Fifteen Signs of the Second Coming of Christ
Lecture by Dr. J. Frank Norris.
DR. NORRIS: Because of many questions that have been asked during this Premillennial Bible School, and because of some side issues that have been injected into it throughout the country, I am going to give a straight, simple statement on this question, “The Signs of the Second Coming of Christ.”
There are two extreme positions regarding the Second Coming of Christ to avoid. Both are un-Scriptural and destructive.
First, the Postmillennial view which in effect is to deny the Second Coming of Christ. A very dear friend of mine, speaking on this called it “The Pre-millennial system of truth versus the Post-millennial system of truth.” There is no such thing as a “Post-millennial system of truth.” There is a “Postmillennial system of error.”
Then there is another extreme. Some brethren who are impatient, overzealous, pressed, depressed, and oppressed with world conditions are distressed beyond their power to bear, and undertake to set dates, times and seasons, all of which is not only unscriptural but is subversive.
Jesus, in His last discourse on the end of the age answered three questions:
First, “When shall these things be?”
Second, “What shall be the sign of thy coming?”
Third, “And of the end of the world?”
Four times He admonishes His disciples not to be deceived, “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.” “Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” And in the first chapter of Acts of the Apostles, when the disciples came to him, even after they had seen His life, death and resurrection, still they did not understand His spiritual mission. They asked Him, “Wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?” They were under Roman oppression. They wanted to be redeemed from it. He said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.”
I say that there are many side issues, un-scriptural, that have grown out, and up, like weeds in the garden. There are a great many people who fail to distinguish the difference between what is known as postmillennialism and premillennialism, and they are as far apart as the poles.
Anglo-Israel Theory Un-Scriptural
Then there are some dear brethren who have gone positively nuts on the Anglo-Israel theory, and have left the Word of God and gone to studying the Pyramid of Cheops – I went up on the Pyramid of Cheops. I couldn’t find anything there that told about the age in which we live, nor the end of it, and I don’t think anybody else has seen any signs.
Now, friends, to say that the ten lost tribes are the Anglo-Saxon race and try to build up that theory, I say kindly and firmly it is un-scriptural and subversive. Isaiah says, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
The British Israel theory, I emphasize most emphatically, is utterly un-scriptural, and has not one scintilla of Scripture to stand on, and is the rankest of postmillennialism, and to identify the British Empire, the Anglo-Saxon race with the ten lost tribes, and to say that it means the Kingdom of our Lord, is to deny the plain statement of Jesus when He said: “My kingdom is not of this world.”
That’s exactly the same process of reasoning that our Roman Catholic friends use when they identify and attempt to make synonymous the Roman Catholic Church and the Kingdom of God on earth. You can see that nothing would please the arch enemy of the race and of our Lord more than to substitute an unproven theory for the teaching of the Scriptures on the Scriptural Kingdom that is to be established when Christ comes.
We talk about “Kingdom interests” and “Kingdom building:” that is un-scriptural. There is no such thing as the Kingdom of God on earth in this age. The Kingdom of God on earth is not here and will not be here until the King, Himself, comes. You had as well expect daylight without the sun, as expect to have the Kingdom of God on earth, without the Son to establish it.
That is why I am a Premillennialist. Christ comes at the beginning of the Millennium, not at the close. You had as well expect to have daylight by the sun rising at the close of the day, as to have the Kingdom of Christ on earth before the Sun of Righteousness arises to give us that Kingdom.
Now, we need to have some clear-cut thinking on this – like the precious doctrine of the Holy Spirit – we have a babel of tongues, known and unknown; confusion reigns. There is more confusion on the baptism of the Holy Spirit. A lot of people think you haven’t got it unless you speak in a lot of jabbering, unknown tongues – that is born of hell, like all other fallacious fads. We must have sense. Because of that we are not going to back off and say there is no such teaching as the fullness of the work of the blessed third Person of the Trinity in the heart of the believer and in the Church of Jesus Christ.
Back on this Anglo-Saxon theory, to say that Great Britain is the ten lost tribes of Israel – why, friends, Ezekiel tells us where the ten lost tribes are, and it is not the British Empire. Ezekiel 37:11, “Then he said unto me Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.” My friends, the British Empire is not a valley of dry bones. They are a living nation with battleships, marching armies, governments and cabinets. To say that the British throne is the same as the throne of David, physically so, is just as consistent as that piece of wood some of the Catholic monasteries hold and say it is a piece off the cross on which Christ was crucified.
