Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Get on board

Matthew 24:37-41…

Jesus makes a comparison between how it was in Noah’s day with how it will be when Christ returns. In the days before the flood, Noah knew what was coming. For 120 years He was preaching (2 Peter 2:5) and preparing (Hebrews 11:7), but people continued with their normal activities. Despite Noah’s warnings, they remained unaware or unconvinced that destruction was coming upon them. The crisis was unexpected. The unbelievers were not prepared for God’s judgment. Only when it was too late did the people know how wrong they were.

They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. Jesus had referred to this imagery before (Luke 17:26-27). The point is not that these things were wicked in themselves, but that people are so absorbed in worldly pursuits that they pay no attention to solemn warnings. Some were planning for their future on the earth, but not for their future in eternity. Jesus wanted His disciples to understand the signs of the times, and be ready, unlike those who did not believe and would not understand, and not be ready.

One will be taken and one left. This does not refer to believers being taken out of the trouble, but rather to unbelievers who are taken in judgment during the trouble. Just as people were taken away in judgment by the flood of Noah’s day, so too, will people be taken away in judgment during the return of Jesus. 

One of the many things that separate believers from unbelievers is that believers trust God’s prophetic word. An unbeliever has to be shown these things through experience. If you have to learn this lesson by experience, it will be too late. The time to get aboard the Ark is now.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The question remains

Matthew 24:32-36 / Mark 13:28-32 / Luke 21:29-33…

Jesus uses illustrations to give us a seasonal approach to prophecy. He had spoken about the coming destruction of the temple, and also about the signs of the Second Coming. He says that the signs He had been speaking about would help us recognize when His return is drawing near. It will be just like you can recognize the nearing of summer when a fig tree puts out leaves. We will know when the season is upon us, but we will not know the exact date of His coming. 

Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. The generation that sees the signs will see His return. When the signs of the beginning of the end come, then the end will come relatively quickly, within a generation. Jesus’ words had relevance to those who heard Him speak these words. There was tribulation, and there was destruction. They will also be relevant to the saints of the last days as well. There are some things yet to be fulfilled, in a sense, and the return of Christ will be preceded by these same signs.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Jesus does not allow us to dismiss these words, no matter what generation we are in. There will be deception and destruction, discernment and deliverance. How this looks in each generation may seem different, but it will still be true. The ultimate fulfillment of this is the eternal state.

But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. In the Incarnation, Jesus was still fully God, but He had now also become fully man. In doing so, Jesus voluntarily limited His knowledge to what the Father chose to reveal to Him. So you see, no matter how neatly we can package our prophetic predictions, the question remains. It isn’t, “When is Jesus coming back?” It is, “Are you ready?” 

Monday, September 28, 2020

Behold, He comes

Matthew 24:29-31 / Mark 13:24-27 / Luke 21:25-28…

It is interesting how, even though we humans are all quite the same in most ways, what brings us distress or delight can be quite different. It can even be that way with the same things. One person loves something, another hates it. One adores something, another wants to avoid it altogether.  Something that brings nothing but satisfaction to one person is the very same thing that brings nothing but sorrow to another.  

So it is with the spiritual life. As a Christian we receive a new set of standards and affections. Things we once despised we are now devoted to. Things we once advocated for we now admonish against. Things that brought us sinful pleasure now bring us spiritual pain. Some things we couldn’t wait for before we never want to see again. Some things we hoped weren’t true we now look forward to. Things we once lived for we are called to die to.

In describing His return, Jesus uses some incredible imagery taken from the Old Testament. It seems unbelievable, but it is oh so true. Scenes in the sky, cataclysm on the earth, and chaos among the people will be as never before. It is quite the dramatic picture. It will be so vivid, and so intense, that some will simply die of fear. Some may want to but won’t be able to.

Think about that for a moment. For the Christian, the Second Coming of Christ will be the time of greatest joy. Yet for the unbeliever, it will be the time of greatest fear. For the Christian, it will only get better from there. For the unbeliever it will only get worse. 

And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call. A real relationship with God, through time and maturation, transmits the character of Christ. Experience only confirms this knowledge, producing trust, which in turn fosters obedience. If living for Christ, winning others to Christ, and edifying our brothers and sisters in Christ isn’t becoming our consuming passion, then are we really worshipping Christ? If you aren’t answering the call now, what makes you think you will receive it when He returns?