The Rapture - 2019

Examining clues in scripture to understand The Rapture.

Linn Winters
Jan 13, 2019    48m
In this sermon Pastor Linn Winters introduces the new Series, The End, it's just the beginning. He looks to many facts and clues found in scripture, that add support to his theory, that The Rapture occurs before the tribulation. Video recorded at Chandler, Arizona.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Linn Winters: 00:28 Hey, Cornerstone, How we doing? Super, super glad that you're here. We're starting a brand new series. We called it The End. It's just a conversation for the next five weeks, about what does the Bible say is next for this world that you and I live in. Here's what I find highly intriguing, that people who have no regard for scriptures, in other words, they wouldn't care what the Bible says. They're not intrigued at all by what Jesus tells us. Still have this sense that the world cannot go on the way that it is going currently. Think about the most popular movies in Hollywood recently, and tons of them have apocalyptic themes. Hunger Games, post-apocalyptic world. The Book of Eli, 2012, the Zombie craze that's out there right now, do you realize that's all experienced in a post-apocalyptic world? And there seems to be a sense, even amongst people who have no regard, you know, necessarily for what the Bible and scripture says. That says, this world can't keep going the way that it's going. That if we keep doing what we're doing, if we keep behaving the way we're behaving, we'll end up with a dead end somewhere on this road, and everything is going to radically, radically, radically change. The intriguing thing is that that's exactly what scripture has been telling us for thousands of years. The better part is, is that rather than going after guesses, you and I have the opportunity to literally read tomorrow's headlines today. That God has given you and me tons of information about where this is going, and how that is going to happen, and we get the opportunity to do that for the next five weeks together.

Linn Winters: 02:10 But here's what's maybe more and more and more important. Scripture says, that when you and I began to process this, that when you and I begin to take in this information and realize that the world does change, it doesn't keep going where it is. That your and my lives ought to be affected by that information. That you and I, in that moment, will be required to make some adjustments about how we live in the now, because of what we know is going to happen in the then. And so my challenge to us in the next five weeks is to say, hey God, if I really believe this is true, if I really think that the world as we know it changes, right? And comes to an end. If I believe that, how does that affect how I've lived my life between now and then on the deal? Now, here's the thing. If you are new here, then this series is different. I just want to say that out loud. There is so much information that there's just no way, there's no way for us to cover everything that scripture says about the end. And we're going to do our best though to give you that information in a way that you go, okay, I get it. I understand it. I can have a conversation about it. But because of that, for the next five weeks, it's going to feel a little more teachy preachy than preaching. Okay? And so you're going to feel, for some moments, that it feels maybe a little bit like a class. Hang on, hang on, hang on, every single week we're going to come back and say, why does this change me? Why is this critical for my life, to know. And what are the adjustments I ought to make? So hang on with us as we go. It is a little bit different, but here it is.

Linn Winters: 03:47 Alright. So a big question comes up, says, hey, if we really are moving towards a transition, we're moving toward a change to an end. What is the next big event? What is that next thing that's going to happen in our world? And that next thing is something called The Rapture. It's a moment, boy okay, alright, it's a moment where Christians living in this world, are going to be caught up and taken out of the world. Jesus is going to come meet us in the clouds, and then take us on to heaven. Now, here's what you need to know. This is not the second coming. When Jesus came in, the first coming, he came to earth physically, and was here on earth. In the second coming, Jesus will come here to earth and be on the earth. This is the rapture. Scripture describes this as Christians leaving this world, Jesus, meeting them in the clouds and then taking them to heaven. This is not a coming. This is the rapture. Now, here's what you need to know, that if you look for the word rapture in the Bible, you will not find it. Rapture is actually a Latin term that theologians borrowed, because as scripture described this moment, there was no term for it, and so they borrowed this term. And it comes from it, back in the day, you would have said about a young couple, oh they're enraptured with one another. And what that means is they're so caught up in puppy love. I mean, they're just so focused on this new romance they have that the whole world doesn't matter, they're just completely caught up. And Theologians borrowed this term of being caught up, and use that term to describe what scripture was describing. They called it The Rapture.