On the untenable, un-scriptural and unproven theory that the ten tribes are to be considered separate from Judah, I could give you a thousand Scriptures that show that Israel and Judah are one and the same. They are used interchangeably. Read “The Anglo-Saxon Nation” by Dr. L. Sale-Harrison of Australia. He most conclusively and unequivocally annihilates the “British-Israel theory” on showing that the names “Jew” and “Israel” are synonymous.
Dr. Sale-Harrison says:
“To further establish our contention, the quotation of one New Testament passage will suffice. The Apostle Paul calls himself a Jew in Acts 21:9 and 22:3, but he also calls himself an Israelite in Romans 11:1 and 2 Cor. 11:22. Surely these scriptures quoted, prove conclusively that the names ‘Jew’ and ‘Israel’ are often used as synonymous terms.”
Quoting further from this eminent author, here is a knock out to the Anglo-Saxon Israel:
“We will quote a few scriptures from different parts of the Old Testament, that are definitely prophetic of Israel, to see whether any of these quoted could apply to British. Deuteronomy 22:64-66:
“And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people from the one end of the earth even unto the other: and there thou shalt serve other gods which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations thou shalt find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest; but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind; and thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night and shalt have none assurance of thy life.”
“Is this true of Britain? It is certainly true of Israel. No people have been persecuted like the Jews. Even Britain – prior to the advent of Lord Beaconsfield – was not always honorable towards them. How true the words in Deuteronomy 28:37 are in their prophetic feature:
“And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the Lord shall lead thee.”
The name ‘Jew’ has been used, only too often, as a synonym for sharp or shady practices, but the name ‘Britain’ has usually been connected with honorable dealings. Certainly verse 37 cannot in any sense apply to Britain. Ezekiel 5:14-15, further emphasizes this point in the words:
“Moreover I will make thee waste, and a reproach among the nations that are round about thee, in the sight of all that pass by. So it shall be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction and an astonishment unto the nations that are round about thee, when I shall execute judgments on thee in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I, the Lord, have spoken it.”
Now, I want to answer four criticisms.
On the criticisms of the Premillennial Coming of Christ, I think these four will sum up practically all that you have heard. I have a very distinguished friend, a Jewish Rabbi, a very brilliant man. He said to me, “If I believed in the Verbal Inspiration of the Scripture, I would not only be a Christian, but I would be a pre-millennialist.”
Now, there are four criticisms:
First: It takes the Bible literally.
Second: It is a pessimistic view.
Third: It is anti-missionary.
Fourth: It reduces God to a plan.
I want to notice all four briefly. First, they say we take the Bible literally. We confess to the charge. That is exactly what we do. And whenever you find a preacher who takes the Bible allegorically and figuratively, I will say that preacher is preaching an allegorical gospel, which is no gospel. I thank God for a literal Christ; for a literal Gospel; for a literal salvation. There is literal sorrow; 1literal death; literal hell and, thank God, there is a literal heaven!
Second criticism: that it is a pessimistic view. A friend of mine wrote me a letter once and said, “Norris, I have been listening to you preach over the radio your views of the Coming of Christ.” “Why,” he said, “that means that there is nothing in this world that will be left. There won’t be a government that will stand. There won’t be a bank left. All we do will come to naught” I wrote back, “That is it exactly.” Today despite all the patriotism I have for my own government, and love for the Stars and Stripes, I am glad it is not true – “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” Instead of being pessimistic, it is the only optimistic view. I would today, if I expected by governments, organizations, inventions, science, philosophy and wisdom of man to bring about the golden era, the federation of the world, I would give up in despair. We have tried it 6000 years and are further from it today than ever before. If I had to go out with the view that I am going to make this world “a fit place in which to live,” I would give up in despair. That is not our motive, our motive is to get men fit to be ready to live in the Kingdom of God. If I had to go out with the motive that I was going to redeem America, from recent events, I would give up in despair. What is our motive? It is not to redeem America, China, or Russia, it is to get ready the Body of Christ, the Bride, ready for the Coming of the Bridegroom. Now, there is optimism in that, as we think of that Missionary in China who may today win the last soul that will complete the Body, the Bride, for the return of Christ. He came the first time in a perfect, complete, human body. He comes the second time for a perfect completed body, and when His body is complete, then we will understand the finished work of the glorious doctrine of election!
Third criticism: that it is anti-missionary – I have answered that in answering the pessimistic view. It is the only missionary motive – not to clean out the stables, but to redeem the individual man and woman, that they shall be new creatures in Christ Jesus. That is the missionary motive.
