Full text of Derek Prince’s sermon titled ‘First Discover The “Spine”’ which is Part 2 of the sermon series titled ‘Prophetic Guide To The End Times.’
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Derek Prince – Bible Teacher
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)
Yesterday I spoke about how to approach biblical prophecy. Today I’m going to try to apply what I was teaching yesterday.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF A SPINE
I have a theory that a word spoken in the spirit never dies. And when I was still a fairly young believer, I think I was still in the British army in the Middle East, I just heard a statement made by a Jewish believer, and there weren’t many in those days, his name was Myer Pearlman and he was a member of the General Council of the Assemblies of God in the United States.
And he said with regard to interpreting prophecy, it’s like putting together the pieces of a human body or a human skeleton and if you want to do it successfully, you have to start with the right piece. And he said the right piece is the spine, when you get the spine in place then you can begin to fit the other members into it.
And that has stuck with me now more than 50 years. And tonight I’m going to try to deal with the SPINE of biblical prophecy. He said it is Matthew chapter 24 and that’s where we’re going to spend most of our time this evening, Matthew chapter 24.
We sometimes tend to overlook the fact that Jesus was a prophet. The people of His time acknowledged Him as prophet, even if they didn’t acknowledge Him as Son of God. He was the greatest of all the great Hebrew prophets. And His greatest prophetic discourse is found in Matthew chapter 24, continued in Matthew chapter 25. In spite of the chapter division, there’s no division in the discourse.
But the same first part of the discourse is also found in Mark chapter 13 and in Luke chapter 21. These are three different perspectives of the same discourse. It might be compared, for instance, if there were three television cameras here tonight, all focused on me, they’d all record what I say and do. But they’d do it from a slightly different perspective. And to get the full picture, you really need to put together all three chapters. We won’t have time to do that effectively, but we’ll take a little time, at least in Luke chapter 21.
Now CHAPTER 24 begins with a situation in which Jesus makes a very dramatic and startling statement to His disciples. In fact, it was almost like a blow in the solar plexus, the words that He spoke here at the beginning of Matthew 24. It says in verses 1 and 2, ‘Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came to Him to show Him the buildings of the temple.’ Now you need to know that King Herod had spent 46 years renovating and extending and glorifying that temple. And it was considered to be one of the wonders of the ancient world. It was also the center and focus of the whole national life of the Jewish people. Their national life and their religious life. It was their great pride and joy.
And so when Jesus said what He said, as I say, it was like a blow in the solar plexus.
‘Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”’
I don’t think any of us are capable of understanding the impact that those words had on the disciples. Well as soon as they had an opportunity, they got alone with Jesus on the Mount of Olives. And they said now we want to know about this.
So the next verse says, verse 3, ‘Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?”
It seems to me that they had the impression that if the temple was to be destroyed, such a disaster would mark the end of the age. They couldn’t conceive that the age would continue after the temple had been destroyed. So I think they thought they were asking one question, but in actual fact they were asking two. The first was, when will these things be? That is, the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem. And the second was, what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?
Now Jesus answered both those questions, but the answer to the first question is found in Luke chapter 21. So we’ll turn there for a moment. Luke 21, verses 20 through 24.
Luke 21:20-24: ‘But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that desolation is near. Then let those in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant, and to those who are nursing babies in those days. For there will be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.’
So that’s the answer to the question, when will these things happen? In other words, when will the temple be destroyed, and Jerusalem be destroyed. And Jesus said, this is the sign. When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, know that the desolation of it is near. Now this was historically fulfilled in AD 70.