Linn Winters: 05:52 Now to understand what's going on. That is driving me crazy, alight. I thought I was going double sighted, alright, there we go. Ooh, she used us in the clouds. Okay. Alright, here we go. Alright. To understand, I went to theology school, I did not go to art school. You should see how I draw Moses, alright.

Linn Winters: 06:22 Anyways, so to understand this moment in the context, here's what you need to get. That if you and I were to draw a timeline of history, that God's primary agent in the world for an awful long time was Israel. That almost the entirety of the Old Testament is God dealing with, working through, Israel. They're his primary agent. And here was the thought, the thought was that other nations seeing Israel honor God, seeing God bless Israel would become intrigued. And say, hey, wait a minute, why is Jehovah, why is your God better than our gods? And that they would move toward the God of Israel. Israel was God's primary agent to call the world to himself, in all of what we call the Old Testament. Here's the problem, Israel did not do a great job. And if you know the story, you know that Israel's relationship with God was like a heartbeat, until the point that it really kind of went downhill. When it goes downhill, God says Israel, okay, you like worshiping the gods of other people, I'll let you be their slaves. And he allows the Kingdom of Babylon to come in and take Israel into slavery. When he does, here's what he says to Israel, you're going to go into slavery for 69 weeks. And after 69 weeks of years, there's going to be a pause, and then we're going to do a 70th week, and the 70th week is intended to call my people back to me.

Linn Winters: 08:08 Now, here's what's interesting. If you start marking days from the moment that Israel went into captivity, until the cross, anybody want to guess how many weeks of years that was? Come on, guys, San Tan knows this answer, they're all going 69, 69. 69 nine weeks of years. Here's why I tell you this, okay? It's Daniel chapter nine. Here's why I tell you this. I want you to have confidence as we begin to unwrap the rest of prophecy, to realize the absolute accuracy of the prophecy that God gave to Israel and Daniel. Because here's the deal, If Israel would have simply believed what God told them, they would have lived that 69 weeks of years differently, and they would have seen Jesus coming. Because they could've added it up on their fingers. And that when you and I look at prophecy in scripture, it's like looking at our news feed about the future, the only difference is it's accurate. Okay? That's what prophecy is. It's literally God pulling back the curtains, and letting us peek into the future with accuracy. Sixty nine weeks of years, exactly as God prophesied to them, the Messiah comes, dies on the cross. They miss it because they didn't listen to prophesy.

Linn Winters: 09:36 The next thing that happens is the church, the pause that Daniel told Israel about. The church currently is the primary agent of God in this world. The way that people are supposed to figure out who Jesus is, the way that people are supposed to come and go, oh, maybe, maybe this God thing is real and develop a relationship with him, is the church. You and I are the primary agent of God in the world right now for his purposes, for his plan. Okay? Then remember Daniel said, there's going to be a 70th week. There's going to be a 70th week for Israel to come home. One week of years, seven years, you and I call that week the tribulation. Okay? But here's the deal. In order for Daniel's, in order for Israel's, 70th week to happen, the church has to be gone. You and I are not part of that week. Israel is part of that week. And the rapture is the next event to happen. Okay?

Linn Winters: 10:52 So with that in context, with that in mind, let's talk about some passages that describe this rapture thing that's going to come upon the earth. So grab your bibles, go with me to First Thessalonians, chapter four, First Thessalonians, chapter four. While you're getting there, let me unpack the tribulation for us for just a moment. The scripture says that the tribulation is literally going to be the worst period of time that ever comes upon the face of the earth. Matter of fact, scripture goes on to say that if God did not shorten those days, the earth would literally be destroyed. And so some might say, wait, wait, wait, wait a minute. Why does a loving God do this? Especially to his people, Israel. Why would God do that? And I would say to you that this is actually an absolute act of love. Okay? Every parent here who's ever had a kid who was on drugs, every parent who's ever spent countless hours at night saying, please, please, please, please, and through weeping tears only to have that child just go off into darkness, and into rebellion. You understand what's happening, and this is exactly what God is doing with his Israel. God has spent countless ages saying to Israel, guys get this right, and come to me, and follow me. This is the last act. It's what a parent does when they finally say, all right, look, look, look, we're done rescuing, we're done bailing you out of jail, we're just going to let you feel the consequences of your decisions. Because maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe as you feel the full weight of that, maybe your heart will break, maybe your mind will clear, maybe if you experienced tough love, you'll actually come home. And that's exactly what the tribulation period is. It's God's last conversation. It's a spiritual spanking for Israel to say, okay guys, I'm going to give you one last moment to finally bow the knee and follow me. That's what the tribulation is. But it's also why you and I don't belong in it, because it's not for us, it's for Israel. Okay?