Fourth criticism: they say we premillennialists reduce God to a plan. Answering back I say, God never did anything in haphazard fashion. All is done according to a plan, whether it was the creation of the heavens and the earth, when He made innumerable worlds, stars, suns and systems, and hurled them out into infinite space without count, and upholds them with the word of His power, according to Divine plan. You can take the lily or the rose petal, put them under a microscope, and it is a perfect plan; every snow flake is a perfect hexagon, and you find it is according to design, perfect. The old time theologian used to talk about “the plan of redemption.”
I am glad that before Creation’s morning, before God created man’s body out of the dust of the ground, before he fell into sin and death, that the plan was that He foreknew him, and foreordained him, and predestinated him, and elected him, through the Grace of Jesus Christ our Lord!
The Order of the Plan of the Second Coming
Now there is a plan concerning the Second Coming of Christ. I am glad that this old world will not roll on, and funeral processions march through our streets-I conducted a funeral yesterday, will conduct one this afternoon, and one tomorrow, and nearly every day until the heart grows sick. In this plan – you know what is the first thing that will take place when Christ comes? The first thing is going to take place out here in the graveyard. And you can’t make a graveyard beautiful – you can build all the cloud reaching marble monuments you want to, plant all the varieties of flowers, keep evergreen the year round. It is not beautiful. It is still the place where we shed our tears, where we said our last farewell – the place can never be made beautiful. One of these days, it is going to be the most beautiful place on earth! Then we shall see the fulfillment of the prophecy, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” Rev. 20:6.
“And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 14:14, also,
“And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” Acts 24:15.
“But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; also afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.” I Cor. 15:23.
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive, and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep” – What am I talking about?” “The plan of the Second Coming of Christ,” that they criticize – “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” I Thess. 4:15-16.
Translation of Living Saints
The second thing that will take place is the translation of the living saints, and it occurs so close to the first event that there will not be a second’s duration between the first and second. “Behold,” says Paul, “I shew you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. I Cor. 15:51-52. “Then” – Oh, how I love God’s “Thens” and “Whens” and “Wherefores” – His “Thens” and “Whens” occur just exactly twenty times in His last great discourse on the Second Coming in Matthew 24th and 25th chapters. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Mortal shall put on immortality, the natural will be changed to Spiritual, changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and together we will go sweeping through the sky!
The Rapture and Marriage of the Lamb
The third thing that will take place then, will be the rapture. Then we shall go into His pavilion. Then will be the marriage of the Lamb. That is described again and again in both the Old and New Testaments. I will not go into it now in detail. Jesus says in John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself: that where I am, there ye may be also.” Matthew 25:6, “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” Matthew 24:42-43. “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he said unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Rev. 19:7,8,9 “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing: but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
The Great Tribulation
Then after this takes place, the First Resurrection, the translation of the living saints, the Rapture, the Marriage of the Lamb, something else takes place on this earth. I am talking about His plan. Then, there will be the darkest period, the blackest night, the night of tyranny and persecution. The devil is without restraint for a season, the Holy Spirit’s administration ends, the church is delivered out of the Tribulation, like Lot was delivered out of Sodom, like Noah was taken out of the flood, “For then shall be great tribulation”-properly translated, “The Great Tribulation” “such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Matthew 24:21. Then at the close of that dark period, never mind the time-it appears to be seven years, we will not argue about it-my method is this-listen, beloved, when there is no specific statements as to place or time of any event, let’s not be specific, and if we will take the time to study what the Word of God says, we won’t have any time to speculate on what it does not say-then we have the “Revelation.” The Revelation of Christ and His saints. The first stage of His Coming is the thief like coming, when He comes to steal away His jewels, take His bride. The first stage we go out to meet Him. The second stage He comes with His Holy angels, and His bride, to the earth, then is fulfilled, Zechariah 14:4, “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives.”
Then at the close of His Second Stage Coming, the Revelation, the lightning-like coming – there is quite a contrast in the lightning-like coming and the thief-like coming – at the first stage He is not seen, except by the redeemed, but when He comes in His lightning-like coming He is manifest to the whole world – “Lightning” means power. It means judgment. Nothing can resist it. So will it be when He comes to the earth.
Battle of Armageddon
Then will take place the world’s final battle, the Battle of Armageddon.
There are five things about this battle:
First: When will it be fought? It will be fought when Christ comes at His second stage.
Second: Where will it be fought? It will be fought in the mountains around Jerusalem.
Third: What is the issue, or cause of the battle? It will be fought with Jerusalem as the object of conquest.
Fourth: Who are the leaders ? Anti-Christ and Christ, the Lord.
Fifth: What will be the outcome? The results will be a glorious victory for Jesus Christ and His armies.
