Saturday, April 08, 2017

The End Times

There are a couple of points that I would like to make, so that the reader understands where I am coming from. There are some who emphatically state that all those who warn about the end times are false prophets and false teachers, the very ones Jesus warned of regarding the (shall I say it?) “end times”.

Whilst it is true that none of us (no, not one) knows the day or the hour (please wisely avoid any who set dates), Jesus (Yeshua) clearly answered the disciples’ questions about “when shall these things be?” and “what shall be the sign of Your coming”?

None of us knows the day or the hour, but we can surely see the signs of the times. Jesus did not leave us helpless, to walk blindly and hopelessly. In Matthew 24, He clearly answered the questions of the disciples.

Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is nigh(near, close by): So likewise you, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away. [Mat 24:35]

Immediately after that Jesus warned those listening that no man knows the day or hour, not even the angels in heaven,only the Father knows. [Mat24:36] Christ’s answer is two-fold.

When we read the Holy Scriptures, it is very important to keep things in context. In chapter 23 of Matthew, Jesus had been in the temple, speaking with the religious leaders (Pharisees and scribes, particularly the former) and upbraided them about their handling of the law, and burdens they placed upon the people, and admonished them for their hypocrisy.

Somehow, I do not think Nicodemus was included in his rebuke. He was a Pharisee, a member of the Sanhedrin that sought truth, even coming to Jesus at night to learn more. [Jn 3:1-21] Do you remember when he sought justice on Jesus’ behalf?

Does our law judge any man, before it hears him, and know what he does?(Nicodemus) [Jn 7:50]

He is the man who brought embalming spices for the body of Jesus. He also aided Joseph of Arimathea in preparing Jesus’ body for burial. Joseph, the one who was a secret (for fear of the Jews) disciple of Jesus, was a member of the Sanhedrin, rich and well-respected.

Yet, after all that secrecy, and despite the fact that his fellow members of the council and court just had Christ crucified, he requested permission from Pilate to be given the body of Jesus, to place Him in his own private, new sepulcher.

The Pharisees negated the positive qualities of the law, but instead burdened the people with the traditions of men, nullifying rather than teaching them to obey the commandments of the Word of God (the simple truths), nor did they lead them by example.

They looked good on the outside (whitewashed sepulchers). They knew the Holy Scriptures and they talked a fine talk, but inwardly they were filthy with corruption, pride and uncleanness. They were filled with pretentiousness and hypocrisy. Jesus named the woes (seven in total) that would befall the Pharisees and scribes for continuing in such a way.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees,hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.

You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! You blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. [Mat 23:23-24; 26]

False religion is despicable to God and brings severe consequences. Ye serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell? [Mat23:33]

Jesus (Yeshua) prophesied that they would persecute, afflict, cast out (of the synagogue) and crucify people. He harshly, but rightly, rebuked them before He left the temple, and he even lamented. Then, after exiting the synagogue, His disciples were pointing out all the buildings of the temple.

Noting their fascination with the grandeur and beauty of the temple’s buildings, Jesus informed them that not one stone would be left upon another; every stone would be thrown down. [Mat 24:2] He forewarned the apostles, not only about the destruction of the temple, but also of Jerusalem’s carnage.

He gave them signs to watch for and urged them to flee Jerusalem when they saw them. After He prophesied about Jerusalem, He went on to speak of the end times. Many postulate that the signs Jesus prophesied at that time spoke only of the impending destruction of Jerusalem.

It is true that Jesus warned that the end times would be as in the days of Noah. People would be marrying, drinking, eating, just as they normally do, right up until the day...that Noah entered the ark, or for the very end times, right up until the day of the coming of Christ. People will continue on doing business as usual, partying and “living the good life.”

The parable of the fig tree was symbolic. When the leaves are tender (beginning to bud), we know summer is nigh(near/close at hand). When we see the signs that Jesus warned us about, we know that His return is nigh (near/close at hand).

After tribulation, He spoke of the sun being darkened and the moon not giving her light, and the stars falling from heaven, and the powers of the heavens being shaken. [Mat 24:29] (Note* - Further on, the reader will understand why I highlighted the above words.

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. [Mat 24:30, 31]

Those who say that only the false teachers and the false prophets speak of the end times and last of the last days would have to negate the words of Jacob in Genesis 49, Moses in Deuteronomy 4:30, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah and Joel.

The following would have to be ignored: John in the book of Revelation. Acts, 2 Timothy, Hebrews, James and 2 Peter, all of which also mention the last (latter) days. Do you see the spirit of error operating when teachers make such bold and sweeping accusations?

We understand that the last days began in Jesus’ time. It’s a no-brainer, but how much further along are we now? Were all the prophets of old false prophets? God forbid! Do you see why it is dangerous to say that those who warn of the last days are false? One would have to ignore volumes of scripture and most of God’s anointed prophets and apostles.

God is not a man that He should lie; neither the son of man that He should repent: has He said, and shall He not do it? or has He spoken and shall he not make it good?[Num 23:19]

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