Linn Winters: 13:11 Some passages that describe the rapture. First Thessalonians, chapter four, starting in verse 13, here's what it says, "Brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who do not have hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him." Now, understand the terminology. The early church doesn't have bibles yet, they're struggling with this new idea about Jesus, and how does this work. And when somebody dies, I mean do they go to heaven, what happens? And what you and I know is, is the scripture super clear and says, to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord. That if you're a Christ follower, if you're someone who's accepted Jesus as your savior, the moment you die, you instantaneously are in heaven. But the early church is struggling with this, they don't understand it. So Paul is saying to them, hey guys, don't get freaked out about that. You realize that for a Christian, death should be no more scary than falling asleep, that you close your eyes in this world and you open them again and you're in heaven. Why would this freak you out? And he's doing this to give them confidence and reassurance. Okay? That's the context.

Linn Winters: 14:41 Alright, so back to the passage, verse 15, "According to the Lord's word, we tell you that we who are still alive, and who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. (Same terminology.) For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, and with the voice of an archangel, and with the.." What's the next word? That was bad, that was bad. With the... Okay, so here's why I want you to do that. This word is going to show up again, and when it shows up again, it's going to be really helpful for us to understand what's going on. Okay? So, "...trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who were still alive and are left will be caught up, (Caught up, rapture.) caught up together with them in the clouds, and meet the Lord in the air, (In the clouds, right?) and so we will ever be with the Lord." So you get the moment. It's just an instantaneous moment. Jesus comes, catches up all the Christians, boom, they all go.

Linn Winters: 15:47 Let's go to another passage that describes the rapture. It's First Corinthians. So if your bibles are still open, it's going to be a little bit to the left. If you closed them, go to the back, work to the left. First Corinthians chapter fifteen, first Corinthians, chapter fifteen. Now here's the deal, let me say this, I'm going to go through a zillion bible verses today. If you try to keep up with me, your thumbs are going to fall off. Okay? So you don't have to. If you want to, you can, you don't have to. When we get to the end, I've got one more verse I really want you to go look at with me. I want you to see that verse with your eyes, and handle that verse, but in between you can just watch the screens. The other thing I'm going to sail out to you today is, this is probably one of those series you want to take notes in. There is going to come a moment you're going to go, hey, Linn said something about, and there was a passage. You're going to probably want notes, so let me just encourage you, you probably want notes in the series. Because we're covering so much, all at once.

Linn Winters: 16:45 All right, here we go. First Corinthians, chapter fifteen, verse fifty-one, here's what it says, "Listen, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep (Same terminology, right?) sleep in death, but we will be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye. At the last (What's the next word?) trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised, imperishable, and we will be changed." So here's what it's saying, when we're raised, okay? So the dead in Christ are raised first. Remember we said, hey, if you're dead, your spirit's already in heaven. So what's being raised for the dead people, the dead Christians, their bodies. So you and I are going to end up reunited with our bodies. Some of you right now are going, crud, that was one of my greatest hopes about Heaven you know, blah, blah, blah. Here's the cool thing about raising, because when we're reunited, our bodies will be remade and they will be perfect. Which means we're all going to be 25, old enough not to have zits. Right? Perfect. We're going to have ready for this? We're going to have perfect bodies, the same way that Jesus's body was perfect after the resurrection. Guys there's something about being human that involves having a body, and so you and I will have perfectly remade bodies. Think about this, Jesus, after the resurrection, now he has a perfect body. Remember the disciples are sitting in the upper room, and Thomas is going, no, I think somebody stole the body of Jesus. I'm not going to believe it unless I can stick my fingers in the holes. Remember that conversation? And Jesus appears in the room, he looks at Thomas, and he says, go ahead. Perfect body after the resurrection. And that's what you and I are going to experience after the rapture. Okay? So the dead in Christ, their bodies rise to be reunited with their souls which are in heaven. And then you and I, or whoever's living on earth at the time, we go right with them? Okay. They need a head start because they're six feet deeper. Alright, alright, alright, deep theology.