Conversion of the Jew
There will be another event take place – I am talking about “His plan” – The people, now in blindness, oppressed throughout the world, the Jew, that gave us our only Bible and Saviour – every book in the Bible was written by the hand of a Jew, with one or two exceptions, perhaps-Then shall be fulfilled the prophecy we read in Zechariah 12:10, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants at Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for his first born.” Time and eternity have never witnessed such repentance. Then they shall understand that tragic consequence when they prayed that His blood should be upon them and on their children, and as the eleven brothers of Joseph fell prostrate before him and begged for forgiveness, then shall the prophecy of Paul be fulfilled, when Paul was converted by a special revelation, as he neared the gates of Damascus – he said, “And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.” It describes the hour when all the Jewish race shall look upon Him, and then Isaiah says, “A nation shall be born in a day.” I am talking about “His plan.”
The Chaining of the Devil
Then another tremendous event takes place – the old devil is chained, put out of commission – two things we need to notice – Christ was manifest to destroy the works of the devil, and now He is manifest to destroy the devil himself – it means he will be put in bankruptcy, and there will be put on the door of hell, “He is in the hands of the receiver” – He will not be annihilated but will be in the hands of the receiver. Four words are here used to describe the arch enemy, “Devil,'” the father of lies; “Satan,” the accuser; the “serpent,” the deceiver; “The dragon,'” the political character of the Devil.
Three times he is seen by human eyes. First, in the garden, when he came to the woman-not the man-there he changed righteousness to sin, the garden to a wilderness; second, when he was seen by the Son of the woman in the wilderness. Then the wilderness was changed to Paradise; death to life; sin was changed to righteousness.
Third, and last, he is seen by the whole creation, the angels above, the demons below, and the blood washed throng, and Christ as He sits upon His throne. We do not have any record where he is ever seen except those three times. The last time he is seen it says, “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. And cast him into the bottomless pit” – not only that but what else? – “and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.” Rev. 20:1-3.
Talk about shouting – John Wesley will be there and lead it – all the redeemed hosts of God will be shouting as the old Devil, that fought every war, that built every saloon and brothel, that caused all the sorrows from the days of Eden until the last soul has been born – heaven will be filled with the shout of the redeemed as they see his downfall. (Shoutings.)
Then there shall be established on earth the Millennium, not by education, not by organization, not by discoveries, not by political power; no. But by the Lord Himself!
At the close of the Millennium – I am talking about “the plan” that they criticize – is the second resurrection. There are two resurrections. The resurrection of the righteous and the resurrection of the unrighteous.
Then comes the establishment of the Great White Throne, and then last, a New Heaven and a New earth, and as the Bible begins by telling of a perfect universe, a perfect garden, perfect race, where there is no sin, no tears, no death, that was by creation, so by a new creation we shall have a new heaven and a new earth, a new temple, a new light, a new people, and that is the hope that springs eternal in our hearts today, that we call “The blessed hope of the church.”
The Whole Plan By Isaiah
Why Isaiah gave the whole plan way back yonder 700 years before Christ, in the 26th chapter of Isaiah; listen at it: “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” “And it shall come to pass in that day”-that expression occurs 51 times in Isaiah. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.”
I omitted the first verse of the 27th chapter, “In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.”
Taken in order, here is what Isaiah says:
First: The first resurrection: “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise.” That is what Paul means when he says, I Cor. 15:20, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.”
Second: The Rapture-Isaiah says, “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chamber.”
Third: The marriage of the Lamb – “shut thy doors about thee.” Jesus says, Matthew 25:10, “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.”
Fourth: The Tribulation period on the earth. Isaiah says, “hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.” Zephaniah and Isaiah uses the term “indignation” describing the tribulation period. Matthew 24:21, says, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time no, nor ever shall be.”
Fifth: The second stage, the lightning-like coming of the Lord – Isaiah says, “For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity.”
Sixth: The Battle of Armageddon – “the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.”
Seventh: Isaiah tells us of the chaining of the Devil, “In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.”
Eighth: Isaiah prophesies the regathering and conversion of Israel, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall beat off the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt.”
Ninth: The Millennium is prophesied again and again by Isaiah, showing you how in one chapter, one passage, they shall come “And shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.”
Jerusalem is to be the capitol of the world in the Millennial Day.
Fifteen Signs of the Second Coming
I want us to notice briefly some signs, or events – 15 of them – by which we may know when the end of the age draws nigh.
1. Want you to notice the historical signs. Daniel in that marvelous second chapter gives the whole history of the world from the days of Babylon to the Coming of Christ, and the same ground is covered in the seventh chapter-gone is that head of gold, the Babylonian Empire; gone is the breast and arms of silver, Media- Persia; gone is the belly and thighs of brass, the Grecian empire; gone is the legs of iron, Rome, all subjects for the school books – Where are we today ? We are away down in the feet and toes of clay and iron mixture. Listen, Jesus says, Luke 21:24, “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Paul tells us in the 11th chapter of Romans, 25th verse, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”
Three things are prophesied concerning the Jews:
(1) He will be in that Land.
