Because they’re real, because they involve the entire universe and not just a galaxy far, far, away, and because they’re almost over, these Star Wars are epic! Welcome to the exciting conclusion of Epic Star Wars! The last episode…
Episode VII: Return of the Savior
A long time ago, Jesus paid a terrible price to seal the eternal covenant between us and God. He sacrificed His own life to save us from Satan. Soon, Jesus will return and save those faithful few who kept their covenant with Him. On that day, they will be His people for all eternity. Will you be ready for that day? Will you know what signs to look for before His return? What will those days be like? Today, you’re going to find out. But before we begin, let us pray.
Heavenly Father, may the words of this last episode reach the hearts of all who hear them. Please help them see how they must prepare for our Savior’s coming. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
The calamitous events around the world tell us that it is almost time for Jesus to return. What we cannot see are the angels, the stars of God, working tirelessly to lead humanity to the eternal covenant that will save their lives.
We also cannot see the rebellious angels, the stars of Satan, striving to keep them away from it. Even now, after failing to stop Jesus’ sacrifice, they are still fighting against God today. The fact that these wars are still going on is a testimony to how far gone these rebels are in sin; and they will be punished for it.
Before Jesus returned to heaven, He gave His people a commission.
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Mt. 28:18-20)
But before the end of the world, Jesus told His disciples that His gospel would go to the ends of the earth (Mt. 24:14). Ever since those days, the gospel has been taken throughout the world. Thanks to God and His faithful people, the work is almost finished. But ultimately, it is God who deserves the praise. Despite the many sins we’ve committed since His Son’s sacrifice, God has not abandoned His plan to save mankind. He hasn’t given up on us and He never will.
This work has not been easy. Satan and his angels are doing everything they can to perpetuate this destructive conflict and bring disorder to this galaxy, and the universe. They work upon the leaders of God’s people to twist, soften, and even nullify the saving gospel of God. They move upon the people of the world to commit horrific atrocities against men, women, and children. They move upon God’s people to cherish their sins. This not only pushes them away from God, it also gives countless occasion for the enemies of God to blaspheme. With their combined strength, the rebel alliance is preparing the way for the final deception to come upon the world.
But despite their evil plans, God said that His Word shall not return unto Him void, “but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isa. 55:11).
In our very first lesson, “The Hidden Chalkboard”, we talked about how the last reformation is coming. Through the faithful people of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, the Great Commission will be accomplished and Jesus will come back. So how close are we to the end of these Epic Star Wars? When is Jesus coming back?
The truth of the matter is that we are in Episode VII right now, the real Episode VII, the episode when Jesus will return. While I cannot tell you when He will return, I can give you a broad picture of what that time before His coming will be like. Turn to the book of Matthew 4:1-11. Let’s look at the temptation of Jesus and see how it teaches us about His Second Coming. Keep in mind that we will all be tried in the same way He was.
Verses one through the first part of verse three read…“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him…”
Satan tempted Jesus when He was at His weakest point, after a 40-day fast. A time is coming when the world will be as vulnerable to the temptation of the devil as He was. Whether through a global incident of terrorism, a weather-related disaster, a collapse in government leadership, or even a combination of these or other events, the people of the world will be made vulnerable. When this happens, Satan will strike.
Matt. 4:3-7 read:
“And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”
The coming temptation will not be an open one. Satan will resort to deceptive warfare to tempt the world. He will twist the Word of God in order to hide his true intentions from us. Compare Ps. 91:11, 12 with Mt. 4:6 and you’ll see what I’m talking about. He will lead many people to dismiss or lightly regard God’s Word as he tried to get Jesus to doubt if He was the Son of God. “If thou be the Son of God…”
Matt. 4:8, 9 read:
“Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.”
The last temptation reveals what the final deception is all about: global authority and global worship. Greater authority in heaven and the worship of the angels are the two things Satan lusted for in the beginning. So much so, he led a full-scale rebellion against God just to have them. He will persuade a vulnerable world to seize the earthly equivalent of the things he tried to seize in Heaven.