Linn Winters: 18:57 Alright, go back to verse 53, "For the perishable (This perishable body.) must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. Then the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality. Then the same that's written will come true. Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where oh, death is your victory, where oh, death is your sting. The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is in the law. But thanks be to God, he gives us the victory through Jesus Christ, our Lord." Another passage that just describes this catching up, this rapturing event of the church.

Linn Winters: 19:33 But here's the thing guys, stop and processes for a moment. If this is accurate, which I absolutely believe it's 100 percent dead on accurate. Think about what would it be like to be in the world at that time, and experience the rapture of the church, especially if you're somebody who has not come to faith in Jesus Christ yet. So now you're in a conversation with a Christian. You know, you're at work and the Christian saying to you, yeah, you know, I tried to watch sports last night, my wife kept turning on The Bachelor. And right in the middle of the conversation, (whooshing sound) And I don't know, I mean, is there like a flash of light? Do you see feet going through the ceiling? I don't know, I don't know. Right? I just know it's funky, right? It's going to be weird. And then here's the other thing, what happens to their clothes? Because you realize you're not going to be wearing in heaven, what you're wearing now. Because the only thing you were in heaven is Calvin Klein. I don't know that, the only thing we don't wear what we wear now, right? So how likely is it, your clothes just on the ground. So imagine you're there, you're a person who hasn't discovered Jesus yet, (whooshing sound) the Christian just disappears, and then a little pile of clothes. This is going to be weird. Imagine this, you're riding in a car, and the person driving the car is a Christian. You're flying on a commercial jetliner, and the pilot is a Christian. I'm just telling you, the world is going to be filled with confusion. This is going to be a hard moment, and then add to this. There are many theologians who believe that the youngest of children will also be taken in the rapture. See what they say is because that child hasn't had the ability to make a decision about Jesus yet, they're too young, and can't figure that out. In kindness, God, not wanting them to go through the tribulation, might take the youngest of children so they don't have to suffer. Now we don't know that for sure. But if that were to happen, millions of people disappearing, the littlest of children all even at the same time, imagine the turmoil that this world is put into.

Linn Winters: 21:43 And there's going to be two potential reactions to this moment. You're going to have people who go, oh my goodness, what those crazy Christians said, it was, right. And you're going to have people who in that moment instantly turn to Jesus and say, man, I believe, I believe, now. Here's the dilemma, because they weren't ready, now they go through the tribulation. You're going to have a second group of people, and scripture actually says this is the greater group of people, who see this moment and actually turn away from God, who refused to believe. And honestly, this may be the easier explanation. Because think about this, millions of people disappear in an instantaneous moment. Someone says, well it's all the Christians that got taken out. And if you're a person who doesn't understand, you're going to go, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, one of the people who left was a guy in jail for murder. How is a guy who's a murderer, murdered his wife, how's that guy a Christian? Because what they don't understand in that moment is, you don't become a Christian by doing good things, you're not a good person to go to heaven. That person, that murderer, may very well when they were nine years old, sat in a Sunday school class somewhere, and asked Jesus to come into their heart. So you being a Christian is not how you behave, it's the decision you've made about Jesus in your life. See, just the opposite is going to happen, right? They're going to sit there and go, hey, wait, wait, wait, how could this be a rapture of Christians? There's a pastor over there, and he's still here. There's my priest, and my priest is still here. My neighbor, who was probably one of the most unbelievably good people, kindest people, the most Christian person I've ever met, they're still here. Because, because you ready for this? Because being a Christian is not your occupation, and it's not how good or kind you are, it's what have you done with Jesus. And there are pastors who have never asked Jesus in their heart, there are priests who have never made this decision, there are really, really good people in this world who never made a decision about Jesus Christ, and allowed him to be savior. And so this is going to be highly confusing for people who do not understand salvation.