(2) He will be scattered abroad out of that Land.
(3) He will be gathered back to that Land.
There is the remnant, or I might say, the advance army, before the great miracle takes place when they shall all be brought back to Jerusalem – now “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles – How long? – until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Listen, friends, in December, 1917, when General Allenby unfurled the Union Jack at the Joffe gate, and when Sir Herbert Samuel was made High Commissioner, the absolute ruler of that Land. he was the first Jew to rule over that land with the power of life and death in his hand since King Solomon. It was three thousand years before this Scripture was in part fulfilled. It will have a larger fulfillment. Remember that again and again a Scripture may have more than one fulfillment.
2. The second sign or prophecy, the worldwide persecution of the Jews. They have been persecuted through the ages. Talk about the pyramids, I’ll tell you what is true – you can not see any Bible in them, but they tell me this one thing, these clouds reaching pyramids covering the dead bodies of a dynasty that is gone, while the people they persecuted live on. You can go look on the ruins of Ancient Babylon, that Isaiah prophesied would be a place where the owls and bats would dwell, and strange voices heard, and the satyrs dance and where the Arabian would never pitch his tent. Gone is the glory of Babylon, but the Jew they persecuted lives on. Come look on the remains of Macedonian power – gone, Greece is gone, but the Jew lives on. Come to Ancient Rome, read the decree of emperor Claudius who expelled every Jew from Rome, gone is the scepter of the Caesar’s power, but the Jew is still here.
Do you want to know the unanswerable miracle of all times, outside the Resurrection of our Lord – go down here on Houston Street and look on the face of some blue eyed, hook nose, curly haired son of Jacob! He is the unanswerable argument that the Bible is divine. Jesus said, Matthew 24:34: “This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” This generation there, of course, means the Jewish race will be here to the end of time. Did Jesus know what He was talking about?
Now there comes a great awakening – Today, if we do not see beneath the surface of what is going on in Germany, we simply don’t understand our Bibles. There is coming a worldwide persecution of the Jews, such as the world never saw – driving them, arousing them, all in fulfillment of prophecy, until at last a miracle takes place, Isaiah 5:26, “And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly.” That word “hiss” comes from the Hebrew word “sharag,” exactly translated means radio. John says the voice of the Son of God-Isaiah says, God sends a radio message to His people, and they shall come from the ends of the earth, and they come swiftly.
3. The third sign of this age drawing to a close is the political or international sign. God has given Scripture after Scripture on this. Isaiah 24th chapter, shows 16 times in one chapter how “the earth” is in distress, broken down, empty, desolate, burned, languisheth scattered-“Behold the Lord maketh the earth empty and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scatterereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priests; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled; for the Lord hath spoken this word. Th earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadest away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men 1left. When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done. Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth.” Oh, what a picture of this present time! There is not a nation today that is not in chaos and commotion. There is not a nation today that is not stirred by revolutions. There have been 24 revolutions since the Armistice was signed, and the end is not yet. We are right now on the edge of a revolution in this country, and unless relief comes within a few months, there is going to be the greatest revolution in this country, perhaps, time ever witnessed.
Look what happened yesterday in Chicago when 5,000 school teachers went and took charge of the banks, demanding their back salary of thirty million dollars, and it took the whole police force to keep them back. At one stroke it means what it meant yonder on the Boston Commons when the “Minute Men” struck the match that set the Colonies on fire, and started the war that set this country free. Look what those farmers did up yonder in Iowa, went into the Courthouse and asked the Judge to swear not to foreclose their homes-he refused to swear, and they took that Judge off the bench, put a rope around his neck, and left him all but dead, and they said, “Thus we will do to every Judge who forecloses on our homes.” Now that Judge is not going to foreclose any farms, and they are not going to do anything with those farmers. That’s how near we are to revolution in this country.
Stand by Roosevelt. I believe in obeying the Scripture which says, “Pray for them in authority.” There has never been such a crisis, since this country was a country, as we are facing now. I shall never forget how President Hoover looked – and how we sympathized with him – I did – we sat in his office one day, a small group, and I shall never forget the Gethsemane in his face, as he lifted his hand and said, “Gentlemen, only God knows what is in store for our country.”
Therefore, we are witnessing today, and listen, if something isn’t done, as sure as we are living men and women, in twelve months, the red flag of communism and the black flag of atheism will be casting their menacing shadow toward our fair sky.
