, that Jesus will be exalted, and we will see a nation transformed for Jesus.
Our gathering is free. You can register at eventbrite.com.
Once a professional baseball player with the Chicago Cubs Organization, Blake Lorenz was called to Asbury Seminary after a radical encounter with Jesus, where he received his master's degree. He has pastored in the Orlando area for 33 years and has been blessed with the opportunity to evangelize globally, visiting five continents and preaching the gospel to tens of thousands. Blake has also helped plant 500 churches. He has been working in Israel for the past 20 years, includes serving on the board of the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast in connection with the Knesset. In 2020, blakelorenzministries.com and the Awaken podcast launched to teach and challenge others to join him on a journey of anticipating the return of Jesus. He has used the three books he's written in his seminars and conferences. He and his wife, Beverly, share three children and six grandchildren.
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