Linn Winters: 24:15 So think about this for a minute. If you're trying to explain a rapture, you're trying to explain millions of people having disappeared, that appears to be absolutely randomly, and you're leaving and excluding God out of the equation, what solution would you come up with. In light of Star Wars, and Guardians of the Galaxy. And guys look, this isn't Bible, this is Linn's best guess. But here's my best guess, I believe the interpretation of that moment is going to be, we've been invaded. That there is a life form that is far ahead of us technologically, they were able to come without us even being able to see them, this was a first pass and we better get ready in case they come back a second time. It would explain why the world is so willing to lose all of the boundaries of all the countries, and become a one world government. Because look, look, look, whatever problems we have with each other, it's not as big as the problem of them. It's why they're willing to accept the one real leader, and why they're willing to accept a one world economy. And what unfolds next in the Book of Revelation is explained in some way, if the world interprets this, that we've been invaded. Okay, that's Linn's idea. it's not necessarily scripture.

Linn Winters: 25:42 So here's what you need to hear me say. Not everybody agrees with what I just told you. There are really, really, really, really, really good Christians who do not believe that the rapture happens at the beginning of the tribulation. They believe instead that it happens at the end. We call them post tribbers. Okay, so they believe that the church actually goes through the tribulation. Which means every single, and guys I'm just going to tell you, you and I hope they're not true, or they're not right? Because scripture is already said that this is literally the worst period of time ever in the history of the world, that if the days weren't shortened, the world would literally implode on itself. You and I hope we're not here. Okay? So I'm just going to say to you that if you're a post-trib Christian, and if that's what you've been taught, and you believe all your life. You're wrong, but I still love you anyways. And even if you are a post tribber, you are compelled to pray that I'm right, because you don't want to go through the tribulation. I just promise you, you don't want to do that. Okay?

Linn Winters: 26:56 Let me give you some passages that I think will bring some hope for you, that I think affirm this idea that Jesus comes back before the tribulation. So again, you don't have to turn there, I'll read these for you. But if you want to, the first one is in First Thessalonians, First Thessalonians, chapter one, verse 10. First Thessalonians, chapter one, verse 10, here's what it says, "And to wait for his Son from heaven, who he raised from the dead; Jesus who rescues us from the coming wrath." Did you catch it? He doesn't rescue us out of the wrath, he doesn't rescue us after the wrath, he rescues us from the wrath.

Linn Winters: 27:50 Let me give you another passage, Revelation, last book of the Bible. Again, if you want to go there, Revelation chapter three, verse ten, here's what it says, "Since you have kept my commandments." In other words these are Christ followers, right? "Since you've kept my commandments to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth." Now guys, I don't know how much more clear you can be than to say, look, I'm going to rescue you. You will not go through that trial, you will not see that wrath that's coming. And guys, I'm just telling you that I am confident, confident, confident. And there's all sorts of other scriptures, all sorts of them. There's going to be a rapture before, the church will be taken out before the tribulation.

Linn Winters: 28:44 Let me give you one last one. I got a whole bunch of other ones, but let me give you one last one. You got to kind of put your thinking hat on for this one. Okay. The Book of Revelation, twenty-two chapters, the vast majority of the Book of Revelation talks about the tribulation. You get to about chapter nineteen, and it starts telling you and me a couple of things that happen after the tribulation, but the vast majority of those twenty-two chapters are all consumed with the tribulation. The first three chapters of the Book of Revelation are an introduction, we haven't started prophecy yet. And in the first three chapters it just simply says, hey, be sure and tell the church in Smyrna what I'm about to write you. Be sure the Church of Thyatira gets to see this letter, okay, the first three chapters. In the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation, which are written primarily to the church, John mentions the church, you ready for this, nineteen times. Now, here's why that's a big deal, I just want you to know that John, when he's writing the Book of Revelation has not forgotten the church. He hasn't overlooked the church, he is highly aware of the church. First three chapters, Book of Revelation, nineteen times.

