Thursday, December 22, 2016

Jesus' Vision of 2000 Years of History - Luke 21

Luke 21 opens with Jesus and his disciples in the temple when Jesus remarks that the temple would one day be destroyed and not one stone would be left upon another. In amazement the disciples ask, “When will this happen?” Jesus answers their question in the context of revealing to them the series of events which would occur prior to his return in Glory after his death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven.

Jesus first states that there will be false prophets, wars, and insurrections. This was clearly fulfilled by the Jewish revolt and the subsequent destruction of the temple by the Romans in 70 A.D. Jesus then adds a note of caution when he points out that the end would not follow immediately. Rather there would be many wars, famines, plagues, and great signs from heaven. And even before those events occurred there would be persecution.

In Luke 21:20-24, Jesus speaks again of the destruction of Jerusalem and points out that the Jews would loose control of Jerusalem until the time of the Gentiles was fulfilled. With the establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948 and the taking of Jerusalem in the war of 1968, Jerusalem is now once again under Jewish control, so that prophesy has also been fulfilled.

In the final prophetic sequence, Luke 21:25-28, Jesus states that immediately before his return there will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And that the nations would be distressed and bewildered by the roaring of the sea and waves. If Jesus' reference to the distress caused by the sea is the result of rising sea levels due to global warming, then it will be clear that if sea level continues to rise and this becomes an unrelenting source of world wide destruction that we are near the end of the present age. Finally, exactly what the signs in the heavens are, no one knows but we can be certain that they will be obvious and terrifying to anyone who does not have an unwavering trust in Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Salvation History and the Second Coming of Christ

 Jesus told his disciples that before he would return in glory there would be earthquakes, famines, floods, wars, plagues and persecution (Luke 21). In fact these things have been going on for so long that even many Christians no longer believe that Jesus will return to the earth just as he promised he would. What seems like a long time to us however, is in reality a very short time.

Monotheism as we know it began with Abraham some 4,000 years ago. From Abraham to David and the establishment of the kingdom of Israel was one thousand years. From David to Jesus was another thousand years. In about 17 years we will celebrate 2,000 years since the death and resurrection of Jesus and the birth of the Church. So while it is true that God is not bound by any number or specific period of time on earth, it is also true that patterns of harmony and symmetry are both aspects of the very Being of God and of the way in which He reveals himself to us.

Modern forms of communication have made it possible for the Gospel to be preached to the whole world. Hence the task that Jesus gave to his disciples has been fulfilled and the present age of the Church is very close to completion as well. So while is true that no one knows the day or the hour when Jesus shall return, I think that the age of the Church will not extend beyond the end of this century.

In the meantime we should recognize that this is a time of preparation. Those who are not in a right relationship with God will be terrified by the events that will happen at the close of the present age. Only those who trust in Jesus and have taken up their cross and followed him will be able to lift up their heads and rejoice at the coming of the Lord.