I’m going to ask you a complex question and I want you to answer this in your mind after you've thought about it for a second. Which way is up? Do you have the answer? Well, it's more complicated than you would think. If you look it up in the dictionary, there are 13 different definitions for the word ‘up’. U P. In Michigan there's even 14.
If you stand out in your yard in beautiful Tennessee and a man was standing in his yard in China, and you were both asked the same question, which way is up, which way would both men point? Opposite directions. Right? It's complicated. To us, he’s on the bottom of the world. To him, we’re on the bottom. And they may be on top, cause everything is made there, anymore.
So which way is up? I would say to my preacher heart, heaven is up. So which way is heaven? Well, we're going to learn something here out of the Bible. Come to Isaiah in your Bible, chapter 13, and I would like for us to compare Scripture with Scripture. You don't mind, a little here, a little there, line upon line, precept upon precept. That's how we’re told to study. Correct? So come over here to Isaiah chapter 13 in your Bible, and verse nine and 10. And I'm going to read the first phrase of verse nine. It says, "behold, the day of the Lord cometh." So what is this talking about? What is this subject? The second coming of Jesus. The coming of the Lord. And then verse 10 says there will be signs in what? The sun and the moon and the stars. Now this sounds very much like what other great chapter in the Bible. Matthew chapter 24. Come over here to Matthew 24 in your Bible, and we want to compare now, these two scriptures together. Matthew 24, verse 29. It says, right after the distress and trouble of verse 29, the sun is going to go dark, the moon will go out. Now that makes sense doesn't it? Where does the moon get its light? So if the sun goes out, then naturally, what's the moon going to do? It's going to go out too. So that makes perfect sense. And the stars will fall out of the sky. So then in verse 30, then the Son of Man comes in the clouds of the sky. So right after the time of trouble here in verse 29, immediately after the distress of those days, immediately after the time of trouble, what happens? The sun, the moon and the stars go out. In fact the whole sky rolls up as a scroll. All those things that are out there disappear. Can’t see them anymore. And then Jesus comes.
Now the Roman Catholic Church says of verse 30, let me read verse 30, the very first part of it. At that time, says the N. I. V., THE sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky. Now what is that? The Roman Catholic Church says, and I’ve been the recipient of one of their free magazines for about the last eight years, I guess, or six years, called the Signs of the Times. Did you know they have a magazine the same title we do? And in there they claim that in verse 30, THE sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, that is referring to a bright, huge cross that will appear in the sky just before Jesus comes. That's what they teach in this magazine. And they believe that the Virgin Mary has revealed this to all sorts of people here on the world.
What do we believe? What does the Bible teach? Well I don't think it's a cross. I think the sign, THE sign that will appear in the sky is when the sky is rolled up, the sun and the moon and the stars fail to shine their light, and then we see a small black cloud about the size of a man's hand appear. That's it. That means Jesus will come. Immediately, He comes. That is His coming. And I think that we will see that small black cloud in Orion. Come out of Orion. We'll hear the voice of God come out of Orion. Now how do I know that? Well come over here to Isaiah, chapter 34. Isaiah 34. I know if I turn to this that you will have time to turn to it. So I'm turning to the exact verse. Isaiah 34 and verse four. Now notice what this says. It says all the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky will be rolled up like a scroll. All the starry hosts will fail. Like withered leaves they will fall from the vine. Like shriveled figs from the fig tree. Then notice Isaiah 13, verses nine and 10. Verse nine. For the stars of the sky and Orion shall not let their light shine. Now in the King James it says for the stars of the sky and their constellations. However, in the Jerusalem Bible, the Septuagint Bible, and the Phillips translation, and in the original Hebrew it says Orion. In fact, if you go to the Strong's number system, you go to number 3685, it says Orion. The strong one, the burly one. The constellation of Orion. So you have in this verse all the stars of the heavens and Orion. Orion is different. It mentions all the stars and Orion. They're not all the same. Orion is different. Orion is given special significance. And what is different about it? Well Orion in the Hebrew language means ‘the strong one’. Now think about that. This is in the Hebrew. What is the strong one? Who is THE strong one? Could this be referring to God? Now the King James calls Orion ‘the constellations’. The King James says that Orion will not give off its light, neither will the sun shine in His going forth. I think that God is going to go forth from Orion, and that's why it turns dark. God is there. I believe this refers to God. The Strong One. When He goes forth, Orion will lose its light. And if God goes forth then God must be in Orion or through Orion. That must be where heaven is, and that's what I believe. Could it be that heaven is up there through that giant space of Orion? I believe so. And Orion is darkened at the absence of God, at the absence of all the angels, when they come down here to receive us unto themselves. These are great things to be thinking about.
So heaven will be emptied. We talked about that last week, when all its dwellers come here. Isaiah chapter 13, verse 9, says it will be the day of the Lord. That's when it happens. The second coming of Christ. I read from another book, Early Writings, “dark heavy clouds came up and clashed against each other. The atmosphere parted and rolled back as a scroll, and then we could look up through the open space in Orion whence came the voice of God. The holy city will come down through that open space.” And that open space is gigantic.