Linn Winters: 30:05 Then you get to chapter four, the beginning of prophecy. Okay? And here's how chapter four opens up, After this, I looked and there before me was a door standing open in heaven, and a voice that I had heard speaking to me like a (Next word.) trumpet." Where did we see the word trumpet? Both times scripture describe the rapture. And John says, "The first thing I saw was a door in heaven open, and I heard a voice like a trumpet saying, (You ready?) Come up, and I will show you what must take place after this. At once, I was in the spirit and there before me was a throne in heaven, and something sitting on it." How intriguing is it to you, that as John begins to describe the tribulation, the first thing that happens is he experiences something that looks just like a rapture. And you're ready for this? Through the rest of the Book of Revelation, all the time as he describes the tribulation, Guess how many times John mentioned the church in the tribulation? Zero, zero. What does that mean to you? That as scripture describes the tribulation, the church is not even mentioned in the tribulation. And I say that just simply guys, for you to say I am confident, I think you can be confident, that the rapture happens before the tribulation period. Okay?

Linn Winters: 31:36 Alright, so the next thing that comes up, is that we then ask the question and say, okay, okay, when is this going to happen? I mean, if the rapture is the next thing, the church being caught up out of this world is the next big event, when is that going to happen? How close are we? And here's the answer. I don't know. I don't know. Matter of fact, scripture says you and I are not supposed to know. Jesus, in the book of Matthew, talking to his disciples about this very thing. It's a conversation they're having one day about end times, and Jesus has been talking to them, and they say, you know, this is kind of new stuff to us, and it's a little bit weird. So Jesus, when does this happen? And here's Jesus's answer. It's Matthew chapter twenty four, verse thirty six, if you want to go there or just write it down. Here's what Jesus said, "But about the day, or hour, no one knows. Not even the angels in heaven, nor the son, but only the Father." Jesus said, look, you're not supposed to know. So here, the next time you get on the Internet, the next time you walk into a Christian bookstore and buy a book about the end times, and the author says, hey, I've figured it out, Jesus is coming back on March 13th, 2023. Run away, run away, run away because think about this for a second. Think about the arrogance of a man or a woman who would say, hey, Jesus said nobody's supposed to know this, but I outsmarted God and I figured it out. All of scripture is true, but that one spot where it said, nobody's going to know when I come back, that's the one place God made a mistake. And I'm just telling you somebody with that much arrogance, and that little esteem for the word of God, you don't need to hear the rest of what they're going to say, run away, run away, run away. Because here's what I'm going to promise you, whatever date they pick, March 13th, 2023. Go to your calendar and put a checkmark on that day, because here's what I'll promise you, that's the day Jesus isn't coming back. Because there is no way Jesus is going to make that turkey look good, right? Matter of fact, I think Jesus is in heaven, he's going crud, that was a perfectly good day and now he ruined it for me. It ain't going to happen. Okay? But here is my prediction. Okay? Here's the prediction. You Ready? My prediction about when Jesus is coming back, you ready? You and I are closer than anybody has been before. I'm pretty confident in that, you and I are closer than any generation has been before to the second coming, to the rapture, to all of this stuff unfolding.