We talk about the forces of hell being turned loose – and it is true we had just as well face it. That is prophesied.
4. The fourth sign of approaching end of the age, is the rise of the anti-Christ. John says, “Little children” – that means the born-agains – “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that anti-Christ shall come, even now are there many anti-Christs; whereby we know that it is the last time.”
What mean the present dictatorships?
Poor Mr. Wilson’s, “Make the world safe for democracy,” has been changed to “Make democracy safe for the world.” It goes in a circle, monarchy, republicanism, anarchy, dictatorship – that is the circle of history. Today every country on earth practically has a dictatorship, including our own. Little did we think the time would ever come when Congress would surrender its constitutional power over to the President, and we are for it. If Congress refuses to do what it is bidden anytime Roosevelt can absolutely adjourn them, and the American people would stand behind him. I’m not arguing the right or wrong of it-I am talking about the necessity. When 700,000 men walk the streets of Chicago, and 15,000,000 fill the highways and streets, seeking work, when little children are crying for the necessities of life there is no use to talk about anybody’s theory, or form of government.
Now we understand how the Scriptures are true. These things are prophesied. Let Roosevelt succeed in giving us relief for the farms and homes, why certainly we would never have another Presidential election in this country. We are tired of the conditions. We have seen how Wall Street has robbed us of a living, has sent our money abroad to make their already ill gotten gains pile up higher and higher – you let any man send that bunch to the penitentiary and give us relief from the distress of the country, and he will be made a dictator – Daniel 7:8 says, “I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots; and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.” I am showing you how the Bible, instead of being behind the times, is from three to four thousand years ahead of the times.
5. That brings me to the fifth sign of the approaching end of the age; the social sign. Paul says, II Timothy 3:3-5, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” – I looked up that word “perilous’ afresh, it means dangerous, it is menacing, threatening, it is a powder magazine, it means death. It means great crisis, then describing the social conditions Paul says, “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good. Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” Jesus said those same conditions that obtained before the flood, “Eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark”-without thought or fear of God, living the epicurean life, will characterize the close of the age.
6. The sixth sign – the economic signs – It is prophesied that there will be many conflicts between the capital class, known as “the rich man,” and the class known as “the laborer.” James 5:1-9, “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire, Ye have heaped treasures together for the last days.” How many rich men can you call to mind-and what has happened to them? A few weeks ago, the richest man in Sweden, he had the monopoly on the match industry, Ivar Kruegor, died by his own hand; the richest man in Belgium, who had the monopoly on rubber, leaped out of his own airplane crossing the English Channel, and his body has never been found. Hugo, the richest man in Germany, followed the same tragic end. Fochay, the financial wizard of the Northwest, today is serving 15 years in the Federal penitentiary. Go to Chicago, there the Armours, the Stevens, the McCormicks, the Insulls, those four families that held in their hands the wealth of Chicago – Stevens built the greatest hotel in the world, four weeks ago died by his own hand. The Armours still have their names on the packing houses, but they don’t own a share of stock in that great industry they built. The Insulls built up a three billion dollar power trust, today they are refugees from justice. Mrs. McCormick, when she died not long ago, her brother had to pay the funeral expenses. Come to New York, there the man who was the head of the greatest banking enterprise in the world, Charles Mitchell, is on his way to the Federal penitentiary.
Time would fail me to tell what you are familiar with, from the papers, how fortune after fortune is gone. Why? Because the Word of God said, in the last days, “Ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.” Who said the Word of God is not true? Then he says three times in this one chapter that the coming of the Lord draws nigh – “Be patient, therefore, brethren” – Why? – “unto the coming of the Lord.” And again, “Be ye also patient, establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh,” and last, “behold, the judge standeth before the door.”
7. The seventh sign-the military signs-I am going to have to summarize, I see I am not going to be able to get through – I would love to get it all in one message. I want to answer a lot of things –
VOICES: Go ahead.
DR. NORRIS: The seventh sign – the military sign. Jesus said, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” Jesus is here answering the three questions that were asked Him in the 3rd verse of the 24th chapter, “And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world,” or the Coming of Christ? We have had eleven disarmament conferences since the war, and today there are twice as many men armed to the teeth, ready for war, as there were August 5, 1914. The world is on tip-toe today as they watch, China and Japan, and Russia, and Italy, and Germany, and France – the war clouds may burst at any moment. Did Jesus know what He was talking about?
8. The eighth sign, is the sign of famine. Famine always follows war, Jesus said, “and there shall be famines.” You take all the able bodied men from the fields and food will greatly diminish, and there will be a famine, especially in the thickly populated centers.