I have a book called Wonder Worlds and in that an astronomer, Dr. E. L. Larkin says, the interior of Orion is a cavern so stupendous that our entire solar system including the orbit of Neptune would be lost in it. The open space is a colossal cave, and the diameter of this yawning abyss is 19 trillion miles across. Take you a long time on your rollerblades to go that distance. The appearance, he says, is of a light shining and glowing behind the Herculean walls of ivory and pearl and these are studded with millions of diamond points of shining stars. It's amazing.
God and His angels will come down through that open space. So which way is up? Orion. That's what I think, and you can see it now in the evening sky. It's just beginning to take place. So Jesus, when He went back to heaven, was taken which direction? Acts chapter 1 and verse nine says, "He was taken up." He was caught up. And He went all the way to heaven. And He will come again and receive us to Himself.
I believe that the signs that impact on our minds every day are evidence that we’re in minimum time now. We don't have much longer. We probably will soon be in God's kingdom. There's intense activity back in Orion. Stirrings in Orion. God is packing His chariot, getting ready to come. There's activity. They're putting our names on the doors of our mansions. They're preparing. Revelation, chapter 10 and verse six says, there will be time no longer. That day is approaching. Jesus is almost ready to depart, from up there, and come down here and receive us up to Himself. And are you ready? Probation is about to close. We need to be ready.
We have looked at the signs in the skies. I'd like to also observe some of the signs in this world. Because there are signs all around us that Jesus is coming. The Bible says something in Isaiah. Just lift up your eyes to the heavens, look upon the earth beneath, where the heavens shall vanish like smoke and the earth shall wax old like a garment. We're supposed to look to the heavens and look to the earth. So this is a two-part sermon. One on what we see in the heavens, there's activity there. I intensely believe that. And there's also, there are many signs here on this world that Jesus is coming.
There was a tremendous sign back in 1833. What was that? The falling of the stars. And let me just flip that for you. I believe today, that the so called stars are falling. Our movie stars. This fall we learned that the British singer Amy Winehouse was hospitalized after a drug overdose. In fact, we read this fall that the history of rock 'n roll is littered with lives destroyed by drugs and alcohol. Elvis Presley’s amazing career was cut short by his addiction to prescription drugs. Janis Joplin did not reach her 30th birthday. And Kurt Cobain was ruined by heroine before the shotgun blast. Modern human stars are falling. One by one. Laid low by drugs, by alcohol, other things. We live in what we call an advanced civilization, but we can't control ourselves. Something's wrong with us.
Americans now spend more on fast food. Now get this. We Americans spend more on fast food than we do on college, and computers combined, and software, and new cars, and movies, and books, and magazines, and newspapers, and videos, and all music, all combined. We spend more on fast food than on all that.
And in Washington, DC, one of every 20 people that you see in the capital of the United States of America, in Washington, DC, one out of every 20 people has HIV. One out of 20. In fact, half of all Americans, half of them, that are age 18 to 29 now either have a tattoo, or a body piercing. Half. Now just think. 40 years from now, if time should last that long, think of the millions of grandmothers that will be walking around sporting the tattoos of their youth. It'll be interesting, ahead. Here's another sign. Isaiah 51 verse six says, the earth shall wax old like a garment. The earth is waxing old.
Have you heard much about forest fires in California lately? We have some tremendous things that we are experiencing. California is experiencing the perfect firestorm. Drought. The water crisis. Drying up lakes that feed Atlanta. They should've built that place on a river, shouldn't they. A big one. You know, what Atlanta needs now. They have just a 90 day supply of water left. And if next summer is just as bad as this summer, they're going to be in big trouble. What they need is a modern Moses to come down there to Atlanta at the foot of Stone Mountain, and strike that mountain, and the Georgia River comes out of it. We have tremendous hot weather. And it’s resulting in famines. Did you know that there are more than 850 million people around the world that are experiencing not enough food to eat. One out of seven, don't have enough food to eat. The world is getting hotter. There has been a drop in Greenland's gravitational pull on sensitive satellites, and it shows that they are losing 57 cubic miles of ice every year. Now think of a cubic mile . One cubic mile of ice. 57 cubic miles of ice, Greenland is losing every year now. Do you know how much ice that is? That's a lot of ice. And at the same time, in Antarctica, Antarctica is also melting down. They are losing 36 cubic miles of ice every year. In Antarctica. And the North Pole used to be enclosed with ice. And this summer the North Pole is melting. The proverbial Santa Claus is going to have to get a barge. Did you know at the North Pole one million square miles of sea ice has melted this summer. Now let me repeat that. One million square miles of sea ice, the size of six California's, has melted this summer. Just wrap your mind around some of these things that I'm telling you. You can verify, all the references are on the web. The Northwest passage has become a reality in the summertime.
Our time on this doomed planet is melting away. We’re near the end. Louisiana, New Orleans is sinking. Every year going down. And at the same time, it's also sliding into the Gulf of Mexico. All of our coastal cities, houses are falling in. Condominiums are falling into the oceans.