Linn Winters: 34:50 And guys, I'm going to even suggest, you ready for this? And I refuse to make any sort of prediction. But I am going to suggest to you, that we may be really close. That the return of Jesus may be eminent, around the corner. And let me tell you why I think that may be true. Again if you want to turn there in your bibles, you can, it's Revelation chapter eleven, you don't have to. Revelation chapter eleven, verse seven. So let me explain this part. So in the Book of Revelation, talking about the early part of the tribulation, the Bible tells us that there's going to be two prophets on the earth. God's going to send them, kind of a last call for everybody to repent. We're not sure who they are, some people think that there Elijah and Enoch, and the reason some people guess that is because in scripture, Elijah and Enoch never died. They were caught up into heaven, but never died, so maybe it's them. Some people say, maybe it's Elijah and Moses, we don't know, we don't know. Here's what we know about those two prophets, they're Southern Baptist's. So here's why I say that, because these guys are hellfire, brimstone, turn and burn dudes. Man, they are just get right, or get out of the way, that's how they preach. And a matter of fact, scripture says that out of their mouths, they're given the power to literally strike people dead. Now, how that works, I don't know, I just know scriptures. I mean, that's the type of ministry these guys have got. And they're going to minister, they're going to be preaching, through the early part of the tribulation, and then antichrist is actually going to kill them.

Linn Winters: 36:35 The interesting thing is what happens next? So here we go, it's revelation chapter eleven, verse seven. Here's what it says, "Now, when they had finished their testimony, the two prophets, the beast, antichrist that comes up from the abyss will attack them and overpower them. Their bodies will lie in a public square of the great city. Which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also the Lord was crucified." Where was the Lord crucified? Jerusalem. So their bodies are going to be laid out there in Jerusalem, probably somewhere near the Temple Mount. "For three and a half days, some from every people, tribe, language, and nation will gaze on their bodies, and refuse them burial. The inhabitants of the earth will gloat over them, and we'll celebrate by sending gifts to each other." So they're so thrilled that these prophets have been killed, that they have Christmas early. "Because the two prophets had tormented those who live on the earth, but after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God entered them and they stood on their feet and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, come up here, and they went up to heaven in a cloud. And while their enemies looked on, at the very hour, there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, the survivors were terrified, and gave glory to God of Heaven. The second woe has passed. The third woe is coming."

Linn Winters: 38:09 Now, here's what's intriguing about that. Did you catch the part where it's said that while they're laying there dead, every nation, every tribe, every language is going to be able to see them laying there in death. Now, think about this for a second, do you realize that wasn't even possible until recently. Think back 150 years, you go back 150 years, it's civil war time. And if you wanted to send a message to somebody, you used a thing called paper. You wrote a letter, you handed it to somebody, and they got on a horse and rode your letter, and it took days. And yet scripture here says that while they're laying there on the ground dead, people from every nation, every tribe, every language is going to be able to see that happening. Do you realize you and I are the first generation where that is possible? With the advent of satellites, with the advent of the Internet. I mean, think about this, you and I sit and Facetime people in Europe, and we go, how come it skipping? Think about the fact, you ready for this? What does it mean to you, that you and I are the first generation where it is technologically possible for that scripture to be true? I wonder what that means about the proximity, the potential proximity, of the coming of Christ? First generation.

Linn Winters: 39:43 Here's another one, it's revelation chapter thirteen, it's talking about the mark of the beast. Revelation chapter thirteen, starting in verse sixteen, here's what it says, "It." Talking about the beast, antichrist, "It also forced all people great and small, rich and poor, free and slave to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads. So that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast, or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it's the number of man, that number is 666." Now for years we used to think well, you know, maybe it's some sort of a tattoo that they get on their forehead, or a tattoo they get on their right hand. But guys, you realize with technology we are so past that right now. Right? I mean, think about the ability for a one world ruler to say you can't buy anything without my permission, because I can monitor it at all. Think, ready for this? This is my iPhone 10. You know how I get access to this? Facial recognition. Is it possible, is it possible that John, writing the Book of Revelation, he talks about, hey, with the mark that was on their forehead. That he was actually describing a moment like this? Because you realize John didn't have iPhone 10, he only had an iPhone 3, he had no idea. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. Is it a chip, thing about this? Is it a chip? I had some Christians that I was talking to the other day, and their adult children, they were talking to them, and they're talking about technology. And they've said to their children, we're not far away from being implanted with chips. And their kids said, what's the big deal? We do it to dogs all the time. How interesting is it that you and I, that we are part of the generation that is willing to give up our privacy, and willing to give up our freedom, in the name of convenience? So that someone can't commit fraud on our cards. And all of a sudden you go, oh my goodness, the technology for antichrist to do it, it's there. It's there, in a way that it's never been there before. How close are we? I don't know. We're closer than anybody's been before us. So what do you do with this? What do you do with you and I understanding this, and getting this?

Linn Winters: 42:26 And remember I said there's a verse I want you to go to with me, and this was that verse, so grab your bibles, it's First John. Because it literally describes how you and I should respond. And just so you know, this isn't the gospel of John, this is three small books that he wrote that are right at the very back of your Bible, First John, Second John, Third John. First John chapter three, First John, chapter three, verse two. It's John is instructing Christians to say, since you know, since you know this world ends, since you know the return of Christ could happen at any moment. Here's how you should live. Here we go, First John, chapter three, verse two, "Dear Friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is and, (Then ready, here we go.) all who have this hope." Everybody who's looking forward to the return of Jesus. "All who have this hope in them, purify themselves, as he is pure." Do you get what John's saying? If you truly believe that Jesus could come back at any moment, that you don't know how much longer we have. Suddenly important things are going to be really, they're going to just rise to the top in your life. Things that aren't important, they're going to sink to the bottom. You'll live differently if you truly believed that Jesus could come back anytime.

Linn Winters: 44:00 I've got a dear friend, and this last week he sat me down. And with tears in his eyes, he said, Linn, I just came from the doctor, and he said, I've had this condition, and we've known about it for a long time. My liver doesn't do what it's supposed to do, and because it doesn't, it's causing damage to my kidneys, but it looked like it was kind of plateaued. And so the doctor had even said to me, hey, it's just as likely you're going to die of something else, before you ever die of this. But when I went back to the doctor this time, he said, ooh, it has really progressed. And I asked the doctor, I said, you know, what does that mean? And the doctor told my friend and said, I don't know. I don't know, because we don't know if it's kind of jumped forward, and now it's going to plateau and stay there. Or is this the beginning of it going into a full blown sprint, and you're just going to go down, down, down. I don't know. And so the doctor said to my friend, I don't know whether to tell you you've got two months, or that you've got two years, or that you've got 20. I don't know, we're just going to have to watch and see. My friend said this, my life changed that moment. To come home and realize, hey, this could very well be my last year on earth. All of a sudden important things got really, really obvious, and unimportant things went to the bottom of my list. He described that one day he'd watched TV for about three hours, got up from watching TV. And then it just hit him and he said, if I've only got a year, do I want to spend my time watching TV? He spent an afternoon with his wife and when he got done it hit him and he smiled, and he said, man, if I've only got a year, I want to do that again and again and again. He talked to his kids on the phone, and it was one of those great father son talks. He said, man, I'd do that. Because, you ready? When you don't know how long the long is, when you're not sure the important things get really obvious, and the unimportant things slip to the bottom.

Linn Winters: 46:05 So what if I could say to you, we've got 12 months, that somehow I know that Jesus is coming back at the
end of 2019. Would it change how you live 2019? Would it change your church attendance? Would it change how you treat your spouse? What about your pet sin? How easy would it be to set your pet sin aside, if you knew you had 12 more months to live for Jesus? And guys, hear this, my friend's not living in fear, that's not what's motivating him. The idea of having a shortened amount of time is motivating him to live well, to do his best with whatever he has left. That's exactly what John was saying to us, if you believe that Jesus could come back at any moment, then live your best life for Jesus. Everyone who has this hope in them, purifies themselves.

Linn Winters: 47:13 Let's pray. Dear Lord Jesus, we thank you so much that you were willing to tell us where we're headed. If we're honest today, we would have to admit, we don't think about this often enough. We don't consider our lives, in light of the fact that you could return at any given moment. But God here's what we're praying, would you help us change all that? Would you help us do exactly what John encouraged us to do? That in light of the hope of the return of Jesus Christ, that we would live better, we would live our best. Because we don't know how long we have. God, this we pray in Jesus' precious name. Amen.

Recorded in Chandler, Arizona.
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Cornerstone Church
1595 S Alma School Road
Chandler, Arizona 85286