9. The ninth sign – “and pestilences” – during the war there were more different kinds of diseases invented and discovered, than during any hundred years before.
10. The tenth sign, the sign of earthquakes, “and earthquakes in divers places.” There is a close connection between this old world and man’s sin and redemption. Now earthquakes became so frequent and so great the Universities put in a department of seismology, or the science of earthquakes. Harvard University was the first to put in such a department, and put a German professor in charge. I read his book on it; put in a whole lot of time on it – want to say this to you preachers – study these things, don’t be an ignoranmous – I sent and got the book and read it through. It discusses the causes of earthquakes, the laws of earthquakes, the phenomena of earthquakes, and then when it came to the last chapter here is what it said, “But up to this time no remedy has been found for earthquakes. (Laughter.) And we are still pursuing our investigation.” That’s as much as the professors know about earthquakes.
11. The eleventh sign, state socialism – one grand state socialism is prophesied. Rev. 13:17, ” And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Don’t lose any time trying to figure out and wondering what that mark is. God doesn’t tell you, so quit arguing about it. More people ask me that question. Since God didn’t see fit to tell us, I don’t know. It means this, that it is the authority of government–whatever the symbol, what the physical sign in question is, I do not know. Did you ever think you and I would live to see the time when the government would tell us how much we could grow on our farms, and what the prices would be – that’s exactly what the Farm Board is trying to do-that is what the government is doing now, fixing the price of wheat, corn and cattle, and oats and everything that grows now they are trying to fix the oil prices; Bill Murray is trying it in Oklahoma- “That no man might buy or sel1, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”
12. The educational signs, Daniel says, “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”
13. The sign of blasphemy, and atheism – there never has been so much blasphemy and blistering oaths, and more atheism in the same length of time as now-and beloved they boast of it. The professors – some of them sit in the professors chairs of some of our so-called Christian colleges, endowed by Christian people, and curse and raise questions, and deny, and say that God is only a figment of the imagination. All these things were prophesied, “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.”
14. The fourteenth sign, astronomical signs – Jesus said, Luke 21:25, “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring.” As I said a moment ago, there is close connection between this material universe and man’s sin. Paul says, “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to-wit, the redemption of our body.”
Isaiah says, 24th chapter and 23rd verse, “Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.” Joel says, “The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. . . . And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.” “And I beheld,” says John – “when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”
Listen, two years this coming June, the astronomers of the world, headed by Sir James Hopewell Jeans, the great British astronomer, the greatest of astronomers, spent two weeks at Pasadena where the greatest observatory in the world is located, with lens 100 inches in diameter – I believe they have in one now that is 200 inches. These men studied the heavenly bodies, surveyed the whole universe in twenty-four hours time, and gave to the world the results of their findings – I read it, and you read it – their report was that “the whole universe is expanding,” and would in time “burst like a bubble and be dissolved, vanish away” – that’s exactly the language we find in II Peter 3:4-13, And saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water. Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up, Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
Twice, beloved, Peter uses the very term that Sir James Hopewell Jeans uses, when with the world’s greatest astronomers, he said the universe is expanding and would melt and be dissolved. How did Simon Peter know the earth would be dissolved? Because the God that made the heavens, put the stars in their courses, moved upon the hand to write it down, and the Science of Astronomy 1900 years afterwards, through the invention of the telescope, found out that Simon Peter knew what he was talking about. Isaiah 2600 years before said the same thing, and modern astronomers agree with them. How did they know it? I emphasize it, the God that made the universe told Isaiah and Simon Peter to write it down. Simon Peter said and the astronomers agree – they both agree that yonder stars will melt with fervent heat; they both agree that yonder sun will cease to shine; they both agree that the earth will melt with fervent heat-that’s as far as reason can go, but the next word is what? “Nevertheless”-the astronomers can’t go any further. Where reason ends, faith begins, Christianity begins, materialism ends and the supernatural begins. “Nevertheless,” says Peter, on the ruins of this old earth, in the wreck and cataclysm of the universe, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
The astronomers say the whole earth is going to be dissolved, destroyed, but there they end, they can’t tell us of a new heaven and a new earth-the Bible says the earth will melt with fervent heat, but it doesn’t stop there-the Word of God that lives and abideth forever tells us there will be a new heaven and a new earth!
15. The last sign I give is this, the worldwide distress which is the beginning of sorrows, “And upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity.” There is a distress that is pressing hard on the hearts of the believers. Jesus says, “All these are the beginning of sorrows.” And He says, Luke 21:28, “And when these things begin” – mark the word “begin” – the twilight hour – how long that period shall last we do not know – “When these things begin” – what things? “Wars,” “pestilences,” “famines,” “earthquakes,” “dictators,” “revolutions.” “When these things begin” – what are we going to do – give up the Bible, turn our backs on God, blow out the light, hide in a hole? No! “When these things begin to come to pass” – Then what? – “then look up, and lift up your heads'”- and rejoice – why? “for your redemption draweth nigh.”
Therefore, everything you and I know on earth, in heaven, in time, past, present and future in history, the Jew, past, present and future among the nations in governments, in peace conferences, in the rise of dictatorships, in revolutions, in strikes, in boycotts, in persecution, in caste and class hatred, in peril or in social conditions, in conflicts, between the “rich men” and the “laborers,” in marching armies, wars, and rumors of wars, in “famines” and pestilences” and “earthquakes,” in the sweep of communism, in the rise of fascism, in the increase of knowledge and multiplied rapid communication, in blasphemies, in the black flag of atheism, in the signs in the sun and in the moon, and in the stars, yea, every time you see a flash of lightning across the dark stormy cloud, every time you behold “the sea and the waves roaring,” every time you read of a suicide, “men’s hearts failing them for fear,” every time you read of a thief breaking in the house at midnight, every time you hear the wedding bells, or the funeral dirge, every time you behold the clear bright morning star, every time you see the sun rise with healing in its wings, every time you behold the soft sheen of the moon, every time you look in the face of a Son of Jacob, every time you open the sacred pages of the Eternal Word of God-all! all! all! everywhere in time and eternity, in earth, in sky, all shout with trumpet tones, “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so. Amen.”
What shall be the effect, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” There are four “appearings.” He appeared the first time on the cross to take away sin, He appears at the right hand of God interceding for us. He appears the third time “without sin unto salvation.” When he appears we shall appear with Him in glory!
One day, while I was holding a meeting at Hereford, Texas, the pastor told me that there was an old paralyzed Methodist preacher, that he wanted me to go to see. He told me he couldn’t walk, but rolled himself around in a wheel chair – as we approached his home, I thought, “What can I say to that old paralyzed preacher, who hasn’t walked for years?” I was feeling so sorry for him, and was trying to think of something of comfort I could say to him. We went in, there was the light of heaven on his face. We began to talk, he reached over and said something to me, I listened at him, he said, “You know, I arouse myself every morning before day comes, before the grey streaks of dawn begin to come up the eastern sky, I pull. myself in my chair, and roll out on the east porch, and I look and listen.” What for? He says, “I think that maybe today, I will see the Day Star burst in the eastern sky, and I know that I am one day nearer the Coming of my Lord.”
That is another argument as to why I want to live to be old, for I am one day nearer the Coming of my Lord. The effect on us, beloved, is to want to live like Him.
A few years ago while we were living out here in the country, before we moved, when my youngest boy was four years old, he is 17 now – I had been away, and was expected to come home that morning. My wife told him that I was coming home on a certain car – she had no trouble getting him scrubbed and dressed – he was expecting a present from me – she told him I would be on the 8:30 car – he stood on the porch and watched – I didn’t get off – his mother told him I might come on the next car – he wouldn’t even sit down to rest, he was so afraid he would get soiled – he watched for the next car, and I didn’t get off, and another and another came, and he kept watching-finally at 11 o’clock I got off – I can see those little old tousled curls yet, down the road he came, just as hard as he could come, shouting every breath, “Daddy, I’ve been waiting for you all morning. I knew you would come,” and he leaped into my arms and the first thing he said, “What did you bring me?” Friends, so will it be when our Lord comes down through the sky, with His Holy angels, and the innumerable company of blood-washed redeemed of the earth, and we shall look on His blessed face, and see the nail prints in His hands and the spear scar in His side, we won’t have to ask, “Lord, what did you bring me?” He will say, “I have brought you crowns and thrones, and everlasting life!
“Hark, ten thousand harps and voices
Sound the note of praise above;
Jesus reigns, and heaven rejoices;
Jesus reigns, the God of love:
See, he sits on yonder throne;
Jesus rules the world alone.
Jesus, hail! whose glory brightens
All above, and gives it worth;
Lord of life, thy smile enlightens,
Cheers, and charms, thy saints on earth:
When we think of love like thine,
Lord, we own it love divine.
King of glory, reign forever;
Thine an everlasting crown:
Nothing from thy love shall sever
Those whom thou hast made thine own;
Happy objects of thy grace,
Destined to behold thy face.
Saviour, hasten thine appearing;
Bring, O, bring the glorious day,
When, the awful summons hearing,
Heaven and earth shall pass away:
Then, with golden harps, we’ll sing,
Glory, glory to our King'”