Another sign of our times. Come over here to Luke 21. This is the twin sister chapter of Matthew 24. Luke 21 and verse 26. Men's hearts are failing them for, what? Why do men's hearts fail them? Because of fear for looking after those things that are coming upon the earth. Our former defense secretary, William Perry, thinks that the odds of a nuclear jihad, a nuclear jihad, today is 50-50. In 2006, former Secretary of State George Schultz said, and you remember him. “If we put all this in terms of World War II, we are now some time around 1937.” That was last year, so now we’re about 1938. Just on the verge.
In today's language, Jesus might say the signs are all around us. Jesus said you will know that the kingdom of God is near. There will be wars and rumors of war. Today American soldiers are firing over one billion bullets every year. They walk around with guns but they're using that many. And this past July, when my wife and I were in Africa, we understand that the Vatican reiterated the statement that they've made for years and years, but then they added to it, and they said that the Roman Catholic Church is the only true church. The only path to salvation. And then they added, other Christian churches are defective. That's interesting, isn't it? And they are not true churches.
So what do we make of this claim? Well actually, this church, or any other church has no business in defining what the true church is. The true church is defined by the Word of God. This is the only authority how you know what a true church is. Not what some church says but what does God say. Revelation Chapter 13 and verse one, describes such a religious beast like this. I mean, for a church to place itself above the Bible, or above what God has said is blasphemous. Revelation Chapter 13, and verse one, says, "I saw a beast coming up out of the sea. He had 10 horns and seven heads with 10 crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name." It’s pretty serious isn't it?
Another thing that's going on that you will be hearing more about this coming week is bird flu. Newsweek magazine says this. “Bird flu is a threat worse than terror.” And they go on to say, “a flu pandemic is the most dangerous threat to the United States today.” Of the bird flu. That's pretty serious. You're going to hear more about this. The McDonald Road Church Health and Temperance department has rented the City Hall at Collegedale. We're going to have meetings over there on bird flu and what to do. Pretty serious. And superbugs. Did you hear that this past week, they shut down an entire school system, and they've gone in there with spray and they’re debugging the place, because they have superbugs. Millions could be wiped out by these modern scourges.
And this is predicted in the Bible. In Luke 21. Let me just read verse 11 to you. Luke 21:11. And great earthquakes shall be in diverse places, and famines, and what? Pestilences. Fearful sights. Great signs. These strains of bacteria result, the bottom line is, that antibiotics won't touch them. And so we have people dying from them. You think, “well this is starting up. Yeah, I'm aware that this is sort of happening.” Do you know that even today, right now, in the United States of America, this is killing more people than AIDS. In America. It's killing more people than AIDS, emphysema or homicide. 19 thousand people died in the year 2005 from MRSA. MRSA. And the recent death of a 17-year-old high school football player in Virginia is just an example. The name of the disease is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. MRSA. It's bad. It's happening. And there's nothing to attack it, that we know of. We can't stop it. And soon the signs of the Bible are going to be fulfilled.
So what should we do? Well, Jesus is going to come quick and rescue us from all of this. Daniel Chapter 12, verse one, says, at that time, Michael, the great prince, which is Jesus, I believe, Who protects your people will stand up, and then there will be a time of trouble such as never was. Michael is going to stand up, and when Michael stands up, what does that indicate? Well He’s our Savior, our Judge. And when the judge stands up, that means court is over. Right? It's over. When the judge stands up it's adjourned. And that simply means that our probation is over. That's what it means. Our time of opportunity to decide for or against Christ is over. Our chance to be saved is over.
So I'm telling you today two things. There are stirrings in Orion. I believe that. And I wonder if maybe our Hubble telescope will be the very first to report to us about that small black cloud coming. That black energy cloud that's coming. Perhaps they'll announce it.
Hebrews chapter 9 verse 28. Jesus will come to those who are waiting for Him. Let's be waiting for Jesus. Will you be one of those who can look up and say, lo, this is our God. We have waited for Him, He will save us? That's what I want to be.
Do you have that saving relationship with Jesus today? I plead for you to give your heart to Jesus. The salvation you don't have to earn. It's totally free. Jesus loves to give eternal life to His friends. Are you a friend of Jesus? Do you pray every day? You know what? I wish that every one of you could buy a brand-new Bible for your wife, or a brand-new Bible for your husband, or for your child, and you could all begin reading the Bible through January 1 of 2008. That's coming. I wish we could do that. We ought to be a people of the Book. We ought to be a people who are closer to Jesus every day. Be on your knees. Be reading these things. Be studying. Be all that you can be for Jesus. Cause He’s coming soon. Praise God He’s coming soon. Let's be ready. And get others ready. And stay ready.
Let's sing our closing hymn. Number 205, The gleams of the golden morning are fast approaching, it must be the breaking of the day.
Hymn of Praise: #220, When He Comes Scripture: John 14:1-3 Hymn of Response: #205, Gleams of the Golden Morning
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McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 11/17/07