This final, global temptation, will divide the world into two sides, according to word of the Lord in Gen. 3:15. All the prophecies of Scriptures concerning this time will ultimately come to this point. All the inhabitants of the world will finally, by action or inaction, answer the polarizing question. “Who is on the Lord’s side?” (Exod. 32:26)
The seed of the woman, the people of God, will see this deception for what it is and resist it. The world will know in those days that our ally is the Lord, and how powerful an ally He is. Through Him, we will respond to the temptation the same way Jesus did. “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Mt. 4:10).
But the seed of the serpent, the people of Satan, will fall for the final deception. Because they cherish their sins more than God and His saving message, they will turn to the dark side of Creation. They will be deceived into worshipping Satan and permanently join the rebel alliance. Scriptures like Mk. 8:36 and Lk. 16:13 will make perfect sense when this happens.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mk. 8:36)
“No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Lk. 16:13)
In those days, rebellion against God will ripen to its fullest extent. There will be open persecution of His people unlike anything they have ever experienced before. These faithful saints will be sorely outnumbered and tried, “bruised” according the word of the Lord (Gen. 3:15). Like he used Eve against Adam, Satan will use the families and friends of the faithful few to deceive them or kill them (Mt. 10:36).
But the faithful remnant will not give in. They made the decision to serve their God and keep His commandments (Eccl. 12:13). They will have chosen to be His people forever. They allowed God to prepare them for these times by studying His Word and by communing with Him in prayer. They will be ready for Jesus’ return.
“Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” (Mt. 4:11).
God’s people will see darkness flee before the light on that day. The rebel alliance will flee from this amazing scene, vainly seeking to hide themselves from Jesus and His angels (Lk. 23:30; Rev. 6:15-18). He will send His angels to minister to His people as the angels once ministered to Him (Mt. 24:31). The faithful living and the dead will be gathered to the Lord and they will be His people for all eternity (1 Thess. 4:16-18). The seed of the woman will finally be redeemed from the phantom menace, sin, and the rebellion against God will finally be dealt with. What a victory God and His people will claim that day!
Now let’s briefly review the big picture that we laid out in this epic saga.
In Episode I, we learned that the real phantom menace is sin. Lucifer, in cherishing sin, led one-third of the angels in heaven to war against God. They did not prevail and God cast out this rebel alliance from heaven. So began the Epic Star Wars between God and Lucifer, now known as Satan.
In Episodes II and III, we saw how Satan brought the Epic Star Wars to Earth, the magnificent paradise God made for Adam and Eve. Because of sin, the paradise God made for Adam and Eve was lost.
But God did not leave them without hope. Episode IV revealed that God promised the once holy pair that He would deal with sin; and God always keeps His promises. This promise was also a prophecy, because it revealed what God will do and how He will do it.
In Episode V, we learned that God sent Jesus Christ, our only Hope, to save us from sin. Our Savior is a Prophet, a Priest and a Ruler (among other things), set apart by God to redeem man from sin. God sent Him to make an eternal covenant with us to be His people for all eternity.
But sealing this covenant came at a terrible price, as we learned in Episode VI. By sacrificing His own life to seal the eternal covenant, we have the opportunity to be His people forever.
Now we are living in the time before these final events begin, Episode VII. God’s angels are leading the people in the world to the covenant that will save their lives. Satan’s angels, however, have been working to keep them away from it. They are preparing the way for the final deception to come upon the world. It will be during that troublesome time that Jesus will return and the rebellion against God will finally be dealt with.
The Epic Star Wars are not over yet. There is still time for you to get ready for that day. Have you agreed to keep the eternal covenant Jesus sealed for us with His own life? Do you want to be on the Lord’s side? Ask Him to free you from the power of the phantom menace, sin. Ask Him to turn you from the dark side of creation, the rebellion against God. Ask Him to bring you to His side today. From now, even unto the end of the world,
The Lord will be